It has been said that the busiest of times is the happiest of times. I don't know that I've always believed this, but I'm pretty sure now I do indeed believe that busy times are happy times. I guess it all depends on what you're busy with, but I think a lot of this line of thinking relates to the fact that, when you're busy, you don't have time to complain about all that is not perfect in life. Of course, you may be busy trying to improve your life so it's hard to not think of the bad when you're in improvement mode but, hey, at least you're trying to do something about it, right? You might be busy serving others, if you're a mom, or the child of an elderly or sick relative, or called to some mission greater than yourself. And you just might be busy just trying to keep your head above water, if you know what I mean. I personally think that's where most of us find ourselves in daily living!
I recall a brief period in my life when my kids were gone (as in married or off to college), at the time I wasn't working and it was "pre-grandchildren," and I experienced a rough patch. I don't think I realized it at the time, but I had lost the only purpose I had ever known, and that was to be a mother. Now, if you know me, you know I believe that parenting is the highest of all callings. Not everyone is called to motherhood but if you, like me, have always felt that being a mother has been your greatest work, then you know what I'm talking about. Of course, once a mother always a mother, and I don't care if you're 90 and your child is 70, they're always going to be your baby and you never step out of the mothering mentality, not one minute. But there are definitely periods of motherhood where you're not as needed and, relating to this period in my life, I now realize I needed more in my world than just mothering. I needed something that I could put my hand to and draw satisfaction for myself alone that would make me feel productive and worthy -- something that would make me feel growth as an individual. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. I've tried to pass that wisdom on to my daughter who is now a mother of two little girls, did you know that, haha? I've always sensed in her that, as important to her as motherhood is, work also brings her a great deal of gratification. Of course, she worked hard to get her nursing degree and she is very good at what she does, so to me her going back to work part-time was a no-brainer. And she is a happier mother for it, so everyone benefits (me as well, because I get to keep the kiddos!).
The renovation is purring along. Some days feel like we're making tremendous progress and, in the words of the hubs, "Some days we have to fight for all we get!" There are times it feels like the smallest of chores takes 100 times as long as it should, and things that should be easy mysteriously morph into problems. Then some days at the end of the day, we look back and see that we've accomplished quite a bit (those are my favorite days). We have made significant progress on the kitchen design and the master bath add-on and these two areas are almost complete! The sheetrock is almost finished (one of those things that's taken one million times longer than it should've), and the floors are coming along. I am beginning to see some of my dreams for this house that I've been sitting on becoming a reality recently, and I'm really loving what I'm seeing. It's during these times that I am so grateful to be able to do what I do.
Today, in my sixties, I am literally busier than I have ever been in my life! Between children and grandchildren, doing things for my elderly father, renovating houses, and being in a marriage where there's never a dull moment, I am maxed out to the limit. And it is a very good life, I must say. But today on this Good Friday 2018 leading into Easter weekend, I'm taking a moment to slow down, embrace thankfulness for this life God has given me, and count my many blessings. I don't know how I'm gonna do that because my blessings truly are too many to count. I'm looking forward to actually cooking my family a meal on Easter Sunday, and I'm dreaming about upcoming wedding plans for our youngest. Houston-bound soon!
I'm hoping to have many more pictures to share soon of the renovation. My life is far from perfect, but I don't have time to think about that!
Wishing you the hope of that first Easter so very long ago...
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. "
- Maya Angelou
Inspiration is a welcomed visitor who sometimes doesn't come around as much as I'd like but, when she does, I drop whatever I'm doing to entertain her, make her welcome, feed her, and then squeeze out every little bit of her satisfying charm that I possibly can.
I come from a family of creatives. My family includes the following: A bonafide ceramic artist; house renovators (moi & hubby and my sister & her hubby and others); folks trained (and very good at it I might add) in wood-working and building stuff; floral designers; wedding planners and directors; home decorators and green-thumb gardeners; photographers; and last, but certainly not least, a chef. And these are just the talents I can recall at the moment. We encompass a whole host of do-it-yourself-ers who in most any given case would rather just -- well, do it themselves.
Now, whether these fine creatives have been born out of pure talent, utter necessity, or a combination of both, is still not completely clear, but I do know this: We love to do things on our own and feel the satisfaction of a creative endeavor accomplished. So when we go through periods where we feel uninspired, it can be a Debbie Downer (I speak of myself). Creative juice is truly one of the things that keeps me going, gives me energy, and boosts my booty off the sofa to see where I can go and what I can achieve in any given day.
Many things spark my creative flow. Nature ranks right up there at the top of the list. Just give me a beautiful flower or a tree bursting forth in the spring or a scenic fall landscape and I feel I could fly. Travel is a big one. There's something about seeing new places and cultures (even if it's just the midwesterners or new England yankees or Florida sun-seekers) that sparks my perspective and feeds me. Even better if it's on foreign soil with people speaking a different language all around me, dressed in strange attire, eating exotic new foods, and enjoying a life that is completely the opposite of mine. It helps me to remember that my little corner of the world is not all there is. My children and grandchildren fuel it. When you have children who they themselves inspire you to be a better person, you pretty much have it all. And those grandchildren; do I really need to explain how they inspire me? I don't think so. They're as pure as the new fallen snow; they're funny; they're honest (sometimes painfully) and as true and real as anything you can find on earth. Family inspiration has permanent residence in my heart and my family never ceases to energize me. Great design is a big motivator for me. Having a room or a house to decorate or something beautiful to photograph is like lighting a big ol' firecracker underneath me, sending me soaring into the heavens, not knowing exactly where I'll come back to earth but most definitely it'll be a beautiful spot...one where I want to linger and rest awhile, admiring the thing I have created or developed or improved and truly questioning how I, this "lowly grandma from Georgia," could've done such a fine thing.
So, if you are a faithful reader of this blog, you know that 2018 has been a struggle for me at times in the inspiration department. I am what I call a "quicky creative." Now, in case you're scratching your head, a quicky creative is just this: I like projects that pretty much have instant results. Give me some flowers I can arrange in 30 minutes or less or a piece of furniture I can paint and transform in an hour, and I'm in hog heaven. I love recipes that are simple and easy and quick, and yield amazingly delicious results. I once took up a bit of cross-stitching in the nineties, but never did do a substantial sampler because it took too long. I stuck to those tiny little pieces and finally gave it up because cross-stitch was just not my thing. So sticking with a project that is eventually gonna take up the better part of a year has been really hard for me. I've had moments of intense satisfaction, like laying down tongue and groove wood that came off walls and found a new home on the master bathroom floor...that was about a day project, so short enough that I felt accomplished at the end of the day. I can go a day or a week or several months even, but a year? Oooo, kinda hard for this girl.
But there is no turning back now. We have way too much invested in our 1892 renovation project, things are plugging along, and I feel my inspiration once again beginning to gain momentum. Could it be that in a few short weeks I will FINALLY see some of the vision I've had for this old beauty coming into focus? In my mind's eye, I've been seeing it for months and months now, but waiting to physically see it has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Doing a good job and taking the time needed to accomplish that good job takes a whole lotta time on a project like this, and I've had to learn that the hard way, through patience and perseverance.
So...inspiration? Yeah, I'm talkin' to you. Stay awhile; let me feel you; let me pick your brain and bathe in your warm bubbles; let me take you on a long, relaxing walk because you are truly one of my best friends and I'd like to have you around more often.
A glimpse of the master bath vanities in their final resting place, with mirrors resting on them (NOT in their final resting place; they will be hung!), and sans the gorgeous sconces. I love how the painted tongue and groove came out in all its glory, with all the cracks, nail holes, and imperfections. Farmhouse style at its best!
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."
- Steve Jobs
Posted by CC
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