Quiet the mind....

You always hear that everything in life is temporary.  All of the good things won't last forever and all of the bad things won't last forever; so in the good times look around, take it in and remember it and in the bad times dig down deep, do the best you can, and weather the storms because good things are just around the corner.

All of this is easy to say but sometimes really hard to do.

And there are times that you have weathered the storms, come out the other side and although you should be celebrating..... you still feel like everything is all wrong.  You can survive hardship and feel like everything still sucks.  It's true...  I know.... I've been there.

It's ok to feel this way but you can't allow yourself to stay this way.

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak
— Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

My goal this summer was to move forward... past the chronic pain, past the anger of stolen time and missed opportunities because there is so much more of life to live and so many people have endured so much more.  So I focused on quieting the mind and it started in Mexico.

It was so great to spend time with two of my greatest friends-- sitting in the sun, laughing, swimming with small fish, hiking along Mayan ruins, floating along the river through little caves, watching tiny crabs climb the rocks, and lizards falling from trees --- great food and a few drinks, brightly painted ceramics, folk art, and some quiet moments with God.

There is something bigger than us.... and when you take a step back, it is easier to see a bigger picture and let go of the pressures of this world.  When you step away from the labels, the expectations, the questions and judgements we put on ourselves, you connect to a truer sense of who you are.

Above all, watch with glittering eyes the the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic won’t find it
— unknown

In some quiet moments.... here's what I found.... 

 

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It loves me... it loves me not...

So... see this super cute camera... that I love...

#x100s blog @ gallery1126

Well... It hates me.

I took it out for the very first time on this perfect summer day today and it was a bumpy ride. I knew it was going to be tricky because when you read about it everyone says there is quite a learning curve and they were not kidding ;)

It didn't do anything I wanted it to do... Ha. But that's ok. It's good for the soul and we will become friends... but it ain't gonna be pretty.

I'll share my disaster of a day later this week.... Maybe... Just need a little time out first.

~ family, friends and photographs are the best things in life

(and yes, even after today I still believe this... sort of :)

#x100s

summer afternoon in June

I love love love June.....

There is an easiness to it.... a wonder.... a sense that anything is possible and something great is just about to happen....

I've always felt that time stands still in June.  It's a pause in the calendar.   The whole summer is in front of us.  For me, it's a time for reflection and reorganizing and hitting the reset button.

So here's to the wonder and the hope that comes with the first day of June.

Happy June 1st

head in the clouds..... bright colors..... big dreams

baby in a bow tie

So excited I finally got to use this great infant bow tie I found.... such a dapper lil don :)

I got to see their mom grow from a little girl to a teacher to now a mom of two... So happy I got to be a part of this. Boy #1 loved to show me his new brother and look at the camera but not sit for the camera with his new brother (who has time for that when you are a toddler on the go with Curious George on the tube and toy cars to zoom) but that's ok... we only needed one moment and we got it.  Look at that sweet face... too cute! And then we had plenty of time to capture the snuggly sweet squishy-ness of Boy #2.... in a bow tie

Welcome to the world little one.

Congrats Melissa and Steve!

 

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sunday snapshot: winter 2014 christmas is coming....

Twenty five weeks straight of my sunday snapshot.... done!

That was my personal goal and last week was # 25.

I wanted to find a way to focus more on life, art, and all things I love.  And it has been a great way to take a time out and do just that. Hoping to still share something once a week. We'll see ;)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

First Sunday in December and the flea market was full of great stuff.... beautiful vintage coats and trunks.... this one booth with really impressive handwoven necklaces..... but the best part was all of the vintage and speciality christmas pieces.

I did walk out with a hand carved little blue bird, a vintage ivory fur wrap (pretty sure it is faux fur) and a vintage blue and green glass pinecone ornament.

Here were a few other flea market finds today:

iphone snapshots

ps-- classy girls like coke :)

blog @ gallery1126

sunday snapshot # 25

I say it all of the time.... nothing like a newborn!

To be in the presence of a little one is to be in the presence of love, joy, and the greater spirit.  It is such a great reminder of what we are made of, what we are capable of and ultimately what we are meant to be..... sweet squishy bundles of love that bring joy to others and connect soul to soul.

