Monday, December 30, 2013

Worthy Of Love And Belonging

    This week I am revisiting the feeling of "being enough". I'm still spending too much time fishing for worthiness. It takes up valuable "air time" in my head. The if/when list still exists for me even though I understand intellectually that I'm seeking for something that I have, inherently, by being a child of God. Fishing for worthiness outside of my relationship with God is never going to work. My perceptions of what others think make a list that looks like this:

  1. I'll be worthy when I do more for others.
  2. I'll be worthy when I stop thinking of myself.
  3. I'll be worthy if I'm never grouchy.
  4. I'll be worthy if I go to the gym every day.

   This list is as stupid as it sounds. No way will I be able to generate the feeling that I'm worthy because only a divine being has the power to justify my being worthy. Feeling Him and being right by Him comes when I see Him. If I see others through him, I'll do right. It just works that way.

   No love feels as real as His love. Am I finished? No, but I look to find Him everyday.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Excepting Help

            Christmas is over and I needed help to get through it. So many expectations and disappointments swirl around my head. The help I requested was both physical and spiritual. My kind husband came to my aid as I prepared two celebratory meals. My daughter and son did clean-up. Getting help is great! Throughout the month of December I received emotional help as friends allowed me time to express fears and weaknesses in my very soul. That is new to me. I haven't been comfortable letting my weaknesses hang out. My upbringing taught me to be physically strong enough to do what was required. The weak ones needed the help. Perhaps going through a world war created deeply embedded protective shields against weakness.

  What I am just now catching on to is the idea that if I don't accept help because it is a sign of weakness, then when I am giving help I am judging my recipient as weak. Hmm… Could I be putting myself above others by being the person who gives help so willingly. Not a flattering notion but I can't fight fault with the reasoning.

   My Heavenly Father gives whole-heartedly, all the time. He tells us through the words of His Son, that he would like to give us all that He has and is. Is he judging his children as weak? Undoubtedly we are. But, really the atonement is an essential need the Father has if he is to bring to pass his work and glory. That was given by His Son. Those times He introduces His Son to mortal beings, in the scriptures, he acknowledges, by implication, receiving that help. I feel better about help. It connects us to those we love and come to love through their offering of help.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Hit Europe

   You bought one years ago, come on, admit it, one of those decorated Christmas sweaters. Now they are all the rage. They are cool because they are so ugly. What?

The Mama Daughter, in Germany, wanted everyone to have one this year when they went to the 
Christmas fairs together. What a great idea!

                                That's the two littlest boys bundled up against the cold in Nuernberg.

                                         The best treat is a Bratwurst and roll on the go.

                   These really are beautiful designs up close. Colin and Emma look especially dashing.

                                         Such sweet faces, full of Christmas cheer!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recent Art Journal Entries

I've been dabbling in Mixed Media lately. I love the paint, textures, and lettering options. Watching You Tube tutorials gives me a foundation to try my hand at this type of artwork.

                       Going to an art supply store is better than a bakery but more costly. Doing art it is an alternative to mindless eating. I always feel so quiet during being upstairs in my "art studio".

     Recent acquisitions of art supplies include gelato sticks, stencils, art pens in gold and silver, and washi tape. I am ripping up old music and books for texture.

    Someone gave me a copy of sheet music from the 50's. The music inside disappeared long ago but the front page was still intact. If I can't play Rhapsody in Blue I can still use it as artwork.

   On an old board which I had used to decoupage my son's six year old picture, I recreated a new version with his two children. I included a little note I carried around for years which thanked us, his parents, for being good examples to him. It is a little scary to gift this to him at Christmas because, you know, he might think it is tacky. But I hope it is a keepsake with meaning.

