Once Upon a Time

Journal page number…

Just my opinion…

So much noise

So much activism

So much pointing of fingers

So little love

At the end of this chapter

How will the story read

I believe that nobody will win

And there will be no happy ending

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If an act is done out of love, but requires an act of hate or violence to accomplish it, how does that work out?

I believe we call it war.

And we are fighting ourselves.

The Sky is Not Falling

Two days fraught with anxiety brought on by my own lack of mindfulness. No journal pages and no progress on the house.  Loss of sleep and busywork that has little to show for it.

Nobody to blame but myself, but mistakes happen and it’s okay when they do.  I just need to learn (or relearn) from it and move on in a more intentional way.

I need to remember that my anxiety is a living entity that can be controlled, but never eradicated.

And one of the symptoms of my anxiety is that I tend to take personal responsibility for everything.  Then the depression hits because I can’t do enough.

In a group situation where a problem is brought up, I think it must be me.

Someone says they need to talk to me about something, I wonder what I’ve done wrong.

Something needs to be fixed, I try to figure out what I should be doing.

Sound familiar to anyone else out there?

The specific situation that triggered my anxiety this time?

The border crisis, of course.

I have a lot of friends who are social activists. I have conservative friends and liberal friends.  I have friends who rant and rave, and friends who quietly go about making the world a better place (I have to say that I like them best).  I do believe that it takes all of us working together to get things done.  but it doesn’t seem like we are doing a very good job of that right now.

This post isn’t really about what’s happening in the world right now.  I’m aware of what’s going on in the world.

But the sky is not falling.

Bad stuff is happening.

And worse stuff than that.

That’s not new.

Good stuff is happening also.

That’s not news.  It doesn’t sell or raise ratings.

My anxiety prevents me from taking responsibility for the world.

I can live with that.

In fact, it’s the only way that I can live.

I’ll take my philanthropic advice from Mother Teresa…

numbers

So, I’ve blocked a lot of folks on facebook.  I’ll continue to use it to keep in touch with friends around the world, but not to be told that I don’t care about the poor children because I’m not hysterically posting hateful words (and yes, I was accused of not caring).

The news is off for now.

And I’m going to focus my attention on my actual neighbor that is in danger of losing her family’s home because life has been particularly challenging.

And I’m going to take care of myself and my family because I do care.

I care an awful lot.

 

 

All Shouting at Once

This journal page was done yesterday.

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And then today, I witnessed yet another disturbing incident on facebook.

A friend posted an opinion on another friend’s post.

A differing opinion.

And she was attacked.

Hateful vitriol.

There is no other word for it.

And she wasn’t wrong.  Her comment had merit.

It just wasn’t the “popular” thing to say.

It brought light to the fact that the issue is not black and white.

There is no easy answer.

And I have to wonder…

Where is conversation?

Where is discussion?

Where is respect?

And in this instance, where is the Christianity?

Have your opinion.  Have a strong opinion.  Believe you are right…

March, gather, protest, follow your heart and work for change.

But never forget that the person you are sharing words with

OR

throwing words at…

Has an opinion.

And is a living, breathing, feeling human being…

With their own story and beliefs.

What about being quiet for a moment and listening…

Where is the love that you profess to have for humanity when you can’t treat a differing opinion with respect and dignity?

And all that I can think and believe is that when hate is the response to a differing opinion there is no winner.

We all lose.

Love loses.

Peace.

 

Radljost

Radljost (noun, Icelandic) enough light to find your way by

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It would seem that I am raising a pretty smart kiddo.

Last night she was my “radljost”.

She often is.

This was her response when I commented that I was old…when I felt old and tired and depressed.  She said it out loud in the car and I made her write it down so I could keep it always and remember it.

I have made it this far.  Some days that wouldn’t seem like much of an accomplishment. Last night it was a struggle.

And then simple words said in love…radljost.

I want to remember what she said because it is so true.  It was the perfect thing to say and exactly what I needed to hear.

She didn’t try to tell me that I wasn’t old.  She’s 13.  I’m 55.  In her eyes, I am old.  And based on my family history, I am well past middle age.  I am unlikely to live to be 110.

She was honestly optimistic…Here are the facts.  Be grateful for what you’ve got.  Move on.

Today is a better day.

I slept well.

It is payday.

I get to teach art.

The problems of yesterday are still with me, but I’ve made it this far and have hope to keep on going.

I am not going to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

The journey is worthwhile and all the better for the loved ones that I get to travel with.

 

 

 

f life lately…

 

Ugh.

Or maybe Yuck.

One word to describe the way I feel physically and emotionally.

I’m still tired and coughing.  It doesn’t help that the weather is changing every hour.

Hot enough to wear a t-shirt and shorts going barefoot one day.

