Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Stephanie and I were chatting this past week and she was sharing her attempts to organize her home so it is not such a mess.  However, with two busy adults, five children to homeschool, and a new puppy it seems messes are inevitable.

I told her I'm surprised (although I shouldn't be) at the change in my days which occurred with her brother getting married.  Each person in the home takes attention, time and work, even when the last child at home is an adult.

Now, suddenly... I have far less laundry to do!  There is less picking up, less cleaning up, less cooking.  Which results in more discretionary hours.

I've been thinking and praying and pondering about how to use this newly found pleasant gift of free time.  I'm on a quest for new goals and challenges, those which all can be achieved within the fence line of my property and within the walls of my home.

Life's challenges may have made small my world as I find it impossible to do much traveling (so visiting Jerusalem or Tuscany is nixed) and I get tired too easily to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I can't do anything which requires a major financial investment.

However, for the first time since I can remember... I have time to do stuff... time to think and ponder... time to create.

One would think when you have extra hours for the first time since you left your teens (I married ten days after turning twenty) then a chorus of ideas would be singing in your brain, having waited all these years to be birthed.

Instead what I feel is... hesitation, fear, apprehension, memories of failure, and replays of voices telling me I can't.  Even annoyance with myself is manifested for "giving up" or "setting aside" because I'd be really good at... "fill in the blanks" by now if I hadn't.

So what am I doing about it?  Being a pondering type of person, I've been doing a lot of thinking and making of lists and praying.  Some things I've already set aside (I gave a friend the knitting needles I've been collecting from thrift stores) and others I've decided to take up again after all these years (I bought a few crochet hooks cheap at WalMart).

I want to ignite former passions, those I gave up due to the voices I listened to at the time (mine and others).

I gave up crochet before I became really good at it as a teenager and replaced it with counted cross stitch and needlepoint because both came easily to me.  I gave up painting long before graduating from high school due to an evil art teacher (I shudder when I think of her all these years later).

I gave up quilting and making folk art when we entered years of trials resulting in one move after another, deciding not to unpack my supplies... or even my sewing machine... for a decade.  I just became too spiritually and emotionally exhausted and concentrated on becoming creative in the kitchen with a tight budget.  After all, we had to eat.

Now with the hands-on child rearing and homeschooling years behind me (how fast that happened!), I want to revisit those choices and dust off some old skills... even if it means standing up to fear and apprehension.

My prayer for you today is to do the same, whether you are fifteen or thirty or fifty or seventy or ninety or one hundred years old.  Look at that which you've been putting off, either taking up for the first time or that which you set aside at one time in your life.

Pray about it and if God gives you peace to go forward... enter with full abandonment and the knowledge that the only way you fail is if you never do it at all.


Rebecca said...

I'll be following with interest to find out how you invest your time. At age 63, I still find it important to "take stock" and make changes if indicated now and then. Keeps life interesting :)

Anonymous said...

Brenda, Have you been reading my mind lately? I too have things I use to do/wanted to do that were put off while raising my daughters and caring for both my aging parents and my mother-in-law. For a long time I was too burned out to even think of doing anything creative and now finding patience for creative activites does not easy. There are a few things I have decided that I will no longer pursue, but the things I want take up again, well, I admit a fear of wasting time and failure. Thanks for giving me this push to really think about how to use my time..and ask the Lord about it. Hugs and Prayers, Marsha

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Wonderful post dear Brenda! speak the truth about each person who needs our care (even if they are adults) takes a nice little chunk of time out of our days. With Mike home for so many months (with a leg injury) my days have become much more full, and while the work load is not overbearing my focus has shifted away from so many of my normal ways. :)

I do love the way you think and, like Rebecca, am very interested in seeing your new pathways and choices!


terricheney said...

This post sounded very familiar to me...and then I realized that it is similar in content to what I've been writing about and experiencing myself as a stay at home wife, instead of stay at home mom. How do I fill my time? What do I want to do? I too have reached the point of finding that I have more spare time than at any point in the past as well as a limit in areas that prevent me doing all I would truly like. I'm starting to consider it an adventure, lol. And so far? My time seems to be filling up rather nicely in a season of family since one of my 'away' set of kids moved from California back to Georgia for a few years.

Angela said...

Please don't listen to those negative voices (and I know they are out there, even in blogdom)! In the last few years my husband has taken up painting and I have been sewing, crochet, quilting, etc. We have both enjoyed being creative immensely, and whether or not we will ever be considered "good" is beside the point. It brings pleasure to us and our home and hopefully blesses our families at least.

Angela said...

Please don't listen to those negative voices (and I know they are out there, even in blogdom)! In the last few years my husband has taken up painting and I have been sewing, crochet, quilting, etc. We have both enjoyed being creative immensely, and whether or not we will ever be considered "good" is beside the point. It brings pleasure to us and our home and hopefully blesses our families at least.

TeresaAngelina said...

