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Doing the Work

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not a sad funk or a discouraged funk or it’s-rained-for-three-weeks-and-I-just-need-some-sunshine funk. I’ve been in a busy funk. Which might be a weird thing to say, because when you’re busy, you’re usually moving and active and getting things done and in sort of the opposite of a funk.

I haven’t felt inspired. Inspired to make things or start projects or even write in my journal. I haven’t felt like I had anything to tell. And I haven’t really had space to tell it if I did. It’s been days and days of drop offs and pick ups and baseball and karate and Target and grocery shopping and taking this here and picking that up there. Most days are go-go-go until I crash at the end of the day.

But then I read a couple of things that made a difference.

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst came on the hold shelf for me at the library. The subtitle is “Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” – sound familiar? I am not even halfway through it, but I’m loving this book and making so many notes in my journal from what I’m reading. Here’s one:

“The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep determine the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.”

If I just keep going with the errands and the to-dos and the trying to get ahead, I will never find time to do what I love and what my soul needs – making things, writing, and connecting with my people.

Then, as I was reading Shauna Niequist’s Savor devotional on April 25:

“Get up. Create like you’re training for a marathon, methodically, day by day.”

And this:

“Discipline is not antithetical to creativity; it’s vital to it.”

Discipline! Not waiting around for inspiration. Not getting my other tasks done in order to find time to create. Make time to create and DO IT.

So that Tuesday morning, the day of the week where I have the biggest chunk of time to get things done, instead of tackling my to-do list and running here and there trying to squeeze in more productivity, I blocked off my calendar for “create”. I started Pandora, sat down at my workspace, and made stuff for two hours.

rainbow earrings

It was awesome. I made some pretty things, I got lots of new ideas, and I felt the funk begin to slide away. Instead of waiting to be inspired to get to work, I got to work and was inspired.

The thing is, this isn’t a new revelation for me. I KNOW this, really. (I did a whole 31 Days Series on it a few years ago.) But when life gets busy (or even just funk-y), I can’t figure out why I’m not doing the things I want to do. I lose focus. I get sidetracked. I forget.

So I made a tiny little life hack: I added “Create” to the calendar on my phone and I set it to repeat. So I will have a reminder that pops up to spend some DISCIPLINED time doing the work I want to do. And I will schedule the other life stuff at other times. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, or even if I have to move it to a different time slot, it’s the beginning of a practice that will help me remember to do things that feed my soul.

And my hope is that by feeding my soul, I will be keeping the funk away, too.

new earring photos

PS – I’ve added the earrings I made last Tuesday to my shop. Click here to see them in all their rainbow-color-ordered glory!

five things

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

Where did this week go?! Well, some of it went to treehouse building and driving to the airport and making a gallery wall and catching up with friends. But it’s gone by so fast that Easter has completely snuck up me. (FYI – I just Googled “snuck vs. sneaked” – both are correct!) I usually spend a couple of days creating color-coordinating outfits for our family for Easter – just because I CAN. But not this year. I’m sure we’ll all look fine on Easter morning, but there probably won’t be a match in the bunch.

Here are a few things on my  mind this week:

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1. Treehouses. It’s not finished, and I want to do an entire post on it – Husband wants to tell how it REALLY went and how much it REALLY costs, so maybe he’ll guest post one day soon – but it was a ton of work, and the kids love it. For now, we are using that big green ladder for treehouse access, but there will either be a wooden ladder or a cargo net ladder in the front (we are still in negotiations). It is so fun to look out the dining room window and see this. (I’m not gonna lie – it’s also fun to have my car sawdust-free for the first time in a week, too.) Shout out to my father-in-law for helping Husband with this big project – those two were ALL IN on 10-hour days for almost a week. (My job was mainly KP duty – keeping everyone fed and energized – and, of course, throwing out my two cents every chance I got.)

2. Yes, Your Sleep Schedule Is Making You Sick. This was a very interesting read, covering sleep as it relates to our use of screens at night, jet-lag, and depression.

