One of life’s simple, sweet pleasures for me is when we gt to see how very much alike we really all are. Last night I took my kids at 10pm to go to a planetarium to see Mars through a telescope with a 36 inch mirror. When we arrived the line was not too long. There I was with my two kids whom I teach as much astronomy as I can hoping one of them wiill one day be a great astronomer so I can live vicariously through them. (I was a physics major for 2 1/2 years before switching my degree to fine arts-yeah, that made daddy REALLY happy!) In front of me is a man with his two sons. We begin the friendly chit chat that strangers stuck on line do, making jokes about how this is educational for the kids but we both know we are really here for us. We then talk for the next 45 minutes getting to know each other as much as two strangers can while intermittedly picking up kids, putting down kids, telling kids that it is not much longer, breaking up fights and explaining that no, we will not die of thirst or heat on this line. We finally snake our way to the telescope, see Mars closer to the Earth right now than in all of recorded history and never to be this close again in our life time. It was magnificent – you could see the polar ice caps! And after this once in a life time event we simply turn to this stranger we just met with the same interests and say, “Nice talking to you, have a great rest of your weekend!” I love that. People being friendly because deep down we all really just want to be nice and have people be nice to us. At least that is how it works in my head – and I like it like that.
I wonder, why is it that when things tend to be bad, downright abysmal, alot of times we find reasons why we deserve it. “I didn’t work hard enough, I should have tried harder, I should have been more helpful etc.” But when things are going amazing, wonderful, better than we could hope for, we tend to think we DIDN’T deserve. “Wow, I sure got lucky, how in the wolrd did I pull off that, how crazy is it that that happened?” Maybe if we reversed our first responses, instead thought, “Well sometimes bad things just happen, and wow, my hard work is really paying off-that sure feels good!” Today I am enjoying the fruits of my labor and relishing in it. Tonite I will reward myself with a nice Merlot, the movie Frida, and actually NOT working until 2am for the first time this week. I worked hard this week and I was rewarded. And I deserve it.
Wow. I am still processing yesterday’s experience. First I went to a design meeting and contracted to do 3 play illustrations for a college over the next few months. Half the money up front. Then I went to see the owners of the doggie daycare where I hang alot of my paintings. I showed her the art I was going to show the folk art/gift store next. “Oh! I want to sell that here too! How many can you give me??” I took her order for some chalkboards and as many “Mini Smiles” as I could get her by early next week. Well. THAT is nice! (I love the women that run this place, they truly are the sweetest people I have met in a long time.) Then off I went to the next place: Donna Van Gogh’s in Candler Park. Gulp.
I went and parked, got out my art, and walked the short block to the store. The owner greeted me so warmly and friendly that I was immediately at ease. Once I began showing her my art, she got really excited. “Oh, you are going to do SO well here!” My second gush of the day. She then proceeded to show me art all over the store and things that I could make or do to my existing art so that I could create a range of products to sell. She said make sure that you create art from $1.50 (cards) to your paintings ($200). She said then when someone loves your work, they can have it even if all they have is a few dollars in their pocket. Smart lady. So I am making cards and magnets (which she ASSURED me that printed right off my computer at home will sell no problem). She said get busy on Christmas ornaments too. You can’t make enough for me to sell.” I thanked her for calling me, saying she had just made my day. “No,” she said “thank you, you made MY day!” (Um, could that be any cooler!)
I left the store reeling. I am so excited!! I have so much to do, but in a very good way. She pays once a month on the 15th. She said any inventory not sold after 45 days will be returned. She again ASSURED me, she doubted that would ever happen with my work. Wow again. And here is the coolest part. When I bring her in all my work she is clearing out the main store window for an entire display of my art. My art. I could cry. The feeling washing over me right now as I write that and realize how amazing that is. That last year at this time I would practically cry on my way to work, knowing that I was so not in the right place. That I was not meant to sit in front of a computer making banner ads and web graphics. I could literally feel my heart deaden a bit as I pulled up to work. And the people there were wonderful, it just was not where I was meant to be. I thank God everyday that I had the courage to take a leap of faith. To not hold on so tightly to the security of an every two week pay check with benefits and follow my heart. Oh, I have had my fair share of months where the money simply was not there. I am not saying that it has been smooth sailing since I quit. Thank God for flexible landlords, and car companies, and utility bill companies. They all were griacious to let us pay late many, many times. But month by month those late payments are getting less and less. It is a pretty amazing feeling to know that all the little sayings you tell yourself and you hear are true. “If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” “You cannot fail if you do not stop trying.” I still have lots of hard work ahead, and hopefully always will, but I am so blessed that I truly do love what I do. I wake up knowing that I am going to make something for the sole purpose of making someone else smile. And that is such a gift.
Throughout the past year many of my client’s have asked me if I sold work in this one particular store. It is a really great, ecclectic, very cool store that I have always loved. I have always been intimidated about bringing my work to any store and just kinda put it off. Last week the owner of this same store called ME. Crazy! Someone had brought her my card and said that she should carry my work. So today I go show her my art and see what happens. I enjoy getting feedback and hope this is something that will work out nicely. I usually try to have no expectations and just see what progresses. Then I can find any positive twist on the situation after it happens. I will fill you in on the details later. Wish me luck!
