Ramblings

Life, family, business


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Where Does Creativity Come From?

phone 906Sometimes I struggle with finding inspiration for my creativity.  I paint, I draw, I write, and I play music, I sew, crochet, and make jewelry.  Some days, the ideas roll through my mind like waves on the beach.  I have to write the extra things down so I don’t lose them.  Other days, I can’t come up with an original idea to save my soul.  That’s what makes me wonder, where does creativity come from?

There’s so many theories about this, but it still doesn’t make me able to turn it off and on at will.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  There’s nights where my brain can’t shut off, coming up with ideas for blogs and painting ideas;  color combinations and ideas for flower beds and planting things.  Other nights I fall right asleep.  Some days I start painting or writing, and I’m disappointed when its time to put things away and go back to work, or to bed, or to do chores.  Other days, I can stare at my painting supplies and feel nothing.

I do believe that creativity comes from a place deep within us, within our brains and our souls.  But its not an all-access place, it can only be opened with a key.  Sometimes, the key is in the lock, ready to be turned by the lyrics of a long forgotten song, or the flash of a bird flying through the brilliant blue sky.  Sometimes the key has been hidden, and the lock doesn’t open.  I can try to force it open, but it usually doesn’t work.

I have learned that, in my mind anyway, creativity needs inspiration, and that inspiration is my key.  I can be inspired by many things, or sounds, or songs, or pictures.  I can  be inspired, but I can’t make inspiration.  I have to find it outside myself.  I have to be adventurous.  I need to see, and hear, and read, and sing, and be open to the possibilities all around me.  I need space, and quiet, and look deep within my heart and mind to find it.  I need to experience life in order to find inspiration to be life and express life.

But I also need to be able to look within myself to make that inspiration come to life.  I have to look within myself and find where it fits, what it’s doing, and what it stirs inside of me.

Art is life, and life is art.  Everyday of our lives is a picture we paint with our actions and thoughts.  We write the story of our lives on our hearts, and the hearts of those all around us.  We can choose to be an inspiration to others.  We can choose to be a song, or a story, or a picture, or all of those things in one.  Our lives are the one thing that we have to express, and we should make the most of it.  Every one of us is unique in our own way, and no one is going to have the same story or song, or picture as anyone else.  Each of us has our own perspective of life, the art of life; and each of us is an artist.  You are the ONLY ONE who can write your story, paint your picture, or sing your song.  No one else can do it for you.

So what will you write today?  Or paint? Or sing? What will inspire your life?  And what, pray tell, are you going to do about it?


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Baptism

My sermon from Sunday, January 10th.

What is baptism?  A baby comes to mind, all the family and sponsors dressed up and smiling, as the minister drips a little water on his or her head.  The baby usually cries or fusses a little, we all read a liturgy together, pledging to help raise this child in the family of God.  Some churches baptize people as adults instead, plunging them into a tank of water or submerging them in a river. Either way is fine since we only baptize with water, Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of baptism is to show the world we are accepting Christ as our Savior.  If we baptize a baby, we are welcoming him or her into the family of God.  Baptism itself is simply a ceremony of identification with the Christian church. But the true meaning of baptism is rebirth, being born again in the presence of Jesus, and accepting His resurrection for the life-changing thing that it is.

I remember awhile back, Pastor Brian Dixon gave a sermon on baptism, and during the sermon, he presented a bowl of river rocks and invited each congregant to come up and take a rock to remind each of us of our baptism.  I took a shiny black rock and listened to the rest of the sermon instructing us to use this rock to remind us of our own baptisms.

I kept that rock in my pocket for months.  Each time I felt the rock, or became aware of its existence, I made to sure thank God for something. I was reminded that God is the rock I build my life upon. God is my foundation, and all things come from Him.  I would thank Him for my family, friends, coworkers, and all the blessings He brings into my life.

“Thank you for this beautiful day, God!” I would think as I felt the rock. Sometimes I would hold it in my hands as I prayed and I would thank God for giving me this rock so that I thought of Him more often.  When life would get chaotic and my brain was thinking of a million things at once, all I had to do was hold the rock and I could stop and thank God for any and all things.  The rock became almost like a security blanket.

