Friday, October 9, 2009

Let the decorating begin!

If you've been reading my blog for the past year, you know it's been a doozy of a year for us. We moved into our house on August 4, 2008, in the midst of several other major events. (You can read about some of it here and here. And here. And here. Oh yeah, and here too. I'll just stop there.)

It seems like we'd get through one issue just to have something else come up. We've dealt with cancer (x2), a fire, an accident, job changes, a biopsy, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting by the grace of God. We've had additional changes and stresses this year, mostly stemming from work issues that revealed some heart issues that affected how Mike and I communicate that we then had to work through which is oh so tiring in and of itself.

All year long I've looked at my house and thought, I need to decorate. I need to do something with this place.

Decorating involves oodles of decisions, and decisions have never been my thing. (Although I'm working on that - not every decision has to be the RIGHT decision so I'm trying to learn not to pressure myself into being a perfectionist. Also, if I get it wrong every once in a while, who the heck cares?) And decisions about decorating have definitely not been at the top of the priority list this year.

Therefore, my house is incredibly bare, uncoordinated, and random. Things landed where they landed because it was the easiest decision to make at the time and was the most functional. We also have all of the nails from the previous owner's pictures in the walls, and a prominent place on the living room wall that needs some repair and some paint.

I've kind of beaten myself up for this. I've thought, we've lived here for x months now, why can't I get my act together? And then I would sigh and realize that I didn't have the mental or emotional capacity to care. And I'd move on to something else that comes more naturally for me, such as collapsing on the couch and watching TV.

About two months ago I started to care, but I felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of trying to do something with the house.

About two weeks ago, I started getting excited about decorating. I started tearing pages out of magazines that had good ideas and inspiration. I started wandering through the home section at Kohl's, Target, and Walmart. I started looking at my house and furniture with new eyes, looking for potential.

I've been reflecting on all of this - it's been simmering on the back burner a few days. I've been trying to define and analyze why things have unfolded the way they have. Now that things have settled down I look back and realize just how hard this year has been. If I got a new job, I would expect it take, say, a month for me to get acclimated. A month for my routine to be upset and for other areas of life to be a little unsettled while I figured out the new job and how to coordinate it with our day-to-day routine.

I would expect the same thing for moving to a new house.

If I got sick and was down and out for a week, I would expect it to take another week or two to get back into a routine.

If a close family member had surgery and I wanted to be available to help, I would expect my daily activities to get disrupted or suspended for a week or two, or more depending on the circumstances.

When I look at all of the major events that have happened and think about how each of them would normally interrupt life for x days or weeks, and then when I consider that several of these events happened all in the same week/month for me, well, it's no wonder that it's taken some time to get back to "normal."

As these thoughts simmered on my brain, I had another thought. When I get sick, I go through three phases. Phase #1 is the dead-to-the-world part - I'm sick, don't bug me, I don't care what is happening with the house, just leave me alone and let me sleep.

Phase #2 is the part where I'm feeling better, and I begin to notice all that has gone downhill during phase #1. I see everything that needs to be done, I care about it getting done, but I just don't have enough energy to do anything about it.

It's in phase #3 that I both care about everything AND have sufficient energy to work on getting it done.

I realized that the past two months have been my phase #2 for this crazy year. Things finally slowed down, we were finally making progress on some big issues, God had worked to heal up a few things, but I wasn't fully recovered. It's like I wrote in this post about digging around on the ocean floor for treasure - the activity had stopped, but the dust hadn't yet settled.

I'll admit that in thinking all of this, I felt guilty. Guilty because I felt that my issues from this year weren't as bad as what my mom and my sister had been through, and look how great they are doing! But I have to stop that line of thinking. I am where I am, and too many times I disqualify my own emotions because I compare them to someone else and judge that I have no right to feel xyz because Joe over there appears to have had the same experience and he's doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

One of the major lessons God has been teaching me is to not squash my emotions. I do that too much, and it doesn't make them go away. It only means that at some point down the road I either explode or implode.

Um, so where was I?

Oh yeah, putting my house together and decorating.

I'm really excited about it.

I doubt it will be perfect, or that it will happen overnight.

But that's ok.

I've found several blogs that are inspiring: Living with Lindsay, Nesting Place, and Gracious Southern Living. There are many others that I've bookmarked and look forward to reading.

It seems that I have a lot of friends who are going through transitional times right now. If you are going through a transition and are feeling guilty because you aren't focusing attention on [insert unrealistic Martha Stewart-ish expectation here], I give you permission to stop. Give yourself some grace.

If I can organize myself enough to take before and after photos of my progress, I will. Actually getting them posted will be another story.

(But I refuse to feel guilty if they don't get posted.)

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