Letter to my Daughter.

Tonight I will attend the Jr High graduation of my second child.

For me, this marks the ending of the time in her life when I can try and convince myself that she is still a child.

But before I send her off into High School, there are a few things I want her to know.

So today’s post will be a letter to my beautiful child, Arminda.

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My Dearest Child,

As you embark on the next phase of your life, I want to tell you first what a joy and honor it has been being your mother. My world is a softer, more intense world because of you. Thank you for being one of my greatest teachers.

I want so much to keep you small so I can protect you from all the pain in the world. But since I know that is not possible, I will instead share a few of the things with you that I want you to know and carry with you from now on.

First thing I want you to know is that YOU are the connection between possibility and expression in your own life.

YOU are the miracle, you are the vessel that carries your thoughts and intentions and transforms them into things and experiences.

By your living of it you make life happen.

With your love you make life beautiful.

In each and every single urge you experience there lies great power.  For you can act and achieve and fulfill, and give meaning to every moment.

Give generously of yourself, never holding back, never being afraid that you’re not good enough.

Within you is goodness itself, along with the desire to express and to spread that goodness in your own special way.

Listen to the whisper of your spirit.

Feel the beauty that is beautiful just because it is. Never stop looking at the moon and weeping at it’s beauty.

Let go of the illusions that fill you with fear and doubt. 

These fears will destroy you from the inside out and eliminate any possibility for you to ever be brave enough to allow yourself to be loved.

Live your life looking forward, not backward.

The Past is gone and cannot ever be changed. What you can change however, is the way you FEEL about your past.

Let go of the need to need.

Feel the sweet freedom of simply allowing each unique and precious moment to be.

When you are with your friends laughing, FEEL the laughter and the sensations it causes in your body.

When you are in nature, cry because the beauty is too much for your heart to contain.

Never prevent yourself from feeling your feelings.

Because when you feel your feelings you will have discovered the magic key that opens the door to a beautiful life.

Let life come, without striving to force it.

Let life come, and it will unfold with great abundance.

The feeling of security that you so desperately seek is already yours.

You simply need to learn how to heal your own wounds and that security you desire will magically appear in your life.

But you and you alone hold the power to heal your heart.

(I can support you along that journey, and so can your friends, but ultimately, you must learn to trust yourself and know that you can and will protect your own heart.)

Once you discover security, love, and friendship, allow those feelings to live and breathe and grow and flow throughout your life.

The life you wish to experience is yours when you let go and let it be.

Listen to those little inspirations that quietly sing to you.

There is a reason why you hear them and feel their truth.

Act in harmony with what you know is right and what you know is best.

Instead of struggling against what is, ride joyously and successfully along with life’s continuously unfolding possibilities.

Let life come.

And live the beauty as each new moment is born.

Today, life begins anew.

Today, you are blessed with fresh, new opportunity.

You can build on the best of what has been.

You can look clearly and objectively at the limitations that have held you back, and find new ways to transcend them.

Today, you can make amazing progress.

Today, you can reach higher than you’ve ever reached before.

All your mistakes are behind you, and you’ve learned much from each one.

All your experience is still with you, and you can use it in innovative new ways.

This day has begun, and with it comes your chance to make a difference.

In these moments you can bring your dreams to life.

From deep within your purpose, look out and see all the great possibilities.

This is a day that’s now here for you to live more richly than ever.

Welcome to this life that’s now yours to explore and experience and fulfill in ways that are truly miraculous.

I pray that you will always know how deeply you are loved. That you will know what a treasure you are to everyone who has had the opportunity to know you.

Keep your head up my beautiful child and know that the world is your oyster.

 

Love Always,

Mom

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The END RESULT looks EFFORTLESS…but it WASN’T

God created us to be happy and joyous.

 

It is all too easy to be bogged down by negative experiences or life challenges.

Like I said yesterday…

Every day, we can choose our responses to our circumstances.

On my own unique journey through  life, I’ve learned to choose happy, joyful and positive thoughts during challenging times
or
in situations that are trying to bring me down.
I have learned to embrace the mantra
“that it was only a mistake if I didn’t learn anything from it.
If I learned something from it, it was a LESSON.”

But today I want to talk about another conscious choice that I have made in life that I believe is just as powerful as choosing happiness is if your desire is to create a joyous life.

