When it Seems Like a Power Struggle with your Child

Kitty gets reassurance from her Mama!

Kitty gets reassurance from her Mama!

When it seems like a power struggle…

do a “Scribble Chase”…Read my blog on Catholic Mom. Click on the red above. This is a fun activity and can be very insightful! And you will love scribbling!

The Real Truth about Real Fun

By Judith Costello, Unwind Studio

Against the Sky

Against the Sky

Katende Andrew is a seminarian from Uganda who is starting a foundation to help impoverished and neglected children get an education. He’s the “St. Don Bosco” for poor children in his country!  Don Bosco gathered up orphan children off the streets of Italy (1818-1888). He found a way to help them learn and flourish without being a harsh task master. Instead, he made his students laugh even in difficult circumstances and in spite of the meager offerings he could provide for them. They learned to have great fun together.

That “Don Bosco style” is needed for our young people, not only in Uganda, but around the world today! The saint once said, “Enjoy yourselves as much as you like, if only you keep away from sin.” But in today’s world fun seems to equal sin among young people. When Katende posted this quote on Facebook, a young person wrote, “How can you enjoy yourself as much as possible without sinning? Let me say when it comes to lots of food, partying and you can mention the rest (of the things that are ‘fun’)?”

From children in high school to young people in college, the reports of sin/fun are increasingly exponentially to include drinking to “get smashed”, various new drugs, anonymous sex, serial partners and experimentation of many kinds.

Somehow we need to wake people up: This is not fun!!  Such things lead to illness, STDs, severe depression, abortion, and hopelessness. That equates to death and destruction not fun and happiness.

The refreshing beauty of how Don Bosco lived and taught is that he knew what real happiness is all about. There is truth that can be known and the truth is: real happiness and enjoyment only comes from being physically, mentally and spiritually challenged, AND from relating to others in more than a superficial, “selfie/text me” way.

Young people need to learn this. And they need to know that if they’ve been confused and already made really bad choices, they can start now to turn that around. Make better choices. Find out what is real. God is waiting to offer help!

So here’s a short list of Real Fun Things. Let’s keep adding and adding. I’d like to paper a wall with the truth about fun!! How long can the list be?

Play soccer, football, basketball, baseball. The physical body needs a workout!

Read a classic novel. (Avoid the modern, or at least the trashy modern stuff.)

Visit a Church and spend over 20 minutes in prayer! Really once you start the time will fly.

Sit at a coffee shop and talk through the night. Solve the world’s problems. Come up with an end to poverty. Come up with a solution to cancer or homelessness.

Do an art project! Find a photo from your life. Study it. Then paint it!

Do an art project with friends. Bring out a piece of canvas, markers and paint. Ask everyone to add something. Let the laughter begin.

Tell jokes.

Play charades.

Go for a drive just to look at the sky. Find beauty everywhere.

Put your head on a friend’s belly. When they laugh, you’ll laugh!

Watch children. Do what they do.

Watch animals. Do what they do. (Hint: they sleep a lot. But when they’re awake, they are very aware of everything.)

Dress up in fun clothes. Create new clothes. Don’t be afraid….cut that old tee-shirt.

Watch the stars. Count them.

Go to bed alone…enjoy the feel of the sheets. Say prayers of gratitude.

Dance the night away…(just avoid the hyper-sexualized modern dancing.) Try Jewish folk dance or polka or Two-Step.

Play a kazoo!

Enjoy music. Go to a special concert (where the artists don’t cuss.)

Go somewhere new. Smile at everyone. Strike up conversation with strangers.


Have fun. Avoid sin. Find beauty.  Yes…That all goes together.

Now add to the list.

They say that before he died Don Bosco said, Tell the boys I’ll see them all in Paradise.” He was raising saints for the wonders of eternity.

The site by Katende Andrew is http://www.donboscochildrenuganda.org.


HauteHopes Award: Feb. 21, 2015

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for eleven women entrepreneurs ranging in age from 18 to 60. Their experiences culminated in the most elegant affair New Mexico has seen in a long time at the Tamaya Resort HauteHopes Gala on Feb. 21!

The finalists were namedconfetti in early February and met three times to prepare to pitch their business ideas at the Awards Gala. Initially, Hautepreneurs creators, Jessica Eaves Mathews and Lisa Abeyta, envisioned offering scholarship/mentoring help to three finalists. As the night wore on and donations were tallied it became evident that it was possible to award six as the result of the amazing generosity of community donors! All of the eleven pitches, along with the exhibit displays of the women entrepreneurs showcased talent, vision, dedication and hard work.

“We have become like family over these past weeks,” says Judith Costello, one of the scholarship winners. “Women are like that…we know how to support each other.  I very much appreciate the opportunities that now lie ahead of me! Thank you to all for supporting us in my business. It is a blessing and the Gala was truly magical…complete with a confetti cannon! Wow.”

What is Unwind Studio?

Unwind Studio offers Art Parties for a unique experience in creating. Non-artists can come to enjoy the process of working with paint, handmade paper, corn husks and more. The vision of Unwind Studio is to be the place “Where Art Relieves Stress.”

Judith Costello has over 30 years of experience in the arts. She started out as an art therapist and worked with several dying children who used art to image life beyond their physical bodies. One boy drew teddy bears on everything as an expression of his inner self. Another girl drew butterflies. The teddy bear artist died on Independence Day.

Judith has exhibited her artwork in galleries, at craft show and in print. She has written about the healing properties of art for children and adults alike. She knows it and has lived it!

Currently she is negotiating with restaurants in the East Mountains to offer the Art Parties. A restaurant setting will offer the fun of sipping on a glass of wine while creating.

Judith can also “bring the party to your group.”  Two churches in Albuquerque have requested Sacred Art Experiences. These will begin in late March or April.

Stay tuned. More news coming soon.

The Wisdom of Animals: Capture it in Art

Note: I have been the craft columnist for New Mexico Kids magazine since 2003! This is a column I wrote in 2009. In honor of dear friends who have recently lost their animal companions, I share this with all of you.  

Look for updates on Unwind Studio’s Art Parties coming soon!!! Come and create with me! I have lots to share and I can guide you through the process. No experience required! Really! –Judith Costello 

cat effectsbanner stencil art Animal Silhouette The craft activity for this month is to surround ourselves with animal images and animal wisdom. First we’ll make stencils and then use them as room decorations and mobiles. You can also write on the artwork little reminders about the lessons that come from animals.

Animals are God’s beautiful creatures. They often remind us of things we forget…I think that’s why they are here. Some of the qualities of our animal friends are listed here:

  • Cats see through the dark. They are independent and tough, yet cuddly. They represent overcoming hardship.
  • Eagles are our national symbol. In the majestic way they soar, eagles remind us to dream. Let your spirit rise!!!
  • Chickens are not really “chicken.” They live in flocks, protect their young, and maintain a sense of order. Chickens represent family life.
  • Horses are powerful and graceful. They represent a balance of work and play.
  • Dogs are loyal and courageous. They remind us to be people of integrity.

In this stencil activity you can enlarge the samples here or draw your own animal silhouettes onto cardstock. Then cut out the animal using a sharp blade. Stencil artwork uses both pieces—the sheet with the hole in it and the animal cutout. Try a practice round first to plan a pattern repeating animal shapes. Then try this:

1)  Make a banner to hang in a child’s room or on a doorway. Line the stencil up and tape it to a piece of fabric. Use crayons and make strokes going from the cardboard into the hole about one inch depending on size. Make strokes parallel. Use different colors. Keep going all around the shape. When you lift the stencil the animal will be there! Use a sponge with paint on it to dab color on the inside of the animal. Repeat using different colors.

2)  On the same banner, try using the reverse image as well. Place the cardstock of the animal, rather than the sheet with the hole in it, on the fabric. Now use your strokes of crayon, going from the inside of the animal out to the fabric. This can make it look like the animal is radiating light! Again use paint or marker lines to complete the image.

3)  After the banner is filled with animals, write inspirational words flowing between the images. (See illustrations.)

4) Now you can use the animal cutouts to make mobiles. Use three to four cutouts of the same animal, putting one on top of the other. Glue them together to make a pad. . Make them colorful on both sides using crayon and paint. After they are dry, poke holes in the top, add string and hang them from the ceiling near your banner.