September 15

Creative Thursday – Week 1

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For the next few weeks, I’m reading the book Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.

Things are changing in my life. I’m moving from working part-time to working full-time, and that will mean a different daily schedule. When I started writing What Remains Now, a huge part of it was to keep creativity a priority in my life. I’m still committed to that, but I’ll be making some adjustments. Creative Thursday sounded like a fun, inspirational book that could help me think through the transition.

Creative Thursday

Chapter 1, Setting an Intention, deals with just that…”setting a course of action that one intends to follow.”

My intention is simple…I want to lead a creative and artistic life. For me, discovering the “system” that works for my personality has been the most important factor in making my intention a reality. So what works for me? I’m the type of person who likes to jump from thing, to thing, to thing. I need a loose structure. If it’s too rigid, I won’t complete it, and then I’ll beat myself up for not being able to accomplish anything, and if there isn’t enough structure, I’ll flit from project, to project, to project and never get anything completed. My blog has been the single most motivating tool in keeping my creativity moving forward.  It’s my accountability partner.

Prior to accepting my new full-time work position, I was making plans to complete enough paintings that I could apply to art fairs and approach stores that sell artwork. Those plans will slow down a bit, because I want to focus most of my energy on my new position, particularly while I’m training. That’s okay, because I see my creativity practice as a way of life rather than a particular destination I’m shooting for.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 11 Comments

September 8

Creative Thursday

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Every Sunday, I write a post that I put under the category, “Creating the Creator.” I’ve had this category and practice since I started writing What Remains Now.  My intention was (and is) to keep creativity as a priority in my life.  I’ve recorded my journey through books and e-courses. Some have been easy and some have been intense. Currently, my life is in a big period of change as my husband and I have been looking for new jobs, so I was trying to think of something that I could do that wouldn’t be too difficult or time-consuming and that would help me move my creative practice into a new work life and schedule.

Creative Thursday

I tend to have “future” reading material on my bookshelves and on my Nook, so a trip to the bookstore wasn’t necessary. I found this wonderful book waiting for me…Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.

I’m hoping for a fun, inspirational read that will help me move my creativity into a new schedule of commitments. Please join me.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 14 Comments

September 4

Spencer Gallery

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I was invited to display some of my paintings at my local library, the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library.

SG 1

My paintings are on display August 30 thru September 26, 2013.

SG 2

I’m hosting an Artist Reception on Tuesday, September 17, 6-8 pm. Everyone is invited!

SG 3

It’s a little scary, but I tell myself to accept invitations gratefully and don’t over-think it.

SG 4

I certainly could have planned better.

SG 5

I took ten paintings, five for each of the two display walls.

SG 6

Ten paintings seemed like a lot to me.

SG 7

Ten paintings are not a lot in a large space.

Spencer Gallery Wall

Next week, I’m taking in a few more to fill things out a bit.

SG 8

I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos.

SG 9

“Thank You!” to the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library for this opportunity.

SG 10

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September 1

The August Break 2013 Recap

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The entire month of August, I participated in The August Break 2013 hosted by Susannah Conway. I posted a different picture every day, following a list of prompts provided by Susannah. Here’s a recap:

AB - 1 BreakfastAB - 2 CirclesAB - 3 Yellow

01. breakfast – I’m trying real hard to eat something in the morning for breakfast. Yogurt seems to be the easiest, so I’ve started with that.

02. circles – I looked and looked for circles and then I remember the wine rack. I thought it was funny that my curtains also have circles on them.

03. yellow – I have loved these sunflowers for 10+ years. I bought them at a Home Interiors party, and I bring them out every summer.

AB - 4 LoveAB - 5 Close UpAB - 6 Diagonals

04. love – A picture of my mother’s hand in mine. I had to take about 10 pictures in order to get one where her hand looked older than mine.

05. close up – This is a detail from a card a friend made for me.

06. diagonals – Remember the Artist Date I took at The Eatery | Reads & Things? This is where I work and the picture is a detail from the building.

AB - 7 SkylineAB - 8 A SelfieAB - 9 Taste

07. skyline – I took this picture in April. The day of prompt was grey and rainy. I tried to get something interesting, but all I got was grey.

08. a selfie – I do not like taking selfies. I envy younger folks and their ease in front of a camera.

09. taste – I took this picture of an old set of silverware in one of my favorite antique stores, Mishawaka Antiques.

AB - 10 RedAB -11 PlayAB - 12 Far Away

10. red – This picture was also taken at Mishawaka Antiques. I spotted this red beauty as soon as I walked in the door. A dime for a nice cold glass bottle of Coke.

11. play – Sneaky Snake! This is Nikki’s favorite toy.

