Generations

Over spring break we took our Traveling Circus to see my grandma. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer)

This lady is so special. She gets me. She’s the one in my family who understands my artsy fartsy nature and how that means sometimes we color outside the lines because she’s one of us. 

She’s an artist as well. She was a writer and creator of newsletters, newspapers and hand-written letters from back in the day when you used typewriters and correction white out. She didn’t have fancy computer programs to whip up her small town paper–she and a friend produced it themselves and copied it on a thing called a mimeograph. She showed me copies and it was purple ink, people!

She discovered she was also an artist when she was about the age you start drawing social security, and since she had to make up for lost time, she painted probably close to a thousand paintings since then. Several hang proudly in my home, and there are a couple scattered in fairly prestigious places.

Grandma Ginger is funny, smart, witty, and understands that an artist needs a little mess around her to function. She’s not afraid of making mistakes–when I would go paint with her and her girlfriends occasionally at her Tuesday morning Pal-ettes club she would tell me, “Don’t worry, if you don’t like it we’ll just paint over it and start again.”

She taught me about relationships, about telling the truth kindly. She showed me that holding your hands with your spouse after sixty years of marriage was still cool, that it’s never too late to do what you love. She taught me that being artsy and passionate and different was ok. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

I love this lady to pieces and I am so grateful that even my kids–two generations down the line–will know her and recieve the benefits of her knowledge. She has seen large parts of two centuries and the changes within, from horse and buggy to the Great Depression to a world war. 

I so want to be like Grandma Ginger when I grow up–

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

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Gifts and Blessings

I’m always amazed when people take time out of their days to bless me. Whether it’s a friend sending a text at exactly the right time or an email checking on me, lunch or meeting for coffee, it always seems to come at the right time. 

 (photo cred the WoW style)

Giving these gifts–big or small–requires a sacrifice of some sort. Maybe time or effort or just looking beyond one’s self to see who needs to be blessed. In a world of selfish behavior and looking out for #1, I find this gift-giving so refreshing. To be on either the giving or recieving end is a blessing.

Every time someone reaches out and does something spectacularly selfless, I not only fill up with squishy gooeyness on the inside, but it spurs me on to do the same. To pass it on and pay it forward. This week I recieved a very personal gift, and it required a sacrifice of time and lots of talent. My friend Linda gave me a portrait of my family that she drew. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This wasn’t just something she whipped up. It took time away from her busy schedule as a teacher, mama and grandma. She had to study the original, outline us, color us in. Every detail was tended to, from eye color to the cover of my book– 

 (original-photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

So I ask: who can you bless today? Who needs your time or talents or kind words or smile? Who needs some encouragement? I dare say there are several people in your world that could use some of that stuff. Encouragement and hope are powerful seeds to plant inside someone–take a moment today to look around and see who you can bless. 

And if your are in need yourself, see what happens when you encourage someone else. It’s amazing how it will come back to you–

 (photo cred brown-eyed-whimsy.tumblr.com)

Now go, be blessed and be a blessing!

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Art Therapy

Lately I’ve been procrastinating. I know, you’re like, this again? But yeah. I can’t help it. I have a book deadline I’m racing towards and it seems I avoid writing by fulfilling a deep need to organize.

Everything.

I told my Mr. Wonderful I was nesting. He said, and I quote, “You better not be, we fixed that!” Probably because the last time I was nesting I was expecting a baby and since hubs has retired all the soldiers (ie, got a vasectomy), in his mind, there shouldn’t be a reason to nest.

But there is.

Creativity for me is therapy. Making things beautiful, repurposing them, breathing new life into old spaces or places is soul-strengthening for me. And for too long I have had to be in survival mode just to make sure my family was functioning.

But now we are in more stable territory. Now we are laughing and finding joy in the everyday. Now we seem to have a handle on some things–notice I didn’t say all things–and it feels like I have some room to breathe. To create. To do life in full color.

This last week a new friend of ours was put in the ICU. His wife trains our service dog, he is former military with PTSD as well. We just went to their wedding about three weeks ago so it was shocking that he got so sick so fast.

And to see someone with tubes and plugs and liquids draining in and out is about more than anyone can take. I feel the pain of the family–he’s much, much too young. It’s the holidays. They just want this husband-son-father-friend to be ok. That’s what we’ve all been on our knees about.  

 (Photo credit lifehack.com)

Every time I come home from the hospital I paint something. Or organize something. I can’t seem to sit still very long because my house is calling me to make it a home. Finally. After a year and a half I guess it’s about time.

And every project big or small that I complete brings me such joy. I am amazed that the one who made the most beautiful sunrises and rainbows and red birds and starry nights created me to create. I am in awe when I think about this even just a little bit.

He knew that to combat the hurt and pain and hard days and sleepless night I would need to be an artist. I would need to be a musician and a writer and a photographer so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the ugliness this world has to offer. 

 (photo credit roadtrippers.com)

What a gift.

What beauty are you putting in this world today? Don’t let your inner censor or critic convince you not to do it. The world needs more beautiful, and it’s up to you to do your part. 

 (photo credit leeanngtaylor.com)

Even if you don’t have training. Or think you know what you’re doing. Or don’t think you’re very good. Contribute whatever gorgeousness you feel compelled to create–we will all be better for it.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Writer’s Blah

With January rapidly approaching and my sophomore effort at being an author not even close to finished, I’m way too Zen to be this far from my goal. 

I should be more nervous.

I don’t even have writer’s block–I have writer’s blah. Nothing I’m writing–when I even write–seems to be too terrific. My Internal Editor is in full force and effect and she is loud. And demanding. And annoying. She hasn’t made an appearance for awhile and she chooses now to show up?

I’m so over her.

In my procrastinating–which many artists, dreamers, writer’s and creative types will tell you is a necessary part of the process–I’ve come up with my Top 7 Ways to Avoid Writing Altogether. 

 (photo credit daniellaporte.com)

1. Clean stuff. I loathe cleaning but when I’m under the gun it sure seems like I have a cleaning emergency. This week alone I have finished my girly Harry Potter under the stairs closet and started going through kids’ clothes to donate. Who is this woman and what has she done with my domestically challenged self?! 

 (photo credit Meredith Shafer)

2. Writing on my blog. I have been so neglectful of my blog this fall and now it seems I’m brimming with ideas. I can’t stop. Someone help me.

3. Cleaning out my email inbox. Why oh why do several of my procrastination techniques involve cleaning? It must be a sickness. And why can’t I just do this all the time?

4. Checking new releases on Netflix. Yep, if I’m already “working” in my jammie pants and am burrowed into the nest in our bed and I’m tired of cleaning out my inbox I tend to need to see what’s new on Netflix. It’s all about being at the forefront of trends. 

Because that will help me write. 

 (photo credit buzzfeed.com)

5. Drinking coffee. You wouldn’t think drinking coffee would help my procrastination…but it does. I can tell myself to linger over a cup of liquid sanity in the stillness of the morning before everyone’s awake like no one’s business. Or tell myself just one more cup. Because if you’re not shaky it’s not enough coffee.  

 (Photo credit buyhimthat.com)

Speaking of, I think I’ll grab another cuppa joe while I procrastinate finishing this list of procrastination techniques… 

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19 (I’m super late lol)

  Thankful for creativity in any form, for the artists and musicians and the dreamers and the writers–life without creativity would be so blah…

(photo credit Pinterest) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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#art #artist #writer #amwriting #writersofinstagram #music #musician #photographer #photos #create #creativity #dreambig

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

I’m grateful for sweet surprises. Unexpected generosity. Beautiful creativity. The twelve year old made this sign for me💗💗💗  That may be a bridge over troubled waters…😍

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
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#create #generosity #art #artist 

Take Care 

After being down for the count this weekend after a little surgery I had the humbling realization that I might not be Wonder Woman. 

 (photo credit etsy.com)

I might not be able to do everything for everybody all of the time. I may not be someone who can pour herself into all those around her constantly and consistently. All the time. Day after day. 

No one can.

I realized that I needed that reminder to slow down and take care of myself because I haven’t been doing very much of that lately. And it shows in my patience. And in my kindness. And in my attitude. 

 Because when all I’m doing is taking care of everyone around me at the expense of myself, everyone pays. 

So I’m going to remember to do some things for myself, even in the midst of the crazy around here. This is sort of a Bill of Rights of Self Care, if you will. 

1. I will take time for myself. Even if I don’t know how to fit it in, I will squeeze out that precious commodity of time for me. I’m worth the time, and it’s the only way I won’t crush my kids like bugs some days. 

 (photo credit skinny mom)

2. I will remember and embrace the things that made me…me. Taking time to do the things I love–like walking and being artsy and playing music and meeting girlfriends for coffee–these things bring me joy and make me feel like I am more than Mama. I love being Mama and I throw myself into it so much that I lose myself in that role sometimes. I need to do the things that remind me of who I am. 

 (photo credit craftingzuzzy.blogspot.com)

3. I will enjoy each moment as it comes. Each minute that passes is one I’ll never get back. With myself. With my kids. With my husband. Choosing to embrace all that is right now is a way of not getting too wrapped up in what’s going wrong but focusing on what’s going right. 

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer)

 
4. I will breathe. Deeply. Before I jump into things, when I get too overwhelmed, when I need a minute to gather my thoughts, I will take a deep breath. Pause. Relax. 
 (photo credit squidoo.com)

5. I will give myself a break. When it’s all falling apart, I will let myself off the hook. I will remind myself that I am a woman of faith and things are coming together and I’m doing the best I can. And when it seems to be going wrong, I’ll rely on that faith to get me through the day or hour or situation. 

 (photo credit Refinery 29)

Be sure to put yourself on the To Do List–you are important, friends, and you can’t care for your loved ones unless you first take care of yourself. 

 (photo credit someecards.com)

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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