Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Apple mint in June...
It has been time to get serious about getting the deck and garden ready for winter, even if our autumn is a little late this year.   I must admit there was a lot of sighing and wondering how to do all that must be done before the first frost... which is predicted as possibly arriving next week.

But once again I have put on my "anything can be accomplished a little at a time" hat, rolled up my sleeves (so to speak), and started the work which must be begun.  Knowing that it will never be done perfectly or perhaps even very well.  But something is much better than nothing, even when I am tired already.

So far all of the garden is ready except cutting back some of the herbs and then layering leaves on the raised beds in a few weeks.  The flower pots from the deck have been dumped out into the wheelbarrow and the contents placed into the compost bin.  Some items have found their winter resting places in the garage and the shed while others are awaiting a scrubbing and cleaning before being put away for the season.

All work done here and there, a little at a time...

I walked through the garden last week before preparing it for winter, quite astonished at how fast this summer went and remembering the way in which the garden was prepared and planted... again a little at a time.  But how worth it the effort was as we enjoyed fresh herbs, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and arugula in their individual seasons.

Much of the planting was done when experiencing vertigo (now that was interesting) and the upkeep was down to nothing at one time when the vertigo returned and kept me quiet most of the summer.  But even then the garden grew.

So did the weeds.  Now I know what happens when one stops weeding their garden mid-summer.  But amongst the weeds most things also grew, not as perfectly as they would have if they did not have their unwanted roommates in their raised beds... but good enough.

I was thinking recently of how much I tend to not do because I cannot do it well... at least to begin with.  There is a self imposed "by week's end" goal of beginning the crochet project that has been hovering over my Must Do list all summer.  Now summer is gone and autumn has arrived and... the crochet hook has not been taken out of its' home on my desk where its' sister hooks come together to form a bouquet of sorts.

There is the stationary also on the desk, waiting for the moment a long letter is inspired... and has not happened.  The recipient would have much preferred a small note instead of nothing I am certain.

I know I am not the only person who suffers from this "if I can't do it really well, why do it at all" confusion of the mind.  I hear all the time from people who wish they could read more books each year and I remind them (and myself) that just one new book read each month will put you twelve ahead within one year.

Same think with reading the Bible each day... five minutes daily adds up to a lot of Scripture as a year has passed.  One could easily read the New Testament five minutes each day.  It is better than not at all, even if our original plan was to spend an hour a day in study.

Speaking of studying...

Do you want to learn a lot about a particular subject but you have little time?  Instead of reading through a great many books to become an expert, check a children's book from the library and gain a foundation to add upon.

(When I first began homeschooling, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to read very good children's books so I could be informed on what we were studying.  So often there are "thinking out of the box" ways to accomplish a goal.)

Then... if you find you want to become more knowledgeable... add a more indepth book or two a month.  Take a break and come back to the subject later if necessary.  If you are not working on a graduate thesis, no one is looking over your shoulder to make certain you are ready for a test.  Enjoy the process of reading and learning (or listen to audio books).

Bringing it all around to me again... and it is my blog so this is the one place I can be un-apologetically egocentric... I am learning to be willing to do less than my best when the alternative is doing nothing at all.

It isn't easy as I was raised hearing if I could not do my best... don't do it!  So, ummm... often I don't.  My mind is changing on that, as well as my self talk.  Now it is "let's do it imperfectly"... whatever IT is.  Sometimes it just is not possible to give everything my best attempt!

And I am still astonished at how that which seemed overwhelming to begin with can be accomplished when done just a little at a time.


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I like this way of thinking. The post is a very helpful way to think about how to get some things done - a little at a time - as opposed to getting nothing done!


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Yes, Yes! This is what I have to work on, but once one has the concept it is so empowering....And I thought I was the only one who did that children's book thing! Children's books give a lot of foundation type information quickly and have great illustrations, too.

This year, I only have my deck to "put to bed" and that's not too overwhelming at all! Good health to you Brenda, and lots of success!

My Cottage Diary said...

I heard more than once growing up: "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well, or not at all." I like your take better; it's far more realistic. Unless we're surgeons, nuclear physicists, etc., we don't gain anything by being stopped in our tracks over imperfection! (And when attempting something new, there's definitely a learning curve that we shouldn't let be discouraging.) Hope you'll enjoy your crocheting! Another great post, Brenda! Blessings, Bess

Cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Beautiful thoughts here, Brenda. Waiting until a thing can be done "perfectly" means that an awfully lot is just not getting done at all; and that it tragic. Thanks!

Ann said...

I think this is what it means we get wiser as we age. I, too, am trying to put less burdens on myself and do what I can do comfortably rather than stress out too much over the small stuff.

Anonymous said...

I always think, along those lines, of what the Flylady said, "Even housework imperfectly done still blesses your family."

Or something like that.

I will tell myself that as I dab at some cleaning task, doing perhaps 80-85% (or even 90%) of the way I THINK it should be done -- but it takes a fraction of the time -- this is still worth it! This is still a LOT better than it WAS!

But I still have to keep encouraging myself that that's okay!

Susan (DE)

Vee said...

And that is how my raking is going to be done this year...a bit at a time until it is accomplished...eventually. I do not know how you fought back against the vertigo...that stuff just sends me to my bed! I love reading children's books on any topic that is swinging a bit over my head. It's like watering a dry plant a bit at a time...eventually the water sinks in.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I can seriously relate--I tend to be a perfectionist and in some areas it has served me well. In others not so much--as in dealing with family members who don't do the job to my liking. I like your thinking and work on this daily. ♥

Anonymous said...

I like your comments on "the little things" and "five minutes". It is surprising what you can get done in five minutes. I can wash my breakfast dishes before I leave for work in the morning; it only takes a minute or two to smooth up my bed, or straighten the pillows on the sofa, or give the bathroom sink a quick wipe. I may not get all these things done the same morning but I can do something in five minutes and that helps keep things from getting "too big". Love your words of wisdom. Blessings, Sharon D.

Isabel Rafael said...

Brenda - love your comment about just 5 minutes reading the Bible and you could still get through the NT.

A friend at Bible study mentioned that even though we can't remember what we had to eat 2 weeks ago - it provided us with nutrition.

Reading the Bible and having a quiet time is a little like this - even though we may be distracted or spend very little time doing it - it's still making a difference. Stay well - Isabel