Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thoughts on Friendship

I have a confession: I have a tendency to overthink things. No really - it's true. I will frequently get lost in my own head thinking about things over and over. I often lose sleep due to the practice. It's because of this last part that I have tried shifting my focus lately to the WHY instead of the WHAT. "Why am I killing myself over this one little thing?" "Is it something worth losing sleep over?" The answer to that one, more often than not, is no. 

Now, before I lose you, let me tell you that something I have lost a lot of sleep over throughout the years is friendship. I have always had only a few close friends, yet countless acquaintances. That small clutch of friends has changed over the years. At times, I've had a surprising number of people I considered close; and, at other times, that number would dwindle down to perhaps one. The number of close friends, for me, has been declining rapidly over the past year. Some endings were my decision, some not. This is what I want to talk about, because here's the thing: I'm losing a lot less sleep over it, these days. 

Facebook and other social networking "apps" have given us a new illusion of friendships, I think, in a few different ways. First,  I think they have given us a false sense of friendship and of "popularity" (as if this should even matter at our age). There are those who judge their own self-worth by the number of friends they have. I am not even going to get into this because I don't understand it. I am not one of these people. 

Second, I feel they have given us an unrealistic expectation of our friends and friendships. Here we have this technology that will allow us to be in contact 24-7 and, therefore, "if I don't hear from [insert name here] more often, then something must have changed and he/she doesn't like me anymore." The truth is that we're adults and have our own lives. We end up judging one another from hundreds of miles away based on a lack of information. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to you. 

Third, this "networking" has actually given us access to new people with whom we may have more in common and who can meet our individual needs better than others - maybe even better than people we have known all our lives. We hang on, however, to friends who do nothing for us. This is the essential question to me - WHY? Is it loyalty? Is it stubbornness? Is it the inability to let go for one reason or another? Why do we torture ourselves? Maybe it's time to start making decisions for ourselves and stop losing precious time by fretting over other people's motives. 

So here's another question: Do you have a "friend" over which you are losing sleep? If the answer is yes, then I am giving you permission, right now, to go delete them from your list. Let them go. Give yourself permission to be happy and guilt-free. 

Friends sometimes grow apart. Needs change. Circumstances change. Know that everyone comes into your life for a reason, but that reason isn't always permanent. Being friends with someone shouldn't be hard. It shouldn't stress you out or bring you sleepless nights. If you've done something intentionally, then yes, you might lose some sleep; but asking for forgiveness from a true friend shouldn't be difficult. True friends love unconditionally. There are no limits. If a friend has put limits on what they are willing to do for you or with you, maybe they're just an acquaintance after all. Maybe their purpose in your life has been fulfilled, or yours in theirs. It is OK to let go. 

I think it's time for reflection and discovery. Think about what you need in a friend. Think about what your friends need. Maybe that friendship that is stressing you out is a result of you not being able or willing to meet their needs anymore. And that is OK too. It happens. The person who can meet their needs may already be in their life. The person who can meet your needs may already be in yours. And holding on to this old relationship may be the only barrier in both of you moving on and meeting those people. I will repeat myself again here: it is OK to let go. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Art Journaling

I have fallen in love with art journaling! I've been watching a few of my favorite artists create their own pieces  (such as Melita at Artful Fancies), but have been sticking to digital art, myself, for the most part. Digital art journaling can be so cathartic. I'm a perfectionist, usually, so when I start getting my hands messy in paints and inks, it's difficult for me to keep going once I feel I've "screwed up". (I know, I know - I'm getting better at this - it's called letting it dry and stack on top of the mess!!)  With digital supplies, however, you can use them over and over and over. And if a paint splat doesn't look "just right", move it!  It is great practice for breaking out of one's shell, for sure. Once I got myself out of the habit of obeying "The Rules" of scrapping, I really began to feel as though I was creating art. And that, in turn, gave me the confidence to finally get my hands dirty in the paint and ink!

Here are some of my favorite pages that I've created digitally:


World on Fire

Stand Alone

Have No Fear

Lost Voice

And I did mention above that I finally found the confidence to get dirty! So, without further ado... here is my first official piece of "real" art journaling on paper:

(created using acrylic paint, Higgins inks (used for misting), embossing pattern plates, paper doilies, rubber stamps)
Although I worked on it for hours and I could never decide when "done" was actually DONE, I knew it when I saw it. There came a moment when I just saw it come together and knew that was it. I stamped my quote in the middle and that was that. It's so much darker than I'd originally planned, but I love how the layers around the edges ended up giving it a depth I couldn't have imagined. ;)

Here are some of the progress shots I took along the way...


