Friday, September 26, 2008

Upcoming Events....

My calender is filling up with some events I thought I would pass along to you if you are in the Portland/Vancouver area during any of these dates and would find these a source of hope and comfort. These are also wonderful opportunities to find out more about these encouraging resources and share them with a friend who might benefit from them!

This weekend are two beautiful Fall Open Houses for two private retreat ministries, one of which I have been blessed to stay at. Florence McDavid at Journeys Rest and Traci Nelson from Still Waters are two of the most beautiful woman inside and out that I have had the honor of meeting and calling friends. They each have gentle hearts that are deeply passionate for providing places for souls to come away, rest for awhile and just nurture their body, mind and spirit. Saturday, Sept 27th, from 10:00 til 3:00 PM, they will be opening their ministries and hearts so you can come and see their retreat offerings located in Battleground Wa. just two miles apart from each other. Enjoy fresh baked treats, the smells of pumpkin spice candles and delicious cups of hot tea. Florence will also be having a sweet boutique open at the event which will include a selection of my framed artwork, greeting cards and inspirational treasures. That evening I will be offering my Healing Expressions Workshop at Journeys Rest as well. I am so looking forward to seeing how God moves and the hearts he connects on this special day!

"I Will Carry You" ARMS Benefit Banquet, October 4, 2008 at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland Oregon. ARMS (Abuse Recovery Minsitry and Services) is a faith-based, non-profit agency that provide educational counseling and awareness to individuals faced with domestic abuse. This year my husband and I will be hosting a table at the event where hundreds have come to hear of the healing and hope that is availiable to woman who are living within the heartbreaking world of domestic violence, men who are seeking help with abusive behaviors and teens needing guidance and support on these issues. There is inspiring music and courageous stories shared by both victims and those who have abused and found recovery. This event is a fundraiser to support the agency and it efforts to expand their reach into other communites and states across the nation.

"Betrayal Redeemed: Mastering Your Trauma and Reclaiming Your Life", October 24th, 2008 at Mountain Park Church, Lake Oswego Oregon.Sandy Wilson, founder of Tuff Stuff Ministries in Lake Oswego, Oregon offers this all day event with several break-out sessions and Keynote Speaker Linda McDonald who is Marriage and Family Therapist and author. This conference offers hope and resources for woman who are traveling the difficult healing journey from the betrayal of their partner's sexual addiction or infidelity. This is the second year I will be offering my artwork and therapuetic collage workshops at a resource/vendor table. There were several hundred in attendance last year and many received encouragement for the burdens they carried.

"Inspiring the Soul" Charis Woman's Conference 2009. January 10, 2009 at the Hilton in Downtown Vancouver WA.

I attended a beautiful planning luncheon yesterday for a fabulous event coming up to encourage and inspire woman. This event is a fundraiser for Charis Counseling which is a Non-Profit Christian counseling agency offering discounted services for needy children, adults and families. I was so excited to meet the caring souls at Charis Counseling and hear their heart and vision for this fabulous event. They have a strong and passionate hope to connect people with resources and healing ministries that reach out to our communities and our world. The keynote speaker is best-selling author Karen Kingsbury and there will also four wonderful break-out sessions to attend. There will be many non-profit agencies represented at a resource portion of the conference called "The World at Your Door" as well as vendors offering inspirational treasures and items that offer encouragement. I am honored and so thrilled to be a part of the event this year and will be at a vendor table sharing work that I hope and pray will "inspire the soul"!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breathe Hope- "Race for the Cure"

This past week- end I put on my walking shoes and my youngest son and I, joined my good friend Kelly to participate in the 2008 Susan G. Koman, "Race for the Cure". The fundrasing event for breast cancer here in Portland, Oregon is one of the largest on the West Coast. We hopped the Max train and headed down to the Waterfront in downtown Portland to join a literal "sea of caring humanity" that either walked or ran the 1K or 5K races. It was quite an emotional experience reading each of the pink 'In Memory Of' or "In Celebration Of" signs each participant pins to the back of their shirts with the names of loved ones and friends who have either lost a battle with breast cancer, are in the courageous battle to heal or are living as a survivor. We walked the 5K in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle and several other dear ones who are in process of healing from or fighting the disease. I was overcome at the creativity of the different groups that participated and their enthusiastic spirits! At every turn there was a rainbow of emotions that were being, grief, happiness tears...all amidst the celebration of laughter, dancing, friendship and music!

