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Jane Said

We “met” during an online blogging course given by Holly Becker of Decor8.  I think I have a sixth sense for fellow Virgos and her familiar passion for creating, cooking, and mothering felt like home. Mostly, she’s honest and sweet and I am always excited to see what the next step she’s taking with her blog. Because she’s fearless and very impressive.

Meet Jane Gilheaney Barry, blogger and creator at That Curious Love of Green and Momma living in County Leitrim in North West Ireland. I am always impressed and inspired by her. For her tenacity to write a book in the wee hours of a winter with little ones in the house. And to pick up painting and driving within the same year. We are both proud late bloomers and have embraced so many of the same growth and creative concepts within the same time period.  We both had no idea what blogging would gift to us. One of those gifts was connections with other bloggers around the world. Back when I was pregnant, we even Skyped once without sound. She was charming as heck in that long distance live silent movie moment. As her then 2-year-old fished into her purse she typed, “oh was that my new lipstick. Oh well.” But that I could have heard that fabulous accent too.

Peruse her site and you’ll find her very honest and open. From her journey of creative self-discovery to her love of cooking, country, family, and farming, she’s a delight to know, or stalk. And her pictures of her beautiful daughters and house are candid and charming too.

Recently, in this post she wrote called Even More Books,  Jane responded to a comment by a woman named Melissa with the kindest most enthusiastic and truthful response to a stranger that I was moved to share this on my blog. This is what we do as human beings, lift one another up with our experiences. I may not see what I do for others but I saw this and felt lucky to have done so.

Dear Melissa,

I’m what you might call ‘truly artistic’ and it took me 39 years to really get started. I’d say I was the same as you, writing and drawing as a child and so on. I truly believe everyone is creative and some uber so. From what you describe you’re in the ‘uber’ camp, no doubt in my mind. For years the most creative thing I did was cooking too, and before that dressing, the days when I had a bit of cash. And all times I felt these things you feel and I knew I wanted to write, to paint but I just did not know HOW to do it.
That idea, ‘if you are creative you will create no matter what,’ is not as clear-cut as it seems. In one sense you already ‘are’ creating no matter what, the cooking, the searching, in your ideas and the way you think I’ll bet. But it’s not enough and you know that, like I knew that. My problem was I had no frame of reference for these things. I just did not know HOW to write or paint, where to start.
My best decision was starting the blog, that leap was the trigger I needed. Once I began I felt I had to blog at least once a week. I wondered what I’d ever find to write about but quickly found once I sat down the words came!

Then the terror of sharing, of putting myself out there, being vulnerable, oh the fear! But then that got easier. Then I noticed a style start to emerge, who knew! Each new discovery, each step took me further, to wider reading on the subject, to greater immersion in art in general, the list goes on.Jane in her library on the curious love of green from shalavee.com

Then the big one, the idea for the book and I knew now to trust it, to just go where it lead. When I started, terror! I froze, the seeming impossiblity, the sheer scale of it. Melissa, I forced myself. A strict rule of, at first 300 words a day, eventually up to 1000, in other words commitment, work. Then, the magic really started. I won’t go into it here as this is already so long I’ll just say as I’ve said here many times before, that writing the novel, trusting that process was what made me brave enough to start painting with the month-long daily PUBLIC challenge. The difference was this time I knew what to do, just start, commit, keep going. I refused to miss even one single day and the experience was out of this world, life changing.
Now I’ve definitely gone on enough about myself but my point is that NOW I will create no matter what. If I’m not writing I’m thinking about writing or still writing, only in head. I will find a way to write every day and do. This is because I ‘started’ committed, built a habit, felt the magic and then boom, obsession!
You have to find a way to make space for your creativity in your life, this is HARD for an adult! As Ken Robinson said,

‘Creativity is like many natural resources, buried deep.’

But once you start to take it seriously and give it time and space in your day you will find yourself in that place where you will create no matter what and it will help with the stresses too.
If you would like to send me something via email …(you are) welcome. One last thing. I think a lot of the time we are so concerned about not being good enough, we think we should be great from the start and of course we hope we have this potential, that’s natural. The sad thing is it stops people just out of the gate. This happened me hundreds of times, if only I’d had the knowledge to put all those hundreds together!

Now I hope and fully intend to be a great writer, of course, I’m thinking if I write every day for the next, oh five years without fail I will get there.
So you have started! That is wonderful! Most people never do. Keep going! Build a wall of positive thinking around you, blast every negative thought that you can’t or you’re not good enough with this thought ‘But I’m doing it,’ or, another favourite of mine,

‘Every negative thought is a lie’

I use that one a lot.
Finally, I really mean finally this time! There is another reward, that is you become enchanted with the process, not the goal. It is the work you will love. The joy really is in the journey. I sincerely hope this helps, write any time , I would love to hear how it all goes, I’m excited for you! You’re in such an exciting place.

