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Posts tagged ‘commitment’

Kelly: Surrendering My Superpowers

One of the gazillion images I need to edit, this one captured in Virginia last month.

I had to meet with Olivia’s teacher yesterday morning regarding her reading grade. Livvie started out poorly this year, then made the A/B honor roll for the second and third quarters, and now has dropped back down as the school year is winding down. Ever feel completely powerless? Have a conversation with your second-grader’s teacher about her failing reading grade.

We talked through why this might be happening. After all, she did make the A/B honor roll for two quarters! I think with Olivia, it’s all about concentration, or lack thereof (something she, unfortunately, probably gets from me). Ms. G said that lately she’ll race through her reading comprehension quizzes and just circle random answers, seemingly without giving any thought to what the correct answer might be. She’s one of the first to turn in her quizzes. We asked Livvie about this at home, and she said that when she sees other classmates start to turn their quizzes in, she feels like she needs to hurry up and finish and turn hers in, even though these quizzes are not timed. Wow, ever feel like you are trying to keep up with everyone around you when you really don’t need to? I know I could learn from that lesson. Food for thought there… I asked Ms. G to send home several sample quizzes so I could work with Livvie on them over the long holiday weekend and try to get her grade back up. Her reading skills are fine. She’s reading above grade level. It’s just the patience it takes to actually complete the quizzes that she’s struggling with. I also need to help her realize that she is a wonderfully beautiful individual and doesn’t need to compare herself to her twin sister.

I do often feel powerless when it comes to trying to do what’s best for my children. Sounds crazy, maybe, but that’s how it hits me at times. I’m not home for homework time. Most of the academic year, I get home about 6pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and 9pm on Tuesdays. Fridays are my only decent days since I can usually get home by 4pm.  DH picks the girls up from school about 4pm and does homework with them when they get home, so by the time I get home, it’s time for dinner, baths, snuggling, a little reading, and bedtime. DH is great with helping them with their math, but he admits he struggles helping them with their reading and writing. And those are my strong points! That’s where I can and really should be helping them! It all comes down to time.

And that’s also where I’ve been feeling powerless lately and am trying to find ways to make some major changes. Overall I think I’m at a point in my life where, though I’d love to be working on my creative endeavors more, there simply isn’t much spare time most of the year. And I have to tell ya, if I hear one more person tell me “Oh, you make time for what’s important to you,” I think my head will pop off. You can’t create more time, so, no, you often can’t make more time for what’s important to you without something that’s just as important suffering. That’s where reality kicks in. “Find some time after the girls go to bed!” others have told me. My girls go to bed between 8:30pm and 9pm. I can’t give up sleep due to my balance disorder. It’s crucial that I get at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night or my spins pick up. My dizzy meds work to reset my balance while I’m sleeping, so that sleep is ultra-important. I have to get up at 5:30am or 6am, so that means my bedtime is typically about 9pm.

But there are changes I can make, and that’s what I’m working on. Read more

Cathy: Love and writing

I really do often feel stuck between what I “should” be doing instead of writing, and my writing. If I don’t put it first right now, I will only be a resentful pig of a mother and wife. And that’s the truth. Plain and simple.

So yesterday, when I needed a moment in the midst of writing, I doodled this instead.

It’s really almost done. This is the final push. So if my family sees less of me, if you see less of me around the blogosphere, etc., this is why. I am hard at work. I will be back in my family’s life more when I can focus on them better because I will not be dissecting and rearranging a manuscript in my head during our interactions.

And that’s it.

[Cross-posted from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: New favorite thing

Please forgive me if my sentences make no sense today. I had a cahrazy weekend, which included Honey’s birthday, on which I barely saw him. It was a good weekend, a celebratory weekend, but I have been having a cold coming on for a few days, and I think it hit me full force today, when I can finally rest, while catching up and critiquing two manuscripts for tomorrow’s writing group, that is. How’s that for a run-on?

Oh, and for some unknown reason, Captain Comic has decided that somewhere between 3 am and 4:30 am is primo wakeup and run back and forth with lights on and doors slamming time.

Anyway, in time for the December challenge, one of my old writing friends from my Boston days turned me on to a new writing tool. It works like Julie Cameron’s Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way, but it’s online. It’s typed. It’s private, and you can let your mind wander for 750 words, the equivalent of three pages. And you don’t have to find that notebook or pen. I think most of us are sitting in front of a screen these days anyway, right? And it gives me a community of people who are also writing, whether or not I make any more of a connection beyond just knowing they are out there somewhere doing the same thing: http://750words.com.

I am a horrible typist. It takes me about 20 minutes per day to meet the 750, averaging about 35-40 words a minute. all typos are left in place. I try not to go back and correct. I don’t think about what I’m writing, I just let the garbage fall out of my brain through my fingers tips and up onto the screen.

Usually about three quarters of the way in, I hit my stride and there’s at least a phrase if not an idea that I like or that I can work with in something else, later.

Here’s the thing:

When the boys were younger, and I was single and working three part-time jobs to support them, when I woke up in the morning, I put the baby gate across the kitchen doorway of our little condo, got the coffee started, and while it brewed, I started my morning pages with pen and notebook amidst the dulcet tones of Captain Comic hanging on the opposite side of the gate, rattling it and screaming for my attention, Mr. Cynic momming me, and the themes of Blues Clues or Bob the Builder running from the tv in the background. After a few months, they got that I was not going to give them the time of day during “Mommy’s morning pages.”

And that’s when I started writing my almost finished editing this draft manuscript — later in the day, somewhere between job number one and the first school bus arrival, I had 30 minutes in which I wrote the first thirty or so pages of this book. But I was only productive on that if I had been productive earlier by getting through the mess of my daily concerns to hit the subconscious, where the better writing sprung from, like an underground spring of fresh water. First I had to clear away the mud.

So why have I not been writing or editing what I really want to be working on lately?

I think the key is in these morning pages. I think it’s in getting the garbage out of my head. It only takes me 20 minutes, so why not? Here I am, doing it online. And this site has some interesting tools to help you see what mood you’re writing in, for instance. Or what words you repeat, or what senses you are using, and how dominantly you write in one over another. It also has a healthy dose of competition that fuels some of us to write. For me it’s much needed accountability. I highly recommend it: http://750words.com.

C’mon….you know you want to.

 

Kelly: What Shall You Do?

This little scrap of spelling list has been floating around the house for months. I find it here and there, and for some reason, I’ve just never thrown it away. Today I was thinking about everything that I have on my plate on right now, and when I came home, I saw this on the floor in the bedroom. Shall.

Sometimes things get so crazy that we lose track of all the things we said we shall do. The kids get sick (Olivia). You get sick (me). The cat goes on the lam again (Tink). You become over-committed, oftentimes because of things you cannot control (me, work). You stay sick because you’re over-committed (me, still). You follow through on obligations you make because you committed that you shall do them (me, participating in the Halifax Arts Festival even though I was still sick). You work one very demanding full-time job, one part-time job and try to manage a creative business, for a reason (you, um, I, want the part-time job to become the full-time job so you can have more time with your family and more time for creativity). So you keep going.  What shall you do to pull all this together?

Today, I shall try to remember that all things will fall into place where they shall, in their due time, as the Man above plans. And I shall be thankful that I got to get away for a brief 24 hours to reunite with my sorority sisters Saturday (45 of us), antibiotics and cough drops in hand (and a few beers to help battle the germs). And I shall decide that those custom orders can wait just a little while longer, and that will be okay. And I shall decide that I’ll get to my blog when I get to my blog, which obviously hasn’t been very often lately. And I shall sit on the couch and cuddle with my girls while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and then lie in the bed and snuggle with DH while watching Antiques Roadshow. And I shall try not to worry about all those things I’ve been losing track of. And I shall decide that everything will be just fine. What shall you do today?

[cross-posted from Artful Happiness…pictures from the reunion there :-)]

Robin: Stepping In

I completed my one week ecourse with Christine Mason Miller this past week.

More than anything, I found that putting the money down for the e-course forced me to DECIDE…Decide whether I am in or out. Am I really moving into this writing life of mine? Or am I just flitting around from here to there talking about it and blogging about it and TWEETING about it.

