Travels

Days and days since I last posted.

It wasn’t an intentional thing.

I missed a day, and then this happened and that happened and so on…

You know how it is, right?

Then so much time passes and the thought of doing a “catch-up explanation” post is exhausting.

And because I’m me, I start feeling guilty (or guiltier).

So, maybe tomorrow becomes I don’t know when

or

today.

Today it is.

Here’s a fast re-cap.

I’ve had good days and bad days.

Mostly good.

Husband took a week long business trip to Atlanta followed immediately by two daughters heading off to Florida for a visit to Harry Potter world.

Lots of lists and laundry and a few shopping trips.

Mostly laundry…before and after!

The money situation has been challenging.  We’ll leave it at that.

The vegan diet didn’t work out well for me.  My vision showed no improvement and my moods didn’t either. In fact, I feel that I was more depressed and anxious overall.  A visit and discussion with my doctor showed that I was seriously deficient in vitamin D.

I’m now on a supplement to remedy that and I’m feeling much better.  Research has shown that a vitamin D deficiency can affect mood so maybe that is part of the answer. Multiple stressful situations have been handled with relative calm and clear thinking.  I’ve worked through them without losing my sh@#.

It is really hard and a lot of work to get all the nutrients one needs on a vegan diet. It can also be more expensive than I can afford.  I did pick up a taste for some new veggies and our diet improved overall.  So, the new plan is to more veggies and meat only a couple of times a week. We’ll continue to keep out processed food.

I’m going to just keep reading and looking for answers to be a better and happier me.

It’s all about growth and taking the next step.

I guess the adventure wouldn’t be as much fun if we had all the answers ahead of time.

Here’s to trying new things and enjoying the journey…

celebrating the wins…

and learning from the things that don’t go as we’d hoped (see how I avoided the word “failure” there?)…

Life is good – it’s all good.

Welcome back me!

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Work of My Hands

“The real enemies of our life are the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs’. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future.  But real life takes place in the here and now”  – Henri Nouwen

 

I wanted to put in a garden this year.  I had hoped for a greenhouse.  I’d planned on building numerous raised beds and filling them with the compost I was making and then planting seeds.  I’d intended to have all my existing beds weeded and dug and ready for spring.

There is no greenhouse.  Two raised beds are built but not filled with soil.  They lean against the side of the house. There are weeds in my garden beds.

I ought to have gotten more done.  If I’d gotten these things accomplished, I would be ready for the garden that I had hoped for and envisioned…

But now, today, I have a choice.  I can work with what I have here and now and choose to place my seeds into soil…

or leave the seeds

in their packages

in the shoe box

on the shelf

in the cabinet

in the dining room

in the dark

where they will surely not sprout and grow.

How many other aspects of my life does this same thought process apply to?

Brushes not dipped into paint create nothing.

Blog posts not written can’t be read.

Cards not created and mailed can’t be received.

Art cards not imagined, created and shared can’t be found.

How often does my fear of imperfection or failure or rejection keep me from trying?

I have all the “seeds” I need both literally and figuratively…

seeds and soil and canvases and paint and ideas…

I also have fear and anxiety and doubts…

It is my choice to make…

Dwell on the mistakes and rejections of the past?

Anticipate with fear and anxiety the future?

Or do the work of my hands in the here and now with the potential to bring a little hope and beauty and light into the world?

Today I choose to believe in the potential of the seed to sprout and take root and grow and bless the world.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

here i am

try

That quiet voice has been an important part of my life lately.

It has been a constant when other, louder voices in my head have kept up a continual chant of negativity.

Every day, I have thought about sitting down and writing here.

I had planned to.

I just didn’t.

And then it got harder and harder.

The voices told me that I was a failure as a blogger because I wasn’t writing regularly.  That maybe what I had to say wasn’t worth writing about.  That it was ridiculous to share these thoughts and vulnerabilities with complete strangers and the world.

And so I didn’t write…

day after day…

the words circled in my head…

both things I thought about sharing and doubt about the worthiness of those things.

here I am

I’ve been working on art cards a lot lately.  If you don’t know about them, you can find information here:

unearthedart.wordpress.com

One of the quotes I’ve been using says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”  -Brene Brown

vulnerability

truth

courage

Today, the quiet voice is the one I choose to listen to.

Nelson Mandela said that “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

I don’t feel brave…I am afraid all the time.

But today I am writing…

I share my vulnerability because it is my truth and there are many who are struggling in the same way I am and maybe my voice can make a difference.

When you are depressed, sometimes all you can accomplish is one little thing.

It may not be big or even that important.

You just have to do one thing.

And then take that “win” and try one more thing.

And nuture the quiet voice that is named “hope”.

The quiet voice is the voice of truth.

All the other is just noise.

Today I have written here.

And I shall make more art cards trusting that quiet messages of hope will find their way into the hands of those who need to hear…

 

 

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.

Sometimes

Sometimes when I am going about my day, this blog writes itself in my head.  It’s not a planned thing.  The words just start appearing.  And then they start multiplying and rearranging themselves in proper order.

Sometimes there is a rabbit trail of thought which I store for another day.  Sometimes I remember the alternate post, but sometimes not.  I don’t worry too much about it.

I’m learning to trust the process and believe that the important stuff will reappear at the appropriate time.  I rarely sit down without a piece already started in my head, but do occasionally if nothing has presented itself for a while.

I think those times of writing “drought” may be an indication that I’m too busy and not listening to myself…not allowing enough time for thoughts and dreams and ideas…or that they are being drowned out by too much busyness and reality.

And that thought has led me inadvertently to my slogan, theme, or plan for the next year…

I started making an intentional focus for the new year a couple of years ago.

The first idea was “to be the change I wished to see in my world”.

Last year was “turn my cants into cans and my dreams into plans”.

This year I think I’m going with “Re-think, Re-imagine, and Reflect.

These are the words that have been running through my head the last couple of days.

Now I have the words I’m going to use.  The exact details aren’t clear, but I’m going to spend some time with a journal this week and think about and imagine the possibilities…

As for today, I’ve decided to start my new year now.

It is a beautiful day…warm and spring-like…it feels like a beginning.

The bees are busily buzzing on my front porch looking for any jasmine flowers that made it through the last freeze.

Lots and lots of tiny birds are flying from a thicket that edges my yard to the bird feeder hanging by my front window.

As I was standing quietly on the porch the bees and birds flew past me going about their business.  The buzzing bees and humming wings were the only sounds I heard.

How many times have I missed this scene outside my own door?

How many times has the noise of my life been all that I’ve heard?

It bothers me that my focus is so much on what is going on right around me and that I don’t spend enough time looking and listening and being still…

Today is a new day.

It’s a good day for beginning anew…for thinking, imagining and reflecting.

Today will be spent creating order from the chaos that is leftover from the Christmas festivities and creating pages in a new journal.

Today will be spent ridding myself of some clutter…both physical and mental.

Today will be spent in some busyness and some idleness.

Seeking balance.

 

 

As promised…

…and I am back today to write another line or two of my story.  We all have one – a story, that is.  While mine currently seems enormously insignificant, I’m going to keep on living it and writing about it anyway.  I know I’m not alone in this struggle called life.  And I am aware that it is not always a struggle.   “This too shall pass” as my Dad used to say.  He stole the quote, but I can still hear him saying it so I’m going to credit him.

Art today…

IMAG1023

I’ve had these little canvases for a while.  I bought them for another project that hasn’t happened yet.  They were just sitting on my shelf and looked lonely.  I’ve started just painting them – and then repainting them – and then layering some more paint.  Now I’ve started sticking on the dried paint scrapings from my desk.  They are becoming quite heavy and textural.

Why?  I don’t know yet.  I suppose they’ll let me know when it is time…

I am not a tidy artist…

IMAG1022

But sometimes, I’m not sure that I’m an artist at all.  But my middle daughter says that I am an artist and she should know.  She will be graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in December.  That makes her for sure a “real artist”.

She tells me to make what I enjoy.  To do what I like to do and not to worry about it all so much.

So I made this recently…

IMAG1030 (2)

 

and yes, those are little plastic chickens on top.  I think it might be a little bit of art therapy.  As I look at it I see little parts of my life reflected.  Some of the “down” moments and quite a few of the hopeful ones.  Art?  I don’t know.

While “doing school” today, my youngest and I stumbled across a poem we both liked.

The Sparrow

 A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.

So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.

It was written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  It was a good message for today.  A good message for tomorrow.  Just a simple, good message….

Let’s Write Something Different

I had finished writing today’s blog post and was just about to hit “publish” when something stopped me – you know – that little voice in your head that whispers “this isn’t what you’re supposed to be doing”.

I read over what I had written and it sounded okay.  Not exciting and nothing out of the ordinary, but I live a fairly unexciting and ordinary life, so….

What was the problem?

I read it over again and still didn’t know what was bothering me, so…

I took a deep breath and erased it all.  I didn’t save it just in case.  Just gone.

And now I’m typing on these keys and waiting to see what gets written.

Still waiting.

Aha.  “I took a deep breath and erased it all.  I didn’t save it just in case.  Just gone.”

I don’t think I’ve been very honest with myself lately.  I’ve been talking (and writing) the talk lately, but haven’t really been walking the walk.

I’ve let things slide.  Maybe that was a good thing to take a break…rest is good.

I’m not making much progress on the house. I’ve de-cluttered a few things here and a few things there, but not really with any plan or goal.  It’s steps in the right direction, but not very focused.  We’ve lived here for almost ten years.  I’m not the same person I was and we’re not the same family we were.  I’d like to re-do some things and repair a lot of things.  Finances are an issue and a hindrance, but there are things I can do now.  I’m going to develop and write down a plan that will facilitate the “new” home I want.  We can’t (and I don’t want to) move, but it can be a complete transformation.  I’m going to envision the way I’d like things to be and eliminate what doesn’t fit the dream.  Each room can have new paint and a new fresh look to fit in with the new life we are making.  I can’t repair and paint now, but I can choose what stays and what goes and prepare for the rest.

I haven’t been eating as well as I was.  After my surgery, I completely changed my diet:  veggies, fruit, whole grain, less carbs, no junk.  After the blood sugar scare, I cut out sugar as much as possible.  Then it was a few chips, a bite of dessert, just a little of this and a bit of that.  I kept saying it was just today and that tomorrow I would get back with the program.  Yea, right (sarcasm).  Today, I’m clearing out the junk that has crept back in.  I don’t need it – none of us need it.  And to keep it honest – as I am typing this, I am eating cereal that is healthy – so healthy that I’m fairly certain that my chickens would enjoy it more than I am!  Just sayin’.

I’ve also quit exercising enough – I was busy, the kids were visiting, it was hot – tomorrow I’ll walk…

And making stuff…art.  That’s fallen by the wayside as well.  Until yesterday, when I was so down that I turned to it out of desperation.  It shouldn’t be a last resort sort of thing.  It’s an important part of who I am and I need to make stuff – a lot, not just “when there’s time”.

It’s time to take a deep breath and do what needs to be done.

Living with intention requires…intention.  And attention.  I’ve spent enough time just drifting along and I have committed to living my life.

  • Time to draw up a plan for our “new” home that fits our needs and wants.
  • Time to eat healthy, exercise and maybe lose a few more pounds.
  • Time to create.

Now to get back to work (and fun).  Break time is over.

Muddying Up the Water

When I started documenting my personal journey towards a more intentional, simple and peaceful life on this blog, I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go.

I honestly had no idea what this blog might have to do with the journey.  I felt a need to reach out in community and to find some like-minded individuals who might journey with me.  I didn’t really have any expectations that anyone would “like” what I had to share or that anyone would “follow” me.

In fact, I thought quite the opposite – I couldn’t fathom that anyone would be interested in what I had to say.  But I was afraid to start a blog, and facing fear was my challenge at the time…so I wrote.  Some folks like what I have to say.  Some have even chosen to  hit “follow”.  And I am grateful for the affirmation.  I’ve gone to every blog and “met” the writer.  I’m struck by the fact, that on the surface, many of us don’t seem to have much in common at all…not age, occupation, country, gender…nothing that commonly brings folks together.

But, we do have something important in common.  We are all searchers and seekers with a belief that things can be better – and a desire to make it so.  We are different and the same.

I had believed, in the beginning, that this blog would find a focus and generally tend towards one topic more than any others. That has not been the case.  It reflects all the interests (and distractions) that make up my life.

I am deliberately not traveling down a straight highway for this journey.  I want to walk off the beaten path and follow rabbit trails along the way.  I want to believe that I am not too old to give up on dreams and aspirations.  I want to continue to learn new things and make choices that bring me happiness and peace.  I anticipate that I will make mistakes and more than a few choices that are not the right fit.  I will become discouraged and disheartened.

And I will find joy and discover that I am capable of accomplishing things beyond what I expected.

That being said, many of the things I need to accomplish along the way are mundane, difficult and challenging.  Not fun at all.

Sometimes solving one problem worsens another.  It muddies the water.  It makes it difficult to see that any progress is being made at all.  It’s hard to remember to take a step back and regain perspective.  To remember to focus on the whole journey and not just one portion of it.  Sometimes I get lost or hit an unmovable obstacle and have to turn around and retrace my steps to find a new way – a way that takes me towards the goal.  Sometimes it feels like I’m going the wrong direction entirely.

I’ve decided to create a plan – a sort of map that will help guide my journey.   Sort of like a business plan, but not so boring.  It will have to include pictures and colors and lists.   Maybe a journal or a big canvas to hang on the wall.  Just something to help when I can’t see clearly.  A plan. In writing.  That’s the next step.  It probably should have been the first step, but….

I’ve brainstormed of list of things that need to be accomplished and/or that I want to explore during the next days, weeks, months, years…  Remember, I’m brainstorming here!  And, not in any particular order:

  • Get out of debt and get our financial status on solid footing
  • Continue de-cluttering until our home “feels right” and then maintain
  • Continually evaluate our living space and whether it’s meeting our needs (size, location, etc.)
  • Homeschooling my last kiddo and preparing her for life
  • Explore gardening and self-sufficient living
  • Art, art and more art – creating, sharing, exhibiting and selling????
  • Improving and maintaining my health
  • Contributing to making the world a better place
  • Staying connected with family and friends
  • Having more fun
  • Work at being at peace with who I am and who I can become
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Letting go of fear

Not a complete list – I’m sure I’ll think of more.

A pause in the journey to let the muddied water settle.  Then to continue on – one step at a time.

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.