Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Little Altered Board Book Entitled "The Gifts Of Imperfection"- A Brené Brown Journal

     Some weeks back I was invited into my friend's art studio to work on a new project. With recycled children's board books we created new journals.

    My theme was easy to identify because I'm reading 'Daring Greatly" in a women's group online and offline with my daughter and friends. I wanted a little journal to remind me of the most important messages of both "Daring Greatly" and "The Gifts of Imperfection".

      I started off with the three gifts, courage, compassion, and connection. These gifts truly are real.

   I want to remember that compassionate people are also those who honor boundaries around themselves and those around others.

   "We are wired for connection." I find that connecting to others who may seem different or far away from us brings unexpected joy. The best treat of doing my online class was making a friend from Michigan who reached out and surprised me with her interest and openness.

     I don't see myself as a perfectionist but this definition encompasses my response to many things in life. Perhaps another way to look at it is a process of self-justification. Perfectionism moves us along a path of suffering. Riding the "hot wheels" of perfectionism is grueling.

Simplify! I need these words as I head into the next two months of holidays.

   Perfectionism rides with shame.  Shame is a big subject. I want to remember that a shaming experience becomes bigger when we don't talk about it. 

    Solving problems is a God given gift. After all, when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit God gave them options to solve their problem. Part of being creative is seeing another way to make the whole beautiful.

    Staying humble and vulnerable is something I must take in small steps. I do a lot of backsliding and getting back in the game.

   Wow! Numbing is big for me. This week I tried to eat at the table at every meal to avoid numbing feelings with food at the TV. I only made it once a day. I will try again this week.

   And, lastly, my mantra for the next while. Courage over comfort may be the hardest thing I have ever tried to embrace.

     I love my little board book. Thank-you art friend for sharing your idea and time.

Friday, October 17, 2014


   I made an agreement this week to eat my meals at the table whether I was with family or not. I thought it would be difficult but manageable. I am undone with how LONG it will take to change a habit. It is day four and I have only been successful once everyday. I am doing this to break a numbing habit of eating while watching TV, reading, etc. Numbing feelings is very easy to do when I eat while doing other things. It is however, very bad for my ability to know what I am consuming during the day.

   I numb feelings most often when I am tired, anxious, bored, or stressed out. The sobering facts are that I cannot numb feelings that are negative without numbing feelings of joy. That makes me sad. I wrote more about that here.

   Eating at the table brings calmness and gratitude as immediate rewards. I don't see why those rewards alone don't stop me from doing otherwise but, I have some deeply ingrained habits. Eating while watching TV feels like comfort until I think back on my lack of mindfulness.

    I am trying again today. Breakfast was good. It may take a LONG time.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

Friday, October 10, 2014


   I've been reflecting on the care of the elderly. When the light of our lives gets dimmer it seems that the intensity changes from casting our light wide to casting our light on those who care. It takes caring to be blessed with an older person's vision and view.


 I played at the funeral of a bubbly, young at heart sister with whom I have visited in the past 20 years. She was 92 and lovely in so many ways. I will remember her loving touch at our greeting, her questions about my family, which always came first, and her unfailing gratitude for her husband Jens. Her name was Midge.
  I loved the view from her living room window. It looked over the harbor and the trees were resplendent with color in the Fall. Friends would often bring her plants and bird feeders to hang just outside that view. We knew she spent many hours looking and thinking. I want to be more caring of the ones in the fall time of their life. Winter always comes.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In The Details

  I am a global learner. I like to see where my learning is going and where it came from. My joy is seeing the whole and I admit I don't have much patience for the details. The two art classes I have taken rocked my reality. They were polar opposites to each other. One was a mixed media class that stressed painting and collaging without concern for the end.  The process was all. How I struggled against the impulse to see the ending, to hold out for the vision I saw in my head.

   Now I am in a classical drawing class. I have drawn at least 50 cubes this week. I am tempted to say "damn perspective". I mean that literally. I want to stop the constant correcting to see the right perspective. Below is a second drawing I sent to the teacher. He encouraged us to send our drawings so that we don't practice incorrect principles. As you can see by his white lines, I did not see correctly. My cubes somehow are more rectangles.

