A journey towards greater faith and creativity

Confessions

When Life Ebbs

Sometimes I wonder why I keep paying for the domain name attached to this blog when I so rarely post anything. It never auto renews properly and can be a bit of a hassle. But I like having the simpler name than what would be the WordPress default. It’s easier to remember and share elsewhere. And I do still post, when I feel like I have something I can share.

The last couple weeks have just been… well, life ebbing.

Why did it have to be the driver’s side windshield wiper that quit? Especially in the middle of a northern BC winter. Well, hopefully it will get fixed today, if things go even sort of right. As much as I hate the deep freeze (we saw -42C with wind chill this year), the cold and clear has meant the windshield stays clear without the wipers.

The subpoena for Valentine’s day. I knew it was coming. I know why, when the trial is, what it’s all for. I also know there’s a publication ban for protection of the victim. It’s always for the protection of the victim and I’m fine with that. But that’s almost the only thing I got for Valentine’s day this year. Why couldn’t they have waited twenty-four hours?

My birthday. Ugh.

It isn’t that I’m getting older. I’m fine with that. It’s the two week or more annual pre-birthday funk. And the not knowing what I want to do for it. And the feeling like nobody else cares. Also the tendency of certain people to forget when they can manage to remember other family birthdays. Most years I would happily skip most of February to avoid all this.

And then this borrowed laptop not wanting to work properly when I still need it for another couple weeks. I know it’s old. And I know it won’t even consider running the OS I would prefer. I don’t care if it quits once it goes back to its owner. I’m not sure he cares either because he’s knows it’s old. But just for another week or two. Just until I can replace my old one that quit.

Blessings mixed with ebbings, because that’s the way this life goes. I guess the trick is to keep watch for the blessings.

 

Happy Birthday to my sister, B. Heather Mantler


Tired… Need Rest

Honestly, today the last thing I feel like doing is anything resembling work. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to drive through six inches of new snow to take my daughter to school. I’m dreading going back to pick her up because I don’t think it’s stopped coming down yet. I don’t feel like cooking anything.

All I feel like doing is sleeping.

I sort of know why I’m feeling so tired. It’s a combination of things. Just the right combination of things to knock me off my feet and make me want to hibernate.

But certain things need to be done. Cooking has to happen so we can eat. My daughter has to get to school because there is no such thing as a snow day in this district. And sometimes things need to be blogged so everyone else feeling this knows they aren’t alone in it.

Also, it’s okay to rest. It’s perfectly fine to slow down. To not do anything more than necessary.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)


Days Go By

Life as usual, with all the things I’ve committed to do in a week.

And then I get sick. Sicker than I have been in quite a while. Sick enough I’m still recovering over a week later.

It sucks.

Things don’t get done because I’m not able to get to them. So they pile up. Because heaven forbid my husband or his cousin who lives with us pick up the slack. I’m not going to kid myself. So often it feels like they barely do a minimum of the work they promise to do. So now I’m left playing catch up.

Catch up on getting the kitchen clean. Catch up on my writing. Catch up on finding something to give my husband for his birthday, which is this Saturday. Catch up on all the other balls which get dropped when my energy wanes for any reason.

All I really feel like doing is getting lost in a book. Or camping out in Skyrim (Elder Scrolls V) for a week.


Costumes and Jackhammers

Somehow it’s nearly the end of October and Hallowe’en is approaching faster than I want to think about. My daughter is, of course, counting down the days until she can go trick or treating. Her costume is ready and she’s getting excited. I’m not sure whether I’ll attempt to dress up or not. What I do know is I will be doing the same as last year… handing out small, non edible treats to those who come to our door. I’m fairly certain we had more happy visitors than not and it avoids the landmine handing out edible treats has become.

In the meantime, I’m working to a background noise of jackhammer, shoveling, saws, and whatever else strata’s maintenance guys are using to replace the fence around our front yard. I know it needed doing. What gets me is the original notice said five to fourteen days, starting September 21st. Somehow they’re still working on it. Given that we’ve already had snow once this year and several light frosts, they’re pushing it to get the posts in place before the ground seriously freezes for the winter.

2017 is nearly over. I had a shock this morning when I was looking at the moon phases chart I use. There are only two more cycles of the moon left for this year. And, even though I’ve been trying to be more present in my life, I feel like I blink and the time is gone. I look around and I wonder what I actually have to show for any of it. I guess no more or less than anyone else around me.

Wishing all my readers a safe and happy All Hallow’s Eve.


Dark of the Year

It’s that time of year again. The part of the year where I have to wake up in the dark and somehow find the energy to get up and get my daughter up and start our day. The part of the year where I may not see the sun until after my daughter has been dropped off at school.

I would happily stay in bed until there’s actual daylight outside. This getting up in the middle of the night (that’s what 7am feels like right now) is insane. I’m pretty sure humans were originally intended to sleep through the dark and be up with the sun… or at least whatever is passing for daylight.

And then Daylight Savings time will end. (Why do we even still have this in a society which has us up at all kinds of strange hours anyway?) And it will be dark outside by the time I’m taking my daughter to her late afternoon/early evening classes.

And then we’ll reach the winter solstice and it will be dark when I get up and dark when I’m making supper. And all I’m really going to want to do is hibernate. Seriously, why don’t humans hibernate? I would much rather do that than deal with the dark and the deep cold and the deep snow and ice.


Sincerely Grateful

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving falls on October 9th this year. A date which is rapidly approaching and I find myself calculating what more needs to be bought for dinner and when I have to pull the turkey out to thaw.

Turkey dinner is all fine and (usually very) good, but the point of Thanksgiving is to pause and express gratitude for the harvest (originally) and all the things we have. A time to stop and take stock of how much we really have in our lives.

Gratitude has become one of those words. Overused, too often to try to sell some service or thing. And when a word becomes one of those, it’s actual meaning seems to get lost in the buzz.

Because Gratitude is actually very important, provided it is combined with sincerity. It’s easy to say (or post) that you’re grateful for something or someone or some event. But are you actually feeling it? Are you really grateful for what you claim to be? Or are you merely caught up in the latest self-help trend?

What we are sincerely grateful for we are far less likely to take for granted. We’re more likely to remember to acknowledge its affect on our lives.

I know some things (people, events) are hard to feel true gratitude for. Blessings do come in some really obnoxious/unpleasant/upsetting disguises. Sometimes it’s a matter of doing the best we can now and finding the sincere gratitude in hindsight.

What are you sincerely grateful for in your life?

For myself, I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and all the ways he supports me and my work; for our beautiful, active, strong willed daughter; for my high strung fuzzball of a Bandit kitty; for all the resources I have to draw on to build my life and business; and for Life in Jesus Christ.


“Hi. How are you?”

In North American society, “hi, how are you?” is considered a routine polite greeting. People spout it off without even pausing to consider what they’re saying or asking. When I took German in university, one of the things we learned early in the course is that, to German speakers, asking ‘how are you?” is considered extremely rude unless one, the person you’re asking is a close friend or family member, and two, you’re prepared to take the time to listen to the truth about how they really are feeling/doing. But, in North America, the polite response to this polite query is to lie. No matter what we may be feeling, we’re expected to say good or fine or okay. We’re expected to limit our response to one or two words and never tell the person asking the truth unless it’s short and positive.

The older I get, and the deeper I get into what I believe and how to live it out, the less I like the social niceties which require lies in response. The so called ‘little white lies’ grate on my nerves. As far as I’m concerned, a lie is a lie is a lie and it’s better not to say anything in some situations.

I do believe there are situations where is is better to keep silent. Because yes, we should always tell the truth when we speak. That said, just because we believe something to be true, doesn’t mean it needs to be blurted out without a thought to how it will be received.

If the truth cannot be spoken in Love, it’s far better to keep silent

I may say hi or hello or good (insert time of day), but I rarely ask anyone how they are unless I want to hear a true answer from them.


Yellow Leaves

I’m attempting something new this year.

For the past two years, I’ve been driving my daughter to and from school, for numerous reasons. This year I’m trying to walk with her, at least to school. I think she would like to walk both ways, but it’s fifty minutes, from the time we leave the house until I get home. I still don’t have the energy to attempt that more than once a day. Maybe by next spring, if life doesn’t go completely sideways on me yet again.

When we leave the house, we pass all kinds of trees with leaves now seriously turning yellow. There are yellow leaves on the front walk as well as up in the tree in the front yard. There are starting to be leaves on the sidewalks and a few in the school yard, although most of the trees on the school grounds are coniferous.

It’s definitely autumn here. Morning fogs (although still containing too much smoke), colourful leaves, back to classes. New routines and still wondering how all the things are going to settle this time.


The Hard Part

Writing isn’t really the hardest part of what I do. I’ve been writing since the primary grades. While writer’s block is very real (despite the claims of those who have obviously never had to deal with it), I’m having less trouble with it than I used to. Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo are wonderful tools for helping me finish manuscripts, although I have finished novels without them. In a good year, I can complete four or more first drafts. (I think I’m at three so far this year, with five months and Nanowrimo to go.)

Editing and rewriting don’t really bother me. Provided I’ve let the first draft sit for a few months/years. I absolutely cannot finish a first draft and then immediately dive into revision work. I will HATE the piece by the end of the second draft (no matter how good/bad it actually is) and never really be happy with the end result. This is also the stage where it would be helpful to have different/more beta readers.

Publishing prep can be kind of fun, depending what I’m doing. Certainly the formatting and proofing stages, with all the little steps to producing a professional looking product are something I enjoy. It helps that I have a checklist which is essentially the same no matter what’s in the works. Although cover design can be frustrating and I too often fall back on Createspace’s extremely limited library of stock images. There’s a joy in getting the cover looking good along with all the inside stuff.

The real hard part is the marketing. The appealing to people to read the published work. The trying to convince them to post ratings and reviews of what they read. I wish I could afford to pay someone to do all that stuff for me. I find it energy sucking… energy I would much prefer to put into any of the three steps listed above.


This Side of Fear

I dread putting anything out where other people can see/read/react to it. I really do.

I know there are a million thoughts and opinions on the subject out there. People’s experiences. Ways to get over it. Ways to work around it.

None of that makes it any easier for me. And, if I let myself stop and think about it, it’s exhausting.

And yet I keep trying to work on my business. I keep coming back to this blog. I keep putting things out there. I probably always will.