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Intention and the Power of Habit

So I’m going to meander a moment. Wanted to warn you ahead of time!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of habit over the past months.  I’ve discovered life runs more smoothly for us if we follow certain “rules” or habits or rituals… call it whatever you want, but doing the same thing in the same way or putting your keys in the same place every time you walk in the door makes life easier in the long run.  I’ve learned putting my keys on the rack first thing when I walk in the door means they are there when I’m leaving the house in a hurry.  Or putting my shoes in the closet ON the shoe shelf makes getting dressed a little easier and makes my day less frantic since I’m not hunting for shoes to wear!

This idea of habit was reinforced to me this morning.  I have a very special necklace that I wear all the time. I rarely take it off even when it clashes with other jewelry I might put on that goes with a particular outfit. The necklace is ver special to me: Steve gave me the chain, the cross is one handmade by an Irish artist who makes the crosses from grave rubbings of ancient crosses in Irelan, and Steve gave me a beautiful diamond a few years ago for my birthday. I wear the diamond and the cross together on the chain – the cross represents Jesus’ love for me and the diamond represents Steve’s love for me; when I reach up and touch it, it is a tangible reminder that I am well and truly loved.

Like I said, I rarely take it off. Usually only if I am having a massage or if I swim.  I realized on Christmas morning (when Steve gave me a new chain) that I wasn’t wearing my necklace. I didn’t think much about it knowing my habit is to hang it on my necklace window.  (I need to take a picture for you! Ted made it from an old window and lots of different door knobs!) At any rate, this morning I decided I would put it back on. I went to my necklace window and my necklace was not where I usually put it.  I started hunting through my necklaces and couldn’t find it. I started to get really worried and in almost panic mode started hunting:  I took down all my necklaces one at a time to see if it had gotten tangled in with another; then I sorted through my make-up container; then I searched my car; the I searched my purse. The necklace was nowhere to be found and I was really worried that I had lost my cherished necklace.  We got home from church and when I went to the bedroom to change clothes, the light struck my necklace window just right and I saw a knob with necklaces still on it – BEHOLD! my beloved necklace was hanging there with another on a knob I don’t normally use. I tend to have a system to hanging my necklaces – this one necklace always gets hung on one knob – until the day it didn’t.  I am wearing my necklace and am so thankful that it is not lost. But the lesson of habit once again reared its head.

How does this story apply to my larger life. Does the power of habit have a larger lesson for me? I think so.  My habit is often to berate myself about physical shortcomings: I’m not pretty enough or strong enough, I’m not as in-shape as I should be, I don’t eat as I should… you know the drill.  Then in the sermon this morning, Phillipians 4: 8-9 was read. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”   We are told to think about what is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things.  We are to put into into practice what we have learned.   Hmmm… My thoughts about myself do not fill the bill.   I believe my thoughts are the result of HABIT. I was taught early – around the age of 10 – that I was not living up to the high standards put forth for me. I was often told of my shortcomings. What I was told become my own mantra and became my habit.

I know I rambling.  bear with me.

Looking forward to 2014 and thinking about my word “Intention” and thinking about the focus of my blog “creativity”, I’m thinking about how to make changes in my life and how to break the habit of self incrimination and create a habit of self love.  Like lost keys, misplaced shoes, and my beloved necklace, can I create a “hunt” for myself if I break the negative habits?

 

Intention – word for 2014

The last day of 2013 has dawned and has me thinking about what I accomplished in 2013 and what I want 2014 to be.  Looking back at my few and very scarce postings here, I think I actually accomplished many of the things I wanted to this year. I said no to cleaning what was already clean enough; I spent time with friends and family; I gave up a church commitment I no longer felt lead to do and found no joy in; and I took up 2 other commitments to my church that bring me much joy.  Remember my word for 2013? DELIGHT  I think I was able to let that word lead me in decision making most of the time. Don’t get me wrong – I had frustrating days, and days of tears, and days of barely keeping my head above water, BUT I think remembering that I wanted my life to be filled with DELIGHT, I had more days of joy and less days that were less than joy-filled.

I know I barely posted last year. Blogging is not my priority – often I am way too busy doing the things I love to take the time to write down what I’ve done. When I first started blogging, I was told “never blog unless you have pictures to post. No one wants to just read words”.  I’m going to break that rule. I’m also going to break the rule that says I have to have something of significance to say.  Who knows when just a few words written here can make the difference in someone’s life (including my own)?

So today, I ask:  did you like your life in 2013?