So step 1: Yesterday, I cancelled with a friend who wanted to shoot the breeze explaining that I KNOW that Josey’s preschool time is supposed to be set aside for writing. And I KID YOU NOT, within the next 24 hours TWO PEOPLE asked me if I would like them to help with Josey, giving me 4 EXTRA HOURS next week to write.

So here I am stepping into my life. I am writing an e-course on the spiritual side of creativity. The anticipated launch date is January 2011. You heard it here first. I am thrilled to say it in this space because this is where I first put my toes in the writing water this year. Thanks to Miranda and all my kindred spirits for the courage to put one foot in front of the other.

[Photo credit]

Kelly: How the Birds and the Bees Made Me Grateful

I came across this picture cleaning up and packing my office before our repaint and recarpet this summer and found it tucked in my calendar last week. It was taken at the beach wedding of a friend. Sarah and I were watching the wedding while DH and Olivia were off shell hunting, and the wedding photographer caught this shot. Such innocence. Where the heck did it go!?!

I was driving the girls to school Friday when Sarah asked, “Mama, how can teenagers have a baby?” Stalling, I asked her what she meant, and she said she saw a teenager on TV that had a baby. Wow! Didn’t expect to have the birds and the bees conversation quite this early. I tried to respond with, “Well, teenagers really shouldn’t be having babies.” And she said, “’cause you aren’t supposed to have a baby until you are at least 30.” See, I’m trying to train them well! I tell them that you can’t get married until you are 30, so therefore, you can’t have a baby until you are at least 30 because you have to get married before you have a baby. (Now, I realize that in this day and age, many women are having children without getting married, and that’s fine, but that’s a discussion for another post…) Anywho, Sarah continued with, “So do we have to start taking no-baby pills now so that we don’t have a baby?”

You see, when the girls have asked me about the little pill I take before I go to bed every night (they are far too observant), I tell them that’s my no-baby pill so that I don’t have any more babies. (Okay, so maybe I need to rethink that conversation.) I tried to explain that while, yes, no-baby pills work to keep you from having a baby, there are things that mamas and daddies do to make babies that you won’t need to worry about for a long, long, long time (like when you are 25, she says, as she sticks her head in the sand). “What’s that, Mama?” And I stupidly responded, “Sex.” “What’s sex, Mama?” I somehow managed to change the subject by responding again that it’s something they wouldn’t have to worry about for a long, long, long time, and then said, “Hey look! They mowed the cow pasture! What are the cows going to eat now!?”

I’m guessing the topic of “What’s sex?” has now probably come up at school amongst their friends. I can hear it now: “Destiny, do you know what sex is? My Mama said it’s what mamas and daddies do to make babies.” I am expecting a call from the school any day now.

This Mama stuff….when you don’t have your own Mama around, it’s very much a make-it-up-as-you-go-along thing. I guess even if you do have your Mama around, you might still be making it up as you go along. There are mornings when it just smacks me out of nowhere. I’ll be standing at the kitchen sink, washing up the breakfast dishes while trying to keep the girls on task to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks and get ready to head out the door, and it smacks me right across the face: I’m a mother. I don’t know why it sometimes hits me that way. From early on, I knew I wanted children. Heck, I wanted four children! Boys! I think maybe that came from seeing my college boyfriend’s family. They are a family of four boys who all absolutely adore their Mama. But still there are days that I find myself amazed that I am a mother…that I am worthy of this task…that I have been given this blessing…that I have the qualifications for this most wonderful of jobs… Maybe it’s because we had to go through so much to get where we are, who knows?

Take a peek over at Brene Brown’s post Monday. She and I corresponded a bit after this post and I’m working on doing a few things on campus related to this project. What does this have to do with being a mother, you ask, other than what should be the obvious that “perfect mother” is an oxymoron? In our e-mails, she directed me to a TED talk she did about vulnerability, and what she speaks of everyday, having ordinary courage, taking the time to realize the small wonderfulness that happens in our lives every day. The little things we overlook. That’s what it has to do with being a mother. I will remember the conversation Sarah and I had Friday morning hopefully for the rest of my days. And standing at the kitchen sink tomorrow morning, I will remember what a blessing it is to stand there and wash the breakfast dishes of two little angels. And I will be amazed and overjoyed that I am their Mama. And I will be incredibly grateful for that gift. How about you? Have you taken the time to think about what you are grateful for today?

