Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the challenge of music

i must thank the lovely erin prais-hintz for coming up with this beautiful idea! i'm so excited to see what everyone else has done and what song inspired them.

i have to admit, i started right away. i dug through my cds, i listened to every song on my i-pod. i seriously considered doing three necklaces inspired by three different songs. but sanity reigned and i chose 'the middle' by jimmy eat world.

i've always felt a connection with this song, like i was the one who needed to hang on. i had just given up my dream of being an art therapist, a dream i'd had since high school. i first heard this song right after 9/11 and there was this cloud of darkness settling itself over the country. my depression at this time had led me to consider suicide, and here was this song telling me not to "write myself off yet/it's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on." this song made me think maybe i wasn't such a lost cause. i definitely needed the reminder that it's gonna be all right, if i would just hang on. here are the lyrics.

The Middle lyricsSongwriters: Adkins, James; Burch, Richard; Lind, Zachary; Linton, Thomas
Hey, don't write yourself off yet/It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on/Just try your best, try everything you can/And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away

It just takes some time/Little girl you're in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine/Everything, everything will be alright, alright

Hey, you know they're all the same/You know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in/Live right now, yeah, just be yourself/It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else

It just takes some time/Little girl you're in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine/Everything, everything will be alright, alright

It just takes some time/Little girl you're in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine/Everything, everything will be alright, alright

Hey, don't write yourself off yet/It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on/Just do your best, do everything you can/And don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say

It just takes some time/Little girl you're in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine/Everything, everything will be alright, alright

It just takes some time/Little girl you're in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine/Everything, everything will be alright, alright

when i did a little research on wiki i found that the band wrote this song after they'd been dropped after their first album was a total hit. they felt betrayed and belittled and totally like everything was spinning out of control. so they decided to produce this single themselves, and it hit the top 20. and then they got picked up by another producer, a producer who listened to them and wanted them to make the music that they wanted to make. so. it was better in the end.

pretty profound life lesson, there. deep songwriting at it's best. just hang on. it will get better.

so here's the focal i made. i drew out my design idea on paper and then drew with a sharpie on the copper, refining the shape until i got something i thought would be comfortable. then i cut it out, hammered it and added the words. i wanted the words to be black so instead of liver of sulpher i used a sharpie, sanded it all to make it matte, and added the holes.

then i added this little key, as a reminder that just holding on is the key for me. all things pass, the hard times, too. i used a pretty little enamel headpin.

then i added this wing. it symbolizes that when you're holding on, you're flying.

life comes with the good and the bad.

the circle of life, twisted paths and clearings along the road.

so that was my journey this month. i still need to remember and implement this lesson. it's a good lesson, don't you think?

i hope you enjoy this blog hop as much as i enjoyed working on this challenge. again, thank you, erin. i wouldn't have stretched myself in this manner without you.

now go, visit the next blog!

Marcie Abney
Christine Altmiller
Elisabeth Auld
Lori Bowring Michaud
Shannon Chomanczuk
Cece Cormier
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Malin de Koning
Beth Emery
Michelle Escano-Caballero
Erin Fickert-Rowland
Therese Frank
Amy Freeland
Tanya Goodwin
Stephani Gorman
Amy Grass
Beth Hemmila
Kristina Johansson
Jennifer Justman
Tari Kahrs
Susan Kennedy
Ema Kilroy
Kathleen Lange Klik
Kirsi Luostarinen
Paige Maxim
Beth McCord
Natalie McKenna
Alice Peterson
Cat Pruitt
Bobbie Rafferty
Johanna Rhodes
Cynthia Riggs
Sally Russick
Sarah Sequins
Amy Severino
Staci Smith
Kristen Stevens
Lola Surwillo
Stefanie Teufel
Sandi Volpe
Holly Westfall
Shaiha Williams

Sunday, February 26, 2012


i hate winter.
with a passion.

