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Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  My family and I recently went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  The Egyptian section was one of my favorites.  I also loved the Old Masters.  My husband wanted to see the American exhibit and my brother wished to visit the Greek section.  After awhile my daughter and I broke away from our group and raced to the Prada fashion exhibit.  While my daughter and I looked at the gorgeous shoes and clothes with other fashionistas, the rest of our party found other artwork that held their interest.  At times we all enjoyed the same exhibits and at times we each had different favorite artwork.  There was so much to see!

 

After the museum, we visited Central Park where we discovered more beautiful scenery.  Besides the usual park activities, I saw lots of people reading, writing, and painting. I’m sure each one had a different perspective of what they saw that day and incorporated it into their experiences as well.

 

While we watched toy motorized boats cruising on the lake I started thinking about what I like to read and write.  My friends and I always share our latest book reads and what we are writing.  Sometimes we read the same book, but usually we don’t.  Some of my writer friends write in the same genre, but others don’t.  This sounds simplistic; of course we all have different tastes.  However, the visit to the museum reminded me that what one person thinks is art, another might not.  And that’s what so exciting.

 

There are infinite possibilities of what artists can create, and there’s plenty of room for various opinions.   As I write my stories I know not everyone who reads them will think they’re as fabulous as I do, but that’s okay.  I have to believe in my work as I’m sure the Old Masters believed in theirs.

 

Fondly,

Elizabeth

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In the metaphysical community there is a saying that every relationship is a mirror of something that begs for change within yourself.  I tend to think that some of these mirrors are simply other people’s stuff radiating out into the world, so I try to look at the issue for relevance to my life and then move beyond it if it has no bearing on me.  If it hits the mark, I choose to examine the issue and change my reactions and behaviors, as most of us do.

I faced a mirror last week when I found myself in the company of someone I knew while growing up and with whom I had not spent more than a couple of hours at a time two or three times over the last twenty years.  For me, attitude shapes daily life.  I acknowledge the power of the spoken word and I do my best to look at everything in terms of opportunity rather than limitation.  I have worked hard to achieve this perspective, much of that time by looking into my own mirror to see what I was creating with my words.  It was a shock to my senses to be around someone for several days who had no hint of the pain they were projecting through their sarcasm and negativity.  I knew if I suggested a different approach I would create even more disharmony in the situation, so I found myself constantly biting my tongue and issuing a silent prayer for healing.  It was a very uncomfortable time.

As I look back and see the evidence of suppressed pain, I see that the atmosphere in which this person was raised had much to do with their outlook.  People tell me all the time that they are a product of their environment, of the programming instilled by their parents, by their circumstances, by this and by that.  In my life, I have chosen to move beyond that programming, I have chosen to expose myself to a variety of ideas and cultures that have broadened my perspective.

And I have succeeded to some degree.  I am delighted that there are still more ways in which I can change and grow, more choices to face each day.  I am delighted that I have the ability to choose to forgive and release the pain, even if it was only in my own head.  I have chosen to move beyond the pain and the limitation of events and prior programming.  I also made the choice to surround myself with like-minded people, those who have been willing to examine their belief systems and alter them for their own peace of mind.

Life is a process, a journey, a work in progress.  It is my hope that we each will consciously engage in the creation of our personal journey!

Enjoy,

Christina

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This past week we went to look at a college for my daughter.  It was a picturesque day, sunny, and not too hot.  People flocked to meet the school’s different department heads under a large tent.  Two of my favorites were the ones that explained the extracurricular activities and the studying abroad program.

            While my daughter walked off with a friend to check on something, I found a shaded bench centered in the park-like setting.  I sat and read all the materials I had just collected.  Excitement bubbled within me as I perused the sororities and clubs.  Whether they were academic or social, it didn’t matter.  What mattered was that there were so many choices!  This was a wonderful time in my daughter’s life.  She could choose so many different paths.

Then I ran my fingers over the glossy pages of the study abroad catalogs.  That’s right.  I said catalogs in the plural form.  From Australia to Asia to Europe–there was an abundance of choices!

            As I clutched the materials in my hands and got strange looks from my husband, I realized it had been a long time since I’ve felt that way.  Under years of raising children, keeping a home, and building upon a career, I guess I had buried those interests that made me…well, me.

I’m not thinking of moving into a dorm or leaving my family to study abroad, but now that my children are grown and are almost independent, I realized with more freedom, I could do things that I’ve had to put on hold for years out of necessity.

Of course, it’s not exactly the same as when I was eighteen, but I’ve reached another stage in my life.  Now I can travel more or take that evening art class I’ve been interested in.

            Although it was her day, and I was so proud to share the joyful experience with my family, the idea dawned on me that my life was about to change for the positive once again.  It was an unexpected, but welcomed gift.

Fondly, Elizabeth

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All right, I’m going to revise my view on a topic from my June 11th post.

Third time is indeed the charm. I needed some edgy, gritty science fiction to watch, so I decided to try Caprica one last time. I have to say, perhaps it was the mood I was in or the fact I really yearned for something darker this time, but this go ’round, it worked. And not just as a filler until I found something else to watch–I got hooked like a carp swimming in a favorite fishing hole. Now, my only complaint is that SyFy Channel cancelled the show before they released season 2. This is a viewer and fan’s greatest nightmare, since the previews that were tacked on to the end of season 1 looked as if the plot points I was so bunged up about them not exploring where going to be exposed in that second season.

*Taps chin* What to do? What to do?

Well, of course the first thing I did was go to Amazon.com to see if they ever put season 2 out on video. Nope. No go. What they have is season 1 & 1.5. *heavy sigh* Now, judging from the material showing on that preview, it looked as if they had shot some of the episodes at least. I’m sure with as many fans as they had, it would have been profitable to at least release them as a direct to DVD or Bluray pack. But that’s just me. I’ve been to the promised land of ComicCon and I know what I see there. People dressed as their favorite characters, reliving favorite shows and movies, hungry for anything that might bring back even a small taste of those glorious days when the series remained on TV and the episodes were fresh.

But I digress.

The real point I want to make is that I always seem to fall into that trap of saying, “I will never do this. I will never do that.” – Frankly, I should just keep my big mouth shut and say, “I’ll revisit that at a future date,” because invariably I end up having to go back and amend my words. Maybe it’s that as I get older I become less rigid in my thinking, or more open to different possibilities. Well, whatever the reason, I am ultimately glad that I decide to investigate whatever it is I had been so dead against before. It usually has led me down a path of self-discovery and insight.

I think in future, I’ll try to be more open to possibilities. What will you do?

-Kate

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Every once in a while when my life seems hectic or not going the way I’d like, I take a moment to reflect on why things are not going as I had planned.  Now I know there are some things that are out of my control so I don’t dwell on those.  However, when I feel as if my life is in chaos, it’s usually because I’m stressed, overwhelmed with too many commitments, and in particular, not making time for my life goals.

That’s when I realize it has to be back to the basics for me.

For instance, I’m a stress eater.  When life gets crazy, I don’t have time to food shop or cook.  So what do I do?  Eat crap.  The more I eat of the bad stuff, the more I crave.  Not good.  Of course eating poorly goes hand-in-hand with not having time to exercise.  All this leads to weight gain, feeling gross, eating more, and moving less.   The dreaded vicious cycle.

The good news is that I’m at the point in my life where I recognize this sooner than later.  I begin to simplify.  I force myself to drink more water, cut back on unhealthy carbs, and lay off sugar.  Instead of doing a big food shop, which I never have time to do, I run in for a few items instead.  This works better for me during those hectic crunch times.  I also keep my foods simple but healthy when I don’t have time to plan meals.  Veggies, salads, fruits, nuts, yogurt, chicken, and fish are easy for me to cook or to grab and go.   Last, but not least, I remember to move.  I take my dog Max for walks around the neighborhood, and we are both happier when we return.

This leads me to another one of my goals that goes astray when I’m not paying attention, and that is to keep my house organized.  Writer friends of mine would say it’s okay to have dust bunnies and dishes piling up if that what’s necessary to find the time to write.  I’ve tried this approach.  Over the years I have lowered my neatness standards.  I had to if I wanted to stay married to my wonderful, but messy, husband.

However, when the dishes pile up, or my office is a sty, it actually harms my writing process.  For me, clutter causes chaos, whereas a clean house leads to a clear mind.   I admit to creating  piles that consist of papers, folded clothes, books, magazines-you get the idea, which can be found in various locations throughout my house.  So now what?  Back to the basics.  I attack the dishes.  If the sink is clear, I can breathe easier.  I try to spend a few minutes each day to clear some of the piles.  They still need work, but at least they’re going down.

All this leads to my next goal–writing every day.  I have to write each day or as close to each day as possible.  I wake up at five thirty so I can get in at least forty-five minutes to an hour of writing time before my day job.  This helps keep me in my story.  If I can find other tidbits of time, fabulous.  If not, I have to wait for the weekend to write in bigger blocks of time.  Also, with my back to basics approach, I try to read industry news and writing magazines that I subscribe to but tossed aside in a pile.  I forget that they’re loaded with good information!  Although I love the Internet, all this social media and networking stuff is daunting to me.  I have to step back and remember my goal is to write a great book and not keep up with the latest Internet fad.

When I feel out of sorts, it’s usually because one or all of my goals have been pushed aside, and going back to the basics helps to ground me.

What do you do when your goals take a back seat?  I’d love to know.

Fondly,

Elizabeth

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With Love

Made with love, this is a portion of the mosaic comprised of thousands of pieces of glass, and a lot of glue!

In the course of my life I have learned to renovate my environments to the limit of my skills.  My house is very old and the plaster walls  were cracked when I moved in.  I am not good at putting up new sheetrock, so I choose to do what I could to create a level of repair that was comfortable.   I used a spackling technique that played up the texture of the walls, making them look ancient, while hiding and stabilizing the cracks.  That was the limit of my skills.  In the process, I have made my home uniquely my own, as every wall has been touched by more than paint, it has been touched by my hand and my love.

When I lived in New York City, I had a tiny little apartment downtown and my thinking was more restrained.  I worked at making any repairs to the plaster walls nice and smooth, just as they were supposed to be.  I created my environment with love and color and it was a lovely period in my life. But I had not yet moved beyond the expectations of others.

Now that I own my own home, I feel freer, more able to make whatever statement I wish with my environment.  I have textured walls, a chandelier in the kitchen, a glass mosaic over the shower stall, a wall of mirrors, and many more personal touches throughout my home and landscape.  When people enter my home they feel the impact of the love that I have lavished upon it.

I hope that the same is true for your life.  I hope that you will lavish love upon the various aspects of daily life – your family, your relationships, your work, your home, and most importantly, your Self – to the limit of your skills, and then more.  As you push your boundaries your capabilities grow.  We are all capable of so much more than we realize.

With love you can grow and stretch to your limits and beyond.  Go for it!

Christina

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New Loves

Meet Max

When my dog passed away suddenly after thirteen years, a little piece of my heart broke.  Crystal was a great friend and companion.  If you’ve ever had a beloved pet, you know exactly what I mean.  It took months before I could give away her things and I couldn’t fathom bringing a new pet into my home.  Nearly a year and a half  later, I still get choked up when I talk about her.

My husband, who never wanted a dog to begin with, started to make comments like, “Maybe one day we’ll get another,” instead of his usual banter of, “Not in my lifetime.”  He even went willingly with me to animal shelters just to look.  It became a family event each weekend.

My daughter stated that all she wanted for Christmas was a dog.  However, we decided it would be better to wait for the summer, since the warm weather would make it easier to train a dog.  Of course, as that famous quote says, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

We found Max at our favorite shelter.  He was scared, neglected, and terribly thin.

Cesar Millan from the TV show “The Dog Whisperer” says something about us getting the dog we need.  I can’t agree more.  Max needed us then and we needed him.  As soon as they cleared him for adoption, we took him.

He will never replace Crystal because she was irreplaceable, but he’s a new chapter in my life.  Speaking of new chapters, he made me realize something.  It’s okay to make room for something new to love.

New Jersey Romance Writers started a writing challenge this month called JeRoWriMo.  I decided to join and start something fresh.  I had been revising two of my manuscripts for far too long.

Like my beloved Crystal, it’s time to put them to rest and open my heart to a new love.  I’ll never forget those stories and hope somehow, someday they will live again.  For now, like Crystal, they are a fond memory.

I look forward to my adventures with Max.  He is gaining weight and looking better each day.  And he and I can’t wait to meet new characters and discover their stories together!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Do you have any new love stories to share?  I’d love to hear them.

Fondly,

Elizabeth

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