Tuesday, October 8, 2013

One Year in the Making

This is my ode to slow.

Slow food is the kind I enjoy, from garden to table. Slow food taking time to release aroma and flavor in a crock pot or an oven satisfies the soul.  One loaf of homemade bread takes hours, from yeast activation to rising and baking golden and crisp, chewy and light with spongy cavities for butter to melt.  Fall is here, and I feel like slow.

A raw diet is probably best for fast weight loss, but lately I'm not craving crisp salads and lighter fare.  The food on my mind is a to-die-for molasses pumpkin bread with chocolate chips that Elliot made.  It's super moist and the spices compliment the semi sweet chocolate perfectly.  Technically, I think this bread could be classified as health food, especially if you omitted the half cup of sugar and used a flour alternative.  It's not health food for me, however!  One slice always leads to another.

Slow business is also the kind I enjoy, although it means that I reduce my "wants" and learn to live a frugal lifestyle.  I like my business steady and slow, and this season I'm feeling balanced and productive because I'm not over burdened by a rush of impatient requests.  I have a few custom orders in the works, just enough to keep me creating and improving my skills while able to manage school, home and family time.

Slow remodeling projects also bring more satisfaction.  One year ago, I repainted Emily's room.  I chose a very soft powdery gray for the walls, a base color of white for the big items like a comforter, dresser and trim, and decided to keep the pink curtains.  The process inspired a poem and helped me to connect to my feelings about what it means to live over seven hundred miles away from my daughter.  If I had a choice, I would rather her room be full of laundry and the flotsam and jetsam of a teen's life, because that would mean she's here with us.  But my daughter's room stays neat, all through the year.  In the beginning of the transformation, I had a very low budget for redesigning her room.  Perhaps it was a pointless waste...after all, no one was sleeping there...but it helped restore a sense of purpose lost.  How many parents long to keep supporting the growth of their children, years after they are needed?  The initial funds of two hundred were earned through my slowly growing business, and I used this for paint, bedding, a lamp and some mirrors. I scraped the popcorn ceiling and kept visualizing the end during the colossal mess of deconstruction.  When the bed was returned to the room,  I imagined a narrow white table to go on the adjacent wall, with a pretty chair for either sitting while working on a laptop, or personal care like hair and make-up.  I had an exact vision of  this area but had to leave it blank because once the budget was spent, it was spent.  The room stayed neat and pretty, although unfinished, for almost a year.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling happy.  We were enjoying a gentle fall rain, and I didn't feel like sitting in the house.  I decided to embark on a treasure hunting adventure, as Elliot needed a different chair for his Lego room. After hopping around to my favorite resale shops, a green chair for Elliot appeared, and so did the white table for Emily's room.  The table was ten dollars.  Feeling elated, like an archaeologist finding buried treasure, I bought the table and went home to set it up.  It was exactly as I had imagined it, minus a chair. Fueled by the success of this practice of intention, I drove straight to the fabric store and found the perfect chevron pattern in a sturdy weight (on sale!) to cover a dining room chair to complete the look.  I'm so excited about how the chair turned out that I might go crazy and cover every chair in the house.

I made my own pattern by measuring the chair.

The sunburst flower wall hanging is something I made with poster board and hot glue.  Thank you pinterest!

This dresser has been remade several times in the last ten years.  I found it standing next to a dumpster at the apartment complex where I used to work as a maintenance tech.  The metal sunburst mirror was a recent find at a consignment store.

One day, maybe we'll add new carpet.  This corner has some pieces that we saved from Emily's middle school days.  The pink curtains, white accent cabinet and silver jewelry box helped define the color scheme.  Adding black and white to the pink and silver helped the room to become more mature and bold.

It takes a long time when you are using the power of visualization and positive intention to get something accomplished.  When cash is tight, patience becomes currency.  Slow rooms, like slow food, are the best kind of rooms.  I have developed confidence by the process of slow...and a quiet knowledge that if something doesn't happen right away, it's because something good is in the process of arriving.  Or someone good, someone wonderful, who needs more time to arrive.

Like Emily, who is only able to visit once a year, at Christmas.  

This time away has been emotionally tough, but we've learned to keep loving, to keep in touch often, and to have faith that just because certain situations seem like they will never change, sometimes they do. Waiting is hard.   But it's not impossible. 

In the meantime, I might start a new project that could take a year.  I might just take a laptop up to that new space and write.  Maybe this room, which is one of two feminine spaces in the whole house (the other is my sewing/meditation space), is also meant for me.  I can simply sit in this room and feel the love and gratitude I have for the gift of being blessed with a daughter.

What kind of slow things do you appreciate in life?  

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