Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo

I have four main goals for the summer:
  1. To be able to easily walk 3 miles per day
  2. To go to the local gym with my daughter and sign up for a family membership
  3. To visit the local women's center to see what kind of volunteer work they might need
  4. To get through the Pile of Possibilities
What, you may ask, is the Pile of Possibilities? Well, I took a picture of it in April 2008. What is supposed to be my sewing desk in my Studio has been overrun by clutter. This is most definitely a conglomeration of unmade decisions. I figured if I stopped calling it "clutter" or "chaos," I might be more open to whittling the thing into submission. So I chose the name "Pile of Possibilities" (Po'P for short) to remind myself that within the junk lay some jewels.

I've been working on my Po'P over the last several weeks. I take it just 15 min at a time so that I don't get overwhelmed with the process. When taken in small bites, it's much easier to make the needed decisions.

To my credit, the Po'P is now down to that white box on the far right side of the table and it is only half full instead of overflowing. The bulletin board has been hung up elsewhere in the room, but the clutter on it has not been addressed. The treasure that was removed from the table has either been dealt with completely (filed, trashed, given away) or is awaiting processing (letters to be answered, items to mail, information to be digitized, etc.)

The thing about clutter is that it just won't go away of its own accord. Worse, it seems to breed! The other thing about clutter is that I have indeed found some gems in among the chaff. They're hiding out so they won't be stolen by a burglar.

So give me some love and encouragement! There's only one month of summer left and I VOW to enter the Fall with a clean workspace.

As for my other goals?
  1. I can now walk 3 miles a day easily. One day last week I walked 4 miles and wasn't even sore the next day!
  2. Jodie and I plan to visit the gym next week We were going to do it this week, but she got a temp job. But it's high on the priority list now.
  3. As for the women's center, I'm still summoning up my courage to do that. These are the people that run the shelter that I lived in 20+ years ago. I know that by walking through those doors, I'll be faced with some old raw feelings (mental/emotional clutter?). So going there will take a bit o' courage.
So I'll issue a challenge here. Go to the Po'P in your own home. Set a timer for 15 min. See if you can make a small dent in the pile over the next seven days. Then drop me a comment and tell me what you've accomplished. We can make these small but important decisions together.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Clean It Up

Twenty-five years ago today, I married for the first time.

Long story short, that marriage didn't last and the result was indeed, one of my life's messes.

But you know what? Opportunities were presented, choices weighed, and decisions made. That mess is all cleaned up. The life I live now has plenty of light.

Another of life's messes? The stack of mail on the kitchen table. I think it's breeding. It shouldn't take much time to tidy that up. Maybe I'll take the junk mail, fold it into paper airplanes, and see if I can fly them into the trash bin. That mess will then be lighter than air (at least for a few seconds).

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Overwhelming

Keep my friend Carol in your prayers. Her husband died last October. She raising three teenagers alone. This was one of her hard, hard days. She is very overwhelmed. Her friends and I try to calm her, steady her, help her ... but we're all so far away from where she lives.

She could use a little more prayer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Secrets: July 26, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These three cards had an impact on me today:

I know a guy like this.
He'll be playing in the afterlife with Misty.

Me too.

I can't figure out a story behind this one.
But I do hope she gets all the fireworks she deserves.
Women need to feel that intensity.

Don't Look Back

I suppose this might be true. I look at my past and am haunted by it. My sweet husband is the most forward-looking person I know. I dare say he has more joy in his life because of it. The future is full of possibility. He dwells there.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shaking Hands with the Hard Stuff

I rarely have the power to alter the difficulties.

I always have the power to change my attitude about the difficulty.

If only I will.
If only I have a method.

Attitude may not be everything ... but it's about 80%.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Set Things Right

I had an AH-HA! moment today. I'm letting the new knowledge settle in. I want to see if I can make it work over time. It have me a new perspective, a paradigm shift. I think. I hope.

We'll see.

It's helping me to finally set things right.

But I can't blurt it out yet. It's too important. I need to test the theory.

I hope it works.
I hope it's part of the long-term answer to the question, "How do I forgive?"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trust Yourself

Papa Emerson strikes again. This man speaks to my core.

I'm thinking ... hmmmm ... not he's not just talking about success as in a vocation or career ... you know ... outward success. I think Papa is also saying that to be successful as a person, I've got to have that self-trust. That's been a real sticking point for me over the years. I have one heck of a time trusting my own judgment. I second guess myself all the time, then beat myself up for the parts that were not successful.

