10 November 2010

Gifts of Character::Celebrating Enthusiasm

"Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation and a pinch of creativity." ~Bo Bennett 

Two years ago today I embarked upon a wild ride. Two years ago today I decided to start my blog.

And today's virtue card I pulled is Enthusiasm.

And today is the day for me to write about Celebrations for the Art Bead Scene Carnival Bloggers.

So what better way to celebrate than to do so with enthusiasm... and a giveaway!

I had been reading blogs for some time, and discovered a magazine called Artful Blogging by the fine folks at Stampington. I was blown away by what I saw in those pages {someday I hope it might be me in there}. The colors, the feelings, the vivid memories played out in elegant and whimsical prose. The jaw-dropping loveliness of the photographs, images from every day life and every celebration in between. I was hooked and I wanted more. 

I have always been told that I am good writer. That I have the creative gene that others claim they lack. That I am brimming with inspiration and can translate that into excitement for any project. I suppose that may be so. Perhaps that is why you choose to follow me.

But I like to think that it is my enthusiasm that brings you here and keeps you coming back for more.

Enthusiasm is being filled with spirit. It means 'God within.'

The spirit of enthusiasm is evident first in that I am of the "half full" tribe. I want others to cherish the fullness in their own lives and so I can't help but pass that on. Like a virus... but the kind you won't mind getting ;-)

I have come to realize through the past two years that what I really relish is writing. You have helped me see that. Writing and creating and telling a story that only you have to tell. Connecting others to their deeper truths. Coaxing them out of their comfort zone by questioning and nudging and encouraging. All of that is part of my enthusiasm and I hope you catch it! And whatever has you enthused, I hope you will share with me and we can be excited together!

When we live with enthusiasm, we are excited about life and are open to the wonders each day holds. We do things wholeheartedly, with zeal and eagerness, holding nothing back. We allow the excitement of the moment to fill us.

My life is far from perfect. I deal with my own share of heartache and sorrow, depression and defeat. But that doesn't dim my zest for life. I think key to that is really taking the time to appreciate all that is around us. 
{From Polarity on Etsy, one of my favorite haunts}
My spider web was missing today :-(
so I thought that you might like to see a pretty one instead!
I really need to treat myself to one of Cat's pieces!
She also writes one of my favorite blogs Olive Bites.


Looking outside my window on Monday, I noticed something incredible bobbing in the wind. A huge brown spider had concocted a shimmering web so lovely that it took my breath away. It appeared that this arachnid neighbor was suspended in space, but for the delicate strength of that complex weaving pattern tethering her to the top of the building down to my window. Not my favorite creature, but really quite extraordinary. 

It would have been very easy for me to go about my day and not pay that any mind. But to stop and marvel at something so incredible is to let that moment in time fill me up. I give thanks that I could witness that glory today.

We enjoy good humor. We live in the moment and appreciate what we have, finding joy in simple pleasures. We are cheerful and optimistic about what is to come. 

Over the years I have learned to let go of what I thought were the greatest pleasures of life and instead focus on those things that bring me little joys. For little joys piled on high become big joys.

This blog is filled with little joys. Each and every one of you. Every comment that is made (over 3000 since 2008) on every post (243 and counting!) is a little joy and that has grown into a heap of big joy for me. And it is my pleasure to send you a comment back (so please turn on your email so that I can carry on the conversation with you!) and spread a little joy your way. 

Writing this blog has been cathartic to me. I have learned so much and made so many of my most treasured friends in the past two years. At first I was a bit wary of friendships that I was sowing online. But really, there is no greater pleasure than to be welcomed into a community of like-minded people. You, dear ones, are the community that I have to be with every single day. I would often spend my time with you than in the reality that persists around me! Is that so wrong? I have come full circle on this. Remember those pen pals you had when you were young. You dreamed of visiting their country or state and connecting on a face-to-face level? I feel that this blog is my giant penpal community. You are all the ones that I would love to meet. And one day, I am certain that we will, and that makes me optimistic about my future.

Enthusiasm helps us to imagine what is possible. We follow our dreams with true joy.

I am sitting here stunned a bit by these words. Because I am about to walk toward what is possible, what I have imagined. And I am am scared to death. Will my enthusiasm be enough? I realized that I was clenching myself up in knots because of the pressure of succeeding. What I need to do is recognize that which brings me true joy, celebrate it, embrace it, make it mine. Then I will know what it means to succeed. 

The Practice of Enthusiasm

I am excited about my life.
I do things wholeheartedly.
I am inspired by simple things.
I put love and joy into what I do.
I smile, laugh and have a good sense of humor.
I have a positive spirit.

This blog has made my life simply wonder-filled. To celebrate, I would like to have a giveaway. 

For my Working Artist Initiative group I have been developing my own line of jewelry. I had a goal of working with three different materials as prototypes...I am still trying to decide which direction to go.  I will offer one lucky, random commenter the choice of either this prototype necklace in antique copper featuring a resin filled bezel, or the chance to have a similarly styled custom necklace created with a phrase all your own.


