Saturday, October 31, 2009

Treats - The Joy Diet

This week we were to focus on "treats" as we worked on The Next Chapter -The Joy Diet.
This was actually an easy one to incorporate as I really needed treats this week and I found lots.

I was able to create (created more ATCs and had fun with photograpy), have treats (especially chocolate), read, watch TV (my fav. -So You Think You Can Dance Canada finale!), buying used books at the 50% sale at the thrift shop, have the craft club at school for Grade 4s, celebrate Hallowe'en at school, dance to Thriller with my class several times!!

Taking photos yesterday coming home from school was a definite treat. I usually don't have my camera with me at school but I did as I was taking photos of the children's costumes. It was late, as I had been cleaning desks and looking for work to mark, so as I drove home I noticed the setting sun and the beautiful sky. I just had to stop and get some photos! Talk about a treat for the soul!

Then when I arrived home the moon was out - almost full!

I had been feeling sick most of the week but those treats really boosted my spirits. (I wrote earlier about my hubby's cancer scare - he is still not out of the woods)

I also had the Day of the Dead project to write about - that was a great project. See here.

Shadow Shot Sunday

With Hallowe'en this weekend I had to try for some pumpkin shadows! We have still not carved our pumpkin (! - with no children around day to day the necessity to carve it was gone!), so I chased the sun around our yard until I was able to quickly snap a few shadows!

Be sure to check out the other great shadow chasers at Hey Harriet!

Day of the Dead Blog Fest

Happy Hallowe'en One and All!

Tomorrow though, begins a new celebration for me - Day of the Dead.

Wikipedia has a brief description to give you an overview:

"The Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos or All Souls' Day) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Latin Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. ."

This day honours those who left us, giving us an opportunity to remember them. It is also the time when the veil between our world and theirs is so very thin.

Kara of Mother Henna, offered a chance to take part in a "Day of the Dead" art Collaboration back in September. I came across it late but it really grabbed me and I knew I had to take part.

We were to create any art to reflect this theme.
Each ATC card I created , I thought of people I had lost. My Mom, my Dad, my godmother/aunt, other aunts and uncles, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, all of my grandparents, friends. It really was cathartic.
Now the Fest is open for all to view.
Kara has many ways for you to honour your dead:
*Create an ofrenda - an altar that is a special way to honour and remember those you have lost.
*Say their names.
*Create art in their names.
*Do random acts of kindness in their honour.
She asks: "What do you do this season to honor and remember your loved ones and the universal experience of grief and love?"

I have my own ofrenda, with pictures of my loved ones. Some of my art is there as well.
We all grieve in different ways. This has given me another way to honour those I have lost - a very personal way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

It is Wishcast Wednesday and Jamie has asked an appropriate question - for Hallowe'en week and this chapter (Treats) of The Joy Diet":

What treat do you wish for?

There are many things I have listed this week as treats, but the biggest treat I could receive right now is a sound sleep, every night and piece of mind.

Yesterday I stayed home from school as I felt lousy , but then last night was an almost sleepless night. My hubby was getting his stitches removed and word on what was found. And next week I face a court case.

News about my hubby was mixed - most of the stitches could be removed but several had to be left in, as the area wasn't fully healed. As well, the doctor told him that cancer had been found right to the edge of the skin removed. When I questioned what that meant, he said he would be monitored. But he is being seen again next week, to take the last of the stitches out. So again, a different worry. - but I am going to send questions this time!

I have to trust that my hubby will be okay and that my lawyer has done her job.

Hence - piece of mind, and a return to sound sleep! What a treat that would be!

Be sure to visit the other wishcasters here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ABC Wednesday - O is for Ocean

Once again it is time for ABC Wednesday, when we focus on a letter to highlight.
This week O is the star - and for me, the ocean was first choice.

Last year's trip to Vancouver and Vancouver Island, B.C. was filled with ocean, and mountains - awesome scenery no matter where you were. My dream would be live there!

