End of Month Potpourri-June 2015

seedhead drawing

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”  ~Maya Angelou

 

 

One of the people I was introduced to in the April Love course, I wrote about last week, was Andrea Schroeder.  She has a wonderful website called, Creative Dream Incubator.  And it is here where I was reconnected with my creative dream, and began drawing again.

 

 

daylily drawingAndrea has a great free 10-day course called, Give Your Dream Wings, and I loved this easy 10-minute a day class.  It finally gave me the push to connect again with that wonderful artsy side of me that has been hidden and tucked away to languish for almost 50 years.

 

 

That side that colored in coloring books for hours….who made her own paper dolls, clothes and all, and loved every one of them…..who adored the messy paints in art class, was never really nurtured or encouraged.  In fact quite the opposite.  I was told in veiled comments that I had no real artistic talent.  Art classes became drudgery and painful in middle school.  And I was politely asked to leave the chorus in 8th grade…..I was enthusiastic, but tone deaf so it was best for me to leave so there weren’t any awkward moments during concerts.

 

 

coneflower drawingI was asthmatic and uncoordinated too so no sports for Donna.  Actually my Physical Education teachers never marked me absent, so I never had to make up classes as it was best for me not to be there since there were less accidents in PE class when I wasn’t there.  So I knew I had to take to my books, and my studies, and excel there as all other outlets were closed off.

 

 

 

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”

~ Georgia O’Keefe, artist

 

 

Maybe had I been introduced to artists like O’Keefe, and given encouragement, I could have stopped the constant messages of not being good enough, not being creative, not having any talent except for being book smart.

 

 

hosta leaf drawingBut no matter, that is all old, old water under a bridge I care not to cross anymore, as I have found my inner creative again.  And I am once again connected to that dream of exploring this once closed off area…..no fears, no judgments….just creating, trying and moving on with exploring more and more ways to create.

 

 

So where did I start?  Well I got a little boost from my dear, very talented friend Mary…she is a wonderful artist (although she will not say she is….but she is).  And 5 years ago, we started a little weekly ritual called, Art on the Patio.  She was working part-time and so was I, and she offered to teach me to draw and use watercolors.  At that time, I was not in a good place with self-confidence….actually I was at a very low spot, but wanting to stretch myself a bit and try things I had long put off.

 

 

pot in chair drawingWe met almost weekly for 2 months, and here in this post you can see my first attempts.  The first drawing at the top of the post is my first drawing of a seed head in my garden.  Our art studio was my garden where we would sit at my patio table, under the umbrella, surrounded by a garden with healthy goodies to munch on.

 

 

And if it weren’t for Mary, I would not have had the courage to begin this creative endeavor again….we are thinking of getting our Patio Art time started again as we are both retired.  In the meantime, I watched a video of Andrea’s on her website about drawing Mandalas.  And you can see the start of one below.  I draw them daily in my journal after meditating.

 

 

mandela 2So where is all this heading?  I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care….I am just so excited as the creative spirit is with me again, and my child-like anticipation and wonder has taken control.  I plan to take a free art journaling class next that is offered on Andrea’s site.  It is wonderful to find so many things offered for free especially when finances are a bit restricted with retirement.

 

 

I have my new journal waiting to be filled with even bigger mandalas and other creative works.  And those blank pages, are not scary to look at any more.  I believe wholeheartedly that we can live an inspired, creative and thrilling life by doing what excites us.  And exploring things we want to know more about or see and do.  Each little step we take in this direction opens up new paths, new doorways into new aspects of our lives we never thought would come about.

 

 

pink flower drawingWho knows what the next big thing will be….and I am so OK with that.  I want to open that new box of crayons again, and smell that new smell….see the new perfect tips ready for me to wear them down to a nub.  This has been a long time coming getting back to my artsy side….and even acknowledging that I have an artsy side is a big first step.  Because we all do….we just forgot it, or never had the chance to explore it.

 

 

And I promise, Mary, if we do some more art on the patio, I won’t get all judgy and try to compare myself to you or anyone.  I will just be me, and let the experience wash over me like a gentle wave of water bringing me new life and exhilarating every cell of my being.

 

 

 

Special Note:   All the drawings here were done in my first attempt at drawing, under the tutelage of my friend Mary 5 years ago on my patio in the summer.  I am sharing these drawings for the first time, and that is a huge step for me.  These are a great start, and I hope to continue to draw often as I meditate with my creative side.

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about creativity.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

leaf drawing

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Lazy Days

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Lazy Days

 

 

Lazy days return with warm, soft breezes.

Regaining my senses, my natural rhythm, I wake with the sunrise.

 To go swimming and wading in the creek,

Exploring meadows to pick fresh, fragrant flowers.

 

 

There are afternoon naps beneath tall trees,

Gazing at clouds to spy a ship, a dog or a funny clown gliding by.

As the warmth of the day retires with the setting of the sun,

Lightening bugs and streetlights beckon us home.

 

 

The sounds of the day quiet- only toads and chirping crickets remain,

Sending us off to sweet dreams ending another glorious June day.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2013

 

 

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This poem was written in June of 2013.  It speaks of childhood summer vacation days spent playing with abandon.  We were fixated on living in the moment, with no set agenda…just letting the day unfold.  Now in retirement I am trying to get back these lazy days of summer.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

cloud collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

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Special Note:  The pictures are of various clouds found in summer here in central New York.  Can you spy a dog or a ship in those clouds?  What do you see when you gaze into the clouds?

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about A-May-Zing MayI welcome you to download the photo and share it.

lazy days

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Joyful Play

dad as boy

 

Joyful Play

 

With arms outstretched, I whirl around

Floating, spinning above the ground.

Tiny feet dance on large shiny shoes,

Piggy back rides with giants amuse.

 

 

As I ride the waves on the back of a whale,

Now thrown off, high in the air I sail!

And on the sandy beach we bury our treasure,

With squeals of delight in castles of pleasure.

 

 

These moments delight each one is immeasurable,

Through the years repeated with love unforgettable.

Time seemed endless in those blissful days,

Of fond memories in joyful play!

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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My dad’s birthday is Tuesday.  He would have been 86, but died at the young age of 68 from the most horrific early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  He suffered 15 years with this awful monster.

But I remember him now as an Easter baby full of joy, kindness and always playful.  My mother called him her fifth kid.  Last week’s poem spoke of the pain of his loss, but I choose to remember his life of joyful play in this week’s poem.

Many of the memories in the poem are fun times spent with my dad, especially at the Jersey Shore growing up.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

dad collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  As I reminisce about playing as a child, I am showcasing pictures of my dad.  In the top photo, he is pictured on the left as a 10 yr old boy in Philadelphia, PA.  The collage shows him as a teen with his godson, his older brother’s first born.  And as a young man just newly engaged.

The last photo, below, is of us kids (my sibs) with my best friend Cindy on the right in the striped pants.  I’m in the middle (about 5 yrs old) on the left with that  head of unruly, curly, dark brown hair.  We grew up in Philadelphia until we moved about a year after this picture was taken.  My dad would take us to the park on weekends while my mom worked as a nurse.  He called us the Motley Crew.

 

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I leave you with a few words about joyful play.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

the crew at play

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-When The Light Went Out

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When The Light Went Out

 

 

The light went out of my life that day.

It was swallowed whole, trapped in a cave.

Though I try in vain to bring it back,

It alludes me now, gone to black.

 

 

And I feel somedays like the walking dead.

Nowhere am I going, nowhere have I tread.

And the sorrow that replaced those brilliant rays,

Has crushed me heavy under the weight.

 

 

Can it ever be regained?

Will I see the light of day?

Can I feel the warmth again deep inside?

Will I ever stop the tears, the cries?

Can this burden be released?

Will the darkness ever cease?

 

 

Perhaps one day as I sit in this cold,

In this place where I try to grab hold.

Of what was once my life and light,

Though I am shattered, even in my strife.

