Recently while turning my craft-room half of our home office into a guest bedroom, I was confronted by how much STUFF I’ve accumulated over the years. There isn’t a creative activity I’ve met that hasn’t quickly become part of my life …as well as all of the supplies that are required for it. I sifted through the items deciding what was trash, what could be sold in our yard sale, and what could be donated. I had the choice to be discouraged or to let go of who I once was.
I was sifting through the evidence of who I used to be.
There were tons of art and craft supplies that came with me when I married my husband and we moved to our home. Canvases, paints, sketch pads, pens and pencils, and tons of books. A portfolio from my semester in Italy.
…collecting dust because I was still in the military and now was married with a child.
When my first son joined our family I chronicled his life through scrapbooking. I watched the trends change from simple to elaborate. I even attended scrapbooking conventions and retreats. I have a number of beautiful albums.
…and just as many unfinished albums.
When I came to the realization that keeping up scrapbooks for my growing family was little more than an exercise in frustration because I just didn’t have the time, I switched to rubber stamping. The projects were less time-consuming. That was a relief because I now had three children to keep up with. I could create our cards and get some simple scrapbooking completed. Double win. I even started selling through a home-party business. But then one weekend while we were traveling our basement took on water and I lost access to the craft area for a few months.
…and my stamp sets sat on shelves unused.
When we made the switch to cloth diapers I was introduced to knitted woolies. They were functional and cute, and expensive. My mom taught me how to knit. The yarn stash began to grow. First it was yarn from the local craft stores, and then I met hand-dyed yarn. That was expensive, too. I decided to experiment with the dyes I had from my silk dyeing days (That was many years ago when I apprenticed under a NYC designer as I finished high school). Same dyes, different textile. I loved the creative outlet, it made use of my art background, I got to dabble in chemistry as I sought to perfect my techniques of blending colors and taming the hard water in our home, and it quickly grew into a profitable cottage industry. Knitting and dyeing led to learning how to spin my own yarn. They all melded well together, and I had found my niche!
…and then I started homeschooling.
Once we brought the children home for school everything changed. While we were finding our feet (yes, it’s been a four year process for us), I had to let go of a lot of my ‘me’ time and things. I couldn’t dedicate days to dyeing and stocking my shop because we had far too much to accomplish each week and just doing that was a struggle. I couldn’t exactly close myself into the craft-room to create, because many of our children are young and still need supervision (or I’d have quite a whirlwind to clean up). Time to knit and spin is limited because tiny fingers on little babes are curious and need to touch.
When I don’t have time to create, time to be me, I can easily become frustrated.
While I cleaned out the craft-room and relished in some sweet memories, I surprised myself by not wallowing in the sadness of what used to be, but instead letting go of who I was and being thankful for the season that God is so faithfully calling me to. This isn’t the season of the old me. Choosing to homeschool required some sacrifices, and when I take stock I am not sorry. It was important to purge all the supplies for my ‘project: someday’ and to evaluate which parts of ‘me’ I was willing to open and share with my children. I could take the fine art supplies out of hiding and teach the children how to use them. I could donate our excess and hold onto the things that we could truly use in this season. The sewing machine can sit in its case in the closet, ready for use when the time is available. My husband and I will be intentional about making sure I get some creative time to refuel and refresh for the task before me. If God brings me into a season when I can once again open my cottage business, I will still have the needed skills and can replenish the supplies.
Consider your cost.
Maybe for you it isn’t about giving up a hobby. Maybe the choice to homeschool has cost you something else. Did you have to walk away from work that allowed for a more comfortable budget? Choosing to homeschool may have even cost you certain friendships. It is beneficial to consider the sacrifice, to talk it out with your husband, or to hash it out with trusted friends. When you can process it all and find the encouragement for the journey, you are equipped to succeed.
Have you had to let go of something in order to move forward in homeschooling?