A Quitter’s Giveaway

All that talk about me being a quitter in last week’s post reminded me of a quote I found once on Pinterest.  It was a quote from Sonja Foust, an author, that read, “If you don’t like what you’re doing, stop. Sometimes you get it in your head that you want to be a writer or a painter or a weight-lifter or whatever and then when you start doing it, you don’t actually like it that much, but you keep trying because it was your dream, dammit! Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s your dream and you can kill it if you want to.”  Now, on the heels of my emphasis on determination, I thought I would clarify that it is okay to change your mind and stop doing something.  I’m doing a quitter’s giveaway to clarify my point.

Your Dream

So, here’s the deal.  When I started diving into The Power of a Bucket List at age 19, I had a much different list forming.  It had a couple of items that I THOUGHT I dreamed of doing; for instance, sewing.  Making my own clothes sounded fabulous.  I had purchased a sewing machine with high hopes, but they flitted away as a friend of mine taught me how to make pajama bottoms.  It was fun at first, but it slowly became a frustrating task and I found that I was often handing over my pajama bottoms to my friend for her help.  The project made me realize that I do not like sewing.  Using the machine had its perks and I enjoyed the results when things turned out properly, but overall it’s a very meticulous activity that I have little patience for doing.  Plus, it’s not as affordable as I thought it might be, so I couldn’t even justify sewing as being worth my time and money.  I learned that what I really wanted was the ability to sew on a button and fix a hem, when the need arose.  All the really cool creations are best left in the hands of my Step-mom, who is an excellent seamstress, and my daughter, who can get lost in the activity for hours on end.

That being said, I would like to give away my copy of Sew What! Skirts: 16 Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics.  It was given to me in the days when I longed to sew my own clothes.  I’d like this book to go to someone who finds peace in sewing versus frustration.

I joke that this is a quitter’s giveaway, but I truly don’t consider myself a quitter on this matter.  I think it’s perfectly okay to try something out and realize that it’s not for you.  Isn’t that what all those years of dating were all about?  We can learn new things about ourselves as we grow older.  Many times our experiences lead us to re-prioritize what matters most to us.  Sewing is certainly a great skill to have, but it’s not the type of skill that I want to further develop.  I’d rather put forth the time to become healthier physically, which is saying a lot about how I feel about sewing.

Have you tried something that you thought you would love only to find out that it’s not really your thing?  Or, did you think you wanted to try something but realize that it was more the idea of such an activity than the reality?  I know at one point I contemplated sky-diving, just because it seemed cool.  However, after giving it real consideration, I don’t have the desire at all.  Also, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I thought I wanted to run a full marathon and then admitted to myself that the idea of running that long sounds horrifying.  A half marathon will do nicely.  To enter this quitter’s giveaway, share with me your changed opinion about an activity in the comments below.

Remember, it’s your dream.  You don’t really need to be quite as violent as Sonja’s quote above and “kill it,” but there is truth in her words.  It’s perfectly okay for YOUR DREAM to change to fit the real you, who you’ve come to know, versus a forced idea of what you once thought you wanted to be in life.

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Find a Way, Not an Excuse

It’s no secret, I’m a slave to the Summer Bucket List every year (2013, 2014, 2015).  I don’t know what it is with me, but a bucket list motivates me to make things happen, particularly a Summer Bucket List.  This Summer is no different.  Despite moving across town and still trying to grasp the fact that I have four children, I have stayed on track to complete this year’s list before school starts.  I hadn’t given much thought to my success with the bucket list until I came across this quote I saw by Jim Rohn, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”  What it comes down to, is that I really want to complete the bucket lists.  So I set out with more determination than usual and I find a way, not an excuse.

