Monday, April 24, 2017

Nurturing Reality- Problem Solving

I would always choose a life without problems

       Friday started out to be a glorious day. I wanted to see the sunrise. As the light was just coming over the horizon I jumped out of the car to catch the glow on camera. After some minutes of feeling nurtured I returned to the car to find the keys locked inside. I think I walked around the car three times before I allowed reality to fully permiate my mind. 

         

I am nurturing reality this month. What a perfect  exercise. Too far to walk home, I called my daughter for a ride. She was not thrilled to be a awakened at 6:00 am. Once back home I started problem solving. I could call AAA and renew my membership and then they would come unlock my car. But, earlier in the week my account was hacked at Amazon and so I canceled my credit card. I called my husband to get the info on his card but he was not available for a while. I was curious how my mind kept going to the place of not believing that this happened. A wash of shame interfered with my ability to take the next step. How could I let this happen? Eventually all resolved itself and to my shock it was only 8:00 am. In a short amount of time the world was right again. The perception of my reality changed several times in two hours. 

Can I nurture the resilient spirit within me to stay centered on what is now and let go the craving for all to be well?








To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sing

Some experiences in life bring us to sing in praise.

While visited my brother in Utah last week I made a trip to the Thanksgiving Point Ashton Gardens. Quite to my surprise I found a new installation which, honestly, is a miracle. The miracle is not that I found it, but that it exists. A sculpture garden entitled "The Light of the World" was installed in the Fall of 2016. 


John 4:4-42
 Amongst the most beautiful natural settings, the life of Christ sits in bronze. There are 35 statues in 15 different settings, all larger than life. 


Luke 7:36-50
 I saw it's profound effect on little children. The sculptor, Angela Johnson, almost always placed Jesus on eye level or lower with those he ministered. Children found his lap irresistible.


Matthew 8:1-4
The detail in the faces and clothes was amazing. I could feel the movement of each statue. As he touched the blind man with his hands it was as if he touched me, too. 

John 12:1-34
 Great boulders were brought in to create backdrops for the bronze statues. The tomb of Lazurus was especially dramatic. He lay at the bottom looking up through the archway at his sisters and Jesus. This event fore-shadowed his own rising from the tomb.

Mark 14
While looking at him dragging the cross, a little girl sang. She was praising with words she learned at church. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

John 20:11-34
When Mary found her Lord resurrected, hovering above the ground, I sang, too. He is risen!
   The artist, Angela Johnson, made these bronze statues in six years, having only started this art form a decade earlier. I felt the closeness she had to divine help. This garden truly is a miracle.





 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Testing My Ability

"Eyes wide open, I zoomed out and refocused on the reality beyond fear's tunnel."
Issac Lidsky

Part of nurturing is letting go. Nurturing reality means testing myself in situations that are scary. I stepped beyond thinking and writing and took a trip out of my comfort zone. You see, I don't like flying. Planes, airports, weather worries, all raise my anxiety levels. I am happy to report that my focus on reality has improved.


    The most helpful tool in my tool bag was looking around and being aware of my surroundings. In the airport I looked at faces and tried to see what others were doing. I noticed the mother trying to help her son find more bandwidth for his computer game. I watched a handsome business man re-adjust his baggage and don his cool sunglasses. I wondered if he was nervous, too.
   On the plane I listened to conversations, watched how others helped their neighbor. When faced with going down a steep decline to disembark the plane, I graciously accepted the offer of a kind gentleman to carry my bags. I tried to look him in the eye and worry less about being incompetent to do everything by myself. 




   The carousel of life can seem out of control and reality can become hazy but I feel a tiny bit more secure that I can hold what is real. I'm back at home and on familiar ground. 






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Why do I ignore reality?

   Perception is reality.
                                   Dr. Phil McGraw.





