Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.       - Author Unknown  

This poem contains so much wisdom. I wanted to share it because if you think back on the people who have touched your life - it explains a lot. Look at them all as blessings. Do you still need to let go of those that were for a reason? Celebrate those that were here for a season? Whether positive or negative lifetime relationships - have they contributed to shaping you in to the person you are today? Do you need to be thankful for them and the lessons they've taught you? Or should you make some new choices for yourself? Always remember, we are all blessed with free will. They came, stayed or left so we could make choices to create the life that we want to live. Make a choice. If it does not suit you, make a different one. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Colorful Return of Dale Chihuly!

The title of this post may sound like a movie sequel, but as one who has always been fascinated with glass in all of it's wondrous forms, my first experience viewing Dale Chihuly's work was like "dying and going to Technicolor heaven!" When I had the privilege of publishing Applause! Magazine, a cultural guide to the west central coast of Florida in early 2004, the launch coincided with an exhibition of Chihuly's work at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. He now returns to the same area with The Chihuly Collection which is  a permanent display of his creative genius. Officially opening to the public on Monday, July 12th, it is located at 400 Beach Drive NE which is close to the historic Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club. Note: The photo (above) was taken of one of Chihuly's outdoor pieces at the Museum of Fine Arts. 
It was exciting to work with Mr. Chihuly and his staff as we prepared our feature article for the premiere issue of Applause! Even though the article is six years old, the content is still valid. The question and answer portion that follows it may give visitors to this new collection further insight into the artist and his work. It was researched and written by the Editor of my magazine which, I am happy to say is to this day, a dear friend. So, in her words from the March/April Premiere issue of Applause! Magazine, I would like to share with you:
Dreaming in Glass
Do you remember standing in the sun as a child and watching colors prism through a piece of glass? Imagine going back to those days, when a simple refraction of light could expand your pupils in awe. Haven't felt that way in years, right? Well, get out your sunglasses.
The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is exhibiting selected glassworks by one of the world's most celebrated artists, American-born Dale Chihuly. The exhibit, Chihuly Across Florida: Masterworks in Glass, highlights works from his best-known series, including Seaforms, Persians, Baskets, Macchia and Venetians. It also includes new installations and large-scale sculptures specifically designed for display at the St. Petersburg museum, as well as at the Orlando Museum of Art, which helped to make the Chihuly exhibit a reality.
Looking at Chihuly's work, one can only assume he dreams in color. Brilliant, bursting, swallow-it-whole color. Diving, twisting, erupting color. Undulating, spiraling color, more liquid than solid, more mobile than static.
For all the fluidity in Chihuly's work, unmistakable tension infuses its lines. After all, glass is fragile. Glass breaks. But like a matador that gets in the ring despite the bull, Chihuly's art thrusts itself into space, uninterested in its own vulnerability.
Some would say this full-throttle presence reflects the artist himself. Chihuly operates with a momentous force. Like his glassworks, he has been in constant motion for most of his life, moving fluidly from coast-to-coast in the U.S., and from country-to-county abroad. As a young man, he traveled to Florence to study art, worked on a kibbutz in the Negev Desert, and served as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. In 1976, an automobile accident in England left him without sight in his left eye and with permanent damage to his right ankle and foot. His appetite for life was left in tact. Three years later a bodysurfing accident left him with a dislocated shoulder, and a few years after that he toured one thousand miles of Brittany by bicycle.
Life experiences such as these seem to fuel Chihuly's drive, giving him plenty of energy for projects such as establishing and overseeing the celebrated Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State, and envisioning and directing Chihuly Over Venice, an exhibit of hand-blown chandeliers strung like flower blossoms among the romantic city's canals.
In the Artist's Words 
Applause! Magazine recently had the opportunity to pose some questions to Dale Chihuly. Here are his thoughts on the nature of glass, and the nature of life.
When you start on a new series such as Baskets or Persians, do you begin with an understanding of the personality the final product will have?
“Sometimes I have a specific image in mind – sometimes it’s just an idea I need to work with in order to see how it might evolve.  With glass blowing, the only way to make it good is to do it over and over.  It's a question of time – you just have to become one with the material and understand it.  You can't see it; you have to feel it. By doing it over and over and over, you begin to understand what it can do and things begin to happen.  Only by working day-in and day-out, year after year can a series really develop.”
What has the glass taught you as you've experimented with different techniques?
“It has taught me that you really just have to listen to the glass – to work with it – with the fire, the centrifugal force and gravity – letting the glass find its own way. Possibilities, I think, are limited only to one's imagination – I’m fortunate to have a great imagination and a great team.”
Are there any limitations to your craft?
“If anything I think I’m always trying to push the limits – I like it more on the edge.  I'm always saying push it further, make it bigger.  For me, I think you don't know how far you can go until you go too far.”
Has losing vision in one eye impacted your artwork?
“Basically, after my accident in 1976, I still blew glass for awhile but I could never really blow glass as well.  It was complicated because there were people around me and I couldn’t see to my left side very well – I didn’t have any depth perception.  It was around that time that I started making drawings because I basically quit blowing glass. It was almost like I was meant to not blow glass and was meant to be a director.  That position has really suited me.  I do miss glassblowing – but if I’d stayed with it, I’d never have this big team or get into such large-scale works.   I think teamwork has allowed me to do more things.  As much fun as it is to blow glass, I was never as interested in “the process” of glassblowing as I was in the finished product.”
What new projects are on the horizon for Dale Chihuly?
“We are always working on new projects, new things, new ideas.  I think you’ll just have to wait and see.”
Obviously, since that interview in 2004, Mr. Chihuly has been quite busy. I am personally glad that he's back permanently to enrich our lives just standing in the presence of his imagination captured forever in beautiful glass!
The Beatles may have had their "Magical Mystery Tour" but we have our own magic in the heart of St. Petersburg expertly captured forever in glass from the mine, heart and souls of Dale Chihuly and his master artists and craftsmen. The cultural footprint in the bay area just got a little larger! It has my "Seal of Approval" as well as a standing ovation! For more information, or 727-896-4527.
One last comment...yes, I am wild for Chihuly's work, but don't forget Tampa Bay area residents...we are gifted with lots of talented craftsmen and artists in our own communities! Let's take pride in them too and give them our support as well! A few of my long-time favorites in the glass arena are Duncan McClellan,; Susan Gott,; and Michele Palenik,

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On Safari - An Employment Seeker's Fable

It's a "jungle" out there when it comes to job hunting! I can't decide which side I feel more sorry for -- the job hunters or the employers. If you are one of the "hunters," you have to mail or email your resume and an enticing cover letter along with a vast number of other fellow hunters all on the same safari, pursuing the same prey -- that perfect job held by the elusive employer! 

The employer is seeking the best hunter but in the process, still has the task of protecting and growing his/her jungle territory. Busy as they are, they are now plagued with a daily inbox full of emails from eager hunters, each determined to win that prized position. Then comes the tidal wave of phone calls (if the employer has not gone completely undercover) and more emails requesting a confirmation on receipt of information, inquiring if they've made a decision or if the hunter is still being considered as a viable candidate. This onslaught includes all the legitimate, "qualified hunters" and all of the other "posers" who aren't a good match for your prize job at all. But what exactly is a "good" match and how is it qualified? It all hinges on the employer's perspective or their gatekeeper's perspective. Please get your binoculars out and we'll explore this theory a bit further...

Employers have come up with a variety of efficient strategies to sort out the hunters. The hiring manager is sometimes buffeted by a band of talented employer gatekeepers --the human resources department, office administrator, employment headhunter or a version of HAL (2001: Space Odyssey), the computer that scans and spits out the hunters who don't have the secret words embedded in their hunting license (resume). Crafty to be sure! 

This is a big frustration to this particular hunter because sometimes great employers miss the hunter that would do the best job for them! Why? Simply because the hunter has never been given an opportunity to show them their hunting skills and prowess! Consider a hunter that has expertise in the fields of marketing, management, business administration, communications or public relations. These are all fields that have a broad functioning foundation. If a hunter is experienced in one industry, then in most cases, that experience can be easily transferred to many other industries. A hunter that has multiple industry experience? All the better! This may not be true, however, for hunters in professions such as engineering, legal or financial services which require special licenses. They generally do not roam outside of their specific industry's hunting territories. But if a hunter never ventures out of their original territory, think of all the wonders, knowledge and experiences that might be missed?

The moral of the story is: If you want the best hunter to find you, don't spit out the hunters that are not current residents of your territory (industry). It's a big jungle out there and sometimes the hunter with the broadest view has the experience and know-how to catch you the greatest prize! So please consider opening the gate a little wider and expand your territory. This "hunter" wants to catch YOU and deliver the gold! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Decorating Diva - Above Your Kitchen Cabinets!

Whether you are a new homebuyer decorating your house, apartment or condo for the first time or simply just in the mood for a little home “facelift,” one of the overlooked spaces in your abode you might consider playing with is the space above your kitchen cabinets! Everyone spends a tremendous amount of time in the kitchen. I can never remember a party or a gathering of friends and family that did not at some point end up with everyone in the kitchen! You know it’s true!  The kitchen is a prime location to unleash your personal style and have some fun!
I am an “accessory junkie” by nature, so I’m always on the prowl for some “new treasure” from my favorite haunts: Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Ross, Pier One or Dockside. Suffice it to say, I often find something I just cannot live without, so it winds up as my new possession looking for a space. Now I don’t like a cluttered look, although some of my interior designer friends may critique my photo examples as being too much (depending on their own personal design preferences which range from minimalist to opulence extraordinaire). Nonetheless, I am happy with my results and delighted to have found the perfect place for some of my “treasures” perched artistically above my kitchen cabinets!
Here are my “little secrets” from years of doing this! First of all, collect all the items that you consider using. These can range from baskets to ceramic figures, silk flower arrangements, wreaths, vases, photos, paintings, signs and more. It’s all up to you and your personal preferences and style. Don’t be afraid to try something different…you may just surprise yourself and everyone else when you discover the latent decorator within you!
Next, collect some old Tupperware, small boxes, metal or wooden hinged stands if you are using paintings, photos or signs (unless you plan to hang them on the wall above the cabinets), and a good sturdy ladder. Don’t forget to clear off your counters because chances are you’ll be standing on them.  These items will all be used to “stage” your accessories and act as a base for some to give height or stability.
Now you’re ready to start the “magic.” My taste tends to be eclectic, so I like to combine a variety of materials and textures above my cabinets. One decorating principle you may already be familiar with is using an odd number of items when creating groupings.  So start combining your accessories with an odd number of items in each group and please don’t space the items too far apart. This concept is based on the items being placed relatively close to each other to achieve a cohesive look.
 The other principal is varying the height of items. This is where your Tupperware (wow, I’m dating myself), boxes and hinged stands come in.  When the accessory item is placed on top of the cabinet with the other items in the grouping, you should vary the height of some items to create a pleasing look instead of placing every accessory at the same height. This will add interest, showcase certain items and add some drama!
Depending on the size of your kitchen and the amount of above cabinet space you have will dictate the number of groupings to use. Keep in mind -- you do not have to fill all of the space. In fact, it’s probably going to look more appealing if you do not.  This is where “eyeballing” the groupings and tweaking the groupings come in. I have often been up and down the ladder too many times to count until I feel as though it looks just right – even if it’s just – to me!
Just have fun with it! I usually change a few items in my “groupings” during the holidays to add some Christmas fun to the collection, but you may decide to change it with the seasons or not at all! The only limit is your imagination. Send me your D├ęcor Diva results! I’d love to see your handiwork and if you have other suggestions, please leave a comment! Below are my photos to give you some ideas and to illustrate the groupings and height variation process. Happy Decorating!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle;  The other is as though everything is a miracle.
~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Watermelon Sherbet - A Dessert That Would Make Martha Stewart Smile!

2 quarts raspberry sherbet
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels (regular or mini)
1 quart pineapple or lemon sherbet
1 quart lime sherbet

Line a baking sheet with tin foil or use a disposable 13x9x2-inch foil container.
Scoop both quarts of raspberry sherbet into a large mixing bowl and add chocolate chips.
Mix well.
Spoon mixture onto foil, mounding in the center to create a shape that resembles half of a watermelon .
Return to freezer and freeze at least 1 hour.
Remove from freezer and scoop the lemon or pineapple sherbet on top of the raspberry layer, smoothing evenly over the entire surface.
Return to freezer for at least 1 hour.
Remove from freezer and repeat process with lime sherbet.
Return to freezer, covered with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. 
To serve: Slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1 –inch thick slices or as desired.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Life as a Work of Art

Imagine that when you are born, you arrive with a brand new canvas, fresh paints, brushes and a clean paint palette. A few seconds before you emerge into the world, God smiles at you, kisses your forehead and says, “I can’t wait to see your masterpiece when we meet face-to-face again!” Next thing you know, you’re being cleaned up by a nurse, bundled up and introduced to a lot of new people!  And so it begins…your life!

At first we are completely dependent on others to provide for our needs, but even as infants, we are observant of the stimulus around us, both positive and negative, hence, the first base colors emerge on our life canvas. Then we grow older and our sense of “self” develops as we learn that behavior choices have good and bad consequences as even more colors are added to our canvas.  

Now things are really getting interesting!  We discover more about our family and family values, develop friendships and become a full-fledged participant in life. Our autonomy is growing and sense of self is growing stronger.  We gain knowledge at school, learn social skills, try sports, learn about winning and losing, develop independent and artistic interests. Suddenly we are immersed in the new world of societal, gender and ethnic boundaries, as well as biases. We vividly realize how big the planet Earth is and how many different types of people and places there are to experience! We make a myriad of choices everyday. To some, this is exciting, to others overwhelming. Individual perspective is born of our life experiences and so our life canvas continues to explode with many new images and colors.

From an early age we are taught what to value, what is bad and what is good, what is permitted and what is not.  We also, from quite an early age, develop discernment and innately “know” what works for us and what does not. We, as the consummate artist of our life, find that we have the ability to blend colors or paint with the unaltered color in its original form.  We can paint details or go abstract; we can paint in jewel tones or pastel. What a wonderful discovery! What an amazing gift from God! Now we understand the ultimate, selfless gift of “free choice.” Our life canvas is whatever we choose it to be. At birth, we were not given a canvas with an outline imprinted on it to “fill in” with colors already designated.  We were not told what images or colors were required. It is solely up to us! There is no panel of judges to determine whether our life canvas is good or bad, worthy or unworthy of acclaim. Every life canvas is a masterpiece in God’s eyes. You can’t get it wrong and what’s even more exciting is that you are free to change it at will!

The colors, images and style of your life canvas reflect all of your experiences and choices from the day you were born. It is a “work in progress” until you return home to present your personal masterpiece to God. Think about it. Really contemplate it. You emerged with all of the tools you will ever need. It does not matter what your circumstances were at birth or what they are right now.  You can choose to stay with the current life canvas and color palette or decide to change it. What will you paint today?