Then, one day as I got ready for work, I stopped to grab my rock and my lip balm to put them in my pocket, and the rock was gone.  I looked all over, under the couch, in the bathroom, in the laundry room. Where did I put my rock?  I had to go to work without it.

That night I continued searching for my rock, but it was gone. I questioned my husband and children if they had seen it.  But alas, the rock was nowhere to be found.  I told my wise friend that I had lost my rock, and she said to me, “Maybe its because you don’t need it anymore.”

God gives, and God takes away.  I thought about this for awhile.  Its true, I was thinking about God on a regular basis, and every time I noticed my rock was missing from its place, I would still thank God for something.  My thanking God had become a habit.  But a good habit at that!  I may have not had the physical reminder, but I still remembered to thank God for everything in my life.

I realized that I truly didn’t need the rock to have God in my life.  And I realized that the rock helped me become a better person by helping me to remember that God is with me in all things.  When I feel God in my life every day, I am more at peace. I know that God is in me, and I am in God.  I know that God works all things together for my good.  I trust God to take care of me, and in this trust I have learned to have less fear of the world and the circumstances of life.

God tells us to ask Him for everything we need, and He will provide.  I worry less about the future and take the time to experience the present.  I ask God for wisdom and knowledge when I have a problem, and He gives me what I need.

When I strive to see the world through God’s eyes, its an entirely different place.  I tend to look for the good in people instead of the negative.  I see the beauty of nature which is God’s creation.  I understand that God’s will prevails over humankind, and no matter what I do, God loves me the same.  I know how much I love my children, even when they make mistakes, and to think that God loves us more than we love our children is amazing.   I am one of those children, and so are you.  God loves us no matter what we do.  When we place our trust in our Father, He always takes care of us.  He is the ultimate definition of love.  God promises us all these things when we become His children, and so much more.

So if any of you want to become more aware of God in your life, I invite you to find some thing that makes you think of God.  Think of it as continuing your baptism.

 

 

 


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What’s Your Opinion?

I can be a very opinionated person.  I have a very strong belief system and I defend my beliefs.   An opinion is simply a belief or view or judgment formed about something.  We all have them.  Some have more than others.

Every person is entitled to their own opinion about anything.  Here in the United States we have the freedom of speech, and we have the right to voice our opinions.  However, its important to remember that not everyone has the same opinion, and even though you can voice your opinion, I don’t have to listen.

What makes some people feel the need to express their opinion to people they barely know, with no invitation?  What makes these people think that their opinion means anything to people they don’t know?

This is one of the things I’ve been pondering over this Christmas holiday.  It seems like I meet one of these people every year or two.  But what makes a person act like this? I’m not talking about your outspoken friend talking to you, I’m talking about that person who has just met you, or is in your line at the store, or the person behind you in line at the buffet who makes unkind or rude comments about your choice of food.

The one theme I see in people like this is ignorance.  People who don’t take the time to learn about a situation and just try to judge others are very ignorant.  People who try to tell you what they think or believe without being invited into the conversation are rude, discourteous, and lacking manners.

I know I have acted this way as well, especially when I was younger.  Its something I try very hard not to do.  These rules are obviously not for close friends, they are my rules for meeting new people and talking to people you don’t know well:

NEVER insert your opinion where its not wanted. How do you know if it’s wanted?  The person will ask you for it if they want it. If they don’t ask, keep your yap shut.

NEVER criticize other adults for their choices.  Its not your life, you don’t get to choose for anyone except yourself.  If you don’t like the way someone else did it, then don’t do it that way yourself, and keep your yap shut.

And lastly, you can judge people all you want in your head, but keep your yap shut.  Karma is a bitch. You reap what you sow.  Once you start judging others out loud, you will become the target of those who will judge you as harshly as you judge others.

I can tell you from experience that when you try to insert your opinion into someone else’s life, they generally aren’t going to like it, especially if it doesn’t agree with theirs.  When people do any of these things to me, or breaks my rules, it creates an instant dislike of that person.  Is this me judging?  Yes, it is.  As an adult, I get to decide who my friends are, and who I talk to.  There are so many negative people in this world, I try my hardest to make sure I don’t add any of them into my  circle of friends, or even my list of acquaintances.

