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stephanie

Happiest of Birthdays to you. May your 57th year be one of horizons wider and more beautiful than you could have ever imagined from where you stand right now!

Tina in McLeansville

I stayed up late on this night...and I am truly glad I did. Happy birthday dear friend! Numbers 4 and 35...right there with you. The one that speaks volumes, however, is the one that says "I'm glad to be myself." Yes. Just think what the caterpillar goes through before the butterfly appears...or what the lump of coal feels as it turns to a diamond. Do what you must do for you. Remember, my dear friend..."Traveling is not for babies." No one can live your life but you...no one can say but you how it is to be done, but know this...you have a long line of us cheering you on. A red bike with a bell...really? :) now that almost sounds like fun! special birthday hugs to you...xoxo

delila

i wish Nina that you will discover a inspiration, it usually comes in the times when you do not expect. Hopefully your days are filled now on with a kind words of friends, and that you would not feel that lonely. listen the whispering trees, maybe they can offer you a helpful advice... your travels to Tennessee sounds exciting, i can not wait to know what you have been learning there and what kind of jewelries you will create because of the decision to do new jewelries... i know that something beautiful, as always.

love and hugs.

Di

You are such a beautiful honest soul. I do love that and if I lived closer, I would impose myself upon you and we could go through your things together ... gently.
I know what you mean about your need for a real life community. You are so loved here, I hope you find it out there.
Strength for the days ahead, and the bike ... I hope you find it.
xxx

dawn

Happy Birthday. I really hope the sadness goes away soon. You deserve joy.

cynthia

Birthdays can make us think. Mine was yesterday, the 17th (57). And it's good to re-evaluate and look at what is and isn't working. I think some meds take at least a month to start kicking in? Do remember the small positive things; there are a number of them on our list. And a few big ones. Yes.

suesue

May you find the joy to continue to live Your life in as beautiful a way as you are. Happy Birthday...

Denise S.

Happy Birthday now we are the same age for a few more months,you,me,and Ernest.
No answers for you my dear as I have too many questions myself these days.Ernest and I spent the day at doctor visits for me yesterday.
I am so curious to see what new paths your jewelry will take after your class you took.Go and have a great time with your teaching next week,lucky students indeed.xoxoxo

Jennifer

This post is most beautiful in its honesty. Happy birthday. I hope the meds kick in soon and relieve you of the sadness. I hope this new year presents the changes you seek. Keep walking toward them, writing them down, making them public is a giant step. And know that there are people out there who share your fear. I do.

LindaSonia

Happy Birthday Nina. Sending you a cyber hug that everything truly will be OK.

fay

A very Happy Birthday to you girlfriend. A question for you. Have you gone thru menopause? Have you looked into maybe that might be the reason for some of this funk. I know it affected me very badly for a couple of years, meds got me back to normal. You need friends around where you live that you can go out with. Sorry, just throwing things out there. I know you have a lot of friends and acqaintances (sp) form your teaching etc. Nothing substitutes for a real flesh and blood friend. Dang, my spelling is getting worse as I get older.
Anyway, just something to think about. Have a wonderful day.

teri

I turned 56 last month - another '56 baby. I appreciate that you speak about the anxiety and depression. I've been on medication for several years and don't ever want to go back to the life of anxiety I lived before. Hope yours works for you, too.

Lauri

turned 60 in Sept. ~ It's a new day, new year and new time for me ~ Taking the plunge into different art, different views ~ You are in the midst of these things to, and you will shine when the clouds within you give way to light. It does take time, the meds will work, trust me on that. Just know that you have people who care for you & want you to have the best. The people you need to have surrounding you will appear when you least expect it. They will. Sending you positive thots ~

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

A powerful and realistic list, I love your honesty. I can't believe you had such a negative reaction to being on medication. Happy Birthday and may all your birthday wishes come true. Hugs xoxox

Deborah

What a great and honest list. I don't understand criticism for taking meds...I must wear eyeglasses to see. My husband has taken them for a couple of decades. He's gone off of them a year or two at a time occasionally, but has finally accepted that he needs them to be his real self. Thank you for being your real true self so openly.

lilylovekin

Happy birthday, "Nina" is there buried in a fog of bleakness-give things time, she will come forth-I've been there. Much love to you. Lorrie

