Be in Love with your Life

 

Lately, I’ve been feeling rather blue and sullen .  It’s like I have some kind of green sticky slime all over my skin that no matter how determined my scrubbing, I never seem to get the “ick” off.  At times I feel cursed, while at other times I feel like maybe the slime is materializing from my own doings.  Either way, it doesn’t really matter how it got there.  As goes the wise ancient saying, “it’s not that you suffer, it’s how you suffer”.  So, let’s look at my situation; I’m being swallowed daily by a relentless, sticky, slimy parasite that seems to be draining me of my life so it can get stronger.   What is one to do when the proverbial sponge isn’t  scrubbing the skin clean?  One must learn that if you can’t cleanse the outside of the body there is no choice but to cleanse the inside of the body.  The parasite can sit there trying to enter my skin, but I must take care of myself from the inside out so  the parasite drops off.  Diving into spirituality has helped me to cleanse my spirit, mind and heart.  Listening to kind music, such as Jewel’s, “I’m Sensitive”, has been a small blessing as well.  Continuing to nourish my body helps, and drinking  generous amounts of water.  Walking in nature and interacting with my pets has been a purging all in itself.

Depression; is the ugliest kind of parasite.  And I believe that is the name of my parasite.  But it is also people in my life who I feel are also parasites, suckling off of my blood for reasons unbeknownst to me.  Jewel subtly begs, “Be careful with me.  I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way”.  I wish I could paint these lyrics unto a neon colored banter and then hold it up for the entire world to see.  In a way, asking the world to “take it a bit easy on me”.  But in away that is insulting myself.  Why should I be pampered?  When I face challenges in life I always ask, “Why me?” I ponder for a minute and then think to myself, “Why not me?  I can handle it”.  I guess all pain inflicted from someone else, really is just inflicted from myself.   I think it’s okay to arm yourself with a shield once in awhile and say to yourself, ” I will not let anyone get through my shield and I will not let anyone hurt me”.  I AM WARRIOR AMY, CONQUER OF THIS MIND, THIS HEART, THIS BODY, THIS SOUL.  NO ONE GETS TO HURT ME BECAUSE I WILL NOT LET THEM.  I AM A FIGHTER AND I WILL WIN THIS BATTLE VICTORIOUSLY!   WOOOORAAAAA!!!!!!  🙂

Today, I came across a beautiful quote, “Be in love with your life.  Every minute of it”.  Brilliant.  I need to say that quote to myself every morning I wake up!

In other Amy News… I was looking through my jewelry box this week and came across an old folded up paper.  I opened it up and vaguely remembered it.  On the paper was a gorgeous poem written by a man in the 1920’s.  I have no idea where I obtained this poem, I mean literally, I have no idea if I got a hold of it in Hawaii or San Diego.  But I’ll share it with you now even though I do not remember this paper’s origins:

“Desiderata

–written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920’s–

Not “found in Old St. Paul’s Church”!– see below

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even to the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;

they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain or bitter,

for always there will be a greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,

for the world if full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals,

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love,

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,

it is a perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,

be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life,

keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.   Strive to be happy.”

  And that is all the paper has to offer.  A beautiful poem from a wise man, long ago, basically boasting about the great balance that must be maintained through out life.  It is a sweet ode.

Another little gem I found, was this morning, a model opposing “Forever 21’s” problematic body image of women.      https://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/model-chrissy-teigen-says-forever-21-has-a-body-image-problem-203647387.html  I couldn’t agree more with this articles take on the brand.  I really wish to fight self worth issues that women face on a daily bases.  Whether women are put down relating to “barefoot and pregnant” issues, “get your butt in the kitchen and fix me a sandwich” issues, “your body has to look exactly like this model to be considered beautiful” issues, sexual issues, victim issues… all of it.  But I haven’t figured out yet how to help women.  But I’ll get it figured out.

I suppose that is all I have to offer on this day in Virginia Beach.  Much love from my computer screen to yours and please take care!  ❤

 

The Place of the Beauties

 

01

  In ancient Egypt (ancient Thebes to be exact; modern day Luxor) there was a place where queens lived called, “The Place of the Beauties” .  I thought it only apropos to name this blog post, “The Place of the Beauties” because it will serve as my ode to some of the worldwide women I admire.  There are hundreds of women, if not thousands, of women I admire; but the ones I chose for this post are women that anyone can have access to.  They are women of folklore, mythology, cinema and real women surviving and struggling for their lives and that of their families or other women.  Here is my place for some of the world’s “beauties” to be honored… not a place that acts as a playground for spoiled pharaohs… but an electronic shrine to women who are fighting, surviving, inspiring… everywhere in the world.

