Walking

If I had to name the top 10 most influential people in my adult life, there is one person who would certainly be at the top of the list.  She was a spiritual mentor, a life coach, an encourager (this word flags as misspelled, but I like it so it stays), and a partner in my creative endeavors.

She was a pastor at a church that I used to attend. As our relationship developed, she learned that I was an artist – although at that time I was just somebody who made stuff.  She started sharing her sermon plans with me and I started to create art that illustrated the sermon.  Some of it was pretty bad, but she hung it on the wall anyway.  Eventually, it got better and she hung that too.

Sometimes she would come to me with a sermon and verse and we would find that I had already started the canvas that went with it.

I would sit and draw her sermons on Sundays.  It’s how I learned that art is my form of worship…a lesson that I still value today.  I did a complete book of sermon drawings for her.  When I visited her a month or so ago, I saw that it sits on her hearth along with some other things that she treasures.

We rarely see each other any more as we live on opposite side of Austin.  Though our lives no longer intersect as they once did something interesting is starting to happen.

I faithfully read her postings on Caring Bridge as she chronicles her experiences with metastatic Stage IV colon cancer.  Lately, her posts are becoming more and more applicable and relative to my life – just as her sermons often seemed to be written just for me.

A couple of days ago she wrote something that inspired my post, “Doors”, which turned out to be one of the most popular things I’ve ever written here.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get a “big head”.  By popular, I mean that more than 10 people read it.  It’s all relative, right.  I favor quality over quantity any day.

Today, she wrote about going through the interview process to try and get selected for a clinical trial of a new treatment.  Although our situations are totally different and I would never try to compare my struggles with hers – when I read the words she had written about being overwhelmed, I could identify with her completely.

First, it put the circumstances of my life right now in perspective.  I’ve reminded myself that the problems that I am facing are manageable and most likely solvable.  The challenges to come are not insurmountable.

Second, her words helped me gain my footing again.  She wrote that “sometimes people who are overwhelmed don’t do anything because they can’t do everything.”

She added that we should “acknowledge it (the situation) , pray, and just do one thing at a time.”

I can do that.  I can acknowledge that while my situation could be worse, it’s still hard and I’m both tired and overwhelmed.  And while I can’t do everything, I can do something.

So here’s what I accomplished today:

  • I went to work
  • I visited my sister in I.C.U and initiated a discussion about what her discharge plan might need to look like
  • I spent time with my husband although I did forget to make his lunch
  • We started planning what needs to be done to fix our second bathroom so that it is easily accessible for my sister as her recovery continues – I did not figure out how to pay for said renovations – that would be too much for today and would lead to feeling overwhelmed again.
  • I am committing to filling one bag with trash as I begin to catch-up on housework. Some (most) of it will just have to wait.
  • I took a short walk in an effort to get back to walking two miles a day so that I can lose the weight I have gained.  A long walk just couldn’t happen.  That’s okay.
  • My daughter and I are going to do one math lesson as we work on getting caught up.  It won’t solve the problem, but it’s something.
  • I am going to sit and prepare the bag of worn out T-shirts into strips for my rug as I watch a stupid T.V. show and allow myself to rest. Oh, and by the way…here’s my efforts so far. Barret, the dork dog seems to like it just fine.

Perhaps most importantly, she reminded me that I’m not alone.  I have friends that are thinking of and praying for me.  I have people that I can call on if I need to (even if I’m too stubborn to admit that I need help).

Just because people are no longer physically present in our lives doesn’t mean that the lessons we learned from them, or the experiences we shared with them aren’t still valuable resources that we can draw from when we need to.  Special people who have once been in our lives never really leave us.  They become a part of us…often the best part.

Today is Friday, Right?

What do you mean it’s Saturday?

I’ve been really tired the last few days…so tired that I’ve given into the urge to nap.  I just haven’t been able to make it through the day.  The one day that I didn’t nap and wake up naturally (without the aid of the alarm), I was most unpleasant by evening.

Youngest daughter has been battling a cold or serious allergies.  In this part of Central Texas, it’s hard to tell which and I don’t suppose it really matters what you call it.  When you don’t feel good, you don’t feel good.