Deidre Nelson

Nina, dear sweet one.
Thank you for baring your soul. I know how difficult it is, down in the dark shadows… I have just sat down and read Monique Duval’s book The Persistence of Yellow. Do read it if you have not yet done so. It is delightful and whimsical… we all need yellow in our lives…especially those of down in the shadows…
This was going to be my Wild year – the year I turned 50…I was going to release my Inner Goddess and be succulent… The year is almost over and I have been Quiet. We are where we are in Life. There are always Lessons to be learned…I have learned not to be too hard on myself…and that it is fine to be Quiet, like a bulb germinating in the ground. Our Spring will arrive. We will bloom again.
Blessings and love

Ramona Gordy

Happy Birthday Nina
I appreciate your honesty and bravery with your list.
I live in Maryland, where will you be traveling?
My favorite saying to inspire myself is
The Future's so bright, I gotta wear my cheap sunglasses!!! LOL XOXOXO

Catherine Wegner

Happy Birthday, Nina. I think you are brave to put this in writing. I turned 60 this year and I can relate to many things on your list. I thought growing older would be easier but I have not found it so. I especially can relate to the fear and the sadness. Several things in my life are in limbo and I don't do well limbo. I love your jewelry and enjoy reading your blog. I hope many blessings come your way! <3

gayle

Hey Nina......Happy Birthday to you!
I just want to tell you that as I travel around on Pinterest I frequently come across your art. It is always so you and always stands the test of time. Jewelry and books....well, you know how I feel about your books. I am excited for you to be trying something new, I find for my ownself that is exactly the sort of thing that gets me excited and lifts me. Wishing you a new year full of new travels, ideas, and kindred spirits to share them with.

gigi

Happy Birthday Nina. I found your 56 things list to be brave and touching. I wish I had you for a friend.

Cindy Ericsson

Your emotional honesty is refreshing and beautiful, Nina. I hope this is a year of incredible joys, much laughter and increasing clarity as you journey forward. I'm making a number of big scary changes in my life this year, so I wish those same things for myself. Sending you much love...

Vickie

Oh Happy Birthday...everyone has said it so wonderfully. If it were only possible for us all to be there personally to give you hugs, we would be there. Nothing feels better than a good, heart-felt hug. Since we can't be there, I hope you can feel the love and caring that comes your way through our comments. I believe we all understand more than you might think, what you feel, are going through, what you hope and dream. We wish it for ourselves, we wish it desperately for you. Peace to you.
Vickie in kc

beth

nina, you are not alone.
so many of your "things" are my "things" right now, too. i am suffering the empty nest syndrome horribly.

i am often asking myself, now what. i know i can do anything i want, but what do i want is the the question.

so here's a hug from one lost {temporarily} soul to another.

wanda marie miller

i loved this post and in all honesty, can't sit for long periods, so didn't read every single one, but will eventually.
i am 63 this year and understand much of what you write. and i feel it's so important nina, to be so honest, it can help others know, they are okay etc.
i too take something for depression, after NOT for seemingly 100's of years. i am glad to hear you are back to it...depression AIN'T NO GOOD! and you know thyself and gave it whirl, finding out that it's better WITH, so be it i say!
the world won't just be a better place for you, YOU will be a better (PLACE) for the world, in that your gifts will abound...they are there as we know, and now they'll just SHOW and SHOW! LOVE TO YOU, wanda

Emily

57. You are loved, more than you will ever know, and I do not understand your exact circumstances, but I do understand so much of what you wrote. I am validating you Nina.

Emily

Oh and Happy Birthday!!!!

Carol Weiler

At first I wasn't going to comment - at a loss for the right words to make you feel lighter and happier- to be encouraging. I don't have those words. But if you can be honest and brave enough to share your very real feelings then we must be honest and brave enough to listen to what we may not want to hear. Listening Nina , always listening as long as you are willing to share. Peace.

Sue

Happy Birthday Nina, I hope you will find your joy. I love the poetic way you look at life even when filled with a sadness. I wish I could be your friend. Hang in there.

kelly

happy happy birthday, nina

sending you so much love and goodness!
you inspire me, you make me laugh, you make me think, you make me realize that what i feel is not an isolated thing, thank you so much for sharing.
have an incredible year. you are loved.
kelly

susan

Happy birthday to you, Nina. Your list of 56 things touched my heart deeply. Despite the sadness, you are such a brave and strong woman - and so inspiring to all of us.
I will be 60 next month. Last year was extremely difficult for me - so many losses, one bad thing after another. For the very first time in my life I started taking medication to deal with the anxiety and sleeplessness - and I only wonder why I didn't do this years ago when I struggled with depression.
There is once again joy in life.
And that is what I wish for you, my sweet friend. Joy and love and enthusiasm for each new day - a return to your early morning walks with Walter - a year of happy changes - and a new red bike with a bell.

dusan xo

susan

PS it's so good to have you back - thank you for this post.

xo dusan

Ellen Specht

What a deep and thoughtful birthday post you have written. I was so happy this morning to see that you had made a new post, a real effort when so depressed...I know, having gone down under the tides many times myself. The waters will recede, dear Nina, but we don't know when; a new life will evolve. We don't know what it will be. Trust the tides. Something is coming.

