Saturday, August 31, 2013

20130831 Rough Recording of "Gallery"

Gallery
words and music by Kay Pere

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Well, here it is, a link to a very rough recording of my song "Gallery, sung live in one take to unedited, unmixed backing tracks I finally finished cobbling together today.

It's very important that we keep our promises, especially promises we make to ourselves. This recording is a promise kept and a celebration of health! It's far from perfect, but it's a few tiny steps closer to being something I can put on my next CD.

Back in June when I found out that I was going to have a thyroidectomy in July--surgery that carried the risk of damaging my voice--I made a promise to myself to have a rough recording of one of my songs completed by the end of August, whether I could sing it or just use an instrumental track for the melody until I'd recovered fully. My singing voice is actually well ahead of where they said it would be by this point, 6 weeks after surgery, and I'm happier than words can say about this!

There is no sense in waiting until we're perfect to do what we value most, so here it is!

[All content of "Quiet Little Life" (c)Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing]

Saturday, July 06, 2013

25 Days of Yclept Living: HAPPYCLEPT LIST

HAPPYCLEPT MASTER LIST

happyclept: [pronounced hap-ee-KLEHPTa portmanteau of "happy" and "yclept", used for naming all the big and small things to feel grateful about, some are within my control, others are blessings brought into my life by no doing of my own.

T-9 Days Happyclept Naming
- Didn't realize that it was only 9 days until the surgery, not 10, until I'd nearly finished writing this post and went to take a picture of my countdown board.
- Made homemade ice cream from fresh fruit I'd preserved in the freezer many months ago. Today's flavor: papaya, raspberry, lime!
- I found and downloaded this BlogGo app, which has made blogging from my iPad much easier.
- Had good food to eat and the freedom to rest when I needed to
- Enjoyed a mostly pain-free day, clearheaded day, wasn't particulary muddled-headed from pain or extra pain meds
- Got my hair done and was treated with kindness by Carla, who worked carefully around my limited neck flexibility at the hair washing sink
- And much more!

(C) Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

25 Days of Yclept Living: T-9 Days | Naming Names

RECAP OF THE SITUATION
In 9 days I'll be having a total thyroidectomy for benign thyroid nodules that have been pressing on things in my neck and upper chest.  This has been causing a lot of discomfort and limiting the things I can do until after I've recovered from the surgery.

I had been feeling quite discouraged about my current limitations--plus the fact that this will be my 4th unrelated, unexpected, midlife-type (common conditions, not scary) major surgery in less that 30 months--and generally doing a lot of complaining about all this. . . . until I decided that the bigger problem was actually that I needed to shift my perspective.

You can read my 1st thoughts and blog post about this here.

I've resolved not only to name the ways I'm currently limited, but to make a point to actively name the creative ways I'm adapting at these limitations AND the many enjoyable, meaningful things available to me every day.

YCLEPT
That's the yclept part of this. Yclept [pronounced ee-KLEHPT] is an archaic word that means "named" or "called".

Naming things as they really are empowers me to see the choices I have for responding to them.

Since I'm enumerating both the negative and positive aspects of this experience--with the intention of being more mindful of the positive--and since this exercise is all about the power of naming, I decided I needed to coin a new pair of words to use as descriptive titles:

grumpyclept: [pronounced gruhmp-ee-KLEHPT] a portmanteau of " grumpy" and "yclept", used for naming all the situational realities that I tend to feel like complaining about, facts of life are beyond my control that I might wish to change, but can't.

happyclept: [pronounced hap-ee-KLEHPTa portmanteau of "happy" and "yclept", used for naming all the big and small things to feel grateful about, some are within my control, others are blessings brought into my life by no doing of my own.

Here are the running lists of each as of today. I'll be adding to these throughout the 25 Days of Yclept Living, with links to corresponding posts.

GRUMPYCLEPT MASTER LIST  (You REALLY don't have to read this.)

