Star-Gazing

“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight. Wish I may wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.”

How many of us have looked up and allowed a star to touch our dreams? Or maybe launch them? As children, we would look up and chant at the brightest early evening star, holding onto a sacred wish deep in our hearts.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

  download-5Vincent Van Gogh

There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one.

 images-2 Frances Clark

The stars call to all of us, not just the artistically gifted such as Vincent and Frances. They are there, day (you just can’t see them) and night, and they touch each and every one of us who live on this planet, uniting the world with a sense of wonder.

Imagine… If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.

images Ralph Waldo Emerson

They inspire us to live a better life, be a better person and to challenge ourselves to make a mark. With all that inspiration, they succeed in making us feel humble and very small.

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I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.     

Galileo Galilei

 

The power of stars is amazing. Just by looking at them, we are filled with a sense of awe. How many time in our life have we looked up and taken a deep breath, stopped what we were doing and breathed out, “Wow.” Some believe the stars have a healing power. I don’t know but I can say that one of my favourite things to do is sit and look out on a starry night and let my mind drift. It is so calming, it must be healthy for me!! 🙂

I have loved painting the stars for my latest book, Mother Nature’s Kiss. I was inspired by the circles in Vincent Van Gogh”s Starry Night, above. I wanted them to be loose and fun so I thought I’d share how I create a night sky.

 

While I am painting I listen to my favourite starry music:

So Long Lonesome, Explosions in the Sky play it here , Light the Night, Tracey Chattaway listen here and Glow, Lights and Motion yes, you’ll love it!

My dreamy music takes me away and lets me create, feel relaxed and happy as I paint and play as I go.

This was just a fun post to share and say hi. I hope you are having a great day and I wish for you a beautiful night. Check out the stars!

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xox

 

The Making of an Angel

Procrastinate No More! My head was full of doubt when I woke up and said to myself, this is the day! I have been putting off painting the last few illustrations for my new book, the bedtime story, Mother Nature’s Kiss. I don’t know what gets into us to create doubt and fear, but it is insidious.

The most daunting illustration was to be of an angel flying with a comet to accompany:

Out in the galaxy, angels abound,

Flying with the comets with all the stars around!

Zooming by, they smile and shine down their love

And sprinkle twinkle stardust from Heaven above.

I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t find it within me to begin…

But I did.

First, I like to search for visuals on the internet to help me find an inspiration. I didn’t find what I was looking for so I started sketching and after a couple of duds, I came up with this.

Now, I had to commit! I started sketching on the final paper and tried to trust myself. I put in my earpods, fired up spotify and went to work!

Just for fun, I’ll show you a progression.

I looked around for a cool image of a comet and finally came up with this:

Here she is! I think I’ll call her Stella.

Stella has taught me to trust myself. Maybe it’s a bit of twinkle stardust that helped me today. I hope you felt some too. xox

Connie and Lily’s Book Club

My book, Gifts of the Crysnix, is for people with big imaginations and big hearts. It is for people who feel compelled to root for a fallen champion and feel compassion for a lost soul. One who is in search for greater ideals and who is always willing to learn more about themself and be a better person can identify with the life-lessons that are gently persuaded from the pages.

When I wrote the book I targeted the message to young people at the brink of adulthood. I thought that reading a book with new heroes who are just trying to figure out the labyrinth of life would appeal to them. Although I have appreciated positive kudos from all ages, I had the immense pleasure of meeting six young ladies who I really wrote the book for. I was the guest author at a mother/daughter book club and got to meet my target audience up close and personal.

 

I have to admit, I was a little nervous because it was the first time I would have honest feedback from several people at once. You just never know how something like that will turn out! The girls were very organized with their questions and critiques. Exploring the origins of my inspiration and the depths of my research, we had a lively and spirited discussion. I was so impressed by the maturity of these 11-year-old girls and the intelligence of their questions and comments. All in all, the book passed with flying colours and I didn’t have to slink out of the room with my tail between my legs.

My young target audience is a group of people with literally the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are our leaders of tomorrow and they have a lot on their plates. I appreciate the steep learning curve they are on. The primary reason why I wrote the book is to remind the reader to fight the fear that holds them back, to advocate their moral compass and to realize that by just being your true self is enough to gain respect. I dreamed up the Crysnix to personify our inner voice. We all have to listen to it because somehow it knows the future and is always right.

If I can share a little wisdom to our future leaders, it is to trust our instincts, believe in ourselves and dig deep to create and live our best lives. These are heavy lessons and I used a beautiful world of fantasy and imagery to get the point across.

 

Thank you to Connie and Lily for an evening I will never forget. Thank you to all the girls and moms who were there that night. I absolutely loved the interaction! It was a real thrill for me to sign the books to the girls after they read it with them exclaiming to each other in the background about how much they loved it!

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What a treat for an author. For all those countless hours I spent conjuring up the story alone in front of my computer with only my imagination and hope for company, this night was a wish come true.

