Celebrating Programs and Classes I’ve Enjoyed in 2012!

workshop group

I can’t believe all the teleclasses and programs (free and paid) I’ve attended this year! I’m sure I’m missing some in my collage above, also!

I’ve grown tremendously this year with my business plans, “lightning bolt” ideas, my website, my blog, business explorations, and online relationships! I know it’s because of all this wonderful activity I’ve enjoyed this year!

What can you get out of joining a free or paid online program or class?

Not just learning a new technique, trade, or information, but it will also provide you with incentive – motivation – to move forward with something. It will open your mind to something new and most likely create lightning bolt ideas for you!

And best of all, you will meet all kinds of new people – kindred spirits. Many of these programs involve communities you can join, therefore meeting so many others who have gravitated toward the same interest. It’s a wonderful chance to network online with others who are interested in the same things you are. You will meet new mentors, new friends, and new clients!

I encourage you to have a year like this where you say YES more often – even if you’re not sure you can complete the whole program (most likely you will be provided downloads and links you can return to later).

Another thing I love about this, is it’s a way to support others in the same field. Support your friends by subscribing to their blogs, FB pages, and free newsletters. Learn from them. What are they doing, and how are they doing it? Observe and learn from your online peers. There is a WEALTH of knowledge out there, and it’s SO easy and fun to absorb it all.

Here is my list of website and program links that I recommend you check out for 2013 (hopefully some of the free programs are still available – you really need to catch them before they disappear):

Programs/Classes I started AND FINISHED:

Programs I started but still need to finish:

I invite you to check these out and see if any of them seem interesting to you. Even the ones I still need to finish, I am fully enjoying and gained so much just from dipping my toes into the waters (even if it the best part was just to meet some new people)!

I wanted to give thanks to all these courses for contributing to my growth and joy this year!


Supporting an Aspiring Young Author, Rose!

I am getting a little carried away, perhaps, but I don’t care. When your kids show interest in something you have an equal passion for, you just have no choice but to get excited!

My daughter, Rose, has shown a high interest in writing and illustrating her own books, and she’s only seven years old.

I remember I was just like her when I was little. As soon as I learned to write, and read my first story in front of my class, I was HOOKED. I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a writer and illustrate my own books. So what happened? I was gung ho all through childhood, and my writing was highly encouraged by my teachers and my peers (in Canada). However, when I moved to the States, nobody knew me. Nobody knew that I’d been writing ever since the first grade. But when I started drawing in art class, it was extremely obvious to people that I had a talent in art, and that became what people focused on in my new life in the States. It wasn’t until I bought a blank book from the bookstore and started writing my autobiography during recess time that people started to notice my writing passion in the 8th Grade. But still, writing isn’t as cool as being good at art, so my passion for writing remained something mostly I knew about, along with a select few of my friends. Hence my decision to pursue art as my career choice rather than writing. I decided to sneak into the back door of the professional writing world by entering through it with my art (creating illustrated children’s books first, perhaps). In a way, that is what seems to be happening, but not exactly the way I planned.

So on to my daughter! I feel like I want to take what I learned from my own life and pass that knowledge on to her. I learned that sharing my work to others was what excited me. It isn’t enough to simply write the words. A writer isn’t much without readers, just as an actor or musician isn’t much without an audience. So I joyfully created a blog for Rose on which she can see her work up in front of the world for everyone to see and read. Getting comments on her blog is so exciting to share with her. She’s learning so much so early. I certainly didn’t have the internet to use as a resource when I was little. I’m happy to introduce it to her in a supportive way, so she can see how the internet can be used as a support tool.

I’ve created a few different pages for her. The latest is this one, created for her and her friend Jamie: GirlTeenagerBooks.wordpress.com

Rose also created her own little writing desk area in her room. SO cute!

I am thrilled to see that her teacher at Sunview Elementary School is extremely encouraging, just as I remember my own elementary school teachers when I was little. This just delights me! BIG thanks to her teacher, Mrs.Johnson!

I’m looking forward to teaching her to feel empowered and not rely solely on traditional publishing as the ultimate way to go. I guess I focus so much on that because I think that’s what killed my own confidence about getting published as a young person. I knew I wasn’t the best author – I was just a kid – but there was no other way I knew to get my work out there.

Independent publishing can be just as lucrative, and in some cases, more lucrative! Besides, we writers don’t write for the money. We write because we love to write. Just the way any creative person does what they do – Artists love to express themselves creatively. Actors love the thrill of performing in front of an audience. Musicians have passion for the audio art they create. We are all artists and we do what we do because WE LOVE TO DO IT.

Edvard Munch said, “Art is your heart’s blood.”

SO true. Creative expression is something we just have to do.

And I am so happy to be sharing all this with my daughter. I’m looking forward to journeying with her through this artistic path, and even  learning a few new things myself as I watch what happens with her own new journey.

Lazar – A Different Interpretation of “Danse Macabre” by Saint Saens

In Newmarket, Ontario, I was introduced in grade school to the piece, Danse Macabre, by Saint Saens. They would darken the classroom as we watched this slideshow of watercolor paintings by Harold Dexter Hoopes. It is a piece of music that I have never forgotten. In fact, I bought a tape of the music and crank it up full blast in my car sometimes.

I love music that tells a story, especially songs that build into a climax the way a good story does. Perhaps that’s why I love listening to orchestrated soundtrack music so much. One of my favorite musical score composers is Thomas Newman. My favorites of his are: Shawshank Redemption and How to Make an American Quilt. I also love Randy Newman’s score for The Natural. Also John Barry (Somewhere in Time, Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves). I love music that makes me FEEL something.

Danse Macabre, when pumped up full volume, makes me POUND the air with my fist at it’s climactic moment when the big loud drums go BOOM! within the tornadic intensity of the violins. At it’s peak I imagine a whirlwind of spirits!

What a delight it was to find a kindred spirit in Gavrilo Gnatovich, animator and owner of Horrendous Fiasco Cartoons (my husband’s boss in the late 1990’s at Knock Knock Cartoons). Danse Macabre was a major musical focus for his short film, Lazar. I highly encourage you to watch it and enjoy this new visual interpretation of the classic music, Danse Macabre. Very different from the ghouls in the original imagery shown to me when I was little, but a good example to show that music can be interpreted in so many ways.

This music tells a story. What story speaks the most to you? Or do you have your own to share?

Click HERE or on image to go to Gav’s website – and click on the “Lazar” image on the page link to view the movie.

Lazar – by Gavrilo Gnatovich

Zentangles by Polly DeHAYS

Zentangles by Polly DeHAYS

I was totally WOWED by these Zentangles my friend Polly DeHAYS created and I just had to share them with you! This is actually her FIRST try at them, showcasing her artistic talent! These inspire me so much, I had to try making some of my own (not nearly as detailed as hers).

We had a Zentagle workshop at my retreat this year, led by Carol Bailey-Floyd, and that’s what introduced Polly to this technique.

I just had to show off her work, here. It really inspires me.

Polly says this about her Zentangles:

“I love that they are quick & easy – for anyone! There are no mistakes. And there is no such thing as perfection with Zentangle. It’s refreshing that I can just let my curiosity run the show & doodle-away and indulge in the excitement as I watch how my creation develops while my imagination & creativity run wild!

The end result is always a gorgeous, elaborate, design that you can be proud of and show off to friends and family!”

Simply Awesome FREE E-Course from “Simply Woz”

I have been very surprised by my immediate interest in this free exercise that Woz has on her “freebies” page. It’s called “Let the Music Play – The Soundtrack of Your Life E-Course.” I immediately downloaded it when I saw it was available, and I could not wait to get into it.

A description from the playbook:

“This course will ask you questions that can only be answered in song. From happy moments to break ups, music gives you something magical to hold onto.”

I was wondering why I’m so excited about these exercises, and I’ve figured out the reason. Music has been a big part of my life. Maybe part of it is because my Mom is a Choir Director and my Dad’s a Jazz drummer. But music has had important meaning in my life in more personal ways.

When I was little, I would walk about my everyday, normal life, imagining hat I was actually living in a movie and I had my own personal soundtrack. I would fantasize about that soundtrack and insert soundtracks from movies into my life. One of my favorites was riding my bike swiftly up the street, imagining the E.T. bike chase music. Awesome.

When I went through a depression and anxiety phase, I learned to listen to my favorite instrumental soundtrack music (and later Enya) to calm me, bringing me to a state of peace, inspiration, and even elation at times, depending on the music. One of my favorites was the soundtrack from Out of Africa – the part where they flew in the airplane together. That music would replay in my mind and heart over and over.

And I’m currently writing my memoirs from childhood about my move from Canada to the States, and of course I’m imagining WHAT IF someone made a movie of my stories. I imagine who the actors would be and what songs I would use throughout the movie to depict the moods of the scenes – particularly the intro music and closing music.

