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Dreamcatcher

The dream was always running ahead of me.
To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it,
that was the miracle.
-Anais Nin

Shechasesbutterflies

You can chase a butterfly all over the field and never catch it.
But if you sit quietly in the grass it will come and sit on your shoulder.
– Henry Thoreau

Ben&meflying(Another little peek of Ben’s Dream.)

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV)

With my boy and girl settling back into the fall school routine, I was all ready to dive-into creating art and taking steps to helping my business grow.  And then, life being what it is, the whole family came-down with a cold, the toilet overflowed, and a mysterious blistering rash showed-up on my girl’s elbow, then her face, and later my boy’s butt cheek…Yeah. I know. Gross.  Along with several previously scheduled autism-related doctor’s appointments, we threw in a couple of extra trips to the pediatrician to figure-out the rash, and before you know it, two weeks passed and not much art had been made on my end.

Sensing the discouragement, the little “Brain Bully” in my head seized the moment and started whispering things like,  “This is why you’ll never reach your dreams!  Your family life is just too demanding!  Do you really want to put all that energy into something that might not even work out?”   To drive the point home, I started an online art class, and immediately felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work being shared by my fellow classmates on the group Facebook page…Really, do these people have families?

So, yes, I felt a little anxious, if not a bit cynical.  Still, I  picked-up my paint brush for a few hours here and there throughout the following week. I crocheted some beads one afternoon while my boy and girl played contentedly outside. I pushed-through a class project that felt foreign to me.  Gradually,  the momentum  that I feared losing started to return.  Evidence of things not seen.

I am realizing that creating art and living life are continuous acts of faith.  While I carry these visions and dreams that God has placed in my heart, with gentle hands, I must surrender the final outcome and how it will look to God.  I find such beauty and relief in knowing that it is not up to me to figure-out how long it will take or exactly how I will get there.  All God is asking me to do is to listen to his whispers and keep picking-up that paintbrush.  I think I can do that.

vintagebirdpendant

Outside of my “signature” gold hoops and a small collection of necklaces, I really am not a big jewelry wearer.  The pieces that I do wear either inspire me or hold a special significance.  Keeping simplicity, a boho style, and inspiration in mind, I have so enjoyed designing and putting together these necklaces for you!  With mostly simple beaded-crochet chains, each necklace bears a pendant either made from vintage treasures or chosen for its inspirational message (Be sure to check the back of the pewter pendants!).  The beads crocheted into the chains consist of both czech glass and semi-precious stones.  Once again, I selected the beads according to their aesthetic value or, in some cases, for their healing properties.  It is my hope that these pieces might be worn as gentle reminders that speak to your soul.

Please join me at Dandelion Studio to browse my brand new vintage and inspirational jewelry collection!

butterflies

For a while now, I have felt restless in my role as “stay-at-home mom.”    Good or bad, having fought the infertility battle years ago in order to create our family, I probably took-on my mom role with more intensity than some .  And, when autism was added to the mix, being a mom became real “serious business.”

Our family took a pretty big hit during those early years of parenthood.  Most of our time and energy was focused on getting our boy the therapies that he needed, fulfilling basic needs and grasping for spaces of time here and there to breathe.  That said, almost 10 years later, I finally feel like all the pieces might be coming together.  With both my girl and boy in school for the past several years, I have spent a good deal of time finding myself again, pursuing my passion for creating art, allowing myself to grieve, and celebrating my boy and girl as they become more independent.

While my soul has emerged in so many ways, I feel like I have remained partially stuck inside the cocoon.  Half of me mired in the serious business of being a good mom and wife and half of me trying to figure-out how to take flight in a new form.  So, when my husband and I sat across from a family counselor a while back, it suddenly became clear to me that I had never fully shared this readiness to take flight.  I mean, I thought I had, but somehow, the message became watered-down in the process.

With this new awareness, my husband and I are discovering the healing power of learning to be assertive with our own needs, not just the kids’, and to take the time to encourage and celebrate each others’ efforts as we grow together.  Instead of simply “surviving,” as a family, we are on our way to thriving.  And it. feels. good.

