Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Is It?

One of the things I love about my age is knowing myself better. Not that I have everything down pat but I have figured a few things out. And this is - mostly - good. Sometimes, it feels too rigid as if I'm saying no to everything but I've learned from experience that when I say yes and should have said no, it doesn't work. Knowing myself better doesn't completely prevent me from heading in the wrong direction, but it does allow me to correct a whole lot faster than before.


I question. A lot. One of my favourite questions is what if as in what if I try this or that? Asking what if has spread to every area of my life. In the studio, it makes me less fearful in terms of creating art, learning new techniques, or trying patterns that may or may not suit my body type or my fashion personality. In some way, asking what if lets me live a little closer to the creative edge instead of pulling too far back from the view. It's more exciting than perfection. At most, some product is "wasted" but nothing is ever truly lost. I learn.

Another question - what is it...? - is becoming increasingly familiar and can be addressed from so many perspectives. What is it about stitching this particular project that feels so wonderful? What is it about that idea that won't stop tickling? What is it that is preventing me from working the way I want to? What is it that's making me less productive than I could be? What is it that's stopping me from moving forward in this particular situation? What is it about this fabric that attracts me? What is it that makes this garment a favourite? What is it about this technique that excites me?

Like what if, what is it....? is an extremely powerful question. With both, I listen to and feel my body's response. Those responses are the reason I changed my mind three times in three weeks. My body said wrong direction, turn around and made me look at the specifics more closely and ask what if I simply rested? What is it about resting that distresses me? What is it that I could do to rest? Intriguing. Not always easy. I believe that my body's response is one way that God speaks to me.

I've been pondering Linda's absolutely wonderful comment. She wrote - A verse I remind myself oh so often to help me through life's struggles - Philippians 4:11. Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. - Content is a good thing.

I am definitely not a theologian. I find The Message version of the bible much easier to understand and enjoy reading it however, I mostly live out my faith in a day to day fashion trusting God to use whatever source he needs to speak to me in whatever way he wants to speak to me. That's often through my morning study and journal/prayer times and it could equally be through a thought that occurred while moving through the day, an article in a magazine, a news report, a casual comment, a romance novel, the view, and so on. I never know.

I say that to say that I'd need to do some research to even begin to suggest what is meant by the word content in that particular verse but reading it certainly tickled my thought processes. On one hand, I think it's important to be at peace with our place in the world or forever suffer discouragement and depression and - on the other hand - with equal value - I can see how important it is to push the boundaries and be neither complacent nor stagnant.

It strikes me that boundary pushing involves a level of discontent which in turn made me wonder about positive and negative criticism, positive and negative critique, and the possibility of positive discontent. And isn't that an interesting thought? To me at least.

Barb was trying to explain how I don't think like other people and how that can be intimidating. Really? I have a hard time understanding - as in I don't understand - why people find me intimidating. I think they're fascinating and I love a really good conversation and to share, support and encourage BUT... when she started laughing about today's topic - which apparently is not a normal topic - I - sort of - got her point and...

... we ended up talking about friendship which led to another interesting question. She said that a woman she considers a very close friend said that Barb must not consider her (the other woman) a close friend because she'd never ask her for money. THAT is an interesting criteria by which to measure friendship. We discussed how love language (mine is quality time) could affect our opinion of friendships and how we each judge the closeness of a friendship. That's a fascinating topic so I'm putting the question out there. In your opinion, what makes a close friend? 

Yesterday, I experimented with making lace thinking it might be pretty along the bottom of a dress or over/under garment. The left over fabric bits were denim coloured on one side and a dull taupe on the other. When I spread them over the tulle and soluble stabilizer, they looked boring so I added what I thought was a scattering of silver and in the end, it was overwhelming... and ugly... it looks better in the picture.

Even though I used a shiny rayon thread and dense threadwork, the sparkle dominates and the denim looks even duller. That it didn't work out helped to make up for the fold over mistake. I'd prepped two 4' strips but only stitched one. There seemed no point in doing the other since I have no desire to look like a Christmas tree which is what this reminds me of. Perhaps, it can become a Christmas bow.

I'm working on a dress.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - thought provoking questions


  1. Time for a second cup of coffee.
    I like the discussion you had of the definition of a close friend. There are not that many people in my life that I could define as a close friend.
    There are the people who I worked with and a group of them that I join for lunch once a month. We are the 'retired ladies'. Now two others want to join us for lunch on payday and we have the 'retired ladies plus'. There is very little I would not share with these friends, but are they close friends? I don't know.
    After retirement I have been trying to determine what a week should look like. Should I have a specific day for a certain responsibility or should I just do what needs to be done as it occurs? I know that sitting in my arm chair or sewing chair and not getting out and about is a bad idea. But that chair is so comfortable. LOL.

    1. This is something that has been a surprise to me over the years. As an outsider, I think that two people have a closer relationship than they think they have. I'm thinking of two women I know who walk for over an hour every day and yet both say they have no close friends. Perhaps I'm measuring it with my love language of time but there is a defining factor to that language - quality time.

      I'm still trying to figure out what the shape of my day looks like. I think it'll ebb and flow because life is not static. What works for a while won't always BUT... I am concerned about not becoming a hermit.

  2. Interesting topic today!As a teacher of teenagers, I often say "let's see what happens" when they ask me "what if" type questions. Generally along the lines of I teaching a method (like don't overmix the muffins) and someone asking why not. Questions are good. But they aren't always comfortable, I think. And I think for me, who needs to question a response to stress (particularly) I use "busyness" and details to hide away from questions. Something to think about, for sure. I have a good/best friend who questions and trys stuff - to an amazing degree. I think she is courageous. But her sister thinks she's a flake. For Karen (my friend) she gets amazingly excited and wants to try new activities....but not to become an expert, but just to know. She is my "go to" person when I'm looking for basic information about something/some where/a recipe...
    As for what makes a good friend - I'm not sure, and I think it might and should differ for each person. For me, it's someone I don't need to make excuses to. If I'm tired/crazed/stressed and can't meet for coffee - she understands. Sometimes she just brings coffee to me! When I was ill recently and couldn't get myself up off the couch, Karen was the friend who came, and did housework because she knew that state of my house was causing me stress. She gets me. When she is feeling the pinch of too much to do...I go and garden/weed for her because that is what causes her stress.
    Take care, have a good day!

    1. I think we all learn better through experience than theory.

      LOL - I can relate to your friend. I often get that "flakey" look.

      I asked the question to see the variety of answers because I think it has to differ person to person. What a wonderful friendship you're describing. One of my criteria is someone who can joke about my idiosyncrasies in a fun way as opposed to a mocking one.

  3. Interesting question.

    A close friend:
    Lets me vent about the different drama's in my life, and they don't offer solutions or ask questions. They just listen.
    They share their drama's with me, and I just listen.
    They let me help them when they need help, and they help me when I need help.
    They want to spend time with me, but aren't needy about it, and don't make demands on my limited free time.
    They don't walk ahead of me when we go places together. They walk along side me.
    They don't insist on always paying for both of us, thus flaunting that they're richer than me.
    They're not bossy.
    They say what they have to say, are honest and direct without being brutal or mean-spirited.
    They're authentic.
    It's not all about them. Sometimes it's about me.
    They're not negative. They aren't a wealth of info about why whatever I'm doing is stupid, not gonna work, is dumb.
    They say, Let's see what happens, when I want to try something out.
    When my mom died, they all came to the funeral because they knew I was broken-hearted. And there were so many of them that the church had to set up extra folding chairs.

    1. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this list. There were some things for me to learn. I can jump in with an answer way too fast. Thanks. It sounds like you are a good friend and have some wonderful friendships. Something to celebrate.

  4. My fav one is "why not?" and I like the 2 questions you shared too..

    what if..?
    What is it..?

    As for what makes a close friend - mutual and unconditional (love, respect, support).

    1. Oh... I have questions.

      Do you ever ask why not and come up with a lot of fearful reasons that prevent you from moving forward when really all you were doing was giving yourself a push? AND...

      ... do you think unconditional is actual possible? I can see where you're going with that because I would say that my husband loves me quite unconditionally and even so, he has limits. I've never discovered what would happen if I pushed one of those limits too far but I'm guessing with his nature, it would be along the lines of a snapping point.

    2. The 'why not' actually works otherwise for me. I am very good at talking myself out of trying stuff thanks to baggage from childhood. The question gives me a push. And it has repeatedly helped me stand up for myself, when I direct it towards others. And the 'why not' that I asked myself helped me be sure of my reasons to decide a go or no-go! I am also not good at treating myself. so, the 'why not' is helping there as well. The only time it's proven difficult is when I think if I should order more fabrics.... The darn 'why not' is detrimental then! The fabric would be a great treat, if only I used them up. Else it's just there, adding guilt.

      As for second question - Wrong punctuation: It should have been - mutual [(unconditional love and support) and respect]. And by unconditional, I absolutely do not mean 'sacrificial' and or never ending source of moral-financial-emotional support. Let me try to explain as much as I can. What it means to me is, say, I'm offering somebody a helping hand (say cleaning somebody's kitchen for them) - And I would never expect that person to return the favor to me. It was just a gift from me. And I will forget that I did it. The receiving person should never feel obligated to return the gift either. If they want to help me during a tough situation, if I can accept it, I'd receive it gracefully with thanks, without any obligation to return it. This is how I see 'unconditional'. I've seen some parents offer money to go to school only if the child signed up for a specific degree. Or parents stopping to love a child and disowning them because the child stopped confirming to their standards. Those are totally conditional.

      Now if one person is taking another for granted, then there's no respect. I'd walk away from that friendship.

      The love and support has to be unconditional and with a big dose of respect. And all 3 of these have to be mutual in a close friendship. Phew! Myrna, you certainly make me think! :)

    3. Love the way "why not" works for you.

      With regards to the fabric, for me it depends on the deal. I buy the majority of my stash at substantially discounted prices and then sew from my stash so if I decline this opportunity, it won't come again. I have space (and cash) criteria that help me balance. It's when I buy expensive fabric for no reason and then don't use it that I experience guilt. Once I realized that, I changed things so that any expensive fabric now arrives in the form of souvenirs or gifts and is fabric I really, really love.

      I found it interesting how you defined unconditional. It's similar to how I define not having expectations. The concept of no strings attached. Sounds like we might have some similar childhood baggage.

      Walking away from a relationship where one person is taking the other for granted is something I haven't always found easy as relationships ebb and flow but if it ebbs all one way and doesn't seem to be flowing around, then I have to think about it. I have walked away from many and every time it hurts.

      I once watched a documentary on marriage. I don't remember all the specifics but it was about some test for reading relationships and involved an observer watching a couple interact. In the situations where one person treated the other with contempt or disrespect, he said that marriage would never last no matter how much they had in common and where they had little in common but respect for their differences and each other, he said that marriage would have longevity. I imagine that's true of more than marriage.

      LOL - happy to have made you think. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Our preacher tells us that to better understand the Bible, one must go back to the original Greek in order to understand the intended message. As we jokingly say at times in conversation "must have gotten lost in the translation." Since we now have so many different translations of the Bible, I find it so interesting to research back to the original Greek words in various verses so that I might understand better what the writer intended. I believe the literal translation in this case is "self sufficient." I feel I've learned so much from my limited research of this particular verse for its literal and contextual issues. Contentment doesn't come easy; as Paul notes, he "LEARNED" to be content.

    1. Self-sufficient ? ? ? VERY interesting. Thanks for sharing that. It'll give me even more to think about.

  6. Close friend, to me, is someone who sees the real you and sticks around anyway. With a close friend you don't have to hold back, you can share your thoughts without fear of rejection/resentment/value judgment. And I think ideally this should be mutual.

    I like "... what if?". My usual questions are "Why?", "Why not?", and "...and then what?" I like to know the reasoning behind people's decisions and actions. It's too easy to assume malicious intent where the real reason was ignorance or lack of attention or, worse, good intention gone awry. So I ask why. I ask myself that, too, to drill down to the real reasons I do what I do.

    1. I read an article years ago that divided relationships into a reason, a season, or a lifetime. It said that lifetime relationships will be tested at some point, and if you make it to the other side of that situation, it will be as you're saying - without fear. I found the article very helpful even as I realized that that testing point can come long after you thought the relationship had settled.

      Another thought from a book was assume positive intent. I've found that helpful in the way that asking why works for you. It helps me to look for the other side and beyond the obvious.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.