Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Fluff-Mental Health Edition

So, I’ve come across a number articles in the last couple weeks that have given me cause to ponder and reflect on my own mental health* and how I think my life should be.

Initially, I was going to post a long treatise on each of them. (You know how I love my treatises!) But, I’ve decided against that because I’m on my own nerves about the whole thing.

Instead, I’m just going to link to them, and if you have the time (and the interest), read them.

If not, don’t. I’ll never know.

(Unless, of course, you make a comment about not reading them. And that’s just mean. Although, I would love a comment. So, maybe it wouldn’t be mean. It would just be considerate in a rude sort of way. Yes! In that case, make a comment about not reading anything and thank you for doing so.)

Do you think that every day should be incredible for it to be worthwhile?

I did, too. But, we’re wrong!

So, go ahead and don’t do anything. Revel in the mundanity of it all!

You deserve it!


Your attitude—maybe it’s not you!

Maybe the reason you're down-in-the-dumps is where you live, and you’re absorbing the sad through osmosis!

Or, maybe it is you.

Either way, I say, blame your city if you can.


If you think it is your city (and you’re just a helpless victim in it all), maybe you should move to one of the happiest places on earth!

That might help!

At the very least, maybe if you read the book you’ll get some tips on how to bloom where you’re planted.

And if you do buy the book, can I borrow it? (I’ll probably write in it, though, so be forewarned.)


Speaking of happiness, do you think it is the be-all and the end-all?

Do you think that happiness is more important than grief?

Do you think that if you’re not happy, something is wrong with you?

Well, you’re mistaken!

So, don’t bother trying to cheer yourself up all the time.

Enjoy your misery, why don’t you! (And learn something.)


Well, there you have it!

I hope this has given you something to think about over the weekend. (I'm thinking about visiting Iceland. Anybody want to go with me?)

*I don’t want you to think that I’m all depressed or anything. I’m not! I just love reading and learning about how the mind works, how emotions work, how other people feel, how to change how we feel, what we want out of life, what we get out of life, blabbity blah blah. I’m really into the introspective (in case you haven’t noticed).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Mini Milestone...

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, my little blog had a special visitor: my 5000th visitor!


If I had been awake at the time, I would have tried to use my little tracker thing (at the bottom of my blog) to find out who you were.

But, alas, I was sleeping.

So, I wanted to make this post a public shout out of "thanks!" to all of you who visit my blog:

1. Friends and family who stop by to see how I'm doing (or what I'm thinking). And still talk to me even after reading what's been going on in my head.

2. Strangers who googled "religious poetry" or "Annette Funicello picture" or "fluff" and arrived here.

3. Mormons who were looking for tributes to President Hinckley and other Morman-y type things.

4. Anti-Mormons who still stop by from that one website but are polite enough not to say anything mean.

Really, I want to thank you all! And let you know how much I appreciate your visits (and comments).

So, I'm sending you internet hugs, and promises to visit your blogs.

Here's to 5000 more!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Art, Accomplishments, and Aloneness

My mind works in weird ways as the title of this post suggests. One thing (seemingly unrelated) can connect to something else, and send me off the deep end of thought. So, keep that in mind as you read the rest of this post. I apologize in advance…

As some of you may know, a couple of weeks ago I went to Solvang for Katie’s birthday bash. (I’d link to her blog if she had one—hint, hint, Katie!)

Tons of fun was had by all! Lots of laughing, shopping (I still have buyers remorse, FYI. I haven’t even taken the quilt out of the bag yet…), and delicious Danish dishes (say that 10 times).

One of my favorite spots we visited was a little art gallery. It’s owned and run by Chris Pavlov, and I was really impressed by his work (especially the trees done with a Sharpie). So, last week I googled him and found out more about his life and how he came to be in a place like Solvang.

Needless to say, he has quite a tale to tell. Born in Macedonia. Moved to Austria to live and work on his art. Met an American. Married her. And moved to California, eventually opening up his gallery by the age of 26.


As I learned more about him (in a non-stalker-ish manner), I began to reflect on my own life, and what I’ve done with it. And I’ve realized that I’ve not done much.

And this made me think of my singleness, and a reason that it’s a bummer: If I don’t do something, I having nothing to tell anyone about!

No husband’s work/school to mention. No kid’s achievement to bandy about. If I don’t do it (something, anything), then I’ve got nothing new to say.

It’s a lot of pressure, really.

And the more I’m trying to make something of myself, the harder it is. And the more I fear I’m not up to the task, and dread the next 30+ years of trying to come up with stuff to fill my life with meaning.

So, to distract myself from my own thoughts, I have a question for you:

If you’re married (with or without kids,) do you still feel that you need to have your own accomplishments, or do you use your spouse/children as some kind of success/achievement (which I feel you could not only because of the time dedicated to them, but also because you have a direct impact on what they do and how they do it)?

If you’re single, do you feel the pressure to be completing things, attaining goals, etc. so that you have things to tell people, and so you feel like you’re making use of your life?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Interviewing—an Emotional Rollercoaster

So, as I mentioned on Friday, I’ve been interviewing people for my previous position (the job I’ve still had to do while also performing my new duties—it’s been stressful, to say the least).

And as I also stated in the post, I HATE interviewing people. Hate it! And I think the whole process has been made worse because of my meditation.

“How?” you ask.

Because the Metta Bhavana is a loving-kindness meditation. It makes you think about people and love them. And it’s a very powerful experience. It’s like really feeling and understanding that quote by C.S. Lewis. You know, the one where he says that if we really saw people as they truly were, we would bow down and worship them.

Well, that’s kind of what the Metta Bhavana does—makes you think of people that way. And it makes you accept them, want the best for them, and overall cheer for them.

And this outlook did not help me during the interview process. You think it would have, but it didn’t. What it did was make me want to give them all a job, feel like crap because I couldn’t give them all a job, and then tear up as they left, knowing I was going to have to crush their hopes.

It was depressing.

Now, of course I know that this isn’t the end of the world for them. And that this job isn’t the best and only one in the universe. And that they’ll be alright.

But, I still feel bad (even though most of them didn’t have the qualifications).

And I’m still not done! I’ve had to narrow down the 10 I interviewed to 3. And now I have to do a second interview process. Ugh.

Let’s all have a collective prayer that I don’t have a breakdown when I look into their eyes and see them dreaming of health insurance and a 401k plan.

Stupid meditation…

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Fluff

So, I’ve been interviewing people for two days, and really, I hate it! (I’m planning on posting about why I hate it next week—‘cause I’ve got something to say about the whole thing. Big surprise, huh?)

Anyway, hating things does not a fluffy mood make.

So, I’m having a hard time with the post today. With that being said…


Hey, did I ever tell you that technology kind of scares me? Well, it does. And this article does not make me feel any better. I mean, is this the mark of the beast or something?

I’m going on record here: I will never need a phone bad enough that I will have it implanted under my skin. EVER. I’ll just old school it with string and plastic cups before I resort to that.


Have you guys seen this video? You probably have. I think everyone’s seen it but me. Wouldn’t it have been weird/cool to have been there and have seen people freeze mid-motion? And for five minutes! I probably would have been at first, amazed, then amused, and finally, annoyed (especially if they were blocking my way like the guy on the little truck-cart-y thing).

Maybe we should do something like this on Sunday at church? (Rachel and Katie, are you with me? I'll take the foyer. Rachel, you take the stand. Katie, you take a pew. We'll have to synchronize our watches Sunday morning.)


Indian lunch-box deliverymen - who deliver tiffin tins to workplaces around Mumbai each day - attend a laughter therapy session to beat stress in the Indian city.

And finally, when I saw this picture and read the caption, I thought: This is exactly what I need! (Though, I think the tiffin tin delivery guys need it more. But, still, I need a good laugh.) And as I went to google "laughter therapy" to find a location, I realized that I already get it every time I'm with you, my friends, or read your blogs. (And I'm laughing with you, of course.)

So, thank you all for keeping me sane. I hope I return the favor on occasion.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

“Wonder”-ful Wednesday

I don’t know if I’ve told you before, but I’ve dabbled in meditation for years.

I have tons of books on the subject. (You know how I am about reading, especially reading about doing something before actually doing it. That’s my favorite!)

I have a number of CD’s. Tons of incense which I love to light while meditating. (FYI: If you have a smoke detector in your bedroom, it cannot tell the difference between actual fire-type smoke and incense-type smoke. To the detector, it’s all the same. So, beware!)

I’ve been to a Buddhist temple where I was able to meditate in the “Room of a Thousand Buddha’s.” I’ve been to a Hindu temple where I was able to participate in group meditation. And I’ve been to an ex-Jesuit school for a retreat where I was able to take a class on meditation.

Overall, I love it! And recently, with everything going on in my life (what with me trying to “live the dream” and “be creative” and “pay bills”) I’ve rededicated myself to the practice.

For the last month, I’ve been doing the Metta Bhavana* for a half-hour during my lunch break. And it’s been wonderful! I’ve been able to still my mind (at least for a little while), feel more at peace with things in my life, and extend more “brotherly kindness” towards all (even my officemate, which is saying something).

And this leads me to this week's quote:

There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.

-- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In this world, there is not a lot of peace going around. And, I’m not talking about the fact that there is war, because a physical war is just a symptom of the spiritual war that is going on inside. After all, if people felt peace within, there would be no need for violence.

In a very real sense, peace equals contentment. You can’t have one without the other. And that’s one of the goals of meditation: to let go of desires (which brings dissatisfaction) and just appreciate the moment, because in the moment, you have enough.

For me, this connects heavily to religion and God. And fits quite nicely with how I view things. Meditation has helped me hear the still small voice, and has opened my mind to revelation. It’s been quite amazing actually. Meditation has become a kind of prayer for me (although I still pray the regular way as well). And as we all know, we can pray anywhere!

And that’s what I love about the quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She’s right. You don’t need to travel anywhere for peace. You can find it in all the places she spoke of (or in a car during your lunch break, like me). You only need to stop, still yourself, and listen.

Now don’t think that meditation is easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. To keep your mind focused on one thing (or nothing, as the case may be) is difficult. I have to constantly tell myself not to get distracted by the passing cars, or the itch on my nose, or what I have to do later that day, or how my 401k is doing, or if Gilligan and the Skipper were in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship.

The mind will try to bring up all these things. That’s its job: to think. And what you have to do is try to ride out the thoughts. Let them come and go. And eventually you feel peaceful.

So, here’s my question to you: How do you find peace? I’m talking about literal peace in your soul. Peace that you feel. Peace that renews you. And I guess my follow up question would be: How can you make peace a daily thing? Right now! In your office/home/car.

Peace takes work. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true. Even peace in the gospel requires a turning to the Savoir, following His commandments, etc. Peace isn’t something that comes once, and then you have it forever. It’s something you have to cultivate. It’s something you have to look for every day.

And if you do, you not only help yourself, but those around you. So, take a minute, breathe, and feel the peace I’m sending your way. And then, send some back to me!

*If you want to know more about this kind of meditation you can go here for a brief synopsis, or here for a more thorough understanding.

Friday, February 15, 2008


So, one of my brothers is expecting a baby. (Actually, two are, but I'm just talking about the one.)

And, last week he went with my sister-in-law to have one of those 4-D ultra-sound thingies done. While there, they were told that it appeared that the baby had a really huge head (Knechts, you understand this), and the doctor was concerned about it. So, they scheduled a follow up ultra-sound to make sure it's not large because of fluid.

Needless to say, this whole week my family has been praying for lil' Joe (or, as we've been calling him "lil' big Joe), and hoping that everything would be all right.

The ultra-sound was today, and I received this text message from my brother

Baby is fine just gots a big head thanks for your prayers

Straight and to the point.

I love brothers.

Friday Fluff

So, today I was going to announce that I was closing down my blog. I was thinking about this while at work yesterday, and on my drive home, and throughout the evening.

You see, I just feel I have nothing to say. And what I do talk about is boring and/or stupid. I make a post, and immediately want to delete it. And I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what’s the point of my blog. It's just my rambling thoughts. No focus or cohesion. I mean, I sensor myself somewhat, but mostly, I just let it all out of my head.

And I’m not sure it’s of any value.

So, today was going to be my last post. And I was going to wish you all a fond farewell, with hugs and kisses, and promises to still visit your blogs.

And then my mom called to tell me that she loved my V-day (that’s for you, Rachel ;-0) post, and that my grandma is now an official reader of my blog. (Dear Grandma, Hi! I’m so happy to know you’ve been reading my posts. I hope you’re not as bored with them as I am. I’m trying to do better. I love you! Love, Liz)

When I told her (mom, not grandma) that I was planning on closing up shop, she said that I shouldn’t, that she enjoys reading about what I’m thinking, that it was a way for her to hear from me more often, that my posts weren’t a stupid waste of time and exposed my idiocy (my words, not hers—my mom doesn’t call me names), and that it was a way for my grandma to know what’s going on in my life.

So, I’ve decided to keep blogging for now. I at least have to hit my 100th post so I can throw myself a party, right? (And that’s only 12 posts away!)

With all that being said, on to some fluff…

Dear Super Duper Pet People,

You need to get a grip. There is no need for this. That’s just ridiculous. I’m embarrassed for us all. Please realize that pet love is not people love, and go out and make some friends.

Very concerned for you mental health,


Now, on to some, well, I’m not sure what to call it without sounding sacrilegious (which is not my intention)… Jesus News:

Did you hear about “Lookin’ Good for Jesus?” People are so funny. And what does lip balm actually do to make you look good? It usually has no color. Really, it should be “Smooth Lips for Jesus,” which is guess sounds worse. So, never mind.

And did you read about this poor lady? Can you imagine the thought process that when through this guys mind? “Man, why doesn’t this lady ever pick up her dog poop? I know what I’ll do to get back at her! I steal her Jesus statue! Yah! That’ll show her!”

Oh, and did you read what the ransom note said? Who says “ wiener poopie”? Crazy people, that’s who!

Well, to leave you with something to make you irritated, here’s a little game (if you’ve got time to kill).

Directions: Write the numbers from 1 to 8 into the squares, so that the squares with consecutive numbers do not touch (neither edges nor corners).

I did it. I took me a while, but I did it.

See, aren’t you glad I’m still blogging?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Open Letter: Valentine's Day

Dear Valentine’s Day,

I love you!

I know, you’re surprised, right? I bet you thought I hated you. So many people do, after all. But not me! Now, don’t go getting a big head about this or anything. I don’t like everything about you.

For example*, I can’t stand all the dumb jewelry commercials that take over the TV (as if women can be bought). (Inner letter: Dear Women of the World, Don’t be bought by some meaningless piece of jewelry. It’s a waste. How does he treat you? Does he take out the trash? These are the things that matter. Sincerely, Liz)

I also don’t like all the crap in the stores. Mass marketing has sucked the life out of you, Valentine’s Day. (FYI: If I had a husband (looking skyward and throwing a silent prayer to the heavens), I wouldn’t want him to buy me any of the junk that has been commercially produced. No, I’d want him to write me a sonnet, or at the very least, a letter. And I’d want him to do all the little chores I’ve been nagging him to do for the last three months.)

But, despite all this, I still love you. Why? Because today thousands of people take the time (however begrudgingly) to tell a person that he or she is loved. And this is a good vibe to send out into the atmosphere. Love!

So often, the daily-ness of life takes over. We have to rush to pick up our dry cleaning. Or stop by the grocery store. Or pay the bills. Or get gas. Or drop off the kids at their soccer game. Or go to work. Etc. And we get so involved with just surviving that we forget to thank those around us. We forget that some other person in this world has agreed to marry us and be a witness to our lives. We forget parents who’ve sacrificed everything. Siblings who are our friends. Friends who are our family.

We forget that life is about loving one another.

And, hopefully, you help us remember that, Valentine’s Day. You help us stop and dedicate a day to love. And I just wanted to say “thanks.”


*I also HATE when people call you “Valentime’s Day.” It’s “tines” people, not “times”!!! I mean, seriously, why do people say this? Ugh!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

“Wonder”-ful Wednesday

This week’s quote is one that I’ve kind of mentioned before. I love this quote. I’d almost say “I heart” this quote, but so many people are using that now that it makes me want to put a moratorium on it through the next century. (First digression: Seriously people. Stop “hearting” stuff already!)

Anyway, like I was saying, I really dig this quote. (Second digression: Can I bring “dig” back? No? Too soon? Give it another ten years for it to be retro enough? Okay.) When I first read it, I realized that I did the exact opposite of what it’s suggesting. I really think most of us do. But, before I continue with my treatise on the thing, here’s the quote:

“What a fool a [wo]man is to remember anything that happened more than a week ago unless it was pleasant, or unless [s]he wants to make some use of it.” --Samuel Butler
(I “ladied” it up since most of my readers are of the female persuasion and because I felt like it.)

Now, be honest. How much do you dwell? How much do you go over past mistakes, or missed opportunities just to make yourself feel crummy? How much time do you waste reminding yourself of how much time you've wasted?

I’m guilty as charged. (Third digression: I actually wrote “I’m quilty as charged” and didn’t realize it until I had already posted it. I wonder what being “quilty” is like. Maybe warm and snuggly?)

I’m trying to take Mr. Butler’s advice (Fourth digression: Hmm…that reminds me of another Mr. Butler. Dreamy…). I’ve been trying to only remember happy things, good things, fun things, positive things. And if an unpleasant memory bubbles up, I ask myself “Can I make any use of it? Is there anything I can do about it? Is there something I need to learn from it (aside from the fact that it was stupid or I was an idiot)? Is there any purpose to me remembering this whatever-it-is?

And if I can’t answer these questions with a definite “yes,” then I toss it. I say to myself “Liz, this thought is a useless thought, and you don’t need to waste your time or energy on it.”

Sometimes I have to say this to myself 20 times before it actually changes. But, it’s a learning process. You can’t change the thought patterns you’ve developed over decades in a few minutes. No, this is something you have to work on every day.

Now, don’t misunderstand. Samuel Butler isn’t saying that we should never remember the bad things. After all, that’s where a lot (most) of the lessons in life come from. But, he is saying that if we’ve learned from it, then let it go.

So, here’s your challenge: This week, try to alter how you remember your life. Reflect on the happy, good, fun things. Let those thoughts wash away your regrets or mistakes. Only you can do this for yourself. Only you can release yourself from your past!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Fluff...A Video Tribute

First, did you ever play this game when you were a kid? Me too!

Did you know this game was full of social commentary? Neither did I!

Watch this video to see what I'm talking about.

What in the world?! Like the caption said, we were innocent little kids...


On to the next video offering...

Have you done your visiting teaching yet? Me neither!

Watch this video to laugh at the truthfulness of it all (and to be reminded of visiting teaching's purpose).

Come on, confess, how many of those "visits" have you used? (wink, wink)


And lastly, this is a sad and tragic video for those of us who like to spike our water.

I'm horrified, disturbed, and not sure what to do about it. Am I now going to have to carry citrus in my pocket? Or maybe one of these?

Oh, the sadness of it all...

Have a great weekend. And pass on the lemons.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Technical Update

So, if you look over to your right, (go ahead, look), you will notice I've added a new feature entittled "Recent Comments."

I've done this to help myself.

You see, the comments that you make (And thank you for making comments. It makes me feel validated. (I know, a little sad, huh?)) are supposed to be emailed to me.

But apparently, Blogger likes to tease me, and only email me every other comment which I find annoying (not the comments, but the notification accuracy).

So, that's why I've added the new section. At a glance, I can now see how ignored I am... just kidding!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Wonder"-ful Wednesday

I always come across great quotes. You too?

And I always try to memorize them as an attempt to make them a part of my psyche.

Sadly, it rarely works.

So, I've decided to start a new tradition to help myself think, ponder, and realize the "wonder" of words of wisdom.

Every Wednesday I'm going to post a quote and ask a question (or two, or ten—you know me) about it to make you and I evaluate our lives and our minds.

You can make a comment, or not. Either way, my goal is to get us thinking.

Here’s the one for today:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

I’m sure we’ve all heard this quote before. It’s one of my favorites. And for YEARS I misinterpreted it. I thought that because my life wasn’t a “daring adventure” it was “nothing.”

But, over the years, I’ve come to understand what she was saying. Life IS a daring adventure, but only if you see it that way. You don’t have to travel to the Amazon, or go back-packing through Europe, or scale Mount Everest to have a life of adventure!

No, what she means is that every day is a new opportunity within yourself to be daring. What are you afraid of? Face it! What are you putting off? Do it! What are you avoiding? Run towards it!

Make this life work for you! Let you change your life!

What can you do today to see the adventure in your own little world?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Too Deep for Words

I’ve been mulling over a post on theodicy prompted by my experience at the hospital with Sara. Not surprisingly, I have a lot of conflicted thoughts on this topic.

And to be honest, I’m not even sure how to word it. So, I may or may not eventually post on it. I was going to, but really, I'm having a hard time with it right now.

It's been consuming my mind these last couple of days leaving me with nothing much else to say. If you have any thoughts on it, or ways that you reconcile the conflict, let me know in the comments.

Well, to make sure this post isn't a complete dud, I’ll leave you with something else that could be controvertial. Have you seen it? What do you think?

I’m not going to tell you what I think of it (at least not yet, but probably in the comments).