Thursday, October 22, 2015

Better late than never...

Wow.  I haven't posted here since last December.  Shame on, not shame on me.  I've been working hard on other parts of my world.  And that's totally fine also.

This week is a little bittersweet.  This is the week leading up to October Affair of the Heart.  I have been doing Affair of the Heart (AAOTH) for the past 11 years.  I have made a decision to NOT do it this year.  It was not a decision that I made easily or quickly.  But, let me tell you, I know it was the right decision for me and God keeps sending me confirmation.

Normally, this week would mean limited sleep, tons of stress, tons of money spent (renting a truck, hiring help to unload, and just a million other little expenses), and the hopes and prayers that there would be a revenue influx over the weekend to help offset all of the negatives in life leading up to it.  But that revenue influx would cause me a different kind of stress.  Would I force myself to say "yes" to special orders that I knew wouldn't bring me joy but I couldn't stand to turn down the sale or say "no" to the customer?  Would I have to deal with the rudeness of the bazillion of shoppers that say, "Oh I saw that on Pinterest, we can make that."  Then, the physical endurance of the weekend loading the truck, unloading the truck, setting up, standing up for 3 days, then loading the truck again, unloading the truck again and finally getting to rest around 3am on Sunday night/Monday morning.  It would make me a tired, angry person.

Instead, leading up to this week, I've created probably more than I normally would have, but I created what I wanted to create, not what I thought the potential customers would want.  It has brought much more joy.  I've gotten plenty of sleep (my body wouldn't let me operate otherwise).  I've been able to teach people how to create the creations instead of hearing how they can YouTube or Pinterest it.

I'm surrounded with an amazing creative community at Paper Arts and they truly all love God and love creating and I know that it is where I'm supposed to be.

Do I still have a wagon load of words and letters and other inventory that I would normally stuff my booth with or stock my booths in stores with, Yes.  Do I still need to get rid of all of that stuff?  Absolutely.  But, I didn't accumulate it overnight so it will not disappear overnight (unless I happen upon the right crafter that wants a heck of a

Today, as the rain pours down, I thank God that we are not unloading a truck in this blessing.  I also pray blessings over all of my friends that are setting up at the show.  May they be rewarded greatly, if not financially, then spiritually.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Looking forward!

2014 only has 30 days left and I am grateful.  Grateful that this year is almost over and grateful that this year occurred.  That sounds weird, doesn't it?  I don't want to rush through this Advent season like we usually do.  Scurrying around trying to get custom orders out and busying myself with tidying and stocking the stores and barely seeing Mr. Wags in the passing because we are both tied up in our own lives that we don't slow down until January.  But then January comes and we start the crazy race to February Affair of the Heart...and then it comes and goes and we are rushing through the Spring as he hits tax season and I scamper around trying to juggle all of the other things that are happening.  I want to live each day of Advent knowing that Jesus is coming.  That Christmas is almost here.  It's time to celebrate.  I want to close out 2014 tucking the happiness and joy of the season in my heart to carry into 2015. 

It's been a tough that started with such hope and promise.  I had big plans and ideas and thoughts on how to recover from 2013 and make up for it in 2014.  And this will sound even weirder and crazier...but I did.  Yes, I had another stroke.  Worse than the first one.  Yes, it caused my business to close for 6 months (re: lost income, learning to walk again, etc...) but this year is ending with even more hope and promise than it started with.  A guided hope that is clearer and stronger and getting moreso every day.  You see, I firmly believe that God used Stroke2 to move me in a different direction.  I was very much becoming an ugly, bitter, angry person who created arts and crafts and guarded my heart because I couldn't trust most of the people I surrounded myself with in that world.  I'd like to think now that I'm moving more to a happier, more open person, that is creating art for God's world to see.  This has been a very difficult change to make.  It has, and is still, requiring me to prune away the old dead pieces of my life that are no longer beneficial...including some acquaintances and colleagues that I was used to being around.  I refuse to allow the drama of insecurity and jealousy to play a role in my life.  If you are upset over something that I've done, come tell me.  If you are upset with somebody else, tell them.  We are all adults.  There is no reason to hold the grudges and bitterness toward anybody.  Let it go and move on.  That's a really hard thing to do, by the way. 