Find a way, not an excuse

I genuinely have never considered myself a determined person, perhaps because I so often was teased about being a quitter.  Of course the teasing came from solid examples.  As a child, I took up soccer and quit after the second practice because the coach reprimanded me for something and I took it personal and told my mom that I was done.  Not too long after, I started singing lessons.  I went to two lessons before I quit that as well.  My reason for quitting?  The teacher told me that as a singer I would need to cough in a more delicate manner than I was used to doing.  It seemed absurd to live a life with throat clearing versus a solid cough.  I’m laughing as I type this, but it really is true.  That is why I stopped.  I chalked it up to my love for singing being recreational and, decidedly, not professional.  Then, between Jr High and High School, I took up volleyball.  I was not a natural, as I had never done sports before.  In fact, I remember the coach being surprised when I did a successful play.  Then came hell week, and it was, well, hell.  So, I quit.  So you see, I didn’t have the best reputation for seeing things through to the end.  So, it should come as no surprise that I thought very little of my ability to see anything through or “to find away.”  I was always so good at finding an excuse.

Then a remark was made about me while sitting with my siblings, their spouses, and my dad and step-mom over dinner.  My dad was talking about how he plans to have his ashes scattered at the top of Mt Whitney (the highest summit in the contiguous United States).  He wants them scattered there, as he has climbed it 30+ times successfully.  He mentioned that he intended to have some friends of his take the ashes to the top and scatter them.  I was quite hurt that I would not be scattering them myself, even more hurt that my Dad didn’t think I could pull it off.  I get it, I do.  I’m not athletically inclined nor am I even deemed healthy, but still I should be the one scattering my father’s ashes.  Shocked by the news, I remember speaking up and saying, “Hey, wait a minute!”  Then there was some laughter, because well, it’s me.  I really am in no way prepared to undergo such a feat.  Then, my sister-in-law spoke up on my behalf.  She said, “Sara could totally do it.  She can do anything she puts her mind to.”  I was shocked at my back-up.  Frankly, I wasn’t sure she was even right.  It made more sense to think that I couldn’t climb Mt Whitney than that I could.  But here she was defending me and, in that moment, I remember feeling a little more confident that I could succeed at anything if I really wanted to give it a go.

Then, flash forward to the summer of 2012.  I was visiting my BFF up in Los Angeles and we were sitting on a bench in Griffith Park while my older kids played on the playground.  I still lived in Southern California at the time.  I brought up to her that Aaron and I were thinking about moving to Central Oregon.  I explained to her all the reasons why we thought it was best for our family.  Finances being one of those reasons.  She responded, “Well, how long until you guys get your finances okay and move back?”  I informed her that we had no intention of moving our family back to Southern California.  This would be a permanent move.  I wasn’t ready for the disappointment on her face.  Truly, the mood in our day changed and I felt so sad in that very moment.  As though I could somehow ease her pain, and my own, I told her, “It might not happen though.  Aaron still hasn’t gotten a job.”  She sadly said, “It’s going to happen, Sara.  Anytime you’ve set out to do something, it always works out.”  Such a flattering thing to say, but I could not for the life of me figure out where she was getting this impression.  I still don’t really know.

It wasn’t until the second Summer up here in Central Oregon that I started to believe that maybe I do have a bit of determination in me.  It was when I started the Summer 7 months pregnant, had our baby mid-Summer, and then had the Stroke of Luck the following week.  I had already prepared my 70 item bucket list (only 50 items are posted publicly, as 20 items are location specific) before the Summer began and somehow I was determined to complete it regardless of the curve balls that kept seeming to be thrown my way.  This was the Summer that my BFF gave me words of encouragement from over the phone, “Where there’s a will, there’s Sara.”  For the first time, I actually felt like I had some actions to back up her words.  I was determined (to the point of annoyance to some, I’m sure).  Even if it meant being inconvenienced, I was going to find a way, not an excuse.  And, I did.  All 70 items were completed before the first day of school.

Sitting here writing this makes me want to ask my sister-in-law and BFF what gave them the impression in the first place that I could achieve anything I put my mind to, as it seems I gave so little reasons in my life for that to be the case.  But, yet, they saw it in me.  Regardless, how do I implement this determination into other aspects of my life?  Like, exercise perhaps.  No, seriously, how do I?  I don’t know.