 

 

I sometimes will remember the golden days once more,

When the light glowed warm from deep in my core.

Yes, I will cling to those memories I knew.

Before I lost the light, before I lost you.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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As my father’s birthday approaches each year, I am drawn back to those special times, and special memories.  I lost my father in 1998, and sometimes there are only those days where all I have is much sadness.  This poem is reflective of one of those sad times I have had recently.  Next Sunday, I will post a poem that speaks of the happy memories.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

lilac collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The lilacs from my garden represent memory as this are all I have now of my father, and many days they just do not sustain me.

 

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I leave you with a few words about memories and loss.

lost

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

End of Month Potpourri-February 2015

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“Cherish the beauty and cherish the pain, both will give you experience and you will never be the same”

~ Nikki Rowe

 

 

It is the end of the month, and time for a little Potpourri.  A bit of this and a bit of that.  And I thought I would dip into the Women’s Circle of Joy assignment again this month.  February’s topic dealt with the idea of and our thoughts on the word Cherish.  The Women’s Circle of Joy group is led by, Cigdem Kobu of Peaceful Triumphs.

 

 

I don’t think I have ever thought much about the idea of cherish or cherishing.  And truthfully this whole concept, at first, had me a bit perplexed.  For my husband, cherish means sweetly thinking of old memories.  But my immediate thoughts turn to something different.

 

 

DSCN9192Cherish evokes thoughts of love….but maybe more….or maybe a bit different from love.  When I cherish someone or something, I not only hold them dear, but treat them dearly.  There is a tenderness and nurturing that happens in cherishing.  There is adoration, encouragement, treasuring, support, comfort.

 

 

I think perhaps this word, cherish, is the linchpin of love, or more specifically that deep soulful love.  I can say I love chocolate, but do I cherish it.  No, not really.  And I do love a brilliant, colorful sunrise.  But do I cherish this sunrise?  Yes, in this case I believe I do….because of the incredible soulful emotion that it brings to me….I somehow feel comforted by this new dawn.  And I treasure being in its presence.  I am lost in its essence for the 15-20 minutes it might last.  I can’t get enough of it as it changes, it deepens and morphs until the sun finally is revealed brightly burning.

 

 

And so it is when I love and cherish someone.  And we say this word in our wedding vows….love, honor and cherish.  But I never considered what those words really meant.  Somehow, on some level, I knew there was a mutual cherishing love between my husband and me.  One where we have grown together and still do.  Where we support each other in very different ways.  We love all of the other person; those things that are funny, comforting and even those things that annoy us.  And those annoying things, I think, are most cherished, as that what makes us who we are….our true essence.

 

 

I think those loves in my life that didn’t work out, failed because there wasn’t any cherishing.  The love was bright and burning, romantic for a while, and then it was gone.  And when I reflect back now, it seems they didn’t last because there wasn’t a deep support for one another.  Deep down my soul knowing I wasn’t accepted fully, wasn’t treasured for who I was.

 

 

DSCN9199And when did I first know that cherishing love?  I was lucky to know it from my loving parents who indeed cherished their children no matter what.  Even when we made mistakes we were cherished.  We were forgiven, taught a lesson perhaps with consequences and allowed to fall and make mistakes again.  They cherished us enough to allow us to learn and grow with their guidance and support.

 

 

“But for the most part, love is a recognition, an opportunity to say, ‘There is something about you I cherish.”

~Raymond E. Feist

 

 

And since I have experienced this cherishing love, I have found a deeper love and acceptance for myself and my gifts.  And each moment of my life is special; shared by and with those I cherish.  And I cherish the natural world around me supporting it as it gives back beautiful sights, sounds and smells.  I cherish the life lessons, both those that have been joyful and those filled with excruciating pain, as they are both special for what they have taught me and are still teaching me.

 

 

The exercise of contemplating this word Cherish has been quite interesting.  I encourage you to think about what you cherish in life.  From a simple smell, that brings back deep heartfelt memories, to a song or sound.  These things we cherish are what makes our life so much richer, so blissful, so very delicious.

