Is full of putting things together.
Not making unnecessary sacrifices because having your heart full is inspiring.
When you give up everything you damage yourself, starvation isn’t limited to food.
You need to feed your heart, as a woman, and as a mother.
Don’t do this for only for you, do it for everyone around you.
When your heart is full you can give more, do more.
We are told to keep going, that pushing hard from morning to night,
is the only way to succeed.
But if you don’t step back and see where you are and why you are moving forward you loose the plot,
forget the purpose.
When you take the time to remember why, it strengthens you.
It makes you more driven, more focused.
If you present yourself but you are missing the self-confidence and passion then all the hard work is just spinning wheels.
So take the time to feed your soul, be with the people you love.
When you are bursting full of purpose and love the world notices.
See that smile, that calm look, this is where I am right now. There is so much to do but I am learning to take things slowly, deliberately. Ever since we got back from our trip to Moab life has been busy, the to do lists are long, but I’m trying to break tasks down to smaller pieces, enjoy successes along the way rather that feel disappointment when I don’t get the entire thing done. So much more gets done when you actually can cross something off the list. For a while I was hesitant to take such a long trip, feeling like I should just get started, but then I realized that Finals really tapped me out and what I need most was time with my boys away from the clutter of the city and the online world. You know what those 6 days were so grounding, long enough that I could lose all my confidence in myself and regain it, long enough to have enough daydreams that I have focus. Mostly it was about loving my family without distraction.
Now that I’ve been back for a week there has been time enough for the scattered beginnings I am starting to see the trail in the forest. There is no more psyching myself up for what comes next, the next is now. Two years ago when this whole thing shifted I thought going back to school was about learning a skill, today I realize more than anything it was about regaining the self confidence that I lost over the chaos before then, two years is a long rebuilding but looking at it from here I don’t know if I could have come to this place where I am now without the amazing program I was in (technically I’m still a student taking a class here and there but no more full time).
~All photos are from our trip to Moab~
a one part inspiration one part planning
I’ve never been one for long term planning, I have looked at life six months at a time, possibly a year. That was how I always have been. Even in high school interning at a museum I felt uncomfortable with the way the projects were worked so far in advance. But through the transition of the past few years I have learned to value planning ahead. It is easy to fall into the comfortable rhythm of school especially with the deadlines and friendships, but I have managed to keep focused on the bigger picture, I am four semesters in and I have managed not to shift my plans. Instead I am more firm than ever in my goals.
It isn’t hard to know where I am going with all of this when at the end of the day Alder is there reminding, with his presence and words, what exactly my next step needs to be. He keeps me on task reminding me of the adventures we have planned and the rhythms we want to return to. All of this is part of a promise I made to him, and to me. I love what I am studying but that is really incidental. I chose it for the money and freedom to be made with it (don’t bother judging me I’ve had all the circular arguments in my head already). The bonus of my growing passion is that, like everything else in our lives, it becomes part of who I am and makes the work that I will do more pleasurable.
Here I am ready to move from full time student to working Mama and I feel the familiar tug of inactivity. Right now there is no one but myself pushing me forward. There are easy ways to move ahead, ones that while simple take me away from my goals. So I fight myself to find a balance that will make our family exist how it should. I push through days that move like honey, dreaming of the ones when doing what I need to will feel more natural. I am so out of practice, making myself do things. So I use big doses of day dreams and inspiration to help during the hours that Alder is at school.
This effort needed to realize my goals is monumental, yet for once it seems in reach.
Has it been a year? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was wondering what 2013 would bring. I chose Engaged last year and that came to be, whether it was school or family or friends I feel I have delved into everything deeply. Even if I lost months of my life to school, where I am right now is all thanks to all that I engaged. I have found new depths to my passion and feel that I am in a good space for moving forward. I sort of feel unstoppable, timid and a little unsure of what I am doing, but unstoppable anyway.
I start 2014 in a new phase with new needs of focus, but mainly I need for it all to come together. These words I choose are not just for inspiration, they are challenges. I thought for a while that I might use something like “finishing” or “successful” but there was some missing element to both of those. They were too sterile.
Fruitful allows for growth, it brings the natural world and heart into my goals. Making the life that I want will always be a process, but I look at this year as one of focusing on creating this life. The past year was spent filling my mind with information, renewing relationships, and returning to myself. This year I need to take these strengths use them to create where I am going.
On New Year’s morning while the house was silent I was moved by the flat snow flakes to sit for a while in our new studio space. In side me there was a shift, last year was about filling up and rushing through, I feel the need to slow down to take moments to collect and create. So the girl who has never had much of a thing for candles lit one and placed it in a place of honor.
We’ve had a rocky start to the school year, with lots of ups and downs. Now that we are approaching the beginning of Autumn things seem to be settling down. Still there have been some important and beautiful things that I have learned.
Taking the time to be by myself up in the mountains is the most restorative thing I can do for myself, in a way that no walk around the city can. It is the silence that my mind craves, these days of rushing from home to campus to home to pick up Alder to studying, leave little space in my mind to process the bigger picture and to nurture myself.
That when I get lost in all the small details of what I’m working on it is important to step back and look at where I am really going. But at the same time it is easy to get lost in “the future” where there are no imperfections. It is a careful balance between all of this.
Knowing where I am going down the road clears the way of procrastination and detours. Though these big picture concepts are hard for seven year olds to grasp.
I need to trust my convictions about how to live my life. That people who try to sell me on the traditional model may be good hearted but they generally have a very narrow view of how the future should go. They will try hard to change my mind about the way I am trying to shift my life because they feel like they wither know better or think that we want the same things.
