GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

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Oh Bloggy Blog

The last week has been busy. Beginning December 1st I started my friend’s “Present To” prompts. (Check out @Secretmessagesociety on Instagram) My first word was TRY. So I had been thinking about making a TikTok video, and it seems the prefect time to give it a try.

I’ve discovered trying to convey my thoughts in 60 seconds or less is a challenge. I don’t want to post more than 1 video a day, really. Maybe two, a challenge or duet, and then a more serious ‘what’s on my mind’ one. Then last night it dawned on me, I can use my blog in tandem with my Tik Tok posts.

Today I pulled the prompt Invite. Ooh, this is a loaded one. When I think of invite, I think of a party invitation and I quit having parties 15 or so years ago. The last party I tried to throw myself (35th birthday, I believe) no one showed. They RSVP’d they would be there, then closer to the date things would come up. I get it, but it was a really casual come and go thing. Nothing to start or end at a specific time, or meeting a restaurant or pavillion. So I quit celebrating and became more of an introvert than I already was.

After some thought about this prompt I realized I don’t have to extend an invitation to others, but to myself. I invite myself to find joy in every day things. I can invite myself to a moment of stillness in a busy day. I can invite myself to complement a stranger. I can invite myself to seek unity and love instead of division and fear.

What will you invite to yourself today?

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Amazfit Zenbuds – An Honest Review

This is a not a sponsored review. I backed the Zenbuds IndieGoGo project in June because I’ve used foam ear plugs for decades to block out my husband snoring. He now has a CPAP machine, but I’ve gotten used to sleeping with ear plugs. He watches movies in the living room, and the TV and speakers are on the other side of the wall from the bed. So technically, I’m close to the speakers in the bedroom laying in bed than he is sitting across the living room on the couch.

First Impressions:

The design of the case & earbuds are really nice. The twist to open case was difficult at first. I have slight arthritis in my hands, and someone with more severe arthritis might have a problem opening the case.

The case twists to open

I’ve noticed a lot of reviews complaining that they couldn’t find the app to connect the earbuds. There’s a QR scan code in the instruction booklet and it was easy to install. Creating my account was a challenge. The Captcha code is small neon green numbers with black spots and lines on a light blue background. I couldn’t zoom in to see the numbers and there was no way I could make out the neon green characters. I decided to screen shot the captcha code, zoomed in on the screenshot photo and it was much easier to see.

Then I set out to connect the earbuds. The app couldn’t find them. Nothing. So I charged the earbuds and case for a few hours and tried again. The 2nd time they connected quickly. I am getting a random “Bluetooth Error, Please restart Boothtooth” when I’m not using the earbuds so I don’t know what the app is trying to do.

Testing at Bedtime:

The earbuds come installed with the “medium” tips and includes extra small, small and large ones so you can find what best fits your ear. I’m still trying to figure out which ones fit, or how the earbuds are supposed to fit. Looking at photos online, some are tilted more up, while others are horizontal.

Variety of sizes to find the perfect fit, but none work for me.

When it comes to noise blocking, these fail me. Maybe it’s because I haven’t figured out the correct fit or earpiece size. I can switch off the lamp on my night stand and hear the “click” as loud as if I weren’t wearing earbuds. So when my husband is watching movies in the living room, there’s no help.

The Music Library of sleep sounds is nice. I’ve been listening to the waves, at around 45% to help block out the sounds of the TV or my cat meowing. I’ve downloaded a few of the additional sounds, like Whale Song but I haven’t tried them.

I’ve tried them 4 nights in a row and have tended up taking them out & switching for my trusty Mack’s Ultra Soft Foams after about 2 1/2 hours. I have the sleep sounds to turn off when I fall asleep but I guess once that happens, sounds wake me up. I’m going to have to take a break from them for a few days to get a couple of nights of solid sleep, then I’ll try them with the sounds going all night.

I’d really like to wear them all night to see how the alarm feature works. I’ll try again this weekend, or during a nap.

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Another Sword

This morning I pulled the Knight of Swords. Big changes, and be ready.

I got a lot accomplished this weekend. Bike rides, cleaning, it was busy but I felt really good. Then I checked the Informed Delivery for today’s mail. Credit collections for an MRI my son had last year after The Events of June 2019. Insurance denied it and workers comp hasn’t paid any of the medical bills. So I’m stressing, and trying to not fall into the pit of despair again.

I don’t want to ask for help because it means I couldn’t handle things. Especially when it comes to money. I try to remind myself it’s my son’s bill, not mine but even though he’s an adult, he’s my medical responsiblilty until he’s 26. HE needs to take care of it. Does he even know what he needs to do? Do I dip into my 401k? It IS a medical expense but I thought workers comp was handling the bills as part of the settlement. Again this is my son’s situation, not mine. So why do I feel responsible?

So tonight I’ll take another bike ride and clean some more.

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Is it Thursday? I think it’s Thursday.

The US is still a dumpster fire and I’m trying to not fall into the Pit of Despair. This week has been rough. Well, rougher than normal. Normal? Ugh.

I’ve started pulling a tarot card in the mornings to mediate upon, and try to find secrets regarding it. There were 4 sword cards pulled on consecutive days. Swords corespond to the element of Air and the intellect. I’ve been trying to think my way into feeling more upbeat, without much luck. I’ve pulled wands for the last 2 days, coresponding to Fire and movement, action. I’m looking at where I can DO more rather than think about doing more. Drawing and artwork comes first to my mind, and yoga (movement – that fire element showing up). Being present and open. It’s not a thought experiment. I need action.

