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Kai has learned a new trick. When our little family sits down to eat, and we tell him it's time for grace, Kai puts his hands in ours. Since he's gotten accustomed to our praising him after saying grace, he is content to keep his hands in ours for only a few seconds, though - and then he immediately lets go, and then starts clapping his hands wildly and laughing out loud in celebration.
This adorable demonstration has obviously shortened the time that we say grace, because Tony and I eventually just start cracking up and join in Kai celebratory antics. But this new grace – though shorter, reminds us of what gratitude is all about. Gratitude is a time to wildly celebrate. To clap our hands and say "yay!" for all the ordinary and extraordinary things that bless our lives. We have been calling this quickened experience "express grace" – LOL – and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I think that a regular gratitude practice is one of the very best things we can do to quickly change the way we experience life. It doesn’t require you to belong to any specific religion or philosophy and it cuts across all boundaries of politics and nationality. All it does require is for you to keep your eyes, ears and heart receptive to even the little ordinary joys around us. Feeling deep gratitude is wonderfully addictive – the more we do it, the more we WANT to feel it, and so we begin looking deeper for things for which we're grateful. But a gratitude practice won't work if it comes from a place of pressure, guilt, or overwhelm. The last thing a busy person needs is to think of gratitude as another "should" on her list!
Seeing Kai's utter joy in this act is such a wonderful reminder that gratitude practices can be fun, joyful, and even yes, definitely even silly.
When I was a child, our family dinners always began with a sung grace that my parents created for us to all sing together. The words are so simple and yet, as is the case with many sparse prayers, they say it all:
As we form our family circle
We express our gratitude
For the good things all around us:
Love and joy and food
Perhaps some day, Kai will learn to sing this song and participate in that family tradition.
Until then, "express grace" will do just fine! :-)
For those short on time, to simplify this week's Artellagram, here are some "quick links" to the highlights in this edition. You can simply follow the links that you're interested in and go directly to that section.
1. "Make Change With Your Muse" Pilot Group Ends Sunday! Just a few more days left to sign up for the Pilot Group for e-course, Make Change with Your Muse!: Mixed Media Art Projects to Attract Prosperity and Change in Your Life. This innovative workshop combines an actual, hands-on Authentic Art Supply kit with an energizing, inspiring collection of lessons to take you on an unforgettable journey, as you create beautiful mixed media art projects while completely changing the way you experience prosperity and abundance in your life. Get more information and sample lessons, here.
Sunday, May 3, is the last day ever to enroll in the Make Change With Your Muse Pilot Program which saves you $20 off the regular price of the course! Learn more about the Pilot Program, here!
2. April YOUpons Extended Through Weekend! The April YOUpon codes are now good through this weekend, and will expire Sunday at midnight, so take a look, if you're interested in some great discounts on e-courses, vintage photos, Artella magazine, and more. Also available until then is the valuable "$25 Make-the-Change Instant Rebate" where you get to pick your choice of our most inspiring, step-by-step e-courses, and save $25 instantly when you checkout. See the list of eligible e-courses, here!
3. Feeling Lost? Have you ever just wished someone could hand you a literal map...with all the steps and paths mapped out to get directly to your creative dream? That's exactly what happens in my one-on-one Creative Cartography™ !
4. New Payment Plan Option for The Complete Idealist's Blissness Action Camp! You can still join the awesome group of creative folks who are taking part in The Complete Idealist's Blissness Action Camp! With our new payment plan option, which can be used in combination $25 with the Make the Change instant rebate mentioned above, it's easier than ever.
5. Earn money for spreading the word! Join Artella’s Generous Affiliate Program, It has great commissions, bonuses, and it even makes your teeth sparkle! :-)
6. Interested in Becoming Part of Artella's Team? You're interested in becoming part of the Artella Team, check out this post in the Artella Cafe for details.
Adellee is the ideal artist to feature in an Artellagram focusing on gratitude, as a beautiful thread of gratitude runs through her body of work. I know you'll enjoy getting to know Adellee a bit better!!
Artella: What tips can you offer for busy people to help them find time for creativity?
Adellee: If you think of yourself as an artist and you find that you cannot make time for your art then truly you are forcing yourself to be an artist. A true artist can't not do art. It is as elemental and necessary for well being eating. It is a natural extension of you. Your artwork is the same as breathing. If you are creative, you are always creating. I do not physically do art all the time but in my heart, I am seeing art all the time. I do art when I feel like it. If you find that you want to do art but your schedule is taken up with other stuff, then that other stuff is your life and not your art. Even if that other stuff is your job. If art is your life then no matter what, you will find time for it. People find time for what they truly love. No matter what.
You can read the rest of Adellee's interview, here
See Adellee's products in The Shoppes of Artella, here.
If you want more artist interviews from Artella, take a look at our eBooks Artist Profiles Assembled and Artist Profiles Assembled, Vol 2.
ART TIP OF THE WEEK: Using dictionary definitions as accent elements in your art is a popular way to bring in some text. Like any ephemera, it's especially meaningful if the words you use have particular significance related to the piece as a whole. Beautybelly lived an ocean ago
Why not try creating a piece where the definitions themselves are the focal point of the piece, rather than simply an accent element? For example, here's a card that I made for Fred Hintze and Cedra Wood, creators of "Paulette" and "Hugh" from the "Palette Play" column in The Artella Daily Muse (currently under renovations, but it is coming back!) I took definitions of words related to thanks and gratitude, and then fashioned them into a fun little dress for Paulette to wear. Click the image to see a closer look.
What else can you create using dictionary definitions?
If you're looking for an easy, convenient alternative to cutting out definitions from a dictionary, you might be interested in these two Artella Digital Ephemera Packs: Dictionary Definitions and Gratitude Definitions.
WRITING TIP OF THE WEEK: A dictionary can be a great tool for creative writing – and not just for looking up definitions. Try some of these ideas:
I just did this myself, and the two words at the top of the page were "beauty" and "belly". Here is my short poem about "beautybelly":
- Open the dictionary to any page and put your finger on a random word. Make that word the title of a piece of writing.
- Select half a dozen words at random from the dictionary, and write them in a column. Then "fill in" a poem, with each word being the first word of a new line in the poem.
- Look at the two words shown at the top of a dictionary page (the words that indicate the contents of that page) and combine them together to create a new, single word. Then use the new made-up word to inspire a piece of writing.
in a white memory by the sea
waiting for someone to paint her again
forgetting that she was me