Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sandra Steingraber: A Heroine for our times

Sandra Steingraber is a heroine for mothers and children everywhere.  This courageous mother, ecologist and activist was recently sentenced to 15 days in jail for trespassing.  Sandra and a group of 12 people, known as the "Seneca Lake 12" stood together with arms locked to block the entrance to an Inergy Natural Gas Facility in Seneca New York.

At the age of twenty Sandra was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  Other members of her family were also diagnosed.  Because she was adopted Sandra realized that their condition was not genetic.  Her conclusion to the diagnosis was that the cause had to be environmental.  That was the beginning of her career as a scientist and activist.

Sandra has written several books, and lectured on environmental issues that impact the health of women and children in particular.  Living Downstream, Having Faith, Raising Elijah and Post Diagnosis were all penned by this gifted writer, poet, ecologist and activist.  She offers insightful and informed ideas about how we can change the way big business treats the world in which we live.  She asserts that we have a moral obligation to insist that these organizations treat our land, water and air in a more responsible way.

For more information about the work of this gifted writer and activist check out the books listed above or go to her website.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

For Aria

Back in May of 2010.  My daughter and I were sitting at home on a beautiful spring day.  She told me that she was bored and wanted to do something fun.  I said, okay grab your cell phone.  We are going to go out into our community and take pictures.  When we're done we will come back home and make videos.  This got her very excited.  Here is my video.  I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Love Yourself!

When I look at my daughter I see glimpses of myself at age 15. Like her I was tall, very thin but shapely. The difference is that I did not have one tenth of the confidence that she does. I remember feeling so inadequate and unattractive. How could that have been? Looking at her now and seeing myself it is unimaginable how I could have missed my own beauty and gracefulness.

Like so many young women of my era I undervalued my own worth. Fortunately for me, and I suspect for you as well, it is not too late. I'm not as svelte as I was then but that doesn't mean that I'm not as beautiful. It's just that my beauty has a different definition. It feels good to be a more confident person.  It feels good to like the person that I've become. The more I appreciate and honor who I have become, the happier I feel.

My daughter is growing up way too fast it seems to me. She will be fifteen this summer and already she is asking me to teach her to drive. The thought of her independence is both liberating and a bit scary. As I move with her through this experience I have the opportunity to teach her all that I can. And, I have the opportunity to learn from her all that she has to teach me. Learning to love myself has been her most valuable lesson.  Thank you Chica!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Life is Meant to be Good!

During a TED Talk (which you can view by clicking on the highlighted link) Isabel Allende told stories about women who were brave and who had passion.  These women lived under unspeakable oppression and cruelty.  It made me very sad to hear their stories.  I began to feel afraid and perhaps ashamed for how easy my life really is.

But, then I realized that I came here in this time and in this place so that I could experience happiness, beauty and creativity.  I am not responsible for the experiences of others.  They have their own reasons for their experience. I can feel empathy for them but I don't have to surrender my joy for their sorrow.

Life is meant to be good.  More and more of us are choosing joy, peace and creativity.  As we do we liberate others by showing them what it looks like to enjoy life.  I pray we all revolutionize the world by experiencing joy every day and in every way.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
― Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

"Butterfly Attraction"
8" X 10"
Oil pastels on canvas


Monday, March 18, 2013

Rainy days and mondays... Smh!

Lately I've developed a resistance with regard to the idea of getting up at six o'clock every morning, monday through friday.  The older I get the more freedom I crave.  This whole idea of having to get up, get out, and get something done is really wearing on me.  It would be so much nicer to wake up when my body moves me to wake up,  instead of having to jump up and hit the ground running.  Gee, I am so over it!

But, that is my life, for now.  I still have a child at home who has to get to school at a specific time.  I've pondered the idea of home schooling, but she is just to social to be stuck at home with me every day.  And, the reality is that she really loves school, which is a rare thing for a teenager these days.  So, for the next three years I'm stuck with living life in the fast lane.

A big challenge of motherhood is balancing responsibility with personal desire.  We are faced constantly with choices.  Do I let my daughter walk alone up a dark hill to the bus stop by herself every morning?  Or, do I get up and drive her to the bus stop where she meets up with three other friends from her school.  There is after all safety in numbers.  Am I being overly protective?  I think not.  Too many children come up missing in this country every day.  So, I believe that mine is a wise choice.

In this instance I have to make peace with where I am.  All too soon my nest will be empty as my daughter goes out into the world to make a life for herself.  So, I give myself a moment or two to whine and complain internally, and then I get up and get on with it.  I know that ultimately I am doing good work, and that I will be rewarded with a grownup woman who is happy, healthy and fulfilled in her life.

"Wild Hearts Run Free"
3" X 5"
Color Inks and Gel Pen 
on Paper

Friday, March 15, 2013

Take time to take care of yourself!

Being a mom is such a demanding job, and most moms are way too busy taking care of everyone else to take care of themselves.  I've come up with a plan for taking time to take care of me.  At the end of the day I make it a point to give myself an hour before bed to just take care of myself.  That usually, but not always means that I take a long soothing bath.Twenty minutes is long enough for me, but you can take the entire hour if that pleases you.

In the bath I use Dr. Teals lavender epsom salts and Bubble Bath.  The lavender fragrance is so soothing, making it easy for me to let go of the busyness of the day.  I can just lay back and soak away any aches and pains, along any drama that may have occurred.

After my bath I like to massage coconut oil into the heels of my feet, because they can get pretty dry and ugly.  I've found that coconut is great because it does double duty.  I also cook with it.  When I bring home a jar from the store, I will take several spoons full and put them into another jar, which I will keep in my bathroom.  I don't want to have any cross contamination going on.  Coconut oil is very light and soaks right into the skin without leaving a greasy residue.  Since the rest of my body doesn't tend to be overly dry I use it just on my feet and sometimes on my hands, only because I don't want to smell coconut all night.

After this little ritual, I slip into my most comfortable night clothes and crawl into bed with a good book.  Sometimes I will journal also, it just depends on my mood.  I never ever watch television.  As a matter of fact I don't even have one in my bedroom.  The bedroom should be as soothing and tranquil a space as you can create for yourself.  When I'm sitting in my bed I look around the room and there are many things that please my eyes, paintings, plants, and interesting small objects.  It should be the same for you.  You want to pamper yourself with beauty and peace.  After all, you can't take care of everyone else if you aren't at your best.  So, make time to take care of you.  It could make a big difference in how others treat you.

"Fertility Still Life"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making Handmade Books

Bookmaking is more popular than ever in spite of the buzz from the digital world that people are buying fewer books.  Alisa Golden's book, Making Handmade Books:  100+ Bindings, Structure and Forms, is filled with inspiring ideas and techniques for creating one of a kind handmade books.  Following her techniques and advise you can create a beautiful work of art in an afternoon.  This book is filled with photographs of master books and statements by more than 40 established book artists. There is so much inspiration to be found in this and Alisa's other books.

Creating Handmade Books
Unique Handmade Books
Expressive Handmade Books

Happy Book Making!  I would love to see examples of your creations.  Just include a picture in your comments.  Thank you for checking out my blog.