Ginger Davis Allman

Happy Birthday dear Nina. You are loved, but then you know that. We all have demons and what one person fights and triumphs over another person doesn't even see. We are all so unique. And wonderful. Birth is always a hard process, full of much pain. Resisting birth, resisting change, is something we all do to a certain extent. And I've always found that when one's life gets too tight, when it's time to birthe something new, things get really dark. And just as a woman in labor needs to turn inward and focus on the process...resisting what others think she should do, you are the one who best knows what you need right now. Breathe. In and out. And you will gradually change into what needs to be. Feeling inadequate for the natural process you're going through makes it harder. Breathe. You are enough. It will all be okay.

sandra

Yesss...I hear ya...and I'm feelin ya. I'm here to listen and hear you put into words so many of my fears.

bluejn

happy birthday and a great big hug, everything will be just fine.

Ketra

This year I learned many coping strategies for anxiety & depression. Something that helped me are the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) principles. (maybe try a book by Russ Harris) Basically, *your thoughts are just thoughts - you don't have to believe them.* Just as in meditation one lets thoughts come and go freely, I am learning to put some distance between my self-limiting thoughts and my "real me" or my "core self" during normal daily activities.

I found these visualizations/techniques very helpful:
1. Imagine that you are holding a bunch of sticks. The sticks are your negative thoughts. Go to the river in your mind and throw them in and watch them go by. Don't dive in after them. I toss a few handfuls of sticks every day. And good riddance.

2. I particularly like to change negative self-talk into a speech delivered by a cartoon character, like Donkey from Shreck, or Goofy. Sounds ridiculous, but it works. Takes all the power out of the words. So I'm watching Donkey-sounding sticks drift down the river!

3. Imagine that you have a bucket full of water. That water is all the sh*t you have endured. Water cannot be compressed or squashed down; it will slosh out and spill all over your life. Nothing else will fit when the bucket is full, so you can't deal with the overwhelm, the depression, the anxiety. Try to empty your bucket by doing things you love, being with those you love, laughing, doing and saying positive things for/to yourself. This is your drain hole. It's never going to be empty, but once you drain enough water out, there will be room to accommodate more sh*t/water and you'll be able to deal again.

4. Remember grace.

Life is all light and dark and everything in between. Happy Birthday. I wish I had signed up for the session in the Santa Cruz Mtns, you'll be in my neighborhood. Remember that everything has its season and will pass. You will find your way.

Carol

Happy birthday. I've missed you!!

Mary

Happiest Birthday Nina! I also hope it is your best year ever!!

I'm sorry to read about your fear and sadness. Sending light and joy out across space to find you and fill you up. xoxo

Kim

Happy Birthday Dear Sweet Nina,
Hello.... I am stepping out of my fear to give you a hug. I am so proud of you .. thank you for sharing, do you even realize how many people your blogging helps?
I am one of those quiet admirers of yours , have been since I discovered your beautiful journaling, I can't tell you how many laughs and tears I have shared with you .. shame on me for being quiet. I never thought you would need me as much as I need you, we all need you . Thank you for posting ... you are beautiful and very , very loved

Ramona

Dearest Nina, I don' have time to read all the comments so hope I'm not being repetitive. Please honor what you are undergoing even as you fight with all your strength to regain your peace and joy. I'm 64 and went through similar losses and darkness in past few years. Despite what all the feel-good marketing tells us, life is uncertain. May I mention a book that helped me a lot? Thomas More's "Dark Nights of the Soul." I still pick it up and read passages when I'm feeling lost. His is the voice of a wise, true friend. Much love to you and do post about what you feel! What else are we here for except to support each other? "You are loved, you are loved, you are really really really loved!" Victoria Williams song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyorrzn1KpY

Katey

I pray that this year you find what you seek, that you have carefree days full of joy, and that sunshine will fill the dark corners and bring light into your days again. You are brave to share. You are strong when it counts. You are beautiful. You are gifted. May your golden year be worthy of remembering. Sending love to you today and always.

