Category: Life Logic

I had a couple of post ideas in mind, but figured I should really post about gratitude.  Since its Thanksgiving tomorrow and all.

So, here we go.

You are probably expecting the usual reminder to look around you at all the things you have to be thankful for.  Family, friends, shelter, food to eat, love, and laughter.

Nope.

I can see why you thought that though.  That’s what we (society) always talk about.  Why?  Because sometimes we get so busy, so wound into the hustle and bustle that we forget to stop and look around at the things we have in our lives.  Practicing gratitude is a great (even essential) tool to truly living in the present.  Being grateful for the delightful smell of a burning leaf pile in the fall grounds us, and makes us stop worrying about the past or the future for just a moment.  We are thankful for the present so we pay attention to the present.

That’s all good right?

(Its not a trick question.  Yes, that is all good.)

But- I also said that’s not what this was going to be about.  In many ways it’s a little too simple to ONLY give thanks for those good things.  Yes – we must be thankful for them, and often, but we cannot stop with the good things.

When was the last time you were thankful for adversity?  For challenge?  For pain?  For bad circumstances?  For difficult people?

For most of us – never.  Or close enough.  Sure, we say we are thankful for a challenge because without challenges we can’t grow.  Do we always believe that?

So, here’s a challenge for you this week.  Once you’ve given thanks for all of the good people, things, and experiences in your live (seriously, still do this part), consider the less-than-good parts.

Consider being thankful for and adversity that reminded you what you really needed and pointed out what you only thought you needed.

Consider being thankful that a we endured pain.  Perhaps it made us into a deeper, more real version of ourselves.

Consider being thankful for that difficult person you have to deal with, because they make you increase your store of patience.

Consider being thankful for someone who loudly and often rudely disagrees with you – if only because it forces you to consider WHY you believe what you believe, and it encourages you to do your homework and get your facts.

Consider being thankful for negative circumstances that helped to show you who you can count on (sometimes we are surprised).

Consider being thankful for local or world news stories that break your heart because sometimes what breaks our heart spurs us to take action.

I’m not asking you to be thankful for EVERYTHING.  Some wounds are too deep and too raw.  It is ok not to be thankful for those wounds.  But maybe, just maybe there is a little gratitude for something around the edges that you never expected.

Look a little closer

Today, I am choosing to be grateful for all the “no’s,” all the doors closing and opportunities ending.   They made me stronger, smarter, braver, more creative, and more determined than ever.

And of course, I am grateful to each of you – for taking a moment to consider.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Life Logic

Image result for man in the arena speech

If you like plainer text:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Teddy Roosevelt (often called the ‘Man in the Arena’ speech. Taken from a speech given at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, 1910).

It is not the critic who counts.

How many times do we listen to the critic? How many times are WE the critic? How many times do we look on from the cheap seats and criticize others. How often are we in the arena, getting discouraged by those comments from the safe zone?

Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming

That sounds familiar. . . .

Image result for it is impossible to live without failing

Both Rowling and Roosevelt strike on the same point. Life IS failing. Its making mistakes, getting messy, getting back up, and trying again. Failing means learning that was NOT the way to accomplish your goal. Lesson learned, thank you life, moving on.

but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Here, I believe that Roosevelt is reminding us that we must pursue our passions without concern for the end result – but because there is a fire inside us demanding that we see it through. Win or lose. Succeed or fail. Maya Angelou says ‘A songbird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.’ Your song is your fire. SING LOUD. If some mock you for daring to raise your voice – turn to other people, because you are daring greatly.

