Tag Archives: postaday2011

Day 355: 7 Kinds of Patterns That Spur Us To Create

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A beautiful pattern, even with its flaws, can inspire.

“A palindrome is a word or pattern that instead of developing in different directions it folds in on itself so that the beginning and end mirror each other, that they are the same.” Todd Solondz

The word ISUZU irritates me every time I get stuck behind it in a traffic jam.  I’m sure it has a memorable meaning for its market, but I see it as a word falling short of its potential.   You see that the S and the Z can be written backwards, and the U in the middle is fine.  However, the I and the U are not balanced.  Had the owners looked artistically at the potential of the word, they might have called it ISUZI  or USUZU or something that could potentially be flipped forming a palindrome.  Instead, it simply annoys me.

Creative people don’t like to follow patterns, but they do look for patterns that inspire.  We are often spurred onward when we are not bound.

While working through my new resolutions, I’ve been looking at patterns to inspire me for 2012.  Here are a few pattern types that motivate me to create.

1. Patterns that puzzle – Tessellations, made famous by the artist M.C. Eschler, are interesting creations.  Like puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly, making a nice tessellation requires a creative jolt in the brain. When forced to find a new way to make a repeating pattern, we might come up with amazing combinations.  Check out the tessellations.org website and start creating your own tessellation today.

2. Patterns that work – My relative is obsessed with football.  When he watches it, he believes that the way he holds his head, the position of his arm, and various other superstitions has some sort of impact on the game’s outcome.  It’s a bit funny to watch except for the scary fact that he seems to believe it is real.  On the positive side, though, I find that when a certain pattern causes a positive end result, we should probably give it some attention.  For example, last year, I was able to complete two of my New Year resolutions for 365 days (almost there).  Now, I’m focusing on what pattern made those resolutions work and how to repeat the pattern for my new resolutions.

3. Patterns that guide – I find that I often want to create something but simply have no idea how to start.  This is a time when a pattern really helps guide me.  Had I never used a clothes pattern, I may have never been able to produce things when they come into my head.  Those basic patterns give my brain some structure and guidance.  These basics allow me to build ideas and to create beyond the guides.

4. Patterns that limit – I like a project that limits me by time or by resource.  Honestly, when lots of ideas are floating around in my head, it’s hard to  pin one down and focus.  Sometimes I love a contest that gives specific parameters.  Within these limits, I can create let my brain go wild.  Here’s an example where a basic pattern can explode into creative genius.

5. Patterns that break – Last night, I found that one of our nice dishes had broken.  Here’s an opportunity to make something interesting.  I wouldn’t want to break the dish on purpose, but now that it’s broken, I’ll be able to try a mosaic. Sometimes, we find a break in a pattern that draws our attention.  That’s where our creative juices start to flow.

6. Patterns that continue – I’m a science lover because since is so often about looking for patterns.  It interests me to no end that we can find a huge model like the universe and see its repetition in a tiny model like an atom.  It’s amazing how nature mimics us and how we mimic nature.  Patterns that continue can give us the “stuff” we need to start a new creation.

7. Patterns that are memorable – A good thing about patterns is that they often help our memory.  Think of a great poem from childhood.  We likely remember it because the pattern was predictable enough that our brain enjoyed keeping it around.  Of course we often have to take the time to store it in our brains and then bring it out to rehearse it from time to time, but the joy of its pattern often keeps it there.  Good advertising seems to base its plan around a memorable pattern.  Connecting creations with a positive and memorable experience can spur us onward.

What are some new creations you are cooking up for this new year?  I’d love to know.  Are there patterns you’d like to use to encourage your creative juices to flow?

“I like rhyme because it is memorable, I like form because having to work to a pattern gives me original ideas.” Anne Stevenson

Strange Things We Do For Peace

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...our Prince of Peace...

“Peace begins with a smile.” Mother Teresa 

Yesterday, I found myself “sewing” peace but not in a usual way (hence the word “sew”).  We had a Christmas celebration, and I wanted to wear my stage dress.  It’s simple, modest, and black.  Because it has slits up the side, I wanted to lower the slits so as not to call attention to them at a school function.  Of course this was the day I couldn’t find my needle and thread, and the safely pins weren’t doing the trick.  I’ve seen people use staples in these situations, but I chose double-sided sticky tape for the side seams.  As I worked, I had to admit that I’d never be doing this if it weren’t to keep peace at a very conservative school.

When I was younger, I’d say that I really enjoyed creating war.  I could fuss or rebel against most anything that came along.  In my old age though, it seems I’ve mellowed.  Peace is a good thing in my mind, and many times I find myself working hard for it.

I began to think about all of the crazy things people do to keep peace.

Apologize – Though it’s not often easy to apologize, many times it is needed.  The longer we avoid an issue, the more difficult it will be to repair the damage.  The other day, a couple of my friends were looking grumpy, and I started teasing around with them.  Within a few minutes, I realized that something serious was wrong.  I was so embarrassed about my being so insensitive.  Needless to say, my apology was in order.

Avoiding the situation –  Not many psychologists would agree that we should run away from our problems in order to keep peace, but the bottom line is that there are times when avoiding the situation can keep things more peaceful than confronting it.

Move – A friend of mine said that her mother is moving to a new house.  It’s not just because of the bad neighbor, but it does make the move more exciting.  It’s hard to believe that someone might move to a new house to keep peace, but I’ve heard it happens often.

Quit your job – It’s sad to say that quitting a job often leads to peace. Keeping peace is actually a lot of hard work, and when work is bringing no peace, some people find it easier to quit than to work harder for it.

Perhaps, if there was less controversy, there wouldn’t be such a need to work so hard at keeping peace.  Jesus came into this world in a time of turmoil and is called the Prince of Peace.  Knowing Him can bring us a peace that our world doesn’t understand.

In what crazy or unusual ways have you had to work for peace?

Day 353: Resolving 2012 – Making A Good Plan

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The plan didn't go as we expected.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso

My husband and I thought we had a great plan.  We went early to the wedding which was several hours away.  We stopped and successfully found supplies that have been missing in Bangkok since the flood.  What could pass the remaining time more perfectly than a relaxing meal on the beach?  The food arrived and was made with some old crab.  Having experience to draw on, we knew that we needed to pay and leave.  Though it was an expensive mistake, at least we didn’t add to it a trip to the hospital with food poisoning.

With 2012 right around the corner, I’m trying to make a new plan.  This year, I had several resolutions, two of which I’ve kept.  This PostaDay 2011 was one of the challenges I kept, and now I’d like something new and exciting to start 2012.

Here are some things I hope to consider when making my plan.

1. Something that stretches me: A plan I consider good is one that I know will be good for me.  This PostaDay challenge was perfect, and I took it on because writing is not my forte.  It forced me to be vulnerable and stretched me in many other ways too.  (I’ll share more about this in my final post this year.)

2. Something that’s doable: A good plan will be one that I know I can do if I set my mind to it.  The PostaDay challenge was measurable, and WordPress gave us good support.  Having other people doing the challenge gave me courage to continue.

3. Something that allows me to create: I find I’m happiest when I’m making something new.  This year, I was able to make a new post every day.  Some days I was very unhappy with my entry, but I was able to be creative in a different way than ever before.

4. Something that helps me learn:  Besides creating, my plan should include learning something new.  I’m thinking of getting back to my computer languages.  My plans aren’t complete, but I know they’ll include learning.

The time is ticking, and I could start the year without a plan. I know, however, that I tend to accomplish what I plan to do.  What kind of plans are you making for the new year?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

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Say "Cheese!"

“Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.” Samuel Butler

This week’s photo challenge was quite a stretch, and I thought I wouldn’t participate. Thanks to Photoshop, I came up with something.

