Saturday, January 13, 2018

What I've read so far this year...

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it is January 13th, and I've already read two books this year.

I know. You're wondering, "How does she do it?" 

Well, for one, I have a fairly messy house. 

And these books aren't exactly novels. 


And I want to share them with you, because they are both lovely!

So here goes...

The first book is The Velveteen Principles by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio. I technically began this book before the new year because it was a Christmas gift, but I finished it in January, so I'm counting it. 

I make up the rules around here, OK? 

The Velveteen Principles is basically a guide to being human, revolving around the lessons in The Velveteen Rabbit.

The theme of this book appealed to me because I love everything about this quote from the original children's book:

"It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But those things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

It is an easy and lovely read. 

I can't say I learned a whole lot of earth shattering things or had a lot of light bulb moments. I can owe that partly to working in an environment with, and being surrounded generally in life with, people who have taught me a ton about the value of being authentic, and the beauty that can be found in being real and flawed. 

But this book was certainly a great refresher course & kick in the pants to keep moving in that direction.

Here is one quote that gave me a whoa moment:

"Remember, the most important and most lovable parts of you are invisible." 

I mean I already knew that, but forget it so often. The visible things about being human can be great, but they sure don't make up your worth as a human being, soul, friend, sister, wife, mother etc. 

This book was a fairly quick read and I recommend it if you need some extra shots of encouragement in a world that is constantly bombarding us with messages of how we need to measure up to others. 

The second book is My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel. 

I devoured this book in only a few sittings because it is not only beautifully written but visually stunning. Meera Lee's paintings and lettering accompany her words in such a way that you really feel like you become part of the book as you read it. 

As someone who has dealt with anxiety and fear for as long as I can remember, her honesty around how she has befriended her fear encouraged me to do more of the same. 

I typically do a lot of underlining in my books, but this one is so gorgeous that I didn't want to mark up the pages. 

Quotes that especially stuck with me...

"If the pull of fear is holding you back from cultivating your dream, spend more time listening."

"Where there is self-awareness and surrender, there is no shame in blooming alone."

And a few beautiful images from the book...

I really recommend this book if anxiety and/or fear are holding you back from experiencing your best life. 

I'm looking forward to sharing more of what I read this year with you. Any suggestions? What are you reading? I'd love to hear about it!



Friday, January 12, 2018

Shutterfly Feature

If you've been around here for awhile, you'll remember about four years ago when I redecorated the boys' shared bedroom...

Well, a little site called Shutterfly recently included 
it in their list of 100 Kids' Room Decor Ideas!

So fun!

I'm happy to report the room still looks mostly like this, with a few added posters and random piles of boy things.

It looks like they will be outgrowing the bunk beds (and possibly a shared room?) in the next year or so, so we'll see what happens!



Thursday, January 11, 2018

For You

A bouquet for you...

Just because.

Maybe it has been a rough morning, or week, or year so far.

Maybe you are doubting yourself or your talents.

Maybe you simply feel like crap.

You are OK, friend.



Tuesday, January 02, 2018

One Little Word 2018

Can you believe it is time for a new year and a new one little word?

I've been choosing a word since 2012, and looking back on each year's post about my words and why I chose them is such a crazy trip. The things I talk about wanting and moving toward have slowly been taking shape over the past 5 years, and just like last year's word, it has literally been like magic

When I started to think about what word I would choose for 2018, it was pretty darn clear that whatever I chose needed to move me toward caring for myself in a way I hadn’t been the last few months of 2017.

I personally had a year of wonderfully surprising victories, and at the same time felt weary over and over again with the state of our country and the world. Such a strange space to find yourself in - that mix of joy and grief.

2017 was amazing for my growing art career, but that growth meant I found myself filling every minute of my spare time with to-do’s and hardly any white space. 

I signed with my art agent, Pink Light Studio, in October, and that was when things really kicked into high gear. I spent that first month overcome with a mix of joy and intense anxiety as I figured everything out. 

If I can be completely honest, it was around then that I started experiencing panic attacks in a new and terrifying form of chest pains...a sign that I needed to take more time to slow down, breathe deeply, and give myself more margin and some extra grace as I traveled along this new learning curve. 

So in 2018 I’m going to allow myself time to rest, to dream, to explore, and to take more deep breaths. (And I'm very relieved and happy to say I'm slowly getting the hang of this art agent thing!)

My word for 2018 is BALANCE.

I am full with giddy anticipation for what this year has in store, and I hope you are too. 2018 is going to be a good one friends. 

If you are choosing a word for your year, I would love to hear about it!

Oh, and instead of ordering my word on a piece of jewelry this year, I got this. SO excited to find a perfect spot for it in the house. 

To a year full of good things!


Monday, January 01, 2018

A Year of New Things

A new year brings about all sorts of resolutions and exclamations that, "This year will be different!" I'll do this, and stop doing that. 

I've never been much for resolutions. I don't perform well under pressure. I like to move where my soul leads me. 

But I do like this idea of starting something new. Fresh beginnings. Not a new diet, or a new set of goals, but new practices that will bring me closer to my best self.

New breath

New choices

New joy

New grace

New attention

And maybe not always so much "new" but "reNEWed." 

What will be new or renewed for you this year?


Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays friends! 

I hope no matter what you are doing today, or who you are with, your day is filled with love and light!



Thursday, December 07, 2017

A Year of Magic

Hello friends!

How is your week going? Can you believe how close Christmas is? 

This of course also means it is almost time for a new year. And along with that come a new "one little word." 

I wanted to jump on today to talk about my one little word for 2017, which was MAGIC, and share some big, VERY magical, news!

When I chose magic, or rather when it chose me, I really didn't know exactly how true it would become as 2017 unfolded.

It truly has been a magical year for me, especially with this art business of mine. Before I share my big news, first let me recap some of the bits of magic that have led me up to it.

The first wonderfully magical surprise of 2017 was being invited to contribute monthly printable sets to the Illustrated Faith shop.

I began with my first set in April, and my most recent December set will be my last. Although I'm hoping they'll invite me back for another special project at some point!

Man, what a fantastic experience. I learned and grew so much as an artist and found myself included in such a supportive community of women. A blessing in so many ways.

The second magical opportunity that came my way this year was teaching for Big Picture Classes.

Having their videographer come to my house to film me and the entire process of creating the classes was such a learning experience, and again, gave me the chance to become a part of another wonderfully supportive community of creative folks.

In the midst of this, I bought my iPad, which was a major game-changer. (BIG thanks to my hubby for practically forcing me to buy it after drooling over it and talking about it for weeks!) 

I was seeing so many other artists raving about theirs, but let's face it, I'm SO frugal, and it was a BIG investment.

The biggest financial investment I've made in my art career so far.

And it has by far been the best decision. I had no idea I could create practically all of my artwork on it. Such a magical piece of equipment!

I also had the opportunity to create some really wonderful local projects, including a wall mural and coloring pages for our local schools. I live in such a fantastic, supportive community.

OK, so now that all of that magic is out of the way, here's the big one. The grand finale of my magical year, but hopefully only the beginning.

In October, I signed with Pink Light Studio.

I have an art agent. 

Say what? Who's life is this?

Apparently it is mine, and goodness I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. This kind of magic happens to other people, you know? But apparently it can happen to anyone, including this small town Indiana girl with an over abundance of hope.

If you aren't sure what signing with an art agent means, I will be creating collections of art for them, and they will share the collections with companies who buy the art to put on all sorts of products like wall art and gift wrap and fabric and journals and basically anything you find art on in a store.

Pretty fantastic right? Pinching myself daily.

I've been working toward this for what seems like forever, but it has really only been like four years. Crazy.

So I'm still in the beginning stages, learning how all of it works, and cranking out all sorts of artwork. 

This is a fun collage of my first collection I created for Pink Light, Cozy Christmas...

I am so in love with it and proud of how far I've come. 

And I'm learning that it is OK to say you are proud of yourself. 

That is a hard one for me.

The process of creating this first collection was equal parts exciting and anxiety-inducing, so in some ways it felt like growing and giving birth to another child. And I'm one proud momma!

I can't wait to see what 2018 brings as I dive further into this art licensing journey. Hoping to keep carrying on that 2017 magic for sure!

I shared this quote in last year's one little word post, and man did it ever come true for this past year...

Thanks SO MUCH for being along for this ride with me. I have the BEST cheerleaders.

And now I need a word for 2018. Tough shoes to fill for sure.

Any suggestions?




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