Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Out of Order

I was just about to Google something (don't ask me what it is because even now, only 30 seconds later I can't remember) and I have that personalized Google page where you can have a calendar and daily quotes and a picture of an animated fox that changes with the time of day... This particular morning, as I was about to dive into the ever growing world that is the internet, one of the daily quotes on my page stuck out to me. Its by Richard Paul Evans and it says, "Everyone who got to where they are had to begin where they were." Now, this may not strike anyone else as profound, but it did me because it reverberated a theme that has been playing in my life the past week or so. That seems to happen alot. Quiet, sometimes unnoticeable, but meaningful principles will be patterned in clumps in my life, something kind of like this: I'll come upon a quote on my google page and then later have a conversation with a friend and the same topic seems to be an underlying theme and then later a talk in church will bring insights into the same concept even sometimes something in a book or in a movie will somehow hint at the very thing that is trying so desperately to get itself into my head. All these situations drive, subtley, a simple idea into my little brain. The principles behind these themes are always things I seem to be lacking in or things that will undeniably help me out a lot in life. Again, they are usually very simple things. Maybe I'm more simpleminded than I thought... (but don't get any ideas of now having free reign to call me a simpleton you clever folk out there).

Back to the quote that spurred this rambling entry. The theme this week seems to be (in case you didn't guess it already) a you-can't-get-to-your-super-large-and-super-great-goals-by-pretending-you're-further-than-you-are-and-then-trying-to-jump-from-extreme-to-extreme type of thing. For example, one of the things that sparked my realization that this was something that was trying to manifest itself to me happened yesterday. I was talking to Bradford about something and I said, "You need to stop worrying about trying to jump to the top of the stairs. Just take the next step up." Later that night as I was writing in my journal, it hit me how ironic it was that one of the things I needed to hear came out of my own mouth. There are no elevators to the top of our potential. You have to take the slow steady steps and get there the "hard" way. Its like every morning when I get to work, I always punch the elevator "up" button in hopes that it will appear soon so I don't have to trudge up the stairs in my heels. More often than not though waiting for the elevator to arrive and then move up to the 4th floor takes longer than just taking the stairs from the get go. Funny.

I also came to the perhaps obvious conclusion that the more little, short term goals (like making those couch pillows I've been planning for so long...) will make it even easier to have the endurance for those bigger goals (like my goal to be consistent in doing hobbies, not just in drawn out spurts). No one tackles Everest before ever having climbed anything else (pardon the cliche. But they are cliches for a reason...). Doi. It seems so obvious but I've tried so many times to hop my way over all those intermediate steps and somehow come up at the top landing. You're more likely to fall on your face when doing that than you are if you take each step at a time. Making your big goals a series of little goals.

I have goals. Maybe nothing that seems to be of great magnitude, but things like getting a Dental Hygiene degree (oh stop your gasping, I've always wanted to get a degree, the fear of debt just kept me out of school for a little while, I never intended to never go back). And littler goals like smiling at five people today when my initial reaction might be to growl at them. Its also funny because you think you can make plans and do things exactly how you plan them... I don't think that has ever been the case in my life. Sometimes accomplishing those goals require you to take a route that you may never have known existed when the goal was made, or had even considered an option for whatever reasons. It just goes to show that you can't do it all yourself. You aren't always right. You may have great ideas for yourself but the getting there is sometimes better done another way.

So it looks like I'm taking the stairs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One More!

One more card! I made this card last night. Its for my sister's birthday (mother of Emma).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pulling Out the Spit Shine

Following in line with my new goal of trying to do more of the things I love as well as shining up some of those left-to-rust talents I know are lying around somewhere, I have rediscovered my love for making cards. I'm not much of a scrapbooker, mostly because it would take me forever to catch up to my current life in photos (maybe I'll start that up again when I have a family of my own...), so I have instead found that making birthday cards and thank you cards and a card for any reason at all really has been something I thoroughly enjoy and I've done a few that I'm pretty pleased with. I wish I had taken pictures of them all but I didn't think to start taking pictures of them until a couple months ago. Anyway, here are a few of the most recent ones I've done:

This is one I made for my sister's graduation.

This one was my Dad's Father's Day card.

This was a card I made to go with a baby present for a friend. (Its also probably my favorite. It took a long time to make but I had a lot of fun with it and it turned out pretty cute.)

This is the card I made Aimee for her college graduation.

This I made for my grandparents in California.

And this is my niece's birthday card. (Shh... don't tell Michelle... I haven't sent it off yet.)

They, aren't the best pictures in the world, but they give a taste of what I've been making. I like to have the pictures of the cards I've made so that I can see that I really can make a decent card (if I'm stumped or feeling discouraged on a particular card design), and also I can see progress I've made or reuse ideas if I'm feeling lazy :). Its really fun and surprisingly therapeutic. Some of them definitely are better than others but they have all been fun to create. I don't have a lot of tools, mostly just paper and scissors and a few add ons like ribbon and buttons, but the more I make the more I notice the things I'd like to get. Its kind of nice because when I started I didn't spend tons of money on tools and supplies that I'll never use but also sometimes frustrating because I can only do so much with the resources I have now and it takes a while to cut out letters and flowers and things. I'm going to keep a list though of the things I'd like to get and then slowly add on to my supplies.

Now... who's got a birthday coming up?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Have Been Blessed

Today started out ok. I didn't get up early like I had planned and instead I rose out of bed at 7:00 from a very shallow and restless night's sleep. I did not feel refreshed at all but I scuffled to the bathroom, forcing my eyes open against the glaring lights and commenced the beautifying process. My hair was ok, my make up looked fine, I scrounged something out of my closet to wear that wasn't fabulous, but work appropriate and comfortable at least.

At work I set up for the day, had everything ready for the arriving patients, and waited for the day to begin. Its a Tuesday and Tuesdays are a lot less hectic than most so I started to write a card to my Grandpa and Grandma out in California who were angels and gave me a much needed loan for Dental Assisting School about a year and a half ago. Not long after I finished the note the first patient of the day arrived. I don't know why but I was in statue mode. Unfeeling, uncaring, and yes, maybe slightly curt. I had no reason to be, except I was tired and apparently didn't try at all to break myself out of that grumbly mood. The next few patients arrived and checked in and I went through the motions with barely more than a semi-friendly greeting and only addressing the necessary.

That's when Mr. Dobson came in. Mr. Dobson is a 75 yr.-old new patient and needed to have his insurance cards scanned, a packet of paperwork filled out, and apparently slowly repeated instructions. For some reason, especially in the mood that I was in, I expected to be irritated by this gentleman's requirement of patience. Instead I felt the exact opposite toward him, much to my astonishment. My spirits glowed faintly brighter when he stepped up to my desk. Mr. Dobson does not write well. It took him a full 3 minutes to sign his name and date on the sign in sheet and he mistook his friend's business card for his insurance card, and he very seriously told me that he wasn't able to write when I handed him the paperwork. He asked if I could fill it out for him and I surprised myself by saying, "Yes, of course I can do that for you," before I even had a chance to think about how inconvenient it was for my schedule... (it was a very self centered start this morning...). I grabbed my favorite pen and the clipboard of paperwork and then Mr. Dobson and I sat on one of the couches in the waiting room and I read him the paperwork as he gave me the appropriate information I needed to fill in. Throughout the course of the venture I learned that Mr. Dobson is a widower from Washington who, at the age of five, had an iron accidentally dropped on his face, smashing the bones across his nose and sinuses. Unfortunately, at that time, there wasn't the resources to surgically correct his injury and he was left to the mercy of mother nature to heal on his own. What they didn't know, what no one could really have known, was that due to that injury 70 years ago, Mr. Dobson was to suffer a myriad of health issues, from skin cancer, a kidney transplant, heart problems, a foot long and very protruding hernia, to severe sinus infections and fevers, all stemmed from that one incident as a child, believe it or not.

I don't remember exactly how it happened but somehow I mentioned that he had a good life despite it all. He very assuredly agreed with me and affirmed that he indeed had a very fulfilling life and a wonderful family, and with tears in his eyes he said that he was glad for the life he's had and grateful for the things he's been able to expereince. He said that now, he's ready to go home though, and he's just waiting for when the Lord is ready for him. It wasn't sad though. It was such a peaceful statement. He's lived and he's ready now to go home. With no hesitations. What a wonderful way to "end" life!

Mr. Dobson touched my heart today in a way that I don't think I'll ever forget. After we'd finished his paperwork and chatted for a little while longer I decided I needed to pull myself from this wonderful man's presence, stop any tears that were welling, and come back to my responsibilities. As I walked to my desk I noticed my step was lighter. When the next patient checked in I was warm and congenial. When I answered the phone I had a smile in my voice. Little common annoyances that have always been in the workplace were evaporated. This sweet, unfortunate man, was my angel today. He cured me out of my selfish mood. He resolved me to a better outlook.

Since then I have noticed the blessings more acutely in my life, even the ones in just today. I recieved a raise at work, as well as an unexpected bonus just for a job well done. A man came and brought me handfuls of goodies because, "receptionists just don't get appreciated enough." My wonderful, amazing boyfriend has made me feel so loved and cherished. I am healthy and strong without any physical defects to speak of. I have a great job in just about every aspect of it. I have a wonderful family and friends that have loved me despite everything I may or may not have done. I am blessed. Anything I have to complain about is a factor of my own making or my own selfishness. I need to always remember dear Mr. Dobson and the lesson and feelings he has brought to me.

Thank you Mr. Dobson and I wish you a smooth transition back to your sweetheart.