Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spiritual Life - Finding Nemo Epiphany

Lately, my son has been on a "Finding Nemo" kick. So I have seen it several times over the past few weeks.

Often children's movies and books lead me to ponder spiritual concepts, and this is no exception. As I have been watching, my mind has wandered to the issue of my anxiety and fear. In previous posts I have talked about my fears and how this year I was facing them. A recent trip to the counselor's office, revealed a huge amount of anxiety that I just live with on a regular basis. The great news for me personally is that our discussion was in fact an answer to prayer because I have been asking God, "Why am I so easily angered?" I can now see a direct link between my issues with anger and my level of anxiety. Now I can attack it head on. I've started with an anxiety journal to track my freak outs and the roots of them. It has really placed me in a quandary, questioning what I am even afraid will happen if my "worst case scenario" were to actually happen or what that even looks like. I know most of it comes from some of the negative experiences I walked through as a child. The things that made to question God.

When I watch Marlin in "Finding Nemo" I see a fish with the same issues that I face. His character experiences an act of fear and subsequent loss. That one act paralyzes him from living. Fear has him limiting his experiences and his son's (did you ever think a Disney movie would ever spawn such a deep thought?)and then he faces another barrier when Nemo is taken. That leads him on this adventure where he stares in the face of all that his mind could ever fear. At some point he just has to give in to the journey and trust. There is no more reasoning and others are acting on his behave without his knowledge and he just has to have faith. Who knew Dory actually spoke Whale and the Whale wasn't going to eat them but help them?!

Who knew the umpteenth time of watching this beloved Disney story, that it would speak to me exactly where I am in life right now. I can't control every detail of my life. Worrying about it doesn't help, yet I walk out in fear and anxiety about things out of my control because its what I've done for so long, its my auto-response. Taking a step back, a deep breath and asking myself some reflective questions are the start to a new life of just trusting in God when its out of my control. Its asking him for guidance when it is a decision I have to make and trusting him walk it out with me.

If we are all being honest, I believe we get good at living life in autopilot. Stop. Take a deep breath and join me: question your choices, your routine, your reactions and begin to reprogram the answers that do not make any sense. And when the whale says, "let go." Just do it, and embrace your inner Dory.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

DIY Life - From Drawer to Shadow Box

Consignment Warehouse had two of these great drawers that really were nothing much to look at but the possibilities in ways you could utilize them was endless.
So I bought one!

All it needed was some TLC. I sanded it down, peeled off the liner in the drawer and then used Valspar's Rushing Stream on the edges to frame my drawer (soon to be shadow box). I also got the paint for FREE! Real Simple magazine had a coupon for a free sample size, which was all I needed!

I purchased a yard of gray and whiteish chevron print duck cloth at Hobby Lobby (used my online coupon through my phone for 40% off). By the way, they are no longer allowed to alert people to their coupon on their website, but if you have a smart phone, just google it in line and give them the 4 number code. So while I was there I also grabbed some furniture tacks. I got some in gold that were larger to border the edges and a package of matching smaller silver ones for contrast to use on the drawer itself.

The next step was selecting my items to go in this new creation. (Truth: this is a story unto itself, but summarizing for time sake). Then I had another quandary. I had no idea how to fasten things into the box without damaging some of the items of sentimental value. I reached out to my DIY creative Facebook friends and got some great (and some silly) responses. No, I am not going to use Duct Tape, but thanks for that suggestion :). So I got some clips and magnets, Velcro (had it already), and Command strips. I used the Command strips on the hand prints and Velcro for the ballet slippers. I hot glued magnets to the cloth, the clips were magnetic so they just stick to it. I used the small tacks to attach my Clipboard styled clip, Voila!

The top left corner is my oldest stepdaughter, below her is my younger stepdaughter, top right is my son, bottom right is me and the middle is my husband. I included an art project from one, hand prints from the other two, my ballet shoes and a card my husband made for his parents when he was little and of course, there are pictures of all of us as babies.
The process looked something like this:

I am a creative person, and I have more Pinterest boards than one person should, but the truth is the best creativity doesn't come from coping someone's idea it comes from the journey of walking out one of your own. Get the tricks of the trade off Pinterest, but make something new to pin!

Friday, June 20, 2014

DIY Life - Hallway Projects

So first let me just say I have an problem with making decisions. I recently re-read my Myers Briggs Personality Profile, ENFJ, to discover that it is in fact my personality that is to blame. Okay so its not just my personality but it would appear I'm predisposed to indecision, so at least some of those decision issues can be summed up with the phrase, "It is what it is." That knowledge nugget was given to you so you will understand the dilemmas I go through even in simple projects.

