Monday Motivation

seemsimpossible

Sometimes you have to ignore the downtrodden voice inside your head and just show up. This quote is the perfect reminder for a Monday morning – just because something seems impossible does not mean that it will never come to pass. Sometimes I get stuck in the daily motions of sleeping terribly, waking up to crappy music, dragging myself through the morning necessities, pouring coffee down my throat, and showing up to a situation I don’t want. I get through it and walk through my door in the evening overwhelmed with relief, only to have to go to bed and do it all again. Getting caught up in that nasty rut is not the end-all-be-all, and it is important to remember that there are other options in the world. I mean, shit – the amount of possibilities out there is limitless, if you only know where to look. So just because you feel trapped, or something that you want seems impossible right now, doesn’t mean that it won’t ever come to pass. Take a deep breath, be honest about where you are and where you want to go, and get on that shit. It’s okay to end something in order to begin something else.

I love this cross stitch pattern by the amazing Jody Rice of SatsumaStreet – it is a beautiful quote, and Jody’s use of cheerful colors that POP will add a dash of brightness to any corner of your life.

Stand tall, check that sunrise, and have a marvelous Monday! ❤

How Do You Deal with Stress?

nothing-is-permanent

I wish I could remember this more often when I’m stuck in a downward spiral.

Everybody has battles to wage, and there are as many ways of handling problems as there are people in the world. I worry a lot. I mean, my writer’s brain easily comes up with ten different ways the worst possible scenario could come to fruition, and I spend most of my time battling against the worries of “what if.” One of the major ways I battle this stress is by occupying myself with the physical, mathematical, colorful, precise act of cross stitching. With cross stitching, everything fits inside its own little square, and by working one tiny bit at a time, you are quickly creating a thing. And it could be a special gift for someone else, or it could be an expression of your love of a fandom you enjoy disappearing into. It could be evidence of doing something productive with your twitchy, worrisome time, or it could be a communication of your thoughts and feelings to another.

coffeemessup

This is what happens when you are too tired to cross stitch, but you do it anyway. 😄

As a physical action against anxiety, cross stitch works wonders for me. But sometimes it isn’t enough. Sometimes my thoughts are so potently negative that it requires a mental battle more than a physical one. And therein I struggle because if I could flip a switch and quell the thoughts in my mind, I wouldn’t be so stressed out all the time as it is.

{What I’ve come to realize is that this avoidance doesn’t make the stress disappear, it just pushes it to the background, allowing it to slowly permeate other aspects of my life.}

Recently I came across a mental exercise that has really helped me out – after I tweaked it to my own needs. Usually when I’m stressed out about something, I shy away from anything that even remotely touches that stress in the hopes that it will eventually pass on its own. Stressed out about money? Ignore your depleting account balance, stop spending money, and hope that things will right themselves without you having to go all mathematical on a spreadsheet or something. Stressed out about how someone will react to something? Avoid them and the topic at hand and hope that you never have to cross that bridge. Avoidance has been a huge problem for me, as you can see. What I’ve come to realize is that this avoidance doesn’t make the stress disappear, it just pushes it to the background, allowing it to slowly permeate other aspects of my life. So instead of just being stressed about that one thing, suddenly I’m twitching with nervous energy, suffering from stress dreams, and overall miserable with everything.

So this mental exercise is basically playing the “What If?” game with the scenario that you are avoiding. Instead of avoiding it, face it. Tear the mask off that piece of shit and just look at it. Are you afraid of being screamed at? So what if they scream at you? Will it be uncomfortable? Painful, even? Perhaps. But you can’t control how someone else is going to feel, can you? You just have to let them feel it and stand tall. Are you afraid of bursting into tears in front of them? Well, shit happens, doesn’t it? Will it really be the worst thing in the world? I mean, I am barely grazing these scenarios, but I don’t want to get too in depth – the things that stress people out tend to be extremely personal and they can stay that way.

stressjournal1

{It had to be self-contained and disconnected to anything else – like its own little box of stress, anxiety, and pain.}

In an attempt to embrace this idea of facing the stress head on – at least in my own head – I decided to start a Stress Journal. See, I even had to play a mind game with myself here because I couldn’t bring myself to use my regular journal for this task. It had to be self-contained and disconnected to anything else – like its own little box of stress, anxiety, and pain. Just get it out between the pages of that book and leave it there to rot. Using disassociation in that way has actually really helped me, because then I have given myself permission to let it ALL out – every worry, no matter how small and stupid, or how big and scary – with the idea that I could always burn those pages if necessary. It has left me with no excuses, and that is exactly the environment I needed.

stressjournal3

{Why is your chest so tight right now? Why can’t you breathe? It’s okay, just be honest with yourself.}

So when I’m feeling stressed, I pull out this journal and ask myself – Ok, Deb, why is your chest so tight right now? Why can’t you breathe? It’s okay, just be honest with yourself. And I think that’s the point, at least for me: the stress and anxiety, a lot of times, comes from the fact that I’m not even being honest with MYSELF about how and why I’m feeling a certain way. And in the process of answering those questions I am really able to get to the bottom of it, and although it doesn’t make the situations disappear like magic, it does calm me, make me feel better about them, and even causes the situations to shift into a different light. Mind games, man, I’m telling you. And perspective.

stressjournal2

{But this stress journal goes so deep into my fears and mental nightmares that I wouldn’t show its pages to ANYONE. And that’s okay.}

See, with my closest friends I’d be comfortable showing them entries from my regular journal that discusses my hopes, dreams, and responses to events in my life. But this stress journal goes so deep into my fears and mental nightmares that I wouldn’t show its pages to ANYONE. And that’s okay. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you lie to even yourself, until you start unpacking some of this stuff. If you can be honest with yourself and face the things that twist your heart into knots and tighten your chest until you can’t breathe, then you have gained so much power over your life.

The war is still ongoing, and I’m still fighting battles everyday, but I’m still here, and I’m still breathing. Whatever you have to do to help yourself, do it.

Do you have any tips and tricks that help you deal with stress and anxiety? I would love to chat in the comments section!

Have a wonderful evening, friends ❤

5 Cross Stitch Projects to Get You in the Autumn Mood

As much as I love the idea of the beach and the memories of feeling so grateful to get out of school and be FREE, Summer always drags on too long, and here in the desert the sweltering heat is suffocating. The moment the weather starts to change, when football season kicks in, when the kids go back to school, I always breathe a sigh of relief and feel a sense of anticipation for Change. Of course, the leaves don’t change in Phoenix, and we don’t get biting fall winds, but we do get a bit of rain, and when I start stepping out of the door at 7 a.m. and feel a slight coolness to the air? That’s heaven.

The first day of Autumn was September 22, and that very weekend I hopped out to Bath & Body Works and treated myself to a “Fall” scented candle (Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin). I smelled every candle in that store multiple times, for I didn’t want one too sweet or one too musky. Despite its name, I found a winner, and within two weeks it’s almost gone:(

autumncandle

Of course, being obsessed with cross stitch as I am, I couldn’t help but start collecting Autumn-related cross stitch patterns to help get me in the mood for changing leaves, changing weather, and changing times. I’ve collected 5 below that I wish I had time to make!

  1. Happy Harvest

happyharvest

What I love about Happy Harvest is that it’s not only colorful, but has enough going on to keep the interest of even the most distracted cross stitcher. Not only that, but it promotes fresh fruits and veggies, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that:)

2. Autumn

autumn

I’ve seen this concept done with Winter, Spring, and Summer too, and I think they would make great seasonal projects to work on. You could have a specific place in your home to switch out the work for each season as part of your decor. In addition, I love all the bits and pieces to this pattern that keep it interesting. I know just where I’d put this….

3. Fall Fairy

fallfairy

Here we have the classic Fall Fairy from Gold Dimensions. I’ve included it because I’ve probably stared at this cross stitch kit a million times at the craft store – I love the seasonal fairies and have always wanted to do this kit. It’s magical and dynamic and would be a great challenge for someone to take on.

4. Autumn Leaves

autumnleaf

I love this pattern because it brings the beautiful changing leaves that are so characteristic of Autumn into my home. I lived in Virginia for several years and know the joys of changing leaves, but my eleven-year-old son has never experienced it since he has spent his whole life here in the desert. Having a piece like this hanging on our wall would be a welcome sight!

5. Pumpkin Silhouette

pumpkin

Lastly, we can’t forget that Halloween is one of the most characteristic aspects of Autumn. The inherent creativity and strange mysticism involved with the holiday makes it one of my favorites. I’ll have an entire list post dedicated to Halloween cross stitch patterns, but I couldn’t help including this one here since although pumpkins are related to Halloween, they are also simply related to the harvest season. I love this spiraling design against the black aida backdrop. Silhouette work is one of my favorite things to do with cross stitch – as you’ll see when I start posting my own designs on here. Frame this piece in an old Victorian-esque frame and it would make a great addition to your Autumn or Halloween decor.

Do you have any favorite Autumn or Halloween projects? I always look forward to making something new this time of year:)

Monday Motivation

okbutfirstcoffee

Sometimes it’s the little things that get you through. The first thing I do when I turn off my alarm at 5 a.m. is take a shower, and the only thing that motivates me to use soap and shampoo instead of just standing under the hot stream of water is knowing that I have to get through those motions before I can have my COFFEE. To me, coffee is Life. Just the smell of it lightens my mood. The anticipation of consuming coffee motivates me more than most things. Forget cereal or bagels – I can subsist solely on coffee if necessary. It’s an issue.

I saw this cross stitch pattern and I thought, “Man, that’s so me.” Especially on a Monday morning. I do have a framed cross stitch in my kitchen near my coffee maker already, but I’ve collected quite a few coffee-related cross stitch ideas on Pinterest and I think I may need to create a collection in my kitchen (I mean, what’s the kitchen for, other than to brew coffee??) I mean, I’m currently working on a coffee cross stitch as we speak, so enough said.

When you’re facing a tough day, it can help to focus on the little things. For me, when I’m dragging my butt around in the morning, it helps to have chosen my clothes the night before, to have packed my work bag in advance, and to know that once I get downstairs I can have some coffee. Once I’ve had my coffee, I’m functional and I can handle my shit:)

Have a marvelous Monday you guys!