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.