   Which hands look more real? The sun-washed hands or the reflection? April is a month to nurture my sense of reality. Why do I need to nurture it? Because I am guilty of ignoring the truth. From pushing tax day out of mind to seeing the work my yard needs, to entertain family, I often refuse to see the truth. Why? 
    When Issac Lidsky, blind, found himself lost in his neighborhood in D.C. he panicked. He was in fear and dread. His sense of reality closed in around him as if he was in a tunnel. 
    "When I expanded my view and focused on the external realities of the situation, however, seeing beyond the distortions of my internal emotions, I confronted a minor practical problem. There was a simple solution, and with thought and proactivity, successively better ones emerged. " (Eyes Wide Open)

  Fear is a reality warper. It tempts us to ignore the inklings of what is real. Fear of too much work, fear of making mistakes, all these fears need an expanded view of what is true. So how do I expand my view? Can't answer that today but I am definitely open to find answers.






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.







  
   

Friday, April 7, 2017

Enough


Are we enough? Is there power in being enough?

I first encountered the phrase "I am enough" in an online class based on Brené Brown's book, The Gift of Imperfection. When I wrote those words on my hand it felt strange. Deep down I felt a great lack. There was relief in thinking I was okay as I am. 




But, even as I believed that I did not need to walk around feeling flawed and broken, I knew there was a wider view. You see, I believe in The Fall. Going way back to Adam and Eve I believe it was important to the Plan of Salvation that our first parents come to a mortal planet, where they made mistakes. But, sin does not exist in our Heavenly Father's home. So, Adam and Eve were stuck, unable, by their own power, to make themselves innocent again. We are stuck, too. 





     Thus the atonement of Jesus Christ is essential. The Creation and The Fall would be of naught without the redeeming and sanctifying power of our Savior. 
    What do I want to be enough for? If my view extends to the heavens then I want to be enough to be in the presence of God. I believe he desires that for me. Jesus marked the path and led the way. I am enough when I am fully yoked with him in this life. True, his virtue pulls more weight than mine. He doesn't ask for equality. He asks for my heart.




 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Nurturing Things As They Really Are

It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept.

Bill Watterson

This quote is funny and so true. In the month of April I intend to explore how to nurture my understanding of reality. I find myself in dis-ease and most often I am aware that I am seeing things wrong. The pushing up against fiction confuses my thinking.




   Today I am unable to answer these questions but maybe as I invest time and thought, some answers will come. I recognize that I have a resource for finding truth. The Holy Ghost can assist me in this endeavor. 


For the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls.
Jacob 4:13

I am most interested in finding actions that will nurture my sense of reality. 






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Define

We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us. 

Virginia Satir

I will say that places often get defined with limited perceptions, too. The pilings I photographed below represented only vertical lines in front of a beautiful backdrop until someone pointed out that these poles, driven deep into the ocean floor were remnants of commerce and water activity.




   
 My imagination peaked as I researched the harbor history. Seems that The Mosquito Fleet of steam ships cruised the Puget Sound especially between the first and second world war. Passengers and supplies came more than once a day. 




    I painted the scene with an aged, distressed look to remind me that places I frequent have history and part of the definition of the present is the past.




 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Accepting The Apology

      Don't dilute an apology by saying, "It's okay," just to lighten the experience.
 Allow
the apology to stand.



This month I am nurturing the ability to give and own a heartfelt apology.



  Often when someone gives me an apology I find myself telling them that their behavior was okay. It is reflexive and said without thought. In that moment I am discounting their courage and my own self worth. Even if the behavior was not truly offensive, I can learn to be gracious and say, "Thank-you for your apology."




  These lessons on the heartfelt apology have opened my eyes and given me new vocabulary to use in my interpersonal relationships. In the past I have been egotistical in thinking that I have little to apologize about. I am more humble and appreciate knowing how to proceed with caution, but with determination. 






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Embrace


      The word embrace is related to my 2017 word, nurture. To embrace means to accept and support something willingly, and willingly is a very important adverb. Willingly indicates our heart is involved. Since embrace reminds me of encircling, I recall a passage if scripture which I love.



    O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! 
                                                                             2 Nephi 4:33



  To be encircled or embraced with his power, like a robe, fills my soul with comfort.

   In the opposing corner is the encircling power of the adversary. His embrace is a very poor substitute for God. To embrace this power willingly soon chains us to him and renders our will null and void. 



And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction.
Alma 12:6

As for me and my house I hope we continually nurture and embrace the righteousness of God. 



 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Why Won't You Apologize?

