A Merry Little Christmas

DSCN5463 (copy)

Art by Kath unsworth

I ask you to tread a gentle path upon this day and the days to come. Christmas is near and we cannot stop it, but we can make it through unscathed and even help those who find it a challenge.

I sit on the deck watching the cows graze on a warm summers morn. Coffee in hand I wave a few pesky flies away. Further up the hillside a group of kangaroos stand tall watching me. The stillness is divine at a time of year when the world dissolves into holiday madness. I think about my friends all over this planet. Each one of you have your own christmas story. I love reading about how you celebrate this time of year.

For some, it might not turn out the way you wish, but we can be grateful for the little things in our lives. I  breathe in, knowing the madness is not far from my door either. I savour the peace and quiet. The children are on holidays, yet not awake, NOT YET.

For me it is about gathering monumental memories with family and friends. Spending precious time together. A rare occurrence in todays world. Beach walks and barbecue time. Whispering to the wind to those long gone, I have not forgotten you.

It is not all about the food or the gifts. I know that sounds crazy to the young right? Not so much when you have lived a little.

Christmas has a way of reminding us of who we care about most and who won’t be at the christmas dinner table this year. It can be a hard time of year. Some people feel it more than others. It might be about not having enough money. It may be the loss of someone dear. Health issues can be an extra burden, or you are alone and feel unappreciated.

At Christmas, people can get depressed.
At Christmas, people miss people.

At Christmas I need to think about the magic I can do. It is a chance to make somebody else’s day. No one will look at you strange when you add a little festive cheer to the local school, home, office or community.

Lets face the facts, as we age we realise no body will ever have the perfect christmas every year. But we can make the best of it and we can think about others and share what we have. Even if it’s only a smile, hug or a card.
I wish you peace, love and harmony, I wish you joy and togetherness.

So I ask you to step gently, through the maze of lights and festive cheer. Through the hopes and dreams of others. Keep your eyes peeled for someone who is not doing so well. Why not see if you can make a difference. One random act of kindness leads to many. You make someone’s day, they feel appreciated and pass it down the line. Simple but it can happen.

Wishing you a magical Christmas from one thankful Aussie.

I hope you see and experience the magic of Christmas by giving or receiving.

I will leave you with three words to go by this Christmas, three words my Father often mentioned for a life well lived. Compassion, Love and Kindness. He is no longer with me in the physical sense but he will always live in my heart when I think of those words.

 

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Guest Post at A Physical Perspective

Please join me over at 

http://brittskrabanek.com/2014/12/02/the-life-enthusiast-chronicles-with-kath/

Britt Skrabanek is a certified Yoga teacher on an adventure of awareness and self-acceptance, an eternal student who is learning to cultivate a peaceful existence.

She is also an indie author, who enjoys writing about bold female characters who use their misconstrued sass and wit for good, no matter how sticky the situation may be. Her third book, Nola Fran Eviea retro summertime romp—is now available. (on my wish list to read)

I write about, yes you know me well…….. appreciating the moments in life. I am honoured to be a part of The Life Enthusiast Chronicles.

Life is too short remember to appreciate those tiny moments, no matter how minuscule.

bee post

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The Art of SLOW

portrait (copy)

Art by Kath Unsworth

SLOW MOVING MAMMA

That’s me……

The Illustration Friday topic for the week is the word SLOW.

This image I created today was a slow-moving cow with a heavy load. The picture itself took me three and half hours to complete. It felt very slow. Capturing the highlights took some time.

I guess I am an expert at going slow. If there was an award for the longest time creating a picture book. I would win hands down. November is a time I look back to see how far I have come. Oh dear, I have not come as far as I would have liked. LIFE DOES GET IN THE WAY of OUR VISIONS. This year, when I started selling my art at a local craft gallery, everything else got put to the side. My word for the year was Productivity. I know I have been productive making lots of art. BUT the picture book characters frown at me and say…. “Hey don’t forget about us, please colour us in!”

I suppose I could look at it this way.

Good art takes time.

I have the skill of going slow, down to a fine art.

Every picture I draw helps me sharpen my skills. I have gone over the illustrations at least three times each.  I’m confident after a year of experimenting with movement, viewpoint, different textures and bright colours that my characters will eventually shine.

Slow is not a bad word. Living in the countryside, is very slow. I’m liking it. My younger city-dwelling self would have run a mile from the words slow-country-living. The fifty year old me enjoys the fact I have no neighbours, just cows to talk to. Cows are slow most of the time, unless they see the truck loaded up with grain. Then you get to see some funky cow moves for sure.

No, I will not rush it, I will be slow and it will take as long as it takes.

I am thankful for all the fun art I have created this year and connecting with so many wonderful people out there. The journey continues.

Are you a machine at finishing your projects or are you a slow poke like me?

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A Paper Trail of Feathers

wedding present (copy)

Not Much to say here this week but I always have a sketch to share.

