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Posts from the ‘Kelly’ Category

Kelly: The 101010 Project

For the past two weeks, I’ve been participating in a Collaborative project called 101010 Project: 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions. Ten women who own creative businesses each tackled 10 questions regarding our businesses, and each of us hosted a specific question. We had to include a headshot to be included with each post, so I stuck with the goofy one you see here. I’ve had a great time participating and getting to know the other women involved in the project. The questions were very thought-provoking, and our fearless leader, Robin Norgren (who is also a part of our Studio Mothers crew), did a great job pulling all this together. I wanted to share my responses with you, and give you the opportunity to hop around to all the other blogs to see other participant responses (yes, long post, but I hope you’ll read it!). And guess what? There will be two more rounds of this project coming up this summer! Check out the video here and hop on over to the Project 101010 website for all the details.

Collaborations: A good idea ?…My experience with collaborations has been fairly limited, and I’m not sure the experience I did have would be considered a true collaboration, but I’ll share it and let you decide! In 2008, I did a large Fat Book Swap. There were ten women involved and ten themes. The idea was to create 10 cards of each theme (basically the same 4 x 4 card 10 times), meaning we each created 100 total 4 x 4 cards. We then sent everything to the person doing the organizing, the wonderful Roni. I was amazed at how quickly Roni gathered each participant’s work and sent us back out a 100-card package of wonderfulness! I had a special box custom crafted to keep my full set in and enjoy looking back through them often. This collaboration was a challenge for me as I’d just gotten started in mixed media, but it really pushed me to try new things and I found that I really enjoyed the 4 x 4 format. The deadlines pushed me a little bit, but only having to come up with one design for each theme (even though I had to create 10 of each design) helped some. Would I do it again? Absolutely. I learned tons of new techniques, made some great blog friends, and have a beautiful box chock full of 100 pieces of original art to show for it! You can see my entries in the collaboration here. {hosted by Stephanie Samos}

Success in business is defined as… I think this is a very interesting topic, and I think it all depends on your goals and your outlook. For me, my art business is not my main source of income. I have a pretty demanding full-time career in higher education on top of my art. So for me, success in my art business is simply finding the time to put a little bit of me out into the world for others to enjoy. Would I love to be able to “quit the day job” and devote more time to my art? Absolutely, but I know that’s simply not a possible reality at this point in my life. So maybe for me, success in business is defined as knowing what my limitations are (time!) and embracing them rather than fighting them. Fighting them takes an awful lot of energy that could be better spent on enjoying the process instead. {hosted by Nolwenn Petitbois}

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…I think the hardest part about pursuing a dream, first and foremost, is taking that first step and putting it out there! And then the second hardest part about pursuing that dream is remaining realistic about your situation and what’s doable at whatever point you are in your life. Read more

Kelly: The Importance of Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously

So, here I am in all my goofy glory. When I got home from work earlier this week, my girls decided they wanted to do a “makeover” on me. Olivia did the hair, and let me just say, it took her some time! Sarah did my makeup. It doesn’t really show up too well here, but trust me, I am all glittered up right fine and dandy. The makeover also included a foot massage with lotion and a manicure. I was not allowed to see myself until they were completely done, but I think the finished product speaks for itself. I look fabulous! They are currently taking new clients if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

I posted this picture on Facebook and received numerous comments. It’s now my new goofy profile pic. It got me to thinking about how many people would feel comfortable posting a picture like this, or any not so flattering or professional but otherwise entertaining photo, on a public site. I didn’t hesitate because, well, I’m goofy, and I’m just fine with that. Always have been and always will be. But I know that I’m connected to people on Facebook with whom I work that would be aghast at posting a picture like this. Why do you think that is?

