Saturday, April 23, 2016


I have stepped WAY out of my comfort zone this week and have not only drawn pictures but shared it with the world.  Well, if you call the few people on my Instagram and Facebook a world but still... that's more people that I've shared this journey with and opened the door for feedback.  And possibly criticism.  Drawing is not my strength and I cannot come up with an amazing concept on my own. My hand doesn't just magically create some fascinating, realistic looking face or landscape.  In fact, my first two pictures look like something a kindergartner would draw although that might be an insult to the little 5-year-old's.  So for my third picture, since I wanted to test out my skills with facial drawings, I turned to the all mighty YouTube channel.  And found some great tutorials, especially for us beginners.  And I followed the instructions.  Very carefully.  Very diligently.  And the results, I must say and toot my own horn, were not as bad as I thought.  In fact, I can even say I'm a little proud of some of the work I've accomplished so far.  AND I'm having fun.  I look forward to my evenings where I can settle in, pull out the sketch book (that my oldest daughter gave to me because I didn't have one of my own because I never thought I would try to draw or even share it with my handful of followers), and get to work.  After today, Day 5/100, I've stepped up my game and practiced shading and adding some personal touches that are not taught in the tutorial for beginners.

So why the attempt at drawing?  Several reasons...
  1. I've always wanted to draw and envy those who can.  My number 3 daughter is a talented artist and one of those people who can sit down and start creating without the YouTube tutorials.  AND make things look very realistic, lifelike, and really, really prettiful.  My husband has that talent although he hasn't drawn anything since college.  Which was quite some time ago.
  2. I have a couple of children's books and I need illustrations so I can publish them.  Last summer I even attempted to bribe my children and held a drawing contest. Gave them a project to keep them busy over summer with a monetary incentive...  good idea, Mom!  Not really.  I got NUTHIN'!  My youngest tried her best but only completed two of the animals I needed without background or anything else.  So I scratched the idea.  And saved some dollars since I didn't have to pay anyone.  But I still have no pictures...
  3. I've been following an author and artist named Elle Luna (I even met her by bringing her to our college to speak about following your passions and dreams) and she began a new 100 day project 5 days ago.  I know because I've been drawing for 5 days now.  95 more days to go... The 100 day project is anything a person wants to create, whether it's drawing, photography, story telling, etc.  They share what they've completed each day but it makes a person conscious of completing an assignment each and every day.  And I say assignment in a positive and fun way.
  4. Did I mention I need illustrations for a couple of children's books I've written and have been wanting to publish them for how many years now?  And I feel like THIS is the year?  It shall be done!
Have you ever thought about trying something new, different, and maybe even something a little scary?  (Not illegal...)  My first leap was sharing my writing with my peeps on Facebook.  Exposing my writing and thoughts to family and friends has got to be one of the most nerve wracking things a person can do.  But I jumped in and so far, I'm still around and have received positive feedback. So I thought, why not, let's take another leap and try something that will stretch my imagination as well as my comfort zone.  And so, after 5 days, I'm improving on my drawing skills, creating new ideas, and even coming up with some more ideas.  I'm excited, I'm rejuvenated, my creative juices are a-flowing, and I've found renewed energy and imagination.  So, if you've been thinking about a new project or idea, try it out.  And if you want to join in the fun (we're only 5 days in), start a project and post on Instagram using #THE100DAYPROJECT plus your own hashtag.  Have fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Peace and Home

There's an old Sunday School song we used to sing and one of the verses starts with "I've got the peace that passes understanding, down in my heart."  That's how I felt today.  My heart felt peaceful and light.  It could have been the sunshine and warmth.   It could have been the church music and Mom's choir singing about Jesus rising again.  It could have been visiting Lino's grave to celebrate his 43rd birthday.  It could have been spending quality time with my family.  I can't say for sure but my heart is peaceful.  It is quiet.  After weeks and months of stress at work and at home, the restlessness and irritation has been hushed.

"The peace that passes understanding..."  I felt that peace when I visited home in December.  I was blessed to travel with my dad and stepmom to American Samoa for a week after Christmas.  Dad's brothers and sister found out he was going and decided to also make the trek.  So all of the siblings could be together.  One day I went for a walk into the jungle behind my uncle's house.  The busy sounds of the main road in front of the house disappeared quickly as I became surrounded by the trees.  The startling silence, only broken by small sounds of insects and the gentle breeze, fell over me.  The heat of the day turned to coolness in the shade.  My daughters asked if I was creeped out. I've been telling them too many 'aitu stories.  Happily no, there was no sense of danger or eerie hair standing on the back of the neck.  It was the total opposite.  There was a feeling of calm.  I was washed over with a sense of tranquility.  I was home.  This place where I was born and raised, how could I feel anything but peace?  The night we were leaving I went out to my grandmother's grave and sat down.  I just sat.  I let the emotions run over me as they do when I know I have to leave again. My uncle and cousin came and sat with me.  No words were spoken.  There was no need to be vocal. We only felt.  I quietly, in my mind, said goodbye.  I don't know when I'll go back again.  But I know I'll always feel that pull towards home.  It's my beacon.  My place of peace.

Unfortunately, real life and duties pulled me back along with the stress and urgency that comes with being a full time working mom.  That peace I had being home?  It was temporary.  Once I returned from my trip and jumped back into work, literally, with deadlines and schedules, the turmoil began to boil over.  It got to the point where I retreated into one of the bedrooms in our home that was unoccupied at the time, and just sat in the dark.  I breathed.  I listened to the soft sounds of the house. I could hear my daughters laughing through the vent.  Muffled but present.  I could hear the television in my room as my husband watched his show.  I heard the heater turn on to keep the house warm and cozy.  And I sat.  And breathed some more.

Today was different.  Even though we were busy, I did not feel rushed.  I did not think about what needed to be done at home or at work the next week.  I lived in the moment.  I enjoyed each song, each conversation, each bite of food, each story told.  I relished the laughter of the kids.  I savored the coolness of the ice cream contrasting with the warmness of the sunshine.  I appreciated the time spent with my mom.  I rejoiced in His many blessings.  I look forward to finding more days like these.

"I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart. I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart.  Down in my heart to stay."