Hitler Wanted to be an Artist

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/HitlerMaryWithJesus.jpg
Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ 1913

Here is something crazy I learned recently. Hitler wanted to be a painter and was rejected from art school. He painted a lot of paintings too. You can find out more at https://allthatsinteresting.com/hitlers-paintingsn and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paintings_by_Adolf_Hitler.

I actually like the details and the subjects of his paintings. It’s unfortunate that his creativity was muted and his life took the direction it took. The article ponders the obvious, how different the world would have been if he had gotten into art school. One can only imagine the heartbreak in Hitler’s backstory that occurred starting with this event to his rise as a dictator.

 

It makes me think about what is the need to critique people’s art – and even their actions. Yes surely, without some direction we can’t improve, but someone took the time to create a piece of work, why is it necessary for someone to judge what is good or not good about it? Some works might speak to one person more than another, but it holds meaning for the creator.

I remember writing a short poem in college and receiving feedback from the professor (who was a great teacher by the way) something along the lines of the poem being vague and not making sense. However, I remember reading that same poem years later and it made sense to me and I remembered what I was talking about. Perhaps I’m wrong and if that were a poem for the public it would have to be more understandable, but to me, that poem expressed what I wanted it to and I was always content with that. It’s the same with a short story, there aren’t very many I completed, but once I was satisfied with a story, I didn’t really care what feedback I received. (Since I’m usually very critical of my dedication to my writing, I’m taking a moment here to be pleased with myself.)

Our present time is full of criticism. Even the news can’t just report the facts without offering an opinion, and opinion is just that one person’s thought or a particular group’s thought. It would be nice if instead of being so ready to criticize, people could relax and focus on something better.

Hitler is an extreme case, but perhaps violence we currently experience starts out as a seed of criticism and grows like a weed, and eventually takes over. Our own criticism of ourselves, that no one may ever even hear, can keep us from doing things that make our souls happy. Our criticism of others could cause them to misdirect their own frustration at innocent people who couldn’t even begin to know what is bubbling below the surface.

I don’t exactly know how to do this, I could very easily have a critical thought or make a remark moments after completing this post, but the fact that Hitler wanted to be an artist and devastated by criticism is hard to forget.

The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich
The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich
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The Ups and Downs of Change

A lot of the time things change when we’re not ready. We’re just getting settled in something new and some outside force completely discombobulates the situation. Or we are quite comfortable and happy and something unexpected turns everything upside down. For example, I’ll have a few weeks where I go to the gym consistently and then I get sick or I have to work overtime and it throws me off and it takes me a few more weeks to get back into the habit. Perhaps a friend moves away or a new person comes into the mix which can throw things off. Our expectations are shattered like a broken mirror or puzzle that has been disassembled. It’s easy to get frustrated and wish things hadn’t changed.

Change can come when you really want it and that is beautiful. We have a new pastor at my church. The previous pastor had been there eighteen years, was in his early seventies and had health problems so he needed a break from being the main person responsible for the parish. He said the new pastor was younger and more energetic and would come with new ideas to handle the challenges of the parish. Our old pastor was quite wise and seemed to know everything about everything from science to history to fixing things and it seems a little strange seeing a new pastor at the altar, but I do find this change refreshing. It’s nice to hear a new perspective in the homily and see that he’s already made a number of small improvements in the two weeks he’s been here.

We may think we want a change but it doesn’t quite go as we expected. Last month I switched from an iPhone 7 to a Samsung Galaxy Eclipse because I haven’t been a fan of some of the changes Apple has made to the iPhone recently. My reason for switching and that experience could be its own blog post so to stay focused on my original topic I will say that I returned to Apple and now have an iPhone 8. I switched back because although I liked many of the things about the Samsung phone and thought I didn’t like many of the things about iPhones now, it because obvious there are other things I do like about the iPhone and those matter more that what I don’t like.

We can’t predict if the changes we experience will go the way we expect (both good predictions and bad predictions) but there’s something about the way life works that things fall into place again sooner or later. We can take a moment and see that somehow the fragmented pieces have come together again.

World Cup For Dummies

Image by Clipart Panda

The whole word is obsessed with the World Cup. The whole world is actually obsessed with the World Cup but I mean my world is obsessed with the World Cup which consists of many of my co-workers and my family.

I don’t really like watching sports on television. I could go to a game or match and have a decent time. I think it would be even more interesting to actually be playing. But I understand people like watching it for various reasons. The one that I can most understand is they play or used to play and for them it brings back the excitement of playing. I used to play volleyball and though I don’t follow professional volleyball, if I happen to see it on tv I will watch it for a bit. I have also heard that people remember watching a particular sport or event with their family growing up. It seems like it can also be a pleasant distraction from every day life and provide relaxation.  The sport is enjoyed on both an individual level and a national level.

