Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Leisure Seeker

I rarely finish books.  I wish that weren't true.  I have been working on not starting 10 books at once and then leaving them all with bookmarks somewhere around page 75.  I hope this book marks the beginning of a new era for me.  Bill, my loving wonderful boyfriend, got me this book about an elderly couple driving across the country on their last trip together before the end of their days.  It made me smile and cry, mostly because I was picturing it being me and Bill - which is why he got it for me... that little sneak.  

I do not want you to think I am going to start writing book reviews.  Quite the contrary.  However, I will write about stories and expressions that touch my heart.  This was one of them.  Identifying with the elderly is not something that consistently crosses my path - although, it is easy to connect with people who have been in my life and in that time entered the new stage of their life.  This book brought me into the reality of their day to day.  It opened my eyes to who I will be eventually and what my concerns will be on the day to day.  For now, I will smile knowing that I know who I will be spending that time with - the same boy who bought me this wonderful breath of fresh air book.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I love Anthropologie.  When I walk in the door the smells rush over me in a relaxing way.  The colors and textures are vibrant and exciting, while being understated and sophisticated.  They take everyday items and make them into art and make grand displays that do not overwhelm.  The clothing is a wonderful combination of fabrics and prints and ruffles and bows that is reminiscent of older times.  Even the furniture and wood flooring adds to the already developed interior design to make it feel rustic and elegant.  I can only hope to afford many items from here one day, and in the meantime I will wander the displays and daydream.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Should All Watch Ducks More Often...

There is something about this picture that stops me in my tracks.  I imagine what this man is thinking as he bakes in the sweet sunset next to the calm water.  I will never know anything about him, but I do know that his life has effected others lives.  We all effect others, whether we intend to or not.  I guess it makes me consider my own life; knowing that he is in the winter and I am still in the spring.  

He seems at peace watching the ducks float by and reflecting in one way or another.  I feel relaxed just resting in the warmth this photo brings.  I hope to take more photos that bring out this energy in me.  This day was pure perfection - it centered me and reminded me that the simpleness of life is what matters most to me.  Feeling grateful for life itself is something that should be my first thought in the mornings.  I won't wait until the final season of my time on this earth to sit and reflect and become aware of the way I am effecting others.  

I believe this man was sitting and dwelling on the great love he has for those in his circle and the happiness that overcomes his soul.  I already think of those things, and I can't imagine how much greater those emotions will be in 50 years.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Keep Me From Judgement, Bring Me Patience, and Grant Me Peace...

I often wonder what it would be like to be someone else... to have someone else's thoughts and dreams and life and goals.  It is so strange to me that not everyone wants exactly what I want and that they do not think exactly like I do.  Is it egotistical?  I don't think so, because I do not know another way.  I love hearing why people think like they do and why they want what they want.  I think it would be egotistical if I heard what they think and why they do what they do, and then walked away completely disregarding everything they just said as invalid because my way is best.  Believe it or not, I know people like that - I am sure someone came to your mind as well.  

It always fascinates me to hear someone who has been through what I have been through 30 years prior, to hear a teenagers limited understanding who has no idea what they are entering into, to hear my siblings perspectives on anything I am going through, and to hear an elderly view point that knows it all and carries so much wisdom.  To consider other people's approaches to life is important, even though I cannot necessarily relate to their individual methods of living.  Regardless of whether you respect someone or not, God created them with a unique perspective and they have valid thoughts and emotions and they are worth your time.  I think the moment someone is marked as "not worth my time" is when we have failed.  Everyone is worth everything in God's eyes and if this life is truly about learning to become more like Christ, they should be treated as such.

Over the past few days I find myself aiming to put myself in other peoples shoes.  It is not as easy as I want it to be.  I used to think I was extremely understanding and I could understand where almost everyone was coming from, but I have been finding that I cannot rationalize away some behavior.  It is easier for me to understand where my friends come from who are working through things and aiming to grow and change and succeed in life - and not only in professional senses, but in the sense that they want to become the best people they can be.  My recent (and consistent) personality conflicts come from those who are aware of the way they treat others and the way they value inanimate wealth, yet choose to continue to either alienate themselves or spend their time and attention trying to attain things, knowing full well that these things will not increase their happiness.  How do I reach these people?  I often feel that by being happy around them actually makes them resent me more.  It does not necessarily make them want to find what I have found.  

