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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Letter to Me – POST 30’s

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(Continuation to Previous Entry)

I’m elderly.  What do I write to myself in my mid-thirties?

  1. The move to Atlanta was the best gift you could have given yourself.  It gave you perspective.  It humbled you.  It gave you opportunities you would not have had previously.  It took you out of a masterful rut you were creating.
  2. You WILL find yourself in your new home.  It just takes some time.
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Twenty self-improvement projects at the same time rarely accomplish anything.  One thing at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time!
  4. Don’t compare your journey with others’.  Self-consciousness is stifling.
  5. Don’t worry about your biological clock.  Your babies come soon enough.  Your expectations will be shattered and you have to live without definitive instructions.
  6. Get comfortable with uncertainty.
  7. Appreciate the souls around you: husband, parents, siblings, cousins, well-meaning strangers.
  8. Cheerlead for yourself like you cheerlead for others.
  9. Keep on cheerleading for others–many of your friends have you as their only cheerleader.  Cheerleading, encouraging, coaxing creativity from others is your greatest gift.  You’d like to get your own glory (and produce your own masterpieces), but what you pull out of others is what God keeps you around for.
  10. If you think your car might be too close to something else, IT IS.  Don’t scrape it!
  11. Share your breakthrough sister-in-law moment with your other sister-in-law.
  12. Enjoy as much as you can.
  13. Learn from ALL of it.
  14. Be sensitive with others’ emotions, but let go of the things that hit you wrong.  They didn’t mean it.
  15. Always try new things.
  16. USE your time, don’t spend it.
  17. Get into more of a dialogue with your heavenly father.
  18. Step outside of yourself and listen to what you say.  (Then you will know “they didn’t mean it.”  See #14)
  19. Be a good steward of your thoughts.
  20. Live a life of impact so there will be no regrets.
  21. READ THIS LIST ONCE A WEEK.
  22. REPEAT.

Second Verse

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  • God grant me the serenity
  • to accept the things I cannot change;
  • courage to change the things I can;
  • and wisdom to know the difference.
  • Living one day at a time;
  • Enjoying one moment at a time;
  • Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
  • Taking, as He did, this sinful world
  • as it is, not as I would have it;
  • Trusting that He will make all things right
  • if I surrender to His Will;
  • That I may be reasonably happy in this life
  • and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

I was going through one of those times–one of those hanging by an emotional thread times, and I decided to Google The Serenity Prayer so I could print it out and tape it to my computer screen at work–tattoo it on my brain.  I had always heard the first verse, and that was what I was looking for–but WOW, have you seen the second and third verses???

It really begs for you to embrace the mess.  It prays for reasonable happiness.  Isn’t that weird?  That word stuck out to me the first time I read it.  Why reasonable happiness?  Because what do you learn in bliss??  Jack shit, that’s what!  Bliss is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but even if you remember to thank God–sometimes you relax into the wonderfulness of it all and unintentionally think that you had something to do with the bliss.

How often do you soar through life–noting only the mountain peaks and river valleys–and forget the non-dramatic plain?  How often do you savor the everyday?  I’ve longed for the everyday the moment a tragedy happened, but I haven’t enjoyed reasonable happiness as it was happening.

Being reasonably happy, to me, is looking for the good. 

Sometimes, you just have to really look for it.

__________________

Excuse me, I have some reasonable happiness on the couch to pursue.

The Meaning of Life in a Plate of Spaghetti

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In college, a group of sisters gathered in the Sorority House to make their first meal together as a group.  A couple of them (namely Me) had not cooked on their own before.  They decided on Spaghetti since it would be “easy enough.”  Great.

Once the decision was made, everyone went into action on their part of the preparations–and there the conflict ensued.

“Break the pasta before boiling, so the spaghetti will be easy to eat.”

“Never break the pasta.  That way you can swirl it with your fork and spoon shape it like the Italians.”

“Real spaghetti is made with meatballs.”