Oh my. This made me smile. As usual, we look at things from our own small worlds. From my small window, I have so little time yet fill ever nook and cranny with all that it can fill. I often hear myself wistfully say, "oh to be retired!" But we are where we are by God's good will and being grateful for that is a good place to start. I am not sure you need to angst too much about whether or not this or that interest is "God's will" - God's will is that we be holy. Beyond that, we are left to rejoice in what He gives and to try on as many creative hats as we wish. If I may encourage you to try as many things as you wish and not judge whether or not you have or have not a talent for it. That you have a creative desire is enough. And yes, turning off those negative voices from the past can be a challenge but it can be done. All the best as you invest in yourself! Being grateful for those things is the best return on that investment.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Brenda...I first however have to get through this paring down and moving business (puff, puff, pant, pant)!! WOW, I never thought I would feel SO OLD by age 60!! We are still hoping our desire to go to school comes, but not with so much hope as we had...looking like they will not have enough students to do this. But we have to do something with the time we have as soon as we can, we need to look further into some other options we thought of and see what GOD works out of all of these ideas!! We know HE has some purpose for us...cause we are still alive!! Glad to hear about the crochet...that helps my arthritis SO MUCH...and if my little 10 yr old (at the time) grandson can learn off instruction for such on the internet, surely you can too...I encourage you in this venture. The way to get cheap yarn for me has been to take hubby (2 coupons per trip) and go to Michael's. Truthfully most of it was 40% off that way...and about the time I needed more yarn, we would be near Michael's again!!
Elizabeth in NC

Branch Living said...

Although I work full time and hold 2 jobs, I still find I have a bit more time now that my children are leaving the nest... just a bit!

Anonymous said...

Brenda, along with the good ideas you are already exploring, a wonderful book you might look at is The Intentional Woman, by Carol Travilla and Joan C. Webb. As an "older, middle-aged" woman, I've been amazed and stirred as I read and work through the exercises. The book is a great help for focused use of time. Blessings, Sharon

Kim said...

Thank you. I'm facing an empty nest in a month and kind of dreading it. My thoughts have been running along this line.

Anonymous said...

great post brenda. next month son #2 leaves for college. i thought last fall my heart would break when the first one left. sometimes i think i can't face the pain that being a parent of 5 children brings, as i have health issues also. i feel my life changing. and i don't like it. :(

Poussy Stitches My Love said...

Merveilleux !

bisous de FRANCE

Cheri said...

Wise words. I have intermediate piano skills. But when asked by a local choir director if I would accompany the choir, I said 'yes' (what was I thinking!).

It is a good challenge though and I love to practice and love the people. I think my skills are improving as well.

My negative self talk would have discouraged me from doing this, but I so glad that in a moment of insanity :) I said 'yes'!

And I, too, eagerly wait to hear what your new endeavor will be.

Vee said...

It is strange what we do to ourselves...listening to those negative voices. Say, if you ever have the chance to see Seven Days in Utopia, you might really enjoy it as it discusses some of the things you've mentioned here.

The good thing about revisiting crochet or quilting or anything is that there is some wonderful video on You Tube where a sainted soul, not an evil art teacher, has had the patience to carefully explain.

My secret hope is that you'll turn your attention to writing or editing much of what you've already written. There's a book sitting right here in this blog...a wonderful one, a helpful one...a God-honoring one.

Anonymous said...

This is where I find myself headed at age 53 and two teens still home, BUT the dear friend I cared for who was ill for years passed away at Thanksgiving and I am left with a huge block of time and feeling lost, former things no longer catch my interrest , new things seem frightening in some sister age 50 says the same thing is happening to her, is this just another hormone bump in the road??? Karen

cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Blessings to you, Brenda, as you ponder and consider what the future might hold for you. Oh, those evil art teachers and naysayers. Why do we listen to them when we should be listening to the One who loves us like no other!

Sylvia said...

I understand so well some of what you are feeling. I taught for 25 years and retired early when my only child, a daughter, was starting middle school. We had the best time going to school activities and sporting events. I spent my time running her to activities and loved it. She graduated from high school in May and will be attending a university five hours from home. My husband is still working and now I am finding myself looking for ways to fill my time. There are many volunteer opportunities in my area, so I am looking into some of those. I love reading your writing and have used many of your ideas. I know I am going to work on stocking my pantry with the help you have given.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Brenda. I don't know about you, but I need the "extra" time that a smaller household results in just to keep up with things. I am not as quick as I used to be, and I don't have as much energy. And that's OK! A slower life has always suited me best, and now it seems I'll have it. (especially when I am out of work at the end of the month). Like you, I'm taking up creative activities again, and you know what? I am unstuck; I didn't even know how stuck I was. Results don't matter so much; it's the enjoyment of the process and the experimenting that matters. Aren't we lucky to be in this season?


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I am going to second what Vee said. There is an amazing book or two in the content of this blog.

I am in the stage of raising young children, guiding young adult children, helping my husband and now we have a small store as well! No time left.

However, I see that every year I gain something when something else is "lost." So I look forward with your encouragement, for one, to what lies ahead. Maybe I will improve my piano skills - even if it is just for my pleasure.


Karen Andreola said...

So, you moved around often, too. A gypsy is used to traveling light. I understand.

A woman, at a much older age than yourself (age 70) started painting because her fingers with arthritis didn't work well enough to continue her wool-on-linen crewel embroidery. You know who I'm talking about, don't you? Grandma Moses. I was thrilled to see one of her paintings in Philadelphia. When I returned ten years later it was gone. I inquired but no one could give me an answer.

Grandma Moses crossed my mind at your mention of folk art leanings in your younger days. I have a book of her paintings. Perhaps such a book from the library will inspire you to pick up your paint brushes.
Karen A.

Front Porch Grace said...

Thank you.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)

Your words are daily blessings of encouragement.

Mama Squirrel said...

You had an evil art teacher, I have an evil sewing machine that fights me at every turn. But if I can conquer my beast, you can too, and yours is probably better behaved. :-)