Monday, November 23, 2015

My new creative space

Hi there, blog friends!
We had such a great weekend! We tackled a whole bunch of items on our house-to-do-list, and had an early Thanksgiving dinner with Doug's family on Saturday. This morning I'm off and running. It's a short work-week with a long list of personal to-do's in the mix...getting ready for out-of-town guests coming in for Thanksgiving. Since I don't have photos of our weekend stuff this morning, I thought I'd share a peek at how my new craft space is shaping up. Come, I'll show you...

One of my favorite things is that I have my Grandma Bessie's dresser in the mix. Doug refinished and painted the dresser for Carrie to use a few years back, but when she moved out the dresser stayed with me. It holds more than just fabric scraps for me.

Another favorite thing is the set of Chakra canvases Carrie made me. Love, love, love. And my hula hoop, made by a friend of mine. Love that too! Oh, and that curtain covers my closet in this room. I opted for a curtain again, instead of a closet door. I like that I can pull the curtain to one side and have full access to the shelves that Doug built for me inside.

You can see a glimpse of the wall mandala I'm painting in the mirror of my grandma's dresser below. It's taking shape on the opposite wall, and I'm still not sure if I'm going to keep it. It's the first time I've ever painted something like that on a wall. Who knew there'd be such a learning curve? Anyway, there are a few things I would do differently, and I'm pretty sure I will have Doug paint over this one and give me a clean slate.

It was important for me to keep this new space a bit more minimal in terms of displaying my collections of stuff. This wall holds the collections I still want to enjoy, with the opposite wall holding my work table. And, I have lots of floor space for my yoga mat!

The last shot was taken while sitting at my work table. Sweet little view, yes? This is my view as I type on my laptop to create this post. And to my right is my sewing machine. I'm surrounded by treasures in this room. It's no wonder that I love it so!

I'll have more to share about the progress of my wall mandala once I decide it's ultimate future. For now I wish you a lovely Monday and a happy Thanksgiving week.
Be safe.
Be happy.
Be grateful.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Just a Quote for Friday

{wall mandala, in progress...}

"If you're always listening to the noise of the world,
it's impossible to hear the whispers of your soul."

~ Marie Forleo

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Me in a mandala

I have several posts saved as drafts in my blogger dashboard. Some are stories waiting for photos to be added, and some are stories I've written that will most likely never actually be published here. And there are so many drafts with photos of mandalas waiting for the right words to be added. This was one of those drafts, formerly titled: "Turn me loose mandala - needs words."

I don't remember what I was pondering on August 14, 2015 when I drew this wild and crazy piece, but I do remember throwing caution to the wind. I remember scribbling and not giving one tiny little darn about how the finished piece would look. I remember wondering "Where is this coming from?" and also thinking "Hey, this is pretty fun!"

And when I was done I captioned it, "Turn me loose."

I'm posting these photos today to show another side of my mandala practice - the side that's not so orderly and precise. I suppose I've been revealing that side over the past few months with my not-so-perky blog posts and darker than normal disposition. It's interesting to me that even though I drew this mandala three months ago, the juxtaposition of the design feels exactly like me right now.

Scattered, happy, jagged, sharp, playful, wandering, letting go, lacking order (but not missing it), making mistakes and making the best of it. Throw it all in a circle, mix it up a little bit, and there you have it: Me in a mandala.

And while some of this might not even look like something that would come out of me, other parts totally do. Like the little daisy flowers and happy faces. Old habits die hard.

I remind my mandala students that the beauty of our mandalas rests in the process, not the finished piece. I love that about mandala drawing because it really takes the pressure off of the artwork side of things. We also remember that art is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Scattered, jagged, not quite in order? There's even beauty in those things if you squint your eyes a little bit. Throw it all in a circle, mix it up a little bit, and there you have it: Me in a mandala.

Turn me loose.

Monday, November 16, 2015

This weekend around our house

Hey there, blog friends!
Happy, happy Monday morning to you.
Monday morning mood check? Meh.
Level of excitement for upcoming events in the next week or two? Super high!

So, yeah...weekend recap: highs, lows, tears, smiles, busy stuff around the house, a mandala workshop, great big grocery store trip, Carrie's dad in the hospital and super sick, rainy day Sunday with lots of baking, meatloaf for Sunday dinner per Doug's request, closet doors hung(!!!), and a ton of laundry. Seriously? How do two people generate that much dirty laundry?

Anyway! One thing I did this weekend that I haven't done in a really long time was shoot with my big camera. The quality of photos from my iPhone is so good, and it's so convenient to use - I'd forgotten how fun it is to shoot with my "real" camera. So for today's weekend recap, I give you a few photos taken around the house with my Canon.

That old box used to be in my Grandpa's tool shed filled with...well...tool shed things.

