Shiny Objects

shinyAlmost everyone has heard of the phrase “Shiny Objects”.  I decided to look it up online. It brought me to a website for entrepreneurs.  The article spoke of SOS, Shiny Object Syndrome, and called it the disease of distraction. I have been distracted many times in my life. (Even this morning!)

When you have Jesus in your life and you take time to listen for Him, the distractions fade and Jesus, the true “Shining Object” of our faith becomes front and center.

I have been a Christian going on 45 years and Jesus has been true to me in every season of life.  Together we have walked down some pretty rough roads. Daily I learn of why I must be completely devoted to him. The closer in relationship with Him that I am, the more the world and its cares fade into peace.  His loves become my loves. His purpose becomes my purpose. He has taken over my house and I have never had such a wonderful house guest. You see, He is completely devoted to me too.  Jesus is my shiny object and I am still captured by his love.

“But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.”  Hebrews 3:6

 

Alpha rhythms. . .

1098E689-BF1C-4D88-9FDA-FFC079B55502A few months ago I was listening to someone on the radio talking about alpha-rhythms. There was a study done suggesting that it was a state of mind you are in upon waking each morning. A very creative state. It was suggested that you go straight to work in your creative area during this time as opposed to checking emails, surfing the web or watching tv…which shuts it all down. I had to chuckle when I heard it. I was reminded of an invention I dreamt of right before waking. It’s seemed “oh so real” and possible that I grabbed a pen and paper on my night stand and began jotting down the idea and sketching the prototype. My husband came into the room…I told him my idea…as I spoke it became clear that it was a bit whacky. Hahaha! Still, it could also be possible? All this to say, keep your pencil and paper handy on your night stand! You never know what idea might be hatching during your alpha-rhythm state of mind!

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/alpha-rhythm

 

 

A New Space

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“Build it and they will come.”  It’s a famous line from the movie, “Field of Dreams”.

In my case, it’s a new area in my home where I can devote myself to writing my stories.  Until now, I have found myself scattered around in different places, trying to find the best atmosphere for my work.  My art studio, coffee shops, our little travel trailer, the library… but nothing seemed quite right.  I would find myself getting distracted.

One day I picked up a magazine called, Where Woman Create.  An artist told about her studio set ups, all THREE of them.  One studio is in her house, another is out in her backyard and a third is in her basement where she builds her frames for her paintings.  My mind went to a room in my house I affectionately call the YaYa room.  The closet is full of toys for our grandkids.  The sofa bed is ready for when they spend the night. BUT, mostly, the grandkids grab a toy and head for the family room. Basically, it is an unused space until now.

I went to Habitat for Humanity and purchased a door.  I set it on top of a file cabinet and another small table and painted it black. “Voila!”  a desk!  Oh… I did have to paint the walls too.  They were green, now gray!  I love the peaceful tone.  My sister gave me some lamps a couple of years ago.  I replaced the shades with these white ones.  The whole setting is magical.

I worked all day on a new story.  What fun!  A new place and a new grace.  Keep on creating!

Leslie Ann Clark

leslieaclark.com

Happy Toosday!

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And why am I happy?  The “flu” flew by in record time.  One day in bed is enough for this happy camper. It’s back to the studio!

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Over the weekend I attended the Picture Book Summit in the privacy of my studio!  I joined more than 300 other authors and illustrators. What fun!  We listened to advice from all the experts from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm!  Barely enough time for lunch and potty breaks but well worth the time. There is already talk of another one next year.  If you are an author or illustrator I highly recommend it!

ONWARD to new adventures!

 

Dancing and Funerals

You may ask me, what has dancing got to do with funeral?  I will tell you that when you go to the funeral of your old dancing instructor you can think of almost nothing else. Such was the case with the service I went to this week.  It was for my dear Ethel Friel Barker.

It all began when I was in about third grade.  My older sister was taking dance and gymnastics and so I wanted to too!  My younger sister followed along after.  Each week we would tromp down her stairs in our leotards, set our dollar on her piano and begin our lesson.

Bring on the tap shoes!  What fun we had learning those dances.  The costumes came next.  Many times they were made by our mothers.  I remember the rumba costume the most.  The top was all gold sequins sewn on to satin.  The bottom was an open skirt that showed off your dancing legs!  haha!… a pair of green satin shorts underneath..and nothing skimpy!…then there were the ruffles of satin colors on the trailing skirt. I remember Ethel teaching us all how to shimmy.  We all laughed!

