Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happy news about my studio

 After some months of no news about the pending sale of our studio building, we got word last week that we've been extended a new 9-month lease that will take us through March 31, 2017. There is a price increase but it's doable for me. And this is some of the happiest money I spend!

I had begun thinking about how I would reconfigure my home space to include at least some more painting space. I know people who paint in their kitchens and garages. And I was beginning to purge some of the many supplies I have stored in my studio. Like many artists, I've been gifted with supplies and materials from others who've changed their minds about doing art or changed media. Even with the reprieve though, I think it's a good idea to start Marie Kondo-ing the studio. Many of those supplies I'm never going to use.

But it makes me very happy to know that I can keep working on multiple projects in both pastels and acrylics for most of the next year. Here's a pastel piece I just finished.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bright Line Eating continues to work well for me

I realized this morning it's been a while since I posted about my ongoing exploration of food addiction. I now have been following the Bright Line Eating program for 7+ months. I have lost 68 pounds and 69 inches. I'm down several sizes in clothes. I'm off my cholesterol medications. I have considerably more flexibility and stamina; my workouts at the gym are both easier and more inspiring. My mood is good almost all the time. My body and my spirit like me eating this way.

At the same time, there are some challenges. Because I'm eating less than my body needs to maintain my current weight (so that I can lose weight), I'm hungry the hour or two before the next meal most days. As someone who has never liked being hungry, who ate at the first sign of hunger whether it was meal time or not, this is not easy. The end goal is worth it and I hang in there, but it's not easy.

What I like best is that I am not run by food 24/7. Yes, I am sometimes focused on food in those hungry hours but it's nothing like the constant craving I felt before. Hallelujah!

Monday, May 23, 2016

My first gallery show!

I'm thrilled to say that four of the paintings from my new Hotel Room Flowers series have been accepted for the Pack It Up show at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. All the entries for Pack It Up have to be small enough to fit into a suitcase. I've been working small (on 8x10" canvases) so this was a great show for me to enter. I'm posting one of the pieces below that will be in the show. This new series will also be for sale on my website in mid-June.



Saturday, May 14, 2016

More of Leo Babauta's thoughtfulness

zen habits: This Moment is Enough



Posted: 13 May 2016 08:22 AM PDT
By Leo Babauta
I was in a plane descending into Portland for a quick stopover, and I gazed upon a brilliant pink sunrise over blue and purple mountains, and my heart ached.
Instinctively, I looked over to Eva to share this breath-taking moment, but she was sleeping. I felt incomplete, not being able to share the moment with her, or with anyone. Its beauty was slipping through my fingers.
This was a teachable moment for me: I somehow felt this moment wasn’t enough, without being able to share it. It took me a second to remind myself: this moment is enough.
It’s enough, without needing to be shared or photographed or improved or commented upon. It’s enough, awe-inspiring just as it is.
I’m not alone in this feeling, that the moment needs to be captured by photo to be complete, or shared somehow on social media. It’s the entire reason for Instagram, for instance.
We feel the moment isn’t enough unless we talk about it, share it, somehow solidify it. The moment is ephemeral, and we want solidity and permanence. This kind of groundlessness can scare us.
This feeling of not-enoughness is fairly pervasive in our lives:
  • We sit down to eat and feel we should be reading something online, checking messages, doing work. As if eating the food weren’t enough.
  • We get annoyed with people when they don’t act as we want them to — the way they are feels like it’s not enough.
  • We feel directionless and lost in life, as if the life we have is not already enough.
  • We procrastinate when we know we should sit down to do important work, going for distractions, as if the work is not enough for us.
  • We always feel there’s something else we should be doing, and can’t just sit in peace.
  • We mourn the loss of people, of the past, of traditions … because the present feels like it’s not enough.
  • We are constantly thinking about what’s to come, as if it’s not enough to focus on what’s right in front of us.
  • We constantly look to improve ourselves, or to improve others, as if we and they are not already enough as we are.
  • We reject situations, reject people, reject ourselves, because we feel they’re not enough.
What if we accepted this present moment, and everyone and everything in it, as exactly enough?
What if we needed nothing more?
What if we accepted that this moment will slip away when it’s done, and saw the fleeting time we had with the moment as enough, without needing to share it or capture it?
What if we said yes to things, instead of rejecting them?
What if we accepted the “bad” with the good, the failures with the attempts, the irritating with the beautiful, the fear with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment is offering us?
What if we paused right now, and saw everything in this present moment around us (including ourselves), and just appreciated it for what it is, as perfectly enough?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My new thriller is available

My fourth novel, Broken Boys, has just been released. It's a sequel to my second novel, Fog of Dead Souls.
 
About Broken Boys: Maggie Morehouse has a husband who ignores her and a  grown son who doesn’t need her. When a mysterious stranger at a small-town  parade offers her a life outside the box, she disappears with him, leaving  her family to pick up the pieces. Caught between anger and fear, her husband involves the police. The search for Maggie and her companion leads two Pennsylvania detectives into the VFW halls and bingo parlors of rural Virginia where broken boys are at very dangerous play.
 
On amazon (http://amzn.to/26R3bfZ) and Smashwords (http://bit.ly/1OgejaK) and of course signed copies are available from me.
 
Praise for Broken Boys
“Jill Kelly makes you believe each character in Broken Boys, and the suspense in her story grows ominously without a hint of contrivance or a single false note.” Mike Bowen, author of Damage Control.
 
“Detective Hansen from Fog of Dead Souls returns in the search for a mysterious drifter whose charm masks a darker intent. This chilling story will keep you reading late into the night to find out what happens next.” Pamela Stringer, author of Death in the Debit Column
 
 “Broken Boys is a riveting and unrelenting combination of lust, larceny, and human weakness. Kelly has an extraordinary ability to delve into the psyches of her characters and expose them as the damaged humans they are.” Leigh Goodison, author of Jigsaw Man
 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

an unexpected benefit of my food plan

Last weekend, I spent a few days with some old friends. I was the organizer and I asked folks to bring their own breakfast and lunch foods and then planned some communal dinners with one person in charge. The breakfasts worked great. People ate when they wanted what they wanted, each of us fixing our own. And lunch worked out well too, each of us eating when we felt like it. But the dinner was more problematic. Folks came back from afternoon activities and had snacks about 5 pm. The dinner crew then wasn't eager to get cooking. This posed a problem for me. I wanted to eat with the others; we hadn't all been together at a meal yet.I eat on a schedule and I don't snack so I needed my dinner to be earlier than I could imagine was going to happen. 

So I screwed up my courage and asked the dinner crew what their plans were and said that if they planned to eat late, I'd fix food for myself. I didn't want them to feel pressured to accommodate me and said so, but the grill chef made it clear she didn't want to hustle. I could have the first meat off the grill, she said, and eat my veggies later with everyone else. I took a deep breath and said that's not going to work for me. I eat one plate of food  and I eat it all at one time. And I said again, I could go ahead and eat on my own (I'd brought plenty of food). In the end, we compromised. We ate an hour later than I wanted and an hour earlier than they wanted and it was okay.

I have struggled in the past in asking for what I need but my commitment to this food plan is giving me great opportunities to speak up and to set boundaries around what works and what doesn't work for me. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Another great set of reminders from Leo Babauta

The bad news about health and productivity habits is that if you start to slip up, things can slowly spiral downward.
If you are tired, you can’t focus on your important work, you don’t make time for exercise or cooking healthy food, so you grab some fast food, you veg out in front of the TV. This doesn’t lead to better energy the next day, but it does lead you to feel worse and worse about yourself.
When you feel worse about yourself, you want to comfort yourself with more unhealthy food. You don’t feel motivated to exercise or be productive.
Things spiral downward, until you feel hopeless and out of control.
The good news about these habits is that they can also spiral upward.
If you take a positive step, like going for a walk, you feel pretty good about it. That gives you the inspiration to eat a healthy meal. Now you’re cranking out emails and important tasks. You’re motivated to take care of yourself and turn your life around, so you start paying attention to sleep. You start flossing. You try some meditation. You feel great!
Things start to spiral upward, and you feel like you’re capable of change.
I’ve experienced both kinds of spirals myself, and have seen both kinds in so many people. The upward spiral makes you feel amazing, and changes your entire life. I recommend that one.

Turn Your Spiral Upward

Here’s the key: ask yourself which spiral you’re on right now.
Are you on the upward spiral? Keep going! Make one small change at a time, continue to help yourself feel better and better, work on your habit and mindfulness skills, and you’ll only get better at this over time.
Are you on the downward spiral? Ah, well, it’s good to recognize that. And it’s important to remember that you can turn it around. I turned my spiral upward, and many others have too. You can do this.
How do you turn your spiral upward? Here’s what I recommend:
  1. Take just one small step. Go for a short walk and clear your head. Start taking short walks every day, and make time for them. See how you feel, and if it makes you feel better, celebrate!
  2. Keep taking tiny steps. You don’t need to change your entire life. You just want to start moving in the right direction. One little step at a time. It can just be the same kind of step (just keep drinking water for a couple weeks, just keep doing 2-minute meditations in the morning for a couple weeks). But the important thing is to keep doing them.
  3. Clear up space and energy. This won’t work if you overload yourself, so try to move in a direction that gives you more time and energy. For example, if you slowly cut out time-wasters and instead go for a walk when you’re feeling anxious, you’ll have more time in the day to get things done or exercise or cook. If you start going to sleep earlier and cutting out devices before you sleep, you will feel more rested the next day. This helps you feel better for more small steps.
  4. Focus on learning and skill improvement. As you take these steps, you’re not just making progress towards a health or productivity goal … you’re developing habit skills. You’re learning about how your mind and body work. You’re learning about mindfulness and motivation and how your environment can be changed to help you function better. Keep learning, keep getting better, no matter what your progress is.
  5. Keep on the path, even if you stumble. Things will not go perfectly. You’ll hit some bumps, and many people are tempted to give up, to let go of their upward spiral. This can lead to another downward spiral. Instead, learn the skill of getting back on the path, taking another small step, and correcting course.
So a downward spiral can be turned around, if you can find the tiniest motivation to take the smallest step. Your motivation might be simply that you don’t want to keep going down this downward spiral — you can visualize where your life will end up if you don’t move in a different direction, and you don’t want that for yourself.
It can be turned around, with one small step, but you have to want it. And you have to take that step.