Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Good Outcome from Bad News

Yesterday my soldier son, Garrett, told me that their base in Iraq had been attacked by rockets a few days ago and that two soldiers out on a mission had been shot by snipers. He didn't mean to tell me, but I dragged it out of him. I told him I needed more specific things to pray for. Well, he gave them to me.

I've been praying for his safety, of course, and for him to have wisdom and lots of it. He's a First Lieutenant and in charge of a large number of men. He's prone to hot-headedness, so wisdom is high on my prayer list for him.

I found out later from Laurel that a mini-conference had taken place between her, my husband, and my SIL. They decided it would be best if I didn't know about the rocket attacks. Garrett told HER during a phone call right after it happened.

So my emotions are mixed. I feel left out and angry on one hand. But on the other hand, I think it's sweet that they were trying to protect me. I've decided to let go of the anger and depressed feelings and live my life to bring glory to God even if I don't feel like it.

I'm glad I found out, because my prayer life needed a shot in the arm. I've been praying for several years that I would become a prayer warrior, and what better way to accomplish that than to have a son in danger.

I would greatly appreciate all your prayers too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Decluttering Gone Wild

Since my last decluttering post, I've gotten rid of too much stuff to list here. One thing I've gotten rid of that I never have before is sewing patterns; eighteen of them. I'll never use the low-waisted jumper or the girl's smocked jacket pattern. And I sure won't be needing the maternity patterns again!
These photos are in my art studio, my poor studio that is so junked up with...junk, it'll be a long time before I'll be able to do any art in there.

I can't decide what to do with it all. I could rent a space in the local antique mall for a month or two and see how much I get rid of. But that involves pricing, hauling it there, setting it up, and then removing anything that doesn't sell. Makes me hyperventilate to think about it. Or I could call the local junk shop dealer to come give me a price to haul it all away. I'm just afraid that if I do that, I won't get what it's worth. Or I could list it on E-bay or Craig's list. But that involves hassle and headache I really don't want to deal with.

What should I do? Help!

P.S. A word to the wise, simplify and don't collect stuff in the first place.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday Art Class

Monday mornings I teach art and music to four other children and Darcie. The younger boy (in the truck bed) is my oldest grandson.

This particular Monday we made grapevine wreaths and decorated them with local fall flowers and plants. After showing them how to make the wreaths, I told them to go jump on the back of the truck without telling them what we were doing.

Caed and Darcie immediately jumped in being used to my craziness. The other three cast wary glances all around not sure if I meant it.

I finally convinced them to get on. I drove slowly down the dirt road looking for Goldenrod, Pennsylvania smartweed, Beautyberry, and anything else we thought would look good in a wreath.

We filled the truck bed up with wildflowers of all kinds, came back home and decorated the wreaths. They were all quite pretty. They were sure proud of their accomplishments. I'm sure they'll always remember the time "Miss Debbie" took them for a ride in the back of the truck to gather flowers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Favorite Soldier

I couldn't let Veterans Day go by without mentioning my favorite soldier, my oldest son Garrett. He's now serving in Iraq and will be there until sometime next fall. Here are some photos I took of him in various disguises and as he was getting ready to leave home for the last time before being deployed.

He's such a goofball. When he walks into a room it lights up. We all miss him so much and pray constantly for his safety. We love you Garrett!

Thoughts on Vocation

This is my last post from the book Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton. I've gleaned quite a bit from it and recommend its reading. Merton says of vocation, "A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live. When we are not living up to our true vocation, thought deadens our life, or substitutes itself for life, or gives in to life so that our life drowns out our thinking and stifles the voice of conscience. When we find our vocation--thought and life are one."

I've found out that it's possible to be in my true, God-given vocation, and because too much thought and over-analyzing go on, the joy in my work is gone. My thoughts have deadened my life. My lists are a substitute for real work done with joy and to God's glory.
I've never thought of myself as a perfectionist before. I do like to do things well, but if they're not perfect that's okay. But in this one area I am a perfectionist. I'm always trying to find the best or quickest way to do a task; to get as much done in a day as possible. Thus the endless lists with the estimated time each chore will take written beside it. I've focused more on the destination and not on the journey. And that makes me too driven. I never get as much done as I wish I could.

That's why this week I made a goal of not thinking about things too much. Instead of writing times beside the chores, I made a list of what I wanted to do that day and numbered the items in order of importance. I've been much less stressed each day too. This isn't my preferred way to make lists and get things done, but for now, until I quit being such a psycho, it's working.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to Decluttering

I forgot that I was doing a Get Rid of Fifty Things decluttering thing. I also forgot what number I was on. Hang on while I scroll back through my blog posts and see.....Okay, I'm on #19-a sifter which I'll put in Darcie's hope chest. #20-two books to donate to library book sale. #21-a candle for Goodwill. #22-A bottle brush for Goodwill. #23-A picture I made by pressing fall leaves between two pieces of glass. I'll move it out to the studio to put in my For Sale stack.

The reason I'm getting rid of my sifter is because I rarely use it, and the only time I do is when I need to put powdered sugar into something like fudge. A sieve works just as well.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Curtains

After watching Julie & Julia, I bought some blue gingham check curtains for my kitchen. I loved the ones in Julia Child's kitchen and wanted to get that look. I already have red gingham check curtains for the kitchen. Either color matches as most of my kitchen is red and blue with touches of yellow.

I think I'll hang the red ones in the winter to warm things up and the blue ones in the summer to cool the room down. I'm going to leave the blue ones up through this winter, though, since they're new. I just love gingham curtains. They're so clean, fresh, and country.