My blog friend Rinda will be in Arizona later this week and we have plans to spend some time together. :o) We're celebrating Thanksgiving with Doug's family this Saturday, and my sister and her family will be in town for Thanksgiving next week. The near future is filled with spending time with friends and family, enjoying great food and conversation, and slipping right into the holiday season.

If that doesn't give your Monday morning mood a boost, I don't know what will.
Have a great week, my friends!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's November and I am...

Painting a big mandala on the wall of my new craft/yoga space;

Wishing I'd had Doug put a smooth texture on that wall;

Half-planning on covering it up and starting over, but I'll keep

plugging along to see where it takes me. {Edit: I started loving it last night!}

Settling in to our new home. We love it!

Enjoying our cool fall weather. Arizona this time of year = awesome!

Wearing boots to work! (Dear Santa, I need want new boots...)

Making lists. A grocery list for Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping lists, mandala workshop lists, house-remodeling priority lists... Sigh. I love list making. :o)

Looking forward to having my sister and her family here for Thanksgiving!

Planning our Thanksgiving menu (though it's the same every year);

Baking cornbread for the freezer to use for my mom's dressing recipe for Thanksgiving;

Watching grocery store ads for the best deals on turkeys and hams;

Wishing some people weren't so selfish and hurtful. Humans are an interesting lot.

Missing my mom. I miss her all the time, but the holidays are a whole different deal!

Dreaming about a really cool yoga retreat I'm going on in April 2016!

Breathing deeply.

Practicing an attitude of gratitude.
What are you up to this month?

Monday, November 9, 2015

One Photo Weekend

Hey there, blog friends.
When you sit down to write a weekend recap blog post and the only photo you have to share is of your husband's dirty hunting clothes on the bathroom floor...

My weekend was a mix of Doug being away on a hunting trip, me being present at yoga teacher training, my California family mourning the loss of a loved one , making plans for Thanksgiving and dealing with a little drama in the mix (oh, family...). Cap it all off with Doug bringing a dead deer home and you have...well...a weekend for the books.
I'll just wish us all a week full of blessings and call it a wrap.
Gosh, I can't wait for next weekend to try again!
Keep smiling! :o)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Me and my funk and the power of a smile.

We've been in our new home for five weeks now and we absolutely love it. So much has been done in terms of remodeling, and there's still so much to be done as we continue to live here and make it ours.
It's been an exciting time and it's been an exhausting time for both of us.With so much to be happy about - so much to be grateful for - why then, WHY? would either of us feel down-in-the-dumps, discouraged, depressed or out-of-sorts? Why, indeed...
Being able to rent our former home for a few months before our actual move gave us more than ample time to pack and prepare. One of the things I took on was to go through my belongings and purge the things that no longer served me. In hindsight, I think my funk started way back then.
I sifted through cards and letters from my mom, drawings and sweet notes from little Carrie, a memory of an old flame, and photos from oh-so-long-ago. All those emotional ties connected to things and people, and the letting go of them...phew. Tough stuff right there.
Then came the actual move. The going non-stop day after day (and now week after week) took its toll physically. And when one is not well rested, one can usually not handle the emotional side of things as smoothly as one normally would. Sigh.
I'd been moping around for weeks and it was really getting old!

One day last week I swung by the grocery store on my lunch hour. Before I got out of the car I flipped my visor down to check my look in the mirror and noticed the scowl on my face. "This has got to stop," I thought. "It's just not like me..."
I did my shopping and grabbed an iced tea from Starbucks, all the while silently grumbling to myself about the long lines, the toddler throwing a fit over a candy bar, and the oblivious woman taking up the entire damn aisle with her cart. Seriously, lady?!
And then something happened that changed everything.

As I walked out the exit door, grocery bag in one hand and iced tea in the other, another customer was entering. The woman looked at me - looked me right in the eye - and her face lit up with the most generous smile. A smile that spoke volumes of all-is-right-with-the-world. The sparkle in her eyes combined with her kind expression melted me just a little. My heart burst wide open with gratitude.

It was a brief encounter, and one that touched me so deeply that I was reduced to a few tears on my way out to my car. She had no idea of the gift she'd given to me. No idea that her happy disposition, shared by way of a simple smile to a grumpy scowling me, could rub off on me and shift my perspective. She set me right back onto the path I am meant to be on.

Our recent house move has been wonderful. It's been exhausting. It's been rewarding and challenging and easy and frustrating and awesome. It's been a drastic change wrapped in the most amazing blessings we can imagine. And that's just it - it's been a huge change.
If I've learned nothing else in this process, it's this: even when we are enthusiastic, ready and willing, change is still tough. It takes time to feel settled after a move and I may not feel completely that way for a while now but that's ok. 

A stranger smiled at me and changed my perspective in a profound way.
Never underestimate the power of a smile to someone who isn't already wearing one.
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