Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ok, Ok...

Two posts in one day after taking several months off from writing....

What I realized is that I miss writing here. I write. I am an avid blogger and reader of many inspirational blogs that have opened my eyes to new ways of looking at an old life. I keep a journal of sorts. I've always been nervous to write down my deepest darkest confusions and frustrations on paper for someone else to accidentally trip over and read. No doubt feelings would probably be hurt and ideas altered. But what I do keep is an Inspiration Journal. I don't read anything, watch anything, or listen to anything without that notebook and pen sitting right next to me. I started this idea way back in high school and have been in and out of writing things down. After having a very difficult couple of years, I needed to do something to get clarity and to get the dust to settle. Keeping this type of journal has been a Bible to me.

I've also adopted a new passion. Mail Art. I've met some fantastic people through the old art of writing letters and creating unique envelopes to send to people. A skeptic at a believer. One of these days I will share the pieces I've made and received. Finding things that bring happiness and calm into my life is how I wrap up my day. I mosey on down to my studio and pop off my calligraphy pen top, take out some pretty paper and I write. What do I write about? Whatever I feel like at the time. Some days a long-penned letter is in order but other days a short postcard with notes of humor. I let my creativity dictate what I do and not plan what I am going to do. It is that weird way of artist thinking before paint hits the canvas. Real artists let the paint and canvas dictate what comes out of the artist...that is how I see Mail Art.

Happy Writing!

Hello 2012!

It has been a long time since I wrote on my blog for a variety of reasons. The state in which I live is very strict with the blogosphere (from what I have read and experienced) but this morning I read one of my favorite blog posts. To me she is an angel and doesn't try to show an image that really is only found in magazines. She speaks from the heart, she writes from the heart, and she is a perfectly imperfect model of what it means to practice being human. The person I am speaking of is Rhoda from Southern Hospitality. If you have never seen her blog, pop on over and get reading. She will inspire you with her decorating, recipes, and story.

We all have a story. Some stories are just beginning and some are ending. Some stories are in the midst of changing the course of their life. We all have them. My 2012 is going to be a life-changing year for me. I am a dreamer. I aspire to have goals. I am passionate about many things. I have fear. Fear has been a major brick wall for me in accomplishing the things that I dream of doing. I don't know what I am afraid of but I know that I am afraid. In my 20's fear didn't exist in my mind. In my 40's life has happened and has gotten in the way of me being able to see my own life clearly. This has to change in 2012. I feel lost and don't know where I went off track in promising myself that I would always put myself first. People in the world have changed my perspective of how things are and have altered stereotypes of what I think is right.

I don't know where 2012 will take me but I am looking forward to making some positive changes.

(Goat Island Lighthouse, Goat Island, Newport, RI)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

If...and When

What is the most important things to you right this very minute? Without really taking time to think would you be able to rattle off three things that were the most important to you? I can probably assume that you would not say my computer, my Blackberry, and my car. Are you being honest? While I like to think that you would answer in a more humanistic caring way we all know that family and friends top the list at #1 and #2 and #3 is probably a bit more of personal nature. While those are the politically correct answers that everyone wants to hear but are they really, I mean come on, are they really your most important things to you right now? I don't think that if there are other things more important to you than family and friends you would admit to it. Why? Because it would make you look bad to other people as if you weren't caring or loving enough. But in all honesty, there are people out there who are materialistic and who do not put family or friends at the top of their internal lists. I think that they would put money up there, their status within the circle they associate (even if they are friends with them...), and their place on the corporate ladder. The kind of car they drive, the style of clothes they wear, the restaurants they frequent, the pool or beach clubs they join or are part of, who their kids play with are all other contenders on the top three list.

I have known a few of these kind of people over the years. I think we have all known people like this, maybe you are one! Despite what they would put on their top 3 list I know that I am happier than all of them. I don't think that money buys happiness. As a matter of fact there are a lot of people I know who have a lot more money than I and are not happier. Yes, they have a bigger house, nicer cars, better clothes, frequent their hair stylist routinely, eat out frequently but they are not happier. What are they missing? They fill their life with things that are trying to fill some other void. They are looking for validation for their life. I recently heard or read something somewhere (I am a big reader) that many people look at their house as a reflection of their success in life. Almost as if it is an award they bought to show off to other people (of whom they either don't know or don't care about) what they have. I wonder if they ever thought about "us other people" not caring what they have? I wonder how they would react if we were face to face and they asked this question and I responded "I don't care". What would they do? I just wonder. Money and acquiring material things is supposed to impress people but, while I do admire their homes, I don't care. I feel sad for them because somewhere something in their life was sacrificed. Maybe they were not there for their kids...or their spouse...or their parents. They invested all their time in their career that they missed what life was giving them the entire time and when they realize it, often, it is too late to get that time back.

I like to look at my life as a series of checks and balances. I am always taking inventory of what is really important to me today. When tomorrow comes, I reassess what is important to me today. Each day the important things differ slightly but for the most part it is who I have in my life and who I am supposed to be here for are the important things of the day. While I want my career reestablished and I would love to be contributing to my family financially, what I am giving to my family right now does not have a price tag on it. Time is of no value because there is only one. You can't buy more time. You can't make up time. You can't replace what once was. You just have to focus on each minute of each day and make sure you are happy with that moment. Women have a hard time readjusting their priorities when life hits like a brick wall. That is me. I still struggle with giving up a piece of me for my life now but I know I am young enough to establish a career later on but old enough to have wisdom to proceed successfully. I know what to look for and I know who to avoid.