I work in education, so yes, degrees are important and many of my colleagues list their degrees after their names in the signature lines of their e-mails. Great, if that’s your thing and you want the world to know it; you earned it, so more power to you. But I don’t, and when I think about it, I’d feel a little funny doing that. I have a Master of Arts in English degree, but that certainly doesn’t define me; it just affords me the opportunity to teach college English. I believe that what defines us is who we are at our core, and oftentimes that’s not what we present to the world. Maybe we should do that more often. Maybe if we did that, people might understand each other a little better and be more accepting of all the quirky differences that make us who we are as individuals in this big old blue world. Maybe we should worry less about what other people think about us and revel in the messiness that makes us uniquely us. Comes back to that daily dose of awesomeness I talked about in this post. We all have a daily dose of awesomeness in us somewhere; sad sometimes that it takes crazyily dressed third graders to remind us of that. Go find your awesome and share it with the world.

[Cross-posted from Artful Happiness]  

Kelly: Disappointments and Moving Forward


Those Brave Girls…I tell ya, sometimes they really hit the nail on the head. Remember my Surrendering My Superpowers post? Where I told you I was applying for a full-time faculty position? I was a finalist for that faculty position, and I was really hopeful; I felt really good about my chances. Well, I had my final interview with our campus president on Tuesday. This morning, I learned that I was not her choice. Disappointed? Most certainly. Grateful that I still have a job I enjoy anyway? Definitely. When I got back to my office after meeting with the dean this morning, just trying to wrap my head around the fact that I would still be sitting at the same desk when Fall term starts, I tried to come out of the fog by absentmindedly checking my email. And here was my Daily Truth from the Brave Girls Club:

Dear Fantastic Girl,

Just when you think you have things figured out, even in ONE part of your life….life throws you a curveball.

This is a place where you have a wonderful opportunity…many wonderful opportunities, actually. You get to decide right here, right now…what you will do next. You get to test those amazing skills you’ve been learning about concerning the power of your choice.

You have several choices ahead of you when unexpected things happen. Read more

Kelly: Surrendering My Superpowers

One of the gazillion images I need to edit, this one captured in Virginia last month.

I had to meet with Olivia’s teacher yesterday morning regarding her reading grade. Livvie started out poorly this year, then made the A/B honor roll for the second and third quarters, and now has dropped back down as the school year is winding down. Ever feel completely powerless? Have a conversation with your second-grader’s teacher about her failing reading grade.

We talked through why this might be happening. After all, she did make the A/B honor roll for two quarters! I think with Olivia, it’s all about concentration, or lack thereof (something she, unfortunately, probably gets from me). Ms. G said that lately she’ll race through her reading comprehension quizzes and just circle random answers, seemingly without giving any thought to what the correct answer might be. She’s one of the first to turn in her quizzes. We asked Livvie about this at home, and she said that when she sees other classmates start to turn their quizzes in, she feels like she needs to hurry up and finish and turn hers in, even though these quizzes are not timed. Wow, ever feel like you are trying to keep up with everyone around you when you really don’t need to? I know I could learn from that lesson. Food for thought there… I asked Ms. G to send home several sample quizzes so I could work with Livvie on them over the long holiday weekend and try to get her grade back up. Her reading skills are fine. She’s reading above grade level. It’s just the patience it takes to actually complete the quizzes that she’s struggling with. I also need to help her realize that she is a wonderfully beautiful individual and doesn’t need to compare herself to her twin sister.

I do often feel powerless when it comes to trying to do what’s best for my children. Sounds crazy, maybe, but that’s how it hits me at times. I’m not home for homework time. Most of the academic year, I get home about 6pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and 9pm on Tuesdays. Fridays are my only decent days since I can usually get home by 4pm.  DH picks the girls up from school about 4pm and does homework with them when they get home, so by the time I get home, it’s time for dinner, baths, snuggling, a little reading, and bedtime. DH is great with helping them with their math, but he admits he struggles helping them with their reading and writing. And those are my strong points! That’s where I can and really should be helping them! It all comes down to time.