And what would the event be without the delightful and upscale restroom experience of the "Honey Bucket"!!!

The fundraising for "Race for the Cure" is still going on for another few weeks and I wanted to find a way I might be able to contribute with a little fundraiser of my own. This collage of mine "Breathe Hope", always reminds me of my friends who are facing breast cancer. For the next two weeks I would love to offer this piece as a fundraiser for the "Race for the Cure". Any sale of this work as a mounted art card ($5.99), greeting card ($4.25) or 5X7 ($8.99) print will go directly towards the fight to find a cure for breast cancer. You can either purchase the print in my store on Ebay, Etsy, my website or directly from my blog by contacting me personally. My deepest appreciation if you are able to join in!

I also wanted to share a charm style ornament I recently finshed to contribute to another beautiful event called, "Ties the Bind- Artists United to Fight Ovarian Cancer". If you follow the link you will be blessed to see a vast array of heartfelt work that has been created and contributed by a huge group of mixed media artists. You can also read more about the cause and how you might be able to help support the research and fundraising for this special cause as well!

And now for the finale to our weekend...rocking out at the Journey/Heart/Cheap Trick Concert at the Clark County Ampitheatre!!! Somewhere inside this calm, conservative appearing gal there is a rocker chick trying to find her way out (haha)! For my oldest sons 19th birthday we took him, his brothers and his good buddy to a concert that was "totally sick" (that means really cool in teen speak!)! Talk about a blast from the 80's past. It was quite a de'ja'vu to the days when my hubby and I were dating in high school...but now we had all these grown kids standing next to us jamming to these great Journey songs too! They confirmed what we always knew all along when they exclaimed, "Mom and Dad you guys had the greatest classic rock songs ever in your day!!!" I don't think any of us had any voices left by the end of the night!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Inspiration and Art Journaling....

I opened my home studio this week for the first meeting of a wonderful, monthly art journaling group I will be participating in. I love it when hearts and paths cross and God arranges the kind of divine appointments that you know cannot be just mere coincidences! There is an excited anticipation of how the journey will unfold but tempered with a quiet peace as you step into the flow of where the river seems to be taking you! We hope to each share our own unique styles, techniques and ideas as well as explore the deeper experiences of how art journaling opens our souls and moves us toward deeper understanding of our emotional and spiritual lives. I am really looking forward to becoming more consistant with my art journaling and having like-minded souls to encourage that journey! One of my favorites on my studio bookshelf is "Art Journals and Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit Through Self -Expression" by Sharon Soneff. I highly recommend it as rich source of inspiration for the healing potential of the journaling process. Please stop by Sharon's Blog as she shares more of her heart behind this beautiful and vulnerable book.

As we shared each of our journals to date and got to know each other over tea and pastires (must have treats and some form of chocolate!) I was in awe of the creative energy and spirit amidst the group. Longtime friends of mine, Jaron and Shelby, were joined by new friends Michelle Allen of Allen Designs and Teri Owens. You'll have to take a peek at Michelle's Etsy shop. Her creations are magical and I had to treat myself to one her signature clocks, "Love & Hope", to hang in the studio.

It was a very hopeful and inspiring experience and I look forward to watching how it all unfolds and the new creative doors it opens!
PS. Michelle is having a absolutely wonderful giveaway on her blog too! Take a peek at this post for all the details!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Antique Journey....

I had a wonderful visit with my mother and a dear friend the other day. My mother treated us to lunch in this delightful cafe inside one of the most delicious antique malls over in Portland. As a collector of treasures, strolling through aisles and aisles of vintage finds, antique lace and clothing, cabinet photos, chandeliers and teacups...I was like a child discovering the inner sanctum of sweets in the Willy Wonka factory!! I always feel a rush of excitement at the thought of what might be found in the nooks and crannys of each of the displays and booths. The little girl in me just knows there will be something so rich and delicate and so feminine and dainty just waiting for me.

The experience just seems to nurture my senses and transport my soul! I am always fasicnated at the haunting mystery that fills the air. Its as if you can almost hear the stories of the men and women whose hands, hearts and lives mingled with and touched the multitude of treasures that are assembled. A sweet photo of a child or family, vintage keys that opened the doorways into homes rich with life stories, beautiful china that was set around a table where meals were shared, teacups sipped while memories were made, old records, posters and books recording the events of times past and beautiful feminine dresses whispering of the days when modesty was honored. It is a place pulsating with stories and rich with history. As one who has spent many years assembling family artifacts and piecing together my own story, I am deeply impacted by the small trinkets and treasures I reach to pick and hold in my own hands. Touching and pondering what tale they might tell is familiar to my own journey. There is a comfort and familiarity to the process that reminds me that I too have come from the past, into this present and will one day leave behind tokens of my travels. There is a connection to something deeper....wider....larger.

My Mom gifted me with two beautiful treasure boxes and an old vintage key (that is she and I in the little teapot frame and her mother's, my "Nanny's", china I inherited and treasure). I am sure each piece will find new life by joining my own story in a collage or assemblage work. Maybe one too will be discovered...reached for and held....and the stories and memories it holds will cause someone to stop for a moment and listen to the whispers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Giveaway Blessings!

Heartfelt thanks to everyone for the most beautiful comments, blessings shared and kind words that were left from each of you for the "Breathe Gratitude" giveaway. It was such an encouragement to hear of the many expressions of gratitude sprinkled throughout your lives. I gathered each name in my beautiful collaged box I recently received from Jillian of "Bohemiart". I closed my eyes, reached in and pulled the sweet name of "Ruth Rae"! Congratulations and I pray this journal becomes a quiet little place to renew your heart! Please take a moment to peek in and see and experience the beauty of her work on Ruth Rae's inspiring blog! I truly appreciate each of you taking the time to share your heart. I hope you'll stroll through again next month when I will create another art blessing!

I love working on these little mini journals and created this one called "Believe...Faith and Trust" as well as a large collage tag titled "Healing Peace". These works have been added to my website as well as fresh "Soul Reflections", "Musical Emotions", and "Poetic Expressions". I invite you to gather your journal, a hot cup of tea and listen to whats stirring in your own heart while experiencing some soul tending at my Healing Expressions home.

I am also honored to share the tender work of my friend Angie Young on my "Kindred Souls" website page! Her deeply vulnerable art cards are truly rich with emotion. God Bless your journey this day!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Art Blessing Giveaway- " Breathe Gratitude"

I thought it was time to create something and share it for my monthy art blesssing giveaway! I have been reflecting on what it means to breathe in gratitude and let in fill the heart. Its so easy to not be fully present in the moments that each day let the worries, fears, insecurities or hurts of life to fully inhabit our inhaling and exhaling. I hope this little, original journal will be a secret place to record the moments in each day that offer an opportunity to be grateful. The smallest of acts of kindness, a caring touch, the sound of childrens laughter, talking a walk, savoring a quiet meal or listening to the silence in the middle of the night. There is an endless array of moments to record and be present for...and breath in and express gratitude for....

If you would like to be entered in my giveaway for this handmade "Gratitude Journal" just leave a comment with your email address and on Monday evening, Sept 15th, I will draw a name for this art blessing! I would also love to hear what moments you have found to be grateful for this past week (not required to be entered in the drawing though!). Below is another larger journal I was asked to make for a dear woman healing from breast cancer. I hope each piece will encourage and inspire!