If...and when my life is to change I hope that I am equipped enough to keep the balance that I have worked hard to achieve with my family. I believe that I am a good person (I know I am) and I pray that good things will come my way as I proceed with caution.

Thank you for visiting stranger friends! I appreciate your looking!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's Funny...

I've taken a couple days away from writing to go look at houses in another state. Looking at homes on a realtor's website is one thing but to actually go drive by the house is a completely different story. I honestly wished that Realtors didn't try to deceive the potential buyer with staged homes and rooms because it is exhausting to leave one state to go look at homes in another state only to know that the house you liked online overlooks a storage facility, office park, or garage. Just because there are new hardwood floors and a pool doesn't make up for the fact that the house sits on a side-street cut-through to a main thoroughfare. I like neighbors but not when they are that close or when they can see you jump in your own pool. House hunting yesterday was exhausting. And I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A REALTOR WITH ME! I need to make a priority list even though in my head I "know" what would work for us but at the moment of truth I don't want to forget the nooks and crannies of what will make me happier in a new-er home.

The funny thing is that as I was driving around from home to home I came up with fantastic topics to blog about only to sit down tonight and have writer's block. Yup, I know "write it down before you forget" but it is hard to do when you are trying to look for a street number, a street name, a cop, follow the speed limit, shift (I drive a standard), and make sure that I stop at all the intersections with lights! Finding a pen and my notebook (yes, I keep one in my purse for these exact times!) was/is not an option. So, once I got to my destination my "idea" had slipped away. I would associate this to taking a shower. The absolute best thoughts and conversations happen in the shower only to turn off the water, dry off, dress, to realize everything you planned on saying or doing has relocated to another part of your brain. Frustration sets in and then you stumble for the right words to say to get your point across. I know, we all have those moments whether you admit to them or not. I love blogging and am looking into doing more of it in different venues with the hopes of making some change but for now I need to be able to hold onto my fantastical thoughts and ideas I want to share and come up with a way to jot them down when I am not in the car!

I hope to have a better blog topic tomorrow because they are in here somewhere!

Thank you for visiting and feel free to jot down your thoughts. I appreciate your visit even though you may say nothing. On that note, have a wonderful rest of your evening!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Detour = Dead End - I am HOME!

Hi friends. I am back for a little while until I can get the hang of WordPress. I am struggling with managing that page and for now (since I am not into technology) I am going to continue to post here. My struggle over there...I can't find the plugin tab "to the left" and "download" despite the easy directions to follow on their own "help" page. Bonkers. I tell you, it is all bonkers! so instead of getting so stressed out right now, of which I am not, I decided to welcome myself back here for a while longer. I hope you don't mind that I returned for a stay.

On that note I stumbled upon another blogger of which I posted her link. Today she had some really inspiring quotes that move her and they touched me as well.

Today they said that 40 is the new 20 and I have to say that I am just not feeling like I am 20. As a matter of fact I don't even feel 30 never mind 20! My body does not react well to stress and since the day I found out I was pregnant stress has been part of my life, or some part of it for a multitude of reasons. I am at a point where I need to really look long and hard at what I want in my life and for my life and how I am going to achieve that. I honestly have taken a back seat and have focused on caring for my family but I need to learn to focus on me. I commit myself to whatever I need to except that my name is always last on the list and if it is first it always gets bumped. I don't know what I do that but I do. I need to remove the stress triggers in my life and replace them with more positive actions and events that will yield a better me. I am not unhappy, I am actually quite happy, but the last 5 or so years of my life have been a challenge. There have been many life events (major events mind you) to deal with (or not) that has impacted and changed the course of my/our life. Some expected, most not. As a result I am not in as good of shape as I once was or need to be. I exercise but what I need to do is to get my mind thinking in a new direction, I need new opportunities to come my way, I need to be able to "see" an opportunity when it arrives. What I will not do is sacrifice the happiness of my family and the functionability of how my family works. I think I am getting closer to what it is I need to do and where I need to do it but I still feel like my compass is spinning out of control. I try to stay positive and do what I can each and every day to make the day the best day possible.

So I leave you with this quote from Rebecca Cooper's blog page:

is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Turn Left on Red...Detour

Hi Friends...I have decided to go to WordPress to continue blogging. I like this forum better because I think I know it well enough to produce a piece I am pleased with but after reading many opinions about the pros and cons of Blogger vs WordPress it seems that there are more "built-ins" over there at WP. My new page is up but it is a mess...a royal mess. I am learning a new language over there but am giving it a shot. I think one of the greatest reasons to move over is because it can provide greater exposure. I don't know if that is what I am looking for but I haven't found any tributes to me NOT moving over. I am not in a position to pay for someone to design a page for me right now but before this takes off (or plummets) I want to be in a more user-friendly environment. Where this is going I have not a clue but for right now this is what I have to do. I will periodically post here but my energy is on learning the new blog forum and all the lingo associated with learning something new.

Please take the detour and head over to Color of Inspiration at WordPress.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Get Out Of My Way, Now!

I am talking about ME! Yes, I am terrible at getting in my own way sometimes when I am trying to move forward. I don't know why I do it, when I do it, or when it really happens. I just know that I get "stuck" and literally stand in my own way. I am my own worst enemy and that mantra was written for me by some unknown who knows me better than I know myself. I absolutely hate when this happens because I feel that I have missed opportunities for growth. I don't know why I hold myself back. I think that that weird word called "fear" makes her presence known and ruffles the feathers of moving forward. I know that I am smart (not a genius or gifted) but I have successfully finished high school, finished undergrad school with a major in business and art history, finished graduate school in less than one year (THAT was one hell of a year) in education, and have continued to earn credits towards yet another degree (if I so choose)! No, I am not stupid but can do school. My last graduate class I took just a couple months ago on Theories of Elementary Mathematics in Schools I earned a perfect 100. I aimed for a good grade but didn't expect this grade. I am pleased.

Now, why the heck can't I just learn to step aside and let life move me along...ebb then flow? Why? Why? Why? I always had a "plan". I planned for my future and worked hard to avoid challenging and difficult situations. I capitalized on benefits offered through my employment, I own my car, I bought a house, I pay my bills, vote, wear my seat belt, follow the speed limits, and say a prayer for funeral processions I pass by. But, yet, I am in my own way because the "plan" changed. It changed in a way that was unexpected and my flexibility has weakened over the years. I know what I want...I just can't get myself there. Funny how complex life can be even more-so when you are an analytical person LIKE I AM ! I need to stop analyzing everything and just let sleeping dogs lie. Right? "Leave it alone"
I tell myself but it just doesn't happen.

I am a spiritual person and always hope that the next thing will be better. I hope that one day I will be able to step aside and get out of my own way so the other me can get going!

Thanks for stopping by and listening to my drama!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Powerful Words

What do you deem to be powerful words? Why are they powerful to you? Are they your own words or are they the words of another? Who? Why do these words even grab us and hold on to use (sometimes) forever?

Growing up I decided to keep a quotes notebook for fun. I would write down words, phrases, quotes that caught my attention for known and unknown reasons. I have been in and out of this phase of collecting words, quotes and phrases all my life. There have been times when I DVR'd Oprah so I could write down word for word what she said OR if someone said something profound to her. She has made herself incredibly wealthy by telling the truth and tapping into conversations most don't consider. She has capitalized on her fear of the unknown and the fear of putting issue in the spotlight. I am wowed by her in that aspect. However, if you pay careful attention she looks to others for guidance and will often quote profound things others have said. Words touch her. Quotes touch her. She is/was able to use this knowledge and perception to her benefit in creating an empire based on truth. I, however, do not intend to ever be Oprah status! But I resonate with her in using words to get through situations and trying to understand people in a deeper sense. I have smatterings of quotes books, notebooks, sheets of paper all scattered around. If only I kept one book what a treasure trove that would be. But just because I have lots of things written doesn't mean I remember them all. Isn't that why I wrote them down to begin with? Yeah, it is! Depending on the day depends on what quote I live by. I think that the ebbing of quote usage tells you that you are ever changing in your life and your perception of yourself. I think this is healthy and normal.

"Say what you need to say."
"Say what you mean. Mean what you say."
"Live life to the fullest."
"When you know better you do better."
"When one door opens another closes."


"I love you."
"Have a good day."
"You're the best."
"Just checking in."

These are my latest most favorite quotes. Some from famous souls others from ordinary folk. Either way no matter who said them they still have importance and meaning to me in a BIG way! The latest one "don't give into fear" has been haunting me for some time now. Haunting not in a bad way but as I sort out things in my life I am reminded not to let fear control me but to remain in charge no matter what the situation big or small. When I recognize fear (or anxiety) happening or just about to start to happen I am stopping myself to recognize what is going on and see if I can change the direction of my reaction to what is going on. I am learning to be more vocal and state my needs at the time, lack of understanding, approval, disapproval, or my feelings. Fearing life and the things in it is really foreign to me because this sense of fear is very new. New in the sense that it grew over the last few years. I never had fear but adventure and I am working hard to get back to that adventure girl again. So these powerful words are helping me redirect my life which I am very happy about.

So, share your powerful words, write them down, or do nothing with them but whatever you do hold on to them because they are yours and you give them the value they deserve in your own heart!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Poetry is Motion...


Poetry has not been my strong subject in school but I enjoy reading poetry. Complex poetry is hard to understand but I still like reading it even though I may walk away shaking my head wondering what the darn thing was about. I like simple poetry that has a crisp message; just enough to bring a pang to your heart. I like poetry I can relate to and I like poetry that makes me think much deeper about things than I have ever done before. I like to try to think about what the writer was thinking at the time pen hit the paper. Where were they? What experience did they just have? What brought them to this moment in time to extinguish such thought and emotion?

I like to write poetry as well. However, my poems are not as articulate and coherent as others. I recently came across this poem called The Journey that really resonated with me.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old rug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations-
through their melancholy
was terrible.
it was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the starts began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Does this poem speak to you? I can probably assume that reading this poem snapped you back in time to a place you were that spoke these words. You can recall what happened to you that detoured you from the life you knew and created for yourself. Maybe it was a small moment but big enough for you to stop and redirect yourself; maybe it was a grand moment when your world was rattled off its foundation. No matter the details of this event you were touched and your journey was changed. YOU always know what you have to do but facing what you know to be true is torture. Hard. Painful. Confusing. Scary. Change is not easy when you are in control and nearly impossible when someone takes that control from you and forces the decision upon you. You know what I wonder? I wonder if they ever thing about the pain and barrel full of emotions that they caused someone because of their decision that so deeply affected you. Do they think about you after they changed the course of your life. What I would like to yes but the truth to the matter is I know they don't. I've heard it. Business is business and there is no room for emotion in business. I know that people who have changed my journey never think about what it did to me. But, I don't really think about this. I don't give my time, energy, thoughts to people who are not worthy of it. Life happened and it will not be filled with people who extract my good energy and good intentions.

The Journey spoke volumes to me. As a matter of fact I am going to try to rewrite this poem in calligraphy and frame it as a reminder of those voices in my head and the only life I have to save. Sometimes someone elses experience and articulation of words are just the right stepping stones you need to rewrite your new beginning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Journaling...Do You?

I have always enjoyed writing, reading, and words in general. Sometimes I jot down words because they interest me but other times I skip right over words I have no idea what they mean! Yup, I do that! Do you? When I had my own classroom each student had a dictionary and they were tucked into every shelf and nook just to encourage (force) my students to not skip words but to take the time and learn a new word. But, I have to say that when you are knee deep in a book and you've found your comfort zone and rhythm of reading the last thing you want to do is to pick up and pull out the old dictionary. Nope, not happening here. I get it now. Just because you don't know a word and it is good practice to learn its meaning something is taken away from "the moment". When (or if) I get back into the classroom this is a practice I will change. Read away but jot down that word to (maybe) look up later on.

Good introduction? Now that I got your attention do you write in a journal? I've read that many famous people (Oprah, Maya Angelou etc.) write in journals and have for most of their life but do you? I have been in and out about writing in a journal. There is more evidence to prove that you should than not but are you comfortable with writing your own words down in a book? I like to hold onto my words and thoughts but have also journaled at different times. Why don't I stick with it? I have this weird feeling that what would I do if someone some day decided to pick up this book and started to read it? What would I do? How would I feel knowing that this was a private book? Is it still private once you put your soul onto paper in the form of words? So instead of just letting the words flow from hand to paper I get caught up in the "what if" after the fact? Sometimes feelings and thoughts could be taken out of context (if read). Sometimes you don't want to "go there" and just need to get it out without really addressing that "thing" that is bugging you. I don't see journaling as a means to hurt people but a means to learn about who you are at the time you pick up that pen and jot down your words. Some people have gone onto publishing books because they have kept such a discipline. Me, not so much. When I was done journaling in the past, I always felt that I needed to "dispose" of my work. Yes, I did and only now realize that I should not have done that. It/they would have given me a perspective on my life that no one else could. I do think sometimes that you just don't want to relive what you wrote so why keep those words?

I always have high hopes then they dwindle off. I really do have good intentions of writing but for some reason or another I just don't do it. I know I have missed some important times but I can't go back but only go forward. I do have to admit that even though I don't bare my soul on paper you can see my soul. I make sense of my world through pictures. I love photography and my pictures show how I see the world and what is important to me. I look back at my life with the pictures I've taken and not so much the words I neglected to scribble. So even though I am not a die hard journaler I have my pictures. I can always tell you the story behind the picture and retell the events that lead up to me taking the picture. I don't want to miss anything and so that is how I journal. I want to get back to the pen to paper form of writing but right now I need to overcome the big "what if someone found it and read it" thoughts. I have nothing to hide but my honesty will be reflected on these pages and I don't want people to know everything that runs through my heart, mind, and soul.

I feel more inspired to journal and write especially after reading an older copy of the Oprah magazine. Specifically it talked about poetry but bits and pieces of Oprah's personal journals were shared. I felt uneasy AND THEY WEREN'T EVEN MY JOURNALS! I look at Oprah and see how far she has come and I am sure her ability to journal has helped her achieve her success (among others). Sometimes my feelings are so powerful that I know I need to write but other times I just need to sit quietly and absorb my internal reactions to the outside world. I over analyze everything and run scenarios in my head about what I could have done differently or how I wished I were more quick-witted with my mouth or what will come of this. But the bottom line is that I needed to learn something from that interaction and would have an easier time figuring things out if I wrote down my thoughts and feelings immediately so the next time I am faced with a similar situation I can handle it accordingly. Who knows. Maybe after this post I will pick up my nice new journal and start to write, write, write!

If you are a journaler do you enjoy it? Do you have any fear associated to journaling?

Good luck with your methods of keeping track of your memories! Happy writing friends!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I've Always Said...

When I was a little girl I always said that I wanted to be a person I wanted to meet. I don't know when I first thought this thought but I can say that I was pretty little. I also had the thought that I needed to care about other people known and unknown. Big ideas for such a little person! I remember sitting in my bedroom not really knowing how to write well but having these thoughts about the world and how I was to fit into this space. How is a girl all of maybe 5 or 6 supposed to make sense out of such thoughts but not having the writing skills to express her thoughts into words? I am no little girl any more but I still vividly remember laying in my bed at night thinking these things. I always wanted to know me and I guess this was the beginning of my self-reflecting quest to figure out who I was and who I needed to become.

