Monday, October 11, 2010

Going Slowly

Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
–Chinese Proverb
I like to be busy. I hate to sit still. I always sew when I watch TV and I work on a hand project when I'm quizzing spelling words, or helping with reading or math homework or if I can get away with it at a meeting. I love to read blogs and see what neat things you all are up to, and I comment most of the time. I work on my own blog, carefully writing, reading, editing and re-reading each post. But for all my busy-ness, it seems like I don't get a lot done, because for as much as I do, there is double that much still to be done.

At the beginning of September, I posted a huge list of sewing projects that I wanted to work on, what with it being National Sewing Month and all. Unfortunately, Grace insisted on two weeks of R&R before she would sew one more thing for me. So, I revised my list to include some neglected household chores. It doesn't feel like I've been getting much done lately, yet I'm always worn out. I thought I'd review my lists and see where I stand {this post is mostly for me, so feel free to skip to the end for more interesting stuff than keeping track of my crazy color-coded lists}. Red denotes a change in status {unless it is a link, in which case, red is the default color}.

Fun, creative and completely appealing list of sewing projects:
• Finish satin edged fleece blanket for new nehpew, born 6/30.
{Done and delivered :biggrin:}
• Bind flannel and minkee patchwork squares baby quilt for new nephew, born 9/1.
{Done and delivered :biggrin:}
• Assemble, quilt and bind nine-patch quilt in Frolic for most amazing neighbor/friend/woman/mother ever, baby girl born 9/14.
{Done and delivered :biggrin:}
• Assemble Pinwheel Sampler quilt top.
{No progress here; still seven more seams and it will be all together.}
• Assemble Rainbow Sherbet Snowball quilt top.
{Blocks are ready to be sewn together.}
Keep current Catch up with the Chubby Stars Quilt Along.
{Focus snowball fabric picked and ready to be sewn, supplemental fabrics for snowball blocks and chain blocks purchased and washed, waiting for JoAnn's coupons to become valid budget to loosen up so I can buy solids for the background and star points,}
Keep current Catch up with the Free Motion Quilt Along.
{Need to piece easy quilt top (my fabrics are washed, pressed and waiting to be cut now), pin baste it, prepare practice pad, practice stitching, and do wiggles, lines & angles, loops and pebbles exercises.}
• Catch up on Cat's Twilight Mystery Block of the Month.
{Two six of seven nine blocks finished.}
• Make 1 Apron.
{No progress here; fabrics washed and pressed, ruffle and pocket cut and still waiting for the rest to be cut.}
• Make 1 Abbey Bag.
{No progress here; Outside of the bag complete, need to pick the rest of the fabrics for it from stash and cut them.}
• Do one section bi-weekly for the Woman's Work quilt.
{This goal of completing one section bi-weekly needs a little re-thinking. I've been working on section two for over a week now and I still have a bit of work to do on it. Maybe this quilt will have to be finished in a year instead of six months like I wanted to.}
• Work on Boo to You! quilt.
{What I meant by, work on, was, finish this quilt and placemats in time to take to the quilter's before Halloween this year. I started working on the little witch, Ramona, for the placemat, but hand-appliqué is slow going. I'm afraid that that my Halloween decorations are on a five-year plan :lol:. I bought the kit and pattern three years ago, so I think I'm in good shape. If I work on it a little bit every now and then over the next 18 months, I should be able to take it to the quilter's in the spring of 2012 and have it back in time to bind and display for Halloween 2012. Yay me!}
• Make Zelda's Fancy Hat.
{Just add this to the Halloween Five-Year Plan :rolleyes:.}
• Make some Twilight-y Fabric Postcards.
{I'm beginning to see the problem here; finish three things, add four more. No wonder I don't feel like I'm getting much done :faint:!}

Much less appealing, not nearly as fun, but still necessary chores:
• Fall garden clean-up
{it's a little early, I know, but you gotta roll with the punches slow going; I got frustrated with it and haven't been very consistent at working on this. But if I don't get with it, everything will be a soggy mess, it will be too cold and I'll have to look at plant skeletons all winter :yuck:. Better make this top priority.}
• Clean out the fridge and freezer
{I wiped down the door handle and the bottom shelf. Wohoo! Progress.}
• Organize pantry/laundry room
{Chore in progress: I organized the canned and bottled goods.}
Clean living room carpets
{Winter is coming and despite my best efforts to get everyone to take their shoes off at the front door, snow and slush will inevitably get tracked in. This can wait until spring.}
• Organize and de-junk toy area
• Organize and de-clutter the Little Bugs' bedrooms
{Organized LadyBug's dresser drawers; still plenty to do.}

