A Life Well Lived

My husband constantly asks me, “What do you want me to _______?” Fill in the blank. I attribute this behavior to laziness; it is easier to ask me than it is to figure things out for himself. It drives me crazy, but after thirty three years I have given up. I answer the question then let him do whatever he wants. Most often he does the exact opposite of what I say. It is one of those funny behaviors that people who have been married a long time often do as a result of years of give and take.


But I do nothing without consulting the Father.

John 5:30a

This verse jumped out at me this morning as I asked God to show me what I was to write today. I opened my Bible to John and picked up where I left off. Jesus had healed the lame man and was then confronted by the religious leaders about breaking the rules. What happened next is what we in the south refer to as a “come to Jesus meeting.”

Jesus took the church leaders to task and in so doing said so many profound things including giving us a glimpse into the relationship between Father and Son. Jesus could have done everything he did on his own without consulting the Father. But he didn’t. He is our example, our guide, our teacher. Remember the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets? Here is the answer. He would do nothing without consulting with the Father.

I fail at this most days. I get busy or distracted. I wonder how my life would look if I began my day, before I even get out of bed, thanking God for the new day and asking him what he wants of me that day. Do I expect an audible answer? No. But what I know is that in the course of the day something will jump out at me like this verse did, and when I do what is before me I will have done what God wanted of me that day.

At the end of the day, this is a life well lived.

Blessings to you…Sheryl

Life Without Change?

Is there such a thing? Not in my world there isn’t. I think that is one of the reasons I am drawn to the dandelion seed. With the help of the hair like protrusions called papus, the seeds float on the breeze until landing, hopefully in a fertile location. Most days I float without specific direction or purpose.

Change Is Good

I am four and half years into my life beyond owning a yarn shop and just a few months past ‘working’ on any kind of fiber business at all. These days I am rather aimless. Which is why I have come back to writing on this blog. But, simply recording the whims of my life doesn’t seem to be enough. I feel as though I do more whining that writing anything of interest or value. I want my words to make a difference, or at least be interesting enough to seek out every now and again. I am just a normal human being and my life is fairly dull. So, who do I think I am to expect folks to read what I have to say? I am working on a plan to correct that very problem.

The big change for right now is the address of the blog. I changed the extension so now you can find me at sherylmeans.blog. I decided I want to keep the .com address for a different use later on.

Blogging Success

The definition of a successful blog is different for every person who undertakes blogging. For some financial gain is the primary goal therefore a blog that generates the necessary income is a successful blog. Still others focus on news, entertainment, or politics, in which case a highly engaged and large following is the determiner of success.

Blogging success generally depends on a few things – the blog must have a specific focus and purpose and, often, offers instruction in something. A blog with a specific focus is one of my personal favorites My One Beautiful Thing. If you have never read this blog I implore you to visit. Donna’s goal is to find one beautiful thing everyday and write about it. Her ‘etsomnia’ posts are fabulously hysterical and such a fun glimpse into the world of shopping on Etsy.

My Definition Of Success

I’ve been giving all of this a great deal of thought over the past few days, and have decided my blog title says it best ‘Little Seedlings.’ I am a teacher at heart. With my blog I want to plant little seeds that will grow and nourish other people’s soul – or at least put a smile on their face.

I consider my blog to be a success if even one person benefits from what I have written. This might seem like a low bar; of course I would love to have lots of readers and have an impact on the most people possible, but one is all it takes to satisfy me. The writing process brings me such joy and fulfillment – the main reason I do it – and the knowledge that someone somewhere has a better day because of my words, so much the better.

I blog to write. It is just that simple. Writing is my calling; it is that something that I must do every day. It is the thing that I can do all day and never tire of the process. Writing is also a craft that needs constant work to perfect. The nagging voice inside my head tells me that since I didn’t go to college I can never hope to succeed in writing to a level that is worthy of being read by people who don’t know and love me. I am working to silence that voice while finding other ways to educate myself. I will not be deterred. I have waited a lifetime to have the time and courage to find my voice and consistently write with a goal.

What To Expect

I am taking next week off to plan, research and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. When I return I will have my new structure in place and a brand new post. I am excited to plan and have fresh ideas and stories.

What will you find when you come back to the blog from now on? Variety, but variety on a theme. I love a theme and themes will help me organize my content in a way that will make it easy for all of us. I need the structure so that I don’t wander aimless and over discuss the world inside my head. The structure will also allow you, my reader, to follow the kind of content you are interested in reading.

I will be experimenting with different kinds of writing:

Personal stories and inspiration,

Short fiction,

Historical stories especially about women and their amazing ordinary lives,

Poetry,

Home and family.

I want to be here for the long haul. I want to write for myself, but I hope my words resonate with you and make your day just a little brighter. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Finding The Joy In The Everyday

I’m not sure when I decided that October was to be my favorite month of the year. Thirty one years ago I got married in October. That could have been the beginning. Or maybe not. At what point in life do we mature to the point of not taking hours, days, much less months for granted?

I think back to my life in my twenties. It was not the most outstanding decade of my life. Married eleven days after turning twenty, I spent the next seven years growing up and realizing, though I loved my husband as a nineteen year old, the reality of building a life with someone takes more than I had to give. I was too immature to deal with the life issues required of such a relationship. By the time I realized how out of balance our relationship was, there was no recovery possible. So I left.

During those years and the few that followed I was caught up in working, paying bills, making a new marriage work, trying to be a step mom and grieving not being a biological mom. I burned out on one job only to move to another that, while providing me with wonderful opportunities, also caused me great personal stress. The stress of that job was then compounded by becoming a full time step mom to a sixteen year old grieving the death of her mother. I left the job to be home full time. There was only so much stress I could handle. I felt God calling me home to create a safe, nurturing environment for my daughter and husband. This was no easy task, but it was where I was supposed to be.

I still had not learned to relish the precious moments of life. I was still in survival mode. In fact, I feel as though much of my adult life has been spent there. Being the safety net for this broken girl to heal and grow as well as for her equally broken father, well, I think that was my calling from God at that moment in time. There are more details to our story. Details that, when viewed in retrospect, seem to point to me having been chosen for this family long before we said ‘I do.’

I stayed home for a couple of years. I love being home. But then I felt the pull to go back to work when I saw there was an opening for a receptionist at a local church. This again was the hand of God guiding me to where I needed to be at that moment in time. I was in the right place for the birth of our first granddaughter and the passing of my dad. It was a job that helped support our daughter so she could stay home for the first nine months of her daughter’s life, to bond and nurture her first born. Then it was my turn. I left the job and came home to spend a year filling the maternal emptiness inside me. And still I was so busy with the day to day of life that I don’t remember dwelling on the things I ponder today.

As many children do, ours left and returned several times before being ready to stand on her own. God has pressed into my heart that she would not permanently leave until she was mature enough and had found the man to spend her life with. A man who would love not only her but her three daughters. This process took many years. I was well into my fifties by the time I could rest knowing that she had indeed arrived at that place in her life.

So, here I am. I’m sixty two and spending most of my time relishing in the simple pleasures of a beautiful day, my husband, dogs and the various creative endeavors that bring me pleasure. I have finally let go of the constant need to produce, anticipate trends and stay ahead of anything and anyone. While I marvel at how young some people figure this out, I wonder…have they really got it all together or do they just know how to put up the facade on social media? Now, I make what I like, sell something here and there, or not. But it is all about the process and making the most of each day. And sometimes, making the most of the day means sitting outside soaking up the sun while listening to birds and swatting at flies.

Therefore, in retrospect, I think I have just now learned to treasure each moment of each day as I realize how fleeting these days really are. God has blessed me richly with the ability to be able to live this way and to Him goes all the credit for opening my eyes and heart as well as providing all the blessings I enjoy.