Each year Ethel would travel to New York to Dance Caravan.  She would learn all the dances and come back and teach them to all her students.  She had students of all ages from the tiniest little ones to the high school kids.  I remember two boys who learned a Russian dance.  Their dance number was mixed with gymnastic moves.

Besides the lessons,  Ethel would arrange for us to have shows.. at no extra cost to us. We traveled to girls homes, boys homes, a home for the mentally challenged.. and then even some Christmas shows for the American Legion.  As shy as we were, it helped us to learn how to be in front of people.  We learned about different people and the situations they live in.

When we got to high school, Ethel helped us with our gymnastic routines.  She rented out the Grange Hall, lugged all her black mats over and we tumbled and practiced for our meets.  All for that same one dollar bill on her piano.

Our lessons continued through high school and we occasionally went to see her for a class… just for fun.  My last class was when I was pregnant with my first daughter.  I remember going slow… I did a limber over… and then felt my daughter kick! That was the end of that!  ha!

Many friends gathered for the memorial service.  My sisters sat next to me and three other friends, all in the same row.  When the minister asked us to read something, I watched as ALL of us dug into our purses for our glasses.  Ethel would have laughed at that sight!  We all laughed and cried.

When the service was over and we sat at our tables for a small lunch, we talked and talked about our dances, our costumes and Ethel.  Before everyone left, we spread the word through out the room that anyone who wanted to, could participate in the performance of the Waltz Clog!  This was the dance that Ethel taught every student. ( My sisters and I do it periodically, even now for fun).

The people gathered… most dressed in black and white.  We almost looked like we were in costume.  .. and then we began.  We sang the tune as we stumbled though the dance moves laughing!  Our last steps were always … just as Ethel taught us,  “step cut the pie” with our feet.

What a wonderful remembrance. What a wonderful person she was!  We will always celebrate Ethel!

This brings me to this thought.  I have been thinking about it a lot in the last few weeks since I know four people who have died recently. There are many people who live life helping others. It’s such a wonderful thing.  They give and give and give until it’s time for heaven. Their memorial services are happy sad, but often joy filled.  Others take and take and take until their last day. Those services are sad. … almost tragic.

I prefer happy! I like the thought of people dancing at my funeral. .. and singing loud!

Here are three pictures of our Ethel!  She lives on in our hearts always!ImageImageImage

BLOOM

 

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Artists live a life of wonder. At times, it’s wondering what to do next. I will not lie, I have been wondering this for the last few months. I am looking for the sweet spot! It’s my favorite place to be in Art. It’s the place where you are working and you don’t want to stop. I think it’s a divine place where God kisses your life with ideas that flow out in a steady stream.

A lot of things can bar you from this place. Looking in the wrong direction, self doubt, self pity, self self self. Ha! Get the point? You have to get rid of the”self” part. If the sweet spot is divine, then you have to seek out the divine.

A few nights ago I had a dream. My dad was in the dream. Someone had driven him to my house. He slowly came up the steps to my house and said to me, ” Bloom“. In a small whisper he said, “bloom where you are planted”.
Then he was gone.
I woke up knowing the “divine” had spoken to me.
No grinding out ideas, just let the divine IN me out… to make the art I was born to make.

A flower does not worry about the bloom. All the coding for that bloom is IN the seed. It simply drinks up moisture from above and the roots go down and the bloom comes.

So… BLOOM today! You were meant to be like none other.

Time To Imagine

Each day is filled with work. My work is fun, but there are still decisions to make and a path to stay on. There are meetings to schedule and deadlines to meet. It can be a constant process of thought and movement.
I have stopped for the day. I stopped to look over my idea book and enjoy the summer breeze. The are ideas everywhere and sometimes you cannot find the ones that are in the calm of the day if you don’t stop to look and listen.
My doggie stands guard to protect me from squirrels, my other doggie wanted the cool of the air in the house. I listen to the wind kicking up. I hear cars from a nearby street. I feel sure that the birds are discussing what’s for dinner. My feel are hot in my sneakers that are still on since my morning walk. My daisies look like they are reaching for the sky. The weeds are tall on the north side of my house. My thoughts travel to what to make for dinner. (I resist that thought for now). My daughter turned 35 today! That makes me smile as I remember her entrance into this world and her loud voice!

All of these are but fleeting thoughts. Sometimes a fleeting thought will make into a story, but you must take the time to stop, look and listen.

Now I dive into my idea book!

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