Frankie Kins

Dearest Nina, wishing you the happiest of birthdays today. Thank you for your honest post. It was good to hear from you again. I shudder to think where I would be without antidepressant medication over the last 20 years. Hopefully soon it will kick in and you will see the sunshine once again. I can't wait to see your new creations. Thinking of you and praying for your best self.

Candy

We are with you on whatever journey you take. We believe in your honesty and hope for your happiness and thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences with us. Please keep posting - we all look forward to your beautiful, poetic words and observations. No judgements....

Wordy and not always Wise

Happy Birthday Lady of Light:)

And thank you for sharing all the comments.
They are like little gifts in themselves.
I've been in a depression too. I have not
taken meds ( yet ), but I would if and when
I need them. It's all good, we each do what
we need to get by. At one time, I was against
meds, and I certainly hope it wasn't me
who wrote that to you, but it could have been.
Life does indeed bring us the lessons we
need to learn, doesn't it?

Things that have helped me get out of bed
each day: to conquer the clutter in the house
and learn to finally love yourself, FlyLady. Org.
Her website has lots of information, just
find the " beginning FlyLady" stuff. You can
do anything for 15 minutes a day.
A B complex Vitamin, and calcium/magnesium/
zinc. A herbalist got me on these a year ago,
and I cannot believe how much better
my depression was. Both FlyLady and
the Vitamins= life changing. Oh, and reading
your blog. It's beautiful, you lift me up
just by showing up.

You're never alone, truly you are not. Love is
never lost, ever. It just changes, and comes
to you in different ways. I lost my parents at
16, and I have suffered for the loss greatly. But
I'm always looking for the new love that is
sent to me, and it's there. Different, but there.
Hope you feel all our love coming to you.

You really are so brave and beautiful. I've
always looked up to you. Thanks for
sharing a part of yourself on your birthday,

XxOo

Hazel

Nina, I wondered if the black dog of depression had found you again. I wish you could feel all of our warm hugs around you.

If you don't mind...my observations are:

1. You are too much alone. Rumination starts then...repeating negative thoughts and believing them. Thoughts beget feelings. Being alone is necessary for your creativity and art, yes, but you need the rejuvenation of real people around you on a regular basis. Everyone does! (Do you need to relocate to a town so you can meet people?)

2. You need to exercise! Every day! Get outside and walk and walk! Bask in the sunshine and fresh air. Breathe! You need to get your blood and juices flowing. Walter will love you for it too.

3. Clean up your diet! Get off sugar especially. As we age, our diet affects our bodies more dramatically. (Check out drweil.com for his anti-inflammatory diet.)

4. Meditate. Read Thich Nhat Hanh's books on peace.

5. Do the next thing. Any thing. Action begets action. Smile, even if you don't feel happy. Smiling begets good feelings.

All advice given because I care. I'm 62 and have learned some things through my own life struggles. Now I live and love my life, knowing that this moment is all I have.

dorylyn

OK...#37 I am not right beside you but open up BIG HUG and Nina, it is going to be OK. Really, it is! Happy Birthday!

Carol

Hi Nina....you always express everything so eloquently.... .....i feel sad for you, but by expressing all the things you are feeling....it made me feel less alone ...as i have experienced all those feelings also in the past year......and never would have been able to express it as clearly as you.......Would be interested in knowing if the antidepressents eventually help......I've seen how they work for some and not for others...??...I know they must have helped in the past...and I know how difficult it was for you to wean off.......I am at a point wondering if it might help me.....and yes, where does the creativity go....the creativity that other times did not have enough hours in the day to fulfill everything you wanted to do.......I hope this resolves soon for you.....not fair.....we all want these years to be full and productive........you are a beautiful soul.....hugs...

Denise

Happy Birthday, Nina. I turned 55 on October 13th. Many of the desires on your list are on mine. (Even the negative ones) Thank you for your wonderful work and beautiful blog!

Loretta

First off, Happy Birthday. Second, I could have written each and every word, 'cept I'd substitute writer for jeweler, and 57 for 56. Oh Nina, I wish we lived closer. We are going through parallel lives that overlap in so many places. I also had the same experience with the meds recently, but not only did they not help, they made me sick as hell. With you, well your blog is where I go when I need to reconnect with the spirituality of the soul. Your nature walks, your jewelry, your photos. We need to get back to what makes us whole and holy. When did we stray so far from our roots? Can barely pen a blog post, either, and all my art supplies are gathering dust and books lie unread. Let's make this the autumn that says good bye to sadness, frustration, and fear of what lays ahead. I welcome you to your 57th year with all the grace that imbues the beauty of the fogged in mountains and crimson leaves.

missy

don't have any thots that can impact your life but can so relate.....if you want to
run away and paint my studio is open...blessing on your natal day.
missy from the bayou

Lise Peeples

Happy Birthday, dearest Nina. It is so brave of you to make these yearly lists (and to publish them). You must know that every one of us that reads your blog wishes we were close enough to be there in your tribe. Everyone has shared such good advice here. Let it unfold. Do what is right for you. Wishing you peace.

