Day Two

Every year there are certain traditions we’ve carried on. As with anything, we evolve over time. Here’s our top 10 for this year:

  1. Nothing Christmasy till after Thanksgiving.
  2. Youngest family members play elf.
  3. Nog, Apple Cider, and Hot Cocoa with marshmallows become part of our food vocabulary.
  4. At least one White Elephant Ornament Exchange party must take place.
  5. Handmades heavily influence both tree theme and gifting. This year knitting is the theme.
  6. Ria designs and hand-renders our Christmas cards. This year I’m collaborating with #myscoleoptera aka Rock Paper Fox.
  7. Christmas Eve is spent at my mother’s where we share wine and tapas buffet-style. We can bring one mutually agreed on present from home and open it there. We can also open one thing from mom. Anything else she brings later.
  8. Christmas morning we get up early, open gifts and drink cocoa, then have breakfast. Mom comes over in the afternoon to open her presents.
  9. We try to do at least one daytrip to see the lights with mom in St. Augustine. This year we’re hoping to do an overnight with mom in St Augustine. We are also mailing our cards out from Christmas, Florida this year so I can take my family to see the fort.
  10. New this year: Christmas letters! My cousin Sandy and her husband Ron do a Christmas letter each year that we always look forward to. I’ve been wanting to do one, but I wasn’t really inspired till this year. I’m designing self-mailers and having a blast.

What are some of your holiday traditions? Do you have decorations that have been handmade or handed down? Tag me on Instagram @renmeleon so I can see them!

Don’t forget to download your free digital-Advent paper crafts!

Day One

renxmas_Frenchnutcracker_seethroughSome of my favorite things to do each year are make ornaments and decorations for our home. I love the hand-me-downs that I’ve gotten from family and friends over the years, but to be able to make something that I can hand down to my own daughter to build her own traditions with is very special to me.

This year, my daughter and I have been doing a lot of knitting so our tree reflects that. Garlands of finger-knitted bulky yarn with a flurry of new snowcapped, hand-made ornaments over white tree lights. I’ve also made it a point to weed out the decorations that no longer suit us and either gift them or recycle them in some creative way, giving them new life.

So are you ready? Check out the Advent page for today’s artsy freebie! And if you would like to share the page with friends, just click on the image at left and save it to your computer. From there you can post it to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Defining Passion

I’ve been watching a free series that has been offered by the ever fabulous and thought-provoking Michael Hyatt on platform tweaking. Even if you are pro, I recommend taking a look at the series. He posed a question at the end of the first video that was a lot harder to answer than I had expected or should have been.

What Are You Passionate About?

Once people find out that I have created my own career path and work from home, it is not uncommon for me to get into a discussion with them about how they are not happy with where they are and what they would really like to be doing. In every conversation so far, there has been one common theme: Their goals don’t match the end result of the path they want to be on. The question that I pose to them is this:

If there were no limits to money or location, what is the one thing that you could spend the rest of your life doing and be happy?

Most of us have a difficult time seeing past roadblocks and ruts we have fallen into, the thought of having that kind of control, so it takes a minute to recover before we can even begin to answer that. There have only been a couple of people that I’ve spoken to that know exactly what they want and have a clear focus. Michael’s question put me on the spot as well and I had to answer this for myself.

My end goal: To be able to travel with my family, write, create, and teach while experiencing the world through art, food, creative and cultural interaction as we share the expanding of our own eco-centric views of the world.

Spelling this out, I see a definite need for some self-alignment within my own path. We live a creative life but, while we have traveled a little more this year than most, my husband is still trapped in a 9-to-5 job that doesn’t align with his own desires. As his wife and best friend, I want a lot better for him and for us as a family.

Moving Forward

What am I passionate about? This was my turn, and it wasn’t easy.

I am passionate about a number of things, which is good and bad. In the past I would head in several directions, keeping my interests separate instead of integrating them. I thought that keeping them compartmentalized would help me to stay organized. It did for a bit, but if I hit a bump with one or, with my health more often, it would throw everything off. From there I overlapped my projects in an effort to go in one main direction. Progress. Finally, I cleared my plate and started getting more focused on what I wanted. I stopped taking clients and dug into my own projects that had been neglected for so long. I’m much happier now and have made great advances, but I am still whittling away at what we don’t need in our lives in order to focus on the more meaningful.

Finding balance when you work from home is a unique challenge, but it’s doable with a direction and a plan.

Death means change

Yes, a rosary AND tarot.*No, nothing is wrong, outside of the normal. I pulled the Death card this morning, which would have the untrained freaking out. It doesn’t mean death though, that is usually the Tower card aka cataclysmic, not-so-happy change. But the Death card is a motivator. It means change is coming…which is why I pulled it.

I got wind of a job lead in the UK yesterday and am applying for it today. I pull the cards when I’m led and one always, quite literally, jumps out at me. Writing for gaming was one of the reasons I took the Creative Writing MFA from Full Sail. The job is a script writing position, one of two, with a game developer. I glanced over it, a pipe dream, till I read that they valued talent over experience. I’m not sure if I am talented enough in that industry, but I’m a quick study and I’m giving it a shot. It’s all a leap of faith. Let’s hope they would allow me to work remotely, otherwise it’s beg to be relocated.

“You are entering a growing phase. Acknowledgement comes slowly. No one will offer a helping hand unless you beg for it. Don’t take no for an answer. Avoid self-pity.”

The idea of moving isn’t a new one. We’ve wanted out of Florida for a long time. My health cannot take the heat or the allergies (bugs mainly) and I miss having a change of seasons, especially this time of year. We have been eyeing three places; Western North Carolina, Colorado (Denver-ish), or Eugene, OR as I have family there. We would need to be relocated via an employer to be able to afford it, so I’ve been looking. If we had to stay in Florida, Jacksonville. My dream home, though, honestly: New York.

“Get rid of some old habits. Stop doing anything that doesn’t feel right for you.”

This has been a theme for a while. I cleared my plate at the end of 2011, already a year of big changes for us with claiming our home, our wedding, and a clearing out of anything that didn’t influence us in a positive way. I took 2012 to regroup, refocus, get my Masters and complete a graduate certificate. I’ve been writing on an almost daily (more-so lately) basis and long for a job where I can use my talents. I’m focusing on the things I love that can help enrich our lives – getting my book(s) finished and uploaded to CreateSpace, designing products for Etsy, and working with hand-lettering (10.00 off a class with link) as well as an ongoing book design gig. I’m also submitting work to a couple of publications and a Christmas greeting card contest.

So we’ll see if the job and a move are in the cards for us. It is all in God’s Hands as to where He wants us, so we’ll just keep praying with an open mind and be ready for the challenge if I’m called. Speaking of motivator, time to consolidate so more and attack my studio! Artsy supply grab bags on Etsy soon…
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The tools of the trade for a Christian-based pagan, I love this little deck. The artwork is fabulous, it reminds me of an old gypsy deck.