Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader

This is Real Life #2

January 24th, 2015
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

The Tangerine Beef I made last week was delicious, fast and easy. Highly recommended. This week I’m going to be trying a Citrus Fish recipe that is done in the slow cooker. It’s not a web recipe, and I have no idea where I got it. If it’s good, I’ll share it.

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram post of the week

Reading

Still working through The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Also reading Against the Odds by Mara Jacobs and The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk MD. Still struggling to figure out work arounds for all the bugs in my new Kindle HD.

The Song of the Week

Watching



Good Things that Happened this Week

  • I had a day off on Monday. I took a nap at 10:30 am, and then again at 3:00 pm. It was wonderful!
  • I’m having a lot of fun getting canvases ready just in case I decide to do an art fair. If not, I’ll have birthday and Christmas gifts ready to go.
  • The pain from the dental work finally subsided – yay!
  • Saw the third Hobbit movie today with my parents. Can’t believe we waited so long. I needed a dragon fix! I cried when Fili, Kili, and Thorin died. And I cried when Tauriel cried.

Round and About

Gritify Your Life
How to Make Your Own Egg Replacers for Vegan Baking
Why Happiness Is the Wrong Pursuit

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 1/18/15.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1273 Magical Contagion.

Inspiration for the Week

Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness. ~Chuang Tzu

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

I’m still working through Loving What Is by Byron Katie and doing The Work. It has really made a difference in how I handle stupid little annoyances. I’m definitely feeling more peace in my life.

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.
Falling
Falling by Lee Acaster

Free 1
Free 1 by Bernd Schumann

Reward
Reward by Bernd Schumann

cats-in-boardroom
cats-in-boardroom by Claudia MB

New Wallpapers

On the Bayou from National Geographic
Fox Found at National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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This is Real Life

January 18th, 2015
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On the Menu

The Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Pork Chop with Cider Gravy, Sauteed Apples and Onions from Rachel Ray were FABULOUS. And even though I make fun of cooking shows that use multiple ovens so that the meal can be fixed within a 30 minute show, I can’t make fun of this recipe. I made it myself in less than 30 minutes with just two stove top burners. It was easy and tasted fresh and wonderful.

This weekend I’m going to try Spicy Tangerine Beef by Guy Fieri. I won’t have to make any modifications, either!

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram post of the week
I’ve been working on the altered atlas for years, but the cover remained old and ugly. I spent two days glazing and wiping  it back around the stenciled molding paste. Then I rubbed the molding paste with Viva Decor Inka Gold beeswax metallic finish. I love the result!

Reading

Getting off to a slow start with Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell by Susanna Clark. I like it, but I’m hoping it starts to move faster.

Also doing the Art Journal Emporium Book Club with Tangie Baxter. This month we’re reading through The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and the Mind by Cat Bennett.

The Song of the Week

And because one Herb Alpert song is not enough, here’s another.

Watching

Oneironaut from Erica Kobren on Vimeo.

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • My dentist was able to squeeze me in immediately when one of my crowns broke. He’s awesome!
  • Fun Toastmasters meeting on Tuesday – had a long-lost member show up. So glad to see him!
  • Gave a speech on Wednesday about One Little Word – a lot of folks chose words for themselves while I was talking. Cool!
  • I am making plans to try doing an art fair. A friend at work is pushing me along on this, which is great. I need pushing!

Round and About

Check out the links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 1/11/15.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1270 Word of the Week – Propitious.

Inspiration for the Week

“It has been said over and over again throughout history that the most important thing we can ever attain is peace of mind. Peace is really what our whole soul craves and strives for… it is the place where we can find clarity, where our wisdom resides and a place of inner peace is really what is intended for all of us. Finding Peace is really another one of those daily and hourly disciplines that we have to constantly be aware of and intentional about. Peace is not one of those things that is easy to find in this loud and crazy world. We get to choose so much about our lives, and especially about ourselves… we are not powerless. We can choose to go where the peace is.” — Melody Ross

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

I had several really challenging opportunities to do The Work and practice acceptance. It was really awesome!

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.
« elle »
« elle » by linda vachon

DSC_0011_edited-1
DSC_0011_edited-1 by Chris Aiton

DSC0279
DSC0279 by marc-andré tragé

Ascension
Ascension by Lee Acaster

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to share your real life this week, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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Monkey Business

January 13th, 2015
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cowboy

A story from my journal, more or less true. I don’t remember this, so my “memories” of this event are from what my family has told me. My family tends toward exaggeration, so I will not vouch for any of this.

My cousin, K, and I were dressed in cowboy outfits. (There is a picture somewhere documenting this part as fact, but I couldn’t find it.) We were standing out front of our grandparents’ house. As cars drove by, we pointed and counted, “1 dirty ape, 2 dirty apes, 3 dirty apes,” etc. This was quite a scandal, as the house was in a private community for professors at a small educational establishment.

I also remember that the guns that came with the outfits were cap guns, and the smell of the caps after they’d been “fired” fascinated me. We may have been too enthusiastic with the cap guns, as I don’t remember ever having caps again.

To be honest, I don’t know if the cowboy outfits and the dirty apes incident happened at the same time. I may have mashed a couple of things that happened near each other into one memory, but that’s neither here nor there.

This incredibly messy story does have a point. I am so grateful to have a mother who will tell me about all the embarrassing things I did when I was a kid. It reminds me that somewhere, deep inside, there lives a funny, uninhibited child who doesn’t care about rules or propriety. She is the source of my creativity, and it’s a joy to get reacquainted with her.

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The Weekly Update (previously known as The Scattered Life Collective)

January 10th, 2015
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Announcement: Cynthia has decided to stop hosting The Scattered Life Collective, so these posts will no longer link back to her site. I am trying to think up something clever to call them instead. I will be continuing my weekly updates, though, as I found them extremely beneficial in finally breaking through the writer’s block I had for over a year.

On the Menu

I’m trying out Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Pork Chop with Cider Gravy, Sauteed Apples and Onions from Rachel Ray.

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram Post of the Week
This is the first face I’ve ever drawn. I did it along with Jeannette House’s 21 Secrets course. This is the “public” face. It opens to show the reality of my feelings. I really enjoyed doing this, and even though the eyebrows and nose are wrong, I really like it.

Reading

I started After the Fire by J.L. Murray and am really enjoying it. It’s a fantasy set when the ancient gods still walk the earth.

The Song of the Week


And because one Carole King song is never enough, here’s a live performance of “Natural Woman.”

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • Enjoyed a wonderful meeting at Think Tank Toastmasters. I haven’t been to a meeting in 2 weeks, so it was nice to be back!
  • The cold snap seems to be over, and we are heading back into beautiful weather here in Phoenix.
  • Had a lovely, relaxing massage Monday night.
  • Won best evaluator at Toastmasters on Tuesday night. Fun meeting, interesting speeches, and great table topics!
  • Won the award for Excellence at Toastmasters on Wednesday night.
  • Fixed chili for my folks tonight and scored a ton of crafty stuff they picked up from a friend.
  • Had a great time at the open studio night at Artspirations Studio with Tangie Baxter and 6 or so other creative women. Lots of fun!

Round and About

Spicy Avocado Hummus
30 Famous Women on Overcoming Their Insecurities
The Suggestion of Happiness

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for January 4, 2015.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1260 Mirrors.

Inspiration for the Week

When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100 percent of the time. -Byron Katie

Monthly Practice toward Inner Peace

I’m enjoying reading Loving What Is again. I had a much more peaceful week in my mind. I did some work during the week on my scariest thoughts, and I slept better!

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

Bird Brain
Bird Brain by Michelle Mathey

Untitled-1 copy
Untitled-1 copy by sreenivasa ram makinidi

My second fav journal page of 2015 - In the Moment
My second fav journal page of 2015 – In the Moment by jenny

« portrait »
« portrait » by linda vachon

11-19-14 BeachSeries 1
11-19-14 BeachSeries 1 by jprater28209

New Wallpapers

Foggy Morning

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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The Scattered Life Collective #16

January 2nd, 2015
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The Scattered Life Collective

On the Menu

I made roasted curried cauliflower twice this week – once just for me and once for New Year Day at my parents house. So good and so easy. Just chop up your head of cauliflower and put the pieces in a ziploc bag. Toss with olive oil, then add your spicing (curry powder and cayenne) and toss again. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees F. Yum!

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram pic of the week

Reading

CS Lewis on Why We Read

Finished Act of God, a collection of science fiction short stories by Paul Byers. I really enjoyed them!

The Song of the Week

And because one Muppets song is never enough, and because the Swedish Chef is the BEST:

Watching


The first three minutes contains my all-time favorite scene from one of my favorite TV shows from my youth. I still quote this to this day.

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • Got all my scheduled blog stuff done by Friday night, so I had the entire weekend to play art and write. Yay!
  • Started watching Arrow on Netflix – so excited to see one of my favs, John Barrowman, as the villain. He rocks it.
  • Made a really fun mixed media canvas as a gift for a friend. Got so excited about it that I was up until 3 am gluing seed beads. And dropping lots of them on the floor. All worth it! See the Instagram Post of the Week for the picture.
  • Despite the odds, I was able to put together a shelving unit for my art / junk / smash journaling room. There might have been some bad words involved, but the dogs didn’t seem to notice.
  • It was fun to go back to work on Monday and see the kids enjoying all the gifts I helped organize for them.
  • Wow! I was featured on the Stencil Girl website. Two pictures! I’m so honored.
  • Nice to have Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off again this week for a 5 day weekend. Such a luxury!
  • Enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve at home (off the roads!) and New Year’s Day at my folks house. Really enjoyed the second half of Michigan’s State surprise win over Baylor.

Round and About

The world needs you in all of your vivid color

The top 10 words invented by writers

From muggle to whizzpopper: invented words in children’s literature

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 12/28/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1255 Law of Hoarding.

Inspiration for the Week

Suffering is optional. -Byron Katie

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

First Snow
First Snow by marc-andré tragé

Basquiat
Basquiat by Alvaro Tapia

week 10 001
week 10 001 by Silke Rieger

week 15 001
week 15 001 by Silke Rieger

« mémoire »
« mémoire » by linda vachon

Imagine
Imagine by Marcia

Happy New Year 2015
Happy New Year 2015 by Matt Granz

Koi Dancer
Koi Dancer by molossus, who says Life Imitates Doodles

New Wallpapers

I picked up almost all of these Live the Legend wallpapers. If you love dragons, fae, centaurs, etc., go grab some!

Star Bright from National Geographic

Polished Porcelain from National Geographic (beautiful mushrooms!)

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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2015 Word of the Year

December 31st, 2014
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I last tried doing a word of the year in 2013. I choose the word “Peace,” and I talked about it here on this blog. By mid-February, I had given up on even trying. My job was eliminated. I was transferred around the company twice in 3 months, finally landing back at my old job against my wishes, but different. The center had reopened with a different, more challenging population of kids to work with. I resisted that transfer, but it was made anyway.

I’m not here to cast blame on anyone for me having a terrible 2013. I did it to myself. I got myself stuck in grief and couldn’t, wouldn’t move myself out. I wallowed, had a giant pity party, and generally hated life. I’m pretty sure I was an absolute beast to be around. There was no peace in my soul.

Around November, I decided to close down the pity party and move forward, trying to be a happier person. I wasn’t feeling the need to choose a word in 2014. It felt like it would be tempting fate, and even though I don’t believe in fate, I still didn’t want to chance it.

I really hadn’t planned to pick a word for 2015 either, but then I started seeing people talking about it. When Tangie Baxter posted worksheets for choosing your word in her fabulous Art Journal Emporium, how could I resist? I dithered, I had another pity party (brief this time), then decided that I’m throwing caution to the wind and jumping back on the Word of the Year band wagon.

Just to prove I don’t believe in fate, so it can’t possibly be tempted, I chose “Peace” again, but this time with a difference. I’ve come to believe that Peace is a huge thing, and huge things are best conquered in small bites. Perhaps that’s the only way that they can be conquered. I’ve spent the last week studying, thinking, journaling, and researching the practices that lead to peace, then I put together my plan. Every month I’ll have a focus, a practice that I will pursue. By the end of the year, I should have 12 new habits, all of which contribute to peace.

Here, on a fabulous background made by Tangie Baxter, is my word and my monthly practices for 2015.

2015WordandPractices

I will start in January with the practice of Acceptance. Here is why I chose this as my first practice:

“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

I will be re-reading Loving What Is by Byron Katie and doing The Work every day. I think if I had done this in 2013, I would have had a much happier, and more importantly, peaceful year.

If you’re doing a word for 2015, please comment below and let me know. Tell me what you think about the idea of monthly practices, too.

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The Scattered Life Collective #15

December 26th, 2014
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On the Menu

This week I made rice pudding for Christmas dinner at my parents’ house. It’s rare that I can eat a dessert, and it’s awesome when that dessert is my dad’s favorite dessert. I just had to substitute honey for sugar and voila! It was delicious.

My Instagram Post of the Week

My Instagram post of the week
Here’s my dad in the middle of our Christmas gelli party. Following that, we did a Compendium of Curiosities party. Then a Wii party. It was a fun Christmas!

Reading

I bought a copy of The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett for Tangie Baxter’s Art Journal Emporium class starting in January. I really love the chapters I’ve read so far.

I read a random book off my Kindle, Above the Bridge by Deborah Garner, this week. It’s not my usual fare. A cozy mystery with a side of romance. An easy read for an overwhelming week. Perfect.

The Song of the Week


This is what runs during the credits of the current Hobbit installment. Don’t leave the theater – it is gorgeous.

And because one song from The Hobbit isn’t enough, here are the dwarves from the first movie:

Watching

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • I had a short week at work with W, Th, and F off. Next week will be the same. I’ve needed some down time, and I’m really enjoying it.
  • I hired a landscaper to clean up my back yard. That’s one giant to do off my list. Expensive but worth it.
  • Spent Christmas eve at my parents opening gifts. I got some Inktense blocks and an external hard drive. Yay! Lots of other stuff as well, but those two things really excite me.
  • The dogs and I spent Christmas day at my parents. We did some art stuff (see the Instagram post of the week) and then tried to bowl on the Wiil. Let me just say that two excited 70 pound dogs in a small retirement apartment made that pretty challenging and funny.
  • I started writing a new story and am really liking it.

Round and About

The Time Travelers Hidden In Thrift Store Paintings

Craft the Rainbow – yummy eye candy!

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… vape. The article includes a list of the semifinalists as well. I just want to go on record as saying that I was normcore long before normcore was cool.

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 12/21/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Prompt #1244 Visual Prompt of the Week – Giddyup!.

Inspiration for the Week

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.
recombinant collage 10
recombinant collage 10 by Bob May

Untitled
Untitled by 麥蓮意識

encre
encre by linda vachon

women and cats
women and cats by Silke Rieger

la tête ailleurs
la tête ailleurs by linda vachon

monoprinting on gel plates & transferring to strips
monoprinting on gel plates & transferring to strips by Sherry Thrash

Have a BEAUTIFUL Sabbath Day! And remember you matter what, you are amazing! #youcan #todaytommorrowalways #sharethegift
you are amazing! #youcan #todaytommorrowalways #sharethegift by Susan Weckesser

Thank you
Thank you by sprinkle happiness

Week 52 Sing a Song
Week 52 Sing a Song by Jean Chaney

Cone Life.
Cone Life. by Kim Faires

The dog that thought he was an ostrich.
The dog that thought he was an ostrich. by Iseetherefore

Pierrot with a Mandolin-Journal52 'Sparkle & Shine'
Pierrot with a Mandolin-Journal52 ‘Sparkle & Shine’ by Sandra Strait

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2014
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Blog-Christmas

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.
-Christina Rosetti (1885)

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The Scattered Life Collective #14

December 18th, 2014
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On the Menu

Tonight I’m at Rio Rico Mexican Grill blogging with my friends. I’ll be ordering the Tacos Ranchero, which I love. Crispy steak, pico de gallo, and guacamole on soft corn tortillas. Heaven!

This weekend, I’m going to roast a whole chicken in a crock pot. Can’t wait to see how this works, because I really would like to use my crock pot more.

My Instagram Post of the Week

Instagram Post of the Week

Reading

I finished a couple of books this week! Yay! One was West of Eden by Harry Harrison, which is a very elaborate science fiction tale of an alternate history of our planet in which the reptiles develop science and technology long before hominids. I really enjoyed this book.

The other book I finished was Before Bethlehem by James J. Flerlage. This is the story of Joseph’s family before Mary came to them. I don’t know how historically accurate it is, but Joseph is a character that doesn’t get much attention. I enjoyed peeking into his life a bit, even if it’s all made up.

I also got a new Kindle HD 6, because they had a screaming deal on them. I really like how much lighter than my original Fire it is. I am seriously unimpressed with battery life, however. I have to recharge the battery every 2 days, no matter how little I’ve used it during those two days. I once left it 3 days, fully charged, and never used it. It was completely dead on the third day. That’s just not right. I know Amazon would replace it, but I don’t want to send it back. It’s a dilemma.

The Song of the Week

And because one Stevie Wonder song isn’t enough, here’s another one with some Ray Charles to make it even better.

Watching

I finally finished the Photoshop for Mixed Media course offered by Tangie Baxter. So many wonderful videos and instructions! I’ve really enjoyed it. I used Photoshop Elements, so not everything is available to me. I am so sad that I can’t do puppet warp. Some day, I will get a full version of Photoshop. Maybe.

Good Things that Happened this Week

  • It’s been a crazy week getting ready for Christmas at the treatment center. My boss wouldn’t approve putting up the artificial trees, so I was pressuring him to get a live tree that we could plant after Christmas. When he heard what that would cost, he finally relented. So we have artificial trees up and the kids have decorated them. Yay!
  • We had a great time at both of my Toastmasters clubs this week with holiday parties this week. I ended up this year with a great T shirt that says “Caution: May Contain Traces of Sarcasm” and some handwoven purses from Senegal. I love those gifts!
  • I spent a morning working on GED prep with one of the kids – story problems – and I’ve still got it! I can still solve story problems, and I can still teach. The brain is still working – yay!

Round and About

The Color Thesaurus
Powerful Pictures tell Foster Children’s Stories

More links at The Writing Reader Carnival of Creativity for 12/14/14.

My favorite prompt of the week at The Writing Reader: Angelic Visitations.

Inspiration for the Week

When you open a door, you look through and there are a hundred more doors. Step through the next one and there are a hundred more. The more we understand the more we comprehend the vastness of our ignorance. – Sylvia Earle

My Favorites on Flickr this Week

Click through on these to learn more about the artists.

Weeping Rock - Wentworth Falls
Weeping Rock – Wentworth Falls by Henry Brosius

keep  sleeping
keep sleeping by Silke Rieger

storm
storm by Silke Rieger

Untitled
Untitled by mac mitchell

# 3154 "Deep"
3154 “Deep” by Scott Bergey

Jan-sneak-peak-5
Jan-sneak-peak-5 by marynbtol

cadre inchies
cadre inchies by Neija Zeugme

Mammatus Before Sunset
Mammatus Before Sunset by Matt Granz

Untitled
Untitled by mac mitchell

New Wallpapers

Mount Asgard from National Geographic

Icelandic Horses by National Geographic

I hope you enjoyed this! If you decide to join the collective, let me know by leaving a comment so that I can return the favor.

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Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader