fierce

I’m inspired by women who are confident, strong, of any body shape, entrepreneurs, yet compassionate and humble. Women who aren’t afraid to break the “mold…”

I’ve been drawing again now for about a month. I was telling a friend recently that it’s been such a surprise to see what materializes on the canvas after I start a sketch. I continue to explore what speaks to me. When I was in middle school, I started sketching and enjoyed drawing, but I never took it any further, as piano was always my first priority. It seems that now, art has taken center stage. I’ve kinda fallin’ in love with it! I have always loved the whimsical, magical, fairy tale, and fantasy, so I think that’s becoming my style.

I’ve been inspired lately by women who don’t subscribe to the typical American beauty standards – you know what I mean… I’m inspired by women who are confident, strong, of any body shape, entrepreneurs, yet compassionate and humble. Women who aren’t afraid to break the “mold” and speak out against body shaming, who are dispelling diet myths and turning toward intuitive eating. Women who are changing the way the world perceives the female gender. Women who inspire me to do better and be better. I struggled with an eating disorder called orthorexia for years. To this day, I catch myself saying negative things about my body. So much wasted time and energy! Now that I’m older, I still want to care for my body, but in a much different way. Self care and self-kindness has become much more of a focus than looking as thin as possible. I’ve been listening to Christy Harrison’s podcast, Food Psych, which is completely changing how I view food and my body. Harrison is a registered dietician nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor. I’m not 100% healthy yet in mind or body. It’s a journey. The road is windy, and there are lots of hills and valleys, but I’m trying.

So, the piece above kinda came out of that inspiration…to not conform, to challenge certain ways of thinking, and furthermore, to continue exploring my own creativity just for the sake of creating and enjoying. This is what speaks to me. I hope that in your own journey, you are also exploring what speaks to you and listening to those whispers!

Cheers!

hope

art and creative expression give me hope when I’m feeling depleted and need to re-connect to my heart and soul

This weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for an event facilitated by TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) practitioners, Casey Call, PhD and Daren Jones, Training Specialist. The first event was called Trauma-Informed Classroom and the second was a Fost/Adoptive Parent Family Activity Camp. At the camp, fost/adoptive parents learned different interventions based upon the three principles of TBRI (Connecting, Empowering, Correcting). There were sensory bins filled with all kinds of stuff, weighted superhero sock creations, glitter bottle-making, and more in our area, the Empowering Station. I was stationed at the Essential Oils Center, which was awesome because I love essential oils. I talked to fost/adoptive parents and their kids about different essential oils and their properties, e.g., calming, alerting, immune support, etc. Kids got to smell a variety of oils, pick their favorite, and add some drops to a miniature roller ball container (with carrier oil) to take home.

The Trauma-Informed Classroom training was for fost/adoptive parents, teachers, camp counselors, etc., who work with kids from hard places. Attendees learned strategies to help kids who’ve experienced significant trauma in a group/classroom setting and may have difficulties self-regulating or managing emotions. It also provided a brief intro to how trauma affects the brain and neurochemistry, as well as causes gaps in a child’s development, which I won’t get into here. The events gave me hope that fost/adoptive parents can learn an evidence-based approach to help kiddos learn to regulate better and learn to connect with and empower their kids. It gave me hope that there are interventions out there to help fost/adoptive parents, but also that there are parents out there seeking help. The weekend was impacting for all who attended, including the volunteers. It was cool to see parents and kids connecting and having fun together. And the smiles on the kids’ faces were precious.

I created the piece above over the weekend, along with a couple of other sketches, using colored pencils mostly. Although the weekend events were great, I was completely exhausted afterwards. Often in my profession, I feel hopeless that anything I do makes a difference. The work is difficult, but the feeling of reward or gratification is low. Art and creative expression give me hope and fill in the gaps when I’m feeling depleted and need to re-connect to my heart and soul.

lots of inspiration

Over the last week, I’ve been drawing like crazy. It’s become addictive! I’ve been doing lots of experimenting and exploring. In many ways, the pieces reflect my own personal struggles. The piece above is really about being kind. Kind to myself and others. Probably one of my biggest life values.

girl behind barbed wireThe next piece reflects what it feels like to me to be indecisive, like a girl caught behind a barbed wire fence. I struggle with indecision and with often making the wrong decision, in retrospect. I guess another way to to look at my poor decision making is that it’s provided a learning opportunity of some sort. Usually a painful learning experience, but nevertheless, an opportunity to learn and grow. One of the things that I’ve been most indecisive about is my career. I still don’t feel like I’ve found the right one, or if there even is a right one, despite thousands of dollars in student loans I’ve accumulated for a master’s degree. So sad, but true. The things I most love – art, music, writing – do not make for promising or stable careers. I admire those individuals who are able to make a living using their creative talents.

joy

The last piece I think reflects joy because art makes me so happy. I’m planning to buy better art supplies soon so that I can improve shading and adding texture, but for now am happy that I have any supplies at all. So much to explore…Happy drawing!

