What You See Is NOT What You Get.

minimalism, goals, simplicity.

I started 2016 without any goals.  No New Year’s resolutions.  No plans for the future.

Toward the end of 2015 I found myself in a downward spiral of obsession and claustrophobia. Each day was a chore to get through.  I never seemed to have enough time to do what needed to be done, so I did a lot of nothing.

It seemed foreign to me to not have any goals for the new year.  It’s out of character but I just couldn’t focus on anything outside of the immediate.  I couldn’t even imagine what the next year would bring because I couldn’t see past tomorrow.

I happened to be sitting in my sister’s kitchen on January 1st.  We have always have tried to get together on New Year, whether in person or online,  because we’re planners and goal setters.  However, this year we didn’t make any plans.  It was only a last minute decision to drive the 3 hours to visit her.

Instead of planning, we chatted about our current struggles and the feelings of lethargy that we were apparently both dealing with.  We took the time to reconnect and sympathize.  Honestly, we didn’t have any great words of encouragement for each other.  Only that we could understand what the other was going through.

I mentioned to my husband on the ride home that night, how neither my sister nor myself had been able to come up with any great goals for the new year. We felt stuck.

That’s when he said something that was a complete paradigm shift for me.

He said, “Not all goals have to be life changing.”

I realized then that I had been looking for something that was going to completely revolutionize my life.  I wanted THE GOAL that would pull me out of the doldrums and shine a light on a bright new future.

But those words set me on a new path.  A path of simplicity, instead of enormity. A path to be taken one step at a time.  A path to be strolled for the sheer pleasure and not for some extravagant destination at the end.

What has happened since January 1st has been a series of deliberate steps that have, in the course of few short months, altered the course of my life in a very “life-changing” way.  I didn’t plan it.  I just walked it.

I want to share with you those deliberate steps and somehow help you walk out of the mire of overwhelm and into the spaciousness of balance. What you see is not what you get.  You can change your perspective, open up, and get more out of life.

Miranda Signature

P.S.  Part of this change is giving Coffee & Confidence an overhaul.  I appreciate your patience as I work out the kinks and think out the quirks to bring you something fresh and new.

 

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Excuse the Mess!

Things are changing around here and it’s messy!

There have been a lot of changes going on for me in the last few months and it’s time Coffee and Confidence reflected it.

Like any change, the website revamp will take some time.  So, hang in there and keep checking in.  I’ll be around more and will be bringing you some fresh new content.

Thanks for your patience and support!

Miranda Signature

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Ordinary People Create Art

art, artist, ordinary, create, creative, quit, work that matters, artwork

Imagine the ideal artist.  What is he like? What does he care about?

The ideal artist, in my mind, cares about internal things. He’s more interested in expression than interpretation.  His heart is in the process of creating, not in the response to his creation.

He’s slightly eccentric, seeming to give little notice to the whims or attitudes of others in regards to his artwork.  He doesn’t need outside approval to fuel his passion to create.  He needs only the space and time to look inside.

His art is never finished, only abandoned when it no longer suits his purpose.

Some people love his work.  Others find it foolish. It doesn’t matter to him.  His work is oxygen.

Bad art doesn’t make him a bad person any more than good art makes him a good person.  He is an artist.  An artist creates.

Sometimes he creates with a plan.  Sometimes with reckless abandon.

He is not a genius.  He is not a perfectionist. He is flawed.

His flaws find their way into his artwork.  Some flaws can be covered up, others can be worked around.  Some leave empty spaces where his mind sees a masterpiece. None of them are worth quitting over, even if they stop his work.  Stopping is only temporary because his inner desire is to create.

He creates original art.  Distinctive art.  Not perfect art.


When I imagine the ideal artist, this is what I see.  Yet, when I think about myself as an artist, I expect perfection, acceptance, and praise.

The truth about being an artist is that there is no good reason for anyone to really care about the work you do.  It matters to you because it’s your conception of an idea, birthed through your hands and sculpted by your virtues and talents.  There is no way to possibly convey that depth of meaning to a general viewer. They only see the final product. Not the late nights, the calloused hands, the mad frustrations, or the inner turmoil.

The expression of one’s self is the core reason to create art.  But if this was truly believed by artists en masse, then there would be fewer artists quitting their vocation.

When there is a lull in praise and admiration of an artist’s work, you feel it must be caused by your lack of talent.  Suddenly your work is irrelevant and unwanted.  This quickly translates into a personal interpretation. You are irrelevant. You are unwanted. (Artists are always looking for a reason to beat themselves up.)

This happens often when an artist graduates, concludes their gallery show, or concludes a series of works. The climactic end has a dangerous drop off on the other side. You’ve worked like mad and met every deadline and expectation and then, suddenly, the audience is gone.

