Saturday, January 30, 2010

Inch by Inch by Inch

I gotta be honest: for me somedays it takes a LOT of courage and heart to keep going. Progress seems so tiny. One of the physical projects I'm working on is the Purge of the whole house. Even though I keep inching forward in this work, and tell myself that the task truly is finite and limited, still the mountain of Undone towers over the anthills of Done.

[ARGH!!!!! And then I think of the people in Haiti . . . loved ones lost. Homes crumbled to the ground. Days filled with a struggle to literally survive. I feel so ashamed for uttering even a syllable of complaint. I have a roof over my head, a safe and warm and comfortable place to sleep. I don't worry about my next meal. I am swamped with gratitude for the blessings in my life. And I feel like a rat for whining about ANYthing . . . ]

But I guess that is a balancing act many of us work on. Our spirits can almost always be lifted by being sincerely and specifically grateful for what we DO have. But it also seems like we need to allow ourselves room for the sorrow in our lives. Sadly, we can always find someone worse off than we are. And yes, we need to STOP thinking about ourselves for at least part of the time--turn our gaze and our focus outward. But then again, it seems healthy to me to take at least some time and acknowledge when the load we are carrying has gotten particularly heavy.

Gee, can you tell this has been One of Those Days????

I could have easily stayed under the warm and comfortable covers this morning. But I didn't. I got up and got cleaned up. Prayed. Took time with my Bible study. Then I tackled one more small area in one room.

The picture at the beginning of this post is at the top of this one area. The sun is my first (and so far, only) attempt at stained glass. The poster shows what I feel like when my spirit is light and lovely. The little circle is a poem someone framed for my mom, with a butterfly escaping its cocoon.

Here's what was under the artistic beauty:

First step was to strip off everything. (Off the shelves, that is :) )

Hmmmmm . . . . there's enough dust there to build something, isn't there????

Started sorting stuff and then it was time to go get my daughter and take my aunt up Spearfish Canyon to her favorite restaurant. We had a sweet time making plans for her 89th birthday party next week.

Came home ready to flop, but sweet daughter encouraged us both to work for an hour before flopping.

So I plowed ahead with the sorting, dusting, and vacuuming and ended up with this:

What are you all working on? Is there anything I can encourage you with?

Monday, January 25, 2010

One Corner at a Time

Heading off in a few minutes to help teach a dance class. Can't find a partner for myself, but found this way to dance, every Monday night for six weeks. I help a friend teach the basics of duo-dancing--what a joy to see someone's face when they finally get a step.

When I update you on my progress on my house "reveal," I share before and after pictures, but I GOTTA start with something prettier!! So here's what a simple peanut butter and jelly sammich looks like, when the filling is homemade strawberry/raspberry jam made by a friend, and shared lovingly.

I tackled one corner of one room today (I refuse to think how many more corners await me). The files were nearly inaccessible, and the pile on the floor is mostly a mass of all my bags having books and papers from different events.

I worked slowly, steadily for several hours. I did NOT just move the stuff to other places. No, instead I went through each bag and sorted the contents. Had a big boo-hoo over a big stack of income tax returns. All the way back to 1974--the first year I was married. Each folder chockfull of evidence of how carefully I'd managed our family's money. All sorts of notes to verify every expense of every move (back when this was tax-deductible.) All those years that I thought I was laboring along with a loving partner, for jointly-held dreams.

I let myself cry hard, and briefly, for the loss of all those years. For the present realization that I was really the only person involved in those dreams.

Then I tossed everything in the trash.

Had my marriage turned out differently, I might likely have saved all those memorabilia for possible story ideas. I still love everything I did those years, with and for my children, but I am LETTING GO and accepting the fact that my husband was physically present, but emotionally absent much of the time. So be it.
Here's the result of my efforts:

God has called me to live in the here and now, and He is giving me plenty of joyous stuff, right here and now, to live out and write about. Thank You, God.

I'd originally thought I'd tackle this one whole room for the month of January. Hasn't worked that way so far. Again, my theory of working on the house every day, and some sort of walk/exercise every day, has just not worked out. But I am staying with loving with myself, and trying to focus on what I AM able to do, versus what I do NOT get done.

How is YOUR new year coming? Anything you want to share? Any new goals? Projects? Dreams?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day by Day

Ah, growth. You can't force it. You CAN try to provide the most optimum conditions, but in the end, you must simply let growth happen. Things grow because that is how they are designed.