The Place of the Beauties

Here are the Beauties in all their glory in no specific order:

Linor Abargil

Linor Abargil

1.  Linor Abargi:In 1998, an 18 year-old Linor Abargi from Israel, was crowned Miss World in a World Pageant.  That’s not why she made this list.   Only six weeks prior to being crowned, then Miss Israel, was brutally abducted and raped in Milan, Italy while attending pageant business.     But that isn’t why she made this list either.  She makes this list because of the work and travel she has since done because of a beautiful passion to heal victims of rape.  She has traveled all over the world, doing motivational speaking to rape victims but also to create awareness of rape survivors.  Her documentary, “Brave Miss World” is intense, inspiring, heart wrenching and eye opening.  I advise that one watches this documentary with a strong constitution and a box of tissue.  It is blunt and it doesn’t hold back on rape accounts and stories.

"Brave Miss World" documentary

“Brave Miss World” documentary

Christy Turlington

Christy Turlington

2.  Christy Turlington: You may know Christy Turlington as an international super model.  Of course that isn’t why she made my list of honorable women.  She made it because she is an advocate for maternal health through the humanitarian advocacy; “CARE” (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere).   She is also the ambassador for “Product Red”, which is a global fund to raise awareness to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.   In Turlington’s documentary, “No Woman No Cry: Every Mother Counts” the humble super model visits slums, villages, and low income areas to show what women with no money must go through just to bring their child into the world.  It is of course inspiring and heroic, but also touching and sorrowful.  It reminds the watcher even in the 21st century how dangerous child bearing still is and even more so for women in under developed countries and even for poor women in the richest countries.  This documentary is a must see for everyone; especially for women.

"No Woman No Cry"

“No Woman No Cry”

Shot from "Penelope" movie

Shot from “Penelope” movie

3. Penelope: Third on the list is a little bit silly but no less important for it deals with a women’s self image.  This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart because of course, as a woman, I deal with tremendous grief and agony when it comes to my own self image.  The media portrays women as walking, talking, living Barbie dolls, and Honey, that just ain’t me.  It’s not only not me, but no real woman out there except for maybe the occasional freak of nature  super model, looks like a Barbie doll (not mentioning plastic surgery junkies).  The 2006 film, “Penelope” tells the old folk legend of Penelope, a girl who is born with a family curse, which is a pig’s snout for a nose!  Comedic, right?  True, it is a funny scenario but there is an underlying message… true beauty is the highest beauty of all.  So, what is true beauty?  A face, a nose, a pig’s snout?  Never!  A woman’s laugh, a woman’s working hands, a woman’s shed tear for another, a woman’s belly swollen with a baby, a woman’s wisdom… that’s some of what makes true beauty.   A kind word, a woman reaching out, a giddy giggle, a woman’s eyes full of life… there is no super model, flower, painting or Barbie, who can match that kind of beauty.  Look at yourself, right now.  Grab a mirror and look into your face.  What do you see?  Imperfections?  No.  Erase the “IM” part of imperfections.  You see “perfections”.  Look at your eyes.  Think about all they have seen through out their existence.   Look at your lips… think of all the lover’s they have kissed and all the cheeks or foreheads they have laid upon.  Keep going.  If you can’t do this with your face because you don’t want to grab a mirror than look at your hands right now; all the meals they have made, soil they have waded through, all the children they have touched, all the hands they have shook, all the art and beauty they have created… maybe a forehead they have petted.  You’re beautiful.  Learn to love yourself because that is the best love of all.

"Penelope"

“Penelope”

Fictional charcters, "Molly Gunn" and "Lorraine "Ray" Schleine".

Fictional characters, “Molly Gunn” and  “Ray Schleine”.

4. Fictional characters, from the movie “Uptown Girls”: I love the movie, “Uptown Girls”.  It shows that two completely different females, of completely different ages can unite and heal each other.   I chose characters, “Molly Gunn” (played by my beloved Brittany Murphy; I absolutely LOVE her) and  “Lorraine “Ray” Schleine” (played by Dakota Fanning) because at the end of the movie they break down their walls, and try to heal from the damage that is caused by the losses of both of their fathers (I wish I had watched this movie around the time I lost my own father).  Through struggle and acceptance of life’s obstacles they achieve transformation and happiness.  Now how is that not beautiful and honorable?

