January 6, 2019
Guess what?! When I woke up today I had to make a very important choice (no it wasn't whether or not I was going to run to the bathroom before making the bed!) I had to choose whether I was going to have a positive day or a negative day. I have to make that choice each and every day...and so do you.
Do you know someone that exudes "positivity"? You know, that person that you could spend an entire day, week, year with? They build you up and make you feel so positive about life, despite how the outside world is behaving. They do it in such a way that you can't quite put your finger on it.
Have you ever encountered a "negative Nelly"? Yes, that person that just popped into your head. They walk around as though the world owes them everything and if they don't get it, you will feel their wrath. If you bring up something joyful, they have their negative two cents to throw in your pot. If you are excited about a new venture they'll be the first to tell you it won't work. Both people, the positive person and the negative person, had to make a decision when they woke up as to how they would tackle their day. One chose wisely, the other did not.
Each weekday morning the alarm goes off at 4AM. I have to choose, with all the aches and pains of my arthritic body and the long list of adult responsibilities looming ahead of me, how I'm going to tackle my day. Every day can be overwhelming for each of us. We all have our own baggage to lug around. We all have our own stories. But whether that story is a great inspiration or the latest tragedy, is chosen in the opening pages of our day.
So tomorrow morning, just before you swing the legs out of bed and hit the ground running, pause for a moment and choose how you're going to travel through your day. Will it be an adventure through positivity or a drowning in negativity?
The choice is yours.
January 13, 2019
Have you ever wondered how some people can be so happy and filled with joy despite a terrible loss? Or how some people can radiate sunshine amidst the clouds of drudgery? I believe it comes down to a very simple principle. Catapulting off of my last blog post on Choices, I believe it all revolves around CHOOSING to fill one's soul with JOY and by doing so, refusing to allow anything "anti-joy" to take up residence within the soul.
Bad moments, days, sometime even longer are going to happen. But again, it's a CHOICE we have to make. Do we throw up our hands and exclaim "Woe is me!" or do we look at the situation, have a short-lived "pity party" if needed, and then move on? The "pity party" is not a bad thing. It's called being human. It's realizing on the road of striving to be holy in all we attempt to do, we are going to get side-tracked. So acknowledge it then move beyond it. Stewing in it is not healthy and prevents joy from entering our soul.
Some of the most joy-filled people are those who have lost children; who have endured hardships - could be financial, medical, family, etc. They had a choice to make and they chose joy. Here are some ways we can work towards being more joy-filled:
1. Acknowledge those areas in your life where there are difficulties and struggles. Choose one area at a time to work on and discern how you would want that situation to improve. Now what are the steps needed to achieve that goal? Nothing is insurmountable. Break it down into actual steps then begin with step one. Move on to step two when you are at peace with the level of success in step one. It's literally one foot in front of the other.
2. Step away from toxic situations. Whether at work, at home, in public, on the Internet. This may take a bit more time depending on the situation, but when we are surrounded by toxic people, environments/situations, it is imperative that we separate ourselves from anything that is aimed at limiting the joy in our lives.
3. Limit news/Internet. The moralistically evil, intrinsically destructive direction our society has turned towards, is a recipe for mental, emotional and spiritual disaster. Wean yourself off of the "need to know" and the desire of being "in the know". Yes, it's important to understand what is going on in the world. But look at it from this standpoint: how can I make a better difference in the world based on what I just read/watched? How can I contribute to softening people's hardened hearts? There is much more going on in the world with storylines that are not being shared that should be sought out. But continually following the same negative soundbites that come through on our electronic devices is allowing only negativity to reside within us. Don't make room for it! Stand up for what is right and share with others that this "bad thing" might be going on but here is what needs to take place, and come at it from a position of love and empathy. People need to be made aware of the injustices of what is going on in our world, but when sharing news about those injustices, we must offer possible solutions, no matter how outlandish they may seem to us. Nothing is impossible with the right, joy-filled focus.
4. Exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep. Personally I can't stress all of these enough. Without prioritizing your health, you have nothing. Being in an unhealthy state of being allows for fear, negativity, hatred, cynicism, self-loathing to creep in. Again, no room for joy as those are "joy-zappers". Hang up the "Do Not Enter!" sign and only welcome positive choices into your life.
5. Practice gratitude, each and every day. When you are grateful, there is no room for envy, hatred, greed.
6. Set up a joy-filled routine to start your day. Here's mine during the work week: 4AM wake up; I listen to and pray the rosary; head to the gym; eat a clean breakfast. I've attended to my physical needs along with my emotional and spiritual needs. Note that there's no room for jumping on the Internet.
7. Smile. It's hard to let in negativity when you share your smile with everyone!
8. As you are mastering the smile, work on laughing. Return to a child-like state of joy. Be "wide eyed and bushy tailed"! Embrace giggles and belly laughs, they can be infectious!
9. Breathe deeply and calmly in stressful situations. Think of the oxygen as the cleanser of the soul so INHALE DEEPLY! Wash that stress, that is preventing joy from entering, right out of your body.
10. Finally, find joy in the little happenings in your life. A simple snowfall could be an opportunity to gripe about the shoveling or an opportunity to savor the taste of complete abandonment and live within the moment of pure joy.
It's up to you.
January 20, 2019
If you are a dog owner you will totally 'get it'. The look your dog gives you, that look of complete and utter devotion. I'm lucky to experience that feeling from all four of my wonderful pups. All of them greet me at the door when I come home and I have to hug or kiss each of them or they will follow me around the house until I do.
In their eyes, I can do no wrong.
I am their world.
I am elevated to greatness, to holiness, to perfection.
It's a tall order to fill, one that I fall short on each and every day in the human world. But I will continue to strive to be the best I can be.
They have high expectations of me, I can't let them down.
February 3, 2019
Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, especially when you are down.
This week we had to say goodbye to my beloved Isabella, my "Izzy". She was the most beautiful canine spirit I had ever known. I loved her more than I could ever convey. To people who think "it's just a dog", I feel very sorry for you. For if that is the case, you have never felt the nuzzle of a loving nose who is comforting you when you don't feel well. You are missing out on the sweet cock of a head that is earnestly listening to you when you sing "Isabella!!!!" You are deprived of a fluffy, warm body who will comfort you after a long day.
Isabella overcame so much. I brought her home many years ago and she had severe intestinal issues that took almost 6 months to clear up. Several years ago she developed acute glaucoma in one eye and had to have it removed. Then she developed it in the other eye and it also had to be removed. We thought that would be it for her but in January of 2018, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We were devastated. But through the grace of God, we were blessed with exactly 12 more months to cherish our baby girl. We truly enjoyed her each and every day. But in January 2019 she became ill with another intestinal issue and stopped taking her heart meds and eating her food. Towards the end of the month she developed kidney failure and pancreatitis. A small voice whispered in my heart two messages: spend as much time with her as you can. The other message: she's giving up. On January 30, that became reality, and surrounded by her 4 humans and 2 very loving people at the vet, she took her last breath and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
I'm in tears as I write this. It will take quite a bit if time for me to heal. But I am truly blessed. I am surrounded by so many loving people who are lifting me up at this very, very sad time. I want to say thank you and I appreciate you. Without you I couldn't do it. I truly love each and every one of you, and if you are reading this, you are one of them! I'm going to still need a lot of understanding and love as I continue heal. I'm just grateful to have you helping me at this difficult time.
February 14, 2019
Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you have a day filled with joy and love.
Want to have the best Valentine's Day? Do something special for someone who is not expecting anything from you. Want some ideas? Here you go!
1. Hand write a note to someone, telling them how much you appreciate having them in your life. Then deliver it to them.
2. Buy a morning beverage for that coworker who thrives on a morning pick-up.
3. Empty the dishwasher without being asked.
4. Empty the dryer, fold the clothes and put them away, for everyone in your home.
5. Bring a tray of healthy breakfast treats to work for your coworkers.
6. Call someone who is alone today and chat.
7. Smile, say hello and look people in the eyes as you pass them in the hallway.
8. Write a poem for someone special.
9. Shovel that walkway/driveway for a neighbor without letting them know (snow required for this one!)
10. Spend time with someone and put the cell phones AWAY!
Keep in mind that not everyone enjoys this day. Sometimes it brings up memories of a relationship that is no more. It may remind someone of a loved one that has passed away since last year. Whatever the reason, be sensitive to those around you. And when it comes to your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, just spend time together. It doesn't take any money, it costs your time. That is truly priceless.
March 3, 2019
Live in the moment.
What exactly do I mean by that? It means to live where your feet are planted. Your feet are not in the past and the future has not yet arrived, so don’t obsess over something that may or may not come to fruition.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to FL to visit family. I was blessed to spend one day at the beach (and despite my best efforts to NOT get a sunburn, the sunscreen I used did not comply!). As I sat at my favorite dog beach, Canova Beach Park in Brevard County, I did something I don't usually do.
I did absolutely nothing.
Yes, I actually sat there, watched the dogs running with their owners (or a few who did not see the rules of remaining leashed while on the beach!). I inhaled the beautiful salt air as I watched the rolling waves. I listened to the sound of the birds, the crashing of the ocean and the occasional bark from a four-legged fluff ball. Eventually I took out my sketchbook and created some lovable new characters, all of whom will be making an appearance in this blog. But aside from a few photos I snapped of my surroundings and shared on Facebook, I was focused on living as a human BEING.
Just BEING in the moment.
So as we begin a new week, focus on taking each and every moment and just be present in that moment. Live in that moment. This may require you to extricate your head from your social media addiction or your addiction to the digital life. You may find it uncomfortable. You may feel "out of touch" with the world. But if you take this advice and truly put it into action, you will find an inner peace and calmness that comes from slowing down and living where your feet are planted.
You won't regret it.
March 10, 2019
Having traveled recently to Florida, it was so nice to be basking in the sun and soaking up some rays. There were flowers in bloom, birds chirping and bugs zipping around. The sun was warm and reminded me of what is around the weather corner.
And so it snowed today.
Now I love the change of the seasons. I love that I live in an area of the country that is blessed with experiencing all four seasons. But as I find myself in the "middle" of a given season, I find myself day dreaming of the exact opposite season. Last summer, during the real "dog days of summer" I couldn't wait for the humidity to end and cooler temps to usher their way in...well now that I've got the cooler temps, I can't wait for the warmth of the summer sun!
Maybe this makes me a fickle New Englander. But it's more likely that I am hopeful for the warmer weather that is sure to return again.
We have just entered into the Lenten season. During the Advent season I looked forward to Lent. (That's me being fickle again!) Advent is filled with hope in the birth of Jesus. Lent is filled with hope that through the starkness of the environment and the cleansing of our inner selves through fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we will find ourselves closer to God. We are given the gift of 40 days to travel on that road called "hope". What is beautiful for me this year is that during Holy Week, I turn 51. If I put my trust in God and I am diligent about my fasting, praying and almsgiving, I will be blessed with an even closer relationship to God, for I will have made it more about Him and less about me. What a wonderful gift that will be!
So tomorrow I will put on my winter boots...again. I will venture into the work week fasting from those things that tear people down and praying for those things that build people up. I will embrace the opportunities to give to others and I will look forward to Easter with a hope-filled heart.
Not only will it be a glorious conclusion to the Lenten season, it will also usher in our school vacation week and the hope for warmer temperatures!
March 17, 2019
Happy St. Patty's Day!
Ok, I'll be honest. This has never been a huge holiday for me. I'm not a big fan of corn beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, green beer or shamrock shakes. The history of St. Patrick driving out snakes pretty much creeps me out as does the thought of little men in green suits with red hair and beards invading my home! LOL
BUT it does signal the arrival of Spring in a few calendar days (now we just have to let Mother Nature know that too)! It also reminds me of the need to do a bit more "Spring cleaning". I spent a day a few weeks ago purging my closet of clothes that have not been worn in a long time. Three trash bags later, I still had more to go through I will continue my quest this evening to purge even more clothes and give them to a worthy cause: Liberty House in Manchester.
It is my hope that a female veteran will benefit from the gently worn clothing and be able to embark on a new lease on life!
Tiocfaidh na héadaí ó mo chroí! (The clothing will come from my heart!)
Guím saol sona fada duit! (I wish you a long happy life!)
April 21, 2019
Wishing you and your family a truly blessed Easter season!
Time in the art studio has been very productive and I'm now offering prings through my Etsy site: JoyfulArtbyChristine.
It might be Easter, but NOW is the time to think about Christmas! Openings for my animal portraits are now available. Email me at email@example.com to schedule your art portrait.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
July 14, 2019
Dog days of summer! Now is the perfect time to rest the body and mind. Trips to the beach and time spent with my family and my pups is how I refresh.
Working in the studio each day, whether in my year-round studio or my seasonal studio, motivates me to transfer all that creative energy into a full time, year round pursuit.
Lots of exciting developments are in the works and instead of just dreaming of what "could be", I'm making it happen! Stay tuned into my Blog to find out what new things are on the horizon!
All images and website design Copyright 2001 - 2019 Christine Dion Studio. All rights reserved.
August 13, 2019
What is "big, hard and scary" to you? What keeps you from your full potential? What excuses do you make to avoid doing something you are afraid you might fail at?
When I was 20 years old, I was pursuing my Bachelor's Degree in Art Education at a small NH college. One afternoon, I was meeting with my Fine Art advisor. She and I were not exactly "friends". When I had switched my major from Commercial Art and Design to Art Education, I made the statement that I thought it would be easier to pursue. I did not mean that I thought it was an easier career. I was referring to wanting more "regular" hours and the thought of working in an advertising agency 60+ hours per week and pulling "all-nighter's" to make deadlines was not appealing.
She had to leave her office to make photocopies and while she was gone, I spied my confidential student folder on her desk. I was not supposed to look at it. However, given our strained relationship, I opened it up and read a letter addressed to the Education Department.
Long story short...she had stated quite clearly that I did NOT have what it took to be a good teacher.
So imagine my conundrum! I could NOT confront her on this since I was not supposed to have read it! So I did the next best thing. I got EVEN.
I made it my mission to be the best teacher I was meant to be.
For over 30 years I have been an educator. I have taught private art lessons, college courses at 3 separate institutions, and advanced level art classes to high school students. Many people have benefited from my guidance, all through the grace of God! I certainly didn't do it alone! Haha! And I have had some AMAZING students! I'm so blessed to call many of them my friends. (The dog portrait for this post? One of my former high school students hired me to create "Rusty" for her Mom when he passed away.)
Now I'm embarking on a whole new level of "big, hard and scary". I'm making my art knowledge and coaching available to a global audience. With my vast experience in art, my many years of teaching and my desire to create a community of artists who share in the desire to improve their drawing ability, I'm launching online art lessons!
Sign-ups will open up Monday, August 26 and close at midnight on Thursday, August 29. Individualized drawing lessons will begin Monday, September 9. What's nice is my students will be able to work at their own pace. In a typical classroom setting students have to "keep up", meet deadlines and fulfill administrative competency checklists.
Working with me in our online classroom, we set up your goals TOGETHER and I tailor your lessons according to the goals you are working on. There's a limited number of students I am accepting so that I can pour ALL my attention onto each individual student.
So I'm SUPER excited to get started! For more info, click: choose PVT ART LESSONS-CRITIQUES.