Monday, December 31, 2012

How I did in 2012

Hi all! We've all come to the end of another year. Overall, 2012 was a really good one for me and my family. We were so blessed. For that, I just want to thank God and ask that the blessings keep on coming. 

In the mean time, here's one last look at how I did this year with my goals. If you want to know my goals for 2013, you'll need to go to MFB

Writing:

I want to finish Doorways before 30 June. 
Finished, but a bit late. 

I will query Doorways on 1 July.
Queried, but closer to September because of the above. 

I want to finish the WiP2 rewrite by 30 September.
I decided not to, since I no longer felt a spark. 

I want to finish the Don't Look Back draft by 31 December.
I finished it, although the ending left me dissatisfied. Luckily, I managed to work out what went wrong and what I want to do for the rewrite. 

I want to finish at least one draft of the musical libretto by 31 December.
This one was unrealistic from the start. Both me and my writing partner got stuck in other projects and activities. 

I might want to look at Guardian again.
This I did. It's currently an active draft. 

Reading:

I want to read more (crit partners' manuscripts don't count).
I think I read more than last year. 

I want to read Shakespeare, Austen and Martin.
No Shakespeare or Martin, but I read most of Austen. I only have Emma left.

Life:

Auditions, auditions, auditions. 
Went to one acting audition in the area. Musical ones will wait until my voice settles down completely. I did, however, take part in my first concert as a soloist this year. 

I want to master at least intermediate cooking.
I'd like to think I managed this one. 

I want to spend more time designing.
This is one of a few activities that I didn't get time for. 

I want to brush up on my French and Mandarin (at least one of the two) and take another language.
This was another.

I want to take classes in a musical instrument. Either piano or guitar.
I started taking guitar. Stopped when the year grew too busy, but I might continue next year, especially now that I don't have as many activities on weeknights. 

I also want to get out more next year. Cabin fever never did suit me.
This I did, sometimes to my detriment. 

Since I achieved four goals in 2011, I want to achieve six in 2012.
Achieved eight, six of which were unconditional. :-D

Yay! It's a great feeling to see how much I got done. 

How did you do? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So much for the regular schedule

Ah... I knew I forgot something.

It niggled and nagged and niggled again at the back of my mind. But I just couldn't remember what it was I'd forgotten.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, I realized I haven't checked in in days.

Life got a lot busier than I thought, once my family arrived for Christmas. So much so, that it blew my painting plans right out of the water.

Fortunately, I have a very understanding granny.

So yeah. No picture of the painting yet.

I do have pictures of the tree, still, but since it's the day after Christmas already, I don't know if I should bother to put it up.

What's your opinion?

Friday, December 21, 2012

So... looks like my piece of art will be a piece of cake.

Yep... I decided to stop being a wuss and picked up my brushes again.

The painting is, if I say so myself, beautiful.

More importantly, I should be finishing it today. YAY!

If I do, I'll post a picture after Christmas. Monday's post will be about this year's Christmas tree again.

Other than that, I also rewrote a query and drafted my first ever synopsis. And I must say. Both look pretty dang good.

Now I really can relax. Looks like I'll do everything I need to get done before Christmas after all.

How about you. On schedule or way behind? What do you still need to do before you can relax?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time's a running out.

I'm still busy with my painting for my grandmother, but I get the feeling I might not finish it in time.

The reason? I got myself stuck in a conundrum. I have 6 days to Christmas and not too much left to do to finish the painting.

What I do have, however, is a ton of detail work. Glints on the ocean. Sunset clouds. A blue haze. Rounding light houses. The figures' hair and detail to their clothes. One of which has a spotty shirt. The rocks need to be highlighted. Sand needs to be added. And a mountain has to be etched in.

Point is, I'm terrified that if I rush, I'll make a mess of it.

So I don't know if I can do it in the next 6 days. Especially when I consider that my guests start arriving tonight.

Oh yeah... and I still have gifts to wrap today.

Siiiiiigh.

Have you ever started a painting MONTHS ahead of schedule, only to run out of time because you got scared of the detail in the end? How did you overcome your fear?

Monday, December 17, 2012

In which revenge could be sweet, but poisonous.

Sometimes, being a better person is such a lot of work.

Take me, for example. There's this person I'm having to deal with on a monthly basis. Who's for all intents and purposes abusing the credit laws in order to commit extortion and blackmail against me and my mother.

I know this. I'm pretty sure he knows it too, because when I pointed it out, he threatened me again.

Thing is... there's nothing I can do about it except wait. And even then, God keeps telling me to let it go.

Which is hard. Really hard. This guy is threatening things I worked really hard to achieve and I know that getting my own back against him is well within my means. All I have to do is to wait until the loan he's threatening me about is paid in full.

Once that's done, he's lunch meat for me. Because he did the threatening in written form.

But God says... no.

Honestly, this is pretty hard to swallow. I mean, what he's doing is wrong. Very wrong. It's only fair that he gets what's coming to him.

But... the answer stays no.

At which point I just want to rage and go nuts, because this guy is practically begging to be disbarred.

But then God said something, which I'm pretty sure is a saying I know, but forgot:

Those who always chase others, never stand still themselves. 

Then I remembered the bible story (1 Samuel 25) where David wanted to kill someone for slighting him, but this man's wife, Abigail, rode out to meet him and begged him not to kill her husband. Abigail asked David to let God do justice and not him.

David agreed.

And God did.

The best thing is, David didn't end up with blood on his hands, doing something that displeased his Lord. The man who's insulted him was taken by God.

And that's the thing that gave me hold. Like David's army, my taking action against man wouldn't only affect him. It would affect those close to him. Those he probably has to provide for. In a sense, I'd have their blood on their hands.

And although I feel really annoyed to let the bad person win, I know I have to spare the innocent people around him who I would have hurt if I didn't.

Besides, it's incredibly foolish of me to want to take matters into my own hands because I'm afraid I might not like how God handles the situation. In fact, it's... sinfully proud of me.

So I beg His forgiveness and give over this matter to Him in it's entirety. Only God, in His infinite wisdom, will know how to deal with this man in a way that's just and pleasing to Him at the same time.

Have you ever wanted so bad to get your own back against someone who hurt you, but ended up turning the other cheek and handed the matter over to God? How did you come to the decision to do so? And how did you feel afterwards?

Me? Although I'm still annoyed with that guy, I actually feel at complete peace with my decision. And I know that now, the wound he inflicted will heal and I'll one day get to forget about it and him. A much better solution than having it fester for the rest of my life.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Counting Our Blessings

This will be just a short post, since I'd like you all to rather watch the video I included and take some inspiration from it.

Today is a day I want to count my blessings and the first one is that I reached my 200th post today. 

I truly hope that I managed to touch your hearts and lives in the same way that you have mine. You are yet another blessing to me. Thank you. 

I'm not going to go into more blessings on here, but I'd love it if you'd share some of the blessings in your life that you can think about. 

In the mean time, here's the video. 


Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gone Blogging

Hey all!

Just want to let you know that I'm trying to catch up on about 6 months worth of blog visits in a week or so, so that I can continue painting this weekend.

Next week will be TCoML's turn, but first, MFB, because I have been even naughtier there when it comes to blog visits.

See you all soon!

Misha

Monday, December 10, 2012

Peace

The rat race is a strange thing. We start the year off small, doing bits here and there, taking on more as we go along. 

Then a few months down the line, we feel frazzled, but continue to take on more, because hey, it's expected of us. 

Funny thing is, we should actually be so careful about it. Today I actually had a bad reminder of that, when I drank lemonade on an empty stomach. You see, back when I was book smart and life stupid, I ran around in this rat race, chasing after money and worldly success (as measured by money and what you can afford). I  ended up giving myself an ulcer (suspected, anyway, but I couldn't miss it) at the ripe age of 22. 

So yeah... lemonade wasn't the best idea, but hey, I'm not a life genius yet, so I didn't think far enough. 

Any, it brought me back to thinking about peace. It's important to kick back sometimes, even when you're striving after your dreams.

Taking charge of our lives are so important, but if our activities tire us out without giving us a chance to rest, we're not in charge. Those activities are. 

