Amour

img-3785.jpg

My daughter’s boyfriend gave her a bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day. How sweet is that? I took a small portion and put it in a bud vase for painting. I liked how the dye colored the water.

 

 

Awe and Stillness

Related image

“It seems to me that some of us value information over wonder, and noise over silence. And I feel that we need a lot more wonder and a lot more silence in our lives.”

Fred Rogers

 

How to Cultivate Presence

josiah-ingels-1310240-unsplash
Josiah Ingels

Bring more present moment awareness into your life. Start with small, every day activities. Instead of indulging in thinking (as you cook, take out the garbage, shower)…be present. Be sensory aware. Feel the energy in your body. Be aware of your surroundings. All it takes is 30 seconds and everyone has 30 seconds.

Eckhart Tolle

For Interest

IMG-3727 (1)

One of the foundational threads of advice throughout all the art courses I’ve taken is to add details “for interest.” I’ve noticed that small brush strokes here and there add a lot to the piece.

Everything I’ve done based on my “interests” has borne great fruits: teaching, relationships, art, spiritual growth, and writing. When I pursued activities or work based on anything other than an authentic engagement, it never worked out.

“Interest,” it turns out, is essential to true joy.

To Parents and Guardians of Kids Under 16

sergey-pesterev-222163-unsplash
By Sergey Pesterev

Teaching your teenager how to drive is a thankless job. Don’t expect appreciation. Laugh off the frustration, anger and stress. It’s our job to teach them to drive well and safely. They have no idea how many new gray hairs have sprouted because they almost hit that car/curb/bicyclist. They have no idea how it feels (for the adult passenger) to be completely powerless as they hit the accelerator and then the brakes. They don’t know that they are steering a 4,000 lb weapon.

Just try to stay present and calm. Try. To. Be. Calm.

It will pay off!

 

The End

img-3658

I was working on the back cover art and came up with the illustration shown above.

Feedback from my family:

“That first little chameleon is so cute!”

“Um, that second one is humping the dad.”

“Yeah, why’s she humping his dad?”

Lots of laughing.

I started over. There were murmurs that the second baby chameleon was doing something x-rated to the sibling.

“Move the second chameleon up higher, she still looks like she’s humping her dad.”

<Heavy sigh>

Despite the pain, feedback IS valuable.

I’m going with this one:

img-3664

I just need to make the cover and I’ll be ready to start the self-publishing process…

Hello, and what do you do?

rawpixel-589084-unsplash
Rawpixel

“When you completely identify with your role (mother…doctor…), then something vital is missing. If you play a role at work, you always have a secondary motive because the ego is at work. You’re not totally focused on the task at hand because there is some self-interest there. You want to protect yourself. You want to get credit for yourself…or use the people around you.”

Eckhart Tolle

 

Page 22*

img-3645

Many years later, when Kevin was in his backyard with his children, his daughter Ava cried out, “Dad! Josie is cheating at Tag!”

Kevin said just one thing.

“Is that so?”

 

*Kevin the Complainer

 

 

 

Domestic Distraction

filip-mroz-220805-unsplash
Mroz

I sat down to work on my Teachers’ National Board Certification.

I got a lot done:

Three loads of laundry, the dishes, my car, and refrigerator are clean, and my dog got a bath.

And now this post.

Ok. Here I go. I’m really going to do it.

 

Making Amends – Page 21*

img-3639

The next day, Kevin approached Carlos and Minji.

“I’m sorry for my behavior. I want to hang out with you guys again. I promise I will never lose my temper and be a sore loser…or an annoying winner.”

“Or complain about the sun in your eyes?” Minji asked.

“Or grumble about being tired when you’re losing?” Carlos added.

Kevin promised.

Carlos and Minji accepted his apology and they all were friends once again.

Mary Oliver*

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver and her dog

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver1935 – 2019

Wild Geese

 

Oliver, who cited Walt Whitman as an influence, is best known for her awe-filled, often hopeful, reflections on and observations of nature. “Mary Oliver’s poetry is an excellent antidote for the excesses of civilization,” wrote one reviewer for the Harvard Review, “for too much flurry and inattention, and the baroque conventions of our social and professional lives. She is a poet of wisdom and generosity whose vision allows us to look intimately at a world not of our making.”

