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The Heart of Life

The Heart of Life: February 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Healthy Dose of Humility

Today I took the day off work to hopefully recuperate once and for all from the three-week-long illness I have somewhat affectionately named, “The Cold That Loved Me Too Hard.”  But I’ll go more into that in a while after I have made a full recovery.  Anyway, as I was eating lunch today I had a humbling “Aha!” moment that I thought I’d share.  This Aha! had nothing to do with my actual lunch—I think it was mostly a combination of quietness and a lack of general feeling-crappy-ness.  

Once upon a time during my college years I was required to spend extended periods of time with a person who really got under my skin.  All of the time.  There were so many things this person did that drove me absolutely crazy. 

I remember once hearing this person talk about how growing up he/she had always wanted to go to a different college, but in the end felt he/she was supposed to go to my school instead.  I’d never really thought too much about that until today, and the thought occurred to me, “Maybe the reason why this person felt prompted to attend my school is because I needed to learn patience, and nobody could teach me patience quite like this person could.”

And then the humbling part started.  Maybe I’ve been prompted to do certain things or asked to fulfill certain church callings not because I needed to get something out of it, but because somebody else needed to learn patience.  During college I was called to be a ward chorister two separate times, and the second time I remember thinking, “Again?  Really?  What more can I possibly learn from this calling?”  While it wasn’t exactly a hard job, or even a job that required preparation, I always felt like an idiot waving my hand around up there trying to keep my facial expressions somewhere between serious and smiling. 

But maybe, just maybe, somebody in the congregation needed to learn to be patient with my awkwardness.  Or maybe the organist needed to learn to put up with my lack of tempo consistency.  Or maybe somebody liked to stick around for sacrament meeting mostly because I was so ridiculously hilarious to watch.  I flatter myself.

I think this is a good thing to keep in mind.  So often I find myself categorizing my experiences into only two categories: “learning experience for me” and “service to others.”  I need to remember to add, “so others can learn to put up with me.”  Because let’s be honest—everyone has some weirdness that somebody somewhere has a hard time with.  I’m not trying to downplay that there are some callings and promptings we receive because we are the right person with the right skills to help someone at the right moment.  But it never hurts to keep the ego in check.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Design Style

The other day as I was browsing on Pinterest I came across an interesting pin:  How To Overcome Decorating Paralysis.  It’s a series of posts that outline how to develop your own sense of style while decorating your home.  I recommend it.

I’ve never taken too much thought into the actual style of how I decorate.  I’m mindful of colors, but not really style.  Plus, living in an apartment limits things.  Not only do I have no power to change things I don’t like about my home, I also hate to emotionally and intellectually invest very much into a very temporary living situation.  Seeing as we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll get into a real house this summer, I figure now is a good time to start defining my style.

The first step in the style-development process was coming up with some words that describe how you want your home to look/feel/function, and then narrow it down to about five.  After some careful consideration, I chose these words:

Colorful, inviting, interesting, versatile, clean, and simple.

The way I confirmed that this is “my style” is by looking around my apartment for my favorite decorative items.  My favorites were easily described by most of my style words.

For example:

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The window.  It’s so versatile.  Right now I have scrapbook paper stuck behind with pictures floating on top.  However, I can change the pictures, ditch the pictures, change the scrapbook paper, ditch the paper, etc.  So many possibilities.  It’s not very colorful right now, but I can make it more colorful if I choose.  It’s interesting because, well, big windows mounted on the wall tend to make a statement.  Clean and simple are hard to explain, but the window is both.

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The orange lamp.  I bought it from TJ Maxx a few years ago on a weird impulse, but I don’t regret it at all.  I like the pop of orange (colorful), and the interesting pineapple-like design.  The basic white shade adds an element of simplicity, but I could easily change up the shade or spray paint the lamp a different color (versatile).

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The candy machine.  We picked this up last summer at a consignment store, and I’ve been meaning to fill it with something fun ever since.  Any (inexpensive) ideas?  Anyway, it’s an unexpected interesting item that has some good color.  And yet it’s still really simple.  The ability to change up what’s inside makes it versatile, and it’s something that could work in several different rooms in the house—it’s on the mantle in my living room now mostly because it matches the couch, but it would also be fun in the kitchen or in a kid’s bedroom.

Anyway, I digress.  It was kind of an enlightening experience to assess the things I already have and gives me slightly more direction when making future decorating plans or shopping for décor.  My next step is to find lots of home décor pictures on Pinterest that fit my style.  Yet another reason to peruse Pinterest!