This photo is from my Instagram, dated July 28th, 2014. The caption [on Instagram] reads: “Yesterday, we suffered the tragic loss of #GeorgiBoy. It seems something attacked him from the inside, and he…he’s gone…” Gingy was with me when Georgi died. We were devastated by his loss — and those scars remain.
On January 7th, 2019 a beautiful tiger-striped brindle mutt rushed across a busy street. I called her to me, and she came, running, in submissive stance. No ID, collar, or microchip were found, and no one has claimed or come looking for her since.
We let Gingy meet her. He immediately took a wild gallop through the house, encouraging her to join him. Drew and I each marveled at how well they got along — immediately. Gingy is usually very particular about his doggy-friends. But if this dog starts to run away, Gingy screams.
I got a ride to a vet to check her for a microchip. She’s unspayed. Not housebroken. The vet said she’s still a puppy. The kindly animal lover who drove me to the vet kept saying how “…this is a God thing. You can’t get rid of that dog…” and I could feel how right she was. We had been thinking about adding another dog to our family, but it was a “later” thing. Something that probably wouldn’t happen for awhile. My plan was to eventually adopt another male boxer mix when we were ready. But I think God gets a kick out of mixing up our time tables when we think we know best.
Rescuing Pepper Potts, dredged up painful memories of Georgi’s final days, leaving me to question my modest dog training skill set. Drew also recognized that though I love Pepper, I struggled to let her in at first — I still blamed myself for Georgi. I was still gun-shy when it came to opinionated people who think they know my life. I’m grateful for a spouse who gives me permission to forgive myself, and to determine my own truth despite the opinions of others.
As we enter a hopeful new year, overwhelmed with possibility and perhaps a bit tipsy from our most recent round of “Resolution Roulette”, I’m resetting, refreshing, reviving, readjusting, renewing, re-insert-word-here… I’m just done. So. Restart.
Not sure who else may be feeling this epithet since the end of January, but it’s taken some time to get over it.
With the passing of time, we cannot stay the same. Growth, balance, survival and creativity all thrive on change. On becoming who we’re meant to be the day before we die.
We refresh for all sorts of reasons. Be it a change in venue. Finding or losing love. Incredible loss or gain. New jobs. New anything. Adding a family member or rescuing an animal. Seasons and weather both internal and external.
Some things won’t change. I still love to write. I still love art. I’ll still enjoy both immensely and share them often in social media. But maybe I’m done with some of my pots and pans. Perhaps I don’t actually need 60 pencils. Maybe we could do without all the clutter and create space for more joy and the things we’re truly passionate about. Maybe it’s time to donate more.
How will you change or grow this year? What will you learn? What will you release? How will you be free?
Earlier this year, I decided to take 100 days to just take things a little slower. I wanted to understand more about myself, how I work, what I’m passionate about…
I’ve learned a lot in these months — my 100 days isn’t up until the 28th of this month. One thing I’ve decided is that I definitely want to do this again. It’s a habit I want to obtain. Since August, I’ve taken note of how ‘flighty’ [for lack of a better word] I can be at times. Task and idea overwhelm is a very real thing, and I only recently realized the level on which I experience both.
The reality is, we cannot do all the things we love at once, nor should we. This would rip away the novelty and pleasure these delights bring, essentially robbing them of their status as passions or dreams.
Over the weekend, my family and I visited the Old Salem Museums and Gardens. One of my favorite buildings we were able to tour was the Single Brothers House. In the 1700s, Old Salem was a Moravian church town. When children came of school age, they were sent to either the boys or girls schools, where they lived until they came of age to be apprenticed. They would then move into either the Single Brothers House or the Single Sisters House where they learned and applied their chosen trade until they married. Imagine, choosing a lifetime career when you’re aged 12-16 and following that path wherever it took you – literally – for the remainder of your days. Some might think that terribly archaic… but I see a people that accepted themselves early on.
John Vogler, for example was one man we heard an awful lot about as we toured the museums. It is rumored Vogler’s father was a farmer. However, Vogler himself became a prominent craftsman, as a silversmith, gunsmith, even clock repair. I’ve seen his work first-hand. It’s beautiful. What I didn’t see were any records of anyone insisting that he become a farmer, or that his craft would never pay off in the end. The Vogler name is still a renowned one in Winston-Salem today — I’d say his work ‘paid off’ rather well.
My takeaways this week:
It takes time [sometimes years] and true dedication to become skilled at anything. No that doesn’t mean forever, or that we sell ourselves to it entirely. But it should definitely take priority.
We often sell ourselves short way too early in the game.
Broader passions will be seeded early in life. They are honed into more specific talents and skill sets as we practice and mature.
It’s okay to just pick one thing to become proficient at. Once you’ve reached your goals, then you can add something new.
This month seems like a whirlwind of hurricanes and resulting storms, power outages, food in fridges going bad no matter how little you opened the fridge. And of course, spooks, sweets and finally… FINALLY cool breezes. I told a friend last night that my air conditioning is still on because there’s no snow on the ground yet.
The cooler seasons are always a time to reflect to me… and in my reflections I’ve seen the progress we’ve made as we continue to rebuild our lives from the military to homelessness / joblessness, to now. I saw that we didn’t do it alone — and how asking for help was a humbling experience we sometimes thought we’d never survive. I saw how difficult this forward growth was for us and as we faced hurdles this month, I balked indignantly at the challenges they presented. It just seems that survival should be just a tad simpler in 2018 America. So I sat down and began compiling a resource guide for locals who have gone through similar circumstances to my own. I’ll be sharing more about this once I’ve published the resource.
Change is definitely in the crisp air and I’m loving it despite the difficulties. My wish for all of you this month [aside from overflowing trick-or-treat baskets and a wicked sweet tooth] is hope and a smile.
My name is Laura Weiller. And I have somewhere around 5 incomplete projects in my craft closet. Some are big projects. Like really big. Like monumental. Like… why or how did I ever think I could achieve the end result without burning out?
As a creative artist, it can be difficult to part with any project. It’s challenging to admit that maybe this thingy isn’t going to get done — or at least not by me. Even tougher when I had high hopes for the finished product. Or worse, invested some cash into it.
In 2010, one of my husband’s Christmas gifts to me was embroidery floss and a few other craft-related items from Michael’s. We walked into the store, and I paced in front of the racks of colorful skeins. I used the floss for making hand-woven jewelry — this was a rare opportunity to acquire several skeins which should be carefully chosen or the colors wouldn’t complement and work well together. A complex decision had to be made despite the massive selection presented me.
Fully unaware of the havoc he was about to wreak, my well-intentioned spouse began picking up one skein of each color and dropping them into the basket. When he was done, he probably had over 200 skeins in the basket. He was to deploy a few months later and had no intention of my running out of craft materials while he was away. 8 years later, I’m still working through those 200+ skeins of embroidery floss…
…and I’ve learned some things…
I’m the same person I was as a 12 year old. There are 2 things I like the most: animals and creativity [crafts / art / writing]. I’m happy. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.
It’s not worth it to move with the added bulk of unfinished projects. It’s just going to gather dust on a different shelf.
Stark honesty goes a long way to clearing those shelves of incomplete things… I’m delighted by every creative goal I attempt. I can’t wait to see the finished piece. But if that process takes too long, or if I get bored halfway through… I will pick something else up before I go back to that. And soon, it’s forgotten. Left unvalued.
If I haven’t done it and don’t set aside the time to, it’s probably not something I value as much as other things — and that is okay.
So today, I want to encourage you to clear out some of the clutter of unfinished projects. Some suggested methods of ridding yourself of them are:
Take stock of your projects, and go through them one at a time. Set a reasonable date [2 weeks, a month from now] to have it finished by. If it’s not finished, it has to go.
Invite a friend / family member who enjoys this sort of thing to join in a “traveling project”. Each individual does a bit of work on it. Then the completed project is donated to someone in need.
Yarn / sewing projects [crochet / knitting, etc.] could be donated to assisted living facilities.
The materials used may be able to be sold or traded — here again, I would suggest setting a date. If it doesn’t sell by this date, it goes in the garbage or is freely given to someone who can use it.
Have you struggled to stay on point with a project? I’d love to hear more.
Y’all: “100 days of what exactly?”
Me: “Uhm… yes.”
It’s not exactly ‘defined’, and that’s been part of it’s importance thus far. So I thought I’d share a glimpse behind the scenes.
Life is encouraged to be fast paced. We all try to appear busy… but the problem there is that ‘busy’ isn’t as attractive as we may have been led to believe. And in the end, we may find that the achievement is less enthralling than the pursuit of it. Or we make the other mistake of rushing to add as much as possible [to our schedules, work loads, skill sets] in hopes that quantity will maximize quality. In attempts to appease and impress others, or perhaps live up to some lofty standard that, if we’re honest, is a bit loftier than we’d prefer. Some of us use our talents to create a smokescreen in efforts to deflect societal and peer pressures.
So I took a mental step back from everything I was doing in a day. I wanted to take time to give each item some critical focus — especially art, which I’m practicing in my bullet journal. Some things will go away forever. Others will be identified as fun hobbies. And still others will hold a place within my mission.
Essentially — I guess it’s 100 days to honestly explore my own lifestyle and values. It’s been enlightening thus far, and I encourage everyone to go on a similar adventure.
Drew and I have 2 pets who play important roles in our lives. So at half past 5am, when I can’t sleep, I write about them… particularly when the cat is rattling and pawing about any number of foil wrappers forgotten amid trash take out.
At any rate, I’ve barely mentioned either of them since starting this blog. That seems a little unfair as they’re both such a huge part of our family. Their names are Twitter and Gingy [short for Gingerbread Man; he’s named after the cookie from the Shrek films].
Twitter has been with us for 6 years. It’s hard to believe we’ve had him that long. He’s very sweet and loving. He gives kisses and plays fetch with milk ties like a dog. He also tries to talk like a human and seems to know about 20 words — maybe more. He catches on to words and phrases we say to him regularly and copies the tone and sound patterns in a meow. Sometimes, he manages to create his own ‘word’ for things he can’t pro-meow-nce.
In 2013, our boxer-mix Georgi-Boy pointed Gingy out to us when he noted our
neighbors appeared to have a new puppy. Turns out, poor Gingy seemed to have been tossed out, flea-collar and all, to fend for himself. We searched the neighborhood for his owners to no avail. We’ve had him ever since. He and Georgi were inseparable until Georgi’s unexpected passing in July, 2014.
Gingy spends his days playing fetch with his favorite balls from Chuckit! If we’re not careful, he’ll try to keep one for the whole day. His favorite snacks are pretty much anything peanut butter flavored and the gourmet cookies from Petco.
Our pets do get along fairly well, though Twitter makes a game of spanking Gingy any chance he gets. Gingy thinks Twitter is fun to chase and snuggle with — on a good day. And he begs for any snack Twitter is given.
Gingy and Twitter often visit my Instagram. They love any attention they may garner from you.
One final shuddering breath as you shatter.
Droplets pool against shimmering fragments.
You can’t decide whether you’re wounded or crying.
That was the moment you stopped.
Freshly broken, the soil reverberates where once a pulse.
Memories are filling your arms with sweet visions…
Sing. Softly, a lullabye. Willing the facade into permanence.
Denial is lying to you.
A sudden movement, the dream dissipates.
Awake to hunger, run to her…
…but she is no more.
Silent screams rip through your already tattered lungs as they bleed.
Vomit; your organs heave reality before you.
Breathless, you challenge the mortality of — well, everyone.
But then you freeze…
…tiny fingers dance through your hair.
Broken, you drag your pieces back
Glass shards stabbing relentlessly as you return to nucleus.
You’ll never be the same.
One final shuddering breath as you shatter.
Glitter for a new mosaic.
My sister-friend, Cheryl, has suffered several miscarriages. In 2013, she and TJ, her spouse, were blessed with a little boy. In 2015, they had a daughter, fondly dubbed Itsy. 3 months later, Itsy’s short life was claimed by SIDS. Cheryl is working to create a nonprofit for mothers suffering childloss. This poem and artwork are dedicated to them.
For more information on the nonprofit, please visit their Facebook page.