If we as a whole can continually strive to connect to our higher selves, maybe the anger and violence in this world would evaporate and love and hope would survive.

Welcome to the world little one.

Congrats Shannon and Tom!

 

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sunday snapshot # 24

It amazes me what people can overcome, what they can accomplish when the odds are against them.  It's easy to have hope at the beginning of a challenge.... as you stand at the base of a mountain.  But it is even easier to give up half way through your climb.

But you have to embrace the changes and challenges in our life even when you don't get the results you want because the sooner you embrace them, the sooner you can move pass them and get back to living-- get back to new dreams, new hopes, and new possibilities.

And when in doubt.... when you think you can't make it, when you just want everything to go back to the way it was.... watch this
 

sunday snapshot # 23

In life we are all handed good and bad. And a lot of times we are just waiting out the storm.... waiting for it to pass and to get back to normal. But what if there is no getting back to normal? What if you have to embrace a new way of being and you are just not ready?

This has been me for a while now. I'm usually really good at waiting out the storm and usually really good at being grateful and seeing the bigger picture of life, but 3 years ago today I had a major hip surgery that has changed everything. I know how to wait out a storm with a hopeful outlook. And I know how to get back up when I fall down. But embracing a new normal has been a challenge. I didn't know how different life would be after this surgery. I didn't know that my sense of balance and sense of movement and sense of self would be so different. I didn't know that I would barely recognize myself -- and that I would feel so lost. 

I have wanted to give up many times. I have even wished more than once that I died on the operating table because what good is life if you are in constant pain and can barely move?

But the only way to get through something is to go through it.... you have to walk straight through it to get to the other side. You won't get to the other side unchanged, but there is always more of life to live and even when you feel you have nothing, you really have so much--- it's all in the way you look at it and all in the way you define what is important in life and who you want to be. 

I keep waiting for things to get back to normal.... but there is no going back.... there is only moving forward.

Forward in my life philosophy, forward in my art, forward in my sense of self, and forward in what I give to this world.  At every moment we have to decide who we are-- are we going to be kind? are we going to be thoughtful? are we going to be generous? are we going to be strong and do the hard things in life? are we going to let go and start again? 

We sometimes hold on too tight to things that we need to let go. Life is a continual process of letting go because when you let go, you open up room for something new and there are so many possibilities :)

Here is the first in a series of images I have been working on.

These images speak to my experiences with brokenness, with struggle, with perseverance, with hope, with gratitude.... with taking what is left over and making something new. 

from ashes - 2014

sunday snapshot # 22

The world is full of so much good-- love, laughter, friendship, kindness, wonder...

And full of so much heartache.

We will experience all of it....  a giggle, watching a bunny chewing on some grass, a storm rolling in, a kind gesture, a magenta sky, an unexpected phone call that stops your day, a bad medical report, the gift of flowers, the best hug and biggest smile upon entering a room, a thank you, a goodbye, an i miss you.... we will experience all of it at one point or another.  

That's what it is to be human.

On the good days it is easy to embrace life.

On the bad days we may want to give up.

On the good days, pause and take it all in and be grateful in those moments.

On the bad days, I read these words:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some true enemies.  Succeed anyway.  
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years building, others could destroy overnight.  Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
--- Mother Teresa
art @ gallery1126

sunday snapshot # 21

I am obsessed with art--- all things art.  Art is the heart and soul of what it means to be human. It is a reflection of what we have been and what we can become.

I'm at a point in my art life that I'm just doing what I love because I love doing it.  I sometimes get great compliments and I sometimes get great criticism but that is all a part of life in the arts.

I wrote this little goal awhile ago to keep me focused on what is most important in life:

Do some good, true work to help others... to be generous with others.... and do what you love... spend your life focusing on what is good, and ignore the rest.

Because as Brendon Burchard said:

At the end of our lives we will all ask... Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?

 

Here are some of my favorite art blogs... hope you find something inspiring in them too.

 

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/10/guerilla-mosaic-artist-now-filling-chicago-potholes-with-flowers/

http://www.celebratewhatsright.com/images

http://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/2014/07/21/anne-karin-furunes/

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/banksy-s-street-art-reimagined-in-lego

http://www.boredpanda.com/nature-reclaiming-civilization/

 

https://www.facebook.com/TheMindUnleashed

https://www.facebook.com/TheMindUnleashed

sunday snapshot # 20

Is the glass half empty or half full?

art @ gallery1126

How do you see it?

Here are some other ways to see it......

“It doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and grateful that there's something in it.” -- unknown

"Remember to look at your glass half full and not half empty. A lot of my strength comes from God. God has given me a gift - the gift of life - and it's amazing that I live each day." -- Mattie Stepanek

"It's not about how full or empty the glass is but rather what will you fill it with?" -- unknown

"Technically the glass is always full... 1/2 air and 1/2 water." -- unknown

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." -- John Lubbock

 

So it's important to remember that what you see, what you choose to accept, how you react and what you hope for is always a choice.  It is not always easy but we can choice it at any moment.

sunday snapshot # 19

My 19th post on October 19th

Maybe this is a good sign that good things are on the way???? Or just a fun coincidence :)

I always thought that you first worked really hard to build a life, then there would be a point where you got to start living it.  And I think I have just been waiting for my real life to begin but really life is constantly unfolding a path one brick at a time that you walk along.....

Here are some of my favorites things from this path so far... 

red velvet cake.....    well, really most cake

red velvet cake.....    well, really most cake

Philly pretzel

Philly pretzel

the perfect Coke

the perfect Coke

pretty things

pretty things

great jewelry

great jewelry

beautiful books

beautiful books

Coco Chanel.....  and green velvet

Coco Chanel.....  and green velvet

fashion and flowers

fashion and flowers

a snow day... quiet outside and curled up inside

a snow day... quiet outside and curled up inside

a reminder that even during moments of chaos and stress you can be at peace

a reminder that even during moments of chaos and stress you can be at peace

watching this little one walk through the world

watching this little one walk through the world

contour line drawings

contour line drawings

taking photos

taking photos

knowing there is something bigger.... just look up

knowing there is something bigger.... just look up

this silly moment

this silly moment

fun with photos.... love an app  and moments with this kid

fun with photos.... love an app

and moments with this kid

moss.... and curating great art shows

moss.... and curating great art shows

little blooms

little blooms

this little face..... (and an owl hat)

this little face..... (and an owl hat)

this little face.....

this little face.....

and  this little face.....

and this little face.....

beautiful endings to each day

beautiful endings to each day

sunday snapshot # 18

I am very busy these days... too busy.  I'm doing things that are important to me (teaching, listening, encouraging, lending a helping hand, creating art and curating gallery shows.... and in grad school again) and yet I feel like I am missing something.  

I still feel like I am not doing enough.

I constantly question if I am doing what I am suppose to do.

I know that what I am doing as a teacher, an artist, a friend is important stuff but yet I feel like I am suppose to be doing more.  On one side of the coin, I always feel like I should be doing more and that is what keeps me searching and that is what keeps me growing. On the other side of the coin, I feel like I am always failing because I am not doing more.  That's life as a Gemini -- dual vision :)

We all have to define for ourselves what is success and what is our purpose.  When I feel overwhelmed with the stresses of life, these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson have always been a great reminder of what I ultimately want to accomplish:  

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Fall is a time of reflection.... the changing of the season, the moving through the life cycle and soon the ending of another year.

So this is the thought that came to me this week when I was feeling so overwhelmed with all I had to do but no time to do it and still feeling like I wasn't doing enough....

 

Take care of others, and I will take care of you....
                                                                love, God

sunday snapshot # 17

"Your life will not always look like this."

Something to remember in the hard moments when you are praying for something to change and the happy moments when you are hoping nothing changes.

Embrace all of the good stuff while it's happening.  Be grateful.

Dig deep in the moments of struggle knowing that good things are right around the corner. Life is a constant cycle of growth and change, laughter and tears, and learning to let go.

The harsher the wind the stronger the tree :)

Don't believe me?  It's true.  Without wind the tree topples over.  It needs the resistance of the wind to grow deep roots.  

