July 27, 2018

Learning Spanish


I'm learning Spanish. It's a super slow process, but extraordinary. I'm blown away by the beauty of the words. I've started and stopped several times throughout the last five years because life got in the way.

This summer as I restarted practicing again, it came easier for me. I recognized many of the words and phrases. I still have a long way to go to get to fluent. I can only speak Spanish like a very young child, but I'm excited about the prospect of getting better.

We live in a Hispanic community and I desperately want to be able to communicate. I work at a high school and would love to freely talk to our Spanish speaking students and teachers. I don't like being singularly lingual. It feels uncomfortably elite

Spanish is such a beautiful language. I attempted to learn it in high school, but learning it conversationally is much different than shuffling through all the grammatical lingo.

I'm hoping that in the next few years I will be at the point of fluency. I know it will take tons of hours and practice to get there but I get giddy about the possibilities it could bring.




July 24, 2018

"Don't Worry" Never Helps



I understand why people say, "Don't worry", I've done it myself ~ but it never helps. As I write this, my son is attempting to travel home from China. I say attempting because it's been an ordeal. Due to an airline mistake, he ended up missing his connecting flight to the States and had a twelve hour layover in the Shanghai airport.

ALONE.

He's seventeen and has never traveled out of the country by himself or even flown by himself before this. No, of course this isn't my worst nightmare and I didn't lose my mind. (yes, I lost my mind)

The last two days have been intense! I don't handle stress great. I often want to lose myself in a pile of sweets and come out on the other side with a migraine. Handling my anxiety is not something I've succeeded at but I'm trying to do better.

Instead of running for sweets today, I've given myself a poster project. I'm attempting to distract myself with new episodes of Anne with an E, The Bachelorette (yes, I'm ashamed of this one but I can't help myself) and tons of art supplies to make Welcome Home posters because I choose to believe he will make it home tonight.

Of course it was then that I learned at his next connection, my young son has to race through customs, re-check his bag and arrive at his gate to get on his next flight in about an hour and a half. Is this real life? Sigh. The worry monsters raise their ugly heads. I hope he finds a good person who can help him get to all the places but I know that's the stuff of fiction. For me, the overwhelming terror is that...

I can do nothing about it! Nothing. Nada.

So here I sit, knowing I have no way to help other than being moral support. What do I do? I usually just sit here worrying about all the things that could go wrong; running every scenario through my head making myself a terrified mess. 

BUT

I could accept that I have no control. I could hug it in like a long lost puppy and just sit with it. The obvious fact is that I can do nothing about the situation (believe me, we've made all the calls possible). So I can opt to keep my hands occupied, my mind busy and let it go. What happens happens. I have no way to change it.

Letting go is so desperately hard. Why is it so hard?! Is it the Mom part? the scared little girl part? the sky is falling part? I'd like to think it's the optimistic part that wants to believe there is STILL something I can DO.

But at some point, one has to either go crazy or stop.

So today, I'm choosing to stop. I'm going to believe that my son can survive, even if he has to wait for another twelve hours to get home. I'm going to watch the inventive, cheerful Anne of Green Gables to distract myself from obsessing while I drawing fancy hand-lettering on cheap poster-board.

(And I wouldn't be opposed to a box of chocolates or a plate of cookies!)




July 23, 2018

5 Simple Goals


I used to write five goals for the month and track my progress with them. Usually half of them were something I wanted to accomplish and half just fun. I want to get back to that because a.) I love goals, and b.) It keeps me accountable to have fun. I may do them weekly just to watch my progress.

1. See Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! with my oldest daughter. She and I have an obsession with this movie and the music. She's the only one of my three kids that doesn't gag at my musical theater obsession!

2. Walk 30 minutes a day. I've been walking with good regularity this summer but I haven't been consistently at 30 minutes. Sometimes I just fit in 15 or 20 minutes but I'm hoping to up my game and stay at 30.

3. Read Just the Essentials. I've been intrigued with getting more earth-friendly with my cleaning supplies/household items. I've heard good things about this book and picked it up from the library.

4. Weed my front flower bed. It's terrible! I need to put some weed killer in it I think because as soon as I weed it, it's back again. Maybe this is the perils of having a yard, but I've never noticed it being so crazy. We've had a lot of rain, so maybe that's causing it.

5. Replace my empty gel pens with refills! My friend gave me a huge amount of gel pens in December that I am STILL using. About an 1/4th of them are needing refills and the whole pack came with refills so I still won't be out of ink for awhile. I'm guessing it's going to last me all the way to next December ~ it's the gift that keeps on giving! I love using them to color, highlight and write. If you've been around long, you know I'm crazy about my pens and these feel like a treat every time I use them!



July 20, 2018

The Joy of Painting


Lately, I've been painting again. It feels like going back to childhood every time I return. I don't paint with an end in mind; I just play! It's so fun choosing my favorite colors, fun shapes and doodling patterns.

Seeing yourself as an artist is often a stumbling block to actually creating art ~ at least it was for me. As an young adult, I never imagined I could paint because couldn't see myself having any skill. You have to be able to draw realistically to be a painter, right? Wrong!

Scrolling the web one day, I happened upon a group of fabulous artists who encouraged me (via the internet) to embrace creativity and just go for it. For the past ten years I've listened to them and embraced the fun of painting without worrying about the title of artist. If life gets busy and I'm away for awhile, I'm always drawn back by the thought of color and swirling thick layers across a canvas.

One of the artists who inspired me is the free spirit, Flora Bowley. Her book Brave Intuitive Painting gives wings to my tentative attempts! Not only does she dispel what an artist looks like, but she addresses the thoughts we grab onto that keep us from exploring our creativity.

Maybe not everyone will want to attempt to paint, but reading Flora might convince you to try! We all have the ability within us, we may just need some gentle encouragement. Play and willingness are the only requirements.

In this book, Flora's lessons remind me of what it was like to paint as a child with finger-paints, stamps, dancing and scribbles. It's all about fun and letting your inner child explore! Flora makes painting easy and accessible. If you're worried about knowing how to start on an empty canvas, she's got loads of tips to get you started!

Check her out, I think you'll love her style!





July 19, 2018

The Plant Killer


I have never had luck growing plants of any kind. I rarely plant-sit for anyone for fear of killing their beloved babies.

I shy away from growing anything of my own because (in the words of Anne Lamott), "They'd end up looking like I'd watered them with Agent Orange...you'd see it clutching its little throat, staring at you with its little Keane eyes, gasping and accusing--and I mean, who needs it?"

So recently when I walked out my front door and noticed a bloom on a bush I'd hopelessly planted last year, a scream erupted from my lips.

What was this? How had this plant survived the extremely cold winter and the water-less summer days? I knew it wasn't me because my track record is dismal, and yet, here was proof that I could actually grow something!

A little purple flower hung waving in the breeze. I ran over to make sure it was real and discovered multiple buds clustered around it. MORE?! I was growing more than one? I could hardly contain my excitement and flung myself down, pulling out weeds around it, as if I knew how this was done.

I sat admiring it and feeling all philosophical.

Isn't that just like us? I thought, we bloom in the most unexpected conditions, with very little watering and next to no attention. Yet here we are.

One day a plant-killer, the next day a bloom.