Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fresh Starts and New Beginnings

I have a wonderful life.  It's taken me to my 50's to realize just how wonderful my life really is.  A combination of what I have created for myself and what the crazy universe has decided to throw at me. It's a wonderful mix, warts and all.  I didn't need to jump off a bridge in Bedford Falls to come to this realization.  Although, I do feel that some angels have from time to time stepped in and shown me the way.
I feel my life is so wonderful and I'm so happy with it, that I want to live as long and healthy as I can.  I think it's a combination of attitude/out look on life, staying challenged and fearless and what I'm eating as a diet.  I feel a person can control a lot of what's going on with themselves with diet.
Last week, I embarked on a Spring Cleanse.  Aside from the first three days of apple juice/water/fiber/and whey protein...this Cleanse is a bounty of fresh, clean, tasty fruits, vegetables and meats.   I'm feeling great. And have some amazing energy. It feels like a fresh start.  So, week one and half of a six week cleanse.  I'm taking it a day at a time.  I didn't give it much thought, other than, it was approved by my doctor to do, the food looked great.  Actually, if I would have thought about the first three days, I would have said I'll pass.  I'm also not allowing myself to think about the no sugar (I did have some on Wednesday, but just a smidge and didn't like the feeling afterward.)
In all that, and with this energy, I have this overwhelming drive to tackle everything (and I do mean everything) in my life all at once in the next week.  A wise friend of mine cautioned me and coached me on the hazards of doing this.  I came to realization, that this cleanse is an opportunity for my body to heal and get some balance back.  Not an opportunity to push it beyond it's limits, just because I am antsy.  So, I'm allowing myself to be in this process.  I'm also feeling like it will not only shift my way of eating, but I'll wind up being healthier in mind body and spirit.  But it's difficult, and yet I know I have created this wonderful life I was just bragging about, so I can do this.
Now to this week's project.  My co-worker just purchased her first house.  To say it was an extremely emotional and difficult time for her would be an understatement.  At one point, I thought that maybe someone was holding her 75 year old mother hostage in the trunk of a car until my co-worker closed on her house.  That's how emotionally tense this situation was for her.  She closed on a house that she wasn't very happy about. Me being me, I asked her why?  She said that it wasn't the house of her dreams and on top of everything else she hates new beginnings.  Also, she discovered that house buying isn't like a trip to Target and that bothered her greatly.  I felt a little sad for her.  I know purchasing a house is a big deal.  I've been there, but for me it was the biggest new beginning of all time. I celebrated. (Although, I hate packing and moving).  Still, my hope for my co-worker is that she can get to a place of joy with her purchase and want to celebrate.
Again, me being me, I'm going to help her out. (Not with the moving and packing, with the celebrating)  I created a little  kitchen set featuring her cat and love of her life The Dollie Lana.  A blue eye gray Siamese cat.  I'm feeling very clever about the pot holders as they were silver heat resistant pre-made ones from Dollar Tree.  I took them apart, decorated and re-assembled.  I also found the blue towels (what we like to call Dollie Lana blue) also at Dollar fun
She was touched by the gift and told me that these look so fresh and new that it struck that she was on her way to a fresh start in her life.  She finally felt like celebrating her purchase.  Cool.  Welcome to home ownership.
Life is about ups and downs. I also feel it's about what we do with those ups and downs.  How we ride the roller coaster.  I like mine with fast turns, hills to climb, followed by a big water slide. Like it or not, we are all on the roller coaster.  I'd rather be screaming for joy  and laughing until I wet myself, than screaming out of fear of the next turn or hill or even the water slide.
Is there a fresh start or new beginning you are currently embracing or reluctant to embrace?  What is it?  And how are you embracing it or not embracing it? If you decided to embrace it, what benefits do you think you would gain?

Until next week...create to feel great!
33 projects complete! 19 to go! (The Campaign is in the "Teens" again )
"The Going Overboard For Myself" sub-challenge Update- I decided to make PJ pants! I needed some new ones and love having stacks of PJ pants.  So, this week I made a pair of PJ pants.  Just in time for a relaxing weekend.

