Daily Prompt: Express Yourself

I am a person that needs to express herself in some creative way everyday. It is the way I approach life and probably the reason why boring tasks take me longer, I have to find a way to make them bearable perhaps daydream the whole time I am doing the thing I am trying not to think about. My husband encourages me to indulge my creative side as it makes life more enjoyable and therefore has a positive effect on those around me. He notes that I am happiest when I am knitting, crocheting, or some such thing.

Recently I have been exploring my artistic aspirations with yarn. My father inspired this blanket I crafted as a Christmas gift. These are the things that matter to him and I wanted to brighten his room as he spends his days now in a memory care unit for people with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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I even signed my work. Hopefully this is a gentle suggestion to the staff to hand me Dad’s treasure if it requires laundering.

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Dad and me in his room.

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My assistant and quality control supervisor, Claude, overseeing the blocking phase of the project.

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Trying my hand at a selfie one day when I was with Dad before he moved into assisted living.

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Many people say they wish they were talented but just are not. I am not at all musically inclined but I know a good song when I hear one and can recognize when someone is out of tune for that matter. Creative pursuits serve a very practical purpose, they help us practice problem solving and other valuable skills which are necessary in daily life. Who is to say what good is. Find something creative that you can do and enjoy yourself. I promise I’ll try to learn how to deal with numbers, organization…all that stuff that others are so much better at then I am.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

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The joy of weeds and garbage? Yes, for the green of weeds gives us hope that soon the earth will be in full bloom, that the long, cold, stormy winter has indeed passed. 

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Garbage, once hidden by the purity of snow, now lays on ground that has thawed and is free of winter’s remnants. 

 

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Sprouts of green breaking through the mud and winter debris give a sense of expectation, soon bright blossoms will color the landscape.

 

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Even mud is a welcome sight as it reveals fresh ground soaked with melted snow, making the earth ready for all that spring and even summer hold.

 

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Less than a week ago we awoke to several inches of heavy, wet snow dampening our spirits that long for the end of winter. But today the sun and warmth has melted away all but the banks of snow in corners of parking lots. They were the forbidden delight of my school day recesses in the parking lot-cum-playground but now represent the last vestiges of winter which I will gladly bid adieu.

 

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A more satisfying sign of spring than mud and garbage, buds on the ends of tree branches awaiting spring’s signal that it is time to awake.

 

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Somehow raking, collecting, and weeding don’t seem so terrible as they are chores that in a sense celebrate the something new that is happening all around us. We are leaving behind harsh winter and standing on the threshold of faithful spring.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Time Machine

Visiting the past, perhaps the homes of thrifty depression era mamas lovingly caring for their broods or the rolling hills Elizabeth Bennet strolled, has its appeal. My own kitchen was inspired by pictures of 1930’s era domesticity, and like many women of that era raising my children has been an important part of my life. Gathering with other young mothers, filling my kitchen with the aroma of good food, and learning how to manage a home filled my days. It seems home, family, and relationships were more highly valued then and a woman could feel good about her desire to indulge herself in such pursuits, no apologies necessary. Traveling further back to the settings of Jane Austen’s novels also seems appealing. What beautiful countryside her characters enjoyed, their clothing was lovely, and relationships were precious though marrying for money rather than love had its concerns.

Longing for the past, seemingly simpler and more romantic times, can bring joy but it may also keep us from the satisfaction of living in the present. Today is where I want most to be. There are times when I have thought more highly of myself than I ought especially when it came to mothering and morality and if I could relive those days I would consider the feelings of others much more important than I did then. But alas I cannot go back so I must use those lessons for good in the present and apologize for past mistakes.

It is particularly meaningful that I choose the present over visiting any other time as I am struggling with depression following a difficult season of helping to care for my father as he has succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease. What is most wonderful at such times is the feeling of hope that life will get better, that things which drain my energy today will once again give me no reason for pause. I am learning here the importance of allowing myself space, of clearing the calendar, enjoying a slower pace, simplifying my days, and accepting where I am even if I don’t like feeling as I do. Certainly I am not alone in my struggles both in the sense that those dear to me are loving me and supporting me and many others wrestle with the same challenges. How great it is to be able to encourage others, to comfort as I have been comforted.

Recently I related how I am learning to take life at a slower pace and how that may need to be a way of life for me not just a season. “Is that okay?” the conversation continued. “Yes,” I replied, “because I want to help others and I believe this is an important message.” It is okay to get off life’s merry go round, to breathe, to take life in instead of rushing through each day. It is important to live doing what we were created to do but allowing ourselves to be overcome by anxiety, feeling heavy laden with responsibility is not living.

Escape in yesterday or dream about tomorrow but enjoy today. If you need permission to take life more slowly, to not only survive but thrive, you have the freedom and the power to say yes to yourself.

This post was inspired by the weekly writing challenge: time machine.

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Lessons From a Late March Storm

 

The teaching sidewalk

Weary, as so many are, of the long, cold, stormy winter I hoped to find some redeeming quality in the slush I found myself trudging through once again. Hoping that since March came in like a lion it would go out like a lamb I was dismayed to find that the last weekend in March delivered a sloppy mix of snow, rain, and sleet. Although walking a dog in such mess is hardly the worst sort of suffering that such a storm could dish out it isn’t the sort of climate I would choose to venture out in if given a choice. As I walked today with my dear exercise companion, Lilly, navigating the remnants of ice and slush I was able to appreciate the sunshine that was causing the last of winter, I hope, to melt away. The sidewalks told me a story that I am bringing to you my readers with the hope that you too will be encouraged.

Some of the cement today was completely dry having been cleared following the storm a couple of days ago; some was wet from melting snow. While areas covered in melting slush made my feet cold and wet (not long, thanks wool socks) they did not hold the peril that the sections of rutted ice created by yesterday’s footprints frozen over during the night. I learned quickly while trying to avoid traffic where to walk and what to avoid. My footing was actually surer in the wet snow cover than in the footprints already laid.

Lately I have been pondering the idea of taking a break from the hurry of this day and age which is causing me some trouble and there in the snow I saw the lesson. The clear walk is where I want to be, a place where my footing is sure, the decisions are clear even if they are difficult and I am persuaded by my own sense of what is best for me than burdened by another’s directive. I’m not there yet. Slushy areas, though not as peasant to walk on, provide a place to move while remaining upright. These compare to giving myself some breathing space, saying no when I need to, and not putting myself down thinking I should be doing this or that when I just don’t have the energy. If I hope to find that dry walk, a place of good emotional health, I need to walk first in the safety of the slush; learning to be okay with who I am right now. Rutted ice had been created as a well trodden path had become frozen hard in night and a danger to any who might pass. It seemed smart to walk in the established footprints but I was most unstable there. Foot traffic is heavy on the path of busyness these days, because so many choose such a flurry of activity it seems the best way to travel through life but for me and many others it is dangerous. I am trying to make my way through the slush and learn what to do when and what to let go of for now and maybe always.

As I continue my trek through a rather stormy season of life I hope that I will be able to not only learn to slow down and appreciate a different pace but that I will also be able to encourage others to do the same. Perhaps I can join those who realize that a slower pace in life can be quite healthy and productive making for happier people and a richer life. If I can learn to live by these ideals then walking through life’s slop will have been worth the effort. To those who are teaching me I thank you and those who would like to join me on the journey welcome aboard.