So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

How interesting. In Roosevelt’s view (which I share), it is better to have tried and failed, than to extinguish your fire and sit quiet and safe. If any of you out there has seen the first Rocky movie – this makes me think of it. I refuse to be concerned about ‘spoilers’ in a movie older than I am – so here’s the scoop. Nobody boxer gets a chance at the title bout as part of a publicity stunt. Training montage, love story, motivational music. . . . . and then the big fight at the end. And he loses. And that’s not even the point of the movie. The point is that this nobody stood toe to toe with the best boxer in the world and put everything out there. He failed while daring greatly (and then there was a sequel and then like 47 more sequels after that.) I think of those Olympians (especially divers, gymnasts, figure skaters, snowboarders, skiiers) who go for the ‘big move’ only to fail – but they failed trying to do something amazing. They could have gone ‘safe’ and had a clean routine. But then they have to walk away knowing they didn’t leave it all out there, that they held back. And they will always wonder ‘what could have been.’

I came across this speech via Brene Brown – who has called it ‘life changing’ for her. One of her books is even titled ‘Daring Greatly.’ So I am ending with a quote from Brene reflecting on this speech and what it has meant to her. Because while the crowd in the cheap seats can be loud – sing your song – sing loud – because its not the critics who count.

Image result for brene brown quotes

 

If you enjoyed this – please consider clicking ‘like.’  You can also get updates for new posts on Facebook – just look for Quirk and Logic.

Life Logic

What do you think of when I say ‘ordinary’?

Normal?  Boring? Unimportant?

So then, what is an ‘ordinary life’?

Get a job, pay bills, juggle kids’ activities (if you have them), buying groceries, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and crying over how bad that last thing you tried from Pinterest turned out.

Right?

The Olympics just wrapped up, and for two weeks we watched, breathless, as some of the most talented and disciplined athletes in the world complete for glory and country.  That, we say, is extraordinary.  I follow a Facebook group called the Jessie Rees Project.  Jessie was just twelve when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (DiPG).  As she was going through treatment, she looked around at all the other kids in the pediatric cancer center and wanted them to have something that made them happy.  She and her family started raising money to send ‘Joy Jars’ to kids all over the country (now the world).  She passed away a short time later and her family continues her work.  They are extraordinary.

I think we all admire the extraordinary.  Maybe on the global scale, like those examples, maybe on a smaller scale.  We all know that one extraordinary person who seems to make friends effortlessly, or who has brilliant business sense, or is super creative.

And somehow, I think we feel less when we look at ourselves and see ourselves as ordinary.

I want to challenge that.  There is power in an ordinary life, if you embrace your life.  In not letting your job, or your income, or your house, or your status define you.  In going to work, paying your bills, and finding the happiness in everyday life.  In finally flopping into a chair at the end of the day and realizing you got your work done, got food (of some sort) on the table, the family was where they were supposed to be, everyone is reasonably clean, and the house hasn’t fallen apart.

Yep.  Nailed it.

We don’t, of course.  We take those precious few minutes and think about how we didn’t get that load of laundry done, we were 5 minutes late to soccer practice, and dinner was chicken nuggets (again).  We need to stop.  We need to be kind and gentle with ourselves and grateful for what we have.  I am thankful that we have enough clothes that if the laundry didn’t get done, my family has things they can wear until I get to it.  I am grateful that we have food to fuel us.  I am grateful that my car is working and that my kids have the opportunity to participate in sports to enjoy being outside and moving their bodies.

And once in a while, you just sit back and look at the life you’ve made.  See your choices reflected in it.  Love what you have – even if you see things you want to change. 

Tonight, I’m going to sit with my family around a little bonfire in the backyard and make s’mores and read stories.  A completely ordinary evening.  Nothing special.  Yet, it contains within it everything that is magical and amazing in my life.  It is time to reflect and be happy.

And that, my friends, is extraordinary.

 

Find yours.

 

Please ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ if you enjoyed!

Life Logic

Sorry Gents – go ahead and clock out on this one.

Ladies.  Let’s talk purses.  I am not the girliest of girls.  Actually, I would classify myself in the lower 50th percentile on the girliness ranking scale.  You know what I mean.  I like clothes ok, but if I CAN wear cargo capris or running pants, let’s face it – I’m going to.