TODAY'S HAPPYCLEPT LIST
- Didn't realize that it was only 9 days until the surgery, not 10, until I went to take a picture of my countdown board for this post. The days are going more quickly than I'd expected!
- Made homemade ice cream from fresh fruit I'd preserved in the freezer many months ago. Today's flavor: papaya, raspberry, lime!
- Adapted to not being able to work at the computer for very long: I found and downloaded this BlogGo app, made blogging from my iPad much easier.
- Had good food to eat and the freedom to rest when I needed to
- Enjoyed a mostly pain-free day, clearheaded day, wasn't particulary muddled-headed from pain or extra pain meds
- Got my hair done and was treated with kindness by Carla, who worked carefully around my limited neck flexibility at the hair washing sink
- And much more

(C) Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

25 Days of Yclept Living: GRUMPYCLEPT LIST

GRUMPYCLEPT MASTER LIST

grumpyclept: [pronounced gruhmp-ee-KLEHPT] a portmanteau of " grumpy" and "yclept", used for naming all the situational realities that I tend to feel like complaining about, facts of life are beyond my control that I might wish to change, but can't.

For these 25 Days of Yclept Living, I shall name my outer limits only this once:

~ No turning my head side-to-side or up and down
~ Which means no driving
~ No lifting, pushing, or straining in any way
~ Which means no kneading bread, gardening, working with clay larger than my fist, housework, or opening and closing window sashes, etc
~ My voice (and the rest of me) is tiring easily right now. Sometimes it even hurts to sing or speak, so guess what else this little singer has mostly had to give up for a few weeks, just to be on the safe side.

Even within these limitations, the way I choose to think about them--if I can find the strength--will make all the difference in how I experience them.

(C) Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Saturday, June 29, 2013

25 Days of Yclept Living: Bye-Bye Bowtie



Limitations are a part of life.

In my creative work, I have found that limits open new directions, new ways of looking at things.

Since life is the ultimate creative project, why shouldn't it function the same way?

Sometimes we intentionally impose limits on ourselves, as when I do my best to limit the amount of plastic that comes into my life. Sometimes we choose to limit our creative work to only certain kinds of projects, subject matter, or materials for the purpose of artistic expression and exploration.

Other times, limits are forced upon us by circumstances beyond our control.

That's the situation I find myself in right now. In 16 days I'll be having surgery on my neck. Until then, and for at least a week afterward, there is a growing list of things I love to do that I shouldn't, things I haven't been able to do for several weeks already.

I'm reminded of something I read this past week in the beautiful book, "Seeing Trees", written by Nancy Ross Hugo, with gorgeously detailed photographs of tree bits-and-pieces by Robert Llewellyn. Writing about a particular kind of tree Ross says, "I love these things . . . not because they are inherently lovable but because I know them. 'What we can't identify doesn't exist for us,' Bernd Heinrich points out in The Trees in My Forest, and by extension, what we can identify, we own."

The archaic, poetic word yclept means "named" or "called". In poetry, vocabularyclept, writing uses the words from a pre-existing poem, and only those words, to create a new poem. The yclept limitation is "named", identified, then put to creative use.

Right now, my outer limits are much closer in than I would like them to be. I've spent considerable energy naming my limits or, more accurately, complaining and worrying about them. Until the surgery and for a short time afterward, most normal activities make my neck, shoulder, and right arm ache deeply. Each new day has brought a new activity that's off limits. Now I've gotten to the point where I'm doing my best to do almost nothing. That's just depressing.

Unless I want to continue making myself and those around me miserable every day for the next month, I've realized that I have to find another way of being and seeing.

I don't want to whine.  I have several friends and family members who are living with permanent challenges far more serious than my own temporary woes. My situation is far from life threatening, just inconvenient.

A few days ago, during a moment of clarity I got to thinking, if I can identify my limitations, perhaps I can own them. If I can name them, maybe I can live more creatively within them.

So I took the liberty of extending the definition of the word yclept to include calling out or naming life's limitations, either chosen or outwardly imposed, with the intention of working creatively within them, thus the phrase yclept living.