And that’s also where I’ve been feeling powerless lately and am trying to find ways to make some major changes. Overall I think I’m at a point in my life where, though I’d love to be working on my creative endeavors more, there simply isn’t much spare time most of the year. And I have to tell ya, if I hear one more person tell me “Oh, you make time for what’s important to you,” I think my head will pop off. You can’t create more time, so, no, you often can’t make more time for what’s important to you without something that’s just as important suffering. That’s where reality kicks in. “Find some time after the girls go to bed!” others have told me. My girls go to bed between 8:30pm and 9pm. I can’t give up sleep due to my balance disorder. It’s crucial that I get at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night or my spins pick up. My dizzy meds work to reset my balance while I’m sleeping, so that sleep is ultra-important. I have to get up at 5:30am or 6am, so that means my bedtime is typically about 9pm.

But there are changes I can make, and that’s what I’m working on. Read more

Kelly: A Peek into My Insanity

How the heck are you? It’s been a little crazy around here, so I’ve been a bit slow on the blog front! Between work and my art, April and May are my two busiest months of the year. I have four major work events in April and May, and three of them are actually my biggest events of the year.

April 7, we had our annual Student Government Spring Fling, where I dished out 800 slices of pizza in less than two hours. It’s essentially just a huge gathering on the green, where we provide food, music and a year-end party-type atmosphere. Next up is our annual college-wide High Honors Luncheon. This is for all the graduates completing their degrees with high honors or summa cum laude. The most stressful part of putting this gig together is that all the top brass of the college attend, so we have to make it all look flawless. In the midst of all this, I’m preparing or our annual campus Student Awards program April 28, where we’ll be giving out individual awards to nearly 75 students.

And then there’s the granddaddy of them all: Commencement. Imagine the task of getting approximately 1,500 students lined up and into their seats on the Arena floor, getting them all across the stage, and getting them back out….in less than three hours…without a rehearsal. This year we’ve added another twist to it as we are combining ceremonies. In the past, we’ve had a morning ceremony that included all our credit programs, i.e., associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees, and then an afternoon ceremony that included our non-credit programs, i.e., adult high school, GED, and technical and career certificates. This year, our president has decided he wants everyone in the same ceremony. Thus my estimate of 1,500 students… Last year we had 1,097 in the first ceremony and 284 in the second, and our enrollment has grown dramatically over the past three years. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with more than 1,500. I’ll be a very happy camper about 3pm on May 7 when the big show is over!

To add to the stress of the big show, we do a Bachelor’s Breakfast the morning of the ceremony on the upper concourse of the Arena. The breakfast is at 9am; the ceremony starts at 11am. RSVPs started coming in to me today. And don’t even get me started on the college’s current Institutional Effectiveness process and my process team leader self….  My brain is fried.

Then there’s the fun stuff. My first big spring show was the last Saturday in March in Tallahassee. Springtime Tallahassee is actually my favorite show of the year because it’s such a fun atmosphere, and I get to see lots of old friends. Next up is the Tifton Love Affair Fine Arts Festival in Tifton, Georgia, April 30-May 1. Mermaids and Mamas Artful Adventure 2011 is May 14-15 (space still available!), and I’ve gotten a request to do a second Mermaids and Mamas for a private group June 4-5. And I have all these book ideas floating around in my head, and my book table is all set up crying for attention!

And then there are those two little redheads and that darling husband of mine to work into the mix. Thankfully my girls are getting to the point where they are great little workshop helpers, and my DH is one heck of a van-loading machine, not to mention our chef extraordinaire (without him I’d be a LOT skinnier). You may say that I bring this insanity on myself. Partly maybe. The work-related projects are simply part of my responsibilities at the college. Now the fun stuff, sure, that’s done by choice. But I think without the fun stuff, the work stuff would really drive me insane. Capacity…it’s all about capacity. I started getting off on a really long tangent about capacity and art groups and Facebook groups and overcommitment by technology, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I just need a nap. Bring on summer.

Tell me about your crazy world so I can take a break from mine!

[Cross-posted from Happy Shack Designs]

Kelly: Perceptions

I got an e-mail from my father recently with the subject line “This is our old house!” I looked at this picture but didn’t recognize the house, so I asked him the address. He couldn’t remember the address but said it was the one by the old Levitz and the arch in North Miami; we lived there through my elementary school years. I immediately e-mailed back with “17045 N.W. 11th Avenue, 305-620-0367. I remember the house being pale yellow with a big tree in the front yard.” Dad said that, yes, it had been yellow with a big tree in the front yard. I remember that Dad’s boat was always parked on the trailer on the side of the house where that car sits now. It was a pale blue boat with a large number 44 painted on the side. Dad was a daredevil, racing both boats and motorcycles when I was a kid, probably why speed is still in my blood today. My friend Timmy lived two doors down, and my best friend Terri lived around the block. My mom and dad were good friends with Carol and Wally across the street; they had children, too, but I can’t remember their names. They were even younger than I. Dad was down in Miami on business, and when he saw that old arch, he became curious about the old neighborhood and found the house. Looks pretty sad now, doesn’t it? That address was the opening line of this emotionally raw essay.

It’s fascinating to me how our perceptions change as we grow up. When I was a child, that house seemed huge! But thinking back now and seeing this picture, obviously it was quite small. Dad said it was about 800-900 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath. I remember there being a Magnolia tree in the corner of the back yard. I think the tree in the front yard was a Magnolia as well. Based on this little house, I guess we didn’t have much money growing up, but I clearly remember that I never lacked for anything I needed in those days. My mom was a nurse and my dad worked more than one job while going to school at night; they were 20 when they were married in May and I was born in December of the same year. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized that math didn’t work out quite right.

There was an elementary school at the end of our street, but because of the times and busing in Miami in an effort to better integrate schools, we weren’t districted for that school. I was to ride the bus to a school on the other side of town. Instead, my parents put in me a private Christian school closer to home, where I was sent home more than once, a tomboy rebelling against the “dress” code by wearing pants. My sister was also born in Miami, but then we moved to St. Petersburg before she was a year old. We were in St. Pete for two years before my parents divorced, and Mom, Kim, and I moved here to the Jacksonville area to be near my Nana and Granddaddy.

My girls and I were driving through “the old neighborhood” a while back, and I showed them the house their daddy lived in when we met and where we lived together for six and a half years. “It’s so small!” they both said. It was about 1,000 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath, built in the ‘50s, a cute little concrete rancher in a neighborhood that has now had its share of neglect. Once we were ready to get started building our current home, we put that house up for sale on a Friday, and I went over to Tallahassee for a football game.  When I got back that Sunday, DH had already sold the house. We didn’t expect things to happen quite that quickly! Luckily, DH’s daddy’s house was vacant at the time, so we were able to move in there, the very house DH was born in and grew up in. It was about the size of my childhood house, and we lived there for the nearly year and a half it took us to build our home.

I think of my perception of my house when I was in elementary school and wonder what my girls think now. Our house is not overly large by any means, especially when I think about the houses my mother and her third husband lived in and the homes of many of my friends, but yes, we are blessed to have a river in the back yard. It’s interesting for me to see how my girls react to the houses of their friends. They have commented that their friends’ houses are smaller than ours…but they’ve also commented that their friends have “soooo many toys!!!” Maybe that’s perception, too, a perception on what’s really needed.  In their friends’ houses, yes, there are lots and lots and lots of toys. Here at our house, sure, the girls have some toys, but we try our best not to give in to every new toy on the market and instead encourage playing outside, making art, playing games together, and playing with the toys they already have. They always have their favorites anyways, don’t they (and the piano makes a great fort)? I don’t remember having a lot of toys. But I do remember always being outside playing, whether in the back yard, over with Timmy, around the block with Terri, or a combination of all the above.

I know you’ve probably heard that old saying about wanting more for your kids than you had as a kid. I wonder if in these days of excess and social media overload if that line of thinking can be a slippery slope. Maybe going back to those simpler days of no internet, no video games, fewer toys and more time playing outside is what our kids, and we, really need. That’s where memories are made.

[Cross posted from Artful Happiness]

Kelly: What Shall You Do?

