Monday, January 31, 2011

What next?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed to the point of "what next?" I find myself in that very spot now. I am not sure if not being able to actually finish anything I start causes this recurring state. Never-the-less I frequently find myself in it...the pattern goes something like this:
1.  I find myself void of regular responsibilities and panic (i.e. the children are both in bed early, Nayla takes an extra long nap, dinner with family led to an unexpected sleepover, etc.)
2. Wander around in a stupor trying to figure out what to do next.
3.  Sit down. Make a list.
4. Find another sheet of paper. Continue list.
5. Move cuddling cat off of my lap..."Not now Monty...can't you see I am busy trying to figure out how to use the time I have before it's gone."
6. Pause and think...hmmm, I think there are wet clothes in the washing machine.
7. Put clothes in the dryer and repeat steps 2 through 6 (but replace "wet clothes" with "meatloaf still on table from dinner" or "toys out in the driveway."

Why is it that when we try to plan, the plans are sabotaged by distracted thinking, overwhelming possibilities, unauthorized demands on our times and plain old procrastination? My mind would like to buckle down and focus on my Etsy shop development and paint some wooden letters. Maybe something with trains or elephants. So maybe I should read that article on creating a business plan. Or maybe I should go down to the studio and paint some. Perhaps writing out a good evening routine like the Fly Lady recommends would be helpful. I know, I will just pay a few bills first (that seems like a good thing to do) and oh...what's that...someone put a Facebook comment about my status...let's see....

Really, it just goes downhill from there. So..what's a girl to do? Well, I have a few strategies I am trying out. I'll let you know how they turn out after more testing, but here goes:

1. Go ahead and play. Sometimes your mind just needs a little wandering before the focusing. Set a designated amount of time (I am a big fan of 15 minutes) and unwind with non-productive meandering.
2. Enlist help. Nobody wants to fold clothes or wash dishes while someone is sitting in the other room watching TV. But there is a pretty good chance the task would be more pleasant if shared.
3. Start small. Choose a small, manageable task and see it through to completion. Whether writing down menus for one week, cleaning out one drawer, writing one thank you note or finishing one section of a business plan, see it through. This one has been hammered from countless articles I've read about cleaning and organizing and productivity.  Just think how organized and clean my world would be if I had spent more time doing than reading.
4. Choose a "stop" time. There is something about knowing the duration of a task or effort that makes it easier to get started. If it is already late and you are prone to staying up later than intended, this is especially helpful. It can either be an "I'll-work-on-this-for-15-minutes" or "I'll-be-done-at-11-PM" kind of stop time.

So I applied this on a small scale today. Every hour, my goal was to spend 10 minutes cleaning. The rest of the time was devoted to the scientist and artist that were climbing the curtains. While the house is not immaculate (Rome wasn't build in a day!), the kitchen floors are better than sanitary and there is some laundry done. If you have any suggestions, I am all open ears. Still, all in all, it's been a pretty blessed day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Vision

Art Abundant is unfolding as I type and while the vision is not complete, there are some key elements falling into place. Some imaging that goes on in my mind and makes me, I would love to share this!

I picture moms smiling as they read over the day’s musings thinking to themselves, “well, I guess I’m not alone in never finishing a cup of coffee.” I see moms reading the newsletter and glancing at their recycle bin thinking, I believe we do have the makings of a recycle robot. I see moms having a new outlook on meal planning (because it includes their kids), going for walks as physical and educational activity (like being number detectives) and seeking ways to refocus their eyes on an Almighty God who cares for them in the darkest depths of dirty laundry piles. Moms who love to learn grow kids who love to learn. You can’t fake it, so rekindle the love of learning in your own life. I picture opportunities for others to express their experiences and continue the circle of encouragement, burning the trash of gossip and the debris of mind numbing tv.
 And maybe, just maybe, someone will read something on the blog and say, “Something’s different here. There is ridiculous joy in the midst of challenges, unexplainable peace in the middle of paint puddles and servant hearted love for others, no matter who they are. If that is what Christianity is about, I want a piece of that. Something is different here from what I know to be religion. I want a relationship with Christ. I want to live abundantly

Blank Space and Endless Possibilities

For weeks I've thought about this moment. For months I've thought about a blog. It seems so appealing...sharing thoughts, dreams, ideas and experiences. A notebook you would never lose. No pencils to go dull. No pens to run out of ink. Just the endearing "click-click-cl-click" of the keys. Ok, perhaps over romanticised, but a big moment none-the-less.

Then the time comes and you sit there, staring at the blank screen, so overwhelmed by possiblity you have to make a trip to the little girls room. So here it is. The first post. Go ahead and do it. Then we can really get down to business. ;o)