Early Diane


“Early Diane”

             

“My recent work”                                                                                       

When I was a teenager I used to write poetry and draw. So it made sense when I created my greeting card line. It gave my passion for both drawing and writing a place to land. when I started doing art shows. I remember being inspired by a sweet card line by a little girl who’d passed away. Her parents took all of her artwork and made them into greeting cards with her story on the back of each one. I was  so awe struck and  inspired, I created Angel Talk (now Diane On A Whim.) And thought how wonderful to be able to leave pieces of your soul behind  in something tangible for others to share. Maybe someday  my great grandchildren might find bits of me here if they ever go looking for my story. I imagine them finding me inside my cards and my art and here in my blog.

The other day I found some of my “early diane” cards, I didn’t know I’d saved. I guess that’s one good thing about this sheltering, cupboards are getting cleaned out and drawers are getting organized and things are being re-discovered or thrown out. I am not one to just sit around & so I am determined to have a project going everyday. We used to own a little gift shop several years ago,  and if  someone would cry when reading one of my cards, my husband would joke…. “she gives them away for free if you cry!” In a way I didn’t always feel that it was really a joke because it was almost enough to understand that they’d been touched enough to cry. Ya know? What higher compliment could you ask for? The other day I was on a forum on Etsy (an online shop for artists) and was reading a thread that asked “What do you consider a successful shop?” There were various answers from financial stats to stories about people generating so much income that they could quit their day jobs and others answering their success came in just doing their art for the joy of making other’s happy. I still feel that way, but lets be honest, during this time of financial upset,  I am really at the point now, where I need to find a way to make a living doing this. And I can’t give stuff away for free any longer and yet I will always feel that unbridled joy that comes when someone cries!

Anyway, finding those little black & white cards sent me down memory lane. Before colored ink was even an option or very expensive and I had to rely on somebody else to print them for me. As I thumbed through them. It was a little embarrassing. “Early Diane” meant “Early Diane!” If you know what I mean. I kept shaking my head and thinking how did I think these were good enough to sell but even more…. thinking these actually SOLD??

I think as artists following our dreams,   whether writers, actors, artists, singers or whatever our dream,  we all have a day of reckoning when we take inventory and either let go or hang on for dear life. I have a caricature of myself  as an artist that has hung on my bulletin board in my art studio for a long time. It was a party favor drawn at a shower I attended around the same time I began my card line and it is funny to see how young and excited I was through the eyes of the artist drawing me. And I wonder… How can I give that up?

The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will – Andy Warhol

For those interested in strolling around my Etsy shop, I’d love it if you would!

My etsy address is:

etsy.com/shop/DianeOnAWhim

They are precious in HIS sight


glass house

I have written a lot about glass houses. Maybe because I despise those who judge. Perhaps because I just might find myself behind those very same glass walls  from time to time. As a parent, I have had my share of stellar moments and I have had my share of not so stellar times. When I was growing up, I had a pretty decent childhood. I never saw my parents fight. I never heard them talk about finances and never had to worry about their bills.

I did however, know that my dad had “a drinking problems” he had to wine and dine clients in his line of work and my mom made the mistake of unloading her worries on me at a very young age. I am not blaming her. She did not realize that she was rocking my solid childhood to smitherings at the time. She threw me wonderful birthday parties and baked with me, she read stories to me and built me wonderful doll houses. She was defintely where my artistic and creative side comes from and she taught me about Jesus.  My dad was the one who I hung out with on the weekends, if he had a project, I was his wingman, tagging along to the hardware store or the barbershop. He took me school  clothes shopping every year and encouraged my writing.  I remember some amazing talks with both of them. But even though I am a “talker” I never felt that I could talk to my dad about his drinking.

worried little girl

When you are a kid and the one person who is your hero, who makes everything better, could make everything come tumbling down as well, it kind of shakes a kid’s whole being. You feel out of control and yet you really don’t understand any of it while it is happening. Years later, I studied Psychology. I worked in a private Psychiatric department at a hospital in my twenties. I even considered a profession in it. The whole thing fascinates me. I started out working with adolscents and that was about the time when the insurance  companies started screwing around with coverages and adults and geriactrics had better coverage so slowly over the years that I was there, I was moved to the adults.  It really frustrated me because it IS all about where we come from. We need to start with the kids and give them the tools in their adulthood. I know now that as I look back at the damage done in my own young life that I could have used some kind of an explanation why I felt so odd, scrambling to find my own control in my so called perfectly imperfect world. Kids are great in following the lead and pretending that everything is okay when it is not.

