Humanity blooms in struggle. Plus, home economics for a family of starving artists.

Like a ship bashing into a coral reef, my head was gashed and deeply pierced by the corner of a deck board today. With blood flowing liberally, I completed my paint job after running my head under the frigid water of the outdoor spigot to the point of numbness. Then, 30 minutes later I bashed the same tender spot again, starting the bloodletting over again. By the time I reached home I was eager to sit in the adirondack chair outside and read the paper for a spell.


The odds are staggering. Keep in mind that I have a fairly large head. The plop I felt after a few minutes could have landed anywhere upon a vast area only somewhat smaller than Montana. Furthermore, I’m probably only pooped on about once every few years. That white bird poop from high above just happened to land smack dab on and into the large open wound on my head. Amazing. I couldn’t help but laugh. There’s not much else one can do at that point.

For all this pain I earned $176 today. Who am I to complain? That’s more than I made in a month from book royalties. It turns out that today was quite a day for us financially, in fact, as my wife sold a painting online and netted $160 from the deal. Plus, this weekend I sold a whopping 15 books! I reckon this is the three-legged stool that we are pursuing. My house painting + book sales + Shawna’s artwork. Perhaps all three combined will equal a full salary someday. I sure hope so.

It does feel good to have income drip in from a variety of areas, even if this is only a short season of our lives. Instead of something I leave home and do battle for out in the workaday world, we’re all pulling the load together as a family. We’re trying to at any rate. I’m incredibly blessed to have a wife who supports this vision of achieving a sustainable household income by working together. It feels like authentic home economics. Though our income has been halved, and is not guaranteed, we seem to be getting by. Frugality has reached new heights. I bike just about everywhere. Multiple cars are a recipe for bankruptcy, the financial variety being just one variety of which. Other than a pesky student loan lumbering toward it’s conclusion and a modest mortgage, we have no debt. Otherwise we’d be sunk. For this I am thankful.

Pain. Raw, intense emotions. Small joys that occasionally provide illumination of the highest order. Honest-to-goodness struggling day after day. Working together as a family toward a common goal. All this serves to recover a bit of the humanity lost in cubicle world over about a dozen years. It’s starting to pay off! This past weekend I was authenticated as a human, in fact. I received the armband pictured below to prove it, and experienced an amazing Cloud Cult concert as a reward. This is a band that appreciates struggle, mystery, and searching. So, if you’re struggling, like me, don’t run from it or wish it away. There’s value in hacking through. Melancholy, sadness, and cognitive dissonance, are all useful. Perhaps they can be employed as a sort of lever to pry up old patterns in order to unearth new creative possibilities or another way of seeing altogether. If nothing else, they make simple pleasures that much sweeter.

birds in hand

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