Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Article #187 A Sense of Humor

As I wrote my grandpa Vernon’s life story, I was amused to discover he had kept a notebook of jokes copied from the Readers Digest. They were on different topics, but mostly about everyday situations like husband and wife relationships plus wise sayings about money, thrift and debt. Including these stories in his history showed another side of my grandpa, he enjoyed jokes about everyday normal events.

A sense of humor is an important trait to develop. The ability to not always take everything so seriously is useful and reduces stress in our daily lives. My husband has a dry sense of humor and loves to make little unexpected jokes using word plays or sayings from the past. It always surprises me and brings a laugh to otherwise boring days in my life. I enjoy reading the comics for the laughs they bring me and the little hidden gems of wisdom to be found in some strips including “Pickles” and “Peanuts.”

With a humorous outlook, it does open for you a view of life or situations in another light. An experience that seems to be the most terrible thing that every happened to you (pessimism) can be seen in a positive humorous light (optimism) from a distance. Becoming an observer of your life can bring the opportunity to laugh later at some embarrassing or difficult experiences that at the time seem like major disasters.

Now the trick is to be able to do this in the present moment. Here’s some examples from my life. Recalling my dating experiences from college which at the time were quite stressful, I’ve discovered the humor in the situations that I got myself into. i.e. Having as my first blind date ever my Jr. College Student body President. Then after dating him for a few months, discovering he was engaged. At the time this was traumatic but now makes for a humorous retelling of my courting days for my grandchildren. If we set out to see the humor in each daily experience, I predict we’ll be a lot happier today.

Monday, February 27, 2012

You're Not Alone

Here's a little song to help you get along.
It will see you through when you're feeling blue.
And though it's not profound,
when you're feeling down, so down,
Sing this little tune, and you'll feel better soon.

You're not alone,
even tho' right now you're on your own.
You are loved in ways that can't be shown;
You're needs are known;
You're not alone

And when you cry,
You're just letting go a heartache deep inside.
So tomorrow there'll be sunshine and sky -
and love close by;
You're not alone

And I know that it's not easy,
but I know that it won't last.
'Cause one who loves you more than I
is sending blessings fast.

You're not alone,
say it one more time.
"I'm not alone."
And even when it's hard to find the words.
Your prayers are heard
You're not alone.
You're not alone.
(Source: Michael McLean, Mormon composer and musician)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Networking and Marketing

Interesting experience this weekend, went to a Family History Expo and did some NETWORKING on several different projects I'm working on. One is the monumental task of trying to market my four books (see below) that I've self published. Without a distributor or established publisher, it's been difficult trying to market them myself.

I've sent several of my books to agents and different publishing companies, and only received back rejections. I've tried to publicize them myself and sell them at writing conferences and on my blog with little success. Even mailing some out complimentary to get reviews written in magazines and local papers. Nothing has happened until today when I showed two of them to a private bookseller at the Family History Expo. He agreed to buy 12 copies of my Find Your Voice: Write Your Life Story book, but suggested I up the price from $10 to $15. He keeps half and I get half so after paying printing costs of $5, I'll make $2.50/book. Won't make me rich but is a beginning to have my books out there in the public. If you'd like a copy from me, my price is still $10 plus $3 postage.

NETWORKING can be used in all relationships: family, business, church, community, etc. to share ideas and resources to make something work better or to market an idea or product. A FAMILY is really about that, coming together to help one another. Organizations exist for that purpose, churches, clubs, classes, etc. Another idea I'm working on is for my church. I just got a new calling as a Branch Missionary with the assignment of developing a program to involve the community in making a FAMILY TREE CHART to display on their walls. I've found so many ideas, actually inspiration coming as answers to prayers. Then at the Family History Expo today I was able to get more ideas from participants and companies represented at the fair. It's so exciting!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Things First

Thanks to my dear friend Caryn for being there for me.

Interesting how sometimes our priorities fall through the cracks
as things of less import get done first while more important ones
are neglected. I find it difficult to balance my life, make time for me
plus focusing on my responsibilities to family, God, home and others.

Life is a constant process of making decisions-what to do daily
where to spend our precious energy and time. How to live each day.
Only inspiration or intuition can guide us properly plus repenting
as needed. I'm filled with gratitude for life's abundance.

