Saturday, January 26, 2013

Journal Fodder Junkies: The Retreat

Now that the new year is in full swing, we can turn to promoting our biggest event of 2013 - OUR VERY OWN RETREAT. After teaching workshops across North America in 2012, we decided to try something a bit closer to home, and we have booked a space at a local Embassy Suites in Ashburn, Virginia. We are offering three full days of Journal Fodder Junkie madness from June 20-23, and will share ideas, techniques, and concepts taken from our two bestselling books. But don’t worry, we have enough surprises in store to keep it fresh, exciting, and new.

The cost is $450 which covers the tuition for the workshop, and we are limiting this special retreat to 30 people. Participants are responsible for travel, lodging, and food expenses, and we do have a special rate with the hotel.

For more info or to register for the retreat go the retreat webpage. Hopefully you can join us for this amazing journey, so make certain that you reserve your spot soon. If it’s a success, maybe it can become an annual thing.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Inspirational Blogs

I am very honored to be considered a Very Inspiring Blogger by my good friend Erin from art-is-try and Artistry Studio. I met Erin more than four years ago, and I have been amazed at her journey from middle school art teacher to thriving artist. I am often jealous the she has been able to make a permanent exit from teaching public school - an exit that I would like to achieve someday soon. I am still humbled to be part of her journey.

As for my own rundown of inspirational blogs, I don't spend much time online line gleaning inspiration, and I stick only to a handful of tried and true blogs and websites. These are my top three.

Erin of art-is-try would be first on the list. I guess we're part of the mutual admiration club, but when I look at her stuff, I am completely blown away by what she does. And she does so much. She creates beautiful journals, amazing encaustics, rich journal pages, and amazing photos. She is so thoughtful with her comments and feedback, and she has been a great artistic accomplice always encouraging and nudging.

Steve of Go Flying Turtle would have to be next. I have known Steve since we were freshmen in college more than 21 years ago. Although Steve has stepped away from the land of blogs and such, his blogs are packed with years of old posts. Steve loves to draw from nature especially using his own photos as reference, but you'll find all types of artistic adventures on his blogs and website - mixed media, acrylic paint, photography, and comic art. And that's not to mention his reviews of music. His Splotch monsters are a delight, and here's hoping that Steve comes back to blogger-land some time soon.

Author Patti Digh would have to round out my top three. I have three of her books, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet her three years ago when she gave a reading in Cullowhee, NC. I enjoy her website and the blog that she shares with two friends, 3x3x365. Patti's words are always inspirational, and she really makes her reader's think. She often shares the work of her Verbtribe workshop participants and full-heartedly believes that anyone can write. On 3x3x365, she and two others share a photo a day everyday of the year accompanying their photos with poignant words. I want to be Patti Digh when I grow up.

I wish that I had a longer list of inspirational blogs. I just don't get around the ol' Internet like I used to. You can always check out my list on the sidebar for a few other blogs and websites of note.

Thanks so much to Erin for making feel appreciated, and thank you to everyone who visits and lingers a while. I hope that my blog can continue to be an inspiration. Now if I can just get back in the groove of regular posts.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Goodbye, Percy

We said goodbye to our sweet, three-legged shepherd/chow mix, Percy, last night. His health had been going downhill for the last few months, and helping him end his suffering was the only humane thing to do.

Percy came into our lives more than 11 years ago, and filled them with such joy. Before we adopted him, he was left with a fused back leg as a result of being hit by a car. Although his back leg was fused straight and virtually useless, it never slowed him down. The countless groundhog, rabbits, and squirrels that he chased and hunted down in our tiny backyard was a testament to that. After several surgeries to try to get his back leg workable, we decided to amputate, and Percy was better for it.

He enjoyed nothing more than carrying on in the backyard, and he so enjoyed his furry brothers and sisters especially a couple of cats who were always special to the boy. Percy devoted much attention to our cat Pop, as she would prance in front of him rubbing on him and flirting with him. We always teased that they were an item. Percy also loved playing with Aloysius, our orange tabby. Aloysius, or Squishy as we call him, would flop down in front of Percy and raise up his paws, and Percy would play bite, mouth, paw, and bark at Squishy. They would carry on and on, only stopping when Squishy was covered in Percy drool.

As he aged, Percy's back leg grew weaker, and then not too long ago he was diagnosed with liver disease even though he never showed any outward signs of its advanced state. Slowly it became hard for Percy to walk as his single back leg grew weaker. It started out as mere slipping as he tried to stand or walk on our hardwood floors. Eventually, we had to assist him in standing and walking by grabbing hold of his tail and using a sturdy harness. His appetite became uneven, and near the end he simply nibbled on dry food as he laid in his bed.

Several weeks ago, sores opened up on his feet and elbows. Nothing helped, and we ruled out causes that might be easy to fix. We had to resort to an e-collar (or cone) as a way to keep him from chewing on his sore paws. As the sores on his body became more numerous and as it became more and more of a struggle to stand, walk, and breathe, we made the decision. My wife stayed home with him one last day yesterday as they watched a Harry Potter marathon together. I'm sure Percy thought all the while that he could still take Fluffy, the three-headed dog. We had our last evening with him last night as we said goodbye and were joined by our friend Marcia. In the end our wonderful friend Dr. Krisi Erwin helped Percy peacefully and comfortably go to the Rainbow Bridge.

My heart is heavy and broken, but I know that his suffering is at an end. We will miss our guardian, and the house will seem so much emptier without him. But we are very grateful for having the chance to love our Percy dog.

Goodbye, sweet boy.