Are You Creative?

What’s not to love about a church that offers advice, guidance, and direction in all important areas of life? Throw in some extra lessons on love, encouragement, perseverance, hard work, gratitude, forgiveness, and tolerance, and you have the makings of heaven on Earth. EVERY TIME I go to church for any kind of meeting, I come away uplifted and edified, and this past Sunday was no exception.

I could go on and on about the beautiful musical presentation by four of the young women or the talks about serving others, going the second mile, or following Christ’s example in all we do. However, I’m going to concentrate on one of the presentations in Relief Society. All three speakers were fantastic, but the message about being creative and using one’s unique talents to beautify and improve the world (or at least your surroundings) is the one that really spoke to me.

After considering some definitions of creativity, the speaker asked the class for examples of how they demonstrated it…or what their talents were. At first, everyone was quiet, and then someone spoke up and said she didn’t think she really had any special gift or talent. As the discussion continued, we were reminded that we were each created by a loving Heavenly Father, a divine Creator who surely imbued all of His creations with a special spark of divinity and of uniqueness.

Almost immediately, class members began sharing some of the things they did to improve their corners of the world. The room was abuzz with ideas from gardening to decorating and singing to sewing. I glanced around at my “sisters” and thought about how their laughter, music, sense of color and style, and many other gifts create a better world for everyone, including me. I hesitate to single anyone out because they’re all creative, but I just have to add that I’m in awe of Lulu Belle’s Boutique.

So what’s your gift? Do you add an aura of peace and harmony to your home? Can you make people laugh and enjoy themselves? Can you arrange flowers? Can you frost cakes without getting the crumbs all mixed up in the icing? Can you play a musical instrument? Dance? Can you knit or crochet? Can you “make a home” in which things run smoothly and people feel comfortable?

Please share your gifts with us…or perhaps put a friend in the spotlight.

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Doing What You’ve Always Done

A week or two ago, I posted something about losing weight on the Shrink Rapping blog (http://psychcentral.wordpress.com) , mainly because I was becoming increasingly annoyed at the numerous articles on losing weight and the promises of this or that product to make one into a svelte person (for a price, of course).  Several students jumped on the bandwagon and posted some honest and “true –life” responses.  Check out their posts and feel free to leave one of your own.

Today it occurred to me that while I stand by my original premise that there are no secret formulas or shortcuts to losing weight, I’d like to add a little postscript, a comment I’ve heard so many times that I’ve committed it to memory. So have many of the rest of you. The problem is that I haven’t committed it to lifestyle, to personal decisions and behaviors. Here it is: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

I’m an average sized gal who’s never worried that much about weight except when “with child.” Even then, I knew that it was a temporary state and that sooner or later, I’d resemble the me of yesteryear. That said, I’m carrying around 3 – 5 more pounds than I did five years ago, and while it’s true that I’m older and that my metabolism has slowed, there are things I must change IF I want to shed those few pounds. Some who know me will argue that I look fine, but the truth is that once you gain 3 or 4 pounds, it’s easier to gain 8 or 9 or 10 or 12.

What have I been doing about it? Mainly talking. All talk, no action. Sure, I still walk about 20 miles a week, and I’m pretty good about not eating fatty foods or red meat. I don’t even drink soft drinks, not even the diet variety.  However, if I’m serious about losing those four annoying pounds, then I’ve got to do something more than I have been doing. I must develop a new strategy.

So here’s the plan. Tomorrow I’m going to walk 15 minutes more AND eat one less granola bar or cookie. And I’ll do it the next day too. In fact, I’ll follow some version of the above until I’ve reached my desired weight. That said, I’m going to floss and brush right now, thus removing the temptation to waltz back into the kitchen where the goodies are.

Remember: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.  What are you changing?

Self Acceptance

When I was a younger (less mature!) woman, my hair was dark, almost black, and then as I eased into my early midlife, it was salt and pepper. That was fine for a while, and then one day an exasperated friend hissed, “Why don’t you try color?” after she had heard me say that I looked like a witch and was going to cut my hair SHORT. “Oh, I couldn’t do that,” I replied. At that time, somehow I construed coloring one’s hair as artificial and too “obvious.” Interestingly, that same week, both of my teenage daughters experimented with hair color, and they looked stunning. I’m a biased mom, but still….Anyway, I changed my attitude about color and realized that it could be FUN. I followed my daughters’ examples, and for the first time in years, my bangs were dark brown. And so it began. Fifteen years later, and I’m still experimenting with color and having fun doing it.

 

Moving along, one day someone remarked that I was too old to have such dark hair. Ouch. A dagger to the heart. Not willing to go gray, I began experimenting with high lights and low lights and light brown and warm brown and all sorts of colors in-between. Nothing looked good; nothing suited me. However, some people apparently liked it. A brother-in-law even told me that I looked more real and less “plastic.” And yet, I wasn’t satisfied with my tresses.

 

My sweet daughter Elizabeth said, “Mom, it’s not you. You need to see Liz, my former hair stylist who lives 115 miles away.” My other daughter kept silent. So did my son…and DH too. Oh Christmas day, we went to Lisa and Mike’s house, and Lisa’s mother, Mrs. Mitchell was there, an 80 year old with dark brown hair. She looked fantastic. I remember once when someone asked her if her hair was (I know were is the correct verb but it looks funny here) really that dark, and without batting an eye, she said, “Yes, today.” Isn’t that great?

 

I relented and called Liz. She worked me in that week. After saying the magic words, “You’re too young to be an old lady,” she applied a medium dark color to my locks. I LOVE it. It’s more me. And if you ask, “Is that your real color?” I’ll answer, “Yes, today.” Or I might say, “Did you really ask that?”or “Are you that audaciously rude to ask a question like that?” or “Why don’t you try to improve your appearance a little too?”

 

So to Becky and Allen and any and everyone else who would prefer that I stay with high lights and low lights, I say, “This is the real Marla Jayne.” I think it was Judy Garland who said that a person should always be a first rate version of herself rather than a second rate version of someone else. Go Judy! By the way, Lisa and Elizabeth say this is the real me; the jury’s still out with DH and some others.

 

Am I writing this so that you’ll go out and color your hair? No. I’m writing this so that you’ll be true to yourself. Find what works for you and go for it, ignoring the critics and naysayers along the way.