I hope everyone had a fun Halloween! It’s never too early to book for next year’s party and costume contest!
It was the best season yet at Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm! Thank you to all who came out for a face paint, and thank you to the awesome artists who helped me make it all possible. Growth is good, and God is good! Looking forward to seeing you all next year!
By Maile Sundquist
I remember watching an episode of Hoarders where a counselor was talking with a woman who hoarded, who still had her young teenage boy under her roof. They were discussing her behavior and addressing the piles and boxes filled with everything he had ever owned or created. The counselor asked the woman about the significance of several items from one of the boxes and the woman gave an excuse and reason why each item was special and had to be kept. The counselor then said something I’ll never forget. In so many words, “Your son is here, with you, still alive, and you are missing out on making new memories with him by holding onto all of these items from the past and clinging to the memories of yesterday. You and your son’s relationship is being suffocated by your stuff”. It was heart breaking and tragic, as most of those episodes are, but the counselor made such a good point!
You have to grow with things, whether it be a child or your circumstances, and embrace the change. If we fight or deny the only constant in life other than death and taxes, we will always lose, being left resentful, frustrated and stuck in the past.
Change can seriously suck sometimes. Like trying to fit into your wedding dress 5 years, or in my case a year later and not being able to get it past my ankle, or getting crows feet or a divorce. I love feeling in control and having things just so, a perfect orchestrated masterpiece of efficiency and harmony that I can rely on. Alas, this only lasts a short time before “change” rears it’s ugly head. We can only control so much for so long before the winds of change put a snag in our plans. But maybe it’s not always for the worse. I know I could benefit from letting go and letting God more often. Change can bring beauty and healing as well as frustration and stress. Think of the changing of seasons!
Often people are shocked to find out that Fall is my favorite season. “Everything dies in Fall.”, they always say. What I love about Fall, other than the crisp air, blue skies and beautiful colors, is the fact that it makes room for new growth and rebirth come Spring. Without the dying off of the old, bad habits, there’s not room to create new good habits. Without the letting go of regrets of the past, there would not be time or mental and physical energy to create new memories and live each moment to it’s fullest!
Although I live simply in a minimalist lifestyle, I can relate to the hoarding mom a bit now that I have a son of my own. Seriously, watching my son grow up has been insane! A total emotionally charged blast! Now that he is over a year old my husband and I are already finding ourselves reminiscing about when he was a newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months. And what I would have never thought of before being a parent is just how much there is to reminisce about in such a short period of time because they grow and change so incredibly fast their first year of life. Sentimentality kicks into overdrive when you become a parent, and I definitely have felt the hoarding bug crawling up my leg more than once, but every time I do I recall the words of the counselor in Hoarders and remember how much better it is to embrace change in life. Cherish yesterday, but live in today embracing every facet of the now.
Don’t lose the present by holding too tightly to the past.
by Maile Sundquist
One thing that plagues me on a day-to-day basis is the idea of could-haves. I could have been a professional singer if only I had tried out for American Idol, I could have been a skydiver if I wasn’t afraid of heights, I could have made a better impression my first day of work had I not accidentally put my bra on over my tank top.
The other day someone asked my husband why he wasn’t a college professor. He gets that a lot. Things like, how are you not a famous theologian or philosopher? You mean you aren’t a widely-published author? How have you not won a Nobel Peace Prize for being the kindest person alive and the smartest, most influential mind of your generation? You should be the president!
You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. My husband is one of the most sophisticated, intelligent, logical, rational, well-rounded thinkers I know. He is eloquent and exceptional at public speaking and teaching, well-read and a genius with words. He is personable and relatable, an excellent conversationalist and a good listener. The best part is that he is the farthest thing from cocky or pretentious and has a random and goofy sense of humor to boot. He is truly brilliant and immensely talented in so many regards, and I say these things with my rose-colored glasses removed.
When people make these statements about him or ask him or me these questions, I recognize that it is a huge compliment on his abilities and character; however, part of me flinches a bit because of the unintentional implied idea of failure. He has confided in me on several occasions that he does feel like he should have pursued this or that rather than the path he chose at the time, but I think he realizes that he never had grand ambitions and has been pretty content in life as long as he’s been able to have a stable job and the freedom to do the things he loves.
I’m not gonna lie, though: there are times I wish my husband was more ambitious. Still, I envy his ability to be content with little and know his limitations and recognize what he wants out of life.
I have lived my life for years with regrets, shame, and disappointment. All of it heaped on by myself. What’s odd is that I am a highly self-confident person, but I am brutal to myself when it comes to my expectations of myself. In contrast to my husband, I am a huge overachiever, visionary, entrepreneur, and dreamer. I have had innumerable ambitions, many of which have never been achieved, and with each unrealized ambition inevitably comes Maile’s all-you-can-eat buffet o’ guilt. Now, let’s see, you didn’t finish your album for the third year in a row? Well, we already tried “you’re a procrastinating lazy sack,” so this time, why don’t we try “you had your chance and you squandered it. You’re too old to succeed in music now!”
Yup, I have every flavor of insult and blame and guilt in my personal self-assaulting arsenal. Has it done me any good? Not in the least! If anything, this mentality has slowly chipped away at my self-worth and self-respect, leaving little room for self-love and perpetuating negativity and regret. It often leaves me afloat in a sea of condemnation, overwhelmed by and focused on my failures rather than on what I have accomplished and the things in life I am a winner at.
I’m writing this because I know I’m not alone. And what I hope to do is encourage those of you who struggle in this way, as well as myself, to try to focus not on what you could have done, or who you could have been, but what you’re doing, and who you are now.
For instance, my husband may not be a prestigious author, speaker, or teacher, but he is a phenomenal father, a hard worker, and the writing and songs he creates for his loved ones will be forever cherished. When he comments on current events or politics, or shares a philosophical musing or a theological insight, those that read his words are challenged, enlightened, and inspired. In the end, he is living the life he wants to, in the way he chooses to, and he’s enjoying it. What more can one ask for?
I encourage you to focus on the blessings and the positives in yourself and your life and keep pursuing what you love without comparing yourself to others and without condemnation. If it’s meant to be you may become the next Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, or Wendy, who changed the world with her square hamburger patties, but if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, or not lived up to your potential. As long as you are giving your all to be the kind of person you want to be and living the kind of life you want, then what you do, what you’re recognized for, or what others think of you is insignificant.
Live your best life and be your best self! That’s the best anyone could hope to accomplish!
Aloha Friends! This is a recent back piece I did for a friend attending a masquerade ball. My Summer schedule is starting to fill up. It’s never too early to hire me for your upcoming event! Have a colorful day!
Keeping the Wonder in your Work
By Maile Sundquist
In 2013, I began writing a fantasy/sci-fi novel set in Japan. I am currently working on the final draft of and illustrations for the first book of the trilogy. I have never taken a proper writing class outside of high school, so it’s been quite a learning process, but an entertaining and engaging adventure too. Although I’m a quarter Japanese and I love the aesthetic (which I use in my home), I realized I knew very little about the culture I was writing about outside of a college class on Japanese art history I had taken, so I decided to become a student of all things Japanese. I started with reading books I came across, and then took my studies to a higher level by taking inspirational field trips. I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum to learn about ink block drawings and to the Bellevue Art Museum to learn about origami history and to get visual ideas for the drawings I’m adding to my book. Next it was off to the Japanese Garden to experience a tea ceremony and the Zen landscape, then onto the Hanami, Moon Viewing, and Japanese Cherry Blossom Festivals to experience Japanese culture, art, philosophy, music, food, and more. Note pad and camera in hand and filled with childlike wonder, I soaked in every sight, story, taste and sound I could, and in doing so, came into a greater appreciation and understanding of the world of my story. Since it is set in the future there is room for interpretation, but my studies gave me motivation and inspiration and they kept my focus on my novel and the art I would create for it, which were the most important things. I had to remind myself that it was important to balance my study time with time actually writing my novel, as I could easily immerse myself for days in research, and that it was merely a means to an end and not my main objective. I encourage you to embrace wonder, and look outside your imagination for inspiration for your creative pursuits by way of nature walks, reading, personal testimonies, or interaction and creative field trips. It enriches your life and feeds your soul while motivating and inspiring you in your artistic projects, and adds a depth to your work that might not have been there otherwise. Be a kid at heart, a student for life, and view the world as your personal classroom and playground. Life and creating is an adventure! Enjoy the ride!