I know, I know the birds keep coming. I have a paper trail of fine-feathered friends lately on my blog space. I do not plan what I draw, it’s a pretty random thing. But birds seem to be my calling card at the moment.

The illustrator Friday word for the week was Paper.  This little creation is part of my gift for my sister’s wedding. The last in the family to get married. I have waited, all year for this one day.

When our family gathers it is a crazy kind of wonderful, all at the same time. I never feel like I actually spend quality time with anybody, due to the amount of siblings I have.

They are like a flock of birds all chirping at the same time, in the one tree. As my father use to say, don’t all speak at once. What else could he say to nine chatty kids. These gatherings are a rare treat, as we find ourselves scattered across the countryside.

I will savour every laugh and big bear hug, every humorous story, every child’s giggle and most of all every moment spent with my loved ones, especially witnessing my baby sis getting married. (Yes I will cry tears of joy. As I age, I seem to do this more often, don’t ask me why?)

I hope your week ahead is full of love and light. I hope this bird makes you feel happiness. Maybe next week no more birds, maybe not.

 

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I Talk to Birds

birdy2

It is true, if you were to observe me, when I go outside I would look like a kind of, half crazed old woman. I talk to everything because I have no neighbours.

I try to post something here once a week but sometimes I have to wait for something to come. My Brain fills up with silliness, well sometimes maybe we need to look on the lighter side of life.

This little poem arrived today at a quarter past three in the morning. Don’t know why it came but here it is.

I talk to Birds

I do,
I talk to animals too.
What do I say?
Sing for me bird, a happy song.
The birds all stare as I walk along.

I talk to the cows
What do I say?
Hello girls, it’s a nice day.
The cows all stare as I madly wave, please, please don’t run away.

I talk to snails, do I need a shrink?
What do I say? What do you think?
Scoot out of my garden, if you please.
The snails move by with a slow-moving ease.

I talk to my cats,
What do I say?
Does kitty need a hug, some food or a pat?
My cats understand me, they are crazy like that.

I talk to my dogs,
What do I say?
Don’t chew my washing, you cheeky young pup.
The puppy just gives me a cute little yap.

Yes, I talk to the birds and the bees I do. The flowers, mountains and the trees too. I never stop talking my Dad use to say. I even talk in my sleep and give thanks for each day. To the sun and the moon and the big blue sky. I say thank you, thank you.

I’ll talk and I’ll talk until all is still.

And greet you in the morning, I promise I will.

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The Darkest Corners of my Mind

crow (copy) (copy)

Art by Kath

My imagination gets the better of me WAY too often. All I need is a peculiar incident. A flash of imagery from every day life, or a stolen sentence from someone in the street. Yes I am an eavesdropper, so I warn you, I love to listen to snippets of conversations.

I am the people watcher, observing you for useful character traits. I cannot help it, nor stop what I do. Story ideas can come from everywhere and nowhere. One morning I drove by the bus stop in the holidays. A haunting vision of a red hooded coat which hung from a mailbox, flapping in the breeze. It was like someone was waving at me, as if to say help! I’m trapped. But no one could see this person, only me.

Have I captured your imagination? Yes? No? Maybe? Oh well I will get to the point.

This short story came from that one visual. I have decided to share this random writing prompt with you. It is from the shadows, the dark places in my mind. I read many Stephen King books as a young adult. When I met my husband he had shelves of Stephen King novels, which my sisters warned may not have been a good thing. It all worked out because on the other walls he had framed cartoons from my all-time favourite cartoonist, Gary Larson. A fine balance indeed. (oh how I love his cows.)

Enjoy this short story and I must thank Yolanda for encouraging me to share this piece, I do love this community. Please stop by her blog and say hello. Her recent blog post inspired me to share. http://ygmcadam.wordpress.com

The Red Coat

It was now or never she thought, stepping out from behind the bushes she hurled the rock. She missed, even under the light of a full moon her aim was off. A loud screech from the creature as it turned to inspect where the noise came from. She hid in the scrub and held her breath. She felt safer in the shadows yet her heart pounded in her chest as she watched the large bird pecking at something or someone.

“Come on Freda you can do this” She whispered to herself.

Something bad had happened here, she could smell the decay of rotting flesh. A swarm of blow flies buzzed in a frenzied dance, another sign that something was dead. She hated blow flies and had never seen them in such numbers, especially at night-time.

“One last try.”

Picking up a large branch she moved forward, wild-eyed and waving the heavy log above her small frame.

“Get away!” She screamed. Yellow eyes flashed at her. The crow flapped it’s strong wings and let out an ear-splitting cry, before swooping, it then vanished into the woods. Freda dropped the branch, taking small cautious steps towards the figure slumped near the fence post. How long had this body been here? Her faced crumpled at the thought of what she would see, she hoped it would not be too gruesome. Her torch was small and did not give off much light.

She had seen dead animals on the farm before, but a human body was something different.

“What the? Ha ha ha ha!” The laugh did not sound like her own, it echoed through the trees and disappeared with the wind.

‘It’s just a coat!”

A red padded coat with a fur-trimmed hood, flapped in the breeze. She fell to the ground in relief and giggled. Freda thought about all the times her mother had said her imagination would get her into trouble one day.

“Thank you, but the crow meant no harm, he is my friend.” Said a soft voice.

Freda pushed herself backwards along the ground, her legs floundering in the dust.

“Please don’t leave me here.” A small girl with raven hair and large blue eyes peered back at her. She wore an empty expression on her pale face. Freda swallowed hard, the moon now trapped behind the swift moving clouds, brought an eerie darkness. She wanted to run and keep running. But something held her there. Her curiosity was stronger than her fears and her determination to prove she was not a weakling, even stronger.

“Then the rumours are true! You do exist?” Freda blurted out.

“Oh please, I beg of you, don’t leave me here like the others did. My mother will have dinner ready by now, I expect. I could ask what rumours you are referring to, but it is rude to gossip.”

Freda took solace in the fact the flies had vanished, there was nothing, no smell, only this strange girl tied to a fence post. The one all the boys in the village had told her about. She pinched her wrist, hoping to wake up and wished she had never promised them that she could find the ghost. Well she had found it and now she would find out the truth.

“I want to go home.” The girl started sobbing.

“You can’t.”

“Why?”

Because you, you’re dead.”

The girl moaned even louder.

“Who would do such a cruel thing?” Freda interrupted.

“Oh my best friends Jenni and Louise Parker, it was just a stupid game.” Said the ghost, wiping her face like a real live girl. “I don’t feel dead.”

“Thats absurd!” Said Freda feeling a tingle of fear wash through her belly.

“Why?”

“Because Louise Parker is my mother.”

The End

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Behind Closed Doors

xmas swallows (copy)

Art by Kath Unsworth

Winter is reluctant to leave. The days are warming up, yet I sit here shivering. I am eager to write but impatient for the kettle to boil. I Wrap my frozen arthritic fingers around a warm cup of tea and watch the steam rise. Looking out the kitchen window there is blue sky. The mountain in the distance wrapped in fog. Sunlight creeps through, the promise of a warm spring day. A pair of persistent swallows, tweet the best kind of twitter I know. They build their nest up high in the rafters and I take some photo’s.

I feel blessed in these minuscule moments. The swallows, a gift for this week. Sometimes I wonder if that is all that drives me to create. The beauty of nature sings to me. It is not for money, nor fame that I do this. There is something which flows through me. I rarely plan my art. (unprofessional I know).

Until I joined the Tribe/Writers and started blogging, I worked behind closed doors. Not wanting to share my dreams with anybody, especially not in my community. I never told anyone about my picture book ideas or my art either.

My writing group meets once a month and the topic for this month was of course Behind closed doors. I sit and think about all the creative people I have met within the Tribe/writers and the online blogging community. I wonder where there inspiration springs from. I want you to know that I find it hard some days to create anything worth sharing.

Some of you make it look easy, some of you have stopped writing and creating and I miss you. Some are content to keep plodding along like me, learning as they write. For those of you who have stopped writing, remember there is only one you. One unique voice with something to say. Don’t give up on your dreams, just keep believing in your path. It’s now or never. There is no right time, there is only today. Somewhere in this world someone needs to hear what you have to say, your art and your words matter.

Most of you live in far off lands. Thanks to all your positive feedback my art found its way through the door and out the other side. Something I never planned at the start of this year. My writing has taken a few sideways steps. I admit the writing still has a long way to go.

I remember a quote from Stephen King’s book On Writing.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

I love this quote.

What is the point of creating anything if you are afraid to share it. How will it and you grow, if you keep your craft or passions hidden?

The swallows are making a racket. Yesterday their nest fell from the rafters, dollops of mud splattered all over the deck. I can only imagine they are arguing about where the nest should go now? (first timers). I know one thing, they will never give up and I am in awe of their drive to finish.

Each morning they chirp away sitting on my Xmas lights. The nest looks stronger today and I cannot wait to see those little babies.

I hope where ever you are, you are opening those doors and sharing your dreams with the world. Like the swallows, never give up and remember hard work pays off in the end. I will try to work like these birds, building the solid foundations for my dreams, piece by piece from the ground up. I will reach high and touch the stars, but if I don’t make it, at least I will know what it feels like to try.

And if I have not inspired you today I am still feeling good because by sharing my work I have inspired one creative soul, my daughter. She came to me after working behind closed doors in her favourite spot (the caravan) and shared her drawing with me.

willows birds (copy)

Art by Willow Unsworth

Have a wonderful creative day and share what ever you are working on.

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged , , | 80 Comments