    "Creativity is an expression, much like talking, seeing, feeling. Just as in any other means of expression, we can tap into our vulnerabilities, embrace them and create deeply meaningful work that will connect with the deepest parts of ourselves and others. Embracing our vulnerability creates a moment in time for us to get really honest with ourselves, both in our creative lives and our personal lives. Once you express this in your creations, your personal life will feel lighter. You’ll feel the weight of a burden releasing itself. Why? Because you’ve created a healthy and meaningful release of its expression in your work."

Roberts, Kelly Rae (2008-09-02). Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Connection: A Gift of Imperfection

   I feel the strongest pull from the universe is connection. The Heavenly Father, in which I put my faith, sent us to earth with the intent of connecting to Him and to our other fellow human beings.
    " I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." Brene Brown

      I like that definition. During this season of the year, I want to be better at making connections and rekindling those that have lost their energy. Part of the rekindling process is thinking back on the many lovely people in my life who have respected my desire to be closer. I wish to say thank-you for seeing me and having an interest in me, despite my imperfections.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Love Holiday Presence

     Today starts the countdown to the last twelve days before Christmas. Many who I talk to are pushing the "fight through it" button. Buy those presents, send out the cards, make those cookies, and sing those carols. My journal prompt this week encourages me to make a more suitable button. One I can push to allow more "presence".

   I think I can dig deeper by giving myself presence of mind to:

  1. Be deliberate in how I start the day and end the day. Meditation, yoga, and prayer should start my day. 
  2. Inspire myself to study the scriptures and read those uplifting books by my bedside.
  3. Go with calmness to do what I set my mind to accomplish.
  This DIG deeper button seems more appealing this season.

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Art Journal

I love my Art Journal. Planning new pages occupies my idle mind. It was heartwarming to upload some of them as assignments in the "Gifts of Imperfection" course. This one is a favorite because my granddaughter is holding the binoculars and she is perfect for this setting.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted my pictures behind Brene in the Q&A videos.

  My compass entry ended up on the wall the next month. Wow! I was really part of this class. There is proof.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Nutcracker Tradition

My tradition of taking grandchildren to the Nutcracker Ballet continued this year. I opted to go to the local community ballet. I was not disappointed. 

                      The venue was not ideal but the dancing, costuming, and special effects were great.

   My little ballerinas were with me for the first time. It was a long show and they were often distracted.
                    Next year they will remember and be more interested in the storyline.

      We had a knight along, due to last minute illness and he most enjoyed the sword fight between the
                                                              Rat King and the Nutcracker.

      I came to realize why I enjoy this ballet every year. It is the music of Tchaikovsky. When it starts to snow on stage, I get a wee bit weepy. And I am always thrilled to see the Christmas tree grow at the end of the second act.

              I thought the lobby set up was beautiful. The decorations and photo opps were lovely.

             Our Knight Alex may insist on being there from now on and I agree he was an asset to the whole experience. Thanks, Vanessa for being there, as always.

Friday, December 6, 2013

With The Fixed Foot Planted, Let The Searching Foot Soar

I have a new inspirational image. The compass has two points, or feet, one which stays firmly planted while the other foot is flexible and can extend to different points. Our explorations of ideas and concepts can be more effective if one foot is firmly holding to what we know is real. Our searching foot is then able to able to move around, sight-seeing how others express their beliefs and show their faith.

   I have been blessed by taking my searching foot with me as I participated in the Brene Brown "Gifts of Imperfection" online class. I understood the material, but what I did not fully anticipate was the sharing community which formed online. So many honest expressions of hope and willingness to change, were shared. I was inspired by the art. It really is powerful to put pictures to thoughts. As ideas came into my head I found my pencil, paints, and scissors, and jumped into the process. A quietness came over me and I was lost in the physical dance between color and surface. My art journal is continuing, without doubt. I look forward to the next class in April. Between these weeks I desire to keep reading Brene's book and coming up with my own journal prompts. Thanks to Michael S. Wilcox for the metaphor of the compass. I am reading his book and using my searching foot, with him as a guide. Thanks Phyllis, for lending me his book.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Don't Eat It

  We all get criticized now and then. Some of it is warranted and some just plain stinks. You know the kind, when someone out of the blue grabs your throat and squeezes on your most vulnerable weaknesses. The worst is when they do it in front of others. Growing up I handled it by agreeing with my opponent. It saved time and anguish. Actually, it saved the anguish for a more private time, when I could bath in the shame. As the Brene Brown online class comes to a close, this one truth is going to stick with me.

