Sunday, October 31, 2010

52CP44: Empathy

Good things come to those who wait - that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it! We won't even discuss needy, elderly in-laws or husbands who need assistance with a home-improvement project (my kitchen floor - perfectly willing to assist, since I NEED that room frequently, and it NEEDED a new floor). Suffice it to say that the delay will more than be compensated, in my opinion...

A recently-discovered inspirational source is I Dance I Write. The author (and dancer) is Megan, and she has graciously granted permission for me to share an entire post from her website here. She originally posted this on her website on October 21st, with the title I Am Somebody. I Am Safe:

The reason. The skinny. The WHY.

Everything we do, the good, the bad, the embarrassing, the brilliant, we do to accomplish one of two things.


Once I let this sink in, I began to have more empathy. It blossomed inside of me. Empathy for myself and for….YOU.

I return to the people, the places, that make me feel one of these two things. Safe. Important.

I go to the studio, my legal pad, my computer, because this is where I MATTER.

I attach to my family and friends for the blanket of safety they wrap me in.

Are you doing something that you think is less than stellar? (Join everyone else on the planet.) What’s at the bottom of it? Comfort. Or for the need to feel important? We all, in varying degrees, sometimes miss the mark of loving ourselves in the best way possible. I will try never to judge someone else’s choices.

I don’t think the serial do-gooder gives unselfishly because she is better than you and me. I think she is generous with her love because what she’s doing makes her FEEL IMPORTANT. She found a place, an environment, an action, that fills this need for her. It gives her the I Am Somebody feeling. (We, as a society, like her choice.)

But other choices don’t look as good. The pregnant teenager on welfare? No- She should not get pregnant. But take a moment to step into her life. Her heart. She will hold her baby and feel IMPORTANT. I can feel her yearning to matter.

Or. The man with the gun. He doesn’t feel safe. (He can’t trust anyone to keep him safe.) And his human desire, his desperation to find importance, is heartbreaking. Wrong. But I feel for him.

When you wake up, and it’s a BRAVE kind of day. Ask yourself why you do the things you do. The LESS THAN STELLAR things.

The eating of crap.

The extra drinks.

Keeping yourself SMALL.

That thing you did yesterday? The one that felt good when you did it, but now makes you feel bad? Ask yourself WHY. You need to feel SAFE and IMPORTANT. Don’t beat yourself up, but wrap yourself in something soft, and imagine a better way.

Change your life with love.

Thank you so much, Megan, for sharing your insights with us!

One of my teachers (Reiki, Rapid Eye Therapy) used to say that - when we are faced with an issue of some sort - we should ask, "How does this teach me love?" Megan turns that question both outward and inward in her post, and delineates it brilliantly. When we come from a place of love, it is difficult to be too harsh or judgmental, and we are far more likely to treat ourselves and others with kindness and empathy.

Because I like to have reminders around me of what matters and where I want to focus my life, I decided that I wanted to make something that just said "Love". I had some very small antique brass-looking frames and some sheer black ribbon and some gold embossing powder and black paper and pretty alphabet stamps, so I made this:

Looking at the picture I can see that I might want to move the bow higher so there is a bit of ribbon showing between it and the first frame, but I'm still relatively pleased with it... Here's Mr. Linky so you can share what you make this week:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

52CP43 Featured Artists

EIGHT participants this week - woo hoo! I appreciate all of you "Counting Your Blessings" along with me. I certainly did need a mood-changer last week, and it worked!

Shannon incorporated our challenge with a card drive for deployed Marines to make this fabulous patriotic card:

Kate is apparently grateful for birthdays (or little boys - or both!), and made this fun card:

Stephanie was back again this week with a card "that celebrates the many blessings that come with creating" - well said, and a beautiful card, too -love the flourishes!Sarah incorporated fun textures and shapes into a beautiful Thanksgiving card:
Erica is thankful for birthdays, too (and long life)! Fun brads and borders on her bright card:

Jackie joins us from Nairobi (welcome)! She did some time-consuming quilling and added some bright butterflies to a card expressing thanks. She is especially grateful for her loved ones:
Beverly's back again this week with one of the prettiest color combos I've seen in a while! Lots going on here (sewing, diecuts, etc.), including the sentiment I had in mind when I posted the challenge: "Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings":
And, lastly, Jan created an oh-so-cute gift bag to be presented to her Thanksgiving hostess:
I love it! Thanks again, all of you wonderful ladies, for supporting my challenge this past week! I also want to thank those who drop by to read and/or comment, but don't have time to make anything, as well - you're certainly welcome and appreciated!

