This morning I thought about some of the reminders that keep me centered on what is important in life. I share them with you in hopes they will cheer and inspire.
Family Stories: As a family, we have an ongoing archive of stories we repeatedly relive amongst ourselves. Those joining our family get togethers are initiated into this library of memories as members reminiscent their favorites.
Today’s favorite I will call “Pierced Ears.” When Josiah and Rebekah were small, they played and fought together like sister and brother. Josiah was only nine months younger but so commanding and convincing that Rebekah often believed everything he said.
Once during a time of play, Rebekah started sobbing uncontrollably saying, “Josiah said I can’t have pierced ears!”
“But you do have pierced ears,” we assured her.
I think about this story when I doubt my ability to live out the dreams I feel are meant for me. That voice of doubt says “You can’t have…” and I remember Rebekah’s pierced ears and what I already have.
Treasured Paintings: My husband and I bought several Thomas Kincade paintings of the “Great Outdoors” to remind us to return to places like Yosemite Valley.
We went to Yosemite on our honeymoon and again last fall. Nature soothes and balances us. We remember our finiteness when in the presence of such majesty. Nature provides a stark contrast between what only God can create and the fabricated world produced by humankind. Nature provides a peace that someone far greater than us holds our lives in His hands.
Sustaining Scriptures: I have several life verses that remind me of what is important. My all-time favorite is from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah.
The prophet Jeremiah’s argues with God, “Why is my pain perpetual refusing to be healed? Will you be to me as a deceptive stream whose waters are unreliable?”
Then God responded to Jeremiah, “If you will return to me I will restore you. If you will extract the precious from the worthless you will be my spokesman.”
This wisdom keeps me mentally connected during the worst times of my life. Like Jeremiah, I whine about my pain and then something reminds me to “extract the precious from the worthless.” There is always something of value to focus upon.
Self-Correcting Slogans: I learned many slogans from the Twelve-Step Movement. My favorites remain a constant mental reminder that I am like a child who is in an ongoing growth process.
“Striving for progress not perfection.” This slogan reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect to be acceptable. I am in process. Another favorite is one that my former Twelve-Step sponsor used to say when I was too hard on myself, “When you know better, you’ll do better,” I learned to accept my mistakes as part of the learning process.
Garden Patches: Staying close to the earth reminds me that personal growth takes time and attention. Healthy self-care is necessary for fruitfulness. Gardening involves pulling weeds that threaten to choke the life out of my plants. There are those people and activities that choke the life out of my soul. There are times when weeding is in order for new growth to have room.
I must faithfully water my purposes with self-reflection and humility. I am a finite being who needs divine perspective in order to stay on my path of destiny. Regular writing, quiet listening, and purposeful sharing provide this wisdom.
Gardens also remind me that life is seasonal and fruitfulness eventual. There are times when I need to withdraw in order for roots to go deeper. There are times when I must delay my desire for instant gratification and allow the maturing to happen. When I pick the product of hard labor, some is for others and some is for me.
Family Fortune: Whether you have an actual family from birth, one from adoption, or a group of people who draw together, family is fortune. Family consists of those who believe in you and take the time to show support with words and actions. Family provides continuity from one generation to the next with prayers, advice, and fun.
Families celebrate life with weddings, funerals, and reunions. My mom’s side of the family is planning a reunion coinciding my cousin’s daughter’s wedding in March. I finally decided to take the time and spend the money to be together with them.
Creativity Energizes: When the urge hits to do something creative, move the mundane aside and dive in. I often mull over an idea before stopping to plan a time to try the idea. For example, I envisioned these forest-type fairies for a children’s story I was writing and then set aside a time to sketch what was in my mind.
I often use photographs to help me with proportion by using a light box. My husband took a picture and then I made a black and white copy to see the shadows and highlights.
You can follow the process by clicking on this photo link to my creativity site.
Creativity is the frosting on top of life’s cake. I always smile after I make something new. Exploring various art forms calms my mind and energizes my soul. I work with a youth culture that thrives on tearing down each other in attempts to boast insecure egos. When I create something, I enjoy a feeling of building. This is essential to my mental health and happiness.
I try to remember that life is short and in the end, all I can take with me are my memories. These reminders help me to pass on a little hope and faith along the way.