Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bandwagon Approaching - Listen to the Music!

Today I will not jump on any bandwagons. Instead, I will read the music and the lyrics, find my rhythm, and march the road to the beat of my own drum. ~ AZ Mom of Many Hats

I am not one to jump on bandwagons. I never have been.

It’s not that I think there is something wrong with standing for a cause – there isn’t. It is a very noble thing to support what you think in your heart is the right thing. Society has improved and evolved by people standing together and standing up for what is right.

My issue is with bandwagons.

Bandwagon has a couple of definitions.  It’s exactly what the name says – a wagon that carries a band.  It’s also a cause or group that appeals to people because of apparent success. Both definitions have a draw factor.

Should we jump on bandwagons blindly though?

It is ingrained in my personality to not simply follow for the sake of following.  That is not me, not my own personal style, and not my need.  But, I know that there are those who want and need to be a part of the latest thing.  This is not a lacking or a flaw; it is simply part of who they are.  However, whether we resist the popular pull or feel drawn to it, I don’t think we should jump onto bandwagons blindly.  There is danger in that.

Would you board a train, a plane, a taxi or a bus, simply because you liked the song that was playing over the speakers? 

If you answered this question with “yes” – you are much braver than I am, and I wish you a safe trip.  But, my own answer would be "no".  I would want to know more about the driver, the vehicle, and the destination.   

Bandwagons are much like these vehicles.  They have tremendous appeal, popular support, and often celebrity endorsements.  They play a great song. Not that this is bad… but this appeal can overshadow the sense of responsibility as individuals to find out information about the events surrounding the bandwagon.   There are questions that should be asked before joining in.

Do we know all sides of the story?
Do we know who is at the reigns?
Do know where the wagon is heading?

After asking these questions, if you are comfortable with the answers you find, then climbing on may be what your heart tells you to do. The band on the wagon may be playing your song. It is a good and noble thing to follow YOUR heart.

For me, however, I have a need to investigate and contemplate.  Wagons are great for some, but I need to reflect upon what is right and true to my heart.  Often it is the song that is blaring from the wagon that matches my heart.  However, I need to know that I am in control of my participation. So, I will listen to the music and the lyrics, find my own rhythm, and march down the road to the beat of my own drum.

What do you think? Do you jump on bandwagons?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Winds of Change and An Anchor to Drop

How do you handle change? Are you ok with it or does it unsettle you and put you adrift? 

It's funny how as I have gotten older, I am much more OK with change than when I was a younger woman. When I was younger, change threw me for a loop. The thought of moving out of my normal routine shook me. It irritated me. It made me very stressed.  Basically, I was a mess when change was in the air.  I would even prefer to be in a situation that was not rewarding rather than go through the uncertainty of change. 

After a lot of soul searching...
I realized that my aversion to change comes from the piece of me that likes and depends on anchors.  I grew up in one house, in one town, in a community that did not have a lot of turnover in population. Most of my family actually still lives in the same general area. Many of the kids I grew up with and graduated high school with were also my classmates in kindergarten. Many of them are still in same small town. These things all created consistency.  The idea of having some constants in life created a sense of stability for me - it created anchors.  

As the years have passed, and I have been put in situations that required me to move and go through life changes, I am much more OK with the idea of change. In fact, in many ways I welcome it. I realize how much opportunity it can bring and how much growth happens. In the change I learn about myself and expand who I am.

Change was hard...
At first the constant change was very difficult for me.  It left me feeling like I was drifting with no anchors to keep me from floating out to sea - and I am not a water person. As we made each move as my husband climbed the corporate ladder, I felt up-rooted and plopped into a new body of water, trying to find a place to drop anchor.  Many times the water felt too deep.

I let out my line, but held anchor...
But,I learned to let out my anchor and hold to the things that give me stability and the things that will never leave me or let drift aimlessly in the currents.  Even though I am not close in proximity to my family at this time in life, they are still my anchor.  My faith gives me a place to dock and find peace.  My beautiful daughters are the line that can never be cut or too short to hold me fast.  In my willingness to hold fast to my anchors but enjoy the journey in the different waters of life has opened my eyes to how big and how wonderful the world truly is.  It has also allowed and afforded me opportunities and relationships that I never would have experienced had I resisted the winds of change. 

Honestly, I still long for home.  That will never change for me.  But until I can be back, know that I am still anchored, it's just that the anchor line is let out a bit farther for now. 

How do you handle change? Do you feel lost at sea or do you find a place to drop anchor?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Tip My Cap To You! A Tribute Craft To National Craft Month!

This morning as I was rushing to get out the door for the usual Saturday rush of activities - I once again wished I had a nice and fashionable black hat to don my head.  I've thought the same thing a thousand times, and always settled for a cap that didn't quite match. I'd just grab what I could to put atop my head. Little did I know at the time, that my afternoon project would not only grant my wish for a  fantastic black cap, but it would also be a fitting project for an AZ Mom of Many Hats, and a tribute to National Craft Month.

I made one... and you can too!
Here is how you can take a plain cap and make it an original masterpiece - in about an hour. 

Start with a plain cap. You can purchase a new one, or go to your trusty ball cap collection and re-purpose one that you already have. Which ever you choose what you end up with will be beautiful and unique!

Cut pieces of fabric scraps into designs that you'd like to see on your hat.  I wanted a floral theme on mine and happened to have a piece of fabric with flowers printed on them. Press the pieces with an iron to eliminate any wrinkles. Place the pieces on the hat in the positions that you want to adhere them in. If you can, try to put the cap on your head so you can see what it looks like on - sometimes it makes a difference in how the final placement looks. 

When you are happy with the placement, use fabric glue and tack down fabric in the center of the piece.  Do this will all pieces. Once all pieces are tacked, use a brush or toothpick to apply more glue to the edges of the pieces. Note: My glue favorite is Gem Tack Flexible glue by Beacon - it's for adhering gems, but works wonderfully for this project.

Once they have dried, use a tooth pick to place dots of glue around the edges of the fabric and adhere rhinestones.  Let it all dry - and in about an hour you have a fantastically fashionable cap! 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

That Hill Is Just a Better Vantage Point!

Living here in the beautiful Desert South West, there are a lot of places to do nice day hikes. Some of them are technically pretty easy, and some of them are very challenging. Some are long trails with slow inclines while others are short but steep inclines. Still others fall someplace between the two. All of them take a lot of endurance in stamina or strength. And all have a reward at the pinnacle.

Do you ever have those days that it feels like every step is like climbing up a mountain? You know the kind of day...

The kind of day when it feels like you are hiking a long trail with a heavy pack on your back. Each step you take physically feels like you are battling the hill, trudging your way slowly up it, step by step. Your is pack weighted down by too little sleep, spreading yourself too thin, having to be five different places at once, and juggling all of you day to day responsibilities to make the climb any easier.

Or there is the kind of day when it is not physical exhaustion, but mental exhaustion that is making your traverse difficult. The tasks in life that you are facing - taxes, putting kids through college, meeting the deadlines at work, planning your next career move, feel like boulders in the path that you must make your way over. The thought of taking the next step is overwhelming and over-weighting.

Then there is the kind of day that the uphill trek is slowed and complicated by emotional exhaustion. The dealings of relational life send rocks tumbling down that we must dodge or catch so we can continue on. Rifts in family or marriage, sickness, emotional stressors of raising kids careen at us causing our ascent up the hill to seem near impossible.

Whatever the kind of day it is, we look at the mountains we are hiking up and you get so caught up in the elevation and path that we must climb to get to the top that we just can't seem to wrap our brains around how we are going to get there. To get to the top, we must dig deep from the bottom of our souls, carry on even when we feel like giving up, and climb even when the muscles of our wills are crying out from the pain of being worked to its limit.

But take heart.... There is a reward. 

At the top of each mountain is a pinnacle. That pinnacle holds the gift of a panoramic view of the valley we have ascended from.

Every hill we traverse has the reward of a new vantage point. If we digest and really reflect on our journey to the top of the hill, we see our world from a point of clarity and distance. Yes, we may be tired and need a moment to catch our breath and let our bodies rest. But in that moment our eyes are open to what lies ahead of us as well as the accomplishment of what we have overcome to stand at the top of the climb. Our resolve is strengthened, but our hearts are softened as we see what is possible, and feel for those that are struggling up the trail.

How do you see the hills in your life? Have you let them strengthen you or defeat you?