Yes, those are Sponge Bob Square Pants PJ Pants and Gus.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

There Be Monsters Up In Here

I never gave birth to children.  Some people might suspect I gave birth to my cats, but that's just speculation and I'll never tell.  I made the decision not to have children in my twenties.  It was a very well thought out decision and I have never felt like my life was lacking for not having given birth and raising children.  I have, however been very lucky over the years to work with some amazing kids and act as sort of an Aunt to them.  I'm also one of those odd ducks who enjoy teenagers.  I think it's because they are very much like cats in their core nature and behavior.  I feel blessed to have many young adults in my life and watching this group go from cats  to amazing people is an honor and I'm happy that they chose to share their lives with me.  I find them a constant source of energy, ideas, inspiration and fun. They also challenge me not to get old. I like that.  I'm closer to some of these kids than others in the group I refer to as "my kids".  One of these kids, Derek, just returned from his first year of college in Chicago.  We talk often and I couldn't be more proud of the life work he is doing.  He's really stepping into his creativity (amazing actor), his compassion for others (amazing leader) and grows more self aware every time I talk to him.  So, watch out world, don't say I didn't warn you.
I'm mentioning Mr. D., because he is the founder of this week's project.  A couple of weeks ago, he asked me if we could do a creative project.  Now I know he doesn't like sewing or that sort of creating, and yet he wanted to make a stuff animal.  Upon talking and brainstorming more, we came up with Worry Monster Dolls.  But how would we make them with no sewing and still them be something we would want around?  I rack my brain some more...needle felting.  I don't know where in the world that came from?  I've known about needle felting for years.  It's one those crafts that I know are very addictive to the point where most people know this and know better than to start up on this craft, because that's all they are going to want to do.  Not like any of the other crafts I do are like this.  I really can quit any time.  For some reason needle felting kept calling my name.  I started up with excuses...I know the supplies are expense (no, I got all we need for a room full of Worry Monsters for about $10).  I need to take a class at very least read a ton of books on the craft before starting (once again Internet saves the day. Thank you all of those who love posting tutorials).  So, all my excuses were stopped before I could let them run wildly out of control.  I really wanted to step into this new world of crafting, so on I went.  Well, it's addictive to say the least.  Here's why...
It's a very intuitive and very much a great exercise for staying in the moment.  I can't stab that needle into the fleece and watch it become wool felt and do other things, except talk to some without making eye contact.  It's very mind clearing, dare I say zen.  It's easy to step into that creative flow and have fun.  Especially making these monsters.  It really doesn't matter if they aren't the perfect shape, 'cause they are. I was able to teach Derek the craft and he seem to take to it, and has a successful outcome on the first try. (In the photo his is the blue "ghost" to the right) I love crafts like this.  We had an enjoyable afternoon stabling fleece, talking, creating and only broke 3 needles and no blood was shed.  I would have never had a reason to discover this fun craft, if Derek had not wanted to do some crafting.  Once again, I'm inspired and challenged my one of "my kids" and I'm grateful.
When Derek asked to craft, I thought I'd just force him to enjoy sewing, and take the easy way out. But I don't like disappointing the kids.  I really accepted this as a challenge for me to discover something new and share it with someone in my life.  We talked about getting together and doing some more needle felting this summer.  I think we will make this happen.
We all have worries and now we have monsters to tell our worries to and they will handle them for us so we can get on with life and living. Thank you Mr. D. for the idea.  Welcome home for the summer!

Until next week create to feel great!
32 projects complete 20 to go!
Campaign Side bar....I was asked to be apart of the Get Inspired Project.  My interview is posted at
I'm in there with some heavy hitters.  It's pretty cool and an honor to be a part of this.
The I'm goin' overboard for myself for a change shirt challenge- four shirts in four weeks.
I've completed two weeks.  This week's addition sort looks like a toss back to the 80's. I'm saying this because I think it also looks a little old lady.  Maybe time for a new pattern.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lesson by Lesson and Bird by Bird

