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Monday, April 24, 2017

Finding Purpose

One thing I've really been struggling with is finding purpose, and my place, in life. I've felt like I really need to know what defines me, as if I need my answer to be on some big billboard for all the world to see. (It sounds dumb saying that out loud, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not the only one that feels something along these lines. I think there are a lot of us who want to be noticed, want to feel special, and want to know that we are making a difference in the world and the lives of those around us. Not necessarily for the whole world to see, but at least in our own little place of the world. And sometimes it's hard to not have the appreciation or acknowledgment splattered right in front of our face.) The funny thing is, is that I hate getting acknowledged for the things I do. I hate the attention, and being singled out. It makes me so uncomfortable. (Humans are such complicated beings. lol.)

This morning I woke up thinking, "if I didn't feel like I had purpose before, now I really don't feel like I have purpose. What am I going to do?"

Yesterday at church our lesson in Relief Society (the women's organization, and is also the third hour of the day for all women 18 years and older) was from the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley, The Whisperings of the Spirit.

In the lesson he quotes Elijah,
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11–12).
Gordon B. Hinckley goes on to say,
Such almost invariably has been the word of God as it has come to us, not with trumpets, not from the council halls of the learned, but in the still small voice of revelation. Listening to those who seek in vain to find wisdom and who declaim loudly their nostrums [or cures] for the ills of the world, one is prone to reply with the Psalmist, “Be still, and know that I am God: …” (Ps. 46:10) and with the Savior, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15.)

Another thing I've been thinking about this morning, and for the past few months, is how I really can't do anything without Christ. I definitely learned that lesson last year with all of my health problems. It was a very humbling and spiritual experience to begin to see just how much the Lord helps us every moment of every day of our lives. Every breathe I take every day is a blessing, and I'm grateful for this life that I have been granted to live.

But on the flip side of that, I've since been struggling with, "well, if I can do nothing without Him, then what/who am I?" I've felt very worthless and lost. It's been rather discouraging.


This morning as I've thought about these things, yesterdays lesson combined with my other thoughts,  I was reminded that we are the offspring of our Heavenly Father, and as such, we have the same attributes and characteristics as He does.

Here's what I realized,

If the Lord is not in the large and boisterous world, with fame and glam, and riches and glory, but is instead in the still small voice, then that must be my place also.  I don't need fame and recognition and glory. I can find joy and purpose in the quiet, mundane, and simple acts of service that often get overlooked and unnoticed. Because isn't that exactly what the Lord does every single day? How often do His works and miracles get overlooked, unnoticed, and even demeaned and rejected? Am I in bad company if I seek to keep my place among what the world would call the "nobodies"?! Not.at.all.

I found that in all of our moving, and with all the people we've met, and in all my observations, that the cream of the crop is really among the quiet and simple, those who don't shout for attention, but rather live their lives the best they can and focus their attention on the doing what good they can - not on getting the attention of everyone else.

Ramble: Which for me, this is also a reminder that the whole idea of "getting more followers" or more subscribers, or more whatever, has never been something that's made me happy or fulfilled. It can be exciting, definitely! And humbling, and mind boggling. lol. But that is also not where I want my focus to get caught up in. Counting numbers is not joy. The people are joy. not numbers. and I feel like in my business, I've really lost that connection with the awesome people that I've been blessed to meet - who I wouldn't have met without my business, but I also haven't been able to foster those relationships. Anyway...

I have also experienced in my own life, that as I do the little things like washing the dishes or cleaning my home, or doing the laundry, that it is in those simple acts of service in creating an atmosphere of love and comfort for my family, that I do find great joy and satisfaction in doing those things. Granted they are not on the top of my list of things I want to do. And they often get neglected. And now that I am not focusing my attention on my business, my husband better not get the idea that I'm now going to spend 100% of my time cleaning and organizing and I will suddenly become the *perfect* housewife. lol. But it's still hard to feel satisfied with that sometimes. And I still find myself wanting to do more.

Anyway, I also realized this morning that with my struggle of feeling like I can't do anything on my own, that perhaps that doesn't have to be a bad thing! Perhaps that is the BEST thing I could learn and utilize. And that perhaps instead of feeling of little or no worth because of it, instead I can find the greatest possibilities as I team up with the one who overcame all things and can do all things!