Then a t-shirt, flannel shirt, sweater, jeans and socks the next.

Can’t the temperature be relatively the same for at least two days in a row.

Cedar and mold and dust…all at the same time!

We’re all carrying rolls of toilet paper around.  I’m too cheap to buy Kleenex.  I’m very into multi-purpose home supplies right now.

The studio has stayed clean.  I know it’s been less than twenty-four hours, but I’m going to cheer myself on with a win anyway.  I was able to find everything I needed for my art class today without rummaging through piles of stuff.  That felt good.

This second class that I’m teaching is older kiddos…junior high and high school.  I’m really enjoying it, but they are all super-talented.  A couple are more naturally talented than I am.  At least I have more experience than they do.  It’s going to be challenging to keep up with them!

Today on the home-front we sorted through wedding stuff and got a lot of it boxed up into some sort of order.  New lists and more lists – things we forgot and things we didn’t think of.  I think it’s going okay (except when I start panicking and lose it!).

The bridal shower is tomorrow and guess who forgot to get a gift.

Then we just have two more weeks until the big day!

I’ve made a decision to leave Facebook for a while.  I just can’t deal with the drama, the arguments, the name-calling and the total suspension of respect for differing opinions.

If you read my posts as they are shared on Facebook, you can continue to do so.  I will not be getting notifications of comments or “likes” however.  To stay in communication, you will need to log on to faithacrestudio.com and “follow” me here.

This was not an easy decision.   I’ve “unfriended” a lot of folks that just couldn’t let up with the continually negative posting. I kept thinking people could or would calm down and relax a little.  That maybe we could start sharing our daily lives again and keep in touch about the little stuff – the little stuff matters too.

We can’t live in a constant state of fear, panic and readiness to battle every anticipated tragedy.  I know this because I’ve been doing it since childhood and my body is worn out.  I’ve shared this before.  For my health and sanity, I just refuse to do it anymore.  I’m bowing out of the front lines.

When you wake up every morning looking for the next horrible thing that has happened, or more likely the next horrible tragedy that hasn’t happened yet, you miss out on the simple beauty of the everyday.  We see what we are looking for.  I am choosing to look for hope and joy.

I’ll still be here…sharing my stories and my moments.

Our stories and sharing are what is most important right now.

The goodness is still present.

There is still hope.

The steps we take in our daily lives will always have more of an impact on the world than any march.

Little things matter.

Our love matters.

Never stop believing that.

Today Needs a Prayer

I don’t talk a lot about my faith on this blog.  It’s not that I’m embarrassed about what I believe or out of some sense of political correctness. Mainly, it’s because at this point in my life, my faith has become more personal and inward. I think it may be a growth period for me after a long period of dormancy.

In any case, for the most part, I believe political correctness is a load of manure. I do, however, believe in being respectful of others’ beliefs or lack thereof.

But today needs a prayer. Feel free to substitute any vernacular that fits your life: happy vibes, positive energy, smoke signals, loud and raucous profanity, meditation, or the like…you get my meaning, right?

Today needs a prayer for those going through changes. Any change, whether perceived as good or bad, can be traumatic. It may involve a wide range of emotions including, but not limited to grieving, anger or joy. Change is hard for most (if not all) of us.

Today, I pray for those trying their best to find their way in the world. Especially for young adults trying to figure out this thing called “being a grown-up”. Wanting to be free of the constraints of parental control and influence…flapping their wings madly…terrified of all the choices and possibilities…peeking back over their shoulder at the shelter they are leaving behind. Some have a nest they can be welcomed back to if the need should arise, but so many don’t have that option, if indeed they ever did. My prayer is that they find a safe place to rest when their wings are tired. A soft place to rest their head when the journey is too hard. A springboard to launch from on the next leg of their journey.  Growing up is hard and should not be done alone. I pray that they have community with friends and family or friends that are family.

Today, I pray for parents whose children are referenced in the above paragraph. A prayer for patience and tolerance and forgiveness…that they remember their transition and act wisely. That they open the door for their children and hug them as the leave. Most importantly, that they leave that door open and are ready to give another hug when their child returns…either triumphantly in success or despairingly in failure.

Today, I pray for those experiencing loss. Especially for those who have lost a parent. Even as an adult this loss is hard. You may have achieved independence and become the “grown-up, but the child within is always there. You are an orphan. The person who has always been there is no longer there. You can no longer peek back over your shoulder at that shelter you so desperately fled years ago. We never lose the need for that anchor.

Today, I pray for those dealing with serious illness and aging. For those coping with the changes that are occurring as their body no longer performs for them as they have become accustomed. For loss of independence and freedom. For endless hours in waiting rooms and treatment rooms and recliners trying to rest and heal. For the uncertainty and loss that is a constant part of this new life they are living.