This little scrap of spelling list has been floating around the house for months. I find it here and there, and for some reason, I’ve just never thrown it away. Today I was thinking about everything that I have on my plate on right now, and when I came home, I saw this on the floor in the bedroom. Shall.

Sometimes things get so crazy that we lose track of all the things we said we shall do. The kids get sick (Olivia). You get sick (me). The cat goes on the lam again (Tink). You become over-committed, oftentimes because of things you cannot control (me, work). You stay sick because you’re over-committed (me, still). You follow through on obligations you make because you committed that you shall do them (me, participating in the Halifax Arts Festival even though I was still sick). You work one very demanding full-time job, one part-time job and try to manage a creative business, for a reason (you, um, I, want the part-time job to become the full-time job so you can have more time with your family and more time for creativity). So you keep going.  What shall you do to pull all this together?

Today, I shall try to remember that all things will fall into place where they shall, in their due time, as the Man above plans. And I shall be thankful that I got to get away for a brief 24 hours to reunite with my sorority sisters Saturday (45 of us), antibiotics and cough drops in hand (and a few beers to help battle the germs). And I shall decide that those custom orders can wait just a little while longer, and that will be okay. And I shall decide that I’ll get to my blog when I get to my blog, which obviously hasn’t been very often lately. And I shall sit on the couch and cuddle with my girls while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and then lie in the bed and snuggle with DH while watching Antiques Roadshow. And I shall try not to worry about all those things I’ve been losing track of. And I shall decide that everything will be just fine. What shall you do today?

[cross-posted from Artful Happiness…pictures from the reunion there :-)]

Kelly: How the Birds and the Bees Made Me Grateful

I came across this picture cleaning up and packing my office before our repaint and recarpet this summer and found it tucked in my calendar last week. It was taken at the beach wedding of a friend. Sarah and I were watching the wedding while DH and Olivia were off shell hunting, and the wedding photographer caught this shot. Such innocence. Where the heck did it go!?!

I was driving the girls to school Friday when Sarah asked, “Mama, how can teenagers have a baby?” Stalling, I asked her what she meant, and she said she saw a teenager on TV that had a baby. Wow! Didn’t expect to have the birds and the bees conversation quite this early. I tried to respond with, “Well, teenagers really shouldn’t be having babies.” And she said, “’cause you aren’t supposed to have a baby until you are at least 30.” See, I’m trying to train them well! I tell them that you can’t get married until you are 30, so therefore, you can’t have a baby until you are at least 30 because you have to get married before you have a baby. (Now, I realize that in this day and age, many women are having children without getting married, and that’s fine, but that’s a discussion for another post…) Anywho, Sarah continued with, “So do we have to start taking no-baby pills now so that we don’t have a baby?”

You see, when the girls have asked me about the little pill I take before I go to bed every night (they are far too observant), I tell them that’s my no-baby pill so that I don’t have any more babies. (Okay, so maybe I need to rethink that conversation.) I tried to explain that while, yes, no-baby pills work to keep you from having a baby, there are things that mamas and daddies do to make babies that you won’t need to worry about for a long, long, long time (like when you are 25, she says, as she sticks her head in the sand). “What’s that, Mama?” And I stupidly responded, “Sex.” “What’s sex, Mama?” I somehow managed to change the subject by responding again that it’s something they wouldn’t have to worry about for a long, long, long time, and then said, “Hey look! They mowed the cow pasture! What are the cows going to eat now!?”

I’m guessing the topic of “What’s sex?” has now probably come up at school amongst their friends. I can hear it now: “Destiny, do you know what sex is? My Mama said it’s what mamas and daddies do to make babies.” I am expecting a call from the school any day now.

This Mama stuff….when you don’t have your own Mama around, it’s very much a make-it-up-as-you-go-along thing. I guess even if you do have your Mama around, you might still be making it up as you go along. There are mornings when it just smacks me out of nowhere. I’ll be standing at the kitchen sink, washing up the breakfast dishes while trying to keep the girls on task to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks and get ready to head out the door, and it smacks me right across the face: I’m a mother. I don’t know why it sometimes hits me that way. From early on, I knew I wanted children. Heck, I wanted four children! Boys! I think maybe that came from seeing my college boyfriend’s family. They are a family of four boys who all absolutely adore their Mama. But still there are days that I find myself amazed that I am a mother…that I am worthy of this task…that I have been given this blessing…that I have the qualifications for this most wonderful of jobs… Maybe it’s because we had to go through so much to get where we are, who knows?

Take a peek over at Brene Brown’s post Monday. She and I corresponded a bit after this post and I’m working on doing a few things on campus related to this project. What does this have to do with being a mother, you ask, other than what should be the obvious that “perfect mother” is an oxymoron? In our e-mails, she directed me to a TED talk she did about vulnerability, and what she speaks of everyday, having ordinary courage, taking the time to realize the small wonderfulness that happens in our lives every day. The little things we overlook. That’s what it has to do with being a mother. I will remember the conversation Sarah and I had Friday morning hopefully for the rest of my days. And standing at the kitchen sink tomorrow morning, I will remember what a blessing it is to stand there and wash the breakfast dishes of two little angels. And I will be amazed and overjoyed that I am their Mama. And I will be incredibly grateful for that gift. How about you? Have you taken the time to think about what you are grateful for today?

[cross-posted from Artful Happiness]

Kelly: A New Twist for Teaching

Ever agree to do something and then wonder “what the heck have I gotten myself in to?” Well, I did just that. My friend Connie asked if I’d contribute to her newest online class and, after a few back and forth e-mails of me saying “Connie, you have far more talented art journaling friends than I!” she finally convinced me I’d be great. So! My class is complete and I’ve sent it off to Connie to be included in the full class, and, just like Connie, I’m so stinkin’ excited!

It wasn’t the teaching part that concerned me. Heck, I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and I know I truly am a gifted teacher. I feel confident in that. But having never had any formal art training myself, I really didn’t think I was a candidate to teach art techniques to adults. To kids, sure! But to grown women (and maybe even men), most of whom are probably artists themselves? This is a bridge I’ve never crossed. I’ve seen all those awesome videos artist/teachers create to demonstrate their techniques. And I have no clue how to make a video. I can “take” a video with my camera, but what to do with it after that? Clueless! So there are no videos in my little class. What there are, however, are tons of photographs and witty commentary demonstrating the techniques step-by-step. And the most awesome thing about it? It’s not just Kelly teaching the class; it’s Kelly, Sarah, and Olivia teaching the class together. My contribution to the 21 Secrets Art Journal Playground is wrapped around creating art journals with your kids, using the things they say as prompts. My class is called “The Things They Say,” and the girls and I had a ball creating the samples we demonstrate in the class.

Another awesome point about this class is Connie’s generosity towards the contributing artists. She’s set up an affiliate program to allow us to reap some financial rewards for our contributions. Each artist has a special link, so for me, click here and you’ll be taken to my personal registration page. The girls and I would love some of the Studio Mothers community to join us! Registration opened September 20, and the class itself starts October 1.

Kelly: What Does Authenticity Mean?

Well, the fog I described last week is lifting, but I continue to be a scattered-brained mess! 🙂 My house looks like a tornado hit, and as I sit here in my little office, I’m surrounded by fake dollar bills (the play kind, just so you Feds know, I’m not creating dollar bills here), an atlas, Ebay and Etsy receipts, three cameras, my new deposit slips, stamp and fancy checkbook for my business checking account, scribbled notes written while trying to find a hotel for our trip up to North Georgia later this week (thus the atlas mentioned earlier…who knew we’d be visiting Aunt Livy the same four days as a huge gospel fest AND softball tournament in the same area?), a few shells, baby lotion, kids shampoo, a large comb, innumerable blankets, quilts and scarves the girls have pulled out of their room to play with, and um, a reindeer that poops jelly beans. And that’s all just in my little 5’ x 5’ office nook! And that doesn’t include the “normal” office stuff that’s supposed to be here! The rest of my house is currently in a similar state. Oh well.

