Morning rituals

Hi Everyone!

I hope you have had a good week and your July is going well.  We are in the high, hot days of summer here. Once again more rain than we traditionally have. My rain gauge is based on how many times I have to mow the yard during the summer. In the decades that I have lived in North Carolina, most years you could count on having about a month’s break from lawn mowing.  Last year was every single week except on the weeks that the rain didn’t let up.  This year has also been every week, but so far without the never ending rains of last year.  Mainly just afternoon thunderstorms.  The one we had last night took out a huge Popular tree at my parent’s house as well as their phone and all the outlets at the barn.  The tree is still standing, but we are now faced with having it cut down, because it took a life ending hit.

This week has been challenging. Lots of time on the road trying to finish up the last bits and bobs of stuff from the house we left and the repairs before closing. Lots of time on the road running errands and a certain almost 13 year old to her social events.  There is ongoing stress over the house closing.  It seems that our buyers have unwisely decided to use a huge bank that has a reputation for NOT doing the job correctly, for their lender.  Every time we think we are almost finished some other hiccup happens.  Am I alone in wishing there was a brain switch that could turn off the overthinking section?? I had to deal with this bank when my sister-in-law passed and for an entire year the experience was nothing short of excruciating. I am suffering from PTSD as we try to get this closing done.

Today I desperately needed some nature and ritual back in my life.  Normally I have been dragging a cranky pre-teen with me to feed all the animals each morning and I can’t say that it has been a peaceful experience. So this morning I decided that my mental health was more important than the life responsibility lessons for the kid and let her sleep in while I visited with the critters and took in the soul soothing beauty of a summer morning.  Thought I would share it with you.  Enjoy the beauty without the humidity, spider webs and soggy sneakers.  Have a lovely week and hopefully I will be back next week in a more positive frame of mind.

Advertisements

Divine timing

Hi Everyone!

Yes, I’m back finally.  There may still be a skip or two, but I am trying to get back with the routines of life.

Today is going to be a quick update because there hasn’t been any time for creative endeavors, just endless hauling of boxes and furniture.

Status update: 7/8’s moved. We have about one carload of stuff that doesn’t fit in a box to bring to the rental and one truck bed of stuff to go to a storage unit and one trailer load of farm/yard equipment to drop off at the family farm for the time being.

There are minor repairs to finish up before closing on July 23rd of our old place and some plants that are coming with us.  The closing has been moved twice and though it caused stress and some worry, it has been a blessing in disguise.  We might have put ourselves in the hospital trying to meet the first closing date of June 28th and we get a final crop of our blueberries before it’s all done!

We are enjoying our rental house.  It has been a perfect fit. Close to my parents and our animals that are in three different places, off the road with some woods and fields behind us and the view of a corn field in front of us.  The photo is our view from the front porch where we enjoy sitting and watching the clouds and storms pass by.

I don’t think I mentioned our future plans in the past posts. One reason was because they were still a bit in limbo.  We now have a contract on a property across the road from my parents house.  The one week sale of our property surprised us and left us no time to get the financing started for either building or buying a new place.  If everything comes together we should be moving again PERMANENTLY by the end of September.  More details to come.

Dad is hanging in there. A few more treatments to go and he will be done.  They have taken a lot out of him.  He has lost weight and is very tired.  Our move happened at the right time.  Never doubt divine timing even when it is exhausting and/or frustrating.  We are back to spend what time he has left with him, to help out Mom because we don’t like to leave Dad alone anymore and to help my sister and brother-in-law keep up with the family property.  Eventually we will tackle that *&$#* kudzu!

Another plus to our move is that we are closer to our kids and grandkids. One hour closer to Charleston, SC and St. John USVI where my kids live, doesn’t seem like much in my case, but it centralizes all their family in one geographical area for ease of travel when they do get home to visit. We got to babysit one of the grands last weekend and get to know more about her 7 year old world.  Until now our time with the grands has been when there was a big family gathering and no real one-on-one time to get to know them. There are plans for a once a month Sunday lunch to see as many as possible as often as possible and keep up with their lives. It’s not easy when you have eight kids and six grandkids all going different directions.

Overall it has been a good move and we are excited to spend time with friends and family we have been too far away from.  We are looking forward to settling into the new place and making a new home to build good memories in.

Have a great week and trust the timing.

Boxes, tape and stress

Hi Everyone!

I have time this morning for a quick visit before I start boxing up more stuff for our move (if you noticed a lot of eBay tape in the photo, I sell on eBay and get the tape for free). I hope you have had a great week.

Tomorrow we take the first of many loads to the rental house. As happens with every move, no matter how organized I am, already I am finding myself needing things that are packed up. Somehow I inadvertently took D.’s box of books he’s reading to the storage unit and now have to dig through to find those before he gets grumpy. There will probably be a couple of nights sleeping on air mattresses before every thing gets moved. We sketched out a plan this morning of what goes when. Horses, bees and cat will likely be the last to leave here. They are all pretty self sufficient and can get along just fine without us.

We will be spending at least two days repairing the fencing of the pasture where the horses are going. We are spoiled here because they have a creek for water during the day. The new place, at least to begin with, will not have that option so we also have to set up a watering system for them. If it were just humans moving we could probably knock this whole move out in two days. Accommodations for our furry, feathered and winged family members adds much more time to the process. 

I would like to ask for your thoughts and prayers for a few people please. A close friend of my Dad’s had a bad accident on his farm. It’s going to be a very long recovery. He’s lucky to have survived. This morning I got word from one of my dear friends that her husband had a massive heart attack yesterday. He survived, but is also going to have a long recovery and she has been battling cancer for almost a year. Please wrap these folks and their families up with prayers. Thank you. 

My sister and I were discussing this week the different ways we have been trying to combat the heavy stress load that 2019 has heaped upon us (and it seems like lots of people surrounding us). If you are struggling with stress, illness, anxiety, etc. here are some ways that might be helpful to try:

1) Eat healthy. Put down the chips, cookies, energy drinks, alcohol, etc. Don’t even buy them. They are going to mess up your sleep, blood sugar, energy levels, skin. Veggies and fruit primarily. I know it’s hard if you are staying at the bedside of a family member in the hospital. When friends ask what they can do, ask them to bring you healthy food. Don’t ask me why, but it seems like hospitals usually are one of the hardest places to find good food. 

2) Do not watch the news! You have your hands full right now taking care of a personal crisis. You can’t do anything to change the world at this particular time so don’t even watch all the crazy that the media bombards us with.  Find old comedy shows like I Love Lucy or The Andy Griffith Show that will make you laugh and release some of those much needed endorphins. 

3) Exercise. Walk the halls of the hospital, do yoga in your bedroom (YouTube has plenty of instruction), just stretch often to release tension. Stress builds up in your body and the next thing you know you are sick. I was the lucky recipient of shingles thanks to stress. You DO NOT want those.

4) Escape. No, don’t pack your bags and leave no matter how much you want to.  Find books and movies that take you somewhere else. Keep it light. My sister and I are both devouring books right now. I prefer fantasy and science fiction to take me away from earth completely. I try to avoid any with lots of violence. Now is probably not the time to read or watch Game of Thrones. 

5) Hobbies. If they are portable, hobbies can be great when you have to wait, and wait, and wait for appointments. Something you really have to focus on is wonderful if worry keeps running around in your head. I have been knitting like a fiend. If my brain won’t shut up I knit a complicated pattern. If I just need to burn nervous energy then a simple boring sweater sleeve is perfect. 

6) Journaling. The act of writing worries down often lessens the impact. Sketch, scribble, doodle if writing is a struggle. No one but you has to see it or even have a clue what it’s about if you just make abstract marks that have meaning to you. There is a reason that Art Therapy exists. A cheap little notebook and a #2 pencil is all you really need. 

7) Fuzzy friends. There is also a reason that therapy animals exist. Your pets sense your stress and may even be stressed themselves if you have been away from them frequently. Find some quality and quantity time to spend with them. I’m surprised our cat, Sweetie Pie, has fur right now. Most evenings SP and I have been having snuggle fests on the back porch. Horse therapy is a real thing too. If you have a horse you know that, but if you don’t maybe you have a friend who does. See if they will let you just spend some time brushing theirs. Seriously, you can feel your blood pressure drop while grooming a horse. 