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3. Gallery Walls. Over the last few weeks, my friend, Jen, and I have been working on her living room wall. Her husband is a hunter, so she had several duck paintings lined up behind the sofa. She wanted to mix it up a bit and make a gallery wall, so we played around with different arrangements, shopping her house for other pieces, adding in a letter K, a wooden heart that Jen painted, and antlers we found in her garage. We finally installed it on Monday, and I just love how it turned out! The takeaway: when you want to make a change with pieces you already have, the gallery wall is the way to go. (Other “shop your house” takeaway: pillows! Jen wanted to update the ones on the sofa, and she found these darling ones in the closet. Sometimes you don’t need to buy new – you just need to play around with what you’ve got.)

movement and stillness

4. This quote. Husband and I had a conversation about this last weekend. These are two things that are constantly on my goals lists – moving my body and quieting my mind. I just finished Into the Magic Shop, in which the author, James R. Doty, tells the story of how he learned meditation and mindfulness and went on to discover how it connects with the power of the brain and of the heart. It is amazing to realize how the brain can actually be rewired through the deliberate practice of stillness. It is also amazing how something so seemingly simple can be so hard to actually DO. But I’m trying. Baby steps.

5. This made me laugh. We are BIG Alexander fans here – the kids love the book (and this one and this one, too) and the movie, and I remember getting in the car after school one day when I was little, telling my mom it had been a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” after having memorized the line when my teacher read it aloud to us. This is a great updated version.

Hope you have a weekend of being outdoors, rest, beauty, stillness, and laughter. Also hope you have a lovely Easter, and thanks so much for reading!

 

five things

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

We’re back in the swing of things after spring break, and it’s been a good week. We’re also super happy because my father-in-law is here for a visit, and he’s helping Husband build a treehouse in our backyard! It’s been a fun week, and we’re excited for a fun weekend. Here are a few things on my mind this week:

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1. Baby chicks. Last Saturday, we got four baby chicks. We’ve had a coop for over a year, but we waited until this spring to get to get the chickens. They are so cute! They live inside for now, “brooding” in a Rubbermaid bin with hay and a heat lamp, in our den. BB and BG call them “The Sisters” – Fluffer, Fluffy Rose, Carlotta, and Gertrude (Gertie for short). BB is obsessed with their food and water intake, and BG just wants to snuggle them all day. They are growing so fast. Well, except for Fluffer – we’re not sure what’s going on with her – and we’re wondering if she’s a “her” at all. She’s about half the size of the other sisters, and she behaves very differently than them as well. But she eats and drinks and is the loudest chirper of the lot. It will be months before we will have eggs, but are already having lots of fun!

stown

2. S*Town. Have you listened to this podcast yet? I first heard about it from Sorta Awesome, another podcast I like. S*Town is by the producers of Serial and This American Life. I may be the one person in the country who hasn’t listened to Serial, but I’ve heard great things about it. (Confession: I’ve been slow to join the podcast wagon. I’ll listen to one occasionally when I’m folding laundry or out for a walk, but I forget about them most of the time.) Something about the way Laura and Megan described S*Town made me curious. OH MY GOSH. I’m obsessed. I’m three episodes in (there are seven total), and I find myself planning ahead for when I can listen the following day. The story is captivating, the characters are fascinating, and the music behind the narrative and dialog is beautiful.  (And the fact that the people from Woodstock, Alabama, have accents that sound similar to the people from where I’m from in East Tennessee certainly adds to the appeal.) Language Warning: The S in S*Town stands for a common four-letter word, and the podcast is full of many more of them.

open book

3. How to Open a New Book. I remember getting new textbooks in 3nd grade, and our teacher led the class in this same series of steps to make sure the books were ready. I have thought of this several times over the years, but I didn’t realize this was actually a “thing”. And even though it’s 2017, and I have a Kindle and an iPad, I still read the majority of my books on actual pages, so this is something I’m going to remember for next time.

4. Are you required to find + follow your calling? I’ve read several articles (and even books) on this lately, and it’s really resonating with me and giving me freedom in figuring out what’s next in my life. Surprisingly, with that freedom has come MORE motivation to do the things that line up with my passions – like writing (here on the blog) and giving new life to old things (on Etsy). A good read.

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5. Get Out Now. Loved this excerpt from John Stilgoe, featured on Austin Kleon’s blog.

Our weekend will be full of baseball, treehouse construction, and quality time with the baby chicks. I hope it’s also full of books and exploring passions and enjoying being outside (even in the rain). Hope your weekend is full of lots of good things for you, too. Thank you so much for reading!