Finding Creative Joy

As I said in the last post I've not really been myself for a spell.  One of my many coping mechanisms for this is to keep busy.  And for some reason the clutter and stuff in the studio and house is a main focus.  In other words I am in full nesting mode.  The cool thing about nesting is in the great clean out I've found all sorts of half-done projects.  Wooohooo for that!
Evidently I gave out after the last batch of stamped "gentle reminder" bracelets and never put them together.  Since the jewelry cabinet is so organized now I was able to quickly locate the chain, charms and beads needed to finish up 20 something bracelets last night while watching our favorite ABC shows.  Even Mailey was like, dang Mom you put all these together tonight? 
Where can you buy one you ask? Well, first they are headed to Kansas City. I'm teaching at Art and Soul there next week to an almost sold out class. (That makes my heart swell folks....seriously.) Second, I'm going to try and get some in etsy. Serious crickets chirping there right now. tsk..tsk..

The bottom one is a new blank I found.  I like that you can put whole quotes on them.  And although jewelry making is sorta not on my to do list anymore I sure love these little bracelets and love what they add to my booth when I do shows.  So until I finish stamping out the 100 or so left (I have a buy art stuff in bulk syndrome), I suppose you'll keep seeing those in the studio.  It's a part o my creative joy.



Blessings to Come

I saw this recently on instagram I believe.  It's by Joel Osteen.  I wrote it on a sticky note and placed it on my desk here at school a few weeks back.  Everyday I read it.  Sometimes more than once.  It reads,
"Instead of being overwhelmed by burdens, believe that you are going to be overwhelmed by God's Blessings."
I've alluded here on the blog that I've not felt myself for sometime now.  Since January 19th to be exact.  I've literally been to a doctor every week in some form or fashion, sometimes even more than once, including an ER(the day before we left for Disney, great right?) since February 8th.  That's 7 weeks folks.  Of being poked, prodded, giving samples of this and that, being told let's wait and see what this comes back as....let's see how you feel after this medicine.  I was telling someone today that I have an attitude that well, life must go on.  And that's what I've put out into the world.  I am still teaching, cleaning, making dinner, going to art openings, planning for teaching out of town, taking  Mailey to Talent Conferences, folding laundry, blogging, going on family vacations, cleaning out my studio....yeah.  Acting like nothing is wrong.   So my family and friends really have no idea how much pain I am in daily, how poorly I've been sleeping and quite honestly how freaking scared I am. 
Yesterday I saw 2 specialists.  One was non-challant jerk who wasn't listening to me.  And scheduled two crazy tests of which I hope I really need since he was so not listening to me and what my symptoms were.  By the time I got to the second doctor I was so nervous and upset I was shaking. The doctor noticed this and did his best to calm me and reassure me that he was going to dig until he solved my puzzle.  He was going to make me better no matter what it took.  He was beyond kind, patient and listened intently to every word I said.  I left feeling so much better, not physically but mentally.  So what is wrong you ask?  Well it all started with a stupid yeast infection.....which has snowballed into so many other things.  Literally.  Like every time I go the doctor it's something new wrong.   The most serious is that my bladder is in so much pain that prescription pain meds aren't working.  Yeah.  So why can't they figure it out?  Well because one test will reveal nothing is wrong...we'll wait a few days oh wait this test does show bad bacteria present, etc.  NOW, let's treat it with this and see what happens.  7 days later.  Feel better.  24 hours later feel like crap again.  Start over.  Test is fine...oh wait we let it sit a few days and actually it is bad.  Let's treat you now. 
I know my body.  I know when it hurts.  I know that for a fact something is not right.  I know that I am so much pain right now that should I decide to finally stop life and let the pain consume me I might not come up for air. So the quote above has become my saving mantra.  There absolutely has to be a blessing at the end of this burden.  There has to be.  I am taking it one day at a time, trying to not get overwhelmed.  Trying to stay ever calm for my family.  A few friends know the whole story. And now you all know most of the story.  I am telling you all this not for awwwwsss....and to feel sorry for me.  But for your kind prayers to be sent my way that healing will come.  That I will be able to run again.  That I will sleep through the night again.  That the doctors will continue to show kindness and gentleness towards my healing.  That they won't stop until I am 100% for more than 24 hours.
I appreciate SO MUCH your being here in this journey with me.  And since this is the journey right now, I felt like sharing it with you.  If anything it was nice to put it out to the world finally.  I won't be sharing anymore about it, unless of course something crazy comes up.  And when I am 100% I'm pretty sure you'll know it.  Because I'll be painting again.  That'll be so nice.


52 Canvases in My 40th Year

I finally uploaded the photos from the show opening last weekend!  Woohoo!  It was overwhelming looking at all the little images of the opening quite honestly.  The ginormous accomplishment is definitely hitting me now that it's over.  The fact that it's over is a relief yes, but also sad.  I feel a tad out of sorts right now.  Like I keep forgetting to do something.  Haha... I did take this week to do a lot of resting and chilling with the kids.  And I took a painting class Thursday night with Sherry, which was perfect therapy!   Hoping to get the studio sorted and ready for the BIG sale today.  It's a lovely stormy day (Lily BTW is in my lap as I type panting and shaking like a crazy dog!).  Perfect weather for some cleaning and purging no doubt!
I put about 20 photos of the opening on the 52 Canvases blog.  So head over there for a better peek at the weekend opening.  And again, thanks so much for the kind words and support throughout the 52 weeks.

