Still Crafting

I have been busily crocheting and knitting. I find I have an affinity to design and make baby and children’s hats, scarves, and booties, etc. Also I am making various styles of handy tote & beach bags. I will upload some new pictures soon.

I again apologize for not keeping this blog fresh. I have been going through a bout of depression over my unemployment status. I have been lucky enough to get two good interviews for jobs recently, that I would have enjoyed and been excellent doing. Yet, I didn’t get either of them. Even the one that I was asked to apply for by the hiring person.

The other I had prayed and prayed for, then it seemed to materialize exactly as asked. The hiring manager liked me right away, but then after a second interview that also seemed to go well, I wasn’t hired. I don’t even know what to pray for anymore. This was so disappointing and re-enforced my feelings of desperation and loss. It is sad for everybody how bad the work market is now.

I have done all kinds of work, and am willing and able to do anything, but have been praying for work I could love doing and that would give me a sense of accomplishment and not be overly stressful. I would like to work with good people in a fun and peaceful environment. I would like to work with autonomy as I am excellent at self motivation and meeting deadlines without being micro managed. I still hope to find a way to have the dream job I wrote about a few months ago, but right now I just need a job. If I can’t work full time as a crafter blogger, then I need a regular paycheck. I have no idea why I was taunted with such a great possibility of a job just to be denied it. It was exactly what I had prayed–a job close to home, where I would work on my own but have lots of contact with people. It was also creative with a monthly newsletter, calendar, etc. to create and yet, I didn’t get it. I have done this job before in so many ways and would have been such an asset to them. Why? I keep wondering why? didn’t I get this job?

I wasn’t able to dwell on this thought right after it happened as I was on a temporary job for Mother’s Day week working taking orders for a florist shop.  That was a lot of fun and I was good at it.  It reminded me that I am still a quick learner and good at talking to customers, multi-tasking, and handling multiple programs and personalities at one time.  It was exhilerating and exhausting.  I have rested the past few days as I peruse want ads looking for the next opportunity for work.  Nothing has materialized.  So here I am, wondering why? why? why? didn’t I get that job that appeared so perfect an answer to my prayers at that time.

I have to believe that it was a mere shadow of the real job Jesus has prepared for me.  I am willing to do whatever God sets before me to do, but also expecting He will guide me to the utmost if I am patient and keep faith in HIS divine wish for my happiness and success.  I will find a job that exceeds even my dream job if I just remember, it is His will not mine that creates all good things in life.  I have the power through HIM to create the life I desire and even more so.  So I prayerfully praise and exult the Lord of all that is good and right.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful life you have given me and the new and wondrous path you are creating for me now.  Guide me with a bright light to the choices you would choose for me.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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A Tough Week of Loss

I guess it comes with age, that we start losing friends and family members on a rather steady pace.  It is still so difficult.  I lost so many people last year, I was hoping this year would be better.  However in the past week I lost my second Mom Peggy and a dear fellow artist Dixie Lee.  Peggy encouraged creativity throughout my life.  She taught me how to cook and sew.  She encouraged crafting as I watched her doing it in our home all while I was growing up.  I would not be the craft artist I am without knowing her.  I will miss you Mom but I know you are safe with Jesus now.

Dixie Lee was a clown on local Chicago television for many years and she was also a fine ceramist.  Our ceramics class is going to miss her smile and fine work.  God bless you Dixie Lee.  We love you and will think of you often.

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Recipe Alert–New Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake is my favorite cake and what I always want for my birthday. This week was my son’s 33rd birtday. He and his family visited from Chicago and he also likes Carrot Cake. I made a new recipe that while not really diet or low cal, I did lower the fats by 25% plus added fiber and more fruit to make it as healthy a cake as possible. I didn’t calculate the calories, but I bet they are high. However, it is very filling so a little piece is all you will want anyway. I think it worked out to be a somewhat healthy alternative. So here is the recipe.

Crooked Creek Crafts’ Carrot Cake

2 C Chopped (in food processor) Baby Carrots
1 C Brown Sugar
1 C Sugar (You could substitute 1 cup Honey and 1/4 cup molasses for both sugars)
3 Lg Eggs
3/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 C Unbleached Flour
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 Sm can crushed Pineapple drained
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Seasalt
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
Zest of one medium orange
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 C Golden Raisins or Craisins
1/2 C Chopped Pecans
1 C Cocoanut flaked

Heat Oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl blend carrots, sugars, eggs and oil. In small bowl blend flours, spices, and baking soda, salt, baking powder mix together. Stir into carrot mixture until well blended. Stir in cocoanut, orange juice and zest, pineapple, raisins and nuts. Pour batter into greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Oz Cream Cheese softened
1/2 C unsalted Butter softened
1 tsp Orange zest
1 C Powdered sugar

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Dream Job

I started a new job a few months ago, but it is not really new. It is the same job I have done over and over and over again. Bookkeeping for a small business with limited funds, no benefits, and low pay. It is hard stressful work without promise or promotion available. I just don’t want this kind of job anymore. Just as I don’t want the big corporate accounting job anymore.

I started this blog when I broke away from this job the last time to start my crafts business and blog my arts, life and faith. I have, since starting this new version of my old job, gained 10 pounds, raised my blood pressure again, stopped going to the gym, stopped blogging and now feel trapped. I can’t afford not to work, but I can’t afford to work like this anymore either. So I have been pondering….what would my dream job be?

I have only one thing in my life outside of my home that I love to do; it is my ceramics class. I love the fellowship and artistic creativity. I just wish I could go more often and spend more time in a similar way. I first went to ceramics classes in the garage of a woman’s home in Minnesota and again later another in Caliornia. These women had a business in their home and their lives were full of ceramic molds, clay, shelves, kilns and artists running in and out all day long. While this would be too chaotic for my home, I would love to have a business doing this nearby. I would like a small store to sell end products, bisque, paint and glaze supplies, etc. and a studio for classes and of course the pouring and kiln room.

Then I thought, in addition I would like a potter’s studio and an art studio for painting classes and soft textiles class room or knitting, crochet, macrame, sewing, quilting and lastly furniture restoration room for restoring or repurposing old furniture. This studio-store-school-gallery would be my dream job. Yes there would still be the need for bookkeeping, but bookkeeping for my own business would not be so bad. Especially since I would hire someone else to do it! I wouldn’t want to be so caught up in the accounting of the business that I was once again taken away from the arts and crafts. Though having the business background would benefit me in making sure my bookkeeper was doing it well honestly.

As I prayed and pondered about this dream job and business, I also accepted my limited resources to create such a place. I thought, well there is a place similar to this, the Art Center of Manatee has classes and a store. So I am hoping for a job opening at the store. If they hired me, I could at least work around this type of place. Of course, if I should win the lottery, I would open my store, school, studio, gallery. I would offer low cost classes and supplies to help people to be able to afford to explore their creativity. I am not about making money, I am about making art and having the freedom to do this for a living. I don’t need a bunch of money to live, I just need enough to pay my bills and buy supplies. But I need a lot of freedom to express my inner artist and to pursue my crafts. I love so many crafts.

Dream Job….Crooked Creek Crafts…Studio, Gallery and Shop…Classes available, walk ins welcome.

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Happy Thanksgiving-November 24, 2011

Hello everyone! I am sorry I haven’t had time to write much lately. I have been working a lot and spending my spare time working on crafts for Christmas gifts. It is that time of year, when we all get so busy and stretched so thin. It is also the hardest time for me because I really miss my family and friends that are so far away. I was looking forward to co-hosting Thanksgiving today for my husband’s family and then I was suddenly out in the cold when plans were changed. I am not even baking a single pie or making my here-to-fore requested candied sweet potatoes or stuffing.

To top that off, I just found out I don’t even get Friday off work so I can’t even cook and bake tomorrow for my own Thanksgiving festivity with my husband. All these things together have left me a little depressed and lonely in spite of the happiness I have with my husband now. But this isn’t a day to whine or feel low. It is a day to be grateful and give thanks. I am thankful for my husband, his family, and our home. I am thankful I was able to visit both of my sons this year even if I can’t be cooking for them today. I am thankful for having a job even if it is only 35% of my prior income and with no benefits. I am thankful for regaining my health. I am grateful I have more years to live.

I do wonder though, what is my purpose now? What is the point of my life? I am not a mother anymore. My boys are all grown up and don’t need me anymore. I am not a driven ambitious business woman anymore, I just don’t have the hope or drive left after the downturn in the economy and the loss of my career. I have no hopes of owning that home I have always dreamed about. I have even less hope of becoming the writer I always imagined I would become. There is not a glimmer of a career ahead for me even though I give myself to my work.

It is a very personal thing to me regardless of the title or role I am performing. I am a creative soul and thereby try to be just as creative with my work. Creativity comes from deep inside and puts a piece of me into the work I do. I am disappointed that though I give my soul to my work, my employers always remind me that I am only a second or third class person as a clerk or accountant. I am not as important as the sales people who “make us the money”. Funny thing is, that two sales people left in the past two months and it wasn’t even a blip on the radar, but if I or either of the other two operations staff members were to leave the entire company would be in a tail spin and scrambling and it would take weeks or even months to recover and train a replacement. So why are we lowly underpaid support staff the ones that are treated as second or third class citizens unworthy of time off to be with family in spite of being the lowest paid employees? It is so unfair and yet we have no recourse. Almost all American companies treat us the same way. So I give up my time with family and give a piece of my soul away for a pittance because I lost my edge and forward mobility when I gave up my job, my home, and my family for my husband five years ago.

Yes, I am grateful for my husband, his family and our home; but, I have a certainty in my heart that we should have stayed in California five years ago. If we had we would not be buried under a mountain of debt without any hope of ever paying it off. I would have my career still and be earning at least three times what I am now. We would have been able to buy ourselves a home on a short sale with this housing burst. And we would be able to invite family and friends to our home and host a warm Thanksgiving celebration like I used to do.

Now, I feel like my life as I knew it is over. And the life I am left with is merely existing and aging toward death. No goals remain, no dreams remain, no hopes remain. It just is a day to day grind. Is this all there is? We live the first half of our life full of hopes and dreams and ambitions followed by years of realizing our ship never came in, we never did find our bliss or achieve those goals and now it is too late. What do I do now? Where do I go from here?

I don’t know the answer to what my tomorrows will bring. I do know that today, I will stay home and meditate and bake. I just don’t have it in me to be a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving Dinner. I will cook and bake for a special dinner for two for tomorrow after work, while my husband visits his family today. I will have my own Thanksgiving Day creating yummy goodies as though my family and friends were here. I am grateful for the option to choose the way I want to spend my day.

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Creativity Blossoms

My Ceramics Center

My Husband's Art Center

As our renewed life continues we are beginning to fully develop our creativity. Mark is painting an oil of Rod and Reel Pier. I am painting my ceramics projects, knitting, crocheting and we are growing a garden together. It is so freeing to have our home evolving into an artist studio. This is what I have always wanted for my marriage and home.

I am also digging working with the wonderful group of women at the Thursday afternoon ceramics class at the First Baptist Church. We spend 3-4 hours per week exploring our creative muse and comforting one another with fellowship, encouragement and spiritual support. This is another reconnection for me to a life long past.

My path in life has meandered here and there, but at my core my only desire has been to live life in love and peace within a partnership of love. I have always wanted to have my home be a place of love and beauty with creativity at the center. We are getting there together while also freely expressing our independent creativity. So the house is full of art projects under construction and the aroma of fresh homemade meals simmering on the stove blended with the scent of oil paint and cinnamon potpouri in an autumn colored leaf shaped bowl.

I have long searched for a home, and now have one. It isn’t what I always dreamed, but it ticks off all the boxes anyway. I am content with my life here and now. I know there are past trials still to overcome and who knows what future is awaiting us, but here and now I have serenity.

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Celebration of Life

As my year ends and a new one begins, I am focused on celebrating the victories over the challenges I have faced this past year. I have lost eight friends and family members to death. I have traveled all over America to visit with and/or help family and friends. I discovered my own failing health and found renewed health through a change in my lifestyle. I have lost 80 pounds, lowered my blood sugar to normal, lowered my blood pressure to normal. My husband and I nearly lost and have renewed our marriage. Love really does conquer all, except death. Unfortunately, it can not bring back any of my friends or family members. I will always remember you Kelly Brinker, Jay Spell, Granny Bogart, Steve Aaberg, Shirley Erickson, Uncle Ed, Don LaSalle and Jeb Bruns.

So now I begin again to build a life for myself here with Mark and Jacob. I am looking for work and praying for guidance as to what form that work should take. I have applied for the very few jobs available and had two interviews, but have not been hired yet. I have a great amount of financial debt to recover from and hope that the way will reveal itself. I trust the Lord to provide for all my needs including relief from this debt. I have changed my priorities. I want to be here now with Mark and keep being healthy and creative. That is as far as it goes for now.

So Happy Birthday to me!!! Here are my resolutions for age 54.

Resolved:

I will exercise some everyday. [Take a walk, go for a swim, ride a bike, clean the house, work in garden].
I will plant and grow a garden.
I will watch less television.
I will listen to music more.
I will read more.
I will cultivate friendships.
I will attend health and ceramics and other art classes.
I will paint an oil painting [got to start with at least one–good bad or whatever].
I will continue growing in my creativity.
I will develop and grow Crooked Creek Crafts-Blog, Etsy, etc.
I will continue to monitor and maintain healthy living, breathing, eating, being.
I will respect myself and others.
I will listen. I will hear.
I will watch. I will see.
I will be debt free.
I am released from poverty.
I will give generously.
I will find a good church, attend, and participate.
In Jesus Name!!! Amen.

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Reflections

We all do it, we look in the mirror but what do we see. Do we see ourselves as we really are? Are we too critical and notice only the flaws? Do we see ourselves only on the dark side like The Portrait of Dorian Grey? Or, do we see ourselves vainly as Snow White’s evil stepmother “the fairest of them all”? How can we see ourselves as we really are and love that person? Accept that person?

It is hard. My mother just gave me some photos of when I was younger and I was amazed at how I looked. I remember thinking back then of all the things I didn’t like about my looks. I look in the mirror now and I am still so overweight, I do get sad by how different the outside looks than the inside feels. But I accept that it is a process. I am improving my health and the healthy weight will come. In the mean time I have to accept that I have the wrinkles of a 53 year old and I have the stretch marks earned by the years of not taking care of myself. So, I see me as I am and accept me as I am and love me as I am.

If I love myself for who I am and where I am in my life today then tomorrow will be brighter. I know this now. I have a lot of regrets from the past and have wished to go back and erase some of the mistakes I made and thereby the lines I have earned, but I don’t wish this now. I made my choices then the best I could in the circumstances. This acceptance is acceptance of all the good and the ill that has resulted from these decisions. As popeye wisely says,”I am who I am and that’s all that I am.” This doesn’t mean I stop trying to improve my choices or taking care of myself, this means I accept all the parts of myself and let go of regrets. I must channel these regrets into better choice making for the future.

I can’t make up to my family for choosing work over time with them. I can’t make up to them for having times when I was partying and hanging with friends. And I can’t make up to them for moving them back and forth across country. It is what it is and I hate that saying, but I did what I did and all that I did is now a part of them. For good or bad, they are who they are. And actually, my children are incredible young men, and therefore I didn’t do all bad.

I love my sons and the men they have become. I hope they appreciate how special they are and the good lives they have carved out for themselves. Perhaps my ill choices guided them to be more stable, thereby saving them from a life of wandering like their mother. If so, then my bad choices as well as my good ones have helped to make them stronger. Having the experience of living in many locations helped to make them appreciate stability. Did it make it hard for them to make true and lasting friendships? Perhaps it has, and I hope they will overcome this as well.

I hope I will overcome this too. I hope my sons will forgive me my past and love me for who I am now and where I am going from this day forward. I am doing the best I can and I have never stopped loving and caring for them from the moment they were conceived. For all my friends and family I hope they know that in all my decisions I have always tried to do what was best, just sometimes the choices were not clear to me at the time. We all have the limited scope of our own perceptions with which to make our choices. So I am trying to accept me now and be here now and love my life here now with my husband.

If I have learned one thing it is this, let it go. Stop carrying around your past and your past choices. They are still a part of you whether you like it or not. So just love yourself for who you are and appreciate that you survived that past. Go forward stronger, smarter, and not looking back but forward. And don’t look too far forward either. Enjoy today, not wishes and dreams of a different tomorrow. If you are wanting to erase the past and fantasize about the future, you are again making bad choices in the now and missing out on your life while messing up the future as well. Just try being happy to be here today.

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Getting Healthier

When it comes down to it, we learn our Lessons in Love from our relationships to our parents. This has to do with all of our relationships. I have rediscovered a sense of where I came from and how some of my emotional tendencies evolved by having some recent times with my two mothers. It has opened my eyes to see how I came to be the way I am. Somethings I took right from them and incorporated into my being, others I rebelled against and thus incorporated an opposition to them into my being.

I also see why some of my reactions and my husband’s reactions to one another have nothing to do with our true feelings but have to do with our learned behaviors in relationships due to our parents. We both have a certain history to overcome with childhood traumas and changes we never fully understood. My husband, additionally, has being hearing impaired to overcome in all he does in this very loud hearing world. We now realize we are so similar in our insecurities that it was hard for us to recognize these short falls and understand one another. Fear grows in the insecurities. I mean if I am insecure about the love in my life due to a fear of abondonement, then it is understandable that I would want to run before being abandoned by my love. I have now come to terms with the losses in love at early ages in my life. I am also having to come to terms with how my behaviors have affected my sons personalities and relationships as well.

Can we grow past the fears and insecurities that drove us apart? I Hope so. Though we have been through so many hard struggles as a couple, we have maintained our deep love for one another. It was necessary to take this journey of separation to learn about our own hearts and minds and those of our family. I have seen the things I took in that were negative and positive from my parents and I am working to overpower these to BE Love and to Live in Peace and Harmony with a renewed Faith and Hope to continue my growth toward a fully healthy life.

Have we burned down too many bridges in the past? Can we rebuild on the ashes of our past life together? I think so. Mark is working to strip our home clean and make it ready for our new beginning. His family has removed some of the excess furniture that made our house not really feel like ours. It was not our choice or style so it is a good choice for it to go.

We are going to work to make our house our home and fully filled with our style. So I am working my way back home and soon will be there for this fresh start together. I am getting healthier in everyway, emotional, mental and physical. I am coming home to me.

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Overcoming Fear with Love and Faith and Hope

Yesterday my husband and I were talking about my return to him and our Florida home. We have committed to better communication and to setting long term goals for saving money. We have a few more years in Florida while his son grows then we will go to Colorado. My vision of that home is true and we will be there soon. Time flys really and so there is no time limit on this dream. There is a time limit on Jacob’s childhood so we are there for him. He is a great kid and as all children are, he is deserving of having both his parents in his life.

We have been confronting the tough issues, but none is as tough as fear. Allowing ourself to be vulnerable and to trust another person is so scary it can lead to us pushing away the other person with untrusting words. My husband is trying to help me get the money to come home, but he was afraid I would use the money for something else. This told me that he doesn’t know me, understand me or trust me. I was so angry and hurt by this that I was wondering whether I should even consider going back to that kind of a relationship. I felt so hurt by the lack of trust and the feeling that someone finds me untrustworthy I just wanted to run away to the mountains or eat a cake. I just don’t understand how anyone would think of me as untrustworthy. It must be some vibe I put out?

I in fear thought it will never work, he doesn’t really love me, he can’t even trust me, he thinks I would lie and cheat him? Mark and I were both scared and angry back and forth worried for our little ego and not really living in Faith, Hope and Love. We are now. We apologized and are ready to talk things out calmly and rationally when these fears attack us again.

Then I said God will provide. I don’t need to depend on my husband or his family to provide though God may provide through them. It was like I was treating God as untrustworthy. I had a lack of belief in HIS ability to provide for my needs and to get me home. I was in fear of being stuck here and ending up homeless and unable to get home to my life there. I felt God’s pain at our unbelief. It is like a knife to the heart, a wound to the soul. I can not do that to my God. He has always been there for me through all my yo-yo living. He has picked me up when I fall. He has clothed, sheltered and provided for me no matter what. I may have been homeless or living in a tent, but He was there with me while I was growing in the lesson of that situation. I am willing to do whatever He wants to get on the path to righteousness and healing. I know when I trust him in FAITH then HE never fails, falters or stumbles.

So I asked God for forgiveness for hurting him so. I have renewed my faith and I am trusting HIM to provide the way home. If it comes from his family or if it comes from another source I know it is from HIM. I already received a phone call this morning with a job offer in Bradenton. I am ready to head home. I have a couple of opportunities to explore there.

I saw that fear and dejection lead to bad behaviors like wanting to eat or drink or smoke it away. It is only through FAITH in God believing in HOPE and knowing in LOVE that it will all work out according to HIS plan (which is way beyond anything I could dream or envision on my own) that all things become possible. My life is a mess the world is a mess and the economy is a mess. If we return to FAITH in God and stop focusing on our fears and doubts and anger, we will see the amazing power of God to heal the Earth and all who dwell here.

And anyone of you that is saying oh God is just another crutch, you are wrong. When I leaned on a crutch for a broken foot, it supported me somewhat but was not comfortable or fully supporting. When I leaned on food or smoking to calm my nervous fearful feelings, they helped somewhat temporarily but led to other health issues ultimately making me feel worse. If I say there is no God this is all there is, I feel hopelessness and despair. It is the downword spiral that leads to early death and hell.

If I believe in God I am not partially supported like a crutch, I am fully supported and enlivened with Hope and Faith and Love. I am energized to well being and health and fitness in every area of my life spiraling upward to Heaven. So the devil wants us to think he and God do not exist so we will drown in the whirlpool and be sucked into the dark depths of hell. God says believe in me and I will make you a whirlwind clearing a path of destruction through the damaging forces in your life leading to a bright new life of open sky and fresh air and sunshine. Be a whirlwind not a whirlpool….

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