My Biggest Painting Mistake

Art has been an integral part of my life since early childhood.  Like most children, I enjoyed drawing and sharing my pictures with family and friends.  I was drawing, painting, or doing something artsy almost daily.  By middle school, my art was being selected for public showings.  I was honored when a painting done in high school was placed in one of the offices of the then new Mental Health Department building of the DC Government in Washington, DC.

Then came college.  I had chosen a career in education not art.  Was this my mistake?  Not really.  As a Black female in the early 1970’s, becoming a teacher was a safe and respectable career choice.  Besides, I loved working with children.  So, after four years of college and armed with a Master of Arts in Special Education, I used the arts (music, poetry, and art) to support my classroom lessons.  I found ways to bring more art into the school and support community art.  Although art was still there, on the ride with me, my personal expressions with art had taken a back seat in my life.

Imagine how my skills could have progressed had I not stepped away from my art for forty years.  I don’t regret my years in the classroom, but I wish I had spent some of my leisure time continuing to nurture my artistic side.  Here and there during those forty years I’ve had special requests for a piece of art which I accepted, but again, these were not my personal, introspective expressions.

A few months ago, I pulled out the canvas and bought new paint.  It brought great joy to my heart.  Don’t push your interests aside.  Always make time to do the things you love.  Check out my original art at http://betweennaps.net/art .

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Resolute What???

new-years-resolutionEverybody’s talking about New Year’s resolutions!  No, I don’t have one, but it’s fine if you do.

Resolutions tend to be taken too lightly.  A resolution for most is a goal with no plan, no action steps.   Often abruptly pledged with no real thought.  Choose a vice and pronounce its cessation.  There, it’s DONE!

  • lose weight
  • stop smoking
  • drink less
  • declutter my home

I don’t mean to be cynical.  I do believe in setting goals; just not necessarily specifically to begin a new year.  Goal setting is continual.  Some quick to accomplish, others long-term and requiring a definite plan.  Some with strict guidelines and time limits while others are more flexible.  There are many reasons to set a new goal, but the beginning of a new year is not one.

Maybe next year the timing will be right, and I will be setting a new goal for myself (one that I can’t resist sharing with the world) just as the new year rings in.  Somehow, I doubt it.

 

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I Get Happy

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  I agree with the former president and have made a conscious decision to be happy, as each of us should.  I don’t worry about what ifs or things beyond my control.  I don’t dwell on mishaps.  Like everything else in life, you must make a choice and then work at it.  Choose happiness!

Sometimes happiness comes easily.  Surround yourself with happy people.  It is easier to be happy when those around you aren’t focused on negativity.  Savor and be grateful for even small pleasures like:

  • a teenager deciding it’s okay to hug you publicly
  • friends/relatives calling to make sure you’re alright after a storm in your area
  • a beautiful sunset
  • a favorite song playing on the radio

Acknowledge the beauty and kindnesses around you.  Allow yourself to be overwhelmed in effortless waves of joy.

There will, of course, also be times of sorrow and consternation.  Times of tragedy or conflict.  These cannot be avoided.  “Happiness is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it.”

If you should ever see me looking up at the ceiling forcing a huge grin or creating a belly-laugh with no sound, I am simply giving happiness a jump start.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am very grateful that I have options and am welcomed at numerous locations to celebrate Thanksgiving and eat.  Some years I travel to more than one location and enjoy a wide array of delicacies.  It is not unusual for me to have hor d’oeuvres in one location, the main course in another, and dessert in yet a third location. Thank you, thank you friends and family.

This year I was fortunate enough to be invited back to the Black’s for Thanksgiving.   It is one of my favorite and frequent stops.  This year, it was also a solitary stop.  We gathered around 5:30 pm and ate at 6:00 pm.  I had considered a stop at 3:00 pm, but since I was taking an assortment of cheeses to my 5:30 pm meal, decided to forgo this stop.  20161124_174628(If you are reading this Alicia, I hope you saved some New Orleans seafood gumbo.)  It would have been rude to take a large platter of cheeses to one house but not allow the people there to consume any, and I couldn’t let it sit in the car with no refrigeration.  Hence, one stop this year, but no worries friends, I’ll see you later this week.

During the pre-meal mingling, I suggested we take part in the Mannequin Challenge.  So, before beginning the meal, with no prep or planning, we jumped right in.  Not bad for a first try.  The picture is a little shaky where we transitioned (passed the phone) so that everyone could be included, and the “photographer” would not be eliminated from the video.

