Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to 2009! Here's to 2010! Here's to you!

Twilight Road, Ann Arbor Michigan

I stopped by to wish you all a Happy New Year.

I've found this last half of the year, I have not been as able to celebrate with you all, or other people as much as I wanted. I've felt a bit overwhelmed by my own concerns, and didn't really feel that I had the room to be present for others.

For that, I apologize.

I have decided that for 2010, I am going to focus more on paying attention to the abundance that is already in my life, and not be so concerned with those things that I lack.

2009 has been a very hard year for many people, I know. It seems most everyone has been struggling with losses, financial hardships, difficult choices and all sorts of troubles.

I personally have not felt the pinch this sharply since I was a kid.

It would be easy to only think of 2009 as a year of constraints, but I choose instead to look at it for the growth and development. I am choosing to be thankful for the lessons that I have learned this year.

I am grateful for being able to watch how my kids have turned from babies to actual kids. Becoming more and more able to communicate and explore their own world independently. One is potty trained completely, and I have just one more to go. Woo hoo. Here they are, actual fun little people. It makes me eager to see what else is coming, who they will become.

I am thankful for finally being able to overcome some of my own insecurities and begin selling my art to people I do not know. Even though I feel like I know many of my clients now. I have become a business woman, even if I am not very profitable just yet, what has come my way has always come my way just exactly when I have needed it. And more than the money, the value of becoming a business woman is in the way I have come to look at myself and what I can do. I still have far to go, but I know I can learn what I need as I go.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to write, even in those little minutes that I had, while the kids were watching tv or while everyone else was occupied with something else. When you days stretch empty and unencumbered, it is so easy to take your time for granted. This year, I have squeezed every minute I could out of my busy life so that I could feed my soul.

I finished my latest first draft just this morning. Yes, I thought i was done yesterday, but it was this morning where I wrapped it up and added those two little words, "THE END." That was cool. More than any other book I have written in the past, I feel like this book is marketable. It's not done, and I want to make it as good as I can, but there is something here that sparks. That welcomes others. So I'm counting this as one of my successes that I was able to focus on because of my constraints in other areas of my life.

I'm thankful that I have found a whole new language, a whole new dialogue with my art and my online community... without which, it is doubtful that my painting would have gone on the journey it did. Imagine, if I'd had the freedom and money to go out and do all sorts of things in real life, would I have sat at home painting every night, and spent my afternoons talking to you all? Doubtful.

And then there's a big one. Being financially strapped this year has made me pay attention more than ever to my own spending habits. To the ways that I am wasteful, not just with money, but with resources. I have begun cooking more meals from scratch and utilizing the leftovers. Did you know chicken bones can make a delightful SOUP? Yes, Virginia, soup does not have to come out of a can. I have also learned to focus more on those things that I did have. This is hard sometimes, but after a while, you come to realize how much you don't need ALL. THAT. STUFF. Things aren't where importance lies, really. It's in people and in the connections between people.

Lastly, I am thankful for my own creativity. Constraints in life demand creativity. Making a doll for my daughter instead of buying one. Finding new ways to use recycled items, like making crowns out of old cereal boxes. Discovering the wonderful world of blanket tent making, or cushion fort-ing. Making do with what resources we have, instead of always going out to buy what we think we need is one of the most basic ways to utilize our creativity.

I think that's where human creativity comes from, and why it is so important to our society and our humanity. We make what we need. We find new ways to interact with our environment. We discover new things about who we are and what we are capable of, about what is important, and what is not as necessary as we thought. Creation is how we excercise the grand capabilities of our wondrous minds.

There is no limit to those capabilities, if we use our creativity to keep looking for ways to make our lives into what they need to be.

So here's to 2009 and all the lessons we have learned, the journey on which we have travelled.

And here's to 2010. To its limitless possibilities, and all that we can create with what we are given.

And here's to you. Imagine me raising a glass of champagne, here. Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things of Land and Sea are We

Kooky Mermaid w Purple Hair and Sea Family. By mama

This is one of the things I've been working on this month. A mermaid doll, not a pretty mermaid doll, a funny mermaid doll. And the little dolphin pet. And the finger puppet octopus and jellyfish. I am particularly proud of the jellyfish inspiration. A little tulle, a little beaded trim, and voila.

Here's Ivy playing "hello there would you like to dance" with the invertebrates.

Sometimes I've been feeling a little like I was under the ocean with all the things I've had to do lately. But without the fins and gills and tentacles and such.

I've decided that my new year is going to be....

well... let me stop.

I haven't decided anything, except I am going to keep trying to do what I've been trying to do. I'm going to take the next steps and see where they lead me.

I'm going to revise my just finished first draft of my Werewolf Novel. (Just this morning! Yay!)
I'm going to find some critical readers.
I'm going to find out how to get an agent.
I'm going to try to get this puppy published. This is the one, I think. After all of the "ones" I've had before.
I'm also going to keep going with my art. Work on my etsy shop, which is taking a necessary break right now.
I'm going to try to paint bigger, if I can.
I'm going to work on some new creativity projects still to be defined.

But along with those goals I have, I'm going to work on adjusting expectations. Accepting what is. Enjoying life as it comes. Keeping motivated and productive. Being open to opportunity. Being realistic about what I can accomplish with my time.

I've come a long way this year, but it's not as far as I was hoping. The truth is that as a full time stay at home mom with a 4 year old and an almost 3 year old, I don't really have the time or energy to do all I want creatively or in a business.

That was an important realization to make. Life comes first, you see. Even if creativity feeds my life, I still have to take care of the physicality of life, the needs of little people, cleaning the house, cooking, laundry, eating right, maintaining relationships. All that stuff of living.

I have a tendency to live in my head, to dream up ideas, to paint and write and focus on all that.

Now as a mother, I am learning this balance.

A thing of land and sea I am. A mermaid in life. Half mom and half artist. Half woman, half fish.

I am still learning to navigate this strange environment.

But there is no deadline to living. Every day is a new chance to grow, learn, change, retreat.

January first is a great day to take stock and review and envision the year to come, but it is still just one day in life. And every single day is the first day, as they say, of the rest of your life.

What do you want to achieve in this next year? What are you willing to let go of?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Their Christmas, My Year

Ivy and her stocking. Michigan Christmas

This is what I've been doing with my December. Giving it to a little girl and boy so they could have this day.

A week before Christmas, we flew from St Pete, Florida to Chelsea, Michigan. I am still in weather shock, but they love it. Snow is wonderful for them. The Michigan grandparents are wonderful.

And look at the boatload of presents.
This is not Christmas Eve, this is the morning, Santa's already been here. They couldn't wait, and we let them break into their stockings before the sun came up.

I have more to show, but never any time. Sigh.

I intend to use these days between the busyness of Christmas and the business of the New Year well.

I am intent on finishing my first draft before 2010. This morning I finished the climax, and now I have only the denouement to write. That and acres of rewriting. I am intent on reflecting back on this last year, with all its successes, as well as its tribulations... and oh there were tribulations. Actually, I might tend to pay more attention to them than the successes, so on these last days of the year, I'd better give them some notice.

I am also intent on making goals for the new year. I don't call them resolutions. I don't do resolutions. I do plans and goals and dreams and focusing. I set my target, and I loose the arrows of my intentions. I figure out what I want my life to look like and I figure out what I need to do to make it look like that. Even if I don't achieve every last goal, and I didn't this year, it's important to pay attention to those achievements that did make it into the light of day.

The key to gaining my goals?

If I've said it once, I'll say it a million times, I don't mind.

Baby steps, baby.

I'll get back to you on the actual accomplishments and the actual new goals, because, well... I've got a kid who doesn't want to hang out and wait for me to get off of the computer anymore.

One of those angelic ones surrounded by twinkle lights. Yeah, it's all an act. A Christmas Angel act.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I interrupt this season of joy to present to some ZOMBIES!!

Found this wonderful zombie gingerbread house via Havi's post on Zombie Yule. Click the link for closeups. All edible. Pretty zombieawesome.

Just be aware, I DID NOT make this gingerbread house. I am too zombiefied from staying up this past week making soft sculptures for my kids. As soon as I do a photo session, edit, download, etc I'll post what I've been up to... although I did forget to photograph my first attempt at a granny square afghan before I gave it away. Woops.

Have I ever told you that I am unreasonably afraid of zombies?

However, after the the work/exhaustion of being a mom on Christmas, complete with roasting meats, cranberries, cookies, stockings, wrapping, It's A Wonderful Life, cousins, garbage bags full of wrapping paper and far too many sweets, I have to say that celebrating zombie yule and barring the doors to lay around and watch zombie movies and eat fattening foods does have its appeal.

Instead, on the day after Christmas, I barred my bedroom door, let the kids and their papa fend for themselves, and got back to writing my novel for the first time in three holiday prepatory weeks. I have a goal of finishing the first draft before 2009 winds up... and possibly also meeting my long past goal of writing 100 hours in my book in 100 days... which ends on the 31st... or perhaps the first, I'm not quite sure. I'm only 16 hours away from that goal, although I totally forgot about it and let it slide.

It just goes to show, sometimes when you set out on a goal, put it out there, set yourself up for it, take those steps and go-- even if you think you've fallen off your path, you can still come back around and reach the destination, without being aware that you've been working on it all along.

