Shame on ???

When a creative person produces a sculpture, a painting, or writes a novel, their family expresses horror. They try to shame the relative into not creating anymore. The family is often afraid a family secret is let out of the bag.

That is the reason many of us are reluctant to let our family read our book, view our painting, or know what we are creating. It’s just easier, you know? Dysfunctional families really know how to take the wind our sails. We become ashamed of what we were previously proud. Everyone but your own family cheers for you and recognizes your gift.

For some of us, that is how it goes. Fear drives those families and their reactions. Pride and humiliation are a breath apart. They don’t want anyone to know what life is like inside that home that they believe looks so perfect. There is no risk of blowing their cover. There is no risk of anyone asking questions. No risk of anyone finding out. The family is less uncomfortable. But not comfortable enough to be honest with themselves or the world.

When I was in high school, and for years before me, it seems the very worst thing in the world for a family was to have their daughter become pregnant “out of wedlock.” Mind you, no one ever questioned the boy or his family. Only the girl. I even remember being told the girls were the ones who had to keep control of the situation when dating. The myth was boys couldn’t control themselves. And the girls aroused slower, and could stop at any point. Boys, no they couldn’t control themselves. Who thought all that up? Wow!

They decimated those myths. Now no one wants their family secrets revealed. Especially not by some crazy artist-type. A hippie artist, or a beatnik poet, or a revolutionary writer. Keep those family skeletons where they belong; in the closet. But not the closet like the sexuality one. The light is being shone on this remarkable art, and those who do not want to see scold us. “How dare you!”

No, how dare you! The world needs to see this, and know it happens, and it’s ok, and not to feel afraid or singled out or feel you’re the only one. Because you’re not. And we’re not. And people understand.

How much the world has changed! And how much the world accepts now it didn’t before. How good for the world. And it’s people. The artists and authors and photographers and creatives have shown the world as they have not seen it before. How wonderful!

Yes, the bigger our world becomes by expanding our thinking, the better it is for us. Growth is going where we’ve not been before. As we continue this week and concentrate on our personal development, let’s keep our eyes on the future. Let’s not concentrate so much on the future that we miss the present every day. And let’s not keep our eyes on the past. We’re not living there anymore. Make the most of these days, the ones right now.

Enjoy this Tuesday; we’re expecting snow Wednesday. Stay safe out there. See you tomorrow, from the snowy tundra.

Progress Made

In contrast to how I felt last night, I’m thinking this The Artist’s Way is what I missed out on last year when I was struggling with creativity. I needed this when I bought it, but I didn’t pursue it.

I heard the voices of people during my younger years, telling me, “You never have been able to draw faces! The clothes are fine, but you should just forget about drawing.” And so it went for so many people my age when they were kids. Girls were rarely encouraged to go to college; Mom told me I could go but I’d get married before I could finish, and I really shouldn’t waste my time and money. It’s how the world was.

Usually, the negative feedback we’ve had previously in life is what we hear when we’re adults with finally enough time and money to pursue your dreams. In the past five years, I’ve stocked up on supplies. Supplies for all the dreams I want to have. Learning to draw. Learning to Paint. Learning to Write. Building my own Website. What about a blog? Yes, I think a blog is a good idea. We should write every day. And I have for over #178 days now. Not missed a blog. That is pretty cool. I’m proud of that. Some are great, some aren’t so great, but it’s just fun to do.

The first chapter in The Artist’s Way is about Recovering a Sense of Safety. It means protecting our Artist spirit against negativity, which is in our brains and minds and reinforced over and over. We need to be encouraged. We need to play in our ideas, paintings, and words. They will find their way to where they should be. It’s part of the process. Yes, I feel safe. I know I’ll get there. It’s all part of things I need to try out before I die. Hopefully later than sooner.

The name of this website is Kathy Raabe, Author and Creative Soul. I’ve known for some time I am creative. I need to express that in more than one way. Quilting is important to me. I just got back to it after more than a year of concentrating only on writing. I made some progress, but not what I wanted. Considering I’m 70 years old, and I want to learn to draw, paint, and keep quilting, sewing, etc., etc; etc., I need to do all of these things, not just one at a time. I think that is what will make me happiest and produce more creative things.

I will figure out how to schedule my time, and I need to follow my schedule. That needs to become a habit. I will be on my way to that by the time I’m finished with this commitment to Artist’s Way. Thank you, Julia Cameron. I’m so enthused about what I’m creating!

I had the pleasure of visiting with Kimberly Faith Hickman this afternoon. Some extra fabric of mine can be used by the McGuigan Arts Academy for costumes or crafts. I’m delighted to share my stash with them. It will be used and appreciated. Stay tuned folks, it’s going to be an exciting year. See you tomorrow!

