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Monthly Archives: August 2013

I Cannot Have It All – I Have To Choose (and prioritize!)

Whoever said we can have it all, lied.

It’s not true. No one, and I mean NO ONE can have it all. Not even the most wealthy person on the planet. Now, the extremely wealthy can have a lot of it. A LOT. But even they cannot have it all.

Most of us have to make more choices, and we do it every day. We have finite resources, and we have to chose how to spend them. We have a finite amount of time, and we have to chose how to spend it. We have choices to make about where we work, who we marry, what political party to support, or whether we support any at all. We chose what to watch on tv, or whether we turn it on, or even whether to have one in the house! We have to chose whether or not to believe in God, and if we do, how much of our lives we give to Him and His work.

We have to chose where to live, what kind of lifestyle we will live, what we fill our lives with.

You get the picture. We get to, or even HAVE to chose. Or maybe we let choices be made for us by either refusing to chose and let whatever is going to happen in the absence of choosing, happen. But the point is, unless we are extremely passive and just flow through life, we have to make choices. Hell, sitting back and letting life just happen IS EVEN A CHOICE.

I have come to realize that more often than not, I’m making excuses rather than actual thought out choices.

By NOT choosing, I’m choosing. And I’m often not loving the outcome.

As I’m banging away on the keys, struggling for my fingers to keep up with my whirling mind, I’m cognizant of what a huge subject this is.

I have been doing a lot of planning and dreaming about what I want my life to look like, and I’ve been trying to take all the tiny pieces of things I want and create the mosaic of a life out of them. And you know what? I’m just beginning to see that just maybe, not all the pieces will fit. As much as I like that chuck of “fill in the blank” there are times when I am going to have to choose to either get rid of it, or tuck it away for awhile to see if it will fit someplace else. And even by choosing to tuck it away, I’m choosing to take up space that might be needed for something that WILL fit.

It’s all very complicated, and I swear, I’m not smoking any funny stuff! This is coming out of a clear brain on the verge of finally accepting a life truth. I cannot have it all. I have to choose.

So where did this all come from? It seems so random, but it’s really not. I have been paralyzed by my inability to choose, without realizing it was happening. I have been trying to stuff it all in, not only metaphorically, but physically, as well. As if by having the proper organizational supplies, I’d somehow be able to fit it all in.

Well, I can’t. Or at least not all at once. Maybe there will need to be seasons.

A friend made a list of all the things she needs to do, and asked the question, how do I fit it all in? I started to answer with a bunch of bull about getting organized, and breaking all the tasks in small, manageable pieces. But that’s all it is – bull. There is as much “physics” of time, as there is “physics” of space. It is not possible to do 48 hours worth of stuff in 24 hours. You can’t fit 10# of stuff in a 5# bag. You can try, I suppose. But it can’t be done. And all you end up doing is spinning your wheels.

But what you CAN do is choose. And maybe you can choose to do all the things, but just not in the same space in time.

So maybe in September you can focus on getting your house organized so that it runs more smoothly during the months when your main focus is on your art, or your art business. Maybe instead of going to every single sports activity your child is involved in, you can go to most of them. Maybe cooking 3 casseroles on the weekend would free up some time during the week for things other than cooking. And is it really so horrible to hire out the stuff you just abhor doing?

I’m just thinking out loud here. I’m not really trying to set up a plan at this moment. I’m just “mulling.”

And while I’m mulling I’m going to make some choices. In fact, I’ve already made a few in-between thoughts. I chose to throw away a shirt I really like because it has become even more stained than I can stand. I chose to re-frame a family photo because it had been sitting here not going onto the wall because it was in a frame that didn’t match the look I want. And the old frame went in the donate pile.

I’m not worrying about prioritizing today. I know I’m going to need to. But not today. Today I just want to concentrate on mindful choices.

I kinda like it. I had to choose between frugality/living with stuff I no longer wanted  -or- being (what I would call) “wasteful” but happier, and I chose the latter. That small choice took care of a tiny amount of clutter in my life. Imagine what would happen if I did that dozens of times a day…

I’m sure there will be more on this later. Seriously. I am feeling a major breakthrough coming on.

This Is Not The Post I Was Going To Write…

Seriously. If I had a topic picked out, it has left my head at the moment, but THIS was not it, I promise.

I have a tiny confession to make.

I have written frequently on these pages over the months about my daily Brave Girls messages, AND my messages from the universe. I have gotten so much hope from them. They have often been just exactly the words I needed to hear, and I’m frankly, amazed at how on target they are.

Which begs the question, “Are we all getting the same messages, and they are universal – or are they tailored for us some how, and we are all getting different ones?”

