I can't believe the end of our summer vacation has come to an end! It flew by. From camping, to zoos, to birthdays, playdates, the park, and just hanging out together, we had a wonderful summer together.
This week Kieran snuggled me when I wasn't feeling well, he also learned that eating an entire chicken bones and all in ten minutes will give the dog a tummy ache for a couple days...thanks Rocky for that lesson. This week he also dressed up as the most adorable firefighter I have ever seen, and we walked to the park like that and pretended to put out fires. Love my little man and he knows it!
Wow, what a whirlwind of a perfect week! Started with the Moncton zoo last Monday and ending with Kieran's Birthday Party at the Cherry Brook zoo on Sunday.
Wednesday we made Banana Chocolate chip muffins together, he was so proud of himself, couldn't wait to tell everyone that he had made them. He would correct people too if they didn't give him any credit.
Thursday Kieran gave himself the title of "Superman Awesome" as he ran around the house with jumps, turns, and his best martial arts moves.
Friday was his birthday and he was happy all day long, and I met his biggest birthday wish...which was to have a blue candle on his cake. Although his party was not until Sunday we picked out a small DQ cake together which had a Paw Patrol character on it, he couldn't wait for his Auntie Megan and Uncle Andrew to come over and share it with him.
Saturday we spent they day at a beautiful cottage in Dipper Harbour-with Kieran's Great Aunt and Uncle. We were surrounded by the Bay, and spent the whole day on the beach. Kieran's Great Aunt got him a beautiful gift of a see through bucket to collect sand, seashells, urchins, sea glass, and anything else he could find, along with 2 beautiful ocean themed books, and a couple other goodies too. At first I don't know if he understood the bucket, but by the end of the day it was almost full. Sunday morning at breakfast it was on the table and he was going through all the things he had collected. So much Fun...he also picked and ate a bunch of raspberries, while making sure we kept looking.
Sunday, Birthday Party Day, couldn't have asked for a better day. Kieran. after having slept over 12 hours due to the previous days' outdoor adventure, was wide eyed and ready to go, he could not wait to see his friends and family to party at the zoo. He was holding hands, jumping, running, playing, just completely enjoying himself and we learned lots about the animals at our zoo (Cherry Brook Zoo). I have to say if anyone in the area is looking fro somewhere to have their child's party, they were amazing. We got a one hour tour of the zoo, and then an hour at the canteen where they served hot-dogs, chips, and cake...homemade I might add and delicious!! We brought a couple extra things like a veggie, fruit, tray but the zoo provided the rest, I thought it was great. Kieran had a wonderful time and I think the other kids did too and that is all that matters to me. I have a happy little boy who is deeply loved by many, and we are so grateful.
This weeks photo comes from my new journal, planner which I think sums up the feel of the end of our week. I love the photo on the bottom right corner of Kieran and his friends holding hands at the zoo.
A late one today. Kieran had a busy day today, starting with a trip to the Moncton zoo and ending with a dinner at his grandparents to celebrate his cousins second birthday.
At the zoo his favourite part of the whole trip was a truck they had redone for kids to get in, but a close second would be feeding the alpacas, deer, ducks and goats, in fact the alpacas really seemed to like him. He also enjoyed seeing the baby tigers, but not as much as the truck. He climbed to the highest part of their play structure-he is my own little monkey, and had to trust him in his ability as I watched from the ground, as I felt what other mothers were saying as their kids went up..."is that the only way to get up there!". Oh being a Mom, things that wouldn't have bothered me before make me slightly more anxious.
My favourite two quotes from this week were:
1) "Mommy needs to practice her exercise more"...thanks Kieran, but then on another day he says the sweetest thing...
2) "when I get bigger I will carry Mommy"
Just finished this painting I started 2 years ago. She has gone through some major transformation and picked up a friend along the way (which you can see on my facebook page.. She is the Alchemist. To me this alchemist speaks of transformation, growth, and endless possibilities. Here is her message to me, what does she say to you?
Igniting ones fire isn't always easy and there is always potential to get burned. Don't be discouraged by this. Fire, heat, action, and movement are necessary in this life. Mistakes, pain, and hardships are all necessary too, otherwise you would not be able to feel the gratitude and the warmth that comes from the embers.
There will be flickers in your flame, those of joy and happiness and of sorrow. Some may even try to extinguish your flame, or you may feel like it is too much and wish to extinguish it yourself-don't. When you feel that polarity it means you are close. Don't give up.
Moving backwards is a direction just as good as moving forward. Direction is all part of perspective.
Remain open and true to your values. Define yourself-at every moment you are renewed. Check in often with your heart. I am here shining for you and with you. Remember even in the dark I am here with you.
Let your light shine on your journey, let others learn from you. Share your journey, it does not have to be alone.
I love you always,
Absolutely loved this lesson on Ever After 2016. This one was taught by Micki Wilde.I loved painting on wood, and will definitely do that again.
So little Red Riding Hood-no royalty in this one, no fairies, or curses-just a girl and a talking wolf (were-wolf in the original, a Bzou). There are many versions of this cautionary 'stranger-danger' tale. Some ending with Little Red saving herself with her wit, and others where she is saved by a woodsman, and even ones where she is not saved at all.
I like the oldest version of the tale the best I think-I guess it would be the oldest written version, since these tales were passed around orally way before they were ever written. This one is called "The Story of Grandmother", the girl is the main character of the story and there is no mention of her wearing red-that appears in later versions., and while it is a a little more gory with the little girl unknowingly consuming her grandmother,and a little more sexual-some undressing before entering the bed with were-wolf grandma, she ultimate realizes she is in danger and tricks the Bzou and escapes. She is an active heroine of her own tale, she is not rescued by anyone but herself, a big difference from the previous tales. Little Red in this story maybe has not had enough experience to have had some warning flags go up with her first encounter with the Bzou, but I bet she has developed some new intuition skills.
Something that I hadn't thought of previously to this story is that many of these tales (before they were written, were likely shared amongst women circles as they worked, and perhaps they made strong characters like the male characters that went on quests to transform. Many of the fairy tales we know have been re-written to suit a different society of a different time-where women were to be obedient, dainty, sweet, caring, and quiet.
So from this Little Red Riding Hood my question is: What have you survived in your life-no matter how big or small it may be? What can we learn from our experiences? How have they shaped you? Do you follow your intuition-your heart, your gut instinct?
Sleeping Beauty was the first lesson I chose for this month, taught by the wonderful Jane Davenport. I love her style, and while I have done a few of her lessons before on lifebook, I was looking forward to this one due to the amount of watercolour. Well I learned watercolour is it's own beast, even though I use watercolours regularly, I haven't really done anything that requires to much precision of layers, so this was an excellent learning experience. The other thing I found hard was starting with no sketch, I tried it that way first, and gave up, then I drew when out and started again, and was much happier-however I will continue practicing with watercolour to do faces with no under sketch. IT is interesting because when I work on canvas with acrylic I don't draw the faces of my ladies, however, acrylic paint allows me to cover and shape and evolve the face with layers, whereas watercolour is transparent.
Alright so, Sleeping Beauty, what personal lesson will I draw from here with the exception if the written moral of being patient and waiting for Mr. Right....I read three versions of Sleeping Beauty and have to say I liked the first one (the oldest) the most even though it had some pretty gruesome, or violent acts ( I will let you read it). Two versions were over all the one most of us know-only child, cursed by a not so nice fairy to die, the curse is lightened by a kind fairy to sleep for 100 years, prince comes along and one story a kiss helps to awaken her and in the other the prince came at the right time for her to awaken in front of him.
The older version, "Sun, Moon, and Talia, by Giambattista Basile" , she is not cursed, it seems to be an unfortunate accident. She touched some flax and a piece went under her fingernail and she fell asleep, her father mistook her for dead, sets her up in a chair and grieves by having the whole castle vacated. One day a king finds her, has his way with her and leaves, and nine months later she has twins-a boy and a girl. Fairies come to help, and hold the babies up to Sleeping Beauty for the babies to nurse-since she is still sleeping, and one day the little boy accidentally latches on to her finger and pulls out the flax and she awakens. There more to the story that includes a very upset wife of the King who discovers his love affair and attempts to have everyone baked into a pie for the king to eat, but for my purposes I am stopping here.
I like how she wasn't cursed in this one, and how it was her child that awakened her. One way to look at it could be an awakening to life, grasping it fully. I know when Kieran was born it really ignited my fire to follow my passion, to make time for it, and do it.. I get more done now than I ever did before and I have less time now. The difference is I value my ti,e differently now, being a mom, and I want Kieran to follow his dreams too, so I would like to model that for him.
I tried to look deeper and asked myself is her sleep inactivity? The fairytale book I am using mentioned that her sleep is passivity (which was desired of women at the time, where as the prince takes on a more active role). or is her sleep more of a cocoon, a place of rejuvenation, growth, and transformation? I decided to go with the second. She is on an inward quest of exploration and discovery instead of searching for the answers outside of herself....and so what if it took her 100 years. When she wakes up she knows who she is and what she wants. She knows how to check in with her heart now.
What areas of your life are you sleeping through? Don't think of it as a bad thing, just think of it wrapped in a cocoon and dive into it, when you are ready to explore and release it.
below is my first attempt at this lesson
One of the tasks in Willowing's (Tamara Laporte) class Ever After 2016, is to create your own version of a Fairy Tale/story each month. I chose Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott". This poem along with the Pre-Raphaelite art have always inspired me (since high school at least). I have done many sketches and paintings over the years of this poem, so it was the first thing that popped into my mind for this project.
As I have done with the other fairy tales so far (for July) I have interpretted the poem for me, from my perspective. Here is my interpretation:
She is cursed for her spirit and cursed into a tower. She is a Beautiful soul, cursed to weave the stories of others (which she can only view from a mirror-the curse will come upon her if she looks out the window directly). She is a mystery to the outside world, they only speak of her as a rumor, or unsure of her existence. She experiences the lives of others rather than her own through reflections.
Perhaps she has put herself here, she subconsciously allowed it to happen, maybe from fear, and fear of judgment, anxiety of living her own life. She does choose to take control (half sick of shadows she says) and looks outside. The choice was hers, it was always. She awakens, the mirror cracks-no going back now-, the weave is released back to it's respective story owners.
I did some brain storming around themes and thought: "Perfection, illusion, smoke and mirrors. Like a modern day Facebook-reading the stories and lives of others and making assumptions of their lives, which often appear as fun, happy, magical experiences. Facebook and other social media is a way for us to look through the mirror, and I know I am guilty of looking often-something I have been working on...but this could be a while other post, back to Shalott.
For me, Lancelot represents her heart, her passion, he represents the ignition, pushed her to take the leap, to brave the risk of living and live a life no longer ensnared by shadows. She leaves the isolation of the self.
She sees clearly, and feels with all her senses. Perhaps her song was not of sadness, but of reflected clarity-she leaves her 'cage', The old life she knew is dead, she is reborn.
Perhaps much of her society fears this empowered woman, perhaps they are not ready to be free themselves. Lancelot recognizes in her beauty and says he wishes her grace on her new journey. Maybe her death was not a true death but death of her old life and an awakening to the path a head of living her own story.
What is your story? What things are you reluctant to face? why? What are you limiting beliefs? What holds you back from fully living the life you want? Are there any small (or large) steps you can take to move you closer to the life you dream of?
Pick up the red thread and weave your story.
The Lady of Shalott
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.
Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?
Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers " 'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed:
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.
The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.
All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.
And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance--
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.
Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right--
The leaves upon her falling light--
Thro' the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.
Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.
Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.
Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."
Did you know thunder can't dance, it doesn't have toes (reponse to me singing AC/DC's Thunder.
Also you can eat thunder, but don't eat lightning, it will hurt your throat!
Love his view of this.
Kieran has been sleeping in my bed for the past few weeks and I love waking up next to him, and sometimes when he wakes up, he wakes up fully and is ready to start the day, talking right away, which are my favourites. "Daddy take my candy" was my favourite waking up priority from this past week.
Last week was a truck week for Kieran. We were outside when the garbage men came and he got to look into the back of the truck and was invited to pull the lever but Kieran was a little nervous. Then at the playgroup we go to, there is a fire station underneath, and the fireman invited us in and Kieran got to get in the truck.
All in all a busy week but filled with so much fun.
The above photo are my tuckered out boys on my Birthday, and below we are just being silly.
One of the last fairy tale I did for July from Tam of Willowing's class Ever After 2016) was taught by Andrea Gomoll-whose lessons always seem joyful, fun and magical-I love her style of teaching, but for some reason I was dreading actually painting this one even though Beauty and the Beast holds a special spot in my heart for many reasons-1) my grandfather always hummed the Disney song Tale as Old as Time-which I played on the piano at his funeral, 2) I loved the Movie and is one of the first movies I can remember seeing in theatres 3) I like the story. I don't know if it was because I am close to the story that I was dreading it for fear of it not turning out? no idea. I pushed through though and do like what I did.
Like the other fairy tales I wrote about in July, I went back and read the original story. Belle is still an exceptional character of highest values and kindness, helping, forgiving, sense of duty, She also isn't longing for adventure like the Disney Belle, but doesn't shy away when it appears. Trying to make things easier for her father she asks for a single rose, which after a series of events angers the Beast (who kindly provided for the father when he was lost and gave him gifts) because his roses are the one thing he takes joy in. The Beast presents the father with the ultimatum that he must give up one of his daughters of her own free will to him or the father must stay himself. Belle feeling it is her fault volunteers herself. The Beast treats he kindly, and provides for her everything she could dream and every night asks her for her hand in marriage and every night she kindly declines. Meanwhile she is dreaming of his princely form w(ho asks her to help him and to not be deceived by appearances and to "Follow the first impulse of gratitude", which she mistakes as the Beast must have him prisoner somewhere. After a series of events where Belle leaves and returns to find the Beast almost dead she realizes she loved him all along and breaks the spell. She realized she was tied to him by "stronger ties than that of gratitude".
So perhaps the lesson of the story is not to be deceived by appearances, but like always I tried to dig a little deeper for a meaning within myself and here is what I found:
Belle in the story seems to be the ideal "dream" girl-kinds sweet, caring, compassionate, self sacrificing, beautiful,...She is a strong, brave and noble character, and makes her own decisions. While often guided by her heart, she chose to be deceived by the Beasts appearance, fearing him. Perhaps the Beast represents the unknown, a=maybe the wild self. Perhaps the Beast sit he representation of the unacknowledged, and often suppressed wild self. So from this discovery the lessons or affirmations I take away from this fairy tale are: Listen to your wild heart, Embrace and nurture your wild side, know your beasts.
Kieran was the ring bearer in his Aunt Megan's wedding this weekend. Too much cuteness haha. He was so tired before the wedding and wanted to go home, but once the party started he did not want to leave, he was having so much fun we could barely get him to eat. In fact I think he said "go away mommy, you need to go inside" because he was having so much fun with his cousins.
Today was also my 32nd birthday-I guess I tuckered them out :) I couldn't help but take a photo.
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.