Karen

Happy birthday, darling Nina! Sending you love, love, love. You are beautiful and unique and this will be a wonderful year. xoxo.

lucia

dear nina...been in many of the places and felt many of the same aches(i'm reading between the lines i think) over last 63 years..been through plenty, ups and downs, and all in all am considered quite happy and lucky by those who don't know the real me... the wisest, but saddest and truest words were spoken to me by my pcp of over 30 years when i was at my lowest (after all usual interventions)..."darling girl, there is no cure for a broken heart"..i've stopped wasting so much time in searching,thinking obsessively, beating myself up, etc (sometimes the "unexamined" life is worth living,too)....just trying to accept my own bundle, using a huge bandaid and moving on, focusing on inner calmness..it's going "only ok"...best wishes to you on your birthday and i hope for a happier 57th year for you. you certainly are deserving of that! lucia

reta

Nina, i'm 56 this year also, and i live in Tennessee. i am also a teacher. i homeschooled my 3 daughters for 14yr. and my two grandsons for 3yr. now. i feel for you and i see so much of myself in your story. i hope so badly that you find the place you want to be without the fear. i'll be praying for you. And if you ever get to Tn. again i would very much like to met you.

Patti Parks

Happiest Birthday wishes, Nina! I will be 60 in 4 weeks & this weekend took a fall, broke my kneecap. I am walking after only 3 days & look forward to being the one to beep in the airport security! My fear is in the walking along sidewalks again in a confident way like I did when I was much younger. I don't have your answers, but I still see the light in you, it may seem tiny like your little lights, but you are headed in the right direction starting with your list. I wish you all the happiness in the world & will continue to follow you and admire your amazing self.

Dawn

i think those are really good.

Kathy Edwards Hayslett

Seems like I'm the 57th comment. And so, you are in a different place in this beginning of your 57th year. It's truly hard but the only track I know is to keep pushing, trying. A few steps forward, a few steps in place, back. And then maybe a leap or two! Think of you often.

Kathy

Jamie V

I am thinking of you on your birthday and wish you every good thing for the coming year! XO Jamie V in MT

Jamie V

PS...re #14. what would our world be like if we didn't have intelligent and creative people...? it took intelligent and creative people to invent lifesaving meds... ignore those who deem medicine as a negative! :-) just my 2 cents!

Laurel

Wishing you the absolute best! Take good care and do what you need to do for YOU. Know that there are people out here who care about you and hold you in light and love.

I hope you are able to check in with your online community periodically - I'm very interested to see what new directions you are taking with your jewelry! I TOTALLY understand about your need for face to face community, having finally found it myself.

Much love,
Laurel

sabine

Happy Birthday, Nina. You´re never alone.
Your Guardian angel is always with you and there are more accompanying you.
Be glad about who you are. I´m sending white light - it may surround you, float you.
Light and darkness belong together. It´s the process again and again.
You are the light. The universe loves you. Much love.

Monica

Dear Nina,
I am sending you wishes for a wonderful birthday weekend filled with joyful surprises and a piece of the yummiest cake you could imagine! I firmly believe that we should always have cake to celebrate ourselves on the day that is always a miracle - the day we are born! I am SO grateful that I had the opportunity to meet you at Artful Journey, followed the next year by the amazing opportunity to LEARN from you Nina. I have been a big fan and admirer since I discovered you and your blog and I truly admire your open honesty on this blog where you share so much of yourself, including the not-so-happy parts that many people often don't want to see (especially in their own lives!), but are a part of LIFE in all it's rich pageantry, whether we like it or not. I am glad you are getting the help you need, Nina! And I am glad that you share it here so it will help and encourage others to do the same if it's needed in their own lives. I have used meds for depression in my life and I may need to use them again sometime in the future and there is nothing wrong with being depressed - it is part and parcel of being HUMAN, and though it's no fun going through it, you come out stronger for walking through the darkness...we also come out much wiser as we learn how to cope and to ask for help when it's needed =-)
Thank you for sharing this list Nina and thank you for sharing so much of yourself in this space - you are an inspiration to so many of us, as evidenced by the number of comments on this post! Looking forward to seeing you at Artful Journey!! =-)

Maria

Happy birthday! Didn't know of the golden year, am now looking forward to 60...but can wait the 8 years..:)

Dinahsoar

Happy Birthday Nina! You are still a young woman and there is still time enough left to realize so many of your dreams and desires.