For these 25 Days of Yclept Living, I shall name my outer limits only this once:

~ No turning my head side-to-side or up and down
~ Which means no driving
~ No lifting, pushing, or straining in any way
~ Which means no kneading bread, gardening, working with clay larger than my fist, housework, or opening and closing window sashes, etc
~ My voice (and the rest of me) is tiring easily right now. Sometimes it even hurts to sing or speak, so guess what else this little singer has had to give up for a few weeks, just to be on the safe side.

Even within these limitations, the way I choose to think about them--if I can find the strength--will make all the difference in how I experience them.

It's one thing to know this. It's another to put it into practice.

Day before yesterday, on DAY 18, I made this countdown calendar.


That was 18 days until the surgery, 7 days after that until I can lift, turn, and drive again. 25 days in all.

"Bye-Bye Bowtie" is for the bit of stuff that's causing so much inconvenience. My thyroid gland is being evicted for having become lumpy and oversized, though I'm extremely thankful to report that it's benign.

To keep myself accountable as I attempt to live more positively within these fate-selected limits--and perhaps to offer ideas of use to others--I've decided to blog about my daily work to make this time more meaningful, when so many of my usual meaning making activities are beyond my reach.

Since sitting at my computer and working with the mouse can only happen for short periods of time without pain, yesterday--DAY 17--I downloaded an app for blogging from my iPad.

Today is DAY 16, and I have begun.

Though my temporary list of "can't"s is long and the journey toward surgery has been months in the making, having begun this new way to look at the countdown, now I'm actually looking forward using this experience to create another kind of list.

It will be a list of the rewarding activities I find to pass the time within these limitations, the work-arounds I come up with, and the discoveries I make in relationships and within myself.

As I'm able, this is what I hope share with you here. I hope you will find something created within these limits, that is useful in your own life.

It's just past midnight now, the beginning of DAY 15. 

Even knowing that it will be a limited day, with the probability of pain and pills that dull it and my mind, I feel hopeful to see what DAY 15 will bring. And hopeful about the days that follow.

Yes, limitations are a part of life.

But they can also open up new directions and new ways of looking at things.

(C)Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gaia Luna Video Tour: January Thaw



Gem the cat and I would like you to join us on our first ever video tour of Gaia Luna Garden.

We've chosen a pleasant day during our January thaw to make for easy walking.  You'll see where we're starting the year. And in future videos you'll be able to watch how it grows.

Even in this cold time of long darknesses, we know we've turned the corner of the seasons, and we're heading back toward Spring!

(c)2013 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What Michael Pollan Did For Food, Eric Maisel Does For Mood


MY REVIEW AND RESPONSE TO 
"Rethinking Depression" by Eric Maisel

“In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” the 2008 bestseller by Michael Pollan challenged us to take back our food supply from the “Nutritional Industrial Complex.”

Another bestselling author, Eric Maisel, psychologist and international creativity expert, in “Rethinking Depression: How to Shed Mental Health Labels and Create Personal Meaning,” urges us “make meaning” in order to take back our mood supply from the Medical Industrial Complex. [my coined phrase, not Maisel’s] 

Maisel encourages us to make a meaningful life in order to combat inevitable human unhappiness, then he tells us how. 

If this book hasn't been on the bestseller list by the time you read this review, I wish it were. It looks at life with an honesty and clarity that is rare, and much needed.

I am fortunate to be among a handful of artists, authors, and others across the globe to be asked to read and respond to "Rethinking Depression" as part of Eric Maisel's blog tour for it's launch this month.

Based on its title, at this point in my life I probably wouldn't have selected "Rethinking Depression" from a bookstore's shelves as my next read, but I'm extremely grateful to have read it.  It's true that you can't judge a book by its cover.  It arrived at just the right time to repeatedly provided insight that I'm on the right path, for me, as I work to make a meaningful life. I saw reflected back to me among its pages a philosophy and approach that rings true.

Maisel writes of his 2012 release with New World Library“I question whether ‘the mental disorder of depression’ exists or whether in contemporary times human sadness has been monetized and languaged into a ‘mental disorder.’ I follow that discussion with a plan for minimizing sadness and living life with purpose.” 

It is a book in two parts.

PART ONE: Maisel Rethinks Depression
Part One is a well-reasoned look at the medicalization and pathologization of common human experiences of emotional pain and sadness by the pharmaceutical industry and mental health establishment.  Maisel describes how our perception of these behaviors and experiences has been transformed by diagnostic lists of symptoms with an accompanying menu of approved treatments.

I find Maisel’s carefully reasoned arguments to be extremely persuasive. 

Though my reading of “Rethinking Depression”s opening chapters brought to mind many questions—I’m always one to ask, “Yeah, but what about…”—I was moved to speak aloud, “Yes!” when Maisel recommended that instead of the term “depression,” we use more specific and compassionate words such as “sadness” or “loneliness” or “disappointment” or “loss.”  These feelings are not medical conditions. They are normal human reactions to life’s harshest realities.  I won't be addressing those questions or their answers here, but in the course of writing this review I had the opportunity to interact with Eric Maisel directly. I will just say that this book represents only a small portion of a well-reasoned and compassionate conceptual edifice well worth exploring.

And there is great power in naming things as they truly are.

This is not to say that Maisel opposes prescription medication, talk therapy, or even religious practice as help for those struggling with difficult experiences and emotions. He simply wants us to recognize that these options are only that, options.

PART TWO:  We Learn to Rethink Depression
In Part Two of “Rethinking Depression”, Maisel presents another option: the reader can learn to "make meaning" by developing and acting on an "Existential Plan.”

Chapter 4, the first in Part Two, is one of the most beautifully stated explanations of a philosophical perspective—in this case existentialism—I have ever read.  With his customary pragmatic, conversational tone, Maisel lays out the ideas of Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Kafka, Sartre, and Camus in terms anyone can understand. Then he shows the reader how to move beyond the philosophical into the day-to-day application of these ideas to life.

To paraphrase: Life is both beautiful and extremely harsh.  No one can tell you what it all means. You have to take responsibility for yourself, decide for yourself what meaning you wish to make of life, then do your best each day to live ethically according to your own self-knowledge, values, and goals.  Even knowing that you will fall short of this ideal much of the time, Maisel asserts that this is the best way to deal with your own human unhappiness, simply by seeing life for what it is, being true to yourself, doing what you can and making what you can of your life as you go along.

For other more academic explanations of existentialism offering greater detail than I'm able, you might want to look at the following:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism

Here is Jean-Paul Sartre's (b. 1908, d. 1980) own explanation of existentialism given in a lecture in 1949, if you care to wade through it:  http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm

The last time I’d tried to understand existentialism was in college. I attempted to read something by Sartre, perhaps "Being and Nothingness," on the recommendation of a friend, who I later learned had selectively adopted its ideas to justify an assortment of amoral life choices.

All I remember is that it left me feeling deeply depressed—or I should say profoundly unhappy and hopeless.  My father was dieing of cancer at the time.  My dreams for myself were proving to be much more difficult that I’d expected to make real, if not impossible, under the circumstances.  And I was experiencing my first crisis of faith, as the religious beliefs I was raised with longer seemed to ring true.  Sartre’s writing echoed my own dawning awareness of life’s harsh realities, without offering any comfort, at least in its opening pages.  It was too much for me at the time.

I wish someone had placed a copy of “Rethinking Depression” in the hands of my younger self all those years ago. Though, having read this book, I now feel as if someone has.

Part Two of this book begins with the realism of existential philosophy in Chapter 4, then fleshes out an approach to life that puts the power back into our hands as we each decide for ourselves how to be true to ourselves (live an authentic life) and make that life meaningful, even—perhaps, especially—when life seems most meaningless.

MAKING MEANING AND LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE
In each of the chapters that follow, Maisel offers step-by-step guidance on how to do this, all the while admitting that meaning making, though worth the effort, is anything but easy.

