Friday, November 20, 2009

The Serenity Prayer

I have never been involved in a 12 step program, but I find that more than 20 years after I first read the Serenity Prayer I have come to understand it in a way I never thought I would. I think it was written backwards.
First, a few definitions.
  • Serenity-the state or quality of being serene, calm, undisturbed, at peace.
  • Courage-motivation to action despite having a fear of doing so.
  • Wisdom-understanding that comes from applying reason to knowledge.
With the changes going on in my life there has come much stress, fear, and some feeling of loss of control. For a few weeks, I was feeling somewhat helpless. I kept having to remind myself that there were only certain things about my situation that I could control, and the rest I just had to let go and trust that God is in control of those. During this time my friend (who is aware of what is going on) asked me how I was doing. I responded "What will be will be, and I can't change that." She remarked how calm I seemed given the circumstances. I realized that I had been granted the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. But this wasn't what I was given first. It came last.

I think the first thing I was granted was wisdom. Wisdom that there are things in our lives we can change, control, or even influence. Wisdom that, despite what we want, there are a few things we have no control over. Thanks to the gift of agency we can act and make choices for ourselves forever and about almost everything in our lives. The only things we cannot choose are God's choices for us and others' use of agency. That seems like a lot of things in our lives we can control.

I think the second thing I was granted was courage. Courage to change the things I can. In other words: the courage to be responsible. To accept responsibility for the great many things in my life I do control. I control (among other things) my attitude, what I eat, how much I exercise, my spirituality, my reaction to others' choices, etc. Courage, to me, is using agency effectively despite our fear of the outcome. I think a lack of courage leads to inaction rather than to bad choices. I wrote this post about how I used to let fear (a lack of courage) dominate my life. I am thankful I have been granted courage to change the things I can.

It was while I was busy trying to affect (read control) every possible thing in my life that I was eventually granted serenity. I got upset and stressed out worrying about how something was going to turn out. Not knowing the end from the beginning and not being able to control many things about it gave me great stress, frustration, and worry. It's like making some great recipe, but you don't have all the directions. You do your part, you mix what you can mix , add what ingredients you have, follow the part of the recipe you have, all the while knowing that you don't have everything and can't control everything. When it is time to serve it, you have to trust the other cook to have done their part: added their ingredients, cooked appropriately, etc. and left you something wonderful. Serenity is about learning to trust. Trust that God controls what you can't. That God will do His part if you use your courage and do yours. I was granted serenity last because I had to understand and then act and then trust.

Serenity is not about having my life be stress-free, or without hardship. Serenity is about understanding that there are certain things I am not responsible for, and then not trying to be responsible for them anyway.
Courage is about agency. Making choices to act and being responsible for those actions. Understanding that choosing inaction is making a choice and I am responsible for that choice.
Wisdom is about applying my ability to reason to the knowledge that I have and gaining understanding about agency, responsibility and trust.

Grant me the Wisdom to understand what I can change, and what I can't;
The Courage to be responsible for what I can;
and the Serenity to trust You will be responsible for everything else.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And they call it puppy love. . .

So here is Blanket and his BFF. Snoopy or "Noopy" was a gift from B.A.R.'s parents when they came out for his blessing. Noopy sings the alphabet song (though I am not sure for how much longer). Noopy really became a fixture in Blanket's life after B.A.R took away the pacifiers. Before the Great Pacifier Theft, Blanket needed a "plug," and Wa-Wa to go to bed. Noopy was good too, but not necessary. After the theft, Noopy travelled everywhere the plugs used to go for a while. Now Noopy serves as comfort in all the situations that the plug used to.

Noopy has been fed mac and cheese, juice, milk, and cereal. After each we have a discussion about Noopy not being real, and not eating real food. But Blanket insists that he is, and does. We now have rules about Noopy sitting at the dinner table.
Noopy is not able to be washed in the washer, but I have cleaned chocolate, dry erase marker, general dirt, urine, vomit, and many other things off his white fur. He really needs a bath, but don't tell Blanket because he will probably put him in the tub.
In Blanket's empty Halloween bucket he also has Wa-Wa but you can't see it. It is now a tangled mess of 3 pieces tied together. Wa-Wa is important to Noopy too--Noopy can't take a nap without Wa-Wa. Blanket can't take a nap without either. In the photo Blanket was pushing Noopy down the hall in his "bed" but I don't know why he thought this was more convenient than carrying the bucket by the handle.
There are sure to be other posts about Snoopy. Each day Noopy becomes a more important part of Blanket's life and incurs more rules about places he is not allowed to go (i.e. church, the store, etc.) I am afraid I will one day have to post about Snoopy's demise and all the weeping and wailing that is sure to accompany that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I guess some things never get old.