It’s possible that I am falling victim to the same malady.  Or it’s possible that I have some sort of cyclical mood disorder that is causing the tiredness.

Once again, I don’t suppose it really matters what you call it…

Learning to listen to what my body and moods are telling me has been hard.  I was raised to bravely soldier on through “twelve foot of snow”, injury, and illness.  Naps were frowned upon and illness had to be serious if you were to stay home from school.  I once went to school for two days with a broken arm until my Mom decided that maybe something really was wrong.  I’m not knocking my upbringing…they were who they were and did the best they could.  I survived.

But, resting when I’m tired and letting go of expectations for those days is something I’m learning to do.

So, today feels like Friday and that’s okay, right?  Some creativity took place and some decluttering got done.

Learning to take care of myself (without guilt) is part of the journey too.

Every day doesn’t have to be my best day yet.  Some days can be just average or complete washouts in terms of things accomplished.

Not every action can be quantified.  Sometimes no action can be the best course of action.  These are hard lessons, but definitely worth learning.

Here’s Friday’s photo:0611160947 (1)(Posting these is a bit like posting a naked picture of myself.  I did not anticipate that.  Posting my art at all used to be difficult.  I worked through that.  Now, sharing the process is the hard part.   The process is slow and not linear.  There are do-overs and changing directions.  Welcome to the way my brain works.)

Friday’s declutter:

  1. a pillowcase
  2. fabric
  3. some tea-light candles
  4. an extra grass collection bag for the lawnmower
  5. a stuffed animal

 

 

Rest

Friday night I was tired.  Not really sleepy – just tired – the I don’t want to think, make a decision, or accomplish one more single thing kind of tired.

I ended up sitting on the sofa, re-re-watching a movie, eating popcorn and sharing it with my dog.  A movie where the good guys win and the bad guys lose and there is no doubt which is which.

There were things undone on my list and a million more that could be on the list, BUT…

We have accomplished so much around here lately.  Things are getting done that I had given up on doing.  The time spent together is more intentional.  All in all, life is good and better than it has been for awhile.  Not perfect, not “done”, but moving along towards a goal…a dream.  That’s all good stuff.

BUT…sitting and resting is good stuff too…and I tend to forget that.  I usually keep striving and going, thinking that I will rest when it’s done.  That’s a misstep on my part.   There are limits to my ability to “do”.  It will never all be “done”.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist after all.

If I don’t pause every now and then, there is really no sense to all the doing.  There is no appreciation of the progress and no realization of the accomplishment.  There is no joy.

So, today I will rest some.  There is a part-time job that has to be done.  But if it doesn’t have to be done today, I’m not going to do it.  I’m not going to look for projects.  I’m not going to look for things that need to be done.  I’m not even going to proof this blog.

I’m going to sit and look at what has been done and enjoy.

Rest.

Looking forward…

This week…

  • my part-time job that takes about 10 hours a week
  • a second part-time job which has paid off our second car
  • a six hour drive to pick up my second daughter and bring her home for a long weekend
  • several shopping trips to prepare for my two oldest daughters’ upcoming trip to New Orleans with their aunt
  • a library summer reading program involving reptiles (ugh, snakes)
  • a sprained ankle
  • a trip through IKEA
  • a snowball fight
  • a sprained thumb
  • 6 A.M. start times and midnight end times for my son’s work schedule (we live 45 minutes away)
  • a graduation
  • a graduation party
  • a birthday party
  • a doctor’s appointment for my husband at 7:15 A.M. (we live over an hour away)
  • 3 optometrist appointments
  • some bad news in the mail
  • some awesomely good news in the mail
  • friends spending the night
  • loads of family
  • a minor car accident

I’m tired.  I’m happy.  We’ve gotten a lot of things off of our to-do list.  We’ve had fun.  Our whole family is together and getting along reasonably well.

I wouldn’t trade this week for anything.

I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t make it through another one.

I just have to make it through Sunday.  I’m looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.  More family, friends and who knows what!

I’m looking forward to what Monday will bring…a nap!