Have you had an urge to create something magical but think you don't have what you need? Bringing your imagination to life isn't dependent on the availability of tools, materials, etc. The real magic happens once you can see the possibilities in what seems unremarkable and recognize how to harness the power of the materials that you do have access to.
I'll let you in on a little secret, I LOVE to build stuff. What kind of stuff? All kinds of stuff except for electrical...only weirdos enjoy electrical. While I've been building all sorts of things for a while, I've been messing things up for even longer. The first playhouse that I built looked awesome, but it fell over the first time Parker opened the door.
Here's the thing, creative expression (however you define it) is not necessarily dependent on skill level or specialized expertise. I believe that willingness is where all creation begins. Willingness to try. Willingness to fail. Willingness to be keep at it. For me, the LOVE that I have for building stuff is a really about the process of creating something, particularly something that makes someone else happy.
So what does any of that have to do with learning to build a door? Far too often, people say, "I could never build something like that." That will only be true if your unwilling to try. Some of the most amazing creations are the culmination of a myriad of beautiful mistakes. So grab your drill, borrow a saw, and pull that wood out of the dumpster and create something magical.
Parker and Tyler provide an update for our little family since leaving Overland Park, Kansas.
A house has come for those magical things
those with feet and those with wings!
Those with feet have come from afar
to visit this house where the fairies are!
There's even been visitors with furry feet
keeping watch over this beautiful house where friends meet!
Come take a peek through the window at dusk or dawn
the light shines just right and sparkles on the lawn!
The joy has been felt and memories it brings
a house has come for those magical things!
I dont know if any other Fairy's have aquired themselves a janitor but ALICE sure has! Everyday this sweet girl checks on the inside to make sure its all clean and that everything is in place and then sweeps the stairs! She even makes sure the fire pit is in its place and makes adjustments to the benches. I think I might ask her to come into my house and help me out a little! Lucky Alice!
A few days ago we received a little, tiny note in our mailbox. It was from the fairies! It said they "LOVE their new home but want to do some painting. And although they are quite strong, it would be very helpful if we would take all the furniture out for them".
Of course we did and could not wait to see what these sweet fairies came up with. Here is their newly painted home and a helper putting the furniture back in for them. It's ADORABLE! I want these floors and wall color in my house!
Our sweet fairy takes care of her human friends! This sweet girl always checks on Alice's House every day and often leaves notes for her. Today this this lucky girl got a reply!
It has happened! Oh, yes this is Real. FAIRIES! They really do live here!
When the first plant was seen, we knew it wouldn't be long, but thought we could help them move right along. To the nursery we went, and back in a flash, one by one they were planted and done in a dash. Now the beauty is know from as far as the street, and if you are passing, stop and take a peek.
Utah County just didn't feel right, so this little fairy traveled north through the night. Some call her a rebel. perhaps you agree but Salt Lake County is where she's meant to be be.
Something magical has happened here on our lane. It started with some signs and no kids were to blame. Tools were appearing and plants in the ground and later a marker where a house will soon be found.
Several years ago, little Parker, little Tyler and I discovered something unexpected...
Reeling from the overwhelming changes and uncertainty that consumed me after my divorce, I reluctantly made the decision to relocate my little family to Utah. Our last two days in Kansas felt like a blurred frenzy of packing and impossible decisions. While I was indeed grateful for the help of friends and family, as the boys and I drove away, I felt stripped and exposed. To make matters worse was the realization that the whole thing had been caught on film (nothing is better than knowing that such a difficult and personal experience had been documented for all the world to see . . . just sayin).
It was late when we finally arrived at our new address. We stumbled to bed exhausted and slept hard. The next day I woke up to find that the reality of my life was still there. Towers of boxes waiting to be unpacked, the inevitable and torturous trips to Wal-Mart to stock the empty refrigerator, hours of phone calls to set-up utilities and services.
None of this should have felt so overwhelming (at that point I was literally an expert at moving), but this time was different. To me, coming back to Utah represented my failures. I felt broken and ashamed. There were so many important decisions that needed to be made and I knew that those decisions would affect my children. I felt frozen. Tears streamed down my face as I stared out the window into the blinding desert sunlight and whispered:
“What have I done?”
Nearly 3 years later, I stare out that same window and proclaim:
“Look at what I’ve done!”
For me and my boys, the last three years have been filled with hard work, sacrifice, success, and failure. Has it been difficult? You betcha. Have I made mistakes? Too many to count.
The towels aren’t perfectly stacked but our laundry is clean (most of the time). The lawn isn’t always green, but it gets mowed (eventually). We may have stumbled along (when I say “we”, I mean mostly “me”), but we stumbled together (here “we” means “we”) and I can say that these experiences have been valuable, for us individually and as a family. And while it is true, that divorce can leave deep, deep scars. . . together we can proclaim “Look at what we’ve done!”
When I’m feeling a bit testy, I remind myself of this experience because it has become such a lovely reminder to be kinder to myself. Has life gone according to my original master plan? Not hardly. Plans B-W didn’t turn the way I had hoped either, but each experience is not without purpose. So I will keep moving forward and be grateful for the gentle voice that reminds me to look at what I’ve done.
Finding Your Authentic Self
Maya Angelou famously said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me that each one of us leaves a mark on those that we interact with. And it leads to another more personal question: What kind of mark am I leaving on others?
Over the past year, I have had contact with many people who either want to become happy or want to positively affect others. Both are worthy pursuits that on the surface seem to be goals independent of the other. But they are, in fact, inseparably connected. And more, they are manifestations of authenticity.
So, what is authenticity and how does one achieve it? Authenticity is a person’s understanding the true self, genuinely accepting his true self, and then sharing that true self with others fearlessly.
Keep in mind that if living authentically were simple, everyone would be doing it. Acquiring a true understanding of self cannot not be accomplished in a weekend, nor is it a destination in its own right. Rather it is a constant journey, an evolution of depth perception and perspective fueled by our experiences. The caveat is that in order to be effective, the process requires HONEST inquiry coupled with a willingness to forgive, accept, and love one’s self.
As I continue my own journey towards a better understanding of self, I have come to believe that understanding one’s self is the first, and potentially most problematic step on the road to authentic happiness. Why? In order to share our true self, we must first understand who are true self is. And there in lies the problem. I think we can all agree that honestly acknowledging why we behave the way we do can be uncomfortable and overwhelming. After all, self deception (varying degrees of lies you tell yourself to make you feel better about a perceived fear or failure) exists to protect us from having to face uncomfortable truths.
Honest assessment is made more difficult because we each have a subjective perception of past events, which is further complicated by the critical inner voice born of our deepest darkest insecurities. For many of us, it is our inner voice that is the most critical, fearful, and unforgiving. It perpetuates untruths, holds us hostage, and halts our individual progression towards becoming authentically happy.
The process of honest assessment is difficult-downright painful, time consuming and may require the help of a good therapist but the resulting reward is priceless. Forgiveness of self often leads to forgiveness of others, compassion for self leads to compassion for others, and acceptance of self leads to acceptance of others. In the end, you are positively affecting the world and becoming authentically happy.