“We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~ Nelson Mandela
When you believe in yourself and move towards your dreams, you begin to shine. Take it a step further and help someone else begin to shine. Someone out there you know needs encouragement. Drop everything you are doing, pick up the phone, write an email, send a letter, turn to the person next to you and say, “I BELIEVE in you. You can do this.” Imagine if we all had that in our lives. I believe in every single person with a dream can have what their heart screams out for them to have. One footstep in that direction is a footstep closer and signals the universe that you are ready. So either take that step, or help someone else to. Watch the light glow bigger and bigger.
Ok, so I eat, breathe, dream, pray, and meditate about work. That’s not unhealthy, right? Ok, maybe a wee. But I LOVE what I do!! My husband helps keep me in check and forces me to stop and sit every now and then. I seriously could be creating or thinking about work every single second of the day and it can be so hard to stop. Yesterday I completely took the day off and mowed the front and back yard, cleaned the entire house (HATE cleaning), played with the kiddos and packed most of my husband’s things for his trip to NH. I also made a very good spaghetti sauce if I do say so myself! Pent up energy from not creating????
So, why am I writing all this? Because this morning at 6am I dropped off my husband at the airport. I am happy for him that he gets to go do something he loves so much. (he is going on a photoshoot) But, MORE importantly, I can go CRAZY with work! I can work from the minute my kids go to school until I pick them up. Then I can work again when they go to bed until the wee hours of the night. And NO ONE to tell me no, NO ONE to feel neglected. Woohoo!! Now, I don’t do this all the time, so I am not being unhealthy, but all you creatives out there can understand. Our brains our going a million miles a minute constanly thinking about what we could create next. And we constantly cry, “I just need MORE TIME!” So that is why I am so happy!! I have more time for the next two weeks!! I already put some new things on my website. Go peek around and find my “Mini Smiles.” Guaranteed to make you smile…
I have had my fair share of bad days. Days I was not sure the money would come, that I was doing the right thing, that I felt crazy for doing what I am doing. But lately, it is just so good. Yesterday after I dropped of my kids at school I began crying on the way home. Because it was so good I got overwhelmed. I was dropping my kids off at this amazing school with amazing loving teachers, going home to my studio where I knew I would be painting until 2:25pm when I picked them up, knew I would have on my music, have my dogs at my feet, and just be LIVING. It was so much goodness (Godness?) at once that I got overwhelmed. I need to remember these days when things get tough. And they will. But I have a wonderful set of friends who listen to me rant (certain mortal moms know who they are) and it will be ok again. But in the meantime, I get to be fully aware of this perfect moment where everything is flowing in the right direction and I am sailing along with it. I love when the beauty of life overwhelms me.
I used to have a necklace that said LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH and wore it all through college and art school. Those were the principles I lived my life by. When I had kids I decided I needed a new set of rules. Work hard. Very hard. Do what you have to whether you like it or not. And I did. For many years. Not so much living, loving and laughing. Things got really bad.
This week I am painting 4 paintings that will pay my gas bill and car payment. Now that’s living, loving and laughing! It seems when I listen to God and he tells me to trust, have patience, and be at peace, things fall into place. Trust and patience don’t come so easily to me – and peace??? Forget it! But lately, it really does work. Trust, patience and peace seem to be the new theme in my life. And I like how it feels.
Live, love, laugh…where is that neckalce, it is high time I brought it out again! It goes well with my 3 new principles, don’t you think?
I haven’t saved every meaningful scrap of paper from my childhood, I don’t have a scrapbook, and I was been pretty much a slacker in the baby book department. Sentamentality is just not a gift I have. I try to live in the moment and really “be” as much as possible. I carry around a sketchpad with me 24-7 and sketch it or write it down when I can. But enter Norton. He was the stuffed animal I got for Christmas when I was in second grade. I am not sure if he is a bear or just some strange made-up creature. He never quite made sense or fit in with the other animals and maybe I related to him or maybe I just decided to make him “the one” The only stuffed animal that made it with me to college and to marriage. I kept him because this bear/creature has my tear stains on it. He has been told every sad sorrowful story a poor chubby little girl can have. He was there for me for everything. So when my son claimed him as his, renamed him “Normie” because Norton was too formal, I was ok with it. Mostly because I figured withing a week or so Noah would be over him like so many other forgotten toys. That was two years ago. The other day I found Noah telling Normie his woeful story as to why he was in time out, sniffling the whole story. It just about burst my heart. But tonite….tonite I went to check on my babies and I saw this. And I thanked God for letting me have this moment. I sat and watched my son and just felt the love. Noah and Normie, a whole new love.
I can’t believe it has been 7 years since I had my son. I was 23 and knew NOTHING! I had never even changed a diaper. I remember, being absolutely terrified and absolutely in love at the same time. I stayed awake all night just holding him, watching him sleep realizing this was our last night alone, just the two of us. For 9 months I got to have him all to myself feeling every movement he made. I loved it best when he got the hiccups! That last night alone I promised him I would be the best mother I could and show him that even when life sends you in directions you never expected to go in a million years, that you could still be anything and do anything you wanted. Becoming a mom made me the person I am today. I see with eyes I would never have seen with before. My children give me a courage to do the the things I am most scared of. The first gallery I ever walked into to try to put work in, I had artwork on one hip and my 10 month old on the other hip. The owner accepted all 9 of my pieces. I was sure she was just being nice to a young mother, but when I got home (still shaking from “putting myself out there”) she called to say she had already sold a piece. I ended up selling all 9 in the next few months. I know I would have never been able to walk in that gallery back then if I wasn’t clinging for dear life to my baby. I remembered my promise to him and did what I said I would do despite the paralyzing fear of rejection. Happy birthday Noah, and thank you for all that you have given me. I love you.