Tag Archive | gratitude

New Image: The Juggler

 

It was good to have this done. I needed a victory.

 

Anyway, this is Keydak. He has fey blood, so he’s lived for a long time. He says that the Fates only gave him extra time and energy so that he could spend it for others. His favorite way to do that is to entertain. I rarely put buildings in my pictures, because I don’t like to work with perspective, but I think this turned out alright. It needed this kind of setting anyway. I think it’s charming.

 

It’s drawn more attention on Facebook than I would have anticipated. I got another one of those “Children’s Book” comments. I’m sure it makes perfect sense in their mind. I mean, here I have a character. He’s not just some person that I draw, I’ve given him a personality which I tell my Facebook audience so that they can find meaning in the picture. He’s illustrated, which accounts for the association with children, but my stories aren’t really children’s picture book stories. I wonder why nobody has ever said Graphic Novel.

 

Anyway, this is for all of you entertainers, you people who make me laugh and thrill me with wit and creativity.

Another reason why people are awesome

I know I haven’t written in a while. I’ve gone back to keeping a computerized journal, where I can write a little more freely than publishing it here online. Also I’ve been emailing my friend who’s currently in Thailand, which is kinda like a second journal, so there hasn’t been a lit of point in writing here. Things have been busy. I became a volunteer worker for one thing, I’m a Gateway Seminar Facilitator. It’s like being a teacher, but they call it a “facilitator” because rather than teaching we are supposed to be facilitating discussion about “Inspired Learning and Teaching.” I facilitated my first seminar yesterday. Most of the others got to observe a seminar before facilitating one, but I was one of the first so I didn’t have that option.

It didn’t go terribly, but I was a little down with the results. I thought there was more I could have done. I emailed my friend, going into detail which I won’t bother to include here. I still feel great about being a facilitator, like that’s what I’m supposed to do at this time, but I was significantly humbled and in a little bit of emotional distress.

Then today, my other good friend (he is, in fact, engaged to the friend currently in Thailand) brought me some chocolate. One bar was labeled “Day-after-bad-day-bar” and the other was labeled “Anti-bad-day-bar.” It was so sweet, and for a while I couldn’t’ figure out how he knew about my bad day yesterday. Then I realized that his fiancé must have told him and asked him to cheer me up (I had said in the email that after that experience I could do with some chocolate). That means that I not only have one, but two of the best friends in the world. How do people get this awesome? I want to be like that. It was one of the sweetest gestures I’ve ever received.

And all I could think of to do was say thank you.

But at least I got to be creative with the thank you. I created this card by putting my iTunes visualizer on full screen, taking a screenshot, and adding in words.

 

Gratitude: because I owe it to the world

It’s November already. It won’t be long before I start another year of school. I have no doubt that it will be an adventure. Some of you know that this last year was a bit rough at times for me, especially during the school year and following family vacation. But it’s been a while since then, and things have gotten better. And now it’s November, the month of thanksgiving. So I wanted to express gratitude for all of the good and wonderful things that happened this year. I feel like I owe it to the world, especially after I’ve griped about it so much before.

 

As well as the lows this year, there were definitely some significant highs. I met two very good friends this year. They were both really nice to me and my sister, and we had fun times together. Some of their kindnesses include giving me a darling hat, giving me treats, making sure I was doing alright, buying tickets for a Piano Guys Concert, and so on. Out of all my experiences, I think making friends with these two was one of the greatest. I think of them often. Other friends I made performed other services, giving me treats, giving me a pillow, giving me a toaster, offering rides to the store, cleaning my oven, visiting, and the like. How do people get this good, and how can I be like that?

 

Another thing I’m grateful for is the success I’ve had with my artwork. I’ve created some images that I’m proud of. And they’re receiving more attention than ever before. I’ve had two people this year ask to have prints of my artwork. Furthermore, I’m grateful for the teaching opportunities I’ve had. On this very blog, I’ve had a homeschooling mom ask me for activity ideas to accompany The Book of Three, which I came up with for a school assignment. I also got called to be a Sunday School teacher, which has been my favorite church calling so far. I’m also grateful for being taken care of financially. When my computer started failing on me, things could have been really bad, but they weren’t because I had a buffer zone.

