"Lizzy Loves" Mondays...

Lizzy Loves getting an Award!!

: )

Today I am happy to say that I am the recipient of 
I was nominated by
Pavinee Sripaisal

Merry Day 

who resides in Thailand!

(Don't you just love how the internet makes this world so much smaller!)

(We also became Creative Courage friends through Stephanie Levy's
Creative Courage Online Course.)

Pavinee is a talented artist with such cheery illustrations to inspire!  : )

Thank you so much Pavinee for your nomination!!
It really means a lot as I try to find my creative voice in life's journey!!

I would like to Pay It Forward by nominating blogs that I have found to be inspiring...
(and Pavinee's blog as a bonus!)

My focus is on illustrator's blogs because that is what I have been working on lately!
And it is my dream to illustrate and write children's picture books!
I hope you don't mind, but I picked 6 instead of 5.
I am inspired by so many of you!!

: )

Drumroll please....

1.  Priscilla Burris who has a wonderful blog called Priscilla Burris Illustrates.

As I stated on my facebook page, I don't know what I love better, what she writes or what she draws!
They are both so heart warming.

: )

2.  Esther Lankhaar who lives in the Netherlands.  She has journals filled with sweet illustrations and wonderful posts about her creative journey.

(She too, is a friend from Creative Courage!  : ) 

: )

3.  Heather Powers of Humblearts Journal
who I found from Priscilla Burris.

I love Heather's illustrations and especially like her 
"Tiny Studies"

: )

4.  Denise Hughes
Denise is such a naturally talented illustrator with the sweetest illustrations!!
She illustrates and writes from the heart.

: )

These next 2 blogs belong to well known illustrators and writers, but their blogs still qualified for under 300 followers!!
I was happy about that (only in the fact that I could swoon about them here and make sure you knew about them too!)

5.  Mark A. Chambers an award winning UK children's books illustrator and writer. 
I love his illustration style and he loves tea : )

6.  Peter H. Reynolds with the blog spot,  The Stellar Cafe
He has been an inspiration to me for years now with one of my favorite books
"The Dot"

I gave this book to my beloved Principal when I left my last job due to layoffs.
I thanked him for making me feel appreciated and helping me make my mark.
This book tells the story of this so simply yet so poignantly.
(Had to look up how to spell that word-but it fits!)

I had the pleasure of meeting Peter this year at a book signing in Dedham and he was just as nice as I had imagined!  
(I find this to be true of all the artists and writers I have met along the way)

: )

Thank you again Pavinee for the nomination!!
I am so honored!
And happy to be able to pay it forward!

I know I've posted this song before, but it always puts me in a good mood,
just how I feel when I read all of your inspirational blogs!

So here's to all of you bloggers out there!!
A song dedicated to you by Bill Withers : )

I hope you too, have "A Lovely Day"

: )

Lizzy's Sunny Sunday Post : )

Sunday's Musings with a cuppa : )

On this sunny Spring Sunday, 
I wanted to share a few blogs
 I have found along the way 
that are sunny 
to me : )

A sunny blog mini vacation...
come along with me!

Hooks and More
This blog is in Dutch.  Often I don't even translate it because I love to just look at her pictures!!

Lisbeth's Little World
Although she has posted in awhile, her pictures are timeless and beautiful.

One Sheepish Girl
A lovely blog.

I realize that many of these blogs include crocheting or knitting.
Crocheting, I have never done.
Knitting I have not done in many years.
Maybe I should get out my needles : )

Sweetbriar Dreams
This is also a lovely blog to read with a cuppa!  
(I am pretending I am English!)

and finally,
My new blog friend
Stins : )
Where you can find beautiful pictures of nature and crocheting, her sweet cat Pippi and new kitten to come, Betsy
and other posts about her cozy life in the Netherlands.


: )

©Elizabeth A. Steele
Blueblinds Bakery Plymouth MA

Happy Sunny Spring Sunday to you!!
I hope you have a wonderful day!
: )


Journaling this morning and thinking about what seeds are sprouting and which ones need a little bit more watering : )

Thankful Thursday : )

I am thankful for 
fresh eggs 
delivered to our door 
by the kids of the 
neighborhood farm.

