Who Is Anastasia?

My photo
New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear - regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how junky it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ... Oh, the two pictures below are NOT of my garden, although the one with the pink French doors looks very much like the backyard I grew up with. I am searching for pictures of that wonderful place and will post soon.

JEWELS OF MY SOUL

JEWELS OF MY SOUL
My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

December 29, 2015

My Final Article of 2015 - Keep Walking!

Where to begin? On this Third Day of Christmas, while me three French hens are a-stewin', I must take some time to reflect upon what's next for me on life's road. No, I'm not going to make or discuss New Year's resolutions, as I don't believe in them. Short, attainable goals are fine. But resolving to do this or that in a world where we promises are not guaranteed, is fruitless, and sets us up for added pressure and stress. However, we do have control over our motivation to get to our destiny.

If you know me well, or at least keep up with me on social media, you will know my mantra; Keep Walking! This can mean a lot of things to different people. When I first started randomly posting these two simple words on Facebook and Twitter, I would include an image of a pair of shoes – often very beautiful, elaborate shoes in order to get one's attention. However, most people were more interested in the shoes (“where can I buy them?”) than the humble little message. Keep Walking. So, I stopped the shoe pictures, and folks stopped “liking” the posts. They didn't get it. It merely means Keep Walking (towards your destiny).

Before you can keep walking, you must know where you want your life to go. I was told to reach for the moon, because if you fail, you'll still land among the stars. The idea is to keep it moving, no matter how many obstacles, pain, detours and confusion may be on your life's road. If we stand still, and keep looking back at our failures, heartaches and losses, we will never see the gifts ahead of us. We will never know the tiny blessings that add to the richness of our life. We will have missed our bus, and thus, have to keep walking anyway.

I could look back and dwell upon the tragedies on my road this year; the loss of my mother; the trauma of financial breakdown; the humbling things I had to do in order to survive; the inability to manage my life and take care of basic responsibilities most of us take for granted, like, keeping utilities on or maintaining a running car; and ultimately, a life threatening illness I will continue to manage the rest of my life. I could; but, why? I'm not the only one who has lost a loved one this year, became destitute or sick. There are always those who have it worse than others, and some worse than them.

In September, I wrote about how I had found the love of my life and how vibrant the future looked. What I did not write about in October, was how quickly that love changed to revelations of a hopeless situation. Oddly enough, while it was painful, it was not excruciating. And, despite it all, my gratitude for 10 weeks of happiness I would not have had otherwise, over powered my disappointment. I chose to get up and keep walking.

It's true, when you are dying, your life does pass before your eyes. In my case, while I was in the hospital, mine passed before me in an endless parade of visions and memories. My hardships were the last thing on my mind. Instead, I saw the wonderful blessings, experiences and opportunities that I was granted this year.

My mother was gone, but she left me a legacy of laughter – she was one of the funniest people I ever knew. She taught me to stop and think clearly, and that it was better to look towards the future and be prepared; rather than look back with regrets. She taught me to forgive, even if forgetting is harder. She taught me to poach an age when I was 56, and how to tell the difference between good gin and bad. She taught me to never give up my faith, and to NEVER let anyone ever walk on me or block my view. She taught me to keep walking.

While I worried about how I would make ends meet, my creativity began to blossom, and a new passion for my life long love of art bloomed once more. I quickly learned how to redirect this passion into a possible way to generate income. But, more importantly, other people's love and appreciation for my painting validated me as an artist, but also my worth as a person. Having my paintings shown on television was one thing. But what touched my heart was all of my friends – and people I didn't even know – who cheered me on and encouraged me – to keep walking.

Through these steps on my life's road, I was discovered by those in a larger art community, who gave me the opportunity to exhibit with them throughout Indianapolis, and more recently in other larger cities. And, as my friend and mentor, Salkis Re (a California artist) told me, my tribe will find me. But, I also have to put forth the effort to find them. So, I keep walking.

Also, the gift of writing – to share my feelings and experiences with you here – have led to the publication of my new book; something I had put off for years.

My health threw me for a loop. I still have haunting feelings about how close to death I actually was – even though I did not feel I was in such danger at the time. Because I felt the power of my God and my ancestors with me. They kept telling me to fight, take control of my health – learn about my illness and grab it by it's mane, and get the heck back on track. I saved myself because I kept walking.

If we look upon our disabilities, we will never see our strengths or growth. I know I will have moments of sadness and fear throughout the coming year(s); we ALL will. But, if we hold onto the good stuff – it's in there, if you look close – it will become easier and we will become stronger.

A friend lost an infant child many years ago. She never got over that, and asked me recently why God took her baby. I don't know the answer to that. Maybe he saved that child from years of unspeakable pain and suffering. Did you lose the job you had for 15 years? How else would you have been able to walk into the career of your dreams that you now have, had you not been freed from your limitations? Was your car towed while you ran into the dry cleaners? Had it not been, perhaps you would have been involved in that fatal car accident two blocks away 10 minutes later. We don't know these things. It's not for us to know. But it is our responsibility to KEEP WALKING towards our destiny – toward 2016 – and all the riches and blessings to come. Bad things happen to all of us; and so do good things. Cherish those things and those people around you. It's been said many times before that yesterday has passed, but today is a gift; that's why it's called The Present.


Please, keep walking.

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips