Enjoying Creation

Yes, I’ve committed to another challenge. I am going to do art every day in the month of November, and I’m going to share it with you. What creative thing did I do today? I worshiped and praised while taking a hike with some others from our homeschool group. God’s art is the most inspiring of all. My art, which has been inspired by God’s art, will follow with a post tomorrow. I have some sketching to attempt tonight.

Yes, silly me, hugging a tree.

My daughter was creative today as she took most of the photos. I’m hoping she will post them on her blog for all to see. (Hint, hint.)

I am finding that committing to challenges really helps me to accomplish goals, develop habits, and dig deeper into areas of interest. I greatly appreciated what Creative Every Day had to say yesterday on her Wednesday Wellness post. It is well worth the read.

With my last challenge, I trained myself to conquer the overload of stuff with the Purge Stuff Challenge. I’d also like to give a big congratulations to those who participated. Scrappy Kea used this as a great opportunity to purge as she packed to move. Homeschool in the Pines shared a wonderful resource for organizing school stuff. And since I live relatively close to Deus Audiam, I heard first hand of her mighty stories of purging. Say yes to less.

amanda ∞

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Forming Good Habits

The Purge Stuff Challenge ends tomorrow. I am happy to say that a good habit has been formed. Each day I search for something to purge, and seems like there is an endless source. The basement should keep me busy for quite awhile. Purging has become a good thing, rather than a dreaded chore. It’s become more like a treasure hunt. I’ll continue to post the fun things I find.

In an effort to form another good habit, I am joining in the Fifth Annual Art Every Day Month at Creative Every Day. From Creative Every Day’s sidebar:

Rules are simple: Make art every day for the month of November, post it on your blog if you can, and have fun with it! Art is loosely defined here, just be creative in any way your heart desires (painting, collage, doodle, drawing, clay, poem, video, music, knitting, whatever!) Even if you just make art every week or once this month, the goal is simply to bring more creativity into your life. Feel free to join in the fun! Be an Everyday Creative, Be Creative Every Day!

Perhaps I’ll get that quilt done, and get some very fun Christmas gifts made. In my world, creativity extends to the kitchen and beyond, so I’m hoping to get even more creative with my cooking as well. Sound like fun to you? Jump on in.

amanda ∞

Elementary Art

This has been a good purging day. We found a homeschooling family that has nothing. Now all the books in my basement have a home, plus some old lamps, blankets, etc.

I had the most fun purging an old box of elementary art of mine. A couple themes recurred in my artwork, witches and girls lost in forests. I’m not sure what that was about. As images sparked memories, I realized that I have always loved art, and I was never a bad artist. I wonder at what point I sentenced myself to be uncreative? Was it negative words from others, or lack of encouragement? I’m not sure, but it happened.
I like to swing in the air. (age 5)
a view from the “old age home” (age 9)
girl in blue with extremely short arms (age 11)

I think at some point the art became about performance and comparison rather than enjoyment of the process. I’m glad to have regressed.

amanda ∞

Heaviness

There was a giant in my inbox. He has been purged. I finally took care of all those little issues that seemed so easy to procrastinate, such as replacing the stolen stickers from our license plates, mailing off for a free cookbook, registering warranty info, canceling credit card accounts, etc. The inbox really is not very big, just a standard paper catcher type inbox, but it can sure stack up quick. It is so easy for me to throw anything in there that I really don’t want to deal with at the moment. It truly took most of the week to deal with its vast and time consuming issues. Even though this job is done, I am feeling frustrated.

While we were traveling this month, I continued to purge. The whole family purchased nothing frivolous just for souvenir’s sake. The trash and extra baggage were weeded out daily. All was well. Keeping the stuff out while traveling was easy because I had a smaller inventory to manage. All seemed light and good. I realize now why I am so frustrated this week. I am once again facing the giant in my basement, and he is big and ugly.

While dealing with some of these smaller issues from the inbox this week, we had to find some things in the basement. My husband commented that it seems like its getting worse down there instead of better. He’s right. I’m not putting things away properly because there is a large pile that really has no home. The large pile is full of things that I plan on selling. As visions of dollar signs dance in my head, a reality is setting in. These items have become a burden. I have not taken the time to deal with them and I know many families that would be blessed by a free gift of good books and toys. It’s time for me to haul that pile out of the dungeon. It’s time to let go.