 

I’d like to give special mention to some of the entertainment I’ve viewed this year as well. I had a lot of fun movie nights, and saw a couple of performances and such, but there are a few moments that stand out above the rest. One was watching The Croods. At the time I saw it in the theatre, I was going through a really rough patch, an exhausting project that never seemed to end. I love watching movies, so it was the perfect thing to help pick me up again. The timing, then, was an important part of what made that experience so lovely. Another is watching a live performance of Les Miserables in Canada. I found it more impactful, perhaps because it was live, than the movie version which I saw a couple of months afterward. And of course, I have to say one of the great pleasures for me this year was watching Sherlock. Again, part of it was the timing. Vacation has never been so exhausting. Going to three different canyons in three days was not my idea of how to spend the summer. But to watch this, a work that is well written and clever and has characters as charming as Sherlock and John (each lovable for completely different reasons) was delightful.

 

I’m grateful for the books that I read for my Young Adult Literature and Children’s Literature class. Some of them I don’t think I ever would have come across unless I read them for these classes. I’m also grateful for some of the hikes I went on during the family vacation. They were beautiful. Also, I had a pretty unique experience first semester, being a back-up dancer for a talent show performance (of course, our performance was more to flaunt our lack of talent), which can never be repeated and which I’m grateful for.

 

Finally, I’m grateful for the times I had with my family this year. My brother came back, I’ve had some fun girl nights and conversations with my Mom and sisters. It’s lovely to watch things together and chat with them

 

I suspect I’ll be expressing more thanks throughout the rest of the month, but this is a good start.

 

 

The transition stage

Those of you looking for an explanation behind The Seer’s Pool, it’s in the post down below.

I like it a bit better now that I’ve had time to sleep on it. Still, I’m not quite at the level that I would like to be at– notwithstanding the compliments I’ve been getting from people. I need that encouragement from other people to keep doing my work, but the fact that they like the image doesn’t really help me to like it more. I just get a boost of energy that makes me want to start the next work so that I can do better. Yesterday I was so exhausted after having finished that image. I was completely drained, because I struggled a lot with it and it still wasn’t as brilliant as I wanted it to be. So I took a nap, which threw me off for the rest of the day but at the end I pulled myself together and created a concept sketch for my next image. As Shakespeare would say, all’s well that ends well (although I shall never think of that phrase in the same way since I’ve seen the actual play under that title.)

But moving on to more temporal matters. My family is in a weird transition stage. Two of us are collage students, one of us is due to graduate next year, and one has been a missionary for the last two years and will be returning shortly. He’ll work for about a year before returning to school. This creates an interesting sort of dynamic. For example, suddenly a greater majority of the family is becoming more financially conscience and concerned about the future. It’s good to know I’m not the only in the family who has that tendency, though I’m sure we’ll be fine. There’s also the fact that we’ll be going our own separate ways soon enough, so this is the time to be doing things together as a family while we’re all still here. That’s part of the reason why this October was going to be so… full.

Hah, and they said that being a teenager was hard.

Still, I’m grateful that I do get to be here and have movie nights with my sisters and stuff. I’m grateful for Dad’s homemade pizza and for Autumn in Ohio. I’m grateful for Studio C and their dedication to providing clean entertainment and to the Piano guys for producing uplifting music. I’m grateful that my parents are working together to help Mom get her work out there into the world. I’m also grateful that said parents have been supporting me in the development of my talents. Life is still good.

Magical October

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to sleep in this late. It’s kind of lovely. And I wake to the sound of rain. That’s lovely too. It wouldn’t be if I had to go outside, but since I don’t it gets to be magical.

There are a lot of wonderful things happening this October. One of my friends came back home from his mission yesterday. My brother will be coming home from his mission later this month. When he comes home, we will almost certainly go to the Indian Mound– which is a beautiful place and I love going there. My other brother’s birthday will shortly follow, during a three-day weekend for my siblings. Studio C season 3 will start tomorrow. My two best friends get to be together again (I won’t be there with them, but it’s great anyway). The next Percy Jackson book will be released this month, as will the fifth Phoenix Wright game, Duel Destinies. And, of course, there’s a certain matter of the candy. There’s even the possibility of seeing new faces in Seminary.

I truly believe that gratitude is one of those undervalued virtues. So I think it’s important that every once in a while I talk about the things I’m grateful for here. It’s great to be able to look ahead in anticipation of something lovely.

Thank you

Every once in a while, one feels like one hasn’t done right unless she has properly set aside a time and place to express gratitude. And I for one like to express my feelings in writing. So here it goes.

I’m really quite content. I mean, I still have homework to do that I don’t really want to, and it may just take most of the day. But I can’t help but feel… like things have been really good. As I said, I thought this week was going to be a nightmare, and that was before my laptop died, and then I fell sick while getting a new one. It just makes me so happy, happy to think that I had friends at the time who helped me through it all, and– may I say– I feel I’ve received blessings from above.

Life is good again, you know? Tomorrow I can look forward to cleaning my room (which I actually like doing, provided I have a time set aside fore it), and my grandparents are coming next week. It’s easier to look forward to road tripping when one isn’t feeling a bit homesick, so even that idea is looking a little better right now. In the future I can look forward to playing Phoenix Wring and watching The Hobbit. And I intend to create, to write and draw… just think about how great I could be if I keep improving as I have!

Moreover, it seems like my sister has had a better semester this semester than she has ever had. I enjoy spending time with her and chatting with her. As for back home… my siblings are on vacation and can enjoy spending time with friends and creative pursuits. My brother will be coming back in October.

And… I just really love this laptop. It feels wonderful to know that I was able to get it myself, and that all of my stuff is still on there… do you know that seeing one’s own desktop wallpaper is like coming home? Also I’ve finished with a number of those sizable assignments… I can almost catch my breath. I have the best roommates, and I’ve read some good books this semester. I may read more good books that my roommate will bring back with her when she returns. Then there’s the fact that I was able to go and watch a movie on Tuesday…. Life is just really, really lovely right now. Makes me want to sing, you know? Except that there aren’t a lot of songs out there for expressing gratitude.

Debts of gratitude

I’ve mentioned this before, and I want to expound upon that a little bit, because I don’t know if I’ve given a lot of time to explaining this. Be patient with me, and realize that I am speaking from my own thoughts, so I wouldn’t recommend accepting what I say without question. I believe I have valuable insights, but do recognize that as a relatively young person I still have a ways to go as far as gaining and sharing wisdom.

 

It would be my wish that people in life would take their debts of gratitude seriously. When someone gives a gift to another, expecting nothing in return, it is a gift of love. These gifts are wonderful, because you can receive them without feeling obligated to give anything in return, you don’t ‘owe’ a person who gives you a gift purely out of love. Yet I feel that to every gift of love, there should exist a debt of gratitude. Gratitude is an act of receiving a gift of love with love. Now recognize that I’m not talking about receiving a physical gift– which is also important, but not so much as receiving and recognizing the love by which the gift is given. How can you accept that without feeling grateful? To me it doesn’t seem possible. It is as if the laws of the universe, natural laws, the rule of God, or whatever you want to call it, follow this natural order; give in love and receive with gratitude.

I don’t think people realize how valuable gratitude is. But since I see it as another translation of love, I consider it to be of the utmost importance. It takes time and effort to cultivate oneself to the point where gratitude really becomes part of your character. But I believe that gratitude, when truly incorporated into one’s life, can become a powerful acting force. After all, if you truly feel gratitude for the gifts you have received, how can you keep from wanting to share that with others? It’s like in Plato’s Cave, upon receiving greater light and understanding, people will go back into the darkness of the cave so that they can bring others to see and experience what they have. It becomes a powerful drive, again like the natural laws of the human condition are working upon you– that divine spark, and you feel you have to give back somehow. And maybe you don’t feel like you have to give back to that specific person, but want to reach out to others. Others who need a gift, just like you do, just like we all do. And therein starts the ripples.

 

As for what these ‘gifts’ are, don’t disregard what you have to give– even if you don’t think it’s valuable or important. Sometimes humans get caught up in this “all-or-nothing” deal, where they think if they can’t be the type of person who gets documentaries made of them, they probably don’t have anything worth contributing. Start small, that’s where the great people start anyway. Make somebody laugh, share your creative talents, exude a cheerful disposition, learn to be giving, show concern for other people and their problems, go visit people and have face-to-face conversations, tell others how much you mean to them, learn how you can share wisdom, and find a way to be a unique contribution.

 

One final recommendation, look for the echos. Remember a couple of months ago, I made a blog post about someone I knew who was having a rough time, so my sister and I gave him treats? Well the truth is, I know him because he did a service to me once (he cleaned my oven on White Glove one semester). I saw an opportunity to give something to him, because he has done something for me. Well last night he was making raspberry s’mores, and had some leftovers. So he stopped by my apartment to give some to me and my roommates. You see how it is? These gifts echo through time, and it’s lovely to think about them. This is how the ripples begin. I mean, maybe I’m a starry-eyed optimist, but I honestly feel that these sorts of things create an impact on the world.

If nothing else, my world is certainly better for having that raspberry s’more in it.