The Tinsel Tangle – Christmas Truths #2


More Stress

There really is barely any other time of the year that can engender such high levels of stress among parents and families as Christmas.  Why is that?  It’s the same reason stress rears its ugly head at any other time, expectations of perfection.  The tree needs to be perfect, the food, the presents, the living arrangements, the activities, the conversation, the travel plans, and more.  The perceived need for perfection is the recipe for stress.

Less Stress

Then why do certain families not have the same level of stress as others at Christmas time? It certainly isn’t that they decorate less or plan less or do less. It’s because they have all those activities in their proper place, as secondary to love. Loving their family and friends is what drives them, not presenting perfection to them.  

What is most important

That doesn’t mean you aren’t showing love by making a beautiful Christmas experience for them. Working hard to make it all be fantastic is great. What isn’t great is thinking that if everything isn’t perfect you have failed.  Because failure comes from your family walking away from Christmas feeling stressed themselves.  Success comes from them feeling loved.

Focus on that and you won’t let Christmas get your tinsel in a tangle.


Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote was contributed by @Lornaknits on Periscope for our monthly drawing giveaway. The Best Christmas Quote was this month and this one got the most votes.  Congrats Lorna!



Is Everything Beautiful? – Beauty #5




Do you believe this? It can be confusing, can’t it. As an artist I like to think I have a broad yet discerning eye for beauty. I think many things are beautiful. Many people, many objects, many places. But I don’t think everything is beautiful.

But I also know that what I find beautiful is not what everyone does. And what I find ugly someone finds beautiful.  All you have to do is look at style trends in clothing and makeup for women to see how different the idea of beauty can be around the world. The same is true of music. Think of how dissonant music from other lands sometimes sounds to your ear. Then realize that same music is heard as sublime in the country of origin.

There is the famous story of Tchaikovsky’s first playing of the ‘Rite of Spring’ ballet. It was thought of as so terrible it provoked an actual riot in Paris, 1913 at it’s debut.  You can read the story about it here.  But when it was played a year later it was met with tremendous applause. Why the radical change in response? Because the dissonance heard the first night, so screeching and grating, was no longer heard the same way a year later. The listeners were able to hear the rhythms, the harmonies, the structure the second time around.  The were able to hear the beauty.

And so, while as an artist I have my ideas of beauty, I also am wise enough to know that just because I don’t think something is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s not. It just isn’t to me.

Not Everything?

So, The question should be asked, if everything is beautiful, how can something not be? My take on it is not that something isn’t beautiful. It’s that it is more than just beautiful. Beauty is but one filter through which we see the world.  We also have filters of love and hate, of statistics and science. We have filters of history and time, of biology and spirit.  In other words, while everything is beautiful, it is not all it is.  Everything is other things as well.


What examples can you think of that show something ugly eventually becoming something seen as beautiful? What or who do you think is beautiful?  What else are they?


Drawing & commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote is Anonymous


The Habits of Far


Near is Easy

Have you ever started something and not finished it? Of course you have. We all have. Granted, some more than others. I am probably in the middle of the pack. I finish a lot but then again there is plenty I don’t finish.  Most of what I don’t finish doesn’t ever get beyond the idea stage. If you are like me, even a little bit, the enthusiasm hits hard but implementation fails as the enthusiasm wanes.

Far is Easy

The goal is always so glorious, isn’t it?  We all imagine the feeling of winning, or publishing, or fame, or wealth, or a secure relationship.  It’s easy to imagine that joy. It’s easy to say you want that happiness. It’s easy to say you are going to do the work to get that wealth.  But imagination and saying something aren’t what makes it happen.

In Between is Hard

So how do you keep going during those long stretches where the enthusiasm has waned, the money has drained and the relationship has pained?  Of course you need to have that goal in mind. You have to have hope that you can reach it. But it is more than that.  The truth is you aren’t always doing something for the feeling it gives you at the moment. You are living through that feeling so that you will reach a finish line where great feelings and great achievements will come to fruition. It might be a book you write, it might be a painting you paint, it might be a relationship you develop.  

