Category Archives: Uncategorized

Announcing Blank Canvas Hop Winner

 

I finally had Gratitude help me pull the winner’s name for the Blank Canvas Carry-All Tote this morning.  I know people have been eager to hear who the lucky person is to receive this inspiration package.  Since it has been one of those weeks that has had more “Get-to-dos” than hours in the day we decided to do a quick video to first do a little show and tell, then have Gratitude pull the lucky winner’s name out of the tote and announce the winner.  Don’t want to ruin the surprise quite yet. My reaction is kind of hilarious.  So if you’re curious you will have to watch the short video to find out who got lucky.  I know I am such a tease.  I will be in touch with the winner shortly to get the information on where to send this package.

 

This was such fun we may be doing another in the near future in conjunction with a special program we are considering offering. An idea that was actually inspired by this hop.  So we will keep you posted about upcoming details regarding that possibility. 

And now enjoy the video. And congrats to the winner.

 

Blank Canvas CAPE-ers

This is day number 6 of the Blank Canvas Blog Hop.

If your visiting us for the first time Gratitude and I want to welcome you and invite you join us for a little frolic through our creative process and how we like to approach the sometimes intimidating blank canvas. We like to think of this as our blank canvas CAPE-er. Why? Cause it feels less serious, more playful and fun. And we are all about incorporating more fun into our life, especially our creative life.

And I will let you in on a little secret; give you a little peek into how my crazy creative brain works. I was out walking the other day…thinking about this upcoming blog hop…having a private conversation with my good friend and muse Gratitude, when we got the hair brained idea to make a creativity cape. In my imagination I saw this cape as kind of cross between a super heroine’s cape and a wizard-magician cape…colorful, fun, with inspirational messages liberally splattered all over it.  Stay tuned for this capes debut in a future video.

Then as I was contemplating what this wonderfully wild and creative cape might look like I started to see the word CAPE as an nifty little anachronym which could help me to talk about my own creative process in a simplified way.

Letter Cis for Consulting and Collaborating with my muse.

Sometimes we write long letters to each other. Other times we just go for a walk and have a little chat. I think it helps to actually get intimately acquainted with each other. What does your muse look like? What quirks does she have? What are her favorite pastimes? Your muse might not be a she. My first “muse” was Jewelietta. She and I never really fully synched up. That happens. Today Jewelietta mostly sits quietly on the shelf looking over my shoulder.  She’s cute as a button, but she doesn’t have much to say.  Then Gratitude came along. She quickly became an important ally in my creative process. She has lots to say.  Over time we’ve gotten to know each other inside and out.  So don’t get discouraged if you don’t click right away…keep your door open and your welcome mat out and your muse will find you.

Letter Ais for Appreciating and Allowing my process.

This includes knowing when to step away…when to give myself space. It means to stay open and not too attached and rigid about it having to look a certain way. It means being willing to shift in an entirely new direction. It means looking at a so-called “mistake” or miss step as simply an opportunity for something unexpected and precious to emerge. And its knowing that most of my creative endeavors will not make my A list. That’s not really the point..that’s just the cream and a steady diet of cream would be boring and isn’t good for anyone. The point is to find joy and love in the process. Ironically this is when some my best most creative work happens…when I’m not weighing myself down with heavy handed high expectations.  It’s about remaining mindful that it is more about the creative journey than it is about the end result.

Letter Pis for protecting my early efforts from unnecessary criticism

Giving my barely formed ideas a chance to take hold before they are squashed by the more pragmatic and less fanciful mind. It means surrounding myself with encouraging and supportive friends that understand that our creativity can all too easily be trampled on. This especially includes protecting my efforts from my own sometimes very vocal inner critic. Often times a job reassignment is in order for my inner critic.  P is also for play. Play with abandon, be adventurous, experiment, ….keep it fun and channel my inner kid. The sign on my creative clubhouse says kids welcome…no critics allowed.

Letter E is for engaging the heart and trusting myself.

Not over thinking my process. Not talking myself out of trying something off the wall or risky. But rather feeling into it and trusting my intuition. It’s saying YES when the spirit moves me.

Now one last thing…

Saving the best for last of course. Leave a comment below and/or sign up for Gratitude’s uplifting and inspiring eLetter to be entered for a chance to win your very own one of a kind custom-made, artist’s “CAPE-er” carryall tote containing a hand-bound art journal and other goodies to inspire your creative escapades.

