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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In the Meantime...

It's been awhile...I guess I was waiting for something new and exciting to happen so I could blog about it...

I'm not going to lie, our project here at Pesto Farms is keeping the faith. About every three or four days, one of us is reminding the other that it's going to be okay and that something good is just around the corner. I guess I just need to say it: I don't want to be still and know that He is God. I'm not crazy about trusting and obeying either. The good news is that I don't have to like it to do it and I also don't need things to change to know that I am very very very blessed. It's just that some days patience is harder to come by than others. Some days I just want to throw a tantrum and say, "Enough already. We've been good. We've been patient but this little life situation is not just effecting us, it's effecting the people who love us and who have been taking care of us, and they could use a break too."

I know that our situation isn't unique and it isn't personal. I know that lots of people go through harder stuff than we are walking through. I know that other people walk through things like this and they don't have faith or family or a partner to walk through it with and man, do I have the right guy in my life to walk beside. I'm more sure of that now than I've ever been. It's just that if it was up to me, I'd go with a little easier--that's all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Small Business and Personal Business

The other day I read a couple of Facebook rants by someone who was really frustrated that her friends weren't supporting her by liking and/or buying things she posted on FB. She went on to explain about her beliefs and her financial situation and how hurtful it was that people weren't responding to her posts. I cringed because I know exactly how it feels on both sides of that fence.

What has kept me reflecting on these posts is that I don't really know this woman and before the rant posts, I had no idea about her health, her finances, or the fact that she was hoping to sell things via Facebook. I'm sure she didn't post details about her personal life because she didn't want to seem like a whiner. I get that and I agree. I do the same thing but my question is that if no one knows that I need help, do I get to resent them for not vollunteering that help? And is it fair to expect or even hope that people I don't know should feel some obligation to buy my wares based on my personal situation? At the end of the day, I feel like folks should order from me based on their need not mine.

One of my favorite sarcastic sayings is, "When life hands you lemons, shut up and eat your damn lemons." I don't know why that makes me laugh but it does. I guess it just speaks to my belief that there's just not much that whining won't make worse. If you need help, ask for help. Humble yourself enough to ask. Risk the yes. Accept the no. Trust the universe.

As a small business owner with no advertising budget, I use Facebook and Instagram as well as a blog to promote my business. I know this is frustrating to some people and they are completely justified in hiding me from their newsfeed or unfriending me if they find this offensive but it's my responsibility to be mindful of the fact that most people aren't signing on to Facebook to see pictures of my food. I try to think of Facebook as a party I am mingling at. In many of my conversations we will talk about what we do professionally and for fun. We'll talk about kids and weather and we might touch on spiritual or political topics but most of us will be careful to be mindful and respectful to those who may not share our views. If someone seems interested in what I do, it's not inappropriate for me to provide contact information or to whip out my phone and show a few examples of my work but I wouldn't stand on the coffee table and shout at people explaining that the only reason I came to this !@#$ party is to get some business and you people suck for not understanding that! "Some people have bills to pay!"

The truth is, we all have bills to pay. Some of us use social media as a tool to help us do that, many don't. There are lots of people who have found a way to use tools like FB to help build very successful MLM businesses, but 99% of those people would build a very successful business without it. Facebook is a convenient tool but as someone who has used it for years now it has not ever provided enough business to pay our bills.

I also know what it's like to be afraid that I'm just not going to be okay this time. That feeling is a frequent visitor at my house and it's easy to slip into the trap of studying other people's lives via social media and to feel like if I had just a little more of what they have I'd be alright. During those times it is important for me to remember that I AM okay, that I am not in the judgement business, and that if financial security is my #1 priority perhaps selling lemon bars to friends isn't my best plan. There are lots of dues to be paid, lots of mistakes to be made and I am still very much in the learn as you go phase of my development. And frankly sometimes you just have to turn off the computer and do something/anything else for a little while. There was a guy I met a years ago who owned a gift shop that he closed down to get what he called a real job. I asked him why and I still remember his answer, "Honey, when you're laying awake at three in the morning wondering how many scented candles you have to sell to make your mortgage, it's time to rethink your plan."

I'm not giving up on my lemon bars yet, but I know there may come a time when I have to "get a real job" in order to continue to pursue my dreams of air conditioning and cell phone service and whether I am a full-time caterer or not, I'm going to want to still have some friends share with no matter where my path goes. Peace, love and real butter!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Laying Low

Well it appears it's been weeks since I've posted anything. I guess I've just been trying to keep my nose above the water line. I am very self conscious about being whiney so when life gets a little challenging I tend to hunker down, make myself as compact as possible and try not to be a bother. I don't want to be one of those people. I don't want to seem like I don't believe everything is going to be okay.

The only problem with keeping to myself is that when there's too much me I tend to believe my brain. I struggle with hurt feelings and childish reactions and knowing they are childish, I keep them to myself and feed them on the sly. Occasionally I'll tell someone about what I'm thinking/feeling but I absolutely do not let on that this is a big deal and then when they say the normal thing, "Oh she's just like that," or "I'm sure it wasn't personal," I put quotes around their friend title. You know, my dear "friend" so and so. I know that I'm not being rational, but knowing better doesn't flip a switch for me. There's some complicated process where things get worked out and I have no idea how to make it happen except that it starts with prayer and willingness.

It's interesting that this is where I am as we prepare for Easter. I'm trying to hang on to faith but there are dark thoughts and feelings that want to pull me down. The good news is, that I know the good news--there will be a new beginning. There will be an epiphany. I will get a fresh start. I know that because that's what comes after the darkness every single time. No exceptions. But in the meantime...peace, love and patience.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Still Consumed

 I am still sketching every day sometimes all day long. I found a free "Back to Basics" class online and am now taking that while I wait for Sketchbook Skool to start. I am also obsessed with Urban Sketchers, and I am anxious for the day I feel confident doing an on the spot sketch of some building or a concert or something busy. I draw in public now, but only small things/single subjects. The other night at dinner (best corn tortillas ever!) I drew a deer head that was on the wall at the restaurant. Big Daddy got a little self conscious or maybe he was jealous that I got attention for my drawing when usually he's the star for being in the "clean plate club."

This might be the most boring post I've ever done. Yawn. But hey, if you have any interest in drawing/sketching, sign up for the freebie class.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In the Meantime...

These are my new friends. There's a couple of journals I bound myself (I am particularly fond of the one I made from a deconstructed cigar box. There are two travel watercolor sets (because what if something happened to one of them?), a spray bottle, some water brushes and a small cigar box with pens and pencils in it.

I am still sketching every day. This feeds something in me that needs feeding. I believe a part of this is my need to connect with my dad in a new way. I'm not painting for him. He can't see anymore and he's not present a lot of the time, but I suspect that it is some deeper connection--a shared love that I am celebrating. He inherited this love from his mother and I got it from him. I am sharing it with my nieces. It's a circle of life thing.

Speaking of Dad, I went to visit him on Sunday. Jill beat me there and she had him all wound up and talking. She's really good with him. She was asking him questions and he was really animated. It was good to see him happy. I'm glad I went and I'm especially glad Jill was there too. I wish I was better at interacting with him right now. I just have so many feelings about all of it that I get tangled up and I freeze. I'm going to have to face this anger to work through it. I don't do anger well. My M.O. is to stuff it and be surprised when it seeps from my pores. This isn't staying stuffed very well this time. It's making my body ache. I'm tired a lot. The waterworks have become more unpredictable. I know these are signs of depression, as we are well acquainted and the painting is a part of my treatment of that as well. Creative activities, soul feeding, help me slow down and listen to my thoughts without having them drag me around the block.

Poor Big Daddy has his own row to hoe himself. He's seven weeks into a job we thought was going permanent and the word is today that the family is still undecided. That's it. That's the only word. They don't tell him what's wrong, what they expect, what they'd like to see, nothing. There are a lot of very nice things about this job but seven weeks of wandering in the dark wondering what they want from him isn't one of the nice things. Seems like the Kelleys are just going to have to pull out the serenity prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I hope you are finding a quiet spot for reflection. Peace, love and watercolor.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love is a Decision

This is a sketch from my journal. I am in love with sketching. Yesterday I stopped in front of Race Trac to draw my view of the  Sonic across the parking lot. I couldn't throw away the empty ketchup bottle until I drew it. I am a little consumed. Sue me. I drew on a 3x5 during the sermon on Sunday. In my defense, I still remember the sermon as a result of the sketching so there is that bonus! I go through these really intense phases and then they pass. Sometimes they circle back around (art, reading, writing, riding my bike) and sometimes they don't. This is a view of Big Daddy as he looks in his recliner most nights. I like the picture of him sleeping even though his ear looks really orange in my photo. I love that face. I love to see him relaxed. Sometimes that feeling fills me up and sometimes I can't find that feeling at all. The good news is that I don't believe the feeling is the love. I like it when it circles back around, but those feelings are the sparkles in our relationship but the important part is what's underneath the sparkles.

When I was rediscovering the world outside of my hamster ball, someone told me that love is a decision followed by action. He was pretty adamant that love was not a feeling and being impressionable I borrowed that and parroted it as fact. I had a lot of experience with infatuation and obsession but not much experience with love so his definition sounded as good as any but deep down I believed in fairy dust and unicorns with flowers in their tails and standing in the rain holding up a jam box. (Which is kind of funny since I never saw that movie.)

My first practical experience with love as an adult was in learning to be friends and man, did I go through a lot of friends! I didn't know how to pick. I didn't know how to accept that people change sometimes. I didn't understand how to manage the give and take, so many of my friendships died from imbalance or inattention. Some of my best friendships have been this exercise where we build little barriers and then tear them down, build a little fort and then tear it down. Right now I have a friendship that is like a super cool tree house we built together that we don't play in enough, but it's there and there's a great comfort knowing it's ours. I have a few friendships that feel like home base--friends that I know I'm "safe" with. These friends are teachers. They teach me about myself. They teach me about God. Some let me mess up and come back. Some let me go on to find something that fits better...

When my husband and I fell in love he was adorable. He fell Disney-style and it was pretty easy to get swooped up by the bluebirds and bunnies and tattoo "happily ever after" on our behinds. Our wedding was wonderful, our honeymoon was a celebration for two and then the married part unfolded. I remember overhearing him talking on the phone with his dad sometime around our first anniversary and he said, "I never understood when people said being married is hard work. I get it now." I couldn't argue. It is hard learning to be partners. It is hard learning to communicate, compromise and collaborate (and we're really not there on the collaboration yet). It is hard to love someone and not only can you not seem to get on the same page, you're not even looking in the same book. It's hard knowing something you're doing makes your partner unhappy and not being able to change yet because change takes time and effort, and sometimes it takes a lot of tries. It's hard but we stay. We stay and we try to talk. We stay and we turn the page. We stay and send the text explaining what we should have said...we stay because we make the decision to stay and we take the action to make staying okay. And on our best days we remind each other why we choose each other today.

I know Valentines Day is a bummer for a lot of people. Trust me. I've done a lot of single Valentines Days. I've watched co-workers with their six dozen roses and their Tiffany boxes. I've threatened to ram my car into the next florist's van I saw. I've spent my share of February 14ths weeping in a bubble bath and I've had some really fun ones where I delivered goodies and cards to friends and family because who says I can't celebrate all kinds of love on Valentines Day? But this year, I'm going to celebrate the decision. I'm going to celebrate the actions that keep me connected to this lovely man I choose again and again and again. This year I'm going to celebrate the fact that we continue to work at being better to and for each other and I'm probably going to eat some heart-shaped chocolates in the process.

Here's my favorite quote about love by Toni Morrison (buckle up, this is big):

“Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn - by practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated? You don't. What you do know is that you are human and therefore educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who understand and share the interest. Couples that enter the sacrament of marriage and are not prepared to go the distance or are not willing to get right with the real love of God cannot thrive. They may cleave together like robins or gulls or anything else that mates for life. But if they eschew this mighty course, at the moment when all are judged for the disposition of their eternal lives, their cleaving won't mean a thing. God bless the pure and holy. Amen.”

Peace, love and little foil wrappers!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Is Fat a Four-Letter Word?

Today Big Daddy and I made our "Facebook turns ten" videos and a couple of my posts were about losing weight. I was a little embarrassed for a second and then I got honest with myself and the truth is that a lot of my life is and has been devoted to making peace with my body. The bad news is that this is a life-long journey. The good news is that I'm making progress.

I read an article today encouraging folks to boycott the sponsors of "The Biggest Loser" in an effort to get the show off the air. The writer asserted that the show is a game show based on fat shaming and unhealthy tactics to lose massive amounts of weight at a break-neck pace. While I don't know that I'm on board with the crusade, I will say that I don't watch the show because I look like the women on that show and I really don't need Jillian Michaels shouting at me. Thanks but no thanks. If there's one thing a I can get to all by myself, it's self loathing and I work pretty hard not to let anyone be unkind to me--even me.

I recently had a discussion with some friends about the word fat. It seems that among many of my friends, fat is a mean-spirited word that elicits gasps when uttered. I just don't feel that way. I feel like it's an adjective just like short or blonde or left-handed. Maybe the difference is that one doesn't get to choose how tall or short they are or what hand they favor. I don't know. I don't get it but one of the interesting things that came out of that discussion was that I said, "I am well aware that when there is some confusion about which Jennifer people are talking about, I am described as the fat one. I'm okay with that. It makes sense to me." Both friends were quick to say that no one they knew ever described me as "the fat one." Apparently I am the funny one. Oh. Hmmm. I guess I identify myself by size more quickly than others do. Hmmmmm.

So in an effort to feed what is good and healthy and happy about having this glorious container, I'm going to take a risk and post ten things I like about my relationship with my body:

1. I'm strong. When I work, I really work. I lift and haul stuff and I don't need Big Daddy to do it for me. I do it myself.

2. My weight does not keep me from feeling pretty when feeling pretty is important to me.

3. I don't have to feel pretty to feel good about myself. My body is one aspect of who I am but there are certainly other parts of me that I treasure and value and I REALLY REALLY REALLY believe that if you miss out on who I am because of how I look it's your loss. I'm not just saying that. I 100% believe that (now that I'm not dating anyone but Big Daddy).

4. I am learning how to fuel my machine the right way. I had a friend suggest Paleo eating to me several years ago and I immediately shot it down as something too extreme for me to be able to do. Big Daddy and I eat a high protein low-carb diet six days a week with limited dairy and no sugar and no starches (except for legumes) and it's just not a big deal most of the time.

5. I have incorporated some form of exercise into my routine three to four times a week (and that will go up when I can ride my bike again)!

6. I have stopped relying on my scale to tell me how well or how badly I am doing. I know if I'm eating like I'm supposed to. I know if I'm exercising. That's all I really need to know isn't it? I don't think I have weighed myself in over ten days. Only the people who have been on the scale more than once a day (for weeks or months) will understand this one.

7. Along those lines, I have stopped comparing myself to all my gorgeous friends and to my younger self. I wish that I had known that a size nine was not HUGE when I was sixteen but I didn't because I was busy comparing myself to girls with better genes and better habits than I had. I wore a size five the summer I ate only tuna fish and cans of green beans and that's as long as that lasted. I was miserable.

8. My body works the way it is supposed to. I am strong and (believe it or not) healthy. I sleep well. I don't have stomach or heart problems. I am taking action in and effort to keep type 2 at bay. I don't smoke anymore. I don't drink alcohol. I have cut way back on soft drinks. I have fought most of my demons and the others are getting rather nervous.

9. I am honest with myself and others when I am doing well or when I am struggling with taking care of myself. I think the hardest part about getting better is getting and staying honest.

10. I am persistent and I am making progress!

Peace, love and protein! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Today Big Daddy declared that today I would be making all decisions. We left the house and promptly had a flat tire. Big Daddy bought new tires this week so he was super thrilled but we trudged on and had a good day. Around six he asked me what I wanted for dinner and I didn't have a clue so I got a little thinkish and did a little googilinating and I came up with an adventure. We went here and had this:
If you have never experienced chicken and waffles, I'm going to assert that this is a culinary spiritual experience. My first bite was just chicken and waffle. For my second flavor combo I went with the chicken, waffle and gravy. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. After awhile I couldn't stand it so I went for it with the chicken, waffles and syrup. I made noises that made other diners uncomfortable. Big Daddy being a true adventurer went for the waffle, syrup, chicken and gravy "full monty." The thing that made this super fantastic bubble plastic to me is that it's like eating dinner and dessert all at the same time with no vegetables clogging up the works. It was the perfect cheat day meal! 

I hope you're enjoying your weekend! Peace, love and finger lickin' waffle yum.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Buddha's Hand

Long before Big Daddy and I reconnected I did a lot of praying about the kind of man God would choose for me. One time when I was imagining Mr. Right, I imagined someone who would show up for a date and knowing I am a little quirky, he would present me with a bouquet of asparagus which we would then put into a teapot. It was a funny little thought that has stuck with me for a long time.

Yesterday Big Daddy called to tell me he had a surprise for me as we built up to Valentine's Day. He set my expectations by explaining that he got it at Whole Foods so "just think about the kind of thing I might find there..." When I got home, there was a funny card and this was waiting for me:

It's called a Buddha's Hand and it's this very fragrant citrus...thing. And here's the cool part--I love it. I have been obsessed with drawing and painting lately and while I'm not very good, it brings me a lot of joy. Big Daddy brought me this amazingly weird thing and today I got to take a break from hours of work in the kitchen to draw it. Uh oh. I just realized I spelled Buddha wrong on the drawing. Oh well. That's why I practice. I hope you have someone who gets you. I hope you love yourself enough to know that the weird stuff is what makes you special. Peace, love & crazy surprises.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Random Thoughts by Jennifer Kelley...

Here are some things I've been thinking about for the past week:

10. I love looking in my fridge and seeing two full produce drawers. For most of my life I didn't bother buying produce because it seemed it would go from the grocery bag to the crisper rotter, to the trash. Ever since I met the chef, we have bought and have actually eaten waaaaaayyyyy more fresh food and that goes up even more when we're eating the slow carb way.
9. Sherlock on PBS is awesome even though Benedict Cumberbatch sounds like a Dickens character's name.
8. Big Daddy and I are going to the rec center to work out some but it isn't a habit yet and I feel guilty when I don't go.
7. My couch potato niece spent the night Friday night and we enjoy her so much. She loves to sit on the couch and play on the computer too. We played Terraria as team with one of us working the keyboard and the other controlling the mouse. She was mad when her mom called and wanted her back. I kinda was too.
6. When you eat breakfast and dinner at home every day, you have to wash dishes a lot!
5. I am more excited by the Superbowl commercials than I am by the game. I think the last time I really cared who won was back in the Elway days.
4. I have started doing the dollar a week savings plan only I started with the biggest numbers on the chart because I've had some cash on hand. I think I'd rather pay the smaller amounts closer to the holidays and the larger amounts now.
3. Mopping the floor does wonders for my self-esteem.
2. Coconut oil is a really good skin cream. I slather it on in the shower so it's like the wax setting at the car wash.
1. I am really enjoying my online art class. I keep picking new ones I want to sign up for and then I force myself to wait until I've finished one before I start another.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Plan? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Plan!

The photo is of an exercise I did for my "Draw Your Awesome Life" class. It's a contour drawing of my hand and while I've done those in every art class I've ever taken, the exercise has always driven me crazy--until today.

The rules to the assignment are to stare at your hand, not the page, and to draw using a continuous line. Not surprisingly this produces some weird results and that's the part I have had a problem with. Who wants a picture of a blob hand? What is the benefit of an exercise that produces something freakish by design?

Today I had that light bulb moment, when I looked at this picture and thought, I love this! This is my favorite piece so far! In that eureka moment, I knew that the point is to let go of expectations and enjoy the experience.

My friends and I often complain, sometimes playfully, sometimes not, about the way life has of deviating from THE PLAN. For example, Big Daddy has been working a temp job that we thought would go permanent on Friday. Today he got a text asking if he'd like to extend his contract two more weeks. Say what? That was not THE PLAN. (After further investigation, there is no need for concern, it turns out this is good news rather than bad, but it still wasn't THE PLAN.) I recently heard a story about a family who bought a Roomba to combat the pet hair in the house. All went well until the dog pooped on the floor while the family was out and the Roomba rolled right through it over and over and over again. I'll let your imagination take over from here. That wasn't THE PLAN either. Certainly there are unexpected moments that take us off course and steal any illusions we might have of control and I would never propose that one could or would want to skip and whistle through them. What I am suggesting is that there can be beauty and surprises in the detour.

I don't know about you, but I know my life has taken some sharp left turns--the kind where you duck and pray that you won't get mowed over. The kind where your purse flies into the floorboard and pukes out all the contents. In those times I shook my fist at the sky and questioned the meaning of everything but over time when I look back I can see that the sharp left was exactly what needed to happen and I can see the blessings and changes that came as a result. THE PLAN, might have been more comfortable, but it wasn't more beautiful.

In 2006, I got dumped by my boyfriend via email. I got fired from my job. I lost my condo and my car blew up. I had to downsize my life and I needed to do it immediately but instead I cried a lot and prayed for a miracle. The miracle was THE PLAN. It didn't come.

I talked to my spiritual adviser and she kept saying, "One way or another, you will be okay."
I cried and explained to her, "I want one way and not the other."
"THAT'S your problem," she said.

When I finally gave up, I moved into one room of a friends house. I took a job as a maid. I got kicked out of the one room of that house and moved into another house. I got to learn (quite painfully) how to live with some of the most patient and persistently loving people I've ever met (some of whom I consider family now). As a result of that move I met some young ladies who helped me far more than I helped them and they introduced me to social networking sites. That's where I reconnected with my old friend Big Daddy...

I've gotten some pretty amazing gifts from letting go of control and tearing up "THE PLAN." Sometimes it's more fun to just fly by the seat. Sometimes it's alright to not know what you're doing, that's where the adventure begins.

 Peace, love, and adventures!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Muzzling the Know-it-All

Today is the day! Got out of bed, made a slow carb breakfast and mopped the kitchen floor. I'm convinced that productivity is all about getting some momentum going and keeping it going. After two months of eating anything and everything I wanted, it was nice to get back to something healthy that will fuel my body the right way.

In my last blog post I mentioned that I was going to sign up for an online class and I did, and I love it. After some deliberation, I chose the Draw Your Awesome Life workshop by Joanne Sharpe. It's fifteen lessons for $38 and her style and mine are very similar so it seemed a good fit. I went to Asel and spent $20 and I was ready to roll! I've done three pages so far and even though I'm not in love with any of them, I like something about each and more importantly I learned something from each lesson. 

I have a condition I call closet perfectionism. I have pretty low expectations about my housekeeping and my appearance but there are certain areas that I zoom in on and at times I can get so critical that I no longer enjoy something that should be fun. One of the symptoms of closet perfectionism is the delusion that I am supposed to be good at things without trying, learning, or practicing. To that end, the ugly little know-it-all in my brain can sometimes get her red pen out and scribble all over things I've made. In this class we do pencil drawings that we then cover with permanent ink and then add a watercolor layer. For one of my drawings, I used a pen that said it was permanent, but when I added the watercolor, it ran a little an muddied the colors. The results weren't bad. You could almost look at it and think it was intended but the know-it-all knows it wasn't and she's been trying to get me to tear that page out and start over. I'm leaving it in my notebook because it is a lesson, and because the only way to shut up the know-it-all is to stop playing by her rules. The joy is in the process not the product. 

If you happen to have a case of closet perfectionism, here are my suggestions on how to muzzle the know-it-all in your head:
1. Remind yourself that you are playing. Singing, painting, writing--creative pursuits of any kind, are supposed to be fun. 
2. Practice isn't supposed to be perfect. Practice is a process to improvement. Progress not perfection is the goal.
3. Buy affordable supplies to learn with. One of the ways my know-it-all beats me up is to criticize how much money I have spent compared to the product I create. When I buy a leather bound journal and an expensive fountain pen (hypothetically of course) I expect myself to write a journal worthy of those materials. The first time I misspell something or have to cross out a word, the know-it-all assures me that it is ruined. When I switched to gel pens and composition notebooks, I found I was more likely to use the notebooks and not worry if there was a phone number or a shopping list in the midst of my creative writing exercises. 
4. Don't start tearing out pages. If you want to try again, try again on another page. Document the process. When the know-it-all convinces me that I have to hide my mistakes I am playing right into her hand. Mistakes are part of life. 
5. Set process related goals. I will draw something every day. I will write 7 pages a week. I will learn a new song every two weeks. If I set a goal based on the product, everything that falls short feels like a failure. If I set goals based on process, the product will improve on its own. 
6. Fight the know-it-all by exposing the lies to the light. One of the best practices I've established is to let something sit for awhile before analyzing it. A little time and distance will remove some of the emotional attachment and allow me to look at, listen to or read things in a more productive manner. We should look at our work with a critical eye provided the motive is to improve but there is a difference between an honest critique and bullying. Part of the process is to learn the difference.

I'm off to get stuff done! Peace, love and creativity!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New

I hope the holidays didn't do you in. We survived, and sometimes even thrived during this season. My dad's health both mental and physical continues to be a huge challenge especially for my mom who is making hard decisions daily for someone who is angry and uncooperative most of the time. He can't help it, and she can't help but be hurt by it. It's a rotten situation all around for people who deserve so much better and I talk about it as little as possible because it makes me so sad.

My sweet husband is starting a temporary position tomorrow as a private chef. It's a great opportunity that we'd love to see turn permanent but for sanity's sake, we're setting our expectations at temporary. We catered food for an open house on New Year's Day and that went well. I am working on new menus and a more viable website for Yes, Chef! Catering, so all in all things are headed in a positive direction on the work front.

I have been fretting over the new year thing. Big Daddy and I were supposed to start our healthy living plan on December 26, but that didn't happen and then I thought we were going to start on the first but we were out catering and then went to 5 Guys for dinner after that and then today we got out of bed and ate bagels. I am quite literally eating peanut butter off a spoon as I type this.

This morning someone on Facebook mentioned One Word 365 and I've been mulling that over all morning. The suggestion is that I choose one word to guide me through 2014. No resolutions, just a direction for next 365 days. The first word that came to mind was love and while that's good, it was a little too broad. Next, I pondered on health (physical, mental and spiritual) for an hour or so. That gave me a little more structure with out being confining, but it didn't resonate the way I think my one word should. Then as I was getting into the shower, my word picked me. COMMIT. In every area of my life I struggle with inconsistency and I drive myself crazy with the fits and starts across the board. I want to take an online class, but I can't decide which one, so I do neither. I want to spend time with friends. I talk about it. I think about it. I haven't scheduled it. I should go to more meetings...maybe next week. I miss my bicycle, but heck it's already one o'clock. I used to be pretty regimented and then I wrote myself a pass for awhile, and the weeks turned into months and the months turned into years and now this habit of leaving myself a loophole is so ingrained that I don't even notice it anymore. Make a decision. Use a calendar. Make it stick. Commit. Commit to love. Commit to health. Commit to change. Commit to friends. Commit to accomplish.

Now, if you don't mind, I have an online class to sign up for. Peace, love and commitment!