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Archive for the ‘Art and the Artist’ Category

That’s a tall order for the day, I think as I glance at my To Do list and see the words Make Elephant not crossed out on my list.

I like the TO DO pad I found at Office Depot one day. It has two columns: On the left, it says TODAY, and on the right it says, LATER.  I take full advantage of being a retiree, so my list is not two columns. It is just one running across both columns. Those not crossed out at the end of today…you guessed it are the ones that are left for LATER.  Works pretty well.

It seems the Elephant was left for later.

It is the last of 5 daily assignments of Carla Sonheim’s Art Week for Kids 2017. This kid, age 74, really had fun with the art we all made. Besides making the art, and learning a little about famous artists, the best part was a private Facebook page where our Art Gallery existed and so many posted their creative work, it was a blessing to enjoy.  Each of us doing same assignment, all of us doing unique, individual, no-two-alike creations and having fun while doing it. I am going to be a kid again next year and join the others.

First, we went BLOB hunting….finding cracks and shapes and shadows outside that we drew the outline of and then created Blobimals from them.

And then we studied the Durer Rabbit (Hare) and many of us discovered that we loved the oil pastels we made our creations with. Some of us were very surprised that we liked the oils so well. Most of us found that our rabbit shapes came easier to us when we outlined him like a blob and worked from there.  This is mine.

 

Many of us like blue.

Then we went on to the Russian-French painter — Marc Chagall and created paper art in imitation of his Merry-Go-Round with horses and his sense of fun and delight in life.

 

What came next was pretty wild and crazy and most of us could not stop at one. We made more and more and more and became great fans of artist Picasso. We made the Picasso Cat. Mine fell asleep and took a nap in the sun.

 

 

Others were quite active…dancing

Or were quite blue….

 

One more just for fun, because this was F U N…

 

So, last Friday, we came to the elephant.  And for me, life interfered with art (I hate when that happens!)  and I only began to make my elephant. Beginning means that I found a cardboard corragated box and ripped shapes off of it.  These shapes sat next to the dining room table on the floor while I did life and watched all the wonderful animals appear on the Facebook Art feed.

And here is blue again.

There was even a pink one. I have to find her in the herd.

Alina posted pictures on how she made her elephant. After getting her pieces in the shape she wanted for her elephant, she is painting gray onto the elephant. This is going to help me remember how to make mine.

Here she is deciding which shapes to use.

Now, we can see her magnificent elephant. Oh my, he is so awesome.

Each day, artist Carla Sonheim led us in our art with a brief 10 minute happy encouraging “let’s do this” video and a written list of instructions to follow that were simple.  Along with a jumpy little tune, I know I was just like all the other kids and if I had had a mommy by me, I’d be bugging her to “Let’s, go, mommy, let’s go.”

And they did. And I did.  And this weekend I will be piecing and painting and gluing my elephant together. I think he will be silver gray.

Peek into Carla’s world if you are interested in having fun in creating.

http://www.carlasonheim.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I haven’t been able to post new photographs here, so son-in-law Carl, looked into it and seems my seven years of blogging has cramped the space and a new enhancement is needed. I have done that and am now on experimentation ground.

Well, my first photo surely uploaded quickly. Off to a new start.

I have been having some fun playing with art lately. I was so happy to travel to artisan village Berea and take two classes in Asian art that I will follow up on with small group meetings with others who find this type of art appealing and serene.  In the tradition of the Japanese, copying from the Masters is the way of perfection.

Then I also jumped into a week-long kids art class from Carla Sonheim on-line and this has been so joyful. One project a day and so many creations are put up on the Class Facebook page. I would take the class just to be able to see the other paintings (like me, there are some “little-big” kids in the class.)

We have played with Blobs, and blob creatures, rabbits, a Chagall Merry-go-Round with horses and a Picasso cat. How fun, how fun, how fun.

Selections from the class:

 

 

 

One more project left for tomorrow but I think the blobs shall never stop appearing to me and needing to be made into animate objects.

Next week, I return to regular scheduled and steady writing on my book. During the lapse of writing, much has come to me that is going into the writing, so I am grateful for that. I am pretty sure the cover image is changing to the second of my two choices AND I have a top talented graphic artist who will work with my cover design for me which will be M A G N I F I C E N T.

I continue to get great response to the title of the book, as I talk about it more frequently than I have in the past:

“Being Faithful To The Quiet”
Finding the Peace that Frees Your Soul

I don’t know where to find my new tools. I will have to explore some more. But the photos are working nicely again.

