Eating the Elephant

Apparently, I sounded down in last week’s post.  It wasn’t intended that way. I was actually feeling optimistic.  I did make a run to the fabric store and craft store.  Came away with a few things.  I even found some of the items on my list at the local Walmart. 

I have been making progress on the less than pleasant projects.  Little bites consume the elephant. 

A couple of dear friends are eyeball deep in the restoration of a cabin while inhabiting it.  She mentioned having an opportunity to go through her recipe collection that has been in storage and it giving her renewed inspiration and enthusiasm to keep on with the less than pleasant portions of the project.

It models the method I have used for years to get things done.  I will make my list of tasks and then set a timer for twenty or thirty minutes and work on the first one till the timer goes off.  If I am really going great, I will keep on till I stall.  I move on to the next item on the list and do the same thing with the timer.  It is sometimes best to stop exactly with the timer.  If the project is going well and the stopping place won’t cause a problem for proper execution, stop on the high point.  When the project comes back around, it will be easier to pick up and move forward. 

For the less than pleasant tasks, I have interspersed the happier ones to work on as well.  For example, I am trying to sort out a box of his papers and get them filed.  An elephant.  I also picked up a fish bowl and some aquatic plants to make a water garden.  A happy project.  I am moving back and forth on chores and projects to keep from getting bogged down.  I don’t always use a timer.  After so many years of doing so, I can “feel” the time. 

We had a good trip this past weekend to the longhorn sale.  He came home with his pick of the lots.  We got to visit with people we care about and only see once or twice a year usually.  The sale has been going on for twenty-four years and some of us have been there since the first one.  The trip for me was like my friend’s perusal of her recipes.  It has given me renewed enthusiasm to push through the less than pleasant things. 

I have been productive yesterday and today.  I read a book, watched a movie, washed clothes. As mentioned earlier, I have worked on his filing. I have taken pleasure in drinking my own coffee on the porch and watching the hummingbirds battle it out for a few drops of sugar water.  Even the elephant projects have been good. 

Reading back over the above paragraph, I should clarify that reading a book and watching a movie count as productive for me since those items are on my lists of things to achieve for personal satisfaction.  The book was one from the 1960’s by a favorite writer, Rosamunde Pilcher.  The movie was one of Margaret Rutherford’s portrayals of Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.  As an aspiring writer, soaking in the art and craft of storytelling through books and movies is important.  As for the comment about the coffee, one of the only things I struggle with when traveling is missing my morning coffee on the back porch.  Traveling makes me appreciate it more when I do return home. 

Here’s to a good week of creative expression and loving actions, good books and good coffee.  May we have time to play and time to love.  And time to stop and see the beautiful world He has made.

Two More Months

I ran up to the store a little while ago and in conversation with the girl at the check-out, I mentioned it being August 31st and that meaning we have only two more months of heat.  It may be a little cooler over the next few weeks, but fall is two months away.  Around Hallowe’en we should get a cool front.  Meanwhile, cabin fever continues.

I want to go outside and do something.  It’s one o’clock in the afternoon.  It would not be even remotely pleasant.  Later, this afternoon, I have an outdoor project to work on.  I know that with my age and condition, I need to be careful.  I intend to try anyway.

A former co-worker has just retired.  I went to her retirement luncheon.  She has a retired husband.  They like to travel and already have a trip planned for the coming weeks.  I have been retired a year now.  I haven’t made a dent in any of my retirement plans.  I hear retired people say they are so busy they don’t know how they had time to work before.  I have managed to avoid that issue.

I have a few days each week to spend doing whatever I want here at the house.  And yet, several projects sit waiting.  Am I not really interested in getting them done?  Are they simply “should do” projects?  I was skimming through a book yesterday and came across a phrase:  rapt attention.  The rapt attention could lead to the feeling of childlike joy.  Or something like that.  I am looking for that something that can capture my rapt attention and evoke the feeling of childlike joy.

My mother had a gift for always being busy.  She had a sewing project, quilt project, crochet project or something going. In the fall or winter, she was often outside with a few hand tools clearing back the woods around the house a bit more.  Spring meant a vegetable garden to be put in.  Canning of green beans and shelling and freezing purple hull peas came around in the calendar. My brother was the muscle in the outfit.  Sometimes we would be joined by others just for the time together working on something.  As her physical ability waned, she focused on cooking for whoever showed up to fix this or paint that or watch the Cowboys play football on Sunday afternoons. 

I want to be busy, too.  I wrote last week of digging deep.  Looking for that something on all the lists that might be just the thing. 

Did I confess about my Pinterest boards?  A few weeks ago, I went through all the 4000+ pins I have on various boards.  I created a board of things that still seem to resonate with me.  Home décor, garden ideas, clothes, colors.  A variety of topics.  The other day I listened to a TED talk by someone whose opinion I respect.  He talked about vision boards being effective.  He doesn’t try to explain why.  He indicated he doesn’t know why they seem to work.  So, I made a vision board. I actually printed pictures from Pinterest and got a piece of poster board and put the board on the back side of the bedroom door.  I will let you know how things go. 

None of the things on the board are items for my rapt attention.  I will need to work on that direction some more.  I have some vague ideas, but I need some time and some resources to pursue the possibilities.  Time, I have.  Resources, not so much.  If Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s weren’t so far away, I would be able to move along more quickly.  I could at least see if anything is available to develop my ideas further. 

I am not really discouraged.  Just stalled.  If I am anything, I am persistent in this venture.  For more than 40 years, I have persisted in seeking a way to express my creativity.  I want to be bolder.  Take more risks.  Be willing to fail on a grander scale.  Out of those grander failures, I might just find something to get my rapt attention and give me childlike joy. 

The pursuit continues for me.  I take a tiny step or two each day.  Some days I even move a good bit along the path.  Today, I moved a good bit along.  My idea isn’t working. And so, a failure toward success.  Simply being able to classify today’s flop as such is success all on its own.  Let me stop here and go try to get through some more failures on the way to success.  Will keep you posted.