Sunday, May 31, 2009

5 Questions, 5 Answers





Welcome to the 5 Question Interview. Kathy, over at My Own Little World blog, answered 5 questions posed to her and offered to share the fun. Or angst, depending on the questions presented. I asked to play along. So, Kathy sent 5 questions to me and after a bit of pondering, I'm submitting my reply.
This interview game has rules.
1. If you'd like to play too, leave me a comment with email address and the high sign to have me send you 5 questions.
2. I will email you the questions of my choosing.
3. You answer the questions on your blog and link back to mine.
4. Post the rules.
5. Questions are, as much as possible, individualized to each requesting blogger.
One through five, and my answers:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world for 1 year, where would it be and why?
Without even thinking, the answer is Germany. But then it's a toss up between Berlin and Munich. I've been to both cities and am enamoured for different reasons, but the common reason is incredible art. The why? My mother is from Germany, but she did not teach me either of her languages (high and low German). Aside from wanting to lubricate my brain by learning another language, my mother's illness makes it more imperative for me to keep a connection with relatives in her homeland.
2. Has your life differed much from the way you originally planned it when you were just starting out on your own?
It is completely different. I was a young interior designer, engaged to be married, and already partnered in a fledgling business. For reasons unnecessary to tell, I lost everything. My home, my business, my relationship. I was emotionally ruined for years. I could no longer make a plan or envision anything for myself. Without a vision, dreams cannot manifest. But, in the long cocoon stage that has been my adulthood, I have been an ardent student of metaphysics and non-denominational spirituality. With that foundation, and a knowledge that everything happens for my greater spiritual good, visions and dreams and plans have come back to my heart. I know now, it is never too late.
3. What's one of your greatest accomplishments in life that you are most proud of?
I have no one applause-worthy thing to tell. Yet. But I have many smaller accomplishments. A) I have learned not to live my life by the opinions and wishes of others. My life is finally becoming my own. B) I have learned of the safety and value in silence. My life is not cluttered with noise. In silence, Angels are much more easily heard. C) I have learned to see and feel the Divinity in so many things. It is Divinity that compels me to remove the small crushed beings in the roadways and lay their bodies on soft grass or bury them in my garden.
4. If you were a butterfly, what would you look like?
Again, no thinking here. A blue morpho. My favorite color of cerulean blue and the "morpho" for my regular metamorphosis. {See the gorgeous photo above by a gentleman whose website is lost in the whirl of papers on my desk. I hope to correct that error shortly}.
5. What's new on the horizon for yourself as an artist?
I am currently working on a project that combines a number of my abilities and interests into a cohesive, creative offering~ writing, photography, floral design, spirituality and self-awareness. I am allowing this all-inclusive project to develop at its own pace. Right now, the pace is quick. When instinct gives me the green light, I'll reveal the project on my blog.
Ok, then. Who's next?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Make The World Better


Today, I want you to do something. For me, for you, for the world at large. Today, I want you to go out of your way to make some one else's day better. Even if you're having the worst kind of day. Especially if you're having the worst kind of day. Take one moment or several to give what you would like to receive.
Say a prayer~ for your mom, your son, your waitress or the elephants at the zoo. Hold the door open for more than one person. Bake cupcakes for your elderly neighbor. Give hugs where they are needed. Listen instead of trying to be heard. Drop off cat food at a shelter. Leave a random note on a windshield stating, "don't worry, everything is going to be alright". Tell her she looks beautiful. Offer to make dinner. Text a love poem. Look him in the eyes when you say, "thank you". Give yellow carnations to the stranger of your choice.
I want you to do something. I want you to be a reflection of the Divine. For one moment or several. I want you to give to receive. I want you to make the world better. I want you to do this today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Enter With Flowers

