Thought Snippets

Have spotted a couple of gems on my Reader in the past day or two :)

This one encouraged me a lot before starting yesterday’s post as of course I can relate to this whole thing entirely!! Feels like a snapshot of my life, wish I had written it myself. I think every woman needs to read this anyway. So go ahead then get back to me. Do it now!

The other one stated a quote I had not heard before, but I love it so have decided to share.

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.— Frank Outlaw

Don’t know who Frank Outlaw is, have not felt like Googling him just yet as I am sleeepy! But I like this quote anyway, would like to turn it into a painting and hang it above my bed.

I need to buy some paint.

And some paper.

And some brushes… gaaahh!!

Hope that these snippets inspire you as much as they inspired me :)

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Small Victories: Acting Out the Honour

So being engaged and all, I now have to open my self up to the responsibility of the vocation which I have to honour that is now staring me right in the face.

I knew it was coming, but it just wasn’t IN MY FACE like it is now!

I didn’t expect the “inmyface-ness” to be so intense, me and my fiance have been together for almost 10 years now. Yep! Our first date was one week before my 14th birthday :-) sweetness! So needless to say, we have had plenty of time to prepare.

I’ve been looking at bridal websites as that is how I do my research on how I’m supposed to plan a wedding, what the etiquette is etc. These websites also have a fun selection of quizzes and articles to help prepare us for married life… pssshhh! Right! These articles and quizzes have all become a big vague blur of shallow bullet points detailing top 10 date night ideas, what our sleeping style says about us, how to win over the in-laws bla bla bla.

Then there is the occasional emphasis on marriage being a lifelong commitment. Which is true. We know this already and we’ve heard it many times before! But that is all that is said. I don’t know why all these articles everywhere can state that “marriage is a lifelong commitment” but never actually dissect what it is they are really saying. It is just a blanket statement! What does this commitment entail? What is it made up of?

So what I want to emphasise today is this: Marriage is not just a “life long commitment”. Marriage is a responsibility and it is an honour. Honour is something that needs to be acted out. It needs to be lived. It is a continuous every day action.

I think this viewpoint is important because sometimes people can view the word “commitment” as simply implying that you are to stay with your spouse til death do you part. That’s not all there is and it’s not that simple!

Marriage is not just staying together.

The actions and responsibilities aren’t just that you do what you have to do just to be with your partner.

You do everything you can to grow together as a unit or a team.

Your partners growth is now not only their own responsibility, it is now yours too. Just as it is now their responsibility to help you in your own personal growth.

You are not there just for the sake of being there. You are there with a job to do! You are there to act as your partners rock, support and empowerment.

This is the action of honouring the vocation of marriage.

For example:

I know the cycles My Dark Side goes through. There are three or four, haven’t actually counted but anyway. I need to put little goals in my mind. This is a good thing because when I am working towards a goal I do my best to achieve it. I have on my best behaviour and I think everything out as best I can. The bad thing is that once I have reached that goal I stop. I feel like I have reached. I can afford to relax. I don’t need to put more effort in! I’ve done enough! So I stop thinking, stop trying, stop my positive actions. Then boom My Dark Side is back again. I slip up and didn’t even think it was that bad because “my previous good actions can make up for that! So I’m still good! I’ve done enough!!”

Then there’s the next cycle. Once I have realised the error I have made in the previous cycle of reaching a goal followed by a big lazy fall from grace, I am now aware of how bad it feels to fall from such a height. With the knowledge that it is human to fail, I become fearful of reaching such a height again due to the “inevitable” fall that will soon follow. So I enter into a cycle where I will follow a short burst of good actions by a self sabotaging burst of mess ups and failure. I know what I’m doing. I would just rather mess up now while both my partner and I anticipate it.

When you think it is O.K. to just be there with your partner for being there’s sake, this cycle is entirely possible. Because even though either of us can mess up and take our relationship for granted, at least we are there with each other and not moving!

But when you are engaged, when marriage is on the horizon, you are no longer just there to be there. You are there to honour your vocation to marriage.

Once again, you have a job to do!

So… when I hear My Dark Side begin to whisper in my ear at the beginning of any cycle it may be going through I have a new motivation to hold it off as long as I can. Yes, a fall from a great height may hurt much more than a shorter fall I chose for myself. But in the end the fall does not matter if I can climb back up again. And I know I can, I’ve already done it many times over the past 9.75 years! And even if the climbs get higher and the falls more so, isn’t that part of growing up? More responsibility? More honour?

And how do I hold off My Dark Side? Well this is just another small victory I have discovered. When I hear that whisper of My Dark Side I pause, nod, then get up and decidedly do something the complete opposite! I will do something nice for my fiance. Not just a hug or kiss because that would be for my own benefit. I get up and either pour him a drink, cook him lunch, massage his shoulders…. just something to say that this is my purpose, this is my vocation. Nothing else comes close!

So there we go, another small victory!

Purpose and Influence

So you can’t (or won’t) get away from negative influences?

The problem is what this does to your mind. More specifically, your thoughts.

Our minds are always buzzing with things, big or small. Whether it is your plan for the next 5 years or simply the show you are watching which you aren’t the least bit interested in. One of my favourite moments of “empty” mindedness is when I notice the pattern in which the couch fabric I am sitting on happens to be weaved, or the strokes of paint on the ceiling. This might make me sound very simple minded! ESPECIALLY when my fiance catches me staring and says “what are you thinking about?” as if I appear to be in deep thought, and all I can answer is: “well I noticed that the brush strokes on the ceiling have made an interesting pattern and I am watching it.”

If I dig deeper though and really feel like putting in the effort, I can then go on to explain that I stare at these things because I am a visual person. I dissect every day objects and patterns in my mind not only because I am an artist, but I like knowing how things are made and how they work. When I stare absent mindedly at the brush strokes of paint on the ceiling, I am visualising the order and flow of which the paint was applied onto the ceiling, where the brush was lifted up leaving tiny raised dots of paint where the bristles were pulled away, and where the more broken up strokes indicate that the painter might have been in a slight hurry or running out of paint near the end of the day.

The point I am making is how the tiniest details can be pulled apart into a million pieces and into a million further thoughts. Small things can become bigger. We may not even notice. I often don’t notice when my mind has become lost in the weave of a basket, but it happens! Before I know it I am thinking about making my own basket, then about home decor, then about paint, then paint fumes and then health.

So anyway. We can’t turn away from negative influences without replacing them with a positive influence. And if we won’t turn away from our negative influences, then we can’t discard the negative thoughts that result without choosing to divert our attention to a positive thought.

The incentive to control our thoughts is nil unless we have a goal or a purpose to direct our thoughts to.

We need a long term goal. I don’t want to say we need several long term goals because they will end up conflicting with each other and when that happens we need to find a way to prioritise which one will be the winner. We need to figure out our one overall ultimate long term purpose in life.

If you can’t figure out what your purpose is just yet, then make that your number one goal for now: to find out what your purpose is!

When we have found that purpose, that number one priority, it simplifies your life! As you go over the decisions of your day, ask yourself “will this bring me closer to fulfilling my purpose in life?” It can take a lot of discipline to answer this to yourself honestly but it reminds you of your priorities and how the actions you make affect each of them.

Why has God given you life and put you in this world?

What did He envision you doing to contribute to this world which He made?

It could appear big or small to others but this is only about you. No one else.

I know mine would actually seem quite small in many peoples eyes, but I know it’s worth and if I manage to live it out until the day I leave this world then I will be as happy and content as I ever could be.

Sincerely

Smileyface :)

P.S. I wrote this while listening to Alicia Keys. Her music has been a positive influence for the past 10 or so years of my life!

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