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Encouragement and Refocusing

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw this quote and thought of how I really needed to refocus. I’ve been anxious about this blog and being perfectly right, never posting something that’s outside what this blog is intended to be.

I need to be able to make enough money to live. I need to make it so this blog does that. I cannot live off the assistance of others for forever, as much as I appreciate it.

I was focusing on the harvest. I need to focus on the seeds.

What will bring value to those who come by my corner of the world? What do I want to express? If I’ve managed to bring interesting posts to you, maybe I need not be concerned with the results.

The question needs to be “What am I planting?” not “What will I have, when the plants are bearing fruit?”

Now, I must keep refocusing on my seeds, not my fruits. That’s the trick. “Let go, and let God”, they say.

What do you see in this quote? Tell me.

Sending love to you. <3

Surrendering = Trust.

I’m in a pensive mood today.

People can be surprisingly narrow in their views, only seeing them or maybe them and some cherished loved ones. It’s human to shut down and disconnect from the pain life gives us in rich abundance.

No matter the fault, I wish we could see more of the world than our small corner. I think we’d feel better, and be better able to handle the awful things life inevitably does to us.

Everyone’s been deprived of something they wanted/needed sooner or later; what do you choose then? We show ourselves to be very small characters in a very large play by what we choose to do and say. We show that we don’t know how to handle such a thing… but everyone is small, just like each one of us.

We could accept our small role as our Divine calling, but clamor for bigger roles. Do we not know that the small role is just as important as the big star? Who are we supposed to be? Do we ask Divinity to tell us? Or do we write our own script, fearing the loss of total control that surrendering to the Divine is? Do we not know that surrendering is the best way to find our own truth?

I’m sad that we don’t take that opportunity. Part of loving anyone is surrendering your need to be right all the time. Your need to be in total control of everything. To surrender is to trust. To trust is to have the universe opened up right in front of you.

Who would turn such an opportunity away?

We do. Every day.
I do. Every day.

I can say that I don’t want to, and that I’ll do my best not to. ♥

Daily Quote #2 -The Value of Learning

This is the second in daily series of posts collecting wisdom from others on different subjects. Today’s theme is the value of learning. What can we learn, just by our own research? Learning happens in the classroom, but I almost wonder if more learning doesn’t happen in the midst of everyday things.

What do you think? Here’s what other people have said about the value of learning.


“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” — Albert Einstein (source: zenhabits)


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi (source: Goodreads)


“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” — Socrates (source: Goodreads)


“Education is the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the world’s work, and the power to appreciate life.” — Brigham Young (source: Goodreads)


“He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool forever.” — Chinese Proverb (source: About.com Quotations)


“Learning never exhausts the mind.” — Leonardo da Vinci (source: Goodreads)


“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.” — B.B. King (source: Goodreads)


“I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.” — Natalie Portman (source: Goodreads)


“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” — Albert Einstein (source: Goodreads)


What is the value of learning for you? What environments help you to learn things easily? Tell me in the comments.

Garnets and freshwater pearls in silver colored wire.

Photo and jewelry design, (c) 3 January 2012, Windy Johansen.

Daily Quote #1 – Strength and Courage

I’m going to try something new here. I intend to have several daily post series, but this one came to mind first.

Why a quote post? There’s so many smart people out there. I want to gather some of their wisdom and share it with you.

For this inaugural post, I’ve chosen the theme of strength and courage.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
— Mahatma Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth (source: Goodreads)


“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President Of The United States (source: Inspiration Peak)


“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe (source: Beliefnet)


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu (source: Goodreads)


“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus (source: Goodreads)


“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
― Dalai Lama XIV (source: Goodreads)


“In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.”
― Drew Barrymore (source: Goodreads)


Both strength and courage give us so many opportunities to live a full, vibrant life. What have these qualities brought to you?

Green Rainbow

Green Rainbow (c) Windy Johansen.

