Merry Christmas!

I pray you all have an amazing day with family and friends honoring Christ with the myriad of traditions that each family celebrates. I am blessed to be hanging with family today, although in some respects it is difficult as we remember and greatly miss those family members no longer here with us. However, and wherever your Christmas is celebrated, I pray a special blessing for you.

What a crazy couple of weeks. There are a tremendous number of things going on. This newsletter will be a tad longer than most because I have a few things to chat about. I have listed the categories so you can scroll to the header that might interest you. I encourage you to take a few minutes, grab your coffee, tea or smoothie and enjoy a part or all of this weeks newsletter. A nice break from what can be a stressful day.

From the Studio

DAGR Magazine Change

Want to Be Featured in my Book? Found Poetry Call for Entries

Gift Of the Magi

A Christmas Gift For You-A Short Course on Focus

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Playtime in the studio! Alcohol inks and yupo paper.

From the Studio

     From the studio this week I thought I would share a few results from a play session. I have talked about play fairly often in my newsletter and on the blog. With play, it is focused on experimentation and alchemy and not really looking to create anything specific or even pretty for that matter. It is much like brainstorming, anything goes, no squashing ideas or negative thought process. Symbiosis is the lead as one idea morphs into another, the only requirement is that you create. Being off for a few days meant I had the opportunity to schedule a bit more studio time than normal. One of the courses I am going through is created by one of my friends and mentors, Pam Caughy's, called

Art and Success. Pam is an incredible artist, an amazing teacher and more than all of that, an incredible human being. I am going through her course again with a more focused and attentive purpose. My play session I decided to use a prompt, strata. I chose to play with alcohol inks and to try various mark making techniques with tools and in ways I had not tried before. It was fun! I will use the pieces to create some small abstract resin pieces. Included here is and example, there are more on the blog and on my youtube channel.

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A low res example of alcohol ink on yupo that will be used in a resin project in a week or so.

Digital Art Goes Rogue Magazine Change

     I am considering a change with the Digital Art Goes Rogue magazine. It is a struggle. It takes a tremendous amount of time and according to stats not that many people actually open it up and read it. Usually around half of the people on my list open the email and read it but a very small percentage follow the magazine link to read it on the website. I love to write, if I were not trying to put together a magazine I could write for the blog at least a few times a week. I would like your feedback and comments regarding the three possible scenarios. 1-continue publishing the magazine once a month as it is. 2-Just add the magazine content to the weekly newsletter, that could mean the newsletter is 3 to 4 pages. 3-Keep the newsletter the same, drop the one time a monthly magazine and just add that content to the blog. Would you take this one question survey? The page also has a comment box, I would love to hear from you.

Found Poetry Call for Entries

     I am finishing up a book on found poetry and illustrations and thought it would be awesome to include a chapter curated with student work as well as readers of the newsletter. If you are interested in creating a found poem and illustrating it for publication in this book, check out the guidelines on my website.

     Former students, I encourage you to put something together for this, especially if you are a busy professional now or into your college career. I have found that purpose driven creativity, communing with the Holy Spirit for creative ventures, can balance ones day. It would be so awesome to feature you in this book!

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An example of one type of found poetry. I need yours for my book.

Art History Piece: Gift of the Magi

     As you all know I love art history, not just visual art but the arts in general. While I was researching for another project I found this little gem that I remember from when I was a kid. The story I remember anyway, I am not sure where I heard it originally but I was stoked when I saw it again and decided I would like to share it with all of you. The story is from a well know writer from the early 20th century, O. Henry.
     O. Henry was the pen name adopted by William Sydney Porter. Porter began writing in the late 1880s but applied himself to it seriously in 1898, when he was jailed for embezzling from a bank in Austin, Texas. Porter, who came from a poor family in North Carolina, was married and had a daughter. He fled to Honduras to avoid imprisonment but returned to the U.S. when his wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He spent three years in jail and wrote tales of adventure, some set in Honduras, to support his daughter, Margaret. After his release, he moved to New York and was hired by New York World to write one story a week. He kept the job from 1903 to 1906.
     In 1904, his first story collection, Cabbages and Kings, was published. Additional collections appeared in 1906 and 1907, and two collections a year were published from 1908 until his death, in 1910. He specialized in closely observed tales of everyday people, often ending with an unexpected twist. Despite the enormous popularity of the nearly 300 stories he published, he led a difficult life, struggling with financial problems and alcoholism until his death.
O. Henry’s second short story collection, The Four Million, is published. The collection includes one of his most beloved stories, "The Gift of the Magi," about a poor but devoted couple who each sacrifice their most valuable possession to buy a gift for the other. That story follows.

Four Milliom O Henry


by O. Henry

      One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

      There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So, Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
      While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

     In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

       The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

      Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
       There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

     Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. 

     Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

      On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

      Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
      "Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
      "I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
       Down rippled the brown cascade.
       "Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand.
       "Give it to me quick," said Della.

1920s Beautiful Long Haired Women Selling Her Hair

      Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch.

     As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

     When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task. Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"  

     At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

      The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves. Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

     Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
     "Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
       "You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
      "Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
     Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
     "You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
     Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

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     Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
     White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
     For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
     But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
     "Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."
      Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
     "Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."
     The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here, I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

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A Gift of the Magi

A Christmas Gift For You-A Short Course on Focus

I have uploaded a Christmas gift for you onto Google classroom. I am not really a fan of Google but I didn't want my awesome assistant to work over the last few days so this is the only way I can do it right now. It will be available on the blog in a few days. This is a short course from a video on hyperfocus. It includes an interactive video, glossary, concept cards, quiz, drag the word, flashcards and a summary. It is built for adult education, working through the various parts of the course is so much more powerful for learning and retention than just watching the video on youtube.

The Google classroom invite is

If you don't want to hassle with Google classroom and setting up the free account there you can wait a few days and find it on the blog at
It is password protected. The password is: GODLOVESYOU.

That is all I have for you this week. See you next week. Merry Christmas!


PS-Next week I have a special gift for you. We will also cover the release of

Mid Journey 6.0. Wow, some incredible changes and some things that don't work so well. Stay tuned.