Friday, November 11, 2005

Clean Shed...Broken Husband!

There is a reason why marriage vows include those lines “For Better or Worse, In Sickness and In Health”!

Nick and I spent 3 hours this morning cleaning out the shed. We don’t have a garage attached to the house, so we’ve had a “baby barn” as they are called here in the Maritimes, or shed, to hold the seasonal items such as bikes, snowblowers, holiday decorations etc.

Lately, the shed has started to resemble my office- a place to stuff things until you need them. Since it was getting hard to move around in there to find things, we decided to haul almost everything out and really purge!! Part of my de-STUFFing project.

It was very productive, if somewhat grueling, to realize just how many half empty boxes of things had been thrown in there that, once organized, took up a LOT less space. We filled the van with a load for the dump, found several boxes to go to the church rummage sale of books or outgrown shoes that weren’t needed anymore (ever notice how kid’s dress shoes never really get worn out before their feet grow too big?) etc. I even found my cross-country skis, boots and poles!

We had a late lunch once we finished and then Nick headed up to take a warm shower to see if that would make him feel better. Unfortunately, he got sleepy instead and lay down on the bed. When he woke up, his back had seized up and he could hardly move!

He’s been hobbling around since then. We had planned to have dinner out with good friends, but instead they came over to our house and we ordered food in. Once they left, I got the girls ready for bed, Nick crawled up the stairs and I got him settled in bed. He has one of the walkie-talkies beside him to reach me while I work on the computer tonight. So much for date night!

I’m actually very glad that I didn’t got to the stitching retreat this weekend (the one I usually go to just for fun) because if he’d done the shed alone, he might have hurt himself even more.

I guess we’ll just have to see how the rest of the weekend plays out...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How Do I Explain What I Do?

I got a panicky call from Erin’s teacher on Tuesday. The parent volunteer from our school who normally helps out for the district-wide Science Olympics was unable to attend this year, so she called to see if I could fill in. As it was, Nick was also helping out with the event, so I juggled my schedule around and told her I could do it. Then, Erin and one of her classmates were chosen to fill in for 2 kids who had dropped out unexpectedly, so this morning only Bethany got on the bus and went to school. The rest of the family headed off to Science Olympics.

It was a fun day and all of the kids were really well behaved. The only thing I found odd was that several people came over at different times and said “Oh... taking a day off cross-stitching?” One of them knows that I design patterns and that I’d just been away at two shows in October, but the other two had only heard that “I did cross stitch for a living” and so were asking all kinds of questions as to how they too could get paid to stitch all day. LOL!

I gently explained that I did try to do a bit of stitching on models every day if possible (sometimes it isn’t) but that I mostly designed the patterns, shipped orders, programmed my website, answered e-mail, filed receipts, did freelance graphics, writing, editing and illustration as well. I hate to burst someone’s bubble, but it also isn’t realistic to let someone get a warped idea of what stitching (either as a model stitcher or as a designer) actually pays. I know most of my model stitchers do not count on their income from stitching to support themselves!

Perhaps someday, I will come up with a simple way to explain what I do for a living. Until then, I am just glad to have something that allows me to be flexible with my hours. Erin and her team were on the local news tonight and may also be in the paper tomorrow. She is just thrilled...

Monday, November 07, 2005

My Ways Are Not Your Ways...

I know that sounds more like a sermon title than a blog entry, but I’ve just spent the past hour explaining to my 10 year old daughter that she doesn’t have to find a boyfriend just because the other girls in her grade 5 class are trying to pair off with boys!

I can remember that ache of being so much taller than everyone else... so bad at anything athletic... so much into books and art instead of gossip games... and yet, still wanting somehow to “fit in” or be like everyone else, even though no one else was really sure what that meant either.

It’s really quite horrible the pressure our world places on all of us. To be thin, to be wealthy, to be popular, to be famous, to be powerful... It seems as if more and more kids are trying to accomplish everything before the end of their teens!!

What a far cry from the community we truly long to be part of... where we are valued for who we are, not what we look like, for how we treat others instead of how much we earn. Think of the fine examples of being neighbours such as Amish barn raisings, quilting circles, prayer groups, book clubs, knitting or stitching groups where that sense of belonging or helping one another still exists.

People wonder why I tell them that crafting is SO important. When you slow down and take the time to create something with your hands, you have the chance to ponder the deeper issues, to listen for the still small voices, to spend time with those you care about and share burdens... or recharge your batteries with much needed alone time. We cannot always run at a frantic pace trying to keep up to some imaginary pace setter on the track ahead of us! How awful to always be looking over your shoulder to see if someone is about to pass you!

I may never know how much Erin actually heard from me tonight. Perhaps the most important thing she will remember is that I took the time to listen. I did try to encourage her to just start finding out who she really is instead of changing herself to try to fit in or make someone like her. Words that it took me almost half my lifetime to believe for myself and the second part of my lifetime to champion.

Each of us is totally unique and wondrous in this Universe. We can bring gifts, insights, talents, wisdom, compassion and all manner of things into the world that NO ONE else can do just the same way. Find your own voice and then sing with all your soul. It shouldn’t matter if it is perfectly in tune!