Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chapter 12 - Goals /planning/dreams

It's hard to believe that the journey has ended now with the 12th and final chapter of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. It has been a very interesting and challenging journey to be sure. For the most part I was an observer from the sidelines, content to read the chapters and the blogs. But over the course of the book I came to realize I had to respond - not only to the book and blogs but to the challenges.

My greatest challenge was to create this blog. For an almost computer illiterate it was and is a challenge! But one I have enjoyed.

Thanks to Jamie for hosting this book adventure and for the thoughts, challenges and interviews you have provided. I am looking forward to the next adventure!

Lainie Taylor's words had a big impact for me. Giving myself permission to create, to have my own space, to do what I love is what I needed to hear. I spend too much time helping others, reading about what I would like to do, procrastinating! Her idea of having a list of hundreds of things that fire our imaginations, that fascinate us , really made me realize that I have been limiting myself.

When she asked "What is your big dream?" it made me realize that the past few years I have not really had a big dream.

Yesterday while laying in bed, I happened to really look at an oil pastel portrait I had had done over 30 years ago. I looked at my much younger self and realized that I had no idea then what my future would turn out like. I would teach for almost 30 years, in many different places and at different levels; I would marry twice; have 3 lovely children; write for a newspaper for several years; learn to drive and then survive a horrific car accident, teach children's art courses several summers - just to name a few.

The past few years have been challenging as I have remarried in 2002, donated a kidney to my new husband , moved with him to a new town and started over at age 54 - new school, home, church, even friends. That is much harder to do after 19 years in one place.

Then I lost my Mom last year and I realized I had been in a depression for a while. I feel the fog lifting though. Part of that was due to creating my 101 list - having goals and a future seems to have helped. I also realized that I haven't really been creative in a long time and that is my fault.

So, going through this book, reading all the blogs has really fired me up.

Then seeing my younger self really made me look at myself now. I may be older, but I still have a future and who knows what great things are coming my way? I just have to do it. I will dream and I will take action. More on those dreams later!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

First Spring Wekend!

Spring has sprung and even a few buds has riz!! Well maybe not quite these flowers - but it won't be long now!)

This kind a weather really does lift the spirit and clear out the cobwebs in the mind.

"All forward growth begins with letting go."

This was one of my favourite quotes from Gail McMeekin in this 11th Chapter of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women which Jamie Ridler has been hosting.

This chapter arrived on the first day of spring - quite a coincidence. Spring brings new life, a fresh outlook, growth.

Chapter 11 asks us to subtract those things in our lives that really are not working, that stop our growth as creative women.

Peace and serentity have been lacking for some time. My personal blocks:Clutter, limiting beliefs, health, procrastination, grief, teaching, lack of a proper place to work.
My action plan actually began in February when I created my "101 things" list. It has already helped me focus on being more positive and look for ways to be creative - to actually take action and create.

One way of achieving serentity is to turn to a number of things more frequently - like friends and family, flowers, music, water.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18 - Day of Remembrance

Today is a day to remember, to cherish all that I have and to be grateful for the time I did have with my father.

Today was my Dad's birthday. He was only 49 when he died in 1972. Yet from him I learned so much.
I still remember the man who came to me at his funeral and said that he would miss my dad so much. This man was the caretaker at the bank and he told me how much my dad's interest and greetings meant to him each day. That was my father though - it did not matter what a person did. He treated everyone the same - from the president to the caretaker. And he did not suffer fools - whether the person was the president or the caretaker! No one was better than anyone else. Thanks Dad - that is a legacy I hope I have passed on to my children and the children I teach.

Chapter 10 of Gail Meekin's "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" hit a chord with me. I needed to be reminded that I do have much in my life - from husband and children, to friends and a job I love. Too often we don't take the time to appreciate those around us. We may dwell on what we don't have rather on what we do have. Grief over my Mom still has a hold on me - this blog, my 101 list, the people I am learning from, my baby steps into the art world - all are helping.
I have started my gratitude journal as mentioned by many people. It really puts into perspective how rich we are in love and intangible things.

I left this post and came back -and in that time the news of Natasha Richardson's death was announced. How fragile is our time on earth. I am reminded of how important it is to live each day as if it is your last - tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, settle differences, do what you love.
Live, laugh, love - words to live by.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My 101 Things in 1001 Days

I was fascinated by the idea of creating a list of achievable goals that could be accomplished in a longer span of time. 1001 days is neither too long nor too short.
I created my list and began the task of working through those goals on February 13, with the finish date of 11/11/11 ( a real symmetry to that date).

My list:
1. Go somewhere special each seaon with my love. (1st trip taken Feb. 16/09)
2. Lose 20 lbs.
3. Write a short story and submit it for publication.
4. Write at least 10 letters to the editor. (1 down - 9 to go)
5. Move my body for 30 minutes 3 times a week. (Slow getting started!!)
6. Revise our wills.
7. Create and fill an art journal.
8. Walk a labyrinth.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end.
10. Create a scrapbook of Mom and Dad.
11. Make a cookbook of Mom's recipes for everyone.
12. Organize our photos.
13. Create a wall of photos.
14. Create a blog and post weekly. (Have accomplished the first part - yeah! March 17/09)
15. Start and use a gratitude journal daily. (Have started)
16. Identify at least 25 things I like about myself.
17. Identify at least 50 things that make me happy.
18. Paint a large canvas.
19. Reorganize my craft area.
20. Create a studio.
21. Visit BC again.
22. Go to Newfoundland and Maine.
23. Choose 1 month and take pictures every day.
24. Choose 1 month and create a collage every day.
25. Learn how to use photoshop.
26. Find a mentor.
27. Design a business card and get it printed.
28. Get an article published.
29. Start work on a book.
30. Get my advanced degree from Nipissing.
31. Get my Visual Arts Specialist.
32. Get my Primary Specialist.
33. Get my Reading Specialist.
34. Learn a new craft or medium.
35. Make a vision board. (First step - collecting words and images)
36. Give 10 "just because" gifts.
37. Celebrate Earth Hour annually.
38. Reduce my carbon footprint.
39. Adopt a family every Christmas.
40. Learn at least 1 piece well on the piano.
41. Learn to play small drums and join a drumming circle.
42. Learn to dry felt.
43. Improve my French.
44. Plant a tree.
45. Plant sunflowers.
46. Work with gourds.
47. Bake bread at least 5 times.
48. Crochet for Charity.
49. Perform weekly acts of charity. (This one has been good to do)
50. Improve as a teacher.
51. Run a craft club at school.
52. Organize all my teaching files and books.
53. Learn to meditate.
54. Master 25 new recipes.
55. Take an online art course. (Have started media collage)
56. Make a quilt.
57. Read at least 101 books. (2 read)
58. Write a bucket list.
59. Plan for retirement.
60. Reorganize the garden.
61. Volunteer with an organization.
62. Learn how to use the computer better.
63. Design a new kitchen.
64. Work on our family tree.
65. Finish the afghans.
66. Take part in an arts and craft show.
67. Declutter. Simplify.
68. Make a digital album of our trips.
69. Find ways to make more money.
70. Face a fear.
71. Create a great piece of jewellry.
72. Make hearts to give away.
73. Do something special with my wedding dress.
74. Listen to 101 songs by artists I've never heard. (I'm enjoying allsorts of music at different blogs)
75. Go to a gallery/museum or art show once a month.
76. Compliment one person each day, even if it is just myself.
77. Learn to use the sewing machine properly.
78. Watch the top 10 films of all times.
79. Do something to help others at least once a month (more than an act of kindness).
80. Photograph the things that make me happy and make a collage.
81. Try at least 5 foods I've never tried before.
82. Sell something on EBay.
83. Read 10 biographies or autobiographies.
84. Identify 3 bad habits and work on getting rid of them.
85. Go for a walk several times a week.
86. Use a slow cooker at least 2 times a month.
87. Give blood.
88. Put aside $1 for each thing accomplished. Donate to a worthy cause.
89. Tell my husband I love him every day. (Yes! yes! yes!)
90. Try 5 different restaurants we haven't tried before.
91. Write family and friends more frequently.
92. Write a letter to my children to be opened when they are 30.
93. Write 101 comments on other people's blogs.
94. Watch all of the AFI's 100 Best Films.
95. Read at least 10 non-fiction books.
96. Listen to 101 albums of the "1000 Albums you should hear before you die".
97. Follow the "Fly Lady" for 1 month.
98. Write a poem.
99. Send 101 cards or postcards "just because".
100. Watch whales.
101. Save for something spectacular.

A First - Still a few left at My Age!!

My first identity was as Bunny and John's daughter. I am an orphan now. I lost my Mom last May; my father 36 years ago. My mother's influence is still very strong. Hence the title - a homage to her.

I always said that when I grew up I wanted to be a teacher, writer or an artist. I have written, I am a teacher, but I have only dabbled in art. Well, at 57 - when will I be grown up and be an artist- if not now?

I have been following The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women blog, hosted by Jamie Ridler.
All the advice points to "Just do it. Create.".
So "do it" I will.
My first step was to create my "101 Things in 1001 Days" list. I want to challenge myself to try new things and be creative.
My second step was to start a media collage online course. More on that later.
My bravest step thus far though, is the creation of this blog, to put myself on the line.
My goal is to explore my adventures in art, education and life. .
Join me in my explorations.