 

 

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Note:   The Paperwhite flowers pictured here are said to be an aphrodisiac because of their intoxicating smell.  They also represent respect, modesty and faithfulness.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about cherishing.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

cherish

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Christmas Scenes

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Christmas Scenes

 

I look upon the Christmas tree

And fade to childhood memories;

 

Of snowflakes, boots and mittens warm

Donned on frosty, biting morns.

 

Sleds dragged down snow-covered streets

To find fresh powder on hills replete.

 

Later home with frozen fingers and toes

Warmed before the fire with hot cocoa.

 

Smells of cookies permeate the house

As I stealthily sneak one as quiet as a mouse.

 

And all about tinsel and lights galore

Are sparkling hung from roofs and doors.

 

While I await, anticipating the scene

Of Santa and spectacular Christmas dreams,

 

I sing songs of joy and choruses of mirth

that herald in the day of His spectacular birth.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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I am participating in The Personal Photo Challenge hosted by Donna@Cottage Days and Journeys.  This month’s challenge is called Christmas Scenes.   I wrote this poem on my way to see family for Thanksgiving.  I had not seen much of my family for a few years.  And on the plane ride, some lovely thoughts of Christmas were running through my brain.  So I hope you enjoy the poem that is filled with many of my childhood memories.

 

I am also joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

 

xmas collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

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Special Note:  These Christmas scenes were taken upon our return home once we did a bit of Christmas decorating.

 

All photos were taken on auto mode and first processed in iPhoto (so nothing fancy).  The collage was made in Fotor.com.  The tree images were further processed in PicMonkey.com to add some brilliance, snow, frost and stars.

 

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I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about Christmas.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

xmas

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

A Heavy Heart

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“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.” ~Walter Anderson

 

I have come to recognize the tell tale signs of grief.  They sneak up on me and cast me down into an abyss that I struggle to climb out of.  It has been happening for the last 16 years since my father died.  They are momentary lapses into sadness for no apparent reason.  And luckily these melancholy moods don’t last as long as they once did.

 

It is hard for me to deal with grief because my dad was the one I could talk to when I was heart broken over the loss of a pet or a relationship.  Or when there was a tragedy in the world and I was at a loss as to how this senseless act could have happened.  He knew I took these sorrows hard.  That my heart would shatter into a million pieces because I wore that heart out on my sleeve for all to see.  I loved completely, and so the loss was also as complete.

 

I had not intended to write this post.  I actually had two other topics I was wavering between, but I just couldn’t write them.  Something was blocking me, and it needed to be let loose.  I really had no idea what was going on with me just that I was in a very low place.  And then it became clear what was happening as those tell tale signs appeared again.

 

DSCN1597With the recent happenings in the world I am feeling very vulnerable.  Feelings of great sadness seem to bubble up at strange times causing me to withdraw or hide inside myself.  And I know these actions will not help, but for now all I can muster is to lean in again and let the tears flow and the love pour out into the universe hoping it will have an effect.

 

I am fighting the urge to curl up and just stay numb, not even venturing out into my garden which at least usually brings me some sort of solace.  And I can hear my father’s words helping me fight my way back….I can feel his strong arms hold me up, and I draw upon the strength of loved ones whose mere offering of a hug are sometimes just enough to bring back the smile and light my heart again.

 

The key for me at this moment is to appreciate life itself.   Yes it seems the most important thing to feel right now.  Sharing my hope for peace, treating others with kindness, spreading loving thoughts and actions out into the world help keep me strong…keep me resilient.  These actions are helping me move on and heal….and maybe in my doing of these seemingly trivial things the world will heal a little more too.  At least I hope it will….it is all I have at this moment.

 

Special Note:  The marigolds pictured above represent grief.  Such a sunny flower that somehow brings me solace.

 

The picture below is my gift to you this week.  These words helped me know that we must keep the love going…after all as the Beatles said so many years ago,

“All you need is love….love is all you need.”

strength

 

 All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.