I can see how tournaments played by teams from different countries can be beneficial for a number of reasons. The world unites in friendly competition, a nice distraction from the usual conflict we hear about constantly on the news. It also creates a sense of pride among people from that country and unites people who are not in their home country. It seems as teams are eliminated, people will start rooting for different teams and it creates a sense of cross camaraderie.

So after a whole hour’s worth of research, I will share my vast knowledge of the World Cup.

  • The field is ridiculously huge! I couldn’t believe it. That’s a lot of running around.
  • The very early beginnings of the World Cup  arose from football (not American football obviously) separating from the Olympics (according to Wikipedia) because the Olympics were for amateurs and there was a debate about the status of football teams. Then in the 1930’s, the Olympics was held in the US which does not have the same enthusiasm for the sport as the rest of the world.
  • World events (like WWII) and conflicts (between countries) have had an impact on what teams participate.
  • The FIFA website has tons of info about the current games.

I have crawled out of my rock and learned something about the World Cup! 🙂

What do you love about the World Cup?

Enjoying the Process

Enjoying the process can be fun when you’re doing something you enjoy. I enjoy lots of things: reading, dancing, painting to name a few. These are things that once I get caught up in them I’m very happy. For example I”ll stay up way too late reading a book even though I need to be up early.

There are some things that I may or may not enjoy and that can change in an instant. For example, I may be working on project at work that seems tedious because it’s new and I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet, but once I have a grasp of it I do start to enjoy it. A few of my co-workers pointed out that I like to do the tedious things other people don’t like to do. I hadn’t realized that about myself before but could see it after they said it.

Writing is bittersweet for me as well because I can sit down with a pen and paper or a keyboard and words pour out of me. This is a gift I take for granted. I know not everyone is a writer, but it surprises me when I hear it’s not like that for other writers. It’s bittersweet though because I am blessed to be able to write but I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to do with this talent and I often complain about “the process”. People ask me what my blog is about and I’m not even sure because it’s really just a fondue where things I hear about, read about, or just think about melt together in my brain and pour out of my fingertips.

I know we can all name things we wish were different. I could name a handful of things at this moment that I’m trying to remain positive about and enjoy the process but sometimes the process is not enjoyable.

My friend’s father has been in the hospital for months. It’s frustrating to not be well enough to go about your normal activities and even worse to be stuck in bed for months! I get grumpy when it’s raining and I can’t even go outside for my lunch break.

I am a fan of St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises and one of his beliefs is “We should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. . . . Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.”

I came across these two ideas today and realized they go together. They translate into enjoying the process. I think about those ideas: illness and health, riches and poverty, etc. and it makes me think learning to enjoy the process is also a process and it might take a lifetime to learn. I suppose that’s ok.

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I would like to thank Mikey Lijoi, and Caleb Brereton for inspiring me to keep on going with my blog. Their timing was uncanny!

Please check out their blogs!

https://michaellijoi.weebly.com

My Brain Lives Here

 

 

 

 

 

When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

I’ve noticed something occur multiple times in the past few weeks where something was communicated, and there it was laid out straightforward and the information didn’t just quite click.

There were a few occasions where I had written instructions to people at work thinking I was making it easier for them by having the information in writing for them to refer back to. But they didn’t follow the instructions.

In another situation, I was given instructions about particular policy on pricing. I even read the email multiple times for doing what I had to do. But it wasn’t until someone said it to me that I was able to understand. I felt kind of dumb because I was really trying to follow the directions and just didn’t understand. It did, however, make me more understanding of those who didn’t absorb the information in my emails.

There was a third situation where my boss asked me to look over a PowerPoint presentation someone had prepared. She did a lovely job including screenshots in the slides and was well versed in the subject to be able to explain it. As I read the slides, I felt they needed some explanation of the topics she only listed.

I mentioned to her that it’s helpful for people learning information for the first time to hear and see it, but she was adamant that the the presentation was perfect the way it was and the procedures could be provided in a document later on.

Fortunately, I mustered up enough self control to be tactful and not angrily point out that our boss had asked for my feedback for a reason. I just stated my points and offered my help if she wanted it. Her supervisor was copied in my email reply so I left it at that. He gently suggested we meet and I scheduled it for the next day to give myself time to cool down.

When we for together she still felt the slides didn’t need to be changed. Finally, I couldn’t keep quiet anymore and I said it. Our boss, “asked for my opinion and this is it”. I wished I didn’t say it like that but I couldn’t help it anymore. My opinion was sought for a reason. I did try to be softer with her as I gathered the info to add to the slides, after all, I didn’t know anything about the subject, she was the expert. I hope she was pleased with the outcome and would see that it would help people understand the information she would be presenting.

All of these situations remind me of Easter. People had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds, maybe a few thousand years even, and still didn’t understand. Even those who had the privilege of being a part of his ministry didn’t understand what he was really saying about being the Savior. Like at the Last Supper when Jesus was talking about having to die Matthew 16:21, or when the apostles told Thomas they had seen Jesus after the resurrection John 20:24-29, or when the people at the temple didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about when he said he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days John 2:19. It wasn’t until after the resurrection that the started to understand what he had been saying John 20:9.

I’m not really sure what the solution is, other than being open to revising our opinion as our understanding increases and being patient with those who don’t quite get it yet.

Starting Early or Starting Late

Is it better to start something and not continue or start late?

There are a lot of things I’ve started and dropped. In hobbies alone I have amassed quite a list: piano, tennis, golf, volleyball, and jewelry making are the ones that came to mind easily. Perhaps we regret having credit cards or school loans and getting into debt. This doesn’t mean we can’t start acquiring better habits toward spending money and saving money at this point in time.

Maybe at some point in our lives we were closer to God-went to church more, read the bible, read inspirational websites and we wished we still had that.  We can consider changing how we did it before, maybe there was something in the environment that didn’t work with our personality and a change- small or large- might help. The change could take many forms like trying to find a new place, getting ideas from friends, or perhaps after some time has passed we are just better able to continue where we left off and don’t even have to change anything.

I have been pondering this idea of starting late for the past few days and have found it liberating. I don’t have to regret what I didn’t do well, I just have to decide what I want to do and figure out how to incorporate it in my life.

October 1st Mass readings

Plans, Plans, Plans

How do you like to organize what you have to do? Do you keep a list or multiple lists? In an organizer, on a piece of paper, on your phone?

I like to keep lists. I have a system that has served me well at work. I have a spiral-bound weekly organizer. In the morning I write down what I need to do on the left side of the page and throughout the day or at the end of the day I write down what I’ve accomplished. If there is anything I didn’t get to or something new that I know I will have to do, I write it on the left side for the next day.

This was something I started doing a few years ago because it helped me keep track of what I accomplished when I had to write quarterly reports of my achievements for my boss. It also made me feel better to see what I had accomplished each day when I felt like I had been running around and not getting anything done.

I never thought to do this in my personal life, but recently on the Happier Podcast, they discussed Ta-Da Lists, which is what I was doing all along but didn’t have a snappy title for. One of the benefits is if you’re not accomplishing what you want to be doing- like in my case writing more- I can see what I was actually doing and in some cases, I’m doing things that are pretty important. For example, in the past week, I have been getting reorganized after evacuating for hurricane Irma.

So I started doing personal Ta-Da lists a few days ago and so far it has been motivating to me to write (almost) daily so I can add it to my list before I got to bed that I accomplished writing.

Below you will see an example a senior director at work gave when I asked how he organizes what he has to do. I was curious how someone at a senior level organized himself. He didn’t give me a method as much as a decision-making tool which also important to consider. Is what I’m doing the most important thing from the list? Can someone else do it for me? Is it important that it is done today? If not, it can be deferred so something more pressing is taken care of sooner.

I would love to know your methods so please share.

The 4 D’s for Daily Planning

 

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Why Has This Happened?

hope.PNGHave you ever wondered why something has happened or why something doesn’t stop happening? If so, the conversation Gideon is having with God included below will resonate.
In the passage, Gideon reminds me of conversations I have when things around me aren’t going the way I think they should go. It’s like the conversations we have with God wondering why he hasn’t answered prayers we have been making for what seems like forever.
It also can apply to current events, when we wonder how anything can improve in the world with all of the violence we see or hear about daily.
We can be reminded of what God tells Gideon…”I shall be with you.” God doesn’t really ramble on and on like Gideon. There’s just a firm, I will be with you.
With Gideon we also see that it’s ok to express our doubts to God, maybe that’s the first time we become conscious of our doubts ourselves. It’s possible that makes us better able to recognize the answer when the answer reaches us. God answers us, but often not as blatantly as Gideon. Wouldn’t that be nice?
The answer may come from a family member or a friend. It may come in a snippet of a conversation we hear when changing channels, or it may just be a feeling of peace like we have arrived at a destination– where once we felt uncertainty and chaos, we now feel the calmness of a resolution. If we haven’t arrived there yet we can take comfort knowing “The Lord is with you, O champion!”
“The LORD is with you, O champion!”
Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian.”
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you.”
But Gideon answered him, “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.”
“I shall be with you,” the LORD said to him,
“and you will cut down Midian to the last man.”
an excerpt from Judges 6

The Paradox of the Good Book

 

dog readingIsn’t it strange how when you’re reading a book you really like it’s so hard to put down and when you are away from the book, you just can’t get back to it. But the faster you read, the faster you’re done and then you don’t get to be in that world anymore? And then you’re a little sad that it’s over. You knew that would happen but you couldn’t stop yourself.

And then when there’s an author you really like, you can’t wait to read their next book. You don’t need to know what it’s about. You just know they wrote it so you will like it. But then when you’re browsing in the library, bookstore, or reading a book summary online you probably decide to read the book based on the description. But really want matters is how well the author tells the story and not so much the circumstances.

What are some books you’ve raced through? What authors do you love?

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