Be sure to stop by again tomorrow for a wonderful new inspiration! 'Ta!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

52CP43: Count Your Blessings

I'm not even going to apologize for the lateness of this post, just 'splain...

I'm very much of the "everything happens for a reason" school. I fell asleep last night before I scheduled this week's post. My usual Sunday routine got TOTALLY thrown for a loop with various family issues. I've been emotional and weird and need to turn things around today. I was planning on using this video closer to Thanksgiving, but I need the reminder NOW, so here it is:

I made this card last year, but I'm putting it here because - obviously - I didn't plan to have THIS post today, in the first place!

I will post the supplies used later, along with a new creation for the week, but I have an obligation that I will be late for if I don't run NOW, so I am!

Here's Mr. Linky:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

52CP42 Featured Artist

Hello again! I held off posting the submissions for this week's challenge a bit longer than usual, because last week - just after I finished the post - Beverly linked up her card and I missed it, as I didn't go back and look until I was scheduling the next inspiration/challenge. I guess that's why she gets the spotlight all to herself this week!

Pretty card, eh? I really like the colors and the whole concept! Thank you, Beverly!

Either the rest of you are waaaay better on following through on things than I am, and didn't need to create a reminder of any kind, or you're as bad or worse, and never got around to it :)

Regardless, I hope you'll come back tomorrow for a new challenge!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

52CP42: Follow Through

I've mentioned Danielle LaPorte here and on my other blog before, but I'm mentioning her again this week because in my trying to be more authentic, I increasingly find more and more wisdom in what she has to say.

I've also mentioned that I have a life-long habit of procrastination, which causes disappointments along the way, and I've fallen short of the mark several times this year here on this blog. All of which brings me to the point of this week's inspiration and challenge: Follow Through.

Danielle sent out her White Hot Truth on August 10th of this year with THE secret to success. this is IT. for reals..., which she identifies as:


If we all just did what we said we're going to do, we'd experience an evolutionary leap in consciousness more brilliant than solar power and the invention of the wheel.

She continues by outlining ways to follow through and be accountable and all the rest of it, then eloquently ends with this:

Of course you can't always do what you said you would. Minds change and some prerogatives need their exercise. Batteries die, tragedies happen, the best intentions can get rained out. When you can't or choose not to honour your word, then say so.

Tell the truth, tell it fast, deliver it with sincerity and care.

Words are arrows.
You can't always hit the impeccability bull's eye, but even if you're off a smidge, your words will land on integrity.
Please click on the link above to the full article - well worth the read!

Because of my procrastination issues, some of what I say I want to do/will do falls by the wayside. I am making a concerted effort to change things and to be careful about what I say I will do.

One area that has been the source of dismay/distress is my well-intentioned efforts to be more in touch with my children and grandchildren - all of whom live many miles away from me. I often find myself putting off what I want to do for them "until I finish this job" (deadline issues) or "until I get paid" (financial issues) or "until I finish what I have to do for Greg's parents" (obligation issues). The true thing is that there will ALWAYS be these - and other - issues, and I need to prioritize and work around them. I'm finding that as I do this, nothing really gets "traded off". Somehow, when I make authenticity and integrity the priority, the other things fall into place.

One thing I said I would do this year is to make pillowcases for my grandchildren for Halloween. Evidence that I actually did it:

Not only that, but I've even created a tutorial for them, in case you'd like to make your own! It's on my other blog, and is titled - what else? - "Tutorial: Pillowcases"

One last thought: Did you notice that this post went "live" just after midnight, like they did when I first started this blog? Yeah - I didn't procrastinate this week, thank you very much! I'll try to continue the trend and be more consistent. Thanks for joining me again this week!

What do you need to follow through on? Here's Mr. Linky:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

52CP41 Featured Artists

Four players this week - woo hoo! Apparently more of us can identify with being "perfectly imperfect"!

Erica started us off with a thank you card because "no matter what, you can't do everything alone". She also 'fessed up that she messed up the stem... I wouldn't have noticed, would you?

Steph was back again this week with another one of her wonderful cards:

Her take on the challenge was that "if we all tried to embrace the joy of Playing Hard that we had when we were five years old, we would care much less about perfection". Well said! Very fun card, too!

Sarah made a two-page layout celebrating relationships in all their imperfection:

Beautiful colors and accents (the kids are pretty great-looking, too) Nice change to have a scrapbook layout - thanks Sarah!

Anne went back a bit in her blog archives for this fun card:

The inside says "ONE OF THOSE DAYS!" 'Nuff said, right? Cute, colorful card!

