Personal Project Update

I would like to share the results of this winter’s fundraiser.n591078573_2637587_8307726

Together, we raised $300.00 for the IRC to provide aid to Syrian refugees this winter. It is a humble contribution, but I am grateful to report that we have exceeded my initial goal of $248.00, as outlined in the last post.

Thank you to all who purchased artwork, shared my post with friends, and donated supplies. Every word of support in this project was immensely encouraging; having started this on the eve of my first round of final exams as a grad student was overwhelming at times. All of those who purchased artwork were gracious and patient as I juggled other life responsibilities while fulfilling their orders.

Of course, the need for winter protection and food is still severe for many. Please feel free to contact me if you would still like to make a donation in return for a painting.

Summer Homework

Reveling in my Italian infatuation right now! What an inspiring teacher, who assigned his students this following list of tasks as their summer homework (from the Huffington Post):

1. Sometimes, in the morning, go take a walk along the seashore completely alone: look at the way sunlight is reflected on the water and think about the things you love the most in your life; be happy.

2. Try to use some of the new words we learned together this year: the more things you manage to say, the more things you’ll manage to think; and the more things you think, the freer you’ll be.

3. Read as much as you possibly can. But not because you have to. Read because summers inspire adventures and dreams, and when you read you’ll feel like swallows in flight. Read because it’s the best form of rebellion you have (for advice on what to read, come see me).

4. Avoid things, situations and people who make you feel negative or empty: seek out stimulating situations and the companionship of friends who enrich you, who understand you and appreciate you for who you are.

5. If you feel sad or afraid, don’t worry: summer, like every marvelous thing in life, can throw the soul into confusion. Try keeping a diary as a way to talk about how you feel (in September, if you’d like, we’ll read it together).

6. Dance, shamelessly. On a dance floor near your house, or alone in your room. Summer is dance, and it’s foolish not to take part.

7. At least once, watch the sunrise. Stay silent and breathe. Close your eyes, be thankful.

8. Play a lot of sports.

9. If you meet someone you find enchanting, tell him or her as sincerely and gracefully as you can. It doesn’t matter if she or he doesn’t understand. If they don’t, she or he wasn’t meant to be; otherwise, summer 2015 will be a golden time together (if this doesn’t work out, go back to point number 8).

10. Review your notes from our class: Compare the things we read and learned to the things that happen to you.

11. Be as happy as sunlight, as untamable as the sea.

12. Don’t swear. Always be well-mannered and kind.

13. Watch films with heartbreaking dialogue (in English if you can), in order to improve your language skills and your ability to dream. Don’t let the movie end with the final credits: live it again while you’re living and experiencing your summer.

14. In sparkling sunlight or hot summer nights, dream about how your life could and should be. During the summer, always do everything you can to avoid giving up, and everything you can to pursue your dream.

15. Be good.

Monday Inspiration

Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver


You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.