Thursday, August 29, 2013

Friday Ramblings

I spoke with my best friend today before she went into work, and I realized something.
We are not alone.
She is one of the strongest and bravest people I know. She has been crushed by depression and has gotten back up and been hired by a major craft store chain. Not her first choice, but there she is with all types of people in the same boat. 
Not alone.

The kid with two masters from Colombia University and a school in London, the grandma who hasn't worked in years, the twenty-something girl who just throws herself into whatever the manager tells her to do, and my friend. My beautiful friend, who, when she started, began by stocking shelves. It's a brand new store and all the people hired were given a section of the store and were busy little ants, hauling boxes, climbing step ladders, putting those miniscule little tags on the shelves with eyes that are over 50. Need I say more? The first week she said all she could do was go home, soak in the tub and eat Tylenol. 
Yesterday, I helped Brenna and a foreign exchange student from China work on their forehand in tennis in 106 degree heat. My sciatica kicked in and I ended up soaking in the tub and eating Tylenol.
Not alone.

Today, my friend starts on the register, for which they have not been able to find the time to train her. 
Now, I KNOW she can do it. But think about it. Still being a tiny bit fragile, she is going to stand at the register in a brand, spanking new craft store with women waiting in line who are beyond giddy with their treasures and have in their hot little hands the free-standing deer antler toilet paper holder that they desperately need to go home and put in their bathroom. Most likely before their husbands get home. Can you feel the tension in the room?
The thought of screwing up on the register with those needy eyes watching is more than she or I can bear. 
I told her to get a scrap of material and write in black sharpie, "Be Patient With Me." and then tie it around her forehead. Kind of like she is preparing for battle. 
Instead, we prayed together, like we have done for over 28 years. Our beggy prayers, asking God to equip us for the day, spilling out our fears and acknowledging our neediness.
 I prayed that God would be her barrier-her shield. The space between her and mistakes made in front of people that can cause our psyches great harm. 
The gentle pillow to fall on when she has to void a purchase and can't find the manager within the 1.2 seconds the customer thinks the manager should appear. You know, that awkward time the light on the register blinks while you try to make small talk with your customer and keep them occupied while the manager has to come with the magic key and unlock your register. 

By the time we were done praying, I was in tears. I realized I NEED that barrier, too. The barrier between me and trying so hard to make sure my child has been equipped for everything that will come her way. The barrier between my lack of knowledge and the unknown. The gentle pillow I can throw myself against when, once again, I fall short in my harsh expectations of myself. 
Not. Alone.

I think today, I will write on my hand, "be patient with me", as a note to MYSELF. I will make an effort to ask God, repeatedly, to be my barrier between myself and my thoughts that condemn me. To land softly on the pillow barrier and say, "thank you for the help in seeing I can't do it all."
Then, I will go buy myself a set of toilet paper- holding- deer antlers. Because you know, someone, somewhere has bought the same antlers. 
Which means I won't be alone.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

heART Coaching Fun

Saturday was our heART Coaching class, and boy, did we dig in and learn and have fun!

prepping for the class at my house.

We met new friends, 

learned about living BIG and facing fears,

Valerie contemplating a technique.

to watch our body language and be able to loosen up a little.

Our gals dug in and tried new techniques and braved putting colors on a blank white page.

So much fun watching others create after one small demo with the Dylusion Ink Sprays!

After some time free-writing in our journals, we explored ways to embellish those words and pages. It's an amazing process to teach and watch unfold.
"You want me to circle words?"
"I can't choose three colors. What if I don't like them?"
Our fears come up in many different forms.
What a privilege to watch a participant try something new and realize it IS possible to do. 
The fears that sit in darkness are lit up like fireworks on the Fourth and takes that darkness away. 
Crazy good.

There is something magical that happens when you talk about fear, write it out and then add color.

Sue giving suggestions for some powerful ways to move towards our destinies.

Your imagination is stretched.

Participants begin looking around and seeing that what others are doing looks like fun and maybe they should try it, too! 
When they start-look out.

Boldness steps in.
Courage takes over.
Laughter starts.

It's stunning to watch the transformation when people play.

We always worry if we are "doing it right" or what others will think of our creations.
But every time I teach this class, I learn as well.
Not one page looked like the page I demonstrated for them. 
It was so cool!
Each one was unique to the person who created it.

Soft colors, bold colors. Tiny words, big, sweeping words.

Kind words tucked within to remind ourselves of what we are capable of.

I've always said a dirty child is a happy child. It means they have played and played, and PLAYED.
I think the same applies to adults around an art table.

A big mess means F.U.N.
Dye on your hands for the rest of the day just reminds you of time well spent.

THANK YOU to the women who came and braved those blank pages, who were courageous enough to share with others, and who were so enjoyable to learn from.
We can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Friday Ramblings

As I write this, we are three and one-half days into the school year.

I'm pretty sure it's time for Thanksgiving Break.

Could I maybe talk about overwhelm for a little bit?
I think we can all relate in one form or another regarding this topic, and while I risk feeling whiney and like I'm complaining, it really helps to write it out.
So, I'm sorting and wrestling with myself. Not whining. 
Cause Lord knows we all have things we are facing down right now.

Sometimes I wonder if the truly exhausting part of our lives is the radical switching of gears. -Brene Brown

I read this in Brene's Blog this evening and it HIT HOME.
I wish I had read this about 15 years ago. But it's here now and I'm rejoicing that someone GETS IT!