Thanks to all four of you ladies for participating in the Perfectly Imperfect challenge! A new post tomorrow with a new inspiration - see you there!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

52CP41: Perfectly Imperfect

Brene Brown recently held a week-long "Perfect Protest". She encouraged anyone with a blog to post a picture of themselves with a protest sign, and had Mr. Linky for the participants to add their links. 192 participants! That's a whole lot of folks protesting perfectionism. Brene wrote:

Being our best selves is about cultivating the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, and imperfect. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It's that simple. Perfection is not about healthy striving or being our best, it's how we protect ourselves.

In the new book, I write, "Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight."

The book she's referring to is "The Gifts of Imperfection: How to Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Really Are", which I am currently reading, and which is right on the money!

Lauren Bergold posted a link - again - on her blog to Bruce Mau's "Incomplete Manifesto for Personal Growth", which reminded me to re-read it. He encourages us to take risks, make mistakes, capture accidents and so on - in other words, to be imperfect. That's where the learning and growth are...

If I had participated in Brene's protest, my sign would have read "I'm too curious to be perfect!" I am not afraid to delve into things that interest me - new educational opportunities, new artistic mediums or techniques, new sports, etc. - and it's a fairly safe bet that I'm not going to nail everything on the first try. I'm okay with imperfect - even outright failure - so I'm not afraid to give it a go.

For my project this week, I made a card with my husband in mind. It might have more pink than he's comfortable with, but I kinda sorta don't care. Inside it says, "We're the perfect couple - warts and all..."

Stamps: The Cat's Pajamas Puppy Love and I Love Mew; Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Paper: Basic Grey Urban Prairie dp, DCWV white and pink textured cardstock; Accessories/tools: Colored pencils and Prismacolor colorless blending pen, Stampin'Up! decorative label punch, Fiskars threading water border punch, Marvy dimple corner punch, Corner Chomper, Michael's ribbon, Bon Bon turquoise glitter fingernail polish, unknown gems

You can barely see it in the photo, but the frog and his lady have sparkly turquoise "gems" on the crown and whatever-the-heck-you-call-her-hat. I made them by dipping a toothpick into sparkly nail polish and touching it onto the image where I wanted it. Tricky, tricky!

How do you embrace being perfectly imperfect? Here's Mr. Linky:

52CP39 & 52CP40 Featured Artists

Hello again! We seem to be consistently having two artists joining us each week! This week it's Beverly and Stephanie, who have been our most consistent contributors right along - thank you, girls!

Bev made another red-and-white creation with another of my faves - hearts! (I have way too many in every available form - stamps, stencils, dies, punches, stickers, etc.)

I love the variety of patterns on the hearts - so fun! Bev says she keeps this stamp above her desk for inspiration, and on her "down" days, the one with that says "8-ball, corner pocket" inspires her to visualize sinking that ball with confidence, and it helps her creativity spark again. Great idea, that!

Steph did a cool monochromatic card this week, using a great layout, some beautiful shimmery paper and some pretty snowflake punches:

Steph says that the snowman and snowflakes take her back in memory to when she was a child and playing in the snow sparked all kinds of imaginative ideas - building snowmen that they imagined could come to life like Frosty, sliding around on patches of ice pretending to be Olympic skaters and other fun imaginings. What great memories!

Well done, ladies - beauty abounds! Hopefully we'll have more players this week... A new challenge tomorrow - don't miss it!

PS: This weekend on my other blog I'm giving away a free ghostie digital stamp to anyone who wants it. If you're interested, click HERE.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

52CP 39: Imagination and 52CP40: Creativity

I've been wanting to do this double post for several weeks now, but "life" keeps happening and, if you've been following this blog recently, you know that other things have preempted planned posts and been replaced by other ones...

Back in 52CP35 where we discussed creative problem-solving, it triggered a few thoughts on creativity in general, and I've been wanting to do a double post to get us back on track with the actual weeks in the year, so when we hit the final challenge, it will actually be a true #52! Since I consider imagination and creativity to be pretty compatible bedfellows, it followed fairly easily to combine the two for a double post.

Back in July 2009, I wrote a post on my other blog about imagination and play. It was triggered by a video clip from Oprah's visit to a second-grade class at the Yearning for Zion polygamist ranch (the one that was raided and over 400 children removed). You can watch the clip HERE. This video reduced me to tears, and this is what I wrote on my other blog:

...not because the subject matter was particularly sad, but because the overall effect is tragic! Several things came to mind, but the overriding tragedy is that these children do not get to use their imagination AT ALL! They've never even heard of Cinderella or the Little Mermaid or Humpty Dumpty or Shrek, let alone pretended to be one of these characters! They claim that work is fun, and they never play ("it's not fun", claimed one little boy), and the very meaning of the word 'play' {in their society} is synonymous with 'goofing off'!

