On Being Real

This was posted on BlogHer tonight and I wanted to share it with you all here. The “enemies” comment had to do with a comment I had left for someone on the boards. I am very much a believer in being straight up with people. Life is too short to be otherwise.

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This is my first blog post here, and I may already have enemies.

Limiting Time Gives You Perspective

One of the things that I learned early on in life was that you have to stay true to yourself. Your decisions, your actions, your inaction, you have to live with them. All of them.

This becomes even more important when you add in something that could take your life at any moment.

When I became a mom 11 years ago, I made a choice to become the person that I truly wanted to be. No matter how long it took. I accepted that fact that I am an imperfect being, but decided not to allow that imperfection to keep me from trying no matter how I failed.

I am the legacy that I leave my daughter, me, so I will never stop trying to:

  • Live a creative daily life.
  • Pass on to my daughter, and those around me, anything that I have been blessed with in my life…Knowledge. Food. Support. Love. Joy.
  • Remain true to my self and what I believe.
  • Live in kindness.
  • Spread compassion.
  • Spread awareness for the things that matter.
  • Never give up hope, for myself and for the sake of those I love.

And I will never stop trying.

I’m not perfect, far from it, but I’m real. I have good days and bad, just like everyone else, and I don’t think I am anything special. I’m just, well. Me. Those who know me always know where they stand. With that in mind, never ask me my opinion unless you want the truth, I don’t sugarcoat. Those who don’t know me, seldom interpret me correctly; mostly because they judge me on the agenda’s of others.

But that is part of being real.

The Skin Horse
Wellness is more than just being healthy on the physically. Being well andwhole mentally and emotionally is just as important.
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. 

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

Being real isn’t easy. It doesn’t always get the popular vote. It is raw, gritty, sometimes unpleasant, but it is that truth that you can hold onto at the end of the day. That knowing that you were you, and not something you were trying to be just so that someone else was comfortable with it. I like being comfortable in my own skin, and I like others who are too, or who are at least trying to be real too.

Being accepted for who and what you are is so much more rewarding than trying to lug around an arsenal of masks that you have to switch out to please everyone.

Life can be an all stress diet, especially right now with our media being overrun with politcal ads and all of us worrying who or what will be controlling our lives for the next four years. I, personally, will be so happy when it is OVER. The not-knowing drives me nuts.

That aside, I know stress all too well having just graduated at 43 with my 1st of two Masters, being currently enrolled in a graduate certificate program, homeschooling, running a nonprofit, juggling the unpleasantries of systemic health issues, and trying to work on all of my own projects (including the continuation of my thesis) in order to help my husband make bills. So with all of that, I like having a community of women I can communicate with who are just as strong, stubborn, and creative as I am.

Being Like Water

One of the movies that my husband and I like to watch is Memoirs of a Geisha. I love its cadence and the underlying stillness that surfaces at times. One of my most favorite quotes is something that rings true in my life.

“But she (my mother) told me I was like water…
Water can carve its way through stone. 

And when trapped, water makes a new path.”

I found out after my first marriage at 18 (no kids) that life was all about adapting to change. Being able to adapt, learn, and grow are things I want to pass on to my daughter. I want her to be strong, independent, and true to herself. I want her to be able to live through her mistakes and take away something of value from every one. It is my hope that she will learn from my own mistakes, but I know that the truth of it is that she will still have to make her own. She will know, though, that no matter what, I am here for her and that nothing will keep me from loving her, supportive or tough. She has her own paths to carve and I can only hope that she learns from water.

Wading Through the Floodwaters

We all have our stories. Things we have lived through, things that we have learned from and survived. Things that may only ring true to us and have made us stronger and (hopefully) have taught us how to stand up, firmly rooted, and be ready for when the next wave comes through.

So steady your feet and look up. The stars are out, and there is a sunrise coming.

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Golden, Arthur. (2005) Memoirs of a Geisha.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0397535/ 

Williams, Margery. (1988) The Velveteen Rabbit. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/326937-what-is-real-asked-the-velveteen-rabbit-one-day-does

Bucket Lists and Dreams to Goals

I thought it appropriate when I titled this post that I had accidentally capped “GO” in Goals. I mean, isn’t that the point of goals, to GO? Go forward. Go toward. Just GO.

No Dust Under My Feet

I’ve had this list (below) posted to my About page forever. Inspired by the movie, The Bucket List, a bucket list is basically a list of all the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”.

I have been really blessed in my life, but there are still a few things I’d love to do, most of which involve traveling. I add to this from time to time, because my goals change and grow as I do.

