The Voice In My Head

To The Voice in My Head,

Please excuse me while I attempt to discern whether you are friend or foe. I need to know if you are intuition revealing to me the secrets to my success or a distant cousin of OCD promising me ridiculous, infomercial-type control of my environment.

Are you here to inspire, lead and direct or distract and pacify my anxiety. Please tell me so that we can carry on, would you?

You insist that if I devote time now to putting systems and plans in place (and that will be A LOT of  work), I will have more time for the rest of the year to do some things I want to do. You say if I declutter, sell, donate, give away and otherwise dispose of extraneous items from my house and put cleaning, meal planning and other nasty little chores on automatic systems, I can be relieved of some of the burdens that are giving me a pain from the inside of my left shoulder blade up to the back of my head.

You assure me that ‘Spring Cleaning’ is not, in fact, reserved for Spring and NOW – right now – is the time to wash the cabinets, mop the floors and wipe down baseboards. You are completely certain that one full, top to bottom scrubbing of walls, windows, shelves and anything that will stand still is the answer to even my most existential questions.

Do you really have answers or are you trying to make me crazy?

The thing is, I am starting to believe you. Now, do you happen to know where I can get seven, magical days in which to clean & organize everything I need to make the year easier? Does anyone know how to stop space & time? Message me.

New Year

What’s so good about the New Year?! Only EVERYTHING.

It’s like ‘Hope’ in a bottle. ‘Hope In A Bottle’ is not what caused my party-goers to fall down the front stairs, doze off on the couch or take a little rest on my front lawn. It was beautiful revelry – with a side of Karaoke. Totally my cup of tea.

partyroomThe dates leading up to the New Year…28…29….30….ah! They call to me. ‘Look! A blank page, a new start, a chance to begin again.’ Dennis laughs and asks me if I realize that I don’t need to wait for a date on the calendar for all of these things. Of course I do! There is no avoiding it – it really is 1/1 and to me that is exciting.

The day is a tool. Aren’t they all? It’s a reminder, a symbol and a beacon. It is a clear demarcation – a line in the proverbial sand? Do you know how much I love sand?

I use today to set intentions and solidify my ideas. Last year and this year I used Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook. I unraveled, raveled and developed a word for my year. No, I can’t tell you! It’s super-secret. But it’s awesome.

I have a new pen and a new notebook. I have plans, dreams, resolutions and goals neatly line up. I have big ideas that are full tiny details. I am constructing lists. I am one big walking, talking and breathing New Year’s cliche and I love every minute of it.

Happy New Year everyone. You don’t have to do it my way, but do it someway. Sure, it’s just another day, but it is all that we’ve got.

Can you guess what one of my New Year’s Resolutions is?

Save

Sunday Scenes – Cleaning on a Sunday

Here is what I saw and photographed on Sunday.

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My Xbox Avatar – I like her!

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A common sight to see – the back of Ethan as he walks into my mother’s house. His favorite place to be.

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He had to see if he still fit in the sink. Why?

My brain told me to clean the living room.

I tried tidying.

It said ‘clean’ – as in move furniture, wash floors, cull books, dust lightbulbs (yes, my brain is like that) and clean the windows. If you don’t have a shred of obsessive-compulsive tendencies, you would not understand a brain that tells you that if you comply, and do what it wants, all will be well and right with world.

All will be right?! How could I not?

As I cleaned, I found a tragically lost library book. If you know anything about my library habits, I have on occasion had 99 library books out at one time – and I DO NOT lose library books. I searched for it and made it the topic of prayer ~ and here it was wedged behind a small book shelf partnering up with silvery gray dust bunnies in an effort to hid itself.

Now it is found.

All is right with the world.

My brain is good like that.

Sunday Scenes – As Is

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A mess to clean

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Sick Boy

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Dinner Entertainment

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Geeky Cuzzy Luv

Cabinet of Curiosities. Dusted.

Unraveled

I know it. I just can’t admit it. I keep getting to the end of row 5 and I fumble to finish just right. I haven’t taken the time to locate the exact spot to place my last stitch. I settle for a couple of different solutions to ending this row repeatedly and they all seem like ‘close enough’ solutions.

rav1I assure myself each time I finish the row that it will all work out in the end. I fight what I misconstrue as perfectionism. I fight the feeling that what does not feel quite right – is not, in fact, quite right.

rav1xThey are the tiniest of errors. A loop or two off. I can’t believe I have to drag out the pattern again. I convince myself there must be a way to just keep going. I am sure it’s fine.

It’s not fine. The edge of my project is working up crooked, scrunched and pulling on the row above and below it. Small errors culminate in an unattractive edge. The yarn is expensive, the pattern complicated and my intention for this garment is to bring peace, love & joy to the person I will gift it to. Excellence and solid foundation is called for and I have settled repeatedly for efforts that not only left my project misshapen and ugly, but I have tripled the amount of work required to fix it.

rav2The steps I need to take are overwhelming. If I want to fix what I have done, I need to backtrack to a place that I thought I passed long ago. I have something built and functioning ~ even if it is not perfect. But perfection turns out not to be the problem. The problem was lying to myself and ignoring the signs. Before I take such drastic steps, I pray. I pray about ripping it all out. It needs to be done.

It seems so drastic. Pulling out each stitch faster and faster and wrapping the yarn back into shapeless balls, unworked. My project shrinks to a measly couple of rows – a mere beginning of a shawl meant to wrap someone in comfort.

Staring at my unraveled yarn feels wonderful. The mistakes have been ripped out, they are gone and are not longer twisted mistakes that will go on to affect the whole rest of my work. I have stripped it down to the bare minimum and I need to begin just where I have left off. This time I am equipped with the information I need to place the stitches in the proper place. It was not even that the stitches were wrong – just misplaced.

I try again. I pay attention. I work and re-work until it feels right and looks right. It is right.

It is even and appealing and provides the solid foundation needed for the next row – which will also be appealing and solid and so on. The cumulative effect of one good choice after another.

I was scared of how I would feel if I, I mean my project, was unraveled. I would have to admit my mistakes – you know – in my project – before I could truly fix them and replace my stitches in just the right spots.

I am glad this is just a crochet project and not something so much more serious, like my life. You know?

Random photos from a random Sunday.

A friend

A friend

I have a new welder and this thing

I have a new welder and this thing

The balloons are too happy of a site to take down

Holiday over, balloons remain

A frequent site - order & re-ordered

A frequent site – ordered & re-ordered

If nothing else in your house can be clean

If not much else in your house can be clean…

Year after year

Year after year, same photo

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When Hank brings the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold cold heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire…

Can I get a hallelujah, Can I get an amen?
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival, Singing every single verse

Yeah, I guess that’s my church

Skillz

I have a list entitled, “Things I Want The Boyz To Learn”.

Algebra, world history, and chemistry have not made my list. They can pursue these things if they wish – or their schools require it, it’s just that my list is way more important.

How to tie and tie, clean a bathroom, grill a steak and an effective way to make a sincere apology ~ those are on my list. How to start a charcoal grill, light a fire in a fireplace and jump start a car. It’s a long list. I take every chance I can ~ or make sure someone else can ~ to teach them things they simple won’t and can’t learn in school.

I needed to send a paper registration and a check – what?! no internet? – to a government agency last week. I sat Sean down to do it with me. Trust me, these things are WAY easier to do without an apprentice – but it must be done. Return address, stamp and address. Nope, he didn’t know what a zip code was. I explained that we could send almost anything through the mail and stamps are actual currency. His idea of mail was junk mail and Amazon deliveries. He liked the ‘check’ idea too. His usual exposure to any form of payment is ‘the swipe’ 🙂

I made some homemade soup for a sick family member last week. I called the boyz off their various electronic devices and sat them at the kitchen counter – do you think they were thrilled? They have NO concept of why food preparation might be hard if you are ill or grieving. Their food magically appears without much care for the planning, the list, and the shopping. They are getting better at cooking – and don’t worry, “how to make lasagna and chicken soup” are on the list. I explained disposable containers were imperative and not asking, just doing, is the preferred method for providing food – that most people will say that they are ‘fine’. We are men of action – remember that, boyz.

DSC00082Two of the boys, unfortunately, had the experience recently of learning how and why we send sympathy cards. Mikey, the sweet boy, asked if sending a card did not just remind the person of their loss. As sad as it was, I was glad we had a chance to talk about why we participate in certain social rituals regarding loss.

It takes a certain level of mindfulness to remember to pull them or push them into circumstances in which they can master all types of practical life skills. It is usually easier to do these tasks yourself, but not a good, long-term plan.

Other wise moms have reminded me that when there is a huge sink full of dishes – I am not the only one with working arms and when we are out of cookies….

Memorize & make Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Memorize & make Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies