It’s about time

Hi Everyone!

Did you notice that I’m back on schedule this week? Woo hoo! I was determined to get a post in before the weekend starts.

Is my To Do list caught up? Not by a long shot but I’m pretty sure it never will be. I finished a knitting project and a commissioned project this week. I don’t have photos of either of them yet though. I will be starting two small portraits soon. Stay tuned for those. 

In my “spare” time I started a new pair of socks. My sock knitting is getting faster. I started these on Monday and am almost to the heel already. This is just squeezing in 10 or 15 minutes here and there, often waiting on an email or supper to finish cooking or waiting for an appointment. Aren’t these the most beautiful colors. Pure joy to hold and knit!


I did a little of this knitting while waiting Tuesday evening for Miss L to be inducted into the honor society. We are so stinking proud of her especially considering the vast numbers of changes that have occurred in her life this year! 


This week I also pulled out several textile art unfinished objects and plan to finally finish them up and put them in my Etsy store. Here is the first. Not quite finished yet but close. I will post them with a link when I get them finished and in the store. 


Muffin had the last of her shots this week and became the celebrity kitty of the day when she willingly sat on EVERYONE’s shoulders at the veterinarian’s. Here she is with two of the doctors. 

We have had more barn drama this week. Something tried to get to Muffin one night and pulled her kitty condo off the table in the barn. She has a spacious large dog crate for a condo so we suspect a coyote. NOT GOOD. Luckily the door latch held and Muffin was safe but everyone has been a bit jumpy this week especially the horses who were the silent witnesses ensconced in their stalls and none too fond of coyotes either. Last night something knocked over Sweetie Pie’s (Muffin’s Mom) crate.  SP doesn’t get locked in because she has excellent barn cat skills and is safer with an escape plan.  She came cruising out to meet me this morning showing no sign of being terrorized. Whew!! Whatever it was decided that the honey racks stored in the feed room (we still need one more door…SOON) would have to do for a midnight snack. Now I have a sticky mess to clean up. Insert bad words here. 

We have a rare and wonderful unscheduled Saturday tomorrow. I have a goal of starting the kitchen remodel that was supposed to happen LAST Spring. Now if I can get the painting and repairs done BEFORE the garden planting and bee season begin I will be doing a happy dance! To accomplish this I must go dig the paint out of the closet in G’s room before she gets here this evening. Gotta go ya’ll. 

May time be on your side this week!

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How slow can you go?

My recently finished piece. Hope to have in my Etsy store soon.
My recently finished piece. Hope to have in my Etsy store soon.

Happy Mid-August!  Where has the summer gone?  School started back this week and there are hints of color in the leaves here already.  I’m not ready for cold weather!!!

It has been a productive week for us.  The floor is installed in the laundry room, the dryer is fixed and back in place (no more having to rush out and get the clothes off the clothes line before the afternoon storms) and the washer has moved out of the kitchen to it’s rightful place as well. One more little bathroom to go and the floor will be finished.  Of course I have to paint the new cabinet this weekend before I install the flooring.  It just never ends.

As life begins to finally settle into a rhythm I am facing a new adjustment.  Slowing down.  Well that should be easy enough!  Yeah, you would think so, but…

Is your To Do list longer than your arm every day?  Is every minute scheduled? Do your kids think their names are Hurry Up and We’re Late? I have also been living under that craziness as long as I can remember or since my first kid was born, whichever came first.  Work (often two jobs), house, dog, car, yard, two kids in several sports, volunteer work, church involvement, etc.  Years and years of hitting the floor running early in the morning and collapsing into bed late at night.  Stress, stress, stress.

One of the most insane moments I remember is being at work at our then family business, rushing to pick up both kids at two different schools, coming back to work and supervising their homework, then rushing them out the door at closing time to grab another fast food dinner and drive them both to soccer practice in two different towns.  It had been “one of those days” all day and when we pulled out of the fast food drive through my kids decided that their Mom might need to be committed.

Why? First, what I thought was closing time was actually an hour earlier.  I had looked at the clock wrong.  Then after screaming at them to get their stuff in the car and driving like a maniac to Wendy’s for dinner, I paid for the food in the drive thru window and then proceeded to drive away WITHOUT THE FOOD! It wasn’t until my son gently and tentatively asked me if I was OK that I realized what I had done.  I would not chalk that day up as one of my best parenting days.

That was the point where I started dropping some unnecessary obligations and trying to regain some sanity in our lives, but things have still been “go, go, go” even after my kids left home.  D. warned me that life up here has a different time frame, but I did not realize how different until this week.

I decided to get a haircut at one of the local hair salons.  I got an appointment for 5:00 pm.  My hair is very short and it has never taken more than 15-20 minutes for someone to cut it.  I arrived 10 minutes early and got to sit for about 15 minutes listening to the local gossip and meeting some of my new neighbors.  My haircut started at 5:05.  I left at 6:00!

Tuesday we needed some lumber to finish our barn and fix a room in D.’s new business.  We arrived at 3:45 with our list.  Said hello to the owner who was helping another customer.  Sat in his office for another 15 minutes. Then he and D. proceeded to discuss hunting for another 15 minutes.  Finally out to load the lumber we went. Then the fork lift stopped working.  Another 15 minutes of fork lift discussion until it was decided to use THE OTHER forklift. Another 15 minutes picking out the right pieces. Yep, another hour bites the dust.

I used to start work at 6:30 in the morning. Now that I am down to one job I sometimes just stand in the middle of the room trying to figure out what to do with myself.  With the yard, house, dogs, horses, bees, work and an hour drive anytime we go somewhere, there is plenty to do, but there really is a time difference.  It’s like a Twilight Zone episode (if you are younger than 45 years old you will have to Google that reference).  Honestly, it’s going to take awhile to get used to this.  I have a physical reaction when I have unoccupied time on my hands. I get anxious and antsy.

Oh, it is a much better and saner way to live and one that our grandparents had everyday.  We have made time into our enemy.  Something we have to race again the clock to beat everyday.  Time should be our friend.  Time to get to know our neighbors.  Time to pay attention to what you are cooking and eating. Time to enjoy a walk in the woods. Time to read a book or get lost in a project.

I finished this guy this week. It takes so TIME to do all those dots.
I finished this guy this week. It takes so TIME to do all those dots.

 

I’m working on it my friends!  I’m taking a deep breath when I start feeling the anxiety coming on and sitting down in my lawn chair and watching the butterflies do their thing on my zinnias.  I hope you can find some “country time” too.

 

Get lost. Slow down. Change directions.

sunflower 2016
My sunflowers are enjoying the heat. They are at least 8′ tall and still growing!

I hope you all have had a lovely week. It has been a typical July week here. Hot as Hades all day with a late afternoon thunderstorm that hopefully cools the air a little. Often it doesn’t. Sometimes the air is so humid and thick after a storm that it feels difficult to breathe. You would think you could squeeze the juice out of it. My poor bees are spending more time on the outside of the hive than inside. I’m thinking I should get a tiny air conditioner for them. No, I do not spoil the creatures that live with me (much).

The past couple of weeks have been spent getting settled, finding my way around and meeting people. If I counted correctly, this is my tenth move in my lifetime. Most of my moves have been within miles of each other, but this is the third move to a completely new area. My first major move was as a newlywed to a different state. My then husband was working third shift, the company had put us up in a hotel until we could find a home and I knew no one. I couldn’t stay in the hotel room during the day while my husband was trying to sleep, but I had no where to go.

This was before cell phones and we had two not-so-great cars. So, I did what any bored, fearless (you have that in your 20’s) young woman would do. I got my car keys, filled the car up with gas and proceeded to drive in and out of town until I was hopelessly lost, then figure out how to get myself back to the hotel.  Honestly, it was a huge adrenaline rush. Sometimes I barely made it back before my husband got up to go to work.  By the time we moved out of the hotel three weeks later, I rarely got lost. I found all the important places (Town Hall, library, the MALL) and lots of scenic areas of the countryside.

I have been using this same technique with slightly more common sense this time.  Lately our vehicles have been just as bad (except for THE BEAST, our F-350 pickup that I LOVE to drive), but I do have my cell phone and AAA card with me now. I found the library. People seem to think that libraries are not important anymore. I beg to differ. The bulletin board alone was a wealth of information. Local events and services that I had not been able to find online were on the bulletin board.  So, I have the library, found the arts council, town hall, pharmacy, car mechanic and our local state park for hiking. Hey, not a bad start for two weeks of being lost!

ghost flowers 2016
I discovered Ghost plants on our way to pick blackberries this week. They are such an oddity with all the color this time of year.

The harder adjustment I am having to make is the pace of life here. I’m pretty sure it was the same way when I was growing up out in the country but I wasn’t aware of it. EVERYTHING is slower. I have been in Surburbia for twenty years. I have worked two jobs for about twelve years. I shuttled two kids to thousands of practices and events for eighteen years. All that has come to a screeching halt. I often find myself standing somewhere in disbelief that there is nothing on my To Do list that HAS to be done immediately. Trust me, I’m not complaining, but after decades of rushing around and working under endless deadlines, it is disorienting.

Now that I have said that life has slowed down, just this week events have fallen into place for D. to start a business he has been planning for about two years. Originally he was going to start it next year after he retires, but an opportunity presented itself that was too good to pass up. This means that for about four months I will be back to working two jobs again as we start this while he is still working full time.  I will fill I the details as this moves along.

blueberry jam 2016
More slow stuff. Making blueberry jam.

I need to mosey on now to finish tiling these floors (they WILL be done by the end of the month!).  I’m going to leave you with some hard earned wisdom. If life is a little boring or drab, or the creative juices have quit flowing (they do sometimes), literally get in your car, on your bike, take the bus, use your feet and go get lost. The change in scenery and the adventure will do you good. Don’t use the GPS. Use your God given instincts!

zinna butterfly 2016
Just one of the hundreds of butterflies that have been visiting my zinnias this year. I have never seen soooo many in one place before!

All photos by Christel D. Huttar.

Thanksgiving

 

We are celebrating our day of Thanksgiving in the United States.  Here are a few photos of a typical Thanksgiving day and a blessing for the day.

 

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Wishing you all peace, safety, health, comfort, love and laughter.

O God of all Creation: You have cared for the earth, and have filled it with your riches. Abundance flows in your steppes, through the pastures and wilderness. You provide for our land, softening it with showers, bathing it in light, and blessing it with growth.

The hills sing with joy; the meadows are covered with flocks; the fields deck themselves with wheat; and together they glorify your name!

On this occasion of our Thanksgiving, we as a nation take rest from our labors to consider your many blessings. We thank you for our freedoms, and for the opportunity to contribute our skills, our attributes and our values toward the good of society.

We thank you for the mixture of our cultures, blending us into one people under God. Help us to be a light unto other nations, and to further the cause of freedom and justice all over the world.

We remember those who are less fortunate than we. We lift up in prayer the victims of poverty and racism, and all those who suffer from forms of political and economic oppression. Let the word that goes forth from our mouths speak of your peace, and let us proclaim our hope in Christ as Savior of all humankind.

We pray that you will bless all those who gather here, as we have come to experience your presence among us. Give us your guidance, O God, and empower us for your work. For we claim nothing for ourselves, but return all honor and glory unto you, and offer our thanks and praise. Amen.

From “Prayers for God’s People”
Thomas P. Roberts, editor

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Football photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/70806177@N00/15294277764″>Happy Thanksgiving from Levi’s Stadium</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Parade photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22463037@N00/3162773680″>Trumpet</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Pie photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28928375@N07/4147801863″>mmmm&#8230;.pie</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Family photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/47264866@N00/5215359628″>Give Thanks to Family</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

It can change in an instant

heart in hands

I had the beginnings of three different posts started to choose from this week, but yesterday (Sunday) changed all that.  A friend lost her 28 year old son in an accident.  Another local family lost their son on Friday in a separate accident.  Life changed in an instant.

Even though most of you would not have known the difference it seemed insane to write about a favorite book or website in the aftermath of such shocking news.  My heart hurts and grieves for them. The clarity of the very few things of true value pierces through everything else right now.

