Painting With Scissors by Odeta Xheka

Barbara Bertino's Sailing the Dry Land graces the front cover of Kolaj 36. Odeta Xheka discusses Bertino's work in a larger article aboutw the painterly influences and attitude of collage artists. Xheka writes, "These contemporary artists continue to explore the versality of the medium. They are not necessarily looking to convey a message wor make a grand statement, but are always on the lookout for innovative ways to satisfy their curiosity in aesthtics and materiality."

•Read Painting With Scissors originally published by KOLAJ MAGAZINE here

Iris on My Mind by Odeta Xheka

There is nothing special about these pictures, except, the very act of taking them fills me with a peculiar sense of security. Although they are not meant to be glowing statements of a life well-lived, they capture precious moments of equanimity and, just like that, I am able to explain to my children, with the kind of steely calm required of mothers, how the best form of survival is in recognizing that every day must start anew, sometimes unpalatable, at other times jolly. Take an inventory: who and what and when and why? Love is in the details. The devil, too.

•Read Iris on My Mind originally published by MEMOIR MAGAZINE here

Peepholes and Smokescreens by Odeta Xheka

The least saintly pope in history they
claim to know
and waste no time to tell me all about him
Boniface, they say, his name is
and wouldn’t I like to

savor this Boniface like a kiss from the mouth of a stranger?

Read Peepholes and Smokescreens originally published by NEW FEATHERS ANTHOLOGY here

At the Kitchen Table Where Miracles Happen by Odeta Xheka

To return the favor, I share with my children the pillars of writing life. Number one, tending to your voice is imperative because writing, just like life, relies on constant harmonizing. Number two, do not doubt your intentions as a writer and do not feel bad about the pages you end up discarding in the process of thinking things through or dealing with occasional bouts of self-doubt. Number three, do not feel bad about the things you end up writing either. If nothing else, they represent an honest effort to communicate something to someone other than yourself.

•Read At The Kitchen Table Where Miracles Happen originally published by LITERARY MAMA here

In My Defense by Odeta Xheka

As the years pile on, I have learned to dig through the banalities of my messy, hard, often lonely and occasionally amazing life and collect the shiny threads left behind each time I have let myself fall in love with abandon, catch the first glimpse of an idea not yet beaten down by my lingering doubts on the validity of the “mom angle,” seek the softness of a long embrace after a hard day, drink from a champagne flute while ignoring the unwashed dishes in the sink. These are the bright spots on the bland surface of the ordinary that bind my daily life together, a life that is, above all, a testament to the way I have chosen to balance family, parental responsibility, and personal creativity.

•Read In My Defense originally published by MUTHA MAGAZINE here

I’m Tired of Hearing Self-Care is the Antidote to Mom Burnout by Odeta Xheka

Lucky in so many ways, I still feel the burden of ever-present brooding worry which in itself brings all sorts of challenges to my family. Like the majority of mothers, my days are repetitive, my thoughts are consumed by my children, my hands are full (literally and figuratively), my house is clean, my mind is busy, my back hurts, my calendar is full to the brim with PTO meetings and dentist appointments. Yet, you tell me that a bubble bath is the very thing I need to soothe both my aching feet and my overextended self.

•Read I’m Tired of Hearing Self-Care is the Antidote to Mom Burnoutoriginally published by HER VIEW FROM HOME here

A Body to Die For by Odeta Xheka

Plenty of prominent voices are urging women to portray the conflicted glory of motherhood truthfully. Nevertheless, the message mothers are mostly exposed to is focused exclusively on the dueling narrative between “I hate my mom bod” and “My stretch marks are everything,” a dichotomy which is but a fraction of the nuanced feelings mothers’ face when it comes to their changing bodies. In reality, very few of us are either genetically lucky or disciplined enough to look the same way we did before we had children. That’s not a good or bad thing. That is a biological reality. As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t take much effort to acknowledge that a mom’s body is simply another human body – a body that goes through changes and has complicated desires and strong cravings like all bodies do.

•Read A Body to Die For originally published by THE MOPS Blog here

The Sacrificial Mother - The New Global Icon by Odeta Xheka

Turns out, motherhood is the thorn in my flesh after all. For all the love for my children, and make no mistake, I love them fiercely, I am angry with the over-validation of motherhood. I am an entity in the world, with a body and a personhood to go with it, and the weight of my momentous yet banal existence should not lie solely on the fact that I was born with a uterus.

•Read The Sacrificial Mother - The New Global Icon originally published by BLUNT MOMS here

Mamma Mia by Odeta Xheka

Parenting is not easy. Overzealous parenting even less so. Motherhood, specifically, has been stripped away from its basic premise, a loving relationship between the mother and her child. Instead, it has been distilled into a maniacal focus on the children that is supposed to eclipse everything else in a mother’s life. It is no wonder that us, mothers, famous or otherwise, can’t catch a break.

•Read Mamma Mia originally published by TODAY SHOW Parenting Team here

Tonight’s the Night by Odeta Xheka

Yet, if you feel you are failing miserably at having it all figured out, don’t. Listen to yourself. Don’t be afraid to feel your feelings. After all, there is no manual on how to live, and growing up surely does not abide by age limits.

  • The world moves so fast, don’t let your mind get caught up in its endless race - pace yourself to your own rhythm.
  • Don’t equate your purpose with goal-based achievements.
  • Give yourself room to breathe.

•Read Tonight’s the Night originally published by TODAY SHOW Parenting Team here

The Least Identifiable Bully: Mom and Dad by Odeta Xheka

In a nutshell, the accidental bully is someone who is regularly overbearing; parents who are overbearing, constantly belittling their children, or seeking to be controlling may actually be crossing a line into bullying parent behavior. What’s worse, bully parents raise children who bully. In order to end this vicious circle, parents need to reflect on how to handle children’s unwanted actions and discuss solutions rather than dictate behavior. After all, a respected child is the best warranty for a better future.

•Read The Least Identifiable Bully: Mom and Dad originally published by TODAY SHOW Parenting Team here

IndieReader Interview-ing debuting picture book author Odeta Xheka

All art rests in the gap between that which is aesthetically pleasing and that which truly captivates you. Generally speaking, art is an instrument to encourage the process of thinking in an innovative way.

•Read Interviewing Author Odeta Xheka originally published by INDIEREADER here

The Children's Book Review Interview-ing debuting picture book author Odeta Xheka

How did you approach the creative process for creating this book? And how long did it take you to complete the project from conception to published book?

Although Here Comes Ingo is technically a wordless picture book for children, it can easily qualify as an art book in its aim to familiarize children with figurative collage, an ancient art technique.

•Read Interviewing Author Odeta Xheka originally published by THE CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW here

Encouraging a Growth Mindset Through Picture Books by Odeta Xheka

Picture book art illustrations (increasingly popular even among older and/or sophisticated readers) are ideally suited to foster a growth mindset by presenting children with rewarding opportunities for interpretive discussions. In other words, by allowing children to take ownership of the story, wordless picture books give readers the unique opportunity of transforming into storytellers in their own right instead of simply probing the book pages for clues on the author’s intentions.

Picture books can be used in myriad ways to further hone children’s ability to navigate through their life in a spirit of constant learning. Open-ended picture books, especially, do a great job of acknowledging that children thrive when they create, experiment, and discover things they enjoy.

•Read Encouraging a Growth Mindset Through Picture Booksoriginally published by KIDS’ BOOK REVIEW here