Creating this was definitely a labor or love and joy. Going to have to make myself another one.  This is what it looked like when I started. A “plain jane” blank canvas carry-all tote.

DSCN3548

And then I added some acrylic paint in simple happy splashes of color letting the colors blend into to each other.  No hard edges …just a vibrant “watercolor” effect as my first layer background.

DSCN3551

Side one: Have you hugged your dream today with Gratitude giving herself a big selfy hug.  The two quirky birds singing their happy song came later. I wasn’t sure if this was finished at first…so I stepped away and came back to it with a fresh set of eyes the next morning.  Asked myself the question, “I wonder what it would be like to paint a bird with hiking boots?”….that thought kind of made me me giggle.  It felt inspired so I went with it.

DSCN3556

quirky birds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided each side would have an inspiring message so I narrowed that down to What?  Rules?  Toss ‘em out I say.  In the creative process rules are overrated and made for breaking. If you must have them make your own.

What Rules

Creatively Inspired- I just let my imagination take the lead here.  Had fun embellishing with fanciful doodles and dangles.

creatively inspired

And finally in honor of The Blank Canvas Blog Hop ….  Blank Canvas SuperStar! ‘Cause we all have an inner SuperStar who waiting and eager to make their unique mark in the world. Make a splash. Shine brightly.

Blank Canvas Superstar

And here’s a peak at the whole bundle of inspiration which includes the carry all tote, a coordinating hand bound art journal with 140lb watercolor pager, and a peak at one of three handy implement rolls…good for pen, markers, brushes.  So take a minute to leave a comment and/or sign up for Gratitude’s eLetter. You might be the lucky winner of this package and find out what other inspirational surprises are included.

 

inspiration caper bundle

Thank you for stopping by.  Here’s wishing you many happy blank canvas CAPE-ers.

 

And check out my artist friends fascinating and inspiring posts and learn how you could possibly win other fun stuff. Here’s the line up:

Sept 8 ….. Karen Friedland 
Sept 9 ….. Lezette Markham
Sept 10 ... Cynthia Patton
Sept 11Jennyann Carthern
Sept 12 … Friday Frenzy: Tori Deaux    Karen Friedland  Kiala Givehand  
Sept 13 … Jan Blount
Sept 14Effy Wild
Sept 15 Virginia Simpson-McGruder
Sept 16Dariana Cruz
Sept 17 Susan Miller
Sept 18Grace Howes
Sept 19Tori Deaux
Sept 20Kiala Givehand
Sept 21Martin Arkenstone
Sept 22Nicole Piar


If you missed any of these artist posts be sure and go back and check them out and enter their giveaway for a chance to win cool stuff.  The winners will be announced at the end of the hop. You could bookmark this page and remember to return each day for the new link ….or even better sign up here to easily participate in the blog hop and get a convenient reminder message with a link to the next artist’s article.  Then continue to stay in touch, receive uplifting and inspiring notes from Gratitude, timely updates, and eLetter only special treats.

Announcing the Blank Canvas Hop

Think about it.  Everyday we wake up to a fresh new “canvas” and get to decide how we will “paint” our day.  I believe we are all artists.  Every one of us is creative and has had to face a “blank canvas” in one way or another on a regular basis.  Blank-canvas-hop

During the next two weeks, when you join us for the Blank Canvas Blog Hop, you will get to take a closer look at how fifteen artists from varied backgrounds deal with the blank canvas.  Where do they find their inspiration? What does their creative process look like? How do they get unstuck?  What tips do they have to offer?  And no not everyone of these artists work on canvas.  But I’ll let you discover that for your self. 

If you’re new to the concept of a blog hop this is how it works.  Each artist will be sharing on a different day.  I’ll be sharing my post on September 13th and announcing what I’ll be giving away on that day so be sure and stop back by here on the thirteenth.  I’m really excited about my gift.  I’m pretty sure your are going to love it!  It’s one of a kind, valued at over a $100 dollars, and I’m going to have a really hard time parting with it.

Yep, that’s right each artist is giving away a special gift to one lucky winner.   Here’s the line up for the next two weeks. 

Sept 8 ….. Karen Friedland 
Sept 9 ….. Lezette Markham
Sept 10 ... Cynthia Patton
Sept 11Jennyann Carthern
Sept 12 … Friday Frenzy: Tori Deaux    Karen Friedland  Kiala Givehand  
Sept 13 Jan Blount
Sept 14Effy Wild
Sept 15Virginia Simpson-McGruder
Sept 16Dariana Cruz
Sept 17Susan Miller
Sept 18 … Grace Howes
Sept 19 … Tori Deaux
Sept 20 … Kiala Givehand
Sept 21 … Martin Arkenstone
Sept 22 … Nicole Piar

 

If you missed any be sure and go back check them out and enter their giveaway for a chance to win cool stuff.  The winners will be announced at the end of the hop. 

Your could bookmark this page and remember to return each day for the new link …or even better sign up here to easily participate in the blog hop and get a convenient reminder message with a link to the next artist’s article. Then continue to stay in touch, receive uplifting and inspirational notes from Gratitude, timely updates, and eLetter only special treats.

MUYL Blog Challenge Day 5: My Futurized List

Yesterday when I was thinking about my response to yesterdays prompt I considered writing a “futurized” post where I mention all my years accomplishments that I was grateful for. Well that post took more than two days to write and was already way too long as it was so I decided not to include that part.

Then when I saw that today’s post was asking us to write about what’s on our bucket list or what’s on your vision board, I thought wow …my idea for a futurized post would actually would actually address this question in an fun and interesting way. So let’s give that a whirl and see what happens.

My Entry for August 2015:

It’s been a life changing year. Lots of growth. Lots of stretching and expanding what I thought I was capable of. I really stepped up and finally made several of my life long dreams happen this year. I have so much to be grateful for and even more to look forward to.

1. I’m grateful for the numerous fans who have enjoyed and benefited from reading my book Gratitude’s Journey, which was published last fall. I get several letters a day from my readers all across the world mentioning how much the book has inspired them.

Gratitudes Journey

2. I’m grateful that I finally figured out video. I’ve learned enough of the tech side to be able to make video do what I want it to do. I love this art form. It’s become a new avenue for expression for me and an invaluable part of my business. The online courses I’ve created using video have been very well received.

3. I’m grateful I’ve found ways to take my business on the road. I’ve figured out what works and doesn’t work. One of my favorite things to do is to travel with my friends and family (and occasionally alone). I got to do this several times this year. I got to broaden my horizons and see the world. I took lots of photographs wherever I went. I got to enjoy new experiences and my business didn’t miss a beat. In fact, I got to share these aweventures with my flourishing community. This travel filled my creative well, kept me inspired, and gifted me with a plentiful supply of fresh new ideas. That’s a lot to be grateful for.

working and traveling

4. I’m grateful I got to be creative every day. I’m even more grateful that I am paid handsomely for doing so. Some of my art was licensed commercially. I significantly expanded my portfolio. Oh and I illustrated several books including Tales From the Abbey. I love seeing these books in full color.

thriving artist

5. I’m grateful I got to spend several days with other wild “and little bit quirky” women on a retreat several times this past year. My favorite was the artist retreat in Tuscany. I’m grateful I decided to take an extra week and spent some time in Holland. Next year I have plans to do a retreat in Italy.

6. I’m grateful that we finally made it to Alaska. I loved the inland passage cruise. And of course His favorite part was the guided fishing trip. Bunnie loved showing us around her old stomping grounds. I look lots of photos, the fishing did NOT disappoint, and the scenery…breathless. It was a dream come true for sure.

7. I’m grateful I got to spend some quality time with my parents and two sisters in Hawaii. I got some great video of our time together.

8. I’m grateful I got to see a sneak peek at the new Gratitude gift line of inspirational products which will be out this fall. I’m delighted with how well they turned out. It’s so fun to see the prototypes finally come to life.

9. I’m grateful for my VIP clients. What a lovely, inspiring, creative, group of women. It’s been a privilege to watch them bring their creative dreams to life. I’m excited about the collaborative project that we will be jointly launching in the coming months. What a joy to know we will be touching even more lives and inspiring them to step more fully into their Great Full Life.

client 3

10. I’m grateful for all the media attention Gratitude has received. People everywhere have fallen in love with Gratitude and are spreading her message far and wide. This notoriety is allowing us to have more of an impact in the world. We’ve contributed several thousand dollars to worthy causes and projects. I’m in discussion about doing a Gratitude live action/animated movie. I am excited (and a little nervous) about my upcoming TED talk. But not nearly as nervous as I used to be …I’ve had a lot of practice this year speaking in front of a crowd.

