We wish you a merry…wait!

Trick or Treat! We celebrated Halloween and as soon as November 1st came around…

Christmas carols, wrapping paper, Christmas lights, trees, and stockings; ugly sweaters, sleigh bells and Santa hats; Christmas specials and the ever controversial Black Friday! Wishlists, Christmas decor and early shopping for the season! Could there be a more wonderful time? Well, I like to think so. Does anyone recall a holiday called Thanksgiving? Does anyone know why it’s a national holiday?

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Maybe we should rewind a bit. It’s Nov. 1st. What we should be thinking about is how the leaves are bright orange and the sky is the bluest we’ve ever seen it! Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A time to come together, share, feast (oh I’m feastin’ on pumpkin pie!), and show gratitude.

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People will typically associate this holiday with pilgrims and Native Americans coming together for a great turkey feast and the Native Americans saved the pilgrims from starvation! Yay! Well that’s kind of true. There is a lot more to the story that brought us to the holiday we know now.

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Both the Native American and European cultures incorporated a time for “giving thanks” most commonly associated with a plentiful harvest, rain after a long drought or a new birth. This was practiced long before the famous Thanksgiving in 1621. So what started the famous story?

When the pilgrims arrived they had lost many during the transition to the “New World”. Situations were grim for the survivors. There was however the Wampanoag Tribe who were already living here when the pilgrims arrived. From the tribe, Squanto, a Native American formerly captured by Europeans, came to their aid. He taught them how to grow corn, pumpkins, and beans and how to cook with them.When the pilgrims took what they had learned and created a bountiful harvest, it was time to celebrate. They spent three days pretty much chowing down and getting drunk with the Native Americans. I can’t really say for sure if the Native Americans partook in the drinking but there was definitely alcohol there! The turkey dinner can’t be proven but alcohol there was! Remember that when your setting the table! During this festival, the Europeans went hunting for fowl. They returned with enough ducks and turkey to store for winter! This was the only reference made to turkey. The Native Americans also went hunting and returned with five deer they presented to the governor of the colony. It was a time of appreciation and realizing that there was something to be grateful for. One document describing that day is Mourt’s Relation by Edward Winslow. He describes a three day festival full of activity and he ended with this; “And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

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Let’s not forget that it wasn’t all roses for long. Within 60 years the English overran the Wampanoag. Cheif Metacomet declared war on the Europeans but it unfortunately lead to another gruesome story of genocide. So how did we come to celebrate a narrow window of “peace” shared between the two?

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Thanksgiving kind of bounced around after that. Each president changing it to suit whatever was going on in the nation at the time. Until Lincoln decided to make it an annual holiday in 1863. This was because of many things going on; The Union victory in Gettysburg, the growth in population, the plentiful harvest, and some persistent letters from a Thanksgiving advocate named Sarah Josepha Hale.

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Thanksgiving was a time of appreciating what we had and what we’ve worked hard for and sharing with the ones around us. Now it is a time of football games and hot holiday savings. It gets overlooked by so many. The number of people who celebrate it are dwindling. Some people don’t support how it began. Some people don’t want to interfere with their super shopping. Some people just don’t want to put forth the time. Whatever your reason, if you don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving that’s your decision. At least though, take one day to be grateful for something…anything. If you truly cannot find a reason to be thankful then go out and do something for someone else. When we help others we realize that we have something special to give and we feel more confident. We need to start changing the way we think. How can we have a perfect Christmas if we can’t be happy with what we already have? The funny thing is, typically the people with the least material items appreciate the world the most. When did we get so caught up with shopping and materialism. There is so much more to life then how much stuff you have.

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If we stop thinking the world owes us something and stop judging each other, it becomes easier to appreciate what’s really important. You start to realize the most important things are always available to you and how much we actually take for granted. With very little effort the world could be a lot happier. For as many problems you find in your life, there is just as many blessings. It just depends on how you want to look at your life.

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I hope Thanksgiving can start becoming what it was originally intended to be. A time to show gratitude, no matter what screwed up things are going on in the world. A time to share with others even though we won’t always have a lot or even be on the best of terms. Life isn’t perfect. Neither are people. The sooner we accept that the more appreciative we can be to one another. Don’t do something with the expectation of getting something in return. It’s easier and more rewarding to be giving when we expect nothing back. Don’t worry, karma won’t leave ya hanging. What you put out there will always comes back around!

