Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dear Steven Curtis Chapman

Today is the anniversary of the day I told someone I love very much that she was dying of cancer. She didn't understand the words the doctors used to say there was nothing more they could do, so it fell to me to explain it to her. Three months later, she did die.
Today is also the second anniversary of my own diagnosis of cancer. One year after I told that very special person that cancer would take her life I was diagnosed with it myself. While I have many supportive friends and family around me, it's hard for me to talk about my experiences. Today I especially felt it would be difficult to explain the complex emotions I'm feeling, and to be understood. If you didn't know the person I lost, it's hard to really know what it was like.
Today also happens to be the first time I heard the song "Heaven Is The Face."
I am amazed at the courage and strength it took to write and share this song. To mourn a loss so painful robs most people, including myself, of the energy and ability to even interact meaningfully with others.
After I listened to this song, I felt listened to. I wish you could grasp a sense of how I was really listening to you too.
Just thought you should know.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Weekend Blogger

Around this time of year I start thinking about plans and goals for next year. I try to take a look at what worked and what didn't work over the past year. You know, keep what works and chuck the rest.
I haven't gotten very far, but these are some of the adjustments I am contemplating.
  • Continuing the blog on a reduced, weekends only schedule.
  • Building my own intensive topical bible study for the coming year.
  • Experimenting with schedules and strategies that keep my energy level in balance (minor adjustments such as what time I exercise or take a bath seem to strongly influence fatigue and nausea).
  • I'm still on the fence about writing, but I think I have determined that I will do some significant writing about writing and see where it takes me.
  • Normally I dislike the strict "do this every day" type of goal. However, I think I'd like to follow what is something of a mantra in the creative/arts world. "Do something creative every day."

What about you? Any goals or plans for the coming year?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Winter Reading List

Usually as summer approaches, there is quite a buzz about what folks are putting on their summer reading list. I wonder if the tradition stems from the days when it was much more popular to lay out in the sun all day to work on your tan. As a person who burns at the mere mention of the sun, that trend never caught on with me. For me, summers are more interactive, whether I am interacting with friends and family at a party, or interacting with store clerks as I browse up and down the block, or even interacting with a good movie. (Now there's a summer trend I like: the great movies).
Back to the approaching winter. Once the holidays are over we still need to get through January and February. Cuddling up with a good book might be as close to hibernation as we can get. Between the physical complications of mixing snow and ice with getting around on crutches, and the cold, decreased daylight, and my own decreased energy, I am hardly out and about during the winter.
Enter the winter reading list. It just so happens that right at the beginning of December my local library has a used book sale. Twenty dollars lands me more books than I can read in a year, let alone a season.
This year, I have quite a few classics on my list. Jane Austin, CS Lewis, maybe even some Tolstoy, or Dante's Inferno. I also hope to get to a few more contemporary pieces, Like Running with Scissors, The Year of Magical Thinking, and I Know This Much Is True.
What's on your winter reading list?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Brave People Make Things

My friend Dianne borrowed this from another blog and I decided to take on the challenge myself.
Will you be brave enough to take on the challenge?

Because 2010 is so near, I am changing the timeline.

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.

2. What I create will be just for you, with love.

3. It’ll be done this year (2009). EDITED: It will be done by May 1st, 2010

4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something strange.

6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.

7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you.

Good luck!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reformation Day

The plan was to take a few weeks off of blogging at the end of the summer. Things rarely go according to plan. I decided to return to blogging today for a couple of reasons. The theme of reformation has been bouncing around in my brain and I think it lends itself quite nicely to renewing a practice I have found helpful and making the adjustments needed in my schedule to create the room to do so. And speaking of making time, today also just happens to be the day we turn our clocks back to gain an hour.
The time change was the subject in my creative writing group this week. One member of the group said she was going to use her extra hour to write to her family and let them know how much she appreciates them. I like this idea because it took a minor observation and added a practice that turned it into a real holiday, a time for reflection and celebration.
So I am using my extra hour to resume blogging, as well as a few other creative pursuits I'll tell you more about in the next few weeks.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

