Fifth Anniversary of Cats Out of the Box

It is hard to believe that five years ago today, I wrote and shared my first blog post.  I would have quit long ago if it hadn’t been for the following people.  A special thank you goes out to……

  • As my friends and family know, I ponder things.  I had been pondering writing a blog for years.  My friend Joe said just write a blog already.  Stop thinking and start doing.  And I did.  Thank you, Joe.
  •  My friend, Eric Hanson, is an amazing poet and I have used his poems in my blogs off and on over the years.  Thank you for letting me share your beautiful creative work with others.  Eric has also let me bounce ideas for blog posts off of him.  Some are definitely a lot better than others.  Thank you for listening, making suggestions and not letting me embarrass myself in the written word.
  • To my family there are not enough words to express my gratitude for your assistance, patience, feedback and support.  I know that having me in your lives can be a challenge.  You help me to be the best artist and creative person I can be.  I am truly grateful for you.
  • To my friends, so often the conversations we have are the creative sparks for a blog post.  You go hiking with me in all kinds of weather.  Thank you for your emotional and creative support.  You help me be a better writer, artist, creativity coach and teacher.  I am grateful for all of you.
  • This year I started teaching art classes at Flathead Valley Community College for the Continuing Education Program.  I would like to thank Debbie and all of the helpful staff who work in that program.  I couldn’t do it without all of you.  Your support and assistance makes me look good!
  • I would also like to send a special thank you to the students who participated in the Art Sampler, Beginning Acrylic Painting, Fine Art of Book Making and Mixed Media Collage Classes.  You have inspired me with your stories, questions, and amazing creative work.  You are all amazing creative people and I am excited to see where your creativity will take you.
  • To my readers and blog friends who follow my blog as part of the WordPress community, I am grateful for your support.  I am continually inspired by all of you and the creative work that you are doing.  No matter where you are located on this planet or what your blog is about….. your creativity, bravery in sharing feelings and ideas, and support make me proud to be a part of the WordPress blogging community.
  • Thank you to those that like my posts.  I appreciate you taking the time to support my creative work.  You motivate me to keep writing.
  • Thank you to those that post comments and provide feedback.  I enjoy hearing your thoughts about my work.  I am so proud when something I have written inspires others.  Your words mean the world to me.
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Angus, the original Cat Out of the Box

I have been asked recently by a friend and previous student, what advice did I have for someone who wants to start writing a blog.  I came up with the following five tips:

  1. Have an idea of what you would like your blog to be about.  Mine is about creative living.  But there are blogs about all kinds of things.  There are blogs that focus on photography, poetry, movie reviews, travel, cooking tips and recipes.  The sky is truly the limit.
  2. Give yourself goals.  I try to write two Haiku poems a week and two or three other posts each month.  I don’t always succeed at getting as much written as I would like, but the goals help me to keep focused.
  3. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t reach your goal or can’t write for awhile.  Hey, life happens.  In April, after my Grams (Grandmother) died, I could’t write for the rest of that month.  It is okay to take a break from your blog if you need to.
  4. Follow other peoples blogs.  Make comments (but do not be a troll).  Like posts that you enjoy.  The support and friendship you will build within the blogging community will surprise, delight and inspire you.
  5. The most important thing….. have fun!

Thank you so much for another amazing year of blogging!  I am so happy to share this journey of creativity and exploration with you!

4th Anniversary of Cats Out of the Box

Four years of “Cats Out of the Box.”  Four years of creative discovery through writing.  Four years of documentary film reviews.  Four years of book reviews.  A year and a half of haiku poems.  Four years of stories about hiking, traveling experiences, observations, explorations, conversations with my friends and family.  Four years of sharing what creativity and creative living means to me.

Angus for blog

Angus, who helped inspire the title for my blog, Cats Out of the Box

I would like to share some of my favorite blogs from the past four years and why I like them.  If you click on the name of the posts that I have listed, it is a link to that post, and you can read them for yourself:

  •  One Reason – I chose this one because it was one of the first blog posts that I had written.  I feel it is pertinent to creative living because we can get caught up with reasons for not doing our creative work.  We only really need one reason to be true to ourselves.
  • Making Decisions Based on Love or Fear – This blog post receives the most views every year during my four years of blogging.  It was the first time I used one of my friend Eric Hanson’s poems.
  •  Tesla Illuminates Creativity – Those who have been following my blog since the beginning or have taken my creativity classes know that I am an admirer of the creative inventiveness of Nikola Tesla.  This post provided an opportunity for me to share some of the many ways that Tesla’s life and work inspire.
  • Forbidden Art and Censorship – One of the many moments of synchronicity that I have had in my life was having just finished reading the book The Tsar of Love and Techno and then watching the documentary “The Desert of Forbidden Art.”  I highly recommend the book and the documentary.
  • Dark Night of the Soul – 2017 was a really challenging year for me.  This is One of the blogs that shared with my readers that I was having challenges and how I was choosing to face those challenges.
  • Transitions – Another blog from 2017 that I think is a bit more positive.  I liked that I could use a photo from my 2014 trip to Japan as the featured image.
  • A Round of Eureka’s on the House! – I really loved doing the research for this post.  Also, I feel like it is such a happy and hopeful post.  As humans, we can never have too many good ideas.
  • Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park – This post was fun because I got to write it right after my dad and I had gone hiking at the park.  It is an easy hike and the weather was perfect.  A magical time that I was able to share through my blog.
  • March Haiku #6 – My favorite post, so far for this year, is this haiku.  It says so much in three (3) simple lines.

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”  -Brene Brown

Finally the most important part, the thank you section:

  • As my friends and family know, I ponder things.  I had been pondering writing a blog for years.  My friend Joe said just write a blog already.  Stop thinking and start doing.  And I did.  Thank you, Joe.
  •  My friend, Eric Hanson, is an amazing poet and I have used his poems in my blogs off and on over the years.  Thank you for letting me share your beautiful creative work with others.  Eric has also let me bounce ideas for blog posts off of him.  Some are definitely a lot better than others.  Thank you for listening, making suggestions and not letting me embarrass myself in the written word.
  • To my family there are not enough words to express my gratitude for your assistance, patience, feedback and support.  I know that having me in your lives can be a challenge.  You help me to be the best artist and creative person I can be.  I am truly grateful for you.
  • To my friends, so often the conversations we have are the creative sparks for a blog post.  You go hiking with me in all kinds of weather.  Thank you for your emotional and creative support.  You help me be a better writer, artist, creativity coach and teacher.  I am grateful for all of you.
  • To my readers and blog friends who follow my blog as part of the WordPress community, I am grateful for your support.  I am continually inspired by all of you and the creative work that you are doing.  No matter where you are located on this planet or what your blog is about….. your creativity, bravery in sharing feelings and ideas, and support make me proud to be a part of the WordPress blogging community.
  • Thank you to those that like my posts.  I appreciate you taking the time to support my creative work.  You motivate me to keep writing.
  • Thank you to those that post comments and provide feedback.  I enjoy hearing your thoughts about my work.  I am so proud when something I have written inspires others.  Your words mean the world to me.

I am grateful for the past four amazing years of blogging.  I am grateful to share this experience with all of you.  Thank you!

Awards for My Words

mysteryblogger.award

I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Patrick of Patrick’s Real Stories.  He is a very sincere person who is trying to understand the world through his and other’s stories.  Thank you so much Patrick for nominating me.  It is an honor to be awarded the Mystery Blogger Award.  Please check out Patrick’s blog here:  Patrick Stories

WHAT IS THE MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD?  

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts.  These bloggers not only captivate; but inspire and motivate their readers.  They are one of the best our there, and they deserve the recognition that they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. -Okoto Enigma (https://www.okotoenigmasblog.com/my-greatest-creation-yet/)

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to them as well.
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

THREE THINGS ABOUT Me:

  1. I have “red” hair but I have always thought it looked more orange.  For other orange/red heads out there, the driver’s license people do not like the answer “orange” when asking you your hair colour for your driver’s license.  Just a head’s up.
  2. I believe that everyone, yes that means you, is creative.  Sometimes one just needs a little help in finding out what they are passionate about and awaking their sleeping creativity.  Just in case you need help in finding that creative passion, I am a creativity coach.
  3. I firmly believe that if you want to experience life fully, you have to let go of control and experience being.  For the control freaks out there I know that this is hard to do.  If it would help to have a scientific reason or explanation of the art of being, check out the philosophical work of Amit Goswami, PhD, a theoretical nuclear physicist.

Questions for Me:

  1. Do you like classic art or modern art and why?  As an Artist and creativity coach the only right answer is Yes!  But just like everyone, I am drawn to certain artworks and artists.  Art is a soul to soul conversation.  Different pieces speak to each person differently.
  2. Who do you live with?  A beautiful black cat named Angus.  She thinks she is a princess, not a cat.
  3. Are you organized in your home (closets, bathroom, drawers)?  Some drawers and closets are but others are the chaos theory in action.  The only thing that seems to stay organized on a consistent basis is my art supplies.  No, I won’t tell you about the coloured pencils.
  4. What is your happy song? I really pondered this question.  I have a lot of songs and music that makes me happy.  Here are just a few of the songs: Metropolis by Owl City; Life in Color by OneRepublic; You and I by Enrique Iglesias; Bright by Echosmith; Sweet Lullaby by Deep Forest; Brighter Than the Sun by Colbie Caillat; and Lifelines by a-ha.
  5. Do you have a full-time job? I am sure that this question is about day jobs or “working”….. but my answer avoids the social norm.  I believe that living life to the fullest and doing something creative every day is my full-time job.

My Questions:

  1. What is one place you would like to travel to and why?
  2. What book have you read that has had the most influence on your life and why?
  3. What do you think of when you look at the stars in the night sky?
  4. Why do you write a blog?
  5. My funny question: What sounds more appealing as a potato chip flavor: ketchup, dill pickle or salt and vinegar?  Or all three?  Or none of the above?  Why?

Some of My Favorite Posts by year:

  1. 2015: One Reason
  2. 2016: West Yellowstone, Montana
  3. 2017: Opinions are like….
  4. 2018 (so far): Annihilation, the Movie

My Nominees:

  1. Living What You Love
  2. Ckonfab
  3. Living!
  4. Thoughtsmith
  5. The Moonlight Reverie
  6. A Blooming Scribe
  7. Tanja Britton
  8. Brian, Just Brian
  9. Metaphysical Reflections
  10. Sands of Time

I wish to thank Romina from the blog Living What You Love for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award.  She is a passionate blogger who writes motivational and Inspirational posts.  Romina’s site is elegant, inspiring and full of beautiful images.  When you visit her blog you will leave motivated and up-lifted.  Please check out her blog by clicking on the following link:  Living What You Love

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 15 other bloggers for this award.
6. Comment on each blog to let them know you’ve nominated them and a link to the post you created.


I had wanted to write a blog for many years.  I followed several blogs and read articles about starting and writing a blog.  I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was scared of putting my thoughts and ideas down on the page.  I think that part of this was because I did not think of myself as a writer.

A friend of mine encouraged me to start writing my blog.  Translation: He gave me the much-needed kick in the seat of my pants to get me started.  I created my blog site called Cats Out of the Box and my first blog post was on May 23, 2015, called Impermanence or Why I Started Writing a Blog.

Thanks to the support of my family, friends and the WordPress blog community, I have written over a hundred posts, there are people who are following my blog, I have developed amazing blog friendships, and have a new confidence in writing.  To all of you, thank you so much for your encouragement and inspiration.


My first piece of advice to new bloggers is to write about what interests you.  Don’t worry about having people follow your blog or getting likes.  If you are doing something you enjoy, it will show and people will discover your creative work.

My second piece of advice is to check out the blogs of others on WordPress.  The WordPress blog community is incredibly supportive.  Also it is a great way to read and learn amazing things from other creative writers.

Good Luck!

Nominees:

1) Patrick Stories

2) Living!

3) Ckonfab

4) Thoughtsmith

5) The Moonlight Reverie

6) A Blooming Scribe

7) Tanja Britton

8) Dread Poets Sobriety

9) Metaphysical Reflections

10) Learning to Write

11) Sands of Time

12) Miss Liv Adventures

13) Alphe’s Corner

14) Life of Chaz

15) The Godly Chic Diaries

sunshine-blogger

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Brian of the blog Just Brian.  Brian’s blog is filled with amazing poems, short stories, comments regarding life, and so much more.  You can even listen to him read his poetry.  To me, poetry read by the poet has so much more impact than when I read it to myself.  Thank you so much, Brian, for nominating me for this cheerful award.  If you haven’t checked out his site, you can do so by clicking on this link: Brian, Just Brian

The Rules
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
4. List the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

The Questions for me
1. If you could travel back in time where would it be and why? I think the “Dr Who” approach to time travel is best.  Why just go to one place in time when you could travel backwards and forwards through time?
2. Painting or Reading?  Both.  I like to read and I love to paint.
3. What is one country you would want to visit and why? So many places to go and things to see and so little time.  Top five, as of right now and why: Ulan Bator, Mongolia – museums & Genghis Khan; Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia – largest fresh water lake in the world; Fiji – 333 of the happiest islands on earth; Galapagos Islands – this place is amazing; and Patagonia in Argentina and Chile – mountains.
4. What are you most afraid of? This is a challenging question.  I’m not a fan of zombies in any form.  What I find scarier than flesh-eating, mindless, once were people, is the thought that I may not be living up to my creative potential.  That scares me.  Keeps me awake at night.
5. As a child, what did you dream of doing? I wanted to be an adventurer.  Explore the earth.  Still want to be an adventurer and that is why I enjoy hiking so much.
6. What would you name your boat if you had one? Cats Out of the Box
7. If you had to change your name, what would it be and why would you choose that name? Honestly, I love my name and will not change it.
8. Would you rather be famous when you are alive and forgotten when you die or unknown when you are alive but famous after you die? Not sure that I care for either option.  Fame is fleeting.  I just want to enjoy being in the moment.
9. If you could only keep five possessions what would they be? Backpack, sleeping bag, compass, port-a-stove, and portable water purifier.
10. If you could get rid of a part of your body, what would it be? I am not sure about this question.  My body makes up me.  Taking away part of my body would take away from who I am.  Long answer short, I wouldn’t get rid of anything.

11. If you won the lottery what would you do? Pay off my debts.  Help family, friends and select charities.  Set up a fund that I would have income for the rest of my life.  Travel, write and create art.

Questions for the nominees
1. Why did you start a blog?
2. What types of blogs do you follow?
3. Would you rather be nice or kind?
4. What are you most afraid of? (This question was to good not to pass along.)
5. Do you like to go to see movies at the cinema or plays at the theater?
6. If you own a car, does it have a name?  What type of car is it and what is it’s name?
7. What was your favorite childhood toy?
8. Coffee or tea and why?
9. What is your favorite time of year?
10. Have you ever told a secret that someone had told you and asked you not to share?

11. If you won the lottery what would you do? (Another great question that I had to share.)

My Nominees:
1. Living What You Love

2. Ckonfab

3. Living!

4. Patrick’s Stories

5. Thoughtsmith

6. The Moonlight Reverie

7. A Blooming Scribe

8. Tanja Britton

9. Metaphysical Reflections

10. Sands of Time

11. Alphe’s Corner

I want to thank Patrick of Patrick Stories, Romina of Living What You Love and Brian of Just Brian one more time for nominating me for these awards.  Thank you!

Gratitude – 3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 3

I want to thank Shantanu one more time for his generosity in allowing anyone interested to participate in this challenge.  I have enjoyed doing this challenge.  It causes me to be creative in different ways.  It also encourages me to look at someone else’s words and ponder on them.  Meditating on a quote is a great way to get creative juices flowing.

Shantanu writes an amazing blog full of poetry, prose, stories and quotes.  If you haven’t already checked out his blog, you can do so by clicking on the following link: Ckonfab

Rules: For three days, thank the person who nominated you and share a link to their blog.  Nominate three people each day to participate.  Pick a quote for each day of the challenge.  Write down why you chose it and what it says to you.

Inspired by Shantanu’s opening the challenge up to all who are interested on the third day, I am doing the same.  If you are interested in giving yourself a creative challenge, the 3 day quote challenge is for you.  You have to research (find quotes that pique your interest).  Think about them or meditate on them.  And share your thoughts and inspiration.  Of course, the above rules apply.  Good Luck!

Now for my third and final quote for the 3 day quote challenge!

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette

It seemed especially appropriate, considering that the American holiday of Thanksgiving is just days away, to meditate on a quote about gratitude.  This is not a new subject for my blog, I had written a blog about gratitude a couple of years ago.  If you are interested in checking it out, here is a link to it Gratitude.

What I particularly enjoy about this quote is the connection of gratitude with happiness and joy.  What this says to me is that if one is truly grateful, happiness and joy will follow.  Think about that for a minute.  It is pretty profound to think about gratitude in this way.  That gratitude is the key or “spark” that leads to happiness and joy.

It makes sense.  When I am grateful, I am also content.  This contentment allows me to focus on the moment.  When focused on the moment, it allows me to be open to happiness and joy.

Traditionally Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season for me, family, friends and many others.  This time of year can be extremely stressful.  Expectations, preparations, and additional social gatherings can make one feel like they are caught up in a whirlwind.  I do not wish that on anyone.  How can we see beauty and experience wonder if we are stressed out?

I would like to end this post with the Thanksgiving wish that you may be filled with gratitude, contentment, happiness and pure joy throughout this holiday season and always.