At the end of the meal, we decided to try again.  Maybe it was the overladen bellies or the champagne or hard cider…  For some reason, it was harder to be mannequin-ish the second time around.  There was talking, blinking, looking at the camera, and lots of laughter — a sign that we were having fun.  Three takes was our limit.  The third take is included in the video above with a little editing.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as awesome as mine.

Why Journal

There are many ideologies about manifesting your destiny, the life you are meant to live.

  1.  Begin each day with affirmations and/or inspiring quotes.  Affirmations help direct you away from the negative thoughts and guide your consciousness toward positive self-actualization.   You are affirming to yourself that you are capable and worthy of meeting your goals.  You are building confidence in yourself.  Keeping your affirmations and an inspiring quotes from others in mind helps you avoid self-sabotaging behaviors.  Use affirmations and inspiring quotes for a positive mindset.  Your body and the universe around you can feel your thoughts, and they both react to them.  Negative thought stimulates negative responses.  Likewise, positive thought produces produces positive responses.
  2.  Record your plan as well as your daily gratitude.  Actually writing down your, in detail, your dreams, aspirations, and goals helps you focus on them and bring them into fruition.  Writing them down makes them “real” and increases the odds that you will achieve them.  As you consider the future, it is also import that you express gratitude for the present.  Be thankful for where you are and what you currently possess.  Being grateful in the present gives you a positive outlook and helps calm stresses.  Expressing gratitude builds positive energy.
  3. Calm and focus your thoughts through coloring activities.  Coloring can be therapeutic.  Coloring relieves stress by acting as a relaxation tool.  Use this tool to steer your mind away from intrusive negative self-talk.  Coloring can also help to focus your thoughts.  It strengthens concentration.  Both the right and left brain hemispheres are used while coloring.  Creativity (right brain) is used as you make color and shading choices, use fine motor skills, and your imagination.  Problem solving (left brain) comes into play as you analyze your choices, organize materials and colors, and problem-solve as needed.  With a clear and calm mind, achieved by coloring, you can focus on the important things that will enable you to reach your destiny.  And coloring is fun!

This journal combines all three!

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Music in the Forefront

After spending the year focused on writing, I am now back to music.  Listening to beats and writing lyrics.  I have to work on my vocals since I haven’t used my singing voice in quit awhile.  I’m excited! working on new music

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Confessions of an Introvert

introvertI don’t believe any of the people that know me would classify me as an introvert.  That’s because they don’t really know me.

I am not shy, but I don’t schmooze or do small talk very well.  Heck, I don’t really do it at all, and frankly, get a little bored and frustrated with others that insist on trying to engage me in such.

I work well cooperatively, but while sitting and listening to the back and forth banter of the group, I secretly wish I could go to a quiet place and calmly work on the problem alone.  I tend to be the self-appointed time keeper and reign-her-in-er when the group goes too far off task.

I speak and perform in front on groups, but I am on my own little island (the stage) and/or protected by a podium.

I host parties, but have planned activities for the guests and myself to participate in.

I like being around people, especially witty, funny, extroverts, but in rationed, limited portions.

I am working hard to step outside my comfort zones.  Being an introvert can be problematic.  Relationships can suffer.  Although I care about others deeply and often wonder how they are doing, I seldom call or visit to find out.  What do I say after, “How are you?”  So, I call when there is something of importance_ when I know I have something more to say after the polite pleasantries.  But if there is ever anything I can do to help, I am there without hesitation.

I don’t want to remain hidden.

 

If I Ruled the World

The world itself is a beautiful and wondrous place_ the skies, waters, and lands.  It is the human life which dwells here that sometimes makes it insightly.

If I ruled the world, I would change the character of people.  All people would be compassionate.  They would go beyond tolerance to truly caring about their fellow man.  Each man, woman, and child would see when another is suffering, give aid, and show mercy.  Every person would be treated with respect, honor, and loyalty.

Having this new, gentler, and compassionate personality will make everyday interactions easier and more enjoyable.  Things will be peaceful because we only want the best environment for ourselves [all people].  There will be no hunger, no homelessness, and no taking advantage of another.  After all, both the giver and the receiver are of high moral and ethical fiber in this new world.

This change won’t take long at all under my magical rule.  With just a wave of my arms, the change will take place and smiles will erupt upon the faces of all.

If I Ruled the World

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