You can read more about it here: http://www.a4t.org/Stories/bio-dome_lesson.html

 

Here's a happy little tree drawing I did a few years ago. A little reminder to laugh a lot, give a smile to those around you, and when the wind picks up, dig deep into your soul. 




sunday snapshot # 16

flowers and photographs....

two things I really love.

 

Pablo Picasso said

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

 

Hanging out with some art peeps last night was a great way to remember that art is such fun-- it celebrates what is most important in life, it reminds us that life is fragile and sacred, but also that we can let go of the heaviness that we create for ourselves.... life is heavy at times but you really can focus in on what you love and who you are at your core and delete the rest.

And even though life might not always work out the way you want.... there is still good and you should take the time to embrace it in the moment you recognize it.

Find moments that wash away the dust.....

 

large format with polaroid backing / Michael Barton / Jaime Foster

large format with polaroid backing / Michael Barton / Jaime Foster

fun with polaroids

fun with polaroids

photo props

photo props

gerber daisy-- such a happy flower                                               polaroid negative / peel apart film

gerber daisy-- such a happy flower                                               polaroid negative / peel apart film

me / 2014  a Michael Barton original :)

me / 2014

a Michael Barton original :)

self portrait / 2014

self portrait / 2014

self portrait / 2014

self portrait / 2014

sunday snapshot # 15

First day of fall is this week......

Here's a last look at a summer trip to Atlantic City.

Find ways each day to love something..... find something to celebrate; it's what keeps us moving forward on those days when life just doesn't make sense and you want to give up.  There is goodness all around and if you cannot find it, then be it ......... and maybe it will start a chain reaction.

click on image to start slideshow

found a tiny shell (image 3), built our own "shell-henge" (image 11) and think we might have found Van Gogh's ear (image 14).....  sounds a little gross, but seriously look at it; I really think it could be....

ocean waves and salt water taffy....

roller coasters, helicopter rides and the arcade....

and the sunrise on our last day....

sunday snapshot # 14

Right out of college I got my dream job--- retail design.  We designed graphics, packaging, materials, color, furniture, fixtures, signage, lighting, and anything else they would let us!

Still love design and have always loved beautiful things.

Found these vintage ads at the Louis Vuitton in Atlantic City-- The Pier Shops at Caesar's.

focal wall

focal wall

closer look

closer look

And a beautiful sculpture in the front window display....

make a wish....

make a wish....

I just love pretty things.

Always take a moment to admire something pretty.  It reminds us that there is good in the world and helps counteract some of the icky-ness we come across at times.

 

 

 

sunday snapshot # 13

 

Atlantic City

Three generations of family fun.....  Philly cheesesteaks, ice waters, funnel cakes, salt water taffy, the boardwalk, sand, shells, waves..... and lots of giggles.

A day at the beach makes life seem so simple-- it seems to clarify what's true, what's important, and why we are here.  Walking along the shore, picking up shells, and jumping in the waves is good for the soul.

 

1953

my mom and nana / 1953

my mom and nana / 1953

my nana / 1953

my nana / 1953

my mom and uncle Phil / 1953

my mom and uncle Phil / 1953

my nana / 1953

my nana / 1953

my mom, nana and uncle Phil / 1953

my mom, nana and uncle Phil / 1953

 

1982

me, my brother and sister with my great aunt Grace / 1982

me, my brother and sister with my great aunt Grace / 1982

me, my brother and sister with my great aunt Grace / 1982

me, my brother and sister with my great aunt Grace / 1982

 

1990

my brother and sister / 1990

my brother and sister / 1990

my brother and sister / 1990

my brother and sister / 1990

me and my brother / 1990

me and my brother / 1990

 

2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my niece and nephew / 2014

my nephew / 2014

my nephew / 2014

catching some waves / 2014

catching some waves / 2014

August 2014

August 2014

sunday snapshot # 12

Peace isn't the absence of trouble.... it is the absence of worry.  You can live in peace even when you are surrounded by chaos.  How do you do this?  You have to stop worrying; it's wasted energy.  Just hit delete and keep moving.

When life is spinning out of control we have to remember that everybody has a purpose and everything is going to be ok.... 

Just be.

be in the moment

be in peace

be in God

and be good to others.

Atlantic City 2014

Atlantic City 2014