That's why I'm definitely kicking back now. Although there are a lot of goals this year that went un-achieved, I did so much that I'm really proud of myself. Heck, I know I deserve a break. 

Most of all, I need it. I need to clear my mind to face the coming year. I need to recharge the batteries so I can go zoom through what I need to know next year. 

I also need to decide what I want to achieve by then. 

But most importantly, I'm living in the moment. Writing when I want, painting because I want to. Staring aimlessly at my (growing collection of) orchids. Oh and my tiny collection of carnivorous plants, because they're cool. And especially because it's this time of the year, to spend an extra amount of time with those I love. 

What are you doing to kick back? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Painting again

Mmm... now I feel happy.

It's funny. After doing NaNo in November, I thought I'd spoil myself and do nothing substantial in December.

It rested me, I guess, but it just felt like I'm wasting time, which prevented my full enjoyment of my relaxing time.

Today, though, I finally had time (and the light) required to work on my grandmother's Christmas present. Remember the beach scene I mentioned before?

It's now really starting to look the way I envisaged it. Especially the two figures forming my focal points. I had the devil of a time with some hues and with the figures' arms, but it's such a satisfying feeling to see them coming right.

All in all, the painting has really been performing well. So much so that I hope that all of my landscapes go this well.

And of course, that I don't mess it up in the home stretch.

Anyone else doing any visual arts? Or making Christmas presents?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back to the gym I go.

Yesterday, I went back to the gym for the first time in about three months. Yeah, I know December is an odd time to start gymming, but I have to go to Berlin in February and want to start fencing in January, so I don't want to be huffing and puffing then.

Well. I really regretted that I stopped at all. Yes, it's a pain to gym. But I got used to a certain level of fitness while I was at university. Now, though, I'm not even close to it. And I hate it.

I have to start rebuilding all over again. I have to take baby steps. It's terrible. Even worse than before.

Still, when I finished yesterday, I felt good. Like I'd done myself a really big favor.

And I had. Now I just need to keep doing it.

But yeah, this is definitely a goal I'll be working towards this December and in the coming year. I want to be more active. Even if it means taking a walk in the morning, that's what I need to do.

Anyone else trying to be more active this month?

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Back

Hey all!

Finally back in a sort of condition where I can do regular posts. I am, however, exhausted from Christmas Shopping, so I'll do something more decent on Wednesday.

Love,

Misha

Friday, November 23, 2012

A brief look into my mind at the moment.

Sorry for being so quiet. Just in a deeply contemplative mood as I'm winding up my year.

Yeah... can't even really write about it yet, because all my thoughts are running together and splintering in completely random ways.

No idea why. Maybe it's just the fact that it's Friday? And that I spent the past few days creating a calculator for air freights. If that sounds simple, I have three words for you. Compound. IF. Functions.

Still, now I have the calculator working like it's supposed to, so I'll never have to calculate air freight by hand. If you're thinking I'm wasting time, I don't think you ever tried to ship bulk by air. It's a pain in the ass to work out how much it costs.

So at least now, I just have to plug some numbers into a few blocks.

Singing-wise, I'm looking forward to the final practice on Tuesday. Who knows? Maybe the annoying church soprano's will push me far enough for me to give them a little dose of perspective. I only got to that point last week already.

Church service-wise, I now stopped the smallgroup I had until the new year, when I'll decide if I'll continue or not. Reasons for this are many, but mainly, I'm getting a lot of guests in December, and there's this one person who literally had 4 people saying that they won't return if she does. And honestly, I'm tired.

Oh yeah, speaking of which. If you're really really exhausted, but your B vits and iron looks normal, you might to check out your magnesium levels. Low magnesium is at the heart of many issues. Including sleep problems. Insomnia is listed often. I get night terrors. Until the night before last, I've woken up at least once every night, terrified, for the past three weeks.

It literally got to a point where I burst out crying about nothing. As in. Nothing. No one said anything. Nothing happened. I just suddenly started and couldn't stop. Why? I was exhausted. Things are starting to get better, though. Which is great.

And on top of that, I want to instate some health goals for next week. I've been wanting to exercise for weeks now, but never felt up to it. This needs to stop. So I'll be spending this weekend thinking about them and sharing them with you tomorrow.

But yeah. That's my life at this stage. What's going on in yours? Who's finished their Christmas shopping? (I haven't even started.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stretch and release

I decided to finish up with NaNoWriMo, this time with another story. Still, I'm taking things slower and not pushing myself so hard. 

It's just not always so good for me. 

Yes, there's a commitment to getting things like writing done, but I just can't see how it's good to push myself too hard. 

I mean, there is a definite advantage to pushing limits. We learn a lot about ourselves by doing it. But once you cross the limit of what you're capable of, it's not wise to go too far too fast. 

Why? Well... I think about it the same way as I think about stretching my muscles. Stretching is good. Really good. It works best by stretching a little further every time you stretch, but not beyond that point. 

If I stretch too much too soon, I'm actually damaging the muscles I'm trying to strengthen. 

It's the same with life. It's not good to go through life without testing yourself and stretching your abilities. At the same time, it's not good to go too far too fast, because you might actually do more harm than good. 

That's what I seem to be doing now. I've been stretching myself out for a while, now it's time for a rest. So I'm pulling back from every non-essential activity I'm involved with. 

I'm quitting choir singing because it's not good for my voice. Also, it puts too much of a strain on my patience .

I'm backing away from involvement in church activities because it's stretching me and my faith too fast and too hard. This was of course, done with a lot of prayer, but God seems to be with me on this one. So I'm going to try and focus on learning more again. 

I'm not buying more orchids until I'm absolutely positive that the ones I have are doing well. 

I stretched my writing skills and determination and wrote a draft manuscript in 16 days. Now I know I can do it, but it makes me tired. Still, I'm continuing to write, but in a sense, as a warm-down to my intense stretching session. 

Luckily December will give me a break from all of my stretching activities. Then I get to do the exercise again and stretch in wonderfully novel ways. 

Do you also make a point of stretching in your life? Do you make sure you don't go too far too fast? What have you been up to, lately? 


Monday, November 19, 2012

And I'm Back

Managed to finished my NaNoWriMo draft early, so I'll be back to more regular posting as of Wednesday.

How are you doing?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 4

So... I know that I said that this would just be a three part series, but no. Something occurred to me that feels so important that I'm taking time out from NaNo to write about it.

You've taken responsibilities for your life. You've challenged the status quo. You're fighting to do what your supposed to. What more could there be?

Well. Glad you asked.

Owning Your Life

It's pretty closely related to taking responsibility, but it's more of a step further towards taking charge. Where taking responsibility for your life asks: "Why am I letting myself be unhappy?", owning it asks: "What am I going to do about it?" 

It's realizing that merely trying to change your outlook won't make you happy. Changing the way you're going about your life, will. (And it will change your outlook. Trust me.) 

Best of all, you're entitled to do with your life what you want. It's yours. It doesn't belong to your mother, father, husband, wife, children or anyone else. It belongs to you. 

You can allow yourself to go down a downwards spiral with drinking and drugs. Or you can pull yourself up towards a better life that you deserve. You can stay where you are and sacrifice doing what you've been made to do in favor of security. 

It's your life. Your choice. 

But whatever you do, own it. 

If something makes you unhappy, change it. If someone is hurting you, decide how you're going to react. Not based on what things are like now, but on all of your options. Pick the best option. 

Even if putting the best option into action scares the shit out of you. 

More often than not, you'll find things become easy once they've been started on. 

But you need to start making those changes for things to change. It won't be happening on its own. 

Are you owning your life? Do you want to? Are you going to? Are you taking ownership RIGHT NOW? 

Yes? 

Good. Now you really are on your way. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

In Which NaNoWriMo Gets in the Way

Hi. So sorry for not posting. I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year, so I might be a bit random in all my postings.

It's just a choice I made, since drafting a new story has to take priority some time, and because I haven't written anything new in a year, I figured giving myself a month in which to try and do it would be worthwhile.

So far things are a bit weird in the story, but we'll see how it turns out.

How are you doing?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prepping for NaNo

Just wanted to let you know why I'm being silent. Just trying to finish final edits before November starts, since I want to be in full draft mode then.

