^ wooden sign from Barn Owl Primitives | family heirloom handmade cradle + gifts for our baby
The entire month of October was a mess for me. We entered in to our second month of California living and veeeery slowly our apartment transformed into our home. In our small, I’m-really-not-sure-how-many-square-feet home I find myself repeating the same phrase:
“Just do the next thing. And then do the next thing.“
My friend Dee shared that with me while we were having breakfast at an airport in Pennsylvania — isn’t it perfect? It didn’t take long for me to confess to her all the ways California has changed things; I knew she would understand. And today I’m sitting here in our dining room, typing on this MacBook, still processing it all. Oh my word yes, still. Our kitchen is to my left, our living room/Gussy studio is straight ahead, and the bathroom + bedroom are to the left of my view. And I know most of you are waiting for that promised home tour, but do you wanna know the truth? I have been waiting for “Finished” to show up, but Finished never really comes, does she? Oh, what a rambling this post is going to be… I can feel it now :) Many things are scribbled on my to-do list: just a couple more hours of sewing; an amazingly abundant amount of grace from you to be thankful for; a printer to set up; fabric to pair; a project to compose. And a dozen more things.
Last month I wrote for 31 days straight. It was the hardest, most challenging, most rewarding commitment I’ve made so far with this blog. I was brave a couple of times during that series and wrote about topics I had never written about before. I spent hours each week putting those posts together and after publishing them, silently prayed to our God that my words would not only make sense to this community but they would be beneficial to more people than myself. October passed and after 31 days of breaths held I exhaled a quiet, YEOWWWW.
One thing this move has reminded me is there is no real schedule to life. What God has planned for us, what He wills to us, will be. Not what I try, or want, or work really hard to plan. His plans will be. And that messy life I have been living? He planned for that, too.
When an area of my life feels unfinished it’s a grace-filled reminder that God isn’t done ironing out the creases.
And then I repeat, “Just do the next thing. And then do the next thing.”
Oh I think you took the thoughts straight out of my head. I have been having a bit of a rough day or days I guess. I recently moved to Seattle and it’s all very new. I guess I’ve been here about 2 months also. I have yet to really feel comfortable and keep wondering what’s in store for me and shouldn’t I know already? How come I don’t love it here yet? How come I don’t have more friends here yet? Why doesn’t the apartment feel like home yet? Why doesn’t my work space feel set up yet? Oy! It’s easy to get caught up in these questions and struggles if you can call them that.
After I have a bit of a mental meltdown I remind myself that a lot of big changes happened and to not be so hard on myself. I am running my own handmade business and am now working from home. That is awesome! I should be thankful for everything I currently have. I have a wonderful life and amazing people in it even if they can’t be in the same city.
Oh and can I say I know it cannot have been easy to write a blog post every day for the month of October but I was reading your posts everyday. I found so many of the posts to be exactly what I was needing on that particular day. They were extremely helpful and I’m touched by how much content you’re willing to give away for free. I can feel how much heart you put into your work and I want you to know it does not go unnoticed. Thank you so much!
@Jessica Angel, We’ve moved so many times that when we arrived in California one of the first things we needed to do was find a community to be a part of. For us as a couple this meant finding a church, for us individually it meant finding friend groups to hang out with. For me it meant finding some girlfriends to connect with so through social media I’ve connected with a couple local girls. We’re working on starting a book club. And then doing a Coffee + Create meetup on Saturday mornings where we make fun things and sip coffee/chat. I’ve learned friends won’t come to my door, but if I can be brave and seek them out they are certainly “just around the corner” :)
And thank you so much for your compliments about the 31 Days series!!! xoxoxo
That Saturday meetup sounds super fun! I am working on being brave and it feels good when things come of going out of my comfort zone. I have been keeping a list of ways to get out there though and meet other local bloggers and friends. I’m a little nervous but excited about all the possibilities.
I’m looking forward to hearing more about your Coffee + Create. :)
” I have been waiting for “Finished” to show up, but Finished never really comes, does she?”
Wow. You put into words what I’ve been thinking so much lately! More often than I’d like to admit, I find myself wishing away the waiting for the Finished. I think I need to change that. :-)
@Laura, There can be joy in the process… if we are patient :)
I hear you loud and clear friend! we recently moved into the basement of some friends of ours. we are living here until next summer. it’s a relatively spacious place. but it’s still a basement. :) and with a second baby due in April, it will be squished. but God is good in all of this. and He’s teaching us a lot. and now, I will go on and do my next thing ;)
@shelia, Just this morning, in our Jesus Calling devo by Sarah Young, I remembered ALL THINGS come from God. And the tough things — they are from Him too, but they are often a stepping stone to something amazing. If only we can be more patient with realizing there is something better just on the other side :) Try to find a couple of benefits/blessings from moving into your friends basement. Then focus on those when it gets tough. xoxo
I so appreciated your 31 days of blogging about running, organizing, creating and surviving a handmade business. There was so much good information each day that you shared with your friends. You should be proud of yourself that you managed to move to California, you’re having a baby and setting up your new studio all in such a short time frame! Wow! No matter how much I fight with “It’s in God’s time and in His Hands”, and often want to take the reins, I try to remember to surrender to His Will. You are faithful Gussy and God will surely nudge you when it’s time to “Do the Next Thing”. In the meantime, Isaiah 40:31….Blessings
I love you for writing this post today.
I keep forgetting that I need to keep going on to the next thing. I can’t get held up on one thing. I need to give things time and just keep doing the next thing.
I set a goal to update my shop today, and I did. I did it and then I just sat at my computer, waiting for something to give me some feeling of accomplishment. A sale, a sweet comment or even just a constructive one that told me I was pricing too high or the photos weren’t showing things off enough. I got a couple of views and after about an hour it hit me that things don’t just HAPPEN IMMEDIATELY. Sometimes amazing things take time, like feeling accomplished, or fulfilling a dream, or getting a first sale after a shop update. I don’t know. But after a while, I just decided to go out and shoot some photos for my next update.
“Just do the next thing. And then do the next thing.” is right, and I need to remember it. I could have been crossing other to-dos off my list, instead of wasting that hour waiting.
Like I said, I love you for writing this post TODAY.
@leslie zimmerman, And also important to remember: a watched pot doesn’t boil. SO — after you list your items pack up your cute self and head outside for the afternoon! Celebrate your accomplishments and don’t put so much pressure on yourself to receive immediate results/feedback. xoxo
i have been feeling the same way about our move to virginia. i have been waiting for finished to show up. after 3 months without our stuff and hotel living i was ready for our stuff. but as soon as our stuff arrived i was overwhelmed. I keep hoping that things will just organize themselves ;)
I have been in my home for 5 years now, and ‘finished’ has still not shown up. LIFE shows up, but we are never truly finished with our home! Once we are semi-close to finished, TWINS show up!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Many years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot say “do the next thing”. It was 1995, the year my mother died of cancer, my unwed daughter came home from college pregnant, my husband fell off a roof & my son fell out of a tree (thankfully both were completely healed.) These events paralyzed my heart in fear. Then I heard Elisabeth on the radio. http://www.backtothebible.org/index.php/Gateway-to-Joy/Do-the-Next-Thing.html
I thank God for giving me those simple but profound words that moved me into a deeper faith in Him. All He asks is for us to take one step at a time, one thing at a time. Blessings friend :)
@Evie from St. Paul, What a lot to deal with. Blessings to you for coming through all that with stronger faith intact. :)
I have been in my house for 12 years & I still have unfinished all around. But life happens. Babies are born & babies grow up & I spent my days with them nurturing & growing them into young men.
It’s okay that I have still have painters white on several of my walls.
But it’s home & this is where we gather!
I am living that phrase right now. It’s all we can do sometimes.
I wanted to tell you how much I love the honesty of your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed your 31 days posts and I anxiously awaited for one each day. I am in the very beginning stages of writing my own blog and dabbling with the idea of starting my own business. Your words, your grace and your poise are so inspirational to me. Embarrassingly enough, if I feel frustrated with what I don’t know and I can’t decide on my next step…I think of you and what I’ve read here on this blog. Your blog is one that is an inspiration to so many people and I, for one, can’t thank you enough for what you say and do.
@Allie, Oh my gosh, you are very kind!! Thank you. I am happy to be a vessel :)
wow…we are in the same exact place as you! just moved a few weeks ago, our new rental is TINY (or as I prefer, cozy)!! and my daughter had a play date at her friends house yesterday. she came home and said she didnt want to have her friend over because her room is so much smaller and not “as nice” – wow! those words crush a parent. so this is yet another time to teach that we can have a friend over and have fun doing art, projects, playing – not focusing on room size or beauty :)
much love to you friend!
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Elliot’s book, “Keep a Quiet Heart,” and it says this very thing in her book! I hope you begin to feel settled soon before your little one comes!
I really like this encouragement – that our unfinished stuff is another reminder of how God can, and is, working in our life (and how much we need him to!) I think it’s hard as women to not have everything constantly completed, so this was a good reminder for me. Thanks for sharing!