art, Health, motivation, Personal Success

Rx for Joy

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31 Day Painting Challenge: Day 21 Colorful Geometric Shapes

Current symptoms: listlessness, insomnia, constant hood of worry, anxiety, pessimism, road rage

Prescription: (To do at least once a day until symptoms disappear)

Go to a mall or your sister’s house or other place where toddlers are eating or playing (a children’s playground at the park or school is not advised for you might be reported for peculiar behavior – not your fault)

Observe toddler’s feet dangling from the chair; his cherubic cheeks and glistening eyes focused on what’s in front of him;

Note the fat hands hungrily – joyfully – grabbing the sandwich/spoon/bowl;

Listen, really listen, to his easy laughter and his babble.

If you could ask him, he’d tell you:

He’s not worried about tomorrow or fretting about the past;

He’s here, with you, and nothing else matters.

 

When toddler begins to cry or have a temper tantrum, cease the observation and seek a quiet place immediately.

 

 

 

 

art, Health, motivation, Personal Success

Awaken

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31 Day Painting Challenge (Lisa Congdon) – Day 19
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I love my new paints!

By your own efforts waken yourself, watch yourself. And live joyfully.

Gautama Buddha

There is great joy in reveling in the small and simple things.

art, Health, money, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

The Lion’s Tooth

 

 

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Dandelion Doodle

The dandelion* is a wondrous flower. Many claim it has medicinal and nutritional value. I don’t know about that. Maybe it’s true. I just find them wildly beautiful. Please watch this time lapse video of a dandelion over one month (Neil Bromhall):

 

 

*dandelion literally means “tooth of a lion” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

art, Personal Success, poetry, relationships

Legacy

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“Flower in an Hour Glass”

Grandma is visiting us

she got a really bad perm 

and her hearing has worsened since her last visit

They love her, but The Teens don’t like kimchi

Obvious and unsaid:

You, my daughters, are the land

ravaged by a series of battles from all sides,

the cry of hungry orphans

and thousands of years of cultural pride

You are the Hermit Kingdom and King Sejong’s children –

the offspring of a man who reinvented an alphabet

so the common man as well as royalty

could read –

You are women warriors 

You might have to fight 

for what others are given 

but you will never back down

Personal Success

This Just In…

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It finally arrived!

Ursula K. Le Guin’s groundbreaking work of science fiction—winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.

Amazon.com

Book review coming soon.

art, Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Maternal Meditation

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Day 20 of 31 Day Painting Challenge (Creativebug.com)

Motherhood To Dos:

change their diapers

anticipate their needs

hug and kiss through tears

teach them to be strong

 

allow them to feel pain

buy them clothes

(and school supplies and prom tickets and flowers for their first crush)

listen as they complain about school, frenemies and hormones

 

bite your tongue when they complain about you

And that’s why there’s an “Om” in “Mom”

 

 

art, motivation, Personal Success

The Trick

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My doodle of daisies

If you’ve read Aesop’s fable, The Crow and the Pitcher, you know that the moral is “Little by little does the trick.”  My 5th graders read the fable and then were assigned a response: Give an example from your own life that describes this moral.

Here are a few responses:

  • “I got more flexible by stretching every single day, now I can do the full splits!”
  • “I practiced drawing every day and now I’m really good.”
  • “I saved up for an expensive video game by practicing piano every day (got paid $2 each day).”
  • “My mom used to be addicted to soda. Each day, she drank a little less. Now, when she has some, she feels sick.”
  • “We planted watermelon seeds and watered it every day. We got a watermelon!”
  • “I have played tennis since I was three. I play three to five times a week and I’m really good now.”
  • “It’s really hard for me to wake up in the mornings. When my alarm goes off, slowly, inch by inch, I move sideways to the lamp and turn it on and get out of bed.”

 

When can you do little by little to achieve your goals?

 

 

 

art, motivation, Personal Success, poetry

Tea Bag Art

Through another blogger’s post, I discovered a fantastic artist named Ruby Silvious. I could not stop admiring her used tea bag art!

I had to try it myself. Here’s my first one:

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Used tea bag and ink

It was fun and quite challenging. Used tea bags are much more delicate and harder for ink to take. I’d like to try watercolor, but I’m finding that challenging to do on regular paper!

Thus far, my “theme” or key words for 2018 are: adventure, fun, creativity and presence. It’s going well thus far.

 

art, Health, motivation, Personal Success

Rumination

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This doodle (exercise from Lisa Congdon’s How To Draw Everything) reminds me of the Korean card game hwatu!
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Hwatu

I used to “meditate” incorrectly. I closed my eyes and focused on being aware of my surroundings and my thoughts. I noticed my thoughts and tried to “let them go.” But my thoughts were either judgments or I was judging my thoughts (!) I assumed I was meditating correctly, because I was quite aware of everything…however, I was placing opinion on all of it.

