Thanksgiving Rain Makes Me Freshly Thankful

When we got the tree yesterday, Thanksgiving Eve, the sky was so blue with marbled clouds and the sun was happy, warming the skin .

The girls were funny discerning shades of green, texture of branches, the shape. I smiled as Part One of this year’s book – A Christmas Tree Story – is about how Christmas Trees are chosen and at one point my oldest daughter yelled out to my youngest, “Didn’t you read mom’s book? No Christmas Tree is more perfect than another!” hahaha even now… the prose… making its way into my reality.

In my previous post, I mentioned how life has changed and for sure I thought that my reveal of how it changed was going to come in a poetic musing about taking the dogs out in the morning with both hands on my cup of coffee and being able to take in the morning sky because… drumroll… we have a new beautiful gorgeous life changing fence.

For two years, taking them out for relief in the morning has required putting them on leashes, dressing for the weather, and – most days – spinning around while they chase each other on the leashes while I try not to spill my coffee in my opposite hand.

The fence brings this ridiculous amount of freedom and nourishing relief. And though I did go out with them yesterday to take in the morning and though it certainly was life changing – here I am now on Thanksgiving, bringing my online diary to present alongside candlelight and rain.

Steady heavyish rain.

The poetic musing noting heavy themes of freedom when going outside is actually more deeply acknowledging the freedom and relief of staying inside, the knowing they can run out in the rain and I don’t have to… is as genuinely relieving as its opposite. I didn’t love the forecast of rain but here it is now, showing me a new part of my reality. My ability to stay in, reminding me of how life unfolds to teach us…

Smiling now. I think it is important to remember that not only does all hard and all work have its opposite if easy and relief, but that said opposites have opposites within (which then have opposites within, which then have opposites within).

This ongoing understanding life changes and unfolds both as we shift gears or make decisions but then also as those decisions and shifts change what is going on opens us up to mystery.

Who will ever sit and really – truly – figure out all the which ways something will turn and surprise us.

And if they do, is that present moment living?

The Little Red Hen in me feels charmed by her morning task becoming lighter here on Thanksgiving in a way different than I anticipated experiencing…

Now on to set out the turkey, turn the kitchen on and start the day…

The joy of finding the tree mixed with the work and not so much joy of it giving us hives

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