Today’s cup of coffee – In Tune

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Recently I found my sketchbook from last year and started thumbing through it. I came across some old character drawings I did and thought it would really fun to do the ‘Draw this again’ challenge where you take an old drawing and redo it to see the difference in your skill or just to make some changes. The character I chose was one I created when I first got my markers but instead of using markers again, I chose to use watercolor and ink (a technique I love to use).

I decided to film this challenge for my YouTube channel. I also used a much larger paper because I have always preferred to draw bigger and sketch smaller. I charged my very old camera, about a 10 year old by the way, and started recording. I was able to get a the base of the picture and the inking done before it died. Usually, I can predict when it will die so I can stop the drawing and charge it up again. But, from what I can assume, the battery is nearing its end in general so it died before I could realize it, thus sending my pregnant and emotional self spiraling down in a pit of anger.

(Side note- This kind of frustration, that happens more often than it should, could easily be avoided if I just upgraded my camera equipment. This is something I am working towards.)

Through low angry rumblings under my breath, kids giggling at me while I try not to throw the camera through the window, I plug in my camera to the charger and sit and stew in front of my unfinished piece, staring at it, feeling as though I won’t finish. I hear a small thud on my table and I look over to see a fresh cup of coffee and my husband just setting it down and walking away quietly, as to not further irritate his dragon of a wife.

The smell overcame me. I grabbed the cup and took a long sip. It was so refreshing on so many levels. Thankfully, I started to ease up and take a few extra deep breaths. I looked out of the window and saw that my husband went on the back porch to lay out and converse with the kids. My full on irritability had turned into a mild annoyance and I got up and went to sit and talk with everybody. After all, what was staring at an unfinished piece of artwork work and watching a slow blinking blue light on a dying camera going to do for me?

I was able to pull it off the charger and finish recording the last little bit I had left. If you want to take a look, watch below or visit my channel to see that and other drawing challenges. And remember, while you are watching it, that a simple cup of coffee and gesture of love helped to finish that art piece. 🙂

Today’s cup of coffee – Muse

Today I really noticed something about my husband. For as long as I can remember, he will randomly bring me a cup of coffee or tea. I don’t know what really prompts him to do it. Maybe he is making himself a cup and he ends up making one for me so I don’t drink his! No matter the reason, he always brings it to me at the right moment.

I wanted to work on some sketches to motivate myself to post something this evening. I decided to go to our bed and prop up with some pillows and work there. Being almost 8 months pregnant makes it a bit difficult to find any other comfortable spot in the house for me to be right now.

Anyhow, I wasn’t really working on anything in particular when I heard my husband coming up the stairs. He walked in with two cups of coffee and a kiss for my forehead. He then started rambling on about finances, stocks, assets, liabilities, etc. No, he doesn’t work in finance, but he is reading ‘Rich dad, Poor dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Letcher, so he is kindly informing me of all this new and insightful information he has learned, even though half of its going right over my head right now. Another down side to me being pregnant- concentration skills worsen each trimester.

As he was talking and while I really was trying to focus on every word he was saying, I started to realize that I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand and I didn’t ask for it. I watched him walk around our room, still talking, and putting clothes away, helping the toddler climb onto the bed and drinking his coffee. He wasn’t skipping a beat. I randomly inserted myself in the middle of his sentence to say ‘thank you’, to which he replied ‘of course, honey’. He continued on until chaos broke out among our older kids and he walked out to check on them.

I remained on the bed with our little toddler and my coffee. She was looking in my sketchbook while I kept coming back to the coffee. While it isn’t the first time I realize him doing that for me, it is the first time I really put some thought into the kind of husband he tries to be. Little gestures like this are just what I need to feel important in his life. He doesn’t have to do this for me, but he wants to and that’s amazing. So naturally, it has inspired to today’s and possibly a series of future posts about my random cups of coffee.

Thank you to my husband for the vanilla flavored caffeinated boost that has long since wore off but the love still lingers on. You are the best.

*Be sure to check out my latest YouTube drawing of the a wildflower coloring page!

*Want to join in on the fun and get me a cup of coffee as well? Head over to the donation tab to find out how you can show some love and support

*My coloring books are still available on Amazon!

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My husband got me floated

If you are familiar with The 100 which is a show based on a novel series about the surviving human race who live on a space ship, then you will get the reference I used for the title. For those that don’t, getting floated is a form of capital punishment where someone is executed by being sucked out of the ship into space. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for me and instead ‘being floated’ for me meant something that took place in a spa.

There is a type of relaxation method available called ‘floating’. Its a big enclosed tank that’s halfway filled with extremely salted water. Before stepping in, you have to shower and wash your body and hair with bastille soap, pat our body dry, make sure your hair isn’t dripping and then proceed into the tank. With the lights off, excepting a salt lamp, you step inside and shut the door.

Submerged in complete darkness and salted water, I lay back and allow the dense water keep me afloat. The water creeps in close to the corners of my eyes, but doesn’t touch them. My feet and hands are suspended. With the air being warm and dense, its easy to feel out of this world. Forgetting the size of the tank, I closed my eyes and imagined I was being drifted off on calm waters.

Silence

Darkness

Weightlessness

I submitted to the waters and I ended up falling asleep, or at least I think I did. Surrounded by nothing really allowed me to calm my mind and forced me to not do anything for a whole hour. That was the real challenge. With my day to day busy life, its always difficult for me to find enough down time that truly forces me to stop doing things for a while. As much as I appreciated it, it was definitely something that I am not used to doing.

After a while, the chime came on and when I sat up and opened the door, it only took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the small salt lamp that was still. I had to go to the shower quickly, I could already feel the salt crystalizing on my skin. After I was clean, I stepped out of the shower and breathed for a bit. Truly taking in what it felt like to be relaxed. And it was very welcome. I still had a prenatal massage next, because my husband signed up for me to have both, but I was already rejuvenated. While floating isn’t something I would have signed myself up for, I am glad I did it. To have a new experience of relaxation and ease is always something worth trying.

After both sessions were up, the staff told me about the client room. Here, clients can relax with a beverage and paint on the collaborated canvas. The canvas is painted by clients by adding in something special. This was really amazing for me. Especially as an artist. I took pictures of the part I added. My contribution are the fish at the bottom. I took the first photo after I placed the orange spots, but they are there. After painting, I went to my car and grabbed my ‘Fun for Hours’ coloring book for them to keep in the room as a thank you for having such a wonderful establishment!

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Fun For Hours coloring book- for those who enjoy a challenge for their coloring! https://smile.amazon.com/Fun-Hours-Madelyn-Janelle/dp/0997885211/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490732&sr=8-1&keywords=fun+for+hours
Stressed Out! – For those who need to let out some anger without the profanity! https://smile.amazon.com/Stressed-Out-swear-phrases-profanity/dp/099788522X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490861&sr=8-1&keywords=stressed+out+madelyn+janelle

Death makes brothers of us all

When I first thought of posting this, it was several weeks ago and I had just read about the loss of a friend from school, another friend I had met in the last couple of years and Facebook reminded me with their wonderful ‘on this day’ app that I had another friend commit suicide a few years ago. With the feeling of loss and inspiration, I was going to post these same thoughts then, but life continues to move forward, you follow it and some things get put off until another painful shot comes your way, reminding you of what you once started.

A couple days ago I was traveling with my kids across a few states that took me roughly 8 hours of driving, stops, and getting gas to finally reached my destination around 8 pm. Exhausted, I got on social media and started noticing similar posts only from my former high school classmates. Everyone was talking about him, asking for prayers, expressing disbelief, saddened for his children. It took up every other post in my news feed. Scrolling through the heartache and condolences, one post had a news article that said ‘fatal motorcycle wreck’. I clicked it, read it, saw the pictures that showed a motorcycle on its side and one empty boot laying in the middle of the road and as it closed the article and what happened, it ended with the name of the casualty. His name was Eric.

My stomach crumbled. He was in my graduating class. He was a father, son and brother. He was always kind to me and we were starting to catch back up on Facebook. Just the day before I commented on one of his posts to help encourage him.  And just like that, literally hours after that, he’s gone. And how, dear reader, how do you cope with that reality?

