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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Time to Reflect

There I was, on a recent trip to Europe, standing in front of a Rembrandt. As I was looking through my photos later that night, this image caught my eye because of the reflection created by the thick layer of glass protecting the painting.

I originally took the photo because I was so taken with the artist's perspective and the subject matter: an older wise man patiently sitting in reflection by an open window. What struck me about the photo later was how it seemed to merge timelines. It was past, present and future all at once. In the other faces, I was seeing who I was, who I am, who I will be. In essence, time -- fleeting time.  I began by appreciating one perspective, and then I began to see so many more.  This is the value of reflection.

Taking the time for reflection in one's daily life allows for the opportunity to pause and sort through observations amidst the chaos and consider multiple interpretations in an effort to create meaning. This deciphering or "meaning" is a form of learning which then goes on to inform ways in which we act, think and live today and in the future, in all types of settings.

Reflection is the gateway between memories and dreams. 
Be still. Think. Take time to reflect.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Independence Your Way!

As the 4th of July approaches, please remember to  take a moment to give thanks to our military and public safety heroes through time for their honor and courage in defending our freedoms and democracy.Celebrate your independence with a little color and creativity. Just look where a little creative thinking got us in 1776! Get outside, draw, paint, cook....Celebrate your freedom. On that note, here's a new spin I took on a Ratatouille recipe! Happy Red, White and Blue!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Kick off your summer with courage!

It’s time to kick off summer!
Last week, I was sitting on the beach at midday when a young family set up a few feet away from me. They dropped their bags, laid out their towels and ran off together to be in the ocean. Obviously, they were not from here. Within seconds, the seagulls arrived. They started to feverishly peck at the backpacks and bags. All of a sudden,  slices from a loaf of bread were being tossed into the air! I couldn’t let them go any further.  I jumped up and shooed the seagulls as best I could, then I briskly walked down to the ocean and signaled to the group of five, waving my arms and shouting for them to come out of the water. They were extremely confused…until they looked behind me at the flock swarming over their belongings!
The seagulls were on their way to destroying their lunch – and their kick-off to summer. I couldn’t let it happen! The family planned for this and had the courage and the good fortune to be at the beach that day. All I could think about was that if it were me, I’d want someone to do the same. We had a good laugh (once the seagulls cleared) and I was so glad I had the courage to do what I did. A wonderful exchange followed.

The moral of the story? Explore courage this summer. Have the courage to do something you wouldn’t normally do. You don’t need to book an expensive trip to the other side of the planet–-start in your own backyard. This summer, give yourself a project at home, begin new plantings in a corner of your backyard, visit your local library and join a book club, partake in a community event like a beach clean up or 5k run/walk. Meet one new person a month. And, always, always remember to do a good deed.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Merry month of May!

Take an Appreciation Day! 

May this month be a special time of celebration
for all our mothers, sisters and friends.

You are all treasured gifts.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Let Your Imagination Grow

Early one morning this week, I arose to the sight of a prism of colors, reflected on a wall in my line of sight. It was a most magnificent way to be stirred! I had to figure out the source of this most beautiful display of light. I creeped out of bed and went to check for reflections, and sure enough, the light was bouncing off the mirror, from outside. I pulled back the curtains and cracked open the french doors just enough to see it - a boundless double rainbow -- and first thing in the morning!
This could mean nothing but a day full of good luck. I realized just how boundless my imagination was with this auspicious sighting. I doubled back for my phone, knowing that I had to catch it and share not only it's proof, but its message.
Rainbows always rest between rain and sun, they are a fine slice -- a happy place.
Now that I knew it was going to be a good day, I started to think of all of things I would be sure to do to make it an exceptional day. My imagination and creativity were peeked.

Why don't we give ourselves the same permission for optimism every day, regardless of an early-morning rainbow?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Tapping Your Creativity to Shift Imperfection to Perfection

I brought out my ink and pen quill, then carefully selected a piece of paper from my favorite collection gathered during my travels overseas. I was inspired by the winter-washed days: the lack of light and color often give me a sense of inner peace and stillness. It was time to get lost in a creative journey. 

As my first stroke navigated its way over the grooves of the texture paper, I could hear my college art professor, Arthur Hall Smith. “Once we start our composition journey, we must learn that even if we make a mistake with a line, a cross-hatch, or, heaven forbid, a blotch of ink should fall from our pen on what we believe to be our next master piece, work this imperfection in to perfection.” 

Little did I know that Professor Smith’s  “rules” of art would be with me through all facets of my career. I realize now more than ever that Arthur was teaching all of us how to develop solutions using our creative minds. He showed us that we could create anything with a blank canvas if we were willing to explore our imaginations fearlessly with no boundaries.   

As the natural soft light of the day became more dim, I knew it was time to put my quill down. I gazed at my piece thus far and thought about where my imagination would take me tomorrow.   After a few moments of quiet stillness, I turned to a few sections of the newspaper that I had set aside before beginning my art project.  

I turned to the weekend food section of the paper for inspiration for tonight’s dinner. Thumbing through the pages I came across an article entitled, “Cook Between the Lines" by Andrea Nguyen. The title of article caught my eye after finishing an afternoon of drawing many lines.  Then I saw the subtitle, “Recipe books without photos make kitchen time more about pleasure and process than perfection.” Indeed.

As I read through the article, I found myself agreeing with the author about how a cookbook without pictures takes you on a greater journey to trust your “gut,” as she described. To risk and explore the actual written cooking instructions called your own creative instincts into play. What will it look like? How will I plate it? I began to “think out” the flavors, textures and colors. Cooking without someone’s visual influence was cooking it “my way.”  

I am one of those people who love to read through cookbooks cuddled up with a cup of hot tea! I often search through second hand or library bookstores to find some old cookbooks to take home just so I can read through recipes from different regions around the world and imagine the different spices and styles of the places I had never been. 

While most of my collection of cookbooks is filled with beautiful illustrations and photos, I made a point of reaching for one of my oldest cookbooks without illustrations to inspire me tonight. It’s akin to creating something only I can see on my blank canvas.

With a permanent smile, I gave thanks for Arthur’s words encouragement that came to mind tonight. He inspired so many of us to rely on our own creative instincts in the face of imperfection. 

Whether you are drawing, painting, writing or cooking, take the time to explore the essence of your senses and imagination. Create perfections from the imperfections - they will define your life’s journey.