IL Budget Crisis

Today our nation celebrates its Independence. For many people in the state of Illinois, this celebration is bittersweet. The IL legislature has failed to balance the state budget. Some would say that it's good that the proposed cuts to social services were not enacted; hopeful that a belated resolution to the problem will come to pass. Unfortunately, for many of the state funded social service agencies, this resolution will come too late. Programs that serve women, children, the abused, and people with mental illness as well as physical and mental disabilities have already begun to close. With no funding source, these non-profit programs simply cannot function.
Ironic isn't it? On this Independence Day, many of us social service providers are wondering how to tell our clients that we can no longer support their goal of living as independently as possible. Oh, and did I mention that the aforementioned legislature, immediately after failing to balance the budget, voted themselves a two week vacation? They return to session the day before many checks that state programs try to cash will bounce.
I teach my clients that independence is connected to responsibility, maturity, and integrity. What am I supposed to tell them when our leaders take part in manipulative "negotiations" and vote themselves raises and expense free retirement plans, instead of cutting pork barrel spending?
I teach my clients that budgeting requires sound judgement and priorities. I live by these rules myself. I pay for my housing and chemotherapy before I decide how many times I can go out to the movies, or how many magazines and books I can indulge in each month. What do I tell my clients about a government that pays for designer "Welcome" neighborhood signs before it makes sure its citizens are fed, housed, educated, and medically cared for?
Please visit Save Our Services and help if you can.

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK 1.20.61

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday

If I would have known then what I know now, I would not change a thing. I wonder if you ever knew that?
I've come to learn that while there is no limit to the amount of suffering one may endure, this is a limit to how long some will stay by your side in response to that suffering. That never occurred to me when I was with you. I could never have limited our relationship when your pain was so limitless. I wonder if you ever knew that?
I would have stayed for more if it meant you could have stayed for more. I wonder if you ever knew that?
I would have stayed up with you all night.
I would have loved you anyway.
I wonder if you ever knew that?

I miss you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
(Psalm 51:10-12)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Changing Media

I use Google Reader to keep up with all the blogs I like to read on a regular basis. I love how easy it is even to catch up even when miss a few days. One of the things I've noticed is that it has drastically cut down on the number of comments I leave for my fellow bloggers. The extra click-throughs pull me away from my main reading page, and I always mean to get back to leaving the comments, I just never do. Obviously, I've yet to find a solution to this problem other than to stop being so lazy.
On another note, I recently heard that a few more Christian magazines are set to cease publication. Periodicals are fast disappearing from the market. They just can't compete with the Internet in terms of cost effectiveness and accessibility. I just can't help but think of the value that I'm losing though. I reference magazines all the time and reread material all the time. Even if articles are archived online, I'm hardly going to get out of bed to look it up when my evening devotional or book triggers an association. Disappointing.
As if I wasn't feeling old enough, this weekend I've been trying to decipher applications for Twitter and all the features of GIMP. I was part of the original computer generation, but I feel like I'm falling further and further behind.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I had a great philosophical conversation today. We were discussing the topic of significance vs. insignificance. As an aside, one of my favorite things about this discussion is that it sprang from a question about the distinction between "nerd" and "geek." Look it up, if you don't know. But I digress.
One person commented that he felt like a nerd in school when he raised his hand to answer questions. Actually, the term "nerd" refers to an "insignificant" person. Wisely, another member of our group commented that supplying answers and contributing to the class knowledge and discussion is quite the opposite of insignificant.
This led to further analysis of how significance is determined. Society may believe you need to have an "other" to be significant. I think I am significant in and of myself. Is it what you do that makes you significant? Is it what you are good at? Or is it who you are? Or is it something else? Can you believe you are significant even if others do not? How? Why?
These are the things we discuss over lunch.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Something about this time of year leads my thoughts in the direction of growth and change. Call it a spring cleaning kind of thing. It happens to be a convenient time to look back on the goals I set at the beginning of the year and evaluate how I'm doing. This year, the word I picked to focus on happens to be cultivate.
So rather than emphasize how many pounds I have or haven't lost or how many words I have or haven't written, I'm reflecting more on theme. It's pleasant how God pointed me towards a word that holds such deep significance throughout the seasons and especially at this time of year. How am I doing at cultivating peace, hope, and other positive attributes in my life?
What do you wish to cultivate in your life? What do the seeds look like? What soil does it grow best in? How do you feed and care for it?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Share Joy