I thought that I would know it all as an adult and that my puzzle of life would be somewhat finished but quite the opposite has happened. I have no clue as to what my puzzle is supposed to even look like never mind having the borders completed and the major items pieced together. Nope. Not me. Not now. Not sure when!

I still think back at that little girl I once was and how my thinking was so clean, crisp, and fresh. I wanted. I dreamed. I hoped. I reached. I reflected deeply. I am still that little person but with a hardened soul due to life's lessons and experiences I've gone through. See, I am a sensitive person and quite shy. Chaos stresses me out and gives me headaches. I like the simple in life. I like things to be somewhat predictable and routine but when things need to change I want to and need to be the one in control of that change. I struggle with being told that you now have to do this! Frustration sets in and I start to shut down.

All my life I've felt misunderstood by people. People I know and people I don't. When I was in school I was often referred to as a snob because I didn't join into certain behaviors that made me feel uneasy. I was not prissy and entitled. I did not go around thinking that I was better than other people, quite the opposite actually. Snob I am not. Quite - yes. Shy - yes. Conservative - yes. Watch from a distance before I form my opinions - yes. Perfectionist - yes. Snob - no. I do not judge. I do not look down on people. I don't think others are better than or less than I.  I just always wanted to meet me. I aimed to be the kind of friend I needed in my life. I aimed to treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I aimed to talk to people the way I wanted to be talked to. In school this is frequently referred to as "The Golden Rule" and it is a "rule". However, in school it is overused, misunderstood, and lacks respect by those preaching. But reaching way back to my little girlhood I always said I wanted to be the person I wanted to meet.

Have I become that person? Do I still think the same way some 30+ years later? Do I still believe in that dream?

I would like to think that I still want the same thing for myself and how I am to treat other people but I am a little tarnished and bruised. Why do I feel tarnished and bruised? happened. I don't always know how to handle my thoughts and feelings about things and often shut down and go numb; unable to processes what is going on inside and how to come to a coherence that would articulate my ideas. I also think that fear has always played a role. I do fear failure, disappointment, told "no", rejection, and being told that I don't live up to someone else's standards.

Today I realized that I need to stop comparing on all levels. I always wonder what other people would think if they knew X or Y about me. Often times what I think they will say dictates what I will do and how I go about doing the next thing. I don't  like it. Why do I feel the need to get validation by someone else? Why can't my own approval or disapproval be enough to motivate me to move on or encourage me to slow down? I weigh to heavily on the opinions of others and I had a tough life lesson I had to learn that revolved around others opinions. What have I learned? I don't care what "you" think. It is so cliche but "you" don't know what is best for me and because "you" don't, "you" don't have a say regardless. This is hard to say and even harder to write about it. Why? My heart cares about people. I have deep empathy for others and what they go through. I sympathize. I feel compassion. I don't like to see people or know people are suffering for whatever reason. But in order for me to propel myself forward I have to not care as much about your opinion about me and my dreams.

So, I always said I wanted to be the person I want to meet. I like this thought and I hope that because this memory has revealed itself back to me after all this time, there is a place now for it to live and exist as a reminder to the path I need to take to achieve the greatest happiness I can.

Additional photos.  Reminder - all photos are personal property and cannot be used without the owners permission. Thank you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding Peace

I've taken a few days off to focus on some other things in my life. First, I started to read an excellent book for women called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge. This is another example of a book I "stumbled" upon that has a message. A blogger I frequent had talked about it one day and I didn't think much about it. I jotted down the book title only to forget about it until I saw it at our library. I was surprised because our library is small and usually books like this need to be requested to be sent in. There it was sitting on the shelf.

Although this book is based on Adam & Eve and the message they were to send to us, there is an enormous amount of information, argh - not really the right word here but...about women and how we are and how we navigate through life. Many quotes captured my heart but since I have the library copy I don't think they would appreciate their copy marked up with pink and orange highlighter so instead I ever-so-slightly dog-eared some pages. Because I felt so moved by these pages and powerful words ON these pages I ordered a copy of my own. But I would like to share some quotes that really grabbed my soul and made me stop, think, reflect and regurgitate what it was that I was supposed to learn by this.

"Grief is a form of validation; it says the would mattered.  It mattered. You mattered."

"How a father relates to his daughter has an enormous effect on her soul - for good or for evil."

"Do not give way to fear."

"Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman."

"We struggle to know if we matter at all. If we are home, we feel ashamed we don't have a "real life" in the outside world. We are swallowed by laundry. If we have a career, we feel as though we are missing out on more important matters like marriage and children. We are swallowed by meetings."

I have been on a journey to figure things out. All too often we rely on the words of others to determine our self worth, our value as a person and to "the group", our potential, our accomplishments, and who we are as a person without relying on our own self. We do not have to look further than our own heart, head, and soul to tell us what we are and how important we can be. Why do we look outward instead of inward to measure our value? I think that we all struggle with some form of insecurity and self doubt no matter how we were raised and where we fall on the career scale. We want to hear those words of validation by someone else to push us along and keep us going. We want to be told we are doing it the right way and to continue to do what we have been doing. Some people (I think) measure this by how many zeros and commas are in their paychecks. Other people need those words and still others aren't happy until they see their name in lights so-to-speak. To the average person (like me) learning to ignore others and their judgements of you is quite difficult especially when you have little ego. But, this is something that I am beginning to learn. I fell into that category of needing someone else to tell me when I was doing a good job or not. However, life experiences have helped me sway far away from what other people think about me and the work that I do both personally and in a professional setting. I have learned not to care what people think because all to often their interpretation of you isn't who you are as a person. So, how can a person judge you and determine your value when they don't know you? Simple, they can't. Outcomes may not be what you would have chosen for yourself but in the long run you will be better off. I think it is better to capture who you are and hold on to the person you know you want to be and become rather than look at someone who has a false sense of identity of who you are and how you contribute to "the group". If they don't take the time to get to know you, I mean really know you, than they don't have the right to determine your value. It is like pricing an item without doing any research on what would be market-value.

So despite my challenges I am happy to have been able to stumble on a whole slew of books that have sent messages to me including the one I am currently reading. Sometimes you feel things and think things but don't know the right combination of words to express what is going on inside but this book is doing it for me. What have I taken from the words on these pages? That I had to relearn to be patient with myself and that it is better to stay focused on who you are as a person and not allow someone to put a price on your soul; only you can do that.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mail Art

Luckily I've stumbled upon a unique group of people (primarily women) who consider themselves Mail Artists. I've never heard of such a group or idea until I came across the name of a book in a calligraphy catalog I order from. The book was called Good Mail Day and under the description gave the website. Hmmm....since I am a curious person I decided to check it out. The front of the book was intriguing and colorful so, why not! The website isn't as enticing as the book cover but that didn't stop me from clicking on every tab and reading every inch of the site. Then, I came upon "the list". A growing list of curious and obviously artistically talented people who have gathered together to exchange addresses and share their art with perfect strangers from around the world. Wow! People really DO write to each other. An amazing thought because in today's day and age technology is the method of choice for reasons that best fit our lifestyle! Imagine...people actually sitting down and taking time to create some unique piece of art to give to someone they don't know and will probably never ever meet. What a nice thought to want to do for a stranger. I mean really. Today most people won't even hold the door for  you  never mind take an hour out of their time to make something for YOU! I find this idea somewhat archaic but very impressive. What I think about this group of people is that they seem to be very sincere, honest, caring, individualistic, interesting people to want to do for complete strangers. That's an idea something out of the history books...doing something for others. We are all on this fast paced life that there is not enough time in the day to take care of the bare necessities never mind think about doing something for someone you don't even know. Fascinating! I have to say that the "strangers" I have met on the Internet and across the country have been some of the nicest most caring people I have ever met! No lie. The common red thread that brings us together are the forums that we are attracted to. Granted there are a gazillion different forums out there to tap into but what I like and am interested in in the world brings me to the home/garden/art/craft bracket. I like those blogs I have joined and the conversations I have had through them. I like the honesty that women share about their ideas and beliefs about life. It makes you feel a little less alone when you have to deal with things in your own life. I am not that confident to put all myself out there on the Internet for the world to see but what I do share I think others can connect to. Many of the women I have met are also spiritual in some form. Which makes me think deeper in that spirituality is one thread that has brought me to some blogs and sites and not the denomination of the spirituality. There is a general sense of the "common good of all people" despite what greater being is prayed to. I like that. People really do see the good in other people and judgements aren't usually made. If judgements are made there is a nice little button to the right of the keyboard called "delete".

I have sent out pieces of my own mail art and have also received some pieces of mail art. The mail art I have completed so far has been directed to family out across the country and not really to the nice strangers on "the list". However, I have connected with some strangers on "the list" of which I have received some nice pieces. Funny, when you get art in the mail you treat it as such. You don't tear open the envelope like a regular bill or magazine subscription request. You carefully get a knife and find the best least destructive way in. My collection of art pieces is on my inspiration wall. The second thing about these art pieces is that they were received on the most appropriate of days. Sometimes walking to that mailbox is like wearing lead boots but on these particular days walking back to the house I felt like I was walking on a bed of helium balloons. Excited! No doubt! Curious? Absolutely! I love what I have received and am every so grateful for those people who gave me their time. What a gift!

Most recently I received a beautiful piece of art and to my utter surprise a long, long personal letter detailing her life. I felt like I knew her right away and someone who I connected with immediately. I connected with this "stranger friend" by what she said and how she sees things in the world. Several times I had to stop and think. Along with a hand typed letter (yes, on a real typewriter) two other pieces of writing were sent. I also enjoyed this because not only did this person give me her time in the form of a long letter, time to create an envelope, but also time to send additional reading pieces. Wow! There are people out there who really extend them self out almost as if they are reaching out to shake your hand. What else could I do but respond back accordingly. I followed the lead of her letter and added my personal detours. I hope she enjoys my response as much as I enjoyed her unexpected letter and art. I like learning about people but in this day and age caution seems to be the first reaction to meeting people. I am happy to have stumbled upon such a really great group of people who care enough to share their work with complete strangers and feel pride because they know they are going to make someones day no matter what. I really like that.

Go ahead and make something out of paper or not. Slap an address of a person, friend, or family member you know on there and I can guarantee that they will be more than happy to receive your art. No matter how good or bad YOU THINK IT IS to someone on the receiving end it doesn't matter. I am sure they will think the way I think in that someone gave you their time and that is all that matters!!

Happy Writing Mail Artists!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spirituality and Ice Cream!

Yup, neither has to do with the other but those are what are on my mind tonight. Yup, again, I like ice cream and just finished a little bowl of Moose Tracks with extra chocolate sauce on top! Not a huge bowl but considering that I should not have eaten it to begin with I guess the bowl was too big! I deserved it though because so far this week I've run 8 miles...about 4 miles each day. This is week two on my treadmill that was a combined gift from my husband that included my birthday, Valentine's Day, Anniversary, and Christmas. I rarely wear jewelry and appreciate gifts that are more practical in nature or something that I can enjoy over time like new plants for my gardens or going on a day trip. So the treadmill was my "big" gift last year. I have used it but the last couple weeks I have taken up running again for many reasons. I like running but thinking about running, yuck. I dread the first 20 minutes but after that I am good to go for a while. Anywho...I deserved the ice cream tonight!

Can you be spiritual and not believe in a higher being? Can someone really not believe? I just picked up a book called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge. Books have a way of finding me and me not finding them. A blogger out there of whom I admire because of her honesty recommended this book. She attended a bible study group and it had to do with this book. Meandering around my small town library today I bumped into this book. I completely forgot about it and there it was on the shelf almost jumping out to me. Weird, I know but several times before books have called out to me. I hope to post these book recommendations because they have all been learning experiences for me (and could maybe for you)! Needless to say I checked out the book hoping it was as moving as this blogger said it would be. I put it in the trunk of my car and went on with my day without thinking about it again until evening set in.

The days work is done and now it is night and all you can see outside is the darkness of the night, the light of the lightening bugs, and not much else. The sounds of the dark woods fill the space in my ears. I sat down and opened the book. The introduction gripped my attention. Chapter 1 kept my attention and then I came across a line that I reflected on last night "you're not good enough" and the author proceeded to discuss her quest to understand what it really means to be a woman. How do the dots connect so well sometimes I simply do not know. Sometimes (like now) I feel uneasy that such similarities come together at such keen times and it makes me stop and think about what I was to take from all this. OK, so I made it to page 2 of the book and have enough to throw out there and I have been stopped in my tracks (again!). I am looking forward to reading this book to see where this journey takes me and how the author sees the world of a woman. Now, I need to find out! Let the reading begin!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Being Held Back

This blog is evolving into something that I didn't really want it to is like my online journal of thoughts navigating my way through life. Yes, I like to write but never made a career out of it. I like to reflect and improve things but never made a career out of this either. If anyone has said that adults know everything they are completely wrong. Some days I feel like I know less and feel less confident in myself than I did when I was much younger. In the younger days there was a naivety about life, time, accomplishments, dreams, goals, careers and everything in between. I feared less and tackled more than I do now which should not be the case. I wonder why I have evolved away from that independence that I once prided myself on. I was able to face things (situations, interactions etc) head strong and walk away that I did my best. Not so much anymore. I wonder. Am I just getting tired of life? Has life had is way with me that what was so important to me then that I just don't carry that same value? Maybe I am just tired of thinking! I am a thinker. I am a reflector. I am an over analyzer and get stuck. I know that I get stuck and have a hard time getting going or making things happen. And I sit here and wonder why? A doctorate student I once knew said to me "you cannot life your life in fear" and he proceeded to move onto his next career. Fear seems to have enveloped me and someone forgot to tell me that the sticky strip was licked and sealed shut. Sometimes that is what I see. But on the flip side I am very optimistic about life and going forward. As I wrote before I have hope and always believe that the next thing will be better. I see life as a series of stepping stones many of which I don't know why I needed to place my foot there but I had. I get it sometimes, other times I don't. I am not one who can just settle with "just because" and need to know the answers and how the answer was arrived at.

I am overcoming worry. Daily worry. I was never a worrier in my life. Yah, I worried about writing a good paper, getting a good grade, keeping my friends but the life worry that I tackle each day is hard. I would have deemed myself a perfect fit to the 60's but I have become quite conservative as a person. Most people I know "lighten up" as they get older but not me!

Fear. Where the heck does fear come from? And let me tell you it is complicated and not easy to understand. I recently read on a blog "what if all your fears came true" I was stopped in my shoes and had to stop, really stop, and think about it. I hate what if questions but this one...stopped me. What if my fears came true? My response to this question is that some fears have come true and, honestly, you feel lost and confused and you have no idea what to do. It is the stuckness that I referred to. I also think that the state of the country and the economy is a black cloud that is hovering over many people including moi! I purposely don't turn on the news because listening to the stock market go down, that the teachers are made the enemy, schools are closing, gas prices are rising...all subliminal negativity that I can just live without.

So. What is holding me back? Back from what you ask? Hmm, I don't know. Am I even being held back or am I moving forward at a pace that has been designed by a greater being to help me see the world more clearly, with greater attention, focus, and care? No matter what, I am moving forward, it is just hard to see sometimes. There are many things in my day that I just love and appreciate.

I am going to just leave this piece or post hanging just to leave the brain working a little bit more!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

You're Not Good Enough...Hearts in Nature

You're Not Good Enough...Hearts of Love

Have you ever been told that you were "not good enough" by someone? Was it recent or in times past? Was it by someone you knew or just getting to know? Was it by someone with whom you held in high regard or someone you didn't really like? Was this person male or female? An -ex? Did it have to do with a personal situation or a professional one?

Have you been told more than once that you were "not good enough"?

How devastating! Having someone {regardless of who "they" are} utter those words to you rips through your soul faster than an E5 tornado! I bet you didn't forget that moment in time when you felt like time stood still and you really needed to pinch yourself into thinking that what was going on wasn't really happening to you...but it was. I bet you can tell the details of that moment: who you were with, where you were, what you were wearing, the time of day, the song on the radio, where you were going...Those moments are the absolute worst moments in someone's life! They are unforgetable! If you are an endearing person you probably have been in more than one frozen in time moments where your whole soul is rattled to the core.

These moments really grip you, they hold you prisoner as you try to take one step at a time and walk away but you feel like you are wearing lead boots with super glue on the bottom! Then you stop and think and you question "what just happened? what really just happened?" You walk away in confusion trying to process the words "you're not good enough". What comes next? Tears? Anger? Frustration? Or are you so shocked that you are shaken into silence? A silence that can only be assumed by others that something bad happened but yet you cannot compose yourself enough to form the words to say what just happened. You stand confused not knowing what to do, what to say, who to turn to, and how to react to the news. "Not good enough" hurts regardless of the details of the situation because to a normal person the reaction is the same...pain. If you are the kind of person that feels the pain I sense that you are a good person to begin with. Those who don't feel that pain when hearing those words "you're not good enough" lack empathy {I think}.

Then...what do you do? You've come to realize that ideas that you thought were...really aren't, your perception of how things are to be...aren't, the values that you hold on to...have been challenged. What do you do? You hold on tight to those ringing words "you're not good enough" forever despite the fact that you don't ever want to remember them, read them, or say them ever again in your life...those words hold on to you tighter than glue. Letting go is not an option. These words come to define you as a person. They hold the roadmap to where you are going and recall where you have been. They imprison you and hold you captive to THAT moment in time.

How do you get over it? How do you heal? How do you take steps to move forward by leaving these words in the past? What actions are needed? What is the Life Lesson that you were meant to learn from such a defining moment in your life? Where do you go from here? All these questions invade your thought process over and over and over again. You try to escape. You try to move on. But as you try these words have altered you so dramatically that you realize you will never be the same person again because of these words. This saddens you.

Then one day someone says to you "get over it will you!" I don't know what is worse to hear "you're not good enough" or "get over it". Your emotions don't know where their safe place is anymore and you begin to doubt everything and everyone you come into contact with. You begin to question who you can trust, how much you should let out, and who you should let in. Your defenses are up all because of these words, four words that when put together, devastate, alter, manipulate those parts of you that you deemed untouchable. You have been challenged. Your soul has been challenged. You are now left to pick up the pieces of You but the pieces don't fit the same way they once did.

How long does it take to pick yourself up and put yourself back together again? Really, how long? Honestly, I don't think that you were ever supposed to forget about what happened to you when these words "you're not good enough" were spoken to you. I don't think that forgiveness is necessary. I don't believe in forgiveness. To me forgiveness gives permission to the other party for doing you wrong and you are left to deal. Forgiveness allows the other party power in what they did to you and defines you as the victim. "I forgive you" to me means that I am letting you treat me the way you want and I have no voice. I struggle with the word forgiveness.

When you have been told these words and they impact you in such a powerful dramatic way, you have now been granted permission to go on a journey. The journey of self discovery. The journey of new growth. The journey of the unknown. It is scary. The roadmap that you were once following is no longer so now you have to start over. Is it a bad thing to be forced into starting over? You are now on a journey to clarify your life and redefine your being. Birth a new soul. It is possible but not easy. Those unexposed, secret core values that you store in you own Pandora's Box is where you go. They will help lead you but it takes time. Sometimes a long, long time but they will help you through the life of such damaging, redefining words "you're not good enough". You can NOT allow the other party to judge you and hold this judgement over you for the rest of your life. Time, energy, thoughts must be filled with beautiful things that bring you joy and happiness.

If you look around in nature there is a lot of love which is where I got the title Hearts in Nature. There are a lot of hearts in nature. One day after learning about some news of a friend I went for a walk to reflect on this news and the more I looked around the more I saw hearts, lots of them! So, no matter how hard life can be and if you are someone who has had a life gripping, self-altering moment of being told "you're not good enough" take a walk and see if you can find any love in nature. I bet with clear thought and a keen eye you will be able to find your own love out there in places you least expect. Upon your return you will feel lighter and touched in a way only you and nature share! So, go ahead, go for that walk and find nature's treasures of love!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Grey Bathroom - A Project Dilema

I have a bathroom! It needs help! The walls are white, the tiles are white with a subtle grey pattern, the fixtures are grey. Grey! I need some inspiration and make some changes. Here are some pictures I came across with some ideas I can pull from and apply to my own space, however, my bathroom will never look like any of these no matter how much I try but enjoy the ride!