Today, I pray for the caretakers…the folks who are sheltering the ones in need, making casseroles, fetching glasses of water, running errands, and standing ready for whatever…

Today, I’m rearranging things to welcome a loved one to our home, attending a funeral, checking in on a family member, and planning a piece of prayerful art work for a friend.

Amen.

Late and Quiet

It’s late at night here at home.  The family is asleep or at least quietly in their space(s).  I’m wandering through the house shutting out lights and taking an inventory of the weekend’s activity.

By the looks of things it was a busy weekend indeed.

There is not a tidy spot in the house.

We had a big family breakfast and the dishes aren’t done.  Everyone was running around doing their own thing so the rest of our meals were “grab and go”.  Those remnants and dishes are all over the kitchen also.  On the bright side, the fridge and pantry are still clean.

I don’t do laundry on the weekend so there is a mountain in the laundry room.

It’s difficult to fit an apartment worth of stuff into one room, so my daughter’s stuff is still all over.  She’s sorting out the “need now” from the “need later”.  Half-empty and half-full boxes are waiting for those decisions to be made.  The stuff from the guest room needs a new home as she transitions the room back into hers.  She’s working two part-time jobs so progress is slow.  In short, there is stuff EVERYWHERE!

I figured out a storage solution.  We have a storage space in our classroom/studio that will work.  It was filled with all the paper documents from our small business.  It was moved here when we were still actively involved in it’s day to day operations. Sixty boxes worth.  That needs to be sorted into keep and shred/recycle. Right now, it’s stacked everywhere other stuff isn’t stacked, waiting to be dealt with.

As you can imagine, there a lots of stacks.  It might be more correct to say that there are trails through the stacks.

My house is a maze

All in all, my home is once again a mess – a total disaster.  Boxes everywhere, piled laundry, dirty dishes, stacked counters and tables, messy bathrooms, and an art project or two.

Initially, I was upset and frustrated.

Then I had an epiphany of sorts.  There is a better way of looking at it all.  A choice – an intentional choice.

Today is done – the end of a good weekend.  There is evidence of that good weekend everywhere I look. Meals shared.  Creative projects worked on.  Memories made.  Time together.  Everyone is happy and healthy.  No disasters or drama.

Just a mess – my family’s mess in our home.

Could we learn to better pick-up after ourselves?  Yes.

Should there be less stuff to deal with? Yes.

Is our life perfect?  No.

We are a work in progress.  I am a work in progress.

Tomorrow, I will get up.  Start a load of laundry.  Make breakfast.  Tidy the kitchen.  Supervise some schoolwork.  Take my son to work.  Pick up my daughter from work.  Clean a little bit.  De-clutter a little bit.

I’m going to remember to eat healthy foods and take a walk.

I’m going to hug my husband and kids and tell them that I love them.

It’s not my purpose in life to clean and maintain a perfect home.  Nor is it a priority to de-clutter and have the “right” number of possessions.

Those are just tasks towards a goal.  A comfortable home for our family to live and thrive and grow in.

There is definitely work to be done.

But, it will never be “finished”.

There will be another meal (and more dishes), a new day (and a change of clothes), more projects (yea, creativity!), and eventually someone will move out or back in.  We will re-arrange, re-prioritize, pursue new interests, change, and grow.

It is my purpose in life to love and care for my family (and myself).  I also need to make art, but that’s another blog post.

As I have been writing this, today has turned into tomorrow.  Sunday has transitioned to Monday.

Time for reflection makes way for rest…for it is a new day, a new attitude and a new opportunity to make positive changes.

Juxtaposition

How great a word is juxtaposition and it actually works well for this post today.

…for today I am caught between two loves.  A juxtaposition of two meaningful aspects of my life.

I awoke this morning from a thought-provoking dream and am having a day filled with inspiration.

A veritable plethora of epiphanies.

Words are coming together in my head in an actual lucid and cohesive manner. Blogs and stories are practically writing themselves.  And some of it is actually pretty damn good (if I do say so myself).  I spent most of the morning driving so my kids are transcribing for me and e-mailing the stuff to me….they actually wrote “stuff” in the subject line.

I’ve also had several visual ideas for new art projects!  Just one of those beautiful, crazily creative days.  Yea!

And – my oldest daughter is moving back in today.  So…

the excitement...
the excitement…
the stuff...
the stuff…
and more stuff...
and more stuff…

Creativity and my family.  I love both.  Sometimes it is a challenge to balance them.  Sometimes it more about one than the other.

Family usually wins – as it should at this time in my life.

Today is a good, full and wonderful day.

As for tomorrow, I predict a very strong urge to de-clutter.