34+ Things To Love

Love.

Awhile back, I wrote & posted a love list and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I decided to do another variation of it today. I had wanted to do 101 things to love, but since it is getting late i decided to cut it for short… for now anyway.

1. butterscotch pudding, the kind you make from scratch – not some silly box. 2. thin, wispy & airy white dresses on a hot summer day. 3. that one-of-a-kind feeling you can only get when you conquer a difficult project that may have once intimidated you. 4. hardcover books without dust-jackets, lined up on shelves that could seemingly go on for miles and miles and … miles… properly sorted by color of course. 5. dry, sarcastic, almost-intelligent kind of humor you have to be carefully listening to ‘get’. 6. quiet, reflective moments all to yourself. 7. handmade lip balm. 8. sunshine. 9. watching the sunrise over the ocean 10. beautiful, old butcher block counters that contain enough stories to fill a book 11. light, fluffy icing that makes you mouth water 12. old farmhouses 13. ingenuity 14. the rush i get when browsing a favorite camera store. 15. the nostalgic feeling only polaroids can give. 16. kindness.

:: sweet love ::

17. shabby white painted wood and the occasional accent of vintage glass glitter. 18. big, sloppy, tackle-me-kinda-kisses i have to fend off from my neurotic, but sweet golden retriever. 19. a tall, ice-cold glass of water appearing just when you need it most. 20. the smell of my favorite scented candle wafting through my home. 21. a freshly cleaned house with fresh cut flowers and loads of glorious sunshine peering in. 22. a piping hot cup of earl grey tea just the way gramma used to make it with plenty of sugar and milk. 23. exploration 24. throw pillows, soft cuddly blankets, down bedding and high-thread count sheets; at a discount of course.  25. that special-sort-of-wide-eyed wonder that children, puppies and kittens have mastered. 26. word games 27. pens, markers, crayons… hell …any kind of writing instrument makes my day. 28. discovering off-the-beaten path places, movies and music. 29. a sparkling, clean kitchen sink awaiting me in the morning. 30. a good analogy that just makes something abundantly clear. 31. a long, hot shower pounding on aching muscles. 32. freedom. 33. traditions that date back long before i was born and the flood of memories that i become engulfed in when thinking of them.

34. the people in my life who love me unconditionally, make me smile, warm my heart and inspire me daily – just by being who they are.

Warning: Creating your own love list may result in stupidly-sweet-ear-to-ear-grins adorning your face throughout the day. Heart flutters, butterflies in the tummy, and giggling fits may also ensue.

I’d love to know the things that you love too, please share!

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Chrysti

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The stuff hope is made of

graffiti quote

Often it is at the most unexpected of places, in the most unexpected of moments that inspiration grabs hold of us and renders us just a bit… well, speechless … if even for just the slightest of seconds.

You see, directly across from the American Tobacco Historic District in Downtown Durham,  under what I believe is the Durham Freeway, is this makeshift sort of parking lot . You know the type: your everyday cement-slabbed-over-run-with-gravel-and-last-nights-beer-bottles sort of corner that really doesn’t strike one as anything but ordinary. In fact, ordinary is being kind – most people wouldn’t see a speck of beauty amidst the rubble.

I am sure you know the drill: as we parked the car my head was buried within my purse, gathering my essentials, prepping my camera bag, checking my phone for messages .. just lost in the boring, everday mundane details we let consume our time. Imagine my delight when I broke from that awful normal .. and looked up to discover that quote.

I stopped.

I inhaled, deeply.

I stared. Mesmerized.

I took it all in.

That perfectly imperfect, hand written, drippy, inked up blob… I found it to be an absolutely beautiful sort of mess. I found the words beautiful, the penmanship beautiful, I found the act of whomever took the time to create it there… well, beautiful. It made that dreary space.. you guessed it.. beautiful.

Here’s a close-up:

graffiti

  “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” -Che Guevara

I have always loved how words guide me.. how they ever-so-gracefully float around within my busy head and resonate deep inside of me. They give me this new sort of sight – that day in particular – because of that particular beauty – I began seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary prominently – the glorious patterns and rustic colors of the vines along the cracked pavement.. the ray of sunlight illuminating the tiniest of weeds poking through the gravel… that sight .. is nothing short of magical.

Truly, it is just that … m a g i c a l. It is the sort of thing hope is built upon.

