Not looking down

Below are statements that could be contributing to my feeling of overwhelm. Choose the one that is the MOST true:
A) I am a student at an actual University now (not a Community College).
B) It’s my Junior year, meaning upper level classes.
C) I’m taking more classes this semester (four, not the usual two).
D) My brain is older than it used to be.
E) There was a hurricane, traveling, and a major project at work.
F) All of the above

Yep, you guessed it. F is for _____. Congrats! You score 100% on the quiz for today.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Riding the storm out…

The SRQ in my blog title is the airport code for Sarasota, Florida  in case you didn’t know. All week we’ve been hearing about Hurricane Irma.

All week long we’ve been watching the news. All week long we’ve allowed our anxiety and worry take a front seat to life. All week long we’ve wrestled with big vital questions…

Do we stay?
Do we go?
Where do we go?
What if we get stuck on the road with no gas (valid question)?
What happens to my house / business / neighbors / friends?

Most of my northern people do not understand my reason for staying. Honestly, much of it comes from denial. It’s this whole attitude of “it’s not coming at us” or the famous “Sarasota is sacred” and therefore immune to such catastrophes.

Not this time. The latest predictions are that my beloved SRQ is about to be pummeled by one of the worst natural disasters in my lifetime.

irma graphic

Photo courtesy of noaa.gov, 5am Sunday

And because I work at a church that has a hurricane proof building, we opened as a shelter. Not like an official shelter. You know the kind where it’s staffed with people who know what they are doing? More like a group of people trying to love others the same way Jesus said we should.

It’s kinda crazy y’all. We’ve got all manner of people and animals hanging out in our building. Everyone is afraid. As is to be expected when a Cat 4 with 120+ winds is coming for ya.

Imagine packing your family and pets and leaving your house – and you get to wonder for days if it will be there when you come back. Some folks will live up north all year just to avoid such terrifying circumstances. Not just snowstorms, but freezing cold and ice and lack of sunshine winters. I guess we all have our own kind of crazy weather tolerance.

But here’s the cool thing – we are not facing this alone. We have each other. We have a God who loves us. We have a building that will hold a lot of people comfortably. And we will get through this storm together.

Keep us in your prayers. The worst of it is coming today and tonight, and everyone’s got frayed nerves already. We still have power which helps a whole bunch, but it can go at any minute. So for now there’s coffee and A/C, and I’m wondering since it’s a Sunday morning, can we count this as our weekend attendance? Trying to be funny here, y’all. Levity helps.

And your prayers do too! Not that the storm doesn’t come, but that we have peace in the midst of it.

Thanks for reading, until next time!
Sherri

 

It was the summer of ’89…

Maybe you weren’t born yet, but if you were, let’s take a little stroll down memory lane. The Berlin Wall came down. Gas was less than $1 a gallon. George Bush Sr. was in the Oval Office. Microsoft released its Office Suite and Nintendo released Game Boys. Hurricane Hugo, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and an earthquake in San Francisco all contributed to a big mess on the home front. The Simpsons debuted, and the first of 24 satellites of the GPS system were positioned in space. It was quite a year.

 

It was also the last time I lived alone. In 1989 I was 21, single and had my very own apartment all to myself. It was on the third floor of an ancient brick building in downtown Muscatine, Iowa. Spoiler alert: I was industrious (shock, I know). There was zero time to deposit the three paychecks I was earning each week. On my occasional night off,  I would walk around the corner to enjoy cold beers and terrible cheeseburgers at Jody’s Tap. It was a season of growth and self discovery, and I was quite proud of my little grown up self back then.

I am a big fan of independent living.

Which is a good thing, as I’m entering this space again. My youngest is moving out this week. I knew this was coming eventually. For years I have been giving pep talks encouragement when mommas are mourning their chickens leaving the nest. You know the one. Read along in your best cheerleader voice, “Good job momma! You raised them well. This is what they are SUPPOSED to do when they grow up and earn their own money and manage their own lives.” Wlaundryhich is all true, but not very empathetic.

Now that it’s my turn to watch the last one move out, of course I handled it like a pro. I was all good…until I saw the boxes.

