A Challenged Life in a New Year

New Year's day has been a time of celebration since time began.
New Year’s day has been a time of celebration since time began.

Where did 2015 go?
I don’t have a clue, but as it’s now February 2016, it most definitely is gone!  Time unravels like a ball of string and I just don’t seem fast enough to keep winding it up again!





Winding up time like a string.
Winding up time like a string.

Did I spend enough of it doing something that mattered?  I know there were many weeks taken up with healing, rehabilitating and then once more, being ill and getting better again.  Many hours were taken up with the urgent things in life, even though I dreamed of doing something important, dinner had to be cooked, laundry folded & dishes done.

One of the biggest events of 2015 was I became an empty nester, sort of.  My youngest went to college, so no more homeschooling attempts. Though my daughters sleep here, all the boys are gone, though our second son does drop in to sleep on Saturday nights. One daughter bought a home last week & the other is making plans to get some professional license tests taken, then she’ll go for a promotion & be gone too. Of course I’m hoping they’ll keep their horses here, and that the dogs will be down in numbers.

My walking buddies! Jacey and Elbe, they can't wait for what comes next!
My walking buddies! Jacey and Elbe, they can’t wait for what comes next!

Now that I don’t really have anyone at home depending on me, my time is “my own.” Do you know what I’ve discovered? With all the time in the world to do what I want, I get nothing done.    Yes, I’m disabled, so doing anything takes more time than it will for other people, but I still find I need deadlines, a reason to get things done.

That’s the main reason for joining challenges.  To have a reason to get finished.  To work harder & be better at “it” than I was yesterday, whatever “it” is.  It’s not about being better than someone else, just better than I was yesterday.

I did finish the 2015 BALC - B'Sue Boutique's Build-A-Line Challenge
I did finish the 2015 BALC – B’Sue Boutique’s Build-A-Line Challenge

Some time last year was spent being creative & creating, but not nearly enough.  Unfortunately,  I mostly can’t account for all of the time I was given, and like the rest of you, it is gone.  Some day I’m going to have to account for that wastefulness, give an accounting of what I had but threw away.  For not spending it wisely, not keeping up with the truly important activities like I should have, could have.  There’s a quiet voice inside that tells me when I blow it, but if I get too busy with urgent stuff it gets muffled and forgotten.  My goal this year is to write down those important things & let the dishes sit until the important’s done and the urgent is quiet.


Where is my 2016 going?

We are all so busy with our lives, with what we want to do, who we want to become, it’s really hard to take time and make plans.  We’re always sidetracked by the urgent, and never get to the important.  That’s why I’ve decided to take part in challenges.  Nothing big or earth-shattering, but regularly scheduled ones that don’t take Herculean efforts to get them done.

My last post was about a challenge I was taking part in, using a new plastic film that was designed for art applications.  There weren’t enough entrants to complete the competition, so it’s still open, even after three months.

The hummingbird body with Tavoos film wings and tail
The hummingbird body with Tavoos film wings and tail

The prize was pretty big for something of this type, and I’ve put in the angel I talked about in November and another, a hummingbird, I finished in December.   I hope to add some wind-chimes and polymer flowers to this bird still, but he’s ready to fly as is.

So, there’s a simple challenge that’s been unmet, and it’s well worth taking part in.  It takes a little investment, purchasing the film, but you learn so much experimenting with a new material, and the developer is a really nice person, open to artistic input.  It will be an exciting adventure to look for more of them.  There’s new people to meet, even if it’s just via on-line chats.  There are new things to try, designs to attempt, and footsteps to follow.

Work willingly as you travel your road
Work willingly as you travel your road

I don’t consider myself very introspective, but as I’ve said, one thing I have a lot of these days is time – most of it is spent alone with my thoughts.  Even if I can’t be physically active and busy, there’s so much to occupy my mind with.  Designs to dream of, books to read, techniques to study, as well as a family to plan for.  Everything takes a plan, and we have to plan to succeed as well.   Forty years ago I was taught to look for ways to do everything with excellence to the best of my ability.  To make things beautiful because others would look at it and be drawn in.  It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

Can you say with me “I really, really enjoy my life?”  Can you take the time to just endeavor, to stretch and grow, to work when you’re able, sing if you can and create something new?  Why don’t you try it too?  Even if it’s a new way to sweep the floor!  That would be really something wouldn’t it, I don’t think brooms have changed much in 500 years, but you might be the one to come up with that new idea!

Proverbs 31:25-26
Proverbs 31:25-26

Have you ever considered the high regard the Lord gave and gives to artisans?  Do you know that the art of creating something with your hands is a blessing and a gift?  It’s humbling to read how God sought out the best artist in the Bible to serve Him & build His tabernacle & the temple.  He wanted artists to bring His message to the world,  gifted artists with unique & varied skills.

Ultimately I’d really love it if I can be compared to the Apostle Paul’s Lydia, or a woman worth more than rubies like the “Worthy Woman” of Proverbs 31. But for now, I’m just going to work at being the best me I can.  Some days that might mean Challenging myself and others it will mean being challenged.  Endeavoring to grow, not just as an artist, but in truly important ways- in faith, and grace, and love.   I hope that means I’ll become a  better woman, wife, mom, and artist.