Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lose weight fast!

How many times has the phrase "lose weight fast!" been uttered this month?

Well, I'm here to tell you of a sure way to lose weight fast . . . are you ready?

. . . give away your stuff!

Last weekend we got rid of over 200 lbs. just by listing our futon loveseat on Freecycle. It went so quickly and it was so nice to have the space in our house that we gave away its twin, too.

So - want to lose weight fast? Look around your house, pack up the stuff that no longer fits (physically or otherwise) and pass it on to someone else who can use it.

Lose weight fast today!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't (just) look back - look sideways

The Cafe Press anti-Valentine contest has proved to be an eye-opening experience for me.

First, I was amazed at how easy it was for me to come up with ideas that reflected a cynic's view of love. Negativity is not the most desirable of traits. :-)

Second, when I looked at the designs others created, I learned that there are people who are a lot more cynical than I am out there. Bitter, bitter, bitter.

Third, was the major "duh" moment I had when I realized that I could create designs with a positive message even though they weren't part of the contest and added a couple of positive valentine designs to my shop. I think this was the most important thing I learned from this experience.

It reminded me of times in the past when I have started a project with specific ideas and goals in mind and gotten stuck when I found something blocking my path. Sometimes all that's required is a tiny adjustment - other times, not so tiny.

If I keep focusing on the problem, all I will see is the problem. On the other hand, if I glance around a bit, I may see an alternative that I had missed before. In many cases, it might not have been there earlier - timing is everything. Often the best way to deal with getting stuck is to change my perspective and look "sideways".

Monday, January 12, 2009

You are (not) here

Cafe Press has announced an Anti-Valentine's Day design contest and I decided to enter.

After some thought, I created a "heart map" inspired by the maps you find everywhere from shopping mall to high rise to national park. You know, the ones that show the layout of the area and mark your location with the famous phrase: "You are here."

This was the result:

If you want to see what it looks like on shirts or a tote, click here.

I'd like to know what you think about it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Square peg, round hole

I recently observed the completion of my 50th year on earth. Birthdays in general invite introspection -- birthdays that end in zero, even more so.

When I told Kelly that I felt like a square peg in a round hole most of the time, she reminded me that the perfect place for a peg to be was in the hands of the Carpenter.

Several tissues later, I am still grateful she shared that image with me.

It reminds me of solving a jigsaw puzzle.

In a standard puzzle there are pieces that are more easily recognized and easier to place. The straight sides of the edge pieces leave no doubt as to their location, even indicating if they belong on top, bottom, left or right side.

What happens with the remaining pieces? They find their place with pieces that have similar characteristics. There will be false starts, with pieces that look promising, but don't quite fit. After some trial and error, all of the pieces are combined and the whole picture finally comes in to view.

Life is that way; some purposes are easily seen and others are visible only after a lot of trial and error. Unlike online jigsaw puzzles, there is no "Auto Solve" button! And, unlike jigsaw puzzles, the pieces can change shape -- skills are acquired, attitudes change and rough edges are softened.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next picture formed by the puzzle pieces of my life.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Walking the cat

All of our cats live in the house, but Bentley, the tuxedo cat, likes to venture outside at least once a day. He joins me on my morning walk, and I usually accompany him on an evening walk.

In general he is very fastidious, but he can't seem to resist a roll in the dirt. When the ground is soft and powdery, he makes "sand angels" for me. :-)

When he is inside, he can often be found near (or in) the latest box that has arrived.

He doesn't mind sharing his bed with us . . .

. . . but his favorite spot to spend the night is in the office chair beside the computer hutch -- he tucks himself in after we've gone to bed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Be careful when you throw rocks . . .

At a family get-together several years ago, I overheard my brother telling his children to "be careful when you throw rocks" as they tossed gravel from the driveway at each other.

While I appreciated his attempt to rein in his children, I thought it would have been better to tell them not to throw rocks at all! (Especially since my car and I were in the vicinity.)

Since that time, "Be careful when you throw rocks." had become a joke between my husband and me.

Now I see the phrase from a very different point of view.

The Bible study group I meet with is currently studying the Book of John. Chapter 8 begins with the story of a woman accused of adultery and condemned to be stoned to death. Jesus invites all who have not sinned to throw stones. The crowd quickly dissipates.

We began to discuss how many times people "throw rocks" at us and we respond in kind -- angry words, bad attitudes and judgemental thoughts.

I was reminded of sets of rocks I painted for a "garden tea" at church. Each rock lists a characteristic of loving and Godly responses to others: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness and self-control.

Now I see that "be careful when you throw rocks" means if someone is not loving and gracious to me, I don't have to respond in kind. I have the option of choosing to respond differently.

I decided to paint a few more rocks this weekend. Here are some of the results:

Be careful when you throw rocks! :-)