Arranging All the Pieces

Here it is–JUNE–already! Ok, not quite, but verrry close. The temperatures are rising. Yes, the humidity, too. It is North Carolina, after all. We had a nice spring this year; we don’t always. I’ve been sick a good part of this year with various minor ailments. So, I’m playing catch-up with spring cleaning–just kidding! I’m playing catch-up with this puzzle that has been sitting in the box, on this coffee table, since Christmas. I finally opened it and dumped the pieces on the table. I always work the border first. And I always set the box up so I can look at the image I’m putting together. Unlike one of my blogging buddies, Jill, who places the box picture side down and doesn’t look at it. Jill is more adventurous than I! Read about her unusual-to-me puzzle working process HERE.

img_0825
This puzzle is so unique. I like that I can learn more about North Carolina while having fun. It’s not my native state, so I missed out on all of the elementary and secondary school history lessons. But, I’ve lived here since 1986. Never too late, they say!

img_0826

I’m giving myself a break from too many intense writing demands: deadlines are a beast. I’m working on one article (last month I worked on six with varying topics) about historic preservation. I’m taking a leisurely approach to it in hopes that I can keep it less stressful (see various ailments above). I’ll still be able to take on another last minute assignment without overdoing it.

I’ve been working in my garden a lot lately. This is such a beautiful time of year. May brings so many delightful flowers and animals out to bloom and bear young. We saw our first firefly, or lightning bug depending on where you’re from, last night.

5acfc5f5-5c47-4b5e-b54f-8c10c70c6ecbadccfb4e-5c79-462c-95b8-9ecacb512534
Spigelia marilandica (Indian pink), a North carolina native wildflower.

May is also the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife month. I wrote about this program last year for Cary Living magazine (In this issue). That’s when I decided to certify my garden. It’s a great program and very easy to commit to. Basically you pledge to adopt sustainable practices in your garden and provide food, water, shelter, and places for wildlife to raise young. I was doing this already, but my certification fee helps the NWF, and the sign at the entrance to my garden helps raise awareness. I hope. I also have an essay about sharing our gardens with wildlife in the current Seasons magazine that I’ll be sharing soon. If you would like to read, stay tuned.

I enjoy doing so many different things, which is great fun! I’m never bored. Between work and other writing pursuits, volunteer commitments (teaching yoga in the women’s prison; working with inmates to improve their writing skills through teaching grammar, editing, narrative, structure, etc), family, life, elder kitty care, NC environmental education certification, housekeeping, gardenkeeping, sanitykeeping, I stay more than a little busy. I also get tired (hmmm, imagine that.). Bear with me as I rearrange some priorities and life pieces to come back into better health and self-care. Which may mean I post less, or miss other blog posts or respond late; or read, but don’t leave a comment. Know that I am still interested. I love and appreciate my growing blogging community. This network is vital to my writing work; I learn so much. And it’s great fun! And yet, to be a vital part of this community you must participate. I’m curious: how do my fellow bloggers keep up with all of the wonderful blogs you follow? Do you set aside a day and time to read, comment, and respond to comments? What works best for you?


Wildlife welcome in Flora’s Abode (my garden)

Arranging the pieces–what an apt title for this post. That’s exactly what I feel like I’m doing right now. Arranging, rearranging, exchanging this piece for that piece that fits a little better. Not trying to make a piece fit that just doesn’t fit in where I’m trying to force it. Always moving forward. And now, learning how to rest a little more. I did adopt the word EASEFUL as my Word of the Year 2019. 

Easeful: Enjoyable and not strained as opposed to burdensome or obligatory.

Knowing when to say when or whoa. Realizing that even really, really great things happening can be stressful, like more writing work and opportunities (that’s a hard one!). Making necessary adjustments. Stepping Back. Observing. Reevaluating. Isn’t that a constant learning process?
Welcome to the puzzle of the human race.

img_0843
Making progress…

 


47 thoughts on “Arranging All the Pieces

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Cheryl! I love the NC puzzle. I could learn a lot from it too, as NC isn’t my native state either. You should see the puzzle I’m working now, it’s a beast. If I ever finish it, I might have to write a post about it. 🙂 It’s been a busy time for me, but sadly there is no end in sight. I’m still waiting to see my first lightning bug. I jump on WP when I can to read/respond. I feel guilty if I don’t…LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must see this beastly puzzle! My husband asked, “Does your friend really not look at the picture on the box?” Ha! I’m still pretty amazed, too. It seems we are all in the same boat with WP: trying our best to keep up and feeling guilty when we don’t! Ha! Thanks for reading mine and always know it’s ok if you just can’t! 🙂