Y’all, I got a lump in my throat. It didn’t stay there long, but it was there alright.

Good job momma! You raised them well. This is what they are SUPPOSED to do when they grow up and earn their own money and manage their own lives.

It IS all good. She’s only moving about 30 minutes away, so nbd, right? We will set up dates to connect. Basically the same thing we do now. With her work and school schedule, and my work and school schedule, we don’t accidentally see one another anyway. She is graciously leaving a bunch of her shoes here, so not all that much will be different. At least that is what I am predicting. Still, it’s a change.

In the next couple of months, I will downsize to a one bedroom place even closer to work. I will reclaim my independent living. I will clean my house and it will stay that way. I will only have food in the house that I will eat (perhaps no junk will enter?). And I can do whatever I want, so nana nana boo boo.

empty-nest-MLK

Good job momma! You raised them well. This is what they are SUPPOSED to do when they grow up and earn their own money and manage their own lives.

The other one is 1000 miles away and has been there for 3 years now, so I’m getting better at this parenting adults-not-under-my-roof thing. It’s definitely different, but each season brings something good while it says farewell to something good too.

I guess maybe when the last one moves out, it feels like more of a retirement of sorts. It’s the final season of so many seasons. And if you did it even halfway decently, there was some fun and greatness mixed in the mess of it all.

Ecclesiastes reminds me that there is a season for everything. It’s about to be a new season that is very similar to the one in 1989. I am single. I will live independently. I won’t be working 3 jobs, but I’ll be taking 4 classes and working full time. I probably still won’t have time to get to the bank, but hey, I have a smart phone now. And all the modern luxuries that the past 28 years has provided.01caf4927e20a193378c488fa9d2ebd2--our-kids-empty-nest-humor

But still… NOPE! I am okay!! I know it’s an adjustment, but that is life. What was that adage I told everyone else?

Good job momma! You raised them well. This is what they are SUPPOSED to do when they grow up and earn their own money and manage their own lives.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Recalculating…

Can I just confess that I have had a crush on Kevin Arnold for decades now? Surely you can relate to this adorable guy from the Wonder Years. It’s my favorite background noise while I’m painting, and the timing of last night’s episode was profound.

olivia-dabo-the-wonder-years

As luck would have it, a clothing store in the next town was holding a huge clearance sale. As good wives and mothers do, Norma convinces her hubby Jack to take their growing 14 year old Kevin to purchase a new suit. The two wisely obey. They proceed to get lost and refuse to stop for directions (why?). They also get a flat tire. They struggle the whole way. They never get the suit. But of course it ends up being worth it because they make memories and grow closer. What a beautifully scripted happy ending.

Real life is rarely like that. What happens now?  We ask Siri to guide us to our destination. We call AAA to change the tire. Actually we just order the suit online and never leave our couch in the first place.

And families have their own issues, as does the one portrayed in this Netflix series. No one individual is perfect, yet they are held together by love and commitment. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. These are your chosen family if your given one doesn’t work so well.

Good people – both friends and family – will be honest and they will care. They won’t make assumptions or demands. They will understand when plans change or when life takes over for a spell. They will do and say just the right thing at just the right time because they choose to do so. In tangible ways, good people honor who you are and respect the bounds of the relationship.

How do you know if a relationship is good? Take an honest evaluation. How do you feel when you’re around this person? Is it energizing or is it draining? How do you feel after having spent time with them? Are you sad when they have to leave – or are you relieved that you can breathe again?

sending-yall-positive-energy-24306276

A healthy relationship allows for you to easily be yourself. If a relationship requires more energy than you’re willing to give, then don’t be in it. Sometimes it’s a seasonal hiccup, or sometimes they change, or you change, and you have to let them go. No matter how long they’ve been around, it’s okay to evaluate and make adjustments as needed.

After spending the past few weeks with the tall, dark and handsome man, I realized I hadn’t been honoring myself. Initially when something didn’t sit well, I spoke up, but then I found it harder to do so. There were minor things that I overlooked without protest. As of late, I was finding more energy going out than I was willing to give.

When some miscommunications happened, and hurtful words were directed my way, I chose to completely disengage. I had hoped to have a “farewell” conversation in person, but took the chicken route and sent an email. Spending the energy to sort through it all seemed pointless, given the realization that it needed to end anyway.

Even the best breakups are painful. However, the more painful thing is to allow relationships to continue when they aren’t working. It’s like driving down the road when you know you are heading in the wrong direction. Which, in my case, I guess I didn’t know where I wanted to go in the first place.

Dog-Driving-Meme

One could call it a directional miscalculation. I knew going in – as did he – that neither of us were really in a place to invest in a relationship. It was just going to be fun, until it wasn’t. I am a firm believer in finding the lesson in everything, and I definitely learned some important ones:

  • Be honest with yourself about how this person makes you feel.
  • Be ready to speak up when something doesn’t sit well.
  • Be willing to sacrifice to make room for this person.
  • Be realistic about how much you can invest (time and energy) in this relationship.
  • Be aware of getting too close too quickly – emotionally or physically or both.

47108ede62df5fb27ab98eac3086a452--breaking-up-quotes-and-moving-on-after-break-up-quotes-moving-on

It’s clear I have some work to do, so I’m not playing the dating game for a while (sorry, alphabet fans). For now, I’ll be painting and basking in the final week of my summer break. I’ll have a heavy class load soon enough. Hopefully the lessons ahead will be easier than this one.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

 

A very fun six weeks…

For the past few weeks, I’ve been loading up my canvas, brushes, and paints and driving around the corner. There’s a cute little Italian restaurant that has live artists working, and I had the honor of being one of them.

It’s not that I’m all that talented. I mean, I think my work is okay, but it’s not like I studied art or even really have that much experience. I took one class and totally loved it (and okay, I got an A). Largely I believe I was there painting because I pestered followed up with the manager a few times. Moxie for the win! Also, it was summer, I was available, and they had room on their schedule for me.

And then last week, it came to an end. Summer is about over. School is about to resume, and it was time for me to exit stage right.

Which is sad, because I enjoyed it so much.

But it’s also good. And here is why.

I am in a constant state of learning and growing. I now have paintings that are for sale, and I am searching out new avenues in which to sell them. I am launching even further outside of my comfort zone to do this. Oh, have I mentioned that there are a bazillion other artists in Sarasota? And there are packed galleries everywhere? A girl like me could get really insecure, really fast with those kinds of stats.

I could wallow. I could feel sad. I could believe selling art is too hard. I could decide that I am not a good enough artist and that my work is not worthy. But according to Brene Brown, the antidote to scarcity is gratitude.

Fortunately, I happen to be well versed in the practice of gratitude.

For the past six weeks, I spent time next to amazing artists (like Tom, Dante, Karen,  LaShawn, and others). I made friends with the adorable bartender (as one does). I learned a lot about painting and pricing. I even learned how to graciously handle inappropriate suggestions of what I should add to a beach scene I was working on one night. I enjoyed delicious food, a cool atmosphere, and basked in the glow of the whole experience while it was happening.

I didn’t take one moment of it for granted.

I can appreciate the season for what it was, who I met, what I learned, and how it allowed me to grow. Both as an artist and as a person.

With that, I will be keeping my Art page here up to date on works that are for sale. And if you’re not in a big rush, I can take work on commission too. And if you have any great suggestions for me, send them along.

It is my joy to paint, and I will not worry or fret about whether any of it sells. I have found a creative outlet that delights my heart, and that is a valuable thing.

Thanks so much for reading, until next time!
Sherri

 

Virginia Slims and Refrigerators

I love beginning new projects. I love kicking around ideas for what I will begin next week or next month. But working on something midway through? Or just doing that final little thing to check it off the list? Nahhh.

What’s even worse is when it’s just something that is never ever done. You know, like laundry or cleaning the house. Maintenance is just not exciting enough. Why clean up in 10 minutes what can accumulate? Let it become a big project with clearly visible results. Wow, great job! It was such a mess and now it’s perfect. But keeping it that way? Picking up a little bit daily? Weekly even?

Not so much.