 

 

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The Chinese character for mystery, or yugen, is the same character for mountain, which looks like an inverted T with two squiggles on each side of the vertical stem.

“The line is the mountain and the squiggles on either side represent the mist in the valley that invokes a certain anticipation of the hidden.”  (The Zen of Creativity, John Daido Loori)

We often associate mystery with the darker side of life, the unknown. Then in religion and art, mystery is actually light, itself.  I am interested in mystery today because I am attempting to “sort out” and “be with” a great mystery of loss which has befallen my friends, in a sudden and tragic death of a young mother and friend.

Being with this loss is indeed taking up all aspects of mystery — the terrible darkness it brought upon us and the light we must seek to go back to center and live from there.  Peaking around the next corner into the darkness is not my forte.

 

In his writing upon mystery, John Daido Loori,  one of the truly great Zen Masters, says:

“Mystery is the seed of discovery. The term ‘mystical’ means: ‘Having a spiritual meaning that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intellect. It is direct subjective communication that we can’t process intellectually. We can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or think it. It is very subtle and slippery, impossible to nail down or explain. Yet we’re somehow aware of its presence, and it has a real impact on us.”

He goes on to explain how we can become aware of its presence.

“In order for us to perceive this subtle quality, three elements must be in place: trust in our spiritual practice, trust in the creative process, and most importantly, trust in ourselves. If any of these are missing, the whole structure collapses and we retreat into certainty. So we trust, even if we can’t explain or justify why we do what we do.” P 194 The Zen of Creativity

I had underlined the first part of this and made notes in the margin when I was first reading this book, probably over fifteen years ago.  After several moves, and still not having my categories together on ever-moving bookcases, I pulled it out today, thinking about Zen, Reiki and Japanese art because I am on the brink of an opportunity to take two workshops in Japanese flower painting and Wabi-Sabi collage next week. Which I am so excited about, I could pee my pants.

Also, because I am filled with grace to have come under Janet Conner’s (Janetconner.com) tutelage since Writing Down Your Soul, Lotus and Lily AND Intersection for Writers on-going instruction modules and books.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SHE TEACHES …..THERE IS NO WRITING COURSE OUT THERE THAT I KNOW OF THAT INSTRUCTS AND INSISTS ON SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AS PART AND PARCEL OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS.

And her process for writing, to those of us listening and learning, goes directly to accessing that special mystical quality and writing from there….and trusting it. That is her belief and her brand. That is the sweet spot and her students are zeroing in on it. What fabulous books are being authored that are going to reside on bookstore shelves across the world and fly from the internet into homes awaiting their special gifts and wisdom.

SHE IS SO RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT. WE ARE  SO BLESSED, BLESSED, BLESSED.

Just how long did it take to grow the mountains? It’s a mystery, right? So many layers, so many changes, over time…over time. Just like a mystery. It is a mystery to me how my eyes fell upon this section  of the book, after having been out of my sight for so very long. But for me, this is a special seeding time. The field is ripe and the conditions are powerful and potent. I am about my purpose. I have been guided to my guides, here on earth and beyond. I am in good hands. Who’s hands?

Well, that’s a mystery.

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By Napkinwriter   April 24, 2017

Do you know me?

Well, I had all kind of picture computer glitches today, so I don’t have some of the photos I want to go along to introduce you to both Janet and me, but here’s what I have.

Welcome to Napkinwriter, a blog that will wet your appetite for the many stories to come. I really do write on napkins and way sooner than this, I should have had a napkin saver container to “bank” and collect my beginning ideas, words and images I penned on them over the past fifty years at least.   I’ve been writing Napkinwriter since December 2010. What will you see here?

Stories about extra -ordinary people who are in the world disguised as ordinary people; stories about the extra-ordinary days that are given to us all in gifts of “the moment” — one at a time. Stories of grace and angels among us that have touched my life in an unforgettable way. Stories of…..the Mystic Muse, who plays in my day and creates scenes in my nights that I must arise and give form and expression to. And I am going to leave that preposition right at the end of that sentence·

I am a writer by soul command, I am a writer in my personal life and in my professional life. I write to inspire and bring forth the beauty of goodness within each of us and all around us. My Personal Essence energy signature is: I Am Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver. I am a beloved wife, mother and grandmother and my joy lies within this way of life. I Am a blessing and I Am blessed.

I work to bring the awareness of our spectacular being to all those I meet in my day; I am beginning to focus attention to the elderly, to hold high the vision; to caregivers, to rise above the challenges and be their High Self, and to include this global Shift movement in the healing powers of my Reiki Master Self, who is already operating in global healing around the world.

I’m glad you’re here. I hope we get some discussion going. Now it’s your turn.

It is NOW 2017. My how time flies. We have returned to our early-marriage roots and live in Lexington Kentucky.  I have lived the writing life for a long, long time both personally and professionally. But NOW IS THE TIME to heed a long- heard call to write a book titled “BEING FAITHFUL TO THE QUIET, Finding the Peace that Soothes Your Soul.”

Janet Conner is one in a star galaxy of my writing space who gives me what I need to stay connected to my writing avocation.  As it says in Terma, The Box

What do you hear when all has gone silent and the in spaces between the silence,  there is a call,…..ignore it if you must, but WHY PRETEND it isn’t there?

It is there…..I am not ignoring it…..and I am NOT pretending it isn’t there.

That is the writer’s life.

I was already teaching Write Now! which is similar to Janet’s Soul Writing when I met her on line and stepped into her writing instruction; not only writing but soul connection, as well.  When I met her, I was in no position to sign up for and pay good money for the privilege of learning from her. Here she was telling about her own starting point of near bankruptcy and I was actually still swirling from a bankruptcy.

But not only did pay and enter into her Soul Writing course, I went on to take her first Lilies and Lotus course, being attracted by the scripture “See the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin…” (and yet they are provided for)…..and for the last six years, I have done less toiling and spinning and found the riches of provision falling into our lives beyond what I would have ever imagined.  Now I easily imagine how I am loved and cared for, regardless of net worth.

Janet Conner

 

It wasn’t exactly free….this loving provision stuff. I did have to learn  how to forgive, not just once but that old 70×7 stuff.  And I learned from Theresa of Avila, as well. There was lots of other stuff too, but it was all good, especially the AIC degree Janet awards.

And it is amazing how all this  learnin’  dovetails right into what is important in my story of Being Faithful to the Quiet.  What a hoot!

A Note to me from Janet

 

So, I’ve had my time, now it is time to hear from Janet. This is one of my longest Napkinwriter posts ever.

 

A LETTER FROM JANET

exploring the fields of the soul . . . together 

Thinking about the writing life?
There are things to consider.
First, it’s a paradox.
Second, it will change your life.
Oh, and you’ll love it with your whole heart.

Deep soul explorers,

I get lots of emails from people who want to be a writer. They all say they can feel a book inside. They’ve felt the presence of that book for years, decades even. But they don’t know how to bring it to life.

I, too, felt a book bubbling up from inside. I, too, wanted nothing more than to write my book and become a professional writer. And I did. I wrote Writing Down Your Soul and I am a professional writer.

But I have a confession. The writing life is nothing like I expected.

It has turned out to be a bunch of big fat paradoxes tumbling over one another, leaving me surprised, startled, and often laughing.

So, if you have one of those books inside you, let me give you a wee taste of the writing life. My hope is that by time you reach the bottom of this letter, you, too, will be ready to say yes to the writing life.

First and foremost, you must understand that creativity is an act of surrender.

And surrender, as I’m sure you know, is a spiritual practice—perhaps the ultimate spiritual practice. Surrender plays out in the two biggest paradoxes of the writing life:

Paradox #1:
You are not the author of your book.

My publisher captured this paradox perfectly when I was behind schedule and she said, “Write the book that wants to be written.” (Oh, you can write the book that YOU want to write, lots of people do; but it won’t set the world on fire, and it won’t change anyone’s life, least of all your own.)

Which brings me to Paradox #2:
Your book writes you.

This is the mystical magic of creativity.

MC Richards, the world class ceramicist, described it this way: “The greatest thing the potter produces is not the pot, but the potter.”

Translated into the writing life: “The greatest thing the writer writes is not the book, but the writer.” In short, writing will change you and change you at depth.

What will change?

  • The rhythm of your days. The flow of your days will shift until you find the natural rhythm that feeds your writer’s soul. It’s one of the most important things you will learn in Plug In for Writers.
  • Your reading. As your reverence for the written word grows, you will no longer tolerate junk writing, junk ideas, or junk media. Discernment arrives.
  • Guides and Guidance. You will realize you are surrounded by angels, messengers, and writing guides. Everyone and everything is your teacher.
  • Connections. As you follow the dots between disparate ideas, paths will open that you didn’t know existed. That’s how you write something fresh, new, and exciting–and the publishers only want “fresh, new, exciting.”
  • Synchronicities. The more you notice, the more they arrive, until life is flush with magical connections.
  • Priorities. Time is sacred. You’ll find yourself stepping away from anything that feels like a sieve.
  • Relationship with time. Kairos time will become your new best friend.
  • Your writing guides are helping you all the time. I saw everything in Find Your Soul’s Purpose in my dreams.
  • Access to theta. Once you know how to open The Intersection in the theta brain wave state, you will discover how to slip into the imaginal realm anywhere, anytime.
  • Solitude and silence. You cannot write in chaos and noise. You will crave quiet. Most writers are born or become introverts.
  • New Relationships. Friends who cannot see you as a creative writer will fade away. At first it will hurt, but new relationships will arrive.