I have recently embarked on process of obtaining more coaching cred.  More to the point, getting more certification as a creativity coach.  And really to be honest, to challenge myself and expand my knowledge of the creative process and hopefully help others do the same. In choosing the program to work in, my main thing was that it had to have some sort of challenge element to it.  Something I felt would stretch me and would really be difficult for me to attempt to trick myself and others into, looking like I was doing the work but not really doing the work.  That mind set is a pretty safe place for me to go to sometimes.  Then I wonder why I'm not achieving as much and feeling like I got gyped.  I'm currently enrolled and started doing the course work for this creativity coaching certification.  I'm starting with reading requirement.  Choose 5 book from a list of 20 classics on creativity.  This is cake. I thought.  I'll do this in no time.  Then I got the study guides and essay questions.  Then I got stuck.  I feel like by the time I finishing reading these five books, and write the essays I will have completed a master thesis.  Talk about challenge.  Talk about wanting to run to my safe place.  Talk about wanting to figure out how to get out of doing all this work and still get the cred I want.  Talk about feeling overwhelmed.  Then the first book in my five arrived on my door step.  Bird by Bird-Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.  I knew nothing about this book or the writer.  I chose the title because it sounded like fun and I call Mickeygirl, Bird sometimes. It was written about 15 years ago and is considered a classic.  How did I miss this one?  I cracked open the book and started to read.  Ms. Lamott is not only funny, honest and insightful, she speaks her truth.  I felt like I found a kinder spirit.   She talks about writing, but really what she talks about can be applied to any creative project and most importantly to life. Ms. Lamott doesn't mess around here.
So, far the main theme is speaking (or writing) the truth.  The truth.  Your truth.
She also talks a great deal about being in the moment and taking things bird by bird (one thing at a time).  She resonates with me so much because I have always felt like the creative process is well within our grasp.  We just have to wake up and not make such a big deal about getting to the creating portion of the program.  Creating isn't just for the special few.  It's for everyone.  And what a huge shame if we stop ourselves from the joy and heartbreak, contribution and all the life and living found in this process, all because we think that creating is the road to fame and fortune.  Not always and not in the traditional sense. So, it's sort like saying. "Well, if I can't be rich and famous by being creative, then I'm not going to play."  What a sad waste and really cheating yourself and the world.
In talking with a friend about this reading requirement, I felt overwhelmed. I was starting to feel scared about what I had to say on the essays.  What if I don't finish the books? (I'm also famous for buying books with good intentions, starting them and then ditching them after page 40.)  Yet I was excited about the discovery of this wonderful book.  She started asking my questions about the book and the reading requirement.  It dawned on me some of the lessons from the book were at play here.  For the essays, I needed to tell my truth about what I was learning. As for getting reading complete on all five books, it was to stay with my intuition on which order to read them, thus keeping it interesting and being able to relate to what lessons in my life I needed at the time of reading the book .  For the entire requirement, it was taking it bird by bird or in this case one book at a time, one essay question at a time.  Overall, stepping back from this reading requirement and going after this additional certification, would be like the folks who are afraid to approach the exploration of their creative process and bringing it into their world.  It would make it impossible for me to coach people, if I stepped back now.  It would be like saying to them. "I'm right here. You go ahead and face that challenge no matter what. Maybe that will work for you.  I just don't do it in my own life."  It would feel like a scam.  And not truthful.  Thank you, Anne Lamott.  Thank you universe for sending me this book at this time. Thank you, Suzi for helping me articulate what was going on with me here.  It's all just what I needed.  It will be interesting to see what the other books bring to my life.  I'll take it lesson by lesson.  Bird by bird.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Shoemaker's Children

