Balancing Act

IT’S ALL about balance.

Balancing activity with stillness, give and take, spending and saving…my ever-growing “List”, with freedom to do whatever, whenever…I could go on and on.

The point?

Life can fill up every corner of your being, leaving your Life full — but with things that don’t matter.  As I navigate through Life, there are always choices. Sometimes I make good ones, sometimes…well, I could have chosen better.   Much better.

How does one choose which path to take?  For me it really is fairly simple–but, only if I am listening.

Balancing the things I want to do with the things that should be done.  With emphasis heavily on ‘should’.   If I am listening then the decision is easy.  If I listen and decide to ignore, then usually things go wrong. Terribly wrong sometimes.

So, if I do not take the time to listen — to quiet myself in this busy world of our, then quite often I miss what is being said to me. Lost treasures, gems of wisdom that fall to the wayside.  I know I should.  I plan to. But there are so many times I forget, plan it for later or just blow it off when I am so overwhelmed with everything that is going on.

Precisely the time I should be craving the quiet-time so I can bring everything back into balance. Stupidly ignore the signs, the whispered thoughts in my mind, the gentle nudges that try to guide me in the right direction.

Right now I am struggling with balancing my God-given common sense of what I need to do with my desires to just keep moving forward with my life as if nothing is changing…

Life is a bit overwhelming right now.  Even trying to find the right compromises to keep it in balance seems overwhelming.  And trying to find that quiet time, so very important, is hard because, apparently, I am deliberately avoiding it.  I, one who never shrinks from confrontational situations, find myself making excuses to put off even thinking about what needs to be done because it will, no doubt, involve some very major life-changing decisions.  Ones I’m not ready to make, apparently.

To complicate matters — or is it just to delay the inevitable longer — the writing frenzy of NaNoWriMo begins in less than two days.  I am excited and fully committed to completing this, but these two things in my life are not going to work harmoniously together.  I’m very sure of that.

So, either I must make my decision before November 1st, or put it out of my mind as completely as possible for one month.  As a true Procrastinator, I think I choose the latter.  Besides.  That gives me time to discover that very important quiet place that seems to be eluding me right now.

Hesitation, Lost Opportunities

I FOUND MYSELF torn this morning.  Torn between responding and returning to the comfort of my bed.

As my cat snuggled in, purring like crazy, we both heard a weak, plaintive meow, broken by silence. Then another, and another.

Possibly a kitten in distress?  But, I have heard my three-year old cat make the same kind of sounds, so I wasn’t sure.  As we stood at the window sill together, staring out into the darkness, I tried to discern where it was coming from. Under the overturned canoe, the crumpled up tarps, or perhaps simply somewhere in the vast expanse of bushes (some of which intermingles with poison oak)?  Was it even in my yard?

Did I dare step outside into the dark, cold and damp?  I was willing, and almost grabbed my slippers and robe, then hesitated.  I was recalling the recent skunking of my dog–did I want to chance an encounter with that creature in the dark?

The meows came further and further apart as I wrestled with my thoughts. Would it still be calling out when I went out so I could locate it?  Would it come to me?  What on earth would I do with it when I did find it?  And what about that skunk?

By the time I made my mind up, there was no more crying out to help me locate the tiny thing in my large yard.  A proverbial needle in a haystack.  My hesitation made any further investigation in the dark futile.

Now, I wait for daylight, to see if I can find it, dead or alive.  My cat remained vigilant, standing watch at the window.  But after awhile, even he left his post.  Maybe it moved on.  I’m also waiting for a reasonable hour so I can call my neighbour, to make sure they can account for their two kittens.

All of this, too late, if the kitten was in distress and needed help when it called out.  I will feel awful if it was one of theirs and I did nothing.  Even if not theirs, I could have helped. Why wasn’t I willing to step out of my comfort zone?

What else do I agonise over, delaying decisions where timing is of the utmost importance?  Lost opportunities, saved lives…

Photography VS Writing — and NaNoWriMo

HA!  TWO BLOGS IN ONE DAY!  That’s a first.  Can you tell I don’t want to do any house/yard chores?

My photography has taken a back seat to my writing.  And my writing has taken a back seat to simple, every-day living (aka: chores).  And I guess I should add that my chores have just taken a back seat, period.  At least, for today.

About the only thing I’ve done photographically speaking is to snap shots with my smart phone (nice in its tiny format, but forget about blowing it up to any size other than the original) and my point-n-shoot (much better, but the phone always seems more handy).  No serious, day-long trudges to the hills or shoreline to suck up some much needed out-door time and one-on-one with nature.  The 365 (as in, year-long!) photo journal on Flickr languishes…untouched since mid-June.   Even all of my other art projects are on the back burner.  Waiting for time, re-organizing, behind closed doors.