To see a video of me reading the Prologue set to the beautiful music of Thomas Newman, please click here

 

4 Ways to Help You Love Yourself

February is the month where we take a special day to acknowledge those who we love. It’s fun to think up something special to do and find just the right card. We are happy to spend the time doing this for others but what about ourselves?

When I was a young single mom, people would often tell me that I had to take care of myself first or I wouldn’t be any good for my kids if I was sick or burned out. I never found the time to heed the advice, always making excuses to myself about not having the money for a massage or the time to just sit and read. Thankfully, I never got sick but I was perpetually on the brink of total burnout. One day a friend called to ask how I was doing. My answer was truthful yet ended with a comical punchline:images-5

“The kids are doing great, dinner is ready and the lunches are made for the morning, the laundry is done, floors are washed, but the dog ran away again and the plants are dead. Oh, and I’m fine.”

That was my order of priority.

As the years passed and my kids grew, the flurry calmed down a bit and I began to cultivate time to nurture myself in small ways. I hadn’t begun to love myself yet but I figured out ways to treat myself in ways that didn’t cost anything but the results were invaluable.

Below are some thoughts on ways to develop kindness to yourself. We start small but end up transformed into a person with undeniable self-worth.

Nurture your body.

It doesn’t take much to concentrate on buying healthier food. A healthy
diet is the first obvious way to say to your body that it deserves to be healthy. A clean diet just makes you feel better. Have some fun with it and find some great recipes that you look forward to eating. images

Enjoy your morning bathing with a special soap that you absolutely love, or a special body cream. When you smell the beautiful fragrance, your senses are telling your body that you think it is worth it.

Get outside! Going for a run, bike ride or walk gets your endorphins revved and makes you happier. A little sweat flushes out toxins and makes your skin glow. It’s a great feeling to love how your body feels after a workout.

Practice gratitude. It is simply magical how it creates depth and clarity in your life. It also allows you to slow down and be more calm. It is a win/win when your appreciation for something gives back by making you feel so good.

Here is a list of 50 ways you can nurture yourself. http://www.gateways-to-inner-peace.com/self-nurturing.html

Carve out calm time.

It took me years to realize how important this is. My New Year’s Resolution last year was to take more baths. I think I had five. Hmmm… Allowing ourselves to just sit with a cup of tea or hang out in a hammock and just shut down the mind is so foreigimages-1n yet so rejuvenizing! Put on some music and relax.

Clearing the mind is very healthy. That’s why yoga is so fabulous. Imagine running a marathon constantly. Your muscles would be strained beyond belief. The brain is an organ and must be allowed to experience calmness.

An uncluttered mind performs better. You will be amazed at your ability to remember more things and be more organized in your life. Stress will fall away when you feel back in control and you will become more positive.

Can calmness become a habit? Read about 7 tips here. http://zenhabits.net/calm/ 

Be positive.

If you know a lot of positive people, you may think it is easy being happy all the time. It isn’t. It is a conscious decision to be positive or not and sometimes you have to work at it. Feeling happy is the physical result of millions of chemical reactions in the body and it isimages-2
powered by positive energy. Try smiling at a stranger as you pass or saying, “Good morning” to someone as you jog by. The positive energy created is palpable as they smile and respond.

As I mentioned previously, exercise raises the endorphins in our body that are our happy hormones. If you are feeling low, simple exercise of any kind can make your spirits lift. I guarantee it works every time.

Another way to feel positive is to become more organized. When you have your life in order you unclutter your mind and can look ahead and make exciting plans for the future. It is a favour you can do for yourself that gives you immense satisfaction.

Here are 14 ways to cultivate positivity in your life. http://www.lifehack.org/284661/14-ways-positive-people-separate-themselves-from-negative-energy

Organize your life.

Being productive is probably one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. If you can accomplish more by getting up earlier or end your day knowing you are caught up, you can’t help feeling great about yourself. The reduced stress will probably add years to your life!images-3

Making a list and checking off the completed tasks is one of the most satisfying things you can do. When you become more organized and productive, you can’t help feeling proud of yourself which fosters self-esteem. Out of that comes self-respect and that, in turn, makes others respect you.

Your dreams and accomplishments are realized from planning the steps to achieve results. You can’t help believing in yourself when you have earned success. Confidence comes from planning, hard work and then giving yourself a pat on the back.

This is a great read about being confident. http://www.lifehack.org/324420/8-mistakes-that-amazingly-confident-people-never-make

Having written all this, I have to be honest and admit that I still don’t love myself. I’m not sure what it really means to do so. I did a meditation years ago where I imagined myself as a child in her most vulnerable state. I was to reach out to that child and tell her I would always have her back. I love that small, innocent version of myself. images-4

As I careen through life I must listen to my inner voice telling me to slow down and enjoy the ride. I am trying to be more organized and I really love my soap in the shower. Hopefully, I will make the time for more baths this year. I am excited about my productivity and success and even have more self-esteem. Maybe if I heed my own advice I will learn to love myself.

For now, I like myself a lot and that’s a start.