I love to sew.  I've been sewing for well over 40 years.  I love teaching others to sew. I just love the process of sewing. Machine or by hand, doesn't matter.  If it's sewing, I love it.  My wise friend Nan, once commented that a person who knows how to sew will never be without.  I challenged her and to complete the sentence.  She said. "A person who sews will never be without."  Well I heard her the first time.  "What do you mean by will never be without?"  Just that.  She continued.  "You sew.  You can make clothes.  You can make gifts. You can make things to sell.  You can make home decor.  All the things that make for life.  You will never be without because you know how to sew."  Wow.  This felt much better than my mother's idea for what makes a complete life. Which was..."learn to type and you will never be without a job."  Yes. I sew.  A lot.  I love sewing.  I can watch a sewing show and learn new ways to improve my sewing.  I love Project Runway because it's sewing competitions.  It's people sewing under pressure.  I've even been known to sew and watch Project Runway. That for me is a really cheap thrill. (See.  Nan was right. I'm not even without of cheap thrills).
Over the last few years, I've done more sewing for others than myself.  I have a large stash of "someday, I'll make this for me" fabric.  I just never seem to get around to making anything for me. It's like the Shoemaker's Children going barefoot, 'cause the Shoemaker is busy making shoes for everyone else. Sewing for myself has grown less fun over the years.   I'm feeling like this attitude and situation needs to change.  This week is as good as any.  This week's project is for me.  A brightly printed cotton summer shirt.
I have to say, it was a bit of struggle completing this.  I'd start and stop and start and stop.  I'd lose interest and stop. This is a very easy shirt.  The pattern envelope even said so.  Gus could sew this shirt in less time I was taking whinning over it. Why? I finally sat down and asked myself "why"?  And shut up long enough to hear the answer.
Here's what popped up..."You don't really like or enjoy taking care of yourself and doing things for yourself." What!? Sitting with that for a while. I realized that was true.  It makes me feel uncomfortable.  Wow! Time for a real dose of self-esteem and self-worth.  As I finished this shirt, I thought it might be time to make another one for me.  Go a little overboard.  Why not?  I'd do if it was for someone else, now wouldn't I?  So, okay.  I will.  I'm going to make me a shirt a week for the next month. (I like shirts).  I'll still keep doing other projects for this challenge, but know that I'll also be making myself a shirt a week through mid-June.  Fun!  I'm going to go a little overboard for myself for a change, and wind up with some summer fun clothes in the bargain.
I'll keep you posted on that progress as well....So, stay tuned....a challenge within a challenge.
Let me ask you good are you at taking care of yourself?  Doing nice things for you and only you?
Is there something healthy you could do for yourself that is going a little overboard and sends a clear message to yourself that you care about you?  It only has to involve chocolate and booze if you want it to. Certianly use your creativity.  I'm finding taking care of me allows me the energy to contribute to the world with a positive frame of mind. What this Campaign for me is all about.  I'd love to hear want you are doing with this idea.
Until next week...create to feel great.
31 projects complete. 21 to go.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Simple "In-vest(ment)" Of Time

My husband, Broadside Johnnie, never reads this blog.  He's very supportive of the Campaign and enjoys hearing about what I'm working on or blogging about, but he never reads this blog. I think, for him, I always have something I'm creating, or some big idea or something, and it just all blurs to him.  It doesn't bother me very much.  I understand.  This is really not his sort of thing.  I feel a huge part of being married to someone for over 21 years  and a huge part of love is what I've heard called "joyful acceptance".  It's sort loving them warts and all.  (If abuse is involved, best "joyfully accept" that person from another state and certainly not closely in your life.)
Anyway, this week I'm glad that Broadside doesn't read my blog, as this week's project is for him.  His birthday is this coming Tuesday and I thought it would be nice for me to make him a vest for his birthday.  He loves wearing wool vests, that I have also made from him to celebrate other occasions, but I thought it might be nice to move him over into a corduroy.  Lighter weight for warmer days.
As I was making this project I was reflecting back on a couple of conversations I've had in the last week with two different people in my life.  Both conversations revolved around giving to others.  Both my friends are true "givers".  My one friend gives to others to the point of exhaustion, and the people my friend gives to keep asking and almost demanding more and more.  My other friend also gives and gives to others in hopes of building a community of friends.  Most time this giving is not returned and is not building the community my friends so desires.  I've been and guilty of both situations, and more than likely will be again in my life.
Both friends asked. "How do I stop giving so much?  I don't want people to think less of me or be mad at me."  Truly a pickle to be in.  I guess the bigger question for me here is...Why do I give so much?  What is it that I'm wanting from the people I give to?  I've discovered, when I give I feel like my talents and I belong somewhere in the bigger scheme of things.  I like that feeling of belonging so much it can become addictive.  So, to feed that addictive to the feeling of belonging to something...I keep giving. Now what could be wrong with that and why am I calling it an addiction?  Well, because for me, at times, it has been.   Please don't get me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with giving your talent and or yourself. Nothing wrong with that. I think there is nothing better than making a contribution to another's person life.  It's when it crosses a line.  When I don't feel like my giving is leading to peace of mind and fulfillment for me.  That I'm giving to feed that feeling of belonging, and  I'm seeking approval of others. More importantly, I'm looking to others for my self worth.  When I feel like what I can give isn't good enough or what they want, so I'll keep giving more and more until I'm tapped out and drained of my life force and/or my creativity.  Until I got nothin' more to give.  That's when giving becomes a killer.  A person like me who loves abundance and gives abundantly, stopping that cycle before I'm drained is difficult, and I've discovered the best tactic for me when it comes to giving to look at what I want to give and why I want to give it.  I also look at how much I want to give. I check in to see if  what I'm giving is going to drain me or if it's doable and fulfilling. Sometimes I go over board, but if I'm having fun with the giving that is fulfilling, I still stop and check in with myself.  I never give with expectations of return.  I know that the big old universe will take care of all that for me and does very nicely.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, no it's not.  It takes a lot of awareness, self esteem and self confidence. Oh, and did I mention practice?  Lots and lots of awareness and lots and lots of practice.
My project this week...simple, but how did my husband get all those other vests in his wardrobe? Well, one crazy Christmas I was feeling very insecure and I made him a seven vests, one for each day of the week.  Nice gift.  Broadside loved them and wears a vest a day, but it was a crazy thing, as he would have loved one vest at a time.   Why I mention this is that when it came to wanting to introduce corduroy vests, I stopped at one vest this time.  It feels good, it feels like it's enough to give, and it's coming from my heart, from me and for no other reason than to say to Broadside. "Happy Birthday.  I love you and I appreciate you."
Where in your life to you feel you give too much?  Why to you do it?  How do you feel when you give too much?  I'd love to hear your take on this idea of giving.

Until next week...create to feel great!
30 projects complete.  22 to go!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hooked on a Feelin'

This has been a very busy month for me.  Most folks who know me, would say. "When are you not busy?"
Well, April, has been a bit more on the busy side.  And on top of it all, I've been smacked with a huge case of the "lazies."  We all know the "lazies".  That feeling of there is so much to do, but all I want to do is nap.
That's been my month.  I've wanted and taken many a nap this month, while attempting to get all I've committed to complete. It doesn't make for especially inspired projects for the campaign, although, I really like all I have created this month.  Usually, when I'm busy, I still find time for knitting.  Knitting relaxes me and helps me stay focused. No matter how busy, stressed or whatever, knitting a few rows always shifts my mood and relaxes me.  As of late, I've re-discovered crocheting.  The ease and quickness of the projects.  The motion of working the hook with the yarn.  It's so relaxing and almost zen like in it's creation.  It feels different and has a different effect on me than the knitting does.  Crocheting is faster, and yet I have to look at what I'm doing to crochet. Sidebar, I've been known to knit in a dark room, feeling the stitches as I go along, and no the project doesn't look like it's been knit in a dark turns out well.
Crocheting provided me with an entirely different focus.  For me it's a true zen in the moment craft.  I haven't yet figured out a way to escape that. You know craft on one thing and mind is still racing about everything else.  I haven't figured out a way to do that with crocheting....not yet...hopefully I won't ever.
So, far this month, I've created a bookworm, an angel, a smiley face, a butterfly, and this week...a blue bunny wearing lime green shorts.  When I was a kid, I use to love crocheting animals.  I made bears and cats for all my nieces and nephews.  Back then...they were called crocheted animals, now this form of crocheting is called amigurumi. And I guess it's now a trendy Japanese craft.  Who knew? This week I was being all Zen and Trendy.  
This little guy (well he's fairly good size) was so easy to make and quick.  It seemed like it was completed before I started.  No, this bunny isn't filled with catnip for Gus and Mickeygirl.  It will go to some lucky little kid, before too long. (Nieces and Nephews are now havng kids of their own).
I was able to meet the challenges of this week, meet the "lazies" on their own turf with a nap or two and make a cute blue bunny with lime green shorts.  I'm happy I re-discovered crocheting, I don't think it will ever replace my beloved knitting, but it's nice to have crocheting back in the mix.  Better still, it's nice to re-discover something from my past that I use to do to bring me joy and a smile to my face.  Again I'm reminded that joy is in the simple things and in the simple things of this moment.
Is there something in your past that you could re-discover to bring you joy and a smile to your face today?

Until next week create to feel great! 
29 projects complete 23 weeks to go!