you see, winter is cold. and winter is DARK. especially up here. at winter solstice (the end of december) we only have about three hours of light. yes. you read that right. three. hours. of. light. we still don't have a full day of light yet. the sun (oh, blessed sun) comes up around nine or ten and sets at about 4:30. twilight is short and dawn is long. so. onto the cold. this winter we've had -40 to -50 degree weather for weeks on end. i don't go outside but to run to my car, drive with curses in my head, and run to wherever it is i'm going, (generally the grocery store) and then come home. all because i must eat. so sad.

so. i hate winter.

but on my first walk i asked God if there was anything he wanted me to notice. and He said, "yes. just ahead." i walked the path down to the river, asking Him along the way if i'd gotten there yet. He said, "at the river." okay. so i got to the river and stopped. and stared.

it was beautiful.

trees were covered in thick heavy snow. the river, not fully frozen, had humps of snow peeking over the edges of the ice into the steely water. the bridge was gray with frost. and the sky! oh, the sky. heavy like a the underside of a down quilt. almost urging me to slumber. and i thought, "okay. so winter can be beautiful, too. there is beauty in all the seasons."

winter is a time of rest. of introspection. my spirit animal is bear, and bears hibernate in the winter. this is a time to gather inspiration, to fill my brain with stories from books. to look deep within myself and see what i want to change, where i want to grow, what i need to cut back and trim. to prepare for the coming of spring and be ready to *be the change*.

there is beauty in all the seasons. they all have their place in the cycle. and isn't life a cycle? we follow the path that twists and turns and keep coming back to the issues that we need to work on, the same marvelous things about ourselves. the path is not an endless line. it is a circle, perfect in it's symmetry. a circle that is ever widening, leading us onward into greatness. leading us to where God wants us to be.

i pray that, you too, will find beauty in all the seasons.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


so this is my first year in observing lent. i always thought it was an interesting idea but i'm not catholic so i figured it didn't apply to me. i mean, really, growing up baptist meant poo-poo-ing those silly catholics that prayed to mary and all those saints. (so many saints!) but i'm slowly learning that asking for a little guidance from those that have gone before me isn't such a bad thing. and looking to them to be inspired by their example is a beautiful thing. i pray to my spirit animal for guidance and help, don't i? i look to bear to be inspired by the way he is. why can't they do they same with the saints? and i'm going to a presbyterian church now; they observe lent so i'm learning a bit more about this season. it's really just preparing your heart to receive the blessing of His son at easter and couldn't everybody's heart use a bit more of that?

so, this being my first year, i've been floundering. what to give up? what to give? urgh! i've already given up my lovely diet coke and i'm changing the way i eat... then i read erin prais-hintz' encouraging and profound post about what she's doing for lent, and God was like, "BING!" on my head.

see, He's been telling me for a while that i need to walk, but it's *winter* and i *do not* walk outside in the winter. in the winter i go to my car and back and that is all.

it's been -50 here. please don't judge me.

but it's gotten warmer (it's 13 degrees out today) so i really have no excuse. so i will join erin in walking for lent. go bethiboo!

                                                          tom corbin--woman walking

have you ever felt so dissasociated from your body that all you are is a head and hands? that's how i feel. like i'm not part of this body.

see, my body keeps betraying me with it's illnesses and it's chronic pain and it's general incooperation to be helpful. so my brain has decided to pretend it's not there and that's just not right. i need to accept my body and change it to become the body i need it be. stronger. healthier. and to do that i need to exercise, which i've always hated, with a passion. well, not always. when i was in sixth grade i was the best runner in the school. and then puberty hit and my body betrayed me with awkwardness and breasts and a tummy. egads. but God has been telling me to *walk*. to accept. to *forgive*.



that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? to forgive this fragile, imperfect shell of a body. it's trying it's hardest, but i haven't been helping. i've been hating it. and doesn't the thing that you hate become bitter and twisted after awhile? yes, in fact, it does.