Since I have started choosing the people I allow into my life more carefully, I have become a much happier person.  I surround myself with people who are also tolerant, loving, and peaceful.  I reject those who are abrasive, self-serving, or disrespectful of my life’s beliefs.  Every one of us gets to choose who we let in; respect yourself and make purposeful choices.


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Don’t Be Like This Guy!!

ToadI found this little guy sitting by the garage door, waiting for the door to open.  I opened the door a little, as you see in the photo, and he just sat there.  I had to physically push him out the door.

I think sometimes in our lives, we do this too.  We pray and pray for a door to be opened for us.  But then, when a door is opened, we are either too scared to walk through it, or we’re too comfortable in the place we are to actually do it.  Maybe we think, “Wait, I wanted a different door!”, and then we just sit there and wish for a different door.  Sure, this door opens to a gravel parking lot, but just around the corner is a big grassy area with lots of bugs and hiding places, perfect for a toad.  But he couldn’t see that just looking through, he had to actually GO through the door to see everything that is there waiting for him.  Sure the garage has some food, and some hiding places, and he’s safe from predators; but eventually he would die in there with no water, and nowhere to hibernate if he actually made it to winter.

Look at your life.  Have you already gone through a few doors? Are there doors hanging open, just waiting for you?  Are you in the relative safety of the garage?  Don’t be scared of the door.  The door open in your life is an invitation for you to see and explore and learn.  Of course its uncomfortable at first, especially if you don’t like taking chances.  But if you just stay in the garage, you’re going to have a very unfulfilling life and then probably freeze to death in the corner somewhere.

Don’t be afraid of change, don’t be afraid of doing things differently than you’ve ever done before.  Break free from your mold and live your life with new opportunities and new ideas.  They say when one door closes, another door opens.  But maybe that door was open already, and you just needed to be pushed through it.

Jump through that door!!!


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Die Happy

As I was driving today, I saw an expensive car with the license plate “DIE HAPPY”, written in different letters, but I could read it all the same.  As I contemplated that license, I saw a young mother skipping with her daughter on the sidewalk next to me.  They were laughing and smiling, and having so much fun.  They were happy.

Then I thought about life; about happiness and what makes others happy and what makes me happy.  I drive a older mini-van, nothing fancy, and if I’m still driving a mini-van when I die, I’ll still die happy.  I don’t need an expensive car to make me happy.  What would you need to make you happy?

How much “stuff” actually makes us happy?  I read about miserable rich people, and that makes me wonder why are they so miserable.  I know why though, its because no amount of “stuff” can make anyone happy.  It may make you feel happy for a short time, but in reality, no material item can make anyone truly happy.  Happiness comes from within, and there’s no other way to find it, other than from within yourself.

I think about what makes me happy and its not things, its experiences.  My husband and I went on a short get-away last  summer to see the Tall Ships in Duluth, MN, and that truly made me happy.  I didn’t buy much when I was there, but experiencing the event, and spending quality time with my husband made me very happy.  When I spend time with my kids, it makes me happy. (Well, most of the time, but that’s part of being a parent.)   Also, spending time with my mom and my siblings makes me happy.  My job consists of visiting with many people throughout the day when they come as customers to my store, and that makes me happy.  I love visiting with people and listening to them talk about their families and their lives.  I’ve grown to be a good listener over the years, and its fun to connect with people.

If I won a million dollars, I don’t think I would truly be any happier, my life would just be easier not ever having to worry about money.  So in  hindsight, perhaps the license plate should say “DIE EASY” instead, if it were on my luxury car anyway.

So instead of worrying about dying happy, what if we instead had the goal of living happy?  We could skip down the sidewalk with our child or grandchild or friend, and just be happy to be alive, and able to skip!  If we each do something everyday that makes us feel happy, the world would be a much friendlier, happier place.  What makes you happy?  I’d love it if you left me a comment to let me know what things make other people happy.   Just click on the “leave a comment” button under the title of this post and let me know. Thanks!


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Life’s Uncertainty

Chaos.

Crazy.

Fast.

Uncertain.

How would you describe your life?

Some days it feels like I have the “bull by the horns” and other days it feels like the bull got out of the barn long before  I even got out of bed.  Some days feel like nothing can go wrong, and other days feel like one disaster after another.

