Introducing Artist Laurie Cairone!

Eternal Optimism available  here .

Eternal Optimism available here.

I am currently featuring a beautiful piece of art in my art group, Emotive Art. The piece is entitled Eternal Optimism and it was created by Laurie Cairone. Her art is spiritual in nature and flows with a sense of peace and light. So I was immediately drawn to her creativity! I am always excited to introduce new artists and authors and Laurie Cairone is no exception! I asked her to write up a post about her creative process and background which you will find below:

I have created art intuitively for more than 40 years. Why Do I create art? Because creating soothes my soul and is a form of meditation for me. I enjoy working with Pastels, Watercolor, Acrylic, and Charcoal mediums. I also enjoy now learning and working with these mediums digitally in Procreate on my Ipad. 

My interests in the Universe,The Healing Arts,The Metaphysical World, and the Mind, Body, Soul Connection influence and inspire my art. I have also practiced as a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and hold a Second Degree Reiki Certification. Over half of my nursing career was spent in the specialty area of psychiatry, so I am very drawn to the introspective process. I believe that keeping our minds healthy with positive thoughts is a main ingredient to good health. 

I have always found Art to be a therapeutic, relaxing, creative process that soothes my soul. Creativity is a form of meditation for me that allows a way of letting go of the dust that builds up over time. Art can be a healthy form of distraction for us. Creativity can open the door to self-reflection that can aid in helping us gain clarity and peace over every day life. Drawing can be a sacred process of creating images from the heart. 

The creative process for me is often from a shape and a color. I seldom have a vision or sketch out what will evolve. I love to see what evolves and once I feel a piece is finished is when I name it. Here is where the introspective work arrives. I analyze my creation and look to the symbolism behind each color and shape and that is when the title hits me. Sometimes the title provokes much contemplation about a subject, so I will then write about the piece in my description. Sometimes the description to a piece is left for me to do a little more introspection before I can write about it. 

I have enjoyed the creative process since childhood and when I look back over certain times in my life, my work often reflects the joys and sorrows that we all go through at times. I will say that creating has helped me during some of the most difficult times of my life. I experienced a stillbirth full term many years ago and creating art kept me in one piece during that time. 


A percentage of all my sales are donated to Magnolia Pediatrics to help Dr. Linda Del Vecchio-Gilbert provide palliative care to children with complex, chronic conditions. You can learn more here

You can find Laurie and her amazing art here. Thank you, Laurie, for being a guest on my blog!

Waiting

You are my love;My heart knew you Before you were born.

Together in another realm we laughed, Made plans and shared kisses As we flew through the endless skies.

My soulmate, my child; A love so pure and An innocence undefiled.

Your laugh is a promise Of truth, beauty, And a profound future.

To be apart from you Is like death-but death does not exist; It is merely a lie of a three dimensional world.

Truth prevails and glory remains; Waiting for me in a realm That some refuse to believe.

However, I believe. I know. For I feel angel kisses on my skin, And I hear the whisper of your voice in the heavens;

Wanting to collect me like a flower, And bring me home in your embrace; To my place of refuge where you wait patiently for me.

You Shone Like The Sun On Autumn Leaves

You shone like the sun on autumn leaves, Their remaining life brief before they fell from the trees;

The sun's light was strong, the warmth intense, Just as was your heart; loving, immense;

But the leaves shriveled up and neared their end, Just as you when you left, my child, my friend;

Your meaning lives on in every new day, I begged God for time to extend your stay;

It's a hard lesson to learn that you have no control, Over life, over love, over a darling child's soul;

All we can do is sift through the hours, And beg for provision, mercy and power,

To experience life's sentence of lessons and fate, Before we, too, find ourselves in heaven's estate.

Love us and guide us from your ethereal view,                                                                                 Until one day we are reunited with you.

-Diamante Lavendar

Peach Blossoms

The peach blossoms reach And grasp for the sky, Watching graceful birds And insects fly by;

They drink in the essence, Of the winds' lusty breeze, And the sweet scented flowers, Growing nearby their trees.

They watch and marvel, At the vibrant colors, Of the grass, the skies, Flowering sisters and brothers;

All in due season, All in due time, There is no worry or pressure, In nature's rhythm and rhyme.

