Count your blessings

Okay, I won't pretend. I am bald. But, I'm having a bad hair day. As I understand it, a bad hair day is one where nothing seems to go right, but there's no specific complaint.

That's my day to a T.

Coffee with Rob was quiet as we caught up on the daily news catastrophes and sensational information that we don't need to know about people we don't care about. Then, I went to the sewing room and cleared off space and set up the machine for sewing the binding on LD's quilt. And, I read my email and played with those dresden plates for a minute and woke up the kid and the whole time, I was getting angrier and angrier inside. Just simmering. With no reason.

I stretched and walked and that went well. I worked off some steam and took my shower under my new rain showerhead. Sydney and I had breakfast and we chatted about her day. (Don't you just hate days when you're busting your butt at home and work and your kid is playing games at school? That is not fair.)

Still the day is going well. I had a place in LD's quilt back that had a bit of white selvege showing. Just a tiny point that would normally have been covered by the binding. I wasn't worried about it...until I was pinning it down and realized that with a foldover binding, that was going to show. So, I pulled out my brown pigma pens and took care of that. See the trend? Everything is going right for me. I'm batting a thousand. I should be celebrating, but inside I just can't cool down this simmering anger.

And, the whole time, my shoulders are getting nearer and nearer my ears as the stress builds and I get more and more tense.

And, the whole time the tension is building, I'm telling myself there's no reason, and everytime I do that, the tension tightens up one notch because now I'm not just tense, but I'm tense about being tense.

When this is happening, I have a new trick that I've started to play on myself. And, I'm going to tell you what it is, because like all good tricks I play on myself, once I know they're tricks, sharing them doesn't hurt them or reduce their effect.

I write things down so I don't have to think about them. You're saying you do too, that's why you have a list to keep up with all your lists of things to do. But, I don't mean that.

When something unpleasant gets stuck in my head, I will dwell on it and dwell on it and dwell on it and make sure I don't forget it. But, just like the concept of the to-do list, if I write it down, I have a permanent copy and don't have to keep it in my mind anymore.

This is especially helpful after an argument with Rob, when angry thoughts are still spinning around about what I'd like to have said if I'd just thought of it. I write them down so I don't forget.

And, then I usually forget or lose the piece of paper I wrote it down on. Because after I stop it from spinning around in my head, it really doesn't matter anymore and I can let it go and it gets forgotten. I found such a list just this morning when I was looking for a place to write, from an argument Rob and I had in October. I'd completely forgotten about it. (but I sure am glad I didn't say those things)

After I wrote, I decided I needed to count some blessings. I wanted a beaded something to count blessings on, but not my prayer beads...I'm not sure I could come up with 88 blessings on the spur of the moment, or memorize them if I did. But, a few blessings, I can remember.

Note on my prayer beads. Like the Rosary is for Catholics, the prayer beads give me a great place to focus my mind and my physical energy while I'm thinking something through. That tactile feeling of the beads passing through my fingers helps me get into a zone of concentration, where I can focus on what I need from my higher power. Usually, if I start my beads with a problem, by the time I get to the end, moving one bead for each thought, I've worked it out. And, if I need more than 88 thoughts, the beads form a circle and I can go around as many times as I need to.

So, lacking a short strings of beads, I picked up this chinese thing that I found in World Market a few months ago. I don't know it's intended purpose, so if it's something wicked, don't tell me because I'm using it for good. But, it has 5 stone disks on the cord and a loop at the other end.

I'm going to name each stone for a different blessing. Today, I've got the string looped around a button on my shirt, tucked inside and hanging near my heart. The button is buttoned so I don't have to worry about the string falling off. And, I've thought of my first three blessings.

-I found Rob and we made a family.

-My job, even though it doesn't always feel like a blessing, pays the bills and keeps us comfortable and isn't too much work and doesn't require me to be away from home too much. And, it's stable.

-My quilting because I need an expression of what's inside and quilting gives me that outlet.

I'll come up with two more soon. Blessings are like that. Sometimes you have to celebrate a few really good ones for a while before you can think of any more.

This morning, church music has been going all around in my head. I can't shake it. But, I am glad it's this and not Delta Dawn (thanks Bonnie for putting that one in a couple days ago. as recently as last night I was whistling it).

Count your blessings;

Name them one by one:

Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

The religion of my childhood had some really good ideas. Too bad they were so tightly wrapped in prejudice and judgment and condemnation and vengence.

Everybody have a great Friday. Count your blessings. Name them one by one if you need to. Or, maybe you can sum them up by just feeling blessed.

LD's quilt is going to be ready tomorrow morning, early enough to wash it and deliver it at lunch. We're crashing her birthday party. I haven't crashed a party in 20 years. I'm so looking forward to such decadent behavior.



One Minnesota Quilter said...

Yes, we are to count our many blessings to see what God has done. The opposite of judgment and condemnation is God's grace and mercy. Look what He has done!

Becky said...

I love both the prayer bead and blessing bead ideas! I guess I need to find me some beads!! Enjoy the party.

PS - the in progress sweater has been thrown to the finish later pile. I'm going to find a new pattern and start a new sweater....more on the spring line. I'll rip the first one out later.....

Anonymous said...

WOW, that being angry and there really doesn't seem to be a cause sounds like me. Sometimes I get in this mood and I become a real bi-otch. When I realize that I'm in that mood, I stop and try to think why I got that way. I like your idea of thinking of the blessings in your life. I'm going to try that and just let the bad thinking disappear. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth said...

I'm sorry about your bad hair day. I really am.

I like the idea of writing down the negative. I used to keep a journal and I would write all my fears and frustrations and anxieties and angers and hurts and it was cathartic. I don't deal well with keeping things in. Because like you, they go round and round and round in my head and get bigger and bigger and harder and harder. Maybe I'll have to start writing things down again.

When you started talking about counting your blessings, I thought of that exact song you posted. We sing it in our church too. So, after an extremely long week at work, I'm going to count my blessings, starting with HOORAY! IT IS FRIDAY!

xo -E

lw said...

Gratitude is a wonderful way to change your mindset. And the beads are really cool, too.

Hmmm...bad hair day for no particular reason? Keep an eye on this, and if it happens regularly, it's probably time to see a naturopath or osteopath (regular doctors don't seem to have the hang of wellness-- they can keep us from dying of trauma and heal some illnesses, but wellness is not their forte.)

sally said...

Please let us know how LD liked her quilt! I'm sure she was thrilled to have you crash her party! Would you share a picture of her quilt?