#reverb11, April: What’s blossoming?

Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) with variously col...

Image via Wikipedia

The last date of frost for my area of Michigan is May 15. To plant swiss chard, spinach, and lettuce in my garden, I need to plant them soon — 6 to 8 weeks before that last frost. After the frost danger passes, I can plant tomatoes, peppers, herbs, flowers.  There’s a new challenge this year, with my garden being on the ground floor — squirrels and other animals will be able to get to my plants. Nothing is blossoming yet, but I have the necessary permissions to build a raised bed garden behind my condo.

Of course, I would be remiss if I said that my little girl was not blossoming. She is growing, and we are beginning to understand her wants and needs and what calms her. She will slowly grow out of premie clothes, and into all the clothes that well wishers have bought her. She is thriving, the word I chose to manifest for this year, and my little family is thriving too.

Finally, I am blossoming — as a mother, as a student. I am beginning to figure out the line between self-compassion and the self-denial that is necessary in motherhood. I am taking care of the details that are necessary for me to go to Grad School in the fall.

It’s good to know that April is spring in this way, a time of birth and renewal and growth. It is a good reminder as the month goes on.


#reverb10 — December 8, Beautifully Different

Vagina Monologues 2004

Image by Auntie P via Flickr

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond, reverb10.com)

Because I’ve made it my goal professionally to help people and fight injustice.
Because I don’t care about my weight, or my make up, and barely care about my hair.
Because I can tell a story, sometimes my story, and help people understand depths of injustice and systematic violence in this world.
Because I’m reassuring to everyone who is helping me, no matter how poor their service, and especially when they’re harried. I try to give them a moment of customer zen in the day.
Because my sense of awe and reverence, especially in terms of religion and faith, is ever evolving.
Because I defend people — their beliefs, their rights, their person-hood.
Because I believe in the right of every person to their own selves, even if I disagree with them.
Because I know that my place on this earth is to help heal it’s brokenness, even just a little bit.

#reverb10 – December 6, Make

Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin; reverb10.com)

The last thing I completed was a handmade book that was filled with the cards given to us by well-wishers at our wedding. I had started it a long time ago: I sewed the cards together in bundles of five or so, stacked them, bound them together with duct tape instead of proper binding glue, and put some cardboard for the front and back covers. This past Saturday, when I had a lovely craft day with my college roommate Caitlyn, I completed it by putting a craft paper cover on the cardboard cover of X and O print. It looks like a real book now; a little fragile, perhaps, but it puts a collection in a place where it can be enjoyed, instead of in a box in a closet.

I am in the middle of a lot of creating a lot of things, I find, as I made a mental catalog to put together this list. I’m working on a scarf for my sister’s Christmas present, I’m going to put together a cookbook for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, I’m plotting a date for my husband for Christmas. These are all things that I’ve been making that I know will be completed in due time.

However, is there something I want to make that I need to clear space for? Yes. I’ve been collecting t-shirts for at least the past 10 years, shirts for groups and events and projects, shirts that have a little bit of nostalgia, shirts that are cool colors, etc. At some point in the past year, I cut most of those t-shirts into 12″ squares, with the intention of turning them into two twin-sized throw quilts. A few more t-shirts have come into the collection via Tim cleaning out the clutter he left behind at his parent’s place in Ohio. I haven’t yet made that quilt, but I am looking forward to doing so. It should be a great conversation starter, a great way to talk about things we have done and things we like to do, places we’ve been, another collection on regular display.

Oh, and in terms of collections on display? I want to make a gallery wall of our wedding pictures for our bedroom, and get a photo album of our wedding pictures to go next to the book of wedding cards. I want to do something with the box of proofs, too, even if it is just putting them in a box that is easier to flip through than they are right now.

And, and! (Apparently there’s lots I want to make.) I want to decorate our apartment; Tim and I half conceived of the idea of our living room as a “travel lounge” decorated with postcards and pictures and such. I want to put together a nursery, even if all that’s in the nursery to begin with is a changing table and a lovely mural. (I go back and forth about the nursery also being an office until Rocketship is ready to have hir on room.) I want to make a home, make it so everything has a place. I made a lot of progress on that this year, but soon we’ll be in a new home, with new places to put things. (Yay linen closet! Yay laundry room!)

#reverb10 Day 5: Let Go

Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley; reverb10.com)

In the early days of the new year, I had something akin to a panic attack — my anxiety spiked to near epic levels, and I was filled with dread and indecision for the new year. I hadn’t reflected and planned as #reverb10 seems to be allowing me to do, and so I was driving myself crazy trying to do everything, be everything, be independent and part of a community, to figure out how everything goes together.
I filled up the white board in our office with everything that was on my mind:

The pressure I was putting myself under ended up with me in counseling, talking to a woman I didn’t quite like, but was good enough. At one of the first meetings with her, she said to me, “It seems like you’re a perfectionist.”


You see, I had spent some time fighting perfectionism already — one of my personal philosophies was that perfect is the enemy of good, perfect is the enemy of done, and perfect was not something to be striving for. I didn’t want to perfect my writing in this sense, and I had given up being a perfect housekeeper, and forcing Tim to make it so that together we would be perfect housekeepers.

But still, as Laurie the not-so-great therapist pointed out to me, I was expecting a lot out of myself. I was expecting to get up the same time every day, despite being depressed. I was expecting myself to be perfectly efficient at work, despite the fact that I was getting good reviews and everyone goofs off a little, I was expecting myself to regiment my free time and never relax and always be achieving…

So, one thing that I have let go of is perfectionism in 2010. It isn’t a perfect process, but it is a process of doing exactly what I don’t want to do (overloading my schedule, thinking I have to do it all) and then slowly backing down from it (Promised to do a book drive, but don’t stress about writing a novel.) and providing self care (Buy yourself the clothes you want. Relax in the evening).

I don’t want to do it all, anymore, despite the fact that there is a lot that still is worth doing. I want to do what I can. One of my resolutions for 2010 was to declutter our home. Rather than do a half hour each day, I try to do one project in about a 4 hour block, from identifying the clutter to buying the containers to organize, to putting everything back together. It’s certainly not finished, but making it a goal, and continually persuing it — Tim and I have accomplished a lot this year. Perfectionism would demand I be angry or sad that I didn’t do it in the first three months of the year that I wanted, or that I haven’t finished by the end of the year, but when it comes down to it? I have done a lot.

I’ve tried, slowly, to get rid of perfectionism. It isn’t perfect — and if it were, it would defeat the point.

#reverb10 Day 1: One Word

Prompt: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

My word for 2010: Ground

I chose the word “ground” in the sense of “earth,” in the sense of a “ground wire,” and maybe a little in the sense of “grinding” because 2010 was about growth, but more importantly, about building the groundwork for an ordinary life lived extraordinarily. Tim and I got the help we needed personally to make sure we were ready to support one another, and we’ve begun moving towards improving our communication and teamwork as an ongoing, growing project. In my professional life, I went back to basics, and was able to find some fulfillment and productivity that works for me. We worked on decluttering a lot of our life, worked on adding processes so that we can communicate better, especially our schedules. In my life as an activist, I was able to think deep thoughts and make a difference, at least in getting a story out there. In my personal, spiritual life, I have gained a lot of insight from yoga, and meditation, and mindfulness, and an Emergent Christian theology. Our community is growing, our support network is solidifying, and life seems like it’s on a pretty steady set of circumstances.

Word for 2011: Thrive

I want our baby to thrive. I want to become ever more connected to our community, and church, and support network — and do some of the supporting ourselves. I want the next big thing in my career (be it grad school or a job) be something I can embrace whole heartedly. I want my marriage to become better than ever. I want to continue to be living vibrantly.

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