PS....It's looking like April 13th will be the GIANT yard sale/display sale/art stuff sale.  So mark your calendars!!


Sometimes I Like to be the Student

Sometimes I like to be the student....it's true.  I like going to a class where the only thing I have to bring is my apron.  I like being told what to paint where.  I like painting something I've never painted before or thought to paint really.  I like starting with a red/brown background (whoda thought that right?).  Yep.  Last night's 2 hour owl painting class was very refreshing and perhaps just the therapy I needed to break free from my funk.
I know...funk?  Jenni?  Yes funk.  Like I can't even stand to go in the basement and look at the mess because it stresses me out that I have too much stuff and I can't think or create when there's stuff everywhere and I want to clean it up but can't because I've not really felt good or myself since January 19th and I had to finish the 52 canvases or else.....you get the picture?  So last night, first meeting up with an old friend whom I've not done anything with in oh...Valerie would you say like 3 years?  Was good, and then painting the above cutest ever owl really made my heart swoon.  Sherry taught the class with ease and I just let her direct me.  Which is not easy for me to be honest.  To just let go and let others lead.  But I liked it and think that the next opportunity I have to take her class again I will.  Care to join in? 


Big News..and Some Other Stuff

So the big news is the show came!!!! Woohooo!!   And then it went...sigh.....I've only like 500 photos to upload and edit before I can share the entire weekend.  I will say Vero did an amazing job of hanging the art.  All in order from week 1 to week 52.  It's funny, my friend Suzan noted that I musta been real happy week 12-30 because those all sold!  (That was summertime BTW)  I promise to get them uploaded by the end of the week.  I hope you'll come back and enjoy them.  You can still purchase a canvas on the website here:  Naked Art Gallery.  Cool right?   Only the canvases still available for purchase will appear on the site.  If you don't see the one you loved, well it sold.  19 of 52 sold to be exact!

In other news.....drum roll please.......I finished writing up my PLU's so I can now get my certificate renewed!!  Thank you oh thank you it's done.  I love my job here, but would really like to make more than $10 an hour.  Oopsy....did I just tell you what I make?  So I'll let you do the math on my monthly income based on 30 hours a week.  The position here is not a certified one.  So anyone can take the job really.  Of course they don't just hire anyone to be the art teacher, but my point is you don't have to hold a teaching degree in the Coweta County School system at the elementary level to teach art.  Whew.  That's a mouthful of information you probably didn't want to know.  I'm not jumping ship by any means.  But should a High School ship get an available room, I'll be swan diving on over.  Just sayin'. 

So gotta go.  I am beyond tired and icky feeling today.  It's the low after the high.  If you do shows ever you totally get how I am feeling right now.  I just want to curl up on my sofa with Lily and watch LMN all day and eat healthy food.  Yes, healthy because I ate every meal out from Friday lunch to dinner last night!  I am not an eating out kinda girl.  OH geeeesh and it just started monsooning here, even better reason to curl under covers with Lily!  2:30.....just around the corner!

Oh...and pitcured above with me are Joy and Tiffin.  My artsy peeps that came over to celebrate the weekend with me!


Holy Cheesecracker..It's Time!

Ok. I literally feel like a bride on the night of her rehearsal dinner.  Excited, nervous, anticipation over whelming my heart...yeah.  Basically I'm a bundle of creative nerves.  I can not WAIT to see all the paintings hanging together in the gallery.  Even though I painted them all, to see them ALL hanging together is going to literally bring my heart out of my chest.  First stop when I get to Birmingham is the gallery.  Gotta get the tears out of the way.  The first round anyways.  Second stop is Savages Bakery to get my Smiley Face cookie.  Ok....maybe 3 smiley face cookies just for me.  And a dozen pettifors for my buddy William.  Then I'm off to find my childhood now adulthood BFF Aimee.  She knows how to keep me sane in situations such as these. 

Thanks for all the well wishes.  And thanks to all who are on their way.  Friends from as far as Orlando are coming up for the opening.  Which is going to make the night so magical!  I'm so very....very grateful that this journey is coming to an end on such joyful note.  This talent is a gift to be forever grateful for, I know this.  And to be able to openly share it with you and receive such amazing feedback makes the journey even more meaningful.  I really look forward to the next chapter of my life.  This chapter has truly been a memorable one!


Notes on Turning 41

So today is my 41st Birthday.  Holy cheesecracker I've crossed the line.  The half-way line.  The closer to the end than the beginning line.  hahaha....  I hope to live way past this half way mark.

The day has started off great.  I ate my favorite food for breakfast (homemade chocolate chip cookies), got to school to tons of little wishes,  4th grade sang a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday to me and my phone is dinging with well wishes from friends and family.  Yep, birthday's are good for lifting a spirit!

