Level Up?

Maple Story Character

I got an email from one of my sons today. Doug is serving on a mission for our church in Eugene, Oregon. I thought I’d share part of his letter.

I know that the missionaries here think I know a lot about plants from what I learned from Mom. I can name a lot of berries and other plants, because I have firsthand experience with them. Believe it or not, working on the land was more fun to me than playing computer games ever was (and I know perfectly well how fun they can be), mostly because playing computer games never gave me real life knowledge or real life skills that I can use for the rest of my life. For example, in an RPG style game, you basically try to develop your character making them the best you can. How much cooler is it when you develop your own character? When you inrease your own attributes and increase your skill level? Yes it takes a little more work than pushing a few buttons on the keyboard, and it is relaxing, but nowhere near as fulfilling, or lasting. If you win the computer game, you get bored again. If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.”

I’d never thought of it that way, but Doug makes perfect sense. Look how much care people put into developing their virtual characters. Make them stronger, better armor, potions, wisdom, speed etc. Addicting. But what if we put that same focus on developing our own personal characters. No you can’t build up your strenth with a few die rolls nor develop talents through random numbers floating through cyberspace. But the cool thing is that it isn’t left up to chance. You have control.

Want to be stronger, healthier? Push yourself away from the computer and get some exercise, eat good food.

Want to learn to write? Start a blog and get some practice. Read.

Want to improve your woodworking skill? get out the hammer and nails, make something.

You want to be a kinder person? Say something nice to everyone you meet, all day. Genuine words, not say something nice to get something in return.

Take the level up challenge. Whatever it is you’d like to do to improve your character, just do it! Time, effort, sweat and tears, but you’ll make it. Feels good.

The Misfits. The Rebels. The Troublemakers.

Steve Jobs

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do…. “

Steve Jobs

Thinking back, I’m so glad we (this is Heidi speaking) moved and switched schools for my kids, if we hadn’t I’d have checked into homeschooling. Picture a kindergartner sitting in the principal’s office all day because he wouldn’t say he was sorry for jumping off the side of the steps. He wasn’t sorry, he wanted to jump down the last 2 steps, he wasn’t going to lie. And I imagine a hyperactive, ultra-curious 5 year old was more of a punishment to his office staff than the 5 year old. The principal told me I had the most stubborn child he’s ever met in all his years of teaching.

Picture his sister staying inside from recess because she didn’t finish her morning’s busywork and thinking she’d never have any money or amount to anything. Why so slow? Because part of morning’s activity was to draw a picture to go with the short poem they copied. She’d draw a masterpiece while her classmates quickly scribbled.

By middle school, the stair jumping boy was heavily into origami, making dragons and other cool creatures during class, teaching himself to program on a dial-up computer at night.

His sister, without any musical training, learned to play songs by ear, both hands. She also composed her own piano piece which won an award in the school’s talent show.

Their siblings are each unique, but all have strong creative minds. I’m proud of each and everyone. They aren’t the only ones. I feel it is a human quality. This drive, this need to be something, do something, no matter if it has been done before or not. To find your unique work, your calling. Old. Young. Rich. Poor.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
Steve Jobs

iShocked. iMourn. iGrieve. iSad.

iSad to hear of Steve Jobs’ passing. I want to challenge each and everyone one of you this week, try something new, something you’ve never done before, but wanted to try. Don’t just stick your big toe in the water to check the temp, jump right in, you know it is where you want to be. So what if you make a mistake, we all do. Learn from it!

Steve Jobs, Apple founder dies

Steve Jobs photo by Ben Stanfield

“iShocked. iMourn. iGrieve. iSad.” thanks to SunnyC

Farmin’ in the HOOD

First, watch the video. The Urban Farming Guys explain what they are all about better than I.

This group is connecting in so many ways:

  • Connect with nature – Growing food stuff, plants, animals, aquaponic system, alternate energy.
  • Connect with family – It is fun the watch the kids learn how to do stuff working with their parents, working together, growing family ties.
  • Connect with friends 20 families moved together, working together on various projects
  • Connect within their community – Crime rate has gone way, way down. They didn’t isolate themselves from the rough neighborhood they moved into. They interact with their community, pay attention to what is going on, take action.
  • Connect with rest of the world Great use of social media, through their website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, all very well done. “Sharing Knowledge . . . Feeding Nations”

A few weeks ago I did a search for land prices in the Detroit area. How bad is it really? How far did the real estate market drop. I found vacant lots as low as a couple hundred dollars. Homes where your house payment was only a fraction of cost of the property tax. (hopefully those appraised values will move down to market cost). It reminded me of what the Urban Farming Guys are doing. People is Detroit could take a lesson from them. Heck, we all could. If only our government would learn.

Cure for Boredom

6 in 1 silver ring

Now this is amazing, my son Nathan took some 22 gauge wire and used a 6 in 1 European pattern to make himself this really cool ring. It all started years ago when his brother decided to order a bunch of rings to make his own chain mail for Canterberry tales at their high school. I had chain mail being worked on at the kitchen table for what seemed like years. So Nathan is using these same skills to create more things. That is one thing about my family, we all have this need to make and create something.

Here are a couple more:

metal cubes

Made of 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, and 20 gauge aluminum. The black one is anodized.

multi-metal cube

This is one of Nathan’s favorite cube, made of copper, bronze, brass, and aluminum.

Celebrate Easter

Easter Eggs
Traditions, Easter egg hunts. I imagine we’ll always have them as long as we have kids home or visiting. Never too old to find and hide eggs. Yet Easter is so much more than chocolate, sweets, and games.
happy girl
Family time- a great time to spend outdoors together, work on that garden, laugh and play, visit, share a feast, dance, celebrate life, living.

Jack hunting eggs
Spring-green grass, ducklings, flowers, warmer weather, storms, winds and lightening followed by sunshine, tree blossoms followed by green leaves, asparagus and strawberries.

I’ve been watching spring happen, wonderful to see what new things sprout each day, is that plant still alive? will it make it? A reminder of what the holiday is about, what we are celebrating. New life, resurrection!

John 3:16

“16 ¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Take time and give thanks to God for the gift of his son. Honor that gift by following his example.
Dogwood flower

Have You Been Stuffified?

dangerous driving

OK, life gets busy. I mean we all have stuff to do. Places to go. Things to do. Kids to pick up and drop off. Games. Classes. Parents to help out. Dishes need washing. So do the clothes. Garbage out. Food cooked. Shopping to replace food stuff. Games, online and off.

Phones ring, cell phone too. Texting. Chat. eMail. Instant communication interrupting our lives 24/7 unless we turn them off.

Yards to take care of, vehicles too. More stuff to buy.

I learned a new word today, it is very appropriate:


When we let stuff get in the way of doing what is really important (or interrupting what is really important) we’ve been stuffified.

Now much of this stuff is useful, tools to serve us. But are we using our tools wisely or letting our tools rule us?

Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks

Easter Morning

This week has been amazing, trees everywhere have decided to bloom, sprout leaves. Green everywhere. I couldn’t resist visiting out land, hoping I’d find some dogwood trees. I’ve always wanted dogwood trees, ever since I was little. If there weren’t any on my land, I’d plant some. Searching through the woods we found some. 🙂

Dogwoods have a legend which tie them to Christ, and they are often in bloom on Easter.

To me, it is the new life all around which reminds me of Christ and his love for all, how we too may be resurrected.

No matter your religion, go outside, breath in the fresh air, enjoy nature, meditate. Life is good!

Blue Moon Rings in 2010

Blue Moon by OliBak

The end of a year, beginning of a new one. Time passes. Has it really been a year since I put together Signs of Hope for 2009?

Although I’ve not been happy with many things which have gone on in my country, more government control, more taxes, more breaks for large corporations who mismanage their money, etc. I love the people. People give me hope.

None of us are perfect, I know I’m not. Doesn’t mean we are bad, inferior products. Nope not in the least. Just not finished yet. Half Baked in fact. Still writing our stories.

Life is a trip, a journey. We grow, we learn. Sometimes we stumble, make mistakes, but that is part of the process. How would we have ever learned to walk if we never tried again after the first time we fell. Worse yet, what if we never tried in the first place because we saw someone else fall.

With the various problems facing the world today, I love watching people. Good people. They care about each other, their neighbors. They become better people, take care of their health, volunteer time helping others, teach others a skill, encourage others, learn something new to improve their lives. Have spirit, passion. Fight against corruption. Plan for a better future. Doing something to make life better instead of complaining, not expecting to have everything given to them but working for it themselves.

As long as we have good people, standing side by side, cheering each other on, we’ll have many more blue moons in our lifetime and a better world.

Gratitude for My Oldest Daughter

So many wonderful people in my life, friends both old and new, kind strangers, others whose talent and passion inspire me, and most especially my family. It is hard to mention just one, yet just one is the blogging assignment. Besides, as a Mom I have bragging rights.

Only fitting to start with my daughter, Jessica Sellers. I remember the day she was born, 2 weeks early, morning on Mother’s Day. What a gift, she didn’t want to wait, who could ask for a better Mother’s Day present.

As the oldest of 7, she made my life easier by setting a great example for her younger siblings. Jessica loved to learn, loved meeting new people. Her first word was “Hi!”. She’d wave at everyone and give a great big smile.

Jessica did very well in school, I remember switching grade schools and her new teacher called me in. “I don’t know what to do with these grades her previous teacher sent over, I don’t know what that teacher was thinking but I don’t give those kind of grades to just anyone. Don’t be upset when her report cards comes home with lower grades.” Few weeks later my daughter was placed in the gifted and talented program and her grades where still great. That teacher, the next teacher and school went around a few rounds. 1. Don’t assume any student is less than what others say they are. 2. Being gifted doesn’t mean pile on gobs of extra work. 3. Don’t penalize her for not finishing before school busy work when she is creating a work of art and others are scribbling for 10 seconds. We ended up moving with her going to a better school, where teachers encouraged their students to excel.

Jessica has a love for music, so does her daughter. We had an electronic keyboard she loved to play. Never had music lessons, but she could listen to a song and play by ear, often with both hands. She even composed her own song, which I encouraged to to enter into the school’s talent show where she won an award.

It is great fun watching your children grow up. Jessica still uses her creativity, loves to create digital art, logos, teach piano lessons, draw. Jessica often does work for my clients. Although she lives too far away, through the internet and phone we connect often. My daughter encourages me, lifts me up, for her friendship I am very grateful.

Some of you know Jessica, not all know she is my daughter, so it is past time to let all know that she is, and that I’m very proud of the person she has become, and continues to be. If you haven’t met Jessica, you are missing out.

OK, now tell me someone you are grateful for.