Remember my little green buddy from the last post? Here's how he looks today:
That's pretty much a photo of me . . .broadening, stretching, not yet fully unfurled.

My Big Plan for 2010--daily work on my cluttered house, and daily energetic movement of my body--has continued to NOT go according to my rigid and humanly perfectionistic plan. And I guess I'm glad, 'cause I've had my fill of impossible expectations.

What I HAVE done, since the last post, is walk outside in City Park. Three hard-and-fast round trips past my favorite stretch of creek works out to exactly 30 minutes. And all the family memories of time spent in this place are able to be lovingly thought of. That's real progress.

And regarding a relationship, I gathered courage and prayed real hard and talked to a friend about stuff that I thought he would get mad about and walk out over. He didn't. We had a wonderful hour-and-a-half of honest, loving discussion. I considered that a minor miracle and am still giving thanks for it.

When I knew he was coming over, and I knew I was praying for the gumption to tackle the difficult topic, I was too jittery to sit. In the midst of prayer, I could feel God leading me to get up and go upstairs. I went into this room.

In a little under two hours, I had THIS room.

I'd had no conscious intention to tackle that area, or even to work on the house at all that day. But God showed me how I could take that "nervous energy" and let my hands work, even while my mind and heart were thinking and praying. Is the room anywhere near "done?" Oh my no. Is it improved? More importantly, is it at least minimally functional? Oh my yes.

So, I'm now 19 days into The Great Reveal of 2010. I'm tickled to see visual differences in the house. I'm pleased that I have walked inside in bad weather, and outside when the sidewalks allowed. And I'm peaceful, having felt God's tender touch and His quiet reassurance that yes, I am following His lead.
And my dear friends, how are you? Any new plans or projects you want to share? Are you finding new ways to let joy and love flow out of you?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Renamed Blog Post

Hey, I know . . . some might say I'm a little late with my New Year greeting, but what the heck: today is the 11th, and my clock reads 11:01 am . . . that's a lot of ones, isn't it???

Here's one of my little green friends that smiled at me this morning. Can't you almost HEAR the unfurling growth? the persistence?

I think the leaf above looks like a little tornado, ready to unleash itself . . . and down below, I see a dancer, full of grace . . .

So, why has it taken me until the 11th to greet the New Year? The gentle truth is that [long pause here while I sit in front of the keyboard and wonder how to say it] . . . the GENTLE truth is that I've been aching, from the inside out, this past week or two. It's not been the same depression from the past, which has felt like an unrelenting sadness. Honestly, it has puzzled me, because I have known, with great certainty, that God has been working in me since November, doing something at a very deep level. I wonder if I'm currently mourning stuff that I am being divinely urged to let go of.

My Big Plan for 2010 was to blog nearly every day, updating on the plan of action God has led me to, which I've called The Reveal. This involves clearing away all that does not "belong" in my house or my body. I planned to, methodically, move through my house and purge all the Stuff, to the bone. I also planned to start again to walk and go to Curves, and hopefully thus "reveal" more of the real me in my body.

Well, in my life, Big Plans often sort of go the way of Good Intentions, i.e. they pave the road to youknowwhere. But my dear daughter has been encouraging me to take baby steps. [If you want guaranteed uplift, visit her blog at].
Last night was one of my lowest times, extremely raw and heart-painful. But something in me, the seed of the real me, kept turning to God, from darkness to His light. At one point, Amanda urged me to paint. She wasn't being at all dismissive of the despair she heard in me. Rather, she was reminding me that especially when feelings seem too deep for words, I can allow myself to put color on paper, with no particular purpose, just letting the wordless in me find expression.

Well, here's what I did.
And again, at Amanda's suggestion (doesn't she have wonder-full ideas?), this morning I added words. They are from a poem I wrote during the November Poem-a-Day challenge, entitled "Radiant."
To love is to live. /I insist on my right /to love without restraint. /No mortal act possesses power /to dispossess me of my birthright. /Outward, from the very heart of me, /love flows.

As far as my Big Plan for this year: no, I have not, at all, made daily progress, except to commit to being very gentle with myself. I HAVE made it to the Recreation Center 4 times, to walk for 30 minutes. And here are Before and After pictures of two areas in my house:

How are all of you doing? Do you want to share any ways you are experiencing growth? or finding more joy? Do you want to share anything you are struggling with?
That's all for now, folks. Thanks for listening. And for loving.