The past couple months I have been diving deeper into the purpose and intention of things and people.  Especially myself.  One word that keeps coming up is Grace.  We all need it.  We all need to receive it.  From God, from others, from ourselves.  I know that sounds weird, but really...why do we forgive other people for things but continue to beat ourselves up over the minute details of daily life? Give yourself grace.  Allow it to seep into your soul and warm you like a hug from a best friend. 

My words for 2015 (yes I'm one of those people that has decided to focus on a word for the year, but I have 2 that keep echoing off the innermost parts of my brain and coming back) are Grace and Intention...This is going to help me keep my boundaries that I'm still learning to live within and still setting after Stroke2 and it's going to help me focus only on what is important for myself and my family for 2015. 

I'm ultra excited to start the new year.  I have a couple new projects and groups that I belong to and I will be continuing to teach classes (hoping to add more to the schedule in the coming weeks) which is something that I would have never seen myself doing this time last year (or the year before or the year before that).  Wag's will still be strong and active, and I pray, healthier than in years past.  Come share this journey with me.  Let's walk through Advent with Grace and start 2015 with Intention.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Art Therapy Workshop this weekend....

I worked really hard this weekend at a workshop on a handmade journal.  It was big and bold and so extremely exhausting.  I literally slept 12 hours after I painted and put this together.  But when I woke up this morning/afternoon, ready for the next session in the workshop, I felt so accomplished.  I have not been able to create anything of this magnitude in such a long long time that it felt good to hold it in my hands, even knowing that I still needed to add the quotes and journaling and words to each page, but just to have a completed "shell" of a project.  So without further delay, I present to you, my first Shadows of My Heart Art Journal:

This is my front cover.  The wings of the heart actually bend around so that they tuck under so when it's folded you only see the heart.  There will be a quote and wording when this is finally finished.  But this weekend, I just wanted to get the shell done.

When you open the journal, this is the first two page layout.  It will have journaling in the middle of the flower also, but for now, this is what it is. 

The next page is a 3 page pullout.  The purple flower and the heart are on the first two pages and the pink flower is on a fold-in page.  Again, I will add quotes and wording later.

The last two page layout.  I had to add my ladybug on here somewhere.  It just wouldn't be a Shadow of my Heart without one.

The back cover.  You can kind of see the wings of the heart from the front cover on the right hand side.  This journal is large.  It's about 12" tall (give or take a half inch here or there).  I was a lot of fun, but like I said, so exhausting.  But I accomplished it.  And after my 12 hours of sleep I had enough energy to complete the final class this afternoon.

 It scared me to death because I usually don't do a lot with watercolors, but this class was ALL about watercolors.  (The journal was done with acrylic paints). 

I now feel like I mastered watercolors.  By the way, all of these were hand drawn and hand painted by me.  No paint by numbers or fill in the blanks.  And I'm pretty stinking happy with them.  So, welcome to Shadows of My Heart.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Shadows of My Heart.....

For anybody that has been following my stroke and rehab process over at Rehab Ain't for Sissies, you know that I'm now at the point where I am starting to create items again.  Only this time, I am creating what I want and what is on my heart to create rather than what I feel I NEED to create either to make a certain income or to appease a certain section of the public.  This blog is where I am going to start sharing those items and the story behind them and hopefully inspire a few folks along the way. 

I've chosen the name Shadows of My Heart to go along with this time and journey because these are what is on my heart to create and what I'm feeling led to create and also because my faithful friend and four-legged kiddo is named Shadow and she is ALWAYS with me (when she isn't at daycare...yes, I take her to daycare so she can run and play with other dogs and socialize). 

So, keep your eyes open for the beginnings of this fun new adventure! 

Peace, Love & Wags!