For example, even in writing these words, in having the gumption to say to the world, "I'm sorta screwed up. My brain doesn't fire the way other folk's brains do. My brain chemistry is out of balance. I have to work all around my convoluted thinking to get to a logical conclusion. I have to work through all kinds of emotional turmoil and baggage in order to live more simply. I am not good at categorizing experiences and tucking them away in separate compartments in my brain. I'm not good at allowing my past to remain in my past. I keep dredging it up. I'm not good at letting resentments slide away. I get bitter. I'm not good at forgiveness. But I want to learn and change and continue to become a better, more whole and loving person."

Well, to put all that out here in Blogland ... to share my stories ... to open my fears to the light of day ... I don't know if it's gumption or foolishness. I second guess myself all the time.

What I do know is that the most compelling blogs I read are written by creative souls that dare to bare. I want to learn to be like that.

But I'm not sure I trust myself. I'm not sure I trust that this is good judgment.

Then I think ... well, I have fewer than ten regular blog readers ... this is not a huge deal ... not a big investment. Those that bother reading my blog tend to be sympathetic to my troubles and have similar stories of their own. The responses I receive are encouraging and empathetic.

In his last year of life, I asked my dad a question about trusting oneself once. Here's a bit of a story.

When Dad was 14, he lost both his sister (best friend) and his father. Dad was the oldest child. His mom was pregnant with his youngest brother. To help with the family finances, Dad went door to door selling Fuller brushes after school. I tried to imagine that life, but knew I really couldn't grasp how a young teenager could deal with so much disappointment and rejection -- especially in the midst of grief. So I asked, "How did you do that then? How do you do it now? How do you go about trusting your own judgment?"

He looked at me sort of incredulously, like the answer was so obvious that he didn't understand me asking the question. But he saw I was really looking for an answer. He said something like, "You just do it. You just try. When a door gets slammed in your face, you just get up and try the next one. What other choice do you have? The job needs to get done."

So practical.

A quality my dad valued highly was "moxie." To me, moxie is having the nerve to give something a try, to "act as if" you can succeed even if you're really not all that certain of your abilities, even if you're not quite comfortable inside your skin. It has a lot more to do with the spirit of the attempt than of the result of the attempt.

Taking my cue from Dad, I try to live with moxie. I don't always succeed. Sometimes I'm just too afraid to try ... too afraid I'll mess up and either look foolish or get hurt or get laughed at or fail in some irreparable way. Yet I've learned that in most of life, if I can take a deep breath, put on a brave front, and give the task the old college try, I usually will get to the other side with a decent measure of success.

Doing that enough times is what will lead to true self trust. At least, I hope so.

Because between my ears and inside my skin, I want to be a success.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Be Beautiful

I just came in from my two mile walk on which I was listening to my favorite playlist on my mp3 player. Two of the songs are titled "Beautiful." The first by Carol King, the second by Gordon Lightfoot.

I listen to these often just to remind myself of the state of my soul when I'm at my best. It helps me to put my mind in a beautiful spot ... to start by feeling that I am beautiful, so I can reflect that to the world.

Enjoy the music!

Carol King

Gordon Lightfoot

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Secrets: July 19, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These two cards had an impact on me today:

I sometimes wonder what happened to the drunk driver that killed my brother Carl. I hope he changed his ways. I think he was a dad. Did he end up setting a good example for his kids?

I know that at least one of my atheist friends prayed for me. That was big.

Just Who Are You, Anyway?

I do know that I write this blog with authenticity. Lately, I've not been writing much. I haven't been taking photos, much less posting them.

I have things stirring around inside me that I'm trying to sort out and haven't found the words yet. I seem to be seeking order in my surroundings, but I'm only getting there in fits and starts. One of my habits is to organize my outer surroundings to help me get my insides in order. Just as my surroundings are finding order in fits and starts, so goes my inner life.

My quiet will undoubtedly change over time and I'll get chatty again. I'll get in a groove. I'll get brave enough to reveal more of what's going on inside.

But the spirit-to-spirit connection? You bet. That's what I want with my readers. So I'll keep plugging away at these postings in hopes that something clunks into place and I'm off and running again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sing a Little Sunshine Song

This is such a great word image that I just had to share it.