I know they must be all the same. How could a computer be generating custom made messages for each of us?

But that’s getting off my point. Which is my confession.

I have been dumping my messages without reading them for awhile now. Maybe just a few weeks, I lose track.

Why? Because I’ve stopped believing them. Because I am so sick of hearing that I’m enough, that I’m amazing, that wonderful things are waiting for me right around the corner, when the me who believes I am NOT enough, who believes I am NOT amazing, who does NOT believe wonderful things are coming has taken over my brain.

And then I get an e-mail from my friend, Naomi, which includes a forward of a Brave Girls message that she thought I needed to hear today.

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And you know what? It’s true. I mean except for the phenomenal part (okay, MAYBE, even that.)

I am no different from any other woman who is a mother or grandmother, in that we have very difficult, sometimes unappreciated jobs. We do soooooooo much that is “behind the scenes” – unnoticed unless it doesn’t get done. So I have a hard time seeing myself as phenomenal. But you know what? I sorta am. We all are.

I mean, isn’t it amazing that although we don’t get “paid” for it, at least not in the form of a paycheck, we keep doing it? We don’t get performance reviews where we get to see in black and white how much progress we’ve made. Or get to hear what an asset we are to the organization. OR that we are getting a 5% performance raise because of it?

But we ARE accomplishing so much. We are raising functioning adults in a climate where that is not an easy task. We are putting our children/grandchildren’s well-being far ahead of our own. We are juggling so many responsibilities all at once, and rarely do any of them slip through the cracks.

Yeah, sometimes the house is a wreck (and of course EVERYONE notices that!) but mostly it’s livable, and sometimes even clean. There is almost always food in the fridge and in the pantry, and sometimes even meals on the table before anyone is starving. No one is running around naked, and usually there are clean clothes in the closet and drawers.

There are often sounds of children laughing coming from the house. There are photos on the walls of fabulous vacations, and even a scrapbook or two (or even dozens) attesting to happy times that didn’t just magically happen.

At risk of yakking your ears off, I’ll stop there, but there is SOOOOOOO much more that we do.

Why is it so hard to remember that just because at the moment we’re concerned that the health department might pop in? That all we can see are the piles of things left unfinished?

Hahahaha! Thank you, Naomi. I really needed to hear that today.I NEEDED to be reminded that not everything I do shows up in a snapshot! And I’m going to start reading my daily messages again.

Who knows? Maybe if I hear the good stuff enough, it will drown out all the crap my mind likes to throw at me. Hahaha! I can always hope.

And maybe we can keep reminding each other?

MORE Magazines AND Another Lightbulb Moment

Holy cow. I had a little time between school pick ups, so I ran by Barnes and Noble again looking for the new Digital Studio Stampingtom magazine. It wasn’t on the racks, and I was about to leave with just the latest “Prims” when I saw a cart waiting to be off-loaded, and there it was! I got the very 1st issue at that location! Woohoo! And of course I didn’t put the Prims back, and even picked up a cute issue about family Halloween projects (not a Stampington – Heaven forbid!)

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I think I’ve got about a ton of reading ahead of me.

Then the question is, will it have any creative results? I mean, that’s the whole purpose, right? To get me out of this creative desert and onto a path of creative productivity?

I’m beginning to wonder. If I had a scale (like the one Lady Justice holds) and put all my ideas on one side, and everything that has been actually produced from them on the other, it would be HORRIBLY lopsided, I’m afraid!

But, in the course of a conversation I’ve been having with a fabulous group of creative ladies on the topic of claiming the title “artist,” I may have inadvertently stumbled onto what is causing my inability to produce anything.

I don’t know what to do with it once I produce it.

Whoa. Lightbulbs going off all around my head!

I don’t know what to do with it once I produce it. Hmmmmm.

I think there might be some truth to that. I mean, I can keep a little bit of it. I have a little wall space left. And I suppose that some of the stuff I make I might make will be better suited for me than things I have purchased, and can take their place. But we’re certainly not talking about a scale in keeping with my need to create.

So there is the possibility of re-instating my Etsy shop. But, it didn’t go anywhere before, so why would now be any different? And I have little enthusiasm for doing any shows.

I feel like I am going around in circles. As I’m writing this, I’m feeling a sense of deja vu. I’ve been here before. Didn’t I come up with a solution? Wasn’t I going to to expend my efforts on making my scrapbooks works of art, thereby killing 2 birds with one stone (I hate that saying, I wonder why I keep using it?)

Yeah, I was. But then wood stuff popped back onto my radar and I haven’t been able to shake it.

Do you guys ever feel like you are jumping into the rabbit hole with me?

