Monday, February 28, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 28

When I talk about my family on this blog it is usually about my kids. I really do have a husband and he is the best! His name is Ed or as we like to call him Steady Eddie. I snapped this picture while he was working from home. I snuck up behind him and snapped it quick. I think I surprised him. Hee hee

We've been married for 15 years. We met while I was waitressing at my dad's bar around Halloween. He came in with someone I knew from high school. At first he seemed to be a bit too shy for my liking. I'm a talker and when I tried to have a conversation with him he answered with short, one word answers. Not good. I later found out that he really liked me and was nervous about talking to me. So cute!

A couple of weeks later he came back in to the restaurant, obviously feeling a bit more relaxed because he was talking up a storm. He was impressing all of us with his extensive Brady Bunch trivia (freakishly knowledgeable). When I got off that night I ran home (I lived in a house behind the bar) and asked my mom if she would stay and watch my kids a little longer because I wanted to go back and hang out with this really funny guy. Of course she said yes.

By Christmas I knew that we would get married. I knew that he was the perfect guy for me. He was so thoughtful, caring, steady, and loving. And he was incredible with my boys. They loved him as much as I did. I knew this was the man I wanted to be the father to my children.

My parents loved him right away. And my grandma was thrilled. My dad loves to tell the story about how calm Ed was during this crazy dinner we had with my Italian family and my screaming kids. He kept looking over at him waiting to see him get tense but nope, he was as cool as a cucumber.

We were married about a year and a half later. It was a beautiful ceremony held outside in June. We released butterflies after we kissed. My boys were in the wedding and they looked so cute in their little tuxedos.

Our life together has been such a gift. We've had our ups and downs but I can honestly say that our relationship is better now than it has ever been. In fact we were just talking about this the other day and we both agreed that our love is so much stronger and deeper these days.

For the last day of Month of Hearts I wanted to share with you the man who has my heart.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 27

Here is another stone I made. It's a bit more frilly. These are stones I collected while I was on vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last summer.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 26

This is a mosaic I did years ago when I used to be a mosaic artist. It was dreamed up while listening to our wedding song, At Last by Etta James.

This 3D heart is covered in red mirror. There is a mini cover of a Counting Crows album because one of the songs was the first song Ed and I danced to and always brings back memories.

Here is a close up of the faces. They are made with stained glass and the hair is vitreous glass tiles.

There are loads of little and fun bits and pieces that express my feelings for my husband.

Those stars are made with gold smalti from Italy. It's actual gold sandwiched between two pieces of glass and it is handmade. I even saw the Orsoni furnace when I took a two week mosaic class in Venice.

The words are beads I found at the craft store that I knew I had to put in there.

There are even little pieces of millefiori sprinkled throughout. These are thin canes made of glass with a flower pattern that is revealed when cut.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 25

I created this little stone for my son to take with him in his pocket to Australia. He is going to be gone for 3 weeks! That's a long time for a boy to be away from his family...well, it's a long time for a mommy to be away from her baby. Maybe I need to make one for me while he is gone.

I kept it simple. Boys don't want anything frilly. I will give it to him when I take him to the airport. No telling Mimi! :o)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 24

It just hit me like a ton of bricks that my 13 year old son is leaving for a three week trip to Australia with my mom. It's been planned since Christmas but all of the sudden it's here!

My grandmother is from Australia and I have an uncle living in Queensland. They will be staying with him on the Sunshine Coast. They are also going to get up to the Great Barrier Reef (where the heart picture above was taken) and of course they are going to Australia Zoo.

For the next week I will be busy getting things ready for his departure. Packing, getting documents notarized, preparing insurance forms...nothing too creative but it is necessary.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 23

This is a section from one of the paintings I created on my retreat last weekend. More details to come! :o)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 22

I decided to actually share the video I made yesterday with you. I don't know what happened to it but today is a new day and here is the video. :o)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 21

Today's heart contribution is a video I made. Originally it had a beautiful song, At Last by Etta James. It is my wedding song. When I uploaded it they disabled the audio so I had to find a replacement from their list of approved songs. Grrrrr.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 20

I LOVE roasted broccoli! It is so yummy and so easy. I swear I could eat it all day long. All you do is toss your broccoli with some olive oil and a little sea salt, spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake it at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. You will probably want to stir it up halfway through. It will get nice and brown and delicious. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 19

Today's Heart is not one of my own. It belongs to a talented mosaic artist from Oakland named Laurel True. Years ago I was a mosaic artist and I traveled the country and into Italy to study from different artists. Laurel was one of those artists.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 18

Wow what a day I've had. HUGE REVELATIONS going on over here!

Let me start off by telling you about my oldest son. He is a strong 18 year old now but back in middle school he was struggling with some bullies. I did the usual things a mom does to try to help but it got to a point where I was frustrated. That's when I called his dad.

My first husband has had quite a past. He became known at a young age as being one of the best fighters in his area. When he was in elementary school they would bring over high schoolers to fight with him and he would prevail.

This is not something he is proud of now that he has matured. So when I called him up and asked him to PLEASE teach his son how to defend himself, he refused. He said that there was no way he wanted his son to turn out like him and he wouldn't do it.

I tried to explain that our son was nothing like him. He was gentle, timid, and caring. I told him, "He could never be you!" The fear was too strong for him to overcome. He couldn't do it.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was feeling very confused, frantic, and excitable. I've been trying to make a big decision in my life and I've been so up in my mind that I felt like I was going to go crazy. I decided that I needed to sit down and meditate, to slow down my mind a little.

Instead I spontaneously went into an emotional healing session. The gist of it is that you sit in whatever emotion is coming up for you in the moment and you allow it to be...really feel it...dive into it. Once that emotion washes over you like a wave you will drop into another emotion and so on.

I believe there is no such thing as positive and negative emotions because they are all just emotions that are healthy to be expressed. For the sake of explaining this however I will use the terms negative and positive to help you understand.

You see as you go through the "negative" emotions you are only left with the "positive" emotions so in the end after going through confusion, frustration, anger, emptiness, loneliness, not good enough, I dropped into surrender, peace, love, and magnificence. This is the part of me that KNOWS, the part that is connected to the Universe.

As I work my way through the emotions I make note of any memories that come up and once I am connected to my knowing self I will go back into that memory and clear it out. It involves speaking to the person or people that may have wronged me and hearing what they have to say. There are many other techniques that help to clear out any stuck energies but you get the idea. Forgiveness is always the goal and is what allows the stuck memory to move out of your being and out of you cells.

A lot of times these memories will center around family members, mostly parents. As we all know that no matter how wonderful parents can be, they are human and they may not be able to give us everything we needed as children. That doesn't make them bad, only real life people with struggles of their own, trying to do their best and be their best.

In my memory yesterday an aspect of one of my parents came up for me. It is one part of who my parent is but it has had a tight grip on me for years. I've known that it has been holding me back but I just didn't know how to overcome it.

I realized that I was so afraid of becoming that one aspect of my parent that I was frozen. The amazing realization came up, "You could never be your parent. You can only be you." It's amazing how we can know things for other people but not see them for ourselves.

I have to tell you that as simple as that sounds, it was like being set free. I laughed, I cried, I repeated those words over and over again as if they were a foreign language I was just learning to decipher.

There has been a shift. I feel different. I feel as if the binding that has held me tight has dropped away and I am free to be me...whoever that may be. It definitely speaks to my word of the year, courage. Courage to put myself out there and know that I can only be me!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've Got a Little Secret!

I am heading back to California for ANOTHER painting workshop today! I know, it's so exciting! I have to tell you that 2011 is starting out fantastic for me!

I am going to The Presentation Center in Los Gatos, CA for a 3 day retreat called An Artful Journey. I am signed up to take a class with Jesse Reno! I am so excited.

I first saw his work in the fall of 2010 and I have to tell you that I fell in love. Well, not so much with his actual paintings. They are a bit too primitive for know, kind of dark. But let me tell you, when I watched a video of him painting I was hooked.

He is paints with his hands, smearing the paint and working it onto the surface. You can see that he is painting intuitively. His paintings are layers and layers deep which gives them a richness and depth that is beautiful.

I've embedded a video to watch. If you enjoy it you can go to Vimeo and watch a 20 min video where he is working on several paintings at once.

Wish me luck!

Month of Hearts Day 17

Today's heart goes out to my dear friend Carrie. She loves stones so this one is for you my dear.

I did not take this picture. I found it on one of my new favorite websites. I hesitate to even share it with you because I'm thinking you are probably a bunch of visual people and I'm worried that this website may become a bit addictive for you...OK, I confess! I am obsessed with it! It's like a visual person's dream. It is called Pinterest. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 16

This is one of my paintings from the Wild Heart Painting retreat. I didn't write about it in my previous posts but my friend Carrie asked me to so here you go.

This painting was done fairly early in the retreat. It was fun to play around with the paint. The background was done by painting colors over other colors and carving squiggles into the wet paint with the back of a paintbrush.

It just sort of emerged into this childlike painting and the fun part for me is that this is exactly how I used to draw when I was little. I remember making my dogs and cats like that. This was just a light-hearted, fun painting.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 15

Here is my little heart note that I made for myself to remember to focus on gratitude each day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 14

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!!!

I hope you have a wonderful, loving day. This is a picture of the necklace my hubby got me for Christmas. I thought it was only fitting to share it with you on V-Day. xoxo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 13

This is my last heart post from my trip to Florida and I am dedicating it to all you moms out there for your undying love for your children. These boys are my heart.

This is my baby boy Aidan showing off his sand castle.

This is my little Devin showing off his new braces.
And this is Little Liam bringing me shells to create my Sanibel Sea Shell Heart

Now you know I have 2 other boys who are not represented in these pictures only because they didn't travel with us. These big 6 foot men are equally lodged into my heart. In fact, I had the most lovely time having lunch with Cody, my 17 year old today. He actually talked to me and told me stories and we laughed and it was splendid. And watching my oldest working, going to school, treating his girlfriend with respect, and creating a life for himself brings me the greatest joy I can imagine.

So today I am sharing my daily gratitude focus with you so that you may open your heart even the tiniest bit wider. I am off to shower my boys with hugs and kisses!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 12

OK, I realize that this heart is a bit of a stretch...literally, a stretched heart. Hee hee. This is one of the trees on my dad's property and this heart jumped out at me as I walked by on the way to the pool.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 11

In yesterday's post I started talking to you about my husband and how his love for me gave me another opportunity to explore abundance. In going back into my journal I found another entry that I actually wrote two days prior to the first and I think it is amazing how much it is going along the same lines.

"I miss Ed. It's weird to be here without him...I have to stop living in the "only ifs" and live in the now! I am sitting in gorgeous weather listening to the kids playing in the pool. It's a great day! I've been thinking a lot about abundance and I feel as if it is tied a lot to gratitude. When I am in a place of gratitude for everything in my life I am rich in abundance. When I am wanting more and not connected to what I have I am connected to lack and longing and I am focused on what I don't have...The trick is to continuously bring myself back to gratitude and abundance. But how do I learn to strive for more, to better myself without getting drowned in lack?

Daily Focus on Gratitude"

I see such truth in this. To have a daily focus on gratitude changes everything. I have toyed around with this idea and done it on and off but with my word of the year being abundance and seeing how intimately linked this is to gratitude I can only imagine that starting each day in gratitude would make a huge shift.

Do you have a daily gratitude ritual that works for you? Maybe you would like to start one with me. I will keep you posted on how this evolves for me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 10

I guess I didn't really tell you about my trip too much. I went with my 3 youngest children and my parents. Long story short, my husband was left home alone. It was the first time I had gone down there without him and it's the first time he has been alone in the house for more than 3 hours. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with himself.

He made a lot of plans to go out with his buddies but he called one night saying how much he missed all of us. I started laughing because in my mind I was thinking that he was going to enjoy his freedom and wish he had more of it and I told him this. He said emphatically that this could never be. He said he loved our life and just wanted us home with him. He said that yes, our life was a bit stressful but he wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

The next day I was writing in my journal reflecting on what he said.

"How lucky am I? My husband loves me...he adores me and our kids and wants nothing more than to be with us even if that means living in stress and commuting over 3 hours to work each day. I dream of being that content with my life. Of course I am in love with my family and would do everything and anything to be with them but I have never felt that level of contentment in my life. Whenever I go away I long for a change in our lives, a simplification. The reality is that this is my life and for now I don't see it changing much. I imagine that learning to live like Ed would be so much more satisfying. I hate that I am always wanting more, searching for better. Is it a part of my nature? Who I am? Does it help me in some way or is it a flaw in my personality? Well at least I am sharing my life with someone who lives a life of satisfaction and appreciation."

I really think this goes back to my word of the year, Abundance. Just realizing how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, loving husband and awesome kids is an exercise in abundance! And having the opportunity to witness the pure abundance in my husband allowed me to recognize my own feelings of lack and by recognizing them I can shine a light on them and pull them out of the shadows.

I have more thoughts on this and will share them with you tomorrow! :o)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Month of Hearts Day 9

When I go to my dad's I love to go to the beach. When my husband and I go by ourselves that's all we do. We wake up whenever we want, have a leisurely breakfast, and head off to find a new beach. I've often said that I am jealous of my vacation life.

One of my favorite beaches is Bowman's Beach on Sanibel. It is a quiet beach without any shops or lifeguards or much of anything except a ton of shells. They are EVERYWHERE!!! It's something about the currents that bring them to Sanibel.

Whenever I go there I like to sit in a pile of shells and just look at them all. This time my kids were bringing them to me too. So here is my Sanibel Sea Shell Heart. Try saying that three times fast! ;o)