Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Organized Vs. CREATIVE

I've already outed myself in regards to my fashion ineptitude but there's another area of my life that has been my perpetual thorn in the side. I seriously struggle with organization. I have no good excuse. I'm able-bodied, reasonably intelligent and I even have the time. Not a soul is here with me at home Monday through Thursday from 9:00-11:30 and in the afternoon my daughter is a marathon napper. I really should be getting some impressive things done. Instead I read books on organization when I should be doing the actual organizing. Somehow I feel that reading about it might make it actually happen, which it sadly doesn't. When I hear the scripture about a house of order, I literally cringe.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I once taught a class on home organization. My friend asked me to do it and because she's a good friend and because she obviously had been turned down numerous times and was scraping the bottom of the barrel, I agreed to help her out. I researched and read and copied quotes but I don't think anyone was fooled. I do know that when I actually have organized moments in my life, things go smoothly and I'm happier overall, but it's the getting there that I struggle with. I look at a pile of laundry and suddenly decide to paint the hallway. I start on the dishes and then go look up a recipe for gyros because the thought struck me that a Greek night would be fun. The family room can be in shambles and instead of buckling down, I go get the shovel and move my Black Eyed Susans to a spot where I suddenly feel compelled that they just have to be. And it has to be done now. I do eventually wash the dishes and fold the laundry, but wow, does it take a long time.

I like to think of myself as creative since it's better for the self-esteem than the obvious label of scatterbrained. In school I always preferred essay exams to multiple choice tests and I really notice and value creativity in those around me. There were numerous things I loved about Lyle from day one, but I absolutely treasure his unique sense of humor, his artistic eye, and his hilarious writing. When we were still getting to know each other, we had a Comparative Literature class together. One of our year-long assignments was to keep a reading journal to chronicle our thoughts and observations regarding the books we were slogging our way through. I don't think the teacher ever read a word of those journals but he'd occasionally glance at them and check off that we'd done them. Once a week he'd have us choose a partner from the class and we'd read each other entries from our journals. Obviously I chose Lyle and read him an entry that I felt particularly good about. He read his out loud to me and I decided that in the future I would work harder on my journal entries! That guy is seriously creative and talented and my respect and interest grew ten-fold. He flatters me by saying he felt the same way and for the rest of the year we both were putting a ridiculous amount of time into writing in our silly reading journals. The journals that the teacher would never read.

If I were married to someone who felt inclined to reel me in a bit, I think the physical state of our household would improve. Instead, I managed to find someone much more creative and even less inclined to organization than his dear wife. So, when I abandon the dishes to go check out an area of our yard where I think we really require an arbor, not only will he say, "cool!", he'll pull out the graph paper. In retrospect, maybe all those years ago we should have been thinking less about humorous metaphors and more along the lines of: So really, this is fun and all, but if we get together, who's going to make sure the dogs get fed? In the Spirit World, Madeline stepped up to the plate and said, "I've gotcha' covered."

On the "creative" topic, when we were deciding on a name for our third daughter, there were many things that drew me to the name Maya. First, I just like it and think it sounds American, but also rather exotic. Second, it has the qualities I look for in a girl's name. It sounds feminine but also strong. It sounds like someone who could be a cheerleader if the pom poms fit, but could also be captain of the debate team. But the big kicker for me was the meaning of her name---"God's creative power". I just loved that. I think of it in the sense that she is one of God's perfect creations and that regardless of the mystery surrounding the parents who created her body, we know perfectly of the artist who created her spirit. I also love the word creative when it's used to mean unique, different, inspired. I think God's creative power was evident in the path of this little girl's young life and in the inspired, different, and creative formation of our family.

So, all of this brings me to what I really wanted to say and that is that I loved a talk at a recent Women's Conference . Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a counselor in the First Presidency of our church, said the words that I so needed to hear. He said we should be creative. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. He said we should create not only beauty (think Black-eyed Susan project), but also create great family memories (Greek night!) and create laughter and happiness. I can do those things! I don't know about the rest of you who heard that talk, but I'm pretty sure it was written just for me. Now I need to go brush my teeth and get the breakfast dishes done.

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