I saw my friend as she expertly directed a wedding Saturday afternoon, laughed and danced at the reception and went home to be awakened by the phone call no one wants to get.

I got the news when I walked in the door at church to set up for the service Sunday morning.  There is some comfort in corporate grief.  After the announcement we all sat in silent prayer because our assistant minister could not get the words out without tears. We understood completely.  Our Senior Minister had gone into his office early that morning after he received the call and changed his sermon to one that spoke of grief, the stages of grief, and how to comfort the grieving.  For now, all we can do is wrap them in our prayers, words of love, embraces and provide what basic tasks they need help with.

Like most people who have had five or more decades on this tiny planet, I have had some painful losses.  It seems as one gains the wisdom of experience the more one realizes that there is only a miniscule amount that we have control over.  We can let that lack of control drive us mad (and we all know people who do) or we can learn to embrace the people and the moments tightly, knowing that nothing is guaranteed to be there in an hour much less the next day.

This may seem to be a depressing post today.  I don’t mean it to be, but a sadness grips me right now.  This same weekend I had the delight of seeing the grown and newly engaged, daughter of my late dear friend and college roommate.  Due to circumstances beyond our control, my former college suitemates and I had lost contact with CV after her Mother’s death.  She had been very young at the time.  For oh so many years we thought of her, wondered how she was and prayed for her a wonderful life.  Through the power of social media we found her again and she made the trip with her fiancé to NC for a visit and to learn more about her lovely Mom.  What a wonderful thing to see what a beautiful, sweet, smart, down-to-earth woman she has turned out to be.  It was one of those times to pay attention to and wrap your heart around.

If someone out there happens to read this who is grieving, my prayer for you is that there are people near you to give comfort and if not, you will find your way to someone or someplace that can.  So many people resist a place of faith now, but a good one can truly be a saving grace.

For anyone who is taking what and who is important for granted right now, my prayer for you is that you will become aware and rectify the situation before it’s too late.  Regret is a terrible, awful thing to live with.

Quit working extra hours to buy the boat and go home to read to your kids.  Put down the phone and see your friends face to face.  Spend time with your parents and listen to their stories. Play fetch with your dog for the thousandth time just to see his tail wag. Don’t put off what you love to do until later.  Later your eyes may not see or your hands may not work like they do now, kids leave home, parents pass, friends suffer in silence, dogs are not here nearly long enough.  These are hard earned words, don’t take them for granted.

It’s taken years!

I think I’m finally here and I hope I don’t jinx it by saying that. Where is HERE? Where I’ve wanted to be as long as I can remember.

When I was very little I discovered pencils and crayons. All I know is that when I was drawing or painting or even mushing up clay I was in my happy place. As I got older I still escaped to my pencils as often as I could even though life was starting to interfere and I was becoming more critical of my artwork.

Even as a high school senior my ultimate plan was to become an artist, but I had been forced by my parents to choose a “reasonable” career. The closest thing I could find to “artist” was being a graphic designer.

Fast forward a few decades. Thirty to be exact. I have spent that time as a graphic designer in various places, raised two kids, kept up with a house and yard, often worked a second job and in tiny little spurts of time worked in some drawing and painting so I didn’t forget how. I have sketch books full of ideas I haven’t had time to create. Many, many times I have tried to give up my artistic dream because I just didn’t think there was ever going to be a time for it or I was disappointed in my efforts to get there. It takes a lot of time to produce art.

In the past year I have sold our long time home that was now too big for me to maintain physically and financially alone. It was a hard choice and transition for all of us, but it was sucking the life blood out of me. I have been self-employed for almost three years, but was working a part-time retail job that was also slowly killing me with a lack of sleep and stress. I still work a second job but was blessed to find one that fit my life MUCH better. My kids are moving out in one month and I will no longer be functioning on their schedules.

So, what the heck does all that mean? For the first time in twenty years I can do what I want when I want!!! Just take a wild guess what I want to do. There is a twist to it that I will explain in my next post, but for now I am just happily drawing away every chance I get. I will miss my kids, their noise and friends and activities, but I’m pretty sure I can find a few things to fill the time with!