Thursday, February 20, 2014

continuing the focus on joy...

my family - all my sisters and my brother bring joy into my life.
We have so much fun when we are all together!
We are a unique family in that we all get along. There's no sniping, or jealousy, favorites etc.
We really do truly enjoy and appreciate each other.

my art - I love, love when I am 'in the zone' doing my artwork. Actively creating, no time restrictions, no interruptions,...just lost in my thoughts and lost in the creative process.

more joy lists to come....

Monday, February 17, 2014

Finding My Joy

What does that word mean to you? Joy. To some it means the same as happiness, fun, entertainment.
To me it is different than these words.  I can be happy or have fun but not necessarily feel joy.
Joy, to me, is an all encompassing, deep down, very true feeling. There is a spiritual component to it as well. It is peaceful, blissful. It can be loud and exciting, but is just as often quiet and content.

I've been thinking I could use some joy. How do I find it? Where do I look for it? I realize I need to find it within myself. Sometimes easier said than done. I've been in a rather low place lately. It feels difficult to focus on joy. Everyday life intrudes, days slide by, weeks turn to months, and I haven't pursued things that are joyful to me. Sometimes I have a tough time even remembering what those things are. It's been difficult to find anything to blog about. Nothing seems interesting enough. I don't feel interesting enough.

And I just sound like a downer. Sheesh! I start off talking about joy...but I end up exploring my sadness. It's tricky. To try to see the positive - I compare to the negative, then get swallowed up by it.

I've always been an 'up' person. I don't like to let myself stay down. If you've read some of my previous posts about the ups and downs I've been through in recent years - I hope it shows that I've tried to always see the silver lining. However, lately, I've just been feeling crushed by the weight of it all. Maybe a delayed reaction after the past few years? While I was in the worst of it I couldn't allow myself to crash. Now - it seems to have snuck up on me.

Looks like such a simple little word. Trying to hold onto it....not so simple. And I allow that it may have something to do with being in the middle of dreary winter, after our 'umpteenth' snowstorm! Lack of sunshine - blah, blah...

So I'm going to work on my joylist.
I'm going to try to focus on it. It may take me a bit to get going, and I'm sure I will have to add to it over several posts.

I would love to hear some of your lists as well and would appreciate any input into mine.

My joy.

My favorite and best source of joy. My children.
Such good, good people - both of them. Not that they are perfect. They make mistakes like everybody else. But just such really good know? How did I get so lucky?
OK - going to just go with that for now.

More 'list' later.

Thank you.

(oh there's one to explore...Gratitude...brings joy doesn't it? More on that to come.)


Monday, September 23, 2013

When I look at my blog stats (which I examine waaay too often), I am always amazed at the power of the internet, and the fact that people from all over the world have peeked in at my blog now and then. I love that the Blogspot site shows you a world map so that you can see where your traffic comes from. It's so much fun to look in on it and see that someone from Taiwan, Romania, and India stopped in to check out my site during the night,,,(night here - daytime there!)

Who are you? Did you just stumble on me, and then move on? Have you read some of my posts? Are you an artist? What is your life like?

I would love to know more about you. Love for you to leave a comment on my page.

Here is a little bit more about me and who I am;

I work full time at a senior living community as dining room manager in the memory loss/assisted living facility. I enjoy working with the seniors. I also work part time at a local restaurant on The Kennebec River in my (small) city on the coast of Maine.

I live with my fiance John. We have two dogs; Gracie and Boru.

I have two grown children - Shawn (29) and Sara (26) - who also live in Maine.

My son is the general manager of a Panera Bread Restaurant (yum!). And my daughter teaches high school math.

Here's my kid's when they were kids:

and here they are all grown up:


So let me know a little bit about you. Tell me what you like about my blog. Have you ever been to Maine?
And don't forget to visit my ETSY shop - creekart on ETSY.
Thanks for stopping by! 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Summer in Maine

Haven't been posting much for awhile. I've been working a few shifts a week at a second job (my old full time job - the Kennebec Tavern on the waterfront in Bath Maine). Great food. Fun, fun place!

It's tourist season in Maine and this restaurant on the water is hopping this time of year. So one full time job and a second job with 10-14 hours per week. I love the extra cash - but it leaves me little time for artwork or writing posts.

One thing I have found a little time for is going picking with my daughter. No not strawberries...I'm talking junk. As in flea market, vintage, rusty, old, etc. We have both fallen in love with picking at flea markets, antique and junk shops.

Between the two of us we have begun quite a little collection of items. We both love things like antique keys, old jars, wooden boxes, vintage handles - things that can be repurposed - or simply displayed.

Sara just opened her shop on Etsy. It's called Picked In Maine. She has already sold her first item! There will be more items listed daily.