This week vocation has been a hot topic among the clients I work with. Many are not employed and given the current economy they are experiencing even less hope of finding any job, let alone one that they would enjoy. So we talked about what the ideal job would look like. After the initial fantasies about six figure paychecks, expense accounts, and 3 hour lunch breaks, one person hit on something. He said he wished he could sing because so many songs have deep meaning to a lot of people and he longs to bring joy to that many people.
So we brainstormed some viable ways to accomplish the goal of sharing joy without having to be discovered and sign a record deal. What about delivering flowers? Or being a porter at the airport? Or volunteering at a nursing home?
We spend a lot of time thinking about how happy we are in our jobs. Perhaps sometimes this is because we are in a job that truly is not a good fit. My dad is a paramedic. It's fulfilling for him to be able to help people. It would give me a panic attack to have to stick a needle in some one's arm. But what about the less dramatic examples? Maybe retail or custodial or secretarial work isn't your ideal job, but it's where you are at now. How can you use where you are to bring joy to others? Try it and I bet you might just bring some joy to yourself as well.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Quotes

I found these quotes from friends and other sources over the last few days. I always love a good quote to ponder.

The willow knows what the storm does not; that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it. Anonymous

Why must conversions always come so late? Why do people always apologize to corpses? David Brin

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb trees it will spend the rest of its life believing it is stupid. Anonymous.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The 300

This is my 300th post. What to talk about today? There probably wouldn't be much point in complaining about the fluish thing that has me feeling yucky. While it may or may not be entertaining to read a list of things that irritate me when I don't feel well (like walkie talkie phones and other sources of noise pollution) I just don't think focusing on that sort of thing would help me feel any better.
Reaching a milestone like 300 posts kind of makes me want to wax philosophical about what I've accomplished since I started this blog as well as how things have changed and how things have stayed the same. I'm just not sure I could put words to that in a way that would give it justice right now.
So inevitably I turn to thinking about the next 300 posts. I've been fairly consistent in posting, but there's always room for improvement. I'd like to share some more art on my blog in the future. I'm thinking about changing the look of the blog, maybe going with a custom design. I'd also like to more intentional about connecting with other bloggers and leaving comments about what they write. What would you like to see in future posts?

Friday, May 01, 2009

A New Quote

"What is to give light must endure burning."
Viktor Frankl

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Soloist

I saw The Soloist over the weekend. I don't want to spoil the movie, but I really enjoyed the way it focused on the relationship between the two characters. It could have easily stereotyped mental illness or used the film as a political soapbox around medication or homelessness. While these issues came up, the central message was one of the power of choice and the power of relationship.
I also happen to enjoy the way the craft of writing was woven into the story. A journalist comes upon the main character and moves from seeing him as a "story" in the distant, objective sense to investing in his story and becoming part of it.
Stories are central to who we are. Each of us has a story to tell. Even the homeless guy asking for spare change. Even the waiter who is extra nice or extra unkind to you. Even the jerk who cut you off on this morning's commute.
Maybe one of the things I like about movies like this and Stranger Than Fiction is that it blends two of my passions. Words and people. The ability to share our stories is healing. It is what builds relationships.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brain Dump

Here's a random list of 10 things going on in my brain and my life right now, just for fun:

  1. I just got back from a week long workshop on mental health and wellness. Once I process all the information, I'll post more on it.
  2. I need to update my Etsy site.
  3. I have the hiccups.
  4. Katerina loves her Easter present, a feather, rattan,and catnip concoction she can't stop batting all over the place.
  5. It's supposed to snow tonight and be in the 80's by Friday.
  6. I have over 650 emails and I'm feeling peer pressure to get my inbox down to zero.
  7. I really, really need to get some quality art time in to my schedule this week.
  8. I wish I understood Twitter better. I don't think I use it effectively at all.
  9. Every time I plan to walk to the gym, it rains.
  10. I'm finishing up my study of Job and moving on to a devotional series on Joshua.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What I Gave Up For Lent