“No, spaghetti is made by adding pasta sauce to browned ground beef.”

“That sounds good, but it will taste better if the ground beef is also mixed with ground Italian sausage.”

“You can’t use sauce out of a CAN!  You have to make your own marinara out of fresh tomatoes!”

“I just put Ragu on top of the noodles.”

“Make sure you have a perfect bed of noodles laid out before putting meat on top.”

“No, mix the noodles, meat, and sauce together.”

“Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.”

“Are you serious?  We are in college.  Sprinkle some fridge style Kraft and call it a day.”

Just moments after the melee, it came to me: my life’s greatest lesson in a sorority house–Mama never would have guessed:

  1. We all make spaghetti the way our Mama did.
  2. It’s all STILL SPAGHETTI.

So whether you sprinkle, dunk, ash, Lent, fish-friday, speak in tongues, hymnize in a rigid wooden pew, or “rock out with your God out,” it’s ALL SPAGHETTI.

Please don’t fault someone else for how their Mama made it.  Lord knows, blesstheirhearts, they cain’t help it.

_______________________________

© SpiralSketchbook, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Today is really Today

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So I’ve “caught up” with my Lenten failure.  Today is really today.  It’s Sunday, and I’m back on schedule.
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I am so glad that my God is the God of second chances and character-flawed people.  I know he is showing me something, and I think that if I don’t waste all my creativity on my catch-up posts–that I might discover who He wants me to become.  Tonight’s church service focused on Mathew 25, the story of the talents–how ironic!  No, not how ironic, how serendipitous.
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I don’t want to bury my “talent,” and I want to embrace and leverage the unique qualities that make me me.  Commence the finding of the voice.  I hope I can be the born again virgin of Lenten personal development projects.

This is what the preacher said...in so many words and pictures

Do weekends count in Lent?

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So, here I am playing catch up.  Sorry God.  It’s actually Sunday, but I’m going to back date my blog, not to fool you–just to fool myself.

Really?  I failed at 40 days on the 4th day?  Do I suck that bad?  Ahem, to the one person reading this, “Do I suck that badly?”

I had a big job interview on Friday, and Hubbs (my husband heretofore) was hanging around the house doing yard work all weekend.  I had to help–at least a little!  I haven’t shared the Lenten blog idea with him–probably because he wouldn’t want me laying myself bare (nod to Adele) on the internet.

So, I am sure there are good Lutherans, Catholics, and others who have avoided their chocolate, beer, and pre (or extra) marital sex.  You WIN!  At least I went to church today–wait, it’s supposed to be Saturday.

Thank you for working with my beautiful mess, God.

Artist, writer, or poser of both?

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I’m glad I committed to GOD (for Lent) that I would write every day because I think I would have already old myself short on day 2.  Wow, what a woman!

I think I was a product of “you’re the greatest” parenting, coupled with crippling perfectionism and people pleasing, coupled with big-fish-in a-little-pond small townism.  The more people I meet, I think “Who the fuck french toast do I think I am?”  It wasn’t difficult to be great in school, but man, what follows is humbling–especially if you leave Home.

So, I’ve always wanted to write that Great American Novel.  Now that I am writing daily (sarcastic chuckle), I have begun to think that perhaps I’m just an essayist, a one-liner spewer, a clichette.  At best, I am the designated family Eulogy writer.

How in the HELL do people write fiction?  I’m scared shitless.  All I have are my stories and the stories that people have shared with me.

If writing doesn’t work, at least I have art–or do I??  Like Flannery O’Connor, who aspired to be an artist, I’ve been told that I write better than I paint.  What does that mean if I don’t write very well???

Letter to me, pre-30s…

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I’ve often pondered the idea of going back in time to talk to myself–before the Brad Paisley song stole my idea.

What would I say to the younger me?

