Sunday, January 9, 2011

TSS - 1.9.11

As I sit here and type this week's edition of the Sunday Salon, I am hopeful that tomorrow will be a snow day.  The forecast calls for snow to start about midnight tonight and snow through tomorrow until mid-morning Tuesday.  We are expected to receive about 6-7 inches of snow, which for Kansas City is significant.  Of course, I have lived here long enough to know that the forecast can change on a dime, so while I am hopeful for a snow day, I would not be at all surprised if I wake up to a mere dusting.  Not to fear, I have lesson plans prepared to teach if the storm passes us by (I just don't want to drive in hazardous conditions), and I am geared to scrapbook if I have the day off.

As I reflect on this first week of January I have come to realize that I expected too much from myself with regards to resolutions.  Each one by itself seemed quite manageable:  exercise 20 minutes each day; drink 4-5 glasses of water every day; take at least one photo a day for the 365 project; write a little bit (no pre-set amount) each day; have daily devotions each morning; and set aside a few minutes every day for creativity; and spend 30 minutes pleasure reading each night before bed.  However, to try to implement all of these little activities at once proved to be an impossibility.  So, rather than admit failure and quit - I am going to choose a new approach.

In Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project (of which I have only read the first two chapters), she segments her resolutions by month - focusing on just one or two each month and then adding one or two more the following month.  Without planning to follow this approach, this is what I have instinctively decided to do.  It appears that I will focus on daily devotions for the month of January - as I have been most consistent with those.  I am also trying to journal my thoughts and insights as I read these morning verses, so that will also help my writing resolution (although I know that I must focus more on the craft of writing as well).  I hope to begin to add exercise into the routine - at least two or three times a week - over the next few days.  Perhaps if I exercise more the increased water intake will naturally follow.  That is at least my plan for now.

Statue at hospital entrance
The 365 project will be the first to see a major revamp.  I knew that this would be very difficult for me and I was right.  So I will now set my "drop dead" goal to a minimum of one photo shoot a week.  This week I decided to take a few pictures of the one place where I have spent the most time:  the local hospital.  My mom was hospitalized on December 29th and remained there until 5:00PM on January 4 --- only to return at 11:00AM on January 5 and where she remains today.  There are many in the bloggisphere who have experienced the death of a parent in the past few weeks:  Jenners unexpectedly lost her mother, Stephanie unexpectedly lost her father, and Kathy's father passed away after a long, hard fight. While I am grateful to still have Mom here, the constant care is rather exhausting.  Mom's health has been poor for nearly a decade, and this recent hospital stay is a continuation of the same complications:  ortho-static hypo-tension coupled with congestive heart failure.  It is a constant tweaking game of medications - which at best will last a few months before they are out of whack again.  It is wearisome, and weighs heavily on me even after I have left the hospital from one our daily chats.  We are both hopeful that she will return home within the next day or so --- tired and weak, but at least home.

I have still not started reading a fictional book - although I plan to start Little Women this week - but I have enjoyed reading the non-fiction book, Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh -- the same author who wrote Life is a Verb, which inspired me to write Life is a Verb Thursdays last summer.  In this new book the author asserts that we are all creative and she quotes Pablo Picasso several times:  Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.  In her typical witty style, the author carefully walks beside us, encouraging us to find that artist once again.  She is understanding of our roadblocks, but she does not allow us to use them as excuses.  Rather, she gives sound advice, coupled with lots of personal experiences, to help us chisel away the fears and barriers and release the inner imagination.  She lists six creative commitments that she says are essential to reconnecting with that inner child:

  • Be ordinary
  • See more
  • Get present
  • Catch Fire
  • Clear Ground
  • Let go

She provides exercises -- one written and one visual (she recommends using pencils, crayons, magazine pictures, glue sticks, and index cards) -- as well as one long range project to complete over 37 days.  However, on page 14 she states:
At the end of reading this book, you might have 20 or 37 or 500 index cards on which you've written, scribbled, drawn.  Or you might have none.  And either way is perfectly fine.  Do you get what I'm saying here?  THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER, no perfect way to work through this book - or through life.
Every single moment of your life is an opportunity for creativity.  Even the darkest moments.  Perhaps especially them.
Yes, this is the book that I was meant to read this first week of the new year.  I am ready to learn to let go, give up trying to be perfect, and get a little messy.


