In Remembrance of my Dad: One Year
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings. For this post, I am sharing my Illustration Pick of the Week from the week of 1/8/24. I so enjoy creating an evening illustration in my journal to highlight something I want to remember from the day's experience. I chose to illustrate and emphasize the One Year Anniversary of my beloved father's passing. My Dad "Danny" Bel-Tempo was the best dad I could have asked for as a child; he was fun loving, enjoyed seeing me happy and had the greatest chuckle to highlight his sense of humor.
One this Day of Remembrance, I chose to focus on all the things I loved about my Dad and what made him, him. I always loved his choice of grammar and how he would point it out if you weren't accurate with yours. (He did write 3 novels!, one of which was called Foxes. So the fox is the animal that always reminds me of my dad.)
In my illustration, I aimed to use facial expression to emphasize how I felt that day, still hearing his voice in my head, which is often accentuated with humor. I sometimes find myself laughing out loud at what I hear in my mind's ear.
Well, Dad, I remembered you and do daily. And now I know you and Mom are reunited, so enjoy!
With love always, your daughter Dawn
Art supplies: I used a combination of colored pencil and pastel crayon for the letters: ONE YEAR. I used fine line pen for the figure and words, colored pencil and pastel for the wardrobe. I so appreciate the blessing illustration is to me especially when I want to express my love for my Dad. Art supplies are the gift to create from the heart, as I intuitively choose what will best help me make visual what is inside.
How do you best choose to express yourself when remembering someone you love who has passed? Do you find it satisfying? Are there ways you can create a context to support yourself and focus on self care during a time that may be difficult? I wish you well in discovering what that is.
And I wish you the very Best of Beginnings!
Let's Celebrate 2023 Together!
Welcome back to Beginnings, where we talk about fresh starts, new cycles, exploration, experimentation and creativity! And this, my friend, is my final post for 2023, which is a look back on the year with what I've accomplished and how my Beginnings highlighted my life's experiences. In the process of my sharing my story, my delight is for you to look back on yours as well, celebrating your wins, seeing what you've accomplished, and what you have learned in the process.
I will be sharing from the categories I talk about here at Beginnings which include music, journaling, art, illustration, and anything else that has inspired! Do join me as I review 2023, since, without you, there would be no blog! Right? Your readership, support and interest are an inspiration to me, and for that, I am grateful.
So let's do this, shall we? Get comfortable with a snack or beverage and read on...
This year has been quite the journey for me...it started with the passing of my father, my DAD, Daniel Bel-Tempo. You can read about that experience here. Although it was expected, it still had a strong impact on my creativity and output. So I took some time off from content creation and returned in the spring. You can view my comeback story here.
This year, my JOURNALING PRACTICE took center stage. Although I do journal daily in multiple journals for multiple purposes, I found some ways to stay connected to the inner parts of me, focusing on my Higher Self and my Inner Child, as I navigated Loss and understood myself on a whole new level. Dialoguing became a Power Tool essential to my wellness and resilience during this time. The wisdom and direction I received as a result really showed me ways to take care of myself, listening to the deepest of wisdom within. It continues to be a moment by moment process, breaking patterns that no longer serve me, and creating pathways that strengthen my faith and my determination to Keep Self Care at the top of my list, making it even more primary than ever.
This can look like taking frequent breaks during the day due to fatigue, adding new foods to my diet that enhance my well being, and taking time to be quiet and induce more calm.
I continued playing in my Art Journal, using mixed media such as inks, gouache, fabric, pastel and stamping. I have found myself spending more time on each spread, many months sometimes, taking my time and enjoying each layer of creativity it gives me. Even if it's just 5 minutes at a time. Those incremental steps build upon one another for the greater whole. Sometimes all you need is 5 minutes for yourself!
I continue to keep a bullet journal with many trackers that are helpful for easy reference, whether dreams, food and sleep patterns, music, what I watch and read, along with family updates (so important!). I also use it for business for my office work.
Speaking of journaling, This past year, I've recorded quite a few short videos for my YouTube Channel (which you can view here) for those of you who follow me for journaling purposes, (Think #JournalChat!). I've answered a lot of questions and given some fun and insightful tips you can use to get yourself going and stay journaling because it's fun and relevant for you. You're welcome to drop any questions you may have in the comments below!
In addition to journaling tips, I've also released some new MUSIC which you can view here, which includes my spiritual songs, My Choice and I Believe, plus I re-recorded the Beginnings Theme song to celebrate One Year of Beginnings Blog (which you can view here; just scroll to the bottom.) and my newly launched website. I also went Live on Facebook and Played my Piano for the first time, sharing three songs, My first recording (with updated melody) titled, Because You, and an unreleased song, It's Possible and I Believe. I had so much fun playing for you all! If you haven't already watched it, click here for that post. I anticipate composing more music for my piano in 2024 (as I enter my 4th year of playing piano in March) with over 400 songs to choose from that I've written in 2023.
As an artist, I continue to illustrate moments from my day in my sketchbook journal (you can view several here). I continue to enjoy colored pencil and pastel (some water soluable!). I've also enjoyed some pen and pencil sketching and plan to continue that experimentation in 2024. I've also enjoyed creating illustrations for our electrical safety blog at Bill's Quality Electric, LLC, which you can view here and read here. I also greatly enjoyed recording the creation of the new logo for Beginnings which I shared in Real Time, which you can view here. That was a fun experimentation. Leave a comment below if you'd like to see more In Real Time art demo videos.
One of the pleasures I have had this year has been engaging with the Stray Cats in our neighborhood, and there have been many, some who have come and gone, and some who are regulars here at The Cat's Meow (we like to call it that here when we feed them!). You can read a detailed version of our Parade of Cats here. We simply love Despi and Shadow, (the Boys as we call them) plus the Mama cats who have shared their kittens with us! So absolutely adorable!
Well that concludes my Year in Review. I trust you enjoyed this perusal down memory lane with me for 2023; I appreciate your being here and for being a part of my life journey as I share my Beginnings with you. Your comments are always welcome.
I look forward to what 2024 will hold for me. And for you too! Remember that every day is a new Beginning and worth celebrating. And I will be here to cheer you on as always.
Wishing you the Very BEST of Beginnings in the New Year!
Going Gentle: What Is Working for Me Now
Hello and Welcome back to Beginnings where we talk about fresh starts, new cycles, exploration, experimentation and creativity.
For this post, I will share with you, my dear reader, about Gentleness and why it is the Centerpiece for me in my life right now. But first, a bit of back story.
About 10 years ago, I wrote a scripture down on an index card that contained the Fruits of the Spirit:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
These are obviously character qualities we all desire to have and be in life. And when we emulate them, we are aligned with Spirit.
When I first wrote them down, I decided that I would choose one that I was most drawn to and focus on that quality in my life, both in giving and receiving.
My first choice was LOVE. I had remembered another scripture that says, Love your neighbor as yourself.
Now the part of that I hadn’t really discovered was the Love Yourself part. I was never taught how to do that in my religious upbringing in school or church. (A life time of teaching, really). But through my own study and discovery, I came to understand what it really meant, looked and felt like to truly love myself. And it changed my life in many ways, and it was noticeable.
The next fruit focus I chose was JOY. I took a deep dive into everything that brought me JOY. And I brought it and shared it with you, my dear reader, from newsletter to blog posts to videos. so much JOY!
Life goes on and I dealt with lots of changes on the home-front, attempting to choose Peace from the fruit list awhile in the midst of dealing with losses and responsibilities and moves and business and so much going on. It was a step by step, moment by moment process.
But in the past year or so, especially since the passing of my Dad in January, I realize now that I have HAD to choose GENTLENESS. I have always tried to be a gentle person and have even been told by some that I am gentle, which I always appreciate hearing. But being GENTLE with myself has become a key factor for me these past months.
How have I chose to be Gentle with myself? Let me count the ways:
Giving myself margin between tasks.
Resting when I’m tired. (And that includes naps!)
Realizing my limitations and not pushing myself too hard (still working on that one!)
Taking one small step at a time.
Not apologizing when I have to say no. And No is a complete sentence.
Setting boundaries where necessary, especially when I feel disrespected.
Doing more of what I love, like playing my piano and really enjoying the process.
Being careful with what I eat and listening to what my body needs and wants.
Seeing my need to cry when necessary as I continue to mourn my father’s passing (and it comes up when least expected.)
Going Gentle is Key to my Well Being, my connection with Spirit (who is oh, so gentle), and with my mind set. Slowing down. Not rushing. Taking it easy. and not feeling guilty when I don’t get it all done or when I disappoint another’s expectations of me.
Going Gentle means taking care of myself first. Because I know that everyone else has to take care of themselves first too.
I know I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but my own. (This was a deep realization I’ve had in the midst of Going Gentle.)
My prayer for all those who I love and care about is that they will have their own Gentleness Breakthrough that will change their life like it has done for mine.
And I pray that prayer for you, my dear reader and friend. Remember to Go Gentle with yourself.
We all need to learn to take care of ourselves in the best way possible. With no apology needed.
And Gentleness is key. May it unlock all the JOY you can experience and LOVE for yourself. Every Day.
What does Gentle mean for you? Make a list of ways you can Go Gentle with yourself. Choose one from the list that you’re not already doing and do it today. Create a mind map with Gentle as the Centerpiece and see what associations come up for you. Don’t censor. Just associate. Have fun with it. Then Go Gentle!
Copyright Image 2023 by Dawn Herring
Dawn Herrings is an Artist, Illustrator, Aspiring Musician, and Avid Journal Keeper. She enjoys spending time writing songs, composing for the piano, playing with all kinds of art media, including colored pencils for illustrating, exploring design and textures, having fun creating spreads in her art journal and writing about her day, her dreams and her vision in her journals. Dawn is also Office Manager and partner in business with her husband, Bill, of 33 years.