Saturday, November 28, 2009

Greeting Advent Creatively...

Advent is one of my favourite season of the year.  I love the very idea of preparing room, setting the scene for the magic of this season, acknowledging that the best gifts are not the ones that can be purchased.

When we tidied the shed a few weeks ago to bring the winter stuff forward and send the summer stuff back, I stared at the 5 green and red rubbermaid totes in anticipation.  We put up the lights while it was still mild, but they only turned on for the first time tonight.

Part of the joy of unpacking familiar seasonal treasures is the sheer delight we can take in seeing them again.  One of our Advent treasures is the Corner Santa carved for us by the talented Debbie Everett.  She and my step-father’s brother, George Foster, are two incredibly creative people and we are lucky enough to have a treasure or two from each of them in our home.  Debbie and George are both living proof that Creativity can grow and thrive without “formal” training. All that matters is that you explore the potential that lies within you, not how many hours of lessons you take!  This Santa graces the corner by our front door every year, complete with his cross stitch stocking!

Getting ready for Advent also means adding Creative touches around the house.  We have a garland that goes right on top of our usual cranberry coloured swag, tucking into the regular holders...

I fill the two low, white bowls that grace our table for every season with interesting shapes of holiday potpourri and pine cones...

and look around for spots in which to settle favourite treasures about the house.

This year I feel that I am preparing myself Creatively...both inside and out.

INHALE: Forget about rushing out to buy the perfect gifts. While retailers are yelling at us about great bargains and low prices, we need to find the time to centre ourselves.  Some of the best gifts are the ones that money cannot buy.  Some of the best memories are made when we least expect them.  Instead of thinking how much you should spend, think about how you could practice your Creativity this holiday season so that those who mean the most to you know they are loved and cherished.  It is not the cost of the gift that matters, it is the act of giving, especially Creatively, that brings us close to others.

EXHALE:  What touch of colour, what scent, what sound can you savour today that will begin this process of preparing? Many cultures and faiths celebrate light in this time of darkness, contemplate the closing of one year and the beginning of the next.  Down under, the longest day is celebrated instead of the darkest night.  Find a bowl and fill it with holiday treasures, string up a ribbon on which to hang cards as they arrive or sit down and play that first playlist or CD of holiday favourites as you look through cookie recipes.  The possibilities for being Creative, even amid all the business of the season are endless!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Shout Out to Incredible Creativity..

There are times when you discover something so beautiful and powerful that you just have to share it with others.  My mom was at a workshop this weekend led by Jan Richardson.  Her website and her blog offer a look into how she writes about her faith or creates powerful, beautiful images.  She has the most incredible way of putting complex issues and ideas into words, living out her beliefs  as well as inspiring others to explore and giving them ideas to try.  As a preparation for Advent, she encouraged groups of people to explore while making images that fit each of the topics out of torn paper.

Can you tell that my Mom had fun playing?

I love looking at the textures and colours that she mixed as well as the unexpected shapes and images that form when you just give yourself over to something creative.

Being given the chance to play and explore is such a gift in itself.

How can you carve out a bit of time amid the chaos of this season to be Creative?  The time will be well spent.

INHALE:  When life gets busy or emotional, we have a tendency to hide, to make excuses, to avoid putting our own needs on the “to do” list, I think that we actually make things worse.  Just as our bodies cannot go forever without rest, our spirits need Creative moments to restore them and keep them in balance.  We need to Inhale our Creativity on a daily basis during busy seasons as well as quiet ones.

EXHALE:  Almost everyone has a calendar or planning book where they keep track of their major appointments and events.  Open yours and block off 2 half hour sessions sometime in the next week where you can be creative.  Now find 3 fifteen minute blocks to look through magazines, fondle supplies, shop for ingredients or sort creative spaces.  Shorter times can be just as valuable when we work them in.  Aren’t you worth it?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Creativity in Chaos and Quiet..

It’s been a busy time in our household.  I am now substitute teaching 3 to 5 days a week until Christmas because of the 3 day a week position and other days that had been booked way ahead that I’d accepted.  It is also volleyball season, so our whole family jumped in the van right after school on Friday and drove up to Bathurst , just over 2 hours away, to stay overnight before yesterday’s huge tournament.  Erin’s team played an exhausting 13 games in the 9 hours of the tournament (winning 9 and loosing 4) going right down to a 15 point tiebreaker for 3rd place when both teams were literally falling down with exhaustion.  Along the way they overcame some real challenges, played some truly beautiful volleyball and gave all the parents a lot to cheer for.  I manages to knit scarves without too many changes in tension... though the metal needles got a little slippery when my palms got sweaty!  I discovered that creating amid chaos and noise not only helps keep me calm, it gives me something to show for all those hours on the court side.

My mom was at a retreat all day yesterday entitled Making Way for Advent  where she got to think, create and celebrate fellowship in far less noise.  It was an event that I really wanted to attend, but I’d already missed 2 weekends of tournaments while teaching in Toronto and being at the cross stitch retreat a few weekends ago.

Don’t misunderstand.  There is nothing wrong with any parent or person putting themselves first now and then to follow their dreams, conduct business or indulge in something they really need.  Being a parent or being in a relationship with a partner (or both) means that you have to find the balance between the needs of self and the needs of the other(s). It means finding ways of being Creative whether you are in chaos or quiet.  It means knowing that there can be a certain peace or satisfaction found in almost any moment of our lives if we start looking for them.

Just make your choices and go with them instead of looking over your shoulder or wondering what could have been.

Inhaling Creativity is teaching me to live in each moment more fully.

INHALE:  I think that we need both Chaos and Quiet in which to create... just not at the same time.  Anyone who has ever spent time at an event where people are being Creative knows that people with energy can get a little noisy.  That energy can pump us up and push us on to new heights of inspiration and exhilaration when we understand that almost anything is possible.  Quiet moments on the other hand, allow us to get in touch with our inner selves, recharge our batteries, sort through our supplies, organize our thoughts or creating spaces and dreams of next projects or possibilities.  Nature reminds us all the time that both stages are part of the circle.  As the Fall meanders slowly into Winter here and prepares for a sleep, I know that on the other side of the world, the frenzy of Spring is leading into the warmth of summer.

EXHALE:  Many of us prefer one part of this cycle more than the other, even though both are necessary.  Maybe I’ve been studying too many plant life cycles for the Biology class I am supervising with the diploid(2N) and haploid (N) stages of things, but it really rings true for me.  Divide a page in your book in half and label the two sections QUIET and CHAOS.  In each area, write down, doodle, collage or identify the things you like about each stage.  What Creative acts do you like to do in chaos with others or what creative things do you like to do that involve chaos?  What do you enjoy about having quiet time in which to create?  Do some creative things lend themselves to being done in both quiet and chaos?  Like discovering that you can actually enjoy using a colour you didn’t think you liked, you may find that there are quiet a few things about being Creative in Chaos or Quiet that you didn’t expect you enjoyed as much as you do!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Creativity in Teaching...

When I first started this journey over 2 months ago, I never dreamed the many ways in which Creativity would show itself in my life.  This Monday, I began a substitute teaching assignment to replace a teacher 3 days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) from now until the Christmas break.  This offers me some predictability in my schedule and also give me some consistency in terms of the young people I am dealing with.  I will be helping a student teacher cope with the teaching load for these classes and also working with struggling learners.

Creativity has its place in Education because we don’t all learn things in the same way.  I went to a French high school in Montreal as a french immersion student and learned most of my courses in a language that wasn’t my mother tongue, so I learned a variety of ways to help myself understand.  I drew pictures, made cartoons and graphed out charts or diagrams to help things make sense.

Tomorrow, I am bringing in our play dough so that the struggling students can BUILD a cell with all of the parts in different colours and shapes of play dough.  I have also come up with a truly dorky rap song about how to learn the chain of plants from algae to bryophytes and tracheophytes (which include spore plants, gymnosperm and angiosperm). It should be interesting at least...if they don’t fall off their chairs laughing themselves silly!

Being Creative in how we teach ourselves to absorb information or learn new things can only enrich the experience...

INHALE:  The more our society advances, the more we learn how different and individual each one of us is.  We are all UNIQUE creations and yet society continues to expect us to behave “en masse” (rough translation- as a group).  Maybe being 6’5” in my bare feet allows me to balk at being fit into a cookie-cutter, one size fits all mold, but I think we do ourselves an INJUSTICE when we expect everything to only go one way.  It might be easier not to have to push the envelope, think outside the box or try new ways of doing something, but that does not mean we shouldn’t keep looking for NEW solutions to OLD problems.

EXHALE: Do you know what your own learning style is (or styles are)?  Do you learn best when you hear something explained? See it done? Try it yourself? Take something apart and put it back together?  Spend a few minutes thinking about this and doodle, write or jot down ideas about what WORKS for YOU in your notebook.  The more you know what works best for you, the easier it is to be Creative within your own style of learning and share that with others to help them learn as well.  Just because something works for someone else, does not mean it has to work for you, so keep searching until you find the key to your own puzzles. That way someday, you can help someone else unlock theirs!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Keeping My Hands Busy...

It’s volleyball season.  Today we were up in Richibucto for a tournament just under an hour away from our own city.  Our 15U team entered a 16U tournament for some more experience against older girls and they made the semifinals but lost to the top team at the tournament.  I was really proud that this time they didn’t give up and kept fighting right until the bitter end.

I knit by feel, so it is the perfect way to keep my hands busy on the drive to tournaments and also during the games.  I can watch the action and because the needles are in my hands, I can’t bite my nails.  I’ve even discovered that the needles make great defensive weapons... though I have yet to skewer a volleyball!

Since my youngest, Bethany was also the only grade 5 to make her school team, I will be doing a lot of knitting and driving between now and Christmas.  Today I finished up a lovely moss stitch scarf in a soft shade of green...

worked a bit more on Bethany’s scarf during the drive home since this pattern does require a tiny bit of concentration...

darned in the ends of a scarf made from a wool that creates its own patterns...

and started a new scarf of lovely blues and purples for one of the newest members of the team.

I came home with a full set  of fingernails... but I still need to learn how not to hold my breath for such a long time when the games get tense!  I sometimes forget to INHALE...

INHALE:  Keeping busy with being creative can be very therapeutic.  It can help lower our stress levels, keep our hands out of the snack foods, give us something to show for our time and create things of beauty as well.  This time of year, it never hurts to have extra crafts on hand to give away as hostess gifts, teacher presents, thank you gifts etc.  For most of us, the fun is in first creating something and then watching someone else take pleasure in what our hands and souls brought to life.

EXHALE:  The thing about being Creative is that there are weeks and days when you have to make the opportunities as plentiful as possible.  Though Nick jokes about me being a “bag lady”, I have several bags ready to go with me in the car on any given trip.  I sort knitting projects into clear bags, tuck various sizes of needles and always bring along a few options in case I finish something or get bored with a project. Think about what crafts you do that you could bring with you to doctor’s offices, meetings or on car trips and organize a few into a nice tote or bag so that the next time you race out the door, you have something to help keep your hands busy when the going gets tough or when you need to wait.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Savouring A Couple’s Creativity...

Last spring, our family got a terrifying call.  Our best friends’ barbecue blew up and engulfed their whole house in flames.  In one evening, their lives were turned upside down and their cats perished along with most of their personal belongings... but they had their dog and each other.

Tonight, our family took supper over to their new house, rebuilt on the foundations of their old one.  They moved in this past weekend and are slowly trying to unpack what was restored, put away what people donated and see what is left to buy.  Imagine starting over from scratch for every towel, every sheet... everything!

So we shared a meal in their new house which has echoes of all they loved best about the old one.  Everything is new, everything gleams, but what trials and tribulations they had to go through to get them and get to this point.

The house is a wonderful blend of their unique colour sense and love of textures.  They spent hours and hours pouring over every detail of their plans, took the time to select what they truly wanted and it showed.  From the amazing bar of lights and crystal prisms over the dining room table to the incredible fold out coffee table where we will no doubt spend lots of time gathered to roll 20 sided dice.

I am SO glad to see them back where they belong.

INHALE:  Creativity can sometimes be making something beautiful rise out of the ashes of disaster.  When life throws its very worst at us, there are still moments when we can celebrate what IS going right or just keep putting one foot in front of the other until we move through the dark times and back out into the light.

EXHALE:  Open your book and trace your foot onto the page.  I had to put my foot on the diagonal to get it to fit properly and I decided to leave my socks on to just get a basic foot shape.  Now, fill the shape of your foot with images, words, doodles, colours, scribbles, collage materials or anything that tempts you but move from DARK in the heel of the foot towards LIGHT in the toes.  Our lives are a series of steps from tragedy to triumph, night to day, challenge to victory and darkness into light. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Improvisational Creativity...

I'm home from a wonderful weekend of fellowship and cross stitch, but I did learn that sometimes, you have to improvise your creativity when you don't have all the pieces you need.

I’d fully intended to give away the Perforated Paper Castle ornament that I taught in Toronto, but the more people asked to see it and exclaimed over it, the more I decided it needed to stay on MY tree.  Stitchers will be able to get that pattern after December 1st on , so hang in there!  Luckily, Jeannie had brought along some colours of perforated paper for me to play with.  Unfortunately, after a full day of teaching, picking up Bethany from volleyball practice, Nick from school and then rushing to get to retreat in bad weather, I forgot the sheets of blank graph paper that I usually bring along with me...

So I made my own.

Next year, I will remember to put that on my packing list, slow down and check what I have before I race out the door or end up bringing an entire ream of graph paper along just so I don't have to make grids like this again. At least I know I can make one without a computer!

FIrst, I sketched out the letters for JOY and stitched them in overdyed threads on the white paper.  Then, I flipped the paper over, borrowed a pencil from Mom and began to figure out how to create a geometric snowflake shape around the word.

I am not the most math gifted person.  There was much erasing and slightly colourful language used when I realized that I couldn't get things to work out PERFECTLY... but I took my own posts about perfection to heart.  So what if I had to fudge things a tiny bit near the end... I know where the glitch is, but I'm not going to point it out!   Eventually,  the snowflake shape was ready for me to cut out.  I LOVE perforated paper!!!

When I flipped the design to the right side, I discovered that one section had a bit too much white space for my liking, so I added a holly button from the shop.  I also thought it might be nice to add some braid and beads to catch the lights from the tree.

Then I made my own cording for the top then hung it on the tree for the ornament exchange!!

INHALE:  If we wait for the perfect moment when we have all our supplies around us and everything is just right, then we will have far less moments in which to be creative.  This is what I was trying to find more of during my year long adventure... ways of just jumping into the deep end and mucking about to see what I could come up with.  No, I didn't have everything I needed or hoped to have with me, but the Creativity didn't need them.  It just needed me to be willing to try and work with what I had on hand.  How many missed moments go by because we tell ourselves "Wait, I'm not ready!!" ??

EXHALE: Find another crafter that you trust.  Decide to try this challenge together and see what happens.  Set a date when the two of you can get together for some uninterrupted creativity time.  Mark it on the calendar and then get ready with this homework before hand.  Each of you should choose a variety of interesting craft items or items related to the hobby you both enjoy.  Limit it to less than 10.  Put the items in a bag that you cannot see through.  When you get together, exchange bags, settle down and see what each of you can create with these mystery items within an agreed upon time limit.  It doesn't have to be perfect or beautiful or even something you keep.  You just have to be wiling to try... and laugh... and enjoy each other's company while you see where your Creativity takes you.  I can't wait to see what some of you come up with!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Creative Retreating...

I am getting excited!  Despite the forecast calling for a bit of snow overnight, I am mostly packed for the cross stitch retreat up at Camp Wildwood this weekend.  I can’t wait to sneak off with my Mom for a weekend of roughing it and also getting away from it all.

Don’t worry if you don’t hear from me. My laptop is staying behind but the camera is coming.

You see, for most of my cross stitch designing career, this is the weekend that I get to go away and NOT be a designer.  Ok... you can’t really shut that off, but I get to go stitch OTHER people’s designs, hang with stitchers who really know me or just PLAY to invent a one of a kind ornament for the exchange.  I can nap if I want to, go for a walk if I want to, journal and sketch or just sit and stitch for ages with some of the nicest people on this planet in a beautiful main lodge while someone else cooks all my meals.

Can you see why I am getting excited?

No phone

No kids

No husband

No laundry

No computer


I’ve packed WAY more projects than I will have time to get to and I always get a bit cold because I pull my mattress down onto the floor. At 6’5” in my bare feet, WAY too much of me hangs over the edge on their bunk beds!

Wheee! 24 hours from now, I will be away from it all for the weekend.  I can’t wait!

INHALE:  Retreats are great if you can find one to attend.  It can be hard to put yourself first and leave other responsibilities behind, but we usually come back from such a retreat feeling SO recharged and reinspired. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish now and then.  If you always put yourself last and do for others, you forget to take care of the person in whose skin you actually live!  Love yourself enough to make time for yourself!

EXHALE:  Maybe you can’t take part in a retreat, but you can still block time off for yourself. Open a blank page in your book and write down something you’d love to do if you had each of the following time segments available.  Now pick ONE of them that you would MOST like to do and schedule it into your calendar sometime in the next 2 weeks. Go ahead... you deserve it!

If I had an extra 30 minutes to myself, I would:
If I had an extra hour to myself, I would:
If I had an extra 3 hours to myself, I would:
If I had an extra morning to myself, I would:
If I had an extra day to myself, I would:
If I had an extra weekend to myself, I would:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

There’s No Such Thing As TOO MANY Choices...