Lutherans do not traditionally practice giving up something for Lent, but I and many of my fellow Lutheran friends do so anyway. I've given up a variety of things over the years, everything from TV to chocolate to bad language. I've given up other things during Lent, like the time I let go of someone I loved very much when she died of cancer during Lent.
This year it was really difficult to determine what God would have me give up. As I've mentioned, life is not easy for me these days. While there was a time when I grew spiritually by giving up one of life's little pleasures for a little while, I just don't think God is calling me to give up sources of relaxation, comfort, and support at this time. Yes, there probably still would be benefits to giving up various foods or forms of technology. Right now I need to believe that to eliminate that which makes me laugh, smile, or feel encouraged would be to reject the very gifts God is offering me.
When I came to that conclusion, it was as if a window to heaven had opened. I decided to give up hopelessness and discouragement for Lent. And you know what? It actually worked. Life is still hard, and I still get stressed and overwhelmed. But despair has lost much of the hold it had over me since I decided to give it up.
Now, along with this theme, I'd like you to go to this site and listen to a song by John Waller that speaks to exactly what I'm talking about. You'll have to scroll down to the song called "Our God Reigns Here." I really hope you listen to the song. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. This means you.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Holy Week

The last few weeks have been challenging, so I took some much needed time off from a few things, including blogging. I will be at a conference next week and I will likely be too busy and too tired to blog then.
So what do I have to talk about during this Holy Week? It always seems that my words are insufficient to describe my experience of the week we commemorate the passion of our Lord. It's a very contemplative, introspective time for me. It's also hard to articulate my thoughts. Yet each year, God teaches me something new and different about some element of the events of Holy Week.
Our sermon on Sunday focused on how Mary did a "beautiful thing" by anointing Jesus with expensive perfume. She was not aware of the events to come, nor could she have stopped them if she knew, but "she did what she could" to show her love for Jesus. Hers was a radical expression of faith and devotion as Jesus approached what He knew would be terrible agony and suffering. In short order, Jesus' friends betrayed, denied, and abandoned Him. Even His Father forsook Him for a time so we would never have to know the pain of that separation.
I know that when people are powerless to change my own painful circumstances it means something when they choose to "do what they can," even at their own expense. Some people find it difficult to stick around during the hard times. It's easy to love and call someone your friend during the good times. Real commitment is needed when the going gets tough.
I wonder if Christ thought of Mary's act of devotion while He was on the cross. I wonder if she ever knew how much she really did.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Choreographed Kitties

I'm feeling a little puny tonight, so Happy Fun Night is going to mean turning in early. I didn't want to post another video so soon, but I also didn't want to go to bed without posting something. Since I needed a smile, I searched "funny" and "cats" was the 1st suggestion that came up. I am amazed at how choreographed these little guys are. :):)
Boy I wish blogger had smileys.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Bernie Should Do

I normally do not write about business or political things on my blog. However, today I started working up a head of steam about something and I figured I'd share.
Bernie Madoff was not content with the vast sums of money he earned in his very successful position. So he stole even more money from many, many people who had set that money aside after working for it. The kinds of people he stole from are people who didn't want to be a burden to their kids, or perhaps they were concerned about how long the money would last upon retirement given the overall economy. Maybe they'd planned to travel through their golden years, after decades of hard work.
So why is it that after that this guy has stolen from so many "regular" folks, us "regular" taxpayers are now going to pay more to send him to jail? I don't get it. Granted I don't know everything about the story. I haven't diligently kept up with it, and this sort of thing is not my area of expertise. But here's what I think Bernie Madoff should do.
I think he should go back to work. And I think he should continue to receive his pre-existing salary. However, he's proven he cannot handle the responsibility of his position nor the income he was accustomed to. So, he ought to go back to his huge empire and start at the bottom. In the mail room. Bernie Madoff should be the assistant to the newest, greenest, youngest employee in the mail room. He should have to be the gopher to the gophers.
He should have to go fetch lattes for his "boss" and friends. And when he returns he'd better be sure to count out the coins and state "Here's your change, sir." As for his salary, Bernie himself ought to get a sense of what it's like to live on a fixed income. Perhaps minimum wage, or the Social Security benefits many of his victims will now need to settle for. Under the supervision of an accountant, he should be expected to write weekly checks consisting of the remainder of his salary which would go into a fund to repay his victims.
That's what I think Bernie should do.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Be still
Let your hand melt into mine
The part of me
That breathes when you breathe
Is losing time
I can't find the words to say
I'll never say goodbye
And I'll fly with you
Through the night so you know
I'm not letting go
I'm not letting go
Tears like rain fill up the sky
Oh my love
I'm not letting go
I won't let you go
I saw a host of silent angels
Waiting on their own
Knowing that all the promises
Of faith come alive
When you see home
Hold still and let your
Hand melt into mine
Shed your heart and your breath
And your pain and fly
Now you're alive
Now you're alive
Now you're alive
Now you're alive
I won't let you go
I'm not letting go
Fly, Jars Of Clay