   Jeremiah talked about eating the words of Jehovah. Some of them were sweet, but so many were bitter.

   "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

    He could not ignore them because the source did not stink. The source loved him and was faithful to him.  Criticism may come from an adversary or even a loved one, but when it stinks, comes from mean spiritedness or ill humor, it is best to spit it out and not chew on it. It is a hard lesson to realize not every one can love you, all of the time. Reconciliation is always on the horizon and it is better served if you haven't been ruminating on stinky cheese. My apologies to all who love Limberger. It is just a metaphor.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Can Less Really Be More?

  Yesterday was a Fast Sunday in my church. I am not very good at fasting and now knowing that I use food to numb my uncomfortable feelings, i.e.; stress, tiredness, and insecurity, I am more aware that fasting is challenging. I wanted to experiment yesterday. If numbing with food helps to feel less, I wondered if fasting could make me feel more? So, I listened to myself.

    I think we are intended to listen to ourselves. If we fast amidst a hectic schedule, time passes and the fast is over, but if it is true that we can feel more when stomaches are empty then we must do less during the fast. The time passed slower, especially the hours I normally prepare food and clean up. I picked up my crocheting to keep my hands busy. I had some uncomfortable moments seeing some things in my life that were not genuine. I noticed those feelings grow into conviction rather than self-criticizing. I ended my fast feeling very happy. I think the answer to my question is yes. Fasting can aid you in feeling more.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Do We Want More?

    I have been aware of a recent McDonald's advertisement where the word more is repeated over and over again. It is the biggest retail season and why not get more? Sometimes, even the best wishes, like more peace, more love, and more contentment can't be met today.

     Today, I don't have all the love I want from every family member, but it is sufficient that my family is coming together tomorrow. Today, I am not completely at peace, but is is sufficient that I can put aside my feelings and greet the day with all I need in my FIST. I am grateful for Faith In Sufficiency Today.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gratitude Is The Antidote To Scarcity

I get scared of stuff; mostly stuff that hasn't happened. And I get FOMO. I will quote myself, 
" I am practicing sufficiency today. I have enough time, enough energy, enough money, and I am enough to meet this day.  This is really a spiritual practice of gratitude. It replaces the often carried practice of feeling depleted of what I need. It is not just time, energy, money, but also the recurrent feelings of FOMO. Have you felt FOMO? It is the Fear Of Missing Out. Others are having more fun, they are more excepted, they get it and you don't, these are all signs of FOMO. I will practice FIST. This stands for Faith In Sufficiency Today."

                                This is a practice I am still working on. It is worth the effort and I am grateful for the beginnings of believing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grateful For The Sabbath

  As I was preparing my Primary lesson for Sunday I was impressed with the importance to feel gratitude for the Lord's Sabbath Day. With holidays coming up where society sets time apart to give thanks and honor the birth of Jesus Christ I am more aware of the blessings of Holy Days. The sabbath is such a day and all saints who worship God stop their labors and devote this seventh day of the week to rest in his love.

  I hope to help my students feel this doctrine by making a tunnel book. To make one you need:

  • an inspiring picture- 4X6 or 5X7
  • card stock, colored or white
  • glue, Elmers works better than glue-sticks
  • scissors
  • markers or crayons
   Cut your card stock the same size as the picture you are using for the back. Your picture can be vertical or horizontal. Each project needs 4 pieces of card stock.

Decorate two pieces along the edges. It is helpful to draw a frame inside, 3/4 inch smaller. If the pictures you draw come outside of the frame, all the better. Cut out the inside of your card stock, cutting around any drawings that exceed the border.

Fold the remaining card stock into accordion style folds. Then attach the picture to the accordion folded car stock with glue. After the glue dries a little bit attach each frame.

Mosiah 18:23
And he commanded them that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy, and also every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

On Again Off Again

    Last year at this time I was feeling fairly powerful because I was still losing weight. Then the fall and winter months crept in and the pounds started to come back, one by one. By February in post surgery mode I stopped logging calories and that was a big mistake. I am not back to my starting weight but I feel the difference in the way my clothes fit. I am grateful for this body. I do not always honor it, or remember my royal past and future, but I am aware.

   Aware that I can perceive and understand all things better when my body is nourished and it has moved appropriately, circulating enough blood and energy. I am in the best possible place right now for  regaining my balance between weight loss and moderate calorie intake. I have an exercise buddy at the gym and my trusty i-phone app to keep me honest. (I have been known to lie to the app)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Am Grateful For Two

      I am trying to get my head heart around having twin grandchildren. I am so grateful for all of them and to have a double blessing, well, someone "must have done something good".
    I am slow to accept news that will change my life or those who I love. But this news is creeping into my brain. Yesterday, at the dentist, I made a checkup appointment for six months from now. As I checked on the date, May 20th, I burst out with, "If the twins are not born, yet."

                                                    What a ride this will be. I am grateful!!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Find Joy In The Everyday

   "Gratitude is the way home and joy lives there."
     The everyday habits we have seem mundane but those are the very things we miss when adversity comes. Losing normal brings us to our knees. So the everyday normal things we do have a place of honor. I feel gratitude for my morning routine.

   I quietly tiptoe upstairs to my studio/office and turn on the heater. The twinkle lights around the room go on and I go back downstairs to make my morning sludge. One scoop of protein, one scoop of powdered greens, and a tablespoon of fish oil with water makes a shake which is, in truth, barely tolerable. Then back up the dark stairs to place myself on the mat. I move my joints and breathe and cox the stiffness out.

   My desk holds many things to play with. I can paint, draw, write, or read. The best days are when I do them all. This morning was such a day. I am so grateful for my personal space and morning ritual.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Joy In My Work

Today starts a two week practice of gratitude. Day One came to me quickly as I cast my thoughts to the week ahead. Even though teaching is tiring, even though I can't talk to another soul after hours of talking to students, I am SO grateful for my students. As I put their pictures in my journal I reveled in the little relationship I have with each one of them.

    They make me laugh, grit my teeth, tug at my heart strings, and feel pride in their hard work. I am a better person for the many hours I spend with children on my bench in front of my piano.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Numbing; To Take The Edge Off Discomfort

Elder Neal A Maxwell-
" We can distinguish more clearly between divine discontent and the devil’s dissonance, between dissatisfaction with self and disdain for self. We need the first and must shun the second, remembering that when conscience calls to us from the next ridge, it is not solely to scold but also to beckon."
   The subject of numbing brings me to divine discontent. What is numbing? Simply, it is engaging in behaviors that take the edge off feelings of vulnerability, discomfort, and pain. These behaviors can be obvious addictions but they can also be everyday behaviors that allow us to check-out. Life is plainly challenging and I found it helpful to identify my reasons to numb.

  When I numb my feelings of depletion, frustration, and dissatisfaction I also numb the positive feelings of work well done, joy in my family, and gratitude for being alive. I am looking for the ways to have joy and numb pain at the same time. Can't seem to see a way through the dilemma. I think it can't be done.

   What behaviors do I use to numb? It is certainly not writing blog posts about my bad habits. I need chocolate just to write this.

   The hardest part of this assignment was coming up the antidote. How can I comfort my feelings instead of numbing them?

 This list looks a lot like my Six Habits of Happiness. Clearly I am receiving revelation in regards to my own weakness. I'm grateful.