I pray that whatever season of life you are in right now, find simple ways to find the joy in each day. It might only be a moment, but I promise it is there. This is the true secret of making a life.

~Sheryl

K.I.S.S. Day Four

I woke up this morning to just over one hundred emails in my inboxes. This is only half the number I had been receiving. Unsubscribing from all those distribution lists is working. And it is freeing. I tend to avoid that which overwhelms me. Ironic since ignoring only escalates the problem leading to a greater sense of panic and lack of control. I don’t think about the changes I am making and wonder if I can keep this up long term; to do that adds to the “you never keep up with any kind of discipline.” Nonproductive self talk is so…nonproductive. Instead I just deal with one morning at a time and slowly move forward.

Extracting The Value

As I evaluated each company whose email I was considering stopping, I had to decide what value this company or site added to my life. The answer was none. In every single case, the answer was none. They are electronic junk mail. Not a single item made the quality of my life better, or enlightened me in some way.

The second step of this electronic simplification plan is to extract the value – even if it is mere entertainment – and discard the remainder. Since there was nothing of value in the email accounts I removed, I will now move to apps and the visual clutter of my phone.

I love puzzle games. I tell myself I am keeping my brain sharp by playing word games and putting together puzzles. I had a folder three pages long filled with games. Most bore me after a short period of time. I now have only two games, a Scrabble type game I play against anonymous people and a wooden block style puzzle. When I get bored I will delete one and find another. Gone are the days of filling mindless hours with buzzing and beeping games triggering a rush of pleasure hormones rewarding a spectacular move or a brilliant win.

Opening Screen

I have pared down the front screen of my phone to the absolute essentials. I made my lock screen and wallpaper a dandelion to remind me that I am in this world to sow seeds of love and kindness; I can’t do that if I am absorbed with this electronic device. From here I can easily listen to music, read a book, check the weather, messages, or possibly Instagram. The lack of clutter on this screen reduces my desire to pick up the phone and scroll to the second page to find something to ‘do.’

Here is where some editing has happened and will happen again. Most of the apps on this page are never used, so why? What is the purpose of having them available.

I call it the ‘what if factor.’ What if I need to check traffic, shop, or edit a photo? What are the chances of any of those things happening on a daily basis. Slim and none and Slim left town. Evaluating, extracting and eliminating apps on this screen is my assignment today. Tomorrow I will show you where I ended up.

Having gained some mastery over the electronics in my life I will have the time, mental clarity and energy for doing things in the real world. I want to be creative, laugh, go outside (waiting for fall weather!) and live untethered to a device that promises so much yet delivers relatively little quality to my life.

For each area of life that is simplified, there is suddenly room for new and wonderful experiences. I hope that if any of this is an issue for you I have inspired critical analysis and action.

Until tomorrow~

Sheryl

Wisdom of Proverbs 31

The other day I talked about spinning wool into yarn and how it makes me think about larger issues. I love to find teachable moments in the midst of the everyday. Since Friday is a fun day on the blog I decided to show you what I do. I went through my photographs (I have hundreds) and selected the ones that I thought would tell the story.

She selects wool and flax

and works with eager hands.

Proverbs 31:3

I adore Beatrix Potter and these illustrations grab my heartstrings.


The process begins with sheep. My preference is to buy wool from small local growers who provide a safe and loving home for sheep. They grow the best wool.
Finished yarn and a few of my spindles.

So there you have a short lesson combined with my love for working with my hands to make yarn. I sell my yarn helping to provide for my family. I am not idle. I work everyday despite rarely leaving my home. If you haven’t read Proverbs 31 in a while, go give it a read. Some would cast it aside as being old fashioned and repressive towards women. I don’t see it that way. I see it as a glorious homage to the value of a woman. Women are portrayed as caregivers, businesswomen, hard working, valuable, and worthy of great esteem. That is the woman I seek to become.

Until Monday, have a joyous weekend spending time with those you love making memories and sharing the love of Christ with everyone you encounter.