Posts Tagged ‘joy’

I’ve been quite busy this past week for being unemployed.

Let me back up. One week ago yesterday was my last day at a job I’d had for just over a year. It was a good last day. We ended well.

The next day, the rest of my life started. I feel set free. I anticipate good things. I wake up ready to take steps toward the future and enjoy the day.

Day 1: I put my home work space in order to serve me better moving forward. Well, mostly. It’s only 10 x 8 and serves as both home office and sewing studio, while also containing my Hoosier kitchen with dishes and games, because it’s actually supposed to be a dining room. It’s a work in progress.

I began reworking my LinkedIn profile. It too is a work in progress.

At a networking event, I introduced myself as a tutor, writing coach, and fledgling business owner. When I said I make aprons incorporating vintage linens, two women shifted from talking business to sharing about their aprons, a grandmother’s apron, dishes left them by a relative, things that connect to human-heart yearnings. It confirmed to me that it’s not just about aprons.

Day 2: I drove an hour north to meet with Sandy, my partner in this fledgling business. (It’s my job to get our online presence set up. I’ll share here when it is.) She took home all the aprons I’ve made to begin photographing them. I got back just in time to go to lunch with a friend from my previous employment and then wander with her through a gift shop on South Pearl. Call it competitor research.

Sandy texted me about some photo staging props she’d found on Craigslist. After some texting and deal making, since I live closer to the sellers than she does, I hopped in the car again and picked up two posable mannequins — headless children — and brought them home in my trunk. A bit macabre, I know.

Day 3: My son, daughter-in-law, and I went to two farmers’ markets. After lunch I went to pick up our other Craigslist finds: a wooden standing rack with metal hooks and some nice wooden hangers. By this time my compact car was pretty full.

Day 4: Worship in the morning, zucchini bread baking in the afternoon, plus cutting out aprons, reading, movie watching, talking to my son on the phone. Oh, and cleaning my iron, because the bottom was sticky and I can’t sew without an iron. A YouTube search yielded instructions to clean a hot iron with an acetaminophen tablet held in pliers. Crazy. But it worked. (How-to here.)

Day 5: Labor Day. Lunch with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. Then another meeting with Sandy 30 minutes north. We spent a long time camped out in Panera, discussing business, life, and hopes for both, after which we transferred the headless children and display rack into her SUV.

Day 6: Roberta, whom I had met at Day 1’s networking event, and I met for coffee/tea. She told me about other networking opportunities and suggested schools to contact about tutoring. Home again, I responded online to two students who had posted requests for tutors and applied for a job at a hospital. With book club later this week, I finished this month’s selection, One Summer, by Bill Bryson.

Day 7: First I contacted two high schools and a community college about tutoring services, then posted my availability on the college’s online bulletin board. Then a get-acquainted lunch with a woman from church. Leaving the restaurant, I made stops at Hobby Lobby and Office Depot, then the bank to ask about business versus personal accounts. After supper I talked to a friend, then finished one apron and started two more.

Trusting God means taking the steps God shows you to take. Moving onward.

Let’s see what today brings.


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Never one to jump right on a book trend, I just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.

I have not yet taken each item I own in my hand and asked myself whether it sparks joy for me. I may or may not do that, but I did take a bag of clothes out to the car today to drop off at a donation bin next time I go that way.

A couple of observations.

One, Kondo is a tad bit obsessed. Has been since she was a wee child, apparently.

Two, her obsession indicates her super power, to quote a life coach I know. She is gifted at not only tidying but its sister, organization, and at seeing that our relationship to our stuff indicates the orderliness or lack thereof of our psyches. I totally respect her for finding a way to turn loose her super power to help others, to spark joy in herself, and to make what I assume is a rather decent living.

Three, her personification of belongings and dwellings at first struck me as over the top. But then something about it started to feel right, as an expression of gratitude and respect.Maybe the child in me relates, the same child who felt that if I didn’t play with one toy for awhile, it would feel left out, like I loved the others better.

So I’m asking: Where does my apartment want my sewing supplies and fabric to be stored? Big mystery right now.

And I’m also asking: What are my super powers? How can I turn them loose for good in my life and in this world? Can I trust them to take care of me?

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Girls’ weekend

My daughter and granddaughter visited me last weekend. It was fabulous. It moved me more than I can say to hang out and reconnect with the woman that my miracle of a daughter has become.  “I love what you’ve done with the place,” she said. This was especially meaningful because this was the first time she’d been here since just before her father died. “It feels different, and I mean that in a good way. There’s a better energy here.” Yes, dear, I hope there is.

Then of course there is my four-year-old granddaughter. She sparkles. She is a sprite. Her creativity takes her across three thoughts at a time. She is not afraid to say what’s on her mind or what she needs or wants. She loves dresses and leggings and boots, and currently her favorite colors are black and white. Did you know airplanes don’t snore and trees don’t have faces?

This is what’s precious. Breathing the same air as loved ones. The feel of their arms around you that lingers after you part at the airport. Eye contact. Sharing Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. Connection.

Thanks, girls, for our weekend together.

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Lightning bugs rising at dusk out of my back yard grass, where stripes still show that it’s freshly mowed.

A lemon slice in ice water.

Fresh little zucchini, sliced and sauteed on olive oil with an equally fresh green onion, a handful of mushroom slices, and oregano from my own patch.

Car window down driving home.

Bare feet and sandals

A ridiculously low natural gas bill

Waking up when it’s light outside

Fresh blueberries to snack on like popcorn.

Not shivering

Cotton. Linen. White bangles

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I just watched the movie Secretariat. It’s probably not the best movie ever made, artistically speaking, but I enjoyed it. At the end, when Secretariat was tearing up that Belmont track, pulling further and further away from the other horses, and the soundtrack was playing “O Happy Day,” I could not contain myself.  “Let him run his race,” Penny Tweedy’s father had told her before he died, and she did. Using the strong will God gave her, she found people who would also let him run his race, and by simply being the creature God created him to be, he ran it. It was his race, and more. I saw the glory of God.

Penny ran her race, too. Actually, at 88  she’s still running it. I loved the spirit portrayed in her, the never give up spirit, the know who you are and press on spirit.

I’m sure all this has been written previously, but tonight it’s mine. I needed to see it, to hear it, to clap hard, in time to “O Happy Day,” to the end of the race. I needed to hear in my head again the line from Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell says, “God made me fast, and it gives him pleasure when I run.”

The song at the end of the movie says, “It’s not how fast, it’s not how far, it’s not who cheers, it’s who you are. In the darkest night you make your sun. Choose your race, and then you run.”

God, are you pleased with my race these days, these weeks? I hope so. Thank you for re-energizing my spirit this way. I want to be the person you made me to be, full out.

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In an earlier post, I wrote that the idea of some day owning an aqua or coral pink Adirondack chair made me smile. Well, I’ve got one!

Thank you, Becky, for my early Christmas present. It sits in my dining room and I can plunk down in it any time I want. I can put on a recording of ocean waves, get myself a cold drink, and be on vacation. Oops, now that it’s heating season, I keep my house too cool for a cool drink, and the effect is just not the same with a cup of chamomile tea. Nevertheless — I love that word, so I’ll say it again — nevertheless, that chair in my house makes me smile big time.

Here’s something else that does. I sing along when I hear it:

Life is a rollercoaster. Life is surfing the pipeline. Life is rafting down the Poudre. Sometimes life is stuck in the doldrums, too, or slogging through mud, or climbing a sheer rock face.  I’m not drowning, and I won’t, because God promised: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.” But if I’m to navigate any of what God will bring me to tomorrow, I must sleep now.


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My heart feels loved

I got a fantastic surprise Sunday, when my son Paul showed up here. I was invited to his cousins Eric and Tara’s birthday party, and when Eric and his wife Terri walked in, Paul was with them. Seems they’d been planning this for, oh, about 6 months. I was over the top happy. Still am. I’m not on vacation, and they all three are, but even getting to share a few meals and conversation, in person, feels great. It’s superb for my heart.

The day before that birthday party, I’d learned the results of the lab work that was part of my recent, long overdue physical. My cholesterol was slightly elevated, which I guess didn’t surprise me but I was hopin’ not. Immediately something switched over in me, a determination that I will, yea verily, exercise and establish more heart healthy eating habits. A nutritionist had recently spoken to our staff at work about the 3 Biblical types to eating: feasting, famine, and everyday eating. She pointed out that our Western diet is very heavy on feast food — highly refined/processed, fat- and sugar-laden, etc. — which is not healthy for any of us. It makes sense to me.

So when the sloppy joes, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, birthday cake and ice cream were served at the party Sunday, what did I do? I ate it. It was time to feast–celebrate not only birthdays but getting to see my son unexpectedly.  I could have spinach salad and my homemade lentil soup later. Which I did, and frankly, it tasted better than the party food.

My daughter had some good counsel a few weeks ago, too. She didn’t share it as counsel, just to tell me her own thinking as she works at cleaning up her diet. Her approach, which sounds wise to me, is to not try to change everything all at once, or drastically, but to make changes that build on each other — when you’ve adjusted to one level of modifications, then go the next step. Improve I will. I like legumes and rice. I really do. I can certainly fill up more on veggies and fruit. And yes, I can start exercising more — walking, while the weather is nice. This too is good for my heart.

Thank you, God, for these gifts, and for understanding my heart even better than I do.

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