Love Jane xox

Of course, I was brave and made sure I said Bravo to all of this. Because when something hits home, you should shout “Yeah!” And then the lovely woman to whom she wrote responded. And I quickly grabbed that and put it here. I certainly hope she doesn’t mind but I feel as if I witnessed a lovely gift exchange and I wanted to share.

Jane, thank you so much for taking the time to respond with such caring thought and kindness. I continue to be amazed by you! Shalagh is so right, I am indeed lucky to have found you Jane. I am inspired by your multi talent and also your kindness. Wow, I needed to hear those words, they resonate with me at a very deep level. You’ve definitely given me something to think about. I appreciate the invitation to write to you so much, it means a lot, more than I can adequately express in words.

<3 Thank you.

If you like my creativity, positivity, and wonder, you’ll love Jane as well. I suggest you visit her Facebook page where she has developed a great following and is endlessly posting lovely pictures and thoughts and encourages people to share their creativity on Fridays. She really is an incredible inspiration. And I am flattered to be considered a friend.

More posts from That Curious Love of Green that make me marvel

The Artists Way – A Book Review

Feed Four for One Week 45.40 Euros

Chapter 1 of My Book – Read it Now

Corraleehan

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 or Pinterest 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.

Weeding My Garden

This weekend was a glump of happy life happenings. It was a Mother’s Day weekend of wonderful gifts. My cooking hiatus started Thursday so carry out food it was for three nights in a row. Usually this would bother me. Not this weekend.

Caitlin and Fiona on Shalavee.comOur surrogate daughter Caitlin visited Friday and she and everyone else but me and Fiona went to see a local high school production. Instead, Fiona and I watched Follow That Bird, the Big Bird movie from the 80’s. Sweet. And then came Saturday, the day I’d been patiently awaiting. My gardening relief crew showed up as planned. The Uber Weeder on Shalavee.com

My garden story is a story of overwhelm and give up. But it was also a story I hated telling. So I asked for help from two women who I knew would bring it on strong. The uber-weeder and the disciplinarian/transplanter. I am so cheered and encouraged by their presence in my life and my garden. Hope has returned. And these are the thoughts that bubbled up for me on life and gardening. Ajuga takes over on Shalavee.com

Everyone’s got a life garden they are tending. The original garden plan is created in the family you grow up with but sometimes the major focal plants are just not what you want or need in your garden in your adult life. One person’s rose is another’s thorny weed. And so it’s up to you to decide which dreams and efforts are worth keeping and making the effort for and which need to be summarily yanked from that bed and tossed ceremoniously over the precipice. The Boobis Garden

Sometimes in my garden I’ll continue to coddle plants that needed the boot long ago. I’m a laissez faire gardener. Sometimes I make so much effort only to have half the garden get nuked by two freakish years of spring frost. Sometimes, we don’t want to make the effort unless we know it’s the perfect height and color plant in the perfect micro-climate in the perfect soil and light. Perfection is also a garden killer. And a life thwarter. Nothing grows if it’s not planted.New plants to kill on Shalavee.comBut most of the time you are taking a gamble on every single choice you make in the garden and your life. Once you expect the unexpected, you can start to hedge your bets. You’ll make good friends with people who have gardens and who have the sort life they can advise you on creating. You get medieval on the weeds and the negative influences in your life. And you keep your eye on the prize, your hands in the dirt, and you keep on digging, goaling, and doing. Awaiting my garden help on Shalavee.com

My garden is nothing like I’d like it to be. And yet, I am beginning to see my garden and my life not as a product but as a process. A learning process. Not as a destination but an adventure. My perception of how things are going is the only control that I have. The quality of my garden is both mine to make and to choose to then see. So I begin again. Enjoying the small moments, seeking some bigger ones to take root. And not trying to overachieve while I still have a wee Fiona ensconced in my soul and my time. All in good time.

(The story of my lovely mother’s day weekend will be another upcoming post. Talk atcha then.)

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 or Pinterest 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.

A Fond Farewell

I saw my dear friend Janet. She looked tired, older, sad. Where there is always a light shining from her, it was dark. I asked how she’d been and she told me she’d lost her dear friend and companion Toby. And I said, “I’m so sorry”, I hadn’t known. I would have shown up, sent a card.

Toby was her furry four-legged friend. He was her daily purpose, her constant companion after her children had flown from the nest. And he had been suffering from a cancer that eventually caused a suffering which she was compassionate enough to alleviate him from.

The veterinarians thanked me when I put my cat Butthead to sleep. He was drowning inside his own lungs from congestive heart failure which is what my father-in-law lost his battle with last May a year after Butthead. Miss Janet said she wished she could have been able to ease her own Mother’s suffering so long ago when she’d asked her to.

We stood there and contemplated why we were incapable to make those compassionate decisions when our loved ones are suffering. Either incapable of coming to terms with saying a final farewell to our dear pets to make a compassionate decision or having laws which will not permit us to euthanize human beings when they ask. We wish there were other ways, other choices besides the ones we are given. Because each of us will face these decisions. We’ll be confused and angry when we must. But we must.

I think, why would anyone get another pet after each and every one of our inevitable losses? But I know how incredible a pet’s selfless unconditional love feels. How almost unworthy we feel to have it bestowed upon us. Such bottomless trust, it makes us super-beings. And we recommit to this again and again knowing that, what we receive in the short time we are allowed to love them, is a whisper of infinity and transcendence and peace. That which we then gift back to them with our compassion at their life’s ending.

For the many broken hearts from lost loved ones I have learned of recently, I grieve for your loss too. And I know you are better for knowing them. There will never be another Toby, who liked very much to root through my purse in search of gum to steal, but there will be other lovers and friends to know. And I know Toby would approve.

Cherish the Darkening Days

The darkening days draw us in. Into groups around fires with food and laughter,

we are reminded on one holiday and then another throughout the Winter that we have meaning.

Fiona and Joyce on shalavee.com

We are loved as human beings and sisters and daughters and Mothers.

Eamion and Fiona at Grammy's on Shalavee.com

As we gather with our families and our friends and we count with them the purposes and connections we have in our lives, we are inwardly focused on our basic needs. Mary Beth and Robert for dinner on shalavee.com

Those of community and hope and love.

Eamon and Caitlin on shalavee.com

And when you add pie and gravy to all of this, it is as close as one can get to heaven without buying a ticket.

Remember those you have lost and cherish the ones remaining even harder.

Happy Thanksgiving Lovely People!!!

Blog Suicide

Don’t stop me if I’ve told you this because I’m going somewhere different with it today. A thoughtful and somewhat sad place but I can’t stop thinking about it.

I started blogging with truly no clue about blogging. I did it because someone I knew said I should. I’d never really even read a blog. And I just began. What’s followed is a lot of blood, sweat , and tantrums.

I have stayed the course though and am glad I did because of the growth I have experienced both as a writer and as a human being who needed to prove my worth and the value of human connection. But you don’t get to enjoy the lessons unless you go the distance.

This can be a very solitary practice. So many sources of input vying for your attention that I feel lucky if anyone reads my blog. Please don’t feel bad that you don’t comment either. Those that can do. Purposes of entertainment are personal to everyone. And I can remember being reluctant to comment once too.

I have been online now long enough to see some of my fellow bloggers discontinue their blogging. One gal got a full-time job. Two just sort of stopped publishing posts and show up to “like” something every once in a while. But the one that upset me the most was a gal who I almost met this past Summer at the Blog U conference. She committed blog suicide.

I was just about to write a piece on how upset I was about her abrupt disappearance when Robin Williams took his life. And the death of this wonderful and beloved man seemed too tragic to even use the word suicide in any other context. But I do feel a kind of concern for this gal’s welfare and here’s why.

There’s a community here online and when you connect with people, they’re just like the people you know from your everyday life. Like your mail carrier or your bus driver. They make you happy when they chat with you. But then what if you heard them start to say that you were so pretty and that they could never consider themselves pretty. Or that you were smart and they just knew they were dumb. And then one day they were missing from their job permanently.

This gal praised me and I was so flattered but I felt that shift into implosion. Suggestions of unhappiness and unworthiness and anxiety. And then wham, she was missing. She had deleted her blog address and all of her social media outlets. I wanted to scream out, why? One of ours was gone. Many of us new bloggers have felt that wavering doubt of that first year of blogging. I understand low self-esteem so well. I comprehend comparing myself to other bloggers and writers (and designers) and feeling crappy about me. And I guess I am reminded again of how I love doing this and how tenuous our bonds with others really are.

So Jean, if you are still reading my blog, know that I heard your distress and felt absolutely powerless to help you. I did notice you go missing. I am not a more talented a blogger or writer or mother than you are. I hope that you and your children are well and looking forward to a happy holiday season. And that if you ever needed an ear or anything I have to give you, I am still here. Imprisoned in this box but also out in the world contributing my soul and gathering happiness anyway I can.

Sincerely,

Shalagh

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