Bethany’s fever is gone.  Her temperature was normal all day so I made her have a long, steamy bath to help her cough and wash her hair then stripped her bed and washed the sheets along with her jammies.  She was finally allowed out of her room and almost couldn’t decide what to do first.  I made the choice easy... finish up the school work you missed, then you can play now that you’re feeling better.

I may be Creative... but I am still a MOM!

Tonight, I needed a bit of colouring therapy, but the last time I had my poster out, I found myself bothered by the fact that the set only came with these colours.

So... I went on a hunt and found THESE...

There can’t possibly be anything bad about having 50 colours to choose from instead of just 10, can there?  Only that it makes me wonder where to begin!

So I picked out a section of the border that I’d been eyeing for a while and began to colour. I even added some shading detail because flat colour sort of blended together a bit too much.

As that section began to fill in, the colours really started to jump...

and when it was all done, the contrast of the black with the inner colours made it almost SING.

Nope, there’s definitely no such thing as having too many choices!

INHALE:  We all have countless choices to make each and ever day. Eat the apple or the cookie, get out of bed or hide, speed up for the yellow light or slow down, take the stairs or the elevator... the possibilities are almost endless.  Sometimes, the sheer amount of choice we have can seem overwhelming... until we remember that another name for it is FREEDOM!

EXHALE: If you like to draw, go buy yourself a new pencil, crayon or marker set and revel in the amount of colours to choose from.  If you like to cook, go buy a few new spices to play with.  If you like to craft, go explore the aisles and sale bins until you find pieces for your next project.  If you love music, check out a few new tunes outside your usual genre, but be sure to download them legally.  (iTunes Genius feature has let me discover new songs I might otherwise never have heard)  Find a way to add even more choices to your chosen path of Creativity. Your day will be richer for it, even if it takes you a bit longer to make up your mind where to begin!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tearing Down to Create Again...

Today, one of the Creative women I admire most took the courageous step of announcing that she was closing down her cross stitch design business.   Sometimes you have to end something in order to create something new.

Teresa and I met through cross stitch just over a decade ago, but we quickly formed a friendship that went beyond just working in the same industry.  As cross stitch began to falter, she and I began to act as sounding boards for each other and talk about if and how we could take our Creativity in other directions.

Four years ago, we went to Dragon*Con in Atlanta to see if we wanted to transition into Fantasy artwork on the con circuit.  She also helped paint me green for my She-Hulk adventure as mentioned in yesterday’s post.  Last February, we went to the SCBWI conference in New York together to see if children’s book illustration would offer new possibilities.

The joy of having her as a friend is that we share some of the same hopes and insecurities, interests and insights as well as quests and questions.  While we have very different styles, we both feel called to continue to share our Creativity with the world... we’re just still trying to find the next way to do that!

I do know that the past 5 years would have been a lot more scary and stressful without her encouragement, support and sense of humour.

I stayed home today to take care of Bethany who is still running a fe er.  I also got up the courage to tackle a demolition of my own.  A year ago, I overhauled my Dragon Dreams website to reflect the change my artwork was taking as I honoured the 98 published cross stitch designs that I had created, but also tried to showcase the different directions I was heading in.  Then I created a separate website for illustration once I got feedback that Art Directors don’t have time to sift through intensive sites looking for your artwork.

I’ve limped along since then feeling very fragmented and slightly confused at how to make things better.  Today, I realized that the only way to rework the site was to start over from the very beginning, look at what works, get rid of what doesn’t and focus on what truly needs to be covered by the website while making it an informative place to visit.

I am in the middle of the destruction and rebuilding process, but I am actually pleased at how well it is turning out. I'll post on my blogs as soon as the new site is uploaded.

INHALE: Sometimes we have to rebuild from the ashes as friends of ours have done with their house, shut down a business to start in a new direction, crumple up a drawing that isn’t working or go back to the beginning and start over.  Any Creative person, crafter or artist has experienced this more than once.  I’m not sure it ever gets any easier, but I am finally learning to trust that something even better may come from drastic measures.

EXHALE:  I tried to explore today's topic in a fun way.  Find a few magazines for images or inspirational photos.  Instead of trimming them carefully with scissors, rip and tear them out then glue them into your book so that they overlap and create a collage background (you can leave white spaces).  Next, write some words over the images or around them that add to your Creative inspiration.  If this seems too time-consuming for your hectic day, try a simpler exhale: crumple a plain piece of paper and then smooth it out again then draw or write a message to yourself on the less than perfect paper as a reminder that we often set ridiculous standards for ourselves.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Creativity amid more Chaos...

The thing about knowing I am living this journey is that it sustains me even when life gets so chaotic that I cannot post.  I meant to post about our Hallowe’en creativity on Friday night or Saturday, but the weekend ended up being far different that we expected when Bethany began to run a high fever on Saturday afternoon along with her cough.  We’ve kept her in isolation at home and treated her with medicine to reduce the fever which seems to be working for now as we keep a close eye on her.  GIven all the fear about the H1N1 pandemic, we are being cautious and vigilant, hoping that it is some other germ in our house.

Thursday night, Bethany had  a Hallowe’en dance at her school.  She dressed up as a rock star and spent two hours dancing or talking with her friends.

Friday was a fun but tiring day.  I was teaching at Harrison Trimble for the 4th day that week and everyone was encouraged to dress in costume.  Erin went as a fairy GOTHmother and I dressed up as  a zombie, thinning out the make-up I used for She-Hulk and using the same wig, I ripped up one of Nick’s oldest shirts and made a very scary impression on a lot of the high school kids.  Imagine coming around a corner in a hurry and running into 6’5” of zombie teacher!  For an extrovert who loves playing up on my inches, I was having a blast!

After school, we went to pick up Bethany at her school and watch the last minutes of her volleyball tryouts.  She’d had a sock hop in the afternoon and then the tryouts, so she was feeling a bit tired as we headed home to change both girls into their costumes for working up at Magnetic Hill’s fundraiser that evening.  Boo at the School meant that the entire gym of Nick’s school had been transformed into a spook walk as a fundraiser for the Grade 8 class trip at the end of the year.  There was a bake sale, a BBQ, some other sales and the spook walk.  Erin was dressed up as an old fashioned school teacher in pioneer dress teaching a class of zombie children to repeat words like disembowel.  Bethany dressed up in her Dorothy costume and played hopscotch in the “graveyard”. Nick was the Frankenstein principal asking people for their hall passes and I helped a witch greet people at the door and break them into groups. For the first 2 hours, everyone was fairly enthusiastic, but in the 3rd hour, it got a little harder to stay “fresh” at their roles.  Bethany seemed especially tired, but I chalked it up to her busy day.  I drove the girls home as soon as things were over then came back up to help Nick and the parents take everything down in the gym.  She seemed fine when she posed for this picture after stealing Dad’s headgear...

By 10:30 the next morning, we were back at the school for a volleyball match between Erin’s 15U team and the 16U team in the Roofers club she belongs to.  It was great volleyball and each team won 2 matches, but Bethany seemed really tired and whiny.  We got her some soup for lunch and pot stickers at our favourite restaurant Happy Wok and then headed home.  She fell asleep for 2 hours and when she woke up, she was flushed and burning up with a fever of almost 102! Needless to say, my thoughts of writing everything up as the blog post went out the window...

The fever comes and goes, so she will be home with me tomorrow.  No doubt my creativity will be put towards keeping a sick daughter entertained in her room.

INHALE:  In our busy, modern day world, we sometimes feel as if we are expected to keep going no matter what.  If we are sick, we take a pill or something.  If this flu season is teaching us ANYTHING, it is reminding us of the need to listen to our bodies when they get sick or tired and grant them time to heal, time to get better and time to keep our germs to ourselves.

EXHALE:  One of the ways you can enjoy a bit of tasty Creativity even when you aren’t sick is to find a warm drink that you enjoy.  There are many wonderful herbal tea blends out there to sample, cider to warm with cranberries and cinnamon or a splash of orange juice.  My stepfather, John, has been playing with ways to make his own really chocolaty cocoa drink that has less artificial ingredients than some of the powders out there.  Sniff a few herbal tea boxes in the grocery aisles or delight in the artwork and creativity of the many Celestial Seasonings blends.  Their box artwork and creative copy are almost as lovely as the teas themselves.  Tazo ’s chai flavour has been another favourite of mine for a few years, especially with a splash of skim milk.  Miso soup is another wonderful warm drink.  Some cultures swear by a crushed garlic clove in hot water to fend of germs and there is always the traditional chicken noodle soup.  Whatever you choose as your warm drink, wrap your hands around a great mug and sit quietly for a few minutes to sip some stillness along with your beverage.  The world will still be waiting when your mug is done.