Making Hard Easy

You can’t make hard easy.  But you can make it easier. You make it easier by practicing habits.  The habit of getting up every morning and doing 10 push ups will make getting in shape easier, no matter how hard it is.  The practice of writing that email to a business connection each morning will make the hard work of networking easier, no matter how hard it is.  The practice of saying (and meaning) something loving and kind to your relationship partner each morning will make it easier to build the relationship, no matter how hard it is.

In other words, you aren’t trying to make something hard into something easy. You are trying to make it easier to do something hard.  Making a habit of the things that help you along that path is one way to do that.


Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Anonymous



The Naked Closet


The Naked Closet

I wonder,  if closets could think, what would they say? Do you think they would be as indecisive as many woman (and men) are in deciding what to wear?  Do you think they would make emotional decisions, or maybe aesthetic ones? Would they be practical, or maybe purposefully reactionary?  Would they dress you with nostalgia in mind or maybe with an eye to impress the world.  Would they fight you?

The Naked Human

Closets can’t think. But the idea is interesting because it illustrates so many of the reasons we dress.  And for many of us, our possibilities are wider than they were 50 years ago.  My father was going to wear a suit and tie to work, no discussion about it.  For a night out my mother would wear a dress, no real consideration went into wearing pants.  That just wasn’t going to happen.  Even a trip to the market was cause to dress up, at least a little bit.  

But now work clothes can, in many cases, be casual clothes. They can be fitness clothes even.  And clothing designated for going out to a nice dinner can range from t-shirts (for either sex) all the way to a dress and suit and tie.  That same market shopping trip? Now it can be done in pajamas.

The freedom make our choices harder, not easier.  With all that freedom we have a lot more to choose from in every case.

Sort of dresser

What sort of dresser are you? Do you dress emotionally, practically, aesthetically, or maybe nostalgically?

Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote is Anonymous



Inner vs Outer – Beauty #4


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Beauty equals Good

It didn’t start with Disney of course, but Disney certainly popularized it for those of raised in the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. The idea that in a story about good vs evil you must visualize the good as having traditional beauty and the evil as having traditional ugliness. And it’s easy to understand the desire to have it that way. It makes understanding good and evil simple since all you have to do is search for outer beauty and you find the good and same for the opposite.



And then came Fiona.  Fiona and Shrek turned the beauty equals goodness idea on it’s head.  One message that it sent, a message you hear often is, that true beauty isn’t on the outside, it’s on the inside. But there was a more important message that it sent. And that is that beauty is not universal.  Shrek didn’t find the ‘human’ Fiona all that pretty.


But when the curse was broken and she turned back into what she had been, a female ogre, Shrek suddenly saw beauty.  His kind of beauty. She she saw it in him as well.  Both lessons are important to learn.


Inner Beauty

Yes, the cliche is true. Inner beauty matters. And yes, who you are on the inside is what decides your goodness, not your outer beauty.

Outer Beauty

HOWEVER, we do have an outer. Outer, in spite of what so many would like to believe, not only exists, but matters when discussing beauty.  Our eyes are not dismissible any more than our other senses. Nobody says what we smell doesn’t matter and nobody says what we hear doesn’t matter. Those things do matter. And what we see matters as well.  Having a personal sense of what you find beautiful is not a bad thing, whether looking at a sunset or a hunky fireman.

What is also true though is it is not ALL that matters. If you think and behave as if it does you will very likely end up shallow, egotistical and hurt.

The Inner and Outer Blend

You know how celebrity couples now have one name?  Branjolie, Bennifer, Kimye.  What would the world for Inner AND outer beauty couple be? Ounter? Inter? Ounner?  Who knows. But there should be a word for it because it is what most of us want in our lives.  We want to look good and we want to be good, right? We want our outer to be the outer visual expression of our inner.  We know not everyone is going to find us attractive, but we would like someone to find us attractive. We know not everyone is going to believe we are good. But we want those who know us to believe we are.

How to?

So, how do we make that happen?  It’s no different than anything else we hope to achieve. We practice. The bottom line is you will not become good without practicing being good and you will not have outer beauty without practicing having outer beauty.  

If that means time in the gym to make your body what you want it to be, then that’s what you have to do. If it means time spent serving others, caring for those in need, giving your time and attention to others, then that’s what you have to do.  And they aren’t exclusive. You can and should be your best inner self while at the gym and you can and should be your best outer self while serving others.

Matters Most

But which one matters most?  The inner does. That is the one that transcends the outer.  It is where kindness, forgiveness, patience, gentleness, sympathy, empathy, and love reside. Because it is true: Beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful.


Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Anonymous


Who the Eyes and Ears Believe – The Senses #1


Who the Eyes and Ears Believe


Eye Believer

What is the most compelling thing in a murder trial?  The eyewitness testimony. It’s graphic, emotional, and compelling. Why? Because the person saw it happen. That’s strong.  It’s also often wrong.  Eyewitnesses are known to actually be notoriously unreliable in many cases.

Ear Believer

Have you seen the Christmas movie ‘White Christmas’?  The housekeeper is an eavesdropping busy body who overhears a partial conversation over the phone and makes assumptions, and shares them, about the whole nature of the conversation. It leads to a big huge mess.

Smart Believer

So, what is the solution to this dilemma of having something seen or heard that seems to be rock solid?  Withholding judgment is how I deal with it.  I say to myself, What’s the rush? Why do I have to go on social media or to my friends and say something RIGHT NOW about this event that I have heard or seen just a fragment of?  Why not be patient and wait to find out more about what is happening? Why not investigate and look deeper?


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Anonymous


What’s Your Appetite for Money? – Wealth #7



Wealth #7 2014

Prosperity Doctrine

In American Christianity, there is a sect that preaches what is known as the ‘Prosperity Doctrine’.  In essence it says simply, God want you to be prosperous and if you obey him properly you will be.  This is actually not a new phenomenon.  At the beginning of Christianity you have Jesus preaching again and again about money and it’s trappings. Why did he preach on that? Because it was a big problem in the society he lived in just as it is now.

What Money Gets You

People want a lot of money because it will give them security.  You can have an alarm system on your house to keep Miss Scarlet from breaking in and hitting you on the head with a candlestick in the library. 

People want a lot of money because it will give them prestige and power.  You can join a Country Club and get your photo in the Society Page of the local paper.

People want a lot of money because they can then purchase fancy things that stimulate their senses. You can buy his and her fragrance producing drones to hover over your side of the bed at night.

When Money Gets You

And that is what Jesus, among other sages past and present, have warned against. It’s not money that is the problem, it’s the constant desire for more of it that is.  And the supposed cure, having enough money, is actually the thing causing the disease since it turns out riches enlarge, rather than satisfy appetites.




Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote is Anonymous



Can You Take a Joke? – Laughter #1


Laugh all you want, but today is day #1 of the Laughter series.


Who Are You Laughing At? - Laughter #1

Men, I Tell Ya

I recently became more active in a Dad Blogger’s Facebook group.  One thing I noticed was how much ribbing goes on there.  It’s not that men aren’t asking or talking about serious questions, or that they aren’t opening up about sensitive things, they are. And there are plenty of answers and discussions that are equally serious, sensitive and helpful.  Guys are surprisingly vulnerable there, mostly because they know they will be heard and not condemned as they might in another venue.  But they also know that within all the sensitivity and helpfulness there is going to be some serious making fun of them.  There will be some ‘what a wimp’ or ‘Man, your wife is one unlucky woman’ type statements.   The men who put themselves out there and get those sorts of responses understand that within this group, cracking a joke, especially at their expense, is an essential part of the bonding and fun between everyone.  It can go on and on and on for days.  

The One Liner

BUT, right along side this ribbing are some truly sensitive, helpful, vulnerable and positive responses, from the same men who are doing the ribbing.  This can happen while the group rallies to raise money for one of the guys with cancer. This happens when one of the guys is blindsided by a wife asking for a divorce. Truly terrible and heart rending situations that the men take seriously. But they also know a good one liner when they hear one and will often insert it because, well, how could you waste a perfectly good one liner just because a guy is getting a divorce, right?  The truth is that guy getting a divorce, the one devastated and demolished? He understands that and, from what I have seen so far, truly appreciates the camaraderie and brotherhood exhibited by the joking. He knows the deep care that is there and that makes the joke (even a lame one) something that draws them closer, not farther, from each other. 

Women Being Made Fun Of

This group pretty much backs up a belief I have.  Men, in my experience, can take a joke better than most women. Men get ribbed more and understand in advance that it is not likely that the ribbing is serious.  Even if it is serious, they know best way to respond is to laugh it off and allow others to laugh at your expense.  Women, more sensitive in general (in my opinion), and less likely to have been around a world where making fun of someone is done with affection, are hurt by this sort of ribbing.  They take it personally and feel unloved and uncared for when it happens. 


Having said that, when someone does not take ribbing or being made fun of well, it will likely be a man who overreacts and does something seriously stupid and/or dangerous.  A woman might get depressed about it all but a man can, and too often does, get angry and violent.  Their ego and pride has been bruised, they want revenge, they want to get even.  I am not saying women never have that reaction, just that it’s more likely that men will react that way. This is the downside of the male being made fun of.

This dilemma is illustrated by another napkin drawing I did a number of months ago.  Click in the napkin to go to that blog post. 




The Key

The key in my mind is learn that it’s ok to be made fun of, you will survive it. You will survive it even better if you take it with a grain of salt and let it go.




Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote (first napkin) is Anonymous


Promising Pleasure, Promising Pain – Promises, Promises #4


I promise to deliver #4 in the Promises, Promises series!



Pleasure and Pain

Having chosen my quote for the day I visualized two faces, one while making the baby (making love) and another during childbirth.  I was thinking that the face of someone having sex would be happy looking and the childbirth face would be intense and full of pain.  But when I went to face research (yes, I did research) I came across a site that had portraits of people right at the moment of orgasm. And guess what? They looked almost exactly like the face of someone giving childbirth.  Intense, scrunched up, teeth gritted and looking like they were about to explode, which of course, metaphorically at least, they are in both cases.

Pleasure and pain aren’t that far apart.  Whether it’s people eating hot chiles that make the roof of their mouth burn off, or people enjoying going into a polar bear plunge in February, people combine the two.  It can be combined in sex, eating, vacationing, relationships, drinking, sports, etc. You name it and you will likely find a co-mingling of pain and pleasure.

Keeping Promises

Promises are the same way. It’s easy to promise something when you are turned on, when you are feeling or pursuing pleasure.  That’s why we constantly are telling young women and men to not trust what a person promises when he or she is wanting sex, right?  The painful part of a promise is in the delivery, not in the proclamation.   If there has been any struggle for myself and most fathers and mothers I know, it’s that.  How to deliver on your promise. Your promise to your wife, husband or partner, to your kids, your work, your extended family.  As I have gotten older I realize I am much happier and more successful when I simply let my delivery be my promise and forego the grand proclamation, how about you?




Drawing and Commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote is Anonymous

Promises are like babies, easy to make, hard to deliver


Mickey & Me – The Illustrated Insult #3





Mickey and Me

Ever since I was a kid I was told I looked like Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees.  My buddies and I convinced a clerk at a McDonalds once that I was his younger brother and she gave me a free coke because of it. I even had someone put his photo on my FB page claiming he was my doppelganger.



Hot or Not

Now, if you ask me, I don’t think Mickey is all that handsome.  And those who say I look like him aren’t necessarily giving me a compliment, they could easily think he isn’t all that handsome either.  They may think he is, as I do, sort of squinchy-faced, a bit too rough and blockhead looking, for their taste.  Then again, they may find him very handsome. Plenty of people have, after all.  I can assume then, that among those same people, some find me handsome, some don’t.

So, that made me wonder how others thought about this. What about you?  Do you find those who look like you attractive, ugly or something else altogether?


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who also has been told he’s looked like the following over his life;  Taylor Lautner (played Jacob in Twilight), Butch Patrick (played Eddie on The Munsters), Brandon Cruz (played Eddie on ‘Courtship of Eddie’s Father ), Jason Alexander (played George Costanza on Seinfeld), Steve Martin, Tommy Smothers and “you know, that guy in the movies…what’s his name?”

Quote is Anonymous


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