The last couple of days were crazy-stressful.
I always become a little anxious around the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but when a major storm hit Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of that storm, it felt like a little too much. I spent much of the weekend stress-creating (Saturday) and stress-working (Sunday) until I tired myself out.
My family in NOLA did not/could not evacuate, so when we lost contact due to power outage and sketchy cellular service, I had to constantly remind myself to remain calm.
I read the scripture featured in the doodle art above early last Thursday, and it offered calm assurance near the end of a strangely chaotic week. Soon after, I learned of Ida’s threat to the Gulf Coast and the unlikelihood of its veering in another direction or “dissipating into nothingness.”
The full Bible verse reads:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. —2 Peter 1:3 NIV
My heart needed the first phrase, so I wrote it in my journal and planner to remind myself that God has given me everything I need:
- to tackle the endless list of tasks
- to deal with challenging situations that pop up during the day
- to exercise patience when my urgent questions aren’t answered
- to overcome fatigue
- to remain calm in the face of adversity
“To remain calm…” through Divine grace and power. That part.
My friend Cy relabeled my weekend art “creative prayers.” I think I like that phrase better.
#ChooseToChallenge. That is the theme for International Women’s Day 2021.
It is imperative that we challenge the status quo and archaic ways of thinking and doing life and obliterate systems that keep women from being their best selves, but we must also take to task the everyday affronts—byproducts of the system—slights we experience in our homes, in our churches, at work, in the grocery store, while pumping gas, even while sitting alone with our thoughts.
Today, I invite you, yes, to challenge larger systems, but also take stock of your immediate environment, including yourself, and challenge those things that thwart your efforts toward being a whole person.
Challenge individuals who judge you and place you in the tiny box they’ve carved for themselves; challenge those fearful thoughts that keep you incapacitated, those debilitating ideas that creep inside and stall every movement forward; challenge self-consciousness, feelings of inadequacy and invisibility, fear of rejection, and pull up a seat at the table. You don’t need an invitation. You belong there, sharing your grace, your strength, your knowledge, your unique bent.
Happy International Women’s Day!
My creative energy has been extremely high the last few days, but since I’m working feverishly to meet a deadline for work, there’s been little time to benefit from that energy. I felt a little like Virginia Woolf this weekend, so late Friday night just before slipping into dream land, I took a moment to make doodle art in her honor.
One of these will become a postcard. The only problem is I don’t know which one I like best, so you get to choose.
Thanks for voting! Be sure to take some time to doodle this week!
Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery. –Charles Caleb Colton
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, my artist/blogging friend Sheila Delgado should be tickled pink over the art Christine B and I created in the style of one of her specialities–“sunflowers in a vase.”
Last year, Christine B sent me a sunflower watercolor she “borrowed” Sheila’s style to complete. I included it in a blog post last November with many other sunflower postcards, but here it is again:
Days after the post, I received a Sheila D original watercolor of sunflowers in a vase [above]! Needless to say I was thrilled! I was so pleased to have another sunflower watercolor that it remained [with Christine’s] in my prayer and mediation space. So, a few months ago, when I began to include art/doodling as part of my daily routine and after seeing it every day, I played around with imitating Sheila’s sunflowers in a vase. This is one result:
Thankfully, my sunflowers have improved a bit since my summer doodle [I’ll share some next month]. Like all my drawings, I used ink and colored pencils. I haven’t been brave enough to attempt this with the watercolor pencils, but I will make an effort over the longer holiday break.
I read somewhere that beginning artists learn by imitating the styles of other artists. Even though I’m a long way from being that kind of artist, I enjoy testing my [minimal] skills from time to time by “copying” the artwork of others.
So…thank you, Sheila, for giving me sunflowers…and another subject to doodle. 😉
My artist friend Sheila invited me to participate in a 30-day Creative Challenge for the month of September. With the beginning of the academic year and a million other demands on my time, of course I couldn’t resist. I needed motivation to take a few moments for creative joy each day.
Throughout the month, I doodled, drew, photographed, wrote poetry and prose and worked on two major creative projects. Here are some of the “little things” from this month’s moments of creative joy.
I “created” a whole lot more than this. I drew or doodled something almost daily [especially sunflowers], but I sent some with letters and notes and didn’t get around to scanning others. The photographs [on my camera] were a bit too overwhelming to tackle after a long and busy Monday, so I took the lazy way out and went with photos shot with my phone.
Not surprisingly, flowers dominated, and I was also a little obsessed with clouds. But did you notice the two bears I drew? I was determined to draw a bear yesterday. My not-so-little one gave me some pointers [he’s really good!], so I think I’ll continue working on bears next month.
That’s it for now. Sleep calls.
If you’d like to check out more art created this month, check out the 30 Days Creative Gathering group on Facebook. The artists are a-maz-ing!
Have [creative] joy!
When I was in college, every Friday students were given an opportunity to write positive, joy-filled messages to whomever they wished. Someone would go around the cafeteria during the lunch hours and pass out minimally decorated colored paper entitled “Joy Notes,” give individuals an opportunity to write a message, collect them, and deliver them to the dormitory offices for distribution via students’ mailboxes.
It was such a pleasure to write these notes because I knew they would make the recipients feel loved and appreciated.
What a treat it was to discover a “Joy Note” in my own box–especially after an unbearable or stressful week.