Each day is full of opportunities, lists to do plus serendipity.
I'm thankful for friends, family, my religion, and responsibilities.
Living in America, surrounded by peace and stability
to enjoy this time of my life. My seventies are my best yet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Art Journal

More ZENTANGLE designs...

They are unlimited doodle designs, click to enlarge.

Fun and relaxing to explore, copy or make your own.

Drawing faces is a struggle plus shading use.

Stencils and practice=improvement

Now for Art Journaling...using a
watercolor background and stencil fun plus a poem.

The assignment was to cut out in magazines clothes you like.

Making collages and word collections+poems.

Feels like elementary school art projects.

Loosening up a little with textures and words.

How do I have time for art? By making time for it, it's relaxing...
BALANCE in all things. Even hubby below has found a new hobby.

He's gluing parts of his boat together, this will be a looong process!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Falls and Lessons

Whether it's a physical fall with resulting pain or
an emotional mishap, there is learning that can take place.
Each experience here on earth is for our benefit
IF we don't reject it, but look for the INSIGHTS that can come.

I had to chuckle as my 92 year old aunt told me of her
tumble with a shopping cart in Walmart last week.
Being more than 20 years younger I could still relate
to the shock of normal activities like walking being dangerous.

The need to slow down, move more carefully and
consider my behavior BEFORE I speak or act is being
reinforced in my life. Perhaps too forcefully but I'm
listening and open to improving along with a few bruises.

I'm feeling much BETTER and even went shopping yesterday.
My ankle isn't sore just my right thumb, so I'm teaching
my left thumb to hit the space bar-a unique experience.
I'm committing to SLOWING DOWN and enjoying each day more.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Splat again...

Walking home from my line dancing class
I was tired; nearing my front door suddenly
I found myself making a three point landing on
the unforgiving uneven cement of my driveway.
What a surprise, of course my body automatically
tried to protect itself and break the fall.
Sometimes that can break some appendages,
luckily I escaped with only a sprained ankle.

Although my left knee and right thumb
broke my fall and still hurt, with ice applied
and a little time they are feeling better.
Just another experience to add to my "interesting" life.

Lying face down on the ground, my first response
was: did anyone see or hear me letting out
such unladylike language? Thankfully no, and
no one came to pick me up but little old me!

This happened last Saturday, amazing how healing time is...
A reminder to slow down and watch my steps more carefully.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Article #186 Talents and Opportunities

What is a talent? The dictionary says the ability to do something well. It's not just artistic talents, you could be a great cook, hostess, friend, carpenter, seamstress or in any other area. We each have a talent or two. Sometimes it seems easier to recognize talent/s in our children or grandchildren while we have a block discovering our own special abilities.

Who has time to develop their talents or interests? There is a time for everything and a season… (Ecclesiastes 3:1 )…great advice from the good book. As youth you are ready to go forth and conquer the world, do it all, have it all, experience everything. Then life comes with its demands. After high school, the future looms with too many choices. Some are overwhelming decisions-to go to college, get a job, marry or other options beckon. Eventually, you settle for one or two of the above. In the blink of an eye, your family is raised, careers are over and retirement faces you. Perhaps you have been retired for decades and are facing the challenges of failing health, grieving for a lost spouse or loved one and/or dwindling finances.

Each person has some interest or talent that can be develop or ignored. Musical or artistic talents demand responsibility in learning the techniques involved and practicing them. Every interest needs attention and time to be developed. Woodworking, model building, golf, hunting, fishing, the list of interests and talents that can be pursued is endless. The problem is identifying your passion and making time in your life to pursue it whether you are busy with a career, homemaking or retired now. Talents can help your self worth rise, as you display and share your skills in quilting, scrap booking, genealogy, or taxidermy. Whatever it is that you love to do can enrich your life and others.

Do you have a responsibility to discover and develop your talents? Let’s use the word opportunity instead of responsibility to make it sound less like work. You do have to give yourself permission to explore what interests you have. Then see which of these is most enjoyable. There are many opportunities to try new skills pickleball, biking, hiking, photography, computers or travel. The list is endless. So sit down today and explore what talents or interests you could develop. Then take responsibility to pursue your choice/s. Your kids and grandkids are watching your example. I’ve just discovered art journaling.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Architecture around town

We have been having rain, rain, rain...so Caryn and I spent yesterday driving around town looking for interesting architecture, mostly southwestern style.