Be sure to check out the other great posts here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Affirmation and Sunday Citar

The affirmation letter this week is R.

As I began to read Chapter 7 "Treats" of "The Joy Diet", treats seemed to relate to rewards. I had cut out the words "royal rewards" a while ago and as I searched for collage elements, this phrase jumped out at me.
So this week I will be seeking rewards/treats - treats like music, hugs, chocolate, books, flowers. Throughout the week I will explore more and I will be sure to reward myself!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday Citar is a chance to share something that caught your eye, an incredible quote or a new find.

While visiting blogs last night I came across a beautiful quote by Pablo Casals (1876-1973).

"Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again.

And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.

When will we also teach them what they are?

We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are?

You are a marvel. You are unique.

In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you.Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.

You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.You have the capacity for anything.

Yes, you are a marvel.

And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children."

What a great message!

(I am sorry that I cannot give credit to the blogger where I found this)

Be sure to visit other participants here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

RISK - The Joy Diet

This chapter of "The Joy Diet" on risk made me realize I haven't been much of a risk-taker in the past few years. Remarriage, a move and a demanding job have all made me less of a risk-taker. I find too, that as I age (almost 6 decades - yikes!!), I feel less willing to risk - at least physically.

There have been times in my life though when I wasn't afraid to step out and risk. When I graduated from teacher's college in "77, there were no teaching jobs in Ontario. So, I applied for, and got, a teaching job in The Northwest Territories. I stayed 3 years, had a son (as a single mom) and made lasting friendships.

After a year at home and still no teaching job, I left for a job in Alberta with my son. Many nights I cried - from fear, loneliness, money problems. But I stayed. I married, had a daughter, moved back to Ontario, had another son and went back to teaching.

After my separation, I met my present husband online. That was considered risky, but we were both very honest and have been together 9 years now.

The risks I hope to take now though, relate to creativity. I hope to pursue more and more art challenges. I took part in the Day of the Dead artist challenge (check my blog Oct. 31!).

Reading the quote at the end of the chapter really sums what risk is about. It made me realize that it is the things we don't do that we regret. I would say that I have had few regrets.

"At the end of my life, which will I regret more: taking this risk and failing, or refusing to take it, and never knowing whether I would have succeded or failed?"

Shadow Shot Sunday

Another rainy, cloudy week. But luckily I have my precious store of photos from a couple of weeks ago!

A tangled garden!

Searching out shadows for "Shadow Shot Sunday" is turning into a very enjoyable pasttime. You never know where they will turn up - usually the best ones happen when I don't have my camera! Visiting the other participants is enjoyable as well - such fascinating shadows.
Be sure to check outthe other shadows at "Hey Harriet".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Anyway Thursday!

I enjoy visiting other blogs and discovering something new. Today at Mel's "Clutter to Shine" blog, I read her list for "Thankful Anyway Thursday". What a great idea. It is similar to listing one's gratitudes.

As Holistic Mama says:

" I want to challenge myself to find the thankfulness in the, well..... the crap. The stuff that initially angers me, annoys me, depresses me, or generally makes me go, ARGH! I want to find thankfulness in confusion, stress, anxiety, and ruts."

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the events of the day. But to be able to look past these and find the small things that really do make me grateful helps.

*I am grateful for not having to have cooked today and having a date with my husband.

*I am also grateful that now I don't have to make a lunch tomorrow as I had leftovers from tonight's eat-out meal. Pizza!

*I am thankful for the book "Because of Winn-Dixie". We finished reading it in my class yesterday and we started watching the movie today in celebration.

*I am thankful that the children are loving a sweet story and want to hear another great book.

*I am thankful for support from the spec. ed. teacher and principal in regards to 2 disruptive students.

*I am also thankful that I have a great conference in Toronto to look forward to with another teacher - we started planning today. Yes we deserve 2 nights away!

I am sure there are lots of other things, but it is late and I am thankful to have a comfy bed to go to and that it is Friday (with half a day conference tomorrow!)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

This week at Jamie Ridler Studios, Jamie asks another thought-provoking question:

What do you wish to say yes to?

