Monday, December 28, 2009




It’s OK if you don’t recognize this quote.  I didn’t.  It’s a line from the movie Fight Club.  I saw the movie a long time ago but I couldn’t get past the violence and so I didn’t recognize this kernel of wisdom when I first heard it.

Now here we are:  2009 is coming to a close and 2010 is just about here.  We are only a few days away.  I have become a lot more introspective over the past year.  It was necessary.

I have decided that even more introspection is called for.  I believe in action but action without purpose and direction is just spinning my wheels.  I’ve had enough of spinning my wheels.

My word  for 2010 is silence.  My intention for 2010 is silence.  I want to hear my own inner voice speaking and I can’t do that amidst chaos.  I need to think, I need to plan, to dream, to prioritize and to decide.  I need to unleash my creativity and I know in my heart that I cannot do that if my life is flipping me around like a pinball in a machine.  Instead of reacting to everything happening around me, I need to remain calm and open.

I believe this silence is going to be the first step towards peace and joy in 2010.  I truly believe that experiencing silence will help me move towards happiness and living an authentic creative life.  How can I build a life if I haven’t taken the time to think and dream about how I want that life to look? It is imperative that I take that time even if I have to schedule some quiet time for myself.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Working Backwards

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about Christmas and how stressful it is.  She told me she had heard a radio broadcast that recommended taking some time out to think about Christmas and to try to form a mental picture of Christmas day.  When you can get a clear picture of Christmas, the next step is to try to pick out the important elements.  While visualizing, are you noting the perfectly wrapped gifts with matching paper? Probably not.  The things which come to mind are the things you should focus on and work backward from there to determine your priorities.

I am so glad my friend passed along this bit of wisdom because it has been helping me a lot during this holiday season.

Using this visualization exercise, I have determined that my priorities are:

  • spending time with family
  • attending Mass
  • spending time with friends
  • being prepared ahead of time

These priorities have helped me make decisions already.  I have already done more family related activities this month than I ever have because in the past I was always too busy baking, shopping, and decorating.  I wasn’t sure whether or not I could organize my annual Christmas brunch for a small circle of girlfriends but I decided that the relaxing time we spend together one afternoon in December is very important to me and worth putting other things aside.  As for the shopping, baking, and decorating; they are not priorities anymore so I have decided to pare down all three of them.

More on this theme to follow, but in the meantime, have you decided what your priorities are this Christmas?  Does your to-do list reflect your priorities?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Random Things I Want to Do in Toronto

I am all about lists and this week I am in Toronto.  No kids.  No hubby.  It’s a work thing. 


I must confess that while I should be enjoying the king size bed and not having to cook, I am stressed out about leaving the chicklets for a week.  To make matters even more stressful, littlest chicklet developed a large swelling on the side of her neck right before I was about to leave. If her dad hadn’t promised to bring her to the doctor right away I don’t think I could have left. (She’s fine. She has antibiotics for a throat infection).

Back to my list…

This won’t be a list of historical landmarks I want to visit nor some high falutin’ cultural events, although those things are great too.  I just want to do a few interesting things on my own that I usually don’t get the chance to do.

  1. Visit Anthropolgie.  Yeah baby!!
  2. Check out at least one art supply store.
  3. Uninterrupted reading time alone in my hotel room.
  4. Look for a BIG magazine store to scout out mags I can’t find at home.
  5. See an old school friend.  Well she’s not old but our school is.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Joy Diet – Menu Item #9 Laughter


I read the chapter in Beck’s book about laughter and initially thought, “OK, that’s a no-brainer.  Who doesn’t want to laugh more?”

I took Beck’s advice and tried to  count the number of times a day I laugh.  It had to be out loud; inside my head didn’t count. Sadly, I really don’t laugh as much as I thought I did. I definitely laugh less than 30 times each day.  Hmm… not good. 

Next step, pay attention to what makes me laugh.  I thought I was unpredictable.  My tastes in laughter cannot be classified, I thought.  Wrong again. 

After much soul searching, I have determined that the following things make me laugh:

  1. The sound of my littlest chicklet “gut laughing”.
  2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
  3. Children’s Letters to God
  4. The World According to Student Bloopers
  5. Brian Regan

I will indulge daily.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday – What Do You Wish to Dare?

“I am looking for a dare to be great situation.” 

That’s a quote from LLoyd Dobler, the main character in the 1989 movie, Say Anything.  Today, I am wishing for a dare to be great situation and hoping that when it rolls around I will recognize it and rise to the challenge.

By the way, this wonderful movie is being released this month on DVD/Blu Ray to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original movie release.  Even though that makes me feel really old, I intend to pick up a copy and watch it again.  It makes me happy.

I am totally and completely serious!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let’s Play – The Joy Diet – Menu Item #7

I googled the quote “Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.” and was surprised to see that it’s attributed to Confucius.  It seems such a modern concept.playing parachute

In this chapter of The Joy Diet, Beck encourages us to conceptualize our real careers.  She gives us some ideas for figuring out what our real careers are. I am not sure I know what my real career is … yet. I do know this. There are three strong elements to my real career: art, working from home, and teaching.  I also know what the biggest impediments are to exploring my real career. My issues are fear and lack of time.  I fear what my life will be like if I am suddenly making less money than I do now.   One of the passages in the book, that addresses this issue, and really spoke to me, in particular was, “My real career has always been, and will always be, whatever action my heart and soul need to take.  What I do for a living is just part of the structure I build to support myself.”  So the message is…. I can do both.  That’s great.  Except for one thing … the laws of space and time.  I feel like I need to “keep my day job” to pay the bills but four kids also take up a great deal of time. 

Today, for example, middle chicklet has a hockey game today at 7:00 a.m., two oldest chicklets have a Remembrance Day Service at 9:40 a.m., smallest chicklet has a hockey practice at 9:45 a.m., middle chicklet has a second hockey game out of town at noon.  Of course, somewhere in all of that we have to squeeze in eating, grocery shopping, and other routine activities.  I am truly not making excuses.  I just have to be realistic and figure out a plan to make this work.

I would like to backtrack a bit.  Menu Item #5 was Risk.  Every day, do at least one frightening thing that contributes to the fulfillment of your desires.  I have definitely not been doing a frightening thing every day but there has been one intimidating task looming.  For several years I have wanted to join the local art club.  There are a couple of reasons why this is so intimidating. The biggest issue is that if I join an art club, I’m putting it “out there” that I consider what I do to be art.  This is a major hurdle for me.

Hey everyone – look at me – I’m an artist!  I feel brazen and vulnerable at the same time. That’s a very uncomfortable feeling.  Anyways, yesterday I forced myself to go to a local art show put on by the Art Club and I talked to several of the artists.  I asked questions about the art club and joining the art club.  It’s definitely a first step.  My next step is to actually go to one of the meetings… stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

This is the first time I have ever participated in Wishcasting Wednesday. My wish feels so big I can barely get it down without hyperventilating. I would love to go to Squam Art Workshops next year. OK there it is. I have officially sent my intention out into the universe ...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who Knew?

OK so I haven't finished the first project I started for this challenge but I felt the creative urge to start a second project. I thought that if I felt inspired enough to have two projects underway I better just run with that. My second project feels like a blank slate right now with so much possibility. Last night while the chicklets were working on their homework, I took out my supplies and just started working along with them right there in the kitchen. It was fun. I always thought artistic endeavours had to be a solitary activity. I am so happy that isn't the case because getting a lot of time alone, on a regular basis, just isn't going to happen for me. If I only learned that one thing during this challenge, it will have been so worth it. But this is just the beginning...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Go Big or Go Home

I didn’t have to start a big project for the Art Every Day Month Challenge (AEDM) but I did.  I’m so excited about it.  It’s a mixed media collage piece. I can’t wait to start painting on it.  This is what I’ve got so far…


It seems serendipitous that I used to do paper scrapbooking and now I scrap digitally. Whatever will I do with the treasure trove of scrapbooking paper that I have amassed over the past seven years?  Hmm…..

Not What I Expected


I started today and it wasn’t what I expected.

Leah over at Creative Every Day is hosting a challenge for the month of November.  It’s called the Art Every Day Month Challenge (AEDM)).  The idea is to create something each and every day for the entire month.  It may sound daunting but the aim is not to stress ourselves trying to get artistic endeavours completed but to purposefully set some time aside to enjoy the process of creating each day during November. 

