Sometimes you just have to say, “No.”

Wow, my personal email is a mess. The inbox is four pages long even  though I have about 45 folders.

I seemingly get emails daily from several life and business coaches. I’m in about six Linked-In groups. And then there’s all the clothing and shoes stores that want me to know they are having a sale. I signed up for all these emails. They are all very interesting. When I actually read some of them, I

Taroby screen-inbox

Taroby screen-inbox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

usually learn something.

I had been signing up for every free training the coaches offered.  I’ve listened to several, but I can’t keep up! Finally it occurred to me that I needed to just tell myself no, and delete stuff. Delete unopened stuff. Delete stuff I can’t easily file.

And that made me think about my life. Gosh there are so many thought provoking, informative, creative and enjoyable activities out there in my newly expanded world. I’m taking online classes, writing on a couple platforms, honing my speaking skills, and reconnecting with friends. But I need to be diligent to keep focused on the most important daily activities: my Bible reading, time in prayer, fun with my husband and writing the book.

So each day there are some things I have to say no to. Sometimes it’s taking that mid afternoon nap.  Sometimes it’s clicking on that link in the email. Sometimes it’s ironing his entire shirt wardrobe in one day.

Choices are good. I like choices. It reminds me of how much control I actually have over my life.

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Installation Day!

Well, it was the day I had been waiting for: to see my art hanging on someone’s wall.

Who’s wall? Sharon’s, a friend who has encouraged me since I first announced I was drawing.  Actually, I made the announcement at the perfect time. She has a beautiful home with several bare walls. She said she had looked for wall art, but hadn’t found anything that grabbed her. The busyness of life had prevented her from spending too much time on the hunt.  Things had settled down some for her this summer and she invited me over to see her spaces and learn about her likes. I showed her two pieces I had done, but she really didn’t like either.  I took all my measurements and her color preferences back home with me and set out to create something new, specifically for her.

When I completed her two pieces, I emailed them to her.  She loved them! What a thrill to be able to interpret someone’s personality and style into a piece of art that speaks to them. I’m not sure I can really describe it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it.

Since the original is pastel on paper, I had to have it digitally scanned at a resolution that could be reproduced at approximately 45″ x 30″. Then I searched for a manufacturer to take the high quality scan and turn it into a high quality triptych (art in three sections), canvas wrap.

It was nerve-wracking waiting for it to come back complete. I had to see it!  Did the original richness of color and delightful sense of texture reproduce well?  When it arrived, I tore open the box and squealed with joy. It was beautiful. Now of course, all mammas think their babies are beautiful…

So today was the day I got it up on her dinning room wall. Well, “I” meaning my husband, who was actually on the ladder measuring and hammering. We hugged and took pictures. I thought I would cry, I had tissue just in case.  But all I could do was grin ear to ear. I collected the balance and my tools and we were out in about 45 minutes.

Oh my goodness, that was sooo much fun! I want to do it again real soon!

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I met a good listener today

You know when someone is not listening to you.  You know it when they seem to jump in ready to use what you’ve just said, against you. You know it when they ask you to repeat. You know it when at your first pause, they redirect the conversation to be about them.  You know it when they cut you off.

Most people seem to prefer listening to themselves rather than someone else. They are their own most interesting subject.  I became very good at listening. Listening to sad stories like the temp worker who was being physically abused by her boyfriend. She had moved with him away from her family and believed she needed him to function. I listened to the empowering story of the mother of twin toddlers and a child a year older, who was struck with breast cancer. She had the surgery and chemo while caring for her boys and maintaining her job and a smile.

So perhaps because I’ve become a good listener or because I don’t speak much until I really have something to say, I am acutely aware when someone is not listening to me. Generally I’ll just stop talking.

But last Friday I met a good listener. It was the Physician’s Assistant at my doctor’s office. She had never met me. She said she would get things started, since the doctor was running behind. She wanted to know how I was responding to the recent increase in the dosage of one of my meds. Of course, I knew they’d be asking that about that, so I had prepared my response. As I talked, she typed, fast. She was looking at me the whole time. She asked a few questions to help me clarify what I meant. When we were interrupted, she remembered the last thing I had said and brought me back to it.  I felt she wanted to hear me and she wanted to help me understand things I wouldn’t know to ask.

At the end of appointment I was informed and felt validated. I thanked her.

Really hearing someone is a gift to them. It’s free, but priceless.

English: The Active Listening Chart shows the ...

English: The Active Listening Chart shows the progression in the quality of listening that an active listener can engage in. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s in a name?

 

Pastels

Pastels (Photo credit: ahisgett)

Hello readers,

There are a couple of issues I’ve been chewing on. I think I’ve made my decisions, but I thought I’d throw it out there for your feedback.

First up is the name of the movement: Blue is Blue – creating pastel art to overcome depression. What’s all that about, huh? Well, blue is blue is a pun.  Depression is also called being blue. I’m turning my depression (blue) into art (represented by the color blue.) I’ve had that part of the name square in my mind from the beginning. The second part of the name is my attempt to make my goal immediately known. However, I realized recently that it started as creating pastel art to combat depression. At some point it morphed into creating pastel art to OVERCOME depression. So I went back and forth on the meaning of combat vs overcome. And I not just thinking of the meaning to me, but what it will mean to folks who join the movement later.

It is certainly true that dealing with depression is a battle and it is an ongoing, lifelong battle really. Even if my doctors allow me to come off the medications, I’ll need to remain aware of my outlook and have coping techniques in place for stressful, or scary times. However, I’d like to think more about the reward than the struggle. (That’s part of my new mindset. Like that, huh?) So I believe “overcome” is where I am, where I’m going and where I want to take the good people who join me. I see “overcome” as a process too, but with a positive spin. (hey, you caught that one too?) So “overcome” it is. Unless you convince me otherwise.

My other issue has been signing my artwork. I have been really reluctant to sign my art. Is that odd? When I was a kid I dreamed of being a fashion designer, and having my name in the label! But Blue is Blue isn’t just about me. God gave me the direction to draw and is increasing my abilities daily. And there are so many women I hope to reach. I envision a team of 4 artists who understand depression and the 4 of us will be out doing art with people to help them heal. We will be writing and speaking on the subject across the nation.

There have been several public health awareness campaigns in the last twenty years. The most recent one to come to mind is a push to get kids to exercise daily. That’s what I see for Blue is Blue. So my compromise is I’m signing my work as “Blue”and I put the month and year. At some point in the future perhaps, there will be art that I don’t associate with my Blue movement and I’ll sign my name.  I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts on it, but you’re not going change my mind on that one.