Why do I consider this tragic - beyond the obvious these-children-are-missing-their-childhood scenario? Because the underlying tenet - that everything they do serves the purpose of becoming like God - is self-contradicting, for starters. If, in fact, there is a God, and if, in fact, He is perfect, would he not have a perfect imagination? Didn't He (or She or They or whatever) dream up flowers and clouds and hummingbirds and the platypus and all the rest of it? If these people are aspiring to become gods themselves, won't they need imagination when they start creating their own "worlds without end"?

Every single thing you see around you - NO exceptions - was a thought before it was a thing, whether in man's mind or God's. Have you ever, ever in your entire life created something with no thought behind it? With no imagining the end result? Yes, things evolve in the making, and the finished product may turn out different from the original thought, but the original thought at the very least initiated the making!

Einstein - brilliant man that he was - referred to imagination as "a preview of coming attractions". It just pulls at my heartstrings to see this entire generation of children growing up without a preview, and with no concept of play!

Moving on to the creativity aspect of things, my thoughts went to all the people I've heard in my life lamenting, "I wish I could (fill in with some artsy endeavor here) - I don't have a creative bone in my body." I would propose that unless they are a gelatinous mass with no bones whatsoever, that they are also big, fat, floppin' liars!

The problem - as I see it - is that somewhere along the line, "creative" became synonymous with "artistic", and - admittedly - not everyone is artistic. Let's define creative properly, though (from Merriam-Webster):
  1. Marked by the ability or power to create: given to creating
  2. Having the quality of something created rather than imitated
  3. Managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits
Synonyms include: clever, imaginative, ingenious, innovative, inventive, original.

I didn't see anything in the definition that precluded originality outside of the arts, did you? Mathematicians do creative things with numbers, accountants have been known to get creative with dollars (especially at tax time), engineers come up with creative solutions to the problem at hand - be it electrical, mechanical, what have you!

My mother was the most creative mother I know! She managed to keep five children not only occupied, but engaged, and made memories for us that I will always treasure! (I'm actually one of six, but since I was 16 when my baby brother was born, my "childhood" was essentially over by then. Hmmm...come to think of it, producing that baby brother was a pretty creative act, too...)

Creative cooks are very much in the forefront - Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and others - and there is evidence all around us in the everyday conveniences we enjoy of someone's creativity! Computers, appliances, transportation - all came about because someone approached a need creatively. My point is that creativity extends to ALL areas of our lives!

Look around your little corner of the world and identify where your strengths lie. Odds are incredibly high that you use creativity every day without identifying that that is what you are doing. I hereby issue you a "cease and desist" order if you've been complaining about your lack of creativity up 'til now! Identify where you are creative and celebrate it!

Edited Monday morning to add: I just got an email from alerting me to this new book: Creative is a Verb: If You're Alive, You're Creative by Patti Digh Serendipity, yes?

This picture is of a "project in progress". It includes both challenges ("dream" for the imagination challenge, and "create" for the creativity challenge), but is nowhere close to being done. These panels still need embellishing and attaching to the actual project before I can say "it's done", but I have ZERO idea when that will actually be accomplished, since this is as far as I've gotten in four or five weeks of delay and re-gear and all. I promise my most excellent promise that I will post the final product when that time comes, though!

For your project this week, you can do something for each challenge or combine the two - the choice is yours! Here's Mr. Linky:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

52CP38 Featured Artists

Happy World Cardmaking Day! Not related to this blog, technically speaking, but still wanted to acknowledge it, since it's a big part of what we do here... Three submissions this week - thank you ladies!

First off, Steph made a gorgeous card in my all-time fave color combo (red and white) and used another of her fabulous sentiment stamps, too. I love the bits of the flower that extend past the oval - so pretty!

Next up is Lawren, with a fun card to remind us to "be still". You know how I feel about that concept, since we've used it in a few variations here! Cute image, great coloring, fun layout:

And our third and final contribution to the simplify challenge is this simply beautiful card from Rachel:
Great texture, fun addition of buttons to the wreath - great card!

Thanks again to these three for contributing their talents, and thanks to all of you, too, for continuing to stop by this blog! See you tomorrow for a new challenge!