Is it as simple as printing my Life Bucket List out and placing it on the fridge the way our seasonal bucket lists are on display?  Making it a constant reminder for me to make things happen?  Because, you see, I already know that the bucket lists are good motivators.  So, while I want to work on being healthier, it doesn’t seem to work to say, “I’m going to exercise so many days a week.”  I will come up with an excuse.  I know I will.  However, if I want to accomplish #22, Run a Half Marathon (side note, the original list I made said that I wanted to run a marathon, until I realized that I really have no desire to run a full marathon.  It actually sounds pretty miserable.), then I’ll begin to work in that direction and a healthier body will follow naturally.  Then, a healthier body will leave me better suited to carry out #7, Climb Mt Whitney, because my sister-in-law believed that I could, and I want to prove her right.

I get that bucket lists don’t work for all.  I’ve even read a post about 7 Reasons Not to Make a Bucket List.  Honestly, I don’t understand how I get so fired up about them.  But, if a bucket list is what makes me find a way, not an excuse, then a bucket list it will be.  I feel like the stated reasons why not to make a bucket list are more based on bucket lists that are too lofty.  Sure, I have some places that I want to travel, but few, if any, are so specific that I risk not attaining my goal due to a jellyfish migration issue.  Many of my bucket list items depend on personal achievements, not trying to one-up somebody else’s passport stamps.

Life Bucket List #39 - Have a Large Family.  Check.
Life Bucket List #39 – Have a Large Family. Check.

What I’m getting at here, is that we should all look at what motivates us in our lives to find a way, not an excuse.  I speak from experience, that it really is a rewarding feeling to know that I am out making stuff happen versus watching the world around me go by.  I like the way I feel when I find a way, not an excuse.  I feel at odds with myself when I find an excuse.  So, here’s to bucket lists, determination, people believing in you when you might not even believe in yourself, and seizing the day!  Go find a way, not an excuse!

Serve, Love, and Uplift!

As previously mentioned, our family is in the process of moving.  I spent three hours last night trying to pack and clean my kitchen.  I felt like I should have had more boxes to show for it, after all the work I put into it.  Speaking of work, I experienced firsthand the blessings of working to combat worry, as mentioned in It’s Time for Work.  I learned that my mind couldn’t even contemplate complex ideas, as it was already preoccupied with playing high-stakes Tetris, where each box had an ultimate goal of being perfectly packed.  I’ve resolved that the lack of boxes was due to my expert level Tetris skills.  I digress.  Can you even digress when you’ve only begun?  I wanted to talk about packing kitchens, but not as it pertains to Tetris.  Let’s move on, shall we?

I guess you can have some additional thoughts, beyond the task at hand, when you’re working.  Because I started to get nostalgic over the menial task of packing a kitchen.  I realized that packing a kitchen has sentimental value to me.  I began to recall all the kitchens I had packed and unpacked in my adult life.  The kitchen was my most dreaded packing task and, I confess, I left it for last.  I left it for last because I knew my mom would come in and handle it.  Because that’s what mom’s do, right?  At least, that’s what my mom did.  I have never been good in the kitchen even when it’s in working order.  So, it makes sense that I’m not much of a kitchen person when it comes to packing either.  My mom, however, was a kitchen packer, and a darn good one at that.

My Mom was the official dishwasher at my Nana's Christmas parties.
My Mom was the official dishwasher at my Nana’s Christmas parties.

But then my kitchen packer, and best friend, passed away.  Even more tough is that she passed away in the home where we lived together, along with my husband and daughter.  So, while she was there for the unpacking and placement of our kitchen, she was not there when it was time to move on.  She may have been there in Spirit, but she certainly wasn’t pulling her weight in the matter of kitchen packing.  Wasn’t she aware that I still needed her?  I’m making light of it here, but the thought that struck me last night was that we take for granted the simple things that make a difference in someone’s life.  I wonder if I ever properly thanked my mom for packing the kitchen that was inevitably left for her to handle?