Creativity Contract With Myself

To continue with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I’m finished with the first 25 pages, describing what to do and the key concepts; The Artist’s Date, and The Morning Pages. I think the Artist’s Date will be easier for me to do. I know many people who will let me view their work and talk with them, and receive great inspiration.

I need to review about the morning pages. It really sounds like something I don’t want to do. I need a nice journal to capture those thoughts, whatever they are. Cameron has included a contract in her introduction. She requests people to make a commitment to themselves to complete the course in 12 weeks. Gosh, this will take me into late March! WOW! A lot can happen in 12 weeks.

Tomorrow, I will start. I’d like to see how it goes, getting going on the first week of reading. I think I can catch up on the reading and exercises in time to start the second week. It’s exciting to begin. Speaking of the beginning, I signed up for a series of painting sessions online. It was on a big sale, and I need to find which day of the week will be best for this extra activity. Gosh, that could even be my Art Date once a week.

The Babe is putting together three large book cases so we can finish unpacking after 8 years. More de-cluttering ahead! We can finally donate books we no longer use and have some extra room. No one wants great aunt Martha’s candy dish. You know? No, kids, we won’t make you take it. Not to worry.

It’s only 4 days into the New Year and things are going great! How about for you? We’ll get there, together. Invite your friends along on our journey. We’ll all work on regaining our creativity. Stay safe out there. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.

The Basic Tools

Of Julia Cameron’s way to recover our creativity are these:

The Morning Pages – These are about three handwritten pages about your thoughts as you wake up. I’m not sure what to think about these. I’ll try my best. Usually, the early hours see me drinking coffee with the Babe, and checking Facebook. We also watch Good Morning America. I see I need to add a notepad and plan on writing three pages of musings, sort of brain-dump to get to the good stuff.

Cameron mentions all the petty stuff, the whiny stuff, etc., are what’s keeping us from creating. We need to get the junk out of our minds, to make way for the creativity we are itching to get it out – onto the page, the canvas, the staff (music), and out of our minds.

As we’re getting out our thoughts, our doodles, or whatever we need to, there is the chance our critic/censor will discourage us. After all, we’re not any good. If we were, we would have done it long ago. We would have published, printed, whatever, long before now.

Our censor, wherever the dialogue grew from, can derail our creativity. After a steady diet of negativity, of course it’s easy to give up. But we don’t have to. C’mon! Let’s tell ourselves the truth. Be honest; we need to remember; the Censor is trying to undermine our creativity. Don’t listen to the negativity, concentrate on the good. We need to listen to the Artist Brain, not the Censor Brain.

And The Artist Date – A very special time, often just yourself, where you spend a couple hours with your artist self. I have some ideas of how to spend/how I have spent what I would consider Artist Dates. The first was with McGuigan Arts Academy, at the presentation of “The Ugly Holiday Sweater Soriee. These young creatives, who wrote their own scripts, and perform them, and do a fantastic job at it.

My ideas for Artist Dates right now are:

Spend some time with the leaders at McGuigan Arts Academy and get their insight on creativity. I’m a great fan of their work, I think the discussion could be really eye-opening.

Spend time with Julia McGuigan, who has her own shop where she sells her works. I’d love to get her input on creativity for her art. She’s very good.

Spend time with Jeffrey Koterba, who was an award-winning cartoonist for our local newspaper. He is fantastic. We met in person at the McGuigan Arts Academy performance of the Ugly Christmas Sweaters he saw over my shoulder. I was watching his video on how he crafted his cartoon on Patreon. I’d like to talk to Jeff about his career as an editorial cartoonist. And so many other things. He’s written a book. He grew up in the same neighborhood I did (close enough) as a kid. There will be much to talk about.

Liz Boutin is an artist from the Bellevue area in Nebraska. Her husband was in the Air Force; she was a Red Cross Volunteer in Germany. It was the hospital where terribly injured soldiers came from Iraq. Liz has PTSD. She uses her art to help ease her PTSD. She’s an incredible woman. I count her as a friend.

Taylor Frye Ullom is a friend and the founder of Guitars for Vets in Nebraska. She leads the organization who offers lessons to Veterans with PTSD. I’ve met many of the students, and am happy to see what good Taylor does with this organization. We could spend a long time talking about a lot of things.

There are many other people, places, and things I want to use as an Artist’s Date. It will be fun. And I should get a lot of ideas on creativity. I haven’t yet explored all the possibilities of an Artist’s Date, but I’m totally open to the possibility of putting myself out there and visit with people who are actual artists. Writers, painters, cartoonists, artists, the Omaha-area is full of them. I’m excited about 2023. Come along with us, we’ll have an adventure in 2023. There are many more folks I know casually who will be great resources for future references. Thank you for your help.