I have never considered myself an artist. Over the years I have tried quilting, photography, pottery, jewellery making and scrapbooking.  I thought of myself as “crafty” more than anything else but lately all that has started to change.  I can hear a still small voice.  That voice is saying, “You are an artist.  You always have been.  You will be happier when you accept this.” That voice keeps getting louder and more insistent.  So, I’ve been reading books and blogs about the artistic process, watching videos, and taking online courses but until now I haven’t actually started an art project.  I keep asking myself if it’s possible to have lived for forty-two years and only realize NOW that I want to be an artist. How is that possible?

I started today and it wasn’t what I expected.

I made a huge mess in my kitchen, the chicklets were in and out, needing my help with this and that, my time was limited, supper was looming and still I was happy.  Very happy.  I’m glad I didn’t wait for the perfect day, the perfect light, the perfect space… I would still be waiting instead of creating … thanks Leah for helping me get started.  I don’t know where this path is going to lead but at least I took the first step …

Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Warm Bowl of Soup Makes Me Happy

Photo credit:  StockXchange

It’s cold outside.   A lot colder than it usually is in October. Yesterday I watched it snow on and off throughout the day. I kept going back to the window to watch it.  It would snow for a bit and then the sun would break through the clouds and light up all the tiny blowing flakes and then it would stop for a while, only to start up again later.

A lot of people in my part of the world are feeling hard done by. Our summer was chilly and wet, hardly a summer at all, and now the snow is flying in October. I, on the other hand, am feeling something else. I am feeling lucky.  OK  … yes … it’s cold outside but I am thankful to have a warm house to enjoy.  So many don’t. I have lots of food and really everything I need and a lot more.

The fact that it’s grey and chilly outside just makes me more thankful to be inside enjoying a warm bowl of soup with my littlest one.  It’s going to be a long winter so it’s time to make a choice right at the outset.  Am I going to wish most of the year away, dreaming about summer, or am I going to focus on all the wonderful, joyful experiences happening everyday in my life right now?  I think you know the answer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Solitude Makes Me Happy

rest and relaxation 

Photo credit:  StockXchange

When I was much younger ( BK) Before Kids, solitude did NOT make me happy.  I had too much of it. Solitude made me feel uneasy and restless. There was too much potential for accomplishing “things”.  All the freedom left me paralyzed and instead I would waste hours watching TV.  The more time I had, the more of a procrastinator I became.

Back then, I could not distinguish between solitude and loneliness. To me, they were one and the same. Now, I know the difference.

Loneliness is the feeling I get when I don’t think people understand me. I can feel lonely in a group of people if there is no connection there or I feel like I just don’t fit in. But solitude, oh solitude is something precious and wonderful. The time I get to truly spend by myself doing the things I enjoy is now so rare that it’s value is immeasurable.

Today I scheduled a vacation day from work.  I have nothing planned. My husband is at work and all the children are at school. There are a few dirty dishes on my counter. Some unpaid bills and paperwork from school are lying haphazardly on my desk.  Today I intend to purposefully ignore the disarray because there is always one more load of laundry that could be done and there is always one more surface which could use some dusting.  If I start taking care of all the little chores, my day, my wonderful day of solitude will be used up.

So instead I will drink coffee, read books and catch up on my favourite blogs. I may write in my journal if I feel so inclined or I may crawl back into bed for a few hours with the autumn sun streaming in my window and nap like a cat in the sunshine.

I’ve learned something else. Solitude can be enjoyed even when I am not alone.  Not everyone has the luxury of taking a day off of work. I understand that and believe me, these “mental health days” are few and far between for me too.  But solitude makes me happy so I have learned how to squeeze solitude into my life.  Here are a few ways I try to enjoy some solitude each and every day:

  • get up before everyone else does with a cup of coffee and a book (this one is near to impossible for me since my eldest son is a light sleeper and loves to get up early).
  • stay up late (this is easier with little kids; teenagers make this difficult because I get tired before they do)
  • With four kids I am continually rushing around to various activities such as hockey and ballet.  I bring a book, my iphone, and a set of earphones with me everywhere I go.  My phone is loaded up with interesting Podcasts so while I wait for them I can just plug in and listen.  I especially love the TED talks because they are so interesting and are uploaded in manageable lengths of about 15-20 minutes.  

I hope you are able to experience some rejuvenating solitude today.  If you have some creative ideas for squeezing solitude into a busy life please let me know.