Monday, August 7, 2017

Word.

I am a word person.  Specifically, as an INFJ (one of the 16 Meyers-Briggs personality types), I am a written-word person. Don't ask me to actually speak words.  And I don't just mean in front of large groups.  I mean almost anything spontaneous... smaller groups... unexpected phone calls... leaving voicemail messages... small talk... 'greeting those beside you' in church... If you know me well, and I mean WELL, you might think I never shut up.  But that's for a 'lucky(?)' and select few.  Want me to write, though?  I'll spill everything.  (This can also be interpreted: My blog posts will rarely be short.)

Writing is a tool for me.  I can explain my thoughts better...although it will take some time because of a LOT of editing.  It can also be a way for me to rid myself of thoughts that whirr around in my brain, knotting my stomach and using my energy.  If I can write things down... often the things I want to tell someone with whom I may be frustrated... I am as free, and as bitterness-free, as if I'd said them.  I think it's because I feel burdened to remember these details or sharp bits of wisdom if they only exist in my mind.  If they're written down, I can access them if needed.  Usually, that need to share, though, evaporates when my mind releases them to a page.  If they are things that really should be shared, writing them first gives them better organization that I just might remember when I need to speak.


My Etsy Finds
I also love to hang words around my house...whether it's on artwork I create or in things I purchase.  I like to share bits of wisdom, inspiring song lyrics, and Scripture with my family in this way... hoping they will give us all some things to think about, and make a difference in our decisions and approaches in whatever situations we face.  I have long wanted to do this, as taught in Deuteronomy 11:18-20:
So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates...
Lyrics from favorite songs incorporated into
artwork or laid over a faded photo using
PicMonkey, then ordered on canvases.
(Songs by Miranda Lambert and Casting Crowns)

As much as I love words, I have been frustrated by the advice by so many authors and bloggers to choose a "Word of the Year."  Maybe it's because I love words so much that choosing one is impossible.  Maybe it's because I am a frustrated perfectionist and I'm afraid of getting it "wrong," and I will drive myself crazy second-guessing that focus as other ideas pop into my head.  I think it's because, to almost every question in which there is a choice, or encouragement to choose one favorite answer, I want to clarify, "In what situation?" I see many sides to everything.


Words on which I hope our family will focus.
This set hangs in our kitchen.
I also created these images in
PicMonkey and ordered canvases online

Honestly, my first reaction to choosing one word to describe my life is "TIRED."  This, of course, somewhat misses the boat in determining a motivating course or theme to one's year.  So my next reaction is "Survival."  Also, not that optimistic...

Most people choose and share 'their word' at the first of the year.  Oh, well.  Since it's now August, giving me adequate time to sort through all of the possibilities that have occurred to me over the first 2/3 of the year, I have settled on "Peace."  This encompasses a lot of areas, and is a much more positive spin on, and actually helps with "Survival." 



I first focused on the idea of "Peace" three years ago, when, in remembering his mother during a memorial service, a gentleman spoke of the 2 words his mother had personified..."Grace" and "Peace."  I thought it a wonderful legacy, and words by which I hoped my children would remember me some day.  So far, sadly, as my INFJ worrying seems hard to hide, I haven't made much progress toward a peaceful countenance. I was further reminded of that goal, though, when God led me to my own big lesson in peace this year, which I will share in another post.

I'm pretty sure I'll need the time to develop "Peace" more thoroughly in my life, so it can be my word for next year, too.  (And maybe some after that!)  So, there.  I'm now running 4 months ahead!


Friday, July 28, 2017

Telling Vignettes

I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading my devotional, Holley Gerth's What your Heart Needs for the Hard Days, a daily habit I started about 3 weeks ago.  I say 'daily habit'... I read one segment a day... and I've read about 7 so far, so you can see how the 'daily' thing is going!

Anyway, she was giving me new insight into the 23rd Psalm... how the green pastures aren't just clean, cool, and refreshing, as I'd imagined, but for sheep they're also sustenance/food. And since these life necessities are offered, we don't need to worry so much, and can rest in that promise. I was staring off, thinking about this new idea when I brought my gaze into focus, and saw this counter.  Not happily, I realized it was a vignette representative of my life right now...



First of all, it's messy, disorganized, and like many areas, rooms, and surfaces of our home, there are things there that don't belong.

Other things evidenced in this scene:
  • We have medical and dietary issues going on in the family that often mean different meals for each person.  For this, I am sorely unprepared (I keep not thinking ahead and having to 'punt' at each meal time), as well as the whole individual meal situation being frustrating, inefficient, and expensive.
  • Unpaid bills and pieces of mail with which I know not what to do taunt me.  I am in charge of mail, bills, and all things paperwork around here.  I've done it for 32+ years, but it's not my strong point, and it's all catching up with me.  The balls I used to juggle so well, to keep everything up-to-date and to know where everything is, even if not filed neatly, are all falling around me.
  • A box from a charger symbolizes our (over)use of technology.
  • Pet care items remind me one dog needs grooming and all our pets need shots.
  • Food items and gadgets show the projects my family starts, but leaves me to clean up.
  • The stack of books represent all those I mean to read but haven't, and the notebook is full of lists and project ideas yet to get past the 'write-it-down-before-I-forget' stage.

After stewing in frustration and overwhelm for a moment, uncharacteristically, I decided not to let that counter view define my day. I decided to unfocus from that, and, instead, "be present" for myself and my art today...To let my soul breathe...thank you, Emily P. Freeman! (You don't know Emily, her blog, or her books?  I highly recommend any.)

THIS is the type of vignette I'd prefer to represent my life...  



...A closeness to God and His Word, and letting my creative projects out of the notebook and into existence!

Today, I decided to take a Bible verse Prince Go-for-It and I had briefly discussed earlier, and make it into the wall canvas that had drawn itself in my mind.  







Unfortunately, my mind didn't create a background for it, so it is an example of my long-fought weakness in reaching design 'completeness' in my projects.  But I was pleasantly surprised that my rusty lettering skills still served me pretty well, and I'm attempting to be less 'neat' and less of a perfectionist, so this project certainly fits that bill!  

I enjoyed myself and it was relaxing.  A win for today.  --Not that it made the pile of bills disappear or the countertop properly organized.  Somehow, I want to simplify to be rid of that first vignette and live more often amongst the second. 

It doesn't seem like accepting a gift should be so difficult, but worry, busyness, and living in constant crisis distract us. Taking time to let my creative ideas come to life is a way of accepting the gift offered in Psalm 23... a version of 'lying down in green pastures and restoring my soul.'  




Monday, March 20, 2017

Random Probably Isn't

In design, random is a look.  It might start out unplanned, but it takes some effort to look random in a way that's pleasing....pieces spread in a happenstance sort of way, without looking planned.  A piece of artwork, no matter what kind, needs balance in its composition (unless the artist is trying for the opposite), and true randomness rarely gives that result. 

The sign at Taco Bell shows a photo of a 'Spicy Crunchwrap Supreme' with a nicely spaced, 'random' smattering of jalapeno slices... A little heat spread throughout.  Yum!  In real life, Prince CuddleBunny's lunch had approximately 12 slices of pepper, randomly/carelessly thrown on.  They ended up in a pile in the space of two bites, which was not yum!  


I wanted the colorful strips around the edges to look
mixed up...randomly placed.  I tried to accomplish
this by sewing them together in random fashion.
Just pick one up and sew it on...

Art is like that.  If the pieces that draw your attention, when meant to result in a random assortment, are all piled together, that one spot is too demanding and the rest is bare. The visual weight of the piece is off.  If on the other hand, they end up close to evenly spaced or sized, the effect of randomness may be lost.  Instead, it can look liked planned spacing that 'just missed.'  In art you must, ironically, move things around, sometimes adjusting and adjusting again, to get a random, 'easy' look that works.
...but that didn't create the look I wanted. Sometimes a strip
was too bland...with like colors all in a row without the
punch of color from the orange or bolder prints, which
have more visual weight.  I had to take apart some strips and
change others around to get the scattered look that worked.















The result...random looking, but not randomly composed.

Life is like that.  I am noticing that when I approach each day in a random manner, little gets accomplished, because the balance is off. -- Too much time on one thing, or too little time on many things. Too often I have little to show for my day; not doing enough or jumping from random task to random task.  Or, I spend the day responding to a pile of hot peppers. In the end, no real progress is made that I can feel good about... and because of that, I may be creating that next pile of excessive heat.  

A person who goes through life creating success in his or her wake, may look like they don't have a care in the world...as if keeping their fingers in the pies they have is without extra thought or worry.  If someone's life or tasks appear to be without worry, I can pretty much guarantee it isn't without thought. Prioritizing, scheduling, and goal setting would all play a part.  Working efficiently, these things, which all involve thinking ahead, can help prevent extra work and crises, or those piles of spicy peppers, and also prevent the worry about missing things or not keeping up.  