I can’t say that I remember who helped me pack that first move without my mom.  I admit that I have very little recollection of the first six months after her passing.  My only guess is that I was placed on some sort of auto-pilot setting for my protection.  Unless there is a picture or video of an event to show for the Spring of 2008-Winter of 2008, it’s lost in the database that is my brain.  It’s difficult to think of that, as that also happens to be the first 6 months, or so, of my daughter’s life.  But, that’s all for another post on another day.

Continuing on with the exciting topic of kitchen packing, I take you now to the second move without my mom around.  It was December of 2009 and we were moving into our very own condo.  The only problem is that I had recently had my tonsils removed, then during the recovery of the tonsillectomy, I threw out my back so badly that I had to be taken by ambulance to the ER.  Again, a fascinating story for another day.  So, with this move, I had to rely virtually 100% on the help of others.  I think I had 5 women from church come and pack up my kitchen.  I remember feeling both helpless and grateful for their kindness and service.

On this particular move, the unpacking had as much meaning to me as the packing did.  As my Nana, my maternal grandmother, helped me unpack my kitchen, while my grandfather and Aunt painted my girls’ bedroom.  It was particularly special to me, as my grandparents weren’t customarily hands on when it came to my personal life.  They were always loving and supportive, but my relationship was largely based on my family visiting them.  So, this service from my Nana has always been dear to my heart.  It is the only time I recall working side by side with my grandmother.  It made me feel closer to her, and, strangely, my late mother as well.

About three years later, it was time to pack up that same kitchen.  I had lots of help from friends and family this time, but I mostly remember my sister-in-law’s presence.  She was astonished at the lack of packing I had done thus far for my upcoming out-of-state-move.  Oops.  She gave me a firm, but loving, reprimand of, “EVERYTHING goes in a box.”  I can’t be certain how many times I heard that line that evening, but I will never forget it.  As simple as it sounds, that really is the best packing advice I have ever been given.  It makes for the easiest loading and unloading process you can imagine.

Now, we’ve come back full circle to this move.  Here I am, again, packing up a kitchen.  I haven’t left it for last, because my mom will not show up and handle it, as she always did.  Though, if it worked that way, I would gladly halt all of my packing efforts this very instant.  No, this time the packing has alternated between my husband and I, as the other often has the task of keeping the kiddos occupied.  And, as I spent those three hours packing alone last night, I couldn’t help but be filled with sadness over the loss of my mom and gratitude for all the people who have given service in her place over the many years now.

It’s not just about the packing and unpacking of the kitchen, it’s about the gratitude I have for being a recipient of countless acts of service.  I feel like sometimes we shortchange ourselves on the impact that we make in another person’s life by serving them.  I’m certain that the women who have helped me pack or unpack my kitchen are completely unaware of the significance that their act of service had on my life.  I’ve heard it said that you can never replace your mother.  I know it to be true.  But, what I’ve also learned is that it’s something pretty beautiful when multiple people step in and help where a mother might have before.  I’m talking about the women in my life, old and young, who have been a sounding board, who have helped with my kids, who have offered a compliment when I felt like I was utterly defeated in my role as a mother, the list goes on and on.  I suppose I should not be gender specific, as I have also had many men, my father included, serve our family in numerous ways.  It just happens that I tend to be surrounded by more women in my role as an at-home mom, and have been lovingly served by those same women.

I realize this post is probably self-serving, which is ironic based on the message I’m trying to convey, but I just felt like sending out a general “thank you” into the universe.  Thank you for all of the service that my family has received through the years.  And thank you, whoever is reading, for every little act of kindness you have done in your own life.  I thank you, on behalf of every recipient of your kind deeds, and tell you that your service has made an impact for good, even if it did not seem appreciated.  Sadly, some people are not mindful of the blessings they’ve received through the hands of another.  May I never fall into that category.  May people always know of my gratitude, from something as simple as a text offering packing supplies to something as wonderful as Tupperware being returned with a $20 gift card inside to your kids favorite fast food, which I might add both happened today.  Even cooler, I didn’t need to get the packing supplies offered from one person, because I had already been given more than enough packing materials from another kind friend.  These good deeds do not go unnoticed in my world.