These stoney places can be hard on the feet and the heart. When I lost my mother, passing over that stoney ground was a journey I had to make, no one could make it for me.

But it made all the difference to know that my friends accepted that I was feeling low and were patiently cheering me on to that lush valley where the sun was shining and my heart would once again feel the warmth of contentment that 'all is well'.

I am cheering you on. And offering the proverbial cup of cold water.

Imagine all of us who read your blog as figurative spirits, surrounding you and murmuring words of comfort and sending our hope and love to embrace you until you reach a softer place.

robyn

Happy Birthday dear Nina! I've read through all the comments and found a lot of wisdom. Not much more that I can add but I wish you the happiest year and hope your meds kick in any day now so that you can find the old Nina. xoxo

Deryn Mentock

Well, a happy birthday to you, Nina. It's a long and interesting road, isn't it? Good for you...very, very good...for making the tough decision to begin medication again. There are people in my life that are very dear and close to me that have benefited from the same types of medicines. The chemistry of each of our individual bodies is unique and amazing...and sometimes needs a little adjustment. It's a blessing and a saving grace that we have such meds available to us! Be strong in faith and carry on!

Marilyn

Dear Nina,
May you have a wonderful birthday and a fabulous 57th year!
So sad that in this year 2012 there is still such a stigma around mental health & the wonderful medications that have saved so many lives. I am a psychotherapist and know firsthand that therapy alone cannot change an individual's symptoms. I also understand the pain and difficulties that these neurochemical imbalances cause. Medication has eliminated my fears and ruminations, leaving me able to sit and take the time to enjoy the garden rather than having to pull every weed and deadhead every flower before I could sit. Good for you for having the wisdom to know what you need and taking charge!

araceli

I am a spanish chaotic woman, living in an small village near Soria in Spain. I have been following you for a long long time. Nina is part of my life. Whenever I feel sad and lonely I turn to ornamental. My 2013 target: attend a course with Nina. I am in tears with you today. I need you and I love you. I send you a big hug with all my love.

Val

Nina. Happy Birthday, here's wishing you a better year. You are awesome, your honesty is inspiring to me.
Why do we all pretend to be happy 100% of the time?
There's no light without the dark, but I'm wishing you more sunny days.

Issy Faye

Nina, gentle and thoughtful soul that you are, I applaud and cheer you for seeing whatever means needed to 'give your life back to you'....

I grow so weary of people feeling the need and/or the freedom to place ANY judgement on others as they seek what is missing (or needs to be discarded) from their life. Be it medication(s), relationships, routines - life choice changes, be they expansive or minute.

At some point life becomes about seeking clarity, calm, comfort, control. As much as one can amid the cycles and circles of life.... (and I think to myself,, nearing 60 also, if not now, WHEN?)

Quality. Contentment. Soul-based-choice vs responsibility-based-choice. Tho never free from responsibility, shedding some, making choices that defer to oneself isn't a terrible horrible thing. An understanding which comes slowly to gentle, giving hearts I suspect.

Goodness, I didn't intend to leave a trail of quite so many words! Still, before I depart let me once last time say "hurrah! for you for seeking a return to happiness on whatever path and by whatever means it waits for you. Pay no heed to any naysayers who dare to challenge your quest or your choices...

~ Happy birthday Nina ~
May this be the one that, looking back, is always counted as the year in which you found contentment...

Warmest wishes
Issy Faye

Ruth

Love to you sweet Nina. You always manage to say the words that I can't express. Happy Birthday my sweet inspiration. I am so grateful that you are in my life. This is such a hard year, I am feeling all that you have listed but I would have to add three more for my extra years. Keep going with the dark stuff too, it's real and true and honours us all. Bless you and thankyou for sharing. much love Ruth xxx

Loripax

Happy birthday, dear Nina. May year 57 be filled with light and love.

LeslieM

Wishing you love and light and peace and looking forward to watching your new wings unfold.

xo

Vickie of Oregon Coast

happy very loving birthday wishes for you. I too will be 56 in december. it was good to hear you say it is our golden year - 56/1956. I struggle with not accomplishing all I care or need to do - so many ideas and too many chores. my boys are on the doorstep to flying away and my girls have flown already. life is really an interesting mystery and so lovely. I admire your status as a tried and true artisan, that is a constant for you. and thanks for telling, sharing and showing us how beautiful the places you have set foot are, like firefly road and other stops along your way. you are so generous with us, your friends unmet and intangible. in your honor I will brave the list of 56 things on my birthday. it will be fun and useful. love to you, hand on your heart and light in your eyes, shining.

