Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leonardo and Me: Becoming a Life Change Artist

by Susan G. Parcheta at

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” ~ Beverly Sills
Get out your paintbrush, prop up the easel, and grab your color palette, sketchbook and pencils. Whether you know it or not, you’re an artist; it’s time to get into the studio — to draw, design, paint your way through your next life challenge.
What? You say you can’t change? Oh, but you must. All of life is change, and the sooner we learn to ride the waves, the smoother the changes become. What? You say you’re too old? You’ve lost everything? You’ve been passed over, your health is failing, the economy has taken its toll on you, you feel totally washed up?
So there you are, on the shore of some strange island. What scenery do you see? You don’t think you can paint your way back to normal? To a new life that pleases you? Think again.
Authors Fred Mandell and Kathleen Jordan help you navigate questions like these in their new book Becoming a Life Change Artist: 7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life.
Think like the great artists – DaVinci, Monet, C├ęzanne, Picasso. With knowledge, effort and diligence you can wield the paintbrush to your life canvas; you can follow their lead, through the essential dimensions of each life transition. You can explore your options in this territory of your creative dilemma, and with the artists’ tools in hand, you have the power to discover what’s meaningful, what works.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rx at the Box Office: The King's Speech

By Susan Parcheta 
at Feb. 9, 2011

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”  ~ Thucydides

Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter
“Take this movie, and call me in the morning.”
Someday there may be doctors who offer a dose of movies for good health.  Positive, uplifting films, I’m talking about.  Like Oscar-nominated The King’s Speech.
Yes, “take this movie, and call me in the morning.”  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a doctor tell you that?
Well, I’m not a doctor, but I am an advocate of good movies — films with a message, or anything that may be classified as spiritual cinema, i.e. cinema for the soul.
The King’s Speech tops that category for me this year. We finally saw the film; ironically it was when President Barack Obama was to give the State of the Union address. When you think of speeches in that context, a speech — how it’s delivered, what it relates, how it’s received – can be monumental in the grand scheme of history.
The beautiful acting of Colin Firth as Albert, Duke of York (King George VI), Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, and Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue, kept me glued to my seat. By the time we left the theatre, I was ready to gush over this film, to anyone who’d listen. I certainly saw Oscar mania on the horizon; the film is nominated for 12, including Best Picture.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

TUT, TUT: Murder (In Ice), He Wrote

Author Richard Baldwin showcases latest murder mystery at
The Bookman his hometown, Grand Haven, Michigan
By Susan Parcheta (on Jan 21, 2011)
Michigan mystery author Richard Baldwin will be saying, “TUT, TUT” to everyone now.
“Tip-Up-Town, Tip-Up-Town” is the destination location for Michigan lovers of ice fishing.  In this year 2011, The Houghton Lake community celebrates the 61stanniversary of the popular winter carnival, and Baldwin’s 11th mystery novel: Murder in Tip-Up-Town: A Cold Case.  
Baldwin, A.K.A. Detective Lou Searing, is in the festival spotlight as Grand Marshall for this year’s TUT Festival, which covers the weekends of Jan.  22-23 and 29-30, with parade at 10am  on Saturday, Jan. 22.
I was mildly surprised to find news of the event plastered all over the Internet — from Frommer’s travel page to the Los Angeles Metro Area News. Somehow I like the L.A. description the best, although mid-Mitt resort might need a bit of explanation to a non-Michigander: “The 61st anniversary of the landmark winter celebration in the mid-Mitt resort area on the largest inland lake in Michigan.” So, it’s a huge event in Michigan, and Baldwin had better be ready to sign a few autographs.
A resident of Haslett, MI, Baldwin churns out a new mystery novel each year, publishing through his own Buttonwood Press. There you’ll find this synopsis ofMurder in Tip-Up-Town:
“Baldwin’s 11th mystery outing takes you to the outdoorsmen’s paradise of Houghton Lake, Michigan and its famous annual ice-fishing celebration: ‘Tip-Up Town Festival.’  Detective Lou Searing and his assistant, Jack Kelly, are asked to investigate a true “cold case”  — Harry Moody’s mysterious 1985 disappearance during the Festival. Intrigue, interesting characters, and Michigan settings within a profanity- free-tale – all what you’ve come to expect from the pen of Richard Baldwin!!”

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Angel Whispers

January 5, 2011
By Susan G. Parcheta
Quirky Christmas Angel

Have you ever lost anything that you loved sentimentally, and that you thought you’d never get back, but you did? 

Have you ever loved anyone, and lost them, and they don’t come back, except in spirit?

The first week of January each year I think of Angel Whispers, and I’m reminded of the column I wrote the winter of 2005 for our local paper, Fowlerville News & Views. I was moved by the response to it at the time. I share it again here:

Angel Whispers

Soft as the whisper of angels, the New Year settled in gently this January…unlike last year when my elderly parents were in and out of hospitals…once even at the same time…and my father succumbed to cancer in a valiant fight at year’s end.
He was buried on Jan. 6, Epiphany, a year ago, on a bitter winter day. Fittingly, the cemetery’s name is North Star.

All during December, thoughts of angels whispering tantalized me. It began with a faded and yellowed recipe, clipped from a newspaper long ago, in a box we were going through with my mom.

The recipe title caught my eye as I sifted the box contents: Angel Whispers. Suddenly, I was mesmerized.  Why was it in there? Who cut it out and saved it? And had they ever made them?