And that other choice is:

Good old-fashioned 

They really can bring you far in life.

I read a great quote the other day on the internet,

“Some people are lucky– but the harder I work the luckier I get!”

 

That quote really struck a chord within me because quite often people come up to me and tell me how lucky I am to be so talented.

I remind them that it doesn’t come from luck—

it comes from years and years of hard work and practice.

What they’re seeing is an end result that looks effortless and easy, but it came from more than 20 years of ups and downs– and endless attempts at learning to paint and write.

 Good work ethics bring great things:

knowledge,

satisfaction,

confidence,

and

good Karma!

My grandfather taught my father to always look ahead.

He used to say, “Have the next tool ready for me when I need it–that way we can finish this project sooner.”

I apply that approach in all areas of my life, whether I am working at the school,

painting a mural,

or helping a friend.

I envision how I must prepare for the next task at hand– and I gather the tools and knowledge that I need before moving ahead.

I find that when I work hard, there is always a positive return, even when the outcome is a negative experience to learn from.

 

By gathering the tools I need and applying a tough work ethic, I have been able to achieve my goals and dreams.

3badd-create2byour2bluck

 

 

 

 

But a good work ethic applies to much more than just our jobs.

For example:

When I was a young mother, I ate a lot of junk food and survived on soda.

I never knew how to eat properly and in my early twenties, I put on a lot of weight.

By the end of my thirties, I was not healthy at all. I had a check up where I was told that I needed to begin taking over 10 pills a day just to keep myself going.

I REFUSED to take the easy way out by swallowing a bunch of pills every day, and instead fought back.

I told the doctor that I was unhealthy because I had spent over ten years treating my body like it was a vending machine.

I vowed to learn how to eat healthier, lose weight, and begin a daily exercise routine.

Now at the age of 44, I weigh less than I did when I was 24.

My doctor no longer thinks I need medication, I am a very healthy woman.

BUT…

In order to regain my health, I needed a strong work ethic to carry me through the task.

 

At the end of each day, I take a few minutes to look at  myself in the mirror and ask myself this question:

” Did you do all that you could today?”

Then I ask myself a second question:

“Would God be pleased with the work you accomplished in His name today?”

I have found that the more I serve and help others, the more enriched my own life becomes.

I try to live my life by this personal quote of mine:
“If you do good, good will come upon you.”

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

Do something fun with your family. Make some memories together.

 

 

 

How Much of Life can we ACTUALLY Control?

Here’s what I know for sure, Happiness Is A Choice.

In the past, my life was overwhelming.
It was full of sadness,
financial struggles,
relationship betrayals,
and even, the death of a child.

While I was walking down that particular path in my life,

I literally could not see the forest for the trees.

I was unaware of the reality that there was so much more that I was capable of.

BUT… through mindset and beliefs, I slowly began to discover that inside of myself there lived a power that was capable of designing my life in any way I decided I wanted it to look.

I had a creative force that was lying dormant inside of me that could paint the picture of my life in much the same way that I paint murals.

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I first needed to decide on the style of picture.

Then narrow it down to a specific idea,

and then use my paintbrush to bring it to life.

 

The difficulty in accessing this creative power that lies within is that the hustle of life is filled with people, events, and stimuli, there’s no avoiding it.

The weather.

Traffic.

People we encounter in our day.

societies ideas about life and how we should react and feel in any given situation.

The trick in accessing this power is to acknowledge that the stimuli  we encounter throughout the day is neither

GOOD

OR

BAD;

They are NEUTRAL,

AND… often cannot be controlled.

Everyday, we are presented with hundreds of situations.

Yesterday, my teenage daughter presented me with a situation that was difficult for me to hear and accept.

I had a choice in that moment with her to either get angry and REJECT her ideas and cause her pain…

OR

Listen to her side of the story and use this moment as a teaching opportunity.

I chose to teach her about life.

I chose NOT to crush her fragile spirit with my hurt feelings,

but

Rather be her parent and guide her through adolescence gently and carefully so that she to will learn how to create HAPPINESS in her very own life.

That is what makes life beautiful, our ability to CHOOSE our reactions. 

Sure they are usually going to be based on our beliefs.

BUT that doesn’t change the fact that, we have total self-power to choose how to

view,

approach

and

respond

to the stimuli in our lives.

We control our responses.

We control our happiness.

We can choose happy,

peace

and

calm

just as easily as

we can choose

anger,

overwhelm

and

chaos.

 

 So here is a simple way to show you what I believe this creative power consists of.

Stimulus → ( the event)

Belief → (your thoughts about the event)

Response. (your feelings and actions)

 

 

Allow me to illustrate with an example:

Stimulus:

My father has had a few strokes that has completely changed his life. He can no longer walk or work like he has always done in the past. He is now dependent on us for his care.
(There actually is nothing is good or bad about the stimulus, it’s neutral)

Belief:

My belief surrounding my dads present condition is that he is doing the best he can at any given moment.

 I love him for the amazing man he has always been,

BUT…

I cannot control the past or future.

 I am what I think, and I choose to ooze love and acceptance to help my dad know that I am honored to care for him during this period in his life.

Response:

I love my dad in the present moment and choose to celebrate him right where he’s at.

I choose a respectful, peaceful, authentic attitude when he needs my help.

I choose to love first and take action second.

I choose happy.

Does my Belief and Response mean I stop advocating, researching and finding ways to make his life more comfortable?

Not a chance!

I do everything in my power daily to assist him to thrive in his new and often frustrating world so that he can be as happy and comfortable as he can be.

I have discovered that when I Follow the Stimulus→Belief→Response method

I am reminded almost constantly that:

I am in full control of my happiness and the design I choose for each and every single day of my life.

Nobody else controls my beliefs.

I choose my thoughts, actions and responses, and thus, choose happiness.

 

With a clear and precise mindset,
Combined with a conscious commitment to my core beliefs,
I have discovered that it is really as simple for me to shift my life from a life filled with clutterchaos and overwhelm

to a place of peace, calm and happy,

as it is for me to completely transform a room with paint.

This I know for sure,

Can Failure REALLY be a GOOD thing?

 

I believe everything we need to succeed is inside us as children,

it often gets slowly pushed out of us as we grow older.

By the time we’re teenagers we have either forgotten these lessons
or
been forced to bury them.

 

If you are like me,

DEEP inside you don’t feel any different than you did at age ten or twelve,

EXCEPT…

That you likely don’t play baseball anymore,

AND you probably haven’t done a somersault in years.

(I am not suggesting you start.)

What I am saying is that you get back a few of those great qualities you had as a kid that kept your mind open to possibility and made life fun, interesting, and full of hope.

Here’s a few ideas on how you can do just that:

 

#1: Learn to enjoy failure.

If you really stop and think about it long and hard…

Everything you did as a kid required  TRYING & FAILING.

Climbing a tree,

Riding a bike,

or tying your shoes

all forced you to fumble and fail.

But you did not care.

Mistakes were just part of the process.

You had no embarrassment or shame –

only a desire to go faster to learn and master all of the exciting things that were ahead of you.

One of the most powerful ways you can immediately Rid yourself from fear of failure is to start learning RIGHT NOW how you can let go of what other people think about you.

 

 

The obsession with perfection, fearing mistakes and failure ruins opportunities and destroys your potential.

Oh and another thing, failures teach you valuable lessons just like they did when you were young.

Ever burn your hand on a hot stove?

See, you never did that again, did you?

 

#2: Start asking.

Have you ever spent much time around a child?

If so, you know that they NEVER stop asking questions.

When you were young you were the very same way.

You asked questions all the time because you were curious.

As adults we have let go of that great skill.

We  start to just assume we can predict what people are thinking.

We THINK we already KNOW what they will do.

 

Exactly how they will answer our question.

We assume they won’t buy,

they won’t help,

or that they are not interested.

Now that may be true, but how do you know for sure?

Rejection is all around.
But avoiding rejection from others means you reject yourself first!

Give other people the opportunity to say no and don’t make assumptions.

 

#3: Don’t take no for an answer.

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Okay, I am not suggesting you become a spoiled brat.

I am NOT advocating that you throw yourself down on the ground and pound your fists and feet until you get your own way…

I am just trying to jog your memory a little bit so I can help you remember the tenacity you had as a child.

 Back then…One ‘no’ from someone was simply an invitation to open the conversation.

It was the starting place to getting to where we wanted to go.

 

We got creative and bargained,

We learned how to persuade and convince –

(even if it was just for a nickel to buy a gumball.)

It was a great skill!

So don’t take that ‘no’ so easily.

Remember that NO is quite often the beginning of a relationship, and often ends in a YES if we are patient and positively persistent.

I hope that by now you are starting to remember all the hope and possibility you had as a kid and that it can be found once again.

YOU need to tap back into these traits to do it.

They are still there just waiting for you to remember them.

My latest Mural… “Everyone Needs A Friend”

This weekend I painted a mural for a very special little girl. 

My very own daughter.

The BEST part about this mural was that she actually helped me paint it. She has displayed exceptional talent in the arts since she was two years old. So as you look at the pictures for this mural, keep in mind that she painted every bit from beginning to end on the mane and tail of the brown horse. She is only ten years old, so her talent is pretty incredible.

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Here is what her room looked like when we started.

Plain, boring white walls…

But for me, white walls are just a blank canvas that I can create a whole new world on. 

So bring on the white walls!

  IMG_0616                   The first thing I always do when I am painting a mural is get the background blocked in. Once you have established the position of the background, putting the main image into the painting becomes a whole lot easier.

I used a gray sky  ACE hardware brand paint in semi gloss latex for the sky. For the ground I used the same brand in a Terra cotta color.

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Once you have the background in place you are now ready to draw the main image on the wall.

I like to use a overhead projector to blow the picture up. I will draw out the mural on a plastic paper and then use the machine to project it and make it life size.  This saves me hours of painstaking drawing time. By doing it this way I am able to see exactly where I want the picture to sit on the wall, and know how the entire picture will look BEFORE I ever start drawing.

SO that is my time saving tip for the day

 

Once you have the image sketched on the wall you can begin to color in the picture.

The first layer of paint will be a lot like coloring a page in a coloring book. There won”t really be any detail yet and the image will look very flat and lifeless at first, but don’t get discouraged. As each new layer of paint goes on, the more dimension your picture will acquire.

IMG_0620                       See how flat the horses look right now. That is NORMAL, and shouldn’t discourage you at all. Just keep on painting. It really does get a lot better. IMG_0621                 Here is another angle of the picture. From this angle you can see how that shadow I blocked in under the horses chin is already starting to create some dimension.   IMG_0624                 In this picture you can see how I am starting to add the different shades of color to the horses skin and mane and tail. This simple act of using lighter and darker shades of the same base color will create the look of muscles on the horse, and give movement to the hair on the mane and tails.   IMG_0626                   In this picture, you can see all the little details that I painted in the eye to make it look round and realistic. I also added some white to her face to give her a little bit more personality.   IMG_0627                   We did the same thing with the black mare. We gave her eyes some detail and then extended her mane so it partially covered her eye. We wanted to give the illusion of a thick, bushy mane on the black horse. IMG_0630                   Here is the finished mural. To complete the background I painted the cactus using four different shades of green paint. By doing this I am able to give the illusion of a round object on a flat wall. Then we just added a few ground details and other desert plants to the wall and that completed the painting. This mural took us 10 hrs to complete.

  Here are a few more pictures of the finished mural.            

Sorry I haven’t Written for a while…

This time of year is extremely busy for me,

(I am sure I am not alone)

Anyone with kids knows that the last month of school is NON-STOP activity for the kids, and their parents.

BUT in addition to that CRAZINESS…

At work, when springtime hits, my work load literally triples.

I still have the same amount of work to do inside the school that has kept me HOPPING all winter long,

Once  Springtime arrives, I also have over 6 acres of lawns to maintain at the school.

It is important to me that the school looks well groomed and beautiful for my community and the students.

The part that is difficult these last few years has been the fact that the sprinkler system at the school is over 30 yrs old, and needs lot’s of tender loving care to keep it running properly.

Image result for old sprinkler pipes

So, by the time my day is finished at the school, I have no energy left to sit and write a quality blog.

I miss the release that I get when I put my thoughts down in writing.

Writing for me is such a powerful way to keep my head clear and my mind sharp.

 

But when the body is so physically exhausted, the mind does not seem to have much to say. 🙂

So I am crossing my fingers and hoping that by next week, I will have all the broken sprinklers replaced and working on their own.

Just know that I miss you all deeply and that you are in my prayers!