Long Time Listener, First Time Caller

Hey!

Just a quick note on *what is going on*!!!!!

The devotional is freaking awesome. I honestly did not think I was going to be able to say that because it has been in a major rut.

The rut was related to some overall branding decisions (seriously) and I was confused on Frozen Spaghetti’s role in all of this… this blog – guys, I have had this blog for over a decade. It’s where my favorite storytelling writing voice comes out.

Buuuut this storytelling writing voice is not totally workable in the spiritual direction aspect because it is so much a diary of an adult child thing.

Yet. It came together.

My author’s note / background / about me in the book?

I titled the page “A Note from Frozen Spaghetti”. My personal blog, shoebox on the internet.

This blog is not going anywhere. And it is going to stay open. But it is getting a little bit of a re-org to experiment with an idea I have.

For those of you who follow via email (THANK YOU, btw) you’ll notice more mail in the coming days (weeks? months?) as I work through the archives of the blog, edit, align with the – (what’s the word, cultural compass?) – and republish.

Why am I doing this?

The devotional that is freaking awesome is based on the fruits of spirit: the characteristics of somebody who is steadily feeding themselves good spiritual food. In the eyes, in the ears, in the mouth, etc – a person is said to be demonstrating the fruits of spirit when they are examples of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self control.

I KNOW I can be a better example of these things to my family.

I WANT to be a better example of these things to my family.

I want to be that little old lady someday who the neighbor kids are like, “she is always so nice and she doesn’t get mad about when we cut from her garden”. I want my adult children to enjoy taking care of me in my old age because my heart is soft and not critical. I want them to feel safe with me. I want my husband to feel supported by my faithfulness the way I feel supported by the faithfulness of the rising sun and moon.

So, Frozen Spaghetti is getting new categories!! YAHOO. New categories.

It’s a little bit of surgery, a little bit of rock n roll. (It has been FUN to read old posts from WHEN I HAD A TWO YEAR OLD who is 14 now – the smile is still really great on her). The new categories are those fruits and my editing process has the focus (praise mercy be, I HAVE FOCUS!) on getting the post to a point where it is a story of that characteristic. My relationship to it, etc.

Thank you for your patience and please consider not sending me to spam. :)

Wish me luck.

If you want to be a part of the 2022 round for this devotional, it is here. I am thinking I am a little bit behind my shipping goal (probably because I am) but it was always pretty fluid and so for those who have ordered, hang in there. I really do think it will be worth it.

Last but not least – because of the nature of this work and my complete “Soli Deo Gloria” about it (which, did you know that people actually use that FOR THEIR CREATIVE WORK to make sure they align with higher / bigger rather than smaller / self), I am not going to radically offer the book out on Amazon and Barnes and Noble until after a first round of readers, feedback and engagement.

I have a feeling I will be learning a lot with this one and am hopeful to spare myself sleepless nights of “How do I call Amazon and change this.”

THE END! Back to the grind!!!!!

The Work of Not Working

This week has been really busy for me.

I researched dog kennels for hours, contemplated what I was looking for in a dog kennel for hours, mulled through my options, made appointments with sales reps, talked with those sales reps and then bought two dog kennels. Analyst skills: check.

With the super nice weather this week in Saint Louis, I have been meeting my goal of walking three miles (with pups) each day.

Dog training skills: check.

Lent started up as mentioned in my post from Wednesday, so there has been a renewal of spiritual practice which has opened my mind to understand why some of my creative projects were stalled out… they needed a foundational practice.

This feels like an accomplishment similar to identifying the dog kennels. Analyst / Product Development skills: check.

PS – dog kennels are confusing and expensive. I ended up going with a specific brand, saving about a thousand dollars compared to the others.

A THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Accounting Department skills: check. (Oh, I also completed our family’s February budget review… add Excel skills: check)

All of our kids are at the other parents’ this week so we have had a bit of a honeymoon week. I rose to the challenge of using up everything in our fridge and freezer and stumbled upon the creation of a carrot bisque recipe. Netflix cooking challenge champion skills: check.

It was about 4 in the afternoon, I had roasted carrots and aromatics sweating in the pot. The sun was SO pretty and I had the window open.