Artists call it “drying up.” 

If you’ve stopped creating because suddenly there is no audience to praise your work, remember that YOU are not dried up.  Neither are your talent or your abilities dried up. Only your audience of praise.

Your job as an artist is to continue to create artwork that teaches you how to create artwork.  Most of what you create doesn’t mean anything to anyone but you. But something at some time will.

The key is to NEVER quit.  And if you’ve stopped creating for whatever reason, remember that stopping isn’t quitting unless you never start again. 

 

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All We Need Is Time and Grace

time, grace, art, art journal, perfectionism, therapy, creative

Many of us have said things like, “I’d create it if I had the time and space.”  I’ve found over the last few weeks that time and space are not what’s needed to create.  It’s time and grace.

When there’s something nagging at you, a dream or a desire, sometimes it’s hard to give it an honest look.

Seriously.

Whose got time for fanciful dreams of peace and fulfillment when there’s work to be done and things to take care of?  We often cast it off before we’ve even given it a thorough examination.  It’s so unrealistic.  Why bother?

It’s a wall we all face.  Over and over again.  It’s a wall that creatives are intimately familiar with because we spend so much time bouncing up against it.  We just can’t help it.  We’re drawn to using our creative talents to make a better and brighter space around us but then we get knocked back with a hard dose of reality.  There are more important things than making art.

It takes up too much time.  It doesn’t pay the bills.  You don’t have enough training.  No one would understand it.  You’re a nobody.  No one would ever buy it.  It’s probably not that good anyway.

But it makes you feel so good inside. Like you’ve finally found a slide of chocolate pudding that never ends. (Awesome visual. You’re welcome.)

Except, it does end because you talk yourself out of it time and time again.

Recently, I’ve started looking at art as a practice of self-love. Therapy, really.  It’s grace that I’ve started to offer myself.  It’s an opportunity to be free, to stop judging, and just feel.  To be me.  Authentic and pure.

I don’t consider myself an artist as far as canvas and paint, but I am creative and a dabbler in many arts.  I’ve decided to give myself permission to be unrealistic for a time and practice art.  Because it’s nourishment for my heart and soul.  And it’s a reprieve for my mind.

I’ve started art journaling and I invite you to join me in the process.  I created a 30 Day Art Journaling Challenge.  It’s a daily practice that only takes a few minutes each day.  It can be as simple or involved as you want to allow. Think of it as an open door. A breath of fresh air. An invitation to be real, unfiltered, and whole.

You’ll be surprised how much making art a daily practice can change your outlook and feelings about your life.  Suddenly, you see things in a new light.  Your perspective broadens.  Your heart grows bigger.

Growth and learning are natural products when you give yourself the grace and time to just do what you love. You allow yourself to be imperfect.  You accept your art for what it is.  You connect with your heart.

You don’t have to be great.  You don’t need a lot of time and space.  You just have to be you. And be okay with that.

So, no matter what your dream or passion is, give it time and grace.  Make it a daily practice of self-love and nurturing. Release the potential that you’ve been ignoring.  Go make some art.


If you’re interested in joining me in the 30 Days Art Journal Challenge, please connect with me on Facebook or Instagram and share your art with me!  Just use the hashtag #30DayArtJournal!  And leave a comment below telling me what dreams you’ve been putting on hold because you haven’t allowed yourself the time and grace to do it.  

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30 Day Art Journaling Challenge

art journal, challenge, artist, art, creative, journal, sketch,

I’ve started an art journal a few days ago.  It was inspired by some artsy types I follow on Instagram.  I love to write to get my thoughts out on paper, but sometimes I want to add some color.  Art journaling has given me the space to produce a snapshot of a thought, dream, or instance in my life in full color.

The daily practice of creating something meaningful and personal has proved therapeutic.  I look forward to the time with my art journal like I look forward to a conversation with an old friend.  There is no judgement.  No rules.  Only an abundance of space and time.

I’ve shared my first few art journal entries on Instagram and Facebook, not because I want compliments or affirmation, but because I want everyone to see that art is a safe place.  People who don’t believe they are creative at all can write down a few thoughts, doodle, add stickers and washi tape, and open their minds to a side of themselves they don’t even realize is there.  They get to enjoy the benefits of color and freedom like every artist.

I’m new to this type of creativity but exploring and trying something new keeps my inner artist happy and excited.  It may not last.  My artist is a child who hops from one obsession to the next with no warning.  But I wanted to share this experience with you and invite you to join me.  So, I’ve created a 30 Day Art Journaling Challenge to be our guide.

30 Day Art Journaling Challenge RULES

There are no rules.  Only a theme for each of the 30 days.  But feel free to jump around if you’d like. A different theme may be more intriguing or fitting than the theme for that day.  Do whatever feels right.

Use any medium you want.  Watercolor, acrylic, Sharpies, graphite, oil, stickers, papers, ModPodge, you name it.  Stick it in there. Make it unique.  Make it yours.

You can start any day.  And if you can’t journal every day, oh well.  Just get back to it when you can.  But don’t skip.  Try to get 30 days into your art journal, no matter how long it takes.

Use the hashtag #30DayArtJournal.  If hashtags are your thing and you’d like to share your art journal on social media.  If you want to keep it private, more power to you.  I want you to enjoy the process completely.

I hope you’ll give art journaling a try.  Tap into your creative side.  Let’s play!

Print, pin, and share this image with your creative friends.  It’s more fun to play when you’ve got more people involved.

Do you already have an art journal?  What’s your favorite medium?  Leave a comment below and let me know how your art journaling experience is going. 

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Stop and Flow

create, creative, artist, frustrated, blocked, outlet

Stopped.

Where the tutor can’t teach

And the pastor can’t preach

Where the hope doesn’t heal

And the revelation doesn’t reveal.

 

Dammed.

Where the passion has no purpose

And the interests have inertia

Where the desire loses distance

And the reason finds resistance.

 

Stuck.

Where the emotions don’t come easy

And the quiet makes one queasy

Where the ideas are invaded

And the wisdom is wasted.

 

Clogged.

Where the love is late

And the heart breeds hate

Where the rumors go ’round

And the dreams are drowned.

 

Blocked.

Where the deeds are damned

And the plans aren’t planned

Where the best is blotted

And the least is lauded.

 

Freed.

If the truth is trusted

Then the mind is mustered

When the prayers are prayed

Art is unafraid.

 

Flow.

by Miranda


Being a blocked artist starts to feel claustrophobic before long.  You start to feel like you’re being thwarted at every turn.  You feel the walls closing in and the box getting smaller.

Come on, Creative!

It’s all in your head.  Imagine a way out.  Trust your truth.  Get going!

Does anyone relate to these completely frustrating feelings? Where do you find your outlet? Comment here.

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I Did All That To Do This

organized, cleaning, coffee, scattered, write, productivity, good intentions,

True Story

Beep! Beep! Beep!  My coffee pot gives the ominous warning that its time is up and it auto shuts off.

Just one more cup is all I’ll need to get through the rest of the day.  I dump the cold remains of the last cup that had been forgotten in my attempts to be productive and rinse out the mug in the sink.  The mug that says, “Life begins after coffee.”

I slide the empty mug under the fill spout and press the button.  Hot coffee pours into it.  I set my steaming coffee on the marble counter to wait while I retrieve the cream from the fridge. When I set it down, I notice the bag of dog treats sitting wide open on the side board.  I look in and there is only a half of a dog bone left in the bag.

I pull out the dog treat and call the dog over.  He comes running excitedly.  He jumps for his treat and runs off to munch on it.  I take the empty bag to the trash can next to the kitchen sink.

Behind the stainless faucet I notice a cleaning rag that’s been left out for two days.  I’m cleaning up the house today and so I grab it before I forget about it and toss it down the basement stairs.  I’ll take it the rest of the way down later for the next load of laundry.

Then I remember that there are other dirty cleaning rags in my housekeeping bucket from the last job I had.  I locate the bucket and toss those cloths down the basement stairs too.

Beside the toaster, on the counter next to the basement door, there is an empty soda can left there by one of the kids.  I pick it up to take to the recycling and remember that I saw a few other empties in the living room.  I retrieve all of them before stepping outside to add them to the recycling bin.

Upon coming back inside, I remember that I had been in the process of sorting through some mail on the kitchen table earlier in the morning.  I pick up an old newspaper that had been left out because it had a picture of my kids in it and decided to clip the picture and throw away the paper.

I throw out the leftover newspaper and see some paintbrushes beside the kitchen sink that had been left to dry after the last art project.  The box of art supplies is right next to the box of photos and keepsakes, so I grab them up to put away while I store the newspaper clipping.

I’m feeling productive and creative thoughts are flowing.  Now would be a good time to sit down and write a few articles about what I’m thinking.

I head to my chair and then stop because I really like to have a hot cup of coffee by my side while I write.

Oh, yeah! Coffee!

It’s still sitting on the counter waiting for cream.  I head for the fridge as my mind back tracks through all the activities it took to finally arrive there.

I pour the cream into my still hot coffee.  I return the cream to fridge, collect my coffee mug and sit down to write.

So, I did all that to do this.


Whoa!  Can you relate?  In an attempt to be productive, I’m incredibly scattered!  What do you do to keep yourself organized and moving forward in an orderly fashion?  I need help.  Leave your best tip in the comments

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