It is the sort of thing that doesn’t cost a dime.

That perspective, that gratitude and appreciation for what we have, what is there, what surrounds us… is what I believe to be the backbone of not only creativity, but happiness.

Wow. 

Powerful.

Each of us has oh-so-many blessings and regardless of where we may be at any given moment in our lives,  beauty, inspiration and metaphors surround us.. they are plentiful… we can find and even create it in the most unexpected of places… the trick is to not get so wrapped up in the mundane details that we are blinded to it.

Where have you found your unexpected inspirations?

Chrysti

Moving among mysteries

move among mysteries

“Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.”
— Theodore Roethke

‘Move Among Mysteries’ – Christy Hydeck – 2009 -Artography
Print available here.

I feel as if life is just that these days – this amazing sort of jump from one mysterious adventure to another. My curiosity is peaked, senses are heightened & I feel like I have been bestowed with this awesome takes-the-breath-right-out-from-you-give-me-a-moment-to-take-it-all-in appreciation of all around that surrounds me. Love that.

To reach this state – and mind you, it isn’t always a high, happy place .. it takes a daily committment .. that allowing myself to be vulnerable thing. Giving myself permission to feel, to experiment, to trust and to fully immerse myself in whatever it is that is capturing me at the moment — I am willing to open my heart to the possibilities that await me.  How grand life is, when seen as an adventure.  Autumn always seems to beckon me into that glorious mindset…  exhilarating.

That new piece shown above, is a product of my renewed willingness to stretch myself, and dabble outside of my ‘normal’ — whatever that is…. and ya know what? I love it, I actually love it! I don’t often hang my own work around me, but that piece? It will adorn one of my walls sometime soon.. perhaps, you will consider allowing it to adorn yours as well. (shameless, i know..)

What do you think of it? What emotions does it evoke within you? What have you been courageous in lately?

Warmly, Chrysti

Am I good enough?

sm-cah-the_gift-closeup3-Image5

Each & every damn darn time I complete an article I get a sudden case of the dreaded ‘amigoodenoughs’. Let me reiterate:

Every.      Single.      Time.

My brain works overtime into this ri.dic.u.lous. sort of insane frenzy…  Am I good enough? Is it innovative enough? Is it clear enough? Did I forget something? Is there something new for people to learn? Is it supportive? Is it pretty? Am I sure I am done? Should I have added another piece? Did I proofread it well enough? Is it original and creative?  Is it at all inspiring? Can anyone do this? Is it too bizarre? Is it too common? Are the color palettes pleasing?  Are the pieces balanced? What will people get from it? Did I stretch my wings? Will the editors like it? Will it fit the issue they have in mind? What if it doesn’t? What if all the work was for nothing? OMG maybe I should start over. This isn’t good at all. This is the worst piece I have written. How boring am I? Am I good enough? … and it begins all over again. You know, that vicious circle thing.

Nothing is guaranteed. You may write a perfectly pleasing piece – it could be the nobel prize of art – and it just may get cut because it doesn’t fit. Granted, this has never  yet to happen to me – but I still worry it will. Financially, I have to place the majority of my time (or keep learning to) in things that I will profit from. I need to make a living.. and while rejection doesn’t bother me (much).. the idea of having wasted my time… THAT really friggin’ gets to me. Scares me. Scares the living bejesus outta me.. which triggers all the normal anxieties any one of us may have… and triggers my mood swings. Yikes. 

Earlier this year, was the first time I dropped the ball on an article. (i am still so, so, very sorry pokey) Mentally? I was in a bad, bad place. Physically? Not so good either. I was overwhelmed by life – overwhelmed by pain – overwhelmed with work – overwhelmed with home – you get the idea…  and when I couldn’t complete the task at hand, I beat myself up for it. I still do. It has and will always bother me.. that from time to time, this disease gets the best of me. I don’t want to be ‘that’ girl. Ya know? Things hit rock bottom for me this year… and I picked myself up. I have spent the year focused on getting that proverbial ‘all’ under control, while battling some life changes that would make a normal person crazy.

Still with me? I really do have a point here, I promise!

So I stopped writing, I didn’t commit to very much. I have found strength I forgot I had. I started over again, and began writing once more. When I completed my latest article, (which you should hopefully see in Somerset Studio next spring .. hello part deux) I was actually a bit surprised that my brain went right back to that way-too-friggin-rambly-insecure-mess you saw above. Talk about frustrating. Like a trooper though, I packed it up – shipped it out and hoped for the best. It is a good article, I think. Yet — is it good enough? I really get the most from inspiring someone to do something that they didn’t believe they could — I guess, like any of us… I want to know I contribute, that I have value – and that maybe, just maybe… someone else will gain something from that ‘thing’ I so loooove to do.

When the nasty lil thoughts hit me, I remembered something – a letter I received after my first article with Cloth, Paper, Scissors. It wasn’t the normal, ooo i like it… it wasn’t from someone I knew complimenting me… this was a stranger, who tracked me down.. and sent me the most touching note I have ever received about my writing. It made me cry. She gave me permission to share it years ago, and I hadn’t… but I think today I will. I would never post a private letter without permission.

I know this post is long. I know you may be sick of reading, I am asking that you continue doing sopretty please?

Chrysti,

I wanted to write to let you know how much your article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors has helped my 30 year old daughter.  She suffered an episode very similar to a stroke after the birth of her 3rd child last year and had to have surgery on her brain.  She has limited use of her right side and her speech is slowly coming back.  I have been trying to get her to play with some form of art or another (I am a cloth doll maker and jill of some trades) to help her heal and when I read your article I knew that I could get her to try her hand with this.  Her brain injury occurred on her left side and I knew that if I could show her how much fun she could have just trying some of the techniques she would find the confidence to try even more artistic endeavors.  One thing that we have been told is that the right side of the brain can compensate inadequacies (sp?) that happen to the injured left side and I knew that this was an art form that she would be able to do.

 She was a hair stylist by trade and color was her specialty yet she never felt that she was “artistic”.  Today she tried the first three steps in making a “Skinny Book” and even applied these techniques to some watercolor paper postcards.  We have taken a break until next weekend to let things dry.  I truly want to thank you for the great article with steps that made her feel like there are “no mistakes”.  She is her own worst critic and with limitations put on her now her self confidence and self esteem has been waning.  It was so fabulous to see her eyes light up as each new layer of play was completed. 

Biggest of hugs to you, my dear!

kimber

I of course, replied.. through tears.. the follow up note from her read as so…

Dearest Chrysti,

Thank you so much for writing and by all means share my note with anyone and everyone that you would like to.  You have a gift, my girl, and you were correct in saying that being “different” is one of your blessings.  Know that you touch more lives daily by creating the works that you do. 

When Morana first had her AVM episode they told us not to expect her to live.  A mother’s worst nightmare, I can assure you.  The blessings bestowed on us were many and we continue to be blessed in her healing process.  One of the many has been how you and your art have touched our lives.

When Morana was growing up she considered the art that I did daily just “something” her mom did.  When she was a little girl she drew daily but after a bad experience in school where they made her conform to what “they wanted” her to create she quit drawing, doing so only when assigned.

With this injury being on the left side of her brain I knew that if I could show her that there were no rules I could stir the right side of her brain to react positively.  I have always believed that art has healing qualities and I can already see this in her attitude and outlook about her life in general. 

Your article for Cloth Paper Scissors was just what we both needed to begin the baby steps in her art therapy.  I will be sending some pics next weekend to show you our progress. 

I will also be sharing with Cloth Paper Scissors what your article has stirred in our lives.  As “great” as it is to get “published” they (CPS) were the lucky ones in having you do such a wonderful article for them.

Biggest hugs to you, my dear!

kimber

See, this was my long-winded way of reminding you that despite our deepest reservations, despite our inner critics, despite what has seemingly become routine to us — through the good times, and the worst of times … we touch people. Our lives are all somehow connected, and each of us – has impacted someone in ways we may never know. In ways bigger than us.

Just by being who we are.

Just by sharing what we know.

So, goodbye, for now my-woefully-annoying-lil-insecurities .. I am reminded and trust that everything happens for a reason… once again. How many times will I learn this lesson in my lifetime? And Kimber? Thank you, for still being such an inspiration to me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Chrysti

Stand Still

listen
print available here

Stand still.
The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

That? Is one of my favorite poems – it is as if it speaks directly to my heart.

Sorry to be so brief, my dad is in town visiting – and my computer time is minimal … what are your plans for this weekend? How do you intend to honor your creative side amidst the rush?

Chrysti

Down & Dirty

Pumpkins

This weekend? Positively  f a b u l o u s!  Chock full of  simple delights, autumnal celebrations, exquisite company and the divine pleasure of immersing myself into nature. Even this nasty infection/virus I am fighting seemed insignificant. Love that.

Yesterday, I found myself at Ganyard Hill Farm … perusing the pumpkin patch & other delights that are simply a seasonal rite of passage; but ones I hadn’t experienced in quite some time. The combination of the crisp air, sounds of children laughing and autumn’s colors dappled about gave me shivers; I was present in the moment. I felt alive… fully alive!  How often do we take that feeling for granted?

Pumpkin Top

Cotton

Since I ventured to the farm a bit late in the season, many of the crops were picked over; it became a good old fashioned treasure hunt to find that perfect pumpkin, to spot remnants of corn among the barren stalks and to pick the perfect pods of cotton.  I couldn’t tell you what exactly my fascination with cotton is all about, I just know I am instinctively drawn to it – and have been for as long as I can remember. I am smitten with the raw, creamy, natural shades and the multitude of textures. There is a deep and often painful history behind those plants – yet it also provides us with so many luxuries… so many necessities. I dunno, for some reason my obsession with it.. just fits.

While looking for some cotton to take home with me, I heard a young girl literally – squeal – and i mean a-loud-only-a-9-year-old-girl-can manage-squeal – with this raw, pure delight. In that i-so-cant-believe-people-are this-lazy disapproving tone she exclaims “People are just afraid to get down and dirty, look how much I found!” … her mother was smiling and shaking her head as the young girl filled her arms with a trove of cotton – all hers for the keeping, merely because she wasn’t afraid to get down on her knees, get dirty and look at the field with a different perspective. Raw, contagious enthusiam at its finest.

Cornstalks

Goat

After hearing her? I promptly changed my own vantage points. I knelt on the ground, sat in the dirt and became fearless with my lens. I shot the crops and the beautiful farm from angles I was tempted to skip in the name of clean clothing. Pffft. I stand by my claim that children are some of the best teachers… because as adults we over analyze and complicate things far too often. We miss what is right in front of us far too frequently.

It is a good reminder isn’t it? Never be afraid to get down & dirty for you just don’t know what treasures or views you may miss.

Christy

{Echo} Week 1- Emerge

 Emerge 2

That photo there, it isn’t a bad one persay. ..  it just lacks.. well, something. However, it is that very photo that facilitated a ‘lightbulb moment’  for me recently.

“Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.”
 ~ Winston Churchill

Introspection. It is almost an addiction for me. I suppose it comes from living with both mental & neurological  illnesses – in its own way… it has become my method of survival. Recently I find myself dwelling on the tendency I have to fold into myself.  I find myself pulling away, rather than towards people more often than I would like. I do the proverbial ‘all’ by myself. Afraid to ask for help. Unsure of when to reach out. Hesitant to deepen my connections with people.  It can be a lonely state of mind to live in .. for sure.

I foolishly hold on to some warped, misguided notion that <insert any project, business role, decision name here> will somehow be better if I do it myself. So when Susan Tuttle & I finally decided on a collaborative project to embark on it was a little milestone for me and I had no idea that within the first week, I would find it all life changing.

cah-echo-week1-emerge

 (please click to see it larger)

That photo i mentioned earlier? 

It is far better paired with Susan’s, than it is standing alone.

Perhaps …I too am stronger when connected, than alone.

“Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees”
 ~ Marcel Proust

I am excited for the chance to take a creative journey with Susan; to get a glimpse on how she views this miraculous world. I am hoping, that you too will join us in the project we simply call: echo. Every 2 weeks we will each post a seperate set of diptychs based on a prompt we decided on prior. The final result is not only a surprise to each of you, but to us as well. What a true delight that is for me! Be sure to take a gander over to Susan’s blog, where she shares our second diptych.

We invite you to take this journey with us .. to take our bi-weekly prompt and interpret it through your camera lens & share it on your blog (or flickr). Be sure to let one, or both of us know in the comments section that you have done it too, I will post a roundup of all the posts I am aware of in the next 2 weeks.  If you haven’t yet guessed it, the first theme is ’emerge’.  Whether you work alone, or pair up with someone we look forward to seeing the world through your eyes, your echo.

Warmly, Chrysti

Update: Week 1 Roundup is posted here… see all the creative folks joining in!