Available on Fine Art America at:

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/peach-blossoms-diamante-lavendar.html

 

Angel Of Light

Here is my newest creation entitled Angel Of Light! A combination of digital and fractal art!

Angels are all around us all of the time.  We can feel them in our hearts and see them in our minds' eye.  Sometimes we're lucky enough to see them with our natural eyes and they can be felt too with a cool, prickly sensation or a warm, loving sensation.  They are only a heartbeat away!  (https://fineartamerica.com/featured/angel-of-lilght-diamante-lavendar.html?newartwork=true).

You Are My Bridge

 

You are my bridge. My bridge to love and light.

You are my hope. The hope of my destiny.

You are my dream. The dream of success which you carried for me.

You are my safety. The safety of love and acceptance you gave me.

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Remember me. As your mother, the one who cherished you.

Remember me. As your friend who valued your opinion.

Remember me. The broken one who needed your tenderness.

Remember me. The vessel you poured your light into.

 

I miss you. The days of laughter and content.

I adore you. Your sparks of humor and helpfulness.

I remember you. My little angel with a bright future.

I hold tight to you. Your memory of rainbows and sunbeams.

 

I admire you. You lived with a rare condition.

You have great strength. Despite the bullies and false friends.

Though you were different. You were a shining example.

You are an original. Truly one among millions.

 

Your favorite color. Pink like the passionate sunrise.

Your shining eyes. Deep blue like God's heavens.

Your wavy hair. Red, brown, blonde and gold; a mane of beauty.

Your pouting lower lip. The most beautiful smile of caring.

 

Your creative tendencies. To make art and take pictures.

Your quirky side. To tie tight knots and laugh heartily.

Your passion. To love life despite letdowns.

Your imagination. To know angels and possibilities.

 

You are beautiful. Though you didn't believe it.

You are precious. Though you couldn't see it.

You are worthy. Though you didn't realize it.

You are amazing. Though you felt ordinary.

 

Let me see you. When my heart aches to be with you.

Hold me close. In the times that I'm hurting.

Give me love. Throw your soft arms around me.

Kiss my cheek. So I know you are near me.

 

You are perfect. Fun sized and abundant.

You are tender. Hugging me with your mercy.

You are gentle. Forgiving and helpful.

You are gorgeous. My baby, my angel incarnate.

 

God Bless you Celby. I'll write for you for the rest of my life. I can't wait to run into your arms the moment I take my last breath here on earth. Wait for me. Meet me and bring me home.

 

How Can Love Bring Healing Into Relationships?

A focus on hate in society can be debilitating. Many believe that to stand up for what is right, an argumentative attitude is necessary. Unfortunately, argumentative attitudes only further complicate things. Many mistakenly decide that force may be required to change minds. But like Martin Luther King, Gandhi and other humanists have realized, hate only begets more hate.

In order to find some type of middle ground or resolution, love must be brought into the equation on some level. Why? Following are some great reasons!

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1.  Love increases compassion and empathy.  Compassion is defined as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune". (Dictionary.com).  When people enter into conflict with a sense of compassion, they feel the pain of their adversary.  It makes them realize how they would feel if they were in their adversary's shoes.  Compassion is essential in bringing about change during times of conflict.  Likewise, empathy, "the psychological identification with feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another" (Dictionary.com) is also essential in bringing about change.  Until we can understand what someone else is going through on a personal level, we truly don't know why change needs to take place.

2.  Love promotes more discussions and less arguments.  How many times have you tried to "get down to business" when anger is coloring your perspective?  Anger is like a flame that burns anyone who gets too close.  Anger is a natural facilitator of arguments.  It is nearly impossible to be objective when the flames of anger are burning bright.  Love, on the other hand, makes us more capable of being objective, thus facilitating more discussions.  And it is possible to have discussions without anger being involved.  It's perfectly okay to agree to disagree-and much healthier than fighting, too!

3.  Love helps us to identify with an adversary's perspective.  When we are able to identify with another human being on the level of humanity itself, anger is automatically driven to the background.  When we realize that we are all essentially searching for the same things on the level of being human, we experience unity and forgiveness.  Unity and forgiveness are critical in bringing about essential, peaceful changes.