"Uptown Girls" movie poster

“Uptown Girls” movie poster

I hope you have enjoyed this list.  I have my own personal beauties who I come across in real life; women who I look up to and honor for one reason or the next but I wanted my list to be one that anyone can assess on their own and be able to research and come to their own conclusion if any of these “beauties” are heroic to them.   I will probably add more “beauties” in the future because there is no way my list could stop at four.  But I wanted to steal only a little bit of your time today 🙂  Have a good one… and much love from this side of the screen to yours.  ❤

I leave you with this song:

Amy’s Playlist (You Know You Got To Look Up)

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell

Music can quench a thirst that leaves us feeling full but never drunk.  You can never have too much music, you can never overdose on it yet it takes you to a higher place.  Weather the music be country,  church hymns, rap, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, international or girl anthems, music is a human connection, an emotional expression and a language completely of it’s own.   I would like to share with you some songs on various playlists I have made up over the years, on my iPods, smart phones, lap top, desk top… wherever they’re stored, I want to bring them to you!  Some songs on my playlists are inspirational songs, some are songs of stories, some are anthems, some cryptic, some fun and some run unspeakably deep because I can relate to them so much.  Most of these songs I’m going to share are positive and I’m sure you have heard of them but hopefully I can introduce or at least reintroduce you to one song.  If there is a great song or songs that are meaningful to you please share in the comments below!  Thanks!

Amy’s Playlist

Inspiration

(Not necessarily religious)

1. “This Is Your Time” Michael W. Smith-

This song was originally written to honor slain Columbine High School Victim , Cassie Bernell. It is said that when one of the shooters pointed a gun at her, he asked her if she believed in God.  Knowing she would be shot if she admitted her faith, she responded “yes” and was shot dead.  Numerous songs have been written about her including Flyleaf’s song, “Cassie”.  In 2010, the parents of murder victim, Chelsea King, used, “This Is Your Time” as an ending song to their daughter’s memorial service.  I remember at the memorial service, bag pipes blared (in the song’s ending) as thousands of San Diegans raised sunflowers (Chelsea’s favorite flower) upward to the sky to pay tribute to Chelsea.  This song always makes my heart ache but it is hauntingly poetic and beautiful.

2. “Note to God” JoJo (and cover by Charice)-

This is an important song, firstly because it is eloquently beautiful and poetically brilliant but also because of a heart touching performance that goes with it.  Pop star, JoJo, first released the song on her 2006 album “The High Road” (“Note to God” was written by Diane Warren, one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE music writers).  But in 2009, on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, 18 year-old, Charice, a pop singer from the Philippines, KNOCKED it out of the park!   Prepare yourself for goose bumps.

3. “Skinny Love” Bon Iver; (also done by Birdy and also done by Bella Ferraro)-

I first came across “Skinny Love” in 2010 when I downloaded Bon Iver’s album, “For Emma, Forever Ago”.  I LOVED it.  Then I heard Birdy’s version and I appreciated the simplicity and nostalgia of her cover.  Then I saw X Factor. A young 16 year old, Bella Ferraro changed the song for me forever.  The reason that comes to mind as to why her version beats out all the rest is because her’s was just sweeter and truer.  I don’t know how but it somehow was those two things but also it was also purer and more powerful.  It greatly helps that her voice is gorgeous and she is just so young, not just age wise but she is so innocently young!

Link to X Factor audition

4. “Hands” Jewel-

I admire and truly love folk/country/ pop singer, Jewel.  As well as successful albums, she has also put out books of poetry (“Chasing the Dawn” and “A Night Without Armor”)  that are absolute MUST READS!  On another note, “Hands” has literally helped me out of sorrowful moments of my life by shedding small streams of bright light into a dark world I was being held captive in. “I will not be made useless, or idle with despair”… simplistic, bold, powerful, beautiful and full of truth and wisdom.   With lyrics,”I am never broken” and “In the end, only kindness matters” how can it not serve as a helping hand to pull you out of your darkest moments (Pun not intended).

Fun

(Uplifting and light hearted)

1. “5 Years Time” Noah and the Whale-

Noah and the Whale offers up cheerful, sleek indie songs but “5 Years Time” is truly their best ever!  With such unorthodox approaches to this song, such as playing a recorder (the instrument) to whistling and clapping through out the song , all truly makes this song one of a kind.  It’s fun, cheery, cute and makes you want to hit the zoo with balloons (you’ll find out why when you listen to the song).

2. “Birthday” Katy Perry-

How can I make a “fun” music list and not have a Katy Perry song included?  And what’s more fun than celebrating yourself everyday, not just on your birthday?  Perry teaches that it’s okay to be weird so celebrate your oddities, every day of the week!

3. “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” Shinedown-

If you need a song to inspire you to work out, this is it!  But with that aside, this song is relateable, self-empowering and infused- no, dripping wet with adrenaline.  I love Shinedown and they rarely miss to impress.  I’ll give you an excerpt of the song,

“I’m on the front line
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
the story is just beginning
I say goodbye to my weakness
so long to the regret
and now I see the world through diamond eyes”

BOOM, baby!

Relate

(Lyrics taken from your own thoughts)

1. “What I Cannot Change” LeAnn Rimes-

This is one of those songs that makes me wonder if someone isn’t stalking me, jolting down my every emotion and every experience unto paper and than turning them into main stream songs.  This is a great song to listen to if you are feeling melancholy and down in a rut.  “I will learn to let go of what I cannot change”, this beginning to the chorus makes me think of strength and bravery in letting go of what you cannot control, accepting uncertainty and realizing your own strength.   It is incredibly brave and empowering, accepting the things you can’t change and letting go of your disappointments and expectations of what should have been.

2 “Lessons Learned” Carrie Underwood-

“There’s some things that I regret,
Some words I wish had gone unsaid,
Some starts,
That had some bitter endings,
Been some bad times I’ve been through,
Damage I cannot undo,
Some things,
I wish I could do all all over again,
But it don’t really matter,
Life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were,
Lessons learned.”

Once you accept that change is sometimes out of your control, remember that they are now lessons learned.

3. “Sad Song” Christina Perri

I’m not sure if this is really a song you should listen to when you are feeling down but it is a song I can completely unequivocally relate to.  A lot of the time, I feel myself in dire need to explain myself because, I didn’t express myself correctly to someone, so song sort of explains it for me.  The lines:

“And all you need to know is

I’m so sorry it’s not like me,
It’s maturity that I’m lacking
So don’t, don’t let me go
Just let me know that growing up goes slow”

are lines that I feel should be a disclaimer tattooed to my forehead.  “Beware: she doesn’t always know what she’s doing or means what she expresses”.  This is a song about being misunderstood, miscommunication and feeling horribly guilty about hurting someone.  We’ve all been there.

4. “Virginia Bluebell” Miranda Lambert-

“Virginia Bluebell” is another lovely song that reminds you to come out of what ever funk you’re in and raise your head up to the light.  I really get comfort from listening to this song when I am feeling blue. (No pun intended?) Lyrics below:

“Carrying the weight on the end of a limb
you’re just waitin’ for somebody
to pick you up again
shaded by a tree, can’t live up to a rose
all you ever wanted
was a silent place to grow

Pretty little thing
sometimes you gotta look up
and let the world see
all the beauty that you’re made of
cause the way you hang your head
nobody can tell
you’re my Virginia bluebell
my Virginia bluebell

Even through the snow
a flower can bloom
you just need a little push
spring is coming soon
umbrella in the rain
they’ll roll off your back
better watcha you can; realize what you have

Put a little light in the darkest places
put a little smile on the saddest faces”

I love Virginia Bluebells, they are such a beautiful flower.  I think the flower that really inspires me the most are the sunflowers; they let the light guide them.  They look up towards the sun and follow it where ever the light takes them. If you’re feeling blue, remember to cheer up buttercup, don’t be a bluebell with your head hanging low, raise your head up and be like the sunflower, with your face towards the sun.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Post it with Kindness

postnotes2

 

postnotesI was moved by a story out of Ohio, that you may have already heard, about a high school trying to cope with two suicides (both suicides were separate and unrelated).  The feedback from the high school students trying to deal with the loss of their fellow  peers has been remarkable.  A few anonymous students stuck every single locker in their high school with a post-it note that had words of encouragement written on them.  How can that not warm your heart?  Some kids are just wise beyond their years.

 

Here’s an article relaying the story:

http://www.westerncourier.com/opinions/post-its-boost-morale/article_61cee516-8384-11e3-b267-001a4bcf6878.html

 

Happy Thursday!

The Snow is Falling like I’m Falling for You

Hubby wants a snow ball fight?  I'll give him one by catching him off guard as I continue it outside... Mwahahaha

Hubby wants a snow ball fight? I’ll give him one by catching him off guard as I continue it inside… Mwahahaha

It’s snowing in Virginia Beach!  Having been raised in San Diego, and living in Honolulu the past four years, this is a momentous occasion for me!  Honestly, with the way I think, even if I had seen snow fall a million times, this would still be a momentous occasion for there is no artist or beauty like Mother Earth!  And in case you’re wondering, YES, I have seen snow before!  But!!- only a couple times before 🙂

I love gathering inspiration and motivation from anywhere and everywhere!  Even from cinematic films!  Sometimes the movie doesn’t even need to be a jaw- dropping Titanic-type movie for me to be moved, sometimes even a sweet up-lifter is much appreciated, especially in low moments.

Below, I have complied a list of films that have made me think, made me emotional, made me see the world in a wondrous light or have put a smile on my face.  I hope you take the time to check out these amiable movies on my “Light Hearted” movie list!

Light Hearted Movies:

1. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”-

This movie goes onto my list because it was cute, creative, original and it was about something everyone wants (usually), transformation.  Change for the better.  No longer choosing to be stuck at square one but making that leap of faith to try something different, something you have never done before.  Beautiful.  Simple but the message was lovely.

New release, can find it pretty much anywhere

2. “The Secret”-

In all actuality, this movie did not blow me away.  But I know it influenced so many of my friends!  At one point it felt like EVERYONE was talking about this film.  They made a lot of strong and assertive points: Think about you want, not what you are lacking.  Give the universe your longing, give it your desires instead of producing negative energy.  Good point but the rest of it just didn’t vibe with me.  It goes on here because it has changed people’s lives.

On Netflix as of January 2014

3. “DisneyNature: Wings of Life”-

This movie touched my heart and lit a light in my soul.  It was GORGEOUS!  “Wings of Life” is a Disney nature film but to call it a nature film or a wildlife film just isn’t giving it the justice it deserved.  As a disclaimer:  I am one of thos nature freaks who will stare for hours into a deserted bird’s nest so if nature isn’t a great beauty for you, it may not your think but I speculate that even if you aren’t a nature lover. you will be AMAZED by this film.  It isn’t dry or trite.  It is spectacular!

On Netflix as of January 2014

4. “Watch Nature: Animal Odd Couples”-

I can’t lie, this film made me cry.  But I always get teary eyed over inspiring animal movies.  I consider this film a MUST SEE. especially is you are an animal lover.  From this film you will learn about, yes, animal relationships that they have with each other (e.g. in one of the stories a goat led a blind horse around a farm as a sort of seeing eye dog… or seeing eye goat…) but you will also learn about life in general… it will get the wheels in your head turning, so to speak.  I highly recommend seeing this film!

On Netflix as of January 2014

5.  “Yoga Is: A Transformational Journey”-

Wait!  Don’t skip this one if you’re not active, or curious about yoga.  I have done yoga, BUT I believe that even if you haven’t done yoga or it isn’t your cup of tea, it will still be worth seeing!  This film is actually a documentary chronicling a woman’s journey in India and how she discovered yoga.  This documentary was truly inspiring and definitley motivational, in the sense it indulges you to go out and buy a yoga mat but also in the sense it gives you motivation to change your life for the better.  And what could be better than that?

On Netflix as of January 2014

6. “Moving Art”-

This movie isn’t for everyone.  In fact, it may turn out that I am the only person who enjoys this movie, HOWEVER, it was rated really well on a website that my husband was looking at the other day.  These is no narrative, commentator, no talking at all.  It’s a film that shows pictures of nature, moving to classical music.  Incredibly simple, very slow but I enjoyed it none-the-less so maybe you will enjoy it as well.  There are four different films under the “Moving Art” title: “Moving Art Forests”, “Moving Art Flowers”, “Moving Art Oceans” and “Moving Art Deserts”.

On Netflix as of January 2014

7. “Katy Perry Part of Me”-

I saved this one last because I didn’t want my movie list to suffer prejudice because of this pick.  Don’t roll your eyes at this one because even my husband liked this film (even though he found it difficult to admit).  I am a Katy Perry fan, songs like “Firework”, “Roar”, “Part of Me”, “Birthday” and dozens of others are just too good not to fully appreciate.  Her message is clear: it’s okay to be weird, it’s okay to be different, you are still special  and deserve to be loved.  Why don’t more musicians praise this message to their audiences?  As for her “Teenage Dream” , whip cream flowing out of canisters hooked to her breasts, alter ego… don’t ask me what I think because it’s beyond me.  This film starts off with fans (most are very young) explaining in private videos how Katy Perry inspired them to just be themselves.  Right then you realize that the film is off to a good start.  It is very candid regarding her divorce from then husband, Russell Brand…. but you’ll still enjoy it.  It’s raw, inspiring, moving, triumphed, exciting and at times gritty (e.g. when her husband texts her he wants a divorce she has several melt downs, like collapsing into tears right before she is to go on stage.  A must see film.

On Vudu and Amazon Instant as of January 2014

   I hope you enjoyed this compilation of inpiring, motivational and light hearted films!  I strongly recommend these movies, so if you eve find yourself, soul searching, pondering or bored, check out my list because they are worth seeing!