Here's the local Catholic church

Classic mission style

I love the simplicity of this protestant chapel

Next is the eclectic home decor in the hills nearby

The color certainly shows up bright

I like all the textures: tiles, rock, blocks etc.

Just a humble little mansion with a drive through

Impressive entrance

Roof details of Caryn's condo

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Zen UnTangling fun

I'm rediscovering ART. As a child I liked to draw and make designs. Throughout my life I've taken classes in figure drawing, watercolor, sculpture and pottery but never did much with any of these art forms. Enjoyed scrapbooking a lot as a creative outlet but when I discovered blogging a few years back I stopped scrapbooking or making cards. Blogging was so much easier and I could post my photos, then my friend Caryn opened up the possibilities of Art Journaling and ZenTangle in a class I'm still taking from her. It was fun, creative and artistic. Click to enlarge.

Here's some more zentangles or doodles I've made recently. There are many patterns online and you can try it without any special equipment. Just start with a piece of paper, pencil and fine ink pen to darken in your design. You'll find it relaxing...play around with color or shading.

There are unlimited designs to copy and master or make your own.

A little valentine fun here and then some experimenting.

Still trying to figure out how to draw braids-it's not easy but fun.
It doesn't have to be perfect, use any mistakes to vary your design.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Art Journaling

I'm discovering that I enjoy this process of creating and layering media with words. Caryn will be teaching another class... on Zentangle and Art Journaling at a local scrapbook store. Here's some more of her creations, so creative.

Multiple layers of colorful fancy napkins and other materials

Collage of colored patterned papers over a painted background

Lace and other patterns add to this page and a fun 1920s woman

Here's my attempts at art journaling below, before:

Mine-after adding several layers and some sparkle paint
then a clipart image and a poem I wrote-it's done, I think...

Click on photo to make it larger.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Article #185 Finding YOU

I remember my oldest son asking me while I was raising my four sons and working full time as a single parent, How come you never dance anymore? I didn’t have time for ME! Now I’m too old to dance professionally any more, but I’ve found a new expression or voice in writing and poetry.

In our modern lives, there are many voices vying for our attention. Not the least of these is the media, whether it’s the television, Internet, movies or magazines, we are told what we should be…unbelievably young, slim, and active, driving a certain classy car and buying fulfillment for ourselves. No wonder many are lost and depressed with these not so subtle pressures. Trying to sort out YOUR own feelings and aspirations in the clamoring world of today, is demanding. Who do you listen to; what really is the truth? If you are a retired person, it’s doubly hard to try to compete with the youthful society we live in or to keep up with your family.

Finding your AUTHENTIC self or voice isn’t easy as you age until you can learn to distinguish between the world’s voice and your own. What is it you really want to accomplish with your life? What talents and abilities do you have that are undeveloped? What weaknesses could you make into strengths? These are all important questions to consider rather than how to how to compete with what your neighbor has. How do you quiet the pressures of the world and make time to discover YOU?

Journaling is a marvelous tool, if you’ll take time to simply write down some of your thoughts-it will clear your head. Writing your life story can do the same thing as you reflect back on what you’ve accomplished during your lifetime. Insights will come that can motivate you to go forward with the time you have left to live more creatively and find the fulfillment you deserve.

Comparing yourself with others is unfair and not helpful with this process of finding your voice. You are different than any other human being. Not only do you look different, but you are unique in your outlook and experiences. Even identical twins vary inside personality wise. A great resource for finding you or your voice is Stephen R. Covey’s book The Eighth Habit where he describes discovering your voice, then helping others to find theirs. Check it out. (Clipart.com for images)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Caryn's valentine decor...

Visiting with my friend Caryn today,
see her romantic decorations for Valentines day.

Welcome to Valentine's Day and Caryn's blog-she's back
with a wonderful post about storytelling!

The mantel over the fireplace is filled with hearts and cupids

Fun coffee table decor

Any one want to dance?

Unique tape and ring holders