As for my writing, the most I’ve done is to tinker with my blog.  The result has been a few good posts over the last week.   I’ve occasionally tried to figure out how to insert a photo into the blog — unsuccessful…I’ll keep trying.

All of the tools that I have to create amazing things, both physical and mental, sit there unused.  It makes me sad.

There are times I want to go screaming through the “house”, flinging open every single “door” splitting myself into however many pieces needed so that I can dive into each one of those favourite things — for a very long, long time.  They are such an integral  part of me and I have not allowed myself the pleasure of being fully me for what seems like forever, because of the drudgery  called every-day life.  Being a ‘slave’ to my house and yard, with so many tasks that need to be done (and I am an excellent Procrastinator–hmmm…think we’ve talked about that–this blog has allowed me that).  To be a ‘slave’ to my physically deteriorating body (some natural, some caused by overdoing), with all of the aches and pains that go with it means that it takes longer to accomplish all those mundane tasks.

There is a story in me — no, let me correct myself .  There is a plethora of stories in me, pushing and shoving behind another closed door, waiting to burst forth.  On November first–the first day of NaNoWriMo, I plan on throwing open that particular door to allow the ideas to leap out, dancing around, waiting for me to noticed.  Teasing me, wanting me to snatch them out of the air, frame them into sentences, paragraphs and chapters, to finally create a completed story — or series of stories that will be bound into book(s) — sorry…I am a tactile reader…I do read on-line material, but for me, it’s so important to hold that book.  To physically turn those pages.  Into book form for (hopefully) my readers.  There will most likely be an e-reader form for those of you so inclined, but I want to see the words popping out from a bound book.

That is what November holds for me.

But until then, I continue to putter here, there and try to force myself to get my boring chores done.

And look what I was finally able to do!  A photo inserted into my blog!  That makes me happy!

National Novel Writing Month

Pencils and mind sharpened, computer charged…ready to go, with only eleven days to go!

 

 

Priorities

AS I WALKED UP the stairs, careful not to spill the steaming-hot cup of coffee I was cradling, I worked on my mental list of things that really needed to be accomplished today:  feed & water the critters, laundry (never ending), pay bills…my priority list seems to keep growing longer daily!

I walked into the bedroom, took a careful sip of coffee before setting the cup on the night stand. As I sat on the edge of the bed, I kicked my slippers off of my socked-feet, but before I got any further, my cat sidled up next to me purring furiously.  Before I knew it, he was in my lap, snuggling. Well, I guess priority number one was to give him some attention.

He is a little love machine — when he wants to be. Purring & rooting, and more purring. I love it.  I think it’s rather calming. So, whenever possible, I make the time.   And, it’s not like I can let him do his purr-thing, then just walk away…there is the “let’s snuggle quietly” part afterward. I’ve never really figured out how long that should be. Sometimes I’ll let him be the judge of that and chill till he gets up, stretches and walks off. Other times, I’m counting the minutes–even seconds, since I sometimes do have things to do or errands to run (oh, why did I let him talk me into it this time??).  Today, it was my rapidly cooling cup of much needed coffee that was calling to me.  I did let him chill for awhile before I began tickling his ears, playing with his feet and tail (how dare I touch them!).  He was so zonked that it took quite a while before he finally had enough and stomped on me and made his getaway.  Finally, I got a sip of my now-tepid coffee.  Drats.

So, this brings me back to priorities.

After this last purr-fest, I decided to look up the word to see if my perception of the word was what it actually was. There are so many times I’ve questioned what I’ve learned a word meant because I discovered something completely different once I’ve researched it. I was hoping for this sort of revelation today.

My perception was validated, but left me wanting:  “prime concern, most important consideration, primary issue; 2 precedence, greater importance, preference, preeminence, predominance, primacy, first place.”

So, are priorities supposed to be elusive, fluid or established?  For me, priorities change and probably include all of the above.  And they change often.  I’m not sure that’s a good or a bad thing — the frequency, that is. I guess there are constants–established priorities:  put glasses on so I can see, robe & slippers on so I can check on & take care of all the critters (dog, cat, chickens, rabbit) needs for food and water  (after I’ve started my coffee), breakfast & getting dressed and ready for the day ahead (really, do I have to get dressed??) &  of course, collecting eggs.  A little more fluid: keep enough clothes & dishes clean to get through a few days (just joking–but it sure feels like it!).  Then there’s always yard chores (ever-necessary yard and house repairs or improvements), keep frig & critters food bins stocked…

As for elusive?  Like I said before, the list seems to keep growing, shift and I never catch up.

Well, now I’m actually going to write down (so I actually remember to do them?) those things that need doing and start to scratch them off my list, one by one by one…but I guess I should get dressed first (after I re-heat the cup of now stone-cold coffee).

