Sunday, December 25, 2011

I'm not ready

We had a wonderful Christmas. Really. And now I am totally freaking out. I am realizing that it's once again time for the letting go to begin. And I'm not ready. This time as parents of children who live with you goes too fast. There's no other way to put it. Next year at this time we will have two children living at college and not living with us except at holidays.

To put it lightly, I'm freaking out. Not outwardly. And I'll be fine. We'll all be fine. It's what we do these years of parenting for.

But trust me, it's not easy. I don't want to let go.

So Merry Christmas to all, or whatever holiday you might celebrate during this time of year when light is hard to come by (although here in Kansas we have had beautiful sunlight to balance out the dark nights). I understand and appreciate the many, many blessings in my life. And I know that in the big picture this letting go is easy compared to what many mother's deal with daily. But that doesn't make it any less gut-wrenching for me.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am so bad at this

I don't know how long it's been since I posted here. A long time. Life is busy. I read a quote last night in the book I'm reading that struck a cord.

"Imagine you dream of the things you might become--maybe a doll maker or a singer or you just want to travel one way to another country and see what it's like to live there. And at some point, you notice years have gone by, years of spending your days doing these trivial things you aren't even interested in. And you wonder what happened to your dreams? What happened to the you who might have been?"

-- From "Up from the Blue" by Susan Henderson

It just made me think about life, and how fast it goes by, and wondering if you really get the things done that you wanted to, that you dreamed about when you were young.

I don't know the answer. I know that a lot of the things that have taken up my time are nothing I ever dreamed, but I love them, because they made me who I am now and they brought the people into my life that mean so much to me. And helped me appreciate the ones that were already here.

I turn 52 tomorrow. I thought of making a list of 52 things but that kind of overwhelms me right now.

I'm going to go out tonight and watch the meteor shower with my family. And tomorrow I'm doing a "painting" birthday party for a friend and her daughter, who is one of my students. I'm excited about that.

I read a blog post about a woman who, along with her children, did 35 random acts of kindness for her 35th birthday. If I'd have read it sooner I would have tried to do that. Maybe we'll do it another day.

I always used to say fall was my favorite season, and it is a beautiful season, but I've decided that it's melancholy. I don't know why, but it feels that way to me. I know when my grandma died it was fall. That was the first death that really hit me, as an adult, and made mortality real. Her funeral was on my birthday. I remember vividly the funeral home director telling us that she was a lovely corpse. Even in my grief I couldn't believe it. Do you really tell people that???? Seriously?

Random post, but at least I posted for a change!
Be well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On reading and sexism

I pride myself in being a pretty tolerant person. While I have my days (just ask my family) when people of the world get on my nerves, most of the time, I accept people where they are. I'm not one that has prejudices against others just because they are different from me. And if I identify a prejudice that I am harboring, I try to change it in myself. That being said, I pretty much refuse to read books written by men. Oh, ocassionally I will read a book by the likes of Thomas Merton, but when I choose books to read for pleasure, they are exclusively by women. So much so that I won't even look at books by men. Another thing about how I choose books, though, is that I have to like the cover. You know that adage "don't judge a book by it's cover?" Not true, for me, when choosing reading material. Cover is important. I believe in not judging people by their "cover" aka first impressions, etc., but when it comes to books? Well, forget it. I am drawn to interesting book covers. By women. I did read a book by a man recently, and liked it immensely. Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Doesn't that title just make you want to read it? And it has a pretty cover too. I'm thinking he must write like a woman.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I was cleaning yesterday and came across a paper copy of the sharing I did during worship (I wouldn't call it a sermon, because, well . . . I just wouldn't), when I left my job at the church. It brought back such memories of my work there, the joys and challenges.
I loved that job, and the interactions I had with our church community and the larger community as well. I spent a lot of time on the phone and in person with people in need in our community, and it was a part of the job that was most challenging and most rewarding at the same time. Sometimes we couldn't help, and that was hard. I was often the one who had to say no. I remember vividly calling a woman back to tell her we couldn't help her. She was in a dire situation and I had cried along with her when she initially called. I took her plight to the pastors, even though I knew our funds had been depleted for the month. When I called her back to tell her we couldn't help, she thanked me. Thanked me, even though I was the bearer of bad news. She appreciated so much that I had taken the time to call back.
I was humbled by the appreciation expressed when giving out groceries. People were surprised when we said they could take what they needed from our grocery cupboards, no limits, just take what you need. I think people in need are so used to restrictions, that when there aren't any, it's such a nice surprise. Also, when we gave our garage sale "leftovers" to the women at the domestic violence safe-house. These were the things we didn't want and also the things no one who came to our garage sale wanted. The dregs, essentially. But these women were so thankful to have them. Most of them were starting over, and needed everything for their new homes. Very humbling.
My experiences in that job made me a better person. I hope as I get farther away from it I don't lose that growth. I hope I continue to be a light-bearer to those I meet. I know I'm not always, I can come up with many times just off the top of my head that I haven't been. But I hope more times than not I am. And I hope I can always see the light in those I meet. I pray for that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sending them out . . .pulling them closer (when I can)