Thank you, loyal followers, and new fans. Let’s all stretch our wings and fly this year. We’ll all have each other to hold ourselves up. Happy 2023. Let’s get out there and create! See you tomorrow. #1023followers!

Basic Principles of Creativity

It’s interesting to me, finally making time to learn “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. As I said yesterday, I’ve been in a slump. I want to be more productive creatively, and I have identified areas I need to change.

Ms. Cameron sets out to list the ten basic principles on page three of the Introduction! Talk about knocking your socks off right in the beginning! While talking about Spiritual Electricity, Ms. Cameron lists these principles: (these are directly from the book, not my words).

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creativity force infusing all of life— including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.
  4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
  6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
  8. As we open our creative channel to exploring our creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
  10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

(Back to my ideas, words, and musings.)

I’m greatly enthused by reading these principles. Of course creativity is part of the natural order. Have you ever met a kid that doesn’t pretend to do/be something? They create worlds they are part of, they learn and grow in those creative endeavors. We shouldn’t discourage them. But we do. Everyone eventually is expected to fit in and comply.

The arts are where we can keep that alive. Kids need somewhere to be themselves, who they are meant to be. Music, acting, and art are where they can be. The more they learn, the more they can create. My friends at McGuigan Arts Academy do that very thing, here in Omaha, Nebraska. These folks are helping to water the creative seeds in all the student’s minds. Kids that are all talented and need to be encouraged what to do with it. It’s an amazing thing to see and experience. If you can make it possible for your children to experience classes in the arts, creativity, and growth, please make that possible. I was lucky and had piano lessons. My teacher lived across the street, and she wanted me to play classical music. I was more interested in Rock and Roll music. I quit after 8th grade.

Cameron suggests reading these principles every day. Eventually, we’ll be able to see our progress. Things we notice we didn’t notice before. I’ll take note of what changes in my outlook, the things I notice. I think this is pretty cool. And as for now? The Babe and I have some appointments today, and to navigate whatever Mother Nature left us last night while our family in South Dakota got about another foot of snow. Be safe out there, and we’ll see you tomorrow. Be Safe!

Happy Birthday, Dad

On this day, in 1924, a baby boy was born to Thomas M. Jewell, Sr and his wife Mary. There was a two-line front page notice of his birth on the front page of the Omaha World Herald, where he worked from 1952 until his retirement in 1988. He passed away from lung cancer in December, 1988. If he were still with us, he would be 99 years old today.!

As a kid, it was always fun relating the story about him being the first New Year’s baby in 1924. They didn’t give people a bunch of gifts back then, just a mention of the news. I think Grandma was about 30 when she had Dad. He was her first child. Others followed, and they were all healthy. Most people in those days had children younger than 30. Glad they were all ok, and Gram was, too.

Sometimes, I wish I could tell Dad all the stuff I’m going to do. I know he’d tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll get there.” That was a lot of support. It’s what he told me when I told him I wanted to graduate from college. I was about 38 then, and it was just before he died. We had such wonderful talks then. He told me what good kids I had, and not to worry about them, they would turn out ok.

Hey, Dad. I named my Jewell Publishing LLC after you. It was a brilliant idea, seeing how you were a pressman at the local paper. When I was a little girl, I imagined working on the paper as a reporter. I thought it would be so cool to write some stories you would supervise the printing of. Kind of all in the family thing.

I would have to go to college and have a degree, even in 1970. Our family didn’t view college as necessary for a girl. Mom suggested I go to beauty school. I got married. No regrets. My kids were worth it. And I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources. Within a few years, I couldn’t work anymore. Disability. God laughs when we tell him our plans, doesn’t He?

I believe you would love the Babe as much as I do. You are both kind-hearted men. You were a kind man, but kept it under that fedora you wore. Tommy Bauer and I are friends on this invention called Facebook. He told me how you’d spread sand out at the bottom of the alley so the kids with sleds would naturally stop before they’d jet out into the heavy traffic of F Street. I love hearing things about you I didn’t know. Glad you taught us to problem solve like you did. We all come by it naturally. Lucky us!

I wish you were still here so I could teach you about the Internet and Kindles for books. I know you’d be interested in it all. And I’d be so proud to show you all about it. You’d be amazed at how many books you can have electronically. I know, I prefer print, too. It’s not the same, but has some benefits.

This bright, shiny New Year is unfolding before us. I will publish my book this year. A book for kids. It got lost in this thing called life. I will promote my blog, books, website, and other creativity. I’ve decided I’m going to schedule days for all the things I’m interested in. I need to do something different every day instead of finishing one thing, then go on to something else. My brain doesn’t work that way anymore.

Sometimes I feel guilty for living longer than you did. After working as hard as you did, you were robbed of the rest and relaxation you should have had in your retirement. I do believe we’ll all be together someday. And I can ask you all the questions I have. I could hear your stories and learn all I didn’t know about you.

I’m spending the day with wonderful thoughts of you, Dad. You were such a good father, son, brother, worker, employee, neighbor, and such a kind gentleman. I’ll always remember that about you. You’d love the Babe. In fact, you could have had a part in our lives crossing. I believe in divine intervention.

To all my friends, followers, relatives, fellow authors, humans, creative people, have a Happy New Year. 2023 is our year. Don’t look back. It’s going to be great. Let’s cheer each other on. Be kind. See you tomorrow!

Christmas Week, 12/23/2022

On this day, I want to wish my lifelong friend Kris Leavitt, Happy Birthday, as well as FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!

Yesterday was the most frigid day since I can’t remember when. I want to say about 1983, maybe. We stayed in Wednesday night because of the icing that was happening, and were going to stay in yesterday. But we needed to deliver some things to the MVF warehouse. The Babe wanted to have lunch and go to the store. My to do list would have to wait.

I thought the store would be crowded. It wasn’t! A Christmas Miracle! The store staff was all very nice. That would be a tough job, along with anything retail this time of year. Those people all deserve a bonus, you know?

As I’ve said before, it is tough to be on this side of Christmas; a grown family and the littlest grandkids live far away, so it’s tougher to get into the spirit. The header photo is of our two great nieces, children of nephew & niece Alex and Megan. Their little girls, Kenna and Knox, are adorable. The header photo is the family Christmas card this year. While I was out at the dentist a couple days ago, I was remembering having kids that small at Christmas. It occurred to me those are the years Christmas is magical and fun. Having some memories? Me, too.

Come to think of it, I’m also remembering some other memories.

The year everyone had terrible colds, were cranky, had red faces and raw lips from being chapped in the cold temps; 1978; I was 8 months pregnant and miserable; the years we couldn’t afford anything, so I made a lot of gifts; the year we hosted dinner for 28 people. I made Swiss Steak and Baked Potatoes and it was perfect. I also cleaned up, did Santa, and all the Christmas Eve duties, while the kids’ dad went to bed. He was too tired to help. He was angry when the kids woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning. That’s what Christmas Day is about! No, I don’t miss the collateral memories that go with the little kids and an uncooperative husband.

Knowing Alex and Megan as I do, they will do things together, and be more excited than their little ones to wake up early. They will be patient and loving all day, too. The girls’ Aunt Ona will certainly do what an aunt does on Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Brad will enjoy every minute. Enjoy, Shuck Family! Merry Christmas. We love you all, and hope your memories are wonderful.

Of course, since we did the store and lunch yesterday, it was too late to start the tree. So, today is the tree. Photos tomorrow. Nothing like the last minute. When my kids were little, they always knew we had to wait until Grandma Tomasek’s birthday to put the tree up. December 7. It got a little earlier, December 1. Finally, when I divorced, and we had my house, we’d do it the day after Thanksgiving, when the boys would decorate the outside of the house. I miss those Christmases, too.

Take each of these moments during the Christmas present, and enjoy it as much as possible. The good and the bad. I look forward to the meal we’re hosting, and to seeing the family who are available. We are blessed, and grateful.

Have a great day today, stay warm, finish your shopping, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Goodreads 2022-2023

I should be on target to finish the 24 books I thought I would this year. Two books a month isn’t bad, next year, I’ll try 36 books and see if I can keep up. Time will tell. How about you? Have you joined or have another way to keep track of what you’ve read?

I am so ready to be finished with RSV. The wheezing I can hear while I’m trying to go to sleep is keeping me awake. No kidding. I need quiet. I’m having a hard time. The Babe can hear me clear across the room, for Pete’s sake! Can you imagine? I still don’t feel that good, and was still woozy today. Hope it’s over because I’m “over it.” I probably sound like Darth Vader.

This week we have to get the Christmas tree out. I have two 9 foot trees, one with lights, one without. We’ll use the prelit one to save some time. Next year, hope to do my own lights, much, much sooner. Like Black Friday. No more late decorating, getting started, and being in a hurry. Yes, next year.

How many times do we all say this? This year will be different. Our business, our diet, our continuing education, it should all be better next year. But will we? I hope so. As soon as Darth Vader leaves our home. It will all be better.