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taking What I Can Get

Today I was told I have a very nice sneeze. It was one of the best compliments I've gotten in a while, if only for the comedic value.
What are some of the best or most interesting compliments you have received?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Not All Your Fault

Once again I am touched by the number of people who stumble across my blog looking for "relaxing activities" or "how to get through a bad day." Or even, "and death shall be no more (comma) death thou shalt die." Today I am commiserating with these people as the calendar fast approaches the anniversary of the day I lost someone very important to me.
In stark contrast to this, there are the pettier issues we have to deal with each day. Someone close to me was telling me that he has an infallible co-worker. This person he works with is certain you either spoke wrong, heard wrong, or meant something wrong. If you suggest she is making an assumption, she states you made an implication. If she is angry, it is in response to your behavior. On the other hand, if you are angry, you must have jumped to a conclusion or otherwise miscommunicated somehow.
Let me reassure you, it can not always be your fault all the time for everything. Everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes it's your fault. Sometimes it might even be all your fault. I'd venture to say that if you are anything like me, most of the time it's probably partly your fault. However, it takes at least two people to create a dynamic and you just can't bear all of the responsibility all of the time. Life has so many other things to focus on.

Friday, March 06, 2009


My friend Teena has started a new blog, Serendipitini. Along with her daughter, she is writing some great stuff on creativity. Teena is such a great inspiration to me; she has so many artistic gifts. Stop by her site if you are looking for something fresh to spark your own creative muse.
We'd both appreciate feedback when you visit.
Have a wonderfully creative weekend.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

Discoveries Pt. 2

I've been tracking my schedule on MS Outlook for over a week now. The first thing that has been revealed to me is that I am tired. I don't mean "I could take a nap." I mean exhausted and drained of energy; to the core. Henceforth, I have decided to stop beating myself up for my lack of productivity on my weeknights.
I have about 5 hours each evening before I go to bed. Once I started tracking how long it actually takes to eat dinner, get ready for work the next day, and maintain a basic minimum of organization to my home and personal life, I realized I am lucky to blog and to return phone calls and emails in a timely manner. I now grant myself permission to "waste" the remaining 47 minutes of my evenings watching TV, messing around on Facebook, reading, or scoring Katerina some great catnip and watching the resulting amusement.
I know there are parents who do much more with their evenings, and many authors have managed to write more than one book with the same few hours. I admire them. Once upon a time, I was among the super achievers as well. My standards have changed. Those little color coded blocks of time graphically illustrate work, creativity, family, and church as my priorities. I can't force a clean house or a sold manuscript into the remaining sliver of white space. So I'm going to go watch TV with my cat.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I continue on my never ending quest to manage my time better and become more organized in general. At work, I began tracking all of my time- not just my appointments, with the calendar in MS Outlook. I really liked the way it ended up being part to-do list, and part ta-da list. When I have unfinished tasks at the end of the day I can see that this was due to the number of tasks on my schedule that I did accomplish. It also helps me identify what kind of things I get sidetracked with and what time of day leads to what kind of interruptions.
I found all these elements so beneficial that I've started using the calendar feature of MS office at home. I have a regular calendar to track appointments and such, but I really like being able to see exactly where all my time is going. I'll share more about this as I develop my use of the tool. I hope it's as useful at home as it has been at work.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Etsy Grand Opening

I'm pleased to announce the grand opening of my new Etsy site. I am currently featuring handmade books, "abstract books," and a few things I've decluttered from my art space. I hope to expand the selection of books and add a few other items soon.
Please stop by and visit. You can find me at
I also have a mini shop linked up on my sidebar right here on my blog. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Expressive Arts

Yesterday I went to a wake for someone who died entirely too young and under circumstances that were entirely too tragic. There's been entirely too much of this sort of thing in my life as of late, and it's really starting to wear down what little reserves I have left. On this side of heaven, there is just nothing that makes this OK. It's not OK. What do you say to his mom? What do you say to strangers who don't understand? What do you say to God?
In theory, our American death, dying, and burial traditions are designed to facilitate personal closure, the ability to say goodbye, and provide support to the bereaved. Perhaps they accomplish this sometimes. However, I've often seen the chaos and hassle of arrangements be too overwhelming for those suffering loss. I've also seen the hours upon hours of sitting in a room with a loved one who isn't really there anymore, while trying to play hostess, simply amount to torture for the grieving.
This family did something I've heard of, but not personally seen. They had T-shirts made in honor of their lost loved one. Colorful, airbrushed, personalized T-shirts with his picture and a carefully selected Bible verse. Perhaps I'm biased because of my love for the creative, but I just felt this was a beautiful way to mourn. Is there a loss in your life that you would like to honor by creating something? What would you create?

Monday, February 09, 2009


Not much for conversation
I still find need to pray
Sometimes I get tired of walking
Through these ordinary days
If nothing else I get to see you
Even if we never speak
The harm of words though sometimes
We don't quite know
What they really mean

I don't know where
I don't know how
I don't know why
But your love can make
These things better

So let me lay down in this field
And stare up at the sky
I hope the days and clouds
Turn into something
As they pass us by
And maybe you could settle
For a skyline faded blue
I hope that you might settle
For this love I have for you

Your love can make these things better
Your love can make these things better
Your love can make these things better

These Ordinary Days, Jars of Clay

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Not that long ago I was watching an interview on late night TV. I can't recall the name of the person being interviewed, but I know he was of British, possibly Irish. He shared a few stories of the typical late night variety. Those designed for shock value and a good laugh. Then he digressed to talking about the family he grew up with and as he became quieter and more serious, he commented "of course, they've all been gathered now."
This shift in tone did not escape the attention of the host, as he quickly poked fun at the use of the gentle euphemism in stark contrast to more acceptable, irreverent slang. It didn't escape my attention either. Most of us are uncomfortable with death and we have created much vocabulary in the name of avoiding the true meaning of the word. I'd never heard the phrase "they've been gathered" before. And the thing is, despite the fact that we invented the term as a euphemism, I think it might be the truest picture we could paint of what happens when we die.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Studio Makeover

I know this looks like a plain old before picture. It's actually a Phase I picture. My kitchen table is better known as my art studio. Right now it's covered in some supplies I recently found and/or purchased. Just before I got those supplies I created some makeshift storage on the back of the table. Stay tuned for the updated picture where I will talk about how I evaluated what works and what doesn't work in my improvised art studio.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fun With Metaphors

I love metaphors. I use metaphors in my writing. I teach with metaphors in counseling. I express myself with metaphors in my art. I love finding metaphors in books, movies, and everyday conversation with others. I will go to great lengths to develop a metaphor and exploit it for my own personal use.
As a counselor and writer, I am often conscious of the subtext metaphor provides. Yet sometimes, metaphors sneak up on me. An example is the furniture I've gotten in the last few years. When I got my Master's Degree, I bought myself an entertainment center. At first, I thought this was simply because I had simultaneously moved in to a somewhat smaller home and I needed to consolidate my CD, electronics, etc.
Enter my most recent purchase. The couple of years since I've graduated have been even harder than the ones I spent working and going to school full time. My parents had been encouraging me to get rid of my old recycled sofa. So when I went with my parents to help them pick a new dining set & sat in a nearby recliner, I was, well, sold.
I had no conscious thought of my need for entertainment when I bought my entertainment center. Nor did I buy two new recliners specifically because I need to relax. No, these hidden layers of meaning were there all along. I just needed to look for them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Am Green

God bless The Frog.

Monday, January 26, 2009

How To Do It All

I got home from my day job today and I have barely had the energy to do half the dishes, triage my emails, and do a couple of writerly things, including resuming my blog.
Then there is my friend Wendy. She's a Mom, a writer, and an award winning doll sculptor. She's active in her church, at least a dozen other activities, and she's a literary agent. As if that were not enough, Wendy and her literary agency, Books & Such, just launched their blog.
If you want to know how she does it all, stop by the blog. Lately, Wendy has been focused on the topic of organization. All the contributors share information that's helpful in all areas of life, not just writing or work. I'm excited about adding this blog to my list of regular reads and I hope you will check it out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun In The Cold

As far as I know, this video was not taken here in Chicago. But it could have been. I'd heard that when temperatures get below -10 degrees, soap bubbles will freeze. I'd also heard that they will shatter. That part turned out not to be true. I'm glad I did find this video to demonstrate the effects because I was not about to go outside and try to accomplish it myself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Goals and Resolutions

I was going to take a vacation from the blog this week so I can attend to some other responsibilities. Then I got a lovely compliment on the blog from a friend. So I couldn't very well leave it now.
I wanted to take a break to work on my previously mentioned Etsy site. I also want to dig deep into a couple of Bible Studies I'm working through. I'm reading the book of Job. If you aren't struggling right now, anything I say about it will sound cliche. If you are having perhaps a harder time than you've ever had in your life you will understand about finding insights where they had previously been undiscovered. You will know what it means to have Job as your friend and to struggle to stay on top of the dirt that continues to fall on you by the wheelbarrow full.
It was as I was thinking about Job and his daily effort to remain faithful to God when I realized something about New Year's Resolutions. We seem to think all is lost if we've failed in our goals by this time of year. But God doesn't work like that. Every single day, every single minute of every day is a chance to start over, a chance to grow, a chance to change. So I finally decided what to do about my goals for this year.
Rather than being about content or outcome, my goals at the moment are focused on process. If I lose focus, I acknowledge that and come back to my relationship with God, which is at the center of everything. I'm not starting the year with an organized life and a perfectly tailored health plan. I'm just checking in with God every day to see what He wants me to accomplish, fix, or change in my life.
New Year's Resolutions, one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Organizing 101

My friend Dianne is organizing her craft space and blogging about it. I'm very much inspired by her motivation and her space. I love organization even when I am not very good at it. So now I am looking at systems to inventory and organize all my craft stuff.
The main problem is that I live in a one bedroom condo. My kitchen table serves as my main craft space. Secondary storage is in a small hall closet on the other side of my home. I am trying to triage my supplies. However, I'm going to have to get some mailing supplies and develop a system for them once I get my Etsy site up and running. Of course, that will require more space.
So that's what I've been mulling over for the last few days and it's a large part of what I'm experimenting with on this particular Happy Fun Night. If I get brave enough I might post some pictures. Maybe.

Monday, January 05, 2009

And About Hibernation...

The other day I suggested we radically alter our calendar to spread out "the holidays" more or less evenly every four months or so. I'm going to further question the wisdom and sophistication of evolving away from hibernation. I think we really need to reconsider the concept of nesting away in the long dark days of winter.
Who said hibernation was such a bad thing anyway? Many of our local cities can't afford the amount of salt and snow plowing it takes to keep running all winter. Then there's SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Not to mention the general craving for increased carbohydrates and extra sleep, with the lack of sunlight and all. See, aren't we wired to want to hibernate during this time of year?
I'm not saying we all ought to go into a coma for three months. I'm just wondering what it would be like if everything radically slowed down for two to four weeks some time after the New Year. Maybe some people would still need to go into work, but it'd be skeleton crews at reduced hours. Otherwise, we'd get to sleep in and take naps, not all day, but more than usual. Since we wouldn't be sleeping 24/7 during the hibernation period, there would be an emphasis on family time, or quiet time. We'd read, catch up on all our craft and household projects. We'd write letters to each other, cook and have meals together.
Even you extroverts have to admit it's a better idea than shoveling snow.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year

A few weeks ago the members of my creative writing group were lamenting the excessive, well, excessiveness of the holidays. Christmas is promoted before Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving. Then there's the weekend traveling and cooking for Thanksgiving, on top of which we are expected to make time for Christmas shopping. That is, if you are one of the "lazy" folks who isn't "already" done with your Christmas shopping.
And woe unto you if you have not already made your plans for ringing in the New Year. All the cool restaurants, hotels, and people have been booked for weeks. Perhaps all this explains why I was actually glad when my plans for the New Year's celebration fell through. I was downright exhausted! That balance I talked about a few posts ago? Somehow it escaped me in the chaos of the holidays. As much as I thought I'd want to be social for New Year's this year, I needed the time to restore my own sense of balance.
Which brings me to the brilliant idea one of my group members had. He thought we ought to redistribute the holidays to roughly 4 months apart or so. New Year's would probably have to stay put for the sake of time management. But really, nothing much fun is going on in August. It could use a holiday. And I know moving Christmas would pose problems with the liturgical calendar, but historians agree Jesus was not likely born in December anyway. I'm sure we could figure it out.
Anyone know how to officially propose an idea such as this?