Choose Your Adventure!

Don’t you wish you could bottle up happy days? Wouldn’t it be nice to pull one out when you are having a bad day? I think that’s one of the reasons I like photography so well. It’s kind of like stepping back in time for a moment. You can actually freeze a moment and look back years later and still smile by just remembering.

As a smart man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller. I’ve always been one to stop and look around. Probably more often than I should. My teachers in elementary school called it day dreaming. But I think it’s important to retain the wonder of “what if”.

It’s kind of like looking at life like a choose your adventure book. It’s also a good way to mentally prepare yourself for the positive changes you want to make. If I do this thing, I could have this awesome positive outcome. And if we aren’t getting the outcome we desire, we just back up and take a different route or try it a little different.

Go ahead and daydream. Make it big and beautiful. Keep those what ifs flowing. There’s no limit on trying. You can change directions as many times as you need. This is your story you are writing. And you are the main character. Write your life amazing!

I myself am making big scary changes. And sometimes I feel like running away. And sometimes I have to check myself. Usually, it’s when I’m extra cranky and angry for no reason. (There’s always a reason.) If I notice that I’m snapping way too much at the kids, or just feeling angry about everything, I have to give myself pause. I have to find the real culprit and face that beast so I can move on and continue my big, beautiful dream.

The usual suspect is the fear of change. We must acknowledge that we are making this change in our life. This change will make us step out of our comfort zone. But we have to remember the end goal. There are going to be things that will make us pause. Maybe even make us want to quit. But don’t you want to see how the story turns out? You’ve had this amazing vision of where this change will take you. Keep the vision. Block the noise and the negativity. You got this!

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Small Town Big Art

By Maria Edwards

Artist Vin Gee with Louise

Coshocton Ohio is seeing a revival of sorts in the local art community. Just take a drive through town and you will see some pretty amazing art. Our Himebaugh Park had an incredible “Art Mob” makeover of the Rotary building and basketball court. Deans Jewelers has a beautiful artistic creation on their back wall by Jaidyn Brink. You might even see a far-out garage wall mural curtesy of Vin Gee.

Vin hopes to see “more children’s art programs and art supply drives for less fortunate kids.”

Coshocton Himebaugh Park

Coshocton Himebaugh Park

Most weekends you can find something art related to do in or around Coshocton. The Beacon has an Arts listing in the classified section. Facebook has a multitude of local events related to the arts. And we are fortunate to have several organizations that offer ongoing ways to experience art.

The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum’s mission statement is “to inspire creativity, the love of learning and an appreciation of diverse cultures and local heritage.”  I would say they definitely inspire the creativity in this community! In addition to their beautifully curated collections, they have a special exhibit room for revolving exhibits that often includes local artists. The museum also hosts many special events throughout the year. Dinner Under the Stars is an exquisite small-town version of the Met Gala.  Beer, Bourbon and Bites is a fun fundraising event for the museum. They also host a variety of art classes.

Triple Locks Theater, home of the Coshocton Footlight Players has been providing award worthy performances since 1949. This gem of a theater is located near React Park and the canal locks. Hence the name Triple Locks Theater. The building has been expertly designed to accommodate up to 159 audience members. Some of the past performances have included: The Bridges of Madison County, Sweeny Todd and Mamma Mia! This March you can experience “Nana’s Naughty Knicker”. And starting in May make sure you catch Grey Gardens.

Artist Jaidyn Brink

The Coshocton Public Library System is also a great supporter of art in Coshocton. You can catch arts and crafts with the kids at the Coshocton branch. The West Lafayette Brach Library hosts a featured artist of the month. You can check out the books and check out some beautiful photography. This month’s featured artist is James Griffin.

The Pomerene Center for the Arts has really been a major influencer on the revival of art in Coshocton.  It was founded in 1984 with a mission to promote community involvement in the arts. And they have done just that. During any event in downtown Coshocton, you will probably find Anne Cornell, Director at the Pomerene Center for the Arts. She is always willing to bring the art and fun to the public. Anne was one of the visionaries behind the Art Park. Which is now our premium downtown location for all things art.

The Art Park

It’s clear to see the support and dedication to our local artists. And the commitment from community leaders to continue to inspire their artistic endeavors. We are also very fortunate to receive support from The Ohio Arts Council. With so many talented and dedicated people working to support art in the community you can be sure to see many new projects in the future.

Anne Cornell will continue to spearhead projects in the downtown area. She has been an amazing asset to the community and continues to champion all things art. She has high hopes for our future artistic evolution.   “It is my goal to establish a community studio space on Main Street where we can make art with the community, grow our civic arts practice and simultaneously — in addition to performances and exhibits in the artPARK — be a cog in the wheel of downtown development.” – Anne Cornell

Quitting the Moment

Some days feel impossible. Things can get so heavy. How can I possibly keep doing this? I hate everything in my life. My job sucks. I can’t do anything right. I suck. No one likes me or wants to hang out with me. My coworkers hate me. My own kids don’t like me. I am so insignificant. I’m just old and angry. I just want to quit.

I could go on and on. And today I am feeling all of those things. I’m having a rough day. Work really sucked. I’m not sleeping well and I’m feeling exhausted and burnt out. But here’s the really big important thing – I acknowledge that this is how I’m feeling at the moment. I’ve been here before, and unfortunately, I’ll probably be here again at some point.

Life is cyclical. It goes in cycles. And probably more so for women. But everyone goes through these cycles. There will be highs and there will be lows. We would all love to be riding on that high every day! Man wouldn’t that be great! And if we could just remember and focus on those highs it might make the lows a little easier.

But we all forget and get in that rut and maybe even get stuck there for a while. We may get that negative soundtrack running through our heads. Life just seems almost unbearable. But this is not new. It’s not the first time you’ve ever been down, is it? It’s actually familiar. And that’s why we need to acknowledge all the garbage. Yes, I am having a bad day. My negative soundtrack is so loud I can’t focus on anything else. I just want to quit!

So, I will quit. I’ll quit the moment. I’ll quit momentarily. I acknowledge that I am feeling down. I’m feeling lost. OMG here’s that big scary word. I’m depressed. But I’ve been all that before. I know there will be a high point again. This is not my final destination. It’s just an uncomfortable layover I have to get past. And by acknowledging it, I can let it go and get past it.

So be good and be gentile with yourself when you need to. It’s okay to get through a rough day at work and go straight home and put on your jammies. That’s what I did today. I have a huge list of things I needed to do when I got home. But for the moment I quit. I’m not going to stress it. I’m not going to worry about what I didn’t do. I’m going to quit the moment and allow myself to rest and heal. I’ll go back to kicking ass tomorrow.

The Art of Not Freaking Out

I am not the master of not freaking out. Not even close. We all get there, right to the edge, at some point. It’s just a fine line of not letting whatever is happening push you over that edge. Because if you go over that edge; it’s into full on freakout mode and no one wants to go there!

But life happens and inevitably we will end up teetering on that edge. It could be work deciding you need to take on a project you are not confident or comfortable with. Or maybe it’s a surprise test on your worst subject. How about spouse or partner acting clueless like you never told them about the very important thing at least ten times. And don’t even get me started on moody teenagers who act like their fathers and don’t hear the fifteen times you asked them to clean the kitchen.

Yes, life is just a big old smorgasbord of stress and anxiety waiting to happen. It gets to all of us at some point. As much as I’d like to say I’m all calm, cool, and collected; I’m not. At least not all the time. We can’t control the chaos that comes at us. But we can control how we react to that chaos.

Just like meditation, not freaking out takes practice. We all start to flip that switch sometimes. And that’s where we need to return to our breathing. Just like meditation. We need to pause and look at the situation without reacting for a moment. Just observe. It’s really hard to take a step back. I know I am a passionate person, and my first instinct is always to rush right in. I’m a fixer. I want to get in there and fix this injustice or problem. But sometimes it’s a really big, hairy, scary problem and I just want to freak out and run away. Either way, rushing in or running away, is probably not the best solution.

So how do we not freak out? I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you what I tell my kids. First, take a deep breath. You are brave. Fear does not controll you. Fear is the real culprit of the freakout. Always breath before you react in any situation. Give yourself that moment to take a deep breath or two and look at the situation before you react.

And then we just pick a starting point. One step, in one direction. Not thinking past that first step. Once we have a starting point, we can build from there. We don’t have to have all the answers at once. We just need to know which direction we are going. And we keep breathing. We keep remembering that we are brave, and we are in control. It’s also good to remember that freaking out will not solve the problem. It’s just a reaction to fear and unknow. And we are brave and not controlled by fear.

Mom Needs Calm

Books And Blanket Forts

I just spoke those words to my daughter. It sounds like the title of a Dr. Seuss book. I don’t want to overreact or spaz, or yell or melt down. It’s important that I let her know that I am feeling stressed. And it’s okay if I need to take a minute and listen to some calming music. I will aways give her the same curtesy.

Life can be busy and hard, and somedays it feels like it’s coming from all directions. And while we’ve all had to put on our big girl britches and deal with it; it’s not always easy. Young adults, older adults, and kids can all suffer from overwhelm. Sometimes life is just too much. Everything is happening all at the same time, and we feel like we want to tuck our heads under our pillows until it all goes away.

But that’s not what we really want. We want a vibrant, passionate, active life. And that can feel like a high wire balancing act. We want it all; but are we willing to sacrifice our sanity to get it? We shouldn’t. I’m a firm believer that we can in fact, have our cake and eat it too. That’s what cake is for! That’s what life is about!

Yes, there are going to be highs and low. But we shouldn’t dwell in either place too long. Enjoy the high while it lasts. Take the time to get through the lows. And know when to step away from it all. Not to give up, but to pause and reflect.

It’s totally okay to fill a blanket fort with pillows and books and leave the world behind for a couple hours. Or just plug your phone in and walk away for a day. Do something enjoyable. Allow yourself to disconnect from the rest of the world. It will still be there when you get back. And you will return rested and ready to take it all on.

TAAADAAA!

Wow! What a year it has been! I decided to go back to school. I know, what a crazy decision. Full time work, full time single mom, and school! But wow! I was not expecting the amazing whirlwind it has been.

I’m being creative again. I’m meeting people. Stepping out of my comfort zone. And the collaboration has be awesome. My day job is a good job with a great company. But dang is it boring! I had forgotten the excitement of creating. Creating art, creating projects, creating written word. I had forgotten how much I love to write.

Now that I have the first semester behind me, I’m realizing just how much I’ve changed in one semester. I’m more confident, more hopeful, more alive. And now that I know what I’ve been missing I need to focus on what I’m doing and where I’m going. I need to stop going with the flow and remember that I know how to swim. I can choose my destination. I am capable, I am strong, and I can do more and be more.

This is my first post. This is my new beginning.

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