  1. Creative is a Verb appeals to me as well!
    Thanks for sharing about those resolutions!

    I quit making them:)

  2. Oh, Molly, I am sorry your mother is doing so badly. That has got to be exhausting for you! That's probably a good time to be gentle with yourself and your resolutions. You are just like me - make the perfect plan ... and then life happens! After all, we've got all year to live up to our resolutions... Sending a big hug!! Silke

  3. I quit making resolutions a long time ago but each year I vow to get organized, which never happens! I think a professional is in order! :)

  4. Nice quote from Picasso. That is so true. Love the photograph--keep it up!

  5. I saved "The Happiness Project" to start in January too. I think her approach is good ... though I think I'll just do one thing as well so it sticks. Even in her book, I felt she did too much!!

    And I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I imagine it must be difficult and tiring. Hang in there.

  6. I loved following along with Gretchen Rubin's weekly video posts during 2010 - definitely recommend keeping an eye on her blog if that interests you. And I am certainly going to have to check out Creative is a Verb! Looks amazing.

    Keep up the good work taking care of yourself, my dear! And let's both keep our fingers crossed that we get snow days tomorrow:) I've got some serious lounging around to do!

  7. What a great book! I will write it down to read soon...but that might mess with my personal goal, to read more from my stacks!!

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom. My dad died so unexpectedly this summer and the hospital became my second home. Please know that you and your mom will be prayed for! Hang in there AND may you enjoy a snow day! I wonder if I can order one of those for tomorrow....what am I saying?? Phoenix, Arizona! Not likely! But a girl can dream!


  8. Molly, I am sorry that your mother's health is so bad. This certainly is exhausting for you - physical as well as emotional.

    Good for you to let go and not be perfect. There is so much charm in imperfectionism!

  9. I hope you get that snow day tomorrow like you want, Molly.

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom's health. It's so hard to see a parent suffer so.

    One of the staff I supervise at work has a ton of issues that need to be addresses--an overwhelming amount. My boss and I have taken an approach not too different from the one mentioned in Rubin's book--address one or two of the issues at a time and work on improving those before moving onto the next issue. Although not exactly in line with the idea of a happiness project, it does seem to be working.

    I wish you well and hope you have a great week, Molly. I'm thinking of you.

  10. I'm hoping you are at home enjoying a snow day today! It makes a lot of sense to tackle one resolution each month... good luck with that approach, Molly.

  11. As I read your post and write here, I am hoping you have had a snow day and are scrapbooking!

    Ah, resolutions. I have enough trouble keeping them for a day, let alone a year. We just keep plugging along, making each day the best we can, don't we?

    I hope you mom is comfortable, Molly, and wish you the best this week.

  12. I think that's a good idea about the photos. I started doing stuff like that towards the end of the year.

  13. I didn't know about Creative is a Verb - it's the perfect read for me, since this is my year to be more creative. Thank you for posting about it! And my heart is with you and your mom, Molly. Sending you loads of virtual love and hugs.

  14. I like the idea of gradualy adding your resolutions, much more manageable.

    Sorry to hear your mum. It must be so draining for you at this time.

    The book looks like one I could do with reading.

  15. I'm hoping for snow here too. It's on the forecast, but sigh, we may just end up with a dusting!

    I'm trying to slide into my reading too. It's going slow, but hopefully, within a week, I'll be in it. I hope you have a much better 2011, with plenty of reading and success on your writing front too!

  16. Thank you for sharing the wonderful advice from Creative is a Verb. There is no right answer, though we are (conditioned, perhaps?) all in search of it. (I haven't been to yoga in a while, I need a good dose of Not Yet and Breathe).

    I am so very sorry to read of your mother's hospitalization. I hope that the meds are working and that she is home again.

  17. Sorry to hear about your mom. I am sending good thoughts to both of you.

  18. I hope things improve for your mom - it is so difficult when our parents age.

    One of the booksellers at my local indie has a picture in Creative is a Verb - I got her to autograph it for me.

  19. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. Who imagined that our middle years would be spent caring for and worrying about our aged parents. I know I never contemplated it but am just lucky to have so many sisters that can help. I'm glad you realized that small steps forward with your resolutions will work best. I've discovered the same thing over the last few years and given myself a break.

  20. Sorry to hear about your Mom's sickness Molly. I know from experience how hard it is to see a parent so ill and feel for your situation.


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