Friday, July 29, 2016

Lazy vs. Rest

Lazy implies a lack of motivation.  Resting implies motivation, but intentional pausing of motion. Lazy is de-motivated.  Resting is intentional.  Resting is rejuvenating.  Lazy is negative momentum. 

I know I need to rest.  I know I am not lazy.  I know I work very all the things I do.  And yet I still feel guilty about resting.  Why is that?  

It's not that I can't stop doing.  I can pause and be intentional, but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking.  I'm thinking I could just go put one load of laundry in.  Then it will wash while I rest.  I can just wash one sink of dishes.  They can dry while I'm resting.  I can just fold that one load of laundry. Then I won't have to stare at it while I hang out with my kids.  I can just organize that one spot in my office that keeps catching things.  Then it won't distract me when I walk by.  I can just clean up the coffee table.  Then I will feel better about it when I sit down on the couch with my daughter.  I can just...  I can more thing.  "One more just" is robbing my peace--if I let it.

It's not enough to not do.  It's not enough to cease motion.  I have to calm my mind.  I have to focus on nothing.  I know it sounds a little silly and a bit too simple, but if I write things down, then I can stop thinking about it.  Then I know I won't forget because it's recorded.  Even with that, though, I don't rest easily.  I have to choose to rest.

 color: NEW UL nautical blue
How do you rest?  How do you rest your mind?  Tell me in the comments below.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

What I Learned From a Piece of Wood-Part 3

I wrote last week about some of the lessons I learned while getting to assist my hubby at the wood shop.  (Check those out here and here.)  This post is the 3rd installment in this mini-series.

One of the projects the men are currently working on is made from beetle kill pine.  It will be finished this week, but since creating furniture or anything else from wood takes time, it's not done yet.  As I was helping to plane and layout the wood,  I asked if the beetle kill aspect is what gave the wood the beautiful, blue streaks.  Indeed it is.  It's actually a fungus.

Here's your mini science lesson for today...  The beetles (which are only about 5 mm long!) carry the blue stain fungus as they burrow themselves under the bark of the various species of pine trees. Through a series of events, the stain gets into the innards of the tree bark and spreads, eventually killing the tree.  The beetles move on to the next tree and so the plague continues.  What is left is dead pine trees which may or may not be able to be used.  If it sits too long in the forest after it has died, it can begin to rot and breakdown, rendering it unusable for anything beyond firewood...unless some craftsman come along to rescue the dead wood and make it into something beautiful.

Beetle Kill Pine Close up

Beetle Kill Pine

The fungus is what makes the wood beautiful, but it's skill and love that turn it into something extraordinary. Of course, I don't want our trees to die.  I like breathing.  But like attacks on humans, I'm sure this plight of beetles killing trees was meant for harm.  What Satan intended for harm, God allowed good to come from.  When we allow Him, God can take the rotten, stained pieces of our past and make them into something beautiful.  He is a skilled craftsman.  He can take addiction, abuse, unchecked anger, or any other rot that makes us feel worthless as humans, and turn it into something beautiful, something extraordinary.  All we have to do is ask Him to come in and cleanse us and craft us into a new creation.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

What I Learned From a Piece of Wood -2nd Edition

Repeat.  Again.  One more time.  Just a little more.

It's meticulous work to create things from wood.  One little piece off at a time.  Straighten.  Look. Straighten.  Push.  Keep it level.  Shave off some more.  Look again.  Shave off a little more.  Check again.  Finally it's good.  Next piece, please.  Repeat.

As I watched (and helped!) my husband work in the shop last week, it was amazing to see the amount of repetition and refinement that it takes to create something from the raw materials.  For the table we were working on, we had to plane each piece to the correct thickness.  It was several passes for each board.  Once they were to the desired thickness, we ran each piece over the joiner to even and smooth out the edges.  It was a several hour process to get all the pieces through the first round of refinement. 

 color: UL lime green

Are you sensing a theme here?  Refinement doesn't happen all at once.  Whether you are crafting a table top, or working on your writing skills or just starting your Crossfit journey, it takes time  and small changes after small changes after small changes to become and create the end goal.  Be patient with yourself.  Be patient with the process.  And enjoy the process.  The process is your life.  This moment is your life.  Even when it's hard and meticulous and repetitive, you are being refined.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

What I Learned From a Piece of Wood

I got to help my hubby in his shop yesterday.  I don't usually get to help in a hands on kind of way at his shop.  It's more of an exercise in my directionally gifted nature kind of interaction when he's working on a project for me. I felt like a super handy, wonder woman version of myself as I pulled planks out of the planer and fed them through the joiner time after time.  It was really interesting to get to be the woodwork helper for the day!

As an artist and creative writer, I'm always looking for life lessons in the everyday things we do. Helping at the wood shop did not disappoint.  As I helped support the planks of wood through the planer, it would occasionally get stuck and it needed a little bit of help to keep going.  As in, I had to brace my foot on the machine as I pulled the board out.  Life, too, is a refining process.  We do get stuck some times.  We can get a little warped in our thinking which causes us to get stuck when the pressure is on.  Instead of pushing through in our normal fashion, we need help.  We need someone to pull us along, as I pulled the board through the planer.  Or sometimes we need someone to push us a bit to get past a rough spot.

