Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finding Joy and Creativity in the Exercise of Writing

I have grown to love writing in the morning and am so glad that I began this exercise. I never dreamed how helpful it would be. 

It was an agonizing beginning. It felt as if I had to fumble around in my brain for something to say and then P-U-L-L out those resistive, reluctant words that grabbed on to the edges of my mind and refused to come out. 

I wrote anyway. 

Stupid, inane, vacuous words that seemed pointless. 

But once I chipped away at the barrier of the perceived barrenness, I found thoughts that had been slumbering under the everyday. As I wrote and peeled away the layers of the day to day routine, laying it down on paper and freeing it from the cycles of the thought processes, I found there was room for deeper, obscured thoughts to rise to the surface. Undiscovered treasures that I have been mining each morning. 

I've discovered that if I don't practice the discipline of slowing my thinking to the pace of writing, the fingers of my brain simply rifle through my thoughts, lightly touching the surface of them, flitting and flickering; dancing and darting, but not taking the time to probe to any depth. 
This longhand scribbling every morning demands my brain to slow it's pace reaching into depths I didn't acknowledge in my mad scramble to "fix" puzzling problems. I can obsess over the little snags and tangles that come from living life, leaving myself confused and frustrated. Setting down these things on paper helps me work out the snarls of thought and oftimes work out a solution. That had been waiting in the wings the while time. 

Much to my surprise, I've fallen in love with this process. I've had freedom to explore my musings, opinions, feelings, desires about myself-of who I am, and who I'd like to be. 

Creativity. Ideas. Personal expression. Expressing my individuality with playful abandon. 

And it has been there all the time. 
Hidden in the labyrinth of my thoughts. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finding a Full {aka Messy} Life

This morning, in an effort to seek out the sensation of being "fully alive", I walked outside into the brisk cool of a fall morning; not with a warm bowl of oatmeal or piping hot cup of coffee as immunity against the chill, but a frozen glassful of a chocolate/peanut butter protein shake. (I firmly believe in dessert for breakfast.) Not seeking comfort from the cold, I seek it out, wearing shorts, but as a concession to prudence, also a flannel shirt. 
I welcome the tingle of cold air on my skin, bringing all my senses to full alert. Savoring this moment of life, being completely aware of my Self and drinking in the ache of the cold glass in my hand as I embrace this heightened awareness of beauty in pain. 

I feel the sticky ooze of chocolate around my mouth and like a kid, I giggle a little at the thought of running into a neighbor and imagine their thoughts at the sight of a grown (crone) woman wearing the mouth of a child. 
I suddenly realize that I want to more fully wrap myself in this grimy, grubby, unkempt chaos of this life that is mine. 
I recognized this morning with a new clarity that a messy life is a life that is Fully Alive. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

May I Introduce My(newfound)Self

I have, in the last two months begun writing Morning Pages; a writing exercise done first thing in the morning before distractions set in. The writing is spontaneous and free flowing. Handwritten in an 8 1/2 X 11" notebook, ideally, three pages, but because I can't have rules for such things, (I will get angsty quickly if I don't meet the "rule") I write what comes. Half a page, one page, four pages....I just write.

This has been an excellent practice for me, because it helps me solve problems --sometimes the answers come as I write. I get practice at using and choosing words. I vent, I ponder, I wail, I wonder. And yesterday, as I took a walk and conjured a scathing book club review in my head, I realized with sudden clarity that ---I AM A WRITER. I may not be a known, or even noted writer, but I love words and the process of finding The Right One and finding an atypical word to convey my thoughts. I've never considered myself a true writer because words don't just flow continually from me. I don't have stories living inside of me that I have to get out, as other writers have described. My writing is slowly deliberate, coming in fits and spurts as inspiration ebbs and flows.

I have begun, in the last couple of years, to "wake up to myself". I am 48 this month and am wondering if it takes everyone this long to come to and see themselves for who they really are. Do you spend the first half of your life growing your body--all the energies are preoccupied with the development of the body that the spirit and soul are in hibernation; and once body development is complete, the spirit/soul begin their growth? That's certainly how it seems for me.

And what aspect of yourself grows to the place that it activates your brave? What mechanism clicks into place so that your realize you want to incorporate ______ into your person? What part of my psyche opened up and revealed itself to say, "Here is who I REALLY am, and I'm not at all who you or I or anyone else thought I was. Even *I* am amazed at the person I'm discovering myself to be.

I am giddy with delight of discovery and surprised at the secretive places that I harbor. 

But every day, my brave gets bigger and I attempt to be more true and authentic to myself  as I uncover me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Altered Otterbox

Sunday, it was raining and I went outside to take some photos with my phone. After I came back inside, my daughter was fiddling with my phone and said that a part of the screen wasn't working. It had JUST worked fine 2 seconds ago, so I panicked and took the protective case off and started investigating. 
I needed to change the protective screen film anyway. 
Sure enough, some raindrops had worked their way under the screen. I dried it up and it was good as gold. 

Then I looked at the case. 

You know how I hate "normal". And my Otterbox, while pink in color, looks JUST LIKE everyone else's pink Otterbox. 

I've used Sharpies and added some designs on the case before, but they wore off with use. 

So I decided I wanted to take it a step further in personalization, so I pulled out the paint. 

It's happier already! But I doodled some more...

I love a paint pen. 

I love this because it's cute. 
I love this because it is uniquely mine now. 
I love this because I overcame my reluctance of "ruining" or "devaluing" something that was perfectly good just the way it was. 

Art is good therapy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Door Makeover

I don't make NewYear Resolutions. I just feel like it sets me up for failure.  But this year, I decided to release myself from the self-imposed creative boundaries I had set up. Boundaries that stifled my creativity in decorating my house because I'm worried about what people "MIGHT" be thinking about my choices--- to be fair, my choices are non-traditional. Colorful. Eye catching.

Eyesore may be the word that comes to mind for many.

I'm over it.

I have a yearning to make my home uniquely mine. I certainly don't want it to look like anyone else's. A challenge since I live in a 30ish year old ranch. A box of boxes. Oh, how I strongly dislike this house. 

So on Sunday, I looked at my bedroom door. 
(Yes, those are Christmas stockings on the wall. My husband has a very strong love for Christmas and would keep all the decorations up all year long. One day, he hopes to have a Christmas room so he can enjoy it all year long. Until then bits and pieces will hang in the hall.)
I saw a blank canvas.
I spent all afternoon on my creative endeavor. I felt much like a high school decorator again. I was so absorbed in my project, I remembered to eat lunch around 4 in the afternoon.

This was the result.

 This is my favorite section. I began with the large orange poppy flower and used other clippings that echoed the colors as a border around it.
I also snuck in some turquoise to round out my favorite color combo.

 I used the sticky putty that teachers use to adhere it to the door. I've seen projects where the whole project was decoupaged, but I wasn't sure I wanted it to be THAT permanent as I tend to be a creative meanderer.
Also, the panels in the door would have been and issue.

This is the first project, in a reeeeeaaallly long time, that I've really been excited about!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Exploring New Facets of Creativity

Sometimes, I wander through the internet looking for quotes. The ones that always catch my eye are graphics like this.
I've always wondered how people create these cool bits and pieces and thought I would ever in a million years be able to make something like that since I have absolutely no background or knowledge if graphic design. 

Enter my new favorite person in the while wide world: Rhonna

The story goes like this:
I was scrolling through Instagram one morning and came across a lovely graphic with the cutest font I have ever seen. I fell fast and hard and asked the person who posted it if she knew the name of the font. She didn't, but told me it was an app called "Rhonna". 
Well, I hustled on over to iTunes and found it! After installing the app, (first time I have EVER paid for an app!) and a little digging, I discover that my new favorite font was included and called "Clean and Clear". I immediately had to try my hand at creating something...

Isn't that font the best?!

I am in heaven. 

I'm excited about the new facet of creativity that I can explore through this app! 

What would you make with it?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tshirt to tunic

I was so excited to finish this shirt early this morning. (Thank you, sweet dog, for your 4:30 wake up calls.)

I'm a person who can't go back to sleep (easily) once I'm awakened. And anything after 4am, I don't even try. I know it's useless. 

So I sew. 

(See what I did there?)

I didn't take a before pic of this because, sometimes I just look at something, get inspired and go to it. Can you relate?

I took a man's large tshirt and cut off the sleeves, cut the shoulders open, and cut off the ribbed collar. I placed it on my dress form, sliding the shirt down midway and suddenly visualized straps. 
Then I took the ribbed waist/hem from this yellow shirt and trimmed it to size to make shoulder straps. 

It's now a loose, comfy tunic. 

Which brings is back to this morning. I was anticipating wearing it to work over some skinny jeans. 


Then I looked at the weather. 

Rain. All day. High of 48. 

Insert bipolar weather remark here. 

So. I have to delay my gratification, and content myself with sharing it here with you. 

That helped. 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Improvise Freely

Yesterday was such a wonderful day. 

I have no idea why, since Monday is notoriously rocky.

Nevertheless, I had a sunny disposition. Likely tied to the weather which was also sunny for a change. I think my soul is just so relieved to see the sun and feel it's warmth after so many days of colder than usual temperatures. Don't get me wrong, I love a rainy day. Love. It. It appeals to the introvert in me. There's nothing I like better than pulling myself into my shell and quietly observing the soft patter of rain from behind a book. Or sewing machine. Or easel. 

But it was Monday. 

I was relieved to find my appointment book full of clients who needed beautifying and I was one of them. But I didn't beautify myself. I leave that to the other professionals. Cause there's nothing worse than thinking you can do your own hair; I don't care how long you've been a hairstylist.

This is probably another clue to my good mood. Every woman has more spring in her step on a day she knows she has a hair appointment! {Can I get a witness?!}

As if just having maintenance on my hair was not enough, I decided to pump it up a notch and do something I've been wanting to do for awhile.

My inspiration is Victoria Mackenzie-Childs
Now, I would love to have the guts and presence to carry off rainbow colored hair, but my lifestyle (conservative town, clientele, etc.) does not support it. Bah. Maybe one day I won't care at all, but until that day comes, I'll stick to just purple.
I'm sure I'll add other colors to the mix along and along, but I'll always leave most of my hair in the mix. 
I think.
Today, anyway...

Friday, February 14, 2014


A winter storm visited our area this week.
Two weeks ago we had some ice accumulation as well. Depending on where you are from, this would barely register as a blip on the radar.
The South, however, goes six shades of crazy at a possible hint of extreme (to us) wintery weather. We live in an area on the freeze line, so weather could go either way for us. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, we waited with nervous anticipation to see if we were frozen over on Wednesday. It rained and rained on Wednesday, but I'm so grateful that the temps hovered just above freezing so ice was mostly in the tops of trees and not on the ground. Since I live in town, I don't drive over any bridges, so my life went on as usual.

Well, sort of. We lost power like many did. It does something to my psyche by throwing me off balance. I realize just how dependent I am on electricity and how I have to think really hard to figure out how to adapt. It was unsettling.

The irony is, I have half a dream that involves living off the grid. Which really means not being beholden to anyone for my electricity and comforts while still having all those comforts.

I was so puzzled by why so many lost power when, 2 weeks ago, it seemed that we got more ice, but few lost power. This time, there was lots of rain, little ice but power went out all over town. Businesses, homes, traffic lights...crazy. And lots of traffic! I'm grateful that we were without power for only 6ish hours. Others are still without power and it's been over 30 hours. There are predictions of it lasting 3 days or more.

The positive thing for me is that it helped us make a list of things we need for an emergency situation like this. An alternate source of heat is one. I'm looking at woodstoves and fireplaces. We have GOT to learn to be more self-sufficient. And teach our daughter too.

I'd love to hear your ideas!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

My big dilemma on Sunday is Sunday night supper. 

We attend church in the evening and the timing of it makes it too late to start supper, but it's to early to have supper before we go. We could have lunch leftovers, but we're not inclined to eat the same meal that close together. I know--Wah-wah-wah. Here's where the challenge of clean/no processed foods kills me. 

Although I cooked a good lunch, the thoughts of dredging up another meal for supper is more than I can bear; so I told my sweet man that we were having cookies for dinner. 

Nothing I say surprises him anymore.
Now, I'm not recommending that cookies as a main course is part of a balanced diet,* but if I could say a cookie was a relatively healthy option, this would be the one I would choose. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 cup almond butter
7 Tb butter
1/3 cup honey
1 lg egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake       Mix
1 - 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter, almond butter, and honey. Add vanilla and egg; then baking mix. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. 
Drop by tablespoon onto parchment covered baking sheet. 
Bake approximately 12 minutes. 
Let cool slightly. If you can...

If having only cookies for supper is more than your over responsible brain can handle, accompany several cookies with a raw veggie of your choice.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Today is the Day...

...that I drag this blog up from the depths.

I may have unintentionally set the record for how long one goes without posting on a blog.

Over 2 years.

Anyone want to check the Guiness Book of World Records for me?

Ah, well. Water under the bridge.

As I've considered whether or not to begin blogging again, I've done a bit of introspection and found how much I've changed in the last 2 years. Or maybe not exactly changed, but refined. I think I still have the same interests, especially in the creative arts and natural health; but I feel my interests have/are becoming more specific.

For instance:
 I am passionate about herbal medicine. I seek out alternative methods for treating sickness for our family, choosing to try natural remedies.
I was introduce to Young Living essential oils in May of 2012 and began using them for our family in June of 2013. I love essential oils because they are the strongest concentration of the plant form and therefore, extremely effective and versatile in application.

Regarding the creative arts, I still have far more interests than I have time to engage; and as seems to be my way, I get super into something and can't get enough of it for a spell, then I move onto something else. Never dropping it completely, but my obsession waxes and wanes.

Currently I am trying my hand at refashioning/altering clothing.  Love, LOVE, LOVE doing this.

In other news, we've been trying to incorporate a cleaner eating lifestyle since August of 2013.
We've gone gluten free and have cut out processed foods and refined sugar. We've definitely had many health benefits as a result; the largest being, weight loss and reduction of inflammation in the body. Win. Win.

I decided to blog again, not because I want to be popular or even noticed particularly. This go 'round, I'm doing this for me. To chronicle my interests. To journal. To have a holding place for my projects and interests. 

This I do for me.

Come along, if you like.