Cheers…

looking for angels

we’re looking for angels in the darkest of skies

I was at the gym this morning on the elliptical and flipped on the TV monitor to see a CNN broadcast of the latest on the the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. The boys all looked so very young and skinny, yet despite their harrowing circumstances, some of the boys smiled and made peace signs. How very brave they are, or are at least trying to be. My heart went out to them and to their coach, who have all been trapped for two weeks. As a mom, I would be beyond worry and panic if my child were trapped for days in a cave. I just can’t even imagine. This in addition to the migrant children who are being separated from their families at the border truly calls for prayer and angels.

angels2As I listened to Spotify via my iPhone while reading the subtitles on the monitor, Chvrches song, “Miracle,” began playing. The lyrics, “We’re looking for angels in the darkest of skies,” resonated as I continued watching the news. I drew this angel as a prayer to the boys and their coach still trapped and to the children who have been separated from their families at the border, hoping and praying that all are reunited with their loved ones soon. It was encouraging to learn that four of the boys in the cave were rescued tonight, but nine still remain trapped as well as the coach. May angels guide the Thai Navy Seals and all of the rescuers during this mission to get all out to safety soon.

dreamin’

I think that dreams are important because they lead to possibility, and who knows where possibility can take us

I have always been a bit of a dreamer. When I was a young girl, I dreamt of acting and singing. In high school, I dreamt of of traveling to Europe. In college, I did have the opportunity to travel abroad. I visited London, England, as well as China, Japan, Thailand, India, New Zealand and Australia. It was such a great experience.

As I’ve gotten older, the dreams I once had have diminished as work, paying off student loans, and other responsibilities became a priority. I have to say that I envy those individuals who are able to make their dreams and passion their livelihood – athletes, artists, actors, writers, etc. Lately, it’s been quite dreamy to take up drawing again. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been exploring different media and trying to find my personal style. It’s been exhilarating. I think that dreams are important because they lead to possibility, and who knows where possibility can take us. So keep on dreaming!

Cheers!

storyteller

art gives flight to my truth

One of the things that I love about art is its ability to tell stories. There is so much to explore and express as one who is only beginning to lean into her artistic roots. Art  leads me to a sacred space and gives flight to my truth. That is truly a gift.

stand your ground

what came to me in this piece was determination, courage, setting your own course and standing your ground

I love Saturday mornings, especially when no one else is up yet and the house is quiet. I actually got to enjoy a full cup of hot tea. Typically, I’m rushing around in the mornings, trying to get out the door for work, and I only get a couple of sips before my tea goes completely cold. I opened the windows and let in some fresh air and  spent some time looking at the work of artists I admire – Toni Burt, Tamara LaPorte, Jane Davenport, Kelly Rae Roberts, etc. Their work seems flawless, and I began feeling like I have so much to learn! I’ve been experimenting with acrylics and watercolor lately and am not great at using either, but it’s been fun and interesting exploring how to blend, mix, and add texture. I worked on the piece above for a couple of days after work until the wee hours of the morning – not quite happy with it, but I continue to remind myself that this is about enjoying the process and creating for the sake of creating! I find art incredibly therapeutic, but often approach it like work. I have to get it right and get it done quickly, efficiently. The completely wrong mindset, right? In any case, what came to me in this piece was determination, courage, setting your own course and standing your ground. I generally hate conflict – I want everyone to live and breathe harmony, which unfortunately, is not possible in this world, especially when you work with prideful, inflexible, rigid people.

At work this week, I was faced with a difficult situation that made me feel, for lack of better words, completely yuck. Dealing with difficult clients is not my forte and is such a drain! I knew that I was putting my best foot forward and was determined not to let what was clearly the other party’s issues become an attack on my person and heart. It wasn’t easy, and it will continue to be a tenuous situation, but I believe that I’ll handle it with grace and authenticity, even if the other is blind to it. Well, that’s enough of that. I look forward to making art over the weekend and recharging. There is so much more to life than letting arrogance bring you down. May you have a lovely weekend doing what you enjoy!

Cheers!