 Color: UL royal blue

I loved the visual representation of the struggle.  The board was beautiful, but in order to be made into something usable and lasting, it had to be chiseled down from it's original condition.  We're the same way.  We can very easily get out of balance and off center in our thinking, whether it be from our families of origin or trauma that has happened along the way.  But if we decide we want to become something beautiful and useful, then we can pick an area an work on it a little at a time.  For example, if I want quit cussing, I could choose to eliminate one of the bad words at a time.  I could replace it with something else.  Or what if I want to eat healthier, but I don't know where to start. Start with one thing.  Eliminate soda and replace it with water.  Big change is hard, but a little change can be easier to incorporate to make lasting change.

What little thing are you going to shave off your habits or out of your life today?  Do you need someone to give you a little pull or a push?  Enlist them.  Now get on down the road to becoming you.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

EDIT: If you'd like to check out what Custom Woodwork Designs is creating, you can follow them on Facebook.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Zing Dreams

Do you dream about the future?  I mean really dream.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed by my current circumstances--even though I know they are temporary and there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  I know there is some relief coming in a very short time, but I was still getting bogged down on the journey to get there.  Then I got a zing!

The zing gives me renewed energy to work toward a goal.  The zing gives me a momentary excitement to keep carrying how did I get this zing?  By really dreaming about the future. When I say dream about the future, I'm not talking about dreams when I sleep.  I'm not talking about having a goal that I occasionally talk about with my hubby or kids.  I'm talking about detailed, specific, multi-faceted dreams.  Let's look at an example.

Eyes closed.  Deep breaths...  I'm sitting across the couch from hubby.  It's December 26th.  The holidays are done.  We paid cash for all our gifts.  There's still a bag of left over gift wrap trash in the corner and we're sipping our coffee from our favorite mugs. No regret because a credit card bill isn't coming to haunt us later.  We open our bank statement.  We have 3 months expenses in our savings account, and all our debt is paid off.  I'm jumping up and down in my seat on the couch.  I'm giddy!  My client base has grown and my side gig now pays as much as my full time gig.  Hubby's business is also consistent--more than we could ever have dreamed or planned for!  We're at peace as we sip our coffee in our pajamas.  Now I can schedule to have more time with the kids.  The kids are all smiles as we tell them it's time for Mommy to do her thing now.  It's a blessing.  It's not a curse to cut back on my work hours.  I've done the work and now I can reap the benefit and feel the satisfaction of having done it.  It's no longer a far off dream and hope.
To sit there and feel that dream as if it's real gave me the zing.  It gives me a zing as I read it again. Because I looked at so many details and pictured it almost as if it were a memory instead of something in the future, I am almost tricking my brain to do the work.  Now I can go do the actual work to make it happen in real life.  It's not that far away and I'm well on my way.  It's time.

 color: UL spring hyacinth
Go here to get your "Dwell"

What zing dream can you create today?  Take 5 minutes and do it.  Details.  Details. That's the key. Feel the real.

Now go make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Why Do We Need Distraction??

I'm sitting here writing this post for this coming week and I'm struggling with words.  I have words, but they're not the right words.  Instead of focusing and digging into the challenge, I keep grabbing my phone to look at Pinterest, or Facebook, or Instagram.  Why do I do that?  I know I'm not the only one that does it.  In fact, I get onto my kids for doing that very thing quite frequently.  

"Go do something with your hands," I tell them...and then I sit down at my computer.  I justify it in my mind by telling them (and myself) that I'm doing something for my business.  While I am doing something to grow my business, my platform, my ideas, my brand, my whatever it is, I'm also just distracting myself.  Then I feel guilty for not stopping and paying attention to them with undivided attention.  

I just stopped typing to look at my phone.  Yuck.  Is this an addiction?  Seriously and truly, I believe it is!  I do actually have to look at my devices for my business, but it's become more than that.  I've read that when we get a notification on our phone, our bodies react in the pleasure centers of our brain. Therefore, it feels good to get a text/email/facebook/instagram/whatever notification.  That's why we keep coming back.  Does it feel pleasurable to pick up our phone?  The actual act of picking up my phone really does nothing for me.  It's not a warm hug from my kids.  It's not a passionate kiss from my husband.  So why do I do it?  I don't like the headlines these days.  I'm so over the election junk. (I'll be voting, but I don't want to hear about anything else.) I have beautiful, wonderful, honest, and true friends, so I don't need to be most popular on facebook. So, again I ask, why do I do it?  Outside of getting the word out about my or my husband's business, I don't know

 UL color: electric pink
I'll be adding this to a box for phones & tablets, at my house. Get yours here.

