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Ah, to Be Young and Talented

1 Feb

I feel very inspired by this young makeup artist, Stephanie Fernandez, who uses her own face as a surface for her unique creativity.

Some of her work is dark–think zombie film–and some is more abstract or flowery…but all of it is stunning.

http://www.stephaniefernandezart.com/about-me

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Nothing More Than Feelings

24 Feb

This animal is expressing some feelings about my camera.

We are still talking about guns. The discussion on guns misses the point entirely, in my opinion.

I read about murders and assaults in the news nearly every day. Outside of war, most of them involve only one or two people. The police always check out family, friends, and business partners first. What does that tell you?

Why do people kill each other? Why do they assault each other?

There are a few reasons — including greed — but mostly it comes down to strong feelings that people don’t know how to handle.

I have been reading the stories for as long as I can remember…

A young woman was killed because she turned down a marriage proposal.

A girl’s hair was set on fire by a peer who was not invited to a party.

A man set his son on fire because of a divorce/custody dispute.

The stories are different but they are all the same.

People who cannot accept emotional pain. People who cannot live with having been wronged. People who judge others, who blame others, who want to punish others.

These are the people who commit violence on a daily basis.

Gun regulation is easier to accomplish than emotional regulation.

But…emotional regulation is the only solution.

Teach your children how to process their feelings. Teach them that they are stronger than they think. Show them examples of those who have overcome adversity, those who are happy in spite of all that has gone wrong with their lives, those who are loved when they thought they were unloveable.

Teach them the meaning of the word NO.

Teach them to work through their disappointment, shame, or humiliation.

Teach them that pain is temporary, just like joy.

Teach them that others are vulnerable, just as they are.

Teach them that anger can be productive or destructive.

Teach them that negative emotions are part of life and must be recognized and managed.

On the Subject of Gifts

2 Jan

I am reflecting on the nature of gifts.

I favor practical gifts, both for myself and others. Give me something I can use and I am happy. Children generally do not favor practical gifts.

My theory about children’s negative view of “needed” items: they view “needed” items as things they receive outside of gift giving, and therefore feel they have been cheated out of a “real” gift.

On the other hand, as adults, we buy our own needed items and it can be a bothersome errand. As I do most of the shopping for the family, I view a practical gift as a time saver (no shopping!) and money saver (I don’t need to buy it myself), plus a space saver (it will very likely already have a place in the home, especially if it is replacing an old item of the same type). That is a lot of saving! What could be better?

When it comes to children’s gifts on a budget, need can intersect with fun if one thinks creatively.

For example, if my kids need shirts because they grow like weeds, I give them gifts of shirts representing their special interests (Star Wars, for example) and these shirts become favorite shirts instead of rejected “needed” items.

Some of my favorite practical gifts I have received in my life include: soft socks for sleeping in, moisturizing cream and bath products, a GPS, cookware and recipes, blankets and bed sheets, Christmas tree ornaments, a CD of “calming” music, storage containers, a leather change purse, hand knit scarves and gloves and hats, and baskets with favorite food items.

I recently received a creative “family” gift from my sister-in-law: a “movie night” kit, with a movie rental card, popcorn, soda, candy and so on. Great idea, right?

I recently read about some special quilts given by a widowed father to his daughters, crafted from portions of selected clothing belonging to their late mother, so that they may feel close to her and remember her every time they use them. Sentimental and practical all at once.

My best gift giving advice: think of what will be meaningful and useful to the recipient. Don’t try to impress. Small and sincere does the job. We can all tell the difference between a gift that expresses the care of the giver and a gift that expresses, “Look at this flashy item I found on sale!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth of Memory

16 Jul

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

~Maya Angelou

This is such a deep truth.

Whether we feel joyful, inspired, manipulated, bored, angry, loved, disgusted, or wounded… we remember.

Why did that person make you smile so much? It may be hard to say, but you want to see that person again, don’t you?

What was that fight about? You aren’t sure, but you are not looking forward to talking to that person.

I have been thinking about communication recently and I believe that this quote is the simplest, clearest guideline I have ever read regarding interpersonal communication.

Sometimes I fail in this area.

When I was young, I was very quiet. As I aged and gained experience, I decided to sacrifice some of my caution and privacy and become more open and more casual in my interactions.

Sometimes I think I need some of my caution back, not only to protect myself but to protect others.

I may say the right words with the right intent and still fail to interact in satisfactory way. My timing may have been off. My tone of voice may have been wrong.

By the way, although I am writing about my own social weaknesses, this post was not inspired by my own failures but by someone else’s failure… someone made me feel unimportant . I know it was not intentional, and I know it is not actually true, and yet…there is the feeling in my memory.

I want to create positive emotional memories in others. I am challenging myself to remember Maya Angelou’s words and use them to improve my relationships and first impressions.

Sometimes Those Good Things Do Not Happen, But Other Good Things Do

30 Mar

I had one of those days today.

You know…those days when something very simple is expected to happen, only it doesn’t happen, and the simple thing not-happening means that those grand things that would have made your life so much brighter are also NOT happening.

And still the sun shines, and the flowers bloom, and the children laugh, and a guy named Mike publishes a blog post called Welcome to Blue Sky, Rhode Island. Population: One Totally Plibbed-Out Sixth Grade Girl Who Goes by The Name of None-of-Your-Beeswax-if-That’s-Okay-With-You-Mister-Flibbertijeepers and it surprises the heck out of me with its creativity, widening my eyes and possibly my horizons. (When you read Mike’s post — because you must read it — be sure to notice the tags at the bottom.)

Life is beautiful, even if you are hiding in the closet and feeling plibbed-out.

~ACS

Is It Worth It?

21 Mar

“Let it go. Whatever it is — It’s not worth it.
Focus on your goal. Whatever it is — It IS worth it.
Your mind can only process either one or the other — now, you tell me, which one’s worthy?”Jared Blake DiCroce

I like the way Jared summed up this simple philosophy. (To read more advice from Jared, click on his name)

After so many recent changes in my life, I have come to realize that very little matters to me anymore — or rather, the way I view the things that DO matter has changed dramatically.

People matter.

Health matters.

Freedom and independence matter.

Joy matters.

Doing what is right matters.

… Frankly, anything that does not contribute to the above list is worthless to me now!

Charmed

22 Feb Stinson pix 6-10 027

Charm is the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.

~   Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

A charming person has a natural talent, a gift for elevating others from the inside out.

Do you have someone like that in your life?

When Everything Is New

8 Feb

Moving away from your home, your state, your work, your friends, and your family isn’t easy.

Everything is new.

The excitement of change comes with a price: stress.

I am taking some lessons from the trees in this new climate.

In the first photograph you can see a skinny tree standing beside a house on the right. On the day I took these photographs I watched that skinny little tree — standing taller than the house — bear more and more snow as the day went on, gradually bowing under the increasing weight until the tip dragged on the ground. I thought the trunk might break. The homeowner soon tramped out and whip-lashed the flexible branches, freeing the snow and allowing the tree to spring back to its original posture. I noticed that the tree stayed upright after that, regardless of the continuing snowfall.

The first wet snow sticks and pulls everything down. If this initial weight is released, further snow slips off more easily.

I might need some help shaking off that first snow, but I will stand tall again.

New Adventures

29 Jan

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

— Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)

wide open spaces

This year I am trying new things, taking more risks, and worrying less.

I am driving in snow storms.

I am taking photographs of sunsets through dirty car windows.

I am thinking a little bit less.

I am taking more action.

Life seems simpler.

Failure, Smailure

4 Jan

If you have been knocked down by life, and you need some help pulling yourself up, how about this motivational video?

click here

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