Darling Blind Pug, a Therapy Dog, Featured in New Children’s Book

In childhood, I spent hours drawing. I drew while glued to a wooden bench, waiting for my mother to finish her last cigarette, her last beer, her last conversation with the people straddled on the tall stools beside her. Sometimes I waited all day and late into the night.

Those all day beer marathons gave me the opportunity to create trees and animals with a pencil and whatever blank paper I could find.

God gave me the ability to draw and the grace to totally forgive my mother and to demonstrate His unconditional, steadfast love to her. She’s no longer here and I sincerely miss her.

Now more than 30 years later, I’ve picked up my pencils again to create a book that I believe can help young children. Here’s one of the first sketches for Xander the Wonder Pug, a children’s book featuring Xander, a therapy dog who lives and works in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

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Next steps…begin painting with Prismacolors.

Prismacolors! Yikes.

My number one challenge so far is learning how to use Prismacolors. Prismacolors are wax based pencils with a high color saturation, meaning they are blendable and the colors are rich.

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The video tutorials that I’ve watched make it look easy peasy. So far, I’ve watched several of the pros whip out realistic paintings like it’s a walk in the park. Per their instructions, I’ve followed along and quickly learned that painting with pencils is not without challenges. Trust me, my practice color pencil drawings (also called paintings) barely resemble the ones in the “How to” videos.

Failure is a part of learning. I’m discovering what works for me and what doesn’t work for Prismacolors. They chip, I learned. And smear. And they have no idea of the concept of grace. There’s no forgiveness. One wrongly applied color can ruin twenty hours of work.

Speaking from experience, failures have been a big part of making progress with my drawings and paintings. I’ll share a failure along with the painting that I completely redid as an example in my next post.

Why don’t you follow along? I’ll share the project in various stages and maybe my process will inspire you to launch into your own creativity.

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Sketch #1 of Xander and a little girl he visited in the hospital who is now well.

Five Steps to Help You Achieve Your Dream

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My new book, JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness was a three-and-a-half year journey. Writing is a joyous experience for me, but it isn’t something I do effortlessly. In fact, I compare writing a book to climbing a perilous mountain; both require preparation, tremendous perseverance, and fortitude.

During the “JoyRide” expedition, I was faced with brain draining and emotionally exhausting emergencies, numerous urgent distractions, and the typical self-doubt that belittles an artist’s work. Any of these could’ve sabotaged the project’s completion.

So, how do you reach a goal when it appears that there are hindrances in the way?

Here are five steps that helped me:

1. Pray. Most everyday that I worked on JoyRide, I began with prayer.

2. Evaluate why you are doing what you are doing. Is it worth the effort? In my situation, I wanted to write JoyRide to encourage those who are faced with great difficulties. Helping people became the purpose behind the thousands of hours of writing; this purpose kept me directed.

3. Write down two things: What you want to accomplish and your purpose. Everyone who does anything that’s beyond average has times of self-doubt. I call that critical voice, the nag in the attic. When the old nag starts criticizing your plans or work, tell her to shut-up. Because you wrote down your goals and purpose, you can look at them for reassurance and focus, and since your purpose is worth the effort, you can dismiss the nag.

4. Everyday, do something which will lead you toward your goal. Writers do their best writing during creative flows. On those days when creativity wasn’t happening for me, I read memoirs and studied topics within the field of writing. The point is, don’t stagnate.

5. Take one step at a time. Little steps, everyday, cover a great distance. When distractions occur, refocus as soon as possible and take another step. A book is written this way, first one word, then the next, and the next, etc. Achieving your goal is done in much the same way. You must begin before you can finish.

Wishing you much success and happiness always,

Pamela

http://www.pamelakoefoed.com

http://www.joyridebook.com

Mucles like an Ant

Today I got up eager to begin rewriting the epilogue of my new book, JoyRide. I wrote until I was called away from the writing. When I returned, I found that all the work that I put into the revised epilogue had disappeared. I searched the computer’s files, thinking it may have gotten misplaced. (Computers do the darndest things, sometimes.) But it wasn’t anywhere. Three hours of writing had vanished.

Once, I watched an ant as it moved a dead moth toward its hole in the ground. The moth was easily twenty times larger than the tiny fella but I don’t think the ant knew it. He pushed the moth until he encountered a rock in the way, then he climbed onto the rock and heaved the moth up and over the barrier.

If  we do not give up, we cannot lose.

An Insurmountable Dream

Ever dream of doing something which seemed insurmountable? I’ve had lots of  them. As a matter of fact, for years I wished to touch hearts through writing. But I had a personal mountain to overcome.

Over thirty years ago, I tested positive as learning disabled. This followed flunking kindergarten and the efforts of my then bug-eyed teacher to coerce me into using my right hand instead of my left. After several weeks of numerous, unsuccessful, attempts to train me to be a right handed person, one day my grey haired teacher snapped.

“You will not!”…Her jaw quivered and her pale complexion turned a ruddy red…“write with your left hand!” Frustrated by my obvious ineptness and inability to learn, she spat. “Left handedness is a sign of retardation.” My bottom lip trembled as I switched the fat pencil to my right hand and held it awkwardly.

Two years later, one breezy fall morning, my second grade teacher led me to a room on the other side of the large campus. She opened the special education door and told me I would need to come here each day. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stay with my class and thought I had committed a crime. I couldn’t read or write and I still used my left hand. I hung my humiliated head. An aide showed me to my desk and I sat there with my new reader. I looked around the classroom and studied the various children and their obvious physical needs.

My gosh! What’s wrong with me? I don’t have crossed eyes or a problem walking.

Across the room, the classroom door nested in a wall of windows which overlooked the black top playground. While I waited for instruction, a revelation settled on me and I wanted to rush out the door and run home.

I use my left hand. I cast my ashamed eyes down at the grey blue book in my hands. The yellow, meaningless, letters formed an unknown title to me. I’m a retard. A retard!

Roll the camera forward to my fortieth year. It was a season of great personal accomplishment. In fact, I did a very un-retarded thing…I wrote a book. What does it take to achieve a personal dream of any kind? For me, I had to ignore my self critic (she’s very bossy and undermines creativity), and defy the memory of my kindergarten teacher’s hurtful words. I also looked to God for help with what seemed to me an insurmountable mountain to climb and then I simply wrote.

The day I held in my hands the first copy of Angels Appearing, I nearly laughed with the rare joy I experienced. With God’s help, I had climbed Mount Everest, in a matter of speaking, and beat personal odds. I pushed through the challenges which loomed before me and achieved the desire in my heart to touch others through writing.

That achievement replaced what my bug eyed teacher told me. I wasn’t retarded; nothing’s wrong with my intelligence, and I learned something valuable…with God, dreams do come true.

Angels Appearing sold 1,000 copies in a short period of time. I shook my head in amazement and shouted a praise to the Lord. I’m currently working on my second book. It’s loaded with suspense and action, forgiving and overcoming, sorrow, love beyond reason, and great joy. I can’t wait until it’s published, that’ll be like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. ©

Pamela Koefoed

To contact Pamela write to: advancingmail@yahoo.com

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Photo by © Rcaucino | Dreamstime.com