"If neither foes nor loving friends
     can hurt you,
 If all men count with you,
     but none too much..
Rudyard Kipling

Unfortunately, Mr. Kipling, if you can't be hurt and no one counts too much, you are truly not connected. Having loving connections does come with a price. Sometimes those we love will hurt us and they won't ever apologize. But why?




  1. To offer a sincere apology you need the inner strength to allow yourself to feel vulnerable.
  2. Shame can signal us to protect 
  3. Shame can bring denial and self-deception
  4. Defensiveness may crowd out the truth

   If your relationship is important enough you may need to step onto higher ground, not to show that you are better than the other person but to bring healing that you may not get from the wrong-doer. I think of the Prodigal Son who dismissed his father and wasted his inheritance. His father began looking for him to come home right after he left. Why did his father not demand restitution? Because, his son had not diminished him as a man of God. His father was still whole. It was the son who was diminished by the actions he took. His son needed the healing and his father would go out to meet him.

"Sometimes the process of apologizing is less about insisting on justice and more about investing in the relationship and the other person's happiness."
Harriet Lerner


This month I am nurturing the ability to give and own a heartfelt apology.






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friend

“Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” 

-C.S. Lewis


My friends from childhood are hard to remember. Two come to mind and with their memories come two important lessons I learned from them.


1. A true friend feels like an equal


Glen lived across the street. I loved playing in the gutters with him after a large rainfall. We made little paper boats and we tried to run with them along the street, not a particularly safe pastime. We both got new bicycles and had training wheels at the same time. I was frightened to let my father remove them so Glen kept his on until I was ready. 

2. A true friend is aware when equality is threatened


Joy Ellen saved me from feeling left out in Jr. High. She was loyal and we spent countless days together and even more hours talking on the phone. The shiny lacquer on our phone rubbed off due to hours of use and due to my sweaty hands.  Her dream was to own a horse. That was impossible since she lived in a cul-de-sac of door to door houses. In our junior year of high school we both tried out for Madrigals, a very small choir, and she did not make it in. I found out I had been selected when the older group of singers kidnapped me from my bed one morning and took me to breakfast. Joy Ellen was not there. Our relationship suffered from this upset. I was aware but felt helpless to comfort her. I stopped talking about what my singing group was doing and that lack of openness made a rift which was never filled. In her senior year her family moved to the country and she got her horse. But our friendship waned. I still feel I should have prevented the schism by being more compassionate. 

“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend” 
-Albert Camus




 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Nurturing Monday- The Mischief of Defensiveness

    If you criticize me my defenses will rise up.


  Defensiveness is mischievous in the sense that it plays havoc with our ability to hear and understand. If I am to nurture a heartfelt apology or become a heartfelt apologizer I know I need to develop some resilience in combating the armor I put on when I hear critical comments from others. 


   I didn't realize that in defensive mode I am primarily listening to inaccurate and exaggerated information to fight back with a rebuttal. This limits my ability to understand. It is alright to stop the conversation and explain that I need time and space to be receptive.

"I want to listen. I want to hear. I care deeply about what you are saying. I see you are hurting. Here is what I am going to need to be able to hear you."

 Another day, another venue, after a potty break, whatever I need to let down the shield that is blocking my understanding.

 


    "Defensiveness is the arch enemy of listening. 
     Defensiveness is the arch enemy of connection and intimacy.
       It's impossible to give an apology if we can't move 
                                                      out of the defensiveness."




     These learning notes are from the class Heartfelt: A Course on the Power of Apologizing on Courageworks.com

This month I am nurturing the ability to give and own a heartfelt apology.





To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Abandon


“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” 
Benjamin Franklin

So, I'm taking another online class. My daughter groans when I announce that. She claims that I will be spouting off new vocabulary with all new definitions that no one understands. True, but I come out of each class with new insight and  willingness to abandon bad behaviors. This month my class is entitled, "The Heartfelt Apology".




     I plan to nurture a better way of saying "I'm sorry". I also plan to abandon some habits that de-rail my good intentions.