The biggest surprise of all is that the writing life is a mystical life. Writing is a mystical practice.

I had a delightful confirmation this week in an angel consultation with Margo Mastromarchi. I was seeking guidance on something that has been revealing itself since the New Moon. (I’ve been hinting at this in previous letters, but it’s still unfolding. I promise to explain as soon as I get my own hands around it.)

In the consultation, I asked who was helping me and the answer surprised me: Mother Mary. I asked how she wanted me to connect with her. And Mary answered, “in your writing.”

Her words makes these typing hands feel even more sacred and blessed.

In the end, the writing life is about love.

Love of the message you are blessed to share.

Love of the readers you are blessed to serve.

Love of the written word.

Love of books themselves.

Love of your books.

Love of your writing angels and guides.

Love of your writing and publishing village.

Love of the life you have been given.

If you are called to live and love the Writing Life, please join me in my once-a-year LIVE global telecourse Plug In for Writers. It is unlike any other writing workshop or seminar or retreat.

Come visit the course page and see for yourself. We open Saturday April 29.

Plug In for Writers 2017

When you register by Friday, April 28, you will receive 23 sessions and access to my entire Publishing Village for $30 per session–even less for returning members. That’s $15/hour! That’s crazy, I know, but I sense there are many feeling the call to the mystical life of the writer. And nothing makes me happier than to teach someone how to open The Intersection and step through that door into The Writing Life!

To living and loving the Writing Life,

Janet

To find out more about Janet’s courses and magnificent books, and  with her new one on Soul Purpose, and her radio show on Unity on-line go to her website:    http://www.janetconner.com

More on the Plug In for Writers 2017, go to:

http://janetconner.com/successful-writer-entrepreneur/radio show on Unity on-line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“It may not look like it, but I am writing now,” I said to Tom as I was folding a new batch of clean, fresh towels just taken from the dryer and still snuggly warm. He was watching me from his lounge chair as I completed the task on the top of our new spring bedspread.

I was heading for my writing room as soon as I completed this household task, something writers often do — put other “stuff” in front of creative time. Yet starting points were bubbling up within me for writer’s warm up, so that’s why I count it as writing.

The next part of my writing was sitting a spell with words by Michele Weldon, author of Writing to Save Your Life, about the quality of quiet in a writer’s life. Something that really attracts me, since I am writing a book titled, Being Faithful to the Quiet,  (subtitle, Finding the Silence that Soothes Your Soul). My book is a mix between memoir and mystery, a long-lived mystery that encircled my life like the ripples formed when a pebble is thrown into the water. And that pebble was thrown at my birth.  It is about the grace of the quiet and the pain lived out in  being silenced.

I relate to much of what she says in one very small section of a great book. Did you know that the genre of books on writing is only topped in numbers sold by the Christian Bible. So many writers write about writing!  Anyway, this is not a diversion, my reading about writing, is is part of my warmup practice to get into the quiet myself and begin writing. Hence, before I begin on searching my words and rhythm for my drafts of my book, I continue warm up with a short contribution to Napkinwriter. I am grateful to  the writing and readership of my five year Napkinwriter blog to keep me practiced in writing. It has spawned poems and memories I either did not know was there or thought I had forgotten. That’s the magic of the written word. So many creative journeys open up.

Weldon quotes Sarah Orne Jewett in a 1908 letter she wrote to Willa Cather,

“You must find your own quiet center of life and write from that to the world.” And she says these words hold true almost a century later. They do, for me. And from that quiet center of life, I also resolved mysteries and dilemmas in my life.  That is what I write about in my book because I continued to find practices of prayer and movement and contemplation, different types all through my life. They were gifts of grace to me. Saving grace, I would even say. And not all grace and prayer look like prayer, just like my folding towels didn’t look like writing.

 

 

 

 

 

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lotus - whitelawPhotography by Christine Whitelaw

 

Remembering Christine Whitelaw

My last words on Napkinwriter from Christine were posted on June 28, 2014, in response to my post on our 3 day family vacation on Mackinac Island in early June. Just a mere  five days before she passed.

Just for the Family Record, June 28, 2014 archives: ” what a fabulous holiday Sue, I loved the butterfly house, and the pic of you three in rain gear … truly such fun and love to remember!” dadirri7

The sweet lotus was her favorite flower and her photographs reflect this. Christine, a flower of perfect sweetness.

In the late afternoon we sat watching the lotus. A cool breeze took the edge off a hot day, but the water was still…Dancing in the afternoon light, pods and flowers together, celebrating the lowering sun, turning their heads to whisper sweet secrets to each other. We bow, united, our dance concluding with the sunset.” Christine Whitelaw. Dadirridreaming.

We entered into our friendship through words…blogging…..and our hearts met across time and space, her in Australia, me in Michigan.

Christine Whitelaw and I met through my Napkinwriter blog nearly three years ago. She was one of the few who commented on my writings. Then she began blogging herself which grew into a wondrous photographic blog. Through her writings came her light, compassion, and “stretching” into the wonder of life itself.

That’s what she said. “We ARE it, whatever IT is!”

Through her photography, we shared nature’s embrace and brilliance as gift to us. She opened my eyes to always include my horizon, always respect my environment and always LISTEN to its teachings. I thank her for that.

Light….in her words…..and shining in her photography.

I wanted to go to Australia, but I wanted to visit Christine when I did. I wanted to walk on the beach with her, each with our cameras, each with our sharing about life with eyes wide open. I wanted to go to Australia and attend one of Christine’s Yoga Nidra classes. I wanted the grace to participate in one of her annual Women’s Weekends.

We daydreamed about that…..Dadirridreaming and I….we did. We looked forward to that happening.

Christine and I shared a love of poetry by Hafiz. Christine, too, quoted Hafiz on occasion and the poem she selected below gives us a glimpse of her acceptance of the “impermanence of the body”.

She posted these words on March 20, 2014 by dadirri7 — Christine completed her travels of this mysterious existence quite abruptly on July 2, 2014.

She wrote:  “More on life and death from Hafiz: do you like the idea of being simply “a midair flight of golden wine”?

lotus pods and bloomsPhotography by Christine Whitelaw

Deepening the Wonder by Hafiz

“Death is a favor to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity,
Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes
Of this mysterious existence we share
And are surely just traveling through.
If I were in the Tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks
And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that

We are just a midair flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His Cup.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world
Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long.”

 

Through the permanence of our words, Christine and I now transcend the impermanence of the body.

I remember the fun and love of our friendship.  Like the treasures she found on the beach.

Christine - Seashell

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Fireworks behind statue of liberty

Fireworks behind statue of liberty

 

Almost every one of the last twenty years, we have enjoyed “that old time feeling” of going back in time and celebration at the Marshall Michigan 4th of July kids and pet parade and the community concert, featuring fresh bar-b-q chicken during the concert intermission.

Our daughter, granddaughter and grandson all play in the featured and spirited marches and patriotic music, ending with a tribute to every branch of our United States armed serves. The concert this year will begin in about one-half hour. We will not be there this year as Tom is still recovering from his last skin cancer Mohs operation. But I can hear it —  even from a distance — in my heart and soul, not even needing my ears. I feel blessed to have been there so often.

And there’s always next year to look forward to.

Here is a repost from 2011 to show you what it looks like.

 

Marshall MI 4th of July – Thanks for the Memories

Conductor flanked by redheads Kathleen and Devon

Inserted into a collection of rousing, high-spirited American patriotic marches was a melody of nostalgic tunes including “Thanks For the Memories.” And that’s what I would like to do — thank the Marshall Community Band and the 4th of July Festivity planners for another spirits-raising day at the Fountain Park.

It’s been tradition for us to travel from Kalamazoo to Marshall for this summer treat, followed by goodies shared at the Warriner home. This year, I brought home-made apple crisp. Last year, Kathleen served fresh strawberry shortcake. You can’t beat them for 4th of July desserts.

You have to get there early, that’s a proven fact. Not just to see the kids’ parade, but to set up in a cozy spot protected with shade from the gracious trees that grace the park.

 

The kids’ parade, pets, wagons, bikes, costumes start the fun, and here they come!

Now, we’re ready to hear the music!

The band plays on and on the great American patriotic marches and we love it!  During the break, we enjoy grilled chicken from the Rotary Band Booster Fund Raisers. The concert concludes with a rousing crowd appreciation number honoring all the branches of the Armed Forces and ends each year with the Encore of STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER.

Our spirit is lifted high as we leave the park singing something about being kind to our web-footed friends.

 

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