Death always brings questions. We always wonder why someone was taken, why they were so young, why now. We always feel better when we have the knowledge and reasoning behind certain events that occur. It makes us feel safer. And the reality is, we can’t know all of those answers. We can, though, trust that there is a higher power at work and is taking care of His ultimate plan. So in the case of trusting, what are we supposed to take away from death?

A small notion I have about people dying is for those of us who are in pain to remember the positive in their lives. That there is a reason we, the living, should be inspired by the dead in some way. We can look at the deceased and think about their qualities and adapt something from their lives into ours. Something that would help build us as better humans and bring us closer together. One bright aspect of death is that is does bring us all together. We cry on each other’s shoulders, hug family and friends we haven’t seen in ages, talk to those who we haven’t heard from, laugh about memories, console others, speak about the happier times in life and pay our respects to our brother that has passed from this life. On the final goodbyes that you say to them, be sure to thank them for however they impacted your life and live so that you are an inspiration when your time comes.

 

 

Do they even care it was Mothers Day?

Yesterday was mothers day and also one of my little ones birthday. We didn’t do too much considering we are still in transition for our move, but still  managed a few gifts, cupcakes, and a trip to the zoo playground. During each endeavor, I endured an astronomical amount of whining, sibling rivalry, and overall discontentment and all the while I was thinking, “it’s mothers day/ their sister’s birthday. Why of all days do they need to be this way?”

It got me thinking that maybe to my own kids, mothers day was undeserved to their own mother. Maybe they felt at the thought of mom being celebrated for today on their sister’s birthday was unfair or even, dare I say, pointless. After all, why only make it a big deal to celebrate mothers day one day of the year? Why not every Tuesday, or twice a month, or give her Saturday morning breakfast in bed? Why bother giving mom this one day of the year?

The obvious answer is because it is deserved. Moms go through an awful lot and often get a bad rap. We are judged by other moms and society, told what to do with every stage of motherhood, how to present ourselves and everything in between. So ONE day out of the year is not a lot to ask for, right? No it’s not. Here is the problem though. When someone that shows you unwavering love and support, the very least that can be done is giving them one day of happiness and relaxation. So why on earth didn’t my kids get that?

I laid down in my bed last night reflecting on the day. It started out well, they bought me candy and a card and made me some coffee. My mom made breakfast for us all and I cleaned up. Then sometime between that and saying happy birthday to my daughter, things went south. Older ones had fight after fight with an unlimited supply of back talk while the little ones just whined over everything. Per the birthday girls request, we went to the playground and I thought that this would help ease some tension. And I was so very wrong. We got home after and got ready for and went to church and came back for something quick to eat and a cupcake and went to bed.

Nothing unusual stood out. No one was really upset at anything particular and it really felt like one of those off days for the kids. Usually when that happens, I chalk it up as another day and sleep well at night. But because it was mothers day and a birthday, I felt that I deserved more than that. And that’s where I found the problem.

I spend day after day teaching my kids that if you love someone you should show them as much as possible. And as their mother, it’s important that we establish a relationship on trust, listening, communication and mutual respect. I teach them that love is a choice and an action and not just a feeling. So while they didn’t really focus on the day that was supposed to be dedicated to all moms or in our situation, me, I didn’t and shouldn’t feel unappreciated by my kids.

Like I’ve stated, we are in the middle of a move and it took me a couple weeks to pack, but they helped. We were trying to say byes to all of our friends and drive all over town day after day, through their tears, there wasn’t a single complaint. Some mornings they wake up before me and fed themselves and each other and I got a cup of tea or coffee. They ask me how I am feeling or let me take a nap without being loud. They do their chores through grumbling, but they do get done. They say sorry when they mess up. They hug me for no reason. They help with the baby if I am on the phone. They offer to help with dinner. They play games with each other. They take care of the dogs. They do their school work with minimal complaints.

I could list so much more but the point of listing at all was to show that although they may not have taken mothers day as serious as I would’ve liked, they take loving me and helping in the house pretty serious day to day. They of course still have moments throughout the days where they are grumpy or mouthy, but I can count on them to regularly get it together and make the day work for themselves and the rest of the family.

So when I went through the happenings of yesterday and then thought about how they are normally, I decided to chalk it up as an off day once again and went to sleep. And I am glad I did, this morning they woke up or were woken up, ate breakfast and started school with zero complaint and with good moods. Three hours later, the 3 that are still finishing up school for the school year are done and helping out with lunch.

Happy belated mothers day maybe?

 

Book reviews starting!

Something I truly believe in order to becoming a better writer, is to read as much as you can. Reading different genres can really help you figure out what it is you really like and what you could really like writing about. Reading books from different authors can also help you find a writing style that inspires you to develop the right tone for your book/blog. I would even go as far as saying reading books written poorly or on an amateur level, can also help you develop better writing skills. It plays into that concept of ‘learn from someone else’s mistakes’.

So, I decided to start posting book reviews because I want to give myself accountability with keeping up with my reading and in turn, my writing. So often I find myself starting a new book or audio book and it takes me a lot longer to finish it than it should. Instead, I’ll start watching TV or scrolling through social media, basically just wasting time instead of using it to the best of my advantage. Of course, every now and then its perfectly fine to veg on the nonsense and turn your brain off for a while, but ‘every now and then’ so easily becomes ‘far too often’ and then it gets difficult to get back on track. I can look back and recall more times I just turned off my brain more than I did something to intrigue it, and frankly, I am sick of it.

I have found that for me, reading feeds into my creative side as well as relaxes me. Conjuring up images in my head from well written works, really inspire me to create something new or to use it as inspiration for my next piece of art or writing. Also, I am so that person that needs transition time between finishing a book and the real world!

My book reviews will be as objective as possible. Personally, I love reading book reviews that explain how well the story developed, if the characters were relatable, was the story face paced, etc. I plan on following that path and making sure to give honest reviews that will help you decide if it will be your next read. (Or if you’re like me, you’ll buy it and forget about it for a few months to a few years……)

If you have any recommendations for me, feel free to tell me about them! I love exploring and discussing new books with others!

 

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You can find my coloring books on Amazon!

 

 

Fan Fiction- The Huntsman Winter’s War and Rapunzel

“Don’t forget I made you who you are.”

Freya remembered her sister saying this before and still hadn’t understood what she meant. As she held out her right hand little snowflakes cooly danced around her palm while she stood puzzled on Revena’s words.

“Have you lost your mind?” Revena says to Freya in disgust and annoyance at her sister’s silence.

“What did you do? How did you do this to me?” Freya asks softly as she turns to her sister. Revena turns her heel and walks back towards her mirror, her safe haven.

“What did you do?” Freya calls out impatient.

“I don’t have to answer to you.” Revena replies unable to turn towards her sister. But upon Freya’s rapid footsteps and heavy words she turns to meet her face just as Freya is behind her.

“Oh but you do. You said it yourself, you are a thing between this world and the mirror and I released you and you are now bound to me. I command you,” Her cold hands now grip on Revena’s face causing her skin to slowly transform to metallic gold of the mirror she came from.

“mirror mirror on the wall…”

Freya’s mind is filled with the vision of her sister’s memories on that terrible night. Revena’s thoughts show Freya how she manipulated the Duke by controlling his mind and setting fire to the room in which his and Freya’s daughter slept. Upon seeing this Freya releases her hands from Revena’s face in pain. She has been shown the truth of her sister’s manipulation.

Revena takes a moment to recover and realizes her sister has not seen the whole truth before letting go and didn’t see Revena’s thoughts on the entire night.

Once the mirror revealed to Revena that her sister’s daughter would soon become the fairest in the land, she knew she had to get rid of her. While a small part of her wished she didn’t have to, she still knew what she desired more than family- to be the fairest of all.

The next day she wrote a letter and had it delivered to her sister. It was signed from the Duke and it told Freya to meet him in secret in the royal garden so that he, Freya and their new born daughter could be together forever and start a new life as a family. When Freya read this letter, her heart became full and she impatiently waited the entire day to leave the castle to meet her true love.

Meanwhile, Revena had found the Duke and took control of his mind. She made him want to set fire to his daughter’s room in the castle. Not knowing, he followed orders, taking a torch from the halls and walked towards his daughters room. Revena followed closely by to keep the hold on his mind strong.

He walked to the tower and entered the child’s room and walked slowly around the edge of the room, carefully lighting everything a blaze. The sudden heat arose the baby girl and she began to cry. The Duke turned towards the sound and Revena also stepped closer to take a look at the girl. She continued to cry louder and louder, Revena looked at the Duke and had him lower the torch inside the crib. The small infant seeing this bright light and feeling the raging heat, let out a yell and a flash of light shot from her body, knocking the Duke back and causing him to drop the torch. Revena had covered her face in time of the flash and looked once again at the baby. She was unscathed and her hair was glowing. Revena reached in to touch the infant only to be burned at the finger tips.

Castle nurses and guards quickly rushed into the room, grabbed a hold of the Duke, a nurse grabbed hold of the daughter and another pulled Revena out. Revena started coughing immediately and told them that the Duke had done this while she was trying to save the girl. Everyone started putting the fire out as quickly as they could.

Revena called to the nurse holding the baby, “take her to the abandon woods and find the cottage where the Dame Gothel resides. Leave her there and tell no one she has survived.” The nurse began to protest when Revena grabbed her face hard and stared into her eyes. With her mind weakened and under the control of the queen, she obeyed orders and took her at once to the cottage.

Dame Gothel lived alone and was a terrible old woman, she never trusted Revena but once the nurse maid dropped off the baby, a crow quickly followed holding a small scroll in its claws:

This child poses great threat to her majesty, queen Revena. She is to be dealt with immediately or the both of you shall suffer death. Take caution, the child is said to posses magical properties for her blood line consists of many sorceresses. Send word of her fate to the queen in two days time and you will be greatly rewarded.

Gothel looked at the sleeping child and lifted her slowly to her. She walked outside to the back of her cottage past her garden. She laid the babe down  next to the rampion flower. The scent woke the child and she began to speak soft sounds at the flower. Gothel reached in her apron pocket and took out a dagger. Her heart began to beat hard and loud and her breath became rapid. She knealt at the baby and lifted the dagger high over her head, never looking away from the child. The baby felt a sense of danger and began to panic and cry. The little one looked at Gothel just as she was bringing the blade down. Another light shot from the baby’s body and Gothel was thrown back to the ground.

Startled, she clawed at the ground to move her aching body away from the child. She sat staring at the crying girl and decided to leave the dagger on the ground. Slowly she crept back to the babe and looked at her face. A soft glow emited from her hair and gently Gothel reached out to stroke her hair. Once her old and delicate hand touch the soft warmth of the baby’s hair, her skin became brighter and younger and she started to feel energized. She looked at the rest of her body and felt all of her skin and even her hair becoming youthful once again. Amazed and shocked, she stared at the baby who had her hand reaching out towards the closest rampion flower. Gothel picked it and handed it to her and the baby smiled softly.

Gothel then scooped up the child, flower in hand, and walked back to her cottage. Inside, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Looking years younger and seeing every cut, scar and bruise she once had minutes before, were all healed.

Knowing the queen was expecting the death of this child, she gathered supplies in her home and all of her belongings and prepared to leave her cottage. She was heading to the abandoned tower, that laid outside of the queen’s kingdom behind the highest waterfall in the land. She quickly wrote a note out to the queen that read,

The child is no longer alive in your kingdom and I no longer reside in your kingdom either. I shall not do any more of your dark bidding and I will be where you or your dirty crows can’t ever find me.

As soon as she stepped out of her cottage, the crow that delivered the scroll waited on the gate of her fence. Aggravated, Gothel shoved her note at the crow and it let out a loud screech, the crow took it and flew away towards the castle. With the horse and small cart loaded, Gothel gathered the baby and took one last look at the cottage before settling into the cart. The horse began to trot off, pulling the two of them along. The baby still held the rampion flower in her hand and Gothel smiled at her and cradled her closer to her.

“I will grow you a garden of rampion and I shall call you Rapunzel.”

………….

I hope you guys enjoyed this! I like writing fan fiction and decided to share this with you all. I’ve always been nervous about sharing my fan fiction, or sharing it actually, but I thought why not! Let me know what you think and if you want more!! I posted a watercolor painting of Rapunzel on my channel, if you haven’t already be sure to check it and other videos out!

If you want to see some fan fiction art of the Hunger Games, check out this video I put on my channel!