• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
    - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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Making plans and leaving room

Filed under Ramblings • Written by Carmen @ January 24, 2011

It’s a new year, and I am hoping to see some changes around here — many of them internal, but hopefully the good that comes from that work will spill over into my external environment as well.

Since Christmas I have been very “up and down” emotionally. I talked to one of the doctors at our local clinic about how I’ve been feeling, and in addition to renewing my prescription for my depression meds, she also prescribed a Vitamin D regime. I had heard before that the lack of Vitamin D from sun exposure can be a contributor to winter blahs, but I didn’t think that was a major factor here, as we do get a lot of sunlight even in the winter — but I’m not actually OUT in the sunlight much at this time of year, because it’s so blasted cold, and especially with Sara, I don’t want to be out more than I have to be. We usually just a do a quick errand run during the week, and on Tuesday mornings we go to Parents and Tots at our church. Thursdays I have a breakfast and prayer date with my friend Timea, but that’s at 7:30 a.m. — well before the sun comes up at this time of year. I spend much of the day behind closed curtains, and now that Bryan and I are on a “no restaurants” plan for the next few months, I don’t even do the walk from the post office to the Java Shack that I enjoyed in the summer/fall. So — for the next week or so, I’ll be taking 4 Vitamin D pills (I believe they are 1,000 mg each) a day, and then going down to 1 a day, which is still more than I’ve been getting from my multivitamin (which, come to think of it, I’ve been forgetting to take… doh).

The house has been bothering me — I’ve been very slothful lately, and things have just been left where they landed, sometimes for days, even weeks at a stretch. I need to develop a system for dealing with that that isn’t obsessive but also keeps the house looking comfortably lived-in as opposed to a chaotic mess. I also want to work on my patience with Sara, who is certainly a contributor both to the mess and to the lack of time/energy to deal with it. She is both a treasure and a trial, sometimes at the same time, like when she is attempting to climb up my pants leg while I am doing something on the computer. I have decided not to apply for a job I was considering — I realized after much reflection that once we move, I will be working at least part-time and I will be away from her, and right now I just want to focus on being with her, at home.

This year I have chosen the word “play” as my “One Little Word” — my guiding principle for 2011. January has been a tough month for “playing”, largely due to my low energy and moodiness. When I think of “play”, there is both the connotation of not taking everything so seriously (task lists, mess, etc.), and yet I also think of play as being something children take very seriously — they are so intense and focused on their playtime, which is a time of both discovery and delight, of imagination hard at work. I want to keep both of those things in mind as I set out on the rest of this year. I am making plans, yes, but I also want to leave room, for making unexpected discoveries (the lovely moments of serendipity), and for time spent doing the very important work of playing — getting down on the floor (literally) with my daughter and her toys, being silly with my husband, playing board/card/computer games with friends and family (and not getting upset over wins or “losses”), reflecting on ideas (through writing) both for my own pleasure and for strengthening relationships with people I value (especially my mom), taking an interest in physical “re-creation”, deepening my prayer life through times of solitude and through work with a spiritual director, and most of all, getting messy and making mistakes and taking joy in what I can do with my art supplies.

So far this month, I have enjoyed giggle fests with my daughter, written the script for a faux documentary about our church in the year 2020, learned how to use my Wii Fit (I am getting a lot better at rhythm stepping!), attended two circuit training classes, played lots of Scarab Solitaire and Tropical Swaps on Mindjolt.com, listened to a randomly chosen CD (ie. I didn’t even look!) on my iPod, and managed to stitch on some buttons and glitter up a chipboard arrow (and much of my desk and floor) in the process of creating a layout called “Look at Frosty Go!”, about Sara taking her first steps on Christmas Day while wearing her snowman sleeper. I hope there will be much more playing ahead….

I am looking forward to attending the annual women’s retreat at Camp Kinasao in a couple of weeks — I missed it last year due to being 36+ weeks pregnant, and I really did miss it. It is a good time for playing — lots of laughter, bonding with friends new and old, praying, singing, doing crafts, photographing, reading, hot tubbing…. Love it. And now — off to work, since I do still need to do that! I’ve got some article assignments due in a couple of days, and my MIL is babysitting today, so I’ve got to get going on those.