Last week's question asked us what do we want to let go - and that for me was negativity.

This week - a reversal. I definitely want to say YES :

to positive feelings,

to love,

to being in the moment,

to courage,

to creativity,

to enjoying life!

May all our wishes be fulfilled!

Be sure to visit other wishcasters here and help them fulfill their wishes. There is definite power and magic in sharing our wishes and supporting each other.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Night and Neon Lights

Once again it is ABC Wednesday - this week the letter is N.

I found a photo from a visit to Lake George, N.Y. - the sign for Montcalm - an upscale restaurant we have been to several times. While waiting for your meal you can read the history of Montcalm's. Very interesting stuff, if you like military history!

The photo was taken at night - hence Neon at night.

Be sure to check out other great participants here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Affirmation and Sunday Sitar

As I was thinking about the letter for the affirmation of the week, I was visiting Sema's blog Affirmart and saw her entry for Sunday Sitar. I have taken part a few times in this meme - it was only because of time restrictions that I stopped.

But I realized that this was the perfect vehicle for the affirmation letter this week - Q.
Q is for question.
To question is to learn and to look deeper. Questions are necessary to discovery what you need to know.

Here are some quotes on questioning:

One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. Chinese proverb

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?" George Bernard Shaw

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. Picasso

To be on a quest is nothing more or less than to become an asker of questions. Sam Keen

Judge others by their questions rather than by their answers. Voltaire

Be sure to check out the other Sunday Sitar participants here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

Last week I took my camera and walked around our neighbourhood on the lookout for changes in trees - for an ATC challenge. I ended up finding some great shadows!

At the little park near us, I found a number of great shadows:

Be sure to check out the other great shadows at Hey Harriet!


I had almost decided I would not post on this chapter of the Joy Diet, but after reading many other posts and an article by Martha Beck this morning, I thought I needed to get my thoughts down.

I found some of the exercises in this chapter to be counter-productive (especially the one on enemies) to what I have been working toward. Somethings I already do. Brainstorming ideas has always been a process I use frequently, both personally and in my teaching. Children love it!
I found I learned more by visiting others yesterday than reading this chapter.
I had thought the creativity chapter would be joy-filled -NOT!
But then this morning in Oprah's latest edition, I read an article by Beck . She described a strategy called The kitchen Sink. Loved the idea - and it is one I already use. She also talks about "deep practice" It made me think of the book "The Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.

Here is my take on the chapter - a collage: the kitchen sink, a bend in the road, art, music, writing, innovations - a tomato as a heart, a rake holding letters.

In all we read and explore, we are always picking up bits we can use. This chapter may not have resonated as deeply as others, but I am realizing that as I read and visit with others, creativity is being stimulated.
Be sure to check out all the other great participants here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

Today Jamie Ridler asks another probing question:

What do you wish to let go?

As I thought about the question I realized that it was negative thinking that I have to let go of, once and for all. While working through The Joy Diet, I have had many negative things surface, yet it is the very attitude of negativity that has seeped into my being.

I used to be a much more positive person - but now I seem to see a glass half empty.

Anger, pain, grief, hopelessness even, have been eating away at me.

And I HATE it!

I am letting my age number dictate what I can and can't do.

I am letting anger and grief fill me at times.

I am letting aches and pains dominate.
I am letting weight and clutter weigh me down.

I need to let it all go - I need to look at the glass half full. Age should not define me. There is a lot still to do and a lot I want to do!

As Jamie says: "There is great power in wishing together." Be sure to visit other great wishcasters here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ABC Wednesday - M is for Musical Ride

This week at ABC Wednesday the focus is on M.

In June we had visited Woodbine for the Queen's Plate and saw the RCMP perform thier Musical Ride. It is a precision ride, by mounties - the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It is an amazing performance, one I've only seen a handful of times.

For more information on its history, tour dates and other information check here.

