Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life lessons from Beadwork

My granddaughter has been helping me make some of the zillion beaded hair piks I will be taking to RomantiCon in October. As we poke through bead containers selecting the beads for each pik, we talk about "girl stuff". If occurred to me that beading is a metaphor for the things we need to know about life in order to be successful.

Have a plan. Whether we're creating a masterpiece or just trying to get through life, we need to have a plan. Gather the materials, create a workspace, decide on a design... Without a plan, we may find ourselves short of the exact color of bead that we need--or lost in the woods in our lives.

Create a design. Having a general idea is all right when you're making your overall plans, but when it gets right down to the actual work, you need to have a specific design. What colors do you want? Small beads or large? A long strand or short? Our lives also need an overall design. The choices we make depends on our original design.

Follow the logical steps. "T" was appalled when she discovered we had to first prepare our piks before we could start beading. There were prepartory steps to be completed--painting, drilling, marking them with my website--first. But without completing the preparation, our beading would be unsuccessful. The same with our life choices. "T" wants to be a doctor. Then there are steps she can work on even now. Doing well in school. Leading a healthy lifestyle. Treating others with compassion and grace.

Be adaptable when things don't work out. Sometimes we come up short. We didn't count the beads right. Or a bead breaks. Or the strand we're stringing them on falls apart. Then we might have to start over. Or tweak the plan a little. Adapatability can be a life saver. Humans suffer more stress and anger when they fail to adapt to the changes around them. Some things we can't plan for... acts of God or acts of other humans. When that tornado hits town or that car runs a red light, an important part of the coping mechanism is our ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Take pride in our workmanship. "Nobody cares." Who is this person we talk about all the time? Who is NOBODY? And why is his opinion important? On my journey through life, the person I have to face in the mirror every morning is ME. Nobody? I've never met him. When I finish my beaded creation, it doesn't matter if others like it or not. What does matter is whether I'm proud of my work. Actually, that's true whether I write a book, work in an office or dig ditches. Did I do a good job?

Don't forget to have fun. Whether beading or just living life, if we forget to be happy, if all around us is drudgery, then we need to take a pit stop and reassess our plan. Someone once asked me how many piks I planned to make? And my answer? I don't know. When it isn't fun anymore, then I'll stop. How many books do I plan to write? I don't know. When it doesn't satisfy something in my soul, then I'll stop writing.

And I'll make a new plan.



  1. You are so amazing, Anny! You have such great depth of character, and you understand things so well. I am proud to have you for my friend.


  2. Those are absolutely beautiful. Amazing. I agree with you. We need to remember what's important.

  3. Plans are so hard...I avoid them. I like the half arsed approached. I still wear the hair pik you sent me and I know another lady who does as well

  4. So true, Anny. Very true. And I love my hair piks:)

  5. Anny you are truly a Wise Woman, and my little corner of the world is better because of your influence. You rock, Anny Cook.

  6. Those are beautiful. I saw some in Asheville Saturday and immediately thought of you.

  7. You're a very wise lady, Anny. You have a very common sense way of looking at the world.

    And you're crafty too. :-)

  8. Great hair piks for RomantiCon!
    I love your last comments about when to stop writing. It has to be fun and satisfy something in your soul...absolutely right!

  9. So well put. Thank you. I really love the reference to "nobody". Nobody and everybody are two identities I've never met.