the view from here

Monday morning.

The start of a new week – ready to go after a restful weekend!

This is what my Monday looks like…

Not pictured are the soon to arrive 2 year old, the home-school planning I forgot to do for this week, the hungry chickens calling to me, or the myriad of unfinished (and not yet started) projects all around me.

It feels like total chaos.

There was a time when I would have been paralyzed with anxiety over the whole situation.

I’m still not happy about it.

But, I have been working on approaching the whole mess without judgement.

This is the reality of what it is.

I am responsible for it, but the mess is not who I am.

I need to get it cleaned up and dealt with it.

I am not a failure or worthless or incompetent or…

Those labels still bounce around in my head, but I am working on quieting them.

And I am making progress.

There is a lot going on in life right now and I’ll never get it all done.

Life is not a list to be completed.

I’ll put a load of laundry in.

I’ll pick up the trash that my Basset Hound dragged out again. I’ll also pause and rub her belly because she is who she is and going through trash is what she does. If the trash had been taken out, she wouldn’t have waited until I went to sleep to climb up on top of the counter to get to it. Mental note: take out the damn trash before I go to bed.

While my daughter puts up the clean dishes, I’ll schedule her school assignments.

Then I’ll load the dishwasher up again while being grateful that we have food and my husband is essential and employed.

Hopefully, before the kiddo gets here.

When he gets here, we’ll do our morning snuggles and breakfast…because the mess will wait.

We’ll go feed the bok-boks together and check out what’s growing in the new garden beds “we” built. We’ll come in and change his clothes because he is two and it rained recently.

We’ll throw his dirty clothes into the next wash load and he’ll “help” fold laundry.

I’ll do the best that I can and work through it…

while remembering that everyone is worthy of grace and love and kindness…myself included.

I don’t yet know what tomorrow will look like.

I am hopeful that the mess will be lessened somewhat, but I’m sure that there will still be something left to do.

A Step Back

Despite the seemingly optimistic and contemplative tone of yesterday’s post, I have to honestly let you know that the day was a complete stress-filled disaster.

The post itself took hours (off and on) to write and was a real struggle. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words were elusive and difficult to arrange in any sense of order. I’m still not sure that I got it right, but it is what it is and I (hopefully) got the point across. Or maybe not, and that’s okay.

Anxiety and depression are lifelong companions and sometimes we spend more time together that I’d like. I feel like today was the worst day I’ve had in months and months and that is something to be grateful for.

Yesterday, I woke up slightly anxious and ready to get everything in my life in order.

That would be a difficult accomplishment for just about anyone under any circumstances, but in my life right now, it’s an impossibility.

We started a kitchen redo in early spring. We are still waiting on one of the cabinets we ordered to come in. Said cabinet has arrived twice thus far. Once with doors instead of drawers and once assembled incorrectly so that when installed, you couldn’t actually open the bottom drawer. I’ve been patient(ish) because I understand that the world is operating under extenuating circumstances. Nevertheless, much of my kitchen stuff is stacked on counter-tops and in boxes as we wait.

I’ve got one daughter partially moved out into her new cottage on our property.

I’ve got another daughter working at our house and storing some of her family’s belongings her while waiting for their new house to be completed. She has her kitchen cabinets.

My son is moving back in temporarily.

There is stuff everywhere stored in front of other stuff on top of even more stuff.

We’re putting in new flooring as soon as the kitchen is done. Flooring for the whole house is stacked under all the other stuff.

Oh yea, we still need to tile and paint the kitchen as soon as…the cabinet gets installed. The tile and paint are under everything else…somewhere.

I’ve been handling it all just fine until today, when it started feeling like some nightmarish Jenga game threatening to come down on top of me.

As the day progressed I got more and more anxious and functioned less and less.

Like the world around me appears to be doing, I just kept speeding up trying to catch up. The faster I went, the less I accomplished.

The less I accomplished, the more frustrated I got.

The more frustrated I got, the faster I tried to go.

No wonder I was having so much trouble writing yesterday’s post and struggling so hard to calm down and deal with my anxiety.

My actions were a complete contradiction of the message I was trying to convey.

If I had stopped or even slowed down enough to breathe and center myself, I would have been able to recognize the ridiculousness of the whole situation.

Maybe I could have even laughed at myself or cried some tears of release and saved myself…

I could have intentionally hit the pause button…maybe just realized that it was a good day to stop and not try so hard.

Old habits are difficult to break and easy to fall back on. Old patterns give a false sense of comfort. They don’t require as much effort or intention.

The pattern I got stuck in yesterday is a familiar one.

It’s like hopping on a carnival ride.

There’s excitement at first about how fast you are going (how much energy and motivation you have to get things accomplished).

