i'm getting ready to take my 5 little ones up to the slopes today. it's been such a joy to watch my warm blooded phoenicians layer themselves up with leggings and longjohns and puffy ski pants, extra shirts, jackets and gloves. their heads completely covered with beanies and helmets and goggles. after being raised a "snowbunny" all my life on the beautiful wasatch front and working at a ski resort for 3 years i'm finding sheer delight at watching them try to stumble around in ski boots. it's a hoot.
i've had something on my mind and wanted to share it with you as it's put my thinking into a different perspective perhaps the past few days.
today i just wanted to thank all the dear sweet people who read this blog. i say that like there are so many of you, when in reality there really aren't. but there is a handful and for that i am deeply grateful. this time of year always gets so crazy for me. no matter how hard i try to simplify, i always feel the stress of the season.
my mom passed away 5 yrs. ago but she was the BIGGEST fan of christmas that ever there was and she seemed to make it so beautiful and magical and wondrous for everyone around her with no anxiety at all. i have always marveled at that and been grateful for the memories and traditions she created for us as a family.
last year as i was fighting the evening holiday traffic, not finding "that one gift" that my children wanted, bumping into other grumpy last minute shoppers, late on my christmas cards...again and knowing i would be up ALL christmas eve wrapping presents...i heard a song that brought tears to my eyes. i don't even know if it was a new song or not, but the words had a profound effect on me.
"did my own mother keep this pace or was the world a different place?"
no matter what you believe or celebrate, this time of year can get chaotic for everyone. my gift to you, my friends, tonight is THIS SONG!
"i need a silent night. a holy night. to hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise. i need a midnight clear. a little peace right here. to end this crazy day with a silent night."
i wish you all a silent night!
i missed a thankful heart on thursday this week, but i had a very good reason. you see, my old p.c. which had been crashing on a weekly basis, did another crash again right in the middle of finals and christmas card making and blog commenting and recipe downloading and party organizing and lots of other merriment and computer skills needed type of activities...and i had a minor little meltdown...
so a very sweet one in my home surprised me by bringing home this HUGE present. i just plugged it in for the first time today after having all good things transferred over from the old PC...
i'm now just getting use to figuring out all the fun things it can do and can't wait to catch up with all of you wonderful friends who i love!
thanks to all who gave their input on the subject of MAC vs PC. i can tell you that after less than 24 hrs. i am already hooked!
i happen to celebrate christmas. when i was growing up, many of the families i knew had a tradition of going to a local performance of g.f. handel's MESSIAH. i always thought that this sounded fun and a sing-along would be perfect for me as i love to sing out loud, but don't know how to carry a tune, so it would be great having my voice covered by the beautiful voices of so many others. after 41 years, i went to my first performance of the MESSIAH with my 14 yr. old daughter the other night. it's was lovely. a large choir and orchestra from my church presented the concert and the church building was packed with people from all walks of life...members and non-members alike. my favorite part was when the whole audience stood during the "HALLELUJAH" chorus. i guess that tradition started back in 1742 at the debut of handel's oratorio, when king george II rose to his feet during the "glorious strains". (who knew) seeing so many people, young and old, come out on a busy sunday evening so close to Christmas was proof to me that there are still folks out there who are searching for peace and for answers and that this season is still about more than just santa claus and presents. i have a new christmas tradition with my daughter now!
what kind of traditions do you have or think are neat? i'd love to know!
...this thursday i am thankful for random acts of kindness...
they can be big or small. public or private. they can be from many people or one little person or someone you may not know at all. this last week i feel like i have been greatly blessed by these types of
service and love.
I AM THANKFUL FOR...
* the sweet postcard above that showed up in my mail this week with the simplest of reminders that i am loved. that someone was thinking of me. that someone calls me friend. that i have "scarf sisters". one of whom sent me this special gift.
...this thursday i'm thankful for "heartsurprises"
& a friend named marilyn brown!
my friend kolleen inspired me to get a bit more structure to my blog, so in an effort to continue cul*ti*vating gratitude in my life, always, and not just in november, i am going to instigate "a thankful heart on thursday!" why thursday? i don't know really. maybe because it's one of those days that is overlooked because everyone is looking forward to friday and the weekend. it just seemed like a good day to see what blessings in my life are being "overlooked" as well. so here it goes...it's official (and you should hold me to that!)
A THANKFUL HEART ON THURSDAY!
as a child i watched "mr. rogers" on occation. (if my big brothers didn't catch me and mock me and change the channel before i could scream!) i remember him talking about gifts and how they make you and others feel. in a book i found titled "life's journey's according to mr. rogers" he says this...
"the best gifts are often wrapped in the most unspectacular ways.
you've probably had many fancy wrapped-up gifts-gifts which dazzle the eyes and impress the neighbors;
nevertheless, isn't it the
that lingers in your memory and serves to nourish you from year to year?"
yesterday i found a little white envelope addressed to me in the mail. the writing was cute and i was excited to open it. a simple card with a bird and a heart and the words, "love is all you need" were accompanied by two little sheets of paper full of words. words from a new found friend. yet words that seem to be born of a friend i've had for life. words from the heart. words of love. words of encouragement. words that my own mom might tell me if she were alive. words of comfort. words of wisdom. words of endearment. words of marilyn brown.
me, marilyn & patty
the beautiful shining soul in the middle above is ms. marilyn. (she doesn't like to have pictures taken of herself, but i mananged to sneak this one in) marilyn has the biggest heart you will ever find in a person. i met marilyn at my "unearth retreat" i keep blabbing about and how grateful i am that i did. i felt immediately drawn to her light and her love. marilyn has been through some rough times in her life and is such an example of perserverance and bravery to me. we all watched marilyn blossom in manzanita. she is so incredibly talented and i have no doubt you'll be seeing her creativity somewhere, sometime! the art she created there was AMAZING! but what i love most about marilyn is her laughter, her ability to laugh at herself, her wisdom, her honesty, her encouragment, her love she freely gives and her hugs! you give the best hugs EVER marilyn brown.
i can't tell you how much your "gift" in the mail meant to me marilyn! it came exactly at a time when i needed it most. how you knew that i'll never know, but i want you to know i am truly grateful for your "HEARTSURPRISE". like mr. rogers said...your gift will linger in my memory and your heartfelt words are going to nourish me from day to day and year to year. i treasure this letter and i treasure you!
...so who could use your words of love and encouragement today? let sweet marilyn brown be your example...get going! what are you waiting for?
tonight i am thankful...
...for 19 people in my family who trust enough in my turkey cooking abilities that they flew in town for the occasion.
...for a mom who set the thanksgiving bar oh so high. i miss you mom! SO SO MUCH! i still can't make gravy and i'll never figure out how you got everything cooked and hot on the table all at the same time.
...for friends who make homemade rolls for other stressed out friends.
...for a niece who is a professional chef, but pretends that she's not when she's in my kitchen.
...for 5 beautiful children and a husband that are willing to do the thanksgiving grocery shopping so i can study for a test.
...for the sound of cousins laughing, giggling and wrestling and jammin on their guitars together.
...for the sight of my daughter snuggled up with her grandpa (my dad) on my sofa.
...for my health ( i was near death in the I.C.U. 5 years ago today!) hold dear to life!
...for old friends.
...for new friends. i've NEVER met so many creative, supportive and loving women in my life as i have this year. to my "unearth" babes and my new blog friends...i feel extremely blessed to have you in my life!
what are you thankful for tonight?
enjoy thanksgiving if you celebrate it
and for my friends who don't,
enjoy the goodness and blessings in your life tomorrow!
so. you guys are going to laugh. get this. i got an award!
i know. funny huh!
it is from one of the most kind hearted people i have ever had the good fortune to meet. if you want to know what i really think about her all you have to do is scroll down to my last post. this absolutely drop dead beauty's name is kolleen. as i mention below, i met her at my first ever art retreat this past october. please do check out her lovely blog. she is incredibly talented. she is also very aware and genuine about what she sees around her and this is one of the things that i LOVE about the heartwing sisters she paints. i promise you will love her!
thanks so much dear!
so there are rules to this little award i guess, and here they are...
if you have been nominated, to accept this award do the following:
1. thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. nominate 7 Kreative Bloggers.
6. post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
now if you really care to know 7 oddities about chrissy....read on!
(if not, i'll never know!)
1. i was adopted 41 years ago when i was 5 days old to the best family in the universe. one of the biggest blessings of my life!
2. i've spent time in jackson hole, wyoming every summer since i was born and consequently so have my kids. IT's SOOO BEAUTIFUL there.
3. i don't like the stuff that is left at the bottom of the cereal box and learned that it has a name..."cereal dust". (or maybe that's just a name my mom made up)
4. one year when i was about 9, i got a dirtbike (ya! the motorcycle kind) for christmas and santa even parked it IN the house, on my mom's nice carpet in the formal living room....he's so great isn't he?
5. i am scared of large bodies of water at night time. oceans, lakes. that's when bad things come up from the deep. ohhh and clowns.
6. i really want to learn how to play the guitar before i die. (do any of you play the guitar? i mean more than just twinkle twinkle little star?)
7. i recently went back to school to get my art history degree with an emphasis on education so i can be an advocate for saving the "arts" in our children's schools. (any advice?)
drum roll please...........i nominate the following super cool folks! please drop by these fellow sisters blogs and say hi! (in no particular order)
...have you ever started a friendship with someone BEFORE you ever met them in person? honestly. it's the strangest sensation. i know that some of you dear sweethearts who comment on this blog are friends in this catagory. but up until this beginning of this year, i didn't have a catagory of friends like this in my life. (ok, that is if you DON'T count the time when i was 8 and i let a helium ballon fly free with a note asking for the person who found it to be my penpal..and they DID!) oh, i had read a zillion blogs of creative folks out there who gushed about the friends they had made in blog-land, but never seen eye-to-eye. "oh my goodness, how brave of them!" i would think to myself. fast forward to my slight obsession with a certain artist named KELLY RAE ROBERTS and my wonderful fortune to go on an art retreat with her recently. (which i've already blabbed about and probably will again. and again. and again.)
well i had the opportunity to connect with a few of the women BEFORE we met up in manzanita, oregon last month. one of these dear women had the BEST music on her blog. i'm talking seriously good taste in music. it was comforting to know that i would have at least ONE thing in common with someone on this retreat. i emailed her and she emailed me back and soon i had my very 1st friend in the "i've never met this friend in person" catagory! YIPPEE!
the story just gets better as we met up in the Portland airport and shared a car to manzanita with jennifer and gloria. two more beautiful and extremely talented women. (seriously check them out)
it's strange how just knowing someone, even a tiny bit, when jumping into a house full of women that you don't know at all, can all of a sudden feel so warm and comforting.
this gorgeous woman above is KOLLEEN (picture by the most amazing photographer, vivienne. please check her out too, you won't be sorry) (sorry i couldn't make it bigger) it's easy to see why anyone would want to be her friend. she radiates that "come sit by me and let's talk like old friends" glow from the first moment you lay eyes on her. she is wise. and so easy to open up to. she listens. she encourages. she's honest. she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. and it's that inner beauty that inspires her creativity. her desire to remind us all that it's what is on the inside that matters most and we need to be careful that we develop and nuture our inner spirits. these are the things i have gained from this new friendship. from this new HEARTWING SISTER of mine. this sister who will always have my back!
i had the honor of being a tiny spark in her creativity recently as she and i were portrayed together in one of her inspirational "heartwing sister pieces".
thank you k for being you. a wonderful you. i hope you know i've "always got your back!"
dear friends. i work on a very ancient computer. it's been a good pal for many years, but lately he's been growing slow and weak and recently he got hit with the swine flu. so i took him in to the dr.s and they ended up keeping him for "observation". hense, i've been a bit quiet on this blog for a few days. i am going to be completely honest....IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY!!! right at this very moment i have finally taken my children's computer hostage. i don't care if they have homework to finish or important facebook posts to check. i NEED to blog. at least to check up on all my wonderfully creative friends and see what i've been missing. you guys are busy little bees. i miss you when i don't get to check in on you each day.
i feel soooo much better!
now the little moochers can have their computer back. but before i go, i need some help. a new computer is in my very near future. i'm seeing a MAC in my crystal ball. if you have a mac and love it or hate it, i would love to hear about it. also, if you were me, would you get another desktop or switch to a mac laptop?
ever since i returned from the unearth retreat i've had a swarm of ideas buzzing around in this head of mine. sometimes i lay awake at night going from one idea to the next at high velocity speeds. never having learned the artistic habit of getting out of bed and writing my ideas down as they come to me, like this beautiful, inspired friend of mine does (too comfy in my bed) i awake in the morning to find i can't visualize things as clearly and vividly as i had when the sun was sleeping. i've liked to use the excuse that i'm back in college and the mother of 5 children as an excuse for not putting these ideas of mine down on canvas with paint and paper and cleverly placed chotchkes - inexpensive trinket or ornament - (case you didn't know)...BUT, the truth of the matter is i've been afraid. i'm afraid i won't be able to reinvent the image in my mind as beautifully as i imagined it. i'm afraid of the results. i'm afraid of "the ugly stage" of a painting that sometimes paralyzes my creativity. i'm afraid. i am.
then i came across this quote this morning...
..."the primary reason ideas die quickly in some minds is because they can't survive in solitary confinement."...
as i read this quote, i realized that, yes i'm afraid to start the process sometimes, but i am even MORE afraid that my "ideas will die!"
2 weeks ago today i was enjoying a beautiful windy day on the oregon coast. surrendering my mind & body to the practice of yoga and the soothing, calm voice of this beautiful soul .
i spent the afternoon walking the tides of the beach, trying hard to capture this new found love in my life, through the lens of my camera. ever so happy to be wearing my new rainboots.
as i've had almost two weeks away from these strangers i can now have the honor of calling my "friends", i've found it strangely lonely. i miss them. i miss their laughter. i miss their hugs. i miss their "super*dee*duper" phrases. i miss their honesty. i miss their stories.
as we have connected in various ways since going back to our very different and separate lives, I STILL FEEL THE LOVE. the love of these women STILL surrounds me. it is a love i feel in a quick email just to say "i miss you. that's all". it is a love i feel in a text message or an invitation to an art show or a "please be my friend" on facebook. there is love in a comment on my young blog or the encouraging of others to start their blogs. i feel love when i see one of us bravely show a work of art or beautifully written words and others respond with "oh, you are so brave." "you are so talented". "keep it up girlfriend".
this is the love that still surrounds me.
i wanted to capture it in a painting. (above) at the end of our journey in manzanita, dear liz elayne gave each one of us a beautiful scarf. it was a sight to see all 25 women each wrapped in their gift. my painting reminds me that although i am home now, i can still feel the love of these women and cul*ti*vate all the good things that they brought to my life. the scarf around my little house is that reminder. it is an extra special scarf because it is made from a hand made paper ribbon that was sewn by my talented unearth friend, danielle, for all 25 women. (thank you danielle for the scarf for my little home!)
& thank you to all my "scarf sisters" who continue to love me and enrich my life!
...have you ever had one of those life changing experiences? the ones where you are absolutely positive you will never be the same again? i'm not talking the horrific experiences that unfortunately enter our lives at one point or another...but the beautiful ones?
...maybe your path crossed with others who left huge footprints on your heart. or maybe you traveled to the most breath taking, wave crashing, gull soaring, grass blowing in the breeze...beach. maybe a kind, wise, gentle spirit gave you a safe place to "silence the blaring sounds of your daily existence." maybe a most beautiful soul taught you how to unearth whats truly important to you. deep down in your core. maybe you got the opportunity of a lifetime to spend creative days and intimate hours (serious, cuddle up on the sofa and talk like you've been friends forever, about all things important in life, hours) with an artist you've deeply admired from afar and whose story and paintings inspired you to listen to the wispers within your heart.
...even as i type the words, it sounds too good to be real. too delicious to taste. the dreams i.ve only read and heard about "others" experiencing and yet i look into the expressive eyes of each woman in the photo above and see my face among them and know that it was real.
it WAS real.
it WAS life changing.
i love these women.
i will never be same.
...and that's a good thing.
...right now my heart is so dang full i think it just might burst! i have 24 amazing women running around in it. 24 women i will never forget. 24 women who changed my life. 24 women i love. i can't wait to tell you all about them. seriously, i just can't wait...
...i just entered a little raffle at the blog of one of my favorites, KELLY RAE ROBERTS. she had 214 comments on her blog by the time i hit enter to send in my own two bits. so many people love her and follow her journey. i, on the hand, have only told a handful of people that i even know HOW to blog, that is why it is so amazingly wonderful to me that i just came here to this little ol' blog to leave a post about what i'm up to tomorrow & imagine my surprise to see that i had, not 1, not 2, but THREEEEE comments on here. WOW! three friends i've never met in person but three new, creative souls that i can't wait to get to know. thanks ann, lori & cathy! you guys rock!
...oh my goodness! i have a huge secret! last spring i jumped way, way out of my comfort zone and registered for an art retreat in manzanita, oregon. (you can read all about it here ) i felt so proud of myself for registering, positive that i wouldn't get in because there were only about 20 spots available. it was just the simple act of sending in my registration that was a giant leap for me in my attempt to put into "action" the whisperings of my creative spirit. little did i ever expect to actually "get in"...YIKES! so fast forward to today...i have only 5 more nights of getting on my knees in prayer before i jump on a plane with a heartful of emotions and excitement and spend 5 days with amazingly talented, wonderful women to "UNEARTH" all that lies deep within me. who knew that when i underlined these words in kelly rae roberts book "..do the thing that scares you the most. By doing it, you'll give birth to your life's promise and unearth your buried dreams. rediscover your worth, your potential, your creative spirit. then go and fly on its wings to places you won't ever want to leave."...it would lead me to take the first HUGE step towards cul*ti*vating all good things in my life. amazing!
...a little over a year ago the subtle "whispers" of my creative side that came to me every now and again, began to turn into full blown "yells" from within. i started actually feeling panicky and edgy about the need to create again (after taking a 16 yr. break to get my 5 little ones all in school) but didn't quite know where i wanted to begin. there were several different artistic outlets that i enjoyed and just when i would start on one, the other would beckon and i found myself with a slew of unfinished projects and a heartful of frustration. in an effort to get myself focused on a specific artistic adventure and learn some new techiniques, i went searching for a book. the blessing that came into my life was "this" .."taking flight. inspiration to give your creative spirit wings" by artist kelly rae roberts. i picked this book up and haven't put it down since.
so much of what kelly touches on in her book, were the exact whisperings of my heart. i just wasn't doing a very good job of listening to them. i was so relieved when i read this book to know that there were other people out in the world who felt a desire to "unearth" their creative yearnings. a relief that brought actual tears to my eyes. thank you kelly for giving me....a book and a blessing!
...may today there be peace within. may you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. may you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. may you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. may you be content with yourself just the way you are. let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. it is there for each and every one of us.
why is it that whenever i feel the need to create, i mean "really" get down and dirty, messy, painterly creative, i suddenly have this huge guilty feeling settle upon me? it settles in the form of nasty little thoughts like..."but chrissy, you have laundry all over your bedroom floor" or "you haven't scrubbed the kitchen tile in weeks" or "the kids lunch sacks shouldn't go to school empty one more day" (okay, not really empty, but to listen to my kids some days, you'd think i never went shopping. ever. never) how does one put aside all the things, the endless list of things that need to be done in a day, without the guilt, and sit down to happily create?
...this little blog, this online journey, has been a long time a comin. i have actually been making posts for a few years now...in my mind. the thought of actually "putting" them out there in blogland for just anyone to read however made me queasy. to me it felt like opening my heart to the world. that same heart that I often keep locked tight. what if people laugh at me? what if people scoff at my artwork? what if people leave really mean comments? what if? what if? what if? those little devil "what ifs?"!!! they can really play a number on one's self esteem and confidence can't they? i've been a closet addicted blog reader for several years now. there is a universe of amazing bloggers out there. More often than i care to admit, i've found myself passing hours in front of my computer...reading, linking, learning, laughing, crying, wishing, hoping, amazed, and inspired. because folks out there were willing to "share" their thoughts with the world, their insights, their artwork, their knowledge, their vision through a lens....i have been blessed. my hope is that by chronicling this journey that i'm on, this need to cultivate all the good things available to me in my life, i will be able to bless my children and hopefully bless some of you in return. ...and now, i am ready for takeoff!