Her honors include an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, a Lannan Literary Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. She lived for over forty years in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with her partner Molly Malone Cook, a photographer and gallery owner. After Cook’s death in 2005, Oliver later moved to the southeastern coast of Florida. Oliver died of cancer at the age of eighty-three in Hobe Sound, Florida, on January 17, 2019.

*This contents of this post come from Poets.org

Mary Oliver reminds me to look to nature whenever I feel humans are letting the world down. Rejoice in the strength of the trees and the persistent bloom of flowers.

-CCW

 

 

 

What Complaining is

aaron-burden-20304-unsplash
Photo from Aaron Burden

“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always non-acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge.”

Eckhart Tolle

Page 18

img-3597

“You’re right! This game is fun!” cried Lily as she kicked and missed for the third time.

“Wait, wait, let Minji try. She’s really good,” said Carlos.

“Is that so?” Lily said as she stood back.

Minji kicked the ball over the wall of the playground.

“Oh great, now we have to get a teacher to unlock the gate to get the ball,” groaned Kevin.

“Is that so?” Lily asked as she chewed on blades of grass.

Kevin suddenly saw that it was not a big deal, having to get the ball.

 

“You are a formidable kicker,” Lily complimented Minji.

 

Samuel Adams

patrick-henry-hero
History.com

My fifth-grade class was conducting research on Loyalists vs Patriots pre-Revolutionary War. Students were assigned Benjamin Franklin, Lord Dunmore, Tom Hutchinson, Mercy Otis Warren, or Samuel Adams.

One of my students was perplexed.

“I have Samuel Adams and I don’t understand this word:  ‘lager'”.

 

Page 17*- Do Over?

img-3577
Not crazy about this one…will do it over…

At recess, Minji and Carlos taught Lily how to play Kick and Cover.

Lily ran up to the ball and tried to kick it.

She missed. By a lot.

Kevin, Minji and Carlos laughed out loud.

And to their surprise, so did Lily!

“Try it again!” They urged her.

She tried to kick the ball again. But missed even worse than before.

 

The all laughed so hard, they fell. They hadn’t laughed that hard in a really, really long time.

 

*From Kevin the Complainer (publishing date coming soon)

Page 16*

img-3573

Kevin thought for a few minutes.

Lily just smiled and shrugged.

In the silence that followed, Kevin felt calmer. Lily’s reaction (or, rather, lack of reaction) to his complaints gave him space to think.

 

She left a lot of space.

 

And he realized that he just might be wrong.

 

 

*From my next book, Kevin the Complainer

Page 15*

img-3569

“Well, yeah. I’m right…and they are…wrong.”

Kevin felt something in his chameleon gut. It all felt untrue.

Lily just kept eating.

“OK, maybe they’re not completely at fault. Maybe I get hot-headed and too passionate.”

Lily continued to look into his eyes, listening to him. 

There was no judgment, anger or fear in her eyes. She was listening to him, completely.

 

 

*From my next book, Kevin the Complainer

Page 14*

 

img-3565-1.jpg

“Yeah! And I was just playing and being good, you know?  That’s what makes it fun! They’re just mad because I was winning.”   Kevin was burning with indignation.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah! And now they’re ignoring me. I bet they want me to apologize. But I won’t. I refuse. It’s a matter of principle.”

“Is that so?” Lily continued to eat her lunch.

“Yes! I am right. They are wrong. Period!”  Kevin fumed.

“Hm. Is that so?”  Lily popped a flower bud in her mouth.

Kevin stopped and looked at Lily.

 

 

*of my next book, Kevin the Complainer

Page 11*

IMG-3518 (1)

At lunch, Lily was sitting by herself. Kevin looked over at Minji and Carlos. They were talking and laughing and ignoring him.

So Kevin sat next to Lily.

“Hello,” Lily said.

“Hello,” Kevin answered.

They chewed in silence.

*From my next book, Kevin the Complainer