Pivot!

Me writing a blog post pivoting off of a Melissa Wiley post is oh so 2006! And I’m here for it. So first up, Melissa blogged– go read it! And come back eventually, please. 😀

Something Melissa said reminded me of a challenge I have been facing…one that might seem odd to many. Not a bad challenge, actually if I am successful it will be very good for me, body, mind, and soul. The stumbling block I’m trying to overcome is this: I have no idea what activities bring me peace and restoration, bringing me energy instead of depleting it.

That’s not to say I don’t *enjoy* many things. Currently I’m learning Chinese and refreshing my Spanish. I’m occasionally blogging. I’m very occasionally writing haiku. I’m working towards making teaching English to speakers of other languages a second career or ministry (in the very distant future). I’m trying to get healthy.

But with everything I do, I do it kind of intensely. I take in info like someone opened a fire hose in my direction. I open a hundred plus tabs, and open wide and absorb it all. And I *love* it, yet I love it the way a runner loves the feeling of the 50 meter – you are running all out and are exhilarated, but you can barely breathe at the end.

I don’t think this is particularly healthy, but it’s what I *do* and I don’t know any other way. Add in a lot of childhood trauma, particularly around creative endeavors, and everything I even *think* might be a good choice for “refreshment” goes right out the window. Everything feels tinged with ICK.

I guess I’m an overthinker and intense, and working on that may go a long way towards being more balanced. Like even when I’m reading a book, I’m reading fast (or lately, listening at 1.5x speed) and it turns into “how many books can I finish this month” which negates any relaxing benefit I may have gotten from the story. Perhaps mindfulness — making sure I’m focusing on what I’m doing instead of all the things *relating to what I’m doing* — could get me to enter a regenerative state. (*Amy goes to open 101 tabs on mindfulness and spend the next week speed reading this new project*)

Hopeless, LOL.

On a more peaceful note, here are some garden pictures. My tiny container garden was mostly a bust this year, but I did do some fun things that I will do again. One was growing Chinese Red Noodle Beans. I could never get the hang of regular green beans, they all grew very uneven and had a weird texture. But these “yard long” noodle beans seem to take care of themselves and are fun and different and yummy when quickly stir fried. But I only grew one plant, so only harvest one or two at a time. Not enough for my family of 7, but I throw them in a pan every morning and eat them myself for breakfast. 🙂

I will also try these Minnesota Midget Melons again next year. I only grew two (and a half, lol) but they were sweet and delicious, and again, fun.

I love the look of baby cucumbers. These beit alpha cucumbers are great in that they are the kind that don’t need pollinators to grow (I forget the technical term). The taste is pretty good, but even at a harvestable size, mine seem to have a spiky skin that I have to peel off.

This is my banana pepper. It went on strike until this week. This is the first bloom. It’s September 20th in Zone 7, people. This does not bode well for a pepper harvest. 😀 It’s starting to get very cool at night although the days have been hotter than normal.

Barry’s Crazy Cherry Tomato’s last ditch effort for a bountiful harvest. I may do this one again. I need to start *everything* earlier in the year than I did. But hey, my goals are always bigger than my energy level (see my treatise on intensity above 😉 ) .

Not pictured are my luffa plant – no luffa gourds grew, not even a blossom — an Amish Paste tomato with one lone green tomato on it, and my new sprouts of pea plants and carrots that I planted a few weeks ago. I think the neighborhood chipmunk has eaten a few of the sprouts. I’m hoping they gave him a little stomach ache and he won’t be back.

Indoors, I’m growing a new living room! This is a room that had been empty except for a few bookcases for four years. Yes, I know…but I got sick right when that was my next project to tackle. Dear hubby was way too busy being both mom and dad and working more than full time. It was very low on the priority list. Now that I feel good enough to sit in front of a computer for awhile each day, we ordered some furniture online. The last few weeks brought the chair, loveseat, and rug. And the air purifier in the foreground because the rug *S*T*I*N*K*S*.

The rug is not in position, we are still trying to air it out and flatten out the bumps. Somewhere on that bookshelf are Melissa Wiley books. 🙂

And so to bring things full circle to Melissa’s post, her mention of trucks struggling to get things from point A to point B made me think they don’t have the right Guinea Pig Bridge Technology. You’re welcome.

Full of noise

I was watching The Ramen Girl, a movie about a girl who is abandoned by her boyfriend in Japan and decides she wants to become a ramen cook. Kinda stupid movie, lol, but sweet at the same time. Anyway, there is a scene where the girl is talking with the mother of the ramen restaurant owner, about why her ramen broth wasn’t good. I loved this:

You cook with your head. Understand? Your head is full of noise. You must learn to cook from the quieter place deep inside of you…each bowl of ramen that you prepare is a gift to your customer. The food that you serve your customer becomes a part of them. It contains your spirit. That’s why your ramen must be an expression of pure love. A gift from your heart.

I love the image of my intent being almost physically “poured out” into what I create for my family, but my head is full of noise, always has been. I have always “stayed up in my head” to avoid what was going on in my life. Being a good student and avid reader, it was easy to daydream or read my way through life. But it has come back to bite me big time in health issues – my body “stored” what I couldn’t deal with at the time. (For a good treatise on this read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.) I do everything in a kind of dreamy state…although sometimes the dream is more akin to a nightmare, in a “I’m being pecked to death by baby ducks” kind of way, lol .