This year, I’ve snapped pictures more than ever trying to find something original for my daily posts.  These pictures do represent me.  I like art, hence the Marc Chagall handbag, and I like having fun.  The portrait is from my night out with a bunch of girls at the Hairspray Sing-along.

What would you include in your own self-portrait?

Day 351: Congratulations To You Versatile Bloggers!

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Thank you for your encouragement!

“Life is the most versatile thing under the sun; and in the pursuit of life and character the author who works in a groove works in blinkers.” Laurence Housman

Thank you so much to Ms. Christiner at Part of My World for the Versatile Blogger Award nomination.  I love globe-trotting with her to all of the wonderful places in the world.   I love that she seems to have fun wherever she goes!

I also send a thanks out to one of my recent favorite finds, Lost in Town.  What I love about this blog is that every time I read the posts, I want to be in Rome!  Thanks for the nomination from Italy.

7 Random things about myself:

  • I once lived in a country called Bophuthatswana in Africa.  It’s no longer a country.  The people there were kind and generous. I would still love to eat one of their milk tarts.
  • A hotdog with cheese, chilli and sauerkraut really makes my day.  You might think I’m easy to please, but I’m actually picky about my hotdogs.
  • If I could work anywhere in the world, I’d like to work with the production team at The Jim Henson Company.  I can’t think of anything more fun to do.
  • I love creating something new and excellent.  That’s why the stage is a fun place for me.  When I make something new and different, I’m energized.
  • I love a challenge which is why I started this blog.  Last year about this time, I knew nothing about blogging and WordPress put out the PostaDay Challenge in 2011, which I couldn’t resist!
  • Christmas is may favorite time of the year.  The weather here in Thailand is nice, and I get to spend time with my family.
  • I like to set goals for learning, for creating, and for knowing more about God.

My Versatile Blogger Nominations:

Now, I get to bestow this award to some of my favorite blogging friends.  Here is my list in no specific order.

Fruitful Words: You are a rock, and I love knowing that when I get to your posts, I’ll be inspired.

Julia’s Place: Julia continues to inspire me every day.  She is retired and yet has several blogs going, mentors teachers, and uses Twitter.  I’m impressed!

Oregon College of Art and Craft Library: Thanks to Kevin for promoting the arts on so many levels.  Artists sacrifice their time and money with often little payback.  I appreciate how you encourage and inspire them.

The Flatpickin’ Pilgrim’s Progress: Even if he weren’t my relative, I’d be impressed with these fun posts about life in general and how we can learn from them.  Gary and I both married into a wonderful family who manages to put up with our desires to learn new things.  We are the fortunate.

A Tree Grows in Bklyn:  I love where the blog takes me.  I get to visit places in Brooklyn while learning new things.  Thanks for taking me on a virtual tour.

Wolke’s Welt: I love her random thoughts and outstanding photos.  I wish I knew her heart language so that I could read some of the posts which are not in English, but nevertheless, I get the jist of those too.  Thanks for sharing yourself with us!

Art Stormer: Betsy at the Art Stormer keeps us visually stimulated with many different kinds of visual arts.  Thanks for promoting these artists.

Eric Murtaugh:  Eric encourages all of us to live a life of adventure.  I’ve recently come across his blog and appreciate his interesting stories and great photos.

Nissi Knows!:  I love this young girl who shares about life.  She seems to be beautiful both inside and out.  Keep up the great posts, Nissi.

J-Dog Whitney’s:  I found this blog recently and wanted to commend Justin.  I like that he is a young artist who also uses appropriate grammar.  Justin has a new blog going as well.  Please give him a visit.

Random Thoughts: Another new post I’m following helps give me insights into the perspectives of different people.  I look forward to reading more of these posts.

Here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:                                                                           

  1. Nominate 10-15 fellow bloggers
  2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination
  3. Share 7 random things about yourself
  4. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award Pic on your blog post.

What makes you versatile?

Coffee: Foe or Friend?

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A coffee and computer picture from a happier post...

“I judge a restaurant by the bread and by the coffee.” Burt Lancaster

Don’t you love it when you wake up extra early, start getting ahead, and then, it hits?  This morning it hit big time. I was blogging away on a post about the funny things we often do to keep peace.  All of a sudden, I knocked my whole cup of coffee onto my adorable Apple computer.  Can I tell you how much peace I was feeling at that moment?

That’s how my day started.  I drove extra careful to work, miraculously managed to get the contacts in my eyes, and tried to find all of my best words to say to the students on our last day of school before Christmas break.  I returned to find out the state of Apple, i.e., my Apple.

It could be worse.  My computer seems to be working, though it doesn’t know I have an airport.  Thankfully, I’m posting from a nearby house which still has the old-timey land line.

So I ask you, is coffee all it’s cracked up to be?  It wakes me up well in the mornings, soothes my mood, and gives me warm fuzzies.  On the other hand, it provides slightly tarnished teeth, bad breath, and occasional spills that can sabotage.  (Let’s not forget the hot coffee case at McDonald’s.)

Do you have acquaintances like that?  You’d like to trust them, and they do seem really sound on the outside.  When you get closer, however, you may find yourself getting burned?  I am blessed with some wonderful close friends.  I always love the Bible verse which sums up what true friendship should be like, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18a

Coffee–my friend and foe, I shall continue to drink you.  Though tomorrow, I’ll change the location of my mug!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

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Life is short: celebrate often!

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Tom Peters

Today is our yearly Christmas concert.  It is a difficult time of the year for the students and teachers because everyone spends hours sitting “somewhat” quietly in the auditorium between scenes.  Students get a load of commands barked at them within the few minutes they are on and off the stage.  “Quiet!”  “Sing Loudly!” “Quit laughing with your friend!” “Smile!” “Walk softly!”  “Stop running!” “No hitting!”

Is it worth all of the time and effort, and for what reasons do we celebrate?  Yes, it’s worthwhile, and here are a few of my reasons for celebration.

Children learn when they perform:  Each time children perform, they gain confidence for future endeavors.  Putting a child on stage helps build the whole child.  I’ve seen some brilliant adults who were never taught to perform.  The result is an awkward presenter, with an even more awkward audience.  That’s one reason I love to put children on a stage.

Parents see the culmination of the learning: The Christmas celebration at school allows children to express themselves in a different way than normal.  Some students who are unable to show their talent on a written test, might shine on the stage.  When parents get a chance to see the whole picture of their child, including their abilities in the arts, they can better understand how to help prepare them for the future.

The reason for the celebration is important: Ultimately, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who spent His first hours in a simple stable.  It was not the usual arrival of a king, but that is the way of God’s kingdom.  Shepherds celebrated his birth, and that lowly birth allows us to celebrate life.

As you prepare for Christmas day, remember why you are celebrating. Watching performances, completing Christmas shopping, and spending time with your family and friends can all be celebrations.  May His gift of life shine through you as you move through each day of the season!  It’s time to celebrate life!

Day 348: 3 R’s To Stay Charged Up

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Staying charged is not as easy when you have to borrow someone's plug.

“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” Paul Cezanne

For awhile now, my MacBook cord has been slowly severing.  I was down to having a few strands of connective wire. I began to need several hours to recharge it, and it hit me that perhaps my three-year protection plan was almost out.  So I took it to The Apple Store.  The word is still out on whether or not it is covered by my $250 plan, which incidentally was due to expire the very day I brought it to be serviced.  (Lucky me.. we hope.)

Now, my computer says I’ve 3% charge time left, which means that I’ll need to attach my daughter’s plug before I finish this sentence.  There– I made it, and now I’m reconnected at 1%.

This made me think about life in general.  I’m in a state of needing to be recharged.  The warranty is coming up soon, and if I don’t get it fixed in time, there will be repercussions.  Christmas can be a great season to recharge if we choose not to  overextend ourselves.

Here are 3 R’s needed to avoid power problems:

1. Rest – In addition to the busy Christmas season, I tried to do an on-line registration at a University in the States.  Something went wrong, and instead of saving $50 for registration, I’m short sleep after getting up to try the conference call which was at mid-night our time.  That’s how life is sometimes.  We know that sleeping helps us stay charged up, but sometimes things happen.

2. Relaxation – We have a couple who comes down and takes us to a foot massage ever so often.  It is not my thing to do, but when we finish, I do feel relaxed.  My perfect day of relaxation would be a day to stay in my pajamas all day, drink coffee, read a good book, and use the computer.  Every now and again, we need time to relax in order to recharge.

3. Renewal – Every year, I like to think through last year’s achievements and determine what I should do in the new year.  The best scenario would include time to think, to pray, to read the Bible, and to plan.  I like to end the year making new goals.  Renewing my MacBook contract would be great though not possible, but renewing ourselves is much more important.

Are you experiencing a power shortage?  If so, please take some time to get your electrical charge flowing again.

Day 347: 4 Reasons For Celebrating

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Have your cake and eat it too!

“Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new.” Sammy Hagar

Today, I’m holding on tight at  49.  With each birthday, I like to think that I’ve gotten wiser.  It’s not likely true, but there are surely some types of wisdom that have come to me simply by living another year on this good earth.

Here are a few of the things for which I am grateful:

Marrying well – Of the smart things I’ve done in life, the smartest was marrying my sweet husband.   He spoils me rotten and takes time to understand me.  If you are considering marriage, I’ll say from my long years of experience–be choosy.  A great spouse makes life more enjoyable.  Make sure you choose someone with whom you want to spend your best days.

Good Children – I couldn’t be more proud of my three children.  My son is about to graduate from the university I love so dearly.  My daughter arrived in time for my birthday and for bringing more smiles my way.  I laughed at my youngest daughter yesterday who said, “Why try something new?”  It never would have come out of my mouth, but was the exact statement I would have expected from her father in the situation.  Each of my children show characteristics of both my husband and me.  I love that they have managed to do life better than I did.

Improved Health – If ever we start to look at another person and boast that we are in good health, we should tread lightly.  One thing I’ve learned over time is that health is not a boasting topic.  It’s simply something to be thankful for when mine is good.

Yearly Goals – As a gift to my husband, I’ll not begin to discuss goals until the new year rolls around.  I’m certainly thankful that I’m close to completing two resolutions from this year, and I look forward to choosing some new ones next year.

Having made it to 49 years, I’ve much for which to be grateful.  God has blessed me, and I don’t take that for granted.  Several years ago, I heard a golden word from my doctor–“benign.”  Ever since that day, I vowed that I would not complain about getting old.  Life is a blessing for which I am thankful to God.  May we spend our days well.

Day 346: The Music Of The Night

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Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Psalm 150:6

“I believe musicians have a duty, a responsibility to reach out, to share your love or pain with others.” James Taylor

Last night, my friend took me to the 25th anniversary presentation of The Phantom of the Opera filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  I’ve been singing ever since.  There’s something about music done well that stirs my deepest emotions.

Because our souls were made by an inspiring creator, we have a continuous need to express ourselves with passion.  I am grateful for artists who, rather than suppress those feelings, find ways to express them through the mediums of sound, paint, charcoal, and words.

I am an adorer of these artists.  I appreciate how they bear their souls, and I don’t take them for granted.

During this Christmas season, I hope we each take time to connect deeply with our creator.  His creative hand print is seen in every aspect of our natural world.  From the trees, the rocks, the mighty seas, and the beautiful sunset, we hear His voice crying out to us.

The opera God has written for each of us is most beautiful.  May we take time to learn and to perform it with excellence.