See you on Wednesday!

x

Friday, October 26, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 3

This will be the final installment of my three part series on starting to take charge of your life. There is more to write about it, but I'm not sure if there's any demand for it.

Would you like to know more? If you do, please feel free to let me know.

Here are parts one and two, if you haven't read it.

In the mean time, here's my post about the final thing you need to start taking charge of your life.

Tenacity

To recap: On starting on your journey to happiness, you've done two things: 1) you took responsibility for your own happiness and/or unhappiness and 2) you challenged the way things are right now.

Now comes the really hard part:

You'll have to fight for what you want.

Hard.

As if that isn't hard enough, you'll most often be fighting the very people who were supposed to support you. I wish it wasn't like this. When I pointed out to my mother that getting stuck behind an office table isn't what I want, we fought. Constantly. Every time one of us brought up what we thought I should be doing with my life.

For some reason, she seemed to think that my desire to go into the arts more was due to my chickening out of the hard work required to succeed in the business world.

Yeah... if that's what I wanted, I don't think I would have chosen to try and make it in art.

The point is, my mother had always been the one person who sacrificed the most to support me. She did a lot to put me through university. She sacrificed a lot... and the fact was, I don't think I should have been in the program I'd chosen. So of course she wasn't pleased when I pointed it out.

It takes a lot of tenacity to go after your dreams. Especially in the beginning. It took two things for my mom to take two of my dreams seriously. 1) Placing second in a short story competition and 2) Seeing me perform live as a soloist the first time.

After that, things went a lot smoother. It went even better when I managed to find a place in my life both for my commerce degree (I work for and own 25% of her company and am loving it) and for my artistic talents.

But before you can prove yourself, very few people in your immediate vicinity will understand you wanting to go after your dream.

In one of my fights with my mother, I went off about the fact that my soul was dying without my going after my dreams. Her response: a pitying smile and saying "But darling, hardly anyone gets to do what they dream of doing and they're all here."

My answer to that is what I'm going to finish with today:

I don't have to be someone who ever settles for second best in my life.

NEITHER
DO
YOU.

Never give up!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 2

On Monday, I decided to do a three part series about starting to take charge of your life. 

As I said before, one needs three things before taking charge of his/her life: Responsibility, questioning of the status quo and tenacity. 

Questioning the status quo 

When you become responsible for your own happiness and choices, the second factor of taking charge becomes a lot easier. 

The reason for this: if you see yourself (correctly) as your biggest obstacle to doing what you need to do to be happy, the things you’d been blaming before are no longer as insurmountable as you’d once pretended.

A status quo can basically be defined as your circumstances as they are right now. You have a choice about if you want to tolerate them, work around them, challenge them or change them. 

NOTHING is ever set in stone. 

Of course, there are times when you’ll encounter resistance. In fact, if you’ve never taken charge before, expect the greatest resistance from your loved ones. Especially if you never spoke to them about those great things you wanted to do your whole life.

People will think you’re nuts. People will think this is a phase. 

Depending on how big a change you’ll want to make, they’ll be terrified of it. Especially because they’ll still think that circumstances are insurmountable obstacles. They’ll be worried about you failing. And you could. 

By no means do I guarantee success. Life sometimes sucks, but I truly believe that people doing those things they always wanted to do are happier, even if they’re only working towards doing them. 

Personally, I’d rather spend my life trying to succeed at singing than succeed at almost anything else. 

Don’t you have something in your life like that? If you say no, you’re either trying to lie to yourself or you’ve hidden it far away in the back of your mind. 

Think about it until you find it. You will, in time. Once you do, go after it.

Things will be in your way, but you will find ways to change them. 

Remember: change can happen, but only if you want to make it happen. 

Is there something you always burned to do? Want to share? What obstacles are in the way? Is there a way you can get around, over or through them?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 1

I've been mulling over three things since Thursday.

This morning I woke up realizing what my mind had been up to. It had been writing a three post series for this week on starting to take charge of your life. 

For me, taking charge is about many things. It's about becoming the master of my own fate (within the scope of God's plan), but it's also about being responsible for my own happiness. 

A lot of people out there are very unhappy. I was one of them. I saw myself as trapped and couldn't see my way out of my own life, short of killing myself. 

I used to be desperately unhappy and although I never seriously contemplated suicide, I got close enough for me to be scared into thinking about what had gone wrong to get me stuck in a life I hated. 

Basically, it came down to three things, and I think I'm far from the only one who had issues with them. I also believe anyone can change their lives for the better if they're aware of these things. They are: Responsibility, a willingness to question the status quo, and tenacity. 

So why are they necessary? Easy answer: taking charge of our lives requires change in many guises. Maybe your whole life needs to change (mine did), or maybe it's a succession of small changes adding up to something big. 

Point is, if you're afraid of change, odds are you'll never take charge of your life. 

With that said, let's get started. 

Responsibility

We humans have a few flaws, but one of the big ones is the fact we blame other people and factors outside ourselves for a variety of things we don't like. We blame others for preventing us from doing what we want. We blame the weather for making us sad. We blame the dog's barking for making us moody. We blame our circumstances for being trapped in (and this funny in a sad way) our circumstances.

Some people are determined to determined to live like this. I suspect most of them don't even realize they're doing it. 

Blaming others has its purpose, I suppose. It helps us to deal with the symptoms of our unhappiness, of our discontent. On the other hand, it obscures the root cause of that very unhappiness and in doing so, it makes the whole thought of escaping it look like an insurmountable mountain. 

So we blame our surroundings more, trying to feel better, until it becomes an addiction that obscures our own lives from us. 

Think about it. How many times have you wanted to do something only to blame people and circumstances for why you can't? How many times have you tried to do those things anyway?

I understand. I've been there. But I've also been to a point where all those excuses and resentments I had to others stopped cutting it. 

It's a wonderful place to be, but damn, it's incredibly painful. It nearly tore my life apart while I dug past all the crap in order to find what I really wanted. 

That's why I'm writing this series. I hope that at least one person reading this can find happiness before having to go through hell. 

I believe happiness doesn't come from being happy. Being happy comes from doing things that make you happy, but in a way adding value to your life. 

Those things are usually tucked away, far in the deepest, darkest corner of the back of our minds. When we don't do them, we become miserable, because we're not doing the one or two things we're really supposed to be doing. 

We become aware of them every now and then, maybe wishing we could just try doing them. We instinctively know we'd be much happier even trying to do them than we are right now pretending to be happy not to. 

Instead we blame things for why we can't. The keys to our happiness are shoved back into the darkness and we pretend to be content. 

Contentment isn't happiness. 

Blaming your surroundings do much more damage to your life than it helps. It keeps you unhappy for longer than you ever needed to be. 

More importantly, it blinds you to the opportunities and ways you could do exactly what you want, even if it's in a different way than you expected. 

This is why you need to take responsibility for your happiness. It will never come to you unless you realize that you are the only human on earth who will make you truly happy. 

To escape unhappiness, it's necessary to admit something terrifying: You are responsible for being unhappy. Not your spouse, or your parents, children, dog, next door neighbors etc. You. 

Because no matter what the things and people around you do, you're the only one who can change what makes you unhappy. You're the only one who can make yourself do things you're afraid of. But that's for Wednesday's post. 

Are there things you've been wanting to do, but felt like your life was keeping you from it? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My thoughts on running a new blog.

As I mentioned before, I recently started a new blog.

It's about me learning how to grow orchids. This has advantages and  disadvantages. Advantage: there's ALWAYS something to write about. So much so that it's difficult for me to stay to my Tuesday Thursday Schedule for it.

Disadvantage, only people interested in orchids will want to follow and read it. Which means I'm once again stuck talking to myself... Sigh.

It reminds me of the very first time I started blogging. I felt like a lone voice in the dark with no one to hear me. But boy, did it teach me to get out there and fast.

Luckily for me, I have a day off today, so I am going to spend this morning hitting as many orchid blogs as I can. The way I see it, if only five people come by to visit, that's okay. At least I'm not talking to myself.

That's what makes a blog successful. The owner can't just sit around and wait for people to find them. We need to put ourselves out there. We have to get involved in the community, learning from them, teaching them and being there for them.