Snow in VB, baby!!

Snow in VB, baby!!

Now time for a weather update:  It is snowing so hard right now that the streets are blanketed in a fresh dewy ice quilt and let’s keep in mind that this is Virginia Beach, the last time it snowed here was four years ago and I don’t even think it was sticking to the ground and by tomorrow we should have 2-4 inches of snow so I am understanding why the sidewalks and road or littered with salt and why the city got the snow plows ready!!  Now to collect snow in a bowl, add cream and vanilla and have some snow cream;  great idea by the hubby!  😉 Also enjoyed an epic now ball fight during the duration of me writing this post!

                                         Happy and safe winter from beautiful Virginia!

My car is covered in snow, YAY!

My car is covered in snow, YAY!

Give Sorrow Words

Today I have been skimming through internet pages and have been coming across some pretty astounding and gorgeous pieces of art so I thought I would share it with you.    Please visit http://www.pinterest.com/saltriveramy/ to view some of  these amazing works of art!  Below are some beautiful pieces that I wanted to share as well:

(None of these are my own artwork!  Enjoy!!)

2181960_world-most-beautiful-PAINTING_620 gorgeous-women-paintings-by-svetlana-valueva-12 tumblr_le5km7i4TG1qa09sno1_500

There’s a settle simplicity that these paintings have in common yet they are striking and deep.  It’s like you can feel the artists through the paintings.  In the first painting I can almost swipe my finger through the lit up puddles pooling at the bottom of the street.

Now what I am about to say is completely off topic, but forgive me for I own a scattered brain… One of my favorite novels is, “A Movable Feast” by Ernst Hemingway.  I mention this now because over this past year I have gained a lot but have lost a lot as well.  But when you are deprived of something I believe you eventually gain something in it’s place.  When you overcome loss, you replace grief with growth, change, understanding, love, and appreciation.  When you lose, the result is to mature, to age, learn acceptance and develop methods of letting go.  I can’t form my words eloquently  like Hemingway can so I will let him explain to you, on my behalf, of what I mean by “loss”:

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Loss hurts, but remember that even as the ocean erodes the shore, the waves sculpt the rocks into something that they never were before.  Create out of loss, create something that was never there before.   Shakespeare once wrote, “Give Sorrow Words”.  Simplistic, yet striking and deep.  Give sorrow words, or give it a face made out of paint, or a voice sung from your own throat, or a feeling that is laid upon a listening ear … Maybe an observation of the changing seasons.

“Don’t Curse the darkness, light a candle” – Unknown

Pinning Up Love

"Like the butterfly, I have the strength & the hope to believe, that in time I will emerge from my cocoon... Transformed"

“Like the butterfly, I have the strength & the hope to believe, that in time I will emerge from my cocoon… Transformed”

This past Christmas, as a Christmas gift, I was given two lovely scrapbooks and scrap booking paper, so I came to the conclusion that the tickets, cards, pictures, post cards and etc., would have to be taken down from my scrapbooking memo board and put into my new scrapbooks.  That meant, the memo board hanging in my living room needed a drastic make over!  So for weeks now, I have been trying to figure out what to decorate my memo board with and for the past few days an idea has been forming.  I choose to make a “Things I love” theme for my memo board.   Today, I put up quotes, pictures that had no particular belonging anywhere, a post card, a book mark, and other pretty things that I love onto my board.    I am not 100% pleased with my results but I figured I would post what I have done this far and share my ideas about it!

Here is what came out of my idea:

The finishing product!

The finishing product!

Not too bad…

  Maybe my board just needs a few touches to it… really I believe that that is all that it needs.  Of course, I have no desire in having it come out overdone either!

I am, however, pleased with the idea of saving a little space on the board to have a daily new “pin up”.  Every day I will use this little space to share a quote, song lyric, movie line or whatever.  I’ll share with you what today’s “pin up” was…

Quote for today: "Don't give up what you want most, for what you want now"

Quote for today: “Don’t give up what you want most, for what you want now”

Don’t give up what you want most,

for what you want now”

Pretty good advice, especially for having found it online!!!

Cup of tea...

Cup of tea…

  I hope this helps you decide what to do with an unused memo board!  I got a lot of inspiration online (the quotes are from the internet)… just grab inspiration from everything you can so it can help you get your creative juices flowing!  Get inspired and then add your own “zest” to it!  Add you’re own flare, touch, talent, knowledge or whatever tool you have to your benefit!

  Sometimes creativity is something that can be applied to everyday life.  It can be small and simple but it’s intent isn’t always to receive applause or to be awarded a blue ribbon… sometimes it’s intent is more humble than that.  Maybe sometimes it’s intent is to make a smile, touch a heart, inspire a new hope or to just add a little joy to the everyday.   Sometimes, the “little things” all added up at the end of a long life are more important than we think, in the end; because it taught us to appreciate the little things and to take nothing and turn it into something.  Whimsical fun retrains are brains to have a refreshing and joyful outlook on life.

Hope this inspires something in you! 😀

I Need You like a Heartbeat!

I need you like a heart beat!

I need you like a heart beat!

Summer dinner on a rainy winter day!

Summer dinner on a rainy winter day!

On this bleak, rainy, dreary, melancholy day here in Virginia Beach, I was longing for bright cheery sunshine and toasty warm weather.  Unfortunately, that was not to be and not for awhile so I decided I would try and not take for granted another beautiful healthy day.   That was until my husband came home and told me that he had had a bad day at work and that one of his students was giving him trouble.  So, I thought to myself, “Amy, you can’t be blasé about this sullen day, you have to do something about it”.  I didn’t really didn’t know what I was to do at the time but I already had two things planned: tuna casserole for dinner and for a comforting dessert (since it is was so cold and rainy outside) corn muffins.  I already had some good things going on, all I had to do was add to them!  I decided that for dinner, I would bring in some of my own “sunshine” and “warmth”, right to the dinner table.  What I did, I’ll admit, sounds simple, and it is but that’s not the point.  The point is that if you are lacking what you want, through assertiveness you create it and that if someone is down, adding cheerfulness to their day can go a long ways!

I conjured up a few ideas: I would add light side dishes to the tune casserole, a fresh garden salad with carrots and cheese and of the liking and flaky buttery out of the oven croissants.  I took left over Autumn napkins and placed them under the forks, filled our glasses with iced tea, lit orange candles and placed a basket of red apples in the center of the table to discreetly “paint” a bit of color to our dinner.  While we ate, we played classic rock music to bring a more up lifting and energetic feel to the dinner table.  It was therapeutic and fun and above all very much needed!  It’s amazing how taking a little break from a cold, frozen, wintery day, will make you feel rejuvenated! 

   I really wanted dessert to be special, after all my husband was having a rough day, so I had to rack my brain, so to speak, on how to make dessert EXTRA special!  I had a moment of realization that my husband needed uplifting and encouraging words.  I opted to bake messages into the corn muffins (much like a fortune cookie)!  Since my husband is an instructor, I figured that as well as telling him that I loved him and cared about him, I would also include on the back of the messages,  lessons that I had learned from him.  

How I put the messages into my corn muffins:

Sweet nothings!

Sweet nothings!

I first, wrote out the messages on medium sizes of paper.

I wrote six messages, front to back, one side expressing gratitude and love, the second side telling him the things he has taught me.

Roll 'em up in foil!

Roll ’em up in foil!

Next, I folded up the messages and them folded the messages into aluminum foil (several times just to be on the safe side).

Maybe you don't need so much foil!

Maybe you don’t need so much foil!

I quickly realized that it was probably unnecessary to fold up my messages so many times in the tin foil but it is better safe than sorry and better to not have paper and ink all in the corn muffins!  🙂

My messages wrapped up like little gifts!

My messages wrapped up like little gifts!

Here are my little gifts to my husband!

Make the corn muffins!

Make the corn muffin badder!

Here's where the fun part comes in!

Here’s where the fun part comes in!

 I added the corn muffin badder to the bottom of paper baking cups, then added my message wrapped in tin foil…

Don't forget to top it off!

Don’t forget to top it off!

…then I topped off the message with another layer of badder but no too much, as so the muffin can grow in the baking cup!

And then there were six!

And then there were six!

It came out to six corn muffins with two messages each… twelve messages in all!

Pretty it up!

Pretty it up!

I broke out a fine China plate, filled it with muffins, and made apple cider!

Don't forget to warn the eater that there is a message inside!

Don’t forget to warn the eater that there is a message inside!

  See the hidden message?  It baked inside the muffin beautifully!

  My husband loved these and it brought a smile on his face that reached from ear to ear!  Of course I didn’t expect him to eat six muffins in one sitting so I ate a couple with him and when I pulled out a message I read it to him and then gave him the message to keep (he insisted I save all of the messages so he could keep them!)  We didn’t finish all of the muffins but there are plenty to make a snack for when he comes home from work tomorrow, take with him to work or we could have them for dessert again (and that would be one last thing that I need to plan for tomorrow!)

  Brightening someone’s day isn’t difficult or expensive, it is thoughtful, loving, caring and takes creativity.  Today started off as a murky, nonchalant, day but towards the end my husband and I created a few new memories for one another.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments”

– Cesare Pavese

Create for Your Health!

"Living Artfully"

“Living Artfully”

“Create for Your Health” can be in a literal sense or a figurative sense.  In this post I am mostly referring to it in a figurative sense.  Creating doesn’t necessarily mean creating a mural, a Picasso or a symphony.  I love the definition of “create”:  bring (something) into existence.  What a beautiful meaning and it isn’t even quoted from a public figure, it is simply a definition.   You can create by taking art classes, cooking classes, taking up a new hobby, by investing in tools from a hardware store or by buying supplies from a craft store, but you can create in thousands of others ways.  How?  By making a playlist on iTunes, by tucking picked flowers in the creases of your neighbor’s doors, by showing love and affection, by giving a smile to a stranger, or by just bringing something into existence.

Lately, I have been reading a terrific awe-inspiring book called, “Living Artfully” by Sandra Magsamen.  I found this book in the “self-help” section of my library but it’s not really a self-help book in the traditional sense.  This book opens you up to a new and beautiful world of how even the most simple and whimsical tasks are important and artful.  By reading this book you might even discover that you are already creative ( I know I did!).  Even slipping a Hershey kiss into your spouse’s pocket is beautiful and joyful because you are making someone’s day!  I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in putting, at least, a little joy into their lives!

Here are some of the creative ideas that I cherish:

  • Create a spa day!  Devote a day off to taking a warm luxurious bath, with salts, oils, bubbles, loofahs, calming music, candles, face masks, body scrubs, incense or anything else you can think of to create a relaxing day dedicated to who else but you!  Maybe add in a glass of wine, throw a couple towels in the dryer for a few minutes to make them warm for when you get out or invite your spouse to join you to make it all the more special!  Try new things like deep sea mud masks, a new candle or incense, or even buy yourself a spa gift basket to add new flavor!  Pamper yourself, you deserve it!
  • Create a Vacation!  I have always wanted to travel to another country and unfortunately, as of right now, it just isn’t in the budget.  No problem.  “Living Artfully” taught me that money is no obstacle because if you can’t visit the location, you can bring the location to you! Wanting to visit France?  Bring France home!  Learn to speak French through books and audio at the library or take French classes!  Learn new French recipes (and try them out!), read books on France, visit French restaurants, visit a museum that is showing French Impressionism, watch French films, listen to Edith Piaf.  Try  Escargot and frog legs, really give yourself a “touristy” or authentic (which ever you prefer) feel to your journey. Buy wines, cheese and baguettes imported from France!  Maybe after your journey through the culture, food, entertainment and learning of France buy yourself a little souvenir from France, like a beret (or something more authentic) .  There are hundreds of different ways to still experience France and you can still enjoy the comforts of home and forget all about jet lag!  Vive la France!
  • Create a “Hope Box”.  When I was in middle school I use to attend church functions all of the time and one of them was a day in the week devoted to crafts, socializing and having fun!  On one of these particular nights I learned how to make a “Hope Box”.   The idea was to take a box (I used one of my step father’s old wooden cigar boxes), decorate it and fill it with things that symbolized our hopes and dreams.  Although this box was primarily for hope, I took it a step further and filled this box with everything that I loved and thought was beautiful.  I put in flowers picked, fresh peach cores, sheets of piano music, eloquent art prints, sample bottles of my favorite perfumes,   empty lipstick tubes from much loved lipsticks, hand sewn handkerchiefs with my initials embroidered onto them (from friends who had taken the time to sew them), packets of seeds  and so on.  Whenever I felt sad or anxious I would open my beautiful “hope box” and look inside to view my little treasures in hopes that I would feel better.  I would scan over the music sheets, trace my finger tips along the groves of the peach cores, or take a whiff of my mini perfume bottles.

These are some of the ideas that I have used to create a moment of simple bliss in my life.  Not every artful thing has to be profound or award winning and sometimes the best pieces of art are the ones you find right in your own heart, voice, mind or in the company of a loved one.  Maybe you find art in the trees, flowers and breezes or maybe you create art by arranging the dinner you made beautifully on the plate you serve your family or by kissing your loved one good night before you both fall asleep.  Maybe art is in the way your dog curls up at your feet, or maybe it’s in a private prayer you give to God, for the sake of a loved one.  Art is all around you, it’s all around us, it’s community, it’s compassion, it’s love, it’s expression and it is above all achingly human.

I encourage you to find art in your world or create art around you and please comment below what your experience was and how it felt and what it meant!