Monday, January 31

Creativity & Emotional Health

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

-- Henry David Thoreau

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
-- Pablo Picasso

Do any of us ever really lose that sense of "ooh" upon seeing a crisp, blank sheet of paper and a freshly cracked open box of crayons? At 43 years of age, I can proudly say that bright & whimsical pictures begin to form in my mind at the very sight, and even smell, of good ol' Crayolas.
I guess it's a combination of being carried back to happy moments in childhood, (remember how exciting it was to have a new coloring book?) and feelings of hopeful anticipation at the possibilities that lie ahead on the canvas of our lives.
There's a connection between emotional health and creativity, but don't worry if you're not artistically gifted. What you create is not as important as just creating. Allowing creative juices to flow relieves stress, and actually lowers blood pressure...even if it's simply doodling on a notepad.
The ways we can express ourselves creatively are endless:

Knitting or crocheting
Woodwork, Metalwork, origami, etc...

Creativity not only allows us to break out of established patterns and look at things in a different way, but it sharpens the brain, which can put off the onset of dementia in old age. The more new things you learn, the more exercise the brain gets — and the sharper it will remain. It's often recommended that seniors learn new skills and challenge themselves with new opportunities, but why wait until you're old?

For me personally, I find comfort and relaxation in upcycle crafting (basically turning "trash" into "treasure") - because while I'm creating, I feel like I'm being a little "green" too...but my all time favorite way to express my inner artist is through crochet, which I've been doing since I was in the 5th grade! My first project ever was a hideous, pepto-bismol pink scarf that was as crooked as a used car salesman. (If you're a used car salesman and reading this, sorry!! LOL)
I've mostly always just made things and given them away as gifts, and occasionally made things to order and charged for them. People have said for years that I should sell more of my crochet work, and now I'm going to give it a shot. So long as it never feels more like "work" and less like "play" I'll be happy to actually get paid a few bucks here and there for doing something I love. I've bought things a few times over the last few years from the online shops at etsy, but now I'll be a first-time seller.
Here's a link to my brand new (and mostly empty) online shop:
Chastain Creations

Thursday, January 27


Cryssi of Cryssi's Corner Blog has won! Please contact me with your mailing info so I can send you these cute tees! :) Congratulations!

Back in December when I was Christmas shopping, I came across this adorable pair of t-shirts and bought them for my husband and myself...and because I got such a great deal on them, I grabbed a second set, and now one of my readers will get them! If you have a "better" half, you two can wear them together. If you're single, they'd make a great anniversary gift to a couple, or hey, you could always throw them into a hope chest, too!
The woman's tee is a ladies cut in size XL.
The man's tee is a regular fit, mens cut in XL.
Both tees are 100% cotton.


1. Follow my blog.
2. Leave a comment in the comment section.

That's it!

On Sunday, January 30, I will randomly select a winner from the entries!

Monday, January 24

Being Content While Pursuing Your Goals?

There's a sentence I've typed up, printed out, and taped to my monitor to remind myself of it daily. It reads: Anything less than daily striving to improve myself, is at best, stagnancy.

At the same time I'm very determined to live a contented life. Are these two desires at odds with one another? I don't think they have to be at all.
Even if you're not a person of faith, the apostle Paul's words carry a lot of wisdom:
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."(Philippians 4:11–12).

In researching the state of being content, I found two quotes from Benjamin Franklin which made me go "hmmm" when I read them side by side.

He said, “Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.”

But he also said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

So I kept wondering how we're to strive to improve ourselves so we don't become stagnant, or worse, regress -- all while being contented...

Finally I had a moment...where it all came together in my head and made sense...

If you're content, you'll feel at peace with yourself and the world. You'll be confident with who you are, where you are in life, and where you plan to go. This leaves you FREE to pursue your dreams.
If you can't appreciate what you have right here and now, in this very moment, you probably won't be able to appreciate anything you achieve or attain if/when that happens. It makes sense, right?

Will Rogers once said, (and I LOVE this quote!) "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"

Sunday, January 23

What Matters Most, Matters Now!

How many times have you been in a situation or discussion where you uttered the words, "what matters most is..." ?
I know I've found myself both saying and hearing that phrase, but it seems to come up most often in tough times.

With our lips we say our loved ones are the top priorities in our lives, but consider what our actions may, at times, say:

We take them for granted.
We resent them.
We blame them.
We stay angry at them for years.
We refuse to apologize or forgive.
We run them down.
We assassinate their character.
We find fault in them, while overlooking the very same faults in ourselves.

People lose jobs every day, but more often than not, they find a new one, and if they're lucky, an even better one.
People lose money in the stock market every day, but if you ride it out, you'll most likely get it back.
You can lose your home, your car and all of your other material possessions, and sure, it stings when you lose these things- and makes you feel hopeless, but with hard work, these things can be replaced over time.
You can't replace people.

This little blog is just a reminder to myself and whomever else may have needed a reminder to hold near & dear the most precious "things" in our lives, and that's the people we love. They are what matter the most...and we all need to remember that NOW...and show them every day that they MATTER the MOST to us...and not try to hurry up and prove it when things get tough or we fear we may be losing one of the people we cherish.

Thursday, January 20

BWN - Business Women's Network

I want to give a big, heartfelt THANK YOU to the women (and a few men) of the Business Women's Network of Howard County. Many of you know I grew up in Maryland, so it was a pleasure for me to travel back home and speak at a Networking/2011 Kick-off gathering for them. What a lovely group all around. I was treated wonderfully throughout the process, and even afterward I've heard from a few members. I'd like to specifically thank the president of the BWN, Karen Pitsley of Transforming Architecture, and the Director of Programs, Kim Musser, of State Farm, and Joyce Rhine of Homewood Suites Hilton in Columbia, MD.
It was so refreshing to stay in a hotel that was truly wheelchair accessible. A big GOLD STAR for them!

I love the energy that happens when you get a bunch of kind-hearted, strong, and determined women in a room together!
I know I don't live in Maryland anymore, but I hope I am invited back to visit them again!
Hugs all around!

Sunday, January 9

Behavioral Goals for 2011

German playwright, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, "Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own image."
I let my brain wrap around this for a while and realized the profound truth in his statement. Our universe begins within ourselves and expands outwards. I don't mean this in a "self-centered" way at all. Rather, it's so important to remain aware of our affect on everything and everyone around us, and the responsibility that power carries.

I've printed out my behavioral goals for this year and placed them strategically to keep myself reminded. Feel free to share yours in the comments section. We can learn so much from one another.

Although I look forward to adding more, currently mine are:

1. Start each day being thankful.
2. Stop. Look. Listen.
3. Save "I'm sorry" for when it's appropriate and truly called for.
4. When I realize I'm tearing myself down, just stop.
5. Seize the day...every day.

Friday, January 7

Fill in the Blank Friday!

Picked up this cute idea from Lauren at "The Little Things We Do"

1. Winter least favorite season. I feel kind of bad saying that because I know God is the Creator of all things, even yucky winter, so I should try harder to appreciate the beauty in it, but I would rather sweat like a pig in 100 degree heat than ever be cold. ***Yep...I realize pigs don't actually sweat like we humans do...but I've been using that phrase so long, it's difficult to let it go. Hahaha!

2. Summer absolute favorite time of the year! I LOVE being able to go outside, even after midnight, in shorts and no shoes. I love the sounds of summer...from the frogs, to the laughter of people on the beach to the sounds of music and arcade at the beach in the summertime is so awakening! I think it makes us all feel a little younger.

3. If it were summer instead of winter right now I' outside, most likely. Maybe strolling along at Broadway at the Beach, or the new boardwalk...or maybe just sitting in the sunroom with the hubby and dogs.

4. My favorite thing to do in winter is...desperately pray to God to give me strength to endure the cold and not wish time away.

5. My favorite thing to do in summer much! Sitting on a pier, going out for a boat ride, swimming, people watching...

6. The ideal outfit for a sunny summer day is...shorts, a light tee, Teva's.

7. The ideal outfit for a frigid winter day is...layers, UGGS... ugh.