Friday, May 18, 2012

Dream Analysis: amateur hour

I'm left feeling a bit icky this morning from last night's dreams.  I'm bothered that several of my dreams lately have been so violent and disturbing.  I haven't been putting violence into my head so what is it?  Am I afraid of something?  Are there fears I need to face down?

Probably so.

Probably because I'm on the cusp of something big for myself.  And with that comes the fear.

Like... Will I fail?  Will I be rejected?  Will others not connect to what I'm doing?  Will I look stupid?  Will I stop doing the work because of my fears?  Will I lose sight of the fact that maybe somewhere out there someone is waiting/needing to hear what I've got to say?  Will I lose or worse yet, not find my way?  What about alienating people?

Without pretending to be a dream analyst, maybe that's what these dreams stem from.  At least it got me to thinking.

You gotta name your fears to face them down.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Write Because...

I write because I like pen against paper.  I write because it feeds my soul.  I write because it gets me out of my head.  I write because it gets me thinking.  I write because I'm pissed.  I write because I grieve.  I write because I want to remember.  I write because I have nothing better to do.  I write because I don't want to do anything else.  I write to set goals.  I write to avoid talking.  I write because I'm getting older and what if I run out of time to say all that I want to say?  I write to chronicle, to capture.  I write to capture the poem floating through my head.  I write so my daughter will have something of me after one day when I'm gone.  I write to confess secrets.  I write because I'm told to.  I write because I can.  I write when I'm lonely.  I write to connect with others.  I write to make noise in the quietness.  I write as a meditation.  I write because I dream.

Inspired by Terry Tempest Williams "Why I Write" from Writing Creative Nonfiction


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little fires

I'm feeling rather enthusiastic today.  Mainly because I'm working toward a more authentic, freer me.  Whether I'm there yet or not doesn't matter.  What matters is that I'm doing something.  That I'm actually taking action.  No more procrastinating.  No more excuses.

I'm having to admit to myself that it's okay to read what I have called "Self Help Sh*#" if that's what helps me figure myself out.  But I'm being selective.  I'm not going to just read and do anything.  I can be very easily swayed at times if I'm not careful and I want to feel that I am reading and doing stuff that my gut tells me is genuine, authentic, right.  I don't want to put crap into my brain and soul that isn't useful.

So basically, what this boils down to is that I'm working my way through "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.  This is a book I've had in my possession for well over 10 years but haven't ever made it all the way through.  But basically, it rocks.  And dangit, I'm gonna make it through this time.  I have been told it can help you find your magic.  So far, the magic I'm feeling is that I'm on the cusp of something big and genuine for myself.  Even if to others eyes that something seems small.  We will see.

Also (and this may be jumping the gun a bit because I haven't finished the book yet), I am reading "The Fire Starter Sessions" by Danielle LaPorte...which basically rocks as well.  I was wary at first because like I said above, I can be wary of what self-helpish stuff I digest.  Well, all I can say is by what I've read of the book and what I've seen and read on her website is that I want to digest ALL that she is putting out there.  I feel a genuineness and authenticity oozing out of her.  I don't feel like I'm being sales-pitched.  And it feels like it's sparking a little fire in my heart as well.

This year (and hopefully all the years to follow),  is about searching out and exploring my creativity and what it means.  What moves me.  What will come from it I don't yet know.  But something will.  And I will be "freer than I think I am".

Monday, April 23, 2012


I am sitting at the kitchen table looking out over the pond behind our house.  My feet are cold against the ceramic tile floor.  I think I'll have some hot tea to wash down the remnants of this morning's oatmeal.  I hear the tiny chirps of the newly hatched baby birds tucked in the nest in the hanging back porch light.  My Pops tells me they are House Finch.  Pretty little birds that are tinted a salmon pink.  My fat gray cat stretches even further over my notebook lazily trying to prevent me from writing any more.  He yawns and blows his mildly pungent kitty breath in my face.

