Saturday, April 27, 2024

"Growing Slow"


That's the title of a book I got recently, through our library system.  It's full title is Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl -- and it was published in 2021 by Zondervan Books.  It has a Christian approach to the subject, which may not suit everyone, but the main body of the work is speaking to me.

It's not the only thing, though.  

In Lacombe yesterday, I went to the opening day of the two-day Encore! Art Show and Sale -- the one for which I was Featured Artist last year.  My friend, painter Marlene Kallstrom-Barritt is in that spot this year, and was speaking at 2 p.m.; I wanted to catch her Artist's Talk.  She'd told me some months ago that she was asked to be the Featured Artist for 2024, she was in an artistic slump, but accepted the honour anyway and set to work re-energizing herself, taking time to simply play with paint and other media, to see what would come of it.  In her Talk, she spoke about the evolution of her work and how she came to try new things -- from looking quietly and closely to the little things around her, things we all see every day.

Before going to the Show, I'd stopped for groceries, and on my way out of the store, picked up a copy of this week's Lacombe Express.  Leafing through it later at home, I came to an editorial article by Kevin Sabo of Black Press Media.  The title? "Sometimes pushing forward means pulling back".  Using the analogy of a bow and arrow, he wrote that often pulling back creates energy to propel something -- or someone -- forward.  He'd had personal experience with burn-out from his early profession, and from 'workaholism', and knows whereof he writes.

Well, Gentle Readers, I don't know about you, but in my experience, when events or 'messages' come in threes, I tend to sit up and pay attention.

A couple of days after my last post, having requested Growing Slow from the library, I made two decisions: first, to not renew my SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) membership this year; and second, to take six weeks away from church.

Huh?  Church?  Yes.  I've been in that little parish for almost 16 years now.  I've seen one priest retire and another come -- but shared with another parish, meaning lay people having to take services twice a month.  I've seen the congregation broad-sided by illness, age, infirmity and a pandemic (including those leaving because the church was closed for "too long", and the requirements to return to worship in person were "too stringent").  

I've got three roles in the parish now: Lay Minister, Donations Secretary (tracking donations and preparing tax receipts)  We've two very-very-part-time musicians -- a pianist and an organist (haven't had a choir since before my time there).  One of those dear souls has moved farther from the location of the parish, meaning a longer drive to get to us, and the other has been off sick for six months -- and is only now able to return...but not sure when.

So...going to church has become, for me, a 'job'.  Showing up to worship on Sundays has become 'showing up to work' -- to facilitate music by plunking out a few bars on the piano (my abilties are very limited as I don't have a piano or keyboard any more, and I've never developed the skill required to accompany singing).  I do most of my leading with my voice, which, thankfully, hasn't been altered much by age (yet).

It all got to be just "too much of a muchness", as my mother used to say.

So...I'm about to have my second Sunday "off", at the end of my first week "off".  

And I'm already seeing a difference.  I'm feeling less 'wired'.  I'm feeling less call to 'numb' myself with a stiff drink (or two) before dinner (or any time).  I'm making what I want when I want.  I'm enjoying my yard and garden (when Mother Nature permits).  

And my skin is healing.  The rash is fading (with the added help of prescribed cream and lots of lotion).  It's still present but oh! So much less irritating and in some spots, less visible.

I've finished the mittens I started for my neighbour, who'd helped me with some home repairs:

Pattern: "The World's Simplest Mittens"
Designer: Tin Can Knits (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Schoeller & Stahl Limbo Mexiko
super-wash wool in the "Mango" colour-way

I put together my postage-stamp blocks to make a throw quilt for a newlywed couple of my acquaintance who lost their home last weekend in a fire (related, I think, to nearby wild-fires in northern Alberta, where that home was):

As for the "Four-patch Fun" blocks I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I now have 84 of them done:

And a whole lot of 2" squares ready to put into more blocks.  

I figure I'll need at least 100 to to make a large enough throw.  I'm not sure if I'll sash them or simply add borders.

Once that second top is done, I'll quilt them up and send them off to the couple, along with a couple of smaller, funkier quilts they can use for their two dogs, whom they managed to save from the fire.

The first border -- grey -- on my hap is deeper; only two more rows and I get to switch colours!

And as for my little piece from Modern Folk Embroidery, for the #JacobSleeperSAL --'ll be finished later today:

That sentiment speaks to me too.  By deciding to pull back, to "grow slow", to take more naps, to resist FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) by following my own creative path and watching less of what other's are doing (or buying), stepping away from social media that would tempt me to push past the mental and physical exhaustion I've been feeling, taking more naps, listening to quiet music more than listening to the news...

I've decided to light my own single candle, rather than "curse the darkness".

So, Gentle Readers, if you've read this far, thank you for your patience, your support and  your continued readership.  As usual, I'm leaving you with a link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week she asks the musical question, "What rotary cutter are you using now, and why?"  (Mine's a thirty-year-old Olfa that I simply love.)

And until we meet again, may you be safe, well, and walking comfortably along your own path.  A bientot!


Kate said...

My Rotary cutter is a Kai from many years ago. It fits my hand which is important.
I go to remote church. I must admit, after 4 years, I enjoy " going to church" with my tea and knitting.
Have a good week!

LeRoy&Jan said...

I so enjoyed your 'commentary' - you're working in the right direction. When you are in the right frame of mind, I may drop out for a cuppa to discuss the joy of spring.....(by permission, of course)