Friday, August 26, 2011

"Liebster" Love - Pass it On!

  A  few weeks ago I was the happy and humble recipient of the Liebster Award! It's an award that originated in Germany (I've since found out that "liebster" means favorite) to help people discover the hidden gems to be found in little-known blogs. It is awarded by a previous recipient; a fellow blogger who likes your blog and would like to share it with others. Each recipient then pays-it-forward by awarding it to 5 more bloggers whom they admire and would like to share with the world. ( You are not obligated to pass it on - if it's not your thing, no worries!) 

  The only rules are; 1. You thank the person who awarded you and link back to their shop; and 2. The blogs that you pass the award on to must have less than 200 followers. I think it's a great idea to help some of us lesser-known but totally worthy bloggers to be seen and heard!

  In my case,  Palomasea of Gypsy in Me (one of the bloggers I follow for her beautiful images and words of inspiration) passed the award on to me. If you haven't visited her blog, I urge you to do so! You will surely find something there (a beautifully presented picture or a simple yet poignant phrase) that will spark your own creative energy.

  It has taken me a few weeks to pass on the award, as I'm experiencing some interesting life changes (one of which is a decision to move cross country!) which prevented me from having the time to write an appropriate response and present the award properly. (More on that at another time!) So, without further ado, here are the blogs I have chosen. It would be lovely if you would visit them and comment on their work. They all have something in common; they are hard-working folk making time to create something beautiful, courageously putting themselves out there, generously sharing their vision.

 Diane of the Singing Swan; Folks, I cannot tell you what this awesome gal has been through and bested in her life as it is not my story to tell, but suffice to say that I admire her greatly for her spirit and courage. We met online a couple of years ago, and though we have never actually met in person (she lives on the other side of the country) I count her as one of my dearest and most treasured friends. She lives in a remote mountainous area and doesn't always have access to things some of us take for granted (like high-speed internet or sometimes even hot water). She is an amazing photographer, quilts, sews, draws, writes - and just plain has a unique outlook and common-sense wisdom that I love. She started a blog, and soon thereafter experienced computer woes, so there are only a couple of entries there. I think it would be so lovely if a bunch of folks were to visit her blog and comment upon it in the spirit of generosity, so that when she does find a way to check in, or better yet gets that dang computer (she likes to call it "confuser") fixed, she will have a wonderful surprise waiting for her there!

Cindy, of The Slumbering Herd; Simply put, I fell in love with her "Beasts"! She draws these wonderful, quirky, colorful intriguing creatures called Beasts, and my eyes and heart and mind just can't get their fill of them! She writes just a little bit of a storyline about each, which only serves to draw me further in to their mysterious life. We belong to a team on Etsy called Doodlers Doing Doodles (cuz ya know I love to doodle!). In the course of admiring her work and sharing conversations, we have become good friends. I so think her Beasts deserve a much wider audience! Go on, take a peek! Then come back and tell me how right I am! :)

Singleton of Just Give Me Peace; Ohhhh, this gal with her freewheeling imagination and generous peace-lovin' hippie spirit! She takes me back to a less conservative version of myself and reminds me to live the life unconventional. She is also a member of the fabulous Doodler's team and the founder of the "Porch Party". It's a sweet little place, filled with objects created in our shared imagination, where we can go and just hang out and dip our toes in its cooling rejuvenating waters. "Huh?", you say. Check out her blog - then you'll understand! But your life may never be the same!

Lilah from Vegan Food, Art and Music; This gal is a chef, an artist, has a shop on Etsy, and is a Mom! And yes, she is also a member of the fantastic Doodler's Team! I have a special affinity for her work as she also draws coloring pages. I love the quality of her drawings - the lines are light and airy and freeeee. A word about the recipes - just reading the last one (vegetarian pineapple upside-down pancakes) made me gain weight! (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but my mouth watered!)

Oh, shoot, I can only pick one more! Well it has to be.....
 Zenobia Southcombe; Zee is one of the first bloggers I met, who took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. She is an artist (I love her Pirate Ship painting) and a teacher and possessed of a generous spirit. She encourages other artists by showcasing their work and interviewing them on her blog. She introduced me to the notion of Guest Blogging, and then did a swap with me, wherein which she shared Facebook tips with my guests. She also interviewed me as an artist and posted some of my work. She is very passionate about teaching, which is something she and I have in common. But I must warn ye, she has a liking for pirates, so beware when you visit her blog, that ye not find yourself on the morrow, swabbing decks beneath a Jolly Roger, at sea with no land in sight!

Well, that is all for now. I do have some major changes occurring in my life, which I will share at another time, cuz this blog post is about my friends. Please visit with them and shower them with love and good wishes, as they are a good-hearted bunch!

And here's a picture, just for sticking around and listening! ("The Dragon's Tears" - from the latest Doodle challenge)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rose-colored Lenses

    I'm not a big fan of looking at life through rose-colored lenses. I like to think I'm more of a realist. I strive to see things the way they are, as opposed to the way I want them to be. At the same time, I lean toward optimism. I believe that I can create the outcome I envision and cause things to go in the direction I desire. I don't think this will all just magically occur because I wish it. I know there is hard work involved - that I have to do more than just sit back and dream a lovely dream. I know there can be detours along the way, not to mention outright obstructions, but I feel I will win through to the end if I just keep my eye on the goal and persevere. When something bad happens I try to learn from the experience, so I can avoid it in the future and incorporate it into my journey in a way that propels me forward. Sounds reasonable, huh? A winning formula for success! Not quite rosy, but perhaps a touch of mauve...

    So, in the interest of keeping things real and providing a clear and unobstructed view, it's time to reveal my flip-side. There are days where I just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over my head. A storm moves in, bringing thunderclouds of dark negativity and it begins to rain, rain, rain on my little parade. Sometimes (I like to think most of the time, but I'm not an impartial observer) I grab my metaphorical galoshes and umbrella and slog my way through, shouting out mental words of encouragement; "This too shall pass! "Focus! Focus!" "Just get to work - what's next on the list?" "Don't give into that @#%^&*!" "Can't make a healthy omelet without  paying a premium price for cage-free eggs and separating the whites!" (Ok - I made up that last one just for fun :0)

But, there are times when I just give in to the dark side. I don't know why exactly. Maybe I didn't get enough sleep the night before. Maybe it just suddenly seems easier. Or, maybe life is just a big computer game and I used up all of my Magical Optimism fighting the Demonic Demons of Darkness and now have to die a virtual death and be re-born before I get any more. (I like that idea! Can I get a new avatar with a younger body?)

   Whatever the reason, suddenly it's a full-blown Pity Party just for me! The room is dark, but  nobody's there to turn on the light and shout "surprise". Oh look, there are banners! So uninspiring! "There's too much out there - you'll never get noticed!" "Nobody even knows you're there!" "The Universe is conspiring against you!" "None of this matters anyway!" "What's the point of even trying?"

   There are games to play, but they're a bit depressing.  Act Like You Don't Care About Anything; that one's almost too easy - a child could play it. Nothing Can Make You Smile; always a crowd-displeaser. You don't even have to dress up! In fact, it's best just to stay in your pajamas. No need to take a shower or comb your hair either - why bother? It's the perfect costume for the "Nothing Really Matters"party theme!
   (Ahem.) Is it too late to pretend I didn't just write that? Cuz, I'm thinking maybe those rose-colored glasses aren't so heinous, after all. (Sigh.) There was a reason I wanted to write this - now what was it?

   Oh yeah! I wanted to share my journey with you, but it's not a true picture if I don't let you in on the hard times involved. If I just pretend everything is rosy it's of no use to anyone. The hard truth is that my decision to quit my day job and try to make a go of it as an artist and writer is hard on my family finances and it does cause me stress. Sometimes I deal with it just fine, and sometimes I don't.When I don't there are a few things that I have found helpful;
1. Do NOTHING. Ride it out. I literally (or figuratively, depending on where I am) send myself to my room! Just like a real storm, eventually the clouds dissipate or roll on and I venture out again.
2. Avoid snapping at anyone! Say nothing destructive. Fewer awkward apologies later!
3. I snuggle with my dogs and tell them my troubles. They are very good at listening, keep their comments to themselves, and possess a magical quality that dispels darkness faster than anything else I've tried!
4. I don't beat myself up afterwards for feeling the way I did.
5. When it's over, I create something. ANYTHING!

 Well, that's all about that! Sorry about those rose-colored glasses. I think I just heard the crunch of glass under my heel...

And here's a new work of art just for fun and to say thanks for listening!


And here is my therapist, Honeybear. She's licensed.