So, go get your hands dirty!!  Or if you're not ready for that, then try out some of the awesome digital supplies you could start out with. 

Here are some of my favorites:

DISCLAIMER: As a creative team member for one or more of the aforementioned designers, I have received their products for free in return for creating and posting projects (digital layouts, hybrids projects, etc). Some but not all of the layouts you see here were done as requirements for these CTs, please be advised that products used were received for free if I am on the designer's creative team. Any additional advertising that I may do for them or for the stores with which they are affiliated is purely out of my dedication to these designers and the wish to see their business succeed. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Dragonfly Prayer

Ancient, flitting spirit,
master of light and precision,
Dragonfly, I call on you.
Teach me to dance

in the disappearing mists of dawn.
Show me the beauty of each day
by marrying thought and emotion.
Help me see through the illusions that bind me
and understand those that enliven my soul.
Help me understand
that light penetrates 
as well as paints,
that colours deepen as time flows past,
that controlled flight is, indeed, possible.

Please, weave the light of transformation 
and adaption in my life.Dragonfly,
I call on you.

I'm in search of inspiration.  I am in the process of starting my own business.  I have always love beading. I bead jewelry, Catholic and Anglican rosaries, "non-denominational" prayer beads.  It started as a hobby a long time ago, but I started selling pieces in 2006 and did pretty well with it.  The only problem was that I was doing it while working full-time and attending school full-time (not to mention raising a toddler), so it became increasingly difficult to make the time for it. 

Of all the pieces I created, my favorite were the custom orders for both rosaries and jewelry. The majority of my customs were rosaries. For most of the orders, the "guidance" given in the process was a favorite color or perhaps a description of the person to whom it would be given. I spent a lot of quiet time making those and praying/meditating over them as I worked. At the bottom of this post (as well as in the left-hand sidebar) is a selection of the pieces I created in 2006.

Long story short, I have the opportunity to now do this full-time. I am very excited about it, but I've stalled out in an important part the process... choosing a name for my business.  I had a name that I used before, but it never felt "just right". So, here I am, starting over and trying to find a name that encompasses what I do.  I know that I'll use a dragonfly in my logo, but there are already hundreds of businesses out there with dragonfly in the name. 

Anyhoo.... I'll get there.  This part is just taking longer than I had hoped.  :)  

UPDATE:  I do have a name, now; as well as a logo!  I've just got to find the start-up money, at this point. lol It's ALWAYS something! ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Little Girl

On May 13, 2012, I took our oldest daughter, Hannah, to the American Girl Store in Atlanta to celebrate Mother's Day. We were also celebrating her 9th Birthday which, for the first time, fell on Mother's Day - What a special treat for me!

We had realized several months ago that both occasions would be falling on the same day, and I had promised Hannah that we would do something special. Knowing at that time that my husband and I were planning to move to the Atlanta area, I had immediately thought of the American Girl Store, but a lot of things had to fall into place before I could commit to that. Thankfully, everything did fall into place and I had the opportunity to take Hannah on a day-trip without her knowing where we were headed.

We had such a great time, but it really made me miss the everyday moments that I don't get to experience with her.  While thinking about this, I came across a template challenge on one of my favorite digi-scrapping websites - The Shabby Shoppe's Easy-As-Pie Template Challenge.

Template challenges are a lot of fun when you might not have much time, or when you're having trouble getting into "your zone".  And, sometimes, it's fun just to see what you can do with it to be different from everyone else! How can I change it up?  How can put myself into this design and make it my own?

This is the template provided for the challenge. (It's a free download!)

Here is the page I created for the challenge:
Easy As Pie Template Challenge #26 Template
Shabby Princess' Clementine kit
All the Cool Chicks font
The journaling reads: "I miss you so much whenever we are apart, and I hate that we are apart most of the time. You are getting to an age where you are going to need me more and I want to be there for every moment. You take it all in stride, though, and it makes me so proud of you. I think it all hits me harder than you just because I know what is coming for you... I know the things that will be changing and the questions you’re going to have.  I just hope that we maintain the relationship that we have right now where you feel comfortable enough to call me at any time. And, at the same time, I hope that I have the answers you need. I love you so much, Hannah, and I miss you! You will always be my little girl - no matter how grown up you get."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

While I'm Waiting

This is one of my favorite songs.  For those who know me, it's no secret that the movie Fireproof is an absolute favorite of mine. I found it during a very difficult time, emotionally.  The movie and the accompanying book, "The Love Dare", changed me profoundly.  It is so amazing to see the changes you can make within your own life, as well as the lives of those around you, when you choose to love.  And I'm here to tell you that "while you're waiting" for those answers to your prayers, learning and practicing God's love is one of the most worthwhile things you will ever do in your life. Period. 

While I'm Waiting Lyrics 
by John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will not faint I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

[ from Fireproof Soundtrack ] 

(I need to add, too, aside from the impact this movie had on me from a spiritual standpoint, it is also a fantastic movie from a firefighter's point of view. It rivals even "Hollywood Blockbusters" we've seen. My husband and I are both volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders, and we both found ourselves on the edge of our seats during the very realistic action sequences.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hello Mornings!

I'm joining in on the Hello Mornings! Challenge in August... I'm very excited!!

Check it out here...
"There is nothing special about the Challenge, we are just a community of women pursuing God each morning. But there is nothing in this world that has the power to transform your life like consistent time with God. He made you, He knows you, He has better plans for you than you can imagine. He wants you to know He loves you and that His Grace is sufficient for everything you face. Is there a better way to start your day?"
My Inspiration for Mornings
Virginia Beach, VA
July 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Let There Be Light

wadaduga: dragonfly in Cherokee
dragonfly sketch by MSDragonfly
Have you ever woken up one day and knew that it was time for change?  Perhaps it was just a feeling, or maybe you looked back and saw a progression of things that built up to a climax that made this need for change hit you in the forehead like a brick?  Yeah, I have the former every now and then, but it usually gets ignored... then, cue the latter. Brick, meet forehead. Forehead, meet brick.

This figurative brick came to me recently. Last Thursday, specifically. It was the morning after having found out the truth about a situation that I'd chosen to ignore for quite a while. I had pretended for too long that it was something that it wasn't - or rather, I pretended it wasn't something that I knew it really was. I won't get into specifics as to the situation because, frankly, my feelings were hurt so much, it was like blinking and being back in high school when my eyes opened. I'm a little embarrassed that I ever let this situation get this far.  The point is, of course, that I realized I have allowed myself to revert back to someone I used to be: someone who lets life lead her around by circumstance and lets those in that life walk all over her.

Well, no more.

I'm embracing my totem, the dragonfly. Thanks to my husband's Cherokee heritage, my "native" name is "Wadaduga" as seen in the photo above written in Cherokee.  Dragonfly's keynotes are change and the power of light.
"Dragonflies remind us that we are light and can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. "Let there be light" is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life." 
When the dragonfly appears to you, you should be anticipating change. I've learned enough since I began to truly connect with dragonfly, that they're serious.
"If a dragonfly has shown up in your life, you may need some fresh air in regard to something emotional. You may need to gain a new perspective or make a change."
Hmmm... ya' think?

Anyway, so here I am and I'm ready to start making the changes I need to make within me - two major themes come to mind: 1. Suck it up, and 2. Grow up!  And it isn't as though I am lacking in time, at the moment.  With having just moved, I am still at home; my job being that of unpacking and organizing this place. These changes are going to require a lot - emotionally and spiritually.  But I'm ready to for that. I'm ready to become someone that I can be proud of.

The initial plan, to this point, has been for me to go back to school in the fall and finish my certification as an Emergency Medical Technician. I don't know if this is what I should be doing or not.  I'm doing a lot of soul-searching and praying about it, looking for guidance and a clue to my path.  'Cause here's the thing... I know that deep inside, I have a purpose. I feel that this purpose has some "spiritual" nature to it... I just don't know what it is, yet.  And it may be that I need to follow through with EMT, anyway, and figure out the rest of it along the way.  My only fear is that I will devote all my time to school to get the certifications. Then all my time will be devoted to work. And, next thing I know, I'm sitting here in this same situation two or three years from now no closer to finding my true purpose than I am now... or than I was two years ago or ten years ago.  I'm 36 years old.  I want to know what I'm going to be when I grow up by the time I'm 40.  I don't have to actually "BE" it, yet, but I'd sure love to have a clue by then. I'm just sayin'.

Andrews, Ted. Animal Speak: the spiritual & magical powers of creatures great and small. (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2008), p. 340-342.

And since I love showing off my pup, Mac... here's a new pic. ;)