Pencil Dancing Chapter 3

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This man! He’s all wrapped up in my “most important” list!

Pencil Dancing Chapter 1

Pencil Dancing Chapter 2

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Poo. Since the holidays are over, I’m itching to do some projects I’ve had to postpone for over a year now. Time to dive back into housekeeping without, obviously, over doing it. I keep repeating this to you and to myself because I’m in grave danger of doing too much the minute I feel even slightly better. Take it slow…

Which leads right into this chapter of the book: Time . . .and time, Again.

This chapter is all about Hurry Sickness. Before last year, I hardly ever took time to just sit and do nothing. Even the idea of quietly letting your thoughts rumble around without being productive seemed, well, sacraligious or something.

Now, after a year of battling this virus, I can say that down time is vital to housekeeping and life in general.

The first question at the end of this chapter is all about doing nothing for 30 minutes. I’ve done plenty of that for a long time, so I think question 2 is a better use of my time.

Make a list of five of the most important things you give your time to. What’s the most meaningful one? Why? Is anything missing from your list that could further your creative growth or add pleasure and dimension to your life? Write your thoughts.

My five most important things I give my time to:

  1. My Church: under this heading, I’m including my husband since he is a fellow church member and my closest neighbor. He is my first field of service.
  2. My Family: I’m fortunate enough to be able to include my family in with my church! But, family day is hardly serving, generally, so that’s why my family is second on the list.
  3. My Home: this sums up the actual brick and mortar location. It includes the yard, trees, cars, and house—both interior and exterior.
  4. Encouraging Others: there is nothing I love more than being encouraging to those around me. Whether this means a smile for the bank teller, a birthday wish on FaceBook, a text to a friend, or a not sent in the mail, I enjoy lifting others up. This often also ties into my family.
  5. Stories: I love stories in any form. From music, movies, books, audio books, my own writing, other people’s writing, I love stories. I don’t know if this should be a most important, but it takes up a lot of my time thus it’s included.
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These people are some of my most favorites!

 

 

The most meaningful one on here is serving my Church. All the other important things flow from it and often tie back into it. Some of them are specific out-workings of that service. As a Christian, based on the merits of Christ, why would I want to do anything other than pour myself out for the church? He died for us, we should live for him.

I don’t think I really see anything missing that could add more creative dimensions to my life. The Stories alone feed my creativity and bleed into the other areas, while they all interrelate and interlock with one another.

It is interesting to note that 3 out of the 5 important things are people related. See why those little online quizzes are never sure if I’m an introvert or an extrovert?

Before I got sick, I spent lots of my time going and going. I tried to keep up with all the projects and was constantly on the go between church and family. Now, my view has narrowed. I’ve had to learn to do many of these things more quietly and less often. I’ve had to learn to send more text messages, FB posts, and Notes in place of my physical presence.

This had not been an easy transition for me. I think that in some ways I was so used to/addicted to the adrenaline from pushing myself all the time that I didn’t know how to quite. God sure did. Thank you EBV.

Life has slowed down, but my priorities remain the same and I’m thankful for the creativity God allows me to express in my service to my church, my love of my family, my home, encouraging others, and through stories.

He is a generous God!

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Pencil Dancing Chapter 2

Going Into Your Egg: Write about ways you could change your work space into a more creative space. What could you do to make even a small space more uniquely yours? More private? More comfortable? More inviting?

I’ve always dreamed of having an ‘office’ that was totally mine where I could decorate according to my eclectic desires, where I could draw on walls, and map our huge character timelines. For a short time, I had my desk in our guest room and was able to do this to a point. Then, my husband started teaching and needed that space to study and work out his sermons. At first I was a bit miffed. I had finally gotten the magical space I wanted to write and write and write. A little hidden away place just for me. My husband reminded me that the whole house was my space and he needed this one room. Lol. Well, there I was corrected.

Now, if you will remember I said I was going to look at this book from a homemaker’s perspective and not a writer’s perspective. That’s the point. I never looked at that space or even my whole house as MY SPACE. How silly of me!

After a lot of rearranging last year, my husband now has his own office and I have a guest room ready for company. My small desk had been moved into the living room and stays closed most of the time.

This question sparked a realization in me that I need to re-think my small desk. I need to think of it as the place of creative thinking for my home. It needs to be changed to my home space out of which ideas flow, not my writing space. My head is my writing space. My journals are my writing space. If I want to keep my heart and head in the right place with the right priorities, if I want to be a homemaker first, I need to make a home creative place. My trusty desk, once my Mom’s, is perfect.

My desk is already very private with deep heavy drawers and a top that closes. At any point I can just close it up. (READ: hide the mess) What I need to do to make it more comfortable is get it cleaned up, organized and probably design a better filing system. Right now the filing cabinet is doubling as surface space in my husband’s office. This would make my desk more comfortable and inviting. I need to also put pictures up of beautiful homes and delightful gardens. This space needs to change from the geeky writing space to the home space. Charts of what needs to be done, budget ideas, food, and such need to fill this space. I need to train my mind to love these things as much as my writing. I need to see them as part of who I am, not that thing I have to finish so I can write. There is much wonder in a home and I feel like I’ve been missing it due to discontentment. I just kept thinking: Why, oh why can’t the LORD just let me be a reclusive writer who cares about nothing else???

God knows best. I’m called in the Word to be a keeper of my home and I want my home to be a place that welcomes my husband and other saints in for good food and good drink. In and around that, I am free to use and enjoy my gift of writing, but not to the detriment of the other.

I’m really really enjoying looking at my home creatively from the bottom up. Now, little by little, I’ll get that desk cleaned out, cleaned up, and remade so I can use it for my home. I think I should find some room in my closet, or buy a special box to put my writing stuff in. Like a mobile creativity center. I don’t want to lose that part of me, I just want it to sit where it’s supposed to sit. I want it to quit greedily hording all my creativity leaving none for my home.

Cheers!

Pencil Dancing Chapter 1

Someone asked me the other day how I was feeling. As I quickly pondered how to answer that question, I realized that I’m not really feeling kick-my-shoes-off-and-dance better, nor am I feeling in-the-depths-of-despair bad either. I’ve kinda reached a happy medium where I have good days and bad days. I’m on a strict diet and learning the hard lessons of only doing what I can do today.

With that in mind, I’m going to try to do some slaying of two birds with one stone. I’m reading a book called Pencil Dancing by Mari Messer right now. It is intended to help a writer be more creative, but at the beginning of the book she says that her lessons of creativity can be applied to any setting including that of the homemaker. This caught me off guard. I’m used to being creative. I’m a writer after all. But, do I think of my homemaking and my home in a creative way?? I’ve decided to read this book only with a heart for homemaking and not for writing at all. I’ve already found it inspiring. I have lived too long in the shadow of thinking of my writing as creative and my homemaking as my work. I hope to step into the light loving all that I do with the help of this book.

What about those two birds that need to be slain?

Pencil Dancing has some journaling questions at the end of each chapter and I’m going to do that journaling here. See? Blog post and using my book! Two Birds! 🙂

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New Cork Board! Fabric is from the hem of my curtains. Pray Request sign is the inside of a tea box. Fall pictures are from a tissue box. 🙂

Question from Chapter 1: Raffia in the Doorway

What “barnacles,” imposed from outside yourself or from within, are the most stubborn obstacles to your creative expression? What ideas do you have for reducing or eliminating some of them? What do you most want to let go of? Write your thoughts.

When it comes to creativity in my home I’m most impeded by three things: courage, fatalism, and budget. I have always found it hard to do something creative with my home without overspending on the budget. This makes me want to not be creative at all. It’s just too expensive. I hope to reduce this fear by looking at what I already have in my home. I want to learn how to look at trash differently. For example, I used the inside of a tea box on my cork board. I just cut it up, and wrote a quote on the pretty print inside instead of throwing the empty tea box out. I want to balance this with not being cluttered. I hate clutter. So throw away, but don’t throw away everything. Look beyond something’s intended use, but don’t believe everything has a use.

I tend to be very happy with things the way they are, to the point of being fatalistic. I’m not a driven person except in a few areas. This can really hurt me in my home and even in relationships. I tend to not want to worry about new flooring. The flooring we have is fine . . . right? My oven that never cooks the same way twice is fine . . . or it’s easier to be content with it than it is to go research what oven I might like to replace it with. Put that with the budget fear and I will sit on my hands while my appliances slowly die. I hope to get over this, honestly, by sheer determination and maybe scheduled ‘research’ time. Having a set time to research would probably be the most helpful thing to me.

My husband enjoys a very streamlined, modern styled home. I tend to be very eclectic, and while I don’t like clutter, I do like stuff and books. I like books. I love the homey feeling of books, books, books. I also like throw pillows. I would buy new throw pillows every week if the budget allowed. I tend to want to haphazardly mix all the things I love together whether they match or not. Early on in our marriage finding a happy medium between our two taste was almost impossible. I think, through no fault of my husbands, that I still feel like he’ll hate everything I do in the house.

Now, as a stay at home wife focused solely on her home, and my husband really wanting and encouraging me to make the home mine, I’m a little afraid I’ll overdo it. I don’t trust myself. (If you heard some of the ideas I’ve come up with, you wouldn’t trust me either.) This greatly inhibits me. The solution to this problem is to give ideas time while not being afraid of controlled experimenting. I need to be brave enough to try out new colors. But first I need to think about it, and then maybe try it in the laundry room before I make a commitment to a whole wall in the living room. I need to find small ways to experiment before tackling big things.

What to do all these problems have in common: fear. You’d think I was a woman or something. It’s amazing what I fear in this life sometimes. I think there is also a fear of failure. What I need to do is find ways to be creative in each step and each room without being crazy.

Do you struggle with these same types of fears? What obstacles keep you from creative expression in your own home?