Be sure to check for other great entries at ABC Wednesday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy thanksgiving and New Affirmation

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. For all who celebrate

-Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrated yesterday with my husband's 3 children and their families and with my son and his girlfriend. (15 people in all) It was a great evening of food, fellowship and laughter.

We ended the evening with my son, his girlfriend and my husband and I playing Scattegories after everyone else left. Like old times!

Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, kohlrabi, squash - what a feast. Then of course there had to be pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Today we have the best meal - all of the leftovers, but none of the work!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The new affirmations for this week are based on the letter P:

Pray and Play

Following both brings balance, along with equal doses of work and love. We do need both as we journey through life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

In a week of rain and cloud and few shadows, I despaired of finding new shadows this week. Then this morning as I looked at our cat on the back porch, I saw sun and shadows! Hurrah! I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped away.
This first shadow was the holes in the lattice shining onto the tarp surrounding the porch - readying for winter!
Doesn't she look comfy? At 17 1/2 she deserves a bit of comfort.
Then as I walked around our yard, she followed me and I had to snap this shadow!
This dark, crisp shadow was from the dryer exhaust box!
I took a few more shadow photos, which I'll save for those days shadows fail to appear as needed! I feel like the little mouse Frederick (story by Lionni), who stored away words and colours and images for winter!
Be sure to check out other great shadows at Hey Harriet!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

29 Days and Chap 3 - Desire

This week Chapter 3 of "The Joy Diet" focuses on Desire.

Martha Beck wants us to "identify, articulate, and explore at least one of (our) heart's desire, each day".

As I read her words, the steps she gives us lead us to fulfilling our desires. Stillness, honesty lead us to choosing and exploring.

I found myself desiring a world of art and words. I have had a dream for a long time where writing and creating and teaching art filled my world. This past year I am finally taking the baby steps to get there! And I will continue to add more and more art and writing!

Today a read an article on Cami Walker, author of "29 Days: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life". This simple concept resonated in me. The whole notion of changing our world by making tiny changes really made me realize that I want to see changes, that the "Pay it forward" idea is a very sound one.

I signed up here and will begin the 29 Days of Giving, starting tomorrow.
Cami says that by the end of the 29 Days she felt better and was truly happy. She posed a question on her blog - and I wish to pose it to you:
"Why don't you try giving away something to others each day for 29 days,too?"

It can be as simple as paying a compliment, reading to a shut-in, or paying for someone's coffee or meal.

29 Days of giving was an African ritual and is now expanding around the world!
"29 Gifts is a global giving movement with several thousand members in 38 countries. Our collective mission at 29 Gifts is to revive the giving spirit in the world. We change lives—and change the world—one gift at a time."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wishcast Wednesday

Jamie Ridler has posed another thought-provoking question at Wishcast Wednesday.

What do you wish to complete?

My first thought was that referred to projects - like the afghans I have still waiting to be finished.

But that is too easy.

I believe it should relate to something big, measurable, and have meaning .

For me then, I would like the wish to relate to this year:

I wish to complete this school with having made a difference in 2 students in particular, and on a positive note for all, especially me!

I wish to complete a health routine that sees me active daily, losing weight and feeling better.

I wish to complete more challenges that see me grow as an artist.

I wish to change my living environment, to be clutter-free and serene.

Be sure to visit the other wishcasting participants here and help them achieve their wishes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ABC Wednesday - L is for Lighthouse

Once again it is time for ABC Wednesday. This week the letter is L. I just completed an ATC challenge on lighthouses - I read about them, looked at pictures, and finally created my cards. So, it seemed natural to use the lighthouse for this week.

The Maritimes (Canada's east coast) still has functional lighthouses - they have fulfilled a unique place in maritime history. If you get a chance visit one before they disappear!

Peggy Cove's Lighthouse is a beautiful distination. Check it out here.

People even use lighthouses in their yards for decoration.

Be sure to check out the other great participants at ABC Wednesday.