A few weeks ago I taught a workshop at the Denver Public Library for Fresh City Life called Dia de las Tazas where participants created their own sugar skull, day of the dead themed mugs. It was really fun and there were some really wonderful and creative mug creations. Here are a few of my favorites:
If you’re not familiar with the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), it’s a time when the lives of loved ones who have passed on are celebrated by those of us still here. I have a lot of people that I’m thinking about today who are with me in spirit.
Tonight my sister is coming over and we are going to work on some paint by number pictures of the Red Baron. We found the pictures in our grandfather’s stuff after he passed away. He loved airplanes, especially biplanes, and he was fascinated by the Red Baron. We’re not sure where he got the paint by number set, or if he ever intended to do them, but we will work on them tonight and remember him fondly. We love you Grampa George!
Who will you remember today?
So last time I talked about rejection and putting myself out there – opening myself up for criticism, rejection, judgment etc. This reminded me of how scary it was the first time I wrote a blog entry. Before I started Feisty Owl Studio and this blog I contributed to a friend’s blog, which is no longer online. I still have those posts saved and in the interest of giving them a new life, I will post them here.
Below is the first blog post that I ever wrote. I remember that my Dad read it and was not impressed. He said, ‘That first blog post you wrote was pretty squirrely, but they got better after that’. I didn’t really know what squirrely meant, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t a compliment.
I just decided to look up squirrely and here’s the first definition that popped up (from Urban Dictionary): “Adjective: 1. mildly insane 2. unpredictable and jumpy, often in a cowardly way 3. nutty; resembling a squirrel looking for nuts.”
Wow. Just for the record, any mild insanity I have probably comes from my Dad. So, I guess that would make him an expert on squirreliness. If you’re reading this, I love you Dad. And if you’re not reading this, I still love you. Just a little less.
Squirrely, though it may be, it was honest and captured a moment in time for me as I decided to put myself out there, via my writing, on the internet.
Here it is:
Adventures in Blogging
Sunday, 09 November 2008 00:00 Tracesea Slater
I had never really thought about writing a blog before, but here I am and here is my very first blog entry. Being new to the world of blogging I am very aware of my inexperience and I find myself a bit self conscious… Writing for an unknown audience, I think about what should I be writing and what will people think? Already in this short paragraph I have gone back and deleted, reworded and tried to make everything just right.
What’s the big deal?
I’m not sure, but this seems like a big step for me.
I consider just clicking on that red X in the corner and deleting this all.
Maybe I should just come back
and begin when I have something,
something more important to say,
when I’m more composed,
when I have it all figured out.
But this is not about perfection or the creation of a perfect story.
It’s about the journey
and journeys aren’t smooth or perfectly crafted
They are often bumpy and full of unexpected twists and turns
And even when they don’t go as planned,
they lead to discovery
both pleasant and painful
So, in an attempt to share my journey, with all it’s happy surprises, unexpected pitfalls and even its possible banality – I will try my best to let go of my self consciousness and give you a (mostly) unedited account of my thoughts and experiences.
I must end this entry
to click on the Save button
before I lose my nerve
by analyzing what I’ve written
and erasing this awkward beginning,
this true account of my initiation
to the world of blogging.
So, I bought this great book recently:
It has so many fantastic ideas, that I’m likely to come back to in later posts, but one really jumps out at me right now.
Here it is:
In the last few months, four of my friends and family have lost parents and just yesterday I learned of the heartbreaking loss of a child in my husband’s family. For me, death is always a reminder to live. Life can be short. So, we should make the most of today, everyday.
Most of us are prepared with all sorts of excuses for why we don’t do the things we love:
not prepared yet
on and on and on…..
We put off living while we wait for the ‘perfect’ time which never comes, because there are always more excuses and more things that come up. We never have enough money or time. We always have other commitments and are never quite prepared enough.
The fact is that you choose everyday how you will live and what you will do with yourself.
The perfect time is now! You never know how many tomorrows you may have.
Please, don’t wait. Get started today doing those things that make you happy!
I need advice.
This week one of my best friends lost her mother to cancer. I knew it was coming, but it was still jolting when I called to check in on her and learned that her mother had passed just that morning.
It made me really emotional and after getting off the phone I immediately called my own mother. I just wanted to hear her voice and tell her I loved her.
Also, I wanted her advice. I wanted to do something for my friend but I didn’t know what to do. My mom told me that she thought the best thing that I could do is to check in with my friend regularly and be proactive. She said that when she lost her father the hardest times were those when she was sad and none of her friends called to check in on her. She said it was easy to withdraw into herself and her grief. So, I intend to keep checking in with my friend and really let her know that I’m here for her.
I perused the web for other information on helping a friend who is dealing with a parent’s death and I came across a lot of interesting and useful information. One of the saddest things I found was accounts of people who had friends that never called to offer condolences and the pain that caused the person who was already suffering a loss. It was amazing to me that friends wouldn’t reach out to their friend in need.
Then again, I guess it wasn’t that shocking because people don’t know what to do or say in these situations. I guess that some people find it easier to just say nothing. From everything I read, that is the worst thing to do! I found a lot of advice on what to do on the internet and I’m just going to share a few of those ideas with you.
This blog post made a really great point about being there for the long haul, which I think is really important for me to keep in mind. Right now everything is busy and my friend is surrounded by family. Soon, they will all be gone and it will be back to ‘normal’ life. I want to make sure I am sensitive to the fact that my friend may be grieving for a long time. Also, this blog had a great idea about giving your friend a list of options (things I can do for you) and having the friend circle what they might need. I think this is a fantastic idea, especially because our friends may be reluctant to ask for help or just to overwhelmed.
This blog had some very practical examples of ways to help a friend whose parent died. This inspired me to ask my friend very specific questions, like ‘Can I help drive anyone around for you?’ and ‘Would it help if I took care of your dog for a few days?’. Asking for something specific proved to be more useful because the last thing that my friend needed was to try and think of ways for me to help her.
This blog has some really great ideas on what to say and NOT say to a person who is suffering a loss. I’m pretty sure that I have done the ‘try to make the person feel better’ thing.
This webpage is from a funeral home and it also has some good ideas on what to say and not say. I’m pretty sure that I may have said some of these things before too, like the ‘I know what you’re going through’
We all have to go through the experience of having loved ones die and our experiences are all unique. We also will have the experience of having close friends that lose a loved one. I feel more confident in ways to help my friend now, but I’m still looking for any advice you might have.
If you have lost someone close to you, what did friends do that was the most helpful?
What did they do that was not helpful?
So, it’s been over 3 months since my last post….I have a good excuse, really!
My wonderful daughter Freyja was born on February 23rd and my life is forever changed!
I closed up my Etsy shop to concentrate on my new job as a mama and to give myself time to concentrate on getting to know my little one. She is precious and I still can’t believe that my husband and I actually created her! Definitely my greatest creation ever!
I’m finally ready to get back into the swing of things and have opened up my shop. I’m just starting work on a couple of new product lines for my shop and I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I’ve got a lot of goals, that I told you about in the last post, so I need to get a move on!
It’s going to be an exciting year with lots of growth and change for Feisty Owl Studio!!!