Corn Flakes Kind of Day

Today is a corn flakes kind of day. I certainly don’t need the carbs.  Nor the extra food. I just ate lunch.

But sometimes, I go with what my body seems to be craving — I know, with a relatively large common sense filter, it really does know what’s best. But, sometimes it is hard to discern what the craving truly is.

So, today, since I had a small lunch, I knew I’d want more of something. I tried a spoonful of Nutella, which triggered a desire for even more. I knew that no quantity of Nutella (I think I could eat a whole jar–I’d be sick, but I could eat it!) would satisfy the craving, so I thought about it. To satisfy the sugar needs & fill me up healthily, corn flakes seem to have become my standby.

Cravings come in all sizes and shapes.  Cravings for food, possessions, success, friendships, conversation, change in environment, intimacy. That only names a few, to be sure!

Constantly acquiring possessions or battling your way up the ladder of success doesn’t necessarily fulfill the cravings — it can be a symptom of something else. Conversations need to be more that filling silence. Constantly moving about to see new things may say more about you than you think.

Friendships and intimacy — “oh, yeah! I know what you’re talking about there! Wink-wink, nudge-nudge…” — also come in all sizes and shapes — not just in a sexual context.

Relationships with friends. An ongoing relationship, hopefully always growing, with God. For me, these are the most cherished of intimate relationships. To know and be willing to be known fully. Being available, rain or shine, no matter what your temperament or perceived availability is at the moment. Your friends could need you at any time, just as you might need them. God wants me all the time. And I know, though there are moments I don’t want to admit it, I need Him all the time! I love this about my relationships with my friends and God. It a wonderful constant. It is so much easier with my friends, though — to be available, but of course, do I try to put God at the center of my life to keep it in balance and to keep it running smoothly, which will allow me to be there for my friends.

There are times I do not always succeed. But, thankfully, both my close friends, and especially God are forgiving in my moments of weakness. I try not to let my cravings ‘lead’ my feelings, but it certainly does help that I do crave friendships. It makes me want to try to reciprocate my feelings. I am quietly reminded by God that I am not the only one in the equation. My friends are on the receiving end, wanting a giving friendship too. And conversation. Or, just a little time.  Time to be together.

I have a few that love an occasional change of environments — like me, enjoying tromping through bushes, up hills and down to creeks, to marvel at the cornucopia of beauty that has been placed there before us by God. We may speak very little, only soaking up all that we can, either visually or through what we hear, with only the clicking of our cameras disturbing the peace of the moment. Others simply want one-on-one time, with a cup of coffee to catch up on what’s been going on in our lives. Some like to drag me out biking (I do love it, really) or to go walking on the beach to collect sea glass. In each case, I treasure what makes each friend tick: their up days, down days, likes and dislikes, days of celebration and grief, triumphs and pitfalls.

I know that God sees in me all of these things (and oh, so much more) that I see in my friends, cherishing me in my good moments as well as my bad moments. I am ever so thankful for that. Thankful for His grace. Grace to cover all the stupid things I do in my life. And to still love me, despite my gross imperfections. In return, I simply must keep Him in my sight, trying my best to follow the path He has for me.

Oh. And that usually involves friends.

Back at the Keyboard, Finally!

Oh, my. I have been negligent. Not spending time with my business website, not posting blog entries…

I’m sorry. I’ve been a bit absorbed with my young hens (acquired this spring) and loving every minute. But soon…oh, so very soon begins NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  This is the month of Literary Abandon — abandoning everything so that you (anyone that loves writing) can concentrate on just that–write. That is what November means to me. Obviously, I cannot “abandon” my Girls, or my other critters and I certainly will not forsake church–and, oh bother…Thanksgiving falls in that month too, but just about everything else will be put aside. I WILL post excepts (unedited, so please be nice) of my writings from NaNoWriMo.

The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m hoping to reach it this year!!

If you love writing and/or have thought about participating, now Is the time to go to NaNoWriMo.org and sign up!  Do yourself a favor and give it a try.

So, here are my official first entries, originally posted on my Facebook business page on the 9th & 11th.  After today, I will post directly to this blog (wonder how close to “daily” I will get)  and my FB Friends will need to follow the link to this blog.

9 Oct 12

My mother tried. It was the 50’s after all, when boys were boys and girls were girls. And she already had two boys. Now, she had a girl. Images of frilly things and girl-time must have danced in her head.

She tried very hard:  Frilly dresses, dolls of all imaginable sizes and shapes.  One doll was as big as I was. Most had eyes that opened and closed, one even wet it’s diaper & could be fed a bottle.  I even had a Barbie doll when they first came out.  I cut it’s hair to match my short, tightly permed hair.  A play house and all the girly goodies that go with it.  Yup.  The life of a girl in the 50s.

