May 30

Artist Date: Crystal Journal

Artist Date: Crystal Journal

To go along with my rock tumbling artist date, this week I created a crystal journal. The reason I originally purchased all these rocks wasn’t just because they were pretty. I was interested in their healing properties. However, I soon discovered that I had a hard time remembering which stones were best for what.

With that in mind, I created my crystal journal. I made a page for each stone. First, I found a picture for reference. Then, I looked up its effects and wrote them down in a bulleted list. Finally, I wrote down which chakras each crystal affected.

Some of my favorite stones are:

Amethys

Amethys

Amethyst. This is my birthstone, and boy does it pack a punch when it comes to healing! It affects the Third Eye and Crown chakras. It inspires tranquility, calms rage, anger, fear and anxiety, and dissolves negativity. It balances mood swings. It activates spiritual awareness, opens intuition, and enhances psychic abilities. So watch yourself when you’re around me and I’m wearing amethyst — I might be able to read your mind.

Tree Agate

Tree Agate

Tree agate. It affects the Heart and Crown chakras. This stone helps strengthen your connection to earth and nature. It creates inner peace and calms the nerves. It improves your relationships with children. It clears energetic pathways. It is also said to boost the immune system and help with mental clarity.

Dalmation Jasper

Dalmation Jasper

Dalmation jasper. It affects the Foot, Base or Root, and Solar Plexus chakras. This one brings a sense of fun and awakens child-like joy and playfulness in you. It increases loyalty in relationships. It helps you release old patterns that no longer serve you. It also helps the immune system.

Unakite

Unakite

Unakite. It affects the Base or Root and Heart chakras. I love this one because it brings up emotional issues gently and helps you to heal those issues. Facilitates rebirthing, gently releasing conditions that inhibit spiritual and psychological growth. The key word here is gently. It also supports convalescence and recovery from major illness. Because guess who has a major illness? That’s right, this girl.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli. It affects the Throat and Third Eye chakras. This one encourages creativity and helps with self-expression. It encourages self-awareness and reveals inner truth. It assists in confronting and speaking one’s truth. I’m working on that! It bonds relationships and aids in expressing feelings and emotions. It also helps boost the immune system.

Fun factor: Pretty! And now, useful. 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about crystals and their healing properties, visit Charms of Light.

So tell me, do any of the stones speak to you?

May 27

I Am The Best

Job Interview

Job Interview

Well, of course, I’m the best candidate for the job, you know. First of all, I’m really funny. Hilarious, actually. I can make you pee your pants if I set my mind to it. What? Oh, no, no, I’m not doing it right now. I just said that I could if I wanted to. I don’t want to right now. That would be awkward, wouldn’t it?

So, you see, I would be totally fun to work with. Like a party at work every single day. Who doesn’t want to go to a party every day? Except, yeah, I’m older now, and that used to be fun when I was a 20-year-old, but I really like an early night in with a hot bath and a good book now. So, that’s the kind of party I’m talking about. Whatever kind of party you think you’d enjoy. That’s the work party I’m talking about.

Skills? Oh, of course, yes, I totally have skills. Awesome skills. Lots of awesome skills. Like, I learned how to type on an actual typewriter when I was in high school. Can you believe it? I actually had to manually go to the next line on a page, not like you young whipper snappers these days, I’m just kidding, you’re not that young are you? Haha, no, no, I’m not asking your age, I’m just trying to guess, I’d say mid- to late-thirties. Oh, 29? Haha, well, you’re very mature, aren’t you.

OK, so I have the typing skills and I’ve got mad people skills. I’m really good with people. Especially little people. I mean, I gave birth to six of them. And I didn’t eat any of my young, haha, yes, you see, some animals totally eat their young but I’d never do that, although they did tempt me sometimes. You have no idea.

So I’m really good on the telephone, too. I have this totally professional voice. “Good afternoon, Smiley and Smiley. How may I direct your call?” See? That sounded really professional, didn’t it? I can do that all day long. Oh, right, so the job doesn’t really require answering phones, that’s good because I really hated it when I was a receptionist. All those lines ringing at once, me forgetting who I had put on hold, dropping calls all over the place. Well, not all over the place, not enough to get fired. Ha! But I can still talk like totally professional whenever we’re, say, in a meeting or something.

Oh! I know. I’m very organized. All of my socks are arranged by color. Because they’re all white! Ha! I bet you didn’t see that coming, did you. But seriously, I’m an organized person. I know how to get all of my kids out the door and into the right school, and then get them all home again, and then get them to soccer practice and band concerts and basketball games.

So, I guess you could say I’ve got really good driving skills, too. Especially when we’re running late, and I’m weaving in and out of traffic like I’m at the Daytona 500. And why do people watch Nascar, anyway? It’s just a bunch of cars going around and around in circles for, like, a hundred miles. The drivers must get seriously dizzy. I don’t know why there aren’t more crashes. Of course, then there’d be even more fans, because that’s the real reason everyone’s watching, right?

Oh, and I’m also very focused. Like, laser beam. Like my dog when he fixates on the mouse that is in my kitchen and sometimes streaks across the floor when you least expect it. Except, does the dog chase the mouse and capture it? Oh, no, of course not, he’s terrified of the thing and he runs away from it! Can you imagine? My dog is terrified of a little tiny mouse. But so I am, so I can’t be too mad at him, right? I should have gotten a cat instead. I hate cats.

Anyway, I graduated from high school with good grades, woohoo, what an accomplishment, right? I did go on and get a B.S. degree in Zoology from BYU. B.S. degree, haha, that’s hilarious because you would not believe how many times I b.s.ed my way through a paper in college. You just use some fancy words and the professors think you know what you’re talking about. Yeah, but seriously, sometimes — no idea.

So. That’s me in a nutshell! Do I get the job?

~~~

Prompt: There is a job you desire with every fiber of your being. Write about yourself in a humorous manner and boast about your skills as a person.

May 23

Artist Date: Finding Nemo

Artist Date: Finding Nemo

Artist Date: Finding Nemo

Artist Date: Finding Nemo

Week 7 of The Artist’s Way is all about learning how to take risks. With that in mind, I decided to watch one of my favorite films, Finding Nemo.

Oh, Marlin. I get you. I totally do.

Marlin is haunted by the past and worried about the future. His love for Nemo causes him to be overprotective. As Dory points out, he’s so busy making sure nothing ever happens to Nemo that…well…nothing ever happens to Nemo.

Dory, on the other hand, always lives in the now. The moment, to her, is a gift, a toy, something to be played with and enjoyed — even those moments that are rife with danger.

I, too, have lived my life haunted by my past and fearful for my future. In trying to protect myself, I have lost touch with my own little Nemo. I don’t want that any more.

For all of Marlin’s diligence, he still wasn’t able to protect Nemo. Likewise, none of my good-girl, rule-following, shut up and sit down, trying to make myself invisible did any good. It was the illusion of protection, not protection itself.

I want to have fun. I want to take risks. I want to have adventures.

You know what they say — be careful what you wish for!

That’s fine, Universe. Bring it on!

Fun factor: You feel like you’re deep-sea diving. Humor. Inspires you to want to do something fun.

What was the riskiest thing you’ve ever done?

May 20

Tomboy

Tomboy

Tomboy

I log-in to the gender assignment site and click on the link to my test results. I scroll through the sections quickly, not bothering to read them, until I get to the last page.

Assignment: Male.

I slam the laptop shut and storm into my room. My breath comes raggedly. I feel heat thrumming through my body and my throat constricts. I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

I grab a tennis ball off the floor and start throwing it against the bedroom wall, then catching it. Throwing it, hearing its thump, catching it. Throw, thump, catch. It echoes the rhythm of my heart, drowns out my racing thoughts.

There’s a timid knock on my door, but I don’t answer it. The door cracks open.

“Jordie?”

It’s my mother. She would have received a parents’ copy of the results. She probably knew last night and didn’t even say anything to me to prepare me. I pick up the pace and throw the ball harder. She flinches, as if I’m going to throw it at her, and I’m glad.

“Jordie, stop. Why you so angry? We so happy for you. You bring honor to our family now.”

I cringe at her English, still stilted after all these years. How hard is it to remember a freaking verb, anyway? I feel a stab of guilt for my thought, then push it away. This is all her fault. She always wanted a boy.

By law, adults aren’t allowed to influence children’s gender identity. As if.

They are instructed to follow our lead, let us express our interests our way. Baby clothes are neutral. Once we’re old enough to choose for ourselves, all options are always offered. We get to choose the clothes we want to wear, the toys we want to play with, the activities we want to participate in. I always thought that was awesome. Until now.

Private parts are referred to generically as “genitals.” I mean, sure, at some point we figure out there are physical differences, but it is never mentioned at home or at school.

Then, at age 12, we’re tested. The results of the test determine our gender assignment. Apparently, I’m a boy. Except, I already started my period. And my breasts, tiny buds, are already beginning to grow.

They’ll change all that, I know. Thinking about it, I want to throw up. It feels like such an invasion.

But…maybe…maybe I could get my parents to file an appeal.

“Please, Mama,” I say, hating the note of desperation in my voice. “Don’t let them do this to me. I don’t want to be a boy.”

She scoffs, waving off my panic.

“You already boy. You wear jeans and t-shirt. You play lots and lots of sports, and you top player. You get high score for math and science. They call me to school, tell me you beat up that other boy.”

My eyes flash, and I want to scream. Yes, I beat up Loren, but that was because he was making fun of her, my mom, with her funny accent and her funny way of talking.

“Why can’t I just be a lesbian?” I fling at her. Her eyes grow wide and she frantically looks around the room, as if someone were lurking in the corners and overheard.

“Where you hear that word?” she hisses at me. I shrug and clamp my mouth shut. We aren’t supposed to know about sexuality yet, but that doesn’t stop us from talking on the playground. Someone’s older brother said this, someone’s older sister said that. It’s all the more fascinating because it ‘s forbidden. No way am I going to rat my friends out and get them in trouble.

“You go to best college now, get best job,” she says, trying to persuade me. “You make lots of money. Buy yourself new car, eh? No staying home with babies for you.”

She sounds jealous, and it stings. I throw the ball at my desk, and it hits the lamp, knocking it over.

“Jordie!”

I push past my mom and run out of the room, down the stairs, and outside. She doesn’t follow, and I’m grateful. I get the basketball out of the garage and begin shooting hoops, but there’s no joy in it now.

I’m still making baskets when my dad gets home from work. His car pulls up in the driveway, and he gets out. I can tell from the look on his face that he knows why I’m upset.

“Hey, Jordie pie,” he says, holding his hands out for a pass. I throw him the ball. He shoots but misses the basket. He always was lousy at basketball.

“It’s not that bad, you know,” he says while I’m retrieving the ball. He sounds kind of sad.

“I don’t want one of…you know…those things. It’ll just get in the way.”

He laughs.

“But you get to pee standing up. Wherever you want. It’s quite convenient,” he says, trying to make me smile.

“Oh, yeah, what about multiple orgasms?”

OK. I didn’t say that out loud, because we’re not supposed to know about that, either. But from what I’ve heard on the playground, it’s not that great a trade-off.

“You’re still going to be you,” he says, pulling me into him with a hug.

I look up at him, the tears that I’ve been holding back all day threatening to spill.

“But why can’t I be me in this body?” I ask.

He tries to smile reassuringly but it doesn’t ring true. He just shakes his head, kisses the top of my head, and walks into the house.

My shoulders droop, and I know I’m defeated.

~~~

Prompt: Imagine you wake up and are the opposite gender. Or, if you don’t identify with a specific, imagine the government forces you to choose one. I took the government involvement a step further.

May 18

The Bird and The Sword by Amy Harmon

The Bird and The Sword

The Bird and The Sword

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

My Review:

Amy Harmon is the epitome of talent without fear.

As many of you know, I am a die-hard Amy Harmon fan. Since I first stumbled upon Running Barefoot, I have fallen in love with her unique characters, literary exploration of story, and toe-curling romance. When I learned that she had released a new book, exploring a different genre, I didn’t hesitate. Once again, Amy doesn’t disappoint.

I love that Amy had the courage to take her romance in a different direction. Although writing fantasy is new for her, you’d never know it. She creates a world that is unique but feels familiar at the same time, with lords and ladies, kings and fair maidens, mystical creatures, breathtaking battles, and peasants with unusual gifts. But all of that is nothing more than a backdrop for what we want most from an Amy Harmon book: love and passion hot enough to make you melt.

Lark is more than a wallflower; she blends into the wall itself. Not seen, not heard, she barely exists. When King Tiras captures her and takes her to his keep, she simply trades one prison for another.

However, King Tiras isn’t the tyrant she expects him to be. He’s arrogant, yes, but also kind and just. He gives her what she has always been denied: words. With those words, she uncovers her power. Their romance is an unfolding discovery, peeling back the layers and finding in each other the one person they need the most to heal and to be set free.

I highly recommend this book to readers of romance, fantasy, and/or literary fiction.

Author Amy Harmon

Author Amy Harmon

About the Author:

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in several countries, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and to show her support, Amy will donate a portion of the proceeds of her latest title, The Bird and The Sword, to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund. This Fund is a charity founded by Denise Milano to draw attention to and raise money for mental health awareness.

May 16

Abundance

Abundance

Abundance

“I do it.” My daughter, Kyara, was a toddler, and she had discovered her independence. She wanted to do everything by herself. Get dressed, climb in and out of the car, seat herself at the table, feed herself. All of it. I let her try, of course, even though I knew I could do it for her quicker and easier. Sometimes, the task she attempted was just too much for her. I’d gently offer my help in the least obtrusive way.

“Here, honey, push my hands this way so the car seat will buckle.”

Twenty-five years ago, I was that same, determined toddler. We were hiking together as a family. My dad carried my three-month-old sister, Juli, on his back in a backpack. My older sister, Cari, took my mother’s hand. But me?

“I do it.”

We hiked three miles that day. There was a set of stairs on the trail. I’d take a step with one foot, place my hand on my chubby little knee for leverage, and push my other foot up to join it. I’m sure it was painstaking.

“Would you like me to carry you?” my father asked.

“No. I do it.”

And I did. I hiked the entire way, all by myself.

Fast forward almost 50 years. After my makeover, I was faced with a daunting task — Dressing (and living!) My Truth as a Type 3 woman. I plunged into it, head first, blindly, with no real plan.

“I do it.”

But I faltered. I didn’t quite know how.

Then, the windows of heaven opened, and God lent me a hand. Friends reached out to me with love and support. They sent me beautiful, inspiring necklaces, earrings, scarves, and skirts, as well as gift certificates to help me find my own style.

From my DYT Type 4 Sisters

From my DYT Type 4 Sisters

My favorite gift was a small, black swan sculpted from wood.

“Remember us, your Type 4 sisters,” my anonymous angel said. I will. I’ll never forget.

Sometimes, I think we take Adam’s curse too seriously. We think we must earn everything by the sweat of our brow. We forget that the Earth is God’s, and everything in it is His to give.

“Ask, and it shall be given you…If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7)

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says, “Remember, you are the cheapskate, not God. As you expect God to be generous, God will be able to be more generous with you.”

It’s true. I know that because I am the lilies of the field, I am the fowls of the air, I am the sparrow that doesn’t fall unnoticed. I am blessed, and there isn’t room enough for me to receive it. My heart overfills, and I am left in tears.

May 13

Artist Date: Tea Dying and Bleaching

Artist Date: Tea Dying and Bleaching

One of the important aspects of Dressing Your Truth (DYT) is choosing the right colors to wear for your type. After I learned that I was a Type 3, I had a panicking realization: I had NO Type 3 clothes!

Thankfully, a friend gave me a suggestion for what to do with all my black and white items: tea dying and bleaching.

I searched Youtube and found some video tutorials. It looked easy enough, so I gave it a try.

First, I tried tea dying my whites. I filled a stock pot with water and brought it to a boil. Then, I added 20 bags of green tea (the cheap stuff, from the dollar store). I waited for the bags to steep, and then I added my clothes. I put a bowl with cans in it on top to weight the clothes down and keep them immersed in the liquid.

Tea Dying

Tea Dying

I left the clothes to soak for anywhere from one hour to overnight. The shades that I got from that ranged from a light canvas-colored cream to a darker tan. Any time an item didn’t look as good as I wanted, I threw it in with a new batch and dyed it darker until I found the best shade.

Tea Dying Results

Tea Dying Results

My next project was bleaching my black clothes. This was even more fun because I never knew what color I was going to get from each item.

I started by using the washing machine. We have a front loading machine. I put bleach in the bleach compartment, and then I started a load on high heat. I watched until the barrel was full and let it swoosh around for a little bit. I stopped the cycle before it moved on to “rinse.” Then, I let the clothes sit for about an hour. Then, I turned the washer back on and let it finish out the cycle.

My results from the washing machine were mixed. I liked the splashes of color, but it didn’t get all the black out. So, I moved on to the second method.

Black Clothes Before Bleaching

Black Clothes Before Bleaching

I took my clothes outside and laid them out. I had a spray bottle filled with bleach, and I began spraying the clothes. The color changed almost immediately. Instead of getting large swaths of color, I got spots.

I rinsed the clothes under the sink in cold water, and then I ran them through a regular wash in the washing machine.

These are my final results:

Bleaching Results

Bleaching Results

Fun factor: Artsy! No way to mess it up.

So, what do you think? Have you ever tried tea dying or bleaching before? Do you have any tips for this newbie?

Older posts «