Migration

15 06 2015

My baby bird has left the nest. She’s following the migratory path of others her age and is starting her adult life 800 miles away in a place very different than the hot, southern clime she grew up in.

sunset at the sea

I realize the universe has been sending me quiet gifts in the last few weeks. My sweetie (Steve) and I have been slowly transforming our small, ignored backyard for over a year. And by we, I mean Steve, though I do offer moral support and ideas from Pinterest. Most of his hard work is unseen; replacing, repairing and building. He’s worked hard at creating a solid foundation for our garden. We now have a new deck and the garden pots are filled with freshly planted, bright yellow and orange marigolds. We have an outdoor place for our early morning coffee and our end-of-day conversations. It is still a work in progress and several seasons will pass before this small garden space will be complete.

The addition of a birdfeeder preceded my own baby bird’s leaving by a few weeks. My sweetie was amazed at how much time my daughter and I (and the cat) watched with simple enjoyment. He always had a birdfeeder at his home in his life before me. My daughter had menageries of animals growing up; cats, dogs, bunnies, hamsters, fish and even a hedgehog. But there was never a birdfeeder in our yard.

We watched in amusement the squirrels try and try again to learn how to get to the feeder. It finally took a leap of faith as they learned to jump from fence to feeder. They eventually accomplished their goal, even if they fell a few times in their attempts.

ThinkstockPhotos-105558154I love hearing the cooing sound of the pair of morning doves that live high in the trees, as much as I love seeing the vibrant splash of the red cardinal when he flies by. Some birds are colorful and stand out, while others are plain and blend into the scenery. I’ve learned that there are bossy birds and meek birds. Some birds come alone, others come in pairs and some only come in a group. Some play well together and some are very territorial. They don’t all eat the same way; some eat at the feeder and others eat the seeds that fall on the ground and some even feed each other. They are all unique.

Flying away

Flying away

My only child is now all grown up. She’s been busy this past week creating her own nest in her new city. I’ve enjoyed our FaceTime visits as she shows me her new place and tells me of her daily adventures. I ooh and ahh and coo, just like a mama bird does. She will soon have a new flock of friends. I know I’ve taught her to spread her wings. And just like the birds I enjoy watching in my backyard, I’ll enjoy watching her soar and wonder where the winds of life will take her.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.





My Writing Process, a blog tour

27 04 2014

I was invited to join this blog tour on #mywritingprocess by Lisa Froman. Lisa is an inspired writer. Even though we live in the same town, we only recently became friends through blogging. I now often start my day with a meditation from her book, Tao Flashes. I find myself in the company of very talented and seasoned writers in this blog tour. When Lisa asked if I wanted to join the tour, I said, “Sure, I’ll do it!” Even though I consider myself a novice writer, I am confident talking about my creative process. I also try to say yes to things that push me out of my comfort zone.

Yet as I’m starting to write, I’m questioning and asking myself, why am I doing this? This tour is full of real writers. But because I know my process, I know to ignore that annoying voice of self-doubt that plague most creative folk including myself.

creativeporcess

I’ve been an advertising/marketing art director for my entire professional career. I started giving workshops on creativity and leading Artist’s Way groups a few years back. I have found it important to understand your creative process, no matter your medium. Once you know your own unique process, you know how to get through the bumps and how to nurture your muse.

1. Why do I write what I do?

I write because I need my voice to be heard.

I work in corporate world. My creative voice is often drowned out by those higher up the corporate food chain. My writing is something that is all mine. I can tell whatever story I want to tell; I can craft it how I want; I do not have to get anyone’s approval before I hit publish. Blogging is not part of my day job, so writing is a new and fresh creative outlet for me. It is liberating and I’ve grown in wonderful and unexpected ways because of my blog.

2. How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

This question made me slip into the procrastination part of my process. I’m now caught up with all my social media friends and have watched a TED talk and a few cat videos. This question stumps me because I’ve just started to call myself a writer. OK, here goes…

My genre is midlife blogging. My writing differs because I’m writing about my life journey from my point of view. I’m a designer/writer/marketer/speaker/extrovert who needs quiet time/traveler/foodie/only child of an only child/lover/southerner (bless my heart)/friend/empty nester and on and on, all of which uniquely informs my writing. I have a quirky sense of humor, so I often write of the goofy things I do. I’ve found love in my 50’s after divorce and I write about that.  I live in a part of the world that is like no other and I write about that.  I like to bake and have my grandmother’s handwritten recipes and I share those.  I write about my creative journey. And I don’t want to be pegged as a certain kind of writer because I don’t know where my journey will take me, so I have difficulty describing my genre.

3. How does your writing process work?

There’s a book I use as a resource in studying the creative process. It’s The Creative Process Illustrated. There are similarities and differences in everyone’s process. I’ve learned my writing process is different than my design process and is different from my speaker process. Here’s my writing process:

• Wake up early
• In my PJs, with a cup of coffee, handwrite in a notebook, curled up in my chair
• Stare off into space, write, meditate, write, meditate, get another cup of coffee, write, meditate
• Walk away from draft, take a shower
• Rewrite draft on computer
• Print it out, go back to chair, edit all over the page
• Repeat
• Write, edit
• Write, edit
• Write, edit
• Go for a walk
• Write, edit,
• Proof, proof again
• Publish
• Keep finding typos

4. What am I working on now?

I’ve got several projects in the works outside of my day job. A big one that is taking up a ridiculous amount of time is trying to kill the bamboo in my backyard. My sweetie and I started a business last summer making marketing videos. I’m focusing on making our dream grow by wearing my marketing hat. We’re shooting a pop up dinner party next week that may grow into a tv pilot pitch and should be a lot of fun.

I’m also putting together a creative retreat for this summer. It’ll start with an exploration of the creative process. Then we’ll break into small groups and the participants will write or draw. The goal is to better understand your process so when asked these kinds of questions you know how to answer them.

Where I write.

Where I write.

Next in the process

The great part of this blog tour is reading what other writers have to say. I now pass the torch to a writer I met last year at BlogHer.  She is a women I instantly felt a connection with and she is a gifted writer.

Helene Cohen Bludman has been writing all her life, but mostly for other people. In 2013 she left her job in university marketing to become a full-time writer and work on her unfinished novel. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, BlogHer, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, and more. Helene writes a wonderful blog called Books is Wonderful. Check out her writing process.

Here’s the link to other writer’s in this blog tour.
Read what they had to say about their process.

Marci Rich

Jane Gassner

Janie Emaus

Walker Thornton

Lisa Froman

Mindy Klapper Trotta

Cathy Chester

Linda Maltz Wolff





The Blogosphere

29 12 2013

Year’s end is a natural time to stop and look where I’ve been. I started my blog because I needed a place to express my creative voice, which is why I call it My Creative Journey. All journeys have twists and turns that lead us to unexpected places. My blogging journey is no exception.

blog

It was last year on Huffington Post that I stumbled on a bloghop by a group of midlife women. I then found this group on Facebook, and in what was a bold move by me, asked to join. It was through this warm and accepting group of fabulous women that I became comfortable calling myself a writer.

More importantly, I developed new friends over the last year and I want to introduce you to some of them. Each has a unique and authentic voice that I admire.

Midlife Boulevard is a great group of women with a great website. It’s is run by friends, Sharon Greenthal of Empty House Full Mind  and Anne “Not a Super Mom” Parris.  I’m thrilled to be a part of this group and their monthly bloghops have both pushed and challenged my writing.

Generation Fabulous is now organized by Chloe Jeffreys, an OB/GYN nurse. My day job is at a woman’s specialty hospital; the challenges in today’s healthcare market are something we both care about. Her journey has taken her to Haiti this year and she brings her readers on her life journey at Chloe of the Mountain.  

Another group that I discovered and now write for is Better After 50 (BA50). This is yet another group of powerful women writers. Their tagline is real women, real stories.

It was because of the connections to these groups that I went to BlogHer in Chicago this summer to meet my new friends IRL. I roomed with someone I had never met and only knew through blogging. Virginia Sullivan and I became instant BFFs. Virginia can be found at First Class Woman.  She writes from the point of view of being a professional woman in corporate world.  I know we have something that we are going to do together in the future; we’re not sure what it’s going to be, but look out when it happens!!

I have several friends who have health blogs and the following three have all been nominated for a prestigious award, the Wego Health Activist Award. Check them out (the award link is on their name) and give them a vote.

Cathy Chester is one of the kindest women I’ve ever met. An Empowered Spirit is about life and about living with MS. Her sweet spirit shines through her words in every post.

Ruth Curran writes Cranium Crunches.  It’s about keeping your brain active and in shape. She was inspired by my post on New Orleans as a way to keep your senses fully engaged.

Walker Thornton is another fascinating writer I’ve come to know who writes about sex at The Diva of Dating. I admire how she puts her life’s experience out to the world over a subject she believes all women should embrace and enjoy fully.

Lois Alter Mark is another new friend. She just won Blogger Idol, Woot! Midlife at the Oasis always brings a smile to my face. (She also went with Oprah to Australia—how cool is that.)

I’ve become friends with women who live far away from my little Louisiana world. I enjoy the words of Karen and Wendy Irving, sisters who share writing duties at After the Kids Leave. One sister lives in Canada and the other one in England.

Amanda Fox of The Fur Flies is another Canadian with whom I’ve connected through the blogosphere. While we live miles apart, we share a similar sense of humor and have discovered unexpected similarities.

I made an instant friend at BlogHer from New Orleans, Cheryl at A Pleasant House. I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting Cheryl’s beautiful and very pleasant house. I know my love of New Orleans and cocktails will bring us on adventures in the near future.

I love when synchronicity happens. While I’ve developed friends near and far from blogging, it’s the two women in my own backyard that have been the best gifts this year.

Lisa Froman and Melinda Walsh and I have all had similar career paths, are close to the same age, live in the same town—where all of us advertising types know each other. And even though we have many of the same friends, we somehow didn’t know each other. It was the blogosphere that connected us in a way that our careers never did. We now don’t let many weeks go by without getting together (and we are overdue).

Lisa has written an insightful book, Tao Flashes. Her blog is a continuation of the book’s insights.  She looks at the Tao through the eyes of midlife and writes of how to bring the Tao’s age-old lessons into our lives. We even guest blogged on each other’s sites.

Melinda is a storyteller and her blog is how we are in charge of our own story.  It’s called Love Applied and if you go to her blog you can see the pictures from her recent wedding!

I’ve made so many blog friends this year that this post would go on for days if I listed them all. I look forward to where this journey will take me in the New Year. One thing for sure is that there will be unexpected twists in this journey that will lead to new adventures that will lead to new stories to tell.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.





Two Movies and One Small Act of Kindness

23 08 2013

The Butler
I just saw the movie “The Butler,” an excellent movie, with a star-studded cast and Oscar-worthy performances. I appreciated how they told the civil rights story through the real life of one man from his impoverished youth, through the service industry ranks, to becoming butler for eight presidents in the White House.

movies-the-butler-poster

Creative Intermission: There’s a powerful scene when the butler’s son becomes an early Freedom Rider and is assaulted as he participates in a sit-in at an all-white section of a lunch counter in the 60’s segregated south. This scene is cut with the staff at a formal White House dinner preparing and serving the meal. This powerful juxtaposing of these two different events visually speaks volumes.

The movie made apparent how far we have come in this battle for equal rights. I know there is still work to be done and there may always be racism and injustice in the world, but “The Butler” gave me hope that we are moving in the right direction.

I work in a large office building; there are around 100 people who work in this space. There is one woman, Deborah, whose job it is to keep the workplace clean. I thought of her in the scenes when the butler was learning his trade and learned to be invisible. Deborah has that same invisible ability. She stealthily slips in to empty our trashcans and dust and vacuum, while we work. She doesn’t distract us from our jobs and heads rarely look up from computers when she slips in.

The Black Stallion
It was a rare conversation with Deborah and my office-mates, when we learned that she loves to fish and ride horses. This led to a conversation about movies about horses. We asked her if she had ever seen “The Black Stallion.” This movie came out decades ago and was produced by Francis Ford Coppola. It’s is a stunningly beautiful film.

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Creative Intermission:  A young boy and the wild horse are stranded on a deserted island. The scene that has stayed with me since this movie premiered in 1979 is shot from underwater as boy and horse learn to trust each other. You see the horse’s four legs and the boy’s two legs as they play in the surf. As time goes by, you no longer see the legs of the boy, you know he is now atop his companion, the black stallion. They have come to trust each other.

Deborah was excited to learn of this movie and was ready to run out and buy it. We told her it was an old movie and that she’d have to find it online. What became slowly apparent to me is that she doesn’t have a computer and buying something online is a foreign concept. Shortly after the conversation with Deborah, I read my friend, Lisa Froman of Tao Flashes blog post on doing random acts of kindness.  So I went online and ordered this movie and gave it to Deborah.

This simple act opened a door that allowed us to see each other. I was able to thank her for her hard work and she now saw me too. I’m now someone she has a small connection with, not just some woman with her head buried in that box on a desk. We are no longer invisible to each other anymore. We smile and ask about each other’s day and our weekend plans.

Small random acts of kindness…as Mother Teresa said, “do little things with great love.” I believe it’s what moves us forward.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.