In the chemotherapy room, filled to capacity, we are the only team of 3. We are the only ones who enter with flowers, scented and ready to face the bitterness. Nurses always remark about the flowers, as if no one before us has ever considered their value in calming and soothing the great angst that ripples through that room.
She never sets the flowers down. They stay on her lap or pressed to her nose through medical opinions laced with vagueness, through needle sticks and drowsiness, through the aches and the shivers and the drip, drip, drip. The flowers, scented, are part of our team.
Yes, we are a team. Based in love, strong willed, tireless in our efforts to lift her body and soul beyond the need to enter that bitter room with flowers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2 For Tuesday

The word prompt was REVOLUTION.
Graciel's photo on the left: there's a new wind farm in Western New York. Not only do the windmills revolve, the concept is rather revolutionary in how energy will be produced. Add to that, the farm land rental fee will certainly revolutionize the lives of the farm families who said "yes" to having these Goliath sculptures in their backyards.
Ed's photo on the right: "I think now we're seeing this massive overhaul of so many things our society has taken for granted for quite some time, and alot of it goes back to the environment. To me, these plants represent the new found hope that America seems to have rediscovered. Along with the promise for a new 'green' economy that will hopefully revolutionize our culture and the way in which humanity interacts with our lovely planet."
This is 2 for Tuesday.

The Author Reads Her Work #5

video

By request, for Sugar Free Seer. Originally posted on November 10th, 2007. The waning cats I wrote of one and a half years ago are no longer with me, but I speak the words just as I wrote them. The glorious pancake-sized blossoms are peonies from a friend's garden.

If you have a reading request for one of my posts, please let me know.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays ~ #6




It's a sweet and colorful life.
Inspired by: my own blog. Did I just say that? Yes, I did. This is not shameless self promotion, this is acknowledgement of how dramatically and wonderfully my life has changed over the last 3 years since I have been blogging. I heart Evenstar Art.
This blog is my lifeline. It has connected me to the most astounding people and astounded me at the connection between my self and my Muse. For 3 years, I have obeyed the well of words that have sought to flow up and out of my heart, the words that begged to be born and sometimes shagged me out of bed at unGodly hours to be brought to light. Along the way, a little 3 pixel camera became an extension of the words and combined to tell stories that spoke to the hearts of others.
Small connections began. Slowly people left comments, or left me private emails, or mentioned a post in person. I am not the popular blog on the block, but the comments online and in person have inspired me to keep going. Because it seems we are all in need of encouragement and understanding and love. We all need to know we matter. And my heart wants to be an outlet for goodness in an often fearful and untidy world.
And the most rewarding part of authoring a blog? I can see myself more clearly. I can take ownership of the stuff God gave me to share with the world and feel the impact within me. I can map my upward, spiraling, spiritual growth. I can see my own changes and be inspired to reach for the next rung up my own creative ladder. And I can feel less alone and fearful. Because each post begins as a message of hope and love to me from my Creator. If you have ever cried while reading one of my posts, know I have cried over it first.
So I offer this bit of inspiration~ begin your own blog if you have not already. If you dare to share the well of goodness and creativity in your heart, like me, you will be changed. In ways that will break you wide open and offer an amazing, positive view of yourself to yourself. Belief in yourself will transform the world, within and without. If you are already a blogger, keep going, keep sharing, and dare yourself to spread more love than you previously felt comfortable doing. Comfort will come. So will the rewards of a sweet and colorful life.
p.s. Astounding people? Oh, that would be my blog friends pictured above, Arnie and Suzanne, who reached out to me this past March with an invitation to meet them while they were unexpectedly in Buffalo. I jumped at the chance. Arnie, the live-your-dream-while-you-can musician who has left fabulos comments on my blog, is dashing and compassionate and super-smart in person. Suzanne, who I originally met on Stumble Upon, is one of those rare human beings who, upon meeting, I knew was a soul sister. We spoke as if we had been friends for years. Soul connections found through blogging. I recommend it.
{ To play along with Inspire Me Mondays, click on the flowered badge in the upper, right side bar and send an email to me: evenstarart@gmail.com. I'll be thrilled to add you to the list of souls doling out inspiration. Our newest I.M.M. participant is Elise over at Lucky Danger. Yay! And visit my original girls, Katie and Kasia. }