Sue

Happy birthday Nina.
I just want to say what a beautiful, honest post.
Why is it that with maturity our accumulated knowledge and wealth of experience is beaten into submission by lack of confidence?! I actually said to my husband the other day "I'm sure I used to be more fun than this"! And it's true, sometimes it seems like it's been years since I felt like my old carefree self.
So dear lady, you are not alone in feeling like this. Take little steps, breathe deeply, know you are loved and admired by people you've never even met and move forward in the direction of your dreams. xo

Jennnifer Thornton

I'm 57. I've been on and off antidepressants sice my early 30's. I go to your blog almost daily to see what you're up to, your news. I've noticed you been down and remember that you'd taken the decision to stop taking your meds. I'm so glad you've decided to go back on the meds. Needing them is not a defect, I've at last learnt that. It's going to take a while before you'll feel happier and more at ease. Just give it time. I had a complete breakdown in July 2009. I've been on my meds ever since, a lower dose now, but it has taken me all this time to start feeling normal again. Accept the fact that there is help for us and live your life. You've become a close friend. Be kind to yourself through this difficult time. My thoughts are with you and I'm sending what strength I have spare.

gretchen

I'm a little older...my next one is that big 6-0. scary number. Has me wondering if I have done enough with what talents I may have. I am lucky to have found my soul mate- took more than 50+ years and I now understand what happily ever after is all about.
You might ask your dr. to check your hormone levels and get them back up to where they belong or used to be. There are Bio-meds, plant extracts/combinations that won't interfere with other medications and you know, it couldn't hurt!
happy birthday and enjoy your next trip around the sun ~

Greta

Happy Birthday Nina! As we get older, we tend to expect things in life to get easier, when infact, most things get more difficult!

I hope this year is better for you (and me!)

Greta
XXX

Michele Unger

Happy Birthday, belatedly, but sincerely wished. If I could, my gift for you would be a ladder and a helping hand, to pull you into the light again. Climb high, dear Nina. XO

Mary Markell

Hi Nina

I am relieved to hear you are back on depression meds. Depression is an illness, not a personal failing and while those of us who have it wish we could will it away, it is a physical condition that we must accept and deal with the best we can. If someone criticizes, they are ignorant, simple as that. It may take some time for your body to regulate and dosages determined.

I saw MUCH positivity in your words today. You express a need to change and grow. You "want" which is very healthy. Not wanting means stagnation with no hope. And needing companionship on some level would be wonderful too. Perhaps you could check out your nearest community center for like-minded beautiful souls. You just never know where a little path off the main road might take you.

Happy Birthday dear one...we are all with you in spirit! xo

M

Mary

Gifted people feel things more deeply than others which often feels more like a curse than a gift. The Curse of the Artist. I am alone too and ask many of these same questions.But number 55 made me happy. Besides your obvious artistic gifts you have a gift for writing and making readers feel like they know you. Thanks for the lovely words, introspection and photos. I wish I could give you something in return. Cheers!

Irene

Dear Nina, Hang in there. Know that every tiny step you take towards your true dreams will them manifest. May your 57th year be filled to the brim with dreams and wishes coming true. Happy Birthday dear courageous and warm-hearted Nina.

Laura

Dear Nina,
I hate that I missed your birthday. I'm a few days behind in blog reading. I hope that you had a wonderful day! And I hope that you can create the things on your list that you want to create and get rid of the things you want to get rid of.
See you in a few days. :-)
blessings
~*~

Theresa

Hello Nina just a thought - have you ever tried flower essences/remedies. You may find them useful. I use the Bach flower remedies that are readily available in the UK, you may be able to find them or locally produced remedies. Lots of good wishes, Theresa.

Kathy mcgowan

Nina -you are everything I want in a friend- so real, so courageous! I get you- we have much in common. I love it that I feel so connected to you even though we have not met in person.
I am sending you peace, dear Nina .

Kathy

Julie

Happy Birthday Nina. I hope you are getting some better days now, some peace in your life. I look forward to seeing the new jewellery you are making, your talent is amazing and I wish I had such ability and inspiration. You have a beautiful eye, and I miss your sweet grainy beautiful pictures.