I don't know if it's the mental effects of aging, that there are more things on my plate, or, perhaps, just finally growing some wisdom, but I don't think I'm doing well with multi-tasking and 'winging it.'  Today I had a choice of the bathroom hand towel or paper towels to use after my shower!  I think I'm missing some key tasks... 

I'm finding need for more structure/planned guidance in my life as I try to pare literal and figurative clutter, and prioritize my time to focus on things that are more crucial, and make time for things I want to do.  As much as I like the random look in art, I need less of it in my life. 


Friday, March 17, 2017

From the Mouths of Princes


I'm not doing very well at getting back to this blogging thing, considering it's been almost a month since my 'return.'

As a matter of fact, right after I'd published that last post, I was having familiar, nagging questions about whether or not it had been a good idea to do so. Without really expecting any feedback, I thought out loud and expressed some of my doubt to Prince CuddleBunny.
"I don't even know if I should have a blog at all." 
"What?! Why?" (His surprise actually surprised me.  I didn't know it was on his radar.)
"I feel like all I have to talk about is myself." 
"Yeah...Who else would you talk about?" 
"Blogs are supposed to be helpful to people; to share a recipe or technique...maybe teach something." 
"Ach (with a wave of the hand)...You're good."

I wish I could dispatch with the message in a blog post as neatly and quickly as he did with that subject!

I guess most blogs are somewhat about individual journeys.  --And, the prince is obviously right, mine is all I have to share.  I do have quite a long list of post ideas, so bear with me, and I'll try to be here more often.

Meanwhile... You may have noticed that I've updated my blog title from "Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup," because I don't feel that cooking and the kitchen will be a big part of what I share now.  Our Home for Ten (RHome410) is a product of me, and I have become a product of it, as is anything I accomplish.  In other words:


RHome410 is me.  Me is RHome410.  

Ok, sorry... I am RHome410...So simplifying to that name seems appropriate.  

I've recently updated My Family page, so you could check in there if you're interested in a tiny bit of catching up.  I've updated my "About Me," too, if you might like a hint as to the new direction of the blog. Other changes to the page are forthcoming. 

Oh...and 
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!





Saturday, February 18, 2017

Finding my Way

I ordered myself 2 new books a month or so ago...I knew I 'shouldn't' because I had so many others waiting to be read. But I needed to understand more about my NEED to be creative and make art, and the voices in my head (mine and others from my life) getting in my way. I made myself a rule... Actually read the first one, Art & Fear, without stopping...that is to say, without getting distracted by starting to read anything else.
Art & Fear. For me, like taking a class for $7
I'm glad I ordered it and I'm glad I dove right in. I got a lot out of it. I loved reading it as much as if I was going to a really good class, so sticking with it took no particular discipline. 
Finding quiet time to read and absorb was the biggest challenge, but that's what alone-time in the car... with only the light from my phone during Prince CuddleBunny's baseball practice... is for!
Besides a lot of underlining and taking notes, in beginning to feel ok about my own ideas, I sketched right onto the pages! I have so many projects in mind, I hope I remember them all. I suppose only that ones that should will get lost in the shuffle and process.
I think I am finding MY voice... Or, actually, understanding that MY voice, expressed MY way, is all that's needed for MY art. It's not more or less than what anyone else can produce. I can't control how others will respond, so there is no value in worrying about it. As the author explained, all artists are different in what they have to offer and how they express it, but we're all the same in that we can only produce our true and best art, at least figuratively, alone in a room, and with who we are as individuals as the source. It's about accepting myself, which isn't a new concept in the self-help world, and, certainly, something I'd heard and read before, but maybe I am just starting to 'get it.' At approximately 56 and 11 months... Better late than never.

I felt sad to get to the end of the book. I've experienced that before, but this is a first, I think, for non-fiction! I went back through it to review my underlines and notes, to better imbed what I'd found important. 

Ha!  I just noticed that the title is printed
on the mailing label.  So much for my surprise!
I highly recommend this book for those with a yen, even a mostly hidden one, for being creative! Art can be a lot of things, and I think a lot of people have an artist in them, waiting to come out from behind all sorts of negative comments or perceptions, a view that such things shouldn't be an important priority among life's demands, or a lack of confidence. Artists aren't born great, and they're not more special than you are. They just get in and DO. --And practice, and fail, and do some more.

Now I get to open the envelope that has locked the 2nd book away from my view ever since it arrived...I don't even remember what it is! It'll be a surprise gift to myself.




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