After lunch, I'm also going to visit as many of my regular commenters as I can. I'll also visit some blogfest blogs, hopefully meeting some more people there as well.

Oh... if only I were the Ninja Captain...

Do you have a system for visiting blogs? Do you visit widely, or stick to the ones you really like?


Monday, October 15, 2012

Housekeeping and music

As you can see, I changed up the look.

The standard background just didn't work for me any more, so I thought I'd put in one that better suits me.

This one works. My favorite color is blue and I love music so... I don't think I'll get a better representation of my personality than that without paying for the background.

Not much else to say news-wise, although I did now open a third blog. It's very low priority, though, so I probably won't neglect this one more than I have recently. Basically it's about me learning to grow orchids, so if you're a grower or would like to try your hand at it, I'd love to see you there.

Singing-wise, I'm back to regular solo-instruction, and I'm now learning this:



Yeah... so different from when I started, but that's good.

That's me for now. Any Puccini fans? What's your favorite operatic aria? And what do you think of the new look?

Friday, October 12, 2012

My current oil painting project

Now that my edits are done again, I have a more time to do some stuff I love. Still taking a break, hoping that I can start writing in November. Still haven't picked which story I'll work on, though.

In the mean time, I'm busy painting my grandmother's Christmas Present.  It's a beach scene, which is a new challenge all of its own. Reason: this particular beach doesn't have breakers, only millions of tiny little waves.

On the other hand, I think I managed the sand's many footprints upon footprints quite well.

So now I still have to paint the figures, rocks, sky and water, as well as some mountains and a quay. Lots of different textures and shades. Not a huge variety of colors, though. Lots of blue. Blue and brown. Bluish brown. Millions of blues for waves. A bluish gray, I grayish blue.... And blue clouds.

And they all have to be different.

Fingers crossed it works like I want it to, because I spent quite a few hours and lots of paint on it.

Fortunately the light is improving (summer's here and with it, more sunlight), so I'll hopefully be able to finish the painting in time.

Of course, the final medium will be almost pure linseed oil, so it's an open question as to whether the painting will dry in two months. In fact, I might have to wait for weeks after finishing this layer as well. We'll have to see.

Maybe once it's done, I'll show both the photo and the painting.

Anyone else painting something?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stepping back and being happy.

Hi all! I'm back from editing again. I'll take another day before dropping by and commenting, but in the meantime, I thought the blog needed some love. 

It's really amazing how easily discontent inches into our lives and takes it over. Sad thing is, often the very things you were excited about when you started them make you unhappy now.

Maybe the better word is unhappier. 

I'm still a happy person, but lately I've been having to work harder and harder to stay that way. It's not the way I want to live my life. 

Still, I felt like the things I'd volunteered for had become responsibilities. They became chores. Worse, they became tiresome chores. 

For me, 90% of my church activities are that way. Despite my initial optimism about the new youth pastor, things are returning to more of the same. Same with the choir. I quit it a year ago, but people begged me to return, saying things will change. It didn't. 

I've tried to change. I tried to look to myself and try to fix things through the way I react. But I can't stop the church choir sopranos from bitching and griping about me without becoming a worse singer I can. I can't do anything about the youth pastor NOT EVEN RESPONDING to submissions and suggestions I made. If people listen, I can't make them HEAR. I can't make the band leader realize that two griping teenage girls with maybe an eight note range between them doesn't make it a good idea to push me (plus superior skill, training and range) out of the band. 

I volunteered because they couldn't lead the youth in praise. I volunteered for youth because at the time, God wanted me to. I volunteered for choir because I love singing and because young voices lift the sound up. 

But if no one wants me there, why should I continue to put in hours on hours of unpaid time to no effect?  Seems I'm doing no one a favor. Not even myself. 

All I'm doing is tiring myself out without seeing any fruits of my labors. And damn it. Although I don't expect it, getting ONE freaking thank you would have been lovely. Then I would have known I at least helped. But need it or not, I've been wasting my time on people who don't want it. 

That is going to stop. I already quit the choir. Staying until the end of the year to help out the choir master (who does want me there). I'm quitting the youth tomorrow morning as soon as I've spoken to my friends in the leadership. 

Then I'm going to regroup and go back to moving between churches, learning what I can and just building my faith. 

This probably won't be forever, but right now, I need to rest. Then I'll look at it again. 

But I am NOT wasting my time a single second more. 

I. Am. Done. 

And you know what? I haven't felt this free or happy in ages.

Have you ever quit things you volunteered for because they made you unhappy?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sorry!

Hi all!

Sorry for doing this YET AGAIN, but I won't be posting here this week.

I decided to go through my "finished" ms one more time, reading out loud etc. Because I want to do this fast, I'm cutting back on anything that takes up too much time. Sadly, blogging is one of them. I will be carrying on with my other blog, though, so if you miss me, please feel free to visit me there. ;-)

Will miss you!

Misha

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chilling for the weekend.

Hi all! I'm not going to do a post today, because the topic I had in mind is a bit too heavy for my current mood.

It's also one I'm constantly bumping my head against, so I'm not really feeling like doing it in writing again. But maybe next week, I'll be doing it.

In the meantime, though, I want you to please go check out this post on my other blog. It's my attempt to actually try and change something that annoys most people I know.

Okay then! Have a GREAT and blessed weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Done.

I've been pondering relationships again, as I do quite often.

It's just one of those things I need to think of when I'm writing.

Anyway, recently I got around to thinking about it and... I'm not really sure I like what I'm realizing.

Now I wonder if I'm expecting too much. But I'm realizing that it's probably one reason why I tend to be a bit of a hermit.

Why? Because although I find people endlessly fascinating, I sometimes have to reaallly work hard to remind myself of why I like them.

Honestly.

So...

I'm now changing relationships. Backing off from one that I thought would last forever. Kind of looking at another more closely.

And FINALLY terminating my relationship with the church choir. Yes. I did this before, but after giving it almost a year, things have only improved inasmuch they're not delivering their shitty little comments over my phone just yet.

Here's the thing. I'm done. Being nice for the choir leader and staying until after the service, but after that, I'm finished.

And similar to that, I'm done with people telling me I'm over-reacting about things that I'm justified to be angry about.

I'm on a strict diet. So when I choose to break the rules, it's not okay to receive something I didn't order. It's especially not okay for someone to make bitchy comments when I complain while that person is sitting with 90% of my. order. But refusing to switch because the 10% she got was what she liked. 

The contents of my room are things I managed to scrape together over a life-time. Or otherwise they're gifts. It's not okay to just dump them on my oil paintings. or pallets. (Yes. Both happened.) People need to stop acting as if I'm disproportionally angry about it when it's a) not their stuff being ruined and b) not their art being destroyed. And no. Cleaning my room because the maid is too half-assed to pay attention isn't an option. Because if it was, and giving that part of my salary goes to paying her, here's the logic stretched a few milimeters further. Why don't I just stop painting altogether to accomadate madam because she wants to dump stuff on my desk instead of my bed as I requested. Twice. Why don't I stop living in my room so she has less work to clean it. Or why don't I paint marvelous splotches on canvas and leave them in this person's room so the maid can dump her stuff on it?

If someone borrows my car. It's not okay to spill a drink on my carpet. It's also not okay to ignore me the first two times I mention it (as in pretending I said NOTHING) and then accuse me of whining when I mention it again, louder, hoping to get at least a reaction. It's also not okay to park it wrong, causing me to scrape the car (because where else can I steer it when I have 1 cm in either direction) only to have the gate crash into it because I had to pull out slowly in an attempt to minimize the damage. It's not okay to pretend my anger and impatience to be unfounded. It's the first car I had in almost four years. I think I'm entitled to care. Even if, as one friend "kindly" pointed out, it's only an earthly thing.

It's not okay for a church choir to try and make me sing softer while I'm still learning because they (INCORRECTLY and KNOWING it) sing too soft. It's not okay that I am constantly being "corrected" when I'm one of three trained voices in the choir. It's not okay that this happens pretty much to only me. It's also not okay to accuse me of not being committed. I gave it a year. I didn't sign anything saying I have to do it for longer. And no, they didn't win because they finally made me crack. They lost, because their voices can't carry the high notes.

And let me just get this point out once and for all.

I react strongly, because I care. I care about my things. I care about my family. And my friends. I care about the teams I get involved in.

I can't stop caring. I wan't programmed that way.

But just because someone is too blase to care about something doesn't give them the right to judge me for caring or the way in which I do it. In fact. It makes them wrong, because while they all put up with crap and think it's okay, I have a life to live.

And I'm living it to the full.

Strong emotional reactions and all.

I have many more important things to do than to put up with all this petty bullshit that people keep slinging my way. So I just won't.

Anyone else feeling all done with noxious aspects to relationships?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why my faith choked out.

This post is long overdue, but every time I picked a date for it, I was unable to post on that day. So here it is.

As I mentioned before, I had been struggling to keep my faith alive for months until recently and it took a revival in my spiritual life for me to figure out why.

And the reason is frighteningly simple.

James 2:26 (King James Version): "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

So... yes... works is necessary. Not to get into heaven, but simply to keep your faith alive and thriving.

Does that mean that I could have saved my faith months ago by giving money to beggars in the street? ... Not necessarily. Because I haven't been called to give money to beggars in the streets.

I've been called to help the kids in my church's youth. To help the "newly" converted find their feet. To use my voice to praise Him.

In the past year, I for all intents and purposes was blocked in every way I tried to do the two former works I'd been called to do. And the latter... well, made me feel hollow. Because it's a bit hard to focus on praising when there's always someone trying to pull me down whenever I refuse to conform to their standards.

So yeah... I spent a year basically unable to do what I was meant to do and that knocked my faith down. Badly.

That changed a few weeks ago when a new youth pastor arrived. Although I'm sensing resistance yet again, I now see it coming, so I'm going to fight it with everything I have. And if that fails, I'll go around. But what I won't do is lay back down, because it's so not worth the aggravation caused by choking faith.

The fact is, my faith coming alive changed my life again, because I got the opportunity to serve under one of the three choir women most intent on bringing me down, and because I did it in a nice way, a peace seems to have been declared. So now I'm actually enjoying the choir again.

And I joined the Youth Band.

And I'm more actively involved in helping the youth.

My faith is thriving.

Does your faith have purpose? When you're young in the faith, your purpose is to learn as much as you can. After that, you'll probably discovered what you've been called to do.     Is something keeping you from doing it? Are you/your doubts holding you back? Is there something you can do about it? Pray? Change your outlook? Move through your doubt?

I hope this gives you some help and answers, and if you want/need some prayers, please feel free to let me know.

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My First Finished Oil Painting

I mentioned a while back that I'd move over to oil painting as soon as I settled. Well... I finished my first one in years and I must say I quite like it.

As promised, I'm showing what it looks like, and here it is:



Anyone else been indulging their creative side?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Siiiiiiigh. Do I live on Mars? (Ranty. Be warned.)

I was planning to think up and write something special today, but sadly that was ruined by my mood. Which in turn got ruined because the people supposed to clean my room just dump stuff where they want.

And today they wanted to dump my bags on my pallet. Full. Of. Oil. Paint.

No one else in my house seem to get my issue with this. But then, I don't really see any of their stuff threatened to be ruined.

I WARNED the people to be careful of the wet paint.

I packed certain things away under my bed for a reason: that it's the safest place for them to go. So why must those things be thrown onto a DESK where they don't belong?

And why is it so difficult to understand that there were colors on that pallet I might NEVER be able to match? Or that I might NEVER be able to clean my belongings if they're made out of cloth? It's not a small thing.

I don't actually own so much that I can just shrug and throw things away.

Seriously.

Why am I the only one who gets what's upsetting me?

Because they're paid to clean my room. Does that mean that I now have to tell them not to? Rearrange my life to either never paint over weekends because they clean on Mondays? Rearrange my life to severely restrict my time to clean the room THEY'RE paid to clean? Because when I say there's a wet canvas doesn't mean that the paint that didn't get onto the canvas is as well, in their minds?

Really?

Really? 

And seriously now, I'm more upset with the reactions I'm getting. Because it's totally not worth paying attention to when it's just my stuff that got damaged. 

Not worth getting upset about?

Maybe I do live on Mars.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How things are going with my new tablet.

I'm writing this post from my new tablet. So far I'm enjoying it quite a lot, even though it's taking some getting used to. Not all of the buttons are where they were before, so typing can sometimes be a bit of a pain, but I must say that it's a lot more comfortable blogging from my bed than it used to be.

Only thing that's getting to me a this stage is moving the cursor to where I want it to fix a mistake. Still, I'll probably master it soon enough.

No... you know what? Blog writing is better done on my laptop. But it's good to know that I'll soon be able to do a post from anywhere if I needed to.

But yeah, it's definitely a lot more fun to use a laptop for certain things.

Writing something, for one. But it's amazing to be chatting or reading blogs on something that weighs almost nothing. So that's definitely what I'll be using my tablet for. And business. Although I've so far been too lazy to try and configure my business e-mail account to the tablet. But it will happen.

In the mean-time, I've also discovered a nifty little app where I can remotely log into my laptop using my tablet, so that has me pretty excited. Because then I don't have to worry about not taking edits with me, since I can just access them via the internet. ^_^

But yeah, I'm still just turning the tablet into my home away from laptop home, so do you have any suggestions for some more interesting apps?

Have a great weekend, all! X

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chasms

Siiiigh... it looks like Wednesday postings are a bit of a problem for me. Yesterday was incredibly busy, but I kept thinking I'll at least do a post before my smallgroup meeting. Except I got a call that I have to go to band practice 90 minutes before that.

So now I'm trying to think how I can change the schedule to work for me. Scheduling ahead doesn't work, because I rarely have the time to sit still and churn out 8-9 good posts.

On the other hand, it could be a run of bad luck that has me missing my Wednesdays, so maybe I should keep trying for a few more weeks and then if they still don't work out, I'll put some serious thought into changing up my schedule.

In the mean time, I can quickly talk about something I've been thinking about in relation to my previous post.

Credit
Periods of transition are like chasms. You're on one side. Where you want to be is on the other. And in between there's a gap. A wide one.

Some people see those chasms and doubt make it to the other side. They look at the distance they could fall and fear. Then they either stay stuck where they are, wishing they were where they want to be. Or the walk away and pretend to be happy on their side of the chasm.

But here's the thing: God makes the impossible, possible. Jeremiah 32:17 (King James 2000 Bible) says: "Ah Lord God! Behold, you have made the heaven and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm, and there is nothing too hard for you."

If we're supposed to get to the other side, He'll give us what we need to do it. He probably won't pick us up and put us there, because if He did that, we'd never learn a thing and take our rewards for granted. But the fact is, He wouldn't hard-wire you to want to get to a specific place in your life and then leave you without options.

But here's the thing. We need to look for them. The options we have aren't always obvious. And once we find them, we might need to work on them. Sometimes there's a bridge hidden out of sight. Other times there are resources you'll need to build them.

And other times, and this is the hardest, we need to jump. The chasm might be too wide and God will help us over. Other times it turns out the distance wasn't as great as we imagined it.

It's actually all too possible, when we trust that God will give us the way.

Have you ever reached a chasm in your life standing between you and your dreams? Did you stay where you are, walk away or find your way across?  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Change

Credit

I'm at a strange point in my life. It's about a year after I finished university, it feels like I'm really hitting the transition phase. You know the one?

All my friends as getting married or are having babies. Most of us are drifting away from each other. And it's sad. For the past five or so years, I relied on them, laughed with them, cried with them. We were there for each other...

But every day I realize more and more that, although we'll stay friends and I'll have great memories to cherish, the season on most of my friendships is now autumn. Maybe some of them will make it back to spring soon, but I think most of them won't.

It's just that... well... we're spread over the world, doing our own things. Living our lives. Without each other. Making friends to fill the gaps left by our friends of old.

I guess that's why I'm feeling this change so keenly. For the most part of last year, a large part of my life went on hold to build the business I now work for. My social life suffered for it and I didn't meet new people my age. Now it's different. I can afford a life again. And with it came an opportunity to start making new friends. But in the mean time, there's this gap that I'm still having to fill.

It'll happen. But in the mean time, I'm having to spend more time either working on growing new friendships or alone. There's no time where I can be just in between with someone. And it makes me quite lonely.

Still... there are many opportunities as I get more involved with my church and my community.

But that's not the only thing that's changing in my life. My professional life is going from strength to strength, but my music is suffering a little because of a lack of time. But at the same time, my work gave me a frame around which I could stretch my time to finish edits. And yes. They're done. I have a finished manuscript. So all in all, not bad. But this is the time when I have to let my manuscript loose on the world. It's when I have to focus my work more in an attempt to be even more successful. It's when I have to look at my art. At what I want to write next.

All this is so At the same time, it's a little scary, because transition means something else. I get to shift priorities again. Do I change my goals? Set new ones? Do I decide to spend more time on friends or less on art? Or do I find friends (somehow) who understand my passions?

This is also the moment when I take stock. What's worth it? What's not? Because before I do that, I can't decide where to go in the future. Granted, I'm pretty sure I'm happy with the way things are going so I might not change much at all...

Anyone else reaching a transition in your life?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Big fish, little fish

Hi All! So sorry I didn't post yesterday! I wish I have a good excuse, but nope. I'd forgotten it was Wednesday. *BLUUUUUUUSH*

So... anyway. Because I'd been skipping so often, I decided to stop that bad habit and just do a post today.

Edit: and then I realized that I didn't post it yesterday either. >_< I think there's a leak in the back of my head and my brain cells are slipping out.

I've been struggling with this nagging feeling of discontent lately. It got to a point where only a very select few people didn't annoy the living daylights out of me. And it really started to get on my nerves.

But then I had a moment of clarity and I remembered something pretty important: I am bigger than those petty annoying squabbles. And I have more important things that can take up my thoughts instead. I'm pretty sure I will be annoyed again, because the people who annoyed me aren't going to change.

Credit
Which is sad. Because a quarter of them often happen to be my family. But here's the thing. People are inconsiderate. And mean without realizing it.

And I'm one of them. I say and do things that I think is fine that probably irritate people as well.

So instead of worrying about things, I should just focus on what's important in my life and get on with it.

It makes a pretty big difference. Sure, I still get super annoyed. It's sadly a fact of my life that I have a short temper and an incapability to tolerate b.s. and stupidity. But. Where I used to hang on to it, I've been letting go, because there's no point to worrying myself about all of this.

In theory. Of course... habits are hard to break, so I'm having to relearn everything. Which might be a good thing, because I'm getting ample opportunity to practice....

There's another aspect to this, though, but I've had a tough couple of days, so I'll get to it on Monday. Promise! But the point is, whenever people annoy me, I just remember one thing:

I have bigger fish to fry, and if I don't let go of the sardine someone in my life pushed onto me, it will just kick up one hell of a stench...

How do you prevent petty issues from growing bigger in your life?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where I went this past weekend

Hey all, I'm back!

So... sorry about the lack of posts. Ran out of time before I could write them. But hey, I think they'll be pretty good, so at least you have something to look forward to this week. ;-)

In the meantime... I thought I'd share a few pictures of where I went. They're not all that good, because the good ones will become paintings, so you'll get to see them later. ^_^


If you're wondering, that's a telephone pole and a nest at sunset. No... ostriches didn't start to fly. It's actually a communal nest, where hundreds of birds live together because there aren't any trees in the are. They can apparently be quite a nuisance, because they mess up the phone connections. So yeah, this bit is pretty dry, since it's well on the way to the Kalahari desert. About a mile further on, there weren't anything to see except telephone poles, grass, fences and shrubs. But the moon was full and the grass almost white, so the earth seemed to glow. Sadly it didn't show in the pictures.


This was taken at a restaurant inside a nature reserve. The rock hybexes were so tame that they scurried past under the table to get to the delicious green plants. At least I assume they were delicious. Thankfully, this little guy stopped munching and posed for me to take a picture.


Quiver trees, so named because the Khoi-San used to cut them to size and hollow them out to carry their arrows.


The real reason to go up north this time of the year: Flower-time in Namaqualand. Interestingly, this wasn't taken too far away from the nest picture above. About a thirty minute drive south from that spot leads to much greener pastures. And orange... And yellow... and purple. If you're wondering, yes. This picture is of thousands of daisies in bloom.


Basically I spent this weekend surrounded by various types of beauty. It was truly inspiring and REALLY has me wanting to pick up a paint-brush...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm going away!

I'll be away from my computer for the large part starting tomorrow. Will be back (hopefully) on Monday.

There will be posts going live though, since I will be scheduling them ahead. While you're reading them, though, I'll be in Namaqualand, one of the most beautiful places in my beautiful country.

Thing is, I don't know what internet and reception is like up there. But that's good. I think a break will do me a world of good. As will a change of scenery.

I'll take lots and lots of pictures to show you guys what it's like up there, even though I'm pretty sure the pictures won't do the place justice.

First time in almost two years that I'm spending time away from home with my family, so I'm really looking forward to it.

See you on Monday!

X

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mayday mayday

Disclaimer: This is going to be a post about my Christian faith, so if you want to read on, feel free, but if you don't it might be better to head over to my Writing Blog. Thanks for understanding! X

Okay... so I haven't done a real faith related post in some time (April). Which sort of sucks, because it was one of the reasons why I started TCoML. I wanted to have a place to talk about aspects to my journey with God, hopefully with people who could understand, help and even challenge me.

But today, I'm going to tell you why. I'm going to confess something that you might have picked up from some of my posts, but that I've been avoiding in my writing.

You see... I've been struggling with my faith stalling since... well... November last year. I'm not talking about losing my faith in God, which is why I still intermittently did do faith-related posts. No, what I'm talking about is actually more my relationship with Him. At first, I'd thought it was because of my economics test failure, but it wasn't, because I still prayed to Him for guidance during the exam and He helped me do amazingly well. And I still prayed during church. And I still made time for Him for some quality time. I went on working with my church's youth, despite suffering some grave reservations with regards to how it had been handled.

And I guess it's enough for a lot of people. But coming from a place where I was in constant conversation with God, I wasn't a happy camper. Why? Because I'd go to God... and find myself unable to find a single thing to say. And then, He'd be quiet. There, but He'd be quiet. Sometimes He'd ask me to spend more time and tell me He wanted me to do things, and I'd try.

But the urgency was gone. I constantly fought my lethargy until about May this year and then just said to God: "Lord... I can't do this. I want to be near you. I want things to be as they had been, but the last flickers of my faith are being choked and I don't know what's doing it. Help me."

I got the most surprising answer back: "Stop trying. Keep the channels open. I'll be in touch."

And that was that. No pressure. No "do this, do that or else". Just... stop trying. Keep the channels open. I'll be in touch.

Huh? Oh...kay... So I did the one thing most churches I've been to say NEVER to do. I stopped. Not believing, not loving God. But everything else. Basically I took the stalling airplane that was my faith and turned off the engines. No reading the Bible. No prayer time. No smallgroups. No nothing except that I kept going to church because I still had obligations to the youth.

What I did do, though, is kept the channels open. No matter what I did, I kept the channels open. If God wanted to say ANYTHING to me, I was ready to receive it.

But June passed. July passed. And almost three weeks of August passed.

Nothing. There were some moments where we talked, but nothing like what it had been. But He was there. Constantly. His presence constantly pressed against my thoughts. It was a great comfort.

And then, the youth leader left and was replaced. And my brother, cousin, a friend and me decided we'd start a smallgroup for people our age.

There was a flicker of life. And then the engines started turning on their own. That's where they are now. Starting and stuttering, but definitely getting to work. And the best thing is that He's still here with me. The difference being that I'm getting murmurings now. AND I'm praying in instants. Even if it's just to say: wow God, you're so wonderful! And since last Wednesday, these prayers have become more and more frequent.

Needless to say I'm really excited. Because my spirit is coming alive again and I can see it going through the rest of my life as well.

The best thing is that I figured out what stalled my faith in the first place. But that's a post for another day.

Sunday, perhaps?

Have you ever been to a point where it felt as if your faith was being choked out, but you couldn't stop it because you didn't know why? What did you do?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Still not flu-free

Just when I think I've beaten the flu, it sucks me under again. Sigh.

But at least, because of the fact that I can't focus on anything else, I've finally gotten started with my oil painting. Didn't pick the easiest subject ever, so we'll have to see how it turns out.

In the mean time, I have two parts of Doorways waiting for me to edit as soon as I stop having this splitting head-ache.

But yeah... struggling to focus on anything at this stage, so I'm going to sign off now and hope I can post something worthwhile on Friday.

Remember that I'm always thinking of you! Please let me know if you need for me to pray for anything. I know I haven't asked in ages, and I feel pretty bad about it. X

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick Update

I'm finally winning the flu, which I am completely and utterly thrilled about.

So now I have boundless energy. Which is a great thing, because I suddenly have a ton of things to do.

My CP sent back Part 8 of Doorways, so I have a lot to edit. Then my youth group has to rehearse for a quick "drama" for church on Sunday. And on Sunday morning, my choir is singing.

Of the three, I'm probably not going to sing, because my voice is still raw from all the coughing. But we'll see how it goes.

I must feel that I feel a lot better about the Youth Group now that I know we're actually doing something again. We have a new Youth Pastor now, so hopefully he'll be what my church's youth needs to grow.

So that's me. Will definitely try to be better about posting this coming week.

How are you doing?

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why I took all google images off of my blogs

Hi all! I guess I could have written a huge long post about it, but I've found two posts that did really well to convince me as to the dangers of using copyrighted photos.

So... I'll link you to the first one instead. Please please please don't let ignorance come back and bite you. And please please share with your blogging friends.

If you haven't read Roni's story, please do so now.

Thanks!

Have you heard about this before? Are you taking down copyrighted images?

P.S. Thank you, Madeleine, for bringing it to my attention.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Flu blues

This flu is really getting me down. Because no longer am I missing out on only fun activities, but I had to withdraw from an important church meeting because it's happening at night and the temperature is dropping. 

Sigh. 

And the worst is that I can't reach the Youth Pastor, so I texted him, but still, it feels really lame. Because I already said I could go before the weather changed. 

So now it looks as if I decided to flip everything off just to go do something else while a simple telephone conversation would reveal that I can barely speak. 

Yeah... not cool. Not having a voice also means that I have NO way of singing today. Which isn't remotely cool either.
Worst of all... I have nothing particularly good to say, except that maybe I can slip away early from work today and get some writing done. I really hope I can, because then I've at least managed to achieve something meaningful in my day...

What about you? What do you do to combat flu? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Now this is annoying, but might be a good thing.

So the tummy bug went away, but now I have flu. Yeah. Just can't seem to win. Still, this is an actual winters flu and not a summer one, so I feel like I at least took the step in the right direction.

But you know what? These setbacks actually motivate me more.

Yeah I know I know. I probably won't be able to move tomorrow. But I really want to get back to healthy living.

Not because I'm gaining weight (don't think I am yet) but because I could feel within days when I started feeling less than good. And it happened because of a diet change for the worse. During our move to the new house, we basically lived on fast food and that still hasn't changed.

Boy am I feeling it now.

So. I am definitely getting back to drinking copious amounts of water and rooibos tea (very good for when I have flu) and then I'm definitely eating better. And once I'm better, I'm definitely exercising again.

Because this feeling crap thing really isn't working for me.

Especially since it was partly to blame for me missing fencing tonight. I don't like when things set me back. And my health going back to what it was is definitely standing in my way. So changes will be made.

What about you? Want to join me and work on living more healthily?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Singing and Stabbing...

Finally, after weeks of postponed classes, I've resumed my solo singing instruction. 

I expected that I'd have to learn everything all over again, but for some reason, my voice just settled into the right place. Even my A-vowel, which used to slip into my throat. 

I even hit the high G without any issues. Which is amazing, given that a few weeks ago I had to stretch for it. 

So now I get to sing higher than before. Which is pretty cool. It's really interesting to see where my voice will go. So far neither me nor my instructor really knows. We'll see. 

Credit
In the meantime, we're also back to writing the musical, so I have to start knocking together some lyrics soon. I'm really excited about the project, because the bits of it that we have are really starting to fall into place. 

Now it's just a question of dedication...

In related news, I decided to take up fencing again. A decision I can solely blame on the Olympics. There's just something about the sound of clashing blades that fires my blood. The only thing is that the classes I want to attend are about an hour away and classes happen at night. I'll take one class and see what's it's like at the end energy-wise. Hopefully I won't want to pass out at the end of the lesson. 

But I'll see that on Wednesday. 

What's news at your end of the world? 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Choices choices...

Before I start, I just want to apologize for not posting on Wednesday. I've been struggling to maintain both blogs while unpacking. Luckily for me, things are settling down. I've even found the bedding and curtains I wanted.

Soon my room will be fixed up. I just need to find my desk, because sadly I haven't had time to find it yet. 

I'm really getting to the point where I can't do anything else. I don't have a surface in my room yet, so no lamps, not vases. No nothing until I've at least bought my desk. 

So now I'm sitting on coals, waiting to go shopping. 

It helps that I know more what I'm looking for. 

At first I always wanted a french bureau like this: 

But it's too small for what I need. So now I want this: 

For lots of storage space. 

Or ideally...

For lots of space, period. And I love that this one has a panel that I can use for my laptop.

It has to be antique, though. Because I'm not spending a large amount of money on something that is in essence without value. So generic writing desks from decor shops: OUT. 

Hopefully I'll get a good desk for a price where we can afford a chair as well... 

So that's what's going on in my life. What's up at your end of the world?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finally, a room of my own.

I'm back. Still haven't managed to unpack too much, but at least I now have a semblance of a room. It looks something like this, though:

IMG00026-20120729-2221.jpg

IMG00027-20120729-2221.jpg

Not very exciting, but I'm thinking things will look a lot better once I've had time to go shopping. For example: The bottom picture is of the corner where my antique writing desk will stand. Can't wait!

Will share photos once I'm done!

Anyone else redecorating?

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm moving!

No, the blog is staying in place, but my home isn't. Unfortunately, that means that I still have packing and all sorts of stuff to do.

It also means I get to go shopping today, since I no longer have my own bedding and curtains.

In the meantime, though, things might be a bit unsettled until about Wednesday. I'll show you what my new room looks like then. ^_^

Have a great weekend!

Misha

Monday, July 23, 2012

Singing update

Credit

It's been a while since I posted anything about my singing, so I thought I'd do a quick update today. The main reason why I've been so quiet on the topic is the fact that until recently, we had winter break. Coupled with that, my instructor has some big projects that he's preparing to stage, so my singing classes fell by the wayside.

They will, however, continue on Friday, which is great for me, because I have to say I missed them. Also, I'd really love to get in a lot of practices, because I my instructor and my church's organist have "volunteered" me to sing for a church charity event. NOT looking forward to it when I haven't stretched my vocal chords in weeks.

Church choir-wise, we reconvened last Tuesday and we're starting to prepare for the Christmas Service. I'm looking forward to that quite alot, although I still can't say I enjoy most of my choir-mates. Attitudes still haven't improved much since the last time I complained. Now I just try my best to ignore them. And laugh at them. Sorry. That might sound mean, but if I don't laugh, I'd be a lot meaner. I have to find humor in their attitudes and actions. If I didn't, I'd probably crack.

Anyway. On a happier note, the other choir I belong to also reconvened and we're doing something I'm seriously excited about. Basically, it's a pastiche on opera, with singing, melodrama and lots of ham. Casting will apparently be sorted out tonight, so fingers crossed that I get a fun role. Will let you know.

So yeah. That's me and my singing. What hobbies/activities are you taking part in? How's it going?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Efficiency: Too much of a good thing?

This definitely isn't what I was going to write about, but now I'm thinking.

Is there something like being too efficient?

See... I realized that I need to stretch my writing. So to do that, I entered my first writing competition in about a year. Except I have no inspiration.

All of my focus went into writing Doorways, which is why I want to stretch in the first place. But now I realize it isn't my only problem. I'm so focused on getting things done. On having something to show for what I've done, that I forget to take a minute and just breathe.