Nature's Fall Bounty

This is what my kitchen floor in front of the pantry looked like when I got home from Tennessee. There are three bushels of apples, a large bucket of potatoes dug from my parents' garden, pears picked off their neighbor's tree, and three pumpkins sitting on the porch that aren't in this photo.

I've made some headway on the apples by making applesauce and apple pie mix. We've also eaten lots of them. I still have one and a fourth bushels left.

I've given some potatoes away and kept the rest. Last night for our fish dinner, I made home fries in the oven with olive oil and seasoning salt. We'll be eating lots of potatoes around here for awhile.

With the pears I've made Pear Crisp. They're deteriorating rapidly and need to be put up asap.
I hope to can some as Garrett loves Jello with pears. I want to have some if he decides to come home in five months.

One pumpkin has been cut up and baked in the oven and is now in our extra refrigerator awaiting processing. I'll puree and can it where it'll be used for pies, muffins, and bread.

Gayle said he's bringing in some White Half Runners this next week. Yikes! I told him to bring them on as I only have thirteen quarts to last till next June. For those of you who don't know, White Half Runners are the best kind of green bean. They're the only kind we ate growing up. People in the mountains especially like them. The grower down here in South Georgia ships all he grows up to Tennessee. So on top of all the pears, apples, and pumpkins, I'll have green beans too!

I think we'll take a 'Harvest Break' from homeschooling. There's no way I can put up all this food and keep to my regular schedule. Plus, Darcie needs to learn how to do all this canning and food storage. It's another form of education. Another benefit of teaching at home-the children get to live a real life instead of being stuck in a schoolroom with their peers while learning about life from a book. I believe in both books and real life. And when real life asserts itself with this much natural bounty, I'm going to pay attention and see that my students do too!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Planning Addiction

I admit it; I'm a planning addict. I make lists. My lists have lists-no kidding! So when I read this from Slow Time, I definitely could relate. Waverly Fitzgerald says, "There is something comforting about being able to do everything I want on paper, even if these ideals don't often translate into reality. But I also recognize the absurdity of imagining what I want to do, rather than actually doing it."

She goes on, "Often we collect stuff which represents the things we want to do: we clip recipes we never try (because we're too busy to cook), collect travel brochures for places we'll never visit, buy every writing book we see (though we rarely have time to read them, much less write a novel). Unless you actually integrate your desires into your life, these objects are just placeholders and often silent reproaches, reminding you constantly of what is missing from your schedule."

I'm guilty of stuff like this. Instead of getting down to the hard task of actually writing something for submission, I'll buy another book about writing instead. That makes me feel that I'm doing something about writing. I'll buy art supplies such as paint, paper, videos, books--anything as long as I don't actually have to sit down and try to paint. That's much harder than all the preparation.

Same goes for making lists. If I get my life organized on paper it makes me feel good about it.

But enough is enough. I now realize that this is what I do, and I don't want to live in "getting ready to do something big" mode any longer. I do get a lot of different things done, but I imagine what I COULD get done if I'd stop writing it down, thinking about it, and just do it.

I've made the best possible daily schedule I can think of. I've been tweaking on it since September. I need to actually follow it now and see what I can get accomplished. I've factored in times for music, writing, and art; the three things I always feel get pushed aside. I followed it exactly one day this week and was amazed by all I accomplished.

I'm still slightly rebellious about such a regimented schedule even though I do get lots done. I keep coming back to wanting to have a 'summer frame of mind' all year long. As long as I'm homeschooling, I don't think that's possible.

Sometimes I think I think too much! I just need to turn off my brain and get busy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Early Morning

I agree with Thomas Merton about early morning time. He says, "It is necessary for me to see the first point of light that begins to be dawn. It is necessary to be present alone at the resurrection of the Day in solemn silence at which the sun appears, for at this moment all the affairs of cities, of governments, of war departments, are seen to be the bickering of mice. I receive from the Eastern woods, the tall oaks, the one word DAY. It is never the same. It is always in a totally new language."

Can you tell I'm a morning person? I try to get up somewhere between 5:15 and 5:45. It's a lot easier now that we're back on EST. I heard Darcie's light click on this morning about 6:15; forty-five delicious minutes of lying in bed to read before she has to get up at 7:00. I guess she's a morning person too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Few Interesting Facts About Light

I recently went up to my parents' house in East Tennessee. I also was able to spend two nights in a cabin by the Ocoee River; by myself. Two days of glorious quiet. It was wonderful. I always do this in the fall around the time of my birthday. It's my present to myself.

I always spend a lot of time rereading my journals and other books having to do with metaphysical things. This year it was Slow Time by Waverly Fitzgerald. I've mentioned this book in a previous post. I don't agree with all she says. Some of it is too new agey for me. I keep what I consider good and throw out the other stuff.

Here's an interesting tidbit about light pollution. I quote: "In a natural night sky we should be able to see about 3,500 stars but in a city, even in a dark yard, only about 50 stars are visible. According to Italian astronomer, Pierantonio Cinzano, light pollution causes loss of night vision. In North America, 60% of the population may be affected. Some scientists believe light pollution causes illness by disrupting the melatonin rhythm which can lead to chronic fatigue, depression, reproductive anomalies and perhaps even cancer. Studies have shown that women who work night shift have higher rates of breast cancer while women who are blind have much lower rates." I find that very interesting.

Next time it's a dark night, I'm going to go out into the yard and count the stars. I'll get back to you on that.