      Like

  2. Your garden looks most ‘easeful’ and attractive Cheryl! That has to be a nice healing and meditative and health giving environment to hang out in. Both you and Jill are puzzle masters I see, my youngest loves them too. I read blog posts from my email delivery twice a day. This is now morning coffee time and I catch up on those posts from the northern hemisphere that were published while I slept. This evening I will catch up on the mostly southern hemisphere postings. I don’t comment always either. Though I love to when the content really inspires me or the poster is a particular favourite. I also have times when I am more or less active on WP according to what is going on in my life – I think that is the same for us all. Sometimes I think I will stop blogging, but for some reason I never quite commit to that thought. I like my friends that I have never met I guess 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pauline. It really is my sanctuary. I’m in the process of building a 12’ diameter brick paver labyrinth. I’m excited to finish that.
      I think having a scheduled time to read blogs is wise. I’m going to try that. I enjoy it so much, both the writing and reading. It’s amazing what I’ve learned and gotten to experience through blogging friends. I do like my friends on here, too! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read and comment as soon as I can because if they start to pile up, I get stressed! Lately, I have commented less often on many blog posts even though I feel bad about only leaving a “Like.” But like you, I need to take care of myself and my many commitments as well. Enjoy your break and see you back when you are ready!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an adventurous life! Great idea of taking care of yourself. I keep up much of my reading when insomnia hits. And when I see posts on common social media. I’m always thrilled to read yours. Your garden is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I sleep pretty soundly. I used to be envious of those who stayed up late or woke up during the night to get work finished. Not anymore, the older I get the more I value my sleep! Insomnia is awful. Yes, you and I are connected on many platforms. I always enjoy your posts, too. I love your memoir pieces especially.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to be a real early riser. I’d wake at 4:45-5 to write, read, and garden before going to work. I’m still an earlyish bird, waking around 6:15. I was a night owl for several months this year, until I realized it was cortisol (adrenal burnout) fueling me past midnight. Back to early to bed now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, one must be aware of what takes us down. I am normally the latest to bed by 9, often before. And usually am up by 6, sometimes earlier. Later, I feel like I’ve slept in! 😀 When I don’t have to get up it is a joke that if I make it to 7 it’s a long rest.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope the rest of the year finds you more and more healthy. I think you have to give yourself a chance with the puzzles, although Jill is to be admired and amazed at. What works best for me re other people’s posts is to make it the first task of the day – if someone has spent time on a post they deserve alert attention 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, I love the gateway to Flora’s Abode. It’s getting HOT down here … predicted 99 degrees on Saturday. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but it is what it is 😉 I wish I had a routine or set schedule for reading and commenting on blogs. So much good writing to read. Right now I steal time where I can (and sometimes where I shouldn’t). I keep telling myself that I’ll get better organized … every day I tell myself that … hahaha. I have learned though that most people I follow totally understand my “now you see me, now you don’t” existence, and that helps keep the guilts away. We’re starting to see fireflies down here, but we only have a few that might entertain us. On his first visit to my childhood home in upstate NY, my husband was shocked by how many lightening bugs (place) we northerners take for granted. He had never seen so many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love all of this! Here’s why: I keep telling myself I’ll get organized and create an efficient schedule, too. Every day I plan this. ( I’m a Gemini. I plan and think a lot. 🤣) There is so much good stuff to read and see and experience (Gemini, again.) And you are so right, people do understand that sometimes we just can’t be available, I feel better now that I asked this question. It puts my mind at ease. Now, I’ll still try to read and comment as much as I can, but I won’t feel guilty if I have to take a break. I know you’re in Florida, which part?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a Cancer (doesn’t that sound lovely) and I do a lot of planning and thinking too. Definitely a lot of thinking 😉. We live in Tallahassee, about a 30-minute drive south of the Georgia border. I wish I could say I like it here, especially after almost 30 years, but this city’s idea of progress is to clear cut and build. My commute used to feature miles of woods. They’re all gone now, replaced with apartment complexes and office “parks.” 😥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gainesville was our first choice when we were planning to move to Florida. My husband went to UF. I had applied to graduate programs in English at UF and FSU. Got accepted at both but UF didn’t offer me an assistantship and FSU did. We couldn’t afford out-of-state tuition so I went with FSU. We often wonder how different our lives might have been if we had gone to Gainesville instead.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the post, Cheryl! So much good info as always. And your analogy of the puzzle, self-care and life is so apropos and a very good reminder. I love doing puzzles the way you do too. It’s been so long since I’ve pulled one out — kind of like a luxury activity, but you reminded me how relaxing yet stimulating they can be. Your garden looks heavenly and surely a place for renewal. What spectacular native flowers too! I had no idea about the certified Wildlife Habitat and would love to see if they offer something similar in my state. Glad to hear you are rearranging your very full slate and focusing on self-care. Our bodies have a way of speaking up when we haven’t been giving them what they want. Wishing you all the best for rejuvenation and renewal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You are right about puzzles being both relaxing and stimulating. And kind of addictive! We couldn’t wait each evening to start working it again. My body was definitely speaking to me, begging for my attention, and when I didn’t listen it just shut down. I’ve “rearranged” some things, and have gotten some needed medical assistance. I am feeling better already, but not rushing anything. I learned my lesson! My garden plays a big part in my health and happiness:) 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I, too, am the recipient of a body having to shout to get my attention…it was a very slow recovery but now I am much more mindful when it speaks to me. Oh, the lessons we learn. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. How you do all those activities, Cheryl, I do not know. I hope you are feeling those ailments move away from you as you ease up a bit. That said, when we do list everything we do, it really mounts up! I found myself deciding to blog once every two weeks, as a commitment, instead of once a week, because I was feeling tied to the computer for too long and neglecting my creative stuff. But i love the people i’ve met and meet online and connecting with them through blogging feels more meaningful. So many of us are pressed for time. I’m allowing myself one decent sit down every two weeks to visit the blogs I follow, and a little trickle of daily time for other social media. To be honest the life stuff and the creative work have to come first, don’t they? Yearning here to see a firefly one day, and it’s an exact snap from me to you on the puzzle working method!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, things have eased up a bit, and I’m beginning to feel back to normal. We all do so much these days!
      It’s good to know I’m not alone with the blogging issue. I liked hearing how everyone else schedules it into their days. I do think regular posts are important, but as you said life and creative work must come first. And health:) Thanks for being a loyal reader.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cheryl, have noted the NC puzzle, and will purchase one for my sister who recently moved to the state. I adore jigsaw puzzles and always have one up-and-running at the cabin. About reading/responding to fellow bloggers, my solution has been to follow a select few. (That would be you!) And by ‘few,’ I mean 3. Yes. Only 3. It’s been my solution to wondrous-blogs-overload— Good health to you this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m honored you choose my blog because there are endless numbers of great blogs out there! But, keeping up can be overwhelming. This is a great puzzle with a neat story behind it. It was designed and created by a group of residents at Carolina Meadows retirement community in Chapel Hill. Proceeds benefit UNC-TV public television. A KEY is provided to learn more about the 53 (historical, education, arts, literature, business, etc.) depictions on the puzzle. Lots of good stuff with this puzzle.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. First, I, too, am a jigsaw puzzle fan! I do one (or two) online at the end of each workday as a way of slowly shifting from one mode to the next. I do the outline first, but never look back at the image either (but they are only 100 or 150 pieces.) On a coffee table? With cats? Wow – wouldn’t work at my house! 😛
    I visit other blogs when I can and don’t follow too many. It’s hard to keep up, and being very busy, it’s hard to even post sometimes (as you know.) I may go to a blog I follow and catch up on all recent posts at one time – whatever I can. You are one busy lady! There are still many more things I would like to do, too, but I find it’s tough enough to just keep up with what’s already on my plate. Allowing myself to relax guilt-free can be a challenge! I love that you have a NWF-approved garden. I will have to write about that in a future issue of a newsletter I write for a wildlife sanctuary – I think more people would do it if they knew about it.
    So go puzzle, relax, and enjoy your day … month … life! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so intrigued to find out about online jigsaw puzzles! Who knew? Not me! Oddly enough, our cats did not bother (and haven’t—yet) the jigsaw puzzle in progress. It’s completed on the coffee table, and we are planning on working some more. I love that my garden is NWF certified. As painful as it can be sometimes (eaten plants, nibbled leaves, dug-up tubers), I enjoy sharing my garden with the neighborhood wildlife. I just now told a bunny he needed to stay in the garden and out of the road. How cool that you write the wildlife sanctuary newsletter! Is it near you?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Re: the sanctuary – it’s actually a refuge/sanctuary for a wide variety of animals – exotics, wildlife, farm animals, birds – that were abandoned, unwanted, injlured, handicapped, cruelty cases, etc. It’s called Popcorn Park and it’s in Ocean County, NJ – about 2 hours south of me. I’ve worked with them for over 30 years. You can visit them here – https://www.ahscares.org/ContentPage/1667 and if you click on Zoological Society here – https://www.ahscares.org/ContentPage/1677 you’ll see the most recent issue of the ZoonooZ I wrote – almost done the Summer issue now. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful place and informative newsletter! You do a fantastic job. I noticed you not only highlight the animals at hand but also work to include broader issues like extinction and plastic in our oceans (PEOPLE PLEASE STOP USING PLASTIC, especially one-time use, throwaway plastic!!!!). Jeanne, this is great. Thanks for sharing it with me. I wrote an article last year about several of these types of animal rescue/conservation centers. It was so interesting to find out more. People can be so good:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Cheryl. I actually created it about 23 years ago, and have been writing it ever since. With barely 3 pages of actual content space, it’s impossible to get in all I would like to, but I try! If you’d like, I can send you a link when the new one is uploaded to the site. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Cheryl, your photos are always stunning, but that red and green!!! Oh, I love it!
    Re the puzzle, good luck to you. Don’t listen to Jill. There is something wrong with somebody who doesn’t look at the photo ;). After all, Nancy Drew uses every clue available to her, right? (Don’t tell Jill I said this!)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to jeanleesworld Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.