Grief. The good and the bad.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified therapist. I’m just talking on the internet. If any of this seems like it’d hurt you, don’t do it. I can’t take responsibility for what you do with my words. Don’t use me as a replacement for a real qualified therapist. There are good ones, they do exist. If you’re willing to talk with LDS therapists, LDS Family Services is a good resource.)

I’ve thought about a post like this for the last couple of days.

I was sitting in church, pondering the great losses I’ve had. I’ve derived a lot of strength from my faith.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t collapse in tears sometimes.

I read a blog post a few minutes ago. I won’t link it; it seems too private to be sharing randomly. (Not that I don’t love you, reader, but I can’t share secrets that aren’t mine.)

The story is one many share, though. In the midst of heartbreak, you want so badly to be “over it”. You still love that person, and you hate the thought that being “over it”, over the pain their death caused you, might mean you don’t love them anymore.

It’s already been six months, 1 year, 5 years, 2 decades, half a century. Why isn’t the pain gone?

Then, you wonder, all over again, if forgetting the pain means letting go of the person.

And then, you read something encouraging, like this quote:

“… And suddenly, at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best. Indeed, it was something (almost) better than memory; an instantaneous, unanswerable impression. To say it was like a meeting would be going too far. Yet there was that in it which tempts one to use those words. It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier.

Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, ‘He’s got over it. He’s forgotten his wife,’ when the truth was, ‘He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.’ ” — C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

You realize, if only for a moment, that healing, that letting go of the pain, will bring your loved one back. Bring them back in a way that screaming for them never could.

And then you claw for relief again, maybe screaming their name into the starry sky. (Grieving is grandly inconsistent, painfully so.)

But the relief doesn’t seem to come. Why can’t we just stop the pain and get to the healing?

Sometimes I think we don’t allow ourselves to really feel our losses. I think we tell ourselves that we’re grown up enough to handle it. We have to stay strong for the kids, the dog, our boss, our friends.

I can tell you that my mother’s honesty is something I needed. If she had pretended that my father’s death didn’t hurt, I would never know why everything hurt.

At least I know why. I want my dad back. I want my other loved ones back. That’s why everything hurts. And knowing that, I find the only way to healing.

That way winds through briar patches, rickety bridges, and up through the snowy mountaintops. Less metaphorically, it means all that stuff you’re itching to pass by. All those nights of falling up the stairs (done that), collapsing in tears, and the worst thing in our adult world, breaking down. It’s not that we’ll wait for a safe moment; we tell ourselves that there are no safe moments, and that we can’t ever break down. Ever.

You won’t be a crybaby for crying. It’s a real pain, it’s a real grief, and you will stagnate if you don’t admit it, at least to yourself.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” — C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

It is scary, though. It’s terrifying how your very self seems to rip apart in a way that should leave you dead, and yet doesn’t.

But know that even though it’s terrifying, there is a peace that only comes after you go through the pain. If you cry enough, the tears aren’t scary anymore. They become the rain that sculpts you into a beautiful person.

The blessing in this ferocious, endless storm, for me, has been the closeness I gained with God. If my father didn’t die then, who would I be now? Would I be able to take the things that happened to me as well as I have? Would I be able to be alone like I can?

Would I be able to talk about grief like I can? Would I still be terrified of my own tears?

Would I write like I do now? Would I feel that need to create as many things as I do? I currently make jewelry, take nature photos, write poetry, write songs, play piano, dance….which one would be gone if my grief had never come to me? Would they all be gone?

Maybe I’ve just come to a whole new set of questions. But I feel a strength in me that I couldn’t have found any other way.

It is my belief that everyone who dies is resurrected. So my loved ones will return to me, if I can wait.

So, since death is inevitable, and they’ll all come back…I’ve learned so much from these terrible experiences. Would I trade these experiences in, knowing I’d be a different me? Would I even know myself?


What have the bad times given you that you would have gotten in no other way? Is there a kind of art you can now make, that you would have never been able to try without your pain? Is there a unique way that you see the world? Tell me in the comments.

<3 <3 <3 to you.

Low Clouds on the Move

Low Clouds on the Move (c) Windy Johansen.