There has been another giant looming in our home. He is heavy and weighs on our every thought. He looms with every phone call. It is the season for this particular giant. We invited him in. He is the giant of caring and concern, of love and grief. I am praying now that this giant becomes joyous and skips away as our family member chooses healing. Since there is really nothing else we can do, we sit and hold hands with this great and gentle giant. He is large, but strangely comforting.

amanda ∞

Learning from purging

What am I learning from purging my home of too much stuff?

  • I like space and organization.
  • Maintenance is easier with fewer things to maintain.
  • Preventing too much from coming in allows for less time spent managing the new stuff.
  • The less stuff I have, the more focus I have.
  • The less stuff I have, the more creative I am.
  • I am emotionally attached to some very silly things.
  • Both of my kids prefer having fewer things.

What spiritual lessons am I learning from purging?

  • I am a creature of bad habits.
  • Changing habits is difficult.
  • Purging my words and tone of voice is more difficult than getting rid of stuff.
  • I can’t change until I let go.

amanda ∞

The van

I love small cars. My preference would be a Volkswagen Jetta or Beetle, or perhaps a Mini Cooper. Yet I own a minivan. With this van, we are able to haul food and dishes to serve meals at VERONICA’s Voice, we are able to give Miss Betty a ride to church each Sunday, we can load up friends and family to go on adventures together. I am thankful for the spaciousness.

This week, I purged the van. I started with the glove box, removing old insurance papers and treasure maps. I checked under all the seats, in all the seat pockets, and in any other great spots for stuff to collect. The job was relatively painless. The kids are great about picking up their things when they exit. I did find some old bank suckers, straws, and other curiousities, but no treasure. Too bad I threw away the treasure maps first.

To complete the purge, I vacuumed out the old leaves, crumbs, and sand. Besides the coffee stains near the driver’s seat, the van looked pretty good.

Later I noticed the inside of the windows. Have you ever seen the marks a dog’s nose makes on a car window? All my windows look this way. Instead of nose smudges, they are greasy marks from boy fingers. I rather like them, so I left them there. They remind me of giggles and fart noises coming from the back seat. They make me smile.

amanda ∞

Are you a piler or a stuffer?

I have had a basket that needed purged. We call it the up-down basket. It sits near the stairs with a purpose. It is to save steps and time when putting things away. Instead of running item after item up the stairs, the items are placed in the basket and at the end of the day, or cleaning period, the items are taken upstairs and put away. Well, the basket doesn’t seem to get emptied on a timely basis, probably because I’m the one who usually empties it.

The basket had been full of a couple binders among other things. Those binders, those nasty binders, kept me from emptying the basket because I had to take care of what was in the binders. So that was my purging job for the day. The binders were cleaned out, updated, and then I was able to properly store them. (I actually got to pass one on to someone else!)

These little things like cleaning out or updating info are prone to procrastination in my home. Yet, these little things are the very things that really drag me down. Procrastination is just sinful. Yes, prioritizing is very important. Sometimes things happen in our lives that take priority over these little maintenance issues, but if I procrastinate on a day to day basis, the payback is quite dreadful. (Insert whiny voice) I get so overwhelmed with all I have to do. I just hate it. I feel like I’ll never get caught up. (How funny. I’m slouching just typing this.)

To hinder my procrastination, I pile. My thought process is if it is sitting out in a pile on the desk, I will have to take care of it. If I put it out of sight, then I’ll just ignore it longer. My husband stuffs. If he has papers, they get shoved out of sight somewhere. He knows where they are. Why is it that pilers often marry stuffers? Anyway, my piles are not really appreciated by my stuffer. He would rather the desk be all neat and tidy. I would rather be reminded I have work to get done. What a dilemna. Thankfully I am married to a gracious man, and only when he has a heavy load do my piles really get on his nerves. At that time, I quietly stuff my piles into one out-of-the-way pile which I will get back out and deal with after he is gone.

So lesson is, if I do not want to annoy my husband, and if I do not want to feel overwhelmed, I should not procrastinate (which means seldom have any piles at all, and my basket will be empty). I will have a load lifted off my shoulders because there will be nothing to dread, and my husband will think I’m just that much cooler than he already does. That’s good incentive. I like to make him happy. He’s cute.

amanda ∞