4.  Love creates an atmosphere of acceptance.  When the kindness and compassion of love enter any picture, an atmosphere of acceptance is cultivated.  This is a widely understood topic even by giants in the movie industry (like Disney) with thousands of movies being centered around the topic.  Even children's movies (one of my favorites entitled Brave)  speak of not only accepting others but also accepting ourselves....a beautiful mindset with a ton of benefit!

5.  Love reduces pride.  Now don't get me wrong...pride in itself is not a bad thing...unless it is allowed to become the predominating mindset.  An inflated sense of pride causes us to believe that others owe us something.  Some synonyms of pride are conceit, egotism, vanity and vainglory.  (Dictionary.com).  How many times have you tried to reason with someone that is convinced they are overly important and you owe them the world?  It is darned near impossible to reason with people like that.  What is the outcome of vanity and an inflated self concept?  Argument!  And usually arguments with those types of personalities don't turn out very well!

6.  Love increases a sense of value and worth among people.  Let's look at the definition of love.  Perhaps I should have earlier, but the definition proves this point.  Love is "a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection as for a parent, child or friend."  (Dictionary.com). Love is easy when it comes to those closest to us.  It comes naturally.  But when you're talking about your enemy, it can be much trickier.  Love with strangers and acquaintances is a decision, a life style you choose to lead.  It is responding with dignity to someone who you may not necessarily agree with.

I created a quote a while back that said "Lay down your weapons; embrace and be one; Forgiveness will reign when the battle is done."  I got some backlash about this one!  But my meaning behind it was "Treat others with respect, as you would like to be treated.  Only then can you mend broken mindsets and societal patterns."

How can we expect to find peace among the dissension when we aren't even willing to lay our differences aside?  It's impossible.  It will never happen until we make the decision to live with more loving attitudes!

7.  Love increases understanding.  When someone comes to you with a request, you must have a sense of understanding about what they're talking about!  Love cultivates a sense of understanding.  That "aha" moment when we realize what someone else is going through makes all the difference in the world when it comes to us accepting them and being more loving.  Love breaks down barriers, arguments and all forms of hate and prejudice because it allows the beautiful knowledge of understanding to emanate among the souls of those discussing different scenarios and situations!  Understanding definitely diffuses arguments!

8.  Love promotes respect.  The nature of love is the nature of respect.  And the nature of respect requires that respect be given in order for it to be received.  When you respect someone, you care!  You listen, you lend a hand, you really want to make a difference!  That's what love is all about!  It is impossible to say you love someone or want to make things better for them and yourself without experiencing some form of respect.  Respect is a precursor for the kind of caring that meaningful change requires.

9.  Love promotes hope and possibility.  With hate, there is little to no hope involved.  There is pain, anguish and agony.  With love?  Well, there is the hope of a better future because people are willing to discuss problems and understand each  other's situations!  Hate leads to discouragement.  Hope leads to enlightenment!

10.  Love promotes a sense of responsibility.  Hate?  Well, it creates an environment where people feel helpless.  They become despondent and stoop to lower types of emotions and interactions such as apathy, anger and resentment.  Love creates a sense that everyone can make a difference.  When we each believe we can make a difference, our sense of personal responsibility rises.  So what's better for our society?  Helplessness or an increase in caring and personal responsibility?  I think that one is pretty self explanatory!

The truth is we can make a difference.  Each and every one of us.  Even if we only influence one other person for the better, think of the ripple effect that can have on an entire society?  And the reality is, most of us are able to affect more than one other person.  Many of us are able to affect hundreds of people throughout our lives depending on where we work, where we live, who we associate with, where we go, etc.  Love is a powerful force for more reasons than those I just listed above.  If we all make the choice to embrace it, what a beautiful world this would be!

 

 

 

What Does Falling In Love Do To Us?

Everyone loves the feeling of being in love. But what does love do to us? To answer that question, I've done some research! First of all, the feeling of love is caused by chemicals in our bodies. Dopamine, vasopressin and cortisol flow in large quantities through our brain, making us feel that "high, fluttery feeling" when we're around the person of our desire. So, technically, love is a drug!  Or maybe better said, love itself is an influencer of bodily (hormonal) drug activity!  (Thought Catalog:  19 Scientifically Proven Ways "Love" Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug.)

You may say, wait!  Cortisol?  I thought that was a stress hormone!  Well, it is.  But...cortisol is also responsible for many good things in body function as well such as controlling blood sugar levels, regulating metabolism and reducing inflammation.  It assists with memory and helps fetuses grown in women during pregnancy.  (That is, if you're still in the lovey dovey phase! (Hormone Health Network:  What Does Cortisol Do?)

love-quote-by-diamante-lavendar

Many times people say they feel different when they get involved with a new lover/relationship. And in a way they're onto something.  The hormones present in your body when you're in love create feelings similar to those of people with manic depression.  It is almost as if you could conquer the world.  As if life is different, vibrant and new.     (Thought Catalog:  19 Scientifically Proven Ways "Love" Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug.)

For these reasons, love is a good thing.  But, if we get dumped or break up with our lover, the opposite can happen.  When we are rejected, pain centers in our brain light up when we look at a picture of our ex.  We also can experience having a broken heart ( a real condition called stress induced cardiomyopathy) which has the very extreme and rare possibility of killing its victim.  (Thought Catalog:  19 Scientifically Proven Ways "Love" Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug.)

"Broken heart syndrome" can strike even if you're healthy.   Luckily, though, it isn't common.  The symptoms of stress induced cardiomyopathy are almost identical to those of a heart attack.  It is unknown how many people actually die from this condition but there are eleven documented cases in which Johnny Cash was one of them.  (Thought Catalog:  11 Documented Cases Of People Actually Dying Of A Broken Heart).

Love can heal and it can hurt.  It is my opinion that we are better for having loved because it expands us and enlightens us in our daily existence of being human.  Though the pain can be pronounced, the positive effects are worth the extra effort!

Living In Love Doesn't Mean Being A Doormat!

To revere peace and love, we are told to live in love and have a good attitude. That is a wonderful way to live but we also need to know our boundaries in that type of lifestyle.

Too many times we think that living in love means to allow others to walk all over us...to be a doormat. In reality, it means to have a loving attitude and to help out any way we can...with limits.

Living In Love by Diamante Lavendar

Once the relationship becomes abusive or we are being used for the benefit of others, there is no shame in walking away.  In fact, walking away is setting a healthy boundary for us to continue to be loving people.  The key is:  walking away with a good attitude.  In order to do this, we must walk away before our anger is ignited because we have allowed others to use us in our process of trying to be loving, caring people.

So....once your good has worn out its welcome in a situation (as it very commonly does)...walk away!  And don't feel bad about doing it!  Because you will soon find yourself facing another situation where your love is needed to be passed along.  And if you allow yourself to be used, you will be too weary to continue on your journey.

Take care and God Bless!

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My colored pencil piece entitled Eternity

Here is my newest piece of art. It is made with colored pencils on paper and is entitled Eternity: Eternity with Diamante written over it

This piece is available on Fine Art America and Red Bubble (minus my name printed on it--that was done only for security reasons).  I wanted to create a piece of art that speaks about all humans as being part of the circle of life.   Nature, humanity and creation are all one big, beautiful piece of art.  One revolving system of love and light.  Here is my description as seen on Red Bubble and Fine Art America:

Eternity is around us and in us. Each of us makes up a piece of eternity and combined we are eternity alive. We are all filled with the same spirit and life essence plus we are gifted our own unique talents and abilities to share to make the world a better place. When we realize this truth, we will be living in heaven on earth.

This piece can be purchased in many different items including stationery, gift items, home decor and more.  I've included the links below in case you may find yourself interested in taking a peek!

Red Bubble:  http://www.redbubble.com/people/diamantelavenda/works/21711043-eternity-by-diamante-lavendar?p=greeting-card

Fine Art America:  http://fineartamerica.com/featured/eternity-diamante-lavendar.html

Love

This was a write up in my February newsletter I recently published.  My editor loved it (she is also my friend.)  She encouraged me to put it on my blog, which I have now done.  I hope it helps you to find more peace and meaning in your life.

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Love. We've heard so much about it during our lives. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." "Treat others as you would like to be treated." "True love keeps no record of wrongs." These things are all very true but sometimes hard to achieve.

Everyone is tested. We endure fiery trials of one form or another. The trick is to always bring it back to a loving attitude at the end of the day. How is that possible in some instances? Sometimes, only by the power of God Himself is it possible.

I have suffered, as some of you know, through differing forms of abuse. I have felt like I had nothing left to give, like everything had been taken from me. And yet, I was expected to love. If you've read my book Breaking The Silence, you know my story. It has been excruciating...and still is sometimes to this very day. The best advice I can give is do your best in the time given. Ten years ago, my best wasn't as good as it was five years ago. And five years ago, it wasn't as good as it is now. I still have a long way to go, but as long as I'm on my way, I know it will continue to get better day by day.

Don't beat yourself up if you have trouble being loving. Especially at times when you are hurting. Nobody is perfect and nobody can be 100% loving 100% of the time. It's not a human capability. Luckily, God is there to hold your heart in His hands as He molds and makes you into who you really are made to be as you progress through your existence on this planet. Humans are frail and fallible. But we are also very capable of learning. So keep that in the forefront of your mind. Do the best in the day you are given.

And be forgiving. Forgive yourself and others for not consistently living up to difficult standards. Sometimes the best way to show love is to forgive. And to know perfection is not attainable. Once you let go of "should, must, have to" it gets a little easier to be a loving person.

February is a time of hearts and candy and flowers. Those are all wonderful, but it is my experience that the expectations we put on ourselves and others are the most primary causes of either happiness or disappointment. So remember, we're all here to learn and grow. Enjoy it as much as you can without beating yourself up over it at the same time!

Happy February! May every day this month be your Valentine's Day!

Feeling Alone

I am convinced that feeling alone is one of the hardest things to deal with as a human being. We were created for love and fellowship. When we don't have those things in a genuine way, it tears at our inner beings. Isolation is a desperate feeling; hopelessness is even worse.

We constantly crave a companion; someone we can bear our heart and soul to who loves us unconditionally. We crave a hug that reaches our pain and takes it away. If we are left alone for too long we even begin to go crazy and imagine things.

I used to wonder why. What is so important about someone who is there and who believes what we say? Why is friendship and compassion so necessary to the human condition?

It's actually quite simple. Because we were made to need it as a necessity in life. We were created to bond in love and have a purpose for living. We were created to be one with God and His creation.

That is why nature is so soothing. It was created for us. That is why love is so healing. It too was created for us. It is an inherent need woven into the fabric of our hearts; a compelling drive and desire to be accepted.

It is really quite simple. Simply profound. With understanding and discernment, we can achieve our truest and highest calling, which always involves love. Never has hate achieved those purposes. Hate tears apart and brings pain and corruption. Love builds up and brings healing and wholeness...purity too.

Love makes the world a better place. It cares and it shares. It holds goodness and mercy. I wish that for everyone reading this blog. May you find the peace, joy, healing and mercy that only love can bring. Because it is essential to a life well lived.

Namaste!

Love Is All That Really Matters

His name was John. He was a quiet man.He cared not about living according to the precepts of humanity. He preferred life to be simple, For in simplicity he saw grandeur.

When he spoke, his voice was meek; Most times others ignored his unassuming nature. His peacefulness was seen as weakness, His generosity a flaw of the human condition.

Quietly he walked through life in the most ordinary way. The corridors he passed on his journeys were well populated Though he was hardly noticed; It was as if he hadn't walked them at all.

When he spoke his voice was but a whisper; A breeze passing by the others who were near. His words fell silently around them, And they scarcely took the time to even glance his way.

A select few did notice his passing; They stopped to smile and nod at his peaceful candor. After he had spoken, their hearts soared with new life, For they saw John's beautiful nature, and intelligence.

As humanity swarmed around him, Rushing and darting to keep pace with the craziness that society expects, John noticed the stars in the sky and the warm summer breeze. He felt the green grass beneath his feet and warmth of the sun on his face.