: )

P.S. Happiness Day and First Day of Spring

This is what I did today for International Day of Happiness : )
I feel like I kind of cheated though, my mom (Tut Tut) did all the hard work.

She says she likes to stay behind the curtain while I go on stage.

: )

I dropped off these adorable little blankets to our local animal hospital.

My mom crocheted them with the extra yarn she had in her basket.

The girls at the desk loved them and knew the animals would to!  

This animal hospital holds a special place in my heart.

When my dear Rocky got sick this is where we brought him and unfortunately had to put him down.
They were so kind as I went through a heart wrenching goodbye.

They made a special keepsake that day that I picked up a few weeks later.
I keep it on my special shelf with all the things I treasure.
I can't tell them how much this meant to me.

It felt good to give back!
: )

Hope you had a chance to spread a little happiness today!

Rocky smelling the fresh air : )

Happy First Day of Spring and Day of Happiness! : )

March 20, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring!
and today we are celebrating the
First United Nations International Day of Happiness

: )
©Karen Salmansohn

Please join in the fun!!

: )

Feel free to post what you did to make someone's day a little bit brighter today.

For ideas check out this site:
Day of Happiness

Also for inspiration here is a great movie.
The Happy Movie
I was able to view it for free.
If you can't afford it at this time, watch all the trailers. 
Even those will inspire you!
: )

Show and Tell Tuesday-Business cards : )

I have been wanting to do this for a long time, and I finally did!

I finally have my business cards!

My intention with these cards is to have them to hand out to businesses/shops that I would like to blog about.

I totally forgot to include illustrator or blogger under my name!
I was just so excited to be finally ordering them!
A must for the next batch!
: )

The printing I chose is a bit small, but all of my contact information is there.

If you need business cards at a great price check out Vistaprint.

You can use designs provided or provide your own, like I did.

: )

"Lizzy Loves" Mondays

One thing that I am working on this year 2013 is
I sometimes feel that I am allergic to them.

I have discovered that if I have products that I love as part of my morning or evening routine,
it makes it so much more enjoyable!

Here are 2 products I discovered this year.

They are super affordable.
They have 100% Vegetarian ingredients.
They work really well.
they smell great!
It's like sunshine in a bottle on these cold winter days.

: )

Alba Botanica

Oh and PS....I use the facial cleanser on my whole face, including removing my eye makeup, and unlike soap, it does not sting one bit!!

Finding your passion by listening, sounds and silence...

"Silent and Listen have the same letters.  To listen we need to be silent."

...to hear our vocation.

Vocation for me equalling passion.

Another clue in our journey : )

 A sister of The Little Sisters of the Poor said these simple yet profound words at a talk I went to years back.

I actually heard this information at the same time I was keeping a "Listening Journal" for a graduate class  in music. 

Serendipity : )

Keeping a "Listening Journal" is a great exercise to help to stay present and pay attention.

The other day I asked the 3rd grade class I was substituting for,
What is your favorite sound?

Here are some things on their list...
: )
a burp
Church bells
The ice-cream man truck's song
The sound of a soccer ball when it is not full of air and you kick it.
God talking to me
The Bruin's Goal horn
A propeller plane landing or taking off
My dog
The wind
A waterfall

One of my favorite sounds is the song of the The Black Capped Chickadee.
(It reminds me of being small, up early, waiting on the front sidewalk for my friends to come out to play.)

What are some of your favorite sounds?

: )

I went on a silent spiritual retreat when my son was 3 years old.
I went for 4 days.
My husband (now Ex) thought I was going because I must be training to be a nun.
Why would anyone want to not communicate for days?

Although we did not personally communicate at the retreat,
(except for when we first arrived and got settled and found out what to expect)
we did go to daily Mass, classes, and had personal spiritual direction if needed.
There were many topics and subjects to contemplate.
(And I do remember on a few occasions getting spoken to with others for talking in the hallway : )

When the last day arrived, 
I found myself to be very relaxed and at the same time exhausted.
I remember telling someone that when I got home and she said,
You must have a busy mind!

That I do.

But, I must say,
when days got stressful after that, there were many times I could go back in my memory to those days of silence, contemplation and prayer, and it would calm my nerves in that present moment.
It was a reserve,
a well
of peace.

In my life,
I have come to understand silence as a double edged sword. 
Many times, over the years, when I was teaching a group of middle school aged students and we were all talking and working on a project, often the conversations would all cease at the same time, for whatever reason.
One or more of the students would notice and say, "It's too quiet in here, someone talk!"

 Silence can make you feel uncomfortable.

I have seen silence used as a way for people to cope with difficult relationships.

Silence can make you feel invisible.

 The other side of the
silence sword
(trying saying that 10 times fast)


All of these lead to feelings of
joy and meaning and purpose.

But, no matter what side of the sword you are experiencing or inviting into your life,

Silence is powerful.

I have come to respect the power of silence.
I have respect for how I use it, how I need it, and what it tells me.

: )

I googled "silent retreat" and got a few good articles that I would like to share.
For the best silent retreats around the world, I found this article from the Wall Street Journal
Don't Say a Word

and for strictly the United States,
The Huffington Post published this,
Silent Retreats

Additional resources...

 I had the opportunity to meet author
Anne D. LeClaire
who wrote
Listening Below the Noise
A Meditation on the Practice of Silence
at my favorite bookshop,
The Titcomb Bookshop

Anne has practiced total silence on the first and third Monday of every month for over 17 years.

Most recently I found

From Davidji's photos

Hayhouse Radio.

Finding your own spiritual Guru is such an individual decision
but the minute I heard his voice, I was hooked.
He is super laid back, but very insightful.
He has truly helped me become more and more comfortable with the practice of meditation and has helped me realize the benefits it brings to my daily life.

I treasure listening, and I treasure sounds.
I treasure silence.

: )
Delve into some silence.
What do you hear around you?
What to you hear inside you?

: )

Thankful Thursday-Peace and Light : )

Today I took myself back over for a visit to Crompton Collectives.
Love that place!  : )

I spotted these two pieces on my first visit there, but waited until today to purchase them.
I recognized them right away, but forgot my glasses the first time I went and had to ask the shop keeper if he could read the name on the bottom.

He reinforced my hope that they were the work of Rae Dunn.

I went back today, and they were right were I left them!
I was so happy no one else had scooped them up!

I love her work.

I think you will too! : )

I love the extra added touch by Crompton's of putting curled music paper in each : )

Hanging out and pondering life's big questions....

I am pondering the word passion lately.

If you too, have been pondering...this post is for you : )

I have been intimidated by the question,
"What is your passion?"

©Elizabeth A. Steele

 It seems so large a concept to grasp.
Do I have to pinpoint one thing?
What if I pick that one thing and then it turns out that my passion really is something else?

©Elizabeth A. Steele

I mean, I really have been thinking about this for years...
like I am going to have this big exam and I am going to come up empty handed.

©Elizabeth A. Steele

The other day I posted about, What speaks to you?
This question had me feeling like I was on to something, moving in the right direction.

Then, last night, another clue.

I turned on Oprah to watch Cindy Crawford on "Master Class"
I missed the first part, but stayed up to watch the remainder of her interview.
Right towards the end of her interview came those words...that question about...
 finding your passion.

©Elizabeth A. Steele

Those words are everywhere. That subject.
 If you look.  If you listen.

Cindy then told a simple yet profound story of how she discovered hers.
I rewound the show over and over so that I could quote her verbatim on the back of my stack of bills on the table.
Here is what she said:

Cindy told the story of how she went on a weekend retreat and the question was brought up,

"Have you found your passion in life, and if so what is it?"

She then went on to say,

"I had the time to actually let my mind explore the concept and think about, really,
 what is it?
What is it about modeling I like?
What is it about parenting that I like?
What is it about friendship that I like?
What is the common thread?"

What is the common thread?
I love this question.

l need to investigate.
I love to investigate.

