Wednesday Words

This, the second Wednesday in January, is another unscheduled day at Raabe Ranch. We’re working at rearranging lots of stuff to live uncluttered in 2023. We’d like our thoughts to be free of clutter, our rooms, and well, everything. It may take a bit to go through and see what’s in the way, but we have lots of time.

Did some more sewing on Cody’s quilt today. The Babe wasn’t quite feeling up to snuff today, so we took lots of breaks and just talked. Any day we can spend time together is good. They’re all special. Hoping tomorrow is more productive. It will be.

We should have made the rounds through all the diet, exercise, changing your makeup, etc. commercials. If you listen to television commercials once the holidays are over, it would seem we are all sub-standard and all need to alter everything about ourselves. It’s too bad we don’t have reminders about being kind, honest, and peace-seeking. That would make the world a much better place. Peace on earth is a great carol at Christmas, but what about peace during February? It could work.

Having some memories this week about going back to school after Christmas. We didn’t really receive a lot of clothes since the girls wore uniforms. The boys didn’t wear uniforms, but dress pants, dark leather shoes, and a dress shirt. People didn’t wear sneakers, tennis shoes, or athletic shoes until in the 1980s. We all wore galoshes over leather shoes. Even our parents. It snowed in feet back then, not just dustings or chances. Little stopped us during the winter as far as the weather went. We’d talk about what we got for Christmas, but we didn’t compare what we got, and we didn’t feel bad if we didn’t get what everyone else did. We were all just grateful to be remembered. It definitely was a simpler time.

While some things have changed since those early years of school in South Omaha, many things haven’t. We still tell our kids about Santa Claus; and we still celebrate the birth of Jesus in many religions. Wishing for world peace and goodwill is a worldwide hope. That doesn’t hurt anyone. Let’s just try to practice it more than just a few days of the year. Let’s continue this calendar year with goodwill and hope. It’ll make a better life for all of us.

Have a beautiful Wednesday. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

This is the second Monday in January, 2023. How was your first week?

I kept with my intentions of learning to paint, working on my kids book, and continue with something I do pretty well. I registered for an online painting class, I’ll try to login later today. I will get back to the book editing this week. And I actually started grandson Cody’s quilt. Photos below:

There are so many pieces! The pile you see above has layers of pieces to make sixteen blocks. The background is off-white, the blue pieces are the dogs ear, body, and head. His head has a triangle of black at one corner for the nose. I reoriented the pieces above with brown in the correct directions. As you can see from the header photo, there are quite a few pieces to sew together. I think that’s a favorite part. I hope it works out to use a green fabric for the backing; it is close-up of blades of grass. Won’t that be perfect?

By playing in my fabric piles, I feel like I’m creating again. I think it will work if I work with several things at once, and schedule one or two days to quilt, one to paint (or two), one or two to work on the children’s book, and one day to do whatever I feel like. This will be besides blogging, as I don’t want to give up on that.

Yes, I could do nothing but write until I finish the book, finish the quilt, the painting, etc. I lose my mojo. I think my attention wanders off, so this may help keep it focused. Gotta try, what I was doing wasn’t working. We will see.

I’ve finished the first chapter of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” It deals with Recovering a Sense of Safety. As a kid who was bullied, I found the faster I could walk home from school, grab a handful of homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies, and go to my room, the better the day was. My room was a sanctuary for me; being the only girl, I didn’t have to share my room. I could be alone. I’d draw, read stories, use my imagination, and be safe. Sometimes, people in your home hurt your feelings, your self-worth, and sense of hope. It’s hard to shut them out and feel safe from those things that don’t show.

With very low self-confidence, I was painfully shy. It took many years (until I was 30) to overcome that. I’m still a work in progress, but at least I can now speak in public, to a crowd. Once I learned to sew in high school, I could sew the outfits I drew in grade school. Funny how that works. And there was always the library. We used our school library, as well as the public library, about a mile walk away.

Being self-defined is important to recover creativity. I’m quite an independent worker. I love to figure things out. The most important thing is to read any existing directions, make sure you understand them, and go from there. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries to keep the interruptions down. It helps I have a very cooperative partner in the Babe, and he knows doing these things is important to me. And above all, creating makes me happy.

As our confidence and identity rise, sometimes so do our doubts and internal-naysayers. It gets louder. We get used to dismissing the doubts and moments of self-doubt. Instead of 3 morning pages today, I did a paragraph and pieced those squares with dogs in them. It’ll work. I’ll get there.

We need to be our own protective parents. We must avoid toxic blocked creatives; these are shadow artists. They are not ready to overcome their issues and see us learn, grow, and share our creativity. Other blocked-creatives distract those of us who are following our plans. Stay the course. Don’t let anyone come between your dreams and their fruition.

The best place we can be is spending time with people or a partner who believes in us. That is rare in many couples’ relationships. I am blessed with the Babe; he has a strong sense of health, and no jealousy of anyone I may know. That is unusual and welcome. I am a blessed woman.

If you’re joining me on the creative journey, and want to let me know about your creativity, please do. Comment on WordPress. Tell me if I can publish it or not, or I will answer you privately. But please, no scammers. None of us have time for that. Take care, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Beautiful Book

Since my friend Lora and I attended the nationally touring show, “Van Gogh,” I’ve thought about the beautiful images this very talented man created; I’ve smiled to myself. It was such an enjoyable time. Here are the photos:

Since this outing, I’ve looked many times on Amazon at all things Van Gogh. The book of his letters fascinated me. We learned of his letters at the exhibit. I finally placed an order for these two;

The Secret Life of Sunflowers is a work of fiction; Van Gogh’s Letters is a collection of his sketches, with narratives included, to his family from the asylum he lived in. The Letters book is a beautiful book; excellent quality in paper and cover; they are smooth to the touch and have the shine of an upscale page.

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, many people I can 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 on the first week of reading. I think I can catch up on the reading and exercises in time to start the second week. I’m excited 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. When we begin our deep cleaning for spring/summer/fall 2023, I’ve eyeballed a few things to get rid of. I have many things I was going to use. We want to disburse the “wealth.” Or the stuff our parents forced us to take and give our kids and no one wants.

I will enjoy digging out our wedding photos, too. It’s been awhile since we saw them, and we’ll celebrate our 25th Anniversary this year. Lots to look forward to. Have a beautiful Sunday and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Safety First, January 6, 2023

One of the first things most of need to do is make sure we don’t entertain all the negative thoughts we’ve accumulated through the years about ourselves and our abilities.

To recover from that negativity, we need to counter each negative review of our abilities with positive thoughts. We most certainly are talented artists in writing, drawing, painting, needlework, textile arts, or whatever else we are talented in. Whatever we do is special, and enough. Don’t sell yourself short as someone has been convinced you to be. Be yourself. The world will deal with it.

Yes, it’s a novel thought if we had adults in our lives who cautioned us to stay away from the Arts. It wasn’t a normal way to make a living back in the day. You stuck with your job, no matter how you hated it, and provided for your family. Those same people would stay together for the “sake of the kids.” Please. That could have caused more problems than getting a divorce. When parents are trying to act normally when they no longer want to remain a family, tensions rise. Kids feel it. It’s not doing the kids any favors to stay together.

I was amazed at the depth of the dysfunction there exists in the court of public opinion. Ideas of writers being drunks, crazy, broke, loners, irresponsible, promiscuous, doomed, unhappy, and born, not made, existed for a long time. How strange! I’ve been associated with many stereotypes to describe me. Not just an I/T Professional who could actually relate well to people, who could communicate well, who was attractive and very smart, all the stereotypes were wrong. Especially those of a single, divorced woman. Word on the street was we partied all the time, we didn’t pay our bills, we had strange men over all hours of the day and night, we didn’t work, we were after the married men in the neighborhood. It was ridiculous. I won’t even waste space here to dispel the ignorance.

I have learned so much already in the first week of the twelve weeks of The Artist’s Way. I’m behind in my “morning pages,” where you dump your thoughts/brain on three pages of writing in longhand. You dispel your inner critic and have a chance to consider positive affirmations. Actually doing the things you can do well creatively is a bonus. Even though I’m writing a children’s book, quilting is an important creative outlet I have that makes me more creative. Yes, it might impinge on how quickly I finish editing and publishing my book, but I’ll have fewer times when I’m out of ideas, want to tell myself I’ve got Writer’s Block, or Artist’s Block, etc. Before I complete the first chapter, I will do the tasks, catch up with the daily writing, and get ready to start Chapter 2 on Monday. So far, I’m all in. I’m building my safety nets, my places to go and things to think about when I feel stymied, a creativity lull, or writer’s block. Preparation.

What creative things are you doing this weekend? Are you reading anything new? Relaxing and Resting? #NotEnoughTimeInTheDay! Take care out there, we’ll see each other tomorrow.

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!

The Artist’s Way

I purchased this book about a year ago. I also purchased “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again,” and “The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention.” Julia Cameron wrote, “The Artist’s Way” and stressed recovering different aspects of a child’s life to help us figure out how to be more creative and produce more.

It’s amazing how we hold ourselves back. Once we discover that, how do we move forward? Self-sabotage is easy to fall into. It’s our lack of time. It’s our kids/parents/children/spouses/etc. Many times, it’s us.

Once we learn to recover these precious aspects of life we’ve set aside, we need to find how to reignite many individual senses; Cameron shows us the way there, too. The conclusions we draw are our own.

I have been struggling with my creativity the past few months. I’ve published the blog 172 days consecutively. I don’t want that to stop or falter. It’s writing, it counts. I don’t want to slow or stop that. I need to accomplish more.

I have the binding to sew on my granddaughter Kayla’s quilt I wanted to send for Christmas. Didn’t make it, being sick for 2 weeks with RSV. I started Cody’s quilt today and it will be an easier finish, no appliqued pieces. It’s also smaller. His birthday is January13. He’ll be 3 years old. Getting to be a big boy.

Back to The Artist’s Way. After resigning as a self-conscious author, Cameron says, “Nothing dies harder than a bad idea.” Her “block” was the drama of a suffering artist. Aren’t we all doomed to be starving artists? Isn’t it true you sell nothing until six months after you die? When it doesn’t matter anymore?

Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole thing about finding your creativity is a spiritual thing. And I get that. It has nothing to do with religion. It is you paying attention, noting the feelings, the reactions of others, and of potting it together. I hope to read some on it today, and explore what I can do to get my mojo back.

Also, I signed up for an online learn at your own pace art classes. I know, super busy already, but if I don’t jump in with both feet, I’ll finish nothing. Let’s keep each other on task and honest. Much more the rest of the week. I love blank slates and calendars. The sky is the limit right about now! Have a great day, and see you tomorrow.

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!

Magnificent Monday

Yesterday was the end of Mondays for 2022. No more of them in this year. And only 5 more days in the year. Where did it go?

Weather making the news, blizzards, floods, rain like we’ve never seen, tornadoes, hurricanes, wind, ice storms, and more blizzards. It happens every year and yet we seem surprised. The only thing greater than the havoc man can wreak on himself and his surroundings is Mother Nature. The sheer brute force is amazing. And what is truly amazing? The human spirit overcomes everything and anything. Yes. Miracles happen every day, don’t they?

I met my son, Frankie, for breakfast yesterday. Every couple of weeks, we meet at a different restaurant. It’s been fun, talking about food, fun, catching up on mutual friends. We reminisce about so many things. He remembers a lot of things from when he was a very little boy. Brandeis Department Store in downtown Omaha was the place to go visit Santa when he was little. He remembers the Willy Wonka display and seeing Santa when he was probably 3 years old. He has a memory I can’t believe. Considering I became his Mom at age 19, it’s true we grew up together. It’s been a ride.

One idea I had for 2023 was to give away other author’s books. It’s encouraged to read other author’s works, and I do. Right now, I have 2 of three Colleen Hoover books read. Instead of my keeping them forever, I thought it might be good to have a drawing to give them away. First, I need to check with someone who knows more than I do (anyone with a book published!) and see if I can do that ethically. I will have some gimmick to have people sign up, maybe limit the number of entries one person can have, and draw a month later. I need to work out the details, but I think it’s a valid idea. It will help me declutter stuff I’ll probably not use again. What do you think? Are you in? Drop a comment. Let me know your thoughts.

I love a great crime story, who done its, Law & Order franchise episodes, and mysteries. And in between, well-crafted comedy is the best. I’m watching an old episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. I think this is a genius comedy. Just an everyday guy, doing his best, with a kooky bunch of characters for family. Yes. It’s so funny. They all end up united by their quirks and doubts, their insecurity, and a good heart. I love the characters. Peter Boyle is a genius as Frank. Marie is such a great passive-aggressive mother-in-law. She really does a great job. And Robert, omigosh! What a mess he is. Of course, Frank submitted a story to the “Digest,” and is published. It’s hilarious. Frank thinks he’s now a writer, like his son is.

I hope to write characters like that. But with my spin on them. Of course, I don’t know who they are yet, and you’ll know as soon as I do. I hope you were in touch with someone you love yesterday. It’s always so good to be around someone you have a positive history with. Do it while you can. There is no time like the present. Remember that these last 5 days of 2022. We’ll see each other tomorrow. Thanks for reading.