Letting Go

No recipes today. Yesterday did not go as planned, so I am punting.

The weather yesterday was absolutely perfect for a trip to my favorite local nursery, Enchanted Gardens, and maybe find some inspiration for my backyard. As is always the case when I go there I was overwhelmed, in the best possible way, and had a hard time making any kind of a decision. I made one full pass, stopping to visit the goats and chickens, then went back for the things I thought I might like to have.


A good friend advised me to just jump in and start on the yard. Don’t overthink. She knows me well. Over thinking is what I do best. So, this morning I sat here, looking at the way the sun shines on the yard and thinking about what would be best in both corners. Analyzing what is already here and how the property lies, gave me the answer I had been struggling with. I had (and it is shown in the sketch I posted last week) a certain layout I wanted. However, when I really looked at the sun/shade pattern I realized that is not the best choice. Not my will, but thy will.

That corner, just beyond the marigold is the southwest corner of the yard. It receives wonderful sunlight most of the day . This is originally where I planned on putting my writing shed, but now, that just doesn’t feel right. The randomly selected plants I purchased are all sun loving and that might just be the perfect corner for them.

This lovely, shady little corner (with an old cushion blocking the dogs from visiting our neighbors) is THE perfect spot for an outdoor seating area. There is already a vine growing that I could train to move up and over an arbor; and how lovely would my nature loom look here as well? I am rethinking the writing shed. The whole purpose of this backyard remodel is to be outside. I can find a space inside the house to write when the weather does not permit me being outside, or if inspiration hits at night. I find I am most inspired outside, in the fresh air, listening to the birds and watching nature at work and play. I want a garden that attracts nature. I want the suburban wildlife to have a new home here. I am merely setting the stage for them to flourish. And then I get to watch, listen and enjoy the show.

As I walk through this season of my life I am constantly reminded the work of my hands is sacred. When I yield myself and do the tasks I am given then the glory is not mine it is God’s. There are no words adequate to describe the feeling that comes from living life in this manner.

Isn’t it amazing how, when control is relinquished, a path is clear and the destination is in sight?

May you discover your path and find joy in the journey.

~Sheryl

K.I.S.S. Day Three

Following my my enlightenment (Social Dilemma – see yesterday’s post) I have been very mindful of my screen time, what I click on and even hesitate over while scrolling. What I am noticing is a bit disconcerting.

Just like with any other addiction I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms. And, while unlike the purging of nicotine from my body, I won’t ever be one hundred percent screen free; however, I must be in control of what, when and how that screen time enters my brain.

One of the things I have noticed is that I am sleepy during the day. It isn’t physical tiredness; it is my brain. My hypothesis is that without the stimulus of games or the ever-flowing stream of images from Pinterest or Instagram my brain doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. Never have I been the kind of person who gets bored. Even as a teen I always found a way to entertain myself. Now, without the stimulus of the screen I find myself sitting and wondering what to do next. All the activities that used to satisfy me suddenly hold little to no interest. I feel confident that the desire will return, it is just that my brain has to figure out how to function without this artificial stimulus again. My three step plan is in effect: Evaluate, Extract, Eliminate.

You’ve Got Mail

Who can resist that intoxicating little message? Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks connecting via a chat room in the early days of the internet. Anticipation. Delight. Disappointment. A full range of emotions follow them as they check their inbox for a message. Movies and television are full of examples: Ralphie waiting for his decoder ring in A Christmas Story; Charlie Brown opening the mailbox hoping for a Valentine or Christmas card. Most of us love the anticipation of receiving something in the mail. It means that someone took the time to think of us. We have value. This little fact of human nature was not lost on Mr. Bezos when he created Amazon. But how can we maintain excitement over mail when all we ever find is junk mail and bills? I find that is what my email has become. So, why be disappointed and overwhelmed by things that hold no value or meaning to me?

I am overwhelmed and feel out of control by the sheer volume of accounts, emails, and personas I have created. I cannot blame big tech for this problem. This is all Sheryl. Step one is to evaluate what I have, what I really need and what I can eliminate and not regret.

I have five email addresses. A personal account and four “business” accounts. I am not actively in any one of those businesses. I don’t know if I ever will need them again, so I don’t want to give them up quite yet. As of last night I had a combined 2,947 emails unopened between all the accounts. It has gotten easier to just ignore them than try to stay ahead of them. I deleted them all. It took a while, but they are gone. This morning my initial screen time was spent unsubscribing from lists and deleting the messages that arrived overnight. This will become my morning routine until I am only receiving what I really want to receive and read. Once that is done I will evaluate the addresses themselves and keep visible only that which I use regularly and feel I can control.

Not Alone

I must say writing all this down, knowing it will be read by people who know me makes me feel like a weak link in the chain of humanity. The illusion is that I am alone in this problem, that somehow I am lesser of a person because I struggle with addiction and emotional issues. That’s the thing. It is so easy to become isolated and believe that we are alone. I am not alone. You are not alone. We have been seduced and drawn into a very intricate web. Be aware and take charge. You’ve got this! See you tomorrow for Keep It Simple Stupid day four.

~Sheryl

K.I.S.S. Day Two

The internet is an insidious and seductive mistress. It lures you in with promises of knowledge, fun, connection, and entertainment. All the while it is slowly and deceptively spinning a web of control. Then suddenly, one day, we wake up to realize that we are mere shells of our former selves addicted to the little rush that comes when a notification hits our screen.

The only two industries that refer to their customers as ‘users’ are the illegal drug trade and software companies. Let that sink in.

Social Dilemma

Upon the recommendation of a friend I recently watched a docu-drama on Netflix called Social Dilemma. This was powerful life altering information. Much of it I kind of knew but had chosen to ignore. After all, I am in control of myself and my internet/social media usage, right? Maybe not as in control as I once thought.

I generally don’t care for docu-drama type shows. But the acted out parts of this really helped give a visual picture to the concepts being presented. It allowed me to see myself in most all of the situations and I began to realize how information is given, manipulated for monetary gain, and how we are the commodity.

The people being interviewed all worked for one of the big tech companies, many in the infancy of social media. What they have to say is informative, frightening, and yet empowering to us, the products being bought and sold.

Solution To The Dilemma

Of course, my first instinct is throw out everything and live off grid where no one can spy on me. A typical knee jerk reaction and not at all logical. So, I set about doing the next best thing. Evaluate, Extract, and Eliminate. I had to have a plan for using my online resources while doing what I can to not succumb to its power over my brain.

I know many who read this are going to think, I don’t have a problem. I know what they are doing and I don’t care. Or, this is all a big conspiracy theory and this woman is nuts. You are certainly entitled. I do ask that you watch the program and then judge for yourself. I thought I was an educated user of the internet and the myriad of apps that clutter my phone and iPad. I now know better. There is more I can, and am doing.

Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are all pimps and we are the whores. Let that settle in for today. Tomorrow I will share how I am dealing with this in my life and why it is going to have a huge impact of my mental health, creative, social and family life.

Until then…go watch Social Dilemma and meet me back here tomorrow.

~Sheryl