Children surrounded him and listened to him speak, Laughing and smiling at the stories that he skillfully told, Just as a spider spins a beautiful, glistening web, Were his observations of life and life's journeys.

He always stopped to feed the birds and to watch the butterflies Flit through the air like colorful, miniature kites; His day was complete when he had the opportunity To pet a neighbor's dog or feed a squirrel in the park.

John appeared to be elusive, but that was only because Everyone around him was too busy to stop for a moment; To meet as one heart to another, to find a place Of commonality or interests shared.

“He's different,” they would say. “Too quiet. A bit off.” He heard their comments but it didn't bother him. He knew what was truly important. “They must only learn,” he thought quietly in his head.

He remembered the gunshots in the war, His friends dying around him; his best friend Pleading as he bled to death in his arms, “Tell my son I love him.”

John knew life was brief. He valued the things That others took for granted; things like Peace; happiness; soft, puffy clouds in the sky, A quiet place to sleep at night. The hug of a child.

And he knew their indifference was not deliberate, It was just that they hadn't known what he had known: That life was a gift, it was not something to be taken for granted; And that its purpose was to give love to others;

Even if they didn't understand why it was being given, Or what they were supposed to do with it once they received it. Love's grand purpose would make itself known at just the right time, In just the right place with just the right people with absolute perfection.

And that, John knew, was all that really mattered.

For The Love Of A Cat

She was a cat. She was crafty and cunning, graceful, sublime. She knew her place and it was a place of lofty heights. She took no orders from anyone but the High Priestess of her temple.

There were times when she lay in the warmth of the sun, stretching her legs out before herself. She moved for noone. Unless a fly or bug caught her attention. Then she crept and crouched, her tail lurching forcefully back and forth. She knew what she liked, and she attended to it with great abandon.

For The Love Of A Cat Blog

There were times when love filled her and she leapt from her lofty height to grace the High Priestess with her presence, rubbing her soft, fluffy fur against the High Priestess' legs. Warm, fuzzy purrs emanated from deep within her belly as she hugged the High Priestess with much admiration. When she loved, she loved fiercely. But ultimately she grew tired of the affection and left to once again to attend to other interests.

During other moments, she became sociable and would follow the High Priestess around as she chatted happily in her native tongue. The High Priestess always seemed to understand although she spoke in another language. They had a communion between themselves, a communication that surpassed their language barrier. When the High Priestess pet her, all was well with the world and she was free once again to explore her terrain.

Through the years, she and the High Priestess shared many wonderful moments together talking, listening to the birds, snuggling and reading books. The days passed quickly and the years quietly passed.

She began to get old and she moved more slowly than before. Her voice became hoarse when she spoke to the High Priestess. But she noticed that the High Priestess was also going through changes. She thought nothing of it. Besides the obvious, things were the same.

The chatting continued, just a bit more slowly. The time spent reading and cuddling increased. It was a season of wonderful communion. The High Priestess seemed to have more time for her now. She spent less time in the lofty heights and more time on the floor in the sunlight, the warmth radiating through her velvety fur as the High Priestess attended to her duties. There was more time for sleep and less time for play.

Until one day when the High Priestess called for her. She was much too tired. She answered quietly but her voice was barely a whisper. She listened as the High Priestess searched through her domain, calling her name. Finally the High Priestess found her and her voice sounded strange. She knelt next to her cat, stroking her fur as teardrops fell to rest in her downy fluff. The cat was so tired that she peacefully purred and listened to the High Priestess' voice float further and further away. As the intense need to sleep overtook her, the cat graced the High Priestess with one final wave of her tail. She meowed a faint goodbye and shut her eyes, feeling the sadness of the High Priestess emanating through her heart;  a feeling she did not enjoy. She knew she would see the High Priestess again. She was only falling asleep.

And she resolved to wait patiently until that time came.  She only hoped that the High Priestess knew they would be reunited;  in a place where they both had the energy and vigor of the days when they had first met.  Then they would talk, play and read books together once again as she waited to jump down from her lofty height to greet her High Priestess anew.