Last night I was at the store with my son, and as we left I noticed a scarf, or hat left in one of the shopping baskets. I said “Looks like someone forgot something…” as we walked past. The person leaving next to us stopped and turned around, grabbing their purchases from the bag they left at the self-check out. I laughed and said “I didn’t mean you…” as they said “You just reminded me” at the same time. That was a great reinforcement of being open and present.

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Losing track of time

I’ve had a few Thankful Thursday drafts that were never completed. Now it seems 3 weeks, maybe a month, has past.

I started writing in my journal “Matters of Consequence” that my friend, Mandy, started doing. I’m not consitant with it either, but along with my Thankful lists, I’ve felt a shift in my life towards being more present.

I’m also working on a meditation practice. I spend 10 mins in the morning and before bed practicing Heart Coherence meditation, using an Inner Balance training device from HeartMath. I purchased the device myself, so this is NOT a sponsored post but my own observations. Working with the trainer on level 1, I could drop into and maintain coherance easily. After a few weeks, I bumped up to level 2. That was a challenge. I could easily go into ‘medium’ coherence but acheiving ‘high’ coherence was difficult. After about a month now I’m around 70% high coherence during my meditation times. It’s suggested to move up levels when you are 80-90% high coherence.

But what I’ve really noticed is during my commutes to and from work, I’m less irritable, more “go with the flow” (FLOW is big word the last month), and noticing more.

I recently completed Sktchy July’s 30Faces30Days lessons in Procreate. I learned so much! I’m taking a break from sketching on my iPad now though, but when I feel the urge to return I have a lot more techniques in my bag of tricks. I’ve signed up for the Inktober Portrait Challenge for October. I can’t wait to learn techniques and tricks for ink drawing. I think I’ve attempted Inktober the last 2 years, maybe 3, and never get through the end.

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Thankful Thursday, July 23

Another week has flown by and I still feel like I’m stumbling along blindly, without noticing small things to be grateful for.

Looking back through my journal, there is nothing I noted.

I am always thankful for the basic things, a roof over my head, food to eat (even if it’s not what I may be craving)   oh that reminds me, I stashed some chocolate in my tote bag.

I’m on the border of numbness.  This often happens before I get depressed.

I am looking forward to meeting with art friends to discuss the next chapter of The Artists Way.  I’ve quit doing morning pages.  My mornings have been dedicated to my “dailies” in Animal Crossing.  I’ll spend the next week focusing on creating in the mornings instead.  Quick art journal type pages on loose bristol board or the heavyweight drawing paper I salvaged from the water damaged sketchbooks I discovered cleaning up my studio.   Something that is more tangible, and meaningful than digging up bells to plant keep my money tree cycle going.

Although I feel like my Animal Crossing villagers are more a part of my life than most real-life people I know.



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Thankful Thursday on a Thursday! 7/16/20

I remembered today!   That’s something to be thankful for on its own but here are some small moments I felt gratitude for during the last week:

  • Hearing a little bird chirping outside the bedroom window early in the morning
  • The guy dancing down the street as I was driving home from work
  • Watching my art improve with daily portrait drawings
  • Art friends
  • Getting things I’ve put off accomplished

Hope to do an art catch up post this weekend.  I’m trying to find small bits of time each day to do the Sktchy 30Faces30Days lessons.  The lessons run between 20 mins to an hour, then add another hour or so for the drawing.  I plan on doing the next class too.


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I haven’t forgotten

Well, I have. Then I remember at an inopportune time. Like while I’m making fried potatoes for dinner.

Then I start writing from the QuickPress app on my phone, which is more difficult than using a keyboard. 

Then I go to bed, and remember I didn’t finish the Thankful Thursday I’ve missed now for 2 weeks. 

Then I remember and tell myself  “GO WRITE IT REALLY QUICKLY” while I’m on break at work. 

So for the last 2 weeks I’ve been thankful for:

  • Animal Crossing and the summer update
  • Sktchy 30 Faces 30 Days course and learning so much more about using Procreate
  • Puppy Birthday Celebrations (Happy 4th Birthday Jarvis)
  • Meeting a friend for our last book club.
  • A handwritten letter
  • Peace signs 


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Hello July 2020

Half of the year is over, and I really hope that the remainder of 2020 isn’t as crappy as the first half.

I decided to keep me focused, I’ll set some goals and revisit them throughout the month.

July Goals:

Art – Make some smaller mixed media pieces on bristol or cardstock.  Something that could be easily shipped worldwide, and get my Etsy shop stocked.   I honestly forget about Etsy, although I’ve purchased through the site.

Movement – BIKE and GEOCACHING!  There are a few caches within my current riding stamina limit, and there are plenty of caches near the lakes that I could get while riding.  I’ve returned to yoga in the mornings, although not constantly, and I notice when I sit too long I get uncomfortable.

Spirit – I’ve been reading Tosha Silver’s It’s Not Your Money and I have a few more weeks to go in that.  I’m going to start reading Julia Cameron’s Finding Water next week.  I may use my blog to sort my thoughts on it.

I’ll check in my goals mid-month and update.