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Abundance

I love this quote! Abundance is an interesting thing. I have been reading quite a bit about the differences between an abundance mentality, and a scarcity mentality. Most people in this world have a scarcity mentality, and it’s interesting to see how people react to the circumstances around them when that is the case.

A scarcity mentality is the idea that there will not be enough of whatever, resources, food, warmth, success, whatever it might be. People who have a scarcity mentality cannot look at someone else’s success with a true appreciation for that person, or what they have accomplished. There is always an underlying feeling that because someone else has succeeded, it makes their success either null and void, or unacceptably small all of a sudden. People with scarcity mentalities are less willing to share, especially if it doesn’t get them ahead somehow. Information is kept private, and only given out on a need to know basis. They see problems everywhere they go.

People with an abundance mentality however, are open and free with who they are and what they have and do. They don’t base their success or failure on anyone else, and look to improve themselves and their situations, looking for solutions to problems, not problems in every solution. People with this mentality are genuinely happy for others successes and appreciate the work that everyone does, not just those in positions of authority. They share knowledge with whoever appears to need it, and especially those with whom are in the same type of business, enjoy the same hobbies, etc.

I have met several people over the years who have helped me with my art, with my business, and with my mentality. There was a time when I really had a scarcity mentality, and I look back and wonder what I was thinking! Why did I worry about some of the things I worried about, why didn’t I share better, or give more freely? I’m not saying you have to give everything away, and live as a pauper, but generosity doesn’t involve just our money or resources. Ideas, information, and advice can all be shared, to better someone else’s situation, without reducing your situation in the least. And, I’m still not perfect, but I am working on this everyday.

One person in particular, an artist friend, saw my art. I was at a show right across from him, and he helped me. It was my first time selling, I didn’t even know if anyone would like what I had produced, and I didn’t know if it was even possible to sell it. He came, complimented my work, and then spent the next year and a half before his death, helping me learn about selling my art. He taught me about pricing my art, about commission pieces, about selling art, he took me under his wing and became my friend. I am so grateful for his help and guidance, and especially for his friendship. Never did he convey a scarcity mentality. I have learned from him, and when people ask for guidance in their business, or want to know how I got where I am now, I love sharing, listening to their ideas, and giving what I can to help them succeed. I don’t know if it helps, but I want to share. There is enough success to go around.

What kind of mentality do you have? I would encourage you to work toward a more abundant mentality, whether you’re already headed that way, or you have had a scarcity mentality throughout your life. There is enough to share and more. Find someone you can share with today.

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Grow

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One of my 2 daughters came home this evening. She has been gone working all summer at a remote hunting lodge in the Talkeetna Mountains, called Stephan Lake Lodge. The opportunity came in June, and less than 24 hours after finding out about the job, she was gone. There isn’t any cell service out there, but they did have some internet capabilities, so we were able to stay in contact through Instagram messenger throughout the summer, I love technology!

Throughout this experience, it’s been interesting to see the growth. She was hired along with a friend, who was the daughter of the lady hired to clean and cook the lodge and outbuildings. The job was way too big for one person, so she was able to get permission to hire her daughter and mine to come help. I am grateful that she was the one out there, as she is a friend and I knew that I could trust her to take care of my daughter while she was out there. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have been able to say ok when my daughter expressed an interest in going, nor do I think she would have considered going under different circumstances.

Through her messages though, I found a new confidence that she hasn’t necessarily always had. We have always had our kids work, and when they were old enough, they worked for their dad. But being on a job where it’s not family changes the dynamic a little. She has always been a good worker if she enjoyed the job, but she has learned to just buckle down and get it done, no matter what it is, or how much she would rather not.

She has never been a fan of physical touch. If her brother’s touched her, whether to give her a high five, give her a hug, or poke her to annoy her, she had a problem with it. Not that she doesn’t still have a problem with it, but she tolerates the hugs without too much objection. She was excited to be home, at our house, in her own room, in her own bed, around family (though she gained a sister is the friend she went out there with). She also told us she was excited to have a bathroom fan, it’s funny what we appreciate when we don’t have it.

But, the boys haven’t really noticed the changes, and I hope that at some point they can see the changes and the differences in who she is becoming. It’s hard to maintain change when we are around people who don’t ever recognize the changes we are trying to make or, because of the other person’s lack of change, they try to keep us the way we were, because they don’t want to change or see things differently. It is amazing how many people in this world don’t believe that people can change, that people can become better. I think it is fascinating to listen to people who have led rough lives, been to prison, and have realized that wasn’t what they wanted, and ultimately changed who they were. We see those stories and are super inspired by them, but how often do we let someone in our own lives, who maybe have hurt us, or caused us problems, how often do we let them change into a better person. Or do we try to hold them back, never being willing to forgive and let them move on? Normally the problems are never that big, but the consequences are just as devastating when we don’t let people grow. I am grateful for the people in my life that have allowed me the opportunity to grow and change. I am grateful for the opportunity to fully forgive others so that I don’t have that burden in my life. Is there someone in your life that you can allow to grow? Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Take that opportunity this week. You and they will then be able to progress forward.

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Fall

I love all the seasons, and when each one is coming, I love that one the most. So, right now, I love Fall. Some of my favorite things about fall though, don’t have anything to do with the actual beauty of the season, but more with what it represents. But, the beauty of the season is what I noticed and appreciated today.

I teach an early morning seminary class, and we’ve reached the point where the sun is just cresting over the mountain tops when I am driving home. The leaves have mostly turned yellow and orange, and the combination of the color of the leaves and the bright morning sunshine was so beautiful this morning!

There are so many other things I love about fall as well. I like the season of harvest. We plant our garden in May, water and sometimes weed, watching every thing grow. And finally, we get to harvest the majority of our garden. Potatoes and carrots are my kids favorite things to harvest. Unlike the above ground vegetables and berries, you never know how well the root vegetables are growing until you start digging them up, it’s almost like a treasure hunt. I also love to bake, but don’t bake that much in the spring and summer. But when the temperatures start dropping, I get really excited about baking again. My family loves this, as there is fresh baked items more frequently available, and fresh baked is almost always better than store bought. I also love long-sleeved shirts, sweaters and jackets, and sitting reading with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. There doesn’t seem to be as much time for that kind of stuff in the summer, and that’s ok. I also love that I get back to painting more regularly. The summer gives me so much inspiration, but I never have time to do anything with it. So those pictures and ideas are just waiting to be transformed into beautiful paintings at some point in the fall and winter.

Every season has it’s pros and cons, but right now, I am finally ready for fall. Not snow yet! But the beauty of fall, and all the things that go along with it. What is your favorite season, or what are the things you like most about fall and the cooling temperatures?

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Truth

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Truth is getting harder and harder to distinguish these days. There is so much information out there on the internet, and no matter your perspective, you can find an “expert” to agree with you. I have talked about this, or at least touched on this in several blog posts, but I thought I would revisit the subject on it’s own to express my thoughts, and how I recognize truth in my own life.

Truth exists. It is not created by man. Scientists discover truth as they question, hypothesize, test and try. But science is not the only source of truth, and not the primary source of truth, I have found. As you may be aware through my blog posts, I believe in God. I know that He is the one single source of all truth. So I turn to Him to find that truth. But I have many people ask, how do you recognize it, because He isn’t coming down in person everyday, answering all my questions. So I will share today some ways that I find truth in my own life.

Some truths are easy to recognize because we have experience with them. Gravity is a truth that no one can deny exists. We are all walking around on this planet, not randomly flying off, or moving in abnormal ways because suddenly gravity stops working. Even airplanes and rocket ships have to contend with the pull of gravity, and it’s very apparent when calculations were off, or the safeguards put in place to keep us in the air fail, because gravity still pulls us down to earth. I remember when my kids learned about the word hot, and that things like wood stoves, or pots on a stove can be hot. They also learned to trust that when I said it’s hot, it really was hot. There are a lot of truths that exist like that, that we can all agree are real.

But there are a lot of unseen truths that are harder to identify in life. How do we tell if someone we think we can trust is lying? How do we know if what we are being told by the media about other parts of our country or the world are really real? How do we know that what we are being told isn’t just propaganda for a certain desired outcome? These are hard questions, and there aren’t any easy answers. But there are ways to sift through the things we read, the things we are told, and the things that are happening around us.

One of the first things to do is to look at the source. Do some research. If you don’t want to spend a little time looking into the subject, then you really aren’t seeking truth. So do some research. Look at the person, or the company and look at what they have been doing already. Have they been honest, is their mission virtuous, does it help others? Do they seek the applause of others more than they seek to do what’s right? Do they seek appeasing a certain type of person while pushing others to the side? Businesses do target certain demographics, you have to do that as part of a good marketing strategy. But in doing so, are they kind to all demographics, or are they underhanded in getting ahead or being king of their hill? There is plenty of success to go around, that is something society has forgotten as a whole. We tend to have more of a scarcity mentality, rather than an abundance mentality, but that is a whole other post.

Next, look at the results of what has already been done. Is what they or their company doing helping the situations, does the results match up to what they say they believe in, what their mission is? Or do you find discrepancies between what they say and what they do? Now, having said that, I am not perfect, nor is anyone else, but in the general trajectory of the person’s life or the business, are they trying to go in the direction they say they are going. Sometimes great ideas take us the wrong way and we need to course correct, but the acknowledgement of that course correction and honesty of the person or company also makes a huge difference. Also, what is done to make the course corrections is a good indicator of who they are and what they really believe in.