I like shoes, and absolutely love my taupe patent pumps with wooden heels.  I am usually wearing flip flops.

Make up is all well and good.  But not in the summer because its hot and I like to be outside and it gets all runny and stuff.

I wear skirts, but mostly because they are cooler (temperature) than pants.

I’d rather go hiking than shopping, and sometimes (usually) I go a year between haircuts. 

But, all in all, I would say I appreciate being female, but don’t put a lot of time or energy into it.  So, bottom 50th percentile most likely.

But.  BUT!  I do love a good bag.  Whether it’s a BAG bag or a purse, I’m always looking for that ‘just right’ bag.  I’ve made some bags (making bags is a gateway-craft into quilting, which is an obsessive and expensive hobby.  More on that later.  You’ve been warned), and I am sitting on some fabric to make more bags.

Last year, I bought a purse and solved my whole existential crisis.  Ok – more on that later too.  Long story somewhat shorter – I was in the midst of an existential crisis.  ‘What do I do with my life?  What do I want to be when I grow up?  How do I take my developed interests and put them to use?’  Much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

At that time, I was also in the market for a new purse because my old purse was looking a little worse for wear.  It was really more of a bag anyways.  And I still use it for a bag.  If you don’t understand the distinction, just play along, its all good – no judgment. 

So, I had found a truly awesome bag/purse (it was sort of both) on a discount website and I loved it.  It was a little more than I had planned on spending – but it was already half off of what it HAD been.  I am a sucker for a good bargain.  Being me, I had to fret and debate and worry and consider – going back and forth and forth and back over whether I should purchase this bag-purse. 

Then my husband (who had been through all the wailing/gnashing of teeth AND all the fretting and debating) said this: ‘If you like it, just buy it.  You’ve been looking for one you like for a while.’

SERIOUSLY???  You use that kind of logic when I’m being a crazy person??  Ok, fine.  I’ll show you MR. RATIONAL.  And I clicked ‘Buy.’

And everything fell into place.  I mean everything.  It felt like when you play tetris and you are an inch from losing and then you get these three pieces in a row and suddenly you’ve cleared your screen.  The next day I announced to my husband that I had figured out my existential crisis.

Buying the right bag-purse can do that for you.

Fast forward a year.  I love my bag-purse, and it is still awesome, and when it arrived I found the lining is ORANGE, which is my most favorite color.  A sign.  Anyways.  I love it, but after a year it becomes clear that it is a bag and not a purse.  I assume it was also going through an existential crisis, and that is how we found one another.  On the bright side, I am currently in need of a really spiffy bag, so since we had an internal opening, I offered the position to the bag-purse, who cheerfully accepted.

This left a power-vacuum in ‘purse’ position.  I had been looking for a little while.  I knew what I wanted and didn’t want, and I was feeling pretty cheap on this round, so I didn’t want to spend much.  I found one that ‘would work’ but was clearly a place filler until the right bag came along.  I did not purchase it (I rarely purchase anything on the first pass, because I prefer to drive myself half-crazy with ‘what ifs’ before I commit to even relatively small purchases).  Last weekend, because I really did need a purse, I decided to go back and get the ‘good enough’ purse. 

What was hanging right behind it, you ask?  THE PURSE.  The one.  The one that had everything I wanted and nothing I didn’t.  It was the right shape, it was the right color, it had details that corresponded with my personal preferences.  It had the right size and number of pockets.  IT WAS GLORIOUS.  IT WAS ON SALE.  *sigh*  I am listening dear Universe.  I am listening.

 

So, with my lovely new purse, and my lovely old/new bag, more pieces just fall into place.  Like that one long piece in tetris.  You know, the one with four blocks all in a row.  You know – the one you need for ever because you have a trench that’s like 12 blocks deep and you’ve been waiting and waiting and then you get it.

 

Well, I get it.

 

 

Life Logic