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Currently Browsing: Daily Shalagh

Connection and Contribution : Creative Spurt

In the past 6 months, my creative involvement in my life has grown wings and taken flight. At some point I set an intention to be actively involved in whatever creative challenges came along. And they came along. And I said yes. Being mindful of what I need had given me way more opportunities than I expected.

My food styling challenge on Instagram for Shalavee.com

Instagramming

For instance, joining the social medium of Instagram has introduced me to a new and group of creative people. Games and challenges occur often there. Where I was terrified I didn’t know the rules in that world, I dared myself to play along anyway. I produced pictures and tagged people and then I took up another challenge. And then another. Progressively I felt more comfortable with my picture-taking and my socializing. My shyness has dissipated and I’m being myself. The pictures for this post are from a styling challenge I participated in.

colorful for Instagram challenge on Shalavee

The Opportunity List Continues

This is what he rest of my creative challenges and life looked like. I was invited to paint the rocking chair for the Humane Society charity fundraiser which will be held in May. I was interviewed for a piece about bloggers. I wrote and spoke publicly on the creativity and the process of flow. I wrote an article for a bridal supplement. I have written some steep pieces for my Bold Brilliant Beautiful You Project. And then the participation invitation I was hoping for came in an email.

Creative tools for my Instagram styling challenge on Shalavee.com

We Are the Contributors

I was invited to participate as an art contributor in the We Are the Contributor’s 3rd project. Creatives Sandra Harris and Melanie Biehle conceptualized an online visual project where many artists produce art based on a prompt. Here’s their first project.  I was secretly hoping I’d be invited. I’d participated in their quick creative challenges hoping to prove I was capable of bigger badder art. And how thrilled, and then panicked, I was to be asked. An initiation of a sort to graduate me into an artist’s realm.

Desk top for Instagram Styling Challenge on Shalavee.com

The We Are the Contributors project results will be published on April 17th and my post about my piece and the creating process will be here on the blog on Friday, April 18th. Taking the pictures of the final project to send off proved the hardest part and I felt proud of all my efforts. Really proud. Risking is risky.

Versatile Blog Awards

I am proud to say, I was nominated for the Versatile Blog Award. It’s a non-award from a good online friend and I am beyond flattered. Only two years ago, I longingly looked through the window of the online community and thought I would never make such lovely friendships as I saw people creating. And then my lone cowgirl self rode into town, hung around like a pooch waiting for food and a scratch. Eventually, I became a part of the scenery.
stairs to a house no longer there from Shalavee.com
I connected with several fellow new bloggers after the first Decor8 online Blogging Your Way workshop. Women who were new and feisty like me and funny and figuring it out. Among them, Jane Barry of The Curious Love of Green . She lives in Ireland and I share with her a love of food, writing, of creativity,  mothering, and maintaining the home fires. She is wry and driven and I was so flattered when she offered out to me a crowning and bestow-ment of the of Versatile Blog Award. Thanks so much for thinking of me Jane, even if it is maybe one of those non-award awards. The reverence from you means more than words.
After linking back to my bestower, Jane’s next instructions were to then share 7 random facts about myself.
1)  My pinkie toenail is more like a glob that I file down to a flat surface to paint.
2)  I never owned a car when I lived in the city. My first car was ‘Bessie’ the the 1980 Chevy brown truck we bought at a Delaware car auction to haul debris from our new house renovation 12 years ago when I was 35 maybe.
3)  I blew renewing my driver’s license in a timely fashion and had to retake both the written and driving tests in 2012 to get it back. A most  humbling experience detailed in a three part series.
4)  The first middle and last letters of my name Shalagh are my initials, SLH.
5)  I don’t know how to type. Surely there’s a computer tutorial I should be using to learn how to considering I do a lot of writing.
6)  At my wedding, I sang a song I wrote when I was a teen about a river to my husband a cappella for his present. In front of all our guests.
7)  I refuse to shop at Wal-mart. I do not appreciate or respect the way they treat their employees and so I practice conscious consumerism.

One way sign from Shalavee.com
And Lastly, I must complete the process by then passing on the award to 13 other versatile bloggers. So here are 13 blogging gals whom I have the highest regards for.
Amanda Warton at The Eastern Bay 
Kathy Bosin at The Chesapeake Journal
Marg Hogan at Destination Here and Now  
Sandra Harris at Raincoast Creative Salon  
Suzonne Stirling of Urban Comfort 
Lauren Keim of Still + Life 
Sheri Silver of Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt
Sabrina Wolfe of Wolves In London 
Jennifer Mullin at the Fiery Redhead
Heather Serody at Big Girl Life 
Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose
tulip tree in the morning on Shalavee.com
And even if the award stops here, being that it is one of those kind of non-award admirational awards, I hope these women know that I am a devoted reader and lifetime supporter and friend to each of them. I love to write and I love to be read. Did I mention Jane is just finishing her draft of her book? Think I’m busy?

It’s a Spring Thing

A couple of weeks ago, Winter began to expand its boundaries into some mythical time warp, like the last week of a pregnancy.Reality can be cruel. I used to say that by the time any season has officially arrived, we’ve already experienced enough of the upcoming telltale weather to believe it’s truly here. We’ll have a lovely couple days preview of warm weather for Spring and that enables us to put up with the rest of the ridiculous blowy cold stuff. This year, nature made me and my little saying untrue and ridiculous.

Not only did I become an unwitting liar, I also began to feel like a girlfriend of a compulsive liar. But you said you’d never snow again?! I couldn’t bear to hope anymore. Trapped inside my house with a befuddled toddler (she keeps pointing to outside the window), I was forced to endure more Winter masquerading as Spring. For inspiration and a dry happy experience on the last rainy cold Sunday in March, we adventured out with girlfriends to Homestead Gardens, an indoor plant place and decor extravaganza showplace. Then finally, Fiona and I grabbed a stroll last week in search of a nap and some proof that Spring may actually be here despite my cynicism.

spring walk

 Homestead Gardens from Shalavee.com

Ranunculus at Homestead Gardens from Shalavee.com

Homestead Gardens on Shalavee.com

Homestead Gardens on Shalavee.com

Homestead Gardens on Shalavee.com

The following are the shots I took with my phone on our stroll, squinting in the sunlight and not even knowing if I’d gotten what I was shooting at. I love the volunteer pansy with the weeds in the bricks.

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Weed flowers from It's A Spring Thing from Shalavee.com

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Grass tufts for It's A Spring Thing on Shalavee.com

fence and vine shadow from Shalavee.com

 

crocuses from It's a Spring Thing on Shalavee.com

Daffodils from It's A Spring Thing on Shalavee.com

Hyacinths from It's A Spring Thing on Shalavee.com

I forgave Spring enough to take pictures but Mark, my husband, is the only one with enough hope to want to garden. Babies prohibit me from having my former enthusiasm for gardening I once had. Hard enough keeping the little being alive without fretting over whether the other stuff is dying. We’ve had some bad luck several years in a row. My rosemary and my rose-bush seem to have been sacrificed to this past Winter. Once burned, twice shy.

Another day outside today.

Fiona in the backyard from Shalavee.com

My Name Was Shame

Private, Keep Out

There’s an understanding amongst family that we don’t talk about that. “That”means subjects surroundeing such feelings of shame that uttering the reminder is like stabbing and slapping someone simultaneously. Private, keep out. Not my hair shirt to launder.

old house from Shalavee.com

We must respect people’s claims to their shames. They have experienced them and it’s just understood it’s theirs not yours. Until I’m included as complicit in someone’s addiction and self-hatred. Then I am infuriated by this request of silence.

old house from Shalavee.com

Mine To Tell

Often the only choice in this situation is to either not be around this person and/or tell them you hate seeing them unhappy and you’ll say it every time you see them. Or to tell your own story of shame. This is mine.

old house from Shalavee.com

I walked into the Police Station to file the report. The building was a beautiful Victorian Gothic behemoth ill-fitted with modern office accommodations. And my legs felt like lead. Hi, I’m here to file a report for spousal abuse, where do I need to go? Here’s the form, sit there.

old house from Shalavee.com

Like having my soul and body trapped in tar, I was so slow and crushed trying to slog through. The shame was heavier than anything I’d ever felt. The police officers wouldn’t help me the night of the incident because, their words, typically abused women do nothing to follow-up their claims. I needed to go to the station and waste someone else’s time.

There I was, permanently recording for posterity, that I had married an abusive man and then continued to allow this man to verbally and physically assault me.  My name was Shame. After what seemed a century of writing out the details of a couple of events that brought me here, my leaden legs carried me out of the police station that day too.

Growth among the ruins from Shalavee.com

It would be some time before the marriage would end. He was later arrested for not showing up for his rehabilitation at the House of Ruth. I bailed him out of this too even though I said I never would. It’s not over til it’s over. Or you’re over it. Only when I finally owned my choice to be a victim did I then have the power to choose to leave. Cutting your losses can be the hardest choice ever. And I never wanted to look back. Not until I knew that doing so would mean something. As my baby girl just turned one, it means a lot. Only in owning my bad choices, can I model choosing better ones.

Playtime

As children, we learn numerous other essential life skills from play. We learn how to get along with others and how to practice self-control lest we lose our playmates due to a tantrum. And play makes us happy. So, is it surprising that happiness has been linked to success? I suppose you can be successful without being happy (Donald Trump) but are you enjoying the success?

A successful happy life is also linked with humor because laughter is a direct antidote to pessimism and discouragement. So to attempt to lead a successful life, it would seem we need to start shopping from the happiness aisle. And if that means playing more, so be it.

 dog pillow on couch from Playtime post on Shalavee.com

According to Dr. Alan Marlatt of the University of Washington, if we make the play activities ‘shoulds’ and not ‘wants’, “We run the risk of burn-out and turn to alcohol and other chemical substances to give us relief that we get from play”. Um, yes.

Play activities need to be “want” activities and not “should” activities. And I can say I have spent so very much time stuck in the “But I need to get this done and I should accomplish that before I let myself play” section of that other aisle. Such a habit of wanting to accomplish but not realizing I no longer valued fun and lived in a constant state of boredom, continual hard labor, and adultness. Until recently when I have discovered Creative Flow and am Connecting the Dots of creative self.

 Fiona and Mr Crackers from Playtime post on Shalavee.com

What kind of parent would I be if I did this to my children. Even as a farmer with multiple children, if I needed to till the garden and plow the fields and rethatch the roof, I would still need to cut those laborers some slack to get their yayas out. Because that’s what you do.

In my graduation to adulthood, I forgot what it was like to be a child. To play and learn and wonder and add to the world I am in. I became subsistence girl. Survival mode keeps you alive alright. But it is our destiny to do more than just survive. We have the gift to live and thrive and grow.

jammling on that xylophone from Shalavee.com

So I vow to give myself way more time to play. Whatever that means and however I can make that happen. Play is more important than I have ever given it credit. And so is happiness. Happiness is all it’s cracked up to be.

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