She continued....
"I was able to identify that I really like communicating.
It was very liberating for me to kind of define that, because then when you are making decisions about other things in your life, it's like you can put it to that test.
Does it mesh with my passion or not?
Is it furthering my passion or squelching my passion?"

She then gave the example of how modeling meshes with her passion.
"Being in front of a camera for modeling is like telling a story, that's communicating."

I can put the things I do in life to a passion test.
Do my decisions in life, mesh with my passions?

Love this too!

And....another "Ah-hah" moment,
I thought, Can passion can be plural?
Why not!  : )

I am starting to feel better and better about this question.

: )

A bonus in the margins of this blog post....

Why we must say, "No" but feel ok about saying it. 

Once we begin to discover, 

and uncover,

we only have so much time, 
so lets put our attention where we can give the most of what feels natural,
comes from within our being,
where that giving will multiply,
inspire others,
and flow.

So today,
think about this....

What do I do on a day to day basis (weekly/monthly)
that I find enjoyable?

 What is the common thread(s)?

Do my life decisions mesh with my passion(s)?

Do they pass the test?

(Do they speak to me?)

©Elizabeth A. Steele

FYI:  My name could have been Cynthia.  
My mom said every other day when she was pregnant was either and Elizabeth day or a Cynthia day.
I was born on an Elizabeth day,  : )
(If we don't record the stories of our family, we'll forget!  : )

"Everything is Copy" Nora Ephron

Sunday's Musings with a Cuppa : )

(Picture taken at "Seek Your Course" Workshop in Northhampton MA)

Good morning!  or Afternoon or Evening!
: )

One thing I love to read on other bloggers posts are a list of links of things that interest them.

So here is my version : )
Today I am going to talk about some authors, music and a great artist I just found!
Enjoy : )


I love Nora Ephron.
You've Got Mail,
which was written and directed by Nora,
is my all time favorite movie for so many reasons.
I loved Nora's attention to detail and her sense of humor : )

One of her famous quotes is,
 "Everything is copy"
 which she was told by her mother, 
"Take notes."

I was so sad to hear of her passing last year, but it makes me appreciate her words even more.

Here is a wonderful article written by her son about her last days.
It is posted in The New York Times Magazine.

also, here is a great link to so many of her beloved quotes.
I have one of my favorites on the side of my blog.
Nora Ephron Quotes 

: )

The picture above, of the typewriter keys, was taken at a workshop in Northhampton MA last year.
Jess Greene was kicking off her journey across the country to promote her workshop
Seek Your Course
She recently wrote an article in the Huffington Post about all of the wonderful teachers and artists out there in social media and all the opportunities it affords us...

: )

 Some great music I found this past week.
I love each of these selections for different reasons...
This is just a sample of their work....they have lots of great songs!

First up:
The Avett Brothers
Love them : )

February 7

First Aid Kit
Two sweet sisters with a song that I had to find after I heard it on WBUR in my car.


And my final musical selection for today is:
Lavender Diamond with singer Becky Stark

I Don't Recall

And to wrap up my musings...
here is a great artist I found who owns
Reclaimed and Salvaged
He is super creative and inspirational.
I really like his honesty
and I think you will too : )
Check out his video here....

Check out his facebook page and the great giveaway he has right now too!
(Which gave me the inspiration for me sharing my new favorite music with you!)
P.S.  His work/wares can be found at Crompton Collectives which I blogged about a few posts back!

: )


I am so grateful for all of the encouragement and inspiration I find online.
 I am happy that I can share what inspires me with you!
Thanks for reading!
: )

Creative Resources : )

What Speaks to You? : )

I love this commercial for Pier 1 Imports.  In which the products in the store speak to the customers.
This clever sales concept is actually so true!

I posted this today because (as Oprah would say) I had an "Ah-hah" moment that I would like to share.
Today I substituted for an elementary school librarian.
I walked into the library and it was as if the room said,
"Welcome!  I couldn't wait for you to come in for a visit!"
I looked around warmly at all of the children's books on display and on the shelves.  
I noticed, on a pile of books to be returned, a well worn book, 

illustrated by a favorite author and illustrator of mine, Peter Reynolds.
(Who also wrote and illustrated one of my favorite children's books, "The Dot"
A must read if you have not read it already!  : )
Peter H. Reynolds

The teacher's chair was at the front of the large rug.  The rug was soon to be filled with first grade students with legs crossed and hands on their laps listening to me read aloud to them the book the librarian had left behind...with a note that said, I could use a "Robot" voice for one of the characters
(a robot : )
if I chose to.

I thought about my favorite movie with Meg Ryan who plays Kathleen Kelly who owns, "The Shop Around the Corner", a children's bookshop.  She would wear a hat and become, "The Story Lady".  The kids were enthralled as she read, "Boy:  Tales of Childhood", an autobiographical children's novel written by Roald Dahl.  (from Imdb.com)

(From: You've Got Mail)

On the librarian's desk was a bell and a stamp pad with a stamp to put the due dates into the books.  
I was wishing she had left a stack of books to stamp while waiting for the students to arrive.
Just then, a teacher stepped into the room and asked if while I waited, I could help her prepare some materials for an upcoming health event.
I happily accepted....I love to be busy.

As I was preparing the materials, I recalled this event from my past teaching experience.  I had been very involved in this particular health activity, but always felt I was not the best person to promote it.  My heart had not been in it, and therefore I felt bad about it, and about myself.  Afterall, I was teaching this subject...I should be really good at it.

All of a sudden...I had my "Ah-hah" moment.
I thought, "It didn't speak to me!" or maybe it did speak to me, but it was saying, "This subject matter is not your thing."
Some things are obvious, I know for example that I do not want to be a clown at the circus.   But sometimes our career choices can lead us to places where we don't feel like we fit, places we didn't anticipate....we feel unconnected as if we were a clown in the circus.
(Nothing against clowns in the circus-if that is your passion : )
Sometimes, though, we are so invested, and we are not brave enough to say, "This does not speak to me", or "This no longer speaks to me", or "This is speaking to me, but I don't like what it is saying."

Today, as I looked around, I felt so blessed to be in a place in my life where I am finding what speaks to me.
I am getting the courage to say, "Sorry, I wouldn't be good for that job....project....commitment...It just doesn't speak to me."

 I now choose to really pay attention to places and situations, like this morning, in a children's library filled with books with curious students full of questions
that make me say to myself...
"Now we're talking!"

I am listening.  I am really listening.

Catch the Blessings!

My new Header and business card's Logo was inspired by a student I had in a Kindergarten class
the other day while substituting.  
I was manning the letter review table during Learning Center Time,
as the students rolled the die to see what letter it would land on and then pick out their favorite color crayons to fill in the matching letter on their worksheet.

As I watched,  I was sketching on the side of my paper 
her socks, striped stockings and purple felt shoes with flowers.

The scuffing of snow pants and clomping of boots down the hallway
 for recess with gloves and mittens tucked up inside colorful hats.
Smiles, and cheese sticks and feeding the class turtle...
So many inspirational blessing around....
when I pay attention 
to catch them!
: )

Artist's Date : )

 The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
 is currently keeping me company these past couple of weeks.

I believe I mentioned this book in an earlier post.

It is "A (12 week) Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self"

Before Chapter One, Julia writes about The Basic Tools that you need as you make your way through this course, and one of the tools is an "Artist Date."  
She writes, "Spending time in solitude with your artist child is essential to self-nurturing." 

This is where I took my artist child this week for an Artist's Date.

I thought you might enjoy seeing where I went, so grab a cup of tea and let me show you around!
: )

 Crompton Collective
138 Green Street 
Worcester MA.

A GREAT place to spend an afternoon : )

Can't wait......  

Yeah!  : )

So excited!!
Where to start?!  : )

I loved this booth!

: )

and this desk....

and this Champagne Decanter....  : )

Something for everyone!  

Loved this spot....

 There were some cute shops tucked up in the back of the store house : )

Can't we all use some Antique Therapy! : )

I hope you enjoyed this date as much as I did and these great links inspire your artist child!

: )