Look at the fruits of what has been completed. There are a lot of great businesses and people out there doing exactly what they say they will, and helping the people around them. If it’s available, see where the money goes. It’s interesting to research different “charitable” organizations and see how much of the money donated goes to the purpose of the company. I have done quite a bit of research into a variety of the heavily advertised organizations, and some donate a huge amount, even everything raised to the places they say they are going, while some donate less than 10% of everything donated to what it says the money is used for. The other 90% goes to “operating costs” and salaries for the employees. Politically speaking, the politicians actually work for the people, I know, crazy right! Are they doing what the people want, or do they get elected on one platform, and then do whatever they want when they get into office. Look at the fruits.

Lastly, and this one for me, is the most important, look to the giver of all truth. The Lord blessed each of us with the Light of Christ to guide us. Some people call it a conscience, others call it their gut. But when we listen to that light, and we trust it, we will be able to discern truth from error. It’s something we have all felt, and as long as we don’t suppress it by ignoring it all the time, it can be a great guide to help us see correctly. This one should not be last, it should be a part of all our seeking. We need to be honestly seeking as well. That way we can be inspired to find correct sources and feel that they are correct, or feel when things aren’t right.

I don’t believe truth is going to be any easier to come by in the future. But I also know that our loving Heavenly Father didn’t just put us down here and leave us here to grope around in the dark all our lives. He has given us many tools to help find truth, and if we are true to what we find, He will continue to help us find more. I am grateful for the help that He gives me on a daily basis, and know that if you seek with real intent, He will help you too.

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Watercolors

Tonight I decided to tell about my watercolors, and what I like and what I don’t. I have some definite likes, and some pretty definite dislikes, but some of the paints are situational. So, here are my favorites:

My favorite type of paint is tube paints. I like them because, even though they look small, there is a lot of paint in the 8ml size tubes, which is the size I generally like to buy. I like most professional tube paints, not one brand over the other. Mainly I buy Windsor and Newton and Daniel Smith, but that’s just because they are readily available at my local art store. I like the professional paints as opposed to the student grade. They don’t seem to flake as easily, and they have a more vibrant color. I love these, because they can sit in my tray and dry out, and I just spritz them with water and wait a few minutes and they are good to go. Plus, I can have only one color out on my palette, or a whole bunch and I don’t have to worry about them melting into the water and losing their shape when I put them away. I can also put just a little bit of a color out when I know I don’t need as much, so I am not wasting any paint.

I do have some pans though, and I have enjoyed these 2 sets. The one on the left is Derwent, and I just recently purchased this one. It’s a graphite set, and has a little bit of metallic shine when the paint is dry. The one on the right is Koi. The Koi colors are not my normal colors, as I tend to stay with a more earthy palette, but these are a fun, brighter set of colors that I enjoy playing around with when I travel. I don’t dislike pans, but I prefer the tubes, just simply because I can control how much is on my palette at any one time, and the tubes are easy to close, they seal up, and they are wet and ready to go next time I need them. Pans have to be dampened frequently, and they dry out a lot quicker. At least the way I use them. I like these little kits for traveling, but I don’t use them for everyday painting.

The one thing I really dislike about these kits is that they aren’t big enough to fit a normal brush in. They have these water brushes, but I have yet to figure out exactly how to get the exact amount of water I want at any given moment. I either don’t have enough or I have a sudden puddle, usually where I don’t want it. I much prefer carrying water and brushes, to using the water filled brush. But, maybe with enough practice I’ll figure it out. I just don’t know if I want to practice that much!

This last one is also a travel size, but I also use it if I want to watch a movie with the family and paint at the same time. My sister gave me this one for Christmas, and I love it. This one is kind of the best of both worlds. It came with empty pans that I fill with my tube watercolors. There are enough pans to completely fill the tray, but I usually only have about a dozen colors at any given time in there. It is also big enough to hold brushes, which means I lose them less often, especially when we go somewhere. The pans are magnetic, so they stay where I put them. The only draw back to this case is that mixing colors on the lid of the pan is difficult because it is metal. It’s hard to see exactly the color I am ending up with, and my puddles don’t build up very well or stay where I put them, especially in the car. But all in all, I like this set the best for travel or watching TV.

So, for my everyday painting at my painting table, and the paints I use by far the most, is the tube watercolors. But there is a place for the travel sets for mobility, especially when I’m waiting for my boys at their various activities. I am grateful that my sister filled the gap between what I love to paint with, and how to make it more portable. I like being able to have the variety of brushes, as well as more of the colors I know I use all the time, waiting to be used whenever they are needed. Do you paint? What are your favorites?