Yes. It also happens to be true. We had a bacon and scrambled egg breakfast out on the deck this morning. Lovely. Simply lovely.

And the sun continued to shine all day long ... a nice hot over 90 degree sun.

True, it's hot. But at least we don't have 3 feet of snow on the roof. I'll take a day of laughing sun over a long cold winter any time.

Besides, when the sun is out like this, we can put the top down on the convertible and enjoy the ride.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Wishes

:: looking over my shoulder and down my back ::
I had a very sun shiny day ... wonder if anything is glowing back there?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fool Me Once

This reminds me of the phrase:
Fool me once
Shame on You
Fool me twice
Shame on Me
Once you've been kicked, can you really learn anything by getting kicked by the same mule again?

Maybe that's why it hurts to get kicked when you're down. For heaven's sake, you've already learned the lesson. It doesn't have to be beat in.

I guess you just try to get up faster ... get to the other side of the mule by going around the front instead of the back -- and hope that the mule doesn't bite as well as he kicks!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Great Things Happen

Dream ... plan ... act ... believe.
That does sound like a recipe for success.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Secrets: July 12, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

The PostSecret Blog got its quarter BILLIONTH hit this morning!

There were a lot of secrets that I could relate to today! But I chose to share the three below because they seemed to tell a story. It's a story not so different from my own.
If I had been given all the facts of life,
I'm pretty certain that I would not
have become pregnant outside of marriage.
I've given my own daughters a very different education.

The things we do to try to secure the affections of a man!
... especially when we're young and lack confidence ...

Ain't it the truth!
Some regrets and consequences
reverberate for a long, long, long time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

There's Only One

Love the sentiment!

Do go visit the jen lemen blog. You can even purchase this poster on high quality paper.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I saw this on another blog and I thought it might jump-start my writing.

Outside my window... it’s cool and cloudy. The mama bird dive-bombs into her nest.

I am thinking... it was an eventful morning, leaving me with deep questions.

I am thankful for... the funny, cranky, lovely, unique elderly women in my life!

From the kitchen... the sound of the washer, unbalanced as it spins; dirty dishes in the sink, a sad pan smelling of burned corn.

I am wearing... navy blue.

I am creating... memories.

I am going... to be running errands soon, and making pizza dough with wheat flour and yeast.

I am reading... Finding Your Own North Star

I am hoping... to have a productive day with Dale tomorrow.

I am hearing... birds and background traffic and STILL more fireworks being shot off!

Around the house... are breezes bringing fresh air through the open windows.

One of my favorite things... my new old friends, the Gauntlettes!

A few plans for the rest of the week... painting, knitting, deep cleaning, organizing computer files.

R.I.P. Cecelia

Cecelia Gifford
1925 - 2009
I sang at Cecelia's funeral today.

She was the most senior member of St. George's Quilters.

After spending an afternoon gardening, she passed away on the 4th of July.

A firecracker to the end.

We'll miss you, ya old hag!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Secrets: July 05, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. These two secrets caught my eye today.

It's my turn. It's finally my turn.

Oft times, much preferred.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Circle of Life

A friend of mine is going through this life cycle in the most literal way. Her husband died last year, leaving her to care for her young family without a lot of support from extended family and friends.

I watch her struggle, listen to her, try to encourage her. For the moment, her grief is deep and trying to keep her nose above water is about all she can do. I hurt for her, even lose sleep over her distress, but overall feel pretty helpless to help lift her out of this pain.

Eventually, I hope, she will find some steady footing and can start looking at the bigger picture. Her life is changed forever. I hope that eventually she can be open to what God is trying to offer, to that rebirth.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's the Use of Hiding?

I read an article by Martha Beck not too long ago in which she advocated "giving up." Not so much giving up by not trying. But that when you do try, and you do fail, acknowledge that failure, give it up, and move on to the next thing -- as opposed to doing the same thing over and over and trying to make it work, beating your head against a wall.

I've been mulling that idea over for a time. My default is definitely one of a head beater. If I treated my best friends the way I treat myself, they wouldn't be my friends for long.

So ... give up! Recognize and admit the failures (I have no problem with that), and then move on (THAT'S the part I forget to do).

Martha said that people who know how to give up graciously tend to be happier and more content people. That's the direction I want to continue to flow into.