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to give this a try. Write your own futurized list for August 2015. What are you feeling grateful for having accomplished during the previous year? Let us know in the comments below.

MUYL Blog Challenge Day 8: Giving my Ideas a Chance to Grown Up

We were asked to write about our favorite day job, our least favorite day job, or a funny story about working.

Let’s Start With the Funny Stuff

I could tell you about the time I got a very nasty case of poison while shooting a video for my blog. I was miserable for over a week. You can see that video here  (its the last video on the page :#4).   But I am not sure how funny that story actually was. It sure wasn’t funny at the time. So scrap that idea.

Or I could share about the time I sat right down in the muck to illustrate a point for one of my videos. Now that one was pretty funny even at the time.  It can be found here…it’s the video in the middle:#3.  But video says it all, there isn’t really a lot more to share about that story. Sooooo…..\

Right Brain Business Plan Vision Board
My Right Brain Business Plan Vision Board

Giving My Ideas a Chance to Grow Up

Here’s what I will share with your today.

It’s been so long since I’ve had a day job, almost 40 years, so there is not a lot for me to say about my favorite or least favorite day job. My memory is dim on that subject other than to say this; I learned early I wasn’t exactly cut out for holding down a job where I worked for someone else for a paltry paycheck, which didn’t cover rent, let alone groceries. That was with a college degree. I was living in Hawaii at the time and the cost of living was high.

The most important reason for wanting to work for myself wasn’t about:

Wanting to be my own boss. Being my own boss has been the most challenging part. Regrettably the schools don’t teach us entrepreneurial skills. And I certainly didn’t get that training from home.

Or…

Wanting to have more flexibility, more ease with fitting in my work around the demands family life. Haha! It’s still a juggling act…maybe easier …maybe not…depending on what business I choose to pursue and the strategies I come up with to make my life easier.

Or…

Wanting the potential for a whole lot more money. Money helps. It’s even necessary when your are wanting to grow a business of your own, even with a boot-strap-my-way business plan (which is generally the way I’ve had to do things). I love money. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just not the main reason I do what I do.

Perhaps if these three reasons had been a higher priority for me I would have had earlier success with/in my business attempts.

Here’s my reason:

What I realized back in those early day jobs is that I needed to create something of my own, not spend my valuable time growing someone else’s dream or vision. I needed to give my own ideas a chance to grow up, a chance to make a difference or have an impact in someone’s world. My inner creative felt stifled in a J.O.B. She needed more space to express herself.

It’s been an aweventure and the journey continues….

MUYL Blog Challenge Day 7: Making a Difference

Today we were asked to write about either our favorite cause or if we didn’t fancy writing about that the other suggestion was to write about how the world would look if we were in charge of things. First it is my belief we are more in charge of the way our world looks than we sometimes think we are, but that is a topic I will save for another day.

I haven’t narrowed my interests down to one favorite cause. I feel passionate about a number of things.

Making the Outdoors Accessible

My husband is an avid fly fisherman. He owns the company Wasatch Custom Angling. Even before he bought this company in 2010 they had a history of working with both:

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.™, an organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings

Casting for Recovery, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the aftermath of a breast cancer diagnosis.
He has continued to work with both of these organizations, even expanding the company’s involvement.

He also has a guide service formerly called Solutions & Mentoring Adventure Coaching where he combined an outdoor experience (most often fly fishing) sprinkled with a bit of coaching for his clients.outdoor assessibility for the disabled

Recently, inspired by the work he has already been doing with Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery, his own struggles as a disabled vet, and numerous other prompts from the universe he has slowly begun to shift the focus of his guide service to make the outdoor experience more accessible to the disabled. He has had a customized drift boat made. It looks like one of those old WWll landing crafts where the front drops down for vehicle off loading. His boat has a drop down front so a wheel chair can be easily rolled on and off board. He also has several all terrain wheel chairs and adaptive fishing equipment. He has been raising money for further equipment, especially an wheel chair accessible van.

So yeah I think this is a great endeavor. Fishing may not be my passion, but nature is and am thrilled to know more people will be able to enjoy and experience it because of his efforts. I’m proud of him and like to toot his horn.

Protecting the Environment

Gratitude Picking Up Litter

Being that I have a passion for nature I have concerns for our environment. I am the daughter of a retired forester who at 84 years young is still very involved in conservation issues. I am sure his concern for the environment has rubbed off on me. I offer my support where I can and do my part by recycling, upcycling, composting. And there is more I could do.

Re-Imagine Education

If I had a magic wand

But if I had the power to whip out my wand and change the world and could only address one of the many issues facing us today…I would revamp education.  I think if we had more enlightened and broader opportunities for education this would go a long way toward helping us address many of our other challenges. I am not sure of the answers or solutions. But I do believe we currently have an out of date, out of step education system. A system, which was designed to supply a competent workforce during the industrial age.

Today’s economics are vastly different. Teaching the basic academics may still be important, but more important is to teach how to learn and how to creatively solve problems.

Imagine how different the world would be if we actually taught (or just created environments conducive to learning/exploring) innovation, entrepreneurism, yoga (or tai chi or chi gong) and meditation, nutrition, non violent communication, the creative arts, conservation and ____.

Imagine a environment where intuition, gratitude, and service were encouraged. Where collaboration was encouraged, not that a bit of competition can’t be fun too, but let’s create an environment where competition is taken less seriously.

Maybe I am a dreamer, but I think how we educate, especially our youth influences the future in profound ways.

I’d like to have some influence on changing education. I’m keeping my eyes, ears and heart open for ways in which I am particularly suited to help make a difference.

MUYL Blog Challenge: The influence of a Good Children’s Book

 

The prompt for today asks us to write about our favorite book and tell why it is our favorite. Or the other option is to write about a book we’ve written and explain why you might find it interesting.

I was amazed!! Last evening when I read the prompts for today I actually had a favorite book pop into mind. This is not an easy thing since I own (and have read) a lot of books that I absolutely love.

I could write a top ten favorite cookbooks, a top ten favorite creative books, a top ten favorite spiritual books, top ten favorite self help, top ten favorite biographies or memoirs. You get the idea. I will not belabor the point. I may even do this if there’s interest. Quite some time ago, I created a resource page where I talk about some of my favorites…you’ll find that here.

The title that immediately popped into my head is a book that is out of print. Although Amazon does have a few copies if you are interested. I was tempted to pick up one of these copies myself, because I don’t actually have a copy of the original book. My mom does. It’s a book that her Grandfather gave her for Christmas in 1938….everyone called him Pa.

Gabby Gaffer 1

Oh that’s right bet your wondering what the title is. It’s Gabby Gaffer by May Justus. It’s a children’s book with delightful illustrations and a folksy charm. One of the things that makes this book special is adults love reading it and get as much out of it as kids do. They may even get more from reading it. It’s kind of like Winnie the Pooh and the Velveteen Rabbit that way (a couple other of my all-time favorite books..yeah I love children’s books..guess I just have never grown up). When it came time to read these to my own children they were the kind of books that were even more fun and/or poignant to read as an adult than as a kid. I understood so much more and got the more subtle “adult” messages woven into these stories. More than once I would chuckled over the antics of Pooh bear and his friends. It was fun seeing our own all too familiar foibles mirrored in these characters. If we couldn’t see ourselves in the character then we certainly knew someone who acted just like that.

Back to Gabby Gaffer and why it’s a favorite. The book itself is such a delight. I could read and reread it and often do. It teaches without teaching (or preaching or being in your face with the message for that matter).

As a kid, when the furnace went on the blitz (and it often did in that old forest service house), I have fond memories of my two sisters, my brother and I crawling under the bed covers with Mom while she occupied us by reading Gabby Gaffer and other books all day. It was her way of keeping us all warm, cozy, happy, and content. I think she loved having an excuse…to tuck us all in and indulge in her favorite pastime reading books.Gabby Gaffer 2

Then for Christmas ’85, I opened a package from my youngest sister. She had loving taken the original copy of the book and had the book copied in black and white. I believe she used a copy machine. She hand bound the book and covered it with a beautiful print fabric. Then she went back and hand colored each of the pages to resemble the original version of the book. This was before Amazon and the internet. She did attempt to find used copies for each of us, but came up empty handed. So this was her way of keeping the joy of this book (and the memories) alive. Obviously I was deeply touched by her thoughtfulness. I cried tears of joy when I received this gift.Gabby Gaffer 3

Here’s a little snippet from Gabby Gaffer to give you a bit of the flavor of this wonderful book.