Picking in New England, and especially in Maine is great fun because there are so many old places here - barns, homes, tons of 'antique' shops. An endless supply of junk! Do you like to go picking? Are there certain types of vintage things that you love? Here are some of the items in Sara's shop;
Mentholatum Milk Glass Jars - Set of Three
Vintage Oil Can Mini CollectionMentholatum Milk Glass Jars - Set of Three
5 Antique Skeleton Keys - Natural Aged Patina
Pair of Industrial Iron Handles
Antique Galvanized Oil Can With Wooden Handle
Freezer Box Handle - Frames


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gratitude Girl

I believe that we all go through whatever we go through - to get to where we need to be.
Over the past several years, after losing my creative self for nearly 30 years...I rediscovered my art self, my creativity. I found my passion in mixed media art. I started my blog and opened my etsy shop and moved forward toward a life of art. But these same several years were some of the toughest of my lifetime.

For 15 years - from 1994 until 2009 I was a residential real estate broker in Maine. Real estate was very good to me for many years. Everybody knows what happened to real estate after 2007.  As the market really began to slow down, my income began to dwindle. By 2008, as real estate and the economy imploded, I had taken on a full time and a part time job, while still trying to maintain a real estate career part time. By 2009 I took a different full time job that took up all my free time, and I stopped working real estate altogether by mid-year.

Throughout all this time my goal was just to keep an income coming in to pay my mortgage, and my business loans and simply 'get by'. Eventually I could not keep up. Although I was working my rear end off - I couldn't make up for an income that had dropped by more than half of what it had been. I didn't have lots of credit card debt, and I hadn't spent my home's equity...but I couldn't stay current on my mortgage, my business debt, and monthly living expenses. I was sinking.

In spring of 2011 my home was foreclosed on. Going through foreclosure and bankruptcy is a very public thing. Everybody sees your life. The advertisement to sell your home goes in the local paper, along with your name. Feelings of regret over past decisions, feelings of fear moving forward. Feelings of failure.

I limped along for another year - working hard - waiting on tables, and trying to get back in balance.  In summer of 2012 -  I went through bankruptcy to clear out all that debt so it wouldn't be hanging over me for years and years.  Bankruptcy is meant to be a fresh start, and it is - but to me it felt like the final stamp on my financial failure. Starting from zero at 55 years old. Me, my car, an apartment and a weekly income from a waitressing job. No retirement. No health insurance. No savings.

This story is a rather quick synopsis of the past 4-5 years that doesn't include many painful moments. Moments of pacing the floor at 3AM worrying about how I was going to get through the next few days. Moments lying awake thoughout the night worrying about bills, and finally falling asleep around 4am only to get up and go to work at 8.  Moments with my head on my desk in my office at 9-o-clock at night, after everybody else had gone home...sobbing uncontrollably. Moments (very long moments) on the phone with the bank and local businesses to whom I owed money. Local business owners who I would see regularly in a small town of 3000. Moments of anxiety, guilt, embarassment, exhaustion.

So here I am in spring of 2013 on the other side of it all. My business is gone, my home is gone, and now, after filing for bankruptcy - the debt is gone.

A new job with benefits. Although the money was better waiting tables, my new job at a senior living community offers me health insurance, which I haven't had for years. Like so many other americans I am living paycheck to paycheck. Trying to make it to the end of the month.

So what have I learned throughout all of this?

I've learned a lot about me. I'm not a victim. I take responsibility for every decision I made. All of it - the good and the bad.

I've learned how strong I am. I've learned how positive I am.

I've learned what a wonderful man I have in my life. John was there through it all. Holding me while I cried at night. Letting me talk through the tough parts. Helping me to look on the bright side. Making me laugh.

I've learned to stay focused on what's really important.

As hard as it was... losing my house was not a tragedy. Losing someone you love is a tragedy...a house is just a house after all. (Can you believe this is a former real estate broker speaking?) This is something that I had to keep reminding myself over and over. Regardless of how much I may have loved was just a house. There will be other houses someday.

I've learned about gratitude. I'm grateful for my good health, the health and happiness of my children, and John. I'm grateful for my strength, my mind, my heart, my spirit. I'm grateful for my ability to persevere and to always look for the good things. I'm grateful for the opportunities that continue to come my way. I'm grateful that I have rediscovered art and creativity in my life (see my first blog Me and Paper). This was my journey. This was just one journey of many journeys in my life.

So here I am. I'm ok. I'm better than ok. There's something very valuable in learning to live simply... to live with less. I'm happy, I'm healthy, and through it all...I'm still grateful for all the blessings in my life. I believe I'm where I need to be right now. I'm listening to the whispers of life... I'm creating art. I'm writing my posts. I'm learning to follow my passion. And the journey continues.

As I greet each day I remind myself that every day is a gift.
And I like to remember this quote by Tom Hanks as 'Chuck Noland' in Castaway as he stood at the crossroads at the end of the movie.

"I know what I gotta do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow, the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide will bring?"

This is one of my 'Gratitude Girls', you can find others in my ETSY shop 'creekart'.