I saved many of the Joy Notes written to me, and they still warm my heart. Among them are a note from my roommate, expressing her delight that we were rooming again and appreciation for my friendship; a note from one of my good friends that decried our busy senior-year life and that let me know she cherished our friendship though we didn’t have as much time to chat as we had in previous years; one from another friend, thankful for my support through a difficult time in his life; a lengthy “missive” from my bestie after she moved off campus about how much work she was getting done since she didn’t have our long talks, shopping sprees, one-on-one basketball games, and other adventures to distract her. But, of course, she was missing all of that! 😀
You know where this is heading.
This wouldn’t be Joy Week on Pics and Posts if I were to let it end without encouraging you to spread joy to others.
It’s always a delight to know that someone is thinking of us and that we are appreciated for simply being who we are. So…take a moment to write a “joy note” today. Write a note to your spouse, your child, a long-lost friend, your parents for putting up with you; a “thinking of you” note to a few individuals you haven’t heard from lately; a thank you to the neighbor who kindly drags your trash can from the curb each week or who cuts your grass as a surprise while you’re on vacation.
We shy away from such activities because we overthink them and try to do much more than is necessary. In this case, “less is more.” Even one sentence is sufficient to spread a little joy.
To make life easier, you can use the simple 4×6 printable I designed using one of my own doodled flowers. [Aren’t you proud of me?] The card prints nicely in black and white too and can be sent as a postcard if printed on card stock.
[Click the links below to access the freebies–one ruled, one unruled]
The “spread joy” flower was inspired by a coneflower drawn by my penfriend Christine for the Brooklyn Art Library Sketch Book Project. Her flower was inspired by a flower sketched by Jane M., another artist and Love Noter. One person’s creative joy led to another’s and that led to another’s. See how quickly the joy spreads?
Come on! Let’s scatter some joy this weekend!
Bonus: Check out the gorgeous “Scatter Joy” image available as a free download from Ashley at The Handmade Home. Be sure to download the freebie and display it in your home to remind yourself to “scatter joy” each and every day.
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. –Twyla Tharp
I’ve mentioned–on numerous occasions–I’m not an artist, but I’ve been playing around with my few art supplies lately, enjoying the feel of ink and colored pencils on the pages of a hardly used sketch journal tossed out by a friend.
This summer has not been the easy, relaxed summer I need, so I have been doodling as part of my morning meditation and at other times when I feel overwhelmed. It has been a pleasant way to take a “time out” from the demands on my time.
This isn’t art for show, really. I do it for myself–encouraged by the wonderful artists I’ve met through blogging, like Deb Breton, Sheila Delgado, and Holly M. In fact, I did not intend to share today. However, Laurie of Color Poems requested that I share–in response to my comment that I doodled flowers similar to her “scribble flowers.” I must oblige, of course!
So, here are my [original] doodle flowers.
I really wanted to watercolor the background, but since I can find neither my watercolor paper nor pencils, I just doodled them in the sketchpad. I used a couple of apps to add background and brighten the colors. The result is the first image in the post.
How about you? Do you ever draw or color while meditating? Or to relieve stress? I’d love to see your work! Share something on your blog and share the link in the comments. Pretty please.
Be sure to take a time out with some ink or paint or crayons this week.
Today is the last “official” day of summer, and I cannot let the evening pass without posting about a summer-themed swap I hosted–“My Summer in One Photo.”
For the swap, partners had to “capture” their summer in one image. Literally. Not two, three, or four images crammed into one 4×6 print or notecard, but a single image. Quite a challenge for those of us who had eventful summers.
My photog pal, Cakers, sent this:
Even though I didn’t know what it was, I immediately knew it had something to do with knitting because Cakers is an avid knitter, and possibly an addict. In case, you think I’m exaggerating about Cakers’ “addiction,” she has a knitting injury from too much knitting and her swap name when I met her was “midwestknitgirl.” Enough said. 😀
The photo features her needle tips in the “cool, funky” box she bought “cheap” recently. Thankfully, she gave an explanation. Needle tips are, part of what are called “interchangeables.” You can switch the tips with different length cords.
Her words, not mine. I have no idea what she’s talking about.
I had quite a number of major events myself–saying “good-bye” to friends, witnessing my little one’s choir join a 1000-voice mass choir to perform in front of an audience of 84,000 (and millions more? via broadcast), spending time with one of my beautiful best friends and her family, my dad’s 80th birthday celebration which was the icing on the cake of my summer. I probably should blog about all of that some time.
But when I sat down to think about how to capture “everything,” including the many things that are not listed here, one image comes to mind.
I spent a lot of time during the summer looking at cheerful sunflower photos and mulling over a Helen Keller quote:
My hubby’s back issues prevented his planting a sunflower garden outside my office window, but early one weekend morning, as I was having quiet time in my home office, I noticed bright, yellow sunflowers waving to me from our “back” neighbor’s yard. I grabbed my camera and hiked the grassy field separating us and spent some time with the sunflowers.
This was my favorite shot from the bunch:
It became a special reminder of a commitment I made earlier in the year when I was faced with one thing after another–to turn to the “Sun,” the Son of God, in all circumstances.
As summer progressed, certain situations intensified, and although I’d somewhat “mastered” coping well with things that affected me personally, I found myself slipping beneath the emotional weight of what was happening, not to me, but to people I love. I had to constantly train my thinking and my attitude in the direction of “the Sun.”
What I love about sunflowers is their reminder to us that without the Son and/or when we live in the “shadows,” we are weighed down by heaviness and dark feelings. When we face the Son, we dwell in light and we stand tall and strong in the face of adversity.