Guest Blogger: Lisa Froman

28 07 2013

Lisa and I have run in the same professional circles since we were new in our careers. But it was only this year through a bit of serendipity that had us both becoming bloggers and discovering a great group of women at Generation Fabulous that caused us to meet in real life. We have been friends and supporters of each other ever since. This spring the Dalai Lama visited New Orleans and we both blogged about it from our different perspectives.  I know you will enjoy my friend and guest blogger’s words as much as I do. —Connie

The Dalai Lama, Non-Violence and Gun Ads

by Lisa Garon Froman

Mardi grasNew Orleans is lovingly called the city that “care forgot.”  And for good reason; its love of revelry, rhythm and blues, and deep-fried everything, is legendary.

Yes, that city. The city that was nearly swallowed up and spit out in pieces by the punishing wind and waters of Hurricane Katrina.

Yes, that city, the one that inspires hope and loss in the same breath; the city that spurs the kind of violence that leaves you heart sick and slack-jawed from the shock and soulless brutality of it all. Like when two young males well-schooled in violence casually open-fired on a Mother’s Day parade wounding 20 people, including several children.

This was the city that the Dalai Lama came to visit recently. A city badly in need of healing.

This was the Dalai Lama’s first visit to New Orleans and he came to deliver a commencement speech to Tulane graduates and speak at several other engagements in the city.

Not surprising he spoke of peace in his speeches. To the Tulane graduates he said,   “Please pay attention to securing your own inner peace. Our hopes for the future rest on your shoulders. Please think about how to make this a more peaceful, compassionate century.”  

dalai

Speaking at a separate event at the New Orleans Lakefront Arena, he talked about non-violence and peace and compassion.

He said, “It is not our job to disturb the peace and then it’s God’s job to restore it. Violence isn’t created by God or Buddha; it’s created by human beings. So logically, the responsibility to eliminate it belongs to us too. Here in America there’s been a lot of discussion about gun control. But the real source of control is in our hearts.”

Wise words from a wise monk.

Violence and poverty and abuse all stem from a lack of compassion. The need for guns and the need for gun control is all the same to me. It’s all rooted in fear and violence in my book.

Look, I’m from the South. Guns are serious business here. This isn’t a subject that makes friends–unless you’re on the right side of the argument– if you get my drift.  It’s a subject that I usually stay away from because I’m a peacemaker at heart and it almost seems counterintuitive to me to argue about guns.

“…Please think about how to make this a more peaceful, compassionate century.” I think of the Dalai Lama’s words to the graduates about securing peace, and working for a more peaceful world. I wonder what I can contribute to the cause.

I think there are a lot of us who are confused about how to walk in this world more peacefully.

I’m of the opinion that it starts with finding inner peace. Not an easy task. But I believe that meditation is a good start here. Finding compassion for ourselves, for our faults, and loving ourselves so we can better love others, is another strategy.

I think when we’re brave enough to do the inner work, to look at all of the places inside of us where we are at war with ourselves, where we focus on what’s wrong with ourselves, with our lives, is a good place to work on non-violence. Perhaps that’s the foundation of the saying, “Love others as we love ourselves.”

Maybe the idea is that we should love ourselves a little more, so we learn the capacity to be truly compassionate, truly kind to others. So that we can love others.

I think prayer is also a gateway to compassion. Praying to God, Spirit, Buddha or to your higher spirit for guidance is a good way to open up the heart. The older I get, the more I pray.

If we’re honest, we can admit that light and dark both exist in this world. But light, including inner light, can be the beacon that disperses the darkness. Within us and around us.

When we actively focus on non-violence, maybe we will lessen the violence in the outside world. Maybe we won’t have to live forever with the duality of seeing this:

His Holiness featured in an article about his visit to New Orleans in The Advocate with a gun ad on the opposite page.

His Holiness featured in an article about his visit to New Orleans in The Advocate with a gun ad on the opposite page.

A full page article in the Baton Rouge paper featuring the Dalai Lama’s visit to New Orleans with an ad for a gun shop placed on the opposite page from it. I’d like to think this was an accident. But the truth is, I’m not sure.

Which leads me to the truism that “there are no accidents.” Maybe there’s a message here about our society’s conflict. About how we all wrestle with the light and the dark.

267-2About Lisa: 
Lisa Garon Froman is a writer, poet and an award-winning communications professional. She lives in Baton Rouge, La., and is the mother of one son, Alexander.  
If you’re interested in more thoughts on compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read her book Tao Flashes.  Visit her blog: Tao Flashes, a woman’s way to navigating the midlife journey with integrity, harmony and grace or follow her at www.facebook.com/taoflashes or twitter @taoflashes. 

Lisa and I are both proud to be GenFab bloggers!