Facing Reality

We all have excuses for not accomplishing what we SAY we want to accomplish. And I suppose there are SOME genuine reasons why we CAN’T do some things.

But if we are being honest with ourselves, facing reality, isn’t it mostly that we want the “thing,” the “goal,” the “reward” but we don’t want to put in the work it takes to either have or accomplish it?

I’d like to take credit for this brainstorm all on my own, but the truth is, this little ditty popped onto my newsfeed today, courtesy of my friend Jason. One of those things that “makes you go hmmmmm!” It’s a really short read, and well worth the 2 minutes of your time.

Click here, or go to https://medium.com/creative-business/9e573eb6d8b8

Interestingly enough, I have been involved in a couple of discussions with friends this week that touch on some of these very things.

And you know what? The bottom line is, some/most of us DO want the goodies without putting in the work.

Take me for example. I’m not an idiot. I read a lot, study on things, a lot. I could write a whole book on what needs to be done to lose weight. Yet here I sit, overweight and whining about it. Truth is, I want to be thin, but only if I can say presto change-o and have it be so or take a magic pill that will rev up my metoblism. I have been unwilling up to this point to put in the work that needs to be done, at least for as long as it takes to get it DONE!

Same with my “art” career. The reality is, I want to paint pretty things and have people flock to buy them, but I am unwilling to make the sacrifices that would need to be made to make it actually happen.

And being satisfied with the size of my house? I don’t NEED more space, I need to buckle down and throw away (or otherwise divest myself of) stuff that no longer serves my well-being. My parents raised 3 kids in a house MUCH smaller than I have, and there are only the 2 of us. But it’s hard to make those decisions, and easier to whine about wanting less clutter. I’m not willing to do the work. So do I REALLY want less clutter?

And, it is EASY for me to see what my friends are doing wrong with their finances, because that is one area where I put in the work (okay, so Mr. Tattered put in the work, I just went along without complaining too much!) and I not only KNOW what to do, but we actually DID it.  I can speak with authority on that subject.

So. I guess we have the choice. Do we admit that we don’t really WANT the things we are unwilling to put the work into? Or do we quit whining and sniveling, roll up our sleeves and get to work?

DUH!

My computer has been running REALLY slow lately.

In typical “me fashion,” I just adapted to the slowness rather than try to find out why.

Then it hit glacial, and I was pretty much FORCED to investigate.

Turned out that I was down to only 20 gigs of space left, and it wasn’t liking it. SOOOOOO, I figured it was my photos that were causing the problem. Um yeah. 170 gigs of photos on a computer with 250 gigs of storage.

So, what to do?

I went to iphoto and dumped a TON of photos I had inadvertently shot in RAW and jpeg. No movement in freeing up space. Emptied the computers trash, a little movement on the total space used, but nothing in photos. Huh? How could that be?

I was just about to make an appointment at the apple store to have the geeks look at it, when I decided to google the problem and try to fix it myself, like a big girl.

After reading a mess of threads, I stumbled on a suggestion to empty the trash from iphoto itself. I hadn’t even noticed there WAS such a thing. So. I found it, and there were over 4K photos in the trash. I hit empty. The computer said “are you sure you want to do this? It cannot be reversed.”

I sat for a moment staring at the screen. And I said to myself, “Self, are you sure you want to do this? How bad are you going to hate yourself if you go back to iphoto and there are no pictures in it?” And I replied, “Well, there are only 4k thousand photos in the trash, and you’ve checked them, and they DO appear to be actual trash. You have over 13K photos left on iphoto, so they are NOT in the trash. You should be okay.”

Then I went in and put on my big girl panties, came back and hit continue. (Or at least I think that was my choice – maybe it was yes – I don’t remember…I think I may have blacked out for a moment.) Immediately a big rush of acid was dumped into my stomach as I watched the progress bar slowly…VERY slowly…move. Minute after minute I watched it creep further and further along wondering if my daughter would ACTUALLY kill me if I lost 3 years worth of the family photos, or just WISH she could?

It was the longest 3 minutes of my life. I think it was 3. It felt like 20.

At last it was done. I hit iphoto again, and whew! The remaining photos were there. Thank you, Jesus.

There is a moral to this story, I’m sure. But right now I’m too wrecked to come up with it.

Oh, and the computer? The photos I dumped bought me another 16 gigs of empty space and although that isn’t much, the computer seems happy about it and is back to running well. I need to go back and in and thin out some more photos. Maybe copy 2010 and 2011 onto a disc and delete them from iphoto? Maybe (as the little ones tell me repeatedly) I need to take fewer photos?

Nah. That ain’t gunna happen.

