finding the joy

IMG_0044

Inspired by a fellow creative at the first Bedlam Farm Creativity Conference, I started making junk journals. These are a compilation of left over pieces of paper and boxes, cuttings from magazines, calendars, and catalogs, unused photographs, art prints, my own artwork, and random pictures and illustrations.

While making these journals, I allow synchronicity and spontaneity to take over.  I quickly chose phrases and pictures to glue onto individual pages.  Some were humorous, and some were philosophical. And yet, some were downright warped in perspective.  After making two for myself I got the idea to make some for friends as Christmas gifts.  It was a JOY to make each journal, with love, for the friend who would receive it, keeping in mind the things that meant a lot to each friend and reflections of who each one was as an individual. And that’s when I came up with the idea of calling them JOY JOURNALS. I invited each friend to note things that brought them joy throughout the days and weeks, hoping that we could have a JOY FEST at the end of 2016.

Here we are in mid February, and I am now on page twelve of my own joy journal. I keep it on my kitchen table where it serves as a daily reminder to look for the joy in my day. It is not a true journal or diary in the sense that I write long entries – some are phrases of just four to six words.  It’s enough to capture the joy I see or feel and validate that I recognized it.

Joy is not always about being happy or having fun. It has a way of sneaking in between the cracks. Joy is more often internal than external and sometimes takes some serious probing to feel.

It’s too easy to get bogged down by negativity, allowing it to play over and over in our minds, like a broken record. It’s my thinking that if we permit ourselves to “listen” to the repetition of negativity that we empower it and allow it to permeate our very essence of being.

We take responsibility for choosing joy in our lives and affirming its power. By encouraging joy to become our natural mind set, it manifests in a myriad of ways in our lives.

 

Advertisements

coffee

coffee

Most of my friends find it amusing that I just started to drink coffee at the age of 67. Although I do make it at home, nothing beats a good cup of hot black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts – no sugar, no cream, no nuttin’.  Anyway, I think it is a little like eating a meal prepared by someone else; it always tastes better than when you make it yourself.

Recently, when I was staying at a friend’s home, she asked me what I wanted to drink for breakfast, and I replied, “CAW-fee.” (caw as in awe)  My aunt who was a “New Yawker” always pronounced it this way, and I loved the way it sounded.

My friend, not immediately realizing that I was being funny, corrected me and said it was pronounced “COUGH-fee – like in cough, cough”  I giggled, and said I actually preferred “CORE-fee.”  She looked at me askance and realized that I was enjoying the word play.

I then proceeded to tell her that even though she pronounced it COUGH-fee, the sophisticates were known for saying, “KAH-fee.”  (kah as in hat)  By this time, she’d already measured out the Gevalia and plugged in the pot.

As the rich aroma filled the kitchen, I relinquished the word play and admitted that I really said “KOFF-ee.” (Koff as in coffin) – not that I was trying to bury the topic.

I just wanted my cup of JOE.

 

helping deb get dressed

Every morning, without fail, my two pups arrive to help me get dressed. There’s no routine to this, mind you.
I used to think that it was the sound of the drawers being opened to retrieve my underwear and socks . . . so I tried opening those drawers v e r r r y quietly. Didn’t work. The girls still arrived to help me get dressed.
Then I tried putting my underwear out the night before . . . that failed too. I still had two black noses helping me put on my socks and slacks.
I tried sitting on my chair instead of the bed (thinking they heard the springs creak?) — no matter — chair or bed. The girls still arrived to assist.
It’s actually gotten to be funny.
I suppose it’s rooted in thinking that when Deb goes to put her clothes on that one of them will be “going to work.” (They’re both therapy dogs.)
But it has really made me think about intuition and that extra sensory perception that IMG_2770animals have retained. It doesn’t seem to matter when I get dressed or how I mix up the signals; my two wonderful pups, Hannah and Heidi, are devoted maids and love to help me get dressed.

creativity, mediocrity, and me

_MG_0011

I am a retired librarian with 37 years in public education. My father was a well respected college professor, and my mother was considered the best piano teacher in the town where I grew up. Both my parents were also writers and always encouraged any creative bents I displayed while growing up. So, creativity and education are in my blood, and, I suppose, it has molded my views on constructive feedback and mediocrity. My standards have always been high, often to the dismay of my colleagues and my students. I basically abhor status quo; to me, it’s boring and uninspiring and an anathema to my creativity.

There has been much dialog recently among the members of the creative group about feedback, triggered by recent events and blog posts. This has caused me to pause and reflect upon my own philosophy about creativity and participating in a group of others with creative interests.

Obviously any group is made up of a very diversified membership. Because of that, the reasons for being in the creative group are most likely just as diversified. We need to consider what our personal goals are for group participation. Ask yourself, am I a member because. . .

I want to learn more about my art and improve?

I want a place to gain inspiration or to embrace as a muse?

I want constructive feedback on my art?

I want an audience with whom to share what I’ve done?

I want a place to be social with like-minded people?

I want to share my creative journey with others and help them on their own creative journeys?

Most will embrace several or all of these goals. Some may embrace none and choose not to challenge themselves and advance. Everyone’s goals are different, and those goals should be in a constant state of flux as your creative medium grows and changes.

I’ve learned that giving constructive feedback is an art, and for many people it can be just as frightening as sharing their own creative medium. But, like anything else, the more you do it and the more you read good feedback from others, the easier it becomes. Learning to give quality and thoughtful feedback is an important part of growing as a creative person and supporting others in their own journey.  When I really take the time to look at a photograph and weigh in on what MAKES it a good photograph or image, it forces me to become more astute in evaluating my own images. Deliberation (thinking) is just one important step in advancing our own creativity.

It is not uncommon to be uncomfortable with giving feedback because it involves “feelings.” People are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and potentially discouraging their efforts. Unfortunately, this leads to generalizations and comments like, “Gorgeous!” “Awesome!” “You are a brilliant writer!” “I LOVE your work!”  People think they are giving feedback, but it is a path to encouraging complacency.

I, as a photographer, do not want mediocrity to dictate the standard of my work. I am constantly looking to improve and step outside my comfort zone. It can be frightening, but it’s the only way I will learn to be better. Yes, we all progress through levels of performance as we advance in our art.  At some point we travel through the stages of beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert.  Mediocrity is a natural phase as one progresses, but it should just be a phase and not an accepted end in our creative journey.

 

 

making a difference

Hannah and Jack

I went to the dogs when I retired . . . yep, literally and intentionally.

When Wendi and I started visiting a second grade learning support classroom with Wendi’s therapy dog Wes eight years ago, we had absolutely NO IDEA the impact that a therapy dog in a classroom would have. Word spread within the school, and principals began talking among themselves. Newspaper coverage sparked the interest of several therapy dog teams in the area, and before we knew it, we started year two with five dogs in five classrooms.

Word continued to spread, our services mushroomed, and our vision changed when we saw the miraculous impact our dogs were having upon students with disabilities and social, emotional, and learning challenges. Now, as we approach year nine of providing therapy dogs to five school districts and four private schools in our area, funding has become a serious challenge.

Being a 501c3 non-profit and incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania, we have hit a stone wall. We compete with thousands of other non-profits who also struggle with financial support and have their hands extended for help. What’s the difference? Education!

Being mandatory, education is a critical part of the life of a child. Unfortunately, not all children have the capacity for learning. They struggle with a myriad of challenges ranging from dyslexia to physical disabilities to dysfunctional social tendencies to emotional issues that get in the way of achieving academically. These struggles take the joy out of learning which just adds another hurdle in the educational process.

Put a dog into the equation, and things immediately turn around. When a dog steps through the door of a classroom, the teacher acquires a miraculous teaching tool with unlimited potential to touch that small part of a student’s psyche that sets up the amazing ability to succeed.

Comments like “Oh, that’s cute,” “That’s a great idea,” and “The dogs are so sweet,” are really difficult to swallow. It’s prevalent in our society today that people cannot see below the surface and understand the REAL reason dogs are in the classroom and WHY they are so magical in triggering such positive results. It’s part of the apathy so prevalent today that no longer puts a premium on education and teaching children to THINK cognitively and develop a lifelong joy and love for learning.

So many Go Fund Me campaigns are for personal things – legal issues, medical expenses, living expenses, etc. They are important too, and I have contributed to many of those campaigns, but the Nor’wester Readers’ campaign targets thousands of children who will become our future.

You are not only making a donation to the Nor’wester Readers organization. You are making a contribution to OUR FUTURE. Yes, you are making a difference!!PLEASE consider making a difference now with a contribution to our Go Fund Me campaign.

http://www.gofundme.com/pmc6l4 

PHOTO: My Hannah with one of her 2nd grade reading buddies who is really “relaxing” with a good book.

for sale or rent cheep

I have been watching lots of HGTV in the winter months. I am fascinated and intrigued by the building and renovation process. So much so that I decided to go into the DIY business and restore/design bird houses. In between making earrings and photography, and other creative projects, I have entered the housing arena.

With the proliferation of bird species frequenting my feeders year round, I know there is a demand for residences in our area. The schools are top notch, and the community is very safe. . . except for the occasional raptor marauder. Even then, the Corvid Police Force goes into action and clears the trees and skies.

I actually have 5 homes available in the Blue Haven community. Blue Haven is the name bestowed upon the Glessner property by my mom, Dorothy, shortly after we moved in nineteen years ago. Three of those homes are commercial residences, but two are custom designed by the one and only Deborah of “DG”TV.

The first is an avant-garde design with bright modern colors and exterior motifs. The round shape is superb for raising young – no sharp corners. The house sits in an evergreen on Yew Street, which overlooks an art-deco glass pool. It’s a one-story efficiency with one bedroom and a family room, ideal for a small bird species. The property is listed with Cheep Abodes at 215-FEA-THER.

IMG_1731

The second is a roomier log cabin style home, two stories, with central air. Its understated design complements the shade garden where it is located. A community pool is available 2 blocks away. A very unique feature of this home is its swinging mechanism, something that mothers love when their young start fussing. This White Pine Drive home will not be on the market long and is listed with Wing & Sons at 215-TWI-TTER.

IMG_1736

Inquiries are welcomed, and showings can be arranged by appointment.

earrings for spring

It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted more earrings. Here are a few from three series titled horse, dog bone-it, and shortlings.  Two left from the popular Dog Bone-it series and two from a new series for horse lovers. The Shortling series are earrings 1″ or shorter for those who do not like longer dangles. Please go right to my earring website for order numbers, earring length, and prices.

Be sure to look at the new Gold series and the Regular Collection series as well as many beautiful earrings from previously posted collections. I apologize for the quality of the photos. It’s sometimes very difficult to get the true color of the beads and charms. All the earrings are very beautiful, much more so than in the photos.

I accept paypal via my email dglessner2@comcast.net.  Please add $3 for S&H (up to 3 earrings per order (envelope). I also accept checks if you prefer to handle the order by snail mail. Please be very specific when placing an order, including the earring number and name if there is one. THANK YOU, and HAPPY SPRING!

HRS 1 HRS 2

SH6 Gold Silver combo SH5 Solid Silver

SH4 Silver Etching SH 1 Blue Jubilee

DB 11 (2) DB 11 (1)