If so, are you able to maintain and fill 2014 with those things that make life fulfilling?

If not, what things do you want to change? I’m thinking hard about this very question. I want to be sure that my goals for the year are sustainable and not things that by Jan 31st,  I will have forgotten about or decided are too hard.

I can tell you I’ve chosen my word for 2014:  INTENTION

Merriam-Webster defines Intention like this: the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose

Over the next few days I will be thinking about and posting about those things I believe I can do in 2014 to make my life one that is joy-filled and purposeful.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

 

Friday Fill-Ins

Well, I’m not sure what happened to the blogger who was providing the prompts, but I really like the idea of Friday Fill ins so I will continue to make up my own prompts!

1. One of my favorite quotes is:

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Love this quote!  I spent way too many years of my life trying to fit it and be like the people I was with. It was exhausting! I love me just the way I am.

2.My favorite form of exercise is belly dancing.  I love the movement, the music, and the women.

3. The best part of waking up is waking up to Steve beside me. He is truly the love of my life.

4. The kindest thing anyone ever did for me was several years ago I went into a florist shop on my birthday to buy myself a bouquet of flowers. When they were ready (and they were beautiful!!!) the florist told me the gentleman ahead of me had paid for my flowers and told her to tell me Happy Birthday.

5. Tonight I hope to veg out in pjs watching TV with my sweetie, tomorrow I want to go get a hive of bees, and on Sunday I will go to church and then wait to see what the day holds (a nap? reading? working on my circle quilt?)

Until next time,

Circle Quilt

My friend, Liz, challenged me a couple of months ago to begin making a circle quilt. It’s something we’ve talked about on and off for a long time and she said it was about time we did something about it.

I spent some time on Pinterest searching for circle quilt ideas. I found a few I liked, a couple I knew I was NEVER going to make (do you see me making blocks that have hundreds of curved pieces???), and more interesting quilts than I could ‘shake a stick at’ (some of my southern heritage sneaking through).

I decided to make a scrap quilt.  I collect scraps. I find it very difficult to throw away even the smallest piece of fabric. I always think I can use it in some way.  I dragged out my large trash bag full of scraps and dumped it on my sewing room floor (should have taken a picture of that!!!).

I drew 7 1/2 inch circles on parchment paper and roughly cut them out.

Then I started sewing.  In a foundation piecing style, I sewed fabric strips to the parchment paper covering the drawn circle. I started out thinking I would make a table cover or runner, but I found the sewing to be addictive. I pieced all the circles I had traced and cut out and cut out more.  And all those really short strips that I had left over from piecing the circles???? I traced 2 1/2 circles and kept on sewing!!!

 

I made myself stop at 48 large circles and 35 small ones.  After pressing them well, I tore the paper from the back and pressed them again.

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I bought a nice green fabric for the background. I attached the circles to the green squares using a simple zig zag stitch.

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Here is the top so far. I LOVE it!!!!  I love the colors, I love the movement, I love the bright happy colors!

At this point, I’m trying to decide what to do next. It needs a border all around to frame it, but I don’t want it too busy. I have a couple of thoughts and as soon as I make a decision, I’ll let you know and show you the picture.

Oh! and my bag of scraps????  It’s a full as ever. I’m reminded of Jesus feeding the 5,000!

Art Suitcase

I saw a couple of pictures on Pinterest where people had taken an old suitcase and transformed it into a case for carrying art supplies to class (or to a friend’s house).  I love them. I “pinned” them and told my friend Liz about them and she fell in love.  She challenged me to find a suitcase and then we would work together to transform a couple of suitcases to take with us when we take a class or when we go to Houston in October.  Grace was with us the day we were looking for suitcases and got caught up in our fever and joined us in this challenge!

Here is the suitcase the day I bought it. ($2 at our local thrift store!)

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I had to clean it up but it really is in good shape.

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Next step was to find some fabric to cover it. I wanted a fabric that would coordinate with the suitcase color because I did not want to paint it and the inside was in really good shape.

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We met at Liz’s house this morning and the transformations began:

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I bought a 12 x 18 inch piece of sheet metal at Lowes and I covered one side with my fabric. I used Mod Podge to adhere the edges to the back side of the metal. Then I used E6000 glue to glue it to the inside of my suitcase. Here is a shot of all the stuff I have laying on the covered metal so the glue would stick well.

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The inside flap was the same gold as the suitcase and it looked ‘blah’. Grace and Liz said I should paint it. I mooched a bottle of acrylic paint from Liz and WOW! I love the difference!!! On the left is that covered metal sheet.

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And this is the opposite side of the flap. Same gold color, but with a great pocket in excellent shape.  I used Heat N Bond to fuse this piece of striped fabric to the flap, tucking it deep into the pocket.

Here are 3 shots:  two of the open suitcase showing both sides and one of the outside.

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Isn’t it cute????

Now all the background work of transforming the suitcase is done. There are several small projects I want to accomplish to make it a truly useful tool. I’ll keep you posted.

Friday Fill ins

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I was really hoping to hear from some of you about what you think my most well known quirk is. I didn’t get a single response…  I’m thinking this may just be a type of diary for me rather than a way to reach out to anyone else.

So, after a week of thinking about it, I still can’t decide on my one most well known quirk!  I still believe I have many.

The person who provides Friday fill ins did not do so this week. I guess that means I’m free to ramble on my own.

1.  One of my Pet Peeves is the use of artificial everything in every diet out there!!!  Really?  Just because I want to lose weight, I have to fill my body with artificial, man-made, often scary junk????  Why isn’t there a diet out there that uses whole, natural, organic food?

2. A new challenge I’ve given myself  is to see myself as beautiful, strong, and just as I need to be. Have you seen the “new” Dove campaign?  It brought me to tears. 

3. I had a new “dawning” this week: I am responsible for too many lives! 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 beta fish, many pond fish, and 15 chickens!!!

4. Life is too short to spend it cleaning what is already clean enough; say no to friends and family who would like to spend time with me (I mean what a BLESSING to have family and friends AND have those who actually WANT TO spend time with me!)

5. This evening I will have dinner with a friend whose company I thoroughly enjoy; tomorrow I plan to Bless my house, work in the garden, and spend time with my hubby; and on Sunday I plan to go to church, see my kids, and rest and relax in preparation for another busy week.

Which brings me to one last light bulb moment I had this week:  I bought an iPhone a couple of years ago. I refused to learn to use all the gadgets saying I didn’t need them. Slowly I learned that some of them are brilliant. I started using the Calendar and loved that it was so convenient to use.  Over the past few months I have found myself busier and busier and could not understand why.  I’m not sure what possessed me, but I took down my paper calendar and transferred my phone calendar to the paper one. Geez!!! I really am busy!!!  AND THEN IT DAWNED ON ME!

Years ago I used a weekly calendar and found myself busy all the time. I changed to using a monthly calendar and I found it allowed me to have more control over how I planned my time. I could see that this week already had several meetings or outings and if asked to do something else could say “this week is busy, how about next week?”   By relying on the calendar on my phone, I lost my control over planning my time.

I’ll still use my phone calendar because I love it! I love setting the alarm to remind me it’s time to stop what I’m doing and get ready to go.

I’ll never again go without my paper calendar!  In just one week, I’ve already been able to adjust some things and I believe this is my last busy week before some semblance of balance re-enters my life!

Friday Fill-ins

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FRIDAY FILL-INS

And…here we go!

1.  Right now I’m writing on my blog! (is that a duh? OR am I supposed to tell you I’m making some iced tea to drink once I’m done in readiness to watch another episode of White Collar?).

2.  _____ is my well known quirk. Wow! this is a hard one! I have more than one!  I’d love to hear from you what you think my ‘well known quirk’ is!!!!  I’ll tell you NEXT Friday what I think it is!

3.  Are you content In my life, being content is much more important than feeling happy. Happy is a quick, fleeting, siren-call kind of emotion. I can be happy and in an instant feel another emotion (anger, sadness, jealousy…).   To be content is a solid, stable, kind of ‘BEING’ that provides me a foundation upon which to feel the emotions of life. ARE YOU CONTENT?

4.  Cut  first, then Sewthere’s few better ways to spend a free day than gathering fabric, cutting it up and sewing it back together to create the patterns of a quilt block.

5.  That’s why I love.

6.  Buffy is one of my favorite tv shows ever! (I’ve watched it end-to-end at least twice and got most of the way through its sequel Angel.  I’m actually considering watching it through again!)

7.  And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to Rachel and Kiyah coming for dinner and Kiyah staying overnight; tomorrow my plans include time with Kiyah!;  and Sunday, I want to attend our church, Watershed, and have lunch with Prime Time! (Prime Time is a group of us from church who gather once a month to share a meal and chat)

I hope each of you have a wonderful weekend!

Peace,

DeLane

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