And that is quite damaging to my inspiration. My story ideas come from everywhere. Riding in a car and letting my thoughts wander. Going somewhere new. Trying something new.

Watching t.v.

Reading.

Just sitting and doing nothing.

Where I don't get inspired: when I am in fact busy writing, stressing and focusing on doing something. Those are times I use my inspiration. Not when I generate it.

And I haven't really given my mind time to wander in a long time. So... that leaves me wondering. Should I maybe veg out in front of the t.v. every now and then? How much focusing is too much?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Diet and Exercise

Credit
I briefly mentioned last week that I went on a diet, because it was the reason why I had zero energy to do anything but mope. 

It's not even the fact that I'm eating too little. I'm never hungry after my meals. It's just that I've been so used to eating refined foods that when I stopped feeding my body with it, it didn't know how to deal. 

So I tried to drink as much water as possible and waited it out. 

And it worked. I'm already starting to feel a lot more energetic than before, because the foods I eat keep me satisfied for longer and don't drop my blood-sugar in a matter of minutes. 

The only thing is that I'm supposed to eat 6 times a day, and that catches me sometimes. On Monday I forgot to snack before I went gymming. Made it through the session, but took a fruit bar and three hours for me to recover. Not doing that again. 

As for the type of diet I'm on, I decided to go for my tried and true method: calorie control. The specific eating plan belongs to Curves, the gym franchise I now belong to. And it's really REALLY good. Main reason: it's flexible. I get to plan my own foods as long as I stay within some really easy to follow guidelines.

It's a bit slower than some of the other diets  I've followed, since it works in month long cycles. One month I diet, one month I eat healthily but a lot more. One month diet etc. Reason being that my body gets some rest from the calorie control so that it doesn't think it's starving. Because that just kills any effort at losing weight. 

And of course, I'm trying to exercise at least three times a week. 

But although this might be slow, I'm happy to do it, since I don't really feel like I'm depriving myself of anything. Unlike something like Atkins, where I'm constantly craving carbs just because I know I'm not supposed to have any. And although Atkins loses me a lot of weight, I can't sustain a carb-free life-style. Not because I'm always addicted to carbs (although I sometimes am), but because too much protein has me eating way too little because I can't take another bite of it. The moment I go off the Atkins diet, I gain everything I worked so hard to lose. 

So I'd work much longer and lose much slower if: 1) I can continue to eat according to the diet without feeling bad, 2) the weight stays off, and apparently it does and 3) if it makes me feel good instead of miserable. 

The results are coming in, too. I lost approximately 3 pounds in the first week (without exercise). 

What about you? Dieting? Exercising? What are you doing? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

As Promised...

Hello! I'm finally back in the saddle, now that my body adapted to its change in diet.  So, as I promised, I took some pictures of the sketches I've done so far.

Only three, but I am planning to do more. Will probably get going because I have more energy now.

I did some editing of the photos, since the light has been very bad the past few days (cloudy with lots of rain). But I pretty much edited them to resemble the original sketches.

Anyway.

The first sketch I did is quite simple, because I just wanted to get my eye in, since I haven't seriously drawn anything from photos in years. She's actually one of the characters in Doorways, but I'll be drawing her again sometime when I'm better, because the sketch isn't quite right.


The next sketch I did was actually a planning for the third sketch that went wrong. So instead of throwing away the paper, I colored it in and erased out until I had an ostrich feather.




I picked this picture because it had so many textures and tones and I wanted to see what I could do with them. It took me three failed sketches before I had one that worked, then I went over to the real one. Drew like a woman possessed and finished it in under an hour.



And that's my journey with charcoal thus far. Really liking it, but wishing I could go on to oil painting. Can't though, because it's too risky to paint right before moving house.

Any of you paint or draw?

Friday, July 13, 2012

A short message

Hey all. I feel terrible about this, but I didn't post anything yesterday and will only be leaving this message today. Changed to a healthier diet and the lack of refined carbs is getting to me. Will be back on Monday. Promise.

Misha

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whoops!

Hey! So sorry. Wanted to put up pictures of the sketches I made, but I just never got to taking the pictures. Will definitely do it on Wednesday. X

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In Which I Lose It

Warning: Rant to follow. 

So. Interesting questions. 

When you're unhappy because of the way that EVERYONE treats you. Have you thought about changing the way you act towards people in the first place? 

I'm not talking about abusive husbands and the like. 

I'm talking about the fact that you feel lonely because no one says more than a few words to you. 

You're miserable because people shut down the moment you speak. 

Do you think that it's a conspiracy aimed at making you miserable? 

Or at what stage do you think: "mmm... EVERYONE acts this way towards me. Doesn't that make me the common factor to all this? Doesn't that mean that I'm the agent of my own misery?" 

Because hell. I've had more than one person telling me that I'm the problem that I've been trying to change. I've tried to improve. I take all this advice and criticism and try to make something positive of it by trying to be a better person. 

But the first time these same people get pointed out once that they're also adding to some issues, they throw up their hands and say they're not even trying any more. 

Well I'm sorry. But if a person isn't even trying in the first place, what right have they to try to tell me how I should live my life? 

How dare anyone criticize me for reacting strongly to certain things that I'm perfectly within my rights to be upset about, but they get to sulk and punish and mope and be sullen with impunity. 

I know that I'm not an angel. But I'm not with everyone every time something is said or done to make someone miserable. So they should really stop trying to blame me and take a hard look at what they've been doing to provoke certain reactions. 

Because if someone shuts conversation down and complain about people not talking to them.

Or sit to one side and expect people to come after them for conversation. 

Or crack highly inappropriate jokes or make little comments "in jest" and then get angry because people don't "get it". 

Or snap at people and get mad because they snap back. 

Well then, those people have a huge problem, wouldn't you say? And it isn't me. I had nothing to do with it except maybe get caught in the wrong conversation at the wrong time. And yes, I said caught. Because when those people are "not talking to me" because they feel slighted, odds are that I don't want to talk to you either. 

And fact is: No one can blame me. 

Even if they do. 




Okay. Rant over. What are your thoughts? I promise I won't launch a massive attack or anything. This post was a LOOOOOOOONG time in coming. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Committing Time to You.



All people have things they want to do. Some things are easy. Some are really hard. But often, none of those things get done. Not even the easy ones.

When that happens, people seem to spend an incredibly huge amount to explain why bad luck was at blame. Or that the circumstances aren't favorable to start right now, but later. Except that the circumstances never seem to turn.
And then they look at the (VERY) few people who do in fact do what they want and are as a whole a lot happier than the people around them. And they wish. If only they could do what they wanted. If only they had that level of success.

And on and on and on.

Sad thing is this. The differences between the people who are going after what they want and people who wish they did can probably be brought down to one thing: commitment.

If you keep procrastinating and waiting for a better day to start, you never will. Because here's the fact: there is no such thing as an ideal day. There will always be little or big things that niggle. Especially in the beginning.  

Credit
If you focus on those niggles and let them keep you from starting, what you want will never happen. Things that make us truly happy never just fall into our laps by luck. We have to go after them with everything we've got.

So if you want to paint, find a way to take art classes. Maybe the ones in your area might be too expensive. Don't start looking for a class that is in your price range. Or if you want some time to be alone, try to make some.

If you keep making the things you want to do a priority, you'll do at least some of them. And sure, kids and family responsibilities can make things harder, but as I said, doing things you want to do depends on your level of commitment.

You might not be able to do as much of what you want as you'd like, or you might not do all of it, but just the fact that you spend some time at something you're passionate about will make a difference in your life.

The way I suggest for someone to take on something important to them: Start by committing a small block of time to it and make that time a priority. I've found that when I do things that I love, I automatically make more time for the things I truly enjoy.

For me it's come to the point where I hardly ever watch t.v. because those hours of staring at the t.v. just don't give me any particular joy. Nothing that compares to the thrill of finishing a piece of writing, or the relaxation of creating something with my hands.

So yeah... if you want to take charge of your life by focusing on something you love, start small and work your way up. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day.

If you could do anything in your life right now, what would it be? Do you think there's a possibility that you can fit it into your life, even if it isn't in the way you would ideally do it?