Well, for the first exercise form Woz’s e-course, I needed to come up with “my theme song.”

It sure didn’t take long to figure it out.

It had to be “I Can See Clearly Now” – the Bob Marley/Jimmy Cliff version, because it’s the most peppy and joyous version for me.

I made a little collage of how the song makes me feel, too. FUN.

In the film, Shawshank Redemption, Andy talks to Red about the importance of music. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Will have to post a clip below. Music does so much for the soul. Music can heal your body and soul. It can give hope. It inspires.

A hats off to musicians, singers and songwriters everywhere. What would we do without you?

From Corporate Cubicle to Creative Community Heaven ~ the dream to UNITE the two ~ PLUS Interview with Andrea Schroeder

My ORIGINAL “Creativity Spa Hot Sheet” using Andrea’s Creativity Spa and art as inspiration. I wanted to try setting up a Creativity Spa at my corporate workplace!

This is a MUCH longer post than I would normally write, but it’s a story that’s been brewing for a while.

In 2007 I had come to the end of my rope. I was ready for a change. I decided I was going to meet with a friend who had just retired from directing Artist’s Way Retreats, and I had a big idea to pick up where she left off, to see if this was something that would help me find creative fulfillment. Within a week of planning for my very first ever retreat, I felt refreshed, and excited! I knew this was right. At work, my step was lighter – I was happier.

Then I wondered if it was possible to bring some of this inspired feeling into my workplace, sharing it with others. I worked in the creative department of a big corporate office, and there didn’t seem to be an understanding of how to inspire creative people. Basically it was up to the creative individual to inspire him/herself. Unless there was product to be made from a workshop or lecture, there wasn’t much interest from the upper levels to allow it to happen. And this is a company that depends on its artists a great deal. It seemed like such an easy thing to fix. All artists need is a little freedom to be purely creative, I thought. Just a little.

As I browsed the web to gather ideas for workshop leaders to invite into my retreat, I happened upon three websites that would launch a journey of creative dream discovery that continues today. I found SARK, Artella, and I stumbled upon a little website by a girl named Andrea Schroeder. Her website was called ABCCreativity.com (now creativemagicacademy.com). What struck me was her Creativity Spa – a duplex she transformed into a creative center with pink walls where people could come in, use supplies, make creative stuff, and even PAINT ON THE WALLS. I thought, wow! Paint on the walls? I immediately thought about our huge corporate office – it used to be an automobile manufacturing plant. SO much space, and not all of it was being used. We totally could find a single room to use as a “Creativity Spa” of our own, right? I also thought we could hold some random creative workshops that would PURELY be centered on inspiring the artist to experiment and PLAY, with no force from the company to produce product. Pure artistic expression. I gathered the images from Andrea’s website to make my own “Creatvity Spa Hot Sheet” to use as a proposal, found the right group to propose it to, and it was overall received well. I was hopeful, excited, a little nervous, and feeling I was totally going in a wonderful new life direction.

Less than two months later I was one of the many people dropped into a mass group of lay-offs. Job over.

I had two little kids at home, one not even a year old yet, but thank goodness I also had a husband with a full time job. I decided to be grateful to have some time of career reflection and to have more time with my kids. I felt, dare I say… RELIEVED (combined with shock). I felt the ole cosmic “boot in he rear” telling me, “Well, it’s great that you’re trying to do this creative inspiration stuff at your workplace… but don’t you realize that’s not where you’re supposed to be?”

After four years of creative exploration, retreat and workshop facilitating, teleclasses, and collecting certifications, I’ve realized while I was at the corporate job, I was where I needed to be at the time. Over time, it acted like a pressure cooker, pressing me to the point of desperation to discover a world of creativity and inspiration beyond the corporate walls. I’m glad that happened.

I have since found a new community – one filled with kindred souls, and most of whom I haven’t met face-to-face. And we all have a similar mission – to share creative inspiration with others.

I wonder if one day I’ll return to my old workplace as a visitor to fulfill my old dream – as a presenter or workshop leader. I hope to share inspiration, helping to make people happy in their workplace, and encouraging them to discover the same creative communities I did, so they can seek out more and more creative opportunities outside the cubicle. At the least, I hope to be able to do it with my retreats and website.

In the meantime, I am happy in my new employment which doesn’t drain my creative spirit. I seem to have more energy than ever,  despite the occasional exhaustion when life just gets too overwhelming. And that is when I stop, breathe, and visit Andrea Schroeder’s website and blog to see what magic she’s up to.

I recently have had the opportunity to interview her and am thrilled to share it here. She has been on her own journey since mine began, and it s very interesting. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

I’m in this book…help me CELEBRATE!

When something really intriguing and exciting comes my way, I feel compelled to share it. And this is one of those cases. I’m totally inspired by The Creating Time Mega Event…three FREE weeks of inspiration as people all over the world will come together and welcome the ending of time as we know it…and the beginning of an exhilarating new life!

The Creating Time Mega Event celebrates the release of the new book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life by ArtellaLand.com founder Marney K. Makridakis, and I am so excited and proud to be a contributor to this book!

The piece I created for this book represented the Kairos, which for me has to do with one of my favorite subjects, “Divine Timing.” I decided to do a mixed media piece that included a painting I did of an angel a while back and finally found a home for this angel! I plan to write more about this piece later.

The Creating Time Mega Event starts April 2, and features 25 amazing luminaries inviting us to “time travel” as a collective community to create a new paradigm of time.

Have you noticed that time is moving faster than ever these days? That it’s virtually impossible to engage in or observe any conversation that doesn’t somehow bring up “time” in a negative context? That “time” is the one thing that seems to hold most of us back from living the lives we were born to live? I see this all the time in my work, and I imagine that you do, too!

Now is the time for a new time! The Creating Time Mega Event and this exciting movement canchange the way we see and experience time forever.

The Creating Time Mega Event is FREE and it all starts April 2, 2012 and runs for three amazing, life-changing weeks. You’ll get inspiring live webinars, daily email inspiration, dynamic time-shifting games and challenges, a lively interactive community of fellow time-travelers, and so much more.

I am excited for the ways that this ongoing flow of innovative tools, techniques and ideas explored in this event will shift our experience of time forever. And on a personal level, I’m really excited to be part of this book and I appreciate your support of my contribution.

Learn more and sign up here!

“Draw Your Future” Map by Strategic Illustrator, Patti Dobrowolski

It’s amazing what comes about by simply checking out a lead from someone’s Facebook post. I was checking out Violette’s recent post about mapping and was intrigued by the image she drew. Had to check out the source of her inspiration that she posted and discovered this woman’s site, video, and book. I also learned about a form of illustration I didn’t know existed called Strategic Illustration. I find this SO inspiring.

What I love is that ANYONE can try this mapping technique on their own. I highly encourage watching this video and going to this link to sign up for Patti’s newsletter to get the free template for this activity. ENJOY! I plan on doing this myself and am looking forward to posting what I come up with!

Please try this out on your own!

Creative Dream Incubator ~ by Andrea Schroeder


Another yummy offer from one of my favorite creative inspirations, Andrea Schroeder!

This one is called the “Creative Dream Incubator.”

Andrea is one of the many creative people I have interviewed as research for a book I’m currently writing. I’ve taken coaching from her and find her a friendly and highly inspirational Creative.

CLICK ON THIS LINK to enter a giveaway to win a FREE space in this e-course!

Read more about Andrea’s e-course below, or go to her website.

This course is a Creative Dream Incubator that will nurture you and your dream through every step of bringing your dream to life:

  • Module 1 – Inception: planting the seed of your dream in the soul of the universe
  • Module 2 – Essence: the heart of your dream
  • Module 3 – Expression: the magic + sparkle of making dreams real
  • Module 4 – Unfurl: growing beyond your comfort zone
  • Module 5 – Amplify: creating positive energy to nourish and grow creative dreams
  • Module 6 – Fruition: living as the dream

What You Get:

The E-Course Itself: Weekly Lessons, Assignments and an Online Creative Incubator

Drawing from my studies and experience, the lessons are packed with videos, lessons, resources, journaling prompts and experiential creative dreamer assignments.  All of it is geared towards not just telling you stuff, but encouraging you to explore and play and discover the real magic and power of bringing dreams to life for yourself.

As I found in my own explorations – it’s one thing to “know” something in your head.  It’s quite another to live it.  When it comes to Creative Dreams – you don’t want to just know that they are possible.  You want to live them.

The Online Creative Incubator is a cozy, private classroom space where you can get feedback from me and encouragement from your fellow creative dreamers.


  • Six Workbooks
    Six Guided Meditation MP3s
    Online Creative Incubator Classroom space
    Positive Energy Affirmation E-mails
    Magic Affirmation Activator + Instruction Manual

Plus that special magic that comes when you invest in your dreams and gather with other creative dreamers.