FO Friday: Finally Finishing

I started this week with three intentions: 1) finish the chapter-book draft, 2) deal with voter registration and business licensing, and 3) wash and assemble stoles.

Overall this week has been a pretty big “meh” (punctuated by horrifying current events) so I feel okay that I finished two out of those three things. In fact, finishing anything is a huge anxiety-reliever for me, so checking things off the list—even if I wasn’t as efficient as I’d hoped—helps me to feel better about things in general. I don’t tend to feel “accomplished” as much as “relieved.” But along with that comes a greater sense of groundedness and focus to take on the next facing tasks (and manage the angst of the uncontrollable stressors of these days).

First things first.

I was able to verify what we need to do to vote in our new hometown. We’ve been going back and forth about voting early in-person or early by mail, and I think we’ve decided to trust the system, the county, and the amazing USPS. After I finish this post, I’ll go upstairs to print the mail-in-ballot request.

I was also able to confirm that I can go ahead with my Etsy shop without a fuss about licensing… if I don’t sell anything that I didn’t 100% make from scratch.

Personally, I think this is a dumb-as-dirt distinction. Crafters know that we don’t only make things out of raw materials… or rather, anything can be a raw material. For that matter, how far back in the supply chain do you have to go to determine what’s “raw”? Do I have to shear the sheep myself, dye the wool, spin the yarn…

Anyway, that’s me ranting because I will not be doing one final AltarBox after all. I’m disappointed because I had some of my favorite ideas for it, but it wasn’t worth the headache of bureaucracy for just one season. Good news, though: I’ll still be writing weekly Advent reflections and prayers, and posting them here throughout the season! I’ll include my brilliant (*wink*) suggestions for simple sacred-space additions to go with the themes, and there will also be posts for Longest Night, Christmas, and Epiphany.

And now for the big news…

My first-ever first draft of an actual book is complete!

Actually—if I think about it, I have never written a complete work of fiction of any genre. I’ve written magazine stories, newspaper articles, devotions and curriculum, school papers and lots of poems, prayers and liturgies, but never even a short story, much less a novel.

It’s not a good novel.

But it’s also not horrible.

And the main thing is: I completed it. Twenty chapters, 25,016 words. I can do it. That’s the main thing I needed to know from this little experiment. It took me two months longer than I wanted it to, but it is done. And the exciting part is, I don’t feel daunted about doing it again.

I’m stopping some projects (like AltarBoxes) because I want to focus 2021 on writing manuscripts. Lots of manuscripts. I’m getting a head start this year, with the picture book class that started yesterday, and planning for NaNoWriMo in November. In the new year I’ll likely use this blog space to track my experience of treating writing as a true vocation.

Proving to myself that it is possible was an important Step 1.

What’s left undone.

I reopened the Etsy shop yesterday, and there are a few stoles still “on the shelves” from pre-moving. Then there’s a stack of five more woven panels sitting next to me, waiting to be completed and added to the shop… including the first few for Advent.

This will be my third Advent in business, and it’s always the busiest season… but never before have we been in pandemic and doing church mostly online. My goal has always been to support ministers with quality, handmade, reasonably-priced vestments—and that feels even more important now. I’ll be making a combo of full-length stoles and “Zoom” stoles, narrower and half-length, perfect for seated virtual church. (Zoom stoles are also ideal for chaplains and for little kids playing church; totally multifunctional!)

Much more Advent weaving to come… including quite a bit of pink to go with the purples!

A final word about this new season.

Yesterday I started a new plan for morning prayer for the month of October, using the daily prayer in This Day: A Weslayan Way of Prayer by Lawrence Hull Stookey. If I must buy from Amazon, I almost always buy used, and yesterday when I opened the book for the first time, a bookmark fell out! One of the happy surprises of ordering secondhand. It was just the word I needed for the first days of this season—of the year, and of our common life—a reminder of God’s provision and our response in praise.

The flip side of the Psalm is a hymn text, and not a bad earworm to carry through the day.

Wishing you a bounty of growth and goodness this weekend, friends. Stay well. 🙏🏻

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