Multitude Monday: 141-147

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Been blessed in so many ways this week. Hope you’ll join us with  your gratitude list at A Holy Experience!

141. Working on a new blog with my husband John. I love the fact that we enjoy working on creative endeavors together!

142. Connecting with my Flagstaff, AZ friends. Looking forward to visiting soon, we hope!

143. Recognizing new ways to serve and encourage, ways to reach out with my faith.

144. John’s recovery from surgery…he felt well enough to do some cooking this morning!

145. Getting back to my fitness routine after about a month off. Ouch!

146. Unexpectedly ran across Beethoven’s 9th on the radio. That was a pleasant surprise…love Beethoven!

147. Chai latte…I especially love the flavors of cloves and cinnamon. Enjoying a cup as I write!

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Success: In the Eye of the Beholder

“I was never called to be successful; I was called to be faithful and in my striving to be fruitful my life will be fruitful and because it is fruitful you could say I am successful.” Mother Teresa (paraphrased in Contemplative Outreach News, June 2012)

This afternoon, my husband John read to me this description of success that really made my day. This idea of success is probably miles away from the ideas we usually hear today, but it reflects my philosophy. I tend to see the world through a spiritual lens that I know many people do not share.  I forget that my idea of an adequate paycheck does not necessarily match up with my neighbor’s idea. I am contented to have family and friends who share my spiritual and artistic passions, and who know what it’s like to have an idea burning a hole in one’s mind, eager to find life on the page.  I enjoy the comraderie of the freelance writing community, especially when a few of us are encouraging each other as we burn the midnight oil to meet our deadlines.

In many ways, my writing has become my spiritual practice. When I read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, I learned that it is possible to make a writing life a spiritual life. When I write, I find peace because I must stay “in the moment” and focus on the effect of each word, and the connection between words. I must step aside and surrender to the process. As I mentioned to my husband recently, writing and books are like oxygen for me.

So I am blessed to spend another Sunday afternoon in front of the computer, writing and reading — doing what I love to do best. I feel blessed — I know I am blessed — to have friends and family who value creativity. I feel like the richest woman in the world because I can write, and that is more of a blessing than money can hope to buy.

Review: The Artist’s Way Toolkit

I jumped at the chance to review The Artist’s Way Toolkit, which is an online version of The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron. The invitation from BlogHer Book Club arrived as I was returning to my roots as a creative writer. The Toolkit contains a collection of resources and exercises, such as Creativity Pages, Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Affirmations, designed to unblock creativity. Exercises help the recovering artist identify and heal from sources of shame and blockage.  An Artist’s Way Contract encourages us to follow through with the program.

I read the book The Artist’s Way a few years ago, and at first wondered if I would enjoy the online version as much as the paperback. I work at the computer all day as a freelance writer, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend even more time online. However, I now keep the Toolkit open in a separate tab as I work at my computer. Every so often, I click onto the Toolkit and remind myself that my commitment to “make time” to write poetry, crochet and do bead work is a worthy commitment. Unfortunately, I occasionally skip my Morning Pages, which are a central part of the Artist’s Way Toolkit. These pages have led to important breakthroughs, and I hope to be more consistent in the future.

I highly recommend The Artist’s Way Toolkit for anyone who needs to heal and unblock their creativity. That’s most of us, I think!

Join the discussion at BlogHer Book Club.

Disclaimer: I received compensation from BlogHer Book Club to review The Artist’s Way Toolkit. All opinions in this review are my own, and I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Thursday Favorite Things: Jewelry In Progress

The other evening, I was relaxing and watching TV after writing all day. I hadn’t worked on any crafts or art work for a while, so I brought out my bead and string collection. I had started work on a necklace several weeks earlier, but hadn’t touched it since then. I have used mostly colorful acrylic beads, but decided to add a couple of small silver beads as an accent.

My mom recently ordered an assortment of beads, from wood to acrylic to pewter — and she said, as I sat with my nose in the computer, “I hope you’ll make time to have some fun with the beads.” I can’t wait to see what I can do with new colors and materials! As we approach Pentecost Sunday at our church — commemorating the day when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, I am happy to feel renewed in my creative spirit. Here is the current necklace-in-progress:

Join us at Katherine’s Corner and this week’s co-host, My Turn (for us) for Thursday Favorite Things…see you there!

Thursday Favorite Things

My Dream Day — HAWMC Day 14

Day 14

My Dream Day. Describe your ideal day. How would you spend your time? Who would you spend it with? Have you had this day? If not – how could you make it happen?

My dream day would definitely  involve food and creativity. Just a simple day watching cooking shows, taking landscape pictures with my camera, working on arts and crafts…all the things I’m doing today, in fact! And no article writing!

My husband and I have already planned tonight’s dinner around a cooking show dish: skillet chicken parmigiana! We both love to cook, and I am blessed that my husband’s ideal day is pretty close to mine!

We are expecting stormy weather here in Texas this weekend, so we have dramatic-looking skies. I may step onto the terrace with my camera and take a few pictures of the live oak and mesquite trees against the sky. Earlier this month, as I spent a lot of time taking pictures of flowers and near our front door, I realized how much I enjoy nature photography. It’s a sure way to relax, forget worries, and become acquainted with the beauty that is at our own doorstep.

I have a pastel set, which I love to use, but I’m anxious to use a set of beads I just bought. On the other hand, I need to finish a pastel of Mission San Jose I started months ago. Maybe I’ll end up doing both. After a week of writing articles for other people, it is refreshing to unleash the creative spirit! Time to just enjoy what I’m doing!

Well, I’ll get back to my dream day. Hope you’ll join us at Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge!