Get Out of the Way

Snow Feb 5 2010.

Waiting for a snow storm to come, it’s cold, dreary and I need to write.   It’s January 2nd and I’m hoping you are pondering the New Year. Is it business as usual? Probably not because you want something different for 2014 … don’t you?

Forget your New Year’s Resolutions. Sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in 2014. You probably should have done this in November (I did and sent an email around about it), but there is still time for you to do it now. So take a moment with pen and journal in hand and write out your wish list for 2014 – personal; professional; health; emotions; work; travel; play; thoughts; etc. Your list might include things like:

*Manage debt repayment and/or invest savings or retirement monies;
*Enjoy travel to the following destinations _________(name at least 3 places;
*Implement diet / nutrition / exercise program(s);
*Consider buying a house / buying a car / or buying other big ticket items;
*Schedule classes / continuing education / life-long learning;
*Change or adjust your career / business / job;
*Deepen your religious or spiritual understanding.

Journal on your thoughts around these suggestions or other things you included on your list. Write about your resistance or anger toward them. Identify your distractions and how they redirect your true focus. Describe what you are putting off because of fear, lack of funding or no self-confidence to pursue.

Most importantly, give yourself permission to do any and all of the things you listed knowing only you stand in your way from completing them.

Get busy, it’s already January 2nd.

In the spirit of love and light …
Rosemary Augustine

Change Creates an Emotional Journey

Change Creates an Emotional Journey

It’s been an emotional couple of weeks.  I moved 55 steps down the hall, and then moved my 99 year old mother in with me.  Change is always a challenge, but change this time around created other turmoil.  My emotional trauma came upon me at unexpected times. 

Funny how we often will reject change. But this time around I embraced it with open arms, putting aside any childhood wounds that no longer serve me and being open to something new.  To make the move, packing was pretty easy… a 3-teired wheeled cart, a flat bed cart and hand truck plus furniture dollies made the transport of my “stuff” so much easier – before, during and after the guys moved all my heavy furniture.  It wasn’t until I was in my new home for 10 days that I went back to my old apartment to clean up and cover up my wall murals with paint since it was a requirement to leave the place the way I received it 10 years ago. 

Painting the mural in the bedroom was quick… no emotion there.  After all it wasn’t one of my better paintings.  And the little flower garden at the entrance of the kitchen didn’t move me either.  It was when I started to paint the wall mural in the bathroom – that’s been my muse since June 2007.  I loved that mural and so did everyone who used my bathroom.  Covering it with white paint was downright painful.  I cried the entire time I painted it.  And when I had to do a second coat the next day, I cried again. The same thing happened while I was mopping my hardwood floors.  They gleamed with the Murphy’s Oil as the light shined on them with pride.  And my new kitchen with the granite counter tops and stone tile floor… I only got to enjoy for a year.  .  It’s funny how we are attached to material things, the beauty they give our lives and the memories they create. 

I had to have a talk with myself.  As I painted the mural, I was crying about covering something so pleasurable, so beautiful, so creative… I whimpered through my tears: “I will paint another – even more beautiful in my new bathroom.”  And, yes! I will!  The memories of my artistic endeavors in that apartment … from art journaling classes to painting the pink tree in the spring and enjoying the view of the evergreen tree and park bench. Well, I will just have to create new memories of artistic endeavors in my new home.  All the joy and fun I had cooking in my new kitchen with the granite countertops and stone tile floor… I’ve never cooked so much in the last year since having the new kitchen.  But I’ve already cooked many meals in my new home and will cook many more before this is uploaded.

Change in hard, yet how many times have I written, said or told others “change and shape your future.”  It applies to moving to a new home, sharing a home with another and everything else that goes with moving – changing your life and trusting the greater power that all will be just fine – and probably better than before.  New doors will open, life will be different, it’s change and my life is changing – for the better.

My first night in my apartment, Ziggy and Zack had a major melt down dealing with the fear of a new place, new smells, new sounds and for 2 hours each meowing constantly, panting, racing heart and pacing – each for 2 separate hours… so it was a stressful night from 1 am – 6 am with these 2 cats traumatized with moving from the only home they ever knew.  Rescue Remedy came to my rescue the next day, calming them.  Eventually each of them made the adjustment to the new place.

I’ve kept journaling throughout this emotional move and today was no different.  I awoke to a dog barking… not incessantly, just a couple of barks off in the distance every minute or so.  After about an hour the bark was louder – almost sounding as if it was under my window.  It was 6 am and dawn had just begun.  What did I see out my window but a big white dog barking a couple of times and then trying to walk – dragging his back legs.  He is a dog that lives in one of the houses that backs up to the property line of the apartment complex I live in.  The dog was badly injured – possibly hit by a car, since he couldn’t move the back half of his body – only drag it.  He is a white huskie/lab mix so he was quite large.  This dog was crawling home to his owner and was about 100 feet from the door and couldn’t go any further.  I cried, praying for that dog to make it.  After about a few minutes, I called the police and asked if they could come out and contact the owner, as I recognized the dog as being a neighborhood dog but didn’t know which house.  When the officer came, he asked me to bring some water to the dog.   Instantly the dog was lapping up the water and not interested in hurting anyone, just wanting help.  The owner was by the dog’s side within 10 minutes and carried him off to the ER for treatment.  I cried all morning, knowing I did the right thing getting help for this dog and possibly saving his life.  He’s my white dog.  I wrote about him this morning… “my white dog” as I called him.

So, it’s been an emotional week.  I welcome more emotion, and more change, since life continues to revolve.  I remember I once wrote, “change is constant and all else revolves around it.”  This week and all these events have certainly proven itself.  It makes for more writing, journal prompts and God only knows what else.  Stay tuned… as the journal fills up.

 

Hot … Tired … and … Frustrated?

We are moving toward the last week in July, and no matter what you are doing this summer, you are probably feeling one of these – hot, tired and/or frustrated.  It’s mid-year and an easy time to implement changes as we approach August and continue our journey through to year end.

On June 30th, I sent an email asking my readers about accomplishments so far in 2013.  Now, let’s look at what changes you want to consider… you know, what’s working and what’s not?  Where are you spending your time and is it helping you reach your goals for the year?  Here are some ideas:

Review how you use your time – with Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media – is one more profitable for you in terms of ROI – return on investment?  That is, return on investment in your time and satisfaction.  If you are frustrated with any of them, evaluate why.  If you’re not sure why,  journal on it by writing your “Pro’s” and “Con’s” list to see in black and white what’s working.   Then make any necessary adjustments based on your evaluation and move on.  Where do you want to spend your time for the most return?  Ask yourself, “is it helping me to get closer to my goals?”

Give yourself a break.  The kids are out of school so are you enjoying time off this summer?  Taking a family vacation? Mental health day? Or engaging in a Spirit Day?  Call off sick or take a spontaneous break and do something you haven’t planned but wanted to do for some time.  Take an unexpected day at the beach or explore a new museum … something to break the mid-summer “blahs” and get away from the heat and your routine.

Stop Worrying.  If you watch the news, follow the stock market, or read the headlines, we continue to be bombarded with negative feedback that puts us into catastrophic thinking. Remember, we awake each day to sunshine and blue sky (yes, even if it’s raining) because it’s all in how you perceive it.  Using a metaphor… if your house is in order, you will have a lot less worry.  If you need to get your house in order, start with small chunks so you’re not overwhelmed.  Remember, the tortoise always wins the race…. and the thought of “if I think I can, then I know I can.”

Here’s wishing you blue skies, cool nights and plenty of green grass in your own back yard.

Rosemary Augustine – Author… Coach … and  Journal Aficionado

Author of: 365 Days of Creative Writing

Secrets I Learned From Ordinary House Cats and more …

visit Rosemary’s website for additional books, coaching and classes. 

http://RosemaryAugustine.com

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Fruit Sticker Art and Healthy Eating

We constantly hear “eat fruits and vegetables” everyday! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! How many times do I have to tell you? Or… how many times will I hear this in a day? Eat at least 5 servings of each – everyday! Well, when I started this campaign in 2010, my dilemma was: “what do I do with all those fruit stickers?

Fruit Sticker Video

In the summer of 2010, I started an art project collecting all the stickers from fruits and vegetables. Sorry this was not one of my original ideas. I collected as many as I could and added them to a sheet of watercolor paper. At first the page seemed big compared to those small stickers. Then it became an obsession – where I had co-workers at lunchtime offer me their stickers. I found plastic surfaces worked best to hold the sticker flat until I got home and could add it to my sticker collection.

More than a year passed, but I never forgot my art project. I continued to save the stickers and applied them to multiple surfaces. With the original Sticker Art shown above, there are several layers of stickers and multiple layers of acrylic gel to hold it all in place. I often frame my pieces of art work from the stickers and give as gifts. They make a great hanging of art for any kitchen collection of art displayed above the countertops. Here’s what you can do to have the same thing in your kitchen….

Use a 9”x12” canvas sheet or a sheet of 140 lb watercolor paper. You can use other surfaces like art board, foam board, construction paper, canvas board, glass bottles or coffee/tea tins, etc. Remember the bigger the surface the longer it takes to fill it up.

If using Paper or Canvas:

Add stickers randomly – and be sure to add going in different directions including upside down, etc. If you have a lot of one sticker, create a pattern. Notice my kiwi sticker pattern. Use larger vegetable stickers to anchor a pattern or anchor a corner of the page. Use glue stick if sticker curling occurs. Mod Podge (or my favorite – Liquitex brand Matte Medium) works the same as a wetglue stick and is great for larger surfaces and/or sealing to preserve with a coat of matte medium. When you’ve had enough, add a final coat of acrylic gloss medium and let it dry at least 48 hours. Now it’s ready to frame (glass is optional) although it would protect your finished work in a sometimes steamy kitchen. This piece is fun when framed with a floating picture frame (where the paper is sandwiched between two pieces of glass). This project can also be on note card stock. See the video for other ideas and suggestions.

Glass – jars/canisters/etc. are great surfaces for the stickers since those tacky little stickers adhere very well to glass. Follow the above recommendations for patterns and make sure you put a final coat of matte medium to preserve it. This project looks great on odd shaped glass bottles / containers.

Tins – I have tea tins that I used to collect the stickers at work and liked it so much I kept the stickers on the tin. Always finish off with a coat or two of matte medium.

Note, this is an ongoing project and may take a year or more to complete. Although a family of four may have enough stickers to complete this in a matter of months. Don’t get discouraged. Since this is an ongoing project, you get to see the project unfold the more stickers you add. I keep a 5” x 7” canvas board in my kitchen to add stickers every time I peel them off of fruit or veggies. Now it’s become a fun and ongoing project – a great gift for your favorite cook.

A little background history on the stickers:

7 out of 10 items in grocery store shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. Fruit and vegetables do not come with nutrition labels but they do have stickers (PLU – Price Look Up Code) which contain pertinent information.

Next time you decide to purchase that apple or cut a slice out of that melon, consider the PLU sticker. This sticker will tell you whether the fruit was organically grown, genetically modified, or produced with chemical fertilizers, herbicides or fungicides.

PLU stickers that have 4 digits and begin with a “3″ or “4″: produce is conventionally grown. This means that this produce was sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides.

PLU stickers that have 5-digits and start with “8″: produce was genetically engineered (man intervened by manipulating the genes to produce a larger or brighter colored food). This produce may have been chemically treated.

PLU stickers that have 5-digits and start with “9″: produce was raised organically. You can be sure that this produce was not treated with any chemicals.

Remember, 8s not Great and 9 is Fine!

Note: the adhesive used to stick the PLU onto the fruit is edible but the sticker itself is not. The codes have been in use since 1990. Currently, there are over 1300 universal PLU codes assigned.

Examples
4139: Conventional Granny Smith apple
94139: Organic Granny Smith
84139: Genetically Modified Granny Smith

Information in italics was supplied byhttp:/rawearthliving.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/what-does-the-number-on-a-fruit-sticker-mean/

In my video I mention the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15… The Dirty Dozen are foods you should only buy organic since they have been identified as containing the highest levels of chemicals and pesticides when grown using conventional farming methods. They include: apples; strawberries; spinach; celery; grapes; sweet bell peppers; nectarines; peaches; blueberries; kale/collard greens; lettuce; potatoes.

The Clean 15 are foods that contain the lowest levels of pesticides and you don’t have to buy organic. They are: onions; sweet potatoes; sweet corn; asparagus; mangoes; pineapples; sweet peas; kiwi; cabbage; eggplant; cantaloupe; avocado; watermelon; grapefruit; mushrooms.

Hope this was both informative and creative for you… Enjoy! And Happy Summer!

Warmest Regards,

Rosemary Augustine – Artist and Author

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