  My eyes are crossing in the task of seeing the cube from underneath, straight on, and from above. Almost always I say I'm done when that nagging voice says, "You don't have a cube yet."

   What I am learning about myself is not earth shattering or even new. I am reluctant to persist to perfection. Good enough may not cut it in all things. I am going to persist against the tendency to wrap it up when I am almost there.

    I find going back to mixed media painting a great release. Color and texture is pure joy after ruler and pencil. What I am hoping for as I struggle to draw is a better understanding of the underneath structure of my painting. Steffon tells us that drawing is like sculpture. I hope to see more accurately and be more patient with the details.

Friday, October 3, 2014


     Leaving the gym this morning I saw red, orange, and yellow peeking through the trees in the east. My car turned right, away from home, and started down toward the water. There were two other cars sitting before the beach. They must have felt the pull of the new day.

    I am not used to people using the greeting, "What's up?" or What's new?". If someone used that phrase today I'd say,"Did you see the new day rise?"

“You Are the New Day”
by John David

I will love you more than me and more than yesterday
if you can but prove to me you are the new day.

Send the sun in time for dawn, let the birds all hail the morning.
Love of life will urge me say, you are the new day.

When I lay me down at night, knowing we must pay,
thoughts occur that this night might stay yesterday.

Thoughts that we as humans small could slow worlds and end it all
lie around me where they fall, before the new day.

One more day when time is running out for ev’ryone,
like a breath I knew would come, I reach for a new day.

Hope is my philosophy, just needs days in which to be,
love of life means hope for me, born on a new day.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make

Friday, September 26, 2014


   I get asked; "Why are you doing all this artsy schmartzy stuff at this stage of your life? BECAUSE, I have wanted to do this all my life but the gremlins of comparison, shame, and "not good enough" set in to roost about third grade.

    It is no different with writing. The Five Minute Friday group I write with are practicing this art form BECAUSE they need to have a platform to express themselves. We are wired for connection and one way to connect is to write, draw, paint, play music, or dance. There are others not listed here but I think I made my point. We need this to make sense of our lives.

    We need this to metabolize the ideas that flood our heads. It becomes a way to understand what we thought we knew. The pages here are a little project I started with my artist friend who suggested we take little second hand board books and alter them to be a journal of ideas.

   I knew I wanted another journal to synthesize the writings of Brené Brown. Her words have ricocheted off my brain over and over. So, these first three pages represent the Gifts of Imperfection, courage, compassion, and connection. I see every day that when I accept the imperfect in myself and others I am much more humane.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Artist's Date

     It is such a privilege to be invited into the studio of an artist. Our community has bi-yearly artist studio open house events. I just gawk with wide eyes at their work tables and supplies, imagining what it is like to create there, in that space. Yesterday I had a playdate with my artist friend. Long planned because we are über busy, but finally realized. Upstairs, in a light airy room, books, baskets, and boxes abound.

                       There are many little collections. The bottle caps ere fun and decorative.

       She aspires to publish some books so I found the "imagine" plaque fitting with the "how to's" for children's book writers.

      A lover of words,  this stamp was evocative of what we wanted to accomplish on this one single day.

   See that cuter than cute white stuffed pumpkin on the right? You can find a "how to" on her blog. I love the curly stand.

      I find art to require a great deal of patience so these words above the closet doors made me smile.

      This is what the art desk looked like before we started. Newspaper came next to cover the wood. In a few hours we had papers, baskets and paints everywhere.

     She likes working alone so I found the silent moments really nice because they were full of energy and purpose. Below is a peek at the Halloweenish page of her book. Yes, that is what we were making, altered books. Children's board books are perfect for remaking into art journals or writing journals.

You are probably wanting to see the finished product or at least the process and I will do a post just like that. But, not today. Today I wanted to remember and be grateful for my lovely day.