Monday, March 31, 2008

It's in my name!

First of all I want to say how honored I am to join this amazing ‘experiment’. I feel so privileged to be involved with these talented artists and women whom I’m looking forward to know and be inspired by.

Who am I? My name is Felicia Ciupe Oland and I am 29 years old. My name, Felicia comes from Latin and it means ‘happy, happiness.’ Most of the people who know me would say the name fits me perfectly. I am indeed a happy person, optimistic and with a positive outlook in life. I do appreciate my name now more than I did when I was little and I would ask my parents why didn’t they give me a more ordinary name… Felicia was too unique and different for me at the time. Funny enough, as I grew up and matured, those words: unique, different and other synonyms like original, creative, unusual were my favorite in everything I did: from clothes, to taste in art, culture, movies, to hobbies, friends, lifestyle in general.

I feel that hope is in my name. And happiness is something that goes hand in hand with hope, it’s like a deal I get, one for two. If I am happy, I am hopeful and if I have hope, I am happy.
Thanks for my name, “Mami” and “Tati” (Romanian for mom and dad).


"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
~ G.K. Chesterton

I immediately thought of The Hope Experiment when I read this quote. Have a wonderful day, dear friends!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Building altars

I have been reading a lot from the Old Testament in the last ... year. There are a few things that really strike me and have spoken to me. One of them is building altars for God in things where He has come through.

As I understand, altars are a reminder of the good things that God has done.

I have one by my entrance door. Every time I look at it, I remember the couple of months where I was fighting every day to keep my self-esteem up and not let the "no's" from rejection letters while looking for a job, get me down. It's a verse from Jeremiah 29:11 -

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

It was a dark period but I got through it. Somehow. I felt like I was in a battle inside my mind every day. I felt attacked from all kinds of angles but I got through it and it didn't break me. Not because I was strong but because I was holding on to my faith in God with all my might. And it got me through and brought me to a place where I am today - with a great job and so many dreams fulfilled and re-assurance that He is worth trusting in.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Arts & Crafts

All of us here at the Hope Experiment love arts and crafts in some form or another. It's such a great way to express how you're feeling.

I can get really down sometimes, wishing I had more talent, wishing I was more like this or that artist.

I often wish I had more time or money to invest in arts and crafts.

But when I stop and think about it, I am SO BLESSED! I have sooo many art supplies! I have as much time as everyone else - 24 hours every day! I have books and other resources to teach and inspire me!

I'm so thankful for what I've been given and hopeful that I will keep growing as an artist!

This painting is something I did a year or so ago. I was just goofing around but was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. I've always loved to draw/paint trees, especially old, withered ones. I added the new leaves as a symbol of growth, calm after the storm, and also thought about the quote, "the walking wounded become the wounded healers."

I've really been into quotes lately. I've found much peace, hope and inspiration in them. I added the Hemingway quote to this painting. The quote has been very comforting to me and I thought it matched the painting perfectly!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Peace of Late Afternoon

Like Esther, I adore the cheering effects of the sun. There are only two south facing windows in our house, but I try to remember to catch the late afternoon sun when its calming rays make their appearance behind these windows. The light is so beautiful at this time of day; its effects so perfectly luminous. It also brings a small bit of peace when I see it, and adds even more layers to my decades' worth of memories of admiring the beauty of the late day sun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Prayer is one thing I am always thankful for. Even when I am at the lowest points of my life, even when I feel emotionally and physically drained, prayer never fails to lift me up and to comfort me. Just to know my heavenly father is just a few words away, to know there's nothing too big or too little for him to handle, to know he cares about me, soothes my soul. Sometimes a desperate prayer is the most optimistic thought I can manage - but I know that I'm never worse off after I prayed.
And one other thing I love about prayer: It connects you with others on such a profound deep level. To become one before God is simply amazing!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Even though I spend on average about 4 hours a day getting to and from the work. Sometimes I am squished between 3 big men on a train, or I plant one on my knees in the middle of the street because I tripped and I get up at 5:30 am, I LOVE having a job. I am so thankful for being able to go to WORK. It's such a blessing. And even the commute in itself is a blessing - it could be so much worse! Imagine if I had to drive!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008



I've always been fascinated by history. My father has a passion for archeology so I got into it at a young age. What I love about history is that it allows me to understand the world better - on a large and a small scale. Through history I can see why cultures and country became what they are now, I can discover how events and developments are intertwined, why society reacts in a certain way to certain things. The same is also true for my own little world. Knowing my family history helps me understand where my parents, where I come from.
I am thankful for my roots and for being rooted in something larger, for having my own place and history in this world.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seeing New Ecosystems

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not terribly fond of living in the South, particularly from the hot months of April - November, but there are beautiful things here that I'll never see anywhere else. The azaleas every spring are a delight; Spanish moss hanging from the huge oaks is an interesting treat. It's been a good learning experience to live in different parts of the US and observe how different flowers and plants mark the change of seasons in each place.


I have some wonderful ones!! Thank you!!

Friday, March 7, 2008


No, not that kind of sewing!!! But God holding me together at the seams! Sometimes life gets quite hard. I'm sure you all can relate. I'm so thankful God is with me during those times!!!

Sorry, the video for this isn't much to look at, but listen to the lyrics! They're wonderful!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spring Weather!

Yesterday was a [relatively] nice day in my part of the country (United States). It's been a long, cold, and snowy winter and yesterday was in the 40's! It felt like spring! I didn't wear a coat for much of the day!

We were forcasted to get several inches of snow last night, then it changed to just one inch. When I woke up this morning there was NO SNOW! And the sun is out!

This really lifts my spirits! I'm so thankful for the weather shift! For the coming of Spring! For sunny days!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cheap phone rates

... because they allow you to keep in touch with your friends! I had two wonderful chats on the phone with two longtime friends (one on another continent) and I am so thankful for being able to keep in touch this way. Afterwards I feel loved, revived and full of energy.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Library Book Sale

It's been several years since I've gone to a library book sale. In fact, I haven't gone to any at all since we moved to this state over two years ago. I'm usually too lazy to get up early enough on Saturday mornings to get in line at 8:30 a.m. for the local library sale, but today I did it, in spite of a bad cold and grogginess from the Nyquil - all because a friend asked me to come and help her pick out some fiction since she is not a native speaker of English. I'm so glad I did! I was energized by the thrill of bargain hunting and came home with 17 books for a price you'd pay for one new paperback in a bookstore. Some old favorites, and some that may become new favorites. Of course, I was also blessed by the chance to have coffee with my friend before she returns to her native country for two months. Some things are worth getting up for early on a Saturday morning!