Wednesday, July 30, 2014

May We Be Positive

It happens to me constantly. People are rude and it annoys me. I speak only to be met with silence. I pity myself because there isn’t enough time in the day. I look in the mirror and see I am not “skinny” enough. I check the bank account and see I am not “rich” enough. I work a 9-5 and dream of the day I can work on my own creatively, at home or in my own studio.

I wonder to myself, do I really have an outlook on life that will take me where I need to be? Am I positive enough? Do others consider me a positive person? Am I working towards being kind and optimistic? How can I be positive when the world around me is so full of negativity?

I have come up with 5 ways to force myself into positivity and I would like to share them with you in hopes that maybe you will benefit in some small way.

Yes, it is hard to give thanks when your car won’t start or when you’re searching for your phone and running late for work. It’s less than easy to be thankful when dirty clothes are piled high after a long day and all you want to do is rest. However, I have been teaching myself to be thankful for these things.

Running behind? Thankful because maybe there is an intervention occurring which is preventing an accident I could have been in the middle of.

Clothes piled high? Thankful that I have clothing choices, even on the days I scream “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!”

Long, boring day at work? Thankful I have a job that allows me to pay my bills. Even on days I have to rob from Peter to pay Paul.

Choosing to be thankful for your home, cell phone, car, job, food, heating/air, bed, pets, spouse, children, parents, and freedom opens your mind to all you really have and are not lacking. Being grateful makes you happier; being happier increases positivity.

It’s exciting when you can make someone else smile. The world is full of bad news, people in poor health, poverty and more. Giving takes the focus off of your problems for a moment and produces an overall sense that maybe the world is good.

Walking to the checkout line? Pay for the few items the little lady behind you plans to purchase.

Paying for gas? Add $10 to the person’s car who just walked out to pump only $5 and have the attendant go tell them. Or better yet, tell them yourself when you walk out and enjoy the smile and appreciation that gleams in their eye.

Notice the car behind you in the fast food lane has children? Tell the cashier you’d like to buy them ice-creams as a treat. Ask her to tell the family “It’s been taken care of.” You can drive away imagining the surprise on their face.

Giving doesn't always have to include money. It can be letting the elderly man with his cane or the woman with a screaming baby break in front of you in line. You can offer to carry someone’s groceries to their car when you see their hands are full. Even taking an old bicycle that you plan to set out by the road to the boy down the street will fill your heart and their heart with happiness.

Everyone has a bad day sometimes. We walk past people all the time who are struggling with their own worries, problems, or decisions. A compliment produces positive energy and eases tension not only for the recipient, but for the giver as well.

The compliment must be genuine, however. Don’t just throw any accolade out. Mean it!

Did a co-worker just rock a presentation? Tell her!

Think the UPS man has a nice smile? Tell him!

Love how funny your neighbor is? Tell her how her humor makes you happy.

Compliments are powerful in brightening someone’s day. Noticing good qualities in someone boosts your mood and trains your eye to be on the lookout for what’s good in the world.

“What are you most excited about? That’s the key. It’s the purity that pays off every time. Never mind that your idea or the work at hand may be daunting and unreasonable. Out of your various intentions, goals, opportunities, or projects, what are you most enthusiastic about.” Danielle LaPorte

I admit I've been struggling lately in the excitement department. Give me something I don’t want to do and I’ll agree outwardly, pout inwardly. But give me something I love and I’ll be beyond happy. I've been teaching myself that with every task at hand, fun or boring, convenient or inconvenient, there is something to be excited about.

Have to stay an extra hour late at work? Overtime pay!! Yay!!

Need to run an unexpected errand for someone out of your way? Hey!!! Alone time in the car with music and peace.

Excitement is contagious. When others around you see that you are choosing to be happy and energized instead of angry and irritable, it will rub off on them. It will rub off on you, too. Excitement about small things can cause an outbreak of silliness, laughter and fun.

Forgiveness is hard. What if someone bullies or offends you? What if someone hurts you deeply and gets away with it?

Revenge or forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a state of grace for others and for you.
Revenge is causing someone else pain to justify hurt.

Revenge just doesn't work. While it’s natural to get angry when someone hurts us, retaliation brings out the worst part of self and causes negativity to grab hold and cause lasting grudges. It burns bridges.
Forgiveness lifts us to a higher level of well-being. It produces strength and peace amidst internal turmoil.
While it might not be healthy to be friendly with someone who continually uses or hurts you deeply, it is okay to forgive and move on. Forgiveness for others allows forgiveness for you.  It creates a positive atmosphere for healing and growth.

I have needed to evaluate my attitude lately. This may be more for me than for you. I am not perfect. Who is? Things don’t always go my way, but I do have the power to choose how I will respond. It’s very easy to let jealousy, bitterness, and all those other negative things to junk up our lives. It is work to remain positive when we are surrounded by bad news, rude people, everyday problems or just plain evil.

That’s why I created this list for myself. Sort of like a plan, a goal. I am trying to step outside of myself and into a happier and healthier life spiritually and emotionally. I wanted to share with you in the hopes that maybe something will touch you enough to spring you into action. Maybe something here will resonate within you enough that you will want to give it a try.