Being the "doing" kind of person that I am, I am going to take action.  I need to walk away from the notifications on my phone.  Yuck. (I just picked up my phone again to look at it.  I was in the middle of typing a sentence!) Aside from my calendar, I will be turning off all the notifications on my phone for the next week.  Something tells me I need to go longer, but I'll start there.  I'm truly disgusted with myself right now.  Since I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I know I can do this. Anyone want to join me?  You'll have to comment below because I won't be checking facebook for responses...

Make it a beautiful day, friends.  Go enjoy the day.  Put your phone down.

I will continue to post on Instagram and those other places, but just because I'm working on some really fun projects right now and I want to share that with you.  Thanks for following me (@JensWallsTalk).  You can also subscribe to this blog by scrolling down to "Follow by Email" box at the bottom of this post.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Begin with Your End

I have fairly decent math skills.  I can even do algebra...and I actually use it every day at work. (Crazy!  Who knew it was applicable in real life?) But I really didn't like geometry in high school. Proofs were most definitely the worst thing ever when it comes to high school math.  I just couldn't get it.  I couldn't figure out how to work backwards from the end.  At that point in my life, to work backwards from the answer didn't seem to be any sort of logical.  I would get a cloudiness in my mind that I wasn't accustomed to and it sucked.  Fast forward 23 begin at the end is how I accomplish and complete almost every task that I undertake.

I'm writing a book.  It's a big undertaking.  I've had this story rolling around in my mind for years, and it's time for it to come out.  I don't have all the pieces, but I have nuggets and snippets of the story that I know for certain need to be in the book, but I was getting lost.  As I work through it, I've learned a couple things; first, one does not write a story in the order that it happens from beginning to end.  That was a weird epiphany for me.  I've been reading for a long time now, and I always read from the beginning to the end.  It never occurred to me that the stories aren't written that way.

 UL electric pink

The second lesson I've learned from writing a book is that it is really helpful to start with the ending. It doesn't have to be the very first thing you write, but, like so many other things in my life, it's extremely helpful to know where I'm going.  Otherwise, I'll wander.  It's really funny to me that I can start to write, whether it be a blog post or a short story or a novel, I don't know exactly what I'm going to write until I write it.  But if I have the end in mind, then I have guidance and a compass to work back to, no matter what twists and turns happen along the way.

What ending do you need to set for yourself before you get there?  Career goals?  Retirement planning?  Loving marriage?  Set the end goal, then take steps to get there.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Hope in the Election

Politics is not my thing.  I'm thoroughly annoyed by it the majority of the time, while being simultaneously thankful that I live in the country that I do and am able to enjoy the freedoms I have. I've heard that in some other countries they have a 6 or 8 week campaigning season and then the vote is cast and ballots are counted.  That would be lovely!  This drawn out system we have in the USA currently is ridiculous and wasteful.  I digress, though.  I said I'd offer you  hope for this election.  

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1)

God knows what He is doing.  He is in control over every detail, whether Satan wants to admit it or not.  I'm not saying we don't have free will.  We do.  I am saying that we know that God works all things for the good of those that love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  So even if I'm forced to choose between less than ideal choices (and that's being generous!), I can take comfort in knowing that God is still in control.

 UL robin's egg

The other part of this equation is that it is our duty and responsibility to vote when given the opportunity.  GO VOTE!  It's a privilege. 

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

What Did You Catch?

You've probably heard the phrase "more is caught than taught" when it comes to teaching our kids the lessons we want them learn in this life.  Yesterday, I had one of those opportunities, whether I wanted it or not.

While attempting to take my son to his sports physical on the craziness that is free sports physical day, I received a phone call from my husband telling me that there was an error with the order of shingles he had placed...that was supposed to be delivered right then.  He was not in a position that he could leave what he was doing.  The rain was coming soon.  The old shingles were already torn off (and hence any protection they would normally provide).  And did I mention it was already starting to sprinkle happy, little rain drops?  He couldn't leave.  He had to finish "drying in" the roof before the rain hit in full force.  And the shingle order had to be fixed.

I am not a roofer.  I have never been a roofer.  I really don't know that much about roofing other than what I hear second hand from my husband.  But I was the one that had to calmly go to the hardware store and straighten out the mix up.  Remember how this story started?  I was at sports physical day with my son.  He got to witness the entire ordeal.  To the hardware store we went.  To the contractors desk.  To the lady upstairs.  Downstairs to the manager.  Back to the lady upstairs with the manager.  Fill out paperwork...and leave.  To the car we went after talking to everyone we possibly could.  Then we had one more conversation: with God.  We got to the car and I prayed a tired, unrehearsed, frustration laden, emotional prayer.
"Holy God.  I don't know what else to do.  Help.  You are in control.  I am not..."
 UL Caribbean Blue & Lilac Bouquet

It was a pretty desperate prayer, as my 13-year-old son watched.  I don't know what he saw yesterday. I told him it wasn't a time to freak out.  We just have to go do what we have to do.  We have to fix it. There is no other option.  So did he see blue vaser tenacity or did he see a quietly desperate mom walk away and surrender to the God who created all of it?  I hope he saw both.  Because it's not quitting to turn to God in prayer and you've done all that you can do.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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