Creation

This week I buckled down and sewed some new throw pillows for the couch. I’d had the fabric for nearly nine months, and it wasn’t until Wednesday that I made it happen.

Now I feel unstoppable.

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I normally consider myself a high-energy person. I’m interested in lots of things and I love the feeling of finishing a project, almost as much as I love beginning new ones. I’ve spent the last several years fighting mediocrity and feeling pretty good about what I’ve accomplished.

But if you’ll take a moment to scroll down to the previous post, you can read a fairly accurate summary of what the past eight months have been like for me – busy, discouraging, exhausting… Needless to say, I haven’t been nearly as productive and energetic during that time.

Until I sewed new pillows.

I feel as if a new world has opened up for me. Or perhaps an old world that used to be familiar, but I had lost sight of. Now I’m looking around myself, seeing possibilities and ideas, and making room in my life for creation and beauty. Considering that my day job is defined by tasks that don’t ever stay done, there’s something so good that happens in my soul when I can create something beautiful and lasting.

When I finish something, whether it’s a draft of a book, or a wedding cake, or new throw pillows for the couch, I feel like a powerful creator with enormous potential.

I feel unstoppable.

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Allotment of Hours

I’m beginning to discover that I like a full plate.

Sure, I’ll talk about wishing for more free time, but when it comes right down to it, I feel the most alive and energetic when I’m busy pursuing a dream – the key word being “busy.”

The largest chunks of my time are devoted to kids and housework. That’s my day job, and one that I can’t quit, no matter what other goals I reach for and achieve. That line never gets crossed.

The little bits in between kids and housework are what’s up for grabs. Sometimes I fill it with writing, sometimes with baking and cake decorating. Now and then I’ll take a brief stint into music, sewing, gardening, or decorating.

But either way I slice it, I can’t fill those bits of time with nothing.

This is a good thing, because it means I’m able to accomplish things that a lot of other young moms in my stage in life generally don’t. But it also means that sometimes it comes around to bite me.

Right now, I’m teetering on the edge of deciding to audition for a local production of Fiddler on the Roof. This is one of my very favorite musicals, and one I’ve always wanted to be in. Darren has said he’s willing to support me in this. I’ve been whipping my singing voice back into shape, and I feel that if I do this right, I’ve got a good shot at a main role.

Problem: I have also set a goal to finish a first draft of my novel by the end of the year.

I’m not convinced that novel-writing and musical-acting are mutually exclusive, but with a limited number of hours per week that are mine in which to pursue dreams, I might not be able to make both fit. Or, I might be able to do one mostly well and the other only mediocre.

I’m not interested in ‘mediocre.’ Or even ‘mostly well,’ for that matter. If I’m going to do anything at all, it’s going to be my best work.

So I continue to play a mental see-saw game, doing the math over and over again, and debating with myself over opportunity cost vs. sanity.

When Not To Take a Photo

I made a lovely cake today.

It was a triple-layer dark chocolate cake, with Oreo cookie filling, frosted in vanilla buttercream, and topped with chocolate ganache that dripped decadently over the sides. High-contrast dark brown on white. And I put a couple of bright red strawberries on top.

Unfortunately, I was also racing out the door two seconds after I put it together.

I didn’t get a picture of it. The food blogger in me is ashamed, because that’s just what you do. You take pictures of what you make so you can post them up for people to ooh and ahh over. But I know I wouldn’t have had time to set up a good shot. You could argue that a poorly composed photo is better than no photo when you’ve taken that much time to construct a gorgeous cake.

On the other hand, no photo is better than a husband who is grumpy that we’re late to his grandma’s birthday party because I made him wait while I took photos for (arguably) my own vanity’s sake.

This masterpiece will have to live on in my memory, until I get a chance to make another one like it and photograph that. When that happens, I’ll have to make sure I’m not running late.