I take in the floral aroma of the Jasmine tea I just brewed.

It's sunny again today and the outdoors beckon me to finish planting my flower bed.  I'm still a little sore from having worked in it the past two days.  But, I know I'll end up there anyway.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Saying "I'm done".

"Down in the Canyon"  Acrylic on canvas 11"x 14" by Amanda Chea

"Canyon" detail

I experimented with some techniques to get the sky the way I wanted and I think this photo shows that a bit better.

Sometimes, though you might feel an urge to the contrary, you've just gotta walk away.

That's what I had to do, several times, with this painting.

When I started out on the blank canvas, the painting I ended up with is not what I planned for or envisioned.  But actually, that's what I like about art.  Sometimes you just go forth and do and just see what you come up with.  Sometimes it's a wreck (that you can just cover up with something better later) or it ends up being a pleasant surprise.  While this painting probably isn't perfect or going to end up winning any awards, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.  And I honestly think it reflects the mood of what I was reading and the music I was listening to while it was in progress.

And in the end I had to quit fiddling with it, walk away and call it DONE.  And I'm glad I did.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No regrets.

Today I responded to this blog post with:

It's like you're my sister from another mother. When I read this it's like I could have written it all myself. I'm sure we're different in many ways but wow, this is all so true for me too. I have literally had crying meltdowns at various points in life over the desire to be the best at something. It was basically a big sob-fest sounding something like, "I'm not great at anything! What am I good for? Nothing. I suck..waa waa waaaaa..." But...I have most certainly tried on many hats. And I go through many obsessions. I've tried all types of hand crafts. I've belly-danced, done yoga, practiced at a Buddhist temple and been a burlesque dancer. I've volunteered at a sheep farm, painted paintings, briefly been a vegetarian, thought I'd write the great American novel, had notions of selling produce at a farmer's market.
In other words, I've tried many many things. I've been good at some. Some never materialized...although who's to say they still couldn't?

My mother (who is very much an introvert), once told me she admired me for all this even though she teases me about it. She said that I'm BRAVE for just going out and seeking what interests me or going for what I want (whether I completely follow through or not).

And you are BRAVE too.

I wrote this to the Asst. Director of Squam.  Squam (by the Sea) is where I am headed in October.  It's an art workshop, the name of a lake, a community of like minded creative seekers.  I am headed there all by my lonesome.

It's like I feel this pull to be there.  To feel the magic I've heard about.  I've already fallen in love with the people I've corresponded with who are responsible for organizing it.

I suppose I imagine it as a creative pilgrimage.  An experience.  A way of experiencing myself.

Maybe I'm romanticizing.  But no matter.

I'm not sure what my whole point was in going on like this.  I guess I just want to encourage the few people who might read this to seek out new experiences...even if they find they are scared.  I have had nerves and trepidation in every one of the new things I've tried (and to date, there are many).  But I made myself anyway and was always glad I gave it a go.  I don't want to live with regrets.

And I hope that you don't as well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A very personal journal entry that I don't know why I'm sharing.

I wish I had written this when it was still fresh.  When I still had tears in my eyes.  When the loss was still just under the surface...but I didn't.  I just held it in and put it off.

A week ago i drove by what was my childhood babysitter's home.  I hadn't seen it in years...even though it is close to my parent's home.  I don't think I purposefully avoided it, but maybe I did.  There are so many memories wrapped up in that location for me.  My grandparents lived across the street from there for many years as well.

But this babysitter of mine was more than just that.  She was family.  Her family was mine and like wise.  At least it felt that way to me.  In later years I also considered her a friend. 

Several years ago now she died very unexpectedly at a fairly young age.  It felt horrible then and in some ways it feels worse now.  Because now I know the things, at least in my life, that she hasn't been here for...

My getting married.

The birth of my daughter.

I miss her more when I have a dream about her.  Because sometimes in these dreams she's still alive.  It's like I get to spend a little more time with her and then I wake up confused and sad.

It makes me all the more grateful I still have my parents, my sister and my other living relatives.  I love them all and I'm struck by how short this life really is.  How it all goes so fast.  How time changes and re-shapes things.

The house looks different now than I remember it.  I think some of the trees are gone.  The steps where I split open my forehead are still there.  The empty field where her son and I rode on his 4-wheeler was long ago paved over.  The yard somehow seems smaller.  My grandparents house is still the same dark brown.

I played in that street, rode bikes down the sidewalk and watched cartoons in her lap in that little house.  And it all seems like it was just yesterday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I've been busy

February and March have been seeing a creative outpouring from me.  I've been spending almost every spare moment in my art studio.  I'm lucky to have this extra room in our house that lets in lots of light all to myself.  It's usually a mess but that's okay.  I thought I'd show some of the fruits of all this creativity.  I hope it demonstrates all the fun, experimenting and playing I've been doing.  I tried my best as an untrained photographer to capture these but alas, I've been using lots of metallics and whatnot and it's quite reflective.  So naturally it's all better viewed in person.  But for now, this will do.

As yet untitled acrylic on canvas.  14"x14"

postcard-sized watercolor and water-soluble crayon

detail of above

And here are a series of hanging "tiles" that I did using plaster and board:

"Empty swing" Acrylic and ink on plaster and board

Acrylic on plaster and board approx. size 4"x 5"

Acrylic on plaster and board

"Nail and Bone" Acrylic and mixed media on plaster and board

Monday, March 19, 2012

I will probably pay for posting this...

I am posting this without asking permission of my husband of now 6 years.  Yesterday was our anniversary and while we didn't do gifts for each other, I considered this a gift.  It is a composition assignment he had to write and turn in yesterday.  Had me in tears I tell you.  Enjoy...

 Significant in more than words (by Jeremy Chea)

 I have served with many significant people who deserve to be addressed in this essay as much as any other person.  Friends who have been to hell and back in their life and career who have showed me perseverance can take you anywhere.  However, taking all of those people into consideration I have to chose the one person who has supported me, opened my mind to a whole different world and most importantly to coincide with the date of our anniversary; I chose my wife and best friend, Amanda.   To start this I need to start at the beginning.  I was stationed at Eielson AFB, Alaska.  I had one year remaining on my enlistment and while I was home visiting my friends, I met an amazing person.  Within two weeks of talking and emailing, it was apparent this person was THE person.  For one year, we helped each other through the daily agony of not being near one another.  Where other people may have given up and moved on with their life, she continued.  We saw each other three times during the one year period and each time it was amazing.  She never complained about the distance, only commenting on how strong our relationship would be in the end.  And even though she was the sole cause of the most horribly emotional year of my life, she helped me through it and I knew that she was the last person I would ever date.     I freely admit that I am an introvert and a hermit.  This did not fit well with Amanda’s lifestyle or her personality.  Early on she began getting me out of my comfort zone and experiencing things I had never experienced before.  Bringing me to environments that I had previously tried to avoid.  Opening my mind to experiences I had never felt comfortable in.  We have traveled to places that I had never heard of or had never considered visiting due to my fear of social contact.  She has forced me to come out of my social cocoon, which I thank her for each and every day.      My decision to finally attend school was not an easy one.  It is something that I had delayed for a very long time and unfortunately the decision to start back came at the most inopportune time... after the birth of our daughter.  In a time when Amanda needed my help more than ever, she accepted that my decision was the best one and kept the dissatisfaction to a minimum.  Through every night of homework or each night of being gone to attend class, combined with me still having a full time job to support our family.  She has happily supported me in every way possible.  She has given me quiet time to write papers or take tests and she has shown a genuine interest in my success and my hardships during this period.  Regardless of the situation, Amanda has been the strong point in my life.  She has kept my mind clear and focused.  She has done her best to get me out of my comfort zone and experience new and exciting things, which I never would have done in any other circumstance.  Most of all she has supported me in the advancement of myself and my career.  And while she will make a comment about not being able to change a person, I beg to differ.  She has changed me and continues to change me each and every day.  For the better.              

Friday, February 17, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by Soulemama

Have a happy (and yummy) weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Main Street, U.S.A.

I didn't grow up in a small town.

Where I live now used to be a small town, especially if you hear about what it was like when my grandmother lived there as a young person.  It's grown into more of a suburb now...and the growth seems to be never-ending.  For the most part I'm not complaining but I do like to visit the quaint 'Main Streets' of the nearby small towns.  They are usually beholden to some fine treasures.  Whether it be a country cookin' diner, a flea market or a tiny coffee shop such as Scoops and Grinds.

My friend and neighbor Jane and I had some catching up to do the other day and that place sure is becoming a favorite of ours.  Ice cream and coffee?  I think so.  I've even had an informal little craft night gathering there before because I love it so.

Here is a rendering of mine of the shop.  It's a work in progress.  I will post a photo when it is complete.

Oh and here's my cutie pie lunch date Jane:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Full of love

"Be Mine" by Amanda Chea (Valentine gift for her husband)

I used to sneer about the idea of Valentine's Day.  It just felt like a day to make lonely people feel bad about themselves.  But now I don't see it that way.  And its not because I'm no longer lonely.  Although being on this side of things is what made me see the world a little bit differently.  Today is about love.  And not just romantic love.  Everyone deserves it.  Everyone needs it.  We all have the ability to learn to love the one standing next to us, the ones different from us, the ones we may have given birth to, the ones far away in another land that we haven't ever and won't ever meet.  So even if all you share with someone today is a passing smile, I hope that you are reminded what love is, what it should be and how it can be shared.  Even in the small ways.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by Soulemama

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

C'est fini...finally.

I thought I would share this painting that I just finished.  It might not be everyone's cup of tea but this is what I love these days in painting.  I started this when I was pregnant with Molly and like many other things when you have a baby, got put on the back-burner.

Well, the mood finally struck and I found the time (thanks to a lovely sitter I can't say enough good things about!) and now she is complete.  My husband is glad...he's been gently nudging me to finish this for awhile now.

I'm learning to appreciate abstract art a lot more these days.  The freedom it gives you.  The fun and experimentation.  You can just let your mood guide you. 

Well, finishing this painting opened up the floodgates to a whirlwind of painting and creativity so I imagine I will be sharing more artwork soon enough.

Friday, January 27, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Hi there.

It's been a long time. 

A reeeeeeally long time when I look at the date of my last post.

Today was actually the first day I have opened up this blog and looked at it since I posted last April.  I guess I was scared and ashamed to even look at it because I suppose it would make me feel like a failure.  But the reality is, I have had to focus on other things in the mean time.  Mostly, because mothering a young child is EXHAUSTING much of the time.  Don't get me wrong, it's been the best few years of my life but let's be real...I don't get the kind of sleep I used to.

Well, she's 2 now and little Miss Independent with a capital I so I've decided to once again spend some time here.  I always loved doing this, whether anyone else reads it or not.  And I feel like this is going to be a remarkably creative and abundant year for me.  So let's just see where this road takes me...

I responded to this blog post with the following:

"I too have waged war on depression off and on as far back as probably the start of adolescence. I guess if I really think about it, the happiest I have been has been as a child and now in my 30's. Perhaps because I have tried to bring back things that are rich in the childhood years such as imagination, creativity, living in the now, less time spent worrying, an enthusiastic sense of humor, more time spent with family and surrounding myself with caring, loving people. It also helps that I'm mothering a young child and I try to remember to try to see the world through her eyes."

And that response is what I want to start off this creative pilgrimage, if you will, so that I can remind myself from time to time why I am doing this and why it's important to me.

Thank you...