I made this necklace a couple weeks ago while my friend Dana was over for a play date. It’s now in my Etsy store here. That big piece of jade up front used to be in a different piece that I’ve had laying around for a while, so I reworked it for summer. Dana just finished Florence, and we were celebrating. Who is Florence, you ask? Florence is a mannequin Dana collaged from head to toe with all sorts of fabulous stuff. Took her two years! Serious dedication there! My only suggestion was that she change out Florence’s boring brown wig for a hot pink one. That was my contribution, and we both feel it was the finishing touch. Sorry, no pictures of Florence to share with you because Dana is thinking about starting a blog, and when I suggested that maybe it could be Florence’s blog, Dana’s face lit up. So I’m hoping she’ll follow through with that, and THEN Dana will share pictures of Florence with you.

When talking about Florence and her potential blog, Dana and I got on the subject of authenticity, which seems to be the biggest buzz word in blogging. We talked about what we think that means. What the heck does that mean anyway? Dana is a psychology instructor, and though we are very dear friends, we have very different approaches on life. Dana, God bless her, is a mega-analyzer. And I’m really, um, not. I’ll analyze temporarily, but then I’m over it; the old “it is what it is” motto I live by. Experience it, learn from it, move on. And while I certainly touch on my personal life here, I try my darndest not to dwell on issues I may be struggling with. Hashing out my problems, insecurities, fears, what have you, in a public forum is just not how I process things. Other people do, and if that works for them, I think that’s great! But just because someone chooses not to hash out those things on a blog, does that mean she is not being authentic? I certainly do not think so, and it’s that line of thinking that really bugs me about authenticity talk.

Lori mentioned something similar on her blog a while back, and she has the exact same outlook on life that I do (one of the many reasons I love you Lori!). No one’s life is perfect. Bad things happen to everyone, regardless of whether you are a stay at home mom or working mom, regardless of your income or lack thereof, regardless of your marital status, regardless of where you live and whether you have a river in your backyard or not, regardless of what you choose to share and choose not to share. Bad stuff just happens. That’s just life. The one thing that we all have in common is that we all have the choice regarding how we react to that bad stuff. We all have the choice of whether or not to choose happiness or dwell on the negative. 99 times out of 100, I choose to be happy. Am I Pollyanna-ish enough to think that I’m, therefore, going to be happy every single second of every single day? Heck no! I have my moments. But when I’m not in a happy place, I typically choose not to share that with the world. That’s what works for me. That is the “authentic” me, take ‘er or leave ‘er. And I eat lots of chocolate and lick batter directly out of the brownie batter bowl.

[cross-posted from Artful Happiness]

Kelly: Moments that Take My Breath Away

“Life’s not the breath you take, the breathing in and out,
That gets you through the day, ain’t what it’s all about,
You might just miss the point trying to win the race.
Life’s not the breath you take, but the moments that take your breath away.”
~ George Strait
 
I had one of those mornings yesterday. Frustrated over continuing dizziness, very concerned about my upcoming two-and-a-half-hour flight to New York City because of said dizziness, FTS-ing and facing a very messy house that my girls apparently think is cleaned by the cleaning fairy (yes, they actually said that), I snapped at my girls. And I mean really snapped…one of those had-to-stop-myself-from-throwing-something-very-large-across-the-room snaps. This happens pretty rarely as, thankfully, I’m usually pretty easy-going, but when it does happen, I must be making up for all the times it doesn’t happen! So, yep, there you have it; I may not share my down moments much (my blog is called Artful Happiness after all), but my life and I are far from perfect.
 
A bit later, after DH and the girls cleaned up and headed to the park to give me some space, I headed to the grocery store, heard this song on the radio for the first time, and drove across the bridge with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t wait for my girls to get home from the park so I could hug them. This little face and this little face, they bring the moments that take my breath away, and make the moments that make me want to snap pretty pointless. I’ll do my best to remember that the next time I want to throw a stair basket stuffed full of clothes, shoes and half-empty cracker wrappers across the room.
 