As we take flight as a family, I also look forward to taking flight in my art business.  Over the summer, I devoured artist Kelly Rae Robert’s e-book:  Flying Lessons.  One piece of advice that spoke to me as I read through Kelly Rae’s book is that I need to commit to my art and my business.  Up until recently, I felt safer staying half-stuck in my cocoon, in my official “stay-at-home-mom” status, while simply treating my art as a hobby. If I really want to take flight, though, I need to allow my wings to fully develop.  I need to shed that last layer holding me back from completely emerging.

So, here I sit.  Warm mug in hand and a year full of possibilities before me.  I can’t wait to see how it feels to fly!

peace

Peace I leave with you.
-John 14:27

stars

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens;  Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.

-Isaiah 40:  26

practicecourage (2)
Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.
-John Wayne

practicecourage3

pontoonboatride
After putting our little ones on the school bus last Friday morning, my Wednesday study gals and I packed-up two mini-vans and made our way to the beach in Sandbridge, VA.  This was our second annual retreat and each time, I have been amazed at how smoothly these weekends come together as we offer-up our individual gifts and resources. It might be the location (Thanks to our fearless facilitator and beautiful friend who managed to snag a condo for FREE this year!), yummy meals, laughter, a sunset pontoon boat ride, or, in my case,  art-time!  Knowing my love of creating art, these ladies are such good sports to allow me to share my passion with them on these weekends.  So, when one of my girlfriends described our art-time as “art that is more than art,” it seemed to sum-up my feelings in a nut-shell.  For me, the process of creating art is just as meaningful to me as the end-product.  I often see it as a metaphor for life.  Through making art, I have learned so much about myself both on and off the canvas.  I remember what is feels like to be a kid again.  I allow myself to try new things,  to make mistakes, and to trust that it will all work out in the end.  I am messy!  And I am fearless!  (at least most of the time.)

Curled-up on the big leather couch overlooking the ocean, I sat-down with my girlfriends to do some brainstorming around the idea of “soul mantras,”  or words that speak to our souls in the form of comfort or encouragement.  Whether found in scripture, song lyrics, poetry, or other random places, soul mantras provide visual reminders of what our souls yearn to hear as we move through our lives.  After completing an exercise focusing on  particular persons whom we admire (another source of inspiration), we each came-up with a few new mantras, playing around with the words used to describe the characteristics of these persons.  Breathe Gently.  Inspire Grace.  Be Still.  Trust.  Spiritually Strong.

trust

Now tuned into our spirits, we set these words aside and declared our intentions as we prepared to play.  Sitting-down to a blank canvas at a table filled with paints and no paint brushes can be pretty unnerving for some, so I felt it was important for each of us to give ourselves permission to remember what it was like to be our six-year old selves again.  That self that delights in trying new things.  That soul who embraces imperfection.  We gave ourselves permission to play as we wrote reminders on our hands or on sticky notes.  Be 6 (years old)!  Relax.  Be messy.  Work Fast.

elizabeth'shands
And then we played.  We chose colors that delight us and rolled their goodness across the canvas with brayers.  We mushed paint with our fingers.  We created drippies with a spray bottle.

ladiesattable
We added texture and life with bubble wrap, toy car wheels, forks, toothpicks, and stencils.  I heard voices exclaiming, “This is fun!  I’d never do this on my own.  It’s so messy!”  And I admired each of my friend’s courage to “just do it.”

cheryl'shand
Encouraging each other not to get too attached to those first layers, we alternated between adding more paint and creating texture until it felt “done.” How beautiful to witness the unique ways that each person tackled this project!  One worked slowly, gently blending paint with her fingers.  Another found bliss in swirling a toothpick around in the paint.  Each person surrendered to the process in her own, unique way.

becalm
Once the canvases were declared, “complete,” we added the finishing touches, our soul mantras.  Using an array of rubber alphabet stamps, letter stencils, and pens, we recorded these spirit reminders right on top of our beautifully messy canvases!

elizabethstenciling
While packing-up the paints and tools, I stood admiring my girlfriends and their works of art.  Not only the art that they created with me, but the art that they live each day.  And I hope that one day, when we find ourselves in need of a little comfort or encouragement, we might catch a glimpse of these soul mantras propped on a shelf or hanging in a closet and smile and remember what it feels like to be six again!

simplylove (2)

gentlebreaths

kristinblankenship_letitgo_cropped (2)

 

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