Archive - January, 2013

Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing With a Bad Attitude?

I was reading a blog the other day. The woman was talking about doing obligatory chores with joy. Cranking up the music and dancing while doing the dishes. This is great, I thought, I’ve got to read this to my kids. And then today while I was, of all things, doing dishes it hit me… “Hello McFly”!!!

Let me give you a bit of history. I am 90% pleasant person and a joy to be around most of the time (I think). BUT…I sometimes have a bad attitude. And when I say bad attitude I mean baaaaaaaad attitude. As in teenage angst, jilted lover, cornered politician, you get the idea. It happens when I am doing something good (ironic isn’t it) something like making my family dinner or exercising or laundry or doing an elimination diet. I think we shall use the diet as an example because I am in the midst of it right now.

I LOVE food. LOVE it…in what I am coming to realize is probably an unhealthy way. But, in an attempt to keep myself healthy and support my husband (who is on the diet for health reasons) I decided to hop on the bandwagon. It’s a very empty bandwagon with only a few skinny socially awkward people on it (see what I mean…bad attitude). Anyway, here’s an idea of what the first week was like.

Day 1: “This is awesome. Why doesn’t everyone do this? It’s so easy and I love vegetables.”
Later in the evening of day 1 we go to a movie for my husband’s birthday. I LOVE movies (almost as much as food) and I always, always get popcorn and a coke. “I hate this stupid diet! Why do we need to be healthy anyway? I just want a huge tub of buttery popcorn and a coke!” I enjoyed the movie, but struggled with being distracted by sulking a lot of the time.

Day 2: “This diet isn’t so hard. I’m so glad I’m doing this.” (We went for a hike and then my husband cooked curry for me.)

Day 3: This is the day I got cocky and was all… “I got this. I am disgusted by those other humans out there who don’t choose to do something like this for their health.”

Day 4: “This is the dumbest thing ever I HATE this @$@#&*! diet. I will stay faithful to it, but I REFUSE to be happy about it.” This is when I started having detox symptoms, you know cause your body is trying to dump all the toxins you normally eat out of your system. My kidneys hurt, I had sciatic pain, headaches, blah.

Day 5, 6, 7: See day 4

Day 8: We took our kids to a tea factory, but first we stopped at Chik-fil-a where I got some sort of fruit chicken salad with no dressing and water and watched my kids scarf chicken strips and waffle fries while drinking lemonade. Enter the angsty teenager. I refused to be happy about anything!! When we got to the tea factory I had spent enough time sulking and enjoyed the tour. Thankfully they had a lot of herbal teas that I could taste (that helped keep the hulk away from the factory that day).

So, there you go. A little taste of my crazy. I am done with this crazy. I don’t want it anymore! When I see these attitudes in my kids I get so frustrated, “you should be grateful you even have food”! Yeah…I guess in some ways it is just a simple shift of perspective.

Jesus talked in the Bible about being cheerful in giving. I always thought that was kind of strange. I mean, honestly, imagine you are in the grocery store and a woman in front of you is struggling with 3 small children and buying only the necessities and when the total comes she realizes that she doesn’t have enough. If you on the other hand were standing behind her and had plenty of money in your pocket would it be anything, but a joy and a privilege to get to help this woman. I’m guessing Jesus said this for a reason. Even something we find great joy in can become obligatory. As a mom of 4 I have a LOT of obligatory chores in my life. I could list them, but I don’t want to risk sucking the joy out of your day. But, if I can find some way to shift my thinking about these things it could change my life. I could find more joy more life.

To be grateful. In. ALL. Things. I believe I can change. I will start to shift today.

Inspiration, Shminspiration

Artists can be a funny and sensitive crew. The sun must be shining just so. The pencils aligned in the right way. The correct sharpener must be sitting at the ready…and how can you expect creation to occur without the favored hot beverage sitting contentedly on the perfectly prepared desk. And then, of course, there is inspiration. Inspiration is that piece of magic that floats in on a cloud and is delivered by one of those fat baby angels. It is mystical and so very far outside the realm of our understanding. Some people seem to have baby angels waiting outside their window all the time. A long line of little puffy clouds longing to give more magic to this incredibly gifted artist.

Oh if only it were so…if only a cherub would come down and sprinkle fairy dust on the “artists” of the world and bring them inspiration daily. Well, it’s not gonna happen. And, in a way, we should be grateful. Because we don’t have to worry about the fact that we might not be in that special chosen group worthy of a visit from the Heavenly realms. The truth about inspiration is really a two-edged sword. It’s good news and bad news. It’s up to you. There it is, the good news and the bad news. It is all up to you.

Inspiration is a result of hard work. Yeah, that’s the bad news part. It doesn’t come from the sky. It comes instead from blood, sweat, and tears. From sitting down and investing time and part of your soul into what you want to create. Something about this process opens up an idea catcher in your brain and invisible nets shoot out of your head. A simple phrase or conversation or just watching someone put groceries in their car can create all sorts of inspiration because you put in the work and it opened the idea catcher. Sadly, it doesn’t stay open forever once it is opened. Once you start pushing your art to the back burner a few nets get put away. When the art table is pushed to the side and the pencils are gathering dust then your idea catcher closes completely and goes into a dormant state. Sad isn’t it. Not to worry. Blood, sweat, and tears will open it up again and inspiration and ideas will again flood your mind.

Don’t be afraid of hard work. It is the doting parent of inspiration. Do the work and find yours.