Wednesday, August 29, 2018


This is one of the powerful tools I used when trying to cope with tough stuff.  I am not a  "born" drawer.....

I found this on Facebook and thought I would share....I hope the original author doesn't mind and I am including the links if you want to give it a whirl.

Have any of these myths kept you from realizing your dream of drawing?
---> MYTH #1 — “Artists are born, not made”
Bull honky! Just like no one is born walking, talking, or riding a bike—no one emerges from the womb with miraculous artistic abilities.
Sure, some folks may have an easier time picking it up, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have to work to develop their skills.
Learning how to draw is about learning how to see… it’s developing an “eye” for visualizing the shapes, angles, and subtle details hidden within the world around us. If you can open your eyes to these “visual secrets” — you’ll never see the world the same way again!
So, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and feeling like you “don’t have the gift.” Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone moves at a different pace.
Find a process that works for you, set your own pace, and enjoy the journey 🚀🚢
---> MYTH #2 — “Freehanding is the only real way to draw”
Nope, it’s not. Imagine this scenario with me…
You want to learn how to snow ski. You’ve never worn a pair of skis in your life and your most extreme activity as of late was a brisk stroll through the mall…
BUT, you’re bound and determined to throw yourself down a mountain (for some reason).
You show up at the slopes, rent some gear, take the chairlift to the very tippy top of the highest slope the resort has to offer…
You’re off! Down the mountain at blistering speeds!
Trees blurring as you flawlessly carve your way down the slope on your very first attempt…
That’s just not how it works, right? THE REALITY is that learning how to ski takes time and practice.
And that practice doesn’t happen in a classroom or in a simulator…
...It starts on flat ground or the “bunny slopes” where you can experience the thrill of skiing and make your mistakes without bone-shattering falls down an entire mountain
In a similar way, freehand drawing is a great goal…
… but if you start there, struggle, get frustrated, and give up on drawing altogether because you couldn’t freehand a project—how can you expect to improve?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to be your best—not at all.
I just want to encourage you to start on the “bunny slopes” — use whatever method you need to get started — so you can jump in and actually experience the joy of drawing for yourself!
---> MYTH #3 — “Draw from your head”
I regularly hear aspiring artists say things like “I love to draw, but I can’t draw from my head.” Or “I can only draw when I’m looking at my subject or a reference image—not from memory.”
I’m not sure where the idea that we need to draw from memory comes from, but I do know that most artists (even the masters) regularly turn to reference images or live models when drawing.
Learning to draw is as much about *seeing* as it is the act of putting something down on paper…
I think Frederick Franck summed it up well when he said:
"I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle."
There is no shame in drawing from a reference image or from life! In fact, the more we can study what we want to draw, the more likely we are to hear things like “wow, you really captured her personality” or “I can almost feel the breeze blowing in that field when I look at your drawing.”
Keep on drawing what you see!
---> MYTH #4 — “I could never draw like that…”
Well, not with that attitude!
It’s so discouraging to hear people say things like this…
The reality is that they could draw better than they ever imagined possible if they would let go of this mentality.
There is power in the words we speak! When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we essentially ensure that we never will.
But I get it…
I know this line of thinking doesn’t just materialize out of thin air…
I’m convinced that folks start thinking this way because they have believed the previous three drawing myths!
When you’ve been told that “artists are born, not made,” it’s easy to interpret struggle and failure to accomplish unrealistic drawing goals as simply “not having the gift.”
When you see a master artist quickly and skillfully drawing a portrait freehand, it’s easy to imagine that he or she’s been drawing that way forever (the 15 years of intense practice couldn’t have anything to do with it 😉) and that using any sort of drawing aid or alternate method must be “cheating.”
When you watch reruns of Bob Ross effortlessly pulling beautiful scenes from nature, seemingly from his head, and laying them quickly down on a canvas, it’s easy to believe that’s how we should all operate as well.
But, what you don’t see are the 2-3 drafts of the painting that Bob would paint before taping each show...
My point?
There’s a whole lot of misinformation out there and drawing can feel a bit like a magic, or something meant for a “chosen few”...
But I want to invite you to give learning how to draw another chance…
… let go of what you think you are capable of…
… forget the myths that you may have accepted as truth…
… and try my FREE Napkin-Doodle Challenge!
✒️It’s a 7-day, GUIDED drawing adventure (if you will)🖌
I’ve picked seven, everyday, achievable subjects and broken them down with step-by-step instructions that you can follow and complete in 10 minutes or less a day!
An easy to draw subject is provided (so you don’t spend precious time fretting over what to draw)…
Each step is broken down and explained (so you have a clear path forward)…
Every project introduces you to concepts and principles that will help you understand how to draw just about anything (because that’s what we’re all after, right?)…
I’ve hand-picked these seven specific subjects and I’m going to show you how to see them through the “eyes of an artist.”
We’ll look past what we think we know about the subject and focus only on what’s actually there…
… the shapes, angles, and subtle variations in line width or placement that all work together to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional piece of paper!
We’re not trying to draw realistic masterpieces…
These won’t take hours, days, or weeks to draw…
You don’t have to have to a degree from an art school… 🎨
All you need to bring is yourself, something to draw with, something to draw on, and a positive, can-do attitude — I’ll email you a link to a new project every day for seven days
The whole process is tightly structured on purpose — you can think of it as training wheels:
There to help you get started quickly so you can actually enjoy the ride and not get discouraged and give up prematurely!
It’s fun, it’s good for your health, and it doesn’t take much time!
Will you join me? --->
Access is instant. And you’ll get a new project in your inbox every day.
See you there,
Ben Makin

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Sometimes I use pondering as a way to tackle a problem.  To some people, pondering looks a lot like worrying.  I decided the difference to me is that when I worry I don't plan to do anything about what I am worried about.  When I am pondering I allow the subconscious to gnaw on a problem and the conscious mind keep it nattering away so it doesn't get lost in the recesses of my mind.  There are some really deep dark holes in there.  When I come across information that can be added to the pondering I reshuffle information so I can look at it in a different way.  I am discouraged by the behavior of a person I need to work with.  It is all the signs of working with my mother.  I am not amused.  Some how I missed my sister's Sunday blog and didn't read it until today when I was pondering this problem.

Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation
because He’s trying to change your heart.
What can I learn from this experience?  I confirmed with another person that the challenge isn't just me.  I am very aware that I am ultra-sensitive to some behaviors.  Non-verbal communication is more important to me that words.  I get all this.  How can I reframe this situation from one that is negative and turn it to a positive situation.  I know it can be done.  I have done it myself more than once.  I am going to look at this from a number of different perspectives.  I am going to use my words, try new ways of interacting, and choose healthy boundaries for me.

During counseling one of the more interesting techniques is reframing a situation.  It is turning things around and looking at it from different perspectives.
Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives. In the context of cognitive therapy, cognitive reframing is referred to as cognitive restructuring.

I am going to look at my situation as an opportunity to set healthy boundaries, make healthy choices for myself, and do the best I can to be a positive influence on a situation.

Monday, August 27, 2018

It could always be worse

There is an actual book by this title.  However, this time it is my life.  I was concerned about being in a mostly male classroom, I was moved out and put into a class with a teacher that uses shaming and intimidation.  I would rather be with the mostly guys situation.  I believe both shaming and intimidation are counterproductive in a classroom environment and she is setting me up to be the bad guy.   I'm proud of myself for checking in with a teacher I trust and following her suggestions.  I am going to have plenty of opportunity to recognize my need for boundaries and setting out what my role in the classroom needs to be.  I need to build trust with the students and that cannot be achieved by intimidating them.  I don't know the person well so I am working from my perspective with little understanding on her point of view.  Yup, I'm feeling like I am out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Ugh.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Elephant and 10 blind men


It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl: "God bless me!—
but the Elephant Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried: "Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 't is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'T is clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he,
"the Elephant Is very like a rope!"

 And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong!

MORAL. So, oft in theologic wars The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant Not one of them has seen!
This story is applied to religion but would work equally well with PTSD.

I am reading several different books and websites on PTSD/CPTSD.  My own experience with PTSD started when I was 5, diagnosed when I was 45 and still struggle with it at 60.  I listen and read and pay attention and each person know their experience with PTSD.  So called "Experts" are blind to much of what is happening with PTSD since they rely almost exclusively on what people report about their experience.  Sorting through all the stuff and information takes effort and patience both of which I am lacking some days.

I say to every person that has PTSD or CPTSD or whatever set of letters you are living with, your perspective is yours.  Someone else's perspective is theirs and may add information to yours but their information is still run through your own personal view. Your journey will take many twists and turns and be influenced by those you decide to interact with in your life.  Good luck with sorting things out.  It is a work in progress and I am also still trudging along on this journey.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Treading water

How long can you tread water?  Should of built the ark.

I am feeling overwhelmed and barely keeping my head above water so to speak.  I have so much to do but I seem to get in my own way.

I am doing a new kind of crochet project.  They send the instructions a little bit at a time.  With the start of school I am loosing ground and getting behind.  Then tonight I realized I flipped the project and am doing a row in reverse direction.  At first I was going to take out the stitching to correct it.  Instead, I am letting the 'mistake' stay and calling it a new design.  The stitch actually looks quite good from either side.  However the colored shades will have an interesting twist to them.  I might actually get away with the error.  It was so hard making myself not correct the mistake.

I decided to stop saying after school.  If I catch up fine, or I'll build a raft instead of an ark, down sizing.

Cracked but still functional.  

Sunday, August 19, 2018

New Directions

Every year I get a new assignment at school.  Years past it would stress me out.  I dislike change, especially change I have no control over.  This summer I contemplated the dilemma of changing assignments every year.  I had no doubt change would happen just like it has for the last 7 years.  Fairly good indicator that change is here to stay.  I learned in nature that although constant change occurs it usually has some element that remains the same.  So I looked for the similarities in the the changes.  I finally found it.  No matter what program I am assigned to there are students that need help in understanding the content.  My talent is reading directions and explaining it in a variety of ways.  If I know the person I am explaining things to I can tailor the explanation to them.

Change arrived, I am working in Auto repair, film, and one-on-one with a student.  I was assured last Friday since someone else was hired that I will be changed again in one week.  Another new thing I am doing is treating the assignment that I am in as if I will stay all year.  When I get changed to a new assignment I do the same thing there.  There are opportunities all around me to help others.  Where I help doesn't matter.  The fact that I can help in a variety of ways makes it possible for them to move me to where ever there is a place to fill.  

I am very proud of the fact that I passed the Auto safety test right along with the students.  Facing new challenges every year is giving me an opportunity to look at change in a new way.  Bring it on. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Too sensitive

I've mentioned before that I work at a high school.  I keep up on information about how to work with students with behavioral issues at school.  One that I am learning more about is sensory processing and the living with being too sensitive.  It was startling to read a chart that described me so completely.  My counselor also told me that I was too sensitive for the environment I am in.  He described that some people are like puppies that love to rough a tumble bite and play and no feelings are hurt.  Others are more like bunnies wanting to sit quietly and be left alone.  I'm a bunny in a puppy world.  I am starting to recognize students that are bunnies expected to function in a puppy world.

I discovered that I can't turn into a puppy however I can learn a number of helpful skills.  I am learning to recognize when others are being playful but not malicious.  I am learning to express a need for quiet time and leave me alone time.  I am learning that bunnies can be quiet ferocious.  Don't piss off the bunnies.  Puppies are startled when bunnies turn ferocious.  Sometimes they really were just kidding and I need not take their behavior seriously.  I can share my perspective to help them see that not everyone appreciates the same type of play.  I spend a lot of time alone because I spend 7 and a half hours with people at work and sometimes I need to be alone.  Taking a day off to be alone is a legitimate reason to call in sick. I'm sick of too much information, too much commotion and just too much of everything.

A chart like the one above helps me see that:
1. I am not alone.
2. There are ideas and ways to cope.
3. Too sensitive can be an asset when it is understood.

Hyper-sensitive I often anticipate the needs of others.  I look out for and am aware of others that are also feeling overwhelmed.  I am willing to give other people space when they need it.  I check in with others to make sure that I am not overstepping boundaries.  I stay aware of non-verbal clues that other people may miss.  I still need to be alone a lot but I no longer feel guilty about it.  It is simply a need that I have.  Nourish that need and I can function better the rest of the time.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Revved up

Our theme for this year at school is 'Bringing your A game.'  I wonder how often I drag in my D game then wonder why things don't go well.  Or I start with the attitude, "I'm going to fail anyway, may as well get it over with."  Please, understand.....I am a great believer in failing....means I tried something new.  I also believe in determination, perseverance, stick to itness, and whatever else you call that element that knocked down 7 times get up 8.  I got straight A's on more than one occasion.  It is not about being the smartest or the fastest or the prettiest it means hard work and not resting when others are kicked back or out at a party.  Doing well doesn't come naturally for me.  In junior high I was a B/C student with a few A's and more than one D.  The whole spelling thing is a bit of a miss for me.  I was called stupid and a variety of other names that all meant the same thing.  In high school I had a new school and I decided to "Bring my A game."  I did it with a bunch of hard work and many struggles.  I struggled over and over to get those sought after A's.  But the person I was trying to impress just didn't care.  I watched class mates get teased for getting good grades, I kept my grades a secret.  I had someone cheat using my paper and I was blamed for it.  Somewhere in the middle of this hormone fear driven era I learned bringing your A game doesn't mean knowing everything before you start.  It doesn't mean you don't make mistakes, fail, screw up or give up.  It means every single day you get up.  My body hurts, SO.  I feel afraid, SO.  I'm tired, SO.  Bringing your A game doesn't mean things are easy and natural and doors opening before you get to them.  (Sorry even in Star Trek there was someone behind the scenes opening doors for actors.)  It means hard work, struggle, correction, guidance, determination, grit, and so much more.

When it comes to counseling and healing, you need to bring your A game.  Too many poke at counseling with a stick without actually engaging in the process then moan that counseling failed.  Too many want the doors to magically open for them and everything is all smiles and brightness.  Too many times, I'm the one expecting my healing to be the floor cleaner that is Once and Done.  Fortunately, my first counselor burst my bubble and told me to get to work and bring my A game.  I knew how to do this.  I still remember the scorched Earth conversation that boiled down to step up and engage in counseling or GET OUT.  Some people would call it tough love, I called it a great blessing and the kindest thing he could have done for me.  I brought my A game.  I knew how.  I practiced it over and over in school, I didn't understand I could bring it to life.  I don't have a teacher grading me any more but I have my own desire to improve fueling my determination to bring my A game to my everyday living.  I'm excited.  I'm revved up.  BRING IT OWN.....I got my A game in place.  Working hard and determination, two things that are often underrated in the healing process.  Cheering for anyone that is choosing to take on life and choose to heal.  Cheering for you if your just poking a stick at it too.  I'm hoping you will get opportunities to learn about bringing your A game.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


School started and WOW do I have a bunch of changes to cope with.  My mind is whirling and I set aside several favorite activities trying to get my feet back under me.  Deep breath.  I am still having trouble sleeping that is not new.  Falling asleep at work is getting worse; that is not good.  My new goal for the next two weeks is to be in bed by 11:00 PM.  No easy task since experience tells me that I will get an increase of nightmares.  I'm going to try a new experiment.  Let the nightmares happen.  It isn't like they are anything new or different than what I have had for years and years.  I have never tried this approach.  I use sleep deprivation to quiet my dreams.  What if I simply let them happen?