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Lost your creative mojo? Painter's block, writer's block....designer's lethargy.....artist's woes. So many words for the ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Hodge Podge of Mad Methods to Prosperity

Some folks use "cheapskating"....to coin a new verb, to "MacGyver" their way into a lifestyle that they feel is "successful" and sustainable. The family that comes to mind was dubbed
"America's Cheapest Family". Click on that name to see their website and books.

What was their method in a nutshell? To refuse to use debt to fund an unsustainable level of consumerism, and to intentionally get out of mortgage debt as quickly as possible. They have paid cash for cars and college and have intentionally crafted a simple lifestyle that they find to be fulfilling and teachable. They have written books and gone on various tv shows to document how to live a more thrifty and debt free lifestyle.

Then  there are those who cut their WANTS down to only NEEDS and postpone major spending until they have enough savings and investments that can carry them comfortably through their retirement years....with lots left over to pass onto their heirs. 

The gent that I think of that utilizes this strategy is none other than "Bernard Kelly " who
wrote quite a stunning compelling "how to " book about persona finance.( click on his name to view his book)
He suggests radical choices early on in life can have a huge impact on your ability to one day have the life of your dreams. One of his own personal fave choices was to defer car ownership until he turned 30. This one choice, in and of itself allowed him to put away a higher percentage of employment income into his choices of investments. This empowered him to have vastly more financial freedom later in life to pursue his lifestyle of choice.
The only thing I find irritating about his written tale, is that I can't seem to figure out what has happened to Mr. Bernard Kelly.... did he disappear? Is he still teaching and writing? Does anyone know?

Then there is the wonderful spendthrift and millionaire, the late Verna Oller,( click on her name to read about success of her estate)  whose thrifty ways included cutting her own hair and using an old zipper to tie her boots up so that she wouldn't have to spend any money to buy new boot laces. Her savvy investing granted her the joy of leaving her millions of dollars for the community she lived in to one day have their own community pool.

She is a literal inspiration especially for women like myself, because she taught herself how to invest by going to the library and borrowing copies of Barron's wherever she could. She hated the thought of spending good money to go buy her own books and magazines, but would travel around town to gain access to free copies of the best books and investing/business magazines in order to empower her investing.


Some folks take great risks and win big..... The Canadian Singer Alanis Morrissette made a killing when some stock she owned in a small company went public..... from stock worth less than half a million dollars to over 40 million dollars overnight in the year 2000. It always does the heart good to hear these stirring stories.

Do you know someone who has, through persistent creative thinking, carved out a beautiful and prosperous life? Do you find their style to be "replicable"? Do they teach others their hard won strategies?

When we, as fellow humans on this adventurous  journey called "life", discover ways and means to empower ourselves forward to achieve noteworthy success, I believe we are compelled to share our discoveries so that the rest of us can learn. Do you agree?

In peaceful productivity,
Carla.





Thursday, January 11, 2018

Let the Stitches Show....

I love van Gogh ....gazing intently at his self portrait...one can see each individual brush stroke.
It is a thing of  earnest detail, intensity and beauty.

So, why do some artists insist on doing their art in such a way as to pretend that all their minute
and very detailed work is invisible? Why do some consider it so brutally important to hide the raw materials of their work?

My song is : Let the brush strokes show, let the stitches show....let the yarn ends show in all their ugly glory....because you're being honest about all the different threads that make up your work of art.

Seamstresses do their best to hide the ends of threads so that no one can see when/where they started or finished their work.

Knitters  or folks who crochet seem to have each their own little tricks and customs to be able to
deftly hide the tail ends of each piece of yarn/wool they weave into their masterpieces.

Perhaps I hit my head too many times water skiing as a kid....but I seem to fall on the
 OPPOSITE side of the fence on this one.

I believe in letting it all show. Let your stitches show. Let the tail ends show in an awkward knotted lump in the middle of a knit hat. Why should I pretend as if such an earnest work of my own hands was magically woven together with only one magical piece of thread whose beginnings and ends are never to be seen again? Why should I pretend that the works of my hands are perfect?....when a certain amount of rustic playful rawness has a certain attractive quality all it's own.

To give a financial example of this idea...permit me to mention the film that is based on a true story entitled "The pursuit of Happyness" that starred Will Smith. It showed the gritty underbelly of what it took for a single dad down-on-his-luck to start from nothing and make it into the upper reaches of success on Wall Street. The film was not "soaring violyn solos playing gently on Prozac breeze..." but it had a certain charm none the less. Honesty can be a beautiful thing in certain doses.

It's like walking on the beach in bare feet after the waves have cooled the sand.....simply incomparable....and doesn't have a dollar figure either...if you don't mind me saying so.

Perhaps it is because i am not always the most dainty gal....I prefer to work with "less than dainty" chunky yarns and some of the fattest chrome metal circular knitting needles that I can find. I prefer to use tapestry needles too ...which are metal needles with eyes so wide, that they barely qualify for the term "needle". My muscley fingers work well with them.

 I get irritated with my cell phone keyboard because the keys are simply too "dainty" for my non-dainty piano hands.

I have a store bought knit poncho that shows the stitches in all their glory up and down the seam. I proudly wear it..... and call it my "Harvest Sweater". It probably would look more suitable for a long walk on a dirt country road, than on a slick city street...but I wear it proudly none the less.



Perhaps it's because i see a symbolic gesture in these customary artistic preferences.
How honest can we be with the work that we do? Can we show, visibly and publicly, like van Gogh
how much work it takes to make the art we make?

Do we pretend that the works of our hands flow effortlessly from our beings like ghosts in a fog?
Or can we "let it all hang out" so to speak..... and be forthright about what it really takes to make what we make?

They have said for the past 10 years in the business community that the "new" trend is toward
TRANSPARENCY..... So....my friends, what does that mean to all us artists and crafters?

Can we be a little more frank about the time, materials and sheer gritty hard work that it takes to make the things we brag about and try to sell for thousands of bucks?

You may be surprised how folks will react to your bold display of frankness. Instead of showing contempt for a visible reminder of your own raw materials... you may find that folks find it endearing and personally empowering. Baring your own humanity and scruffiness may encourage other humans
to stop hiding their own vulnerability ....and feel good about it.

van Gogh is applauded as a a MASTER, a genius and one to be emulated. He laid it all out there in all it's raw and "ugly" obvious splendor. But we do not call his works of art "ugly".

We call them ..........spectacular.

Peacefully productive,
C.






Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nobody Cares What You Think?

I was once told "Nobody Cares What You Think!" by an elder in my former church....yes
.... I kid you not.

And no, I never got an apology....but hey there's still eternity....perhaps i'll hear it in the beautiful blue beyond.

 And yes, for the record....I did "get over it".....and when/if I see that gent again, I will greet him politely with a smile...just in case you're worried that I will make a scene...again.

Which brings me to the reason for my blog post today. I want to remind every church going christian today to realize that the future and present state of the modern church is in their own hands. The doctrines that will be taught to our children's children and on and on will depend on what we,
 that means YOU AND ME... choose to preserve and protect and what we dispose of.

I recall, in my childhood, growing up in a quite religious home, that the doctrinal books that supported my parent's church denomination were held very high....so high in fact, that few of my peers even dared to open them. It seemed to be that the doctrinal books that had been published by that particular denomination were regarded as being " on the same level" as the Holy Bible itself.

In my childhood, I never met anyone, not even once, who acknowledged that these doctrinal books were written by mere men/women.  It was inferred that said books were therefore infallible and beyond requiring "editing", beyond needing improvement, and beyond and far above us
mere church goers. It was many many years later that I came into a sense of my own voice and the desperate need that there was for my wee voice to be heard along with the voices of all of my generation. There was a keen sense that our voices were ready to be heard....but there was an uncertainty as to whether they would be respected.

You see....it is certain that religious "Traditions" just do not carry the weight that they once did.
I am in my late 40's and I feel how important it is for Christians to acknowledge that "how we do the "thing" called "Church"" over the next decades, is up to us.....and it isn't written in stone. It is malleable. It is vulnerable. It will change. We will decide how scriptures are interpreted and how they are taught and applied to our modern living situations. Our decisions will have a lasting effect on several generations to come.

It is a very scary thing indeed to become awake to the power and incredible responsibility that we  hold. It is not something to be touted as a puffed up arrogant person might, but rather as an awesome opportunity to take what we know and love about God and His Word and incorporate "that" into our daily living. It is a creative process to decide how we do "church".

Doctrinal books have to taken from their dusty shelves and "updated" even if we still feel very under qualified. We need, as a generation of christian believers, to continue to educate ourselves in the foundations of our faith.....the history of the bible and why we believe what we believe. Theology is not a scary or "untouchable" realm. Doctrine matters... It is important and vital and current.

....Doctrinal books are constant "works in progress" and they need to be "updated and upgraded" often enough to reflect our current thoughts on worship and christian living. To neglect doctrinal books because we are afraid of offending other christians is not a good enough excuse. We are called to fill the earth and subdue it. We are called to make these books "ours" ....to claim them for our generation. so that we our faiths become truly "ours". Our children must feel empowered in today's churches, so that their faiths become truly theirs.

And so in closing.....so I don't belabor the point.....I want to state for the record...... just in case someone in authority ever said "Nobody Cares What You Think" to you in a church setting, permit me to set you straight:
   I do solemnly declare that "God Himself cares deeply about what you think. Lovers of Jesus all around the world care deeply what you think......and lastly....little ole me cares what you think."
You are important. Your voice is important.  It is Your thoughts and Your actions that will shape the modern church that goes beyond us into the future.

Now what are you going to do with your powerful voice?

In peaceful productivity,

C.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Be Aware of What You are Revealing About Yourself

Just a quick thought. Yesterday I viewed the movie called "The Circle" starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. Although, it had an odd and "unfinished" style of ending....watching it was still very much worth it, in how it stirs up our caution and awareness of revealing "too much" and at            "what cost" online.

Ok, so allow me to cut to the chase....how do we humans currently reveal "potentially" too much about ourselves?

1/ using rewards point cards at all of our fave shops, because they reveal where and when and what we buy, and how we pay.
2/ Twitter....yes, even though I really do enjoy Twitter, I am aghast at what folks tweet without thinking about the long-term ramifications.
3/ Facebook...oh the books that have already been written and will be written to describe how Facebook has changed the social fabric of our lives and how it leaves a very detailed trail of how we live, who we like and don't like....and how we communicate with almost everyone we deem special.
4/ Email. Although we like to kid ourselves that our email accounts are private....most of us still use non-encrypted and very public email servers which constantly monitor ALL of our sent and received emails for a host of reasons. Some of the reasons may be for public safety, but other reasons are for commercial advertising purposes and also for "yet to be determined" data mining purposes.
5/ Instagram. Nuf said.
6/ My Space.
7 the plethora of other social networking platforms
8/ voluntary blogs..... Sure folks like me may dream about making good coin from blogging, but most of us just do it because we love to write and practice honing our craft.
9/ Shopping with debit and credit cards instead of cash. Yes, I realize that cash is no longer king and its days may be numbered. But we must be aware that more our purchases are made through cards of all sorts, that the data about our every purchase is shared and diced and sliced and resold to whom ever is the highest bidder. Do we really want our shopping habits up for public/commercial display/auction?
10/ With the lure of becoming the next Youtube millionaire, millions of folks have sold themselves out by vlogging and selling their own videos to the Youtube video hosting service. I am not against Youtube, and use it regularly, but I am keenly aware of the fact that those who post there often are giving up a huge chunk of their privacy......and at what cost? 20 bucks a month in ad revenue? Consider what you are giving up when you allow perfect strangers to watch your life online.
11/ Google. Oh the books that are being written and still to be written about this Goliath. Yes, there is good and yes, there is stuff to be concerned about. I myself find the whole "google locating" issues to be very creepy. Have you ever noticed that when you "google" a local store", that Google displays how long the average person visits that location? How do they know that? Because they have locating apps through Google tracking our every move through our cell phones.
12/ Yes, there are ways to limit the number of methods that "Big Brother" can track and trace you. But the fine print is indeed fine, and the methods are intentionally made "hard and awkward" to implement for the "average" cell/computer user. If you have the patience, try to master the privacy and locating settings for the social media platforms that you frequent. Try your best to limit whatever you don't feel comfortable revealing. Make it harder for these companies to track and sell off your personal data.  And yes, it would still be helpful to go back to cash.....but oy, yes, cash is quickly becoming more "awkward" and "inconvenient"..... I guess I have been fished into that mindset already....lol.
13/ ISP's ( internet service providers) have records of ALL the webtraffic that flows through ALL your devices, both at home and when on the road. Also be aware that when you are utilizing
"free wifi" hotspots at cafes or your other haunts,  that the controllers/providers of the "free wifi"
hotspots can monitor/ see all that flows on any device that uses their Wifi services.

I am sure I will come up with even more ways in which we are "selling ourselves out" without consciously being aware of how much data we are revealing about ourselves with these seemingly
inert methods of communication and lifestyle.

If privacy doesn't matter to you, then by all means, ignore this post.....but if it does concern you and you want to protect yourself and your family....maybe it should become a matter of focus and prayer.

And yes, if this post has intrigued you, please do go ahead and read the book called
The Numerati by Stephen L. Baker. And yes, if you get the opportunity, go see the movie              "The Circle" starring Tom Hanks.

With peace and prayer,

Carla.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Slow and Steady Wins the Race....Every Time




This is my buddy....Mr. Snail. I snapped his photo myself. I like to look at his pic every once in a while to remind myself of the beauty of his wise lifestyle.

Snails, as a species have survived throughout millenia because of their slowness.....
If I were to stretch it a bit for dramatic illustration....I'd have to say that Snails have survived so many catastrophic earthly challenges because they "think" before they do anything. They think long and hard before rushing into anything. Actually, permit me to correct myself....they don't actually RUSH into ANYTHING!

There is great merit in thinking before making an important decision. Think and pray calmly before you leap. Living calmly and thoughtfully and prayerfully has many advantages. Nobody can accuse you of making a hasty foolish decision. Nobody can see a trail of chaos in your frantic wake.          You are slow and steady for a reason. Because it works for you.

Be strong. Crawl on. Survive and live long.

Peace,
Carla.