12. far away – I was very careful to exercise standing-in-the-middle-of-train-tracks safety while taking this picture.

AB - 13 HomeAB - 14 StillnessAB - 15 Books

13. home – Freedom and Casper are the window-watchers in our home. Nikki generally hangs back until something exciting happens.

14. stillness – Perhaps an odd subject for “stillness,” but that’s what intrigued me. This little guy was sitting on a rock outside our front entrance making chirping noises. Whatever he was saying, it must have been very important because when I came around the corner, he did not move. He just went still until I went away, then he started chirping again.

15. books – This day was a challenge. I’ve taken pictures of books before. I wanted to do something different, so I came up with a little scene. Both the Raggedy Ann and book are from my childhood. I never realized the book had an illustration of a Greyhound.

AB - 16 FloralAB - 17 TouchAB -18 Looking Down

16. floral – I liked the colors in this photo. I took this picture in the Oliver Mansion gardens.

17. touch – Jan of Staying Awake inspired this photo. I was stumped over what to do for “touch.” I saw Jan’s photo of a hand holding two feathers, and I had my subject.

18. looking down – I tried and tried to come up with something interesting. In the end, I photographed what was there.

AB - 19 WhiteAB - 20 Taste 2.0AB - 21 Something Old

19. white – Eggs are so pretty. A few eggs on fiber-fill, and I had the picture I wanted.

20. taste 2.0 – I’ve been known to grab an order of fries to snack on when I have a distance to drive. The words on the bag were a bonus.

21. something old – I love snapping pictures in antique stores. The items are always so interesting. This photo was taken at Mishawaka Antiques.

AB - 22 MiddayAB - 23 SacredAB - 24 Hear

22. midday – This is where I had lunch in downtown Elkhart, Indiana, the day of the prompt.

23. sacred – I pass this cross almost every day. The decorations change, and it breaks my heart when I think of the loss and longing behind this memorial. It reminds me that life can change in an instant.

24. hear – A detail from the fountain in front of the Beiger Mansion in Mishawaka, Indiana.

AB - 25 Sunday MorningAB - 26 YESAB - 27 Number

25. Sunday morning – A sleeping kitty just screams “Sunday morning.”

26. YES – This was a happy accident. I wasn’t coming up with any ideas for this prompt. I was actually thinking of writing the word “YES” on a piece of paper, taking a picture and being done with it. Then, I remembered that that day at lunch, I’d picked up an embossing folder with letters. Would the “y” “e” and “s” be close enough to get my picture…YES!

27. number – I wanted a photo of a clock face because I liked the idea that the face has numbers and that our lives are plotted out by time. This is a photo of a towering clock in downtown Elkhart, Indiana.

AB - 28 SmellAB - 29 Your Fave ThingAB - 30 SignAB - 31 Smile

28. smell – Like the iris on Day 16. floral, I took this photo in the Oliver Mansion gardens.

29. your fave thing – I have too many favorite things to pick from, but Freedom is pretty clear on her favorites.

30. sign – This would have been a good shot for Day 06. diagonals too.

31. smile – This is a photo from my Artist Date in Long Grove, Illinois. A little teeny tiny fake cow. So cute.

Which was your favorite?

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity), Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 16 Comments

July 28

SHED – Part 7

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I’m working my way through the book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

Small SHED

This will be my last installment about the book for now. The SHED process (Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity, Drive Yourself Forward) isn’t something I can do in a few weeks. I’ll keep working on it, but I wanted to close out with the final area where you work the process…bad habits.

There are “five key habits that add bulk to your schedule, taking up substantial amounts of time and energy that could be freed for pursuing your theme.” Julie asks you to explore why you are attached to these habits. The habits are:

1. Mindless escapes

2. Procrastination

3. Perfectionism

4. Chronic lateness

5. Workaholism

The formula for detaching yourself from these habits consists of the following:

1. Raising your awareness of when the habit kicks in; its “trigger point.”

2. Finding a more direct and more constructive replacement to meet the need the habit was serving.

I’m not ready to deal with my habits yet, but when I am I’ll be taking a particularly hard look at items 1-3.

Now for a little SHEDing fun…I did a post were I gave an example of SHEDing “physical treasures.” I also promised an example of SHEDing “meaningful treasures.” Practical treasures are “objects that are useful to you and can contribute to your ability to fulfill your new theme.” Meaningful treasures are “symbolic or sentimental objects that bring you pure and unambiguous joy, energy and inspiration.”

I grabbed a box; let’s see what’s inside. I’m scared.

Meaningful Treasures 1

I did a quick sort and here’s what I came up with.

Meaningful Treasures 2

These are items from my time in the military. For now, I moved them to another box where I keep all my military stuff.

Meaningful Treasures 3

These are items I want to keep. One of the challenges with stuff like this is where to keep it. Knowing how I love to bring home souvenirs when I travel, I’m going to pay special attention and look for pretty boxes that I can display in my home but also use to keep little odd treasures like these.

Meaningful Treasures 4

Oh, boy. I’m guessing  my daughter’s voice is on these. I’ll have to listen to them, but I’ll do it later because I think there are more of them around the house. I put them with my tape recorder.

Meaningful Treasures 5

I need to ask my mom about these. I believe the book was given to my mom and dad when they married. I’m not sure who the hankies belonged to. The curl is mine, but I’ll see if there’s a story behind it.

Meaningful Treasures 6

Barbie clothes! I’ll keep many of these because my mom made them, but I want to ask her if there are any fun stories behind them.

Meaningful Treasures 7

These are things I’m going to get rid of. They are all items I don’t have an attachment to. 

Going through meaningful treasures is hard, but the more I do, the better I get.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 13 Comments

July 21

SHED – Part 6

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I’m working my way through the book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

Small SHED

SHED – (Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity, Drive Yourself Forward)

When I first saw this book, I immediately thought of my “stuff,” but SHED’ing involves more than that. There are three areas where you work the SHED process…physical space, time and bad habits.

When you’re ready to examine how you use your time, you begin by identifying your roles, responsibilities, commitment and tasks. Which ones are depleting your energy rather than fueling it? After making those identifications, Julie asks you to stop and examine why you made those commitments in the first place. Her contention is that unless you understand why you assumed the roles and made the commitments, you are at risk of replacing them with others of a similar nature.

So what is your attachment to these roles and commitments? Burdensome commitments make their way onto our calendars and to-do lists in three ways:

Obsolete need – Made sense when you first took on the responsibility, but now it isn’t relevant.

Right impulse, wrong activity – It seemed like it would fulfill a meaningful need in your life, but it is draining and the wrong activity.

Insecurity – Sometimes you take on things because of your own insecurities.

SHED - Part 6

Once you’ve identified your attachment to the commitment, you can better choose how to eliminate it. Julie gives you tips on how to proceed.

Delete – Cease your commitment to the task, responsibility or role altogether.

Delegate – Assign the task or responsibility (or some part of it) to someone else.

Do it (but diminish the task) – If there is no escaping the task, responsibility or role, figure out a way to do it smarter and faster.

For myself, I don’t have a lot of roles and commitments that I need to eliminate or diminish. My biggest challenge has to do with tasks I’ve set for myself. I’m reviewing my to-do list. One task my husband and I eliminated from our to-do list is mowing the grass. Neither one of us enjoyed it or wanted to do it. After years of fussing over it, we decided to hire someone to do it. It costs us money, but we decided it was worth it because it ensures that it is done regularly and nicely, and we don’t fight over it. In this instance, we delegated the task.

As with all the books I work my way through, my blog posts only touch the surface of the material that’s presented in the book. I encourage you to checkout the book if it sounds interesting.

Oops…I promised a SHED of some “meaningful treasures.” I’ll have that for next week.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 12 Comments

July 14

SHED – Part 5

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I’m working my way through the book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

Small SHED

“The four steps of SHED (Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity, Drive Yourself Forward) provide a framework for proactively managing change, transition, and the feeling of being stuck and unsure. By releasing the defunct, extraneous, and burdensome objects and obligations that are weighing you down, you create the space to discover what’s next and gather the energy and courage to move forward.”

There are three areas where you work the SHED process…physical space, time and bad habits.

I’m starting with my physical space, keeping in mind my theme…Caring, Artistic & Free. Having a theme is particularly helpful because it gives me something to focus on and inspires me to part with things when I waver.

Last week, I outlined the process Julie gives you to SHED your physical space. This week, I started on some drawers and cabinets. I chose to start with drawers and cabinets because I can get through one quickly, and it helps me build momentum for larger projects. They’re good practice.

Here are two examples…my candle drawer and my collar drawer.

Candle Drawer Before

Candle Drawer – Before

Candle Drawer After

Candle Drawer – After

I burn candles several times a week, so this is not a stagnant drawer…just messy.

Candle Drawer Move

I pulled out items that belong somewhere else,

Candle Drawer Toss

and I pulled out items I no longer want.

Collar Drawer Before

Collar Drawer – Before

Collar Drawer After

Collar Drawer – After

Collar Drawer Move

Again, I pulled out items that belong somewhere else,

Collar Drawer Toss

and I pulled out the items I no longer want.