I’m a big fan Do-It-Yourself.  I grow a garden each summer so my family, friends, and I can enjoy healthy fruits and vegetables. I bake my own bread by hand, from scratch, and even sew my own clothes when I have the time.  I entertain myself and perhaps offer the same to a few other people by creating original artwork and music from the raw materials of my imagination. And I volunteer for the causes I value most in the belief that making the world a better place is the ultimate DIY project.

Until I read “Rethinking Depression” that I had never thought to use the particular words “making meaning” to describe my DIY life. Now I realize  that’s exactly what I’ve always felt.  For me, Maisel’s use of that powerful phrase delivered a fabulous AH-HA moment, one of many provided by this book.

Maisel’s admonition to “focus on meaning, not mood” was another lightbulb moment for me. Again, this is something I attempt to do, though, for me, having the right words for it brings the practice to a higher level of awareness and choice.  In the face of life’s unavoidable unwanted experiences—and the pain, sadness, disappointment, and anger that inevitably accompanies them—I can choose in each moment to bravely, though imperfectly, turn my attention and actions toward the things I value most, toward creating the life and being the person I most wish to be.

Serendipitously, as I was writing this review, I happened to be working my way back through my personal journals from last summer, looking for bits of insight and lessons learned. After reading “Rethinking Depression,” I read the words I’d written then in a new way. 

I was taking the unavoidable difficulties of life and transforming them through choice and action into meaning.  In this way, I was able in the course of three handwritten pages to move from sadness to strength. I wrote:
I’m still feeling down this morning. What I imagine I’ve lost in the past 10 years is the optimistic boldness of belief that everything would work out as I imagined it would.  Time and again, I’ve faced emotional and physical setbacks that stripped me of my momentum….10 years ago I had no idea that all of this lay ahead.  All I saw was possibility.  I saw my own potential.  I believed that possibility and ability would come together to create the reality I envisioned.  If it were entirely up to me, then that’s exactly what would have happened.  It’s not.  It’s not entirely up to me.  My past, my body, the people I encounter and the things they choose to do, these are outside of my control.  They are the other creative forces.

All I can do is continue to show up.  When I’m tired, when I’m sad, when I’m so discouraged I want to give up, I can still show up.  I don’t have to feel it in order to continue acting on my creative vision. I start with what is, in this moment, and put my hand to it, apply my mind and emotion to it.  Even in sadness.  Even in despair of ever seeing my vision realized.

I am here.
As long as I am here there is hope for what might be.
That is enough.
I've learned along the way that life's obstacles and distractions offer some of the most meaningful adventures, as long as we can learn to walk through the unhappiness of unexpected detours and actively turn them into opportunities for learning and growth. Maisel's latest provides us with the tools and instructions we need to do this for ourselves.

"Rethinking Depression" should be required reading in the great school of living. We are each far more than a set of mental health criteria. We are far more than a diagnosis or the lack of one. Making a meaningful life is simply the best way to take back our mood supply.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF RETHINKING DEPRESSION


Eric Maisel, PhD, is a licensed psychotherapist and the author of Rethinking Depression and numerous other titles including Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, Coaching the Artist Within, and A Writer’s San Francisco. He blogs for the Huffington Post and writes for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at http://www.ericmaisel.com



RETHINKING DEPRESSION by Eric Maisel
February 15, 2012 •  Pychology/Personal Growth •  256 pages • Trade Paperback
Price: $14.95 • ISBN 978-1-60868-020-7


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FREE DOWNLOAD: Grand Design: Artist's Prayer MINI-POSTER

FREE PDFs to DOWNLOAD*

Formatted for 8x11 inch paper. Looks particularly yummy printed on beige card stock. You will need Acrobat reader or some other program to view the PDFs. Print settings may have to be adjusted to accommodate the size of the image within the allowable margins of your printer.

WHAT IT SAYS
The Grand Design: An Artist's Prayer
a song by Kay Pere

My heart is a parchment, my hand holds a quill.
I dip this pen, quivering, afraid the ink might spill.
I long to draw you to me, Great Mystery within.
Move my hands, move my heart, guide my pen.

Though I try to sketch the future, only your hand turns the page.
You erase the stains and smudges of my past mistakes.
So I ask, please, grant the wisdom to know where to draw the line
And provide a clearer vision of your Grand Design.