I feel like I am constantly re-visiting this topic, but genuinely selfish people baffle me.  I do not think that selfishness is natural, I think it is just as much of a choice as selflessness.  I want so badly to believe that people choose to be selfish, but their natural inclination is to serve others, but I also know that that is not true.  Where does this leave us?  Somewhere between wanting to serve others while considering our own selfish needs?  I know I have asked this before, but is genuine selflessness unattainable?  Is it possible to just meet our needs and want for nothing else?  Why do I find myself reaching after this so drastically?  Extravagance does not appeal to me, but I want things that work and are nice... Is that OK? 

Honestly, I lose sleep over this topic.  God, grant me rest.  It wrenches my heart to come face-to-face with Christian selfishness.  It brings me to a breaking point.  I know people on the fence to Christianity, and they do not come to the other side because they see so many Christians living in such a selfish way.  Living in denial is no better than living in awareness and not doing anything about it.  Is praying that they become aware of their frame of mind judgmental?  A wise man told me this weekend to judge and to be judgmental are 2 different things.  We must run everything through our moral compass.  I pray God keeps me from judgement, brings me patience for those I come in contact with who are on a different part of their journey than I am, and grants me peace that he has his hand in every situation - not just the ones that bring blessing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Color and Life Bring My Heart Home...

I have always resisted the term “nesting” as most people use it.  I think I want to avoid typical “womanly” domesticity.  I do not want to fall into this feminine role – I think life can be tackled in many different ways and none of them need to be while wearing an apron and a hoop skirt.  I don’t mind cleaning, I love cooking, flowers make me happy, and I love looking nice for my boy.  However, I do not think these are roles a woman has to fill necessarily, I just think they are things that people accept and are a part of life. 

With all this in mind, I approach my new found love for home design.  I find myself on hundreds of home design sites and I can’t stop thinking about how I would decorate my own house – What colors do I love? What unique elements do I want to incorporate? What flowers would I put in the garden?  I can picture it.  I can actually smell it, I can feel the fresh breeze blowing against my face from the kitchen window, I know exactly where my puppy will love to sit, I can see the avocado and lemon trees in the backyard, I can feel my window seat’s coziness where I sit and read… Sigh… How can I be present with this idea in my head?  It will be so wonderful.  One day…

In the meantime, I picture hominess, warmth, color, and life.  I want it all to be alive and bright and nothing to be dull and plain.  Life is too short to mute personality and passion.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Own Little World Of Paint and Buttons and Yarn :)

These paintings are my newest creation for my kitchen (one day)… I have so much yarn from my crocheting days and such a passion for creating on a canvas that I wanted to blend the 2 loves and creating something wonderful out of an item that has so much meaning in my life – yarn!  I love how these turned out.  They are bright and happy and make me smile. 

Below are a few past creations I made before I entered the blogging world.  I hope they will cause you joy J

A painting for my sister - and a reminder for me.

A Christmas present for Heather - and a chance for me to try something different.

The first of many hand designed greeting cards - I'm obsessed with using Buttons.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Amazing Are Words?

Lately I am literally taken aback by language.  I am putting a combination of lines and dots on a page and you are skimming your eyes over them and comprehending a semblance of meaning out of these squiggles against a contrasting background.  Words can destroy someone or bring them back to life.  Words can be all we needed to hear and can break us down in the midst of a tragedy.  Words can articulate emotion.

I once asked a tri-lingual gentleman in my life how he thought?   Did he think in Spanish or in English or in Italian?  He said he just thought and then he spoke in the language he chose.  Fascinating! I would not know what it is like to be truly fluent in another language and have the option of how you want to express your thoughts, but it must be amazing.  He would often be in the middle of a sentence in English and then start speaking the rest of it in Italian.  It was so odd.  We would have to stop him and have him repeat in English.  In his brain it was all the same, but when he got carried away he would go back to what he spoke most often.

As I sit and think of poetry and literature and lyrics and slogans and realize that this is all words in different combinations and tones and that language is a common thread throughout the entire world, I cannot help but smile in recognition of God’s divine hand in it all.  Have you ever pictured the Tower of Babel when God mixed up everyone’s language.   It makes us laugh, but it must have been terrifying.  To not understand anyone must have been horrible and life altering. 

Gawk at your own ability to read and comprehend what I am trying to explain.  The magnitude of this ability is sheer power and incomprehensibly important.  It makes me world turn.  I can read a STOP sign.  I can understand public transportation.  I know where to go because of road signs.  I know how much things cost.  I can use the internet to its potential.  I can read contracts and deduce what is being done in order to keep my job.  I can get lost in a novel.  I can learn everything about someone’s life who died 100 years ago. 

It’s amazing what this ability does for me, and I rarely think about it.

Read.  Articulate. Speak.  Marvel at it all.

Some people can’t do these things… Celebrate the fact that you can.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Good Bye Maryland and Hello California

It's funny because I have lived here in California for 3 1/2 years, but Maryland still feels like home.  

When I go to Maryland, I have my family, my home church, my dad's restaurant.  People have known me since I was very small and I am familiar with everything around me.  I always know my way around and I have nostalgic memories of a million different places.  I have friends that I rarely have to explain myself too, they know me inside and out.  I breathe in the cool air and experience the seasons.  I curl up next to the fire and love the smells and feeling of the house I grew up in and the warped wood that creaks as I walk around the living room.  It is all so familiar.

When I am in California I have amazing friends who spur me on in the person who I have become and they have seen that growth since the time they met me.  I am surrounded by art and the sunshine.  The man I have fallen for is here and his family has welcomed into their lives.  I have my first full time job out of college with a real salary and 401k and a sense of pride when I walk in the door.  God has placed me in the right church with incredible people who honestly inspire me with their sincerity.

I guess it is possible that home is where the heart is, but what if my heart is divided?  Does familiarity and comfort equal home?  The future holds decisions.  I'm looking forward to a new chapter with someone by my side that is teaching me what selfless love is all about.  God really does do amazing things when we least expect it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dealing With My Emotions

Articulating can be tough for most people, but generally not for me.  I pride myself on always being able to clearly speak my mind, but getting my thoughts out has been a mess lately.  Have you ever felt emotional for no reason?  Honestly, I have no more problems than anyone else - in fact, I live a pretty privileged existence!  There is no reason for me to complain and be exhausted and to constantly wish for something else or somewhere else, but I still find myself wishing and wanting something - anything else.  The grass is always greener right?  I really do think that is true.

I feel like my life is a library, there are millions of emotions on the shelf, and I'm throwing them around and picking them up and not committing to one.  I read a few pages and then pick up another one and my library is a disaster and the books are all over the floor and pages are torn out and there are words strewn about and the mess of it all frustrates me so much that instead of picking up and making order in the chaos instead I get upset and continue to throw more on the ground.  I want to cry from the stress of it all.  I try to read other books to deal with the stress but they just veer me off the coarse of fully reading the first book.  It's all circular and exhausting (as is this post). 

The point of my "metaphor" which may be easier explained in person than in this fashion, is that I feel like a mess of an emotion.  I am not used to this and am not sure what to do about it.  Why does this usually equate to me taking it out on the people I love.  Why do I get frustrated about such silly things?

Is it possible to just stop worrying and be fully present for even a day?  Why can't I just focus on the day and time I am in rather than constantly thinking about what I am going to do?  I know it is natural, but I refuse to use human nature as an excuse to sell myself short.

My prayer this coming week is to be present in every situation.  Not to wish I was somewhere else with someone else always and not be enjoying my present company.  God grant me peace in each situation I am in to know it is exactly where you want me that day and time.  Show me how to love each person around me specifically to them and to continue to grow in my patience and understanding for each person you have put in my life.