I didn’t cook with music as the silence in the house was golden (see aforementioned note about kids not being here). After a taste test of the roasted carrot soup left me with a sliver of rosemary on my tongue, I thought: this should be smooth. This should be a bisque.

Without multi tasking on a conference call, without thinking about how much time I had, without any tie to any thing, I pulled out a sieve and started the slow process of one ladle of soup at a time… pushing through the sieve… watching with satisfaction (again, satisfaction akin to the not spending $1,500 on dog crates) as the soup pooled up in the receiving bowl.

So simple. So creative. So strategic.

I have thought a lot this week about life as a creative and desiring progress and accomplishment to be redefined in my mind.

I notice when friends or fellow writers call me to rattle their projects around. I notice when friends reach out for perspective or just to chat.

I proofread a friend’s work, for pete’s sake. I am working all the time. Professional friend and pro bono life analyst.

The work of not working occurs when I see what I am doing or how I am doing something because I am “not working” and consider whether or not what I am enjoying doing or how I am enjoying doing it should somehow be what I do for work. Following?

Having been a part of 2020’s “Great Resignation” as I “retired from corporate life” has given me a freedom that seems to be wide open space for thoughts of “what do I do with this thing I like doing” or some kind of jolt to ascribe value or extend offering to even the simplest joys. I was a half step away from ordering jar labels and whipping up another batch of carrot bisque for my family members in town.

I am starting to want this time back, if that makes sense. I want that thinking to subside and I want to emerge different. In too many ways, that thinking is similar to how I saw everything I did at Enterprise. How do I get the right people to notice the skill and hire it, promote it, pay it.

What does it look like to just exist without wondering what something is or should be?

What does it feel like to simple operate without marketing?

Part of my Lenten practice has been to resurrect (pun slightly intended) my study of Yoga Sutra. It is not lost on me that the first couple of days on chapter one (the portion of contemplation) have brought the strong reminder of impressions of the mind as distractions.

I dog eared pages from my practice last night to investigate further today… to journal or reflect or whatever I am going to do to understand a bit more about why they got the precious dog ear fold. I know – for the most part – they got the fold because they were helping me remember that all of this work thinking, the pattern of needing to work, is likely the obstacle to the unfolding of the next chapter of my creative life.

Fascinating. Anybody else out there not working and thinking all the time about work? Is this an American thing???

For those that know me … I think this is the next layer of saran wrap to remove.

Ok… now on to it… erin

Lenten Practices

Back in October, I started brainstorming what I was going to do to observe Lent.

Traditionally a “big season” for Yoga Underground, my LLC, I thought a lot about a Lenten Lifestyle offering where I align my understanding of the Yamas in yoga (restraints) with the actual factual teachings of the Christ.

I like calling Jesus “the Christ” as I heard a Buddhist friend refer to him this way. “Christ” meaning “annointed one”, you can’t really deny that regardless of what you believe and where you stand on the Christian spectrum, there was something kind of big about the guy.

Anyway, all the sudden it is March 2nd and I am finishing a cup of coffee after a 37 minute walk with the dogs. The morning is sunny but cool and I feel a little rushed… my 16 year old wants to go to church today and in her nothing short of demanding way about her communication; has me directed to an 8:45a Catholic mass.

Lent has officially begun and I have no plans to publish anything about practical spiritual practices under any kind of official umbrella. But, does that take me off the hook from practicing something?

Traditionally, you give up something for the 40 days of Lent and then enjoy it on Easter. Coffee for sure is not going anywhere and I am kind of thinking differently about Lent this year, anyway. I was actually kind of thinking about using the Yamas, the restraints, to guide an overall evolution – restraining from things that I do not intend to invite back.

Things like saying “oh my gosh that is so annoying” when I am not actually annoyed, for example. Or – noticing when I could easily judge somebody for their way of doing something and how that creates a whole conversational thread when I do and restraining from even allowing that thought to bud. People just do things ways I might not do them, ways I would prefer they did not. If it is important enough, offer the boundary, the direction, but keep the opinion formless.

Restraining in these ways – I know for a fact – will strengthen my mind overall.

So, maybe we just do it here? On Frozen Spaghetti? A daily Lenten practice of reflection on the restraints…

Think about it. And – if you are reading this – please comment or say hi or something below. Tell me what you are giving up for Lent or if you are even aware of Lent. Okay… off to get my ashes.