I love the scripture,
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philipians 4:13)

 Isn't that such a glorious statement?! Oh how easy I forget...

So here's to throwing out all of the business standards expectations that I slowly adopted over the years (you know, like you can't write a blog post if you don't have perfect photos, or any phtos at all, oops I just broke that one!) ;) All of which are in fact very good rules, and I'm not dissing them. (For a long time I thought it was the rules or guidelines that were restricting me, but then I realized today that it was the self-imposed expectations that I placed on myself. Expectations of what my business should look like, things I should post or shouldn't post (posts like this one), etc.) But for me they became restrictive - a list of don't do's, and I felt like the more I followed *the rules* the more I lost myself and who I was, and the less I shared the exact things that I have to offer that make me who I am. It's not a bad thing, it's just now who I am.


After all my thinking this morning, I have decided to not try and figure out who I am. I'm not going to try and find my purpose or my role in this life. I'm not going to try and define myself or what I want to do.

Instead I'm going to  take each moment as it comes. I'm going to find what I can give and give it. I'm going to focus on Christ, and live with Him. I'm going to show up and see what happens! I can do nothing on my own, but I can't wait to see what I can do with Him by my side! After all, our weaknesses are not bad, they are possibilities and potential just waiting to happen,

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)

 Let the adventure begin!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hello! and goodbye...

I looked at my blog the other day and realized that I haven't posted anything since December.

"Oh, oops." Maybe I should fix that.

First let me fill you in on all the happenings around here...

First of all, we moved. From northern Idaho to North Dakota. We found out right around Christmas time, started packing the first of January, and left Idaho on the 14th. We arrived in North Dakota and stayed in a hotel for a week and then moved in to our new place.

We absolutely LOVE it here! We missed the really cold weather, and by now it's actually starting to warm up, so weather wise, it's been great! And definitely not as bad as we had thought it would be. Though I'm going to wait until next winter before I make any set-in-stone judgements about the weather. ;)

The Mr loves his job! Like sersiously, it's a really really great job! I feel too lucky for him to be so blessed, I'm afraid I'm going to jinx it if I start telling everyone we're staying for ever! Though I really hope we do. At least for now. ;)

The kids LOVE school! I LOVE their school! When I first got them registered they had me meet with the principle which I thought was strange. But as I sat with her and she told me all about the school and their programs and schedules and well, everything, I literally started crying. "How in the world did we ever get so lucky to get in a school this amazing?!! I didn't even know this existed!" Those were my exact thoughts. What a blessing! Over the last few months, they still love it and we love it, and it's a great experience! Yay! Tommy even started speech therapy there and he LOVES it! And his teacher loves him! It seriously couldn't get any better than this.

I am really loving it here too... though with everything so good, I'm feeling rather out of place.

We have moved a LOT since we've been married. This is our 8th move in the 10 years we've been married. So we've got the moving thing down. And this isn't just like around the corner moves. I think only one move was in the same town, and one other move was still at the same job but different city. We've been all over Utah, Iowa, Florida, Northern Idaho, and now North Dakota. But with all those moves, while they've all been an adjustment, this one has thrown me off my rocker.

All the other moves were a change in location and in our place of residence, but my role was the same, my stress and pressures were fairly the same, the needs of me were the same. I knew who I was, and what I did, and what I needed to do to contribute. But this place is different. Suddenly my stress is gone, my burdens and baggage are gone, I've gone through a lot of healing of my past over the last year or so, and I feel like I'm in a really really good place emotionally and mentally and spiritually. I'm getting back into eating better and exercising, so physically I'm doing better as well. I've even started taking anxiety medicine, which has taken the edge off and it feels awesome! I really don't know what could be better....

Except despite all of this I feel completely lost. I don't have the pressure and stress that I had before to work and run my business. For the first time since I started my business, I don't have to. We aren't in a crunch or a need for that extra income - which really was my driving factor behind running it. And now that that's gone, I'm not sure what to think. about my business. about me. about anything.

About a month after we got settled in I went through this period where I absolutely hated my job and I hated quilting. I hated it. I resented it. and I was just so mad. While I've enjoyed the journey, I've also gone through a lot of trials and struggles, dealing with issues from my past, dealing with current issues at the time, dealing with my fabric addiction, stress, being a tired mom, life in general, and lots of health problems. It's been a really hard and exhausting 6 years.