I could never pen your portrait for I've yet to see your face,
But I know you from your likeness in the beauty of this place.
The pattern of your stillness rests upon my open book.
A still life of your spirit shines wherever I might look.

Though I try to sketch the future, only your hand turns the page.
You erase the stains and smudges of my past mistakes.
So I ask, please, grant the wisdom to know where to draw the line
And provide a clearer vision of your Grand Design.

Great Artist, you arranged the stars and fashioned each small flower.
My heart and hands are yours to move in the quiet of this hour.

So I ask, please, grant the wisdom to know where to draw the line
And provide a clearer vision of your Grand Design.

(c) Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Sometimes, making a beginning is the hardest part, until you remember that you don't create alone.

I've always felt a bit intimidated by a blank piece of paper, an unplanted garden bed, an unshaped lump of clay, a song waiting to be recorded. No matter how many times I've done something before, successfully or not, beginning anew is always accompanied by a particular kind of internal resistance.

The outcomes of my efforts, past and future, draw themselves vividly before me in that moment when I sit down to begin. Sometimes this feels so daunting that find it hard not to turn away.

I wonder to myself: Will it work out as well as it did last time? Will the result be what I imagine? Or will I repeat my past mistakes? Will my weaknesses of skill, knowledge, character or body keep me from completing what I've set out to do? Will my work be blocked by something I can't foresee?

I lose hope.

Until I remember how many times that errors--both on the page and in my life--have lead to outcomes much better than I ever could have envisioned.

In life, my most painful and costly mistakes have always ushered in periods of the greatest personal growth. Mishaps and mistakes in judgment have taught compassion, forgiveness, resilience, strength, self-acceptance, and so much more.

In my creative work, I can't count the number of times a failure of materials, equipment, skill, or advice has brought me to a place where the things I'd originally set out to do were no longer possible. I'm learning to be more open to accepting change and seeing what IS possible. When I can to do this, the results I didn't expect are always more interesting and original than those I could have planned.

I know I haven't provided specific examples. In the coming days I hope it to write in more detail on my other blogs, sharing anecdotes from my pottery work, songwriting, and teaching. As soon as these interrelated essays are ready, I'll share links to them here.

I hope you'll print out a mini-poster or two, and place it where it can inspire you.

The words are meant as a reminder that there is another Artist who creates along side you.

Take chances, trusting that--one way or another--the outcome of your efforts will be something beautiful.

As we create, so we are created.

HOW THIS WAS MADE
The hand-drawn frame of this MINI-POSTER was doodled on the back of an old 8x10 glossy publicity photo I had taken and duplicated by the hundreds for a press kit about 8 years ago. I have a huge stack of these photos remaining, an error in planning I've been hiding in the top of my studio closet, but that's a story for another time. Now they're becoming the raw material for something much more satisfying, serving as sturdy drawing paper for playing with sharpie Markers.

I doodled the frame 2 days ago with no particular purpose in mind. Decided yesterday morning it needed text in the center. Scanned it. Modified it. Selected my song "The Grand Design: An Artist's Prayer" for the text. Discovered that this song--which I've been working on for the past 3 years--was still missing 2 lines. At that moment the inspiration fairy finally chose to visit. And here it is.

When there's a recording and/or video of "The Grand Design: An Artist's Prayer", you'll find links to these here, as well as on my website.

(c) Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

*These are copyrighted images. PERMISSION IS HEREBY GRANTED to duplicate for personal use, to give as a gift, or to raise funds for non-profits supporting social justice and the environment. Also authorized for academic use. NOT to be sold for personal or commercial monetary gain. Kay Pere and Effusive Muse Publishing retain all rights to "The Great Design: An Artist's Prayer" song lyrics, music, and related sound recordings. Contact Kay Pere for additional information.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mehndi Heart in Hand: FREE DOWNLOAD Bookmarks

On 3/22/11, I decorated myself with mehndi designs (henna) as an way to mark an important rite of passage. I knew that by the time it faded I would be well on my way to better things.

Today, I celebrate the return of spring and a return to health after 4 months of difficulty, culminating in surgery and a brief hospitalization. (Nothing life threatening, just one of those things.) Most of all, with a deep sense of gratitude, I celebrate the broad circle of friendship that has made the Divine more tangible to me through many thoughtful acts of kindness. I'm convinced that the compassion that surrounded me during this time was the best medicine of all.

In celebration and as an expression of my gratitude, I decided to use this occasion to share my first FREE PDF DOWNLOADs. There are no strings attached except for your solemn promise, on the honor system, NOT use them for your own or anyone else's monetary gain.*

At the bottom of this post, you will find links to click to download or print the files and instructions to follow. You will need Adobe Acrobat or some other program for viewing PDFs. These will enable you to make the bookmarks shown above, another of similar design with a more secular theme, or both. Your choice!

They are arranged 5 per page for each design. I recommend printing on card stock or cover stock.
I've designed these bookmarks to be an affirmation that each of us can make a difference for good through our simple, personal acts of kindness.

I created these to send out as a "thank you" to the many friends who were there for me during my recovery. Some provided home cooked meals, others shared DVDs, several stopped by for a chat and helped out when my husband was unavoidably away for a couple of days just a week after my return home. These are equally my way of saying "thank you" to friends and family far away who sent messages of encouragement.

I have friends and family members from many different belief systems and a wide range of religious traditions: Christians of every denomination, Jews, hindus, Buddhists, unitarians, pagans, wiccans, mystics, humanists, atheists, agnostics, and Hare Krishnas. I have learned much from each one. All have in common a desire to make the world a better place through the use of their unique skills and talents. The power of love is their unifying belief.

That's why I chose to include two separate designs.

Yes, I attend a Christian church. That's the path of belief I've chosen for myself, the community I've joined for the work of building lasting relationships, for experiencing and wrestling with the Divine, and doing the work of Love that can't be done by one alone. Still, I don't believe that Truth can be contained in one book or one building.
The "Heart in Hand" Bookmark, the one on the right above with a spiral on the index finger, is the more secular of the two. Since many of my friends are active in the arts, I chose the following quote:
"In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
FREE DOWNLOAD: Heart in Hand Bookmark
The "God's Love Letter" Bookmark, the one on the left above with a cross on the index finger, was intended to have special meaning for my church friends. Its text reads:
"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world" ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta
FREE DOWNLOAD: God's Love Letter Bookmark
INSTRUCTIONS
(also also included on each sheet)
  1. Select a bookmark PDF, save and/or print it on card stock in your choice of color(s). I used beige. You may need to adjust your print settings for scale and centering. These images were set up for 8 1/2 x 11 inch with very narrow margins.
  2. Using scissors, cut just inside the guidelines to make arm shaped bookmarks. Feel free to adjust the shape to your liking as you cut. Punch hole for attaching tassel at location marked.
  3. Cut 10-12 inch lengths of ribbon, yarn, of raffia in your choice of color(s). Fold each in half and tie or loop through the punched hole to attach. Then, if you choose, separate the strands of yarn or fray the raffia to make a fuller tassel.
  4. Sit down with a cup of tea and a good book! Or pencil personalized notes to friends on the back of each bookmark and give as gifts.
(c)Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

*These are copyrighted images. PERMISSION IS HEREBY GRANTED to duplicate for personal use, to give as gifts, or to raise funds for non-profits supporting social justice and the environment. NOT to be sold for personal or commercial monetary gain. Contact Kay Pere for additional information.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

POETRY: Autumn Sunrise


AUTUMN SUNRISE
As I in morning stillness stood
Face pressed against the window sash
To watch an endless feathered flock
Dark silhouettes with dart and dash
Flood across the opalescent sky
Dimly on the glass I saw
Inspired Mystery made plain
My breath inscribed a spectral heart
Upon the frigid windowpane

(c)2010 Kay Pere~Effusive Muse Publishing

[Photo taken at sunrise at Gove Hill Retreat Center, Thetford, VT.
Poem written this morning 10/30/2010 from life lived joyfully. I only wish I had taken a picture of the foggy heart that appeared on my window as I gazed out at birds and sunrise, breathing deeply of beauty.]