Life is constantly throwing something at us, but sometimes it comes in waves instead of drops. I hope some of these help whatever you are facing. 

I’m off to box, tape and load. Be careful out there this week!

Loading the gypsy wagon

Hi Everyone,

How has your week been? It is becoming summer here. Temps in the 90’s starting today. Just in time for us to start the arduous task of loading the gypsy wagon(s) for our move back home. This will be my fourth move in seven years. I had hoped for it to be my last, but we will have to rent for a while until will decide on our permanent landing. Hopefully we will have that settled before the end of summer. As of right now humans, two dogs and cat will be in one place, chickens, bees and one dog in another, horses and donkey will be in a third location. I knew this was going to be a complicated move, but this exceeds my expectations. 

We are waiting on the results of the home inspection to see what we need to fix before closing. Packing has started. Today I make and start on the list of  calls and forms to switch utilities, mail, etc. (it’s so exciting to know I will have to do it all again in a few months 😦 ). 

Somewhere in all this I need to get an oil change/inspection for my car, two dogs to the vet for their yearly checkups and two girls organized for mission trips that land before and just after we move. D. is looking for a new job where we are going and trying to coordinate the whole horse & donkey move. I’m in charge of chickens. They are probably the easiest to move. 

I started knitting a new sweater last week just to burn off the nervous energy. Wool is not good this time of year but it’s what I had at hand and it serves the purpose. This may be my fastest knit yet. 


I also started this drawing for the same purpose. It’s not finished. Not sure it will be any time soon, but I have to focus more when drawing so it helps to stop that running list circling my brain around and around. Am I the only one who has an OCD brain? I hope not. I would like to know there are more of my people out there.  D. just puts his brain into his “nothing box”. Did you know that there is scientific evidence that men can actually not think about ANYTHING? It’s like they flat line while still being alive! I AM SO FREAKIN’ JEALOUS! I can come out of a dead sleep because my brain is simulaneously running three different To Do lists at the same time. 

Sooooooooooo, it is highly doubtful that I will be posting here for a few weeks. If I can, I will, but next week will be all about changing addresses and packing. Official moving begins June 1st. There is an enormous amount of organizing and moving to make sure the chickens are not in the pasture and the horses in the rental house. I also have no idea when I will have wifi again after the move. 

For those of you in the U.S. enjoy the Memorial Day holiday, but please take time to remember why we celebrate the lives of those who sacrificed their future so we would retain the freedom we so often take for granted. For everyone, be safe and be happy. 

Boy in red wagon photo credit – Blake Meyer 

I was soooo wrong!

Hi Everyone, 

I’m writing this early so life doesn’t get away with all of my time this week. Ok, so I am also stuck at home while we get a new heat pump installed and am limited on just how much I can do here today while the installation is happening. Just fun stuff like laundry and oven cleaning. Anyone else have one of the new stoves with “steam cleaning”? Hate it!  Worthless. Our stove went out during the hurricane last Fall and the big box store couldn’t get in any new appliances so I was stuck having to take a floor model with the “new” “steam cleaning technology”. Glad I only paid the floor model price! Don’t get one unless you plan to let your toddler clean the oven. It’s that safe and useless. 

What was I wrong about, you ask? I was wrong about it taking six months to sell our place. We got an offer last week just a few hours after I posted here.  Yes, in one week we were under contract! Our realtor had said that property always sold fast for her in our area, but I was kinda skeptical. When I told her that I had settled in for a six month ordeal, she told me that she had been getting worried because we hadn’t gotten an offer in the first few days!

It still hasn’t quite hit us, but when it does there will be wide spread panic around here because we have NO PLACE TO LIVE at the moment. We have talked to a couple of people and are waiting to hear back. We have until the end of June to get moved. Yeah, I felt the panic oozing in as I typed that. Those of you who live where we are moving to (they know who they are) please message me if you know of any rentals that will be available June 1st. 

Saturday my uncle passed away and another piece of my heart is gone. He was the life of the party wherever he went and many holidays he graced our table and kept us laughing. Recently I went with my sister and cousins to visit him. We spent about two hours catching up, laughing and maybe choking back some tears. Gosh I’m so glad we had that time with him. He will be dearly missed. Please keep my Dad and his sister in your thoughts and prayers. They are all that is left of a great big, loud, close knit bunch of siblings. Take every opportunity to spend time with your special people. You won’t regret it. 

Well, that darn oven is not going to clean itself (but it SHOULD!) and it has to be shiny and clean by June. Have a great week!! Send boxes and tape please!

Spring!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and the sun is shining where you are. Spring has sprung FINALLY and though it’s still cool here, the sun IS shining. The flowers are starting to bloom and one of my bee colonies survived the winter to happily do honeybee stuff again. Unfortunately a 50% loss of our bees is the norm anymore and I lost my other colony. The humans around here and nearby towns are suffering from some nasty stomach flu. It hasn’t made it to our house and I darn sure hope it doesn’t. Fresh air and sunlight are desperately needed. 

We have kicked it into high gear this week. We have a goal of having our place ready to sell the first week of April. D. and I spent yesterday cleaning out closets (me) and barns (him) then taking another truckload of donations off to a charity store.  I have been working with Miss L. to clean out her outgrown (I think she grows an inch a month) clothes and donate items she no longer needs. This weekend we are having a new roof put on. That’s hopefully our biggest expense and the rest will just be minor repairs. Our lawnmower is in the shop so we hope it is done so we can get the grass trimmed by our deadline. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook on the selling process, but it’s in my top 5 stressors. 

That brings me to my hour a day drawing sessions. Best thing I have done for myself in a long time. I finished a pastel painting this week in three days! I got in an extra hour one evening, but that’s pretty fast for me. I started this still life to enter into a competition by the end of the month. It’s an online artist group that has a monthly competition where the prize is art supplies. That is as good as money. Art supplies are expensive! 


My hour is my meditation time. I have tried meditation. Can’t do it. But I can get into that flow state when I’m drawing or painting and honestly don’t hear or see much of anything around me. My hyperactive brain gets a break. If I’m working on a boring part I can listen to podcast, but I can’t always tell you what it was about. With a pending move and Dad’s health I need the mental break. This morning I started a new painting so here is a little detail.


This weekend I am heading further into the hills on a trip with my two best friends from college. We try to get away once a year but Life hasn’t cooperated the past couple of years so I’m very excited to have some quality time with them again. Then when I get back the whole selling, packing, buying or building adventure starts for real. Say a prayer for my husband. I’m not easy to live with when I have to be showing a house and constantly on edge to keep the place spotless. 

I highly suggest finding an hour to do something you enjoy and can lose yourself in. The benefits so far have been great. Now I need to quit kicking myself for not figuring it out earlier. Go. Go now and do your thing! 

February?

Hi Everyone,

How has your week been? My week has been as erratic as the weather here in North Carolina. It has been a week filled with ups and downs, surprises (not necessarily of the good kind), laughter, tears, stress, sadness, dread, hopefulness. You name it, I’ve had it this week. It has matched the February weather here spot on. Yesterday was 77 degrees, a week ago we were busting ice so the animals had water. Today it was 63 at 6 am and will be falling into the 20’s tonight. I’m hoping the weather levels out as well as life. I’m not sure I can get through another week like this one.

In case you are dealing with life in all its crazy forms as well, I just want to remind you to find some time each day to give yourself a physical and mental break. My tag line on this blog is “adventures in creative living.” Sometimes you have to get creative to just hold on to the roller coaster. You probably don’t have hours, but even 15 minutes can do a world of good.

I recently started giving myself 1 hour a day, morning or evening, to do regular artwork. There is so much on my plate right now that I found there was some resentment starting to bubble up. That is not good for me or those who have to live with me. I managed four of the five days this work week. I finished my commission and delivered it yesterday! This is a birthday present to the Mother of these three gentlemen. She had a similar portrait done of them when they were young and they are giving her this one of them as grown men. 