so we bring into play the word of the year. TRANSFORM.

transform my hatred of myself (because that's what this is, really) into love.

so. back to lent.

i want to do more, i say. i want to focus on prayer and meditation as well. i've started a bible study and i haven't done one of those since i quit going to church about six years ago. it's a beth moore study; i'm so inspired by her. it's the james study about mercy. it's the second week of the study, and i'd like to meditate more on what i'm learning. i was thinking this morning that i need to get a meditation pillow, even before i'd made this decision. synchronisity at work! so i will pull walking and meditation together.

one more thing: helping my family. i need to do more around here. 'nuff said.

so join us this lent! choose to be the change.

Friday, February 10, 2012

a confession

i have a confession to make. it's a big one. and a hard one.

i suffer from depression. this is no little pat-you-on-the-head-and-it's-all-better depression. this is the big gaping maw of darkness kind of depression. i have trouble doing things, normal things, like getting up, eating, taking a shower. i've been in the psych ward three times, the last time after an overdose when i tried to kill myself. this is the kind of depression that interferes every day with my life. i look at my beads and they are calling me with the sweetest voice but the darkness says no, not today. too much to handle. i'm on medication for my depression; cymbalta and geodon. monday when i visited my psychiatrist for a regular check-in, he told me my official diagnosis. schizo-affective disorder. whoa. i looked it up on the internet. it's a depression that is major that is in conjuction with psychotic symptoms. i hear voices, see. not the 'kill them' voices, but an annoying buzzing like an out of tune radio. sometimes it sounds like a voice i can't quite understand and sometimes it sounds like music, sometimes country, sometimes rock. always bloody annoying. when i take my meds i don't hear the voices as much. a fan in the room really helps. the one voice that i can understand happens only when i'm in an empty room, and i hear my name. this terrifies me beyond all measure. it happens very rarely. generally a high amount of stress brings it on.

saying all this, and if i haven't frightened you away, i also want to say that i am so much better than i used to be. before i was on my meds, my depression was augmented with an extreme level of paranoia. i thought everybody hated me. little interactions with people left me spinning for days, thinking they had thought i was stupid and ugly and basically a waste of space. i got fat to protect myself from them. then i got help and i slowly learned that *nobody is thinking about me*. ! everyone is totally concerned with themselves. and if they do happen to notice you, it's generally thoughts like, "cute shirt," or "wow, that's great hair," or "oh, no, she shouldn't have worn that." not things like, "that is the stupidest girl on the planet," or "what a waste of space." i'm sure there are exceptions to that rule, as there are always exceptions, but people who think that kind of stuff about other people are generally the unhappiest people.

i'm now the kind of person that notices the beauty is something, the good qualities in people, the happy moments in my day. i have an amazing family that loves me even though i still have trouble every day. i have friends who love me, who i look forward to seeing and spending time with. and i have you, my lovely readers, who spur me on to keep writing and keep on making beautiful jewelry. i am very blessed. and if my days are harder than the average person's, well that's okay, too. because with this constant pain i also have received immeasurable gifts; the gifts of compassion, empathy, intelligence, loyalty, and dare i say, even a small dose of talent.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


living a vulnerable life is hard. but i'm trying to be more vulnerable. it's a place of strength, to embrace your imperfection and feel as though you are worthy of connection, that you are courageous. because one of my core beliefs is that i'm unlovable. my father taught me this through his inability to say anything positive about me. both of my parents came from a place of low self-esteem, so it's a generational stronghold. hard to break. one positive thing about believing myself unlovable is that i am deeply empathetic about other's pain. and i know i'm not alone. but i need to learn that i am worthy of love. i'll be praying about this. this is my year of transformation! i can do it!

i've started working through beth hemmila's 'lemonade mantras'. good stuff. i recommend it! here's to a brighter future that is tender yet strong. vulnerability is a beautiful thing.