Friday, December 21, 2018

Holiday Permission

This is your permission.

Permission to be fully you during the holidays.

Permission to be sad about what isn't, while joyful about what is.

To not allow others' anxieties, hang-ups, and issues to become your anxieties, hang-ups and issues.

Permission to feel lost and yet found.

To be whole. To be rooted. To be free.

To feel grounded in the middle of everyone else's chaos.

You get to decide.

You are in charge. 

And isn't that a lovely thing?

Sending hugs, peace, and light to you,

Monday, December 10, 2018

One Little Word 2019

Hello there friend!

I hope December is treating you well so far. Is it flying for you like it is over here in our corner of the world? Goodness it will be Christmas like...tomorrow? And 2019 a week? It certainly feels that way.

I've been thinking about writing this post for a few days now. To talk about my OLW (one little word) for 2018 and what I've chosen for 2019. I've been choosing a word to guide my year for several years now, and most years my words have served me so well. Like in 2017 when my word was MAGIC

For 2018, I chose the word balance

This choice came after a chaotic and anything but balanced end of 2017, when I decided I had to pay better attention to self-care and focusing on the things that mattered in 2018. 

Little did I know what the coming year had in store for me. 

2018 was not balanced at all. Comically so. Like when I look at that cute acrylic word cut out up there, which I keep in our bedroom, it makes me giggle every time. 

It was the most painfully awkward and mentally draining year I've ever experienced. Counting down the days until 2019 over here. 

It caught me by surprise, knocked the air out of me, left me in a panic more times than I could have imagined, and forced me into painful experiences of growth I would not have chosen. 

Family illness, huge shifts in relationships, crazy big changes in my day job, my boys starting middle school, and all of the challenges that come with working an 8-5 while also working toward an art career at the same time.

I had lunch with a friend a few months ago, when I was in the thick of the hardest part of the year. Thank goodness for friends who'll let you confess that you are losing your shit while sharing a plate of BBQ nachos.  

She helped me realize that every significant area of my life was out of balance. Work, family, extended family, my art career. Nothing felt settled. No wonder I was a disaster. Ha! 

Now this is the part when I get really honest with you. For most of this year I have resented my day job in the worst way. I was in a terrible downward spiral. I wanted out. All of the change and upheaval at my job, while mostly positive, were too much for my slow-to-change soul to handle. 

One of the most challenging parts of this year? 2018 required me to use my voice in big, scary ways. You know that saying about speaking your truth, even if your voice shakes? Yep, this year had that covered for me, quite literally. 

I found myself in situations where I had to speak up about extremely difficult things. (Going back to that voice shaking thing here.) There were so many times when I wasn't sure if I should have said anything. And then after that hard experience or meeting, someone would come up to me and thank me for speaking up. And each time that happened, it became clearer to me that my voice mattered. 

The words I said actually made a difference...brought about change. Whoa. I had never experienced that before. 

And then in early November my body decided it was not having any more of this nonsense and totally went on strike during one of my biggest work event weekends of the year. I ended up in bed for three days straight after a massive panic attack. It was like my body and soul had a come to Jesus meeting and decided no way, no how, was Mandy going to spend two days being hostess to 80 people.

But that weekend was like a reset for me. I came out of it feeling relieved and ready to face whatever was ahead. And so very thankful I had come through the other side. 

I also realized that I've been trying so hard to keep areas of my life separate from each other. 

The Mandy who works 8-5 in higher ed AND the professional artist Mandy. 

The quiet, introvert Mandy AND the not afraid to speak her mind Mandy. *It was such a surprise to meet that version of me this year...I think I'll keep her.

The Mandy who is mourning change while simultaneously thanking God for new opportunities. 

The Mandy who is thankful for her current life while at the same time dreaming of more.

I want to remember in 2019 that I can be all of the things I am, all at the same time. 

I can be filled with anxiety while also using my voice and speaking my truth. I can work 8-5 in a seminary and then come home and draw illustrations for my art agent. I can be humble while also sharing my gifts and knowledge. 

It might seem a bit silly to even need to say these things because they are all a part of who I am, but for some reason I've fought letting them all live together. 

So when thinking about a word for 2019, I wasn't even sure if I was going to choose one. I mean, 2018's word fell totally flat on it's face. I knew that if I was going to choose one it needed to be exactly the right thing. I didn't want an unattainable goal, or a word that would put unneeded pressure on me after the dumpster fire of a year I had just gone through.

And then I figured it out. 

My word for 2019 is...AND.

More specifically, the ampersand (&) because it's just so darn cute. 

I want to embrace every single part of who I am this year, and not worry so much about making the wrong choices, saying the wrong thing, looking or acting differently than others might expect from me. 

I didn't realize how much I was doing this until everything I relied on got flipped on it's side this year. 

If you've made it through this entire post, bless your heart and thank you. I know I don't blog like I used to, but I have so many friends that have been with me since the beginning of this crazy little space, and I appreciate each and every one of you so very much.

I haven't decide on a talisman for 2019 to keep my word close to my mind and my heart, but with how much I love the ampersand I might just have to get a few different things. I've been pinning ideas here

Do you have a word for 2019? I'd love to hear more about it in the comments!

Here's to a new year of embracing every single little thing that makes you, you! 


Friday, October 26, 2018

Coffee Talk

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that whatever you are struggling with, you may think you can't handle, but you are most certainly qualified.

I would tell you that you are growing and learning, and through this hard stuff you are becoming even more of the person you are meant to be.

I would tell you to keep moving forward, to remember to take deep breaths, and to not feel guilty for that extra dash of cream and sugar in your cup.

Wishing you an encouraging, cozy, and joy-filled Friday friends!


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Fairy Wing Mural

I'm super excited to share my most recent local project...

a fairy wing mural for our city's welcome center!

I've been wanting to create one of these interactive murals since I discovered this amazing one in Nashville, Tennessee...

It was such a fun and rewarding project, and I can't wait to see how visitors to the welcome center use them!

How fun are the baby wings?! I think they are my favorite part. 

You can visit them in person here

Sending creative vibes to you,


Tuesday, October 02, 2018


“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” - Anne Lamott

If you are going through hard things, in a tough season, feeling hopeless, raw, or exhausted, this is for you. 

You are not alone friend, and we're in this together.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

New Class!

Hello friends!

How is your week going? I hope you've had some small, or even BIG victories to celebrate. There has been so much going on in our little corner of the world that my head has almost literally been spinning these past few weeks. 

My boys starting middle school (HOW did that happen?!), one of my busiest times of the year at work, and keeping up with usual life stuff like we all have. But in the midst of all of this craziness there is much to celebrate, including the launching of my fourth class with Big Picture Classes, Fantastic Digital Florals!

I can hardly believe this is my fourth class with BPC, and being asked to teach another iPad drawing class has been like a dream. I had no idea how the iPad would change everything for my drawing career, and now I want to share all of the fun tips and tricks I've learned this past year with you!

This class focuses on the basics of drawing floral shapes in Procreate, one of my favorite things to draw. Flowers can be challenging though, so I hope this class can take some of the anxiety out of the process. 

I'd love for you to join me

And if you want to dive into lettering in Procreate, be sure to also check out my Master Class, Mastering iPad Lettering!

Sending you all of the good Tuesday vibes!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Local Class

Hey there friends!

Who wants to come paint with me? On July 14th I'll be teaching a super fun mixed media art class at the Richmond Art Museum!

We'll create with paint and all sorts of other fun mixed media supplies to create one of a kind art pieces. 

Check out the class here

If you are local or nearby to Richmond, Indiana I'd love for you to join me!




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