I have started a new drawing and as usual keep my knitting with me when I’m in a waiting situation. Several of my evenings this week have found me mentally, physically and emotionally drained. Too tired to read, knit or draw, I escaped to YouTube and watched art tutorials or American Pickers. Whatever it takes to give yourself a break. Well, there are some things it’s better to avoid when you are stressed so choose wisely. 

Find something you enjoy and preferably something that gets you into a creative flow and takes your mind off life for awhile. Music, games, sewing, gardening, playing with your goofy dog. Something to make time stand still and let your heart and mind rest and recover. 

I have about six boxes of stuff to clean out today. I was about 108 items short of my January goal. No lack of stuff just a lack of time. This week as I jump into another round of the minimalist challenge I need to clean out 46 items so far for February. Right now (before breaking into three unopened boxes) I have exactly 100 items either being donated or trashed. I found an entire box of socks that belonged to my son and D. had a big box in our closet. I estimate that neither of them will need new socks for the next 10 years! Sock hoarders!

Wishing you a peaceful week.

It’s Fall y’all

Hi Everyone!

I may have to call this “The Three Week Post” to cover last week, this week and next week. Soccer, never ending yard work, regular work, appointments and the fast approaching annual family gathering are keeping me very busy. This week alone involves three days of appointments. That may not sound too bad for those of you who live in civilization, but from here everything is an hour drive to the destination, the time taken by the appointment, then the hour back. Most of the time I have to work in necessary errands as well because, well, everything is an hour away! Pretty much one appointment shoots the whole day. By the time I get home it’s time to cook dinner and feed the humans and the critters. 

Today looks like it may finally be the beginning of actual Fall weather here. Impending cold and dark brings on a flurry of activity to A) get everything cleaned up and ready for our chicken stew gathering and B) get all the dwellings ready for cold weather, including wood cut for our wood stove. We really don’t live in the Arctic like it sounds, but when the weather gets bad here, there is not a Lowe’s Home Improvement right down the road. Gotta be prepared. 

For a couple of months I have been working on some knitting during my copious down time and finished a small triangular scarf just in time for cooler weather. I will show the finished product when I get it washed and blocked into shape (hopefully that won’t be NEXT winter). 

I also dug out a colored pencil drawing that I started ages ago and never finished. No judging the photo. It’s still in the early stages.  I can’t paint right now because I just don’t have room and it’s asking for a disaster to even try. Drawing is safer and takes less room. It takes much more time though. I have yet to be able to do a simple drawing. I get sucked into the detail vortex and can’t get out. But the disaster factor is lower. As long as I remember to keep the pencils out of the reach of the dogs I’m good.


If you all will bear with me for a few weeks, I’m going to be taking a blog vacation until the beginning of November. I have a great deal on my plate right now including some behind the scenes stuff that I will eventually write about, but it adds to my  To Do list. We have a trip planned the weekend after the family get together so I barely recover from that and then have to pack. I live and breathe by deadlines even if they are self imposed so right now it is stressing me out trying to find the hour + that it often takes me to write this.  Yes, I agree that is crazy of me but I don’t think I’m going to change at this point. I am getting better at accepting my brand of crazy finally…after half a century. 

So, when I get back I should have all sorts of things to write about INSTEAD of why I’m so busy. Have a great few weeks, I hope the weather is good (my thoughts and prayers are with those of you in hurricane Michael’s path) and Happy Halloween! 

The Untangler

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are well and all is right in your world today.  I made the Executive Decision (I’m self-employed so I get to do that) on Thursday to take next week off to, well, get Christmas stuff done and take a little break. The week before and after Christmas are always my slowest of the year anyway. I did have to wrap up a couple of projects first thus the delay in this week’s post and the fact that the pictures I wanted to upload just won’t.

Today’s subject is something I have been pondering for about two and a half months now.  It started purcolating in my little brain while D. and I were at the beach in October.  He was wanting to go fishing, but had a big, tangled mess of fishing line. After a few minutes of watching his frustration in trying to untangle the mess, I took it, sent him off to make lunch and in about 15 minutes presented him with the separate pieces of line. It reminded me of my early years in retail where the jewelry department would bring me boxes of tangled up necklaces to sort out on slow nights back in my area of the home shop. I seemed to be the only one with the patience to work at the mess until each piece was free. Little did I know that this tiny talent would be tested time and time again.


If you have the blessing of several decades under your belt, I’m sure you have recognized patterns and recurring themes in your life. If you are early in your journey on this earth maybe not, but if you pay attention, you will too. One of mine is The Untangler evidently. Physically and metaphorically. 

In my recent middle-of-the-night knitting sessions I realized that as I made hundreds of little loops to create a garment, my brain was tediously un-looping one problem after another in this tangled up mess that is my late sister-in-law’s estate. I also realized that over the years I have been given the task OR had forced upon me the task of straightening out  messes of increasing complication and they were usually created by OTHER PEOPLE. I have made my share of messes all by myself but either they were not so bad or I’m more proficient at fixing my own messes. 
As I knitted I tried to think of the names I would give to the subtle talents of other people I know. These would be people I know very well because these are not obvious talents nor are they the professions of these folks though elements may be involved. The Healer would be one of the first. Not doctors or nurses, but those glorious people who, through the almost lost art of listening and attention, help you heal from life’s wounds. The Connector would be another. They know EVERYONE and make mental connections that bring different people together to accomplish goals, big and little. There is The Mediator that has probably been helping their people work out differences since the first playground incident. The Warrior comes in to decide and end a dispute The Mediator has given up on. I haven’t seen an abundance of The Warriors, which is good, not because they are bad people, but because to end a battle there is often a high personal and emotional price for The Warrior to pay just like in any war. 

This brings up another observation. These ingrained “gifts” are not chosen and are often a source of high stress. For me to untangle a big mess takes enormous energy, time and frustration. Time away from what I want and need to be doing and looking at the list above I think that would be true in each category. To live as a society and it could be argued, to even survive as humans we need each and every one of these abilities as well as any I have not mentioned.  I guess we should look at them as a part of our contribution for life on planet Earth. 

Have a wonderful week and bless you for THE GIFTS you bring to ease the difficulties of humankind. 

Photo credit…if one shows up its mine but there seems to be an uploading issue today. I gave up waiting on it to load.

November?

Hi Everyone!

I am getting this week’s post done pretty much on time. Well, it’s 10:30 pm and I can’t get to sleep yet so I might as well be productive.  I also have plans to go hiking tomorrow with my son and need to clear some things off my To Do list so I can hike guilt free. 

Is anyone else wondering where the month of November went? How can next week be Thanksgiving?? I feel like I have been inside a tornado for months and things are whirling past me. I see them go by, but barely. 

This week has been another one of THOSE weeks where every day includes hours of travel and a stack of paperwork. I think we are almost done and then something else needs attention. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate moving furniture right now, and boxes. I have temporarily cleared our guest room and main living area of boxes so that my son has room to function while he is here, but this weekend includes more furniture moving and even Thanksgiving day is likely to find us traveling Beverly Hillbilly style to and fro. Aaarrggghh! My goal for 2018 is TO NOT MOVE FURNITURE ANYWHERE!

On Monday I decided to at least give myself a short amount of time to enjoy a lovely Fall day and hiked around the farm and the neighbors’ farms. Tomorrow I am going to take time to enjoy some time with my son before he leaves for Hawaii the first of December. It will be almost a year before I get to see him again and dang it, I WILL NOT move anything tomorrow. Yes, I’m sounding a little stressed and frustrated again. This too shall pass.


I did manage to start a drawing and I’m still squeezing in a little knitting and quilt piecing to maintain my sanity. Next week begins the holiday cooking and decorating. I AM NOT READY! Can I just skip Christmas this year? For many reasons I just don’t want to do Christmas in 2017. 

I apologize for being such a downer this week. I got a little taste of normal life and then the abnormal moved back in this week with more furniture, boxes and people who don’t do their jobs. I will be taking a break next week. Both of my kids will be in for Thanksgiving and since they will not be home for Christmas I am going to try to get in as much quality and quantity time with them as I can. I have not seen my daughter since May and am not sure I remember what she looks like.

For those of you in the USA have a lovely Thanksgiving and for all of you everywhere I hope you have MUCH to be thankful for. I will be back in a couple of weeks and hopefully in better spirits.