May you be blessed with the ability to see all the acts of kindness that have been done on your behalf.  And, when possible, take the time to share your gratitude.  When you’re done doing that, go out and be the good you want to see in the world!  Serve, love, and uplift!  That’s what this whole scatter-brained post is about!  It’s about the overwhelming gratitude I have for the people who have served, loved, and uplifted me; and the motivation it gives me to go out and do the same!

Serve, Love, Uplift

It’s Time for Work!

I strive to be as open and honest about my bouts with depression and anxiety, in hopes that my candidness may help someone else who feels they are suffering alone.  Even though the rational side of me is well aware that others suffer similarly, there are times when I feel isolated in my struggle with mental illness.  Fortunately, I am not enduring a drastic low right now.  However, my anxiety has been a constant battle as of late.  The most common anxiety indicator for me is chest pain.  It’s hard to describe the physical feeling, as the chest pain manifests differently depending on what type of stress I’m trying to cope with.  For instance, the chest pain that comes from a large grocery bill when I know money is tight, is different from the pain that comes from feeling overwhelmed emotionally with personal matters.  With an upcoming move, it seems I’m having to endure both types.  Moves are expensive and emotionally draining, am I right?  This is why I need to rely on this quote I found by the late Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, which reads, “The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is to help someone even more tired.”  Reading this made me think, “it’s time for work!”

Best Antidote for Worry

I realize that I’ve discussed anxiety and not worry, but many feel they go hand in hand.  I look at worry as anxiety’s intern.  Worry is more controlled than anxiety.  Worry feels like something I can reason with and overcome.  Anxiety feels like this beast that takes over me.  While worry seems more manageable than anxiety, my guess is that they can both be eradicated with work.  So, that’s what I’m going to do: work.  Thankfully, I have plenty of opportunities to work, as boxes don’t pack themselves.

While, I don’t feel like I’m struggling with despair, I have still witnessed the great blessings that come from forgetting myself and serving others.  I’ve also noticed, being the wife of an ER Nurse, that my burdens seem to pale in comparison when I hear what others are enduring at the hospital.  There is always someone who is in greater need of comfort and service.  My desire is to increase my efforts to work and serve, and realize that those efforts will only bring about good.

And in those moments, when the days work is done but my mind does not seem to agree, I will try a little trick I discovered the last time I struggled greatly with anxiety.  Instead of thinking of all the “what ifs,” I will focus my mind on positive memories.  At these times, I like to recall memories of my mom.  I look at the memories as real and solid.  The future is made up of unknowns and the memories are fact.  Sometimes, the best way to stop fretting, is to remind yourself of all the goodness that has been your reality thus far in life.

With that being said, it’s time for work!

Feeling Uniquely Wonderful

As it states in my About Me section, “I receive daily opportunities to debunk my irrational thoughts and live to the measure of my full potential.”  This past Sunday was one of those days, when I noticed a trait in a friend that I wanted to work on in my life.  She is a woman I know through church.  Joy is written in her countenance and it’s amplified through her energetic smile and engaging eyes.  When speaking with her, it’s clear I have her full attention.  Not only do I have her full attention, but she appears genuinely interested in what I have to say.  Even more than that, she showers me in compliments when it seems there is nothing compliment-able about me.  In short, she makes me feel like I’m the coolest person in the world every single time I talk to her.  I admit, it’s pretty good on the ego.  Here’s the catch though, if I were to ask someone else if this friend left them feeling uniquely wonderful as well, they would all answer yes.  So, does this mean that she is not sincere?  The sincerity of such a friend, has always left me in question.  If someone makes everyone feel like they’re the coolest person ever, who really is the coolest person ever?  I think I finally found the answer to my internal debate this past Sunday, when I came home from church feeling uniquely wonderful.

Before I share my answer, I think it’s important to give some background information so that you know that I truly have struggled with this for years.  It all started with my Grandpa.  Every time that I arrived in my grandparents’ home, I would give both my Nana and Grandpa a hug.  And every time I hugged my Grandpa, I would ask him how he was.  And every time I asked him, he would always respond, “I’m better now.”  Every time.  I immediately felt like I had made my Grandpa’s day.  He was better because I was there.  It took years before I realized that he said that to everyone that went up and hugged him and asked how he was.  Everybody made him better.

But, how could that be?  Wasn’t I the best?  That’s probably the real issue in this debate, is that I somehow need to know where I land in the ranks of someone’s love and devotion.  Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that if I was not the best, then I wasn’t really enough at all.  Woah.  There’s a personal realization that I wasn’t expecting to stumble across while writing this post.  I digress.

So, my Grandpa was the first person I noticed that has this ability, and my church friend is the most recent.  But there are others that I have crossed paths with that have this knack.  I’m sure you can think of such a person in your own life.  They’re the type of person that makes everyone they come across feel perfectly okay being exactly who they are.  They celebrate you every time they are around you so that you walk away feeling uniquely wonderful.

Perfectly Okay

As I’ve come in contact with more of these people, I’ve decided that they are completely sincere.  My Grandpa really does feel better with each embrace he receives from a loved one.  My friend genuinely enjoys when I teach a class at church.  Other friends with this gift, really do find me enjoyable to be around.  They don’t say these things just to say them.  They see the positive in people.  They recognize the joy that others feel when they know they’re loved and appreciated.  They, in turn, feel joy knowing they have brightened another’s day by expressing their uplifting remarks.

As often is the case, I have discovered something about myself through the exercise of writing a post.  Where I was originally planning to share how I would like to become better at uplifting others, as these type of people do, I now want to remove this subconscious thought process of ranking myself in other’s eyes.  For instance, let’s say that someone tells me that I’m a good cook (keep your laughter to a minimum, please) and I hear that same person tell another person that they’re a good cook.  Can we not both be good cooks?  What is it about me that needs to know what level of “good cook” I am versus the other person?  Oy vey.  I’m flashing back to my post Stop Comparing and Reclaim Joy where I referenced Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  This need to compare and rank truly is the thief of joy.  It’s caused me to take the kind remarks from a friend and question their sincerity and my worth.  How sad is that?

Well, it seems as though I’ve got a bit of debunking to do, if I want to rid myself of this ridiculous need to rank my level of awesomeness in the eyes of each person I meet.  If I do slip up and get this insatiable urge to rank myself, perhaps I’ll have enough wisdom to recognize that I am #1 to one spectacular husband and four incredible children!  It really is no wonder I struggle with insecurity when I’m subconsciously filing myself in a particular category for each person that I know.  Oh man.  Why do I feel like I’ve opened a can of worms with this realization?

#1 in their eyes!
#1 in their eyes!

Before I freak out anymore, let me answer the question I originally posed, “If someone makes everyone feel like they’re the coolest person ever, who really is the coolest person ever?”  My answer: All of us.  All of us have the right to be around people who leave us feeling uniquely wonderful.  And my heart’s desire is to make sure I am better about leaving people feeling just that way.  I’m certain that the more I accept the compliments given to me as being sincere and the more I strive to show my love and appreciation for others, the better suited I will be to live to the measure of my full potential.

Envisioning the Potential

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to hangout with some friends at a local park while our kiddos played.  I got to chatting with one friend who enjoys refinishing furniture.  At the time, she was in the middle of working on a family heirloom hutch.  I was sharing with her how impressed I was that she was able to undertake such a task.  I explained how terrible I am at envisioning an object being transformed into something better.  She responded saying, “That surprises me based on the nature of your blog.”  Her comment led me to ask myself, “Why can I envision improving myself, but not envision furniture becoming something better?”  The answer came quickly, “I’m not good at envisioning the potential when the gap between the ‘beginning’ and the ‘end’ is too wide.”

I did my best to explain myself to her.  I told her about 2004 Sara, Present Sara, and Future Sara.  If you had told 2004 Sara that she would have four children, be happily married, have endured severe depression along with the loss of her mom, and would be living in Oregon, she would have scoffed.  Just as, if you were to tell Present Sara that Future Sara will be physically fit and traveling the world, it would fall on deaf ears.  You see, envisioning the potential, when huge strides are involved, is not my forte.  I hope to be physically healthy, but I don’t really see it happening.  Isn’t that terrible?  If I’m honest with myself, it just seems like this unattainable goal.  I can swallow the idea of taking baby steps to being marginally healthier (Hence, the one burger a week goal mentioned in Who Do I Want to Be?), but the idea of being my ideal weight just seems far-fetched at this point.  Perhaps my lack of ability to envision such a Future Sara is what keeps me from becoming her?  I certainly know that my lack of envisioning the promising potential of junky old furniture has prevented me from purchasing such a piece.  This is why my friend’s remark has really left me contemplating my belief in a person being transformed.  I know it’s possible, as I’ve seen it in certain aspects of my life, but that’s only when I look at things in hindsight.  Apparently, I have greater difficulty envisioning the potential of Future Sara.  This brings me to another discussion I had with my husband.

My friend's refinished family heirloom hutch completed.
My friend’s refinished family heirloom hutch.

My husband and I were discussing the opportunities we have to fulfill a greater purpose in our lives than we are now.  Let’s use my lofty Life Bucket List as an example.  There are items on there that require money, a physically fit Future Sara, and some untapped adventure, among other things.  And, if you recall, I have a longer Life Bucket List that has an additional 20 items that I did not make public.  This master list has items that are more spiritual in nature.  So, in discussing this matter with my husband, I brought up my conversation with said friend at the park.  I likened myself to an old junky piece of furniture and a refinished piece of furniture.  I explained to him that I just can’t see how junky-old Present Sara can turn into refinished Future Sara.  He responded wisely, as he often does.

::COMMERCIAL BREAK::  We have an upcoming move that leaves us in need of multiple furniture items.  Seeing as how we know a few people who are savvy at refinishing furniture, we thought we would call upon their talents.  The plan was that we would find a cheap piece, tell said talented friends what we want, and pay them for their services.  Are you proud of me for attempting such a task, as it contradicts everything I have typed thus far?  One of the friends, who plans to help us, mentioned that when searching for a dresser, we need to make sure the drawers slide appropriately.  Apparently, having to fix drawers makes the project more costly and complicated.  It’s not impossible, just more difficult. ::NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING::

So, my husband explains to me how I have it all wrong.  He informs me that when likening myself to the refinished furniture analogy, I’ve put myself in the equation incorrectly.  I was looking at it as though I had to refinish Present Sara and turn her into refinished Future Sara.  It turns out, I’m not the refinisher AND the junky old furniture piece.  I’m just the furniture piece and our Heavenly Father and Savior are the ones helping to refinish me, according to my husband.  Then he says (and this is why I gave you the COMMERCIAL BREAK above), “All you have to do is slide your drawers, Sara.”  My part in the analogy is to be sturdy and keep those drawers sliding smoothly.  And I believe that wholeheartedly.  His explanation, along with that first conversation in the park, has helped me realize that I can be a refinished Future Sara and I don’t have to go at it alone.

You’ll notice in the COMMERCIAL BREAK that neither my husband nor I are planning to refinish the furniture ourselves.  We recognize that there are others in our midst that have a passion for this hobby.  We’re just going to find the furniture that is sturdy and fits our needs.  In short, we’re getting help, just as we do in our own lives.  We don’t get to a better version of ourselves entirely on our own.  We become someone greater through experiences that strengthen us, people who encourage us, testimonies that build us, opportunities that surprise us, and a loving Heavenly Father who guides us.  Don’t misunderstand me, we have our part as well.  I don’t intend to sit here ideally and wait to be transformed into something grand.  I’m just learning that I don’t have to know exactly how I’ll get from Present Sara to Future Sara, but I do have to believe that it’s possible.

My original purpose for this blog was to share insights I’ve had that have helped me become a better person.  I continue to receive these little pieces of enlightenment in my life that I hope might inspire someone else to believe in themselves more.  Clearly, I have much to learn in the way of envisioning the potential I have to truly be what I hope to become.  I need to have as much faith in myself as my Father in Heaven and Savior do.  Even having as much faith in myself as my husband has in me would be a significant increase from where I’m at now.  This is not easy for me.  The Unlikely Perfectionist speaks to this weakness of mine.  I get overwhelmed by this idea of refinished Future Sara and I panic.  Turning into her is just too hard, so it seems easier to stay as junky-old Present Sara.  I’m still sturdy and sliding my drawers, but I’ve yet to allow the refinishing process make me something even more beautiful.  It’s time to begin.  Having this analogy in my arsenal has already given me greater hope.  I don’t have to do it alone.

Whether you are a person of faith, or not, this analogy applies to us all.  We all can be refinished.  We all have this great potential that is waiting to shine through.  Some of our drawers may be broken and might need more TLC?  Perhaps we’re not as sturdy as we’d like to be?  The refinishing process, whether it be a Higher Being or a higher purpose that helps transform you, can include repairs.  I know I’ve already had quite a few repair jobs done.  I feel emotionally healthy enough to say that I’m sturdy and I’m doing my best to “slide [my] drawers.”  I’m ready to get to the sanding and staining portion?  Is that what you do to refinish furniture?  I don’t even know.  And, thankfully, I don’t have to know.

What I do have to know is that I have great potential and that potential is attainable.  I have to believe that with the help of loved ones, experiences, my faith, and a greater understanding of my worth, I can be refinished.  So, here’s to envisioning the potential I have to be refined.

And, here's to a loving husband who always believes in me.
And, here’s to a loving husband who always believes in me.

Second Anniversary Giveaway

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  Ours was certainly a beautiful one!  It started off rainy, but quickly turned to blue skies and sunshine.  It was a lovely weekend to be outdoors.  And that’s what I want to share today for First You Must Begin’s Second Anniversary Giveaway: the outdoors.  Particularly, an 11×14 matte print of a picture that my brother, _stevenwilson, captured off the Southern California Coast.  This one is called “Blue Barrel,” and it’s one of my favorites!

2nd Year Anniversary Giveaway

You may recall, that I did a post about _stevenwilson and his amazing ocean photography for a First Friday Find earlier this month.  His work is so breathtaking, that I thought it would be the perfect thing to give away for my Second Anniversary of First You Must Begin.  Especially since my brother’s artwork is a perfect example about beginning something new.  Two years ago, when I started this blog, my brother wasn’t even posting pictures of ocean photography.  Now, due to his desire to embark into the world of ocean photography despite his lack of knowledge, he has grown and developed in the field.  He took his love for the ocean and found a way to share it in such a beautiful way.  I admire the hard work and dedication that he has put into improving upon his talent.  He makes it look easy.

Each of us can begin something new.  We can find something within ourselves that we want to improve, we can dedicate ourselves to a new passion, we can work to face our fears, we can strive to live healthier, or we can simply get up and try a little harder than the day before.  But, first we must begin.  So, here’s a Second Anniversary Giveaway to celebrate all the beginnings in our lives and all the beginnings that continue to blossom into something magnificent.

**Check out the Rafflecopter Giveaway below where you can enter to win an 11×14 matte print of _stevenwilson’s “Blue Barrel.”  All you have to do is tell me how you heard about my website, First You Must Begin.  The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter a week from today.  Good luck!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway