Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Turning Empty Around

I read a quote the other day that made my mind wander:

Give until your heart is full.

How much giving is that?  Two years ago I started sending happy mail.  Giving away what I made.  Spending my own money on postage.  Daydreaming about the smiles that were happening on the receiving end.  Touting that I was doing this project to make myself happy, and no one else.  

The truth?  Two years later and I felt empty.  I felt like I gave and gave.  The end result was most often a hollow Facebook message that says "thanks for the cards."   Not what I imagined would happen.  This was not part of the daydream.  I had visions of pen pals and letters dancing in mailboxes.  All the returned messages weren't hollow, but the heartfelt ones didn't feel like enough.  I didn't feel like I was on the right path.  So.  I quit.  I quit sending happy mail.    

This isn't the first time I've felt this kind of empty.  I'm a giver, I give and give and give.  Always feeling like I'm receiving much less in return.  When I start to feel empty, I retreat.  I recharge by being alone.  Yes.  I know there are some of you who won't understand that.  I'm an extroverted, introvert.  Yep, that's right.  Spread too thin, I often run out of energy.  I also internalize things too much and the only way I know to recharge is to retreat from the world around me.  In the words of Yoda - Retreat I did.

I tossed the daydream and picked up my sketch pad and micron pens.  I poured myself into drawing.  Drawing is something I recently started doing when the stress starts to cripple my mind.  I needed to do something for me.  I stopped doing it for other people and focused on my art.

I started posting pics of my work on Facebook and Instagram because that's what I do.  I take photos and post them.  One of my pieces sparked a request for a custom order.  This, this made me change my focus.  This encouraged me to embrace my art.

The art kept happening and I started focusing on a different type of giving.  Pouring my talent out into the world and giving it life, filling my heart and helping me turn empty around.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Personal Shift

Getting personal really wasn't my plan when I started blogging again, but it's just kind of started happening.  More of an evolution if you will.  If I'm going to be true to my heart and mind with my desire to write more, this blog has to grow and expose more of who I am.

The Porch Postscript - a place to hang around, sip coffee, chat with a neighbor and enjoy the summer sun, even in the dead of winter.  

If I really believe that, then I need to move forward, change my writing style and create more post that are more porch chats and long visits with friends.  I think most of you who are reading this blog are people I know personally in my daily life.  Some of you might be strangers, but new friends are always welcome.  While it's only 5 degrees this morning, pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle into a comfy chair.  Let's get real and be personal here.

My claim to fame is being born in Wyoming.  I lived the first 28 years of my life there.  I wear that as a badge of honor.  Wyoming Cowboy fans will understand when I say I bleed brown and gold.  While I may never live in the great state of Wyoming again, I will always be proud to be from there.

Lake Marie - Snow Range, WY

I left a piece of my heart in Missouri.  There were so many great things about the two years we spent living there.  Secondhand shopping was AMAZING!  Abandon buildings and graveyards made my photographers heart skip a bit, as there down every country road.  Speaking of country roads, there are zillions of them that lead all over the state too little towns.  Little towns that hold some of the best barbeque restaurants you'll ever eat in.  This was the first, and so far only, place I'd ever lived where there were genuinely four seasons.

Farm Land - Central Missouri

Texas, they can keep it.  We spent two years living through sandstorms, on the border in El Paso.  What I loved most about living there was our discovery of Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico.

Gila Hot Springs - New Mexico

Living the Alaskan dream, or at least that's what many of our friends and family think.  The reality, we moved here for a job.  Plain and simple.  We're still here, five years later, but not for the reasons so many would like to think we are.  Alaska is a beautiful state, but it hasn't captured our hearts.  We've learned that we love a small town life, there's beauty in being a six-hour flight from Hawaii, and the summers are amazing.

Alaskan Range - Interior Alaska

So what's the point of all this?  It's called the build up.  This is a little bit of who I am, testing the waters of opening my heart and sharing more about me, getting more personal.  Are you wondering where we're going to go from here?  Yeah, me too.  Stick around.  This could get very interesting.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 Reasons to Use a Feed Reader

What is a feed reader?  Simple answer - a feed reader is a place to gather and display RSS feeds or web feeds if you will.  Translation - This is one page you can visit daily that will contain all of the blogs you don't want to miss stories from, and it eliminates the need to visit each individual page.  There are dozens of feed readers out there - Feedly, Bloglovin', Feedbin, Flipboard and many others.  There are even extensions for Chrome users to add to your toolbar.  Do some research, experiment, you'll find the one that fits your style and needs.  I'm a Feedly user, more on that later.  Let's talk about why I use a feed reader first.

1. All Your Blogs in One Place

I don't know about you, but I don't have the desire, nor the attention span, to click and read dozens of different blog pages.  I follow 53 blogs.  Don't judge.  By putting it all in a feed reader I open one page and read all my blogs in one place.

2.  Full Article Feed

Now, personally, I don't care if you visit my page directly or read my content in a feed reader.  That's because I'm not here for the numbers.  I'm here for the writing.  There are other blogs that do care about numbers and therefore will limit how much of the post shows in a feed reader.  If you want to read the full post you merely click a link that says something to the effect of "continue reading..." to finish reading the article on the actual blog page.

3. Customizable

The feed reader I use, lets you choose your desired feed reading style.  I use the Full Articles layout, but, other options include Cards, Title Only, Magazine, or Grouped by Feeds.  There are also customizable categories to sort the blogs you follow.

4.  There's an App for That

Yes, there sure is!  Most of the feed readers I've checked out have an app so you can read your blogs anywhere on anything.  I have an app on my phone as well as my kindle.

5. No Ad Assault

Nothing will make me leave your blog faster than a pop-up asking me to subscribe to your newsletter.  Except maybe the mystery noise of an ad that automatically plays when I visit your site.  I know not everyone blogs for the joy of writing.  There are thousands of bloggers that make a living blogging, but seriously I can't be the only reader you lose because of these things.  By adding these blogs to a feed reader I avoid all of this and still get the content that I'm  into.

The Feed Reader I Use

When I first started in the blog world I used Google Reader, sadly that reader was discontinued several years ago.  I moved to Feedly, originally for convenience sake, because there were easy steps to pull my Google Reader right over without a bunch of hassle.  I've tried others, but I always come back to Feedly.

Why Feedly?  Honestly?  Because it was the most like Google Reader when I was in the market for a feed reader.  Today, years later, I've tried to use a couple others and always come back to Feedly.  Feedly is simple, gives me the option of a full articles feed with photos, easy scroll and read and customizable categories.  It's also fairly easy to add a new blog to my reader, as long as they have an RSS feed.

Do you use a feed reader?  Why or why not?  Tell me about it in the comments.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Currently October 2016 Part 2

The Porch Postscript - Currently

Struggling with:
  • My Weight - Yes, I'm opening that door.  I started this battle, and yes I see it as a battle, in January.  It's  now October and I've yo-yoed my way to a total loss of 7.6 pounds.  Hubby and I are working on this together, and I think many days that's the only thing keeps me going.  I will continue to move through this battle and move toward my goal.  I will also accept that there will be bad days and maybe even bad weeks.  

Blogs I'm Loving:

  • The Healthy Maven - I read this post first, which hooked me, and then this morning I read her post about Knowing Your Value.  Loving this blog.  Lots of foodie goodness, but also a good bit of real life too.  
  • Shutterbean - I stated following Tracy when I first started writing my own blog in 2008.  I love her recipes, her photography and her unapologetic writing style.  You know if I've been reading for eight years, and I'm still reading, she's got it going on.

Recipes I Need to Try:

Happening in the Studio:

  • I'm listing my original art in My Etsy Shop.  This is a big one for me.  I'm putting my art out there in the world, not just handing it to people I know as a special gift.  
  • I'm spending more time sketching, what an amazing stress reliever this has been the past couple of weeks. 
The Porch Postscript - Currently

  • InkTober, yeah, about that.  I did really good for the first 13 days, I'm officially behind four days.  What's more is I don't care.  It's been fun, I've been drawing daily, but it's all been on works in progress, not a daily drawing.

What's on My Mind:

  • Black and white photography has been a reoccurring thought traveling through my mind lately. I need to take more black and white photos.  I love the story they tell when the color isn't there to guide the eye and tell the brain what to imagine.
The Porch Postscript - Currently

  • I've been questioning myself, wondering what happened to the 11 years I spent devouring everything foodie I could read.  As of late, I don't even feel the pull to cook, let alone read about food.  Did I burn myself out, or has this been a result of the constant challenge of trying to find ingredients in this remote part of the world?

Goals this Week:

  • Be kinder to myself.  Focus on where I am and go from there.  
  • Journal more, write more.
  • Focus on self-care and letting go.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

3 Thought Provoking Quotes

Our everyday lives are so full of negative.  We're conditioned to focus on the negative, the can't, the not enough.  Think about it.  You're standing in line at the store, reading the magazine covers - Lose 30 pounds fast, Look younger, Look sexy now.  What does this do?  It paints the picture that you, as you are, isn't enough.

The news media spends most of their time focusing the stories that talk about a torn world; if it bleeds, it leads.  There's political mudslinging on the TV and radio.  Don't even get me started on the condescending, mean memes on social media.

I've been fighting my own battle in my head, focused too much on how hard it is to make the changes that I need to make to get to where I want to go.  Over the past couple of weeks, the universe has been dropping some subtle messages, which I've been hearing, but not listening too.  These are the quotes that I heard, but silently left standing on their own.  

The Porch Postscript - 3 Thought Provoking Quotes

I found the following quote in my Pinterest activity feed this morning.  I posted it on The Porch Postscript Facebook page.  Then I thought about how much this could tie in with my soapbox post from last week.  Is this what's stopping me from embracing the changes I'm secretly craving in my life?  Am I just hyper-focused on what I'd be giving up?  What about you?  Have you been more focused on what you're giving up, than what you could gain?  Does your brain hurt now?  Mine does.

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.
~ Rick Goodwin

I wanted to share some other inspiring quotes I've heard or read over the past couple of weeks.  Quite honestly, the simplest words often pack the biggest punch.

Start where you are and just keep going 
~ Jess Lively
The Lively Show - this episode.

This quote from The Lively show really struck a chord with me.  Starting where you are and moving forward, the simplest advice, but so powerful.  Where are you?  Start there.  Where do you want to be?  Then just keep going until you get there.  I need to focus on starting where I am and moving forward, one small step at a time.

Other people liking you is a bonus. 
You liking yourself is the real prize. 
~Alex Elle
Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life - Instagram post.

This quote from Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life is something we all need to keep reminding ourselves when we get tied up in what society says we should be.  Something to replay in our minds when that well-meaning friend says something about our outward appearance.  Something to remind the inner critic when that internal voice gets too loud and overwhelming.

Today, I'm pulling them together to build a story.  Start where I am, focus on what I have to gain and embrace myself.  Where are you?  Are you ready to start where you are?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Currently October 2016 Part 1

Yesterday's post was pretty intense, so let's lighten things up today.  It's Monday, the day most people like the least.  Let's savor our morning coffee and be thankful for the day.  Spin things in a positive light to set the tone for the week.

What I'm Reading:

  • Woman Code - reading small chunks of this at a time.  Too much of it at once is really overwhelming.  (Kindle book)
  • Rising Strong - haven't picked this up in a few day, but it's on my list of things to pick back up this morning.  (Real book)
  • Present Over Perfect - I grabbed the Kindle sample of this and after reading a few pages last night I'll be grabbing the full book. (Kindle book)
  • Curly Girl - Bought this over the weekend.  While I'm not into all of the "bible" steps they talk about I've been meaning to read this one so I can add some curly coping skills to my bag of tricks.  (Kindle book)

What's Happening in the Studio:

  • InkTober - Daily drawing in pen and ink.  I really love drawing with a pen.  I'm not a sketch person, I'm totally a pen and ink person.  There are no rules to InkTober, just to draw with pen and ink every day in October.  You can follow my progress on my Instagram feed @theporchpostscript.
InkTober Day 1
InTober Day 2
  • Custom Orders - This isn't something I am willing to take on very often, but these are for a good friend who loves my work.  I'll be creating three custom initial drawings for her.  Hoping to have this all finished by the end of the week.
Custom Order #1
Custom Order #2 in progress

What's in My Podcast Playlist:

  • The Lively Show -  This is a great podcast for inspiration and encouraging you to embrace your life.  Jess Lively created this podcast to uplift, inspire, and add a little extra intention to your day (her words, not mine).  She interviews a number of small business people and bloggers asking them questions about what inspires and motivates them, as well as what challenges they've faced getting where they are today.  
  • True Crime Profile - If you love true crime then this is a must listen.  Jim Clemente (retired FBI profiler), Laura Richards (criminal behavioral annalist, former Scotland Yard), and Lisa Zambetti  (casting director for Criminal Minds) discuss and analyze a number of murder cases, including the OJ Simpson murder trial, the JonBenet Ramsey case, the trial of Oscar Pistorius, and The Colonial Park Murders just to name a few.  
  • You Must Remember This - Who doesn't love old Hollywood?  Karina Longworth digs into the stories of the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.  I got into this podcast when she was telling the story of the Manson Murders.  They are on hiatus until the beginning of 2017, but there are plenty of episodes to listen to and get you hooked before then.

Favorite DSLR Photo:

What's on My Goal List for the Week:

  • Get back into reading for 30 minutes every morning
  • Stay on track with my InkTober drawing challenge
  • Commit to morning yoga practice
  • Recommit to morning journaling
What's on your Currently list?  Write it in your journal, your blog, even on a post-it.  Currently Lists help you see where you are and refocus on what you want to do.  Stop spending your day scrolling through your social media drug of choice, hoping for new posts.  Go out and live life.  Take a walk, write, draw, create, use your brain, or connect with friends.