Friday, March 15, 2019

Finding Focus

Do any of you ever feel like life and everything in it gets blurry? Filled up with so much stuff that you want to bring everything into focus, but don't know what to focus on? I want to share some insights I have been thinking on lately in case they might help one of you.

I started this blog to empower others to create. I ran into people that expressed interest in knowing how to redo their piano like I did, but were too afraid to try, so I wrote up my first how-to post. Since then, many have shared their before and afters of their pianos, and it fuels me to continue sharing  what to do and not to do with all of you, so that you can find happiness in transforming your home and furniture affordably.

As the years have gone by, I have shared posts on how to refinish furniture, stain wood beams that had been painted, or update one's home on a budget such as painting kitchen cabinets; but I have also been putting my creative energy into perfecting a drawing of Christ I did years ago, that I made to be personalized.
My first drawing of Christ that included my oldest son when he was 8
My initial purpose of drawing others with their Savior was to empower them in a more meaningful way than the way I do so with "tips and tricks" postings. But as is often the case, I started to tell myself that the drawing wasn't very good, or that nobody would want to take the time to send me a picture so I could make them a personalized drawing, and so on. In the end I stopped putting much effort into it, and would only do it for those that occasionally asked for it.

That is until everything got out of focus...

First Step: Declutter

I find that life is very distracting, and although most of my days are filled with important things that I need to do for my family, my home, or my church, I fill in the open areas with non-important things. When I do this, not only is my calendar filled, but my brain is too, and I am not open to inspiration. Fortunately I have had this realization brought to my attention over and over again the last few months, and have opened my time and my brain to just being, and just thinking. Just being and just thinking is empowering too.

In the end, I was given thoughts and ideas that encouraged me to move forward and improve parts of my Christ drawing that I never could get quite right years ago.

A drawing I did for my niece, with Christ's clothing finally the way that I always envisioned it
As I pondered how to share what I can do, I had the idea to research how others do it.
The simple idea of sharing the before pictures with the after was what I found would solve this problem.

I was also given the idea on how to draw a separate picture of Christ, with Him holding an infant, something I have wanted to do for years for those who have lost their little one, but never knew how. As I made time for quiet moments to allow myself to just think about nothing, I was able to open my mind up to these ideas I never thought would come, and I was able to feel love and support from my father in Heaven. He wants me to use my talent so it can get stronger, as well as bless others, but He couldn't help me know how to get there if my mind was filled with the noise of life.

God also helped me see that although I have a lot of interests, that some of them are just distractions. For example, every now and then I get obsessed with the idea that I want to write a children's book. Writing a book isn't necessarily a bad idea, but what I have learned about myself is that many things have pointed to the fact that writing is not a talent of mine. God has helped me to realize that I can enjoy other's writing talents when I read. Inspiration doesn't always equate to doing things, sometimes it equates to not doing things.

I have found that when I de-clutter my home I can find so much peace in the simplicity and the cleanliness; when I de-clutter my life and my mind, I find the same thing happens. And as I get rid of unnecessary things in my home, I end up finding what I truly love and can then enjoy it more. The same thing applies to my life and my mind--cleaning out the junk allows me to find the meaningful things that have been hidden.

Second step: Opportunities

I find that when I focus my priorities on listening for what God wants for me, that I not only receive guidance I also receive opportunities. 

A friend reached out to me with an idea she had been thinking about for years and wanted to see it put on to paper. She had miscarried a baby after her first son, and found out it was a daughter. She mourned the loss of her baby, but was blessed with another son not long after. She has thought often of this daughter, and looks forward to the day when she will be able to be with her in Heaven. She had completely visualized how she wanted a drawing of her three children to look and asked if I could do it for her. I was excited to try and was so happy that it turned out just as she had imagined.

I was then contacted by a woman who is the head of North Star, a group that "supports Latter-day Saint individuals and families concerned with sexual orientation or gender identity who seek to live in joy and harmony within their covenants, values, and beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." She asked if I would be willing to donate one of my personalized drawings of Christ for an upcoming conference that 500-600 individuals would be attending. She mentioned that many individuals that are faced with these challenges struggle knowing that God and their Savior love them, and thought that a picture like I offer would be very meaningful. I was grateful she asked and am excited to find out who I will get to do this for. We are all children of God, and He and our older brother, Jesus Christ, want us all to come unto them.

I find that after we start listening we will receive guidance, little by little, and that guidance often comes opportunity by opportunity.

Third Step: Keeping things in Balance

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time keeping things in balance. I get obsessed over things way too easily. Whether it's a silly new TV show, a new book to read, or a project that I am working on, I spend way too much time and attention on it. Once this happens I often forget about putting my priorities first, and then everything starts to fall apart and I can't do anything right, and the clutter and stress is back in full force.

In order for me to receive the guidance to pursue drawing more as a creative outlet, and sharing it with others, I had to receive the guidance to put God and my family first. After I received that direction and followed it, the idea then came that I could do this. It is an extra. It isn't essential. The first two are essential. If I put this new direction as my primary focus then it won't work. If I keep things in balance, and in their right order, I will be able to push through the many challenges that I will face, I will be able to push through the insecurities and discouragements that will surely come, and I will be able to move forward.

What this all Means to You

I debated about writing this post because it isn't a tutorial about something creative. However, I decided to just in case some of you creative people are experiencing something similar to what I have shared. Maybe you feel like you are needing an answer to something and can't find it. Maybe your life is filled up with the unimportant clutter and your brain feels like it is drowning. Or maybe you are ignoring a true talent/passion of yours because you have told yourself that it isn't very good, or that no one will ever support you in it's pursuit. Or maybe you are pursuing something you're not that great at or don't really enjoy. I hope you can find time to just be and just listen. I hope you can see where your life is out of balance, and put God and your family first. And I hope that you too can find something that when those things are in balance, will allow you to let your creative juices flow, and allow you to strengthen your talent as you share it with others.

I hope that we can all find the fulfillment that comes when the right things are in focus.

Happy creating,

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