Here is to positivity and the power it holds. May you smile today, give yourself some grace, and see even the slightest annoyance as a possible blessing in some small way. May I do the same for me and may we all be thrust into the future we want while we attempt to take the positive route.

P.S. It’s okay to have bad days and feel down. Let’s just not get stuck in that rut. Forgive yourself and move on when you notice negativity creeping in. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Graffiti Of The Heart

I did not permit it to scratch or scribble its way onto my heart. Illicitly, it stained the walls with permanency. It took up residence and I can’t clean it off no matter how hard I try.

A dream…
Of beauty and art
Of delicious emotions
With intense yearning
Of creative expression

I can’t travel without stopping the car if I see a beautiful sunset, a turtle crossing the street, or a picturesque flower. I've stopped in the middle of the street, breaks screeching, slamming the passenger into the dashboard all for the sake of a photograph. (Sorry Brandon)

Suddenly an image will come into my mind. I grab a pen, pencil, or white out pen, whatever I can find and begin to draw. I will pull out my pink bed sheet, a work of art within itself, stained with paint of every color imaginable. I will pull out my sheet and spread it across the dining room table, grab a canvas and paint brush and begin to use my mind to direct my hand.

I can be in the middle of listening to a song on the radio and my mind spews forth words that must be written. I don’t feel as if I can breathe properly until I type the last punctuation mark.

This dream to be creatively free and unafraid comes from a place deep within that no matter how hard I try to suppress it; be it weeks, months or even years…it springs back to life and becomes uncontrollable. Ever since I got my first diary over 25 years ago, ever since I wrote my first book of poems that sits in my closet on the top shelf, dusty; this dream of living a life of artistic expression waxes and wanes through my being.

This year, this week, this is spilling over.

Here are some recent photographs and drawings of mine. I hope you enjoy.
(If the image is blurry, tap it to open)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Snowy Beaches, Carnivals & Children

Behind the lens of a camera I have seen beauty; the beauty of nature, of hard work, and of imagination. I have walked gardens full of colorful foliage. I have felt the humidity of a conservatory like a sauna, housing thousands of butterflies. I have walked back in time to see a humble home, a president’s death bed, and a 391 foot bridge built by a former slave over 160 years ago.

Behind the lens of this camera, I have witnessed my mind’s eye come to life over the past couple of weeks. My freedom with nature and the break from normal routine has awakened beauty and creativity within me. I have dreamed colorful dreams; dreams with picturesque oceans, fluffy snow, old –time carnivals, children and red barns.

These images haven't escaped me in the moments since I've dreamed them. I've craved the ability to bring it to life somehow. God has shown me in my mind a place far beyond reality that I wish never to forget. Should my mind's eye slowly become blind to this picture, this place...I have created to the best of my ability a visual picture of the dream that has stirred my soul for days.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Creative Therapy

My car broke down on me today…
On a main highway…
Sherriff’s Car pulled behind me…
Wanted to run my driver’s license…
Got it running again…
Headed toward auto repair shop…
Broke down again…
Waited 10 minutes…
Started running again…
Took to Repair Shop…
Waited for a ride…
This is how I feel…


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Relax, Release, Create

Ahhhhhh! I feel full...

Of peace and rest

The creative bug bit me this past week and I can't stop.

Photo Sessions
Painting Furniture

I feel like the woman I know God made me to be. It's been a while since I've felt this accomplished. It began Wednesday with one of the best photo sessions I've had in a while.

"A Sweet 16" Session:

Honestly, what is more fun than dressing up, hanging with your girlfriends, and playing with glitter? A photo session to capture it all.

Thursday I was a bit under the weather. After a trip to the doctor I was ordered to eat, sleep and spend time doing something I love. I immediately went to the library. If I was going to rest this weekend, it was going to be with a book. I spent most of the day Friday in the bed with my book. I was able to relax and began to feel better.

Saturday morning my Fiance and I went to a few yard sales. After spending $5 on a bookshelf and a side table my creative juices began to flow. I suddenly had the urge to repaint my new purchases as well as my bedroom furniture. We went to Lowe's and bought a few paint samples and brushes.

I am thoroughly pleased with all my pieces. Two nightstands, a dresser, side table and bookshelf all received a makeover.

Finally, I spent some creative time this evening exploring a new drawing and photography technique. Here are some of my favorites.  I may try to sell these as prints, iPhone cases, magnets and more. 

I have felt more accomplished in the past few days than I have felt in months. I am beyond thankful for the time I've had this weekend to relax, release, and create.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Spit Out the Negative

"I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful." Bob Hope

Last night I laughed.

It was not just a chuckle. I am talking about a laugh so hard that tears formed and stomach cramps had me doubled over in pain. I was being silly with my Fiance and we had one another in hysterics. Afterwards, we both sighed with relief. It felt delicious to be free.

I view laughter as a form of freedom. 

There are very few things on earth that can naturally relax the entire body, boost the immune system, release endorphin's and protect the heart like laughter can. Besides, laughter also removes us from distressing emotions that can overtake our mind, body, and soul.

Today, take the time to open your mouth and let the beautiful and yummy sound of laughter escape. With it, the release of all anxiety and stress will spew forth and set you free.