Take Time to Whoot

Art Journal - Time to Whoot
My art journal page, Time to Whoot

We all need time to nourish our souls. We need to rest. We need to play and laugh. For years, I took care of everyone else. I did not take time for myself. My priority was always my family, my job, my home. I felt guilty if I took even a little time for myself. Eventually, I just forgot who the real me was. I burned out. Finally, a wise woman explained to me that I had to take care of myself so I would be able to take care of everyone and everything else. I was told to do something for myself, something small, every day. It was so hard. So, I started small. I think I did something crazy like buy a bottle of nail polish.

So – fast forward about 15 years. I am so much better at taking care of me now. I take trips with my girlfriends, I take time to make quilts and art, I read, I take art classes and take time to have lunch with my mom and sisters. My soul is so much happier. I have learned to laugh again.

My quilting group, The Nite Owl Whooters, went on a five day retreat. We stitched, we were silly, we talked and, best of all, we laughed. I came home feeling refreshed and ready to face my busy life. My spirit was renewed again and refueled with creative ideas. All of this because I took some time to Whoot with my friends.

So, take some time for yourself and go Whoot! Your spirit will thank you.

Dancing on a Fencepost

School’s back in session. This means I get to engage in the hustle and bustle of finding just the right colored pronged file folders, notebooks and all the other back-to-school paraphernalia. It also means we must pack up our lovely daughter and drive her back to her college campus. Amber is a sophomore this year studying architecture. She has a wonderful, natural artistic eye and is also good in math. She is so passionate about her field and we are so proud of her and thrilled that she has found her passion at such a young age.

We had a wonderful summer together and truly enjoyed having her with us. We knew we only got to borrow her for a few months so we all treasured our time together this summer. This year, driving her to school was a completely different experience. Last year, as a freshman, she was ready for us to drop off her belongings and drive away, leaving her to run off and jump into her much anticipated college experience. She grew up so much that first year. She learned to appreciate all we taught her so she could be successful as a student and living on her own. She gained a new appreciation for how to handle money and the value of a hard earned paycheck. She worked hard, made many friends and got the grades to earn another year of college. Woo hoo!

So, this year she knew what to expect. She is savvy at dorm life and has a group of friends. She is rested and ready to plunge into her sophomore year. We made the five hour drive to her college and unloaded her belongings. This time, we were invited to come in, stay and help unpack. Then, we went to lunch together, bought groceries and stopped at a pet store to help her pick out a new beta fish for her room. There was no rush to push us on our way. Once she was all unpacked and her whole room was ready, the texts began. Her friends were also ready. It was time for all good parents to take their leave.

We were less sad this year, knowing our sweet girl has learned to balance many new life experiences. She has learned to work hard and play hard. I’m sure she is having a blast in college but she also knows she must put in the hard work required to earn another year in college. College is an experience that teaches you balance. I picture her dancing on that fence with her arty flair and learning to stay balanced.

Breaking boards, building character

My 12 year old son, Logan, is in a summer camp run by his karate dojo, Authentic Martial Arts in Largo, FL. Towards the end of the day, they put on their gear and have a 45 minute karate class. This is a great way to help the kids focus and wind down after a day at the park or swimming or whatever outing they had that day. We have had Logan enrolled for 4 years now and it has transformed his life. He now has his Junior Black Belt and it has taken lots of practice and time to achieve this goal. In addition to the physical requirements, the kids also have “Character Booklets” that they must read and do activities in as part of the requirements for their belt promotions.  Our dojo has always promoted the character development as a part of the karate program.

Click for a larger imageLast week, I picked Logan up early so he was going to miss out on the afternoon karate lesson. One of the Senseis, Shawn, asked us to wait and he ran and got a board for Logan to break. He knew Logan would not want to miss out on the board breaking session they were going to have that afternoon. Logan dropped his backpack and lunch box and immediately went into his karate stance and punched the board in half. Shawn gave him his board to take home and Logan left grinning with his board pieces in hand.  That thoughtful gesture by Shawn really showed Logan he was important and a part of the group. Sensei Shawn grew up in our dojo and is a fine example of the character being nurtured at Authentic Martial Arts.

As we drove home, I asked Logan if I could have his board. Since this was not his first broken board, he freely offered it to me. I used it as a canvas for my painting “Breaking Boards, Building Character”. I am so proud of Logan and the fine young man he is growing up to be. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it’s a village that includes a dojo.