Being present (meditating) means being aware of everything in the present time without judgment. 

If you’re like me, you’d be shocked at how much you judge yourself and others. With practice, you can minimize placing personal value on yourself and others. I catch myself doing it and am able to correct it.

Criticizing is the opposite of kindness and impedes inner peace.

 

 

 

motivation, Personal Success

Wanting Vs. Doing

 

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Creative Bug Class (Lisa Congdon) Day 18: Structured Doodle

If you want different, you have to do different.

 

This includes:

Putting more hours in;

Doing smarter research;

Visualizing it happening and then doing more work; or

Thinking about it differently and accepting it for what it is. This last possibility escapes most people. They don’t believe they can think or feel differently about something. And they don’t feel they can accept reality. But they can!

 

 

 

art, Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Whose Business is it?

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Doodle of grains

“Mind your own business.”  This phrase could be perceived as rude (context and tone would give a clue), but not necessarily. It comes down to facts. I have my business, you have yours. Conflicts can arise when we cross boundaries.

Sometimes, people make other people’s business their own. Why? Because they are judgmental, unhappy, uninformed, or just fearful of change.

Case(s) in point:

This year, I have decided to pursue learning how to draw and paint. I was not expecting comments like, “Why are you taking a class? Just draw! You don’t need a class, that’s silly.”

I also decided to stop doing a lot of extra volunteer duties at work. Response: “But you’ve always done (fill-in-the-blank).” 

These responses are generally directed toward women, by the way. I rarely never see men at the receiving end of such remarks. 

How to react? Just smile and ignore it. Listen to your gut and do what works best for you. As Eric Barker says, the first step to pursuing what makes you happy is to define it for yourself!

 

Speaking of grains (sort of)….

Did you know Doritos is making “lady friendly chips“? (Washington Post)  Read the article, Maura Judkis is hilarious.

An excerpt: 

What do I like about chips? Hmm, I guess I like how they are small and petite, like me! I like how the bags are shiny and have bright colors. Though I know that chips are not technically meant for Ladies like me because their bags are never pink. If only there were chips that came in a pink bag, so I would know that gentle Ladies like myself could consume them with dignity!

Maura Judkis

Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

The Surprising Science Behind Success

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As I mentioned before, Eric Barker’s book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree is definitely worth reading. Most of the book consists of interesting case studies to prove points (importance of networking, believing in yourself, risk-taking, being kind vs. ruthless, perseverance and the company you keep). However, his final chapter does a nice job of wrapping things up tightly.

In a nutshell, here is what he (and tons of research) find:

You must define success for yourself.

There are four quadrants to everlasting happiness:

  • Enjoyment, winning (achievement), feeling significant (to others) and one’s legacy (extending oneself).

Barker recommends creating an actual grid and listing action items for each category. Also, he believes there is value in tracking what you are actually doing against this grid (Netflix marathon would not qualify for “enjoying” – rather, being in the flow of work is true enjoyment).

Lastly, Barker says scheduling your to dos is much more effective than a list!

art, Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Habitats & Habits

I feel sorry for my sixth graders.

When I was in sixth grade, the only technologies to distract me were the TV and radio. I received my beloved yellow Sony Walkman years later. But even then, in order to make a mix tape, I had to listen to the radio on my boombox and catch my favorite song, hit “record” and “stop” at just the right time.

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Now, the barrage of sounds and images are relentless. You can hear the voices of your peers night and day from your phone. You can catch your favorite TV or film or YouTuber or musician 24/7. Filters and editing programs make everyone look slim, smooth and shiny. 

And if you’re one of the very few who does not own a phone, you might be ostracized. You are deemed too poor or your parents are too strict. You’re square (do they say that anymore)! Regardless, laptops are ubiquitous. The temptation to enter fantasy land is everywhere

I just completed reading Eric Barker’s “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” The book is a compelling read, replete with interesting anecdotes and scientific data to back up his various assertions regarding personal success. One of the most important tips he offers is the adage “control your environment.” A closely linked axiom: know thyself

The most successful and productive people practice this. A few examples:

  • disconnect from the internet while working;
  • place cell phone in the other room;
  • never keep junk food in the house;
  • never hit snooze – get right up (!);
  • work before pleasure;

and so on.

I remind my students that “success” – whatever they define it to be – is within their reach. But they must make a commitment to it and do the necessary work.

Now, more than ever, knowing oneself and taking actions to ensure meeting one’s potential might be the most challenging – yet important – task at hand.

 

art, Health, money, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Ambition – Aspiration – Appetite

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“I love to draw insects and flowers”

Ambition is the strong desire to achieve something.

Aspiration is the hope to achieve something and it also means to draw breath.

Appetite is the natural desire to satisfy a bodily need.

I posit this: that it’s best to work from your appetite when it comes to striving for something. You should literally feel it in your gut and your heart- and allow that to drive your actions. Your body will never steer you wrong.

If your labor is derived from aspiration – the hope with the breath – that is almost as good.

And if you blindly seek your ambition – that desire which originates and stays within your mind –  there is a danger that it’s misguided.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We get more of what we respond to.”

Seth Godin

 

 

art, motivation, Personal Success

Practice Daily

 

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In art, one must be mindful of space: the space between images.

In a few of these, I was afraid of too much space and added graphics. The result was a non-uniform crowding of images, which is not pleasing to the eye.

 

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In relationships, space is even more critical. “Caring” and “parenting” are not about invading space, but respecting our teenagers as their own people. Crowding and controlling them is not pleasing to them!

This is the exact opposite of how I was raised.

But I can choose to question that thinking and do better.

 

art, Health, Personal Success, relationships

Black Flowers

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Do You Drink Too Much?

I only ask because your face is bloated

and you’re distracted much of the time –

you don’t enjoy the things you used to

and the pep in your step is gone

 

 

You say you’re happy

and it makes you relax

but the TV and booze glaze your eyes

and your spirit is in the bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

art, Personal Success, poetry, relationships

Beholden

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orchid doodle

 

I am grateful for the early morning intention

To feed my daughters earth’s fruits

At lunch when I am absent

my love is omnipresent

I am grateful for the pesky wind

That musses “perfect” hair

And shouts sweet nothings in my ears

All are signs that I’m alive

I am grateful for the cuts on my fingers

They scream silently as I work

scabs, wrinkles, dry cuticles – 

My hands are marked with ravages of time and labor

 

art

Hungry No More*

 

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Calico Cat

 

We cry from hunger pains

yearning to fill the void

but after we’ve eaten – with “bellies” full –

we’re left dissatisfied – a bit annoyed

 

Listless and sleepy,

we roll on to our side,

hoping to rest and feel content,

but conscious of the divide

 

 

No longer desirous, for

we ate the bread you gave,

but we’re bloated and numb

It was far better to crave

 

 

 

*Inspired by Mudcrutch

art, money, motivation, Personal Success

The Root of the Matter

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Doodle of root vegetables*

I’m going to sound like a terrible mom, but I packed raw carrots in my daughters’ lunches a few weeks ago for the first time this school year. After the first day, one of the teens said, “I love carrots! I felt so good after I ate it.”

With all the pre-packaged foods available now, (Lunchables, anyone? – ick!)  it’s so easy to overlook the simplicity (and goodness) of washing, cutting and packing fresh fruits and vegetables for lunch.

It’s so easy!

It’s so good for you!

“Today, strong evidence exists that some of the vital nutrients found in many root vegetables — including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber — can help fight cancer, diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory-based disorders like heart disease and arthritis.”

Dr. Axe

art, Health

Did “Ewe” Know…

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Sheep!

A few facts from ScienceKids.com:

  • There are over 1 billion sheep in the world.
  • Sheep have a field of vision of around 300 degrees, allowing them to see behind themselves without having to turn their head.
  • The digestive system of sheep features four chambers which help break down what they eat.

    “A 2002 Oxford study found that insomniacs who counted imaginary ewes actually took longer to nod off. ” Mentalfloss.com

 

 

art, Personal Success

Funny How the Mind Works

I’m taking painting classes through Creativebug.com (Lisa Congdon!) and last night, right before bed, I painted this:

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I went to bed and when I woke up, I thought of a vintage dress a friend gave me over twenty years ago. It’s stored in a closet in my office – and I never look at it. Yet something evoked a need to look at the pattern:

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Voila!

It makes you realize how your brain is working while you sleep. I notice that whatever I think about right before I go to bed is clarified somehow when I wake up. This is why watching informative and inspiring programs before bed is better than watching news…this is why reading a good book is better than arguing…and this is why asking yourself “How can I solve this problem?” is a better question than “Why me?”

 

art

Doodles + Four Facts

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Mosquitos – Malaria, transmitted by mosquitos, kills nearly one million people in the world every year. www.Nature.com.

Fruit Cocktail (the Del Monte variety) used to include alcohol (!) but Prohibition er…prohibited that. Frugality led to fruit cocktail as “spoiled parts” of fruit were cut around to save the good parts. Voila! Fruit “cocktail.” www.thekitchn.com

Peg Leg – The first use of peg legs go back to the 1500’s: Francois le Clerc, known as the first pirate with a peg leg. (www.thepirateking.com)

Spigots – Invented as early as 1700 B.C.! www.plumbinghelptoday.com

 

 

 

 

art, Health

Pomegranate Blossoms

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Just don’t get pomegranate juice on your white shirt!

Pomegranates are “among the healthiest of all fruits” according to healthline.com.

One of the most important nutrients they contain are “punicalagins.”

Punicalagins are extremely powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate.

They are so powerful that pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea (3).

Pomegranate extract and powder is typically made from the peel, due to its high antioxidant and punicalagin content.

-Healthline.com on pomegranates

Health

Santuary

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Desert Arroyo Park  1/21/18

Everyone ought to have a quiet place to walk.

Move your body and quiet your mind – this is the opposite of what most of us do most of the time.

Which is healthier? A busy mind and lethargic body or a quiet mind and a moving body? An overactive mind thinking negative thoughts is the root of our stress and addictions.

 

 

art

Your Checking Account

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The poor, misunderstood ostrich!

The “head in the sand” saying originated as a reference to ostriches hiding their heads in the sand. It alludes to a belief that if you can’t see a predator, they can’t see you. Or, more figuratively, that you refuse to see a problem. However, ostriches do not do that. They lower their heads to eat, but they don’t hide in bushes or in sand.

Another misfortune for the ostrich: though they are birds, they cannot fly.

However, they have such strong legs, that they can kill a lion just by kicking him! (Kids National Geographic) In running, their stride can be as long as 16 feet and – they are the world’s fastest land animal.

Did you know that the ostrich’s eye is the largest of any land animal? (awf.org)

I listened to a podcast the other day. One sentence big takeaway: “If you want to know where your priorities are, take a look at your checking account.”

I realized I spend quite a bit on groceries and dining out. I love animals and I want to help, so I just made a donation to the African Wildlife Foundation. They are accredited by the BBB. I invite you to consider acting on your “priorities.”

Locals: There will be an Ostrich Festival in Chandler, AZ March 9 – 11!

 

 

 

motivation

But What Can I Do?

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At first, he was a reluctant civil rights leader.

He had (very legitimate) fears: personal safety, the safety of his family…

But he served anyway.

It only took one person to lead a nation and provide inspiration for decades thereafter.

But what can I do? You might ask.

When you hear hate, speak up.

When you see injustice, take action.

When it’s election time, vote.

Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr., for your leadership.*

*from Light Watkins

 

art, Health, Personal Success

Aphrodisiac? Tummy Relief? Anti-Inflammatory?

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Is there a food item that can do all of these things?

My daughter has GI problems and when she has ginger tea, she swears it helps.

Ten facts about ginger*:

  1. Ginger is actually a rhizome, not a root. A rhizome is an underground stem.
  2. The ginger plant is an herb.
  3. Ginger is a part of the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes turmeric and cardamom.
  4. Ginger is native to southeastern Asia.
  5. You can grow ginger from rhizomes found at grocery stores.
  6. Mature ginger rhizomes, ones most commonly sold in grocery stores, are harvested after 10-12 months.
  7. Ginger is popularly grown in warmer regions and the tropics.
  8. Ginger can be cultivated all year round. However the best time to plant them is at the end winter and early spring.
  9. A ginger plant can grow up to 4 ft. tall.
  10. Ginger has MANY health benefits, some including ant-inflammatory properties, blood sugar regulation, and gastrointestinal relief.

ginger-nutrition-facts

*from https://thatsitfruit.com/blog/10-interesting-facts-about-ginger/

 

art, Health

So Diverse!

 

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I looked up images of plankton for drawing and then I read about them. I learned that they are classified not by taxonomy (as so many other animals are), but by ecological niche! There are numerous types of plankton – both microscopic as well as macro.

I decided to use acrylic paint for the “luminescent” factor. I have much to learn about using this type of paint. I’m taking a Lisa Congdon class on watercolors/gauche through Creativebug.com (“The Daily Painting Challenge”). It was $10 for 30 mini lessons on pattern-making: a great deal!

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First Four Days of The Daily Painting Challenge

Not sure where I’m going with this art, but I am enjoying the process.

 

 

art, motivation, Personal Success

Ears Are Challenging

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I’ve graduated from Lisa Congdon’s Book of 20 Ways to Draw Everything (with drawings to emulate) to 642 Things to Draw  which offers empty boxes with an object name (Eloise Leigh, Chronicle Books).

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Drawing Remains My Meditation

Much of the time, however, I need to look up the image on my phone or laptop because I can’t conjure the image well enough to draw on my own.

Baby steps.

By the way, did you know there is an art museum named “Van Gogh’s Ear” in Prescott, AZ? I’ll have to check it out next time I’m there.

Personal Success

A Whale of a Story

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Livescience.com just published a (very) short video of a marine biologist seemingly being rescued from a tiger shark. Scientists warn that although it’s altruistic behavior, we need to not jump to conclusions. It might have something to do with their impulse to protect their own young and thus, might be unintentional.

Either way, it’s amazing to watch!