Who Is Anastasia?

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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 visual folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown and/or painted 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 overgrown and wild 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 ...


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

February 25, 2017

Being Thankful - It's Not That Hard

And so, today is the first Sunday in Advent – or, the beginning of the Advent Season, which runs until Christmas Eve. And then, we have the 12 Days of Christmas, which begin on Christmas Day through Epiphany on January 6. Complicated? Not at all. If you put it in the context of what it is, and not what it has become. In the merchandising world, the Christmas season trumps everything from Labor Day on, running right over Advent, and reluctantly leaving on Christmas night so the stores can start stocking their Valentine's Day cards.

But to us Christians, the Advent Season was meant to be a profound time that prepared us for the miracles of Christmas. It was meant to be used as a simple time to reflect, wait and breathe in the peace and warmth that our bodies, souls and minds so crave. In a way, this peaceful time helps us to replenish ourselves after a year of stress, conflict, broken promises, pain, fears, anger and challenges. At least, ideally that's what it should be. And, this year, more than any other in our history thus far – we need to – as a people; not just Christians – but all of us, breathe in the peace and let go of the toxic negativity we have allowed into our hearts, our homes and frequently spills out of our mouths.

We have much to be thankful for … not what we have wished for or wanted; not for what we have or have gained; not even for healing. But, instead, we need to learn to be thankful for what we've gone through and have survived. The trials that were put before us – we got through them, and we're here … with beating pulses and a purpose. There is still time to set our hearts right – to love and be loved in return – and to do unto others the way we all deserve to be treated and cared for.

Last week, I was challenged by a friend to be verbally silent for a minimum of 24 hours. Miraculously, I completed the challenge, which was peaceful, enjoyable and awakened some things within me that have overslept way too long. Prior to the start of me keeping my mouth shut for a day, I had a beautiful conversation with a wonderful woman I have not seen since I was a young child. We connected on social media a few months ago, but this was the first time I called her on the phone. I could hear my mother's voice urging me to call and reach out to this remarkable woman.

The lady and my mother met in college in the 1940s, and were good friends until my mother's passage last year. But I called her, and we chatted for a good hour. This woman, who is now 90 years of age, is sharp and vibrant, active in the arts and her community, as she always has been. At this time, she is in the process of writing three books, and recently received the Key to her City for all of her years of dedication to keeping our history and culture alive, while teaching young women and men to prepare themselves for the world. She kept telling me she wanted to see me, and that she'd be there for me – as another mother, should I feel that need – but, ultimately as my friend. This has become the norm for me lately. I've found myself being friends with my late mother's peers and associates, and it has been wonderful. So, here is another beautiful soul placed in my life to help fill a tender void.

New beginnings are here for us to make the most of. During this Advent season, regardless of your faith, use this time to replenish your spirit, your heart and the goodness you brought on this earth with you. Breathe in the peace and warmth of this season. And, exhale the negativity, fears and hate that may have crept in when you weren't looking. Be grateful for the here and now. And above all, be kind to one another.

First published by The Courier-Times in November 2016

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I would love to hear from you regarding this post. Please feel free to leave your comments. All the best, Anastasia a/k/a Stacey

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