Took one of my instagram photos and paired it with a Maya Angelou quote. Hope your spring has sprung and you’re singing your song!
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“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.” ~Alan Bennett
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Today’s Illustration Friday word is “fluid”. I did the oil painting above many years ago and I remember as I approached the canvas that day, I wanted to paint it quickly, without a lot of thought or control. I suppose you could say, I wanted it to be fluid, to come from that part of my brain that doesn’t worry about rules and shoulds, about being good enough, right or wrong. I wanted to surrender to the rhythm of the moment, to allow the smell and feel of the oil paint move with my imagination across the blank, white canvas. And I wanted to stand on that beach myself, a thousand miles from nowhere beneath a dissolving canopy of cerulean blue sky.
“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.” ~Emily Bronte
I had a lovely visit with a friend and her granddaughter recently and I couldn’t help but bring my camera along when I met baby Claire so I could chase her around and take a few pics. She’s a cutie and it didn’t take her long to simply ignore the strange lady with the big black camera lens stuck to her face and go about her baby busyness. I’ve noticed on Twitter and various blogs recently that some people are choosing a single word as their New Year’s resolution. I like that idea, coming up with a one word theme that we want to honor, or infuse into our lives as we begin another year. Watching Claire explore her grandma’s house that afternoon was very relaxing and even mood boosting and it reminded me how as grown-ups we often forget the importance of play. Of doing something “just because”, with no agenda, no expectation of what we will get out of an activity, what we will accomplish.
My daughter got a small white kitten before she moved out a few years ago. I was going through some difficult things at the time but “Mr. Boo” didn’t know, or care about my troubles, he just wanted me to drag a piece of string across the floor so he could chase it. As it turns out, the hours I spent sitting on the floor playing with him was good medicine because play is the opposite of depression. Dr. Stuart Brown, a pioneering researcher in the field of play, said in a TED video, “Nothing lights up the brain like play. Three-dimensional play fires up the cerebellum, puts a lot of impulses into the frontal lobe–the executive portion–and helps contextual memory to be developed.” When I start singing the blues in 2012, I’m going to remind myself of my word, “play”, and then I’ll whisper my thanks to a six month old baby girl and a little white kitten for reminding me how it’s done!
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt
Watched the grandkids for a few hours last Sunday and had us some much needed soul soothing fun and laughter.
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“To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid.” ~Robert Brault
I usually have two books going at once, one fiction and one non-fiction. Yesterday, I was scanning my bookshelf in the family room looking for something motivational/comforting/self-helpish and I spotted What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, Ph.D. I read it a few years ago, but apparently I’ve forgotten “what happy people know” because I’ve been feeling pretty blue lately. After rereading it I decided to play along with the Teaser Tuesdays Blog meme at MizB’s Should Be Reading blog. I randomly opened the book to page 94 and picked out this quote to share. “From that day on, I realized that there was something happy people know that unhappy people don’t: No matter what happens in life, there’s always something left to love, and the love that remains is always stronger than anything that goes against it.”
I like that, the idea that love rules, that the capacity of our hearts to appreciate and love unconditionally can overcome the craziness in our minds. Craziness that is almost always motivated by fear. Fear that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t loveable, fear of loss, fear that things won’t get better, fear that we are helpless to “fix” the broken pieces of our life. I think we all have to dig deep sometimes to find the courage to quiet that fear-based voice with a conscious prayer that begins and ends in gratefulness and love. My take away after reading Dr. Baker’s book again is simply this: Life is a dance and we all might be a little happier if we remember to lead with love, not fear.
This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “stripes”. I pulled this simple angel sketch from my journal because I thought her hair and wings fit the topic. I haven’t been feeling so great this week, it always scares me a little when I don’t feel well. I worry that I’ll begin sliding down that slippery slope back into full blown Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I hate that name, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, most people in the CFS community do since fatigue is only a small part of the illness. The CFIDS Association of America has been around since 1987, advocating and educating doctors, patients, and the public about the disability and suffering caused by CFS. In a way, they’ve been an angel to people with the illness, especially years ago when I first got sick and no one knew anything about it. I feel a bit better today, so hopefully this past week was just a little bump in the road. It is nice to know though, that we have angels like the dedicated people at the The CFIDS Association looking out for us, and maybe, just maybe we have angels like the one in my drawing standing beside us, whispering hope and touching us with grace when we need it most.
“If you can’t hear the angels, try quieting the static of worry.” ~Terri Guillemets
My husband bought me a notebook to keep on my bedside table. I use it to write down my next day “to do” list, you know, those annoying things that keep popping into your head when you’re laying there trying to go to sleep. Lately though, I’ve been drawing, while I attempt to unwind with a little mindless television. It’s actually more like doodling, and I think I’m using it as a form of journaling. Watching all the Halloween shows this week inspired this guy, my Illustration Friday entrant for “scary”. Tim tries to act all tough and scary, but he really just wants to feel like he’s part of something, that he’s worthy of belonging and being loved. Have a great Halloween everyone!
“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald