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You Get What You Give

This past year,when I’m creatively stuck, and need to feel the gratitude of the gift of the greater than me world, I’ve gone to the craft room and made cards to give away. I started this movement last Fall. This year, people’s gift exchanges put me in the gifting mode. I’d ask people to give me their addresses and I’d then send something hand-made, maybe a few trinkets or stickers or candy or decorations I have around.

A delivery of thoughtfulness puts your brain out into the larger world to appreciate. This practice is so healing to me because it’s being selfless and it seems to be the best excuse for me to create. And lastly, not that I really counted on this, but it’s turning the love around which is being delivered back to me. Friendship is the most precious gift ever and I am a lucky wealthy woman this month and this year.

A really sweet card from a friendship I gained through last years faraway friends card send out surprised me with one with such an affirming message inside about why we get along . That about made my month Homemeade card from Shannon on Shalavee.com

Then there was a hand-made card made especially for me back from a new friend from Instagram.

Package from Christel on Shalavee.com

And a package of goodies from Germany from yet another new friend, including her artwork cards, who had given me such a gift some time ago just by telling me my voice of my creative journey inspired her. Christel really was the first person who’d put their finger on my continued “why” in blogging. Because being me gives me hope. And hope and friendship and kindness are really what matter to me. I sent her this array of goodies and almost thought it got lost in the mail.Chris's presie on Shalavee.com

And this was the fabulous post I was then rewarded with.

“YEAH, your sweet package arrived today @shalaghhogan! Thank you so much for your kind words on your beautifully handmade butterfly card. I loved all the nice details while unwrapping all your lovely gifts: a handmade garland, candies, and a toy car and those glittering robots (Nico loves them!)… You made our day! So good to have (understanding) IG-Friends For those who do not know: @shalaghhogan read about this idea to send a surprise letter/package to 5 friends just to spread joy and maybe to receive joy again.”

I now have a friend named Chris who lives in Munich. How lucky ? And she has a friend who lives in Maryland. How lucky are we ?

At first, as I watched all the love between everyone back and forth on Instagram, I felt left out. And then I realized that we often have to invite ourselves to the party we want to join. And then, when I began to feel a part of it because I had joined in the gratitudinal giving, I enjoyed watching the posts and the hopeful notes and thankfulness that the giving was giving back. Weird how that works but it just does.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My Ugly Duckling Story

There’s a story I’ve been telling myself for a very long time. And the story centers around how I don’t belong. I’m the oddball, the ugly duckling. The artist. That I’m too …whatever… to be included.

And everyone must already know that I’m unworthy of their acceptance and admittance and that’s why I am alone. It circles and sits in my soured stomach and perpetuates my feeling of solitary condemnation.

Except when I believe this, I also create this. I keep myself from acceptance of or into social grouping situations. I’ll reject them before they reject me I suppose. I’ve uniqued myself right out of their reindeer games.

Self-fulfilling prophecy had me choosing to not be involved and included and then I’d feel alone. I have truly felt stabbing soul pains over this one and I refuse to take part in this anymore. I outed myself wonderfully in my post I Am What I Am.

In unforeseen ways, two recent situations have both disproved and further qualified this self-inflicted unworthiness theory. One was the high school reunion I attended and the other was the blog conference I attended.

First, long story short, I didn’t get to choose my high school situation, it was chosen for me. And I attended a private girls school until I was deemed unworthy of the tuition and was then pulled out after 10th grade. I’d spent four years with these young women getting periods, boyfriends, in trouble, and good and bad grades. And I found myself outed. It was something that I had nightmares about even after I graduated from college. The ousting scarred me and I felt less than, displaced, and unwanted.

Fast forward 30 years and here comes our High School reunion. Even though I didn’t graduate, there was a generous invitation for me to join and I gladly accepted. I knew that attending this function would erase my years of bad mojo and reconnect me with the women we’d become. And I was right.Ugly Duckling on Shalavee.com

The other perspective changer was my attendance to the Blog U conference in Baltimore in 2014. Lovely campus, really interesting stories of blogging success, met a couple really kind women, and came away wanting to soooo fit in with them. I tried to keep an open mind in the Facebook group and repeatedly submitted my writing to the Huffington post as we were encouraged to. But I spent a year feeling really disconnected, wanting to be accepted, and ironically feeling more rejected than ever.

Surely my writing sucked. This just didn’t make me feel good. And then I stopped and realized, they were not my tribe. These lovely talented women were not talking about subjects I felt truly drawn to and jazzed about. And when I told my therapist that I thought maybe I’d been setting myself up for rejection, she agreed and here’s why she said. Because you write deep stuff. And most people don’t do deep. They do shallow. Except if it’s about a trauma. And so I stopped trying to be a part of a group and be a person that just didn’t feel like me.

These are huge realizations for me and help me to resolve my ugly duckling story and syndrome once and for all. First, I was responsible for dis-including myself in the first situation until I included myself and reconnected with me. And secondly, don’t ask for the wrong things from the wrong people. You have to ask yourself what part you play in the situation before you can make a choice as to how to resolve it.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Gazpacho

We grew up with this blended raw vegetable “soup” and I adore it. My twist is to add shrimp as well as the croutons and extra chunks of vegetables. There’s a sort of ceviche vibe this way and makes it more of an appetizer. Sweet chunks of Crab would be fab too.

I chuckled to myself the other day when I realized I was doing that raw vegetable thing and didn’t feel like a weirdo. Eating this is like having a salad to fill you up without all that pesky chewing. The recipe follows.

Happy Summer Eating! (more…)

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