Christmas is hard, it’s hard for many of us. Two parent families and single parents, aging parents and young parents. We all have things to deal with. And we will deal with them the best we can. It’s all we can do. We’ll be stronger next time. Have a beautiful evening as you ponder your first move of the week. We’ll see each other tomorrow.

Monday, Let’s Go!

It’s Monday again, let’s make it a great week! I plan to finish quilting Kayla’s quilt this week, and wrap it. Then, we’ll work on Cody’s. I think it will be a fun one as well, full of puppies like a little three year old boy will love.

Are you more of a morning or a night person?

I think I’m a morning person. Always have been. At home, Mom was up at 5:30 a.m., getting coffee made. She’d throw my door open, flip on the light, and growl, “It’s time to get up.” I’d obey. I was the only person in the house who got up when they were supposed to. My three brothers and Dad could sleep through a nuclear missile test.

I’d get up and get ready quickly, and go downstairs to eat breakfast. She’d be slumped at the table, questioning her plight in life. “You kids will be the death of me yet!” Wow! That’s a harsh way to start the day for sure. I wanted to give my kids a better start to the day than that. I did. Yes, we’re all just doing the best we can, and the world becomes better with each generation.

I certainly hope the Babe gets over his cold soon. I need his help to set up the Christmas Tree, and I hate to ask him while he’s feeling crummy. He must have caught cold coming home from Maryland last week. It happens when we travel, I always used to catch the cold. I had mine a couple weeks before he left, so I should be good. I think he’ll go to the doc tomorrow morning, just to be safe. No COVID, at least that’s what the home test said. I hope it’s right.

Hoping you all have a great start to your week, and we’ll see each other again tomorrow. Stay safe out there.

Reminding Myself

We had a lot of traffic at the blog with the post Friday about our grandson’s birthday. He’s such a special guy. Thanks for reading about family.

We had a segment Friday in my Intentional Peer Support class about Addiction and Recovery. The speaker was amazing. He told his own story of addiction and recovery. I am amazed by the number of people our instructor knows and the many areas of expertise they possess. And it’s all from living life and correcting our mistakes along the way. The more the speaker told us about Narcotics Anonymous, the more I wanted to get the book he referred to, just to read. The passage I found fascinating was referring to the concept of craving vs. addiction. From his explanation, there is a huge difference. I want to learn more about it.

Any recovery from addiction or alcoholism entails the same kind of changes to our lives as building new habits over old ones, and a new life in place of the old one. It’s not as simple sounding as one might think. Instead of looking at the whole of recovery or the changes we often need to make in life to live longer, be healthier, start your own business, etc, we need to do one small thing at a time. They add up over time, with consistency, hard work, and practice of new skills. And you never stop learning. Not until they throw dirt over you. I pray I’ll be able to learn that long, and share it with others.

This time of year can be difficult for many people. For those with families that are not close, the Norman Rockwell painting of perfect families sitting down to perfect meals with perfect gifts just isn’t relevant. In fact, it’s more the exception than the norm. It can hurt a lot to be alone on holidays, have nowhere to go, or even to gather and be uncomfortable the whole time.

I used to see houses with many vehicles parked in front on every holiday. It made me feel like I was missing out. We didn’t need social media for FOMO. Madison Avenue had the images in our brains already. Eventually, many families have become spread out all over the country, even all over the world. Gathering is very difficult. People don’t cook like they used to. Many kids don’t know their grandparents, and I find that sad. I’m sad we don’t see the kids in Colorado as much as we’d like to, but we receive lots of photos to keep track of how they are growing. And through the magic of video, we can hear them talking, and how they read to each other. So sweet.

After this Thanksgiving, I no longer feel like I’m missing out on anything. Two couples we know lost the wives this fall; one was sudden, the other from ALS. Either way is bad, watching steady deterioration or never getting to say goodbye. We don’t get a choice in how our loved ones are called home. All we can do is prepare in the best way we know how, and talk with our loved ones. Spouses, especially. But we don’t get to pick. We just get to pick up the pieces.

Think about what you would like in your heart this holiday season, and find out how to put it there. It’s become easier for me to think about it from a place of gratitude. Thoughts form differently around it than those formed from envy, want, and concentrating on what you don’t have. Try it. You’ll learn what I mean. It may take more than a month, though. It’s worth the wait.

As you enjoy this last day of Thanksgiving weekend, think of how we want to spend the last weeks of this year and of how we want to grow next year. We may have to regroup multiple times and replan, but the important thing is to do it. Get started now. You’ll be glad. See you tomorrow!