art, creativity, inspirational, writing

Daily Creations

img_0609Creating art has become a daily habit for me, something I find difficult to do without. I try to take weekends off to spend time with the family, which means no art and no writing. I usually succeed in staying away, but by the time Monday comes, I’m antsy with the need to create something, both with words and pencils or paint. This has come out of my commitment to learn how to draw.

I decided that if I was going to learn to draw at an older age, I needed to commit to daily practice. What started as a commitment soon became a compulsion. I love the process of creating a picture or writing a book. The best part of it is when I stand back and marvel at what has come out of my own brain, but I’ve learned for the most part to also enjoy the process. That’s one of the hardest lessons to learn. It’s easy to get too close to what you’re creating and begin to think it’s garbage, not worth working on. That’s when it’s time to, literally in the case of art, take a step back and take in the whole picture. For a story, you should put it away for at least a couple of days to see it again with fresh eyes. This is one of the reasons I take weekends off.

The most important thing to remember is, trust the process. You won’t know if you’ve got a masterpiece until it’s complete. If you quit early, you’ll never know what it was capable of becoming. If, at the end, you still have garbage, well you’ve learned something you can use to make the next project better. Creativity is never wasted.

This is a good analogy for life. You are also a masterpiece in the making. But, the process is ongoing. It’s important to trust the process and allow yourself time to grow and develop into the spectacular human you’re capable of becoming. Don’t criticize a half-made creation, rather watch and see how you will develop. I’m not the person I was twenty years ago and I’m sure you aren’t either.

Creativity is what makes life interesting and makes humans unique. Are you giving yourself space to be creative every day?


Is that Your Best?

img_1403My life used to be a constant search for perfection. I believe it came from never being able to please my mother. No matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough. So, I set off on a lifelong search to find a way to finally be good enough. That search led me to be hard on myself and to allow nothing less than perfection in everything I did.

To be perfect means never to make a mistake. But, mistakes are the very things that make us human. In fact, we don’t learn without making mistakes. These are necessary life lessons. How did I get off the perfection roller coaster? By realizing that all I have to do is my best.

In an episode of Breaking Bad, one of the main characters, Jesse, was telling a story about a carpentry class he took in school. He was supposed to make a small chest as his project for the year. He decided to make it quickly and get it over with so he could mess around for the rest of the classes. When he brought his shoddily-made box to his teacher, all the teacher said was, “Is that your best?”

Jesse didn’t feel that the teacher was criticizing him or telling him to do it better, he was just asking a simple question. If Jesse had answered yes, the teacher would have probably accepted the project and given him an average grade, but Jesse suddenly wasn’t satisfied with himself and his workmanship. He took the box back and spent weeks making the best chest he could make. He spent hours sanding and shaping until he had a project he was proud of. You could see the pride in his face even as he told the story years later. Now he could honestly answer, “Yes. This is my best.”

That’s all we need to do. We don’t need to be perfect. It’s actually impossible to be so. Besides, what is perfect anyway but someone’s opinion. One man’s perfection is another man’s lowest standard. If you do your best, you can always feel proud of what you accomplish. The next time you do something that isn’t perfect, remind yourself, “I did my best.”

creativity, inspirational, travel, writing

Castle on a Rock

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Bourtzi Castle in Nafplio, Greece

I lean back against the sun-warmed stones and gaze across the blue-green sea of Nafplio’s harbor. The water swells softly, the crests glistening in the sun which casts a hazy glow across the landscape. A castle sits high on the rocky mountain above the city like an ancient sentinel. I can easily imagine the same scene hundreds of years ago. Not much has changed.

I can’t resist sitting cross-legged on the rocks to pull my journal out of my purse and try with simple words to describe what my eyes have trouble believing. The view takes my breath, sweeping it up to mingle with the sea breezes which threaten to steal my new hat.

The wind picks up, rustling my pages and my gaze is drawn upward by the sound of engines. Two motored paragliders sail across the perfect blue of the sky, coming, what looks to me, perilously close to each other. But, they too, enjoy this gorgeous day over the Aegean Sea. What it must look like to them–God’s point of view.

The boat’s horn sounds, awakening me from my reverie. As we glide back across the harbor, I find myself wishing I could stay longer and soak up more of the peace I found there, along with the fresh salt breeze and the sun kissing my skin. Soon I will return to greet the small part of me that I left behind, gazing across the bay with sparkling eyes and a dreamy smile.

Archive, inspirational, travel

Waiting to Live

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I read a quote this morning and it hit me in the forehead.

“Funny thing is most people spend the first part of their lives waiting to live and then just hang around waiting to die.” ~ Caz of YTravel Blog

With this trip I realize that I am finally deciding to live. I’ve spent most of my life waiting around to live. There has been too much of “When I finally get to do that I’ll be so happy…” Well, no more. It’s time to make my dreams a reality no matter how hard the journey. I refuse to get to the point of my life where I can no longer do the things I’ve dreamed of and then I just wait to die. I will have wasted my life.

As Jonas and I have gotten more and more excited about our trip we’ve talked to a few people who know about it (as I haven’t yet given my notice at work), and I’m surprised by the comments. Every single one of them have things they’d like to do one day, but most of them aren’t yet doing anything to forward their dream. It makes me wonder why.

Most of us are too accepting of our circumstances. We see no way to reach the goal in our present situation, so we don’t try. We feel that one day our circumstances might change, and then we’ll get there. I’m speaking from experience. What people don’t realize is when you put your efforts out there and start trying to reach your goal despite having no idea how it will happen, the “how” will begin to reveal itself. You will be surprised, as I was, by the amazing things that start to show up!

I’ve been reading a lot of travel blogs lately. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the content. I’ve found a group of people who have the same goals and philosophies I’ve always had. They are people who refused to settle for the everyday life and went after excitement and adventure as a way of life. They didn’t accept society’s rules and standards, but rather are making their own rules. Not all of these bloggers are twenty-something either. Quite a few are middle-aged like my husband and I. They tried the job/house/car life and it left them empty as it did us. So, it’s time to try something new on for size.

So what about you? Are you still waiting to live? Or are you ready to start living now? It doesn’t mean you have to go off on a mad quest to find life. It means evaluation. Are you living the life you’ve always wanted to, or are some changes needed? I’m making changes and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me. I’ll take the good, the bad, and even the ugly. At least I’ll always know I didn’t wait for something to show up. I went out and found it.

art, creativity, inspirational

Becoming an Artist

I’m in one of the most exciting times of my life. About a year ago I decided to stop being afraid and take the plunge into art. I’ve always dreamed of being an artist, but felt it was something I’d missed the boat on because I hadn’t started when I was young. I felt that being in my forties was too late to learn something so complicated. Am I ever glad I was wrong.

imagePainting and drawing are some of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done and that’s saying something. I’m also an author and have published several books (I’m in a career shift to Young Adult right now, so my books are currently unavailable. More on that later). I love writing, especially as I have found my true voice in YA, but I didn’t feel that complete feeling I have now until I started expressing my visually creative side. Now I can’t imagine not having both. It’s like they complement each other.

imageI’ve only been doing art for about 10 months, but I’m amazed at my progress. My secret is a little bit of talent and a whole lot of hard work and not being afraid to try anything. I’ve realized that my love is drawing in many mediums and painting in watercolour. It’s what I do best and what I enjoy the most. It took a bit of playing around to see what was going to stick and that’s what I’ve landed at. If you’re thinking about trying art and you haven’t picked up a pencil or paintbrush in years or ever, don’t hesitate. There are so many great tutorials online that you could never run out of teachers. We are in a great age for learning anything that strikes your fancy.

Try it, you won’t regret it. And who knows, maybe you’ll really surprise yourself.