"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finding an Easier Way

As I begin this brand new day, my dominant intent is to feel good, to look for that which gives me a glimmer of hope, an easy smile, or a twinge of appreciation. I love the "WOW!" moments too but the seemingly insignificant ones are all around us all day long. We must learn to let go of the idea that they are not important in the grand scheme of things. We have to figure out how to "lighten up". We need to let go of the responsibility or obligation to be "strong" or "serious" so we can enjoy the little things.

I had one hell of a mess out back after the windstorm. Only one big branch fell, but hundreds of little ones were scattered all over the yard. I feel fortunate that that was all I had to deal with, though. My young neighbors across the street have a huge dead mulberry tree laying on their house. They said it damaged the roof and now it leaks.

I like doing things the easy way, and when I walked outside and saw the twigs, I knew there had to be a better way of getting them into the trash can without all that bending. SO, I got my "Grabber" and I picked them all up with it. I stacked them at the back so I'll have lots of kindling for my chiminea next winter.

A week or so ago, I noticed the pecan tassels had accumulated behind the shop. Since Shelbie chases the squirrels back there, they get caught in her hair and she brings them in the house, so I wanted to get rid of them. The "real" blower and I don't get along and the battery operated one probably isn't up to that job, PLUS, I'm not good at blowing anyway, so I got out my shopvac. That worked great.

Yesterday, I brought it up onto the patio to clean up the mess from the windstorm. This is one of the best pieces of machinery I've ever had. I use it to clean out the pigeon pen, to vacuum the shop, and I also used it to suck the water out of the pond when I decided i didn't want it anymore. If you don't have a shopvac, you should get one. I bought mine at Sears for $59. There is also one called a "buckethead" at Lowes that mounts on a five gallon bucket and costs about $25.

These two tools are indispensable in my opinion. They definitely lend themselves to doing things the easy way.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blogging 101

Last week, I attended the Oklahoma Writers' Federation Inc. conference in Oklahoma City. While there I received several very interesting tidbits which William Bernhardt referred to as "grammar myths". Come to find out, starting a sentence with "But " or "And" is not forbidden. That totally rocked my world, since I've been avoiding it all my life. I also learned I can split infinitives if I want too as long as it doesn't confuse the reader.

BUT the most valuable thing I learned came from C. Hope Clark.  She helped me identify WHY I blog.  I've been doing it for several years -- inconsistently -- but I didn't know why it was important for me to do so, or how it relates to book sales.  I wasn't even sure what I should be blogging about.

Ms. Clark explained that it's about connecting with people in a positive way, letting them into your world so that they become interested in what you have to say.  But she also said its a two way street,  and that when someone comments on a blog,  the blogger should respond back.  It creates a conversation. It lets readers know that their opinion is important to the blogger and that they aren't  wasting their time talking to a robot.

I told Ms. Clark that I have been a floral designer for forty three years and that most of my friends identify me with that more than they do writing.  She advised me to incorporate those years of unique experiences into my blog and my writing. 

The blog address should be in my name. That is easier for readers to remember.

So with all that clarified in my mind, I'm working to blend my blog, Paula A. Bruno, which I started as a scrapbook for Come Hell or High Water, with my most  frequently read blog, "Looking' Out My Back Door".  This and all future blogs will be on the www.paulaabruno.blogspot.com address.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Urge to Move On

I've referred often on this blog to the invasive grief I've been dealing with ever since Ronnie was diagnosed.  Looking back at what I've written during those dark months, I realized that even when I didn't mention it, the over all mood of most my posts was sad.

I had a conversation with my cousin about memories and grief.  He pointed out how grief changes the way we feel about our memories and as we heal we reconnect with our memories and are more able to enjoy them.

The philosophy I subscribe to says that we create and attract what we live through our emotional vibrational output.  According to this line of thought, what goes around really does come back around, but it isn't due to Karma, but to the simple law of attraction -- that which is similar is drawn.

It also says that the Universe doesn't detect any difference in the emotional vibrational output of what we feel and what we pretend we feel -- so it's imperative during dark moments and times to spend a few minutes each day "pretending" or "daydreaming" about better times to come.

So knowing this, I have been fairly dedicated to getting up each morning and counting my blessings and pretending that I feel good, telling myself I am healthy and that all is well, life is good.  This philosophy promises that if you can do this every day for thirty days, you'll start seeing the benefits of it.

I got up early on my day off, Tuesday, because my friend Monica was coming for coffee.  Then I was going to run down to Mineral Wells to see Deidre, Seth, and my boys, Ronnie and Cuddles.  Sitting on my bed, writing out my blessings, I felt different than usual, not down looking for an up.  After closer examination, I realized that the sadness is gone.  I can feel the joy in my heart again.

I'm not saying that I'm "over" or "through" the grieving process, or that I won't have sadness again, because there is so much about Ronnie's passing that I can't deal with yet,  but feeling the way I do right now assures me that I will feel better all the time -- soon.

For the first time since August 18, 2010, I know I'm going to be okay.

"Like a roller in the ocean, Life is motion ...Like a wind that's always blowing, life is flowing ... Like a sunrise in the morning, life is dawning ...  How I treasure every minute, being part of it, being in it, with the urge to move on..."  Abba

Cowboy True

Wow!  What an amazing experience that was! Cowboy True is now many memories. I often wonder why I put myself into situations where I know I'm going to be totally out of my comfort zone. The best reason I can figure is because stepping out of my own space is when I meet new, interesting people who have a passion for something I know nothing about.

Last night, I met Ann Ayres. She does bronze pieces depicting the lives of famous cowgirls like Bonnie McCarroll. Bonnie started trick riding as a girl. She married McCarroll when she was 14.  A horse threw her, dragged her and killed her when she was 31. The # 1 sculpture of Bonnie McCarroll is in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.  Ann didn't start sculpting until she was 51. She explained the bronzing process from start to finish, from which I mainly gained an understanding of why bronze pieces are always so expensive. She spoke with admiration for the artists who inspired her and with pride for the accolades that have come in regard to her work. She is an incredible artist. She and her work have been featured in Cowboys and Indians and in Ketchpen magazines.  You can see her work at www.annayresbronzes.com.  I couldn't afford any of Ann's bronzes but I did buy some silver horse shoes that she makes. They'll make nice napkin rings -- or Christmas ornaments.

I met Mejo Okon, a woman from San Angelo.  She paints cattle and horses and cowboys. Most of her paintings were large and close. For me, if the eyes of an animal are not done well, it ruins the whole picture. Mejo gets a high five for her paintings and another for the eyes.  I bought one of her paintings of two
parade horses. She gave me the right to name them.  Since they are big boys, I've decided to name them Revis and Luke.  They are featured on her website at www.mejookon.com

I met Jack and Karen Milchanowski from Bowie. He had a great story about a picture of three wolves that he went out into the wilds of somewhere and lured them in with frozen deer meat. He said the wolves came so close at times they brushed against him. When they ran out of meat, he said the wolves went away, no confrontation, no threat from either side.  I thought that was neat. I bought one of Jack's new western prints. It is a cowboy and his horse. I was originally attracted to it because the horse is so beautiful. Jack told me he had intended to have a series of pictures of this cowboy and his horse, but the day of their shoot, one of the horse's legs was bothering him and the man wouldn't ride him. Jack said, "that man really loves his horse." I loved that tidbit of information about the man so I bought it.  Jack talked about taking three exposures of one scene and putting them together on the computer which completely changes a photograph.  Then they are printed on metallic paper.

You can see Jack's wildlife photography on his website at www.jemfoto.com  Jack and Karen bought a copy of each book Saturday Morning about 10am.  By the time I left at 9pm, Jack was nearly finished with Come Hell or High Water.  I believe he set a new record.  He emailed me Monday and said he read The Hell About Stallions after they got home from Wichita Falls on Sunday. Another record! It's always an extra special treat when a man enjoys my books.

Su McMahen makes beautiful bling stuff. From her booth I bought a serving tray with cowgirl sayings all over the inside and bling all around the edge. She came and bought Come Hell or High Water and gave me a pair of Texas star earrings. She is a beauty with blonde spiky hair, lots of huge jewelry, and a ready
smile. She teaches grade school in Vernon. Something about her assured me that I'd be glad for her to be my grandson's teacher.

I ate dinner Friday night with Martha and Jimmy Stewart, (their real names believe it or not) and Dr. and Mrs. Tom Sherriff.  The steaks and baked potatoes were cooked to perfection and the conversation around the table was fun and interesting.  Saturday night we were served -- chuck wagon style -- by the Chuck Wagon Gang at the Texoma Cowboy Church.  Enchiladas with beans and rice.  Again, it was excellent.

I met Nancy Scott and Carol Sales of the Kemp Center for the Arts, www.kempcenter.org wonderful ladies who helped and encouraged me to come to Cowboy True, then checked in every so often to make sure I had everything I needed.

That brings me to Dotti Laseur. Dotti is one of those special people who as soon as I met her, I knew we'd be friends. She's funny and energetic. She loves animals and flowers and ART. She has tea parties in her apartment at the Holt Hotel and in her doll house at Lake Kickapoo. She never meets a stranger.  She voluntarily and tirelessly promotes the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review magazine because it is a wonderful publication, and one that speaks well for Wichita Falls.

Being allowed to participate in Cowboy True as an artist was an honor that before hand had me chewing my nails down into the quick, but thanks to all the above mentioned folks and many others, all the memories I made this past weekend are good ones.