One For The Road

More than anything else, I love to make people smile. While I think that it can be a good thing, I also think that it makes me try a little too hard at times, that it makes me occasionally forget to take care of myself, because I’m trying so hard to take care of the people I love instead. 

This art journal that I made for my friend is one such labor of love. I put a lot of myself into it, and I poured in so much love and light. I want my friend to be able to open it at any page and feel like I’m right there smiling and supporting him on his journey. This art journal is his “one for the road”…

I find creative journals inspiring. I like to look at pictures of other people’s journals, whether they are art journals or bullet journals or poetry journals. The type of journal doesn’t matter to me. I find that they all make me feel sparks of inspiration, that they all make me want to create something of my own. 

I am not very good at sharing my creations, my poems or my artwork. Years ago, I was more open, and I got too much unwelcome attention, and it’s made me fear being open again. I love my privacy more than most people, I guess. I don’t chase after fame or attention, and I rarely post on social media. I’m a quiet soul, private and withdrawn, a bit hermit-like, if I’m honest. 

Also, it seems like so few people truly want to know someone else deeply. It has become a shallow culture, filled with too much surface level talk and too little depth and passion. I crave depth. I crave long and drawn conversations about life and pain and passion. I want to know what makes a person keep going when they’ve been down to rock bottom, and I want to know what sparks their soul into flames. 

Someday, maybe, I will be brave enough to be honest and open and vulnerable again. For now, here are several photos of the art journal I made for my friend’s birthday. A bit of magic in a muggle world. 💕

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Satchel Dump

• A satchel dump, a purse dump, a backpack or a duffel dump are all names for dumping it all out on the table. No filter. No sorting. Just a jumble of randomness that represents bits and pieces of who I am.

• I have a tendency to start things and not finish them, to have grand ideas and big dreams, but to not follow through. This year, I am changing that. I’m setting goals and meeting them. Okay, okay… if I’m honest, I’ve only just almost met my first big goal, but at least I’m trying and making progress, and I’m not giving up.

• My friend’s birthday is on the 11th, and I wanted to do something special for him, so I decided to give him the best thing I could think up: his very own homemade art journal. I bought one of the black Dylusion journals at the store and began painting and sketching and collaging in it. I’ve been working on it for three months now, and I think I will finish the last page in the journal later today. I am so, so proud of myself. I feel buoyant, like I finally have the strength and determination to the tackle the things in life that are most important to me. I know he will read the words and look at the collaging and feel so much love crash over him, because that art journal is nothing if not full of love. ❤️

The Road to Writing Flash Fiction

I’m going to start writing flash fiction. I keep bouncing the idea around in my brain. It’s like this pinball of thought that keeps making its way back to me.

It all started when I checked out a book from the library by Naomi Shihab Nye. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed her poetry, so when I saw her name on a book of very short stories, I snatched it up. A classmate of mine recommended flash fiction to me years ago, but it seemed so far out there. I’d never heard of it before, never read any of it and thought it was too different to be something that I could do that would be taken seriously. That’s pretty silly of me, I know. I mean, what’s so great about being taken seriously anyway? Wouldn’t it be okay for me to write whatever I wanted to write as long as I enjoyed the process of writing it?

Loop to the top. Long story short, I’m going to start writing flash fiction. I’m excited about it. I’ve been really enjoying this book by NSN, really feeling the possibilities of that type of writing open up for me.

Today, I cooked. I cleaned. I did laundry and dishes. I took care of the kids and went to Parent Day at their school and helped with their homework and shopped for new clothes for them. I did all these little things that needed doing, and before I knew it, the day was over and I still hadn’t written. Tomorrow I am going to try writing something while listening to music and drinking my morning coffee. Did I mention that I’m excited!?

Hesitantly Vegan

I want to become vegan. I’m hesitant to announce this to anyone because I’m finding it takes a lot of planning and change. I can’t just reach for what I used to reach for when I was hungry. I have to come up with a new way of eating, of making old favorites or of making new favorites. I checked out a stack of vegan cookbooks from the library, and I’ve been trying a couple of new recipes a week. I bought a vegan veggie burger cookbook too. It just got here today, and I’m super excited about trying some of the recipes in it as well.

So far, my favorite new recipe is this Thai coconut soup that I made last week. It was really scrumptious, and I’m planning on making it again this week. I also made hummus yesterday for the first time. It turned out pretty good too. I’ve been using this cookbook called Vegan Planet. I really like it. It has 400 and some vegan recipes in it. I haven’t even begun to dip into them yet. I think I’ve made 4 recipes so far.

If I’m honest, the real reason that I’m interested in becoming vegan isn’t to lose weight or to be healthier, although both of those things are nice. The real reason is because I want to be kind to animals, and I’ve felt slightly guilty eating meat for years. I just wish I didn’t like it so much. Especially turkey. What does a vegan eat on Thanksgiving is what I want to know. I suppose I can eat stuffing and cranberry sauce. That’s a start.

I’ve gotta stop looking at the things that I wouldn’t be able to eat and start looking more at the things that I would be able eat, and I definitely need to stop going to McDonald’s. I get into nothing but trouble there.

While we’re on the subject of being vegan, something I’ve been thinking about for weeks now… Happy World Vegan Day! Apparently World Vegan Day is today, November 1st.

Another Chance At Life

I’ve been silent, focusing on the physical me instead of the spiritual. I’ve been eating edamame, oatmeal, raw pumpkin seeds, chopped dates, yogurt and all sorts of other things to help make my body more healthy. I have neglected the part of me that sighs when the leaves fall from the trees in autumn, neglected the part of me that craves connection and meaning. There must be a way for me to find balance. It’s a struggle for me. For years, I’ve tended to do well in one area while failing in the other areas. What will it take before I can balance the things that matter to me? How is it that I’ve grown so lopsided?

This is October, my favorite month, the time of the year that makes me feel like change is coming, change for the better, a chance at a newer and brighter life. October feels like a time when the slate’s wiped clean and I get another chance at life. With each gust of wind, more leaves fall from the trees, and I feel like the changes are going to make a difference this time, this time I will turn the page and start a new chapter in my life. This time, it won’t just be more of the same.

 

It’s Almost September

It’s almost September, and I’m looking forward to the weather changing. I like cool, crisp fall mornings. I love sweaters and scarves and walking through crunchy leaves on sidewalks. I love when the leaves change colors and there are patches of yellows and swathes of oranges. I love pumpkins and hot cider, love hayrides and trick or treating.

I suppose it’s a little odd to be writing about fall when it’s supposed to be 83 degrees here today. It is still August, after all. I guess I just need something to look forward to, and all of those little things are things that make me smile.