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Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year tag

Well another wonderful year has zipped by, and you will have noticed that I have not posted with the same regularity as in prior years – and then there was that couple months when I was hacked. The good part of all that is that I still have a very nice backlog of planned theme titles and creativity inspiration to carry over to this year.

The bad news is that with my current writing commitments, this blog will have to continue to take a back seat. That is not to say that I will not be putting out blasts and project ideas at all – I intend to post about once a month, and include more outside resources like websites. In fact if you join me on my Iggy Jingles Crafts Facebook page, you might find more recommended reading in the world of arts and creativity.

With so much of my focus on writing, I have been missing doing any actual making. I’ve decided, as a New Year’s gift to myself to craft a card a day, for a week. And if that works out, I’ll extend it to a card a day for a month. And maybe for another month, or a card a week, or some little easy-to-keep commitment, so that I have a nice stash of ready to use cards throughout the year. (Bear in mind that I am doing this on the dining table because my workshop is still not unpacked.)

That’s the theme for now, I guess – the idea that you can give yourself permission make a commitment to doing some little regular creative activity, keep it temporary and doable, and stay flexible. Start small with just a week, and let it be “scalable”, as the marketers say, and get larger IF it fits your life. You don’t have to make a huge, grand, scary Resolution, and then feel bad if (when) it is unsustainable.

Let me know on FB if you’d like to play along!

What you see here, is the first card of the week. Now, to whom to send it?

New Year handmade card

“Chalkboard” is still on trend, and I love layering. Tools: ScraPerfect Best Glue Ever and Embellie Gellie; Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher; Recollections Circle Punch; blank cards as the base from My Mind’s Eye, in packs of 50 found at Ross, of all places!





Gratitude creates optimism

I’m not the only person who believes that Gratitude is absolutely the first key to the feeling of abundance, and a life state of general happiness. Gratitude is part of the foundation of many religions, and a fundamental tentpole in many recovery programs.

“I try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion we can ever know.” ~ Bill W.

Here are some more quotes about Gratitude:

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love 

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ~ Maya Angelou

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love-then make that day count!” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free

“The more grateful we are, the more we practice this in our everyday lives, the more connected we become to the universe around us.” ~ Stephen Richards

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ~ Epicurus

“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure what I have received.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Remember, whatever you focus upon, increases. . . . When you focus on the things you need, you’ll find those needs increasing. If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don’t have, you will soon be concentrating on other things that you had forgotten you don’t have–and feel worse! If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose. But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.” ~ Andy Andrews, The Noticer: Sometimes All a Person Needs is a Little Perspective

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
 ~ Oprah Winfrey

How can Gratitude facilitate creativity?

  • Gratitude generates optimism, even in me who has always been a bit of a Black Hat Thinker – the person on the team adept at spotting incipient problems. The conscious and intentional pursuit of gratitude has made me into an optimist.

Fortunately, I have not had a serious struggle or tragedy in my life. Family members have passed away, but I have been so lucky as to have been at peace with them – I had the chance to say goodbye. We have brief periods of financial stress, but my gratitude for all I have, especially for the partnership I  share with my husband, has helped make even these times opportunities – the opportunity to practice mindful patience and trust – that all will be well so very soon. 

Optimism, for me “the belief that there is always another something wonderful to look forward to”, leads me to think creatively about solutions to my problems – such as what I can do to bring more prosperity into our household.

“Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free.

  • Looking around with new eyes in search of gratitude, spills over into seeing other things with new eyes. Especially if you make a list, finding gratitude gets the brain working and primed.

When I enjoy the feeling of gratitude, when I express it to my loved ones and to the Universe, I get a sensation of abundance and safety. I can take risks of trying something new from this place of safety. My worries or concerns shrink through being crowded out by gratitude, so I have fewer distractions.

“To fight discouragement, remind yourself of the basics:
I can write.
I have the opportunity to do so.
I love what I write.
Now smile and be thankful.”
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

  • Gratitude opens the heart, so that the love there can be felt.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Click Here for a Practical Gratitude printable.

These three statements can help you turn the lovely internal feeling of gratitude into positive actions. 

 Our Family Gratitude Ritual

When we sit down to dinner at a table – which is not every meal, but certainly special meals – we each in turn express what we are grateful for in that moment.

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If anything turns out to be useful to you, please let me know in the comments.

 The Tweets from the Week!