Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More war stories

I've already admitted to the unlikely habit of playing an online war game... Many of the other players there are military veterans so naturally the social chatter part of the game often turns to war as well. This morning I was talking with a couple of guys and one made a profound point about human nature that I want to explore. He said, "...human beings are war-like in nature, yet we crave peace and security. We are the only creatures who see war as a means to peace."

War as a means to peace...

We seek peacefulness yet describe our day to day life in the language of war. From the moment we are born, it seems, acts and talk of war surround us. Who hasn't observed a BATTLE of wills between a parent and child? Picked a FIGHT about something silly? Hurled WEAPONS (though they might have been cleverly disguised as sticks, stones, food or toys) at a childhood playmate? Engaged in a WAR of words with a loved one? Felt inner CONFLICT about an important life decision? Talked about ATTACKING that mountain of laundry? Had a yard INVADED by bugs in the summer? Said the clutter is the ENEMY? Spoken phrases like "SHOT myself in the foot" or "dropped the BOMB?" Described a tense situation as EXPLOSIVE? Or felt the need to RETREAT and seek solace another way when things didn't turn out the way we wanted?

Our churches are filled with scriptures describing great battles and hymns glorifying war with "we are all enlisted 'til the conflict is o'er... happy are we, happy are we" and "He hath loosed His terrible swift sword" echo through the halls.

We celebrate war and war heroes as a nation. Look at the memorials dotting Washington DC and think about the reason behind many of our national holidays.

And I'm not saying any of this is wrong... just pointing out that our actions don't match our words. Though we imagine ourselves as peaceful and loving, we are very fluent in the language of war. And that is the great dichotomy of mankind... we go to war every day hoping to find peace.

Letter from my future self...

I clicked into, a self-help website, today where it has a small daily challenge designed to improve your well-being. Today's challenge was to think about where you want to be 5 years from now and then write a letter to yourself today from the you of tomorrow.

Here's what I wrote:

Dear Kathy2011,

The things you want to achieve can, and will, happen. But it's going to take more work and dedication and will-power than you realize that you possess. Search deep inside yourself and find your drive and your passion... live true to that and stop thinking about everyone else's expectations for you because when you find that passion, you find yourself.

And you will have to give in and ask for help... a LOT of help... along the way. And you'll be surprised at how many people are willing to invest themselves in your success. You are really not as alone as you feel right now.

You have huge challenges ahead but you are the only one stopping yourself from triumphing over them so dust off your goals and get a good night's sleep then get off your butt and get started doing something about it!

I love you! Who I am now is founded in what you do today.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flag Crafts

A few summers ago I designed these primitive flag pictures for a Relief Society activity. They are fun and easy and quick to put together. Even the self-proclaimed non-crafters in our group completed this project in about an hour. It's truly that simple!

There are 3 versions ready to download and print or photocopy onto cardstock. Assembly instructions are included in the download.  The quotes in the white stripes are The Pledge of Allegiance (not pictured - I gave mine away without taking a photo and haven't made another yet), the 13th Article of Faith and Moroni's Title of Liberty (both pictured below).

Framed in a simple 8X10 frame, they make a great addition to Americana decor all year or as part of a patriotic display in July.

Here's a free download of the templates!
Primitive Flag Pictures Templates

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Self Confidence

What do you do to fix it when you have a serious lapse of self-confidence?

I think that's what I've got going on... I wouldn't describe myself as depressed so much as disengaged and in need of a serious endorphin rush that comes from accomplishing something important. But what? I've been restrained and told I can't so much that I think I've forgotten how to dream that kind of big dreams. I need help but I don't even know what help to ask for.

So what's your best advice to get out of this grind? To find my inner verve again? To set good goals... and more importantly do something to make them come to fruition?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Games People Play

A little over a year ago, someone teased me about not playing any computer games... teased me just enough that I decided to master one. And so I randomly clicked the first game link that came up in facebook. It was for a medieval war game called Evony. And so I began to make cities and build troops and wage war with thousands of people from all over the world.

I know... many folks see me as much more Barbie than GI Joe but there was something curiously satisfying about coming home after a lousy work day and killing something. Besides, you never know when knowledge of ballistae and pike and catapults will come in handy in knocking down someone's city walls. Not likely that I'll ever need to know... but not beyond the distant realm of all possibility I guess. And I met some really great people along the way including a surgeon from British Columbia, a counselor of troubled youth in Sweden, a University lecturer who also runs an animal shelter in Latvia, a battered wife from Missouri who finally found the courage to leave, and a hormone-driven English schoolboy to name just a few.

I also met some not so nice people. And some who were so deep into the game that real life almost ceased to exist. They were miserable people who could only keep up the facade of normalcy for so long and then the dark side of their personality surfaced in underhanded devious plots and schemes that still leave me feeling shock and dismay.

In Evony, you can assemble teams known as alliances. An alliance can have up to 100 players in it and the point is to share game knowledge, help with resources needed to build cities and troops, attack enemy alliances and most of all... socialize. Kick it up one notch toward the evil and you find enemy alliances planting spies to gain knowledge of your battle plans so they can foil them. Another notch and you have friendly alliances planting spies and sometimes manipulating information to make their alliance declare war and attack. In many ways the game is a study in psychological warfare.

Very recently I was involved in a situation that trumps everything I have experienced in human indecency. The host of my just prior alliance handed his account to a high ranking player in our arch-enemy alliance... Or so that was the first indication. Then it looked like this hand over took place more than 8 weeks ago. Now it's looking like they were the same person all along and possibly the one sharing spy intelligence with a friendly alliance who suddenly became not so friendly. The resulting war and fall of that prior alliance came like two hard kicks in the gut to many. Some quit playing, some have moved on to the arch-enemy alliance, others have moved elsewhere. And this is all supposed to be okay because it's part of the game?

I think it is a very definition of insanity. And right now I'm in a state of kind of suspended animation... do I keep playing or do I seek revenge or do I quit and walk away?