A makeup week

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. It is 2 pm and I’m exhausted already. Once a month I make the Costco run for most of our groceries. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned how much I dislike grocery shopping, but I dislike it very much. During lockdown last year I kinda liked having my Costco order delivered. Unfortunately I couldn’t get fresh veggies and fruit that way so I still had to drag myself into a store occasionally. I’m pretty jealous of those of you who have Insta Cart and Door Dash.

Anyway, Costco was wall to wall people today. Between trying to drive a heavily laden cart through herds of humans, loading them (the groceries, not the humans) into my car, unloading them into the house and dealing with the introvert overwhelm of all those humans, it took a toll. I’m ready for a nap.

Costco was just one of the many trips I have had to make this week. Seriously, I think I have put on makeup the most this week over any other week in the past year. Tomorrow is the Lowe’s run for the final load of drywall for the attic (woo hoo). So more makeup.

Now that you know that I have spent most of my week driving back and forth, have you figured out that I have not gotten one tiny bit of artwork done? It has also been Spring Break for DN and I have been trying to keep her busy all week too. Yesterday I took her out for her second driving lesson. I take her to the nearby church that has a nice big parking lot and we work on those stops, turn signals, looking both ways, etc. This is the third kid I have taught in that parking lot. The parking lot lessons are easy. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the next driving adventure that will start in July. Those are hair raising.

I did have one tiny spurt of creativity this week. My sister offered me a couple of coffee bean bags to use as grow bags in my garden. Initally I turned them down. The next day I had an idea for something else to do with them and took them off her hands. I hopefully will have that little project done next week and I will let you see what I have in mind for these bags.

My apologies for not having any more to post here this week. Other than that big jar of jelly beans I picked up today it has been a fairly boring week. Plenty to do but none of it very interesting. Next week DN heads back to school full time (we are both doing the happy dance), it’s going to be in the 70’s and there should be more fun things to report.

Have a great week. Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it. We will be attending a rather chilly, not quite sunrise, but outdoor service. I will still have to wear makeup.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Dad, the girls are ok.

Hi Everyone!

Did anyone do any drawing last week? Guess what. I didn’t. Yes, you can slap me on the wrist. Spring is springing and around here that means all sorts of things are ramping up all at once. Happens every year in March.

We are still working on the attic. Slowly, but surely walls are going up. I have run out of primer and need to make a paint run before Saturday. The colder, wetter days are now attic days. I have been trying to do some cleaning out and reorganizing while waiting for paint to dry.

Seed planting and garden maintence have started. Weed pulling and general outdoor cleanup has been started. Our place was pretty much neglected and overgrown for years before we bought it so we are constantly picking different areas that have to have major brush, vine and weed removal.

Top all this off with DN playing in the high school band and making the soccer team. The football season was pushed to winter/spring so she has band practice and/or soccer practice and games every evening. I am still the taxi. It is a bittersweet moment when a teen gets their driver’s license. The parent is simultaniously terrified and joyous. DN is taking driver’s ed now and will have her permit in the summer. I am one year away from freaking out at every siren sound, running to the phone when it rings and losing sleep until I hear the car pull in. That doesn’t even cover the terrifiying moments in the passenger seat while a newbie driver is at the wheel. Real aging doesn’t happen until you survive teenagers!

March is the beginning of beekeeping season too. During the winter all you can do is make sure the girls have lots of food and hope for the best. March brings happy dances when you see the girls flying again or grief when you realize a colony didn’t survive the winter. If you have several hives these emotions can happen altogether. I got to do my happy dance yesterday. I had seen my girls flying before yesterday, but March is when many hives die from starvation. It was warm enough for me to open the hive and check their food stores. We still have some cold days and nights to go and not much is blooming yet. Unless something weird and dreadful happens, my girls should be good to go for another year.

I like to sit and just watch the bees going and coming. It’s peaceful and confirmation that despite the crazy in the world things are still in God’s order. Today especially I plan to sit with the bees. Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 86. He was a life long beekeeper and when I was a girl one of my jobs was to help him with the bees. At the time I didn’t pick up much actual beekeeping knowledge other than be very careful where you pick up a frame of honey, but the smell of beeswax always sucks me right back to that time. Dad gave me my first hive of bees a few years ago and helped me get set up. I had no idea I would enjoy their company so much. Now I know why he would often go and watch the bees.

Happy Birthday Dad! The girls are ok. The bees and your human ones. I love you.

Have a great week everyone!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,

Christel

Featured photo was taken by yours truly when my Dad was setting up my first hive of bees for me in 2016. The second picture was taken by my sister on Dad’s 84th and last birthday in 2019.

What I did on my summer vacation

Hi Everyone!

I am back from vacation and have almost recovered.  Hopefully by the time this post shows up in your inbox I will have unpacked.

Let me tell you a little about how I spend my time for a week each June.  For the past nine years I have packed up my WORST clothes, a bag of tools, and an air mattress to head into the Appalachian mountains with one or both of my kids and van loads of other adults and teenagers from my church youth group.  This year there were 62 of us that divided into eight groups that worked to repair eight homes for people in that area who, for various reasons, have not been able to keep their homes either warm, safe or dry.

We go as volunteers for the Appalachia Service Project. Normally we reside in an unused high school, sleeping in either the gym or old classrooms, eating in the cafeteria and if we are lucky, showering in the old gym showers.  Hot water is often a luxury.

IMG_2132

I wish I could clearly explain why I do this, but there are so many layers of reasons that it is hard to separate them out.  All I know is that each year this trip resets my heart/soul dials back where they are supposed to be.

The richest country on earth is not immune to serious poverty.  Each year we have teenagers who suddenly see for the first time what poverty looks like.  Each year, as adults, we remember how close we all walk to the thin line of disease and unemployment that can devastate a family. Each year, we are all reminded of what is truly important in life.

Sometimes we are on the roof.
Sometimes we are on the roof.

The last evening of our trip is spent in a “share circle” where everyone is welcome to share special moments of the week.  This year the overriding message seemed to be “you are where you are supposed to be”.  Many of the stories relayed events that in the midst of being busy, frustrated, delayed, something happened that made the individual(s) realize that if they had not been there at that moment, a bad thing could have been much worse.  Several of the teenagers were on the verge of losing faith or dealing with difficult life/family situations and the events of the week renewed their faith/strength/determination. The adults are not immune to the power of these trips either.  While we go there to help complete strangers and hope that we make a positive difference in their lives, as volunteers, we may be the ones who come away with the most change in our lives.

Sometimes we are working on the ground.
Sometimes we are working on the ground.

It’s not all work and seriousness by any means.  I may not laugh all year as much as I do on this trip. I also don’t eat as much junk food and ice cream as I do on this trip! Not only do we get to know the people we help, we get to know each other.  My crazy vacation reminds me that the next generation includes some amazing young people who will still bring goodness and humor into the future.

Sometimes we are in dark, damp, scary places.
Sometimes we are in dark, damp, scary places.

My advice to anyone who is finding life to be hard, busy, routine, boring or empty is to go and volunteer somewhere that takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you in service of others.  It is the best anti-depressant on this beautiful earth.