  • To the highschooler that didn’t trust anything that comes out of a man’s mouth: You are not basing your anger on anything that happened directly to you.  Things may be more complicated than they look, and perhaps, although you think the world of your parents, maybe they aren’t as grown up as you think they are.
  • Live more.  Building a wall so you don’t get hurt is a surefire way not to have as many cool memories as you could have.  Start the conversation, say hello, smile more.
  • Don’t shy away from kissing Chris.  You will always wonder, and you will find out how short life is later.
  • On one of those weekends that you are sitting home sulking, GET YOUR ASS over to your grandparents’ lakehouse.  You will PINE for one more Friday/Saturday night.
  • Try to get Dad into more of a dialogue with you.
  • Don’t worry about mean girls.  You hang out with several of them in college, you are the President of their sorority, and some of them are mean to others because they can’t find anything worthy about themselves.  Oh, and being popular isn’t more fun–it just looks that way from the outside.  Insecurity eats at EVERYONE.
  • In college, paint more.  Try things that aren’t aesthetically pleasing.  Don’t sit down to paint the masterpiece every freaking time.  Experiment.
  • Trust your gut!!!  When you think about walking away that Christmas Eve, don’t stay just because you don’t want to be sad on Christmas.  You will muse later that you wasted time treading water with him.
  • Don’t date someone trying to prove an ideological point.  I take that back.  Prove your point, but bolt the moment you are treated like “he’s just not that into you.”
  • Believe your neighbor when he tells you to make a list of what you want in a partner.  The One really will bust down the door.  YOU ARE WORTH THE WAIT–and so is he.  Don’t degrade yourself trying to get the wrong one to like you.
  • Don’t be mad at your little dog when he wakes you up every morning.  You should get up earlier.  Make sure you enjoy him.
  • Call “Fang.”  She needs you.  Make time to visit her once you’ve moved away.

Wow.  That was cathartic.  Tomorrow’s idea:  What would my future self write to me right now?

Lent: Time to Scribble for 40 Days

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I grew up as a Baptist, and we didn’t celebrate observe Lent.

I was always mesmerized by Ash Wednesday: the magic, the sign of your faith right there for the world to see–the fish on Fridays thing.  We had a progressive preacher at the First Baptist Church of (Insert Small Southern Town here) who exposed us to Maundy Thursday and Ash Wednesday–until the high donation club finally had their way.  He was a cool intellectual type.  He once told me, “Everyone has a hole full of crap in their lives.  Some plant grass and flowers over it, and some dig it out and examine/take care of it.  Eventually you will have to confront this hole.  The question is — now or later.”  I went on the “dig it out” plan which was messy and involved therapy and lots of introspection.

I observed friends in Lent and always found the lack psychology an interesting phenomena.  Folks depriving themselves in order to focus on God?  How is avoiding chocolate, sex, or beer going to help you connect with Jesus?  (Especially if you don’t connect with Him enough on regular days…)  What about the overindulgence that commenced before and after the Lenten season?  It always felt wrong to me.  It felt like something that the Pharisee types would get off on.  Soooo…..

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I am hereby committing to blog for 40 days.  I think about doing things with my God-given talents, but how often do I ACTUALLY  DO them?

I avoid DOing to avoid making mistakes, making something ugly, or (GASP) making something that no one will like.  I always did better with a notebook than a unlined journal.  Somehow, whatever went into the good journal or fancy sketchbook had to be good.  I LOATHE scratching things out (which makes word processing cool).  I have the urge to abandon journals with a scratchthrough or a scribble.  As I stated in my About section, ” In college, I discovered I was a product painter.  My creations were only worthy if someone else validated.  Now, methinks it is time for something more.  I want to try for the sake of trying, experiment, and not worry about what the professor thinks.”

So, it is time to scribble, color outside the lines, make something that nobody will like but me–and finally be okay with that.  This may be the path to godliness for me this Lent.  If I accept myself and allow myself some room, perhaps I can show more grace (mercy and forgiveness) toward others.

Amen

Make sure you click —->SCRIBBLE