while a happy man takes a walk

this morning, i read this talk. it was wonderful, and said many things that have been on my heart and mind lately, better than i could. so, here is some of it:
Those who live in thanksgiving daily, however, are usually among the world’s happiest people. And they make others happy as well.

Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration.

Pray with all your heart. Consider the love your Heavenly Father has for all His children. Open your heart to His cleansing word. Feast on the words of holy writ. Cherish the messages of modern-day prophets and apostles. Forgive others who have offended you. Don’t waste another moment feeling self-pity. Every day drain from your heart the feelings of resentment, rage, and defeat that do nothing but discourage and destroy. Fill your heart with those things that ennoble, encourage, and inspire.
i completely agree with everything that is discussed in this talk. there are so many things to be grateful for in life, and i realize that i don't recognize those things often enough.

i heard a speaker in church the other day tell of a unique challenge that was presented to him, a goal of sorts. two dear friends took that same challenge upon themselves this week, and even knowing what they've done with it has blessed and inspired me.
this is my little book that will hold my list!
today, i will take that challenge as well: i will start a list of 1,000 things i am thankful for. i will do this by december 1, which will help me reflect upon these things daily until Christmas season (what else could be a better precursor?) if you (you, reading this! regardless of location, religion, or any other factor) feel even a tiny bit inclined to do the same, i encourage you to follow that feeling and do it. what a blessing it is to recognize our blessings!
after all,
Not everyone can be a star quarterback; not everyone can be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; not everyone can win a gold medal at the Olympics; but everyone—everyone—can live in thanksgiving daily.
 {via the aforementioned talk}
...My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven. {from president monson in this talk, which is equally amazing}


little letters

dear wind: you make me feel so awesome.

dear 6-month old 27-inch imac at work: why did you crash? i treated you like GOLD but apparently you're a hater. on me. and all my data has been lost. thanks a lot, trusty computer. :(

dear choir: i miss you. oh-so-very much. especially at this time in the year. ...and especially as i'm sitting listening to the sectional happening in the room next to me. guess that doesn't help.

dear motivation: where did you go? i'm still blogging....

dear sickness: i feel you hiding there in the depths of my system. you think you can mess with me? i will freaking take. you. down. so don't you dare.

dear headache: i know you're teaming up with sickness. but i wouldn't go there if i were you.

dear jamba: thanks for double-teaming to combat headache and sickness. this is a good strategy; let's implement it more often.


dear blonde girl that just walked past with a side ponytail and a harry potter scar on your forehead: bravo.


something good

to quote my facebook status from yesterday: well. i had forgotten what only 2 hours of sleep per night felt like. BUT -- it wasn't til last night that i found out again! usually my sleep deprivation level is much higher at this point in the semester...i'm proud of myself. :)

okay...random picture time! i took these "self-portraits" while waiting to help my brother with a photoshoot a couple weeks ago. i love fall.

and now, i just felt like posting.  i don't have any art or new york posts completely ready, ssssoo, i'll just open up my brain and write whatever i find.

every week/day/hour, i'm slammed with one of the following, or similar:
awesome inspiration ---> intense frustration.
potential breakthrough ---> sudden discouragement. 
wonderful tender mercies ---> confusing loneliness.
such a roller coaster. 

but the cool thing about all of this, is that i'm not alone. the more i talk to others and hear about their circumstances, the more i realize how human it is to feel those things. and, the more i realize how much we can help each other through them. i remember a couple weeks ago in church, my stake president saying something like this:

"[regarding serving and reaching out to others--] ...being busy, focusing on our problems, observing our weaknesses, listening to our fears, etc are NOT a valid excuse to try to 'fit it in'. NO! [fist to pulpit!] the way OUT of our fears and sickness and busy-ness is to get outside ourselves, hearken to the call [to help others around us] and get to work!"

...and then the next week, another gal in church said something like this:

"the only way to get out of our darkness is to go to work and serve others. when there is too much drama going on in my life, i realize there is too much of ME in my life."

what a simple solution, right?  ...but really-- it is.



one blog post from october. one. pathetic. this post was written oct 6, if that helps anything.

i feel like my next several posts are going to be very scattered in both content and time-frame for these reasons:

1. i have a lot to catch up on my blog. including my last year's art classes and new york. both very broad subjects. oh, and i just realized soon i'll have this semester's art classes to talk about, too....

2. i am very busy right now (averaging less than 8 hours of total "free time" during the week days, in which i have to eat, run errands, go to meetings and do all my homework. my saturdays are filling up, as well, with story meetings, BYUIA meetings, and painting. and that homework stuff i hear about all the time.)

3. ...this is a third bullet point because lists usually look better with at least three things. so, refer to #1 and #2. they are more than adequate. promise.


i will post what i can, when i can. today, i just wanted to say that i really love painting and drawing outside. i have a plein air class with dave mcclellen and a sketchbook class with bethanne andersen. so, plein air: painting outside. sketchbook: drawing at different locations every class period.

during plein air yesterday, we painted clouds. i'll post those later. during the cloud painting, i saw an adorable little caterpillar crossing the road. yeah. caterpillar. i'm not usually a bug person, but it was just so. stinking. cute. loooook!

thanks to keri for the great pictures!

we named him bear. bear the caterpillar.

and it was my favorite plein air class so far, since we chose a central location where we were all there together. good conversation, lots of laughter, and sweet paintings were had by all. the morning had a super moody temperament, so the clouds were extra epic.

also, yesterday at sketchbook we went to the bean museum to draw insects. yeah. gross, right? however, i was surprised how much i really enjoyed myself. for about two hours, i listened to my music and drew insects. i was in my own little world and i thought it was rad. here you go.

ps. bear ran off, and i want a fuzzy pet caterpillar. jus' sayin.

pps. check him out, one more time.

wouldn't you want one, too?