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Color Week ~ Pink Saturday



Color Week, Day 6. The color of love, Pink. I had to stretch the week out, because you see, I've always been mad for pink. It has comforted me since I was a child and I owe it much gratitude. Hence, it's very own day.
I do not decorate with pink, nor is it prominent in my apparel. Scarves and jewelry have been the limit. But just recently, a pair of hot pink Ked's found their way into my life. I believe I'm ready to walk forward with more love in my heart. It's also time for more fun.
Thank you Color Week for giving me such happiness. Thank you, Lisa, for facilitating a colorful connection of souls. Thank you to all the new-to-me blogs I discovered this week and to all who took the gracious time to comment. You can color my heart full.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Color Week ~ Purple Friday





Color Week, Day 5. Purple explosion! It was everywhere. The top 3 photos? The most crazy, beautiful wisteria I've ever seen. The vines attached themselves to a telephone pole and look like a 12 foot tree straight out of heaven. The sweet scent was intoxicating. I wanted to live under it.
If you live in the Buffalo, NY area and want to see a rare sight in person this weekend ( the blooms will not be lasting, so hurry), find this "tree" at the corner of Clarence Center Road and Cummings Road, on Cummings. Bring your camera and be kind to the lady whose lawn you'll trespass on. Don't tell her I sent you.
For more purple indulgence, visit Lisa's blog and click on the links in her side bar. And come see me tomorrow. I'm stretching the week by a day..for the wonderful world of pink.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2 For Tuesday 2 Days Late



The word prompt was INDULGE.
Graciel's interpretation: cherry cheesecake. She offers no philosophical explanation for her choice. She just knows that when the word dessert is paired with the word cherry, she dreams of indulging.
Ed's interpretation: a book and a bench. He offers his choice with this:
"This afternoon, I had a nice little epiphany: indulgence doesn't just have to relate to food and the excess of pleasure. Indulgence is when the world stops, when it's you and just pure contentment and a wonderfully relaxing and grounding physical sensation. After this little epiphany, I realized that I feel the most indulgent when I'm reading a book on a bench, basking in sunlight in the middle of a park. That, to me, is perfection."
Conclusion: the ultimate indulgence is reading a book on a bench in the sunlight while eating cherry cheesecake. Just say, aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Color Week ~ Red Thursday



Color Week, day 4. Things have gotten red hot! The photo on top? One pristine, 1963, split rear window, little red corvette. Sweet. And just how did I get that shot? Cruise Night in my town-that-time-forgot begins in May.
For more red passion visit Lisa's blog and click on the Color Week links in the side bar.
{p.s. Pink was supposed to be on the same day as red, but for me, pink needs its own day. So I may be the only one extending the week through Saturday.}



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Color Week~ Yellow and Orange Wednesday


Color Week, Day 3. Sponge Bob says, "Rev up your orange and yellow chakras"! Find more sunshine over at Lisa's blog by clicking on the links in her side bar.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Color Week~ Green Tuesday



Color Week, day 2. It's green, Captain! The top photo? The roof of an outhouse, of course!
Get colored up at Lisa's blog and click on the links in her side bar for more gushes of green.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #5




I'm not a church-going girl in the usual sense. But if you make a church that oozes sacred art, you will find me prowling your aisles in the off hours. In this Catholic town of Buffalo, New York, there are phenomenal examples of sacred art. Some churches could rival the most revered European cathedrals. None, however, in Buffalo or Europe can compare to the intimate gem tucked away on Leroy Avenue.
Inspired by: Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic Church, 323 Leroy Avenue, Buffalo, New York, 14214. This church takes my breath away. Built between 1923 and 1928, it is the purest example of 12th century Lombard Romanesque architecture in the United States. It cost $513,000 to build at the time and would be impossible to reproduce in this day and age. All the bricks are handmade and set in medieval fashion. Terra cotta was used for structural and decorative purposes on a large scale. And expect to get a crook in your neck from trying to discover the more than 2,000 designs and pictures of Christian symbolism, many of which are small, glazed ceramic symbols on corbels, winding their way around the building exterior.
Inside, the murals of angels, the fan-shaped stained glass skylight above the altar sporting 20,000 small pieces of glass in 300 different shades of color, the rose windows, the carved angels on the pews, the patterned, tiled floor, and the forty foot diameter, Byzantine inspired dome will convince you, absolutely convince you, art is sacred.
If you live in the Buffalo area, or ever plan to visit, make a pilgrimage to this church. It matters not if you are Catholic. It matters not if you practice religion of any kind. Just politely knock on the door of the side rectory and a cleaning lady will let you in. She'll gush about how lucky she is to tend to the upkeep of this church as she leads you to the sanctuary and turns on the lights. Stand under the dome and look around. The intensity of so much beauty in such an intimate space is guaranteed to inspire you and make you weep.
{To play along with Inspire Me Mondays, click on the flowered badge in the upper side bar and send me an email to: evenstarart@gmail.com. Go see my lovelies, Katie and Kasia, for more inspiriation!}

Color Week~ Blue Monday



Oh, JOY!!! It's Color Week! Thanks to the Queen of color herself, Lisa over at Curious Girl blog, this whole, beautiful week is about finding and sharing color. Can you tell, I'm in? To see the work of other color fanatics, click on the link and find them in Lisa's side bar.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Whirlwind


This girl is a whirlwind. This is my Oma. She'll be 90 in July. She might as well be 60.
May has been a busy month for Luise Schultz. She commandeered a highly successful luncheon at St. John's Lutheran Church to raise money for this year's mission. I heard she was known as "General Schultz", giving orders to her troops, making sure the turkey salad was seasoned just right and the napkins were folded with precision.
The day after the luncheon, she drove the paltry 14 miles to her ailing daughter's house to deliver turkey salad leftovers. While unpacking her basket, she whipped out the complete layette set in pink she had just finished knitting for her soon to be born great granddaughter. The pattern was intricate and naturally, stunning. She then gave the itinerary for her fast approaching trip to New York City. Her passport has expired, you see, and being a German citizen requires a trip to the nearest consulate. The passport, of course, must be renewed. Make no mistake, she's got places to go. And out the door she went.
To my great dismay, I received an email today, via blackberry, from the mother of the soon-to-be-baby in pink knit. She was with our Oma in the emergency room near her Brooklyn home. It seems Oma had tripped on a curb on the way to a park...and broken her nose. Broken her nose! Oh, but not to worry. She's fine, she says. Just swollen and annoyed. Not a coiffed hair out of place or a wrinkle in her clothes. She's fine
The mother-to-be exclaimed, "Look at it this way, Oma, we can get you a nose job for your birthday and throw in an eye lift". To which I emailed back saying I was looking into rhinoplasty gift certificates as we speak. Oma was laughing. To add to the revelry and keep this whirlwind woman stylish and humored, I've had her Lady Bug Knitting Club notified of the minor catastrophe. I've asked the ladies to knit her a nose mitten with strings for her ears to hold it in place. And please knit it to look like a lady bug. Because nothing is too good or too funny for my Oma.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Song For My Soul


It happens every time. I go in search of Nature, and Nature greets me like a dear friend. Unshakable, nurturing and ever present in her offerings. I always find simplicity and constancy in her changing face. I am always given a gift. Today, the gift was a song for my soul.
The song was melodious, intricate and robust. Sung by the masterful catbird. I have heard the song of the catbird many times before, but never from 3 feet away. He sang to me from the lilac bush, holding me spellbound. At length, he ascended to the balcony and I made a mental note to order up catbirds and lilacs in my personal heaven.
Mother goose, the creek draped in green, violets and sweet scented flox, they all welcomed me. So did the butterflies. Little cabbage whites and tiger swallowtails and one new friend whom I cannot identify. A swallowtail, it seems, with a sweep of dusky blue and 2 orange spots on its hind wings. It introduced itself at length, but left no discernible calling card. His message, however, was quite clear.
With a song and a scent, a babble and a flutter, I gathered my gifts and went home. My dear friend Nature, she always sustains me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Forgiveness




Last evening, I went to be healed. I went to have a massage. With so much stress held in my body of late, I knew my muscles and bones were sorely in need of kneading. With a combination of strong hands, chiropractic knowledge, reflexology, acupressure and deep tissue massage, my healer worked out the kinks and ushered my chi back to a free flowing state. He also surprised me by using acupressure on 3 points along my breastbone. The pain was ridiculous. Startled laughter erupted out of me. He told me the pain was from the deep emotional wounds of my heart. He was opening the channels to release the wounds and set me free.
Today, I feel anything but free. I feel raw. Exhausted. Depressed. Lots of water and a few tears and 2 naps later, I wait for the release. While I'm waiting, the wounds I hold in my heart chakra bubble up to greet me. I wish they would just go away. They will. But not until I take decisive action.
Decisive action means acknowledging the pain. I try not to get caught up in the laundry of issues flapping on the clothesline of my mind. Instead I try to stay detached, yet loving towards myself. I'm partially successful. When I feel myself sliding into too much self pity I have the good sense to silently ask for help. And it comes in the form of a reminder. "Don't forget to be grateful."
So the next action is gratitude. For the pain, the sorrow, the wounds, the desire for release, the lessons and enlightenment that could only be granted in this manner. Gratitude, I have come to know, is the key to freedom. I muster up sincerity and declare my thanks.
But there is another action that confronts me beyond gratitude. It's name is forgiveness. Without forgiveness, the release is not complete. The wounds will simply submerge again and start their slow festering. I think of the people that contributed to the wounds of my heart and I begin to offer up forgiveness. I find it doesn't work and I wonder if perhaps I am not ready to fully forgive. I ask for help again and the revelation comes. I forgive other people easily. Who I do not forgive is myself.
Now I know the task before me. Be brave enough to forgive myself. For all my shortcomings, my soul-binding perfectionisms, my gullibility. For all the times I believed I did not deserve goodness or support. For all the times I withheld love and approval from myself. For not seeing my value, for thinking I am never going to be good enough. I owe myself forgiveness. If I can offer that to myself, I am extending that offer to everyone else at the same time.
Let me drink more and rest more and start to forgive more. Let me attend to the task of setting myself free.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2 For Tuesday


The word prompt was MAGIC.
Graciel's interpretation on the left: "telephones have always been magical to me because I do not understand how they work. and numbers? entirely magical"!
Ed's interpretation on the right: "my image is a reflection of a tree and some leaves in a puddle in Losson Park. I'm fascinated by light, color and reflection".
This is 2 for Tuesday.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #4



Today, I am tired and inspired. As a floral designer who (barely) survived another hellish Mother's Day week, I am filled with the notion of the mother. Not in the expected sense, perhaps, but more in the needful sense. I am inspired to mother myself in a more active and profound way than I have ever before. Yes, mother myself.
I sometimes neglect my most basic needs. I forge ahead giving away my time and energy to causes just and unjust, and find myself , in the aftermath, tired and drained and whining. I forget to put myself first. I forget to create for myself a balanced and stable environment. I forget to bolster my self worth. I have yet to look in the mirror and tell myself, "I love you". And because I forget, I lack. I lack peace within, I lack dreams come true, I lack solid ground from which to launch a new life.
I must think more like a mother, and act more like a mother when it comes to dealings with myself. What would I give a child or do for a child to build her self esteem and help her feel at home on this earth? These are the questions to ask myself as I approach each choice to be made.
I am my primary relationship in this life. It's time to treat myself better. To make myself feel more safe and loved through my thoughts, my words, my actions. If my primary relationship is solid and reliable and loyal, no matter the circumstances, I will have everything I need to lead a fulfilling, meaningful, contributing life for the rest of my life. This revelation inspires me. So let me begin.
Inspired by: a week's vacation, starting today, to rediscover joy.
Inspired by: naps.
Inspired by: cherry juice, asparagus, strawberries and tea.
Inspired by: an upcoming play date with friend and fellow Maryphile, Kasia.
Inspired by: lilacs and peonies and sweet scented trees.
Inspired by: water and walks and ample time to read.
Inspired by: early to bed, late to rise, and naps. Did I mention naps?
Inspired by: meditation and silence.
Inspired by: serendipity and spontaneity.
Inspired by: life.
{If you care to play along with me on Inspire Me Mondays, grab the badge off the side bar, send me an email at evenstarart@gmail.com to have your name included on the blogroll, and offer your own inspirations each Monday. The more inspiration the merrier! Yay!}
p.s. Visit my friend, Katie, for more inspiration.

On Behalf Of All The Women


To the person or persons who felt the need to post this sign, on behalf of all the women who are not mothers in the biblical, traditional sense~ due to choice, divorce, childhood trauma, surgery, miscarriage, infertility, not finding the right mate before the biological clock ran out and all the reasons, heart-wrenching and not, under the sun for not being a mother on Mother's Day~ I say to you without a shred of politeness...Bite Me.
To all the women of the world, be you mothers of children, mothers of beings with fins, four legs or feathers, mothers of invention, mothers of creativity or mothers of souls in need of mothering, I wish for you a happy, healthy, grateful, inspiring Mother's Day every day of the year. Your womanhood is your true salvation. Express it as you see fit.
{For Lynn}

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

2 For Tuesday

The word prompt was REFUGE.
Graciel's interpretation on the left: faery trees along Rt. 77.
Ed's interpretation on the right: waters of the Niagara gorge.
This is 2 for Tuesday.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #3




Good food inspires me. Good food at good prices in a simple and chic atmosphere inspires me more. Throw in a story of a dream to make it all real, add orange soda pop and inspiration sails off the charts.
Inspired by: Caffe Lola~ 507 Third St, Niagara Falls, NY 14301. 716-282-LOLA.
This my friend and former co-worker, Michael Kraus. This is my friend who had a dream, who took a risk, who stayed the course, who served me lunch last week inside his dream come true. And it was a damn fine lunch.
Truthfully, the fried Boursin cheese with raspberry coulis and the chicken brushetta panini with balsamic reduction I had were better than fine. They made me moan softly upon first taste. They were that good. What makes Michael's culinary skills so amazing with chefs aplenty in this world? Two words. Love and joy. Those are the main ingredients in the food he serves. They are the directives he employed throughout the mind-bending, character-building quest to open a restaurant. And they are what will make his dream a success. Love and joy. He lives these edicts, he exudes them, he serves them up on a platter. Literally.
If you need to be inspired to live your own dreams, it helps to step inside the manifested dream of another. I suggest, if you live in western New York or southern Ontario, you pay a visit to my friend Michael. Remind yourself that with faith and persistence, dreams can come true. Or if you simply enjoy fabulous food Caffe Lola is where you want to be. Please tell Michael, Graciel sent you.
{Directions and full menu are available at: www.caffelola.com}

Saturday, May 02, 2009

My Soul Chooses Flowers


There was an extended period of time where my soul took refuge in decay. Peeling paint, abandoned houses, junk yards, junk shops, rust and ruin all captured my artistic eye. These weathered and worn out apparitions would be captured through lenses, or carried home for future mixed media forays and ready-made decor. The comely imperfections, the beckoning of rot, the shabbiness all felt comforting. But now, this now, there is no more comfort in decay. In this now, it is the arabesque of the bloom that soothes and satisfies my soul.
Perhaps it is the metastatic cancer tumors holding sway in my mother's body. Perhaps it is the clock on the wall ticking away the possibilities of my dreams. Perhaps it is those very dreams desperate and ready to birth themselves into the light of day. One or all, it does not matter. What matters is the directive of my soul to heal itself of sorrow and decay and anything that is not an affirmation of life.
And so, my soul chooses flowers. To focus on, to obsess over, to roll in their ecstasy if it were possible. To drink their color, to sing their scent, to cradle my heart in soft petals. There is no more refuge in ruin. Now there is only refuge in the beauty of a life in bloom.