When I reach a barrier inside myself take a step back and look to see where it comes from. Look deeply and then move forward (as I learned last night this is not a middle of the night thing to do). There is no benefit in pushing up against a barrier hoping to just knock it down. Instead it has to be understood and removed.
When you do sit down let everything else flow away and focus.
It’s been a while, I tend to not want to share online when my life is shifting. It hasn’t worked out before and then I have to back track. So instead I’ve been quiet, which has been killing me because so much wonderful things are going on. Let’s see Alder is in school, which is pretty much a disaster (wait this comes to a good point). But he has friends and he is learning how to read. But this whole schooling thing has really pushed us to look at what we are doing and how we can best help him, which really means get back to homeschooling. Before it was this amorphic thing we knew we wanted to homeschool but we didn’t know how to fit it all together, especially in this economy. But in the last three months the pieces have come together, we have a long journey ahead before he can come home but we have a new direction(s), real concrete ones.
First of all I am back in school, I’m going back for something I’ve always loved but never followed through with learning about. I have about a year of classes to take and then I am set with a new direction, one where there is a lot of need and one where I finally am not working with people (I love people I do but I am not who you want as your teacher or service provider, I don’t love them that much). I wouldn’t have so many courses to do except that when I got my Art degree we didn’t have any computer based courses so I have to learn all that stuff. It’s a little scary that I am going to be taking Physics, Drafting, and Architectural History all next semester (along with a computer course), but it all seems so interesting and relevant.
Second, I’m partnering with a friend who is an awesome seamstress to open (reopen) and Etsy shop The Little Red Canoe. We’ve already been at one holiday market and have another giant one tomorrow evening. It has been great partnering with someone so that we can both focus on our strengths. I get to do more of the business side while still creating and she gets to sew sew sew without having to worry if our business cards are printed or if the shop has been updated. (Oh and if anyone has some good advice on etsy banner please share I’m having a hell of a time making a nice one).
Third, Kevin is also going back to school. This has been a long slow process. A lot of mourning on his part, his dreams and the reality of our life don’t mesh, at least not at this moment. So he’s back in school returning to an earlier passion and becoming a science teacher. When I first met him he was three quarters of the way to becoming one so this isn’t something new either.
And as a forth and side note I discovered that my camera was not in fact broken I just needed to switch which eye I was focusing with. I seemed to have better vision in the other one.
So we have a busy year ahead of us, but one which is going somewhere, a place where we will be able to make our own choices once again. And it feels really good to be moving forward.
I love the Jewish calendar, how the beginning of the year is in the Fall when everything is so real. January never feels right to me it’s so in the middle of things, snow on either side. But Autumn, oh Autumn how I love your dance between life and death. The violent red of ripe tomatoes, the scent of falling leaves. Nothing is in halves in Autumn. My secret is to take long walks through the city searching out stories from moments I catch glimpses of. To pause at unknown cafes to sip warm drinks and make lives for the people around me. Or to catch the October sun at our local coffee shop, running into friends.
Autumn is for starting things, summer has been about doing moving our bodies high up in the mountains or out on the prairie. There were endless days spent down by the river jumping into rapids (not me but K and A). The summer came with two full blown attacks of “we’re moving to ______”. Summer was about change about movement, it was hard to pin anything down but the heat.
Now that we are in these days of Autumn I am reminded of what is important, of what I have given up which need to find my way back to. I always look to this season with excitement, the barren beauty of the world, not the ostentatious greens and vibrant colors of summer but the endless mix of golds, tobaccos, umbers, and ochers.
So today we will dress in shorts, the weather report talked of 80 today……of course it is supposed to snow Thursday.
This life we are living here, in the city of our heart, is one of twists and turns. Like all lives there are compromises we have to make so that we can reach our big long term goals. Right now that means that in five days Alder will be heading off to school for the very first time ever. We found a new alternative public school that has small classes, and the kids spend Fridays doing special projects rather than academics. It is far from our dream situation, but I’ve met the first grade teachers and they are enthusiastic and I just get a really good feel about them. Really that’s what matters, it is the people that he is surrounded by at this age that matters more than anything.
So we’ve bought the school supplies, the clothing (more on that in it’s own post), gotten the haircut, and I’ve done a dry run on getting him to school on time. Everything is ready except maybe my heart/soul. It isn’t that I am the Mama who is going be sad to send my son away from me, I’m actually sort of looking forward to a little break, it’s just that traditional school goes against so many of my educational beliefs. Yet, if we ever plan on homeschooling for the long run we have to let him go for a year or two until the rest of our lives are under control. I am deciding to look at these next months as a time where I can put my focus into certain projects, to help them blossom and grow.
We’re trying to fill these last days with adventures and projects, the sort that will be less often for a while. Kevin and Alder spent the other day with the Lego creating their own train, from sometime after breakfast until almost dinner time they were at it. To me that is the speed that learning should take, so I must remember to give him as much of that as I can with in the constructs of the school day.
There are moments in your life when you need to look at everything and see the best way to share your love and life. These are the moments of tears and decision making that mix heartbreak with excitement. Mainly for us they mean immediate changes so that the rest of our lives will flow smoothly the way we want them to. It means sending Alder to school for the time being. It means me working two part time jobs. It means Kevin working and going back to school. But it means staying here in this home we love, in this city we love. It means being able to wake up in the morning and seeing a direction where someday we can follow our dreams again.
I’ll be honest I’m heartbroken that I have to give up homeschooling. But I also see how ragged we are, how little hope we’ve had of moving forward. I need a break…. we all need a break. So for now this is the direction we are going, always with an eye to when we have more freedom to decide. That’s it, that’s all no more to discuss this is how it is and now I must focus on what is not what was or what could be.
So I’ve moved over here, a fresh start for a new life. To understand the title of the blog please read the About Me page.