Julie Q

Lorraine

One step at a time missy. Soon you will be back on that saddle riding into the sunset and it will be YOU holding the reigns! :0). Keep writing no matter what flows!

Martha A

Hi Nina, so glad to hear something from you. I wish that all of us that love you could show up so you could see just what your honesty and sharing has done. I know we are cyber acquaintances and not exactly the real deal, but I think you would be flabbergasted by the sheer number of us.

Happy birthday, many more, and stop off in north Alabama sometime. I would love the chance to say hello in person.

Martha

Lee W

Happy BIrthday Nina!! I loved your list, and although I am 45, all of them fit me too. THis has been a tough three years for me in Maine- we finally moved back to PA at the end of August, but I still feel lonely and stagnant... here's to jumping into new things and new friendships! If only I could find a close friend here- so many in blogland, none in SE Pa.!! hugs

Seth

Wishing you a gentle and sweet birthday Nina. Perhaps this will be the year when you begin to experience the change you desire and you are able to experience more balance and a sense of relief. We are all pulling for you and I hope you not only know that...but feel that too!

Jan

Happy Birthday! You keep my heart encouraged, and you make such good decisions. I'm so encouraged to see you battling your way through this transition time. There's always this tug-of-war between what was and what will be.

This, as with many others, is a post I'll reread....and reread.

Linda

Happy birthday and good wishes. You are one of the most honest writers I know, and this is a wonderful post. 2013 is right around the corner with the possibilities of new opportunities and blessings. For you.
Linda

leslie janson

Hi Nina,

Happy Birthday! Antidepressants are an art form, not a science - so if you find that what you are on is not helping you, work closely with a psychiatrist to find one that does, and a dosage that is right for you. It may take several tries to get it "just right". Alot of people give up right away when the 1st medication doesn't work. It sounds like you are in labor and ready to give birth to the next phase of your life, your art, your home, and you are anxious. You are so talented Nina! And so original. So what you have made a mess in the house. Just do one room at a time. Start with the smallest room. Start with the bathroom! So what you want to lose 40 lbs. Start with one day of healthy eating as a reward for the talented, inspiring person you are. Decide what is a reward and what is a punishment. Treat yourself the way your children would. And I wish you 56 zillion good things!

bobbie

Your words have touched my heart ~ so many of them could be my own.
Sending you vibes for peace, strength, courage and love.
Please consider yourself very hugged.
bobbie

itsASmallWorld

My whole fam got the short end of the stick when it comes to seratonin, some of us *love* better living through chemistry and some of us take our meds draggin' our feet the whole way. We had a family wedding this weekend, I'm listening to my boys argue in the kitchen about the best technique for making hot cheese dip and my mom nag my brother about "guilt trip visits" My sister isn't speaking to me and my kid just got dumped by the man she considers the love of her life. Life is messy, full of terrible things, pain and loss. Anyone tell you different, they ain't living it. It's also full of beauty and delicious love. You're doing great, brave one. Keep it up.

Martha Smith

Dear Nina, I found your post so moving. I am always amazed at your talent: your writing and your jewelry, and at your self doubt. It is the human condition I guess. I am amazed at all you accomplish; I refer to myself as the queen of inertia. I hope that your medication is helping with the sadness. Sometimes I feel that the older I get, the more sadness I feel. Maybe I am just at a place where I can recognize it and own it. I hope you have a wonderful trip to Maryland and a wonderful 57th year. Remember to be kind to your self.
Martha

Monica

Happy birthday!!! Io non parlo inglese e ti seguo sempre silenziosamente, ma apprezzo tanto ciò che fai e quello che posso capire di te dalle immagini.
Auguri per il prossimo anno!

sally

sending love and wishing peace, from your spiritual doppelganger, 11 years older. Happy birthday Nina with a long "I".

Janis Long

Recently a friend of mine lost her husband as a result of a tragic bicycle accident. At his memorial service, his wife and 3 grown sons came up with some "isms" that reflect the way he lived and that I want our family to live by. As a result. I have passed these "isms" on to my husband, our 3 sons, and a few close friends.

Here are the "isms"

"Change is constant"
"When facing an overwhelming task, break it into parts and take it on"
"You have to be present to win"
"Don't be fallin' in love while she's walkin' away"
"Do something even if it's wrong"
"Start with the end in mind"
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there"
"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance"
"Remember your gratitudes"
"Live every day like it's your last"
"Idn't it great?"

Take care and let your art reflect who, what you are and the journey you wish to take. I have decided in my own life "I want to dance!" I have been sitting too long!

Janis

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