{Appreciate What You Have}


To enter to win one of your very own, answer the following:

Each one has a four word positive phrase on it. What motivating mantra would you like to see on a necklace just for you?

Do tell!

I will draw a random winner from all comments on THIS post on Thursday, November 18th.

© Virtues Project International
To order your own set of Virtues Cards, visit Virtues Village LLC.


Enjoy the day! 

31 comments:

Courtney said...

I do love coming and reading! You inspire me so much, all the way around. :) I try to take the lessons here and apply to my life.

A four letter phrase ~ there is always hope, wish, love. Mine would have to be I Can. A reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Happy Wednesday!

Christine said...

Oh gosh, I love to read what you write, Erin. It's always so inspiring and makes me feel so good. :)

Personal mantras are a big thing for me....I actually have several. One of them I used to use when I was dancing professionally and was sometimes suffering through loooong and grueling rehearsals or classes:
"Discipline is freedom"

And when I was trying to figure out my life after an ugly divorce:
"The Universe is unfolding as it should"

But recently, this one has been catching in my throat when I read it to myself:
"Nothing is wasted".....meaning, I think, that all my efforts in this life are not in vain. An important thing to remember, indeed.

Jennifer Cameron said...

"Happiness is a Choice" I say this because I choose happiness and optimism and there was a time I didn't. This choice really works and I get so frustrated by the people around me who choose to not be happy and to always see the glass as half empty.

EB Bead and Metal Works said...

Erin,
Congrats on your two years of bringing joy and enthusiasm to all of us. I know I have only started reading your blog in the last six months - I have enjoyed all that you have written. Your writing is inspiring and helpful to me and I am sure to many others! THANK YOU!
I guess my mantra is "Improvise, Adapt and Overcome". It is a phrase I learned from one of my infantry friends while I was in the military. That phrase has got me through a lot of things in life and has pushed me to find different options in my life and work.

Elisabeth said...

When I feel like I am just not up to par compared to those around me (aka being too hard on myself) my mantra us "I can only do my best every day" - it helps remind me that I should always give my best effort, and be proud of giving my best, no matter what!

Alice said...

I enjoy your blog for many reasons--your way with words, inspiration, the interesting and thought provoking topics, and, yes, for your enthusiasm about living one's life. And you don't just blog for the sake of blogging, you blog with the happiness of your readers in mind.

Whenever you get to where you are headed, I'm sure all the worries will fade away, and that enthusiasm of yours will lead you through, and you'll be wondering why you ever felt anything other than excitement and joy.

Your giveaway necklace is beautiful. A phrase that popped into my head is "Cherish Every Moment" - not a four word phrase, I know, but one that is close to my heart right now.

Michelle said...

I really like the saying you have on the necklace....maybe another one...but only 2 words--"have faith".

A great post Erin! You always share your enthusiasim and when I'm having a crappy day...you always have comforting and uplifting things to say. You remind me of my friend. I've always called her my happy person (the person that when you are with them give you an elated feeling that can last for days). I think your posts do that for many people.
Take care and bead happy!
Michelle

Rosalynn said...

Erin,
I love reading your blog, and find both your writing and your jewelry very inspirational. I have been making jewelry but find I need to focus more to move to the next stage of believing in my skill and selling my work. Right now I would say that the four encouraging words I would choose would be "Believe that you Can".
Thanks for sharing who you are with us.

Erin S said...

Congrats on your incredible 2 year journey. I love the phrase you chose for the necklace, and I am constantly reminded that even though I (like everyone) have my own personal challenges, weaknesses and adversities to overcome, I have so many wonderful and joyous things in my life to be grateful for. I believe we create our own destiny through the choices we make everyday, both big and small. If you have a dream, you are the only one that can realize it. You must take the initiative and make it happen. So the phrase I would choose is "create your own destiny."
Erin S (the other Erin)

sandi m said...

Erin,
Congratulations. I've been following you since the 'beginning'.
You have a gift of bringing your inner voice to the written word. Your topics are so thought-provoking. Many times I feel you are writing just to me. (Why don't you live next door?!)
Thanks for sharing a little of 'you' with 'us'.
Excited to hear about the next path on your creative journey.
As for me, right now I want to "Reach for the Stars".
sandi

Silver Parrot said...

Congrats on your blog-o-versary! I can't believe it's only been two years - you make it seem like you've been doing this forever!

Meanwhile, my blog is over 6 years old and I only started getting comments and followers on it in the last 18 months or so LOL!

Love the new necklace style - it's yummy!

JeannieK said...

"The Past Is Practice"

Everyone has so eloquently expressed their thoughts on this post and I agree.

quiltingjewel39 said...

I love your blog - I find it quite inspirational and thank you for that. I love the one you have "appreciate what you have" - after a recent health scare - that is meaningful for me. I think the other would be "choose joy".

Pretty Things said...