…and in case you were wondering, FTS is the Southern version of PMS. Bonus to the first of you who knows what it stands for!
 
[Cross-posted from Artful Happiness]

Kelly: Learning to Spread My Wings

Over the past month, I’ve been taking an e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts called Flying Lessons. Let me just say wow. The amount of content Kelly Rae has written for this course has been absolutely phenomenal. I imagine the full thing would print out to be a 300-page book. It’s been crazy chock full of great information. Of course, as par for the course for me, I’ve been having a heck of a time keeping up so I’ve been hopping around a bit, but today’s post really struck a chord with me. It talks about embracing the journey of a creative business… “the ebb and flow, overwhelm and burnout, celebration and joy.” I’ve most definitely been experiencing that. (Bracelet above listed in my Etsy shop.)

Kelly Rae said, “After all, in the big scheme of things, it’s often not the destination that we can control. The only thing we really can control is staying centered and inside the perspective that the creative biz path really is a journey. If we can give ourselves permission to not always know, to give up the “shoulds,” then we allow ourselves and our creative spirits a bit more freedom to roam the mysteries of its possibilities.”

Well said, sister! Last year, I postponed the majority of my regular juried show schedule in lieu of participating in the Riverside Arts Market (RAM). I was so excited about RAM. The venue was gorgeous, the idea was fabulous, and I felt like it was something Jacksonville really needed. And if I could stay right here at home and sell my jewelry and photography, awesome! Now, I still think the venue is gorgeous, and the idea is fabulous, and the people running it are truly wonderful; it’s very well organized. It just didn’t work for me. My sales for 13 weeks at RAM barely surpassed what I normally do at a large juried festival in one weekend. Granted my jewelry is on the higher end of what you’d typically find at a market like this, so maybe that was part of it. And maybe I expected too much. Who knows? I’d love to see RAM move to a once-a-month format instead of a weekly format. While RAM is still the top dog and the best run market in the best venue, nearly a dozen little Saturday arts and farmers markets have sprouted up in the area, and I wonder if the market is getting a bit too diluted.

My experience with RAM was a big lesson for me. And it was a big lesson that caused some major burnout. All those Saturdays in a row at the market away from my family, not making many sales, really took a physical and creative toll on me. Because of that, this year I took a big step back. I only did one show this spring, the always fun and profitable Springtime Tallahassee Arts Jubilee. (I wrote about my very first Springtime Tallahassee here; it was quite an experience!) I’ve started worrying less about selling my art and started enjoying more the process itself, creating whatever I’ve wanted to create when I’ve wanted to create it (obviously, since in the last week on my blog I’ve shared the jewelry above, a mixed media postcard, and some Best Shot Monday photography!). That’s been very freeing. I guess that’s part of the ebb and flow Kelly Rae referred to. And because I’ve let go of the need to sell, every little sale I do make on Etsy or on my website is cause for celebration! And it’s made room for other things, allowing me the time to explore other creative areas, the freedom to experience amazing adventures like Artful Journey, and even the room and opportunity for my first solo gallery showing of my photography (more on that later!).

It’s fitting that I wrote this post on June 30. Thanks to that letting go this first half of 2010, I’m now starting to feel better about loading Sally up and hitting the road again, so this fall, I’m planning to get back to a scaled-down version of my regular show schedule. Because I’ve been so scatter-brained lately (okay, I’m always scatter-brained, but I’ve been more scatter-brained than usual lately), I missed the application deadline for Market Days in Tallahassee, which has been one of my regulars, but that’s okay; that’ll save me that $375 booth and application fee, and I’ll fill that spot with a less expensive show. I’m looking into the Glynn Arts Association shows for this fall. I could essentially still sleep at home with those since they are just an hour up the road in St. Simon’s! So thank you, Kelly Rae. That post was just what I needed to read today. It was a good reminder that the journey really is so much more enjoyable when we worry less about the destination. That’s a good lesson learned.

[Crossposted from Artful Happiness]

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