In Totally Random Order

  • Cure my body of systemic Lymphedema.
    (won my disability case 1019/12, started MLD therapy 2016, no cure yet)
  • Graduate with a Masters degree.
    Graduated Full Sail 1026/12 with my Creative Writing MFA.
  • Graduate with a Graduate Certificate in using current tech for education.
    Graduated Full Sail 03/13 with my grad cert in Instructional Design & Technology.
  • Register my thesis, Stalemate, with the Writers Guild.
    (WIP but 2017)
  • Publish The Owl & the Mermaid.
    (WIP but 2017)
  • Spend the day with an elephant.
  • Improve my blogging.
  • Have my own gallery showing.
  • Travel to Portugal and get a personal tour from friends.
  • Travel to Sweden and get a personal tour from friends.
  • Curate an exhibition.
  • Take a ride on the Orient Express.
  • Spend two weeks in London with my family and go on the Harry Potter tour amongst other things.
  • Take my husband/family to Rome, Italy for two weeks.
  • Take my family to New York City to visit friends and get hot dogs at Gray’s Papaya [ link2 ].
  • Take my family to Oahu, Hawaii and show them around my favorite places like the Polynesian Cultural Center, Byodo-in Temple, and Hanauma Bay.


Summer break.

We had a much needed break from class this week. The first draft of the script for my thesis is done and, having written roughly 86 of the 116 pages last session, my brain feels as though it’s oozing out of my ears.

We spent the day at EPCOT and had a blast. We still have one more day on the passes and are probably going to use them at Magic Kingdom per my girl’s request. We spent most of the day in Japan then had dinner at San Angel inside the Mexico pavilion. Amazing food and a brilliant ending to the day.

The week was spent catching up on housecleaning and working on anything but my thesis, per instructor’s orders. Walking away from it a little will give me a fresh perspective and allow a few brain cells to regenerate.

This weekend was purely vegetative, at least half of my waking moments spent running around exploring in-game. I found a dungeon that I’d apparently overlooked, Karazhan, that turned out to be an absolutely huge maze. I mean, where else would you hide a dragon?


Finalizing 2011.

2011 has been a year of triumphs, tests, and growth in the most remarkable ways. It has been a test of faith – in both myself and in others – and has solidified who and what I am on so many levels. We have strengthened old friendships, built on fabulous new ones, and cleared the negative from our lives.

Val and I were married in late September, before embarking on a life-changing two days in st. Augustine for our honeymoon, then came home to scoop up my daughter and move forward with the rest of our lives.

My health, though having grown increasingly worse this past year, is on the verge of improving as I received a lead from a friend that may make all the difference in 2012. Either way, my outlook is positive and I am not letting it beat me. I am not giving up without a fight.

Art for Cures rose from the ashes just as Gumtree was laid to rest, though not permanently. Art for Cures will be coming out of the gate tomorrow with signups for a new swap>auction project and everyone is excited to move forward and create something wonderful for the fight against MS.

School is coming along well and I am thoroughly enjoying my Masters degree. It has been challenging and not without its hurdles, but I love Full Sail and am looking forward to buckling down on my thesis.

My girl is growing like the proverbial weed and has made a lot of friends over the past year. Her creativity continually holds me in thrall and I have enjoyed every moment of watching her bloom. I am looking forward to the years to come as she explores her own life and makes her own adventures.

We found a wonderfully cozy church near our home that has welcomed us in with open hearts. We have made some incredible friends there whose love and support has already seen us through the rough spots of 2011.

The Year of the Dragon, my grandmother’s sign, and my own personal Year of the Phoenix, 2012 is going to be an overwhelmingly successful year on all levels and I wish that for you as well. May the coming year overflow with blessings that you recognize, may it be full of opportunities for kindness, and may your year be full of love, family, and friends.

Happy New Year!

Why we love Sunday mornings

Sunday mornings are little bits of sleeping in late (comparatively), stealing moments to write before everyone wakes, planning out breakfast then filling the house with smells of potatoes o’brien, eggs, coffee, and warm English muffins with blueberry preserves as I wake everyone with our favorite Professor…




Sunday afternoons are family day at home or at the park, watching movies, enjoying each others company around board games and maybe sneaking in an author presentation at the library before heading to the bookstore for a hot chai and some magazines that get my creative brain going.

Late Sunday is when I review the last remnants of homework and plan out my week before snuggling in with my beloved for the evening.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

2011, the year of FABULOUS

It has been a while since I have posted, life tends to scoop me up and carry me along with it most times. I jump off the carousel and run back to the beginning to start all over, picking up new things along the way that I may have passed by.

The year started out with the death of my external hard drive. I was using for it as a supplement for my main drive and, well, it led a good life having tolerated me for three years of hard, daily use. It is, on a bad note however, holding 168GB of my life hostage…writing, art, all my music, my client work, everything. So, I am learning to adapt.

This year is about renewal for me, a renewal of self and the things that drive me. About breaking old habits, forming new ones, and being thankful for the time in between. Instead of waiting for a better situation to come along, I am making one.

Working for my Self.

One of the decisions that I have made is that I am no longer accepting new clients*. I have had far too many of my own projects go undone, sitting in journals, waiting for me to pick them up and bring them to life. I can work on someone else’s projects, or I can invest that time into my self and my family and work toward getting paid. Family and self won out.

*I have some current clients that are fabulous, and will continue my work with them, but I am at a comfortable, manageable work load right now so I will not be taking on anything new.

Art for Cures

Art for Cures is resurrecting this month from the ashes after a three year pile up. Yup, three years. (Thankfully I am not alone, as I have run into others who have been breathing through straws under their own avalanches for longer than I have.) The guilt piles up as much as the work does, but I am finally out from under after sneaking time in between work, college, homeschooling, and daily life. I have a plethora of updates coming in the next week and will be posting a few things to both our Etsy and my eBay account.

Art for Cures is also, God willing, going to become a non-profit this year. We are going through the planning preparations now and I will have more updates on the AFC site in the coming weeks.

More thank yous than I can count to the friends and members I have been blessed with who have stuck by me, I could not be doing any of it without you guys. MWAH Your support and love have been the one thing that has kept me moving forward.

Pen in Hand

My writing, other than running Word Whimsy, has been on the back-burner so long my characters have all started pelting me with rocks and small, sharp, projectile implements. Odonatia, Coffee Cartel, Making Art from Non_Cents, and Clementine’s Garden are all on the goal list for this year though I am planning on doing the “book happy dance” with my friend Pam Carriker with at least one caffeinated book soon. Congratulations Pam! HUGS You can pick up her new book on Etsy or on Amazon.

Full sailing ahead.

One of the biggest dilemmas for me recently has been which school to pursue once I have graduated in March. I am graduating with my BFA in Visual Communications, Digital Design (basically the degree for what I have been doing for 24 years) and have already started the enrollment process with Full Sail in Winter Park, Florida.

I grew up around and loved the Winter Park area. It is commercially overrun now, like most places, a lot of the quaint independent shops that were unique to the area having had to make way for larger corporate shops they, sadly, couldn’t compete with. I still have a huge poster-sized menu from the old East India Ice Cream Company (any of you remember that place?) that we used to frequent. The park is still there, and my tree with its sitting branch best for train watching that my grandmother and I used to frequent, as well as a few old busking spots. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is what really drove me to become an artist full-time and, while I don’t attend the show anymore, or at least not near as frequently, it still holds fond memories. We have a similar show, FAFO, that we enjoy and attend every year here locally.

I will be starting my MFA in Creative Writing the first week of May then plan to move on to their Game Art program. The reason the decision was so difficult is because of accreditation, or lack thereof. I have my own goals and projects, though, and I look forward to having both degrees under my belt.

I also used to work for a rubber stamp store in Winter Park and there is nothing better than getting paid to play and create, well maybe…

Art grows on trees.

After a great deal of thinking, I have decided to postpone Gumtree’s launch until June of this year. We need the extra time to build stock as well as get all of our paperwork in order. I feel it was a necessary decision though as, with my external drive in possible permanent limbo, there is more that can be done so that our launch is as smooth and seamless as it can be. I know that when we do launch it will be an incredible experience and one I have been looking forward to for years.

Gallery exhibit July 2011, Winter Park Florida

All paths seem to lead to Winter Park lately! The Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project will be exhibiting at Full Sail’s gallery in July and I am proud to have one of my original journals in it. I am mailing it out on Friday and will be posting a video walk-through of it on my YouTube channel this weekend.

We don’t need no stickin’ genre.

Dragonfly Press Publishing, formerly a venue for zines and other small press publications, launched itself as a small, private publishing company last year with its first title, Freemasonry through the Jaundiced Eye of a West Virginia Hillbilly.

Ophir E. Vellenoweth, also the band leader for Buddy O & the Dancemasters has been a delight to work with and I am currently typesetting another book for him, a work of fiction entitled Tales of the Colstops. I am looking forward to presenting it to you soon. He is currently working on a sequel to Colstops and another book within the Freemasonry genre. Freemasonry through the Jaundiced Eye of a West Virginia Hillbilly is now available in digital download format or hardcover.

Dragonfly Press Publishing will be releasing at least one zine this year, possibly Kraft Paper Muse which has been reorganizing with support in the background.

Small favors and dependence

Calm and sanity come in small packages I have found.

I am working from my netbook currently, a recent acquisition (thank you Val MWAH), as my main computer is in capable hands elsewhere.

I picked up a rather nasty virus last night, possibly earlier if it was a trojan, and it managed to shut down all of my executable files (read virus software and disk drives) while throwing multiple windows at me with “buy our security software or lose your data” type messages. I kept my head but was definitely panicking by the time I was able to get the machine shut down. Needless to say, I am frustrated. I am not as upset as I was last night, but I will be happy (I hope) when I get the prognosis and am attempting to wait patiently (haha) in the meantime. I am thankful that a) I have friends who make tech house calls and b) that I am able to at least check my email and work on one of my blogs till I get my desktop back.

My friend Adam picked up the machine earlier this morning so I am hoping for good news later tonight or tomorrow. I was about to launch the first Dragonfly Press publication, a book I just finished typesetting and designing for a client, so I am anxious to get my computer back in one piece.

I feel naked without it…and I miss my CS4. /sigh

As much as I love my analog time, I have become so dependent on technology. It hits hard when something like this happens and the whole world stops. I have been working really hard lately, non-stop, so I suspect this is the stop and take a break message that God gives me occasionally when I get so wrapped up in what I am doing that I forget about me. I enjoy my work so much at times that I get swept away so I am also thankful that I have my daughter to keep me grounded.

So the lessons for today kiddos?

a) Be cautious where you do research.
b) Armor your computer with more than one virus protection program and keep them updated. (which I had)
c) Breathe in deep and walk away from the computer. There is a whole lot of life going on out there without you.

Moments of sanity

I do believe that things happen for a reason though so, when my daughter wanted to paint something for her father yesterday, there was no surprise when I accidentally pulled out two small canvases instead of one. That was all the incentive I needed.

I have not had time for much more than doodling lately and my sanity from day-to-day is, typically, directly related to whether or not I get moments of creativity. I have been wanting to sit down and make something for weeks now and doodling wasn’t cutting it. I needed to dig into something, get paint on my fingers, a brush and pen in my hand, make a mess.

This year, I have had to do a big push for freelance work. Aside from college, homeschooling, household obligations (that tend to get put on the “do later” list), making food and…what am I forgetting, oh yea…sleeping, I haven’t had time to delve into anything. I have stolen moments here and there to write, much easier than dragging out all my paints, but it isn’t the same.

I was sent several small, 5×7 inch canvases in a thank you package from a friend recently. The package itself has taken up semi-permanent residence on the edge of my desk as I’ve yet to sort through it and put everything away. This week, in between work, school, and everything else, I will be completely reorganizing the largest room of our house; three computers and desks on one end, kitchen on the other, art studio/catchall in the middle. It is my hope to move our writer’s meetings here again as it is much more conducive to conversation, we can do and say what we want, and the kitchen is right there.

For now, I steal snippets of sometimes life-saving time to make memories with my daughter.

We laid newspaper out on the dining room table (the dining “room” being part of the aforementioned space) and pulled a few paints, a couple of brushes and palettes. Half an hour later I was refreshed and feeling human again…at least for another week.

Squirrels and Horseflies and Literate Ladybugs, oh my!

Three Dollar Squirrel‘s third issue is out this week with the site launching this weekend. Squirrels on the brain, it is no wonder I am seeing them everywhere. It is like when I owned both my ’61 and ’67 VW Beetles years ago; there were the same number of them in the world but they seemed to be EVERYwhere once I had one of my own.

The summer heat has brought the horseflies out to play. One more reason not to linger near the woods. Flying Teeth,’nuff said.

My little Ladybug, as she likes to be called, has been reading up a storm. She was a teensy slow going in the beginning with her reading but, like everything else she does, once she got it, she nailed it and took off. It has become very clear that, between the two of us,  we are going to need an extra room for a dedicated library.

Books on Ladybug’s reading list? Various Beck Beyond the Sea books.

51SMPKGP1GL._SS500_Books I am reading? Just finished the 2nd in Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mystery series.