Light And Dark

Welcome! Would you like some coffee? The following post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share Blog Hop, and contains links to my artwork, and stuff I actually buy (affiliate links). 

If you were here with me, having coffee – or tea – I got some yummy imported Japanese green tea, if you prefer the latter – I would welcome you to Linzer cookies, and new pieces of art. You would probably notice that this week, I have been working in contrasts – either creating very dark pieces, such as “Anger”, and “Masks“,  or light ones, like “Tree With Roots”. No colorful “in-betweens”, no “something in the middle,” but each on the opposite ends of the color spectrum and theme.

Why, you might ask, would I go from a subject matter such as Domestic violence to something really light in such a short period of time?

My answer to that question is  balance. While I enjoy working on both ends of the contrast, I find myself is automatically balancing my creations, often without noticing, and almost never intentional. I do the same with writing, instinctively seeking the balance that the Universe seems to crave.

It is  concept present in all of the celebrations of this season, no matter which spiritual connection one chooses to follow. The light, peace and hope of what is bright, and warm, piercing through the darkness of the Winter months, creating once again balance.

Do you embrace the contrast of dark and light? Does it show in your creative process, or do you enjoy one side of the spectrum more, when you are being creative? Is that an intellectual process for you, or are you creating instinctively?

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops:

Weekend Coffee Share

Tater Tots And Jello

 

 

Anger And Gratitude

the anger behind
that sweet smile you always show
is reserved for me

Domestic abuse – a reality many women – and men – experience in their relationship. The fear of those who supposed to be caring for us, making our homes a nightmare, instead of a safe haven is real, and never the fault of the abused.

Why am I choosing to write about domestic violence in a blog post that usually features “Celebrate The Small Things” and “Thankful Thursday”? Because I am thankful to be one of those women who do not have to live in fear, but I am also aware that this puts me in the situation to choose to ignore the plight of others, or do something about it.

While donating to organisations that assist domestic violence victims might not seem a lot, it is something many of us who live a comfortable and safe life can do. Just because we do not experience this type of environment, does not mean we can let ourselves be numb to those who suffer.

Anger And Gratitude

But, I am going to add this for my most eager readers, you should NEVER get directly involved. Domestic violence perpetrators are violent and dangerous, making anyone in their way a target just as much as the actual target they desire. If you suspect anyone you know being abused, or know that they are in need of help, look for local resources they can contact, or call them yourself, and ask them what actions they suggest for the abused to take. Those professionals are trained to assist victims and keep them safe, something that you and I are not.

If you are looking for organisations that help battered spouses, check out the following links:

Women helping battered women
 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
 Leaving Abuse

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops:

Thankful Thursdays

Celebrate The Small Things

Thankful Thursday (Pepi Smart Dog)

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reflect

 

The above art piece “Anger” is available on RedBubble, and I am donating 20 % of profits of this digital art piece to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Thank you for your support.

 

Masks

Masks by Claudia H. Blanton

Masks by Claudia H. Blanton

Hide

your colorful masks
empty of real expression
hide the pain inside

 

We all pretend. Sometimes in social media, this pretend leaves me with a feeling of disconnect. I don’t mean that we purposely pretend to be someone else we are not. I do not believe that. But because social media and blogging (as well as art and writing) can leave the creator vulnerable, we hide behind our masks of our own creation.

How much should we share? How will what we share affect those we love, and how does the parts that we do choose to show influence what others think of us?

Many bloggers choose to share quite a bit about their lives. Cautiously, they write about their depression, struggles, obstacles and dreams. This raw openness takes courage. Artists and writers do the same, through their creation and stories – even if it is not as recognizable at first glance as it is in the platform of a blog about someone’s life. The message and vulnerability is the same.

It is that what attracts me to those creatives, and the fact that the opposite is often the truth in social media channels and that pushes me away. Where is the real person behind the twitter feed, the emotion behind that snarky comment, or seemingly open attitude? We get snippets, not stories, little glimpses of masks, rather than the true person behind.

It is not to say that we should share more, indeed I think that sharing more on those open platforms can be too dangerous to consider it. Yet, I miss that more and more today. And within that lies my love/hate relationship with social media.

Question: What parts of yourself do you share openly on social media, and which ones do you choose to hide? Is that a concious decision you make, or is it an instinctive holding back?

“Masks” is available on RedBubble as a canvas print, poster or a framed art piece.

 

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops:

Elizabeth And Co Link Party

Together On Tuesdays

What Are You Doing? Blog Hop

Amaze Me Blog Hop

Share With Me

Releasing Anxiety – Learning To Say No

Releasing Anxiety - Learning To Say No

Overwhelmed, and over-stressed, not just something must of us only suffer throughout the holiday season, but rather all year long. No matter if you are your own boss, an artists trying to create on your time off, or work in your dream job, stress catches up with everyone of us at least every once in a while.

I am not an exception. But I am thankful that I have come across a little trick to keep at least some of this stress at bay – saying no. Not just to what others want me to do. Yes, that is important, because the demands of others upon our time and energy can be draining, but I am also saying no to myself.

There are always so many things I want to do, accomplish and create, that it  can feel like I am drowning in want to do lists, and should do lists. But there is no way I could ever create EVERYTHING I have on those lists, so I learned to tell myself no.

Floral - by Claudia H. Blanton

Floral – by Claudia H. Blanton

I gratefully said no to the following items on my want-to-do list

1. Post every day on this blog (heck, I had the Flu, work almost full-time, and run my own business, there is simply not enough time in the day)
2. Participate in NaNoWriMo.
3. Bake multiple batches of cookies during the week – I limited myself to once a week baking.
4. Have all holiday shopping done by end of November. No one will care when I bought them their present.
5. Work on multiple book projects simultaneously. I am finishing up my Flash Fiction book, publish it and then work on the next project.
6… and many more

This was an important decision to make, one that kept me from re-living those anxiety-filled moments, where I constantly worried about not doing enough. Those moments stole my sleep, and any type of ability to relax, and stay focused upon the most important aspects of my life – my family. It is hard to enjoy someone’s company, I realized, when their attention is on what he or she should be doing instead, making those around us feel like they are not as important.

Taking charge, and saying no to myself allowed me to make that healthy shift from anxiety to true productivity.

Do you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities at times? Are there any items on your list you could let go off?

Christmas Cheer Postcard

Christmas Cheer Postcard

One thing I do not let go off, are my gratitude lists. And because it is Friday, I am adding 5 things I am grateful for right now, to this post:

1. My thick red favorite sweater. That piece of clothing has become my best buddy over the last few weeks. I just wish I had multiples of the exact same one – warm, soft and cozy.
2. Coffee – of course. I am always cold – see above – so a hot cup of coffee is always by my side.
3. The loudest cat I have ever met, but who happens to have chosen us as his family. My goodness, I have had many cats, but never one as demanding and loud as this one. He talks. To me, the dogs and whoever is willing to listen.
4. Sleeping in – I was actually able to sleep in a little yesterday, which has been rare lately. That felt good
5. Silence – at this very moment, it is absolutely quiet in here – no barking, no talking cat – he is asleep – the kids are quietly busy, and the phone is not ringing. Ahh, this is nice!

I hope you have a lot of things to celebrate and be grateful for as well.
Today’s post is part of the following blog hops:

Friday Finds

Share With Me

What Are You Doing – Blog Hop

Inspire Me

Celebrate The Small Things

Appreciation, Flu, And “Winter” Blues

Appreciation, Flu And Winter Blues
Over the last few days I have been MIA from this blog – out of two legit reasons: 1. because my kids and I have been battling the flu, and 2 because this part time job, helping out someone with building a business has been resembling more a full-time job that hope that by the end of next week, all of this will be settled, and I can resume at least a more passing schedule.
But there are also many things to appreciate today. I woke up to the most wonderful notes from my children, wishing me a Happy Birthday, which was so sweet, and then I got to open many emails and social media messages filled with well-wishes and greetings. Every one of those put a smile on my face.
I feel gratitude for the fact that the sun came out to greet me as well, which suits me well, considering the last few days have been dreary, reminding me more of those days when Winter Blues set in, in Germany, and the days were one big sea of continuous grey. Not exactly the best sight. The morning sun, as I walked the dogs, felt like a balm to my soul, exactly when I needed it.
I enjoyed this afternoon’s crumb coffee cake in all of its sweet glory – on top of that, I enjoyed that I did not have to bake it, my family did instead – I am usually the one backing all of the goodies, so that was a nice change in pace.
I am enjoying the fact that I let go of some anxiety that came back this week, with not being able to accomplish as much as I usually would like to, by employing the power of no. I will write about the benefits of this wonderful little tool tomorrow. Let me just tell you now, that it is a sanity-saving tool everyone should apply.
I am  thankful, that my dogs seem to be having no problems with the colder weather, actually I am surprised how much my shorter haired Athena is enjoying it. Still, I am looking for sweater for her – which is harder for big dogs like her, especially for when it gets even colder  than it already is.
A Floral Heart Keepsake Box by Claudia H. Blanton

A Floral Heart Keepsake Box by Claudia H. Blanton

I am also in appreciation that I was able to design a tiny bit. One of these examples is the heart design I started you just saw. When I create something, at least a little bit of something, I feel a little more productive on a personal level. And that feels good.
So what have you been accomplishing this week? Was your week as crazy as mine, or did you have a chance to relax a little more? I hope you, and all of your loved ones are healthy, and I am looking forward to hearing from you all!.
Check out the following blog hops, that this post is a part of and give the other participants some love!

Gratitude, Halloween And Honoring Those Who Passed

Gratitude, Halloween And Honoring Those Who Passed

On this day before Halloween, I am usually pretty excited and giddy, getting ready to celebrate what is for me as a Pagan more than just a dress up in crazy clothes day. This year, though, I will work instead, and considering that we are in a temporary place, not celebrate with our usual abandon. Still, Halloween or Samhain will be exciting enough, as we celebrate and honor those who have left before us.

Therefore, my gratitude list today focuses on some special people and animals in my life that have moved on.

1. My grandfather
He passed away exactly one week after my 12th birthday, but during the short time I had him in my life, he made a lasting impression. Leaving me with an independent spirit and the freedom to choose my own path (he insisted that I would not be raised in any faith so I could make up my own mind later on), I honor him today.

2. My adopted Father
While he left me with many scars and wounds that will always define how I view the world, he introduced to me the need of taking care of our world around us. He taught organic gardening to many people, including me. He also gave me access to mythology and ancient traditions which define much of my belief system to this day.

3. Angel
Probably the strangest animal I have ever met, but also the most profoundly loving cat there was. After adopting his mother without knowing that she was pregnant, he was one of the 2  kittens (out of a litter of 6) who were completely bald. Sphynx cats are rare, and well, I must say ugly, but he was the most beautiful animal to me. After his death, I had sworn never to get another pet, because the loss was too great. But, I currently have two dogs and another cat. Still, he will always be my true Angel.

I am very grateful for having had many people in my life, briefly or for a long period of time, that made a large impact on me, and brought me to the choices I made to become me.

Whom are you grateful for in your life? Why not share that list via the Celebrate The Small Things Blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain? And stop on by Dory’s Backyard, where everyone is talking about shelter animals.

Hey, I Designed You A Mug – Now Fill It With This

Hey, I Designed You This Mug - Now Fill It With This
So you purchased yourself a designer mug, supporting independent artists with your choice. Good for you. We, the creatives behind these designs thank you. But now what? It is a specialty mug, so just pouring in some darn old coffee from the grocery store would not be fitting. No way. These cups ask for something special.
No worries, I did the work for you and found some really wonderful coffees and teas you should fill that special mug with.
I Designed You A Cup - Now Fill It With This
Jacobs Kronung Coffee
This coffee is tradition and perfection in a cup. There is simply not a better roast out there, that does not cost you an arm, a leg and your first born. I grew up on this stuff, and it is the standard by which I hold each other coffee. Sorry, Starbucks, your coffee taste like pee water compared to this.
Hey, I Designed You A Mug - Now Fill It With This
JO – Organic Fair Trade Coffee, Medium Roast
My favorite of the Fair Trade Coffee’s out there. Stick with the medium roast of this brand for best results. While it is not as fine and sophisticated in flavor as the before mentioned German coffee, it is still the best I could find so far in its category. And while drinking it, you can really feel good about yourself for being a responsible consumer (again).
Hey, I Designed You A Mug - Now Fill It With This
Teekanne Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea
I simply love this tea, its tart, refreshing taste, even if you drink it as a hot cup of tea (which I prefer.)  It is my go to cup with a few cookies as part of a quick afternoon break. It tastes fruity and light, though I recommend to add your favorite sweetener, on its own it can be surprisingly sour.
Hey, I Designed You A Mug, - Now Fill It With This
Teavana Pineapple Berry Blue Loose-Leaf Tea
No list that includes teas is complete without having a pineapple flavored addition to it. At least that is my opinion. Hey, don’t knock it until you tried it, this tea is hot and cold a wonderful treat. Cheaper than a Hawaiian vacation.
Hey, I Designed You A Mug - Now Fill It With This
Moonstruck Classic Hot Cocoa
Wintertime is hot chocolate time, and I prefer the classic, no fancy added flavored version of hot chocolates. This creamy, deep flavored, elegant milk chocolate cocoa mix does the trick here. It is a wonderful way to wind down a busy holiday day, and no December evening would be complete without it. I would recommend to get extra. Especially if you are a chocoholic like I am.
Now savor that hot (or cold) stuff!
Have a wonderful day!
Claudia
 Disclaimer: The above post contains affiliate links.