It looks like my fun list got a lot more work than the chores list. Of course, laundry and bathrooms and dishes and dinners and homework don't go on that list because they are on-going. Just today, I did some serious dusting in the living room and my bedroom {I have black bedroom furniture and tomorrow you won't be able to tell. But it looks nice today} and I vacuumed down the cobwebs from all the corners and ceilings in the entire house. While I was doing it, I wondered why I was taking the trouble. Nobody really complains much, or even notices, except for me. Halloween is a few weeks away and I could pretend it was part of the décor, right? As I worked, I kept reminding myself of what Lori had to say on the subject in the liner notes of her Woman's Work quilt, work always has great value even if it does come without praise or notice. I decided that the value of this particular chore lies in the fact that I won't have to wake up to look the same cobweb in the corner of my bedroom tomorrow morning :lol:. And hopefully it will be a few weeks before the spiders put up a new one :rofl:.

Last weekend was General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Twice a year, leaders of The Church prepare talks to help members focus on what is important in life. One of our leaders, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, is one of my favorite speakers. His talk this time was particularly meaningful to me and my busy-with-not-much-progress-to-report life. I hope you won't mind if I share just the first bit of it with you even though it is not Sunday. I think it is relevant to everyone, independent of personal beliefs.

It’s remarkable how much we can learn about life by studying nature. For example, scientists can look at the rings of trees and make educated guesses about climate and growing conditions hundreds and even thousands of years ago. One of the things we learn from studying the growth of trees is that during seasons when conditions are ideal, trees grow at a normal rate. However, during seasons when growing conditions are not ideal, trees slow down their growth and devote their energy to the basic elements necessary for survival.

At this point some of you may be thinking, “That’s all very fine and good, but what does it have to do with flying an airplane?” Well, let me tell you.

Have you ever been in an airplane and experienced turbulence? The most common cause of turbulence is a sudden change in air movement causing the aircraft to pitch, yaw, and roll. While planes are built to withstand far greater turbulence than anything you would encounter on a regular flight, it still may be disconcerting to passengers.

What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road.

Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.

This is a simple but critical lesson to learn. It may seem logical when put in terms of trees or turbulence, but it’s surprising how easy it is to ignore this lesson when it comes to applying these principles in our own daily lives. When stress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be.

One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of turbulence or obstacles.

Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.

It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.

Thanks, Elder Uchtdorf, for helping me keep things in perspective.


Angie said...

"It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice"...Guess this explains our quilting 'obsessions'. ;)

Shay said...

Hi E ,

You and I must be sould siters. I have a list like this that is a mile long at the moment. My biggest problem is that I'm about to hit crazy time with work until the end of the year and will only have weekends to achieve anything. Thats why I made the list on my sidebar only 6 items long! (5 now because Indy and Lola's quilt is finished -Yay!)

I'm pretty sur if you push yourself to work through that list you're going to fall in a heap.

A clean fridge is highly over rated. Beautiful sewing/quilting is never unappreciated.

Michelle said...

Elizabeth, you've gotten a lot done! It's just that you keep adding to your lists. :-) Besides, all of that mundane household stuff takes time and energy, and it doesn't seem to me that you are budgeting for those things. Since it is ongoing as opposed to a completed project I think all of us probably tend to discount this stuff in our formulas.

Your elder makes a very good point!

pinksuedeshoe said...

I loved Pres. U's talk too. My favorite for sure. It made me feel really good for making dinner one night a week sometimes. I love your list, I really should write mine down instead of just letting things flit around my mind all the time.

whimsyfox said...

Having had increase health problems recently, and having gotten hit with a load of things as school year began, I've decided to slow down a bit myself and have lessened the lists. It actually DOES feel good to let it go, very freeing! Let's see if I can sustain that through the holidays! I do have a billion projects I'd like to do.....

But I think make phenomenal progress through your crafty lists!!!! I always bog down on the chores.

And it's so true how we don't count all the little things we do that go into making each day....they may not make it on a paper list, but they are always flitting around in our brains and take up the majority of our time. We should get credit for those things too! Give yourself a pat on the back when you clean the next toilet! ;)