fighting

When my kids were young, I tried to never say bad things about their dad or burden them with too much. But I know they heard our fighting. I know I made a whole set of other mistakes and no matter how hard I tried to protect them, their childhood damaged them in someway. We are never going to give our kids the perfect childhood. But we do need to make an effort to protect them. As I look back through my own journey and education. I think that the thing that made me so frustrated with the switch from adolescent and not want to continue with working with adults… is because adults are so darn selfish. We say we put our kids before ourselves but we need to consider them more. What are they hearing? How much do they really know? Are you really protecting them? Or…Are you fooling yourself? How much do your kids know about your problems? Think about it for more than a minute.

I don’t mean to judge. I see my own glass walls perfectly clear and realize I have shared too much with my kids even though I set out to never do that. They are both adults now and I stand at my glass wall and look out at the world that I have created for me and them and think that now that I have some perspective, I want to share my message…. If you are reading this and have young children, I’m not judging you… I am imploring you to stop and really look at what you may be doing. I am trying to help you not make the same mistakes that I have come from…  The whole point of my blog… heck, the whole point of all of our lives…  is to learn from our mistakes.  And I am here to tell you that your children and mine really don’t need nor want to know our every waking thought. And for some reason, I feel the need to share the message TODAY

Please STOP robbing your children of their right to be children.

Jesus loving the children

I mean, I get that we can shelter them to the point of them not being able to handle real problems when it is time for them to go out and live their own lives. But I am not talking about that…  We just need to stop in our tracks when we are going through a moment of crisis and consider who else is in the room… And if your children are nearby…save that break down for another time behind closed doors  and…. for heaven sakes… let them have their childhood!

The Scent Of Shopping


There is just something about the scent of shopping that calms me. I walk in the doors at Target and instantly my bad mood vanishes. Why is that? And I am not trying to be metaphoric when I talk about the scent of shopping, it is the kind that hits you like a rubberband and sends you right to that time in your life that makes you remember. My memory of shopping has always beeen a good thing. It seems as if I can always count on seeing something new or something that I “want” or “need” and as I drop it in my cart, a feeling of satisfaction follows it.

Maybe it is the memory of my dad and I shopping together. We always had the best times and I was dubbed his little shopping buddy. As a young child, he didn’t have a lot, though, as an adult, he quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was pretty successful.  I grew up in what you might call a privileged childhood. The window of my bedroom had an ocean view and I grew up not hearing the same discussions that my kids have had to, about money and the lack of it,  about bills, due dates and the arguments that sometimes followed…

My childhood had it’s issues but one of them was not money though I was not spoiled. I had an allowance and was taught the value of the dollar. However, I do remember oddly enough, the one thing my dad was worried about was retirement. He was always planning some new retirement investment and  even discussed his strategies with me. Unforunately, he died at 51 jogging around our beautiful neighborhood and never really got to relax and enjoy much of it , which made a big impact on me through the years.

I have never needed a lot. I always looked at price tags and would even tell my dad I didn’t like something if I thought it was too over priced. Even so…  I have an inkling that I have had lessons that I have needed to learn about the value of several differnt things in my lifetime. I am not sure what God is preparing me for but I have learned a lot by my own mistakes and the mistakes of my friends. I’ve had friends who had nothing as kids and then made it big and lost everything and have had a difficult time dealing with their lack of. Having nothing and then almost too much and then nothing again. Jesus is a story teller, he taught many lessons with metaphors. Perhaps, why I love them so much. But I figure there has got to be a lesson in here somewhere for me.

I have been reading the Prodigal God  http://eprodigals.com/the-prodigal-son/prodigal-god-tim-keller.html?gclid=CJWXqry_7LICFcV7QgodPxIAaQ And it is so timely for me! It is from such a different perspective. Not really about just forgiving the younger son. But Jesus was teaching a lesson about the older brother’s attitude more than anything. I have found myself in both places through out my life. I have been the Prodigal son, needing my Father’s forgivenss for squandering what I had foolishly and then also the Prodigal Brother, resenting what was given in what I determine as being  unearned.

I have been there a few times. Financially devestated, but by the grace of God, always having “just enough” Always working towards more and sometimes even getting it. But maybe that is the lesson.  God’s Word is like that scent, the familiarity of walking through the doors feeling the want and need rise up inside of me, always the chance to find something new. But how much do I drop in my cart? How much do I take with me out the door? I have finally realized I have been looking in all the wrong places to fill up my cart.

I don’t have to walk through the doors of a store with an empty shopping cart in anticipation of getting filled up, I can go back to that familiar place, the one that always seems to welcome me with open arms… and everyday, find something I “need” and “want.”

●The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  (Luke 15:21) But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  (Luke 15:22) Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  (Luke 15:23) For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.  (Luke 15:24)

Firehosed


Several months ago one of my managers asked me and another co-worker to sit in on a presentation for a new program for the place that I work. Currently the one we use for scheduling our client’s appointments, is pretty much pre-historic. There are a million clicks to get to one particular place, and I am sure that there are many more up to date, user friendly, ones out there. Each time I train a new employee, I realize just how much there is to teach them. When they look overwhelmed, I just tell them, “If >>I<<<< can learn it, ANYONE can! And for some reason they relax. What is that supposed to tell me? lol.  But in watching that presentation for the newer program we were looking at, I have to admit, I felt pretty overwhelmed myself.

The person giving the presentation used a clever term. He said, “Right now, it may seem as if you are being firehosed with information but you will learn it.” Okay so for me and my love for metahpors, I loved that! It describes so much in just that one word!  I have used that term since, when teaching our old system to new employees. Firehosed. Isn’t that good? Doesn’t that describe a whole host of things in our life where new information is concerned?

In This month’s magazine of The Writer there was a great article by Gene Perret http://www.amazon.com/Gene-Perret/e/B000APFQIQ called Write your book in bite-sized chunks http://www.writermag.com/en/The%20Magazine/Current%20Issue.aspx  It really is a great article.  It talks about how no one sits down and writes a whole novel. Everyone goes back and edits, rewrites a thousand times and then a thousand more. Somehow that made me feel better about the four chapters I have waiting for me right beside my almost finished book! ( By the way you guys following me… and know about my 100 post promise to myself,  this one makes 90 posts!)

Finishing the Book


I am taking a chance by sharing this… but I’ve always believed that all stories worth  telling need to be written~ And hopefully,  you won’t judge me too much….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I started writing my book almost a decade ago, it had been inside of me for over thirty five years. Without ever really realizing it, I think it started out as a kind of therapy of my own.  It is about a young girl,  who finds herself  twisted inside a very emotionally abusive relationship and the woman she becomes because of her past. It is a work of fiction with a bit of my own reality woven throughout the story. My premise for the book was to shout out a message to vunlerable young girls about not losing themselves in the process of finding their dreams.

I think that I did a good job in teaching my daughter that lesson without the help of my finished book. She was the recipient of all the material I would eventually write down, the template I would use as my guide.  My goal in teaching my daughter to not lose herself was first on my bucket list. And I believe I did a good job. She is now educated in what she is passionate about, with a degree, and continuing her education, she owns her own business and is working towards her acting aspirations. And she is in love with a wonderful man who I believe she will marry someday, but never once did she stop living who she was to love him.

If my story can help other young girls not make the same mistakes that  I did then I have to tell it.  You see, when I was going through my version of hell back then, there was nothing out there telling me that other boyfriends were also hitting and controling  their girlfriends. Not that, THAT would have made it okay but I think I would have had a softer place to fall. I did not feel that it was the kind of thing you share with your family or close friends and so I was alone in my agony. Today there are  Oprah-like shows that “teach” you and inform you and pretty much kick your butt into being proactive about living a positive life. At least you  have the information now.

My daughter took a long time in choosing who she would hand her heart over to and I believe that because of my warnings, she really bypassed some of the standard faux pas many young girls have to experience. She doesn’t have to drag that extra baggage of relationships gone wrong, into her life that I have in all the decades that followed, as I blundered my way through several broken hearts since.

Today, I now  find myself in a twenty year marriage and  though everything is not perfect, I think in all of my lessons learned, I finally know that I have made the best choice for me and I am married to a pretty wonderful guy who I may not have fully appreciated,  if I had not experienced the second chapter of my life in the way I have….

Back when we were kids… my first love and I would break up and make up over and over again, a few phone calls back and forth, and we would get back together. We didn’t have emails or cell phones or texting and so breaking up back then was still hard but it must be hell for young people now, with all of the social medias of “friending and unfriending” and labeling ; “In A Relationship” or not.  I can’t even imagine! When it ended  for us the last time, it was horrible and  it was over. After several chance meetings of driving to where he knew I would be and hashing things out over and over again, He finally accepted that I was done and moved on.  He had a whole host of family issues that were far removed from anything I had ever experienced. I wish I had understood it all better back then. He really was a good guy, damaged by his own childhood and the abuse he experienced but it was too much for a young girl to take on, let alone comprehend so it ended badly  but not without first dragging me through the emotional mud that seemed to stay caked all over me for many years to follow.

Fast forward a few decades later, due to today’s technology… he found me again. In-between our broken lives lived, and asked for my forgiveness. I was so caught off guard, we began dialoging, he, looking for forgivness, and I perhaps closure…  My husband hesitantly gave me his blessings (the amazing man he is)  thinking maybe if I could say goodbye the right way, it would help me move on. I even shared some of our messages with my daughter because “he” had kind of been the guy in the lesson I had taught her. Kind of the template of who not to fall in love with. But she knows me oh too well, and became concerned at best  saying… “Mom, it doesn’t sound like he is looking for closure!” If  only I had listened.

I stopped writing my story. It seemed offensive or at the very least, cruel as I got to know the man who once was the boy I loved with all of my heart and perhaps, never really stopped. The flood of memories we shared was like a healing wave that washed over my heart. We became friends,  good friends. We connected.  The forgiveness I felt, was like taking a deep breath and finally being  able to actually feel  the oxygen run through me, as it took on a life all of it’s own. I even started writing my story again. But something didn’t feel right. For one thing, it didn’t stay so innocent for very long…my daughter knew something was up… my smart little chickadee… but like in Bridges of Madison County… it started out that way, so very innocently, I promise.

Fast forward almost two years later…. Marriage counseling and struggling to let go. (which is really hard with all of this dang technology always at our fingertips)

I make no excuses. I won’t even give the stupid ole’ devil credit in this one, which is very tempting to do… I know it was a series of dumb choices that I made all by myself. Though it started out innocently enough,  we even attributed our re-connection to God as a miracle of HIS doing.  And maybe, HE did  open up a window for forgiveness and closure but we took more and opened the door to other things not meant to be… As I look back, I see that I do that a lot…take God’s blessings for me and become greedy.   A good lesson for me today, as I reflect.

I know now, that my lesson is a warning to all women out there like me.  I was bored and curious and still terribly, terribly damaged by the past.  I know now more than ever, that hind sight is 20/20  and I realize that my message is not just for the young girls, but for all of us, young and old or  (at least …older… smile.) It is for the ones stuck front and center, smack  in the middle of  their own midlife crisies, the ones dealing with empty nests,  and grieving their youth, and the ones who never really believed in themselves, the ones who need to find a soft place to land and then stand up and take control of their own life and live it! The ones who look at their reflection in the mirror and see a stranger and want to scream out “NOW WHAT?!” But only a whisper comes out. It is to remind you that we all have second chapters, at twenty or at fifty. But it is in our choices and how we handle them that truly tells our story.

I have made some terrible decisions that I regret and yet had some experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. It is just an art of knowing which are which. I have been on a wild ride these last few years.  Sometimes, I have hung on for dear life and other times, I almost let go ~ and yet, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it because it has made me become the person I am now;  Still A WORK IN PROGRESS and yet, someone very different.  I have forgiven and been forgiven.  I have gone back and tended to that young girl who once was me, the one I left behind so many years ago. The one who needed me to go back and love again.

And Funny, but it seems as if I have so much more material now,  I don’t even know where to start and so it sits… the four little chapters, waiting to be written. Kind of like me…God is not through with me yet. He is still writing His version of my happy ending if I would stop getting in the way.

Perhaps none of this is something that I could have possibly imagined, let alone penned at twenty.  But ahhh, wouldn’t it have been nice to have learned all those lessons back then?

So that leaves me to where I left off…  The twister….I have been about four chapters short of finishing my story.  Everyday we have a new canvas to begin painting on, a new stage to begin that new dance and a blank page to spill our heart upon….  As I finally figure out how to climb over the last of my baggage, to wrap up the last lesson learned, to let out that breath I have been holding, I look for the words and somehow… I know it will all turn out okay.

I know……….. our marriage will be my happy ending! As for my book…. hmmm… what do you guys think?

I take a deep breath and breathe as my fingers begin pushing those darn keys once again…

100 Posts


This will be my 80th post. I promised myself that when I hit 100, I would honker down and really seriously finish the last four chapters of my book. My daughter has really been pushing me lately. I say I will. I tell her about a deal I made with myself…. to do a little exercise of writing 100 posts of things that were important to me, and perhaps seeing if anyone even notices my writing style, and to figure out if  I really have something to say at all.

I have shared this before in some of my blogs so some of you already know that I have wanted to write since I was seven years old, and how my second grade teacher began reading  The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe to our class. I was mesmorized. I waited for those daily twenty minutes with a kind of anticipation that can’t be described. She was good, she always left us hanging. Our little rowdy group of kids would stay as quiet as a mouse listening to each word and then groan as she would close the book till the next day or even worse, Monday, if it was a weekend!

I am not sure what happened during those days but instead of just thinking that the story was great, which I did. I began imagining the person who thought the stuff in that book up. I learned what an author was and I wanted to be one. I used to pen my own versions of that story while I would wait for the next chapters and I would show them to my parents and I guess I must have gotten a good reaction which inspired me. I remember at an early age, NEEDING to write. I loved reading and I loved certain authors as I was growing up. I remember looking for Caroline Haywood books and then Beverly Cleary, and imagining my name sitting on a book cover as little girls and boys looked for my shelf of books.

Unfortunately, I may have waited too long for that. As Kindles and technology changes, the authors of our future may never have the book signings of the past but I hope that isn’t so. I do hope that we continue to want to smell the pages and actually turn them. I find it sad when today we are asked how many remembered to bring their Bibles  in church, and a hundred cell phones or other electronic gadgets go up in the air. Some things just can’t be replaced!

But I am getting off track, which leads to my point… Is my goal of 100 posts just my way of procrastinating having to do the work? I have a friend at work who I trust to tell me the truth. She is a little older than me and likes everything in it’s place. She has told me that I start little projects around work all day long and it drives her crazy. I always finish each one by the end of the day but it does drive her batty. Even though I may have perfectly good reasons…. if I am counting the drawer and the phone rings etc… I am an artist at heart and by trade for most of my adult life and my studio always had a couple different projects started. My house would be clean but my art room was always a little “busy” to put it nicely. My mom always taught me to make my bed before leaving the house. She would say “If you make your bed, half the room looks clean.” Well, lets just say that I have always followed that advice but there was no bed in my art studio! I guess I am wondering if my book is like one of those projects or am I just afraid to finish it?

I feel as if I have been stuck on the final chapters forever. I spend a few weeks, editing and then am stuck again… I spend a few more weeks on my blog… maybe more time than I should be…. stretching as I call it and then go back to editing… My biggest hang up, is always the ending… I feel it is the most important part of all books…  of all anything…. okay well, besides the beginning which is the part that grabs your attention or not and well then, I guess the middle is important too….cuzzz that is the part that keeps people reading… and so then I feel the ending should be their reward for having kept reading!!! Ya know? So I always take special care of the ending or try to… Maybe the ending is a reflection of my own life…  I haven’t quite figured out how “I” am going to end up (as if I have a choice) and soooo have been editing the heck out of me!  In turn,  I am stuck figuring out how my little character in my book is going to end up. Am I ever going to finish my precious book or am I going to edit the heck out of it till I have rewrittien the whole thing?

…. maybe I should be asking myself that very question?? Hmmmm?