Several months ago, we started updating our house, I would say remodel or renovating, but those words would involve some actual money, which we don't currently have for anything other than bills and debt repayment (Thanks Dave Ramsey!). When I saw the wonderful look of the outside of our house after a paint job, I decided the inside could use one too. So I started in the hall with the pantone color, String, it didn't come out quite like I'd hoped at first, but with new faceplates for the electrical switches, new pantry knobs from Hobby Lobby, new light fixtures from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore shop, it was well underway. I found a great mirror at Kirklands on sale (sales make me super happy FYI) so instead of redoing the one we had in the hallway, I decided to buy one, call it done and actually save a little money in the end in comparison with what the supplies would have cost for me to punch up the one we had. Then, as a result of my mutterings to God, I found 2 frames on clearance at Target that I had been stalking for well over a year. The frames were originally $30 each and I got them both for $20, another great sale score!

Then I went to see my sister and mom in Ohio. I was in awe of my sister's house. So I came back on a mission to find some unique pieces and ones that spoke to me.

That is when I found the Consignment Warehouse and discovered some great pieces, of course, my indecision issues started to sprout and I did my share of hemming and hawing, and actually lost out on a few things I liked because of it. But I found a great architectural column to use on the wall.
I got that wall done then went back in search of some other pieces. I found an old drawer and decided I could use the kids handprints and make my own shadow box for the wall.
I got some paint (free by the way, coupon in the Real Simple magazine), and used my 40% off app to get some nice fabric and furniture tacks at Hobby Lobby. I did however run into a snag. I couldn't find my oldest stepdaughter's hand print. I couldn't do 2 out of 3 so it was back to the drawing board. After a great deal of searching and anxiety attacks I came up with a collage of memorabilia from all of us, all 3 kids and the hubby and I. I think it turned out great. (For those of you who wanted to see more about this project, I will do a whole post devoted to it).

I have become a fan of string nail art. I made a piece for my office at work, and I found it not only to be a great art piece, I also found it to be therapeutic. There's just something about hammering nails to get out the tension and stringing them to help bring focus and calm. Its great! I had purchased the first piece of wood from ReStore, so I headed back that way when looking for something for the hall. I got a nice, sturdy piece of wood for about $5. I found some inspiration off Pinterest and ventured out in the same direction, but found I needed a few changes at the end. All in all I am pleased with the results.

I then paired these great pieces with this awesome frame I found online through a local Facebook group dedicated to selling your stuff. I am still working on a few more items for the hall, but I am looking forward to putting my efforts toward the living room soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Spiritual Life - A Game of Pick Up Sticks

Someone really special to me is my Pappy. Pappy is my mom's father. When I was 7, due to a string of circumstances, my mom and I moved from our home with the Davidson family in North Carolina to Indiana where our new life included living with my Pappy in his two bedroom trailer. We lived there for 4 years. In that time, my mom gave birth to my sister. The three of us shared a room and a bed on the opposite side of the trailer from my Pappy's room. During those years, my Pappy became a surrogate father to me and my sister. He taught me to ride a bike, we'd go to Dairy Queen together and I would ride his quads and golf carts with him. One of the activities that Pappy invited me to join him in was whittling. My version of this skilled craft was to cut off a few pieces of the wood, then just paint a design onto its surface. Pappy however, would actually carve shapes. 

Years later, Pappy presented me with my very own Cedar carved set of the game, Jack Straws, aka, Pick Up Sticks, that he had carved just for me. It was a game he had that we would play when I lived with him. As an older teen, this gift meant something. It gained even greater value when he was killed two years ago.

For those who may not know, pick up sticks is a game where a bunch of different shaped (or colored) sticks are placed in a clump on a hard surface and players must use the hook stick to free sticks from the pile without moving other sticks. The sticks are given value based on their shapes or colors. The person with the most points when all sticks are freed, wins.

I was thinking about this game the other day and saw a spiritual connection.

Our lives are like this game. Each of us have walked through life with fears and insecurities, we've encountered hardships or nasty behaviors from others and through these things we've developed a stack of sticks that need to be examined and "organized" to live a life of stability. When we open our lives to God and allow him to be our Lord, we give him the hook stick. He gently extracts sticks from our clump, but in the process it may shift another stick (issues) in our life. Maybe you are like me and want it all handled at once, but the truth is if God did that, it would destroy us. Maybe also like me, you feel like you have gone to counseling or worked with a mentor to deal with each issue in your life and you've checked it off your "needs to be resolved" list, only to see it come back. It can feel discouraging, but the truth is some issues have multiple sticks and God has to get them all. I can feel discouraged or overwhelmed by the buffet of weaknesses that stands before me. I see the sticks in my life and just want to quit trying. Its in those moments that all of us need to put on some proper perspective. My pile of sticks is smaller than it was 10, 5, or even 2 years ago. Perseverance and humility will aid me in journey of getting to a stickless life.

If you've been discouraged like I get at times (a wave just hit a few weeks back), get a hug from a good friend, adjust your perspective, thank God for the journey that's been cleared and keep on. You are worth the journey and seeing the issues completely healed and dealt with by God. God can and will do the job if you let him.

Remember these words:
Exodus 14:14
"The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."