Unless of course you're a zombie. Because a zombie's only goal is BRAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSSS!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flying Girl over Copenhagen, or My Gypsy Heart is Filled with Joy

Flying Girl over Copenhagen, or My Gypsy Heart is Filled with Joy
Golden Fluid Acrylic on paper 8x10"

This is a custom flying girl I did for a literal flying girl. A woman who jumps out of perfectly good planes. I was pretty inspired when I found out that my client was an actual flying girl. My paintings are only metaphorical, dream like, she however, is the real deal. This is one of the projects I've been working on while I haven't been posting.

I thought it would be a good thing to show right now as I'm feeling a little bit gypsy myself, lately.

I've been transplanted from Florida to Michigan for a little while, and am getting used to the new environs. My schedule has been upended. My routine is a kaput. My internal chronology has been set all a wackadoodle. I am bundled in sweaters day in and day out. Who knew that a measly two years in Florida would turn me into a southerner.

And you don't even want to see MY HAIR!!!! Seriously, horrific.

But still, Christmas is sneaking up on us pretty darn quickly and I am working on making some toys for the kids and various other things.

Soon I will be up to making Christmas cookies and Christmas brunch and wrapping presents. I'd better finish those toys pretty darn quickly.

When I get to my camera and get it to work with this computer, or alternately, get my computer online, I will download some pictures of what I have made so far.

If I don't see you around the blogosphere before then, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Blessed Solstice....

Oh right!!!

That's today!

So, I think I'm going to end this blog post with a little meditation on the Winter Soltice.

What a lovely day, the darkest night of the year, the shortest day.

It might seem grim, that it is so dark, so cold, but to me this is a holy day.

This is the point in the year that marks the return of the light.

With the return of the light, I personally am going to focus on the return of abundance and joy and opportunity and focus and community... and all those other things I would like to see blossoming in my life.

To me, this day is about hope. The metaphor of the return of the seasons holds true for life, for tough times like many of us have been going through. The sun always comes back. Spring always returns.

Nothing stays dark forever.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pre Holiday Update. How ya doin'?

Oh how time is flying!

I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted. I have had a massive amount of work to do and a deadline of packing up and traveling to the other grandparents in Michigan... which is where I am now.

The kids have had their first snow fall in 2 years, and enjoyed some snowball fights and snowman making and snow angels. Mitten, snowpants, boots and hot chocolate included.

I have pictures, but don't have a system down, since my laptop is not on line yet.

Anyway, I thought I'd leave a note here, even without a picture to post, so you all know I'm still kicking.

Hopefully I will have some crafts to show, as well as some paintings for the new year... although, silly me, I forgot to take a picture of the afghan shawl I made my mother before I gave it to her. Oops.

I guess I'll have to make a new one.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just a little bit to share for now

Detail, Flying Girl in progress.
Sorry I have not been posting regularly lately. It turns out I've got a whole lot going on.
My life looks as sedate and homebound as ever from the outside, but plans are being set into action. Ideas are flying. Projects are winging around. Lots of things are hurtling through time and space, actually. And I've got a boat load to do.
And that is not even including the holidays that must be prepared for and enjoyed. And the kids who must be fed, cleaned, supervised and loved.
So I suppose that I should just outright tell you that posting will be erratic for a while, until things settle down. I can't even tell you when that will be, because I'm not quite sure when and how or even where it will settle.
I am still creating and still thinking. I might be perhaps a bit more anxious than usual. I won't always have things to share, as some of the projects are private ones and some are presents that I don't want anyone sussing out.
I'm going to try to continue posting when I can, when I have a piece to share or anything.
I keep forgetting how crazy December can get, and this is a crazier than normal December for me.
So until next time, whenever that may be, here I am, warriorgirl, aka rowena, signing off, and wishing you all a lovely Holiday season.
p.s. It is quite possible that my grand statement of signing off could be just until tomorrow. That's how up in the air it all is. I could be back tomorrow, or I could be back in January. Bear with me while life is under construction.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

November Down, Enter December

I have no pictures today. No paintings or drawings.
I hit my 50k wordcount mark in nanowrimo the day before Thanksgiving and then all my time was eaten up with the holidays and family and regular living stuff.
Now I am off my feed.
My word count has fallen (because I still have more writing to do) and I haven't painted anything in days.
How does it always work like that?
I invest in a goal and getting it done and then I kind of collapse after it, even if I didn't over extend myself with the goal. I made sure not to over extend myself this year, I didn't even do nearly as many AEDM drawings as I'd hoped and yet still, I"m all discombobulated.
I haven't even posted since Friday and have been online less than usual.
Okay, so here is my guilt post, even though I don't have a piece of art to post with it. Now I have to take care of all sorts of business.
How about you? How are you doing in your creative goals? How have the holidays treated your ability to get things done?
You know, it seems that November is a lovely month, with it's alliteration and all, for novel writing, but it's really bad in the social obligations arena.
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