Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

The time seems to be flying by these last days of the year!  Here we are at January 1 and it seems like it was just Christmas.  We took down our decorations today and the house looks so different without all the lights and holiday stuff!  Feels like it is back to simplicity.

I am busy getting my Embracing Your Bliss business details put together, working to finalize a logo, ordering business cards and preparing for the website to launch.  Very exciting to see it begin to come together.  I have also decided to participate in the Sketchbook Challenge!  

I am sitting in my studio typing this entry and just looked out to see a beautiful bald eagle soaring through the back yard.  I am a bird nut and it is so rewarding to be able to see all kinds of birds right through the window in my room!  There is nothing as majestic as a lovely bald eagle gracefully passing by.  Wow...I also watched this solitary turkey hang around our feeders today.  Typically there are 15, 12 females and 3 males but today, there was 1 all alone.  I wondered where the rest of the flock was?  Did she just need some time alone?  Was she cast out by the others?  Did she get lost?  I will never know but I enjoyed watching her strut around peacefully.  Often the turkeys are scurrying around trying to get the piece of corn before the others but this lone turkey moved with grace and peaceful often missing with the rest of the brood.  Maybe she is a good model for the coming year...Here is her pic:

As I thought about this post, I was wondering what I have done this last week to move forward the ABC's of Embracing Your Bliss:  Awakening to the spirit, Bringing joy to others and Creating from the heart.  It often seems easiest to find examples of Creating beautiful things!

I took a making Vintage Valentine cards class this week at our local scrapbook store, Archivers.  We made four cards and it was really fun to learn new techniques and to get new ideas!  I have been away from scrapbooking and paper crafts for the last 5 years and am just overwhelmed at the amount of new techniques that have emerged! 

The sketchbook challenge involved getting a new journal and decorating the cover so I created a new sketchbook cover for the challenge.

I was also playing around with acrylics paints for the first time and decided to experiment on the first pages of my sketchbook.  I took a lovely card that my daughter Charlee gave me for Christmas, attached it with Golden polymer to the page and then mirrored the drawing she did with acrylics.  It was really fun to use this medium and to see how they worked.  I have only worked with watercolors in the past so this was a new adventure for me but I am glad to have preserved this lovely card she gave me.  I also did a more typical Susan journal page talking about Christmas, the new traditions we were creating - using a bit of torn paper, embossed rubber stamps and some inking of the edges of torn paper.  What I realized is that I need to have two journals!  I have been avid journal writer since my early teens and the purpose of a sketchbook journal feels different than my typical rant and review feelings journal!  So I opted to buy a simple clairefontaine lined journal!  I also bought my first fountain pen, a lamy.  Boy did I have fun picking out various Noodler inks, learning how to change the ink cartridges and use the convertors.  I had no idea that there was a whole fountain pen using community out there!  Amazing.

This is also a time of year when I spend thinking about my spirit and what I want the next year to look like for me. In all honestly, 2010 was a very tough year for me.  A lot of loss and even though I got married and had a lovely honeymoon, there were huge disappointments in my family and work world--and my community of faith.  So as I look to this new year, I can't help but wonder where I am being lead and what the universe has in store for me.  Joseph Campbell has a great quote about bliss.  He wrote, "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls."  I have seen and run in to a lot of walls in 2010 and I welcome new doors opening!  Embracing Your Bliss is the beginning of a new journey for me and I look forward to opening more doors in the coming year!

Bringing joy to others!  This can sometimes be the most challenging of the ABC's for me.  I try to do things on a daily basis, sometimes as simple as making sure my husband's towel is on the sink so he doesn't have to reach across the bathroom when he finishes his shower--to the volunteer chaplain work that I do in the neo-natal intensive care unit at one of the local hospitals.  Last week I had a chance to meet this young couple who had a baby with some genetic anomalies (gentler way of saying defects).  This couple was so grateful to be sharing time with their baby.  They are in their teens and to look at them from the outside without any data, one could really think they "have some issues" but in fact, I felt so blessed to spend a few minutes watching them love their baby.  They asked if we could pray for her surgery the next day, asked to pray to be good parents and went on to tell me how excited and grateful they were to have this child.  I was deeply touched at their sincerity and amazed at the maturity they displayed in dealing with a very difficult situation.  Often I find in my chaplain work that it is not me who brings joy but rather the people bring ME joy.  This couple was truly a gift of love and joy!

So the new year begins - and it is my heartfelt intention to really work to Embrace my bliss this year by focusing on the ABC's - awakening to the spirit, bringing joy to others and creating from the heart!

Blessings on your new year and I hope you journey with me--Embracing Your Bliss!

Susan, Blissfully!

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def. Bliss: -noun Supreme Happiness, Utter Joy/Contentment; the Joy of Paradise!