But I think my mother grew tired of mending my store-bought clothes. They weren’t made for they way I played. She began sewing her own; frocks that were not quite so frilly for me, with seams reinforced, hoping that they would withstand my rough play. Climbing trees is hard to do in a dress. Always stepping on the hem, tearing it at the waistline.

Even the reinforced seams didn’t work.  And by then, I really didn’t want to be in a dress.  Jeans were in — it was almost time for the Flower Child stage of my life.  Jeans–torn at the knee were really cool.

And playing rough was too.  Well, with four brothers by then, I was a full-blown Tomboy and loving every moment.  Though, I bet the required caring for my baby brother & diaper changes were a last ditch effort by my Mom to instill some sort of “womanhood” in me.  Didn’t work.

Climbing trees, arm wresting, romping through poison oak (and paying for it later), playing Cowboys and Indians (I was never a squaw…always a hunter/gatherer), wanting desperately to go hunting (no, that’s for boys…) with my dad and brothers…(but, I did get to learn how to shoot a rifle) — that is all I ever what I wanted to do.

Rough housing was standard fare at our house.  I could definitely hold my own against my brothers.  One of my brothers still sports, to this day, an ‘L’ shaped scar on his back from the time we were rough housing and while I was on the ground, he lunged at me.  Without thinking, I responded by using my legs to catch and repel him across the room — onto the corner of a table.  Oops.  It took him a little while to catch his breath (I was definitely concerned & promised not to do it again).

I’ve always been strong — thanks to my brothers, I think!  The arm wrestling and climbing certainly helped.  In high school, I signed up for shot put.  Definitely not the average sport for a girl.  I still like to do things — and it continues to surprise men — that requires more strength than is expected of me because of my gender, age and/or perceived physical abilities.

And their response always makes me giggle — oh, now there is a ‘girl’ trait! And finally, after all these years of jeans & tennies, climbing & rough housing, I am finding I am enjoying getting dressed up in frilly things and wearing makeup (occasionally).

Well, guess Mom finally won out.
Maybe.

Hope she’s smiling up there. ♥

11 Oct 12
Daily blogging takes more time than I thought. I certainly have the time, but putting all those little bits together to create enough space in time to sit down, uninterrupted, and pull my thoughts from the space between my ears and up into the Internet is more difficult than I thought.

Same with photographic blogging. I had challenged myself in June to do a “365 photo blog”. That’s one photo a day. Simple, right? Starting it on my trip overseas was a great way to start — plenty of photos, but finding the time to sit down, download the photos onto the computer and then sharing the meager Internet connection with my fellow travelers to upload to my Flickr account proved to be my downfall…and once I got home, I had so many things on my plate…so, I am sorry I have not followed through with it. Perhaps soon, I will be able to resume the photo blog. I promise. I keep my promises — eventually.

Time seems to be an illusive creature for me. Beautiful, fleeting…trying to harness it to work in my favor is a daunting task. I look around me, often wondering how some people are able to accomplish so much even when their “plate” is fuller than mine.

Secretly, I do know why I seem to have such a hard time. I haven’t told anyone, but I’m sure they can see it. It’s that dreaded Procrastination Monster. It hovers menacingly over me constantly. It weighs heavily on my shoulders–no wonder they ache so much. I make mental lists (oh, for those of you that know me personally–this should be a no-no) and begin my tasks, but the list vanishes into thin air, gobbled up by the Monster, even before I have completed the first thing on my list.

So, forgetting the list, I find something to entertain me — presently, that would be socializing with my sweet, sweet Girls…a dozen beautiful young hens (pullets, actually). We talk, my Girls and I, mostly about how they should be giving me more of their scrumptious, brown (and blue) eggs. They happily chatter back to me and amongst themselves, probably giggling at how this Human is demanding something they are not capable of performing quite yet. After all, the youngest is just coming up on 20 weeks and may require a few more weeks of maturing to produce her beautiful fruit. I do get presents of 4-6 eggs a day, but greedily hunger for more. What can one person do with so many eggs?  I eat them — too many, my doctor says. And, well, I do have friends, after all, so now they are getting even more now. Believe it or not, the Girls even get some too!

As we chat, I look around at all the incomplete projects and remember that I had a list going somewhere. I say adieu to the Girls and start searching for the List. Not finding it, I decided to create one on paper. But paper can be misplaced too. That Monster follows me everywhere!

Even when I am trying to run my errands efficiently, I discover I have left some important item needed (the List, perhaps?) at home. So, back I go. Now, I use my cell phone’s memo pad for my lists and I am less likely to misplace it. But still…

All of this takes time. My day is filled with free time, but it is stitching together those bits is the trick. I guess I would make an awful seamstress.