So in a fit of nesting the other night I reduced the amount of stuff on my kitchen counters and re-arranged some things. This little grouping makes me happy. A random canister of sorts that I found as a two piece set with Shari, she kept the bigger one, I wanted the smaller one, it worked out well (gotta love friends like that!)
I brought it home, washed it up, and stuck my utensils in it. Then I found this awesome olive wood salt box at Williams Sonoma, which thanks to a gift card, I was able to splurge on. Counter art.
And the onions in my old Koa wood bowl that I had the foresight to pick up as a teenager on a family vacation in Hawaii just make me happy. I don’t know why I never thought of making an arrangement of my edibles like this… we usually have a bunch of onions on hand as most things we cook start with garlic and onions, but they’re just in a basket in the pantry, hiding. Now they’re edible art.
And I had this lovely egg basket hiding in my pantry too, storing some paper bags I was saving for re-use. It came as a presentation piece at my wedding shower. Lovely thick bath towels were creatively displayed in it. Now it’s become an awesome fruit basket.
And the pots are ready for paperwhites. I just need some bulbs!
You know, sometimes it’s the little things… what little act of beauty can you do in your home this week that will make you smile when you look at it? I honestly think taking the time to do this is important. It’s like stopping to smell the roses. And anything that puts a smile on your face when you see it reduces stress. So simple, yet we put off the little things that sometimes make a big difference…
It seems to me as I go on through the years that instead of making resolutions for new years, I come up with word themes. Sometimes these themes last for more than a year. I stayed on “Be” for several, and then that still overlapped with “Let go” for several more. It’s hard to learn to just be. It took battling chronic illness to learn to be okay with myself as a human being, just Anna, just God’s daughter, without having to constantly perform, create, do, produce, and so forth. May you learn the lesson some gentler way, but all in all, it’s worth learning however you get there.
I wouldn’t say I’m proficient, just better, and it seems I’m letting that one go to a lesser focus as I continue to hone it, but am moving on to “Balance” and “Delight.” Really, both of these have been coming on slowly, I can’t say that I suddenly realized them, more that I suddenly realized that this was where I was focusing, and it helps to write it down.
I’m going to focus on the first one for this post, as I touched on the second one yesterday, and I’ll come back to it before too long.
Balance it seems is hard to come by for me, and I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like for my personality. See, I have a tendency to go go go, in a almost manic state when I’m into a project, creative or otherwise. I’ll get huge amounts done in a matter of days, working non-stop, forgetting even to eat, and not going to bed at decent hours. (And yes, in this mode, I can forget to eat even pregnant!). And then, I’ll be worn out. Sometimes I won’t even be done, but I’ll have to quit so I don’t get sick. This is actually an improvement. I used to not stop till I got sick, but my body eventually had enough (see reference to chronic illness above).
So there’s a sort of rhythm to it, and there’s something I love about being in the throes of the creative state and not stopping, or being able to look at a ton of accomplishments in a short period of time. But I need to balance it more. I think part of it’s my personality. And if I do a week’s worth of work in 3-4 days, it’s okay to crash for a couple of days and read novels and let the dishes pile up.
But I crave more routine than that on the whole. I prefer my stretches of time when the laundry stays mostly not backed up, and the kitchen is at least mostly clean when I come down in the morning as opposed to those other stretches when I have to stack something up to make breakfast.
And then there’s the part of me that loves to make routines and follow them, but a few weeks in I feel trapped and stifled and want to blow it all off.
How do I balance all these aspects? I don’t have an answer, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far as I’ve pondered this the past couple of weeks.
It’s good to have the routines. It’s also okay to blow them off from time to time. Because I have the routines, even when I blow them off, I’ve discovered I’m never that far from getting things back together. I’ll feel like I’ve let the house fall apart, and then, often with husband’s help, we’ll put in about 2 hours together, and it won’t be spotless, but it’ll be very presentable. I figure anything you can pull back together in 2-4 hours of cleaning hasn’t really gotten that far off track in the first place.
Sidebar: this is where Fly Lady is super helpful. She helps you get organized on track and reminds you of two very helpful things. 1) You are not behind, jump in where you’re at. 2) You can do anything for 15 minutes. The first takes away the guilt that stops us from starting things at times, and the second shows us just how much we can do in a little bit of time sometimes. We can always find 15 minutes to pick up or sort something.
Anyway, this isn’t just about cleaning. It’s about staying on track with yoga, birth preparation, getting Eli’s room ready, staying on top of client orders, photo editing, web development and all the other stuff I do for my business that isn’t appointment-based and thus there’s some flexibility as to how and when it gets done. All too often I do it in large batches because I’m right up against the deadline as opposed to doing them in smaller, more manageable bits all along the way.
And with Eli on the way, I have a feeling that learning to sort of stay on things in small bits of time will be quite the useful skill to have!
But I don’t want to impose it on myself in a legalistic, guilt-trip (I’m all too prone to those!) sort of way, so here’s where I’ve fallen out so far:
The routine is good. The schedules are good. If I skip out on them to take pictures on a pretty day, or blow off some cleaning because I’m almost finished a project and am excited about the progress, then it’s fine. I’ll get back to the routine in the next day or so and pick up where I left off.
Most importantly, I will not let myself feel guilty for being “behind,” I will simply jump in where I’m at and get things to the way I want them again if they’ve gotten to be some other way.
And what does the picture of the sandwich have to do with this you ask?
Thanks for asking I made myself that for lunch the other day and decided that plate represented balance. As in, don’t feel guilty for eating a small portion of Kettle chips with your otherwise healthy sandwich and baby carrots. See that was my own honey wheat bread (stay tuned for a recipe review on that!), and a spicy chicken deli meat, a bit of provolone, romaine lettuce and some fresh onion. All in all, a healthy lunch. I enjoyed all of it too, and the crunch from the chips was just the thing. More on that later, or this long post will be even longer!
Blogging is like… exercise in some ways. You love how you feel when you’re doing it regularly, but if you quit for a while (even for vacation!) you end up having problems getting back into it. I’ve planned posts, taken pics for posts, and never posted said posts… For instance, my fun fall decor that I created by scavenging my house and only bought (1) large pumpkin and (5) small white pumpkins to make it happen 😛 But now that we’re into Advent and Christmas is zooming towards us at the rate of the Polar Express, I think you don’t really want to see that now…
So, I’ve decided to blog about the fabulous ornaments I came up with this year almost entirely from random stuff I had on hand. Cool right?
Oh wait you want to see them?
I haven’t made them yet…
Okay, okay, so I’ll try to have the first one finished tomorrow and post that, k?