So, a few things to note about this 40th year of life.  Just so I remember (and toot my horn a tad).  When I feel like I'm stuck in setting concrete I can look back on this amazing year as a model of how to stay focused.  So here goes:

*  Painted 52 canvases....yep.  one a week for the past 52 weeks.  And now they are on display at the Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham, Alabama until April 27th.
*  Ran my first half marathon and started the training for my first full.  Until I got injured....then quite sick.....which totally sucked.  I hope to run again today for the first time since February 2nd.  I want to start my 41st year off on running feet!
*  Found peace with my work life.  Teaching has brought joy back to my soul.  And has calmed my voice in so many ways.  So many....
*  Re-kindled friendships that should have never died.
*  Let some friendships go...sad but part of the growing process.
*  Started teaching in my basement Paint Something Workshops. 
*  Hosted with Tiffin the first ever Southern Circle Retreat!!!  (One of the highlights of my 40th year)
*  Got bangs.  Hate them.  It'll take my entire 41st year to grow them back out.
*  Colored my hair back to its original color, supposedly.  Jury still out on this doing.
*  Got my body back to high school size.  Seriously.  I totally put on the Star Spangled Girl costume for my family to prove it.  And no, you can not see a photo of this.
*  On the other hand I swear my nose is growing.  And I am totally thinking about having it "done". 
*  Reduced my show season to just 2 and haven't missed it a bit. 
*  Worked on many house projects.....then decided it was going to be ours forever so I could wait on doing more.
*  Went paddle boarding, could totally move to the beach and do it everyday for the rest of my life.
*  Went to San Francisco with my hubby...note to self...do more trips like this with just hubby.
*  Watched William play lots of baseball.  I try not to cry every time.  Nuts that I have such joyful pride in his abilities.  Blows me away.
*  Watched Mailey walk her first runway and own it.  Actually watched a lot happen to Mailey this year and just stood back in awe of who she has become.
*  Spent a lot of time in thought about the direction of my being an artist.  Came to some conclusions...sure there will be new inspirations...but am pretty excited about the direction this journey is taking.
*  Traveled to teach far and wide...love my job.

That's a start to the year in review, there were many more memories and milestones made.  And I am sure I'll think of something amazing as soon as I it the publish button.  But these are the thoughts that come to the forefront (must have made the biggest impression on my heart).  I am really looking forward to 41.  My body is too.  It's finally healing and ready to be back to living fully.  My studio is calling me to rest.  And then to purge it.  I mentioned on the 52 canvases blog that a studio sale WILL be happening soon.  You might not want to miss that.  I'll be announcing it soon.  I've a show coming up to prepare for.  So after the purge I am hoping inspiration will come.  Looks like 41 is starting off with me running after all!  I embrace the challenges ahead and really look forward to watching the year unfold.



Finding this on my white board....well it just makes me smiley all over.  Just sayin'. 


Spreading Wings

This week I've been thinking a lot about our Mailey Grace with this conversation coming up a few times, "Umm Billy...how did we get from a pudgy spunky little toddler to this mature beautiful young lady?"  Seriously.  HOW?  And when.

She was a high maintenance holy terror from the day she popped out until....well....she's still got some spunk.  Her personality is unlike any other in our house that's for sure.  She and I are on our way to do something completely and utterly out of our element.  We are nervous, well actually I am nervous.  She cool as a clam.  Because she's confident.  We are jumping into this big unknown world to do big girl stuff that honestly I'm not ready for. I'm not ready to share her just yet.

I promise to explain more when we get back.  And show lots of pictures of the event.  Right now it's too hard to explain. Nor do I really know how to explain it all.  It has nothing to do with art, or me.  All her.  Just know that I'll be MIA from blogging for a week or so.  And that saying a tiny prayer for us if you're that kinda person would be nice. Prayer for safe travels, kindness of strangers and that she shines like the little lightening bolt we all know and love.



This is just a snippet of one of my favorite 52 canvases.  Yeah.  I have favorites in the bunch.  I think I've decided this is going to be my word of the year.  Kinda a weird one to select but I can't get it out of my head.  It's not a crazy powerful light bulb aha give you Wonder Woman powers type of word.  Rather it's a kick in the buttocks in your face do it word.  Chose...choose....yeah.  I think this is it for me.

You see, I ponder too much on stuff.  Ponder actually is too fluffy sounding.....I analyze, to a point of waking at 2am freaking out oh my God what am I doing ponder.  And it has got to stop.  It's time to choose.  And then say I "chose".  Not that I let anyone choose for me.  Yeah, I'm kind of stubborn like that.  But sometimes I work myself into such a tissy about the choosing that I loose site of who I am and where I REALLY want to be in life.   

I feel some changes coming on.....and a crazy urge to paint big.  Just gotta find some time to do that.  Part of the choosing.  Ha....Do I choose to clean bathrooms this Saturday afternoon or paint?  Hmmm.....I'll let you know how that goes Monday.  For now, I'm choosing to teach a bunch of very sweet kiddos how to make an origami shirt.  Because I'm the cool art teacher and can do stuff like that all day. 

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