“When Gabby Gaffer wasn’t working for somebody or playing with somebody in Unlucky Village, he was walking in the forest by himself. Folks said he went there to throw away his troubles, but if he took any troubles there to throw away, they must have been somebody else’s. for Gabby Gaffer never seemed to claim any for himself.

Everybody said he was the luckiest chap that ever came to the village, and there were those who watched carefully to see if his luck wouldn’t change by and by, but they got small reward to pay them for their patience. Most of the people in the village had sense enough to see that not only was Gabby Gaffer a most unusually lucky chap, but he brought good luck to many other people as well.’

What I didn’t realized until last night was just how much influence this book has had on the writing of my current book Gratitude’s Journey. I’ve incorporated a number of the things I love about Gabby Gaffer in my own book. One similarity is my book is partly a story that teaches without directly teaching. It is the kind of book that children will enjoy and treasure, but it is really intended for the adult reader who is longing to connect with their inner kid. That has been one of the challenges with writing and designing my book. It could be easily be misunderstood. I know there’s a way to solve this…I just haven’t found it yet. Intermingled with the story ….there are also opportunities for the reader to explore their own inner and outer journey through the practice of art journaling aweventures. This book will charm you, inspire you, and give you nine guiding principles that will enrich your life.

MUYL Blog Challenge Day 4: I Have a Lot to Be Grateful For

For the Magic Up Your Life 30 Day Blog Challenge Amethyst asked, “What are you grateful for? Tell us the Top 10 things that make your heart sing, just make one of them something you did, okay?”

a lot to be grateful for
I’ve just celebrated 60 years young in June of this year so I have a lot to be grateful for. My only hesitation/challenge with answering this question is the “top 10″ part. I’m not going to even try to figure out what my “top 10″ all time favorite things would be. I have a lot that makes my heart sing. Yesterday my list would be different than the one I’d write today. So trying to nail it down to the top ten feels too arbitrary for me. My plan is to simply share ten random things I’m grateful for in this moment. In no particular order of importance….

Note: I actually ended up writing this over a period of several days…so that more accurately makes this: “in several moments spaced out over several days.” I had half of it written on Monday, then set it aside so I could drive up to Portland. I thought briefly about just posting what I had finished as a part 1 and then post part 2 later), but I didn’t want to feel rushed. Posting this on Monday still would have require several steps to get it to the place where I could comfortably push publish (things like proof it, move it from the word doc., find or create an image, etc) So here it is in its entirety only two days “late”…ten things I’m grateful for.

1. I’m grateful for Gratitude – One of my spiritual practices is to be grateful about everything in my life…to find a way to let my heart sing about everything life has to offer me. Even those “I want to pull my hair out or crawl in a hole and die” challenging things. Especially those things.

That practice is a work in progress. Most of the time I eventually get there these days. I’ll often let myself have a half day pity party, but my good friend Gratitude doesn’t let me wallow for days on end anymore. She reminds me to give myself a quick surgery-free face lift. It helps to ask myself, “Am I willing to let gratitude in?” When I forget Gratitude reminds me everything looks brighter when we are walking in/with Gratitude. So Gratitude helps me dig for “gold” and invariably we find it. If I were to pick one thing this would be it. This simple practice and my growing friendship with Gratitude has saved me from having to live under the dark clouds of depression. I’m grateful I found Gratitude …Gratitude makes my heart sing.

2. I’m grateful for being a self taught Photoshop wizard. Okay maybe not a wizard. I know there are probably more streamlined tricks which would make me faster at using this digital darkroom, but I’ve learned to make it do what I need it to do and then some. It’s helping me create delightful images for my book (and website) in a style I’ve rarely, if ever seen before. All in full color too. Imagine that! Photoshop has brought the color photo lab into my living room. (I guess I appreciate this even more cause I remember how it was having a black and white photo lab taking up space in the bathroom). Having tackled this bit of technology it’s given this certifiable non-techy type the confidence to teach herself other bits of technology…like word press.