And the great thing is: THAT’S EVERYONE’S LIFE!

We all have this in our lives, but the thing that really matters is how we deal with it. 

How can you make your life better just by thinking?  Its easy, but yet its hard.  Happiness is not just a feeling, its a way of life.  Its something you choose to be.  If I have a bad day, or a bad week, I can choose to wallow in the depths of my despair, or I can choose to acknowledge it, and then let it go.  I can choose to let it rule my life with fear and anxiety, or I can choose to say, “It is what it is”.  Its really easy, but yet it can be really hard.  It takes practice. 

Sometimes, devastating things happen, and it takes longer to find your way back. And some of us don’t know the way back, and that’s OK.  There’s alot of people available to help, but you have to reach out before they know you need them.

Think about your life, are there ways you can improve it just by thinking better thoughts?  I bet there is.  Life’s an adventure, so don’t sit in the tent all day crying about it. Get out there and live!

 

Little Things

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Little Things

When is the last time you sat down on the grass under a tree and just looked with your eyes and heard with your ears? Listen to the birds in the trees, to the cicadas singing their song, the laughter of the neighbor’s children. Do you see the ants carrying their bundles through the grass or up the tree bark? Look at the veins in the leaves of a tree or a flower, can you see the pattern of the flower petals, or the pattern of the leaves on the branches?
Would you see this tiny toad if he jumped somewhere near you? Or are you too busy to notice the little things in life?
My challenge for you today, is to go outside to a green place, and look around until you find something that moves you, or makes you take notice. Find something that makes you say, “Oh, cool!”. And then come back here and tell me what you found!

Thank you Jessica, for the great idea. 🙂

Big Things Can Come in Smaller Packages

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Big Things Can Come in Smaller Packages

To be fair to both my precious pooches, I’ll tell you a little about Rocky this week. Rocky is a 5 year old Yellow Lab/Brittany mix. He thinks he’s a big dog, but he’s just a little 70 pound cuddle-bunny. He’s ferocious though, a natural born hunter. His greatest love is to have someone pat him on the head and tell him he’s a “good boy”, and then don’t forget to rub his tummy. I think that since the dog he sees every day is a giant, he thinks he’s the same size.

And that gets me to the point that, whatever you believe about yourself is what’s true. If you believe you are a valiant warrior, then that’s what you’ll be. If you believe you are smart and beautiful, you are smart and beautiful. But the opposite is true as well, if you believe you are less than, you always will be.

What we believe about ourselves is very important. Listen to your thoughts for a few days and see what your inner voice says about you. If its negative, then you need to make an effort to change that. Start telling yourself good things, positive things, and your whole world will change. Its amazing how much our own perception of ourselves matters in our lives.

Rocky has a killer instinct, he knows what his purpose in life is: to be a best friend, a retriever, and to disassemble anything with a squeaker inside. And he’s good at all of them. What’s your purpose? What are telling yourself about you? Are you a big dog in a smaller body like Rocky? That’s great! Big things can come in small packages, and maybe you notice the things you are lacking instead of the things you have naturally, but you need to step back and see the bigger picture. You can do anything you believe you can do. What do you believe about yourself? What is it that you want to believe? You can be a big dog too, you just need to believe it.

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

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You've Got A Friend In Me

Sometimes its the little things that mean the most. This picture was made by my friend Amanda, two years ago in May, right in front of the door to my store. I believe she had just turned seven. I was sad when the rain washed it away, but happy that I had taken this picture when it was fresh.

One of the things I feel is so important is to encourage our children and the children we have in our lives, to use their imagination and their creativity. So many times the arts are brushed aside for things like sports, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think its important for all of us to have a well-rounded education, in school and in life. Trying different activities is fun, and that’s a great way to see how many talents you truly have. Maybe its painting or drawing, sculpture or carving. Maybe its music, maybe its an eye for design, maybe its a thing with texture. There are many careers where having a bit of an artist in you is very beneficial. (Think architecture, construction and engineering, just to name a few.) There’s nothing wrong with being an artist, its in your heart, and its there for a reason. You can play sports, be a good student, and be an artist all at the same time. And when you grow up, you’ll be a team player, a smart person, and you’ll be able to line your walls with your own art.

Life goes fast, don’t waste it!