Finding Happiness In Odd Places…

As you might recall, my “one little word” for this year is happy. I haven’t followed through very well on the documentation of my Happiness Project (although I haven’t COMPLETELY given up on it!) but I have been mindful all year long of where I am finding my happy, and working diligently on creating as much happy as I can.

I discovered earlier this year (or more precisely REdiscovered) that my happy place is on the water, preferably an ocean

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although a river will do in a pinch.

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But in keeping with the whole point of having a “word” to concentrate on, I am noticing more and more often the things that make me smile and/or give me a sense of well-being – or DUH – make me happy.

Finding a really cool patch of moss, for example. Especially at a time when I have a camera in hand to document it.

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How many people do you know who experience HAPPINESS over a chunk of moss? And if the moss happens to have a mushroom on it, it’s a twofer!

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And then there are my Stampington magazines…

They are paper bliss. I am ridiculously addicted to them. All of them. Every. Single. One.

A note from Traci Bautista came across my Facebook feed today saying that the new issue of Digital Studio was on the news stands. So, even though I just bought 5 magazines last week, I headed over to Roseville (about 1/2 an hour away.) Well, bad news…they aren’t due in for a couple of days.

More bad news (or good depending on your point of view!) I was able to find 4 more issues. So 9 issues in a little over a week – you do the math! (but can you REALLY put a price on happiness?) The SUPER good news? I had a photo on my iphone of the 5 issues I bought last week, so the new 4 aren’t duplicates! Hey, don’t laugh, ya gotta find your good news where you can find it!

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AND your happiness. I’ll be very happy for HOURS as I poor over them. Over and over and over.

A Little Story

It will come as no surprise to you that I am KER-azy about my grandchildren. They are 3 of the neatest little people I have ever met. Each has their own separate and distinct personality, but all are full of texture. It is an amazing part of my life to watch them grow and get to know all the little twists and turns of their beings.

Today I’d like to tell you a funny little story about Bea. She is now 5 and a force to be reckoned with.

Her older sister, Hannah, was a strong-willed child from the get go, and since that niche in the family was filled, we all assumed Bea would be the mellow one. What a surprise to discover that Hannah would, comparatively speaking, be the one who is mellow!

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Don’t be fooled by the sweet picture. She can be full of spit and vinegar at times!

If I may, I’d like to go back many years to set the stage for this story.

I adored my grandfather (my mother’s father) when I was a child. I didn’t get to see him very often, maybe just once a year, but the time we spent together was magical. I remember as if it was yesterday, him hauling me down to his local haunts and showing me off to his friends. I was the apple of his eye, and I KNEW it.

One year during our visit, I was walking along a rocky wall he had built around his flower garden. It was bumpy and irregular, and I nearly fell several times. After telling me to be careful more than once, he finally said “if you fall in there and wreck my plants, I’m going to spank you!” Well, of course, just a few minutes later I stumbled, lost my balance and stepped into the newly planted bed, taking a few plants out. He didn’t see me, and although I knew I had to confess, I just couldn’t do it. I was about to get spanked by my beloved grandfather and I was beside myself. I sat on the wall crying like I’d lost my best friend.

He saw me and came over and sat next to me, putting his weathered, wrinkled arm around my shoulder and asked what in the world was wrong. I looked up at him with tears running down my face and said, “I did it, Grandpa. I fell and broke your flowers and now you have to spank me.”

He smiled, eyes crinkled up and said, “Oh sweetheart, I didn’t mean it. I could never spank you. They are just silly plants. We can plant more.”

So, fast forward many, many years, I’m watching all three of the grandkids, and they aren’t having a very good day. They’d been away from each other for awhile, and were acting as if they’d forgotten how to share. I’d been after them several times and they weren’t minding. Bea was, on this day, the biggest offender.

Now mind you, I spanked my kids when they were little, much to my chagrin. Of all the regrets I have in life, that is probably my biggest. The idea of spanking my grandchildren is abhorrent to me. BUT, they don’t know that. And if used as a threat sparingly, it can be effective. I chose this day to use it.

I pulled Bea aside and very quietly said, “I am VERY close to spanking you,” in my most serious mad-Gaga voice.

She looked up at me and asked simply…”How close?” Seriously. That little turkey was weighing whether she had more room to push or needed to back off. FORTUNATELY I was able to respond “very close” without falling down laughing.

The good news is, she believed me, and there was immediate improvement in the behavior. The other two didn’t know what I said to her, but they saw the mad-Gaga body language, and shaped up as well.

The bad news (or I suppose the other good news if we live through it!) is that this girl is a thinker, and it’s going to take some doing to stay a step ahead of her – already! God help us all! Heeheehee!

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