Sweet thank yous to Shelley and Nelda for blessing me with an "I love your blog" award. I have never been able to choose from all the amazing blogs out there to send it on to so I invite you to roam through all the links you find on my blog for creative inspiration and discovery! Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shared Hope.....

Its been a busy last week or two since returning from California. Getting the kids settled at school and my oldest son ready to start his college classes...preparing my family, my home and my heart for the fall and the gentle shifting of seasons. I can feel God's spirit moving me in ways I have prayed for but in all honesty take me out of what is comfortable and into places me where I can't quite see the plan...but feel it stirring and moving all around me. It can be a bit unnerving if you are someone who wants to see whats below before you jump...and you are being asked to take the leap and trust for all that you will find on the way down and even when you land. But there are times when you are standing at the place of having your vision enlarged and know in your heart the time has long past to watch and wonder what is beyond the leap...that standing is no longer an option. Its a place where you can feel the height of tension between what was and what might be. It seems that even when we resist, question or doubt, God will mercifully usher in a host of signs, visions, kindred spirits and divine appointments. We know what we must do. We must move to the edge and let our feet leave the ground.

I received my beautiful, signed copy of Kelly Rae Roberts new book, "Taking Flight" this past week. I have collected many artistic and creatively inspiring books in the past but this one has moved me in a way that feels deeply personal. Kelly has a gift for expressing her vulnerablity and generously shares her own journey to break free from the fears and internal voices that would have attempted to keep her static and her creative gifts bound up. Each time I have ever corresponded with Kelly her passion for claiming our creative identity is contagious. She is a very special and gifted soul. The print "Harmony" she included with the book carried with it a comfirming message for me. Harmony is possible when I no longer resist where God seems to be taking me and I listen and take the risk to step into the places He is calling. It means hard choices and letting go of what isn't best for me, and making room for the passions He has nurtured all along with in my heart. Sometimes I think we know all along some of the decisions and choices we need to make in order for our path to be opened up and the next steps just takes time to be ready and willing to make them. Its scary yet exhilerating all in the same breath!

This week I was given a wonderful opportunity to have a resource table at an event sponsored by Shared Hope International. Congresswoman and founder, Linda Smith, has a bold passion for the "prevention, rescue and restoration of countless numbers of woman and children being sold and unspeakably abused in the sex trafficking industry in the United states and around the world. It is a heartbreaking and difficult topic for many to hear about but our silence won't help those that are in this form of modern day slavery. I have posted a video below that gives a brief glimpse into this tragedy. I was overwhelmed with compassion and hope for what I might be able to do in some small way to help. This event was a fundraiser for six other non-profit agencies and ministries that are reaching out into our communities to restore lives that have been broken by abuse of many forms. Several hundred attended this beautiful luncheon , watched powerful and moving video presentations from Portland Rescue Mission's Shepards Door, New Life Mission Impossible, Open House, Shared Hope, Vida's Ark and Young Lives Teen Moms and enjoyed inspirational music and speakers. I was especially moved my an organization called "The Defenders" who have taken a pledge to stand against the commercialization of sex and the degradation of women and children that fuels the pornagraphy industry. I shared my artwork as well as information on my upcoming therapuetic collage workshop for survivors at the resource area. My dear friends Florence McDavid from "Journey's Rest" and Traci Nelson of "Still Waters" also shared a beautiful table offering their home and cottage retreat ministires for those who need rest from the weariness of difficult life experiences.

Be sure to pause the music playing on my blog on the right side bar before viewing the video.

I thought I'd share a couple pages I created in my art journal this week. It occurs to me, seeing these pages juxtaposed against the tragedy represented in the video...that there is hope. That amidst the darkness in this world and the horrible acts that are committed against the human soul...we can create beauty from the ashes and offer hope and healing. We can take the leap, have the faith our wings will open, and be carried to the places God needs each of us. Because He so desperately needs our gifts and passions to help Him bring healing, restoration, hope and compassion to our communities and to our world. Our story is an integral part of a much larger story. In the process of reaching out, our wings expand and we are blessed. Thanks for peeking in on my small place in it all.