Hiding in my head was all well and good for its time, but now I realize more how it affects my family. From a simple meal to the atmosphere in the home, my lack of “being there in spirit” hurts my family in ways they probably can’t articulate but definitely feel. You’ve ever been in a room where you’re having a conversation with someone but they’re not really listening? It’s like that, but more subtle. Subtle and pervasive is still harmful. And it isn’t that I don’t want to be with them, far from it! It’s just a 50 year old habit that I rarely even realize I’m using because it’s all I ever knew. There’s little “heart” or “spirit” in what I do, I am not “poured out into my ramen in an act of love.” I’m going through the motions.

My goal, for my health and my family, is to learn to show up in body and mind. To be “all there,” whether I’m conversing with my kids or making a meal all by myself. I’m getting better at it little by little, and since my children are all teens and above, I’m learning to be honest with them. I let myself feel the joy or pain or overwhelm of the day and tell them when something is too much for me, or explain to them why I might look weepy or tired. I have a long way to go but I’ve made strides in the right direction.

Spoiler alert, a funny scene happened after the ramen store owner’s mother talked with “Ramen Girl” — the mother explained that if she didn’t know what love is, that she should feel what she is feeling while cooking and start with the tears that come. So she cries while making her ramen, the tears fall in the cooking pot, and everyone who tries the ramen starts weeping. 😆

If you see us all crying over dinner, you’ll know what happened. 😉

Turning in my techie card

I know I’m getting old, because all this “website stuff” is so much harder than I remember it being a few years ago. All the updates and integrations are supposed to make everything easier, but to me it all seems foreign and overly complicated.

Case in point there used to be a widget to gather email addresses of people who wanted to get notified of new posts, that I could put in my sidebar (LOL I almost said “sideboard” – I’ve been doing too much furniture shopping lately). Now, I’m supposed to give my credit card to get a free integrated system that will do everything but wash our dishes at night. Except all I want is a box that people can put their emails in that will automatically send them new posts (and someone to wash our dishes at night 🙂 ).  And NOT give someone my credit card.

I used to be so techie. I went to a college that was one of the first to give everyone a personal computer and then these cool for the time room phones that could forward messages, etc.  I was the one teaching all my friends.  I usually surprised people because I didn’t come across as a computer nerd, I was just a biology major that picked it up easily and enjoyed learning about it. Email was instrumental to my long distance relationship with my now husband, and BBSes were a fun “pre-internet” way to spend my time.  Fast forward a bit and I enjoyed learning enough code to crash my blog, LOL.

But now my kids talk about stuff and I’m lost. My blog wants some huge system of plugins and widgets and I sigh.  Its “visual editor” makes me twitch. Can I admit that this bothers me more than the other symptoms of aging?  Like having to hold my phone at arms length to read it and the fact that I have more gray hair than brown now?  I was hoping to be the first old lady in the nursing home riding her flying combo scooter/cell phone/personal assistant around the place and teaching all the other old ladies about it.

I could blame my Lyme disease, and that may be a small part of it. But if I can learn Chinese (Nĭ hăo!) I think I should be able to keep up with the tech world.

Alas, ’tis not to be. Anyone want to join me on the porch swing while my kids explain Tik Tok to me? 🙂

What is a call to adventure?

In Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he talks about “The Hero’s Journey,” a ubiquitous story structure in which the protagonist or “hero” receives a call to action — the “call to adventure” — that takes him out of his comfortable life on a quest to a region unknown. According to Campbell, this is often represented by:

a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountaintop, or profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delight. The hero can go forth of their own volition to accomplish the adventure… or they may be carried or sent abroad by some benign or malignant agent…. The adventure may begin as a mere blunder… or still, again, one may be only casually strolling when some passing phenomenon catches the wandering eye and lures one away from the frequented paths of man. Examples might be multiplied, ad infinitum from every corner of the world.

Decades ago (I can’t believe I can say “decades ago”, but yes, it was 20 years) – the hero’s journey reminded me so much of my life with baby after blessed baby coming and diagnosis after diagnosis being given. We left our comfortable childless life for the grand adventure of welcoming children, homeschooling, and trying, and often failing, to do God’s will. This was most definitely His call, and He was the supernatural being helping me along the way.

So I named my first blog “A Call to Adventure,” and writing about those often crazy years helped me make sense of it all and make a few friends along the way. As an aside, can I tell you how thrilled I was when I found out my “late discovery” half-uncle is named Joseph Campbell? It’s so prophetic, but in a hindsight kind of way, LOL.

Things are very different now, with the kids no longer being babies. My oldest is 23 and engaged. My youngest is taller than me! But the adventures continue. We are so blessed to be journeying together!

…beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Rom 1:7

Welcome!

Pressure, pressure! So hard to start with that blank page. So… here I am.

I’ve heard multiple people talk of missing the good old days of blogging, where it seemed to be more of a community of people who would visit each other’s virtual houses for a cup of tea and some chit chat. I miss it too. I’ve resurrected a favorite old blog title to help me along, and I’m going to try to recreate the feel of the old days on my blog here. A random though, some deep ideas, maybe a recipe, a haiku, or heaven forbid a “mom joke” 😀 . All the things you might hear if you stopped by for a visit over cookies and hot chocolate.

If you like grammatically incorrect writing with way too many dashes and parentheses (and large font because I’m old now), pull up a chair and stay awhile!