But then I realized that it's not the quilting that I hate. But rather that quilting really was my therapy, my relief, my escape, my distraction, my solution. It was woven into everything I did and everything I dealt with so tightly, that I feel like I am now having a hard time separating those experiences from the activity of quilting and designing.

It also makes me sad, because while it's helped me, I also feel like because of it (but really because of everything else that happened in life) I missed out on a lot of life. I feel like I missed out on my kids being little. I feel like I missed out on friendships and relationships. I definitely missed out on sleep and being healthy and taking care of myself.

But now, for the first time, I feel free from this. I feel free from everything. It's a miracle and a blessing, and I find that I am really really tired. and as much as I want to enjoy it, and where I'm going and all the opportunities that are presenting themselves to me since we've moved here, which really are so awesome. I'm not excited about them. It's cool, and I'm grateful. But I don't have the passion that I once did.

I've wrestled a lot with what I should do and where I should go next. I definitely want to focus more on my family and taking care of myself. I want to take time to do the things in life that I've always wanted to do. I don't want to over commit myself and be run by deadlines and work - controlling my life and limiting the things I can do and enjoy. Over the past however many years, I've been tied to my work. A prisioner in my home because I had too much work to do that I couldn't go have fun, or even just relax (which I really didn't want to do at the time anyway, and with my little kids, I couldn't really go anywhere anyway - a huge part of the reason why I started quilting in the first place. Because I was stuck at home with my kids and quilting gave me something to do.)

Anyway... as much as I've thought about it, I can't figure out what to do. I could keep designing patterns, but I'm really struggling to find the purpose in that. How would that better the world? How am I bettering people's lives by designing patterns? What difference does that make? I want to do something meaningful, and I can't see how what I do as a pattern designer and running my business matters to anyone else.

So then what???

I'm writing this post for a few reasons. One, because maybe if I put this out there and share my struggle with the world, then just maybe I'll find my purpose or an answer, or at least a point in the right direction.

Two, because I want to test the waters and see what it would be like to quit my job and just walk away. So, with this post, that's what I'm going to do. I am going to say goodbye to my job and to quilting. I'm not sure for how long. It might only be a month, or a week, but maybe it'll be a few months, a few years or forever. I don't know! I do have some things I'll be sticking around for, but I want to cut the ropes 100% at least for a bit to see what it feels like. I've tried to continue to write and design patterns, and now I need to try quitting, so I can compare the two and know which is the right answer for me at this point in my life.

So that's it! I'm done! I know that I have a few things that I said I'd be doing, like the extra sashing patterns for the Zodiac BOM, but I'm not going to be doing them. I apologize for setting up that expectation, but that really was over my head to begin with. I bit off more than I could chew with that. I did finish the Simple Sashing pattern, and that was really all I was going to provide anyway when I initially said I'd do the sashing pattern. If you're mad at me, I'm sorry. But I need to walk away from this right now.

Otherwise, I don't think there is anything else out there that I still have left hanging commitment wise (unless I've chatted with you today, Marian if you happen to read this. I'm still on for that.)

But otherwise I'm checking out! I'm not even going to say I'm on vacation, because a vacation for me is more work than not being on vacation, so I'm not even going to try to complicate it.

And now I don't even know how to end this... I don't know how to walk away from something. especially this. lol. This has been my life, constantly in the back of my head every day. But I'm kind of excited! Maybe I'll start posting on Instagram again. And maybe I'll start being more social again. Maybe I'll come up with some really cool thing to start doing... or maybe I'll just sleep a lot and go to bed early, and spend a lot of time cooking really healthy meals, and working out, and next time you see me I'll be all muscly and fit. haha!

I don't know. But I'm sure whatever it is, will be awesome!

Thanks for hanging out with me! I obviously still love ya! and hope to see all the cool things you'll be doing and making. (and I guess I should say, that I'm keeping my shop open. And I'll still have my patterns for sale... and you can still tag me and such. But I'm going to stop playing the role of this business woman, and just be me again. No more marketing, no more selling, no more newsletters for now. And like I said, maybe I'll be back sooner than later. I don't know.)

Ok, enough rambling.

Have a good night! and I'll see you around!