Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Best Gifts are Creative Gifts

I believe that finding the perfect gift for someone is an art. There is no thrill like getting someone a gift that they really love and can really use. However, this is not an easy feat!

My boyfriend, John, has an eleven-year old daughter, M. This age is very difficult to shop for! For that matter, John is hard to shop for. So, when faced with a challenge, I try to get the creative juices flowing to explore options. This exploring has led me to creative gift giving.

For M., I like to give her creative project gifts that many times are things I would enjoy as well. This way, it not only inspires her creativity but leads to an activity we can do together. An example of what I mean is:



Both M. and I like the show Project Runway. We have also used this kit together. It was a lot of fun and helped us both be more creative. It was also a way to spend some fun time together.

For John, it is also difficult to find good gifts. He loves knights and anything associated with that time period so one thing I like to get him are cool T-shirts that he would wear and are unique to what he likes. Zazzle is a great place for these types of products. Zazzle has several unique products that can be for almost anyone! Here is an example of what I might get him.

Joust shirt
Joust by BrazenHussy
Buy shirts at zazzle.com


I will keep posting great gift ideas until Christmas. We all could use help picking good gifts!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Dive From Clausen's Peer" A Review


"To Thine Own Self Be True".


This idea is at the heart of the novel Dive From Clausen's Peer by Ann Packer. As simple as a concept as it may be to be true to oneself, the real world application of this idea can be quite complicated. In this novel, the main character, Carrie, feels herself drifting from her old life. Like many of us, she felt that a stage in her life was complete and was compelled to move on or else be trapped in a rut, stagnating in a part of her life that was long dead.




Unfortunately for Carrie, something happens that keeps pulling her back into this old life from which she is trying to break free.




I like this book because it places a complex character in a complex situation. She is likeable and real; however, like any person, she has quirks and weaknesses. To judge how she reacts to the event that is pulling her back is difficult; there are no easy answers, which makes the novel provocative and worth the read.




On my bookmark scale, I give this a 7.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Favorite "Awareness" Blogs


What do I mean by "Awareness" blogs? These are blogs that talk about being aware of who we are and how it affects others. They do have a spiritual tone but have more practicality than just discussing abstract spiritual ideas. Others might also call them self-improvement blogs; however, that also short changes what these blogs are about and what they offer readers.



1. http://zenhabits.com/ Anyone doing a list of the top "awareness" blogs would include Leo Babuto's blog. He is the leader in this field. There is such an amazing tone to his writing and blog. His blog is simple and pure, with practical wisdom that benefits all kinds of people, no matter your beliefs or lifestyles. He simply helps the readers know themselves better and live better lives.



2. http://happylotus.com/ This blog is really wonderful. Nadia is an amazing writer and an amazing person. She talks about having had a near death experience as a teenager. This NDE seems to have tuned her into something deeper and more spiritual than is in the general awareness of society. Her compassion is so clear in her writings. Also, when you comment on her post, she writes a response, which is always kind, loving, and thoughtful.



3. http://www.questforbalance.com/ Lisis is the woman behind this blog. What I enjoy about this blog is the sweetness in the writing. She has a kindness and vulnerability in her writing that reaches out to the audience in a very real way. Lisis also responds to her reader's comments in a kind and thoughtful way.


When I read these blogs, it is not only the insights but the reminder to act out of a place of peace with yourself. They help me recenter and remind me of the compassion and love that needs to drive all actions. Sometimes, I get so angry and frustrated with my job or certain things in my personal life, and reading these blogs help me take that breath and remember the peace I had forgotten. I'd love to hear the "awareness" blogs that you love!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maintaining Creativity in a Mundane World


Some days, I just feel like being creative. I either want to write a poem, draw, start a novel, or take some pictures. Unfortunately, I find that the mundane duties of job and life often drain that vivacity. There are certain responsibiilities in life that can take over and draw us into hyper-practicality. Get the bills pain on time, keep the house clean, grocery shop, take kids to some practice, etc.

So, what is the best way to reignite the creatie fire? Some things that work for me are


1. the five second meditation/visualization Yes, five seconds is a bit of an exaggeration but not as much as you might think. What I do to get in the creative frame of mind again (I also use this technique to regroup and relax), is use visualizations. For some of my visualizations, check out
http://www.spiritsoflena.com/2009/10/using-peaceful-scene.html


2. Cross-pollination: using others' creativity to ignite yours I talk about this on my photography blog at http://spiritsoflena.blogspot.com/2009/09/creativity-power-of-cross-pollination.html. I list there people who have really inspired my creativity. When I am having trouble being inspired, I will listen to some of my favorite songs, watch a show that is creative and inspiring, look at inspired photos, etc. This often helps reignite my creative drive.


What helps you reignite the creative flame?