I have spent the better part of the past year working on our Mexican condo project and some things have been left to slide, such as my vast amount of sewing and quilting projects. But, hey, swimming and snorkeling are pursuits that I have enjoyed immensely and feel so much better for doing them. While in Mexico my fingers became itchy for hand work; crocheting, sewing, knitting, quilting. What kept my sanity was painting. I discovered at a lovely papeleria (stationery store), some paints, canvases, brushes and an easel. I started with a simple floral painting with a butterfly, and moved on to other techniques as well. The opportunity for creativity is very important to my feelings of self and happiness.
Being back in Canada for a short time has given me the gift of sewing again. My husband’s sister-in-law has gotten into quilting this past year and we like to send photos to each other of what we are working on. Yesterday, her comment was on how perfect my sewing was. I never thought much about that until today as I was sewing more pieces together for the next block in the quilt. I realized that over the years I have gained skills in piecing and sewing to be able to have my quilts look pretty good, everything matches, points still stay pointy, and blocks lay flat. If you are a quilter, you can appreciate what I am saying! Did this skill come immediately? Certainly not!
My friend, Wendy, is a piano teacher and also volunteers in the community as a pianist for events. She says that people always come up to her to tell her how wonderful her talent is and that they wish that they could play the piano as well as she does. She immediately tells them that they absolutely could be as good as her if they dedicated the amount of time that she did to be where she is.
One of my sons-in-law, had the desire to change his life. He has accomplished an incredible feat of being clean and sober for over a year now. He set some very honorable goals of becoming educated in fitness and health. It has brought such a feeling of joy to see him make changes and progress. After 10 years of drug use, he marvels at how much better he feels and thinks now. He had to get up and do it again and again to get to where he is today.
This adage goes for whatever skill we wish to be proficient at. Where do you spend your time? Do you have a goal to become skilled at something? I think back over the past 20 years and specifically about the goals that I had. I wanted to open a quilt store and share my love of quilting with others. Well, that did happen and I did have the opportunity to share quilting plus many other avenues were opened to me through this venture. I learned to use both sides of my brain to be both analytical and creative. I am a big believer in education and I loved to take courses to learn and be better at what I was doing. There was a constant drive to learn and grow and make progress. My day usually started at 5:00 a.m. and I sewed for 3 hours. Then I went to my store and worked there for an average of 8 hours. Those who run a business know that working on your business can be a 24/7 venture. I came to the point where I had to tell myself, that I wasn’t going to finish what needed to be done and it was time to go home and decompress. My husband half jokingly called the store the “Black Pit of Time”. It seemed to be never ending. But…I developed so many skills running that business and I am always grateful for that opportunity.
Some days it feels like I am making progress and then BAM! Three steps backward, I go. Two days ago, I was singing the frog song, “Rip it, Rip it, Rip it out!” I wasn’t used to making sewing mistakes. I stopped and thought about it. Maybe 20 years ago, I would have said, “Oh, well…carry on”. But, I’ve learned that one mistake will compound into a larger one unless taken care of. Quilt blocks do not fit nicely together when they are different sizes than they should be. So, it is with our lives. It is easy to feel discouraged when we continue to make mistakes. When you start changing and doing better, you can feel amazing. Remember that saying…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is just insanity!
A few years ago, I was thinking about my life and what I needed to do to have a better relationship with God. A simple way is to read the scriptures. I thought, well, easier said than done. How many people start reading the scriptures, feeling gung ho and then two weeks later something disrupts their schedule and they fall off their track? So, I decided that I needed a concrete goal with a schedule to stick to. To read the entire scriptures in a year and do it every year, I read the Old Testament in 6 months, the New Testament in 3 months and the Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in the last 3 months. Simultaneously, I read the Book of Mormon 4 times each year. It sounded like a lot and a little crazy, but I thought about where I dedicate my time to the Lord and this seemed like a way to accomplish my goal.
It is pretty easy to get up in the morning and check emails, social media, the news, etc. I decided that I was going to study my scriptures first thing in the morning instead. In exchange for this fantastic life that God has given me, how could I not give Him at least 30 minutes in the morning? 30 minutes out of an entire day…seems reasonable. Well, my goal did not run perfectly all the time. On a out of ordinary day (flying at 6:00 a.m., leaving the house at 3:00 a.m.), I would say, “Oh, I’ll catch up later in the day…or tomorrow”. That was a slippery slope! The adversary does not want us to read our scriptures or become closer to the Lord, so implanting those thoughts into our minds, is a great detraction from our goals. I quickly realized what was happening and then worked harder to do what I needed to be successful. Life is certainly not smooth sailing all the time. The storms and ills come our way. But the more we get up and try again, the stronger we get. As we continue to strive for worthy goals, the Lord will bless us for our continued efforts. Sometimes it feels like those blessings are blowing in the wind somewhere else and not towards us, but I can tell you that they are definitely there.
No matter the goal or the changes you want to make in your life, it can happen with a sincere desire. If support is needed, it will be there. I love how God puts us each to use in other’s lives. We can be the angels of hope and love to each other. Then we have our legion of ancestors who have passed on and act as our angels from heaven, wanting us to be better than ever and wanting to help and support us. All we have to do is get up and do it again, making progress within our lives.