I have always dreaded the beginning of school for normal reasons. I don't like having my summer, lazy, going to the beach and pool days taken hostage by get up, get out the door, do homework days.
When you add a child with special needs, it kinda ups the ante. It's funny, but it's gotten worse as Brenna has gotten older. I seem caught in a fifth dimension. Toward the end of summer, the days are hard because we navigate B's social activities. We navigate ALL her activities, because if we didn't, she would default to sitting all day in front of 
the t.v. for eight hours. I dread school because the activities are ramped up, the learning curve gets steeper and time seems even shorter during the day. 
Here comes the I'm not whining part, but really sorting and wrestling.

all photos courtesy of Brenna this week.

Brenna adores school. She especially adores it this year as she is a Senior and has full reign in the Senior Hallway. She is "manager" for the tennis team. She is taking speech, art, Bible and T.A's in the front office. Plus, there is a whole new group of exchange students from China for her to fall in love with.
So, SO cool.

The minute details to manage this are what get me waving the white flag and make me think I'm slowly loosing my mind. Because, if it's so stinking cool, why am I not writing this post like life is all sunshine and flowers? 

I have tossed two posts so far after this point. I have written out all the minute details of what is involved managing her school and extra curricular activities. I will also spare you the griping, caustic post about quizzes that need to be modified or just tossed out.

But here's the deal.
I can't do it alone. 
This is something I hit all the time. It's this big brick wall that leaves me with a huge knot on my head every stinking time, because I keep coming back to it and banging my head on it and seeing if it helps. 
(It doesn't.)
At least by now I'm coming to a little sooner and I don't hit my head quite so many times before I realize what I'm doing.

I have been a little more gentle with myself.
I changed my alarm clock.
I am adding nothing else to this week.
I played in my art room.
One day I ate lunch and watched an episode of Malcom In The Middle and laughed so hard I almost spit out what I was eating.
I've enjoyed these things and when it's time to get Brenna, I focus on that and how we can enjoy the rest of the day together.
I've spent more time remembering to pray throughout the day-"beggy prayers" as Anne Lamott calls them. The kind that are said in the bathroom stall.

It seriously is a daily, minute by minute process to let go of what I cannot do/control/manage/figure out. To turn myself to an "open-hand" mindset is very difficult. It is difficult to even write that sentence. It makes me somewhat nauseated to think I can't figure everything out regarding my child. I've been given this responsibility, so it stands to reason I need to know how to deal with it all.
(enter panic)

Oh, wait. 
Asking for help is good.
Remembering that I don't know everything is even better.
I'm not still in a family that keeps secrets.
I'm not less-than when I ask/let others in to help me.
Old habits die hard.

I can't say I have any great epiphany to leave with you this Friday.
Just the simple stuff.
You are loved.
You have done far more than you think you have.
Journaling helps and Beggy prayers go a long, long way.
And, thank you.
 For listening.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Know There Is A Desk In Here.

This is where my creative mojo has gone over the last few days.
I think it had something to do with the state of my desk and art room:

Horrific, yes?

It gets worse.....

I will confess that it took the better part of three days to do this.
But, I also took apart two bulletin boards and hung two items on the walls. 
I'm just trying to make this process look good.

that long white panel leaning up against the drawers? found it at Goodwill and I'm going to repurpose it!

I had been sharing this process via texting with my friend, Amy, and her best response was, "OH! I can see the table!" That made it all worthwhile. No, really, it did! I loooove being told I did a good job.

By today, after organizing so much and getting everything ready for Brenna's first day of school, I thought I would go nuts if I didn't create just SOMETHING. 
Plus, my table was too clean.
I was in a snarky mood to boot, so I groused the whole time I began this little class project that I am taking from Rachelle over at http://www.arteyecandy.com/ and wouldn't you know it? 
The snarkiness began to lift, and I began getting ideas, and getting excited, and thinking..and...
then I had to go get a cavity filled.

ten dollar "Candy Bites" class

But my new birdie makes me smile.

The ideas are still in my head, and tomorrow is another day.
New day. New mercies.
Thank goodness.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Ramblings

I am officially in mourning.
It's the last day of summer vacation and school begins on Monday.
Someone please tell me who the knucklehead is that decided on the theme of school beginning in  summer?
What happened to starting after Labor Day?
By September, everyone in our house is good and ready for school. 
August, not so much.

It's the summer mornings I will miss.
Quiet, slow and peaceful. 
A second cup of coffee, pajamas til ten (or so). 
Time to think and reflect.

I'll come around to school days. I always do. One doesn't really have a choice, do they?
But, this year, I would like to do it gracefully.
I would like to take more time to be listening to my heart.
To not feel like I'm being shot out of a cannon every morning.

I'll make little changes.
Set my alarm a little earlier...maybe get a new alarm that plays music instead of the harsh beeping sound. Man, I hate that sound.
Set my coffee the night before.
Before I even get OUT of bed, I'll lay there and give thanks instead of instantly going over the day's to-do list. 

It might be like trying to bend an iron bar, but I'm gonna give it a try.

So, thank you, summer. 
Thank you for the long days, the gentleness of how time flows during your days.
Thank you for the break from schedules, from busyness. 

I'll see you next year.