This summer has been a series of sending my children out into the world, and pulling them close when I can. It's what you do all the years of parenting for, but it isn't easy.

Our oldest went to Texas/New Mexico for 5 weeks. I know we are spoiled by having her in college right up the street. It's not that we (the parental units, anyway) see her that often. But we, and she, know we are only 5 minutes away, should we need each other for some reason. Of course we need each other, but in case we need direct contact. Having her 16 hours away was a new experience for all of us. She was homesick and we missed her. But we all grew through the experience.

12 hours after her return, our middle daughter left on the train for a week in Pittsburgh with our youth group. She was surrounded by people who love and care for her, but she was still going out into the world without us. After sitting at the train station for 45 minutes or so, she said "why are you still here?". It was 3:30 AM by that time, so we said our good-byes and left. She will be home before we know it. I know that's true, but I still miss her already!

In both of these letting gos, I have held it together, no crying. That's not normal for me. I used to cry leaving them at camp. As hard as it is for me to believe I can hold it together, I think it must be a natural step in parenthood. If I continued to cry every time they left me, I would be a basketcase. But it's weird, for sure. A new normal, I guess, to not have all of my chicks under my wing, or at least nearby. I've had people tell me "you need to loosen the apron strings" or similar platitudes. They have no idea.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sundays are a day of rest

Actually, most days this summer, so far, have been mostly days of rest. I guess it's time to buckle down and do something productive. At our family meeting last night, we set (assigned) weekly goals. I have to admit, I assigned weekly goals to the girls. I told them they could assign me a weekly goal too, if they wanted, but I assigned myself one as well. Next week, summer art classes start, then I cook at camp for a week, then more art classes . . . . I just know we will start being busy and get less done around the house.

I really love the change of pace that summer gives us. I feel spoiled by it, and am so thankful.
I've continued my creative endeavors, but I took yesterday off, so I decided that I might not do the creative stuff on Sundays. But I might. We'll see.

I don't think I've updated lately, though, in what I've created, so here you go. Friday we created food -- egg rolls and chicken fried rice -- which we'd never made before. It was yummy but time intensive. We'll do it again sometime and will get better at it as we go, I'm sure. I linked the names of what we cooked to the recipes in case you want to try them. I did change them up a bit, used chicken instead of pork for the egg rolls, added pea pods cut up and left out peppers and celery. But I mostly followed the directions!

Saturday I created polymer covered Christmas ornaments to sell at the auction at church, to support our youth's trip to Pennsylvania this summer.

Now, off to be productive, hopefully. Praying for motivation!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Zentangle Haikus BAM!

Better light for my previous project -- these colors are more true (thanks sun!).

Last night Emma & I did Zentangle Haikus, an idea that was inspired by this (thanks artsyville!). Zentangles explained here. Can you guess which ones are mine and which ones are Emma's?
Someone stole my pen!

One view of summer . . .
Someone has a birthday coming up (and needs some cash!)
Another view of summer . . .

Someone might say "bite me" a little more than they should . . .

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Day 1

Scrapbook paper cover for Ellie's violin book.

Day 2:

Polymer clay covered objects. I used Fimo -- the colors are not very true. I might try a new pic in natural light today. I made a Klimt cane with my extruder (my fave thing to do -- google it) and then covered an Altoids container and two glass bottles. I tried a new method -- rolling out a big flat piece and then laying slices of my cane on top and running the whole thing through the pasta machine again. I've been unhappy with how bumpy my objects turn out when laying the cane on in pieces and then pushing them together with my fingers. I did that method on the middle jar. I liked it, but I wasn't completely crazy about how it flattened and biggened the design. I may experiment with that more later. Post your creative activites and leave me a comment about them! BAM!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My own version

It's summer!!! I know, not officially on-the-calendar summer, but it's summer at my house. Oh boy, is it ever. Haha. Big family meeting last night, beginning our new summer bucket list and committing to try to be more loving to each other. We used to have weekly "family nights" where we intentionally spent time together doing something fun as well as checking in. I am going to lobby for re-starting those weekly times. Although there were tense moments in our meeting last night, I think all of us (or at least most of us) saw the value in really talking to each other and keeping the conversation going, even when we didn't agree. We also used to do a nightly "high/low" which then became "high/low/ha" where we checked in daily about what the high and low of our day had been. We added the ha to share something that made us laugh. I am also going to lobby to restart that too. The kids tired of it, but I have to admit that I never did. I enjoyed that nightly check-in, recognizing the blessed and the broken in our day, superficial or deep.

My other inspiration is to do something creative every day. I know lots of blogs have done this very same thing, but I really want to do it. I seem to not be very good at sticking with something like that, but I thought to myself that maybe I would be more stick-withitish if I was doing it myself. So let's see. Want to join me? I'm gonna call it BAM (Beth and Me -- good grammar, right?). Put the button on your blog. It's right here and on my sidebar. I'm going to try to blog DAILY about my BAM activity and would love you to do it too. You can do the same thing I'm doing, or your own creative endeavor. Please leave a comment with a link to your blog so I, and anyone else who reads here, can follow your creative work too! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I am feeling completely random and dis-jointed. My mind whirs with what still needs to be done in the next 2 weeks. For starters, I have 2 more kiln firings to fit in. That takes all day, plus the loading and unloading. Sometimes a whole day plus an hour or two. The results are so much fun though. And the excitement at seeing the results! Opening the kiln is exciting for me, and presenting the finished products to the artists is exciting for them (and me too!)!

I have big plans for the summer. I seem to always have big plans, but they don't always come to fruition (big word -- sounds intelligent, huh?)*. We shall see.

*When my sister went to college, I was in 6th grade. I was a goofy kid (See photo above. Yes, that is me with the pixie hair cut and the psycho smile). I wrote really goofy letters to her, and to my brother when he went to the Navy. They included "Super Beth Adventures" as well as lots of silly repeated phrases, such as "Hardy Har Har"; "Rain shore will do the corn good, pa. Yup" and "sounds intelligent, huh?" Maybe one day I will reward my faithful readers with a real, honest-to-goodness Super Beth Adventure!

Ok, I got kind of distracted with all the goofy kid super Beth stuff. So, there you have it. Stay posted here for any great summer feats!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Random Sunday night

Seems like I'm always tired. So looking forward to next week and a break from the routine. Once I felt like I was too tired all the time so I went to the doctor, thinking he might give me a magic pill.He said, "get more sleep!" Well. I'm sure he was/is right. I guess in a way that could be a magic pill. Or something like that.My girls and I got creative a week or so ago, making altered books. That's where you get old books no one wants and do art on and in them. You alter them. You can keep some of the words, rip pages out and restick them in, whatever. I'm teaching a class this summer on altered books, so I wanted to practice.

And this, my friends, is dinner by candlelight. The electricity went off one night, and stayed off for 15-20 minutes. Long enough to wonder if it would be coming back on. So we dealt with it. And it came back on!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I've started a habit of taking a little notebook to church with me on Sundays. Sometimes I draw pictures, write notes to my kids, make lists. Lately I've been jotting down things that jump out at me during worship -- words or phrases that I find meaningful. And then I add little pictures. This past Sunday I wrote the following, four full pages, written rapid fire. I'm thinking I carried some baggage with me to church Sunday. What do you think?

I can't seem to be at peace, even in my own home. If we can't even be peaceful, at peace, with those we live in community with, those we love, how can we (I) expect peace in our larger communities? In our cities? Our country? Our world? I hold on tightly to the wish for peace in the world, but really, do my daily actions and words reflect that hope, that wish? They do not. Why do dishes affect my ability to be peaceful, be a peacemaker, show love to those I love more than anything else? Dishes. Today anyway, it's dishes. And maybe rinsing out the bath tub . . . and . . . and . . . Unfortunately, on any given day, the list could go on and on. I don't love them any less, in the big picture, but in the moment maybe I like them less. My reactions and interactions do not show peace or love. Then my anger turns inward. What have I done wrong? I haven't been the person I should have been, so I taught them incorrectly. I did them a huge disservice. Why wasn't I a better wife and mother? Maybe it's too late now. At least that's what my thoughts are at that moment. Then it passes. My mind gets busy with something. I forget my feelings of anger. Until next time I walk into the kitchen and find the sink full of dishes that have been there for days. And then the cycle starts all over again. I've always had an ability to forgive quickly. As a child, I remember fighting with my neighborhood friends. We would go our seperate ways, and in 15 minutes or so, I was ready to play together again. They could, and sometimes did, stay mad at me for days. If nothing else, my kids inherited that ability from me.

Dishes keep me from being a peacemaker.

Get up, do not be afraid. (these words were part of the liturgical dance and words of reassurance)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Poster Child

I never was a poster child for anything, but I think I finally am (although I'm no child, by any stretch of the imagination!). I'm the poster child for bad financial choices. Oh, maybe I'm being extreme, but in my adult life I have not made very many good ones. Financial choices, that is.

I'm working to make that better, and I am extremely committed to it. But it's hard. It's hard to say no. To myself. To my kids. But I'm doing it, and every hard answer leaves me feeling a little more on top of things. It will take time, though, and it's hard to be patient. I'm making more money right now, working a little less than full-time, than I've ever made in my life. Though we're not rolling in dough, it would make you think we might finally be doing ok, but bad choices through the lean years leave us worse off, maybe, than we were then. But, I truly feel like the choices we are making now, the changes and the committment to eliminating debt, are making us better off every day. Maybe not financially better off, right now. But mentally and spiritually better off.

Retirement looms. I never believed it when I was young and the sages told me to save my money for retirement. But it is looming ever closer. I struggle, though, when I think about "putting money away for retirement" and "planning for the future by saving in retirement funds". I think about this

Matthew 6:25-30
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—
you of little faith?
It makes me think I should make good choices, share what I have and forget about "planning" for the future for myself. But it's hard not to. I feel I'm doing my children a disservice if I don't "plan" for their financial future. I don't know. It's hard to figure out. I still feel good about what I'm doing to get our financial habits into a positive realm. But I wonder . . .

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Arts Matter!

We went to Topeka yesterday to protest the governor's proposed elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission. It was awesome. It was freezing. I have hope! If you live in Kansas, and want to know what you can do to try to make this NOT HAPPEN, leave me a comment and I'll send you info. There are many good video clips on the internet so you can see some of the speakers and some of the art that was there. Google "Kansas rally against cuts to Kansas Arts Commission". Here are some photos of our group (and the group at large) and the signs we made to take with us. It was really, really cold, so the girls look less than thrilled in some of the pictures. But it was a great experience! They might not understand much now, but the memory of the experience will stay with them. I hope they remember that they have a voice, and that standing up for something you feel passion about matters!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolve to Evolve

Ok, I always get a wee bit anxious when people start talking about New Year's Resolutions. They always seem like a good idea, but the reality of it, for me anyway, has been almost always feelings of failure. Not following through. Giving up.

I'd like to say that this year is different, and maybe I feel a little bit this way every year, but . . .

I'm an eternal optimist. My glass is almost always, without a doubt, half full.

So, here we go. To start, I'd like to give a little background. My resolutions at New Year's in a nutshell, since I became an adult living in the real world (translation: out of college).

Yr. 1 (not gonna give dates so you can figure out my real age hahaha):
Lose Weight
Eat Better

Yr. 2
Eat Better
Lose Weight

Yr. 3
Eat Better
Lose Weight

Yr. 4
Manage Finances
Lose Weight
Eat Better . . .

seeing a pattern here? Some of them found some success, some years, at least for a limited amount of time.

I've learned a few things in the many years, and one of them is that none of these things are going to happen unless I'm totally and completely committed to them happening. And they take a lot of time and energy to make happen.

This year I really am working on getting a handle on my/our finances. I'm so committed to it that I started in November. I'm far enough along that I'm feeling like there really is potential to get it to work!

My other resolution is to be creative every day, or at least every week. Sure, I'm creative in my work, but I want to be creative in my home life to. I want to find creative activities that renew me, make me feel excited. I bought the book The Artist's Way at a used book store (for half price!) and think I will start doing it, and hope to form a sacred circle of friends to do it with me. Want to join me?

I also would like to use my book Organize NOW! which has a week by week plan for organization to organize my home, my work and my life. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

And, above all, I'd like to become a better person, and hope all of the above items will help me to do that. Evolve, so to speak. A kinder, gentler me. No more steam coming from my ears, throwing dishes around, yelling idiot at the driver in front of me.

So, even though I'm kind of a non-believer in New Year's Resolutions, it seems that I've made a few! I'd love to hear your plans for the year. Leave me a comment and we can encourage and pray for each other!

Happy 2011!!