I am however, learning the value of better habits. In many ways I have incorporated great practices, like yoga every morning and flossing every night. Yes, I even start and finish the laundry (finish, as in, it’s put away and hung up and everything) in the very same day. I don’t let my car get too messy and my paperwork piles are smaller than they’ve ever been.

virginia slim

Please don’t think I advocate for smoking. I just like the slogan.

Today, however, I had to own the fact that while I’m winning in those areas, I have work to do. Confession alert: I am a terrible food manager.

For whatever stupid-ass reason, I don’t like spending time evaluating what IS in my frig and freezer and pantry. I would rather just go to the store and buy more stuff. Then, I can take all the stuff I bought last week (that is now fuzzy, slimy or otherwise gross) and throw it out to make room for the new stuff. I’ve come to think of it as an expensive, wasteful, food rotation hobby.

Ridiculous? Yes. Correctable? Also yes, I hope.

So this morning, I did a little refrigerator cleaning. You know, before I go to the store to buy more food. As this was a big neglected task, I would get some satisfaction (it was actually satisfying embarrassing, so much so that I had to share it with you).

Apparently, I like to collect condiments. They are the obvious winners of the frig longevity game. They are clearly unlike grapes or romaine when expired. These bottles and jars require serious effort. You’ve actually got to find the “best used by date” (often requiring reading glasses) and then realize that mustard from April of 2016 must go. Which is sad because I moved in June of 2016 and that mustard should not have been hauled here in the first place.

I did not count how many bottles I rinsed and recycled, but it was a pathetic amount. This isn’t even all of them.

IMG_5760

I did count three bottles of soy sauce which I condensed into one. There is so much sodium in that stuff it will never go bad. I nearly choked when I dumped the outdated Sriracha out. And why do I have Miracle Whip? I hate that stuff. Oh yeah, I bought it for my brother when he was here in March. Out with it.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who is afflicted with this terrible practice (seriously, comment and tell me I am not alone).

My budget and waistline demand that I do a better job in this arena. I think I will just walk to the grocery store. I can only purchase what I can literally carry. That should certainly help me make better decisions about what I buy.

Each week, from now until forever more, I will clean out my refrigerator and evaluate my food plan carefully. And I have all of you to hold me accountable.

Thanks for reading, until next time!
Sherri

 

 

 

Fifty words about my first Wild Goose Festival

I have heard about this for years now. I have read through every piece of info out there – including blogs of previous attendees. I have spent significant time with those who organize this whole crazy thing. I attended an official One Day Wild Goose – Intersections – in Jacksonville, FL earlier this year. Heck, I even helped put an “unofficial” Wild Goose event together (Hawkins Road Festival) at my home church this past February.

But none of that quite prepared me for this amazing experience last week in Hot Springs, NC. It’s hard to form complete thoughts and sentences (I’m still absorbing and processing), so I’ll just give you these fifty words…

authenticity
people
laughter
mud
funnel cakes
spiders
children
tapestries
thoughts
coffee
music
trees
friends
oatmeal
trinkets
rocks
sweat
stories
glitter
love
rain
Jesus
yoga
inclusion
veggie things
hammocks
books
river noise
freedom
hard cider
conversations
dancing
puddles
fireflies
beer and hymns
port-a-potties
smiles
walking
acceptance
picnic tables
cicadas
prayers
cool mornings
energy
barefoot
art
grace
challenge
dragonflies
community

18893057_10154352499541268_5988165941060660115_n

And it just so happens that tickets for next year are available if you’d like to join me. Then we’ll see what kinds of sentences you can form at the end. 🙂

Thanks for reading, until next time!
Sherri

 

Stranger things…

The world is a strange place these days. It’s probably always been like this. It’s that now we are aware of it on a global scale. It used to be that only the people who lived on the corner were oddballs.  Now we know about oddballs worldwide thanks to the interwebs.

I’ve got a couple of strangers to tell ya about…

Continue reading

At the end of it all…

I could be obsessed with time… seasons, schedules and how to pack it all in. I mean, I think about time a lot. Not like the lady in Chinatown who has nine different Rolexes up her sleeve. She’s just trying to make a buck off of unsuspecting tourists.

My one handed watch was gifted to me a couple of Christmases ago. It’s from Switzerland – not the lady in Chinatown – and it was not “a special low price for you today”.

Continue reading