All of the items in these two drawer were “practical treasures.” Practical treasures are “objects that are useful to you and can contribute to your ability to fulfill your new theme.” I find dealing with “practical treasures” easier than dealing with “meaningful treasures” that are “symbolic or sentimental objects that bring you pure and unambiguous joy, energy and inspiration.”

Next week, I’ll do an area that contains “meaningful treasures” and review what Julie says about working the SHED process with your time.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 13 Comments

July 7

SHED – Part 4

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I’ve written weekly posts that I categorize under “Creating The Creator” ever since I started writing my blog. What Remains Now is a record of my creativity journey, something I started after my daughter left for college. For the last two years my journey has moved forward at a nice pace, but the last couple months I’ve been very unmotivated and really not too interested in changing that…in other words, stuck.

The last time I felt like this in a big way, I worked my way through the book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern, and it helped me.

Small SHED

“The four steps of SHED (Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity, Drive Yourself Forward) provide a framework for proactively managing change, transition, and the feeling of being stuck and unsure. By releasing the defunct, extraneous, and burdensome objects and obligations that are weighing you down, you create the space to discover what’s next and gather the energy and courage to move forward.”

There are three areas where you work the SHED process…physical space, time and bad habits.

I’m starting with my physical space, keeping in mind my theme…Caring, Artistic & Free.

SHED - Part 4

The first step is to decide where, in your physical space, to start…your “point of entry.” You look for areas that aren’t active and dynamic in supporting your theme. You’re looking for “collections of items that are generally immobile, unused, excessive, those that bring up negative feelings or no longer feel relevant.”

The second step is to separate the treasures of which there are two basic types…practical treasures and meaningful treasures. Practical treasures are “objects that are useful to you and can contribute to your ability to fulfill your new theme.” Meaningful treasures are “symbolic or sentimental objects that bring you pure and unambiguous joy, energy and inspiration.”

Julie encourages you to set-up some “Treasure Guidelines” before you start separating the treasures, to help keep you focused and strong. She also talks about the different reasons you may feel attached to an item. This can be helpful in breaking attachments to items you really shouldn’t keep.

From here on out, I’ll just be summarizing points in the book as I read through it, because it’s going to take me more than a few weeks (a lot more) to complete my SHED process. Even though I won’t report the laborious SHED of my physical space, next week I’ll pick an area and work through the process to illustrate how it works.

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June 30

SHED – Part 3

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I working my way through the book, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

The idea behind the book is that “SHED is a transformative process for letting go of things that represent the past so you can grow and move forward. The four steps of SHED (Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity, Drive Yourself Forward) provide a framework for proactively managing change, transition, and the feeling of being stuck and unsure. By releasing the defunct, extraneous, and burdensome objects and obligations that are weighing you down, you create the space to discover what’s next and gather the energy and courage to move forward.”

Small SHED

Last week, I came up with my theme. The theme is a “broad goal or feeling; an overarching simple expression of the adventure you’d like to be on.” My theme is Caring, Artistic & Free.

SHED - Part 3

This week, my “assignment” was to examine three areas of my life and decide where to start the SHED process. The first area was my physical space; the second area was my time; the third area was bad habits.

You can begin in any area, but Julie recommends starting with your physical space because it is tangible and by clearing physical clutter, you give yourself a good foundation for navigating the trickier areas of time and bad habits. I’m going to take that advice.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 12 Comments

June 23

SHED – Part 2

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A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I’m in a transition period. What it feels like is a slump…stuck…not sure what’s next. The last time this happened, my daughter had left for college, and I was an empty-nester. During that period, I worked my way through the book, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

Small SHED

The idea behind the book is that “SHED is a transformative process for letting go of things that represent the past so you can grow and move forward. The four steps of SHED (Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity, Drive Yourself Forward) provide a framework for proactively managing change, transition, and the feeling of being stuck and unsure. By releasing the defunct, extraneous, and burdensome objects and obligations that are weighing you down, you create the space to discover what’s next and gather the energy and courage to move forward.”

To begin the process, rather than thinking about your immediate options or next steps, you concentrate instead on the bigger picture. You come up with a theme…a vision, for your future. This theme is a “broad goal or feeling; an overarching simple expression of the adventure you’d like to be on.”

SHED Part 2

How do you come up with a theme? Julie offers five different techniques that can help you figure it out. Regardless of how you choose your theme, it should follow three rules:

1. Your theme should be broad enough to impact all the different buckets of your life.

2. Keep it simple.

3. Give yourself permission to say what you actually want, not what you should want.

My Theme – Caring, Artistic & Free.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 15 Comments