[cross-posted from Artful Happiness]

Kelly: Learning to Spread My Wings

Over the past month, I’ve been taking an e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts called Flying Lessons. Let me just say wow. The amount of content Kelly Rae has written for this course has been absolutely phenomenal. I imagine the full thing would print out to be a 300-page book. It’s been crazy chock full of great information. Of course, as par for the course for me, I’ve been having a heck of a time keeping up so I’ve been hopping around a bit, but today’s post really struck a chord with me. It talks about embracing the journey of a creative business… “the ebb and flow, overwhelm and burnout, celebration and joy.” I’ve most definitely been experiencing that. (Bracelet above listed in my Etsy shop.)

Kelly Rae said, “After all, in the big scheme of things, it’s often not the destination that we can control. The only thing we really can control is staying centered and inside the perspective that the creative biz path really is a journey. If we can give ourselves permission to not always know, to give up the “shoulds,” then we allow ourselves and our creative spirits a bit more freedom to roam the mysteries of its possibilities.”

Well said, sister! Last year, I postponed the majority of my regular juried show schedule in lieu of participating in the Riverside Arts Market (RAM). I was so excited about RAM. The venue was gorgeous, the idea was fabulous, and I felt like it was something Jacksonville really needed. And if I could stay right here at home and sell my jewelry and photography, awesome! Now, I still think the venue is gorgeous, and the idea is fabulous, and the people running it are truly wonderful; it’s very well organized. It just didn’t work for me. My sales for 13 weeks at RAM barely surpassed what I normally do at a large juried festival in one weekend. Granted my jewelry is on the higher end of what you’d typically find at a market like this, so maybe that was part of it. And maybe I expected too much. Who knows? I’d love to see RAM move to a once-a-month format instead of a weekly format. While RAM is still the top dog and the best run market in the best venue, nearly a dozen little Saturday arts and farmers markets have sprouted up in the area, and I wonder if the market is getting a bit too diluted.

My experience with RAM was a big lesson for me. And it was a big lesson that caused some major burnout. All those Saturdays in a row at the market away from my family, not making many sales, really took a physical and creative toll on me. Because of that, this year I took a big step back. I only did one show this spring, the always fun and profitable Springtime Tallahassee Arts Jubilee. (I wrote about my very first Springtime Tallahassee here; it was quite an experience!) I’ve started worrying less about selling my art and started enjoying more the process itself, creating whatever I’ve wanted to create when I’ve wanted to create it (obviously, since in the last week on my blog I’ve shared the jewelry above, a mixed media postcard, and some Best Shot Monday photography!). That’s been very freeing. I guess that’s part of the ebb and flow Kelly Rae referred to. And because I’ve let go of the need to sell, every little sale I do make on Etsy or on my website is cause for celebration! And it’s made room for other things, allowing me the time to explore other creative areas, the freedom to experience amazing adventures like Artful Journey, and even the room and opportunity for my first solo gallery showing of my photography (more on that later!).

It’s fitting that I wrote this post on June 30. Thanks to that letting go this first half of 2010, I’m now starting to feel better about loading Sally up and hitting the road again, so this fall, I’m planning to get back to a scaled-down version of my regular show schedule. Because I’ve been so scatter-brained lately (okay, I’m always scatter-brained, but I’ve been more scatter-brained than usual lately), I missed the application deadline for Market Days in Tallahassee, which has been one of my regulars, but that’s okay; that’ll save me that $375 booth and application fee, and I’ll fill that spot with a less expensive show. I’m looking into the Glynn Arts Association shows for this fall. I could essentially still sleep at home with those since they are just an hour up the road in St. Simon’s! So thank you, Kelly Rae. That post was just what I needed to read today. It was a good reminder that the journey really is so much more enjoyable when we worry less about the destination. That’s a good lesson learned.

[Crossposted from Artful Happiness]

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