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

SACRED SHARDS: Carpe Diem I



Spent the entire day yesterday working at the community center's pottery studio, 10:30 AM- 7:00 PM. As the day went by I took pictures of my work and the materials used.

This morning while downloading and organizing recent photos from my digital camera I found several older pictures I'd intended to post and write about on my Sacred Shards Pottery blog. They'd been neatly filed on the computer several months ago, then forgotten in the onrush of life.

I need a system for keeping track multiple creative idea streams over time amid the continual shift and resurgence of various priorities. Sometimes the Quiet Little Life isn't so quiet.

Here are links to two of these photos with recent posts on my Sacred Shards Pottery blog:
They describe the process of making a pottery piece that came about through accident and happenstance. The piece turned out well though entirely differently from what I'd first envisioned. Despite obstacles, I set out to SEIZE THE DAY.

(c)2010 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Sunday, July 18, 2010

RECIPE: Lemon Cranberry Scones

This morning I had a little extra uninterrupted time, so to celebrate I decided to bake something. For me, baking is recreation. The time it requires, not to mention the butter and sugar, makes it feel like a decadent luxury.

Since I was planning to go to church this morning, I could indulge in baking without eating the results all by myself. These lemony cranberry scones were shared at coffee hour after the service, though the ones in the picture above were set aside to enjoy here at home over the next few days.

Heavy cream the recipe calls for is not something I usually keep in the house. I did a search online and found a heavy cream substitute recipe that worked just fine, made from 3/4 cup milk and 2/3 c melted butter stirred together. I just added enough extra milk to make the 1 1/4 cup called for in the recipe below.

If you've never made scones before, you can watch the method in a video on gourmet.com, the only remnant of dear departed magazine, shut down last fall by Conde Naste Publishing, much to the disappointment of many. [I'm still sad about this loss. It was my only magazine subscription, always a delight to look through each month when it arrived. They tried sending me a few issues of Bon Appetit magazine in its place, but it just wasn't the same.] The original recipe for Dried Fruit Cream Scones, which I modified to create this recipe, is available on the Gourmet Magazine website. Both of these are now only accessible to registered users, but sign up is free, worthwhile, and doesn't require a divulgence of personal information in exchange.

I've listed quantities for this recipe that usually work. This morning, though, high humidity made the dough extra sticky. I stirred in extra handfuls of flour until the proper texture was reached. The resulting batch was not as fluffy and tender as they are under other circumstances. Even so, they were all eaten by friends conversing in summer sunshine on the church's freshly painted front steps or in the cool shade of the entryway.

LEMON CRANBERRY SCONES
  • 2 c all-purpose flour, plus additional for processing cranberries & dusting kneading board
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1 1/4 c heavy cream (or milk/melted butter substitute cooled to room temperature)
GLAZE
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 3 Tbs sugar
1) Preheat even to 425F. Use an ungreased baking sheet or line it with baker's parchment.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in lemon zest and set aside for at least 15 minutes to infuse dry ingredients with lemon flavor.

3) Chop cranberries tossed with 1 Tbs flour in food processor to desired size. Flour prevents dried fruit from sticking.

4) Stir heavy cream into dry ingredients to combine, until a rough, sticky mass begins to form. Do not over stir or scones will be tougher.

5) Flour a board and transfer the dough to it. Knead the dough 8-9 times, then pat into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.

6) For the glaze, still working on the board, brush top of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.

7) Cut the rectangle horizontally and vertically to make a 4x4 grid of 16 pieces. Cut these diagonally to form 32 small wedges. Alternately, pat the dough into a 10 inch circle, glaze and cut into 12 larger wedges.

8) Place wedges on baking sheet(s), allowing about 1/2 inch between small wedges. For larger wedges, allow up to 1 inch. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes.

(c)2010 Kay Pere~Effusive Muse Publishing