3. I’m grateful for my camera and my eyes. They make a great team. There is something about having a camera in my hand. Looking through that lens can bring things into focus, give me a different perspective and have me notice things I might otherwise miss. The real joy happens when I find a way to reveal and connect with the soul of my subject.

4. I’m grateful for my family (both immediate and extended). Today I am feeling especially appreciative that they support and encourage my creative efforts and dreams. They inspire me. They believe in me. They champion me. Not every creativepreneur has this kind of unconditional support. I am very fortunate indeed.

5. I’m grateful for my treasure trove of books and love of learning. I’m running out of shelf space again. Several years ago, I found new homes for more than half of my books. I haven’t counted how many I still have (it would take too long). A quick rough estimate is somewhere around 2500 books. And no that isn’t an exaggeration. If anything I may have underestimated. Kindles are convenient …I do love the portability and easy accessibility, but there is something about holding a real live book in your hands and turning the pages. Clearly I inherited this passion (obsession) with books from my mom…thanks mom for teaching me what a wonderful friend a book can be.

6. I’m grateful for my sketchbooks and journals. They’re a meaningful and sacred place to pour my heart and soul. A place to express, experiment, and explore. A place to be unselfconsciously me. They are partly a sacred document, proof that I walked this way; partly a laboratory for my imagination; partly simply a fun way to express myself.

7. I’m grateful for my two passports. The first passport, my external hard drive, on the surface it’s pretty nondescript, humble and unassuming. It’s small, not much bigger than a deck of cards, but it holds a wealth of information, virtually all of my creative life. It has made my life so much easier. When my website vanished…I still had all my images safely tucked away on this portable device. This pint-sized “file cabinet’ has made it possible for me to continue to be creative while away from home…we do a lot of traveling these days. Which leads me to my other passport. The one that allows me to travel…to see the world and broaden my horizons. Travel which enriches and inspires my creative life.

8. I’m grateful for my creative studio. For so many years my studio was either the kitchen table or a desk top shared in common with the household. I made it work, but not having a place to leave stuff out did crimp my style just a little. After the kids left home my hubby agreed to let me turn the former living/dining room into my studio. So the main floor of our home is my creative space. We turned our upstairs bedroom suite/attic space into our personal living quarters. Oh the joys of having space to spread out and make a mess.

9. I’m grateful I am healthy, happy, and 60. That is a significant accomplishment since much of my life I’ve lived under a cloud of depression (oops..guess I mentioned this “cloud of depression” in #1..oh well it feels worth repeating). This wasn’t the soul sucking kind …this was more mild, subtle and sneaky. The kind that just wears you down and takes the fun out of life. The kind where you can pretend you’re not depressed or not know your depressed…cause it’s your normal.

Today I live the life I want to live instead of the one I think I should live. I worry less what other people think …which gives me the freedom to live life on my terms..my way. I used to try to tame my wild side and live by the rules (yeah my inner free-spirited, rule-breaker would sneak out and find a way to express herself…would find a way to test the waters when I was younger), but for the most part I felt like I needed to follow the rules. I worried A LOT. Today I’ve chosen some fairly unconventional rules for my life. And my skies are brighter than they have ever been in my life. Sixty years young is something I celebrate every day.

10. I’m grateful for you! ...my reader, my online friends & cohorts, my fellow artists and writing colleagues, my coaches and mentors, my ever expanding global community. I grateful for the sharing and learning that happens within this community. I’m am grateful for this wonderful world of connection made possible by technology, a true life Indra’s net I am grateful we have the ability to find people with common interests and people with opposing views.

On the one hand this ability to connect with (and get to know people) we would not otherwise connect with has the power to help us see our humanity anew; that our separateness is an illusion. To be more accepting and understanding of our differences, hopefully even celebrate these differences. Used well it could help us solve the challenges facing us today. On the other hand…used poorly it can desensitize us, isolate us, create a culture of disconnection and lack of intimacy with each other where forget how to have real time conversations with each other. In spite of these potential traps I’m grateful for the opportunities it has afforded all of us.

Life is good!

gratitude talks to a butterfly
Bonus gratitude: I’m grateful to finally know and trust, deep down in my heart of hearts that the Universe is on my side. All is well. And so it is…