Last year I did this great post about Tiger and his love of shoes. At some point after that Tiger just got too grown-up for the whole thing until a couple of weeks ago. When he showed Blanket how to wear Daddy's shoes:Here they stand posed so that I could get a good picture of both of them. Tiger can walk around in big shoes, but he has big feet for his size. Blanket still has very small feet and is very small for his age so he has difficulty walking around in adult shoes. One day I even caught Tiger wearing Blanket's shoes. Now if only I could get him to put on his own shoes!
Yes, they are both holding Snoopy dogs. I will post about Snoopy at a later date.
Tiger is wearing 1 of 3 pairs of pajamas I made for him. They weren't hard. In fact I just made another set for someone else this last weekend. I got them done in 4 hours or so including the time it took to cut them out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A funny picture.

About a month and a half ago I had some friends that were moving and needed to spend the night at my house. It was very fun and most of us wished it could have lasted longer, it was very short and very crazy. We were all up early. They were trying to leave and we were doing our very best to make 9 am church. A few pictures of the craziness were snapped by my friend's sister. One is WAY too good not to share.

Blanket was begging for Rabbit's breakfast, and Rabbit was obliging. She is about 3 months younger than he is.

My friend's blog about life, homeschooling, cooking, and other assorted, related items is here and on my checklist over there

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Staying busy

While I took a break from blog posting for a while I did take some time in August and September to finish this quilt I started for Tiger back in the spring. I had done everything but hide all my threads. It sat around as a UFO (unfinished object) for many moons until I got motivated to get it finished and up on the wall.

I made it from a pattern called Around Town published by The Country Quilter. I like using patterns (instead of kits) because then I can customize it and use fabrics that I like. I did add a few personal touches to the quilt that weren't included in the instructions.
  • I made the flower delivery truck into a FedEx truck.
  • I made the gas pump a diesel pump
  • I changed two of the yellow signs. One I put on a U-turn and the other I put a tractor on. Both of these are legitimate signs that I did find on the internet. (Where do you think I got the picture for the tractor from?)
  • The two white signs say "DO NOT PASS" and "RIGHT LANE MUST TURN LEFT." The former being a legitimate sign and the latter a little bit of humor all tucked up in my quilt.
The border/sashing fabric has roads with all sorts of cars and trucks on it. I bought it at Great American Quilt Factory but I also saw it at High Prairie Quilts. I also used it for the backing fabric. I machine appliqued all the cars and signs. I used Sulky Totally Stable iron-0n tear-away stabilizer during the applique process. I fused it to the back of the fabric at the same time I fused the appliques to the front using Steam-a-Seam 2. This worked well for 2 reasons: 1) I fused both in one easy step and 2) because I had to move each piece in and out of the machine many times and the stabilizer didn't become separated from the fabric. This is my favorite stabilizer for working with iron-on appliques. I quilted in the ditch around each block and then added some lines in the borders. I used a blue/green varigated thread for this and for the back when I quilted around each car/sign individually in clear monofilament thread.

I did cut out all the pieces individually. So each time you see a fabric change it is a different piece of fabric. The only things I did "color" myself were the checkerboard on the taxi, the lines on the RR crossing sign and the lettering on the diesel pump, stop sign, RR crossing sign, "DO NOT PASS,"and "RIGHT LANE MUST TURN LEFT" signs. In some cases there is thread painting of detail lines on the vehicles.

I have since completed 2 other sewing projects. The Halloween costumes and pajamas for Tiger. I think I will post pictures of the pajamas at a later date.

I'm glad I don't live in Provo.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not a horrible place. I grew up there after all. Lots of my friends and family still live there or close to there. And living there has its advantages (including being close to family) and disadvantages (possibly including living close to family). I am glad that I have had the chance to live away from there. For the most part I am happy not living there (we do visit somewhat regularly). I miss my friends and family who live there, but I'm not in a hurry to move back (or anywhere else for that matter). I like where I live, I like the people I live by and I'm generally happy with the condition of my address right now.

That said, I ran across this post at and it helped me remember some of the reasons I am happy not living there. If you went to BYU or ever lived in student housing there in Provo you should get a real kick out of this note!

I like reading this particular blog. I love to see how other people vent thier anger/frustration/bad mood without having to do it in person.