Remember, November = Thanksgiving , December = Christmas. Show Santa you deserve presents by showing you can be thankful.

I am thankful to be able to share my life with the two greatest people on the universe, my husband and son. I have no idea how I got by before them. I am thankful for a family who loves me, friends who will always be around, a kick ass companion named Desoto (a.k.a my dog), and I am so thankful I can stuff my face on great food tomorrow! I am very grateful for my talent in art and photography. It is a gift I will not take for granted. I’m also thankful I’m done with this blog post because it took me forever to write it!

What are you thankful for this year and how will you show it? Share your story below!  Oh…and thanks for reading my blog! Have a grateful day!

 

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Dodger: A Big Bad Pit

Have you ever met a dog that you swear just loved to get a rise out of you? For me, that was Dodger. It was a game to him to see how much it would take to annoy me. What do I expect? He was my father-in-law’s dog! When my family and I moved from Ohio to New York, we stayed with my in-laws until we could find our own place. I was able to get to know Dodger very well during our stay. He was an oinker, that’s for sure! The couch was his throne. He wouldn’t jump down for you if you wanted to sit. He wouldn’t move at all actually. “I was here first”, it seemed like he was saying if you tried to move him.

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You’re crazy if you think I’m moving.

He was pretty lazy most of the time. With us bringing our two dogs in the house though, it gave him something to do. They would wrestle and run around outside.

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Swing your partner ’round n’ ’round!

Dodger had a hard time keeping up though. He wasn’t the fastest seeing how he had broken his leg before the humane society found him, where my in-laws got him from. It never healed right so he kind of hobbled around like he had a peg leg. They should have dressed him up as a pirate for Halloween! That would have been awesome! Anyways….the drawing I did was a classic pose for him. He had to stick that peg leg out when he sat down because it wouldn’t bend properly.

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Full view

You would have never guessed he had a bum leg though if you left the garage door open when you let him out.  I’ve had to chase that dog down the street so many times I can’t even count. If we didn’t notice right away, he would usually find a neighbor or another dog outside and go chill with them, until we realized he was gone. One time we were looking for him for 45 minutes. Come to find out he was at the neighbors across the street hanging out in the backyard. They gave him water, food, attention! Why wouldn’t he want to take a stroll through town? It’s a town of dog lovers!

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Puppy Love

Yea…Dodger and I have shared some words in the past! He knew my buttons and he would push every one of them. Then he would snuggle up to me on the couch and kiss ass until I forgave him. Jerk. But then he did something that I couldn’t forgive for the longest time. I started working on this drawing of him. I would work on my art at the dining room table. It was a nice big space and I could leave my stuff out until dinner time so I could work on it through out the day. Bad idea.

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EVIL!!!!

There was no furniture safe from Dodger. He would jump in that chair and jump right on top of the table. Why? So he could see farther out the window and bark at that “killer lady” that walks down the road minding her own business! Yep…muddy paws all over my drawing. A few indented scratches from his claws. I was about half way done with the drawing and he friggin’ gets mud all over it. My immediate thought, “I @&*$# hate this dog!”

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Nothing like a good roll in freshly cut grass!

I tried so hard to get the mud prints off my picture. I tried erasing them. I tried thinking of ways to cover it up. Nothing was working. I was furious. Well that’s it! I can’t work on this picture anymore with out being mad at that damn dog. So it got tucked away for a loooooong time. No like a really long time. I actually had forgotten I started it a couple times.

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Now don’t get me wrong, Dodger was a great family dog. My son spent a lot of his toddler years pouncing on that dog, laying on him, patting his head maybe a bit too hard and Dodger took it all.

He never grumbled, growled, whined or complained. My son was allowed to do whatever he wanted. Luckily for Dodger, my son adored him and treated him like a best friend. He taught my son what a real “man’s best friend” should be. The uncontrollable slobbery kisses in his face were a constant reminder. I couldn’t really hate a dog that was so good with him.

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Do you see Santa yet?

Another lesson Dodger taught my son was the loss of a pet. Dodger passed away this past year. Of course, everyone was heart broken. Dodger had been in the family for a long time. He was always there, causing shenanigans, and then he wasn’t. It was odd at first. After a while though, it kind of felt like he never left. For me at least. I have so many memories with him it’s like I just saw him yesterday.

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You’re seriously sticking that camera in my face, again?

I started going through some unfinished projects I had and I came across the Dodger portrait again. I wasn’t mad about the mud anymore. I was actually happy about it. Now that he was gone, his paw prints were like his signature. A little piece of him to keep forever. I realized instead of trying to get rid of them, I had to make them part of the drawing. I stuck it back on the easel and had a new found desire to finish it. I wanted it to look good. And this time, I knew it could, even if it had a little mud on it. So if you were wondering about the random paw prints throughout the picture, now you know the rest of the story.

Dodger was a knuckle-head but all said and done, he was a good dog. R.I.P. buddy.

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I’m Just Me

Blue print wm.jpgHey All,

How’s the weather! The weather in New York is having mood swings. Yesterday I was outside all day in a T-shirt, warm in the sun. Today, I have a thermal shirt and winter coat on and that breeze is still a bit nippy! That’s just how it goes though.

I finally found a site provider that I really like. As you can tell it’s wordpress. You can make a nice little site, start a blog, very user friendly and I like the way it looks. So here we are! This is the official blog for M. Phoenix Art! What will be discussed you ask? A little bit of everything!

I entitled my blog “Free Spirit Meg”. I have been called a free spirit quite a few times in my life and it seems to sum me up pretty good. I threw my first name in there because this blog is ALL me.

It will be about my work (fine art & photography). I will discuss my techniques, my inspirations, and stories pertaining to my current works. I will continue, as I always have, documenting my life and the world around me through my camera. The only difference is I will be sharing everything with the world from now on. That includes my trials, errors, and lessons learned along the way. Speaking of, I have just recently learned a very valuable lesson and it is one of the reasons I am starting this blog.

I thought I could be an artist and stay hidden from the world. Quiet as a mouse. Just look at my pictures, don’t look at me. Sounds ridiculous, right?  Can anyone say confidence issues!? Not to mention how shy I am. I feel like I’m being judged 24/7 . Like I’m doing something wrong, never making the right decisions, and never being good enough. I’ve noticed that other people’s opinions were affecting me more than I had thought. I don’t actually believe I’m worthless or no good but I kept telling myself that. I argue with myself all the time about what’s proper and acceptable. Then I realized, I’m not arguing with myself. I’m arguing with the people surrounding me that make me feel that way. The influence of outside sources telling me I should be doing something better. Asking me when am I going to do something with my life. Telling me I need to change what I’m doing and the way I’m doing it. Instead of standing up for myself I listened to it. I believed it. And I followed it down a path of misery and paranoia. A life of constant ridicule and saying “Oh, I’ll be happy as soon as I get to this point” and changing things in my life to accommodate to what others thought.

I’m not going to do that anymore. I am my own person. I’ve never really been open about how I truly feel about things. For a while there, I didn’t even know myself. Now…I am me again. I’m not what others say I should be. I’m not doing things that make me unhappy just because that’s what is expected of me. I am a ruler of my own fate and if I don’t grab the reins and take control of my own life, someone else will. I am not a sheep. I am not a dog. I will decide if I need to change my life. I will decide when I am happy. I need to be true to myself and live a more fulfilling life because of it. I am happy with who I am and where my life is and no one will tell me I’m wrong. That’s not their right or choice.

I need to stop hiding who I really am in fear of offending someone else. If you are offended by the type of person I am and how I live, that’s your problem. I am embarrassed it took me this long to realize that. In keeping this blog it will allow me to show my true colors with confidence. I believe in myself and I know I’m a good person. I’m a free spirit and I need to start acting like it. My life becomes a helluva lot happier when I do.

Damn, maybe it’s not just the weather that is having mood swings! To make a long story short, my true essence as an artist will be expressed through my blog. I am very passionate about what I do and the work I create and I will never let anyone tell me it isn’t good enough!

If you can take anything away from this, remember to live your own life. Do what makes you happy. We are all different and view the world in different ways. Have your own voice and don’t let others speak for you. Only you can express what is going on in your head!

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

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