  1. Don't use the word but after I'm sorry
  2. Don't use an apology as a bargaining tool
  3. Don't over apologize to avoid criticism 
  4. Don't apologize expecting an outcome


  
  Sometimes abandoning limiting behavior is easy when we understand why we do what we do. Other times God eases the way, softening our hearts. The word apologize does not seem to be in the Kind James version of the scriptures. But a synonym "repent" is the main course in all the meals God serves.



 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.

Jacob 6:5


 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Whimsical Writing Wednesday- Empty and Still

“You must not ever stop being whimsical.” 

-Mary Oliver, Wild Geese





   Today is Wednesday and I write whimsical pieces on Wednesday. Whimsical means playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way. Though my prompt from AnnDee seems serious I will chase down the playfulness of being empty and still. 


  During an eyes open meditation the other day, I quite fell in love with my kitchen corner in the dark. The house was very still and empty of conversation, uplifting or otherwise. I don't usually meditate with my eyes open but I was trying to be still with only the noting of visual stimuli. I measured the different gradations of dark to light, black to dark brown, dark reddish brown, tan, cream to white. Shapes became visible. There were squares, triangles, circles and rectangles and shadows created by those same shapes. The clock ticked a steady 60mm which made me just a tad sleepy. The emptiness from the steady noise in my mind, assessing, analyzing, justifying seemed to place me in the tableau as merely a dark shape. I had time. Time to be. 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?





Monday, March 6, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Nurturing My Ability To Apologize

We're human, we hurt each other, we get hurt. Healing that hurt depends on the ability to deliver and accept a heartfelt apology.
Brené Brown



   I've got this! I don't need to nurture my ability to apologize. Part of my religious faith is repentance and restitution. That is what I thought. When a relationship went south in the recent past, I was concerned with my behavior. I made some mistakes and I was confused about what I could do to restore our bond. 

In this month of March I want to use my One Little Word, Nurture to strengthen and protect my ability to apologize when I am wrong. 

Today is day one of class. I am participating with Brené Brown and Harriet Lerner in A course on the power of apologizing.


Already after listening to the first video discussion I'm learning new things. New things which sound old but have a new weight due to new vocabulary. Brené is masterful at using words that bring revelation. I know it will be hard to look at myself and be open with what really goes on in my heart. I hope to become better.





To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Did You Do That On Purpose?

                   Was that your intention?



    Well yes and.....no. I did go to the water's edge and stand in awe at the glory of God's creation. It was my intention to be mindful of the sunrise, to see the colors, the shapes of the clouds, the movement of the water. I went there on purpose because I know I needed this nurturing. 



   I did chose the paints, matching them the best I could to the photograph I snapped of the amazing morning show. The image was pressed firmly in my mind's eye. I pulled out the canvas and foam brushes on purpose. I did intend to paint what I saw. 

   But, then, serendipity happened. The colors were accurate and they moved correctly when I brushed them slowly across the white board. I called on my tiny well of knowledge of contrast and focal point. My fingertips brushed the paint vigorously into the shadows and highlights. I was unsure but I knew when to stop. Stopping when the effect was right was the hardest part. I had to trust that inner voice.

    When I look at this re-creation of God's work I simply must give him the credit. My purpose was to witness. His was to testify.



 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whimsical Writing Wednesday- Surprising Myself

I've been around a long time, and life still has a whole lot of surprises for me. 
Loretta Lynn

Sunrise on my "looking place" drew me like bees to nectar. Photographing the light show was becoming second nature. I drove East when the first streaks of orange peaked out over the trees. The last week of January 2017 brought a spectacular display. Reverence filled my soul. 

The Photograph

God really knew how to paint. As the sun emerged the changing light and hue glued me to the spot. I stared and stared, as I would in a museum seeing The Masters. 

First Layer of Paint
 Could I create anything close to reality? I put each tube of paint on the desk, evaluating whether I had the right colors.

Refining the color ribbons and adding the foliage
 Painting in the silhouettes of foliage was my favorite part. At first the images were a little too symmetrical. This painting forced me to be loose. I was surprised with how easily the paint moved and blended. 

Final Version 
   I was also surprised by what it taught me when I finished. There were more things I loved than hated. My intuition was stronger than expected. What I did well came as a gift. Or did it? 


I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?