But then you start to get tired of the ups and downs and you start feeling nauseous from the constant acceleration.

Then, you realize you have given up control over the ride. You can’t stop it or get off of it. It’s taken on a life of its own – a perpetual motion machine.

You start wondering if you could just jump off, but there’s the worry about the landing…

How I wish that I had taken a step back yesterday morning – and not gotten on the ride.

Yesterday’s story is written.

Today there is grace and a new beginning.

Peace.

Blessings on your efforts today.

A Glass of Tea

Hello.

No luck falling asleep last night.

This morning started out with a sense of being behind and unable to catch up.  As a result, I know that my perceptions of my life are skewed and everything seems worse than it is or even than it was yesterday.

Being tired and anxious and tipping into depression have a way of putting a negative filter on the way I see things:

The budgeting problems couldn’t be solved with a bevy of mathematical geniuses.

I am the only homemaker in America (maybe the world) who can’t keep a clean house.

We have the worst looking yard in the neighborhood.

the dishes, the laundry, the unmade bed, the piles of paperwork to be dealt with, the recycling, the boxes of donations, the stuff to be sorted, the unmade bed, the bathrooms waiting to be cleaned, the books unread, the projects undone, the clock is ticking and I am getting nowhere…fast

STOP.

It’s time for a glass of tea and some perspective…and a talk with myself (preferably not aloud where I can add crazy to the list).

I am doing okay.

Things will be okay.

It could be worse.

There are solutions to the real problems.

Some of the problems aren’t really that big a deal.

The sun will still do it’s thing even if everything doesn’t get done so there is always tomorrow.

I can fold one load of laundry.

I can wash one sink load of dishes.

I can stack all of the paper in one place and deal with it one piece at a time.

I can clear one counter.

The lost things can be found.

And so can peace.

I can stop and have a glass of tea.

I can make the baby laugh.

I could even read a chapter of a book.

And then I can do one more thing to make our home more comfortable.

Comfortable, not perfect.

What I can’t do is everything…right now.

There.

I feel better now.

I’m glad we had this talk.

Until tomorrow…

Peace.

 

 

Travel well

Monday mornings present an interesting juxtaposition of thought for me.

On on hand they are an opportunity…a new beginning and fresh start.  A chance to write down that to-do list and accomplish…whatever it is that needs doing.

On the other hand, Mondays can just be frustrating.  So much to do and so much undone from the week before.  The feeling that this week might be just as difficult, or more so, than the week before.

The latter thought process is not helpful.  It is self-defeating and starts the week off with negativity.  Nevertheless, the thoughts are a reality and cannot be ignored.  Sometimes life can seem to be an endless loop of beginnings and endings and not much in the middle.

So, today I shall acknowledge that sometimes life is frustrating.  And that sometimes the end of my week does not meet the expectations of the beginning.

And I shall continue to try and live in grace and hope…and be grateful for the opportunity a new week provides.  I’ll make a new list and continue to be optimistic about the possibilities that this week of my life might offer.

I will attempt to live through the ups and downs that these days of my life will certainly serve up.  I know in advance that there will be failure and tears and happiness and beauty.  I will travel through the challenges and dwell in the good.  That is my plan for this week.

And now is the time to share the news that I have been alluding to over the past several weeks.  I can share the part of the story that is mine.

Our son, Jacob, has joined the Army.  He completed the last of the process and was sworn in last Wednesday.  He reports for training the middle of this month.  There is much I could write about this journey.  I shall keep it simple.

I am his Mom.

I love him.

I am proud of him.

I am afraid for him.

This decision has been a long time coming for him.  I have watched him carefully consider it.  Research it.  Carry it in his heart and revisit it from time to time.  This is what he feels called to do.

I believe in him and am in awe of his ability to listen to that “voice” that is guiding him.  I have struggled my whole life with finding my way.

I read a quote the other day.  I can’t remember where.  “To find your purpose, follow your passion.”

He is doing that.

Travel well, my son.

May we all find our passion and our purpose and travel well.

 

Grace.

Tired and not feeling well today.  I’ve plodded through the have-to’s including school planning and basic chores.  It’s hard to rest when so many things remain undone.  Unfortunately, even this blog feels like an obligation today, but a deal is a deal.

Why is it so hard to show ourselves a bit of grace.  When our kids are little and cranky, we don’t hesitate to put them down for a nap.  If a family member is feeling sick, I’m all about shooing them to bed for some down-time.  However, when its me, I tend to want to push through and keep going.  I don’t know why.  It’s not that the earth would quit spinning if I stopped for a bit.  It might be that I’m elevating my own importance – I don’t want to find out that the family would be just fine without me for a short time.

What if it’s because it’s easier to be nice to the people I love than it is to be nice to myself.  Something to think about…right after I take a nap.