"Dream deep, dream often"

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

I really enjoy your blog, I have been a long time follower. I am not a creative writer so I love to read those who have the talent.
My phrase would be "Pace is the Trick"
Thanks for sharing your talents.

Mellisa said...

Ahhh, I'm so happy to hear that you're about to embark on the new adventure! I'd have to give some thought to a phrase that would be perfect...I'm sure you could come up with dozens!

MamaNeeds2Blog said...

My Mantra..."Seize the day, Girlfriend!!"

That says it all, to me, especially right now, when "seizing" isn't as easy as I want it to be.

great blog, so glad I stumbled upon it!

rosebud101 said...

Faith, Hope, Love, Joy
You embody these traits. Congratulations on your blog anniversary! I have enjoyed reading your blog! I'm so glad we got to meet at the B & B Show last year.

EmandaJ said...

Hello Erin,

Once again you have written a great post. Congrats on your two year anniversary. I really like your virtue series, thanks for sharing it.

My mantra is: "Love never fails"

Emanda
Artymezia(at)yahoo(.)com

Paige said...

Congratulations on your blog-o-versary, Erin! I absolutely love your blog and look forward to reading what you have to say.

I absolutely love your new necklace, and the phrase on it is wonderful! My favorite phrase/mantra is actually only 3 words.... "Don't postpone joy". It's my entire family's mantra, actually...we even have it posted on our fridge! :)

Lynn Stevens said...

Hi Erin, Thanks for entering my giveaway ,how could I pass up the chance to enter yours as well!
Gosh I'm not much of a writer... four words hum? My Journey, My life
Like I said I'm not much of a writer! LOL
Congrats on 2 years and best of luck in my giveaway!
hugs lynn

BooBeads said...

Congrats on the two year anniversary!

I love reading here and your posts are always so meaningful!

I love what you have on the necklace, something I was raised to live by.

Here's another though...

Dream With Open Eyes

Ok that would probably sound better as Dream with Your Eyes Open but that's five words :)

My Life Under the Bus said...

Happy Blgoversary - Isn't amazing the people you get to meet through your blog? I don't have a 4 letter phrase but One I love is "Leap and the net will appear" I think I have such a hard time freely jumping in and enjoying something the phrase reminds me to do just that! I am such an over thinker!!!I am trying to teach myself to jump in and enjoy what comes.

Barbara Bechtel said...

Beautiful post Erin! Congratulations on your blog-o-versary! I enjoy reading the words your write each day! Okay, you know I'm a phrase queen myself so I had to mentally trick myself into finding with four words but I like:

Live what you love.

Keep on writing and keep on loving!

Cindy said...

Happy Anniversary, Erin! You have so much to be proud of, a beautiful blog and a huge gathering of friends/blog followers. Your new prototype necklace is out of this world. It is full of many techniques that you have surely perfected as you've traveled along your jewlery designing journey - and I love it!! I have so many favorite motivational phrases, but one I thought would be simple and sweet on a custom pendant would be Carpe Diem! A friend and I have been reminding each other of this one for 20 years now....

Imaginative Jewelry said...

Happy Anniversary Erin! I love your necklace.

I think my phrase would be: "Appreciate the littlle things"
If I remember this I am always grateful and happy with what I've got!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

So many good things to read! Love all the phrases, each one would have special meaning on certain days. Good job, keeping your blog going and making it more interesting and appealing and, really, astonishing with your brilliant writing skills!
A character in a recent book is an old Ojibwe woman, known for her photography. As a man approacher her, she raised her head slowly,
" for she was not a woman who was concerned about time". I read that over several times, sooo not me! Therefore, my phrase is Not concerned about time, a good reminder!
That necklace is a tempting Giveaway. Just wondering if you would share where you got that chain, it's the kind I'm looking for, very comfortable to wear. Extra cool pendant, so you, Erin!

For My Sweet Daughter said...

I have loved being a part of your blog family and I truly enjoyed hearing back from you when I have commented.
I would love a random phrase picked for me from God or the universe whatever your belief is. I would think that whatever was picked for me was what I was supposed to be learning in that moment of my life.
Yes, I am one of those people who will just randomly open the bible or dictionary or quote book and see what is laid out for me.
Thanks for an opportunity to win a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Erin,

Love the prototype necklace and how it's part of your goals. Hmmm do I have a mantra? I'm not sure I actually think of a phrase but I do believe in doing the best I can everyday - whatever that "best" is.

Thanks for sharing!
Cindy

MoonRae said...

Congratulations on your beautiful blog anniversary. I have been lurking for a while,just dropping by and finding inspiration and a giggle or sometimes seriousness and lessons...Thank you
My mantra is something I tell my self and others everyday(sorry,it's only three words)
*Life IS Grand*
smiles
~Sharon~

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Oh I have several mantras. One is part of a much longer phrase that has to do with the dichotomy of life but the first three words always resonate with me:

Fly away with me.

Others include
Imagine it. Do it.
Breathe. Just breathe.

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