Friday, October 31, 2008

Sewn With Love and Healing......

I wanted to share the work of two sweet souls I had the pleasure of meeting at the Betrayal Redeemed Conference I offered my artwork at last week. Alexis Aho of DadzDesigns and Jeanette Knittle of Wordz of Life (mother and daughter) shared a vendor table together and work that touched my heart. Each had a passion for creating art out of their own difficult experiences and hoped that what they had to offer would bring encouragement and hope to others. The healing potential in the creative gifts is such a beautiful thing! I just loved the adorable and oh so cuddly dolls that Alexis created. Each is a sweet original and handsewn with bits and pieces of discarded remnants and embellishments. On her Etsy store profile Alexis says:

"I have always seen others and myself as rag dollz...we have been stuffed and stitched up time and time again. Dealing with the painful stuff in life can leave scars and inevitably helps shape us into who we are.While there is healing for me in the process of making these dollz, I pray that they will bring some comfort and peace to the minds and hearts of those who need healing, or are on the pathway of healing already. These dollz are stuffed with the love of God and the constant prayers of healing, encouragement, peace, wisdom, and strength that flow from my lips."

And Jeanette shares these words on creating her sweet handstitched patchwork ornaments and framed and custom original stitchwork:

"Wordz of Life was born out of a time of pain and hurt in my life. As I was working through this pain, seeking to know God more, to be closer to Him; He began to speak to me about words. His words. THE Word. The healing power that is in every word of scripture, whether it is written, spoken, or in my case, stitched. And so I began to stitch. For me it became therapy. “There is healing in the stitching” was a phrase I felt Him whisper to my heart time after time as I sewed one stitch after the other. And I AM healing. I am grateful. I am joyful…. I am free!"

Be sure to follow the links above and stop by and see each of their Etsy stores! Also, there are a couple more days left in my Art Blessing Blog Giveaway (details in the post below). Hope you'll leave me your name so I can add you in on the drawing! Happy Fall!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art Blessing Giveaway!

Its that time again! I have assembled a sweet fall-themed offering for my art blessing giveaway for the month of October. As the season of Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I was reflecting on how grateful I am for the support and encouragement so many have sent my way and for those I am fortunate to be walking alongside in spreading a message of hope through creative healing. The winner of this giveaway will receive a print of my original collage "Love, Hope, Believe" framed in an 8x8 inch wooden frame and a pumpkin spice candle with decorative ring of leaves and fall colors! If you would like to have your name included in the drawing for this "Art Blessing" just leave your name and email in the comment section. If you would like to share one thing you are thankful for today... please do! Then on Sunday, Nov. 2, I will draw the name of one who I will be happy to bless with this fall ensemble!

I had a such a meaningful time this weekend sharing my artwork at the "Betrayal Redeemed" Conference at Mountain Park Church in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The conference was sponsored by Dr. Earl and Sandy Wilson of Tuff Stuff Ministries. I was side by side with friends and fellow "soul travelers", Florence McDavid of Journeys Rest, Meg Wilson author of "Hope After Betrayal" and Traci Nelson from "Still Waters". We each shared our hearts for the wounded at vendor tables for about over 100 woman who attended the conference. Although the source of my own woundedness and betrayal was not found in my marriage, I was deeply impacted by the many speakers and counselors who brought hope and resources to encourage and give support for any woman who has been impacted by intimate betrayal at the hands of someone she loved. I was humbled at what God does when you just show up, offer who you are and your own story and then let Him do the rest. When I am tempted to give into insecurity, fear, or feeling inadequate and not equipped to be of any help to those He brings my way.....He will bring an encounter that reminds me I can release my human frailty, take hold of God's hand and not be any more than I truly am in that moment and time in my own journey. It always helps me breathe in more deeply of what He is doing in the hearts of those who are hurting around me...and breathe out more fully and I hope... authentically who I am. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you'll join in the fall giveaway!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Beautiful Gift....

I wanted to share the beautiful work of Dawn Devries Sokol. I opened my mailbox the other day to the most amazing, handcrafted, personalized journal from my sweet and generous friend! Dawn and I were driving and rooming buddies at the ZNE Convention in Pleasanton, CA last August. We shared some wonderful conversations about creativity, life, art and our dreams and goals. I was so taken with Dawn's journals and so inspired by her unique lettering styles. She gave some great pep talks on overcoming your resistance to the blank page and just diving in! So what a surprise and truly a blessing to receive this one-of-a-kind treasure from her! Each phrase she choose really touched my heart! Be sure to take a peek at Dawn's blog for loads of art journaling inspiration!

Dawn is the author of the newly published book, "1000 Artist Journal Pages", which is filled with the most stunning collection of art journaling from artists all over the world. I am anxiously awaiting the opening of her Etsy store where she will be offering her original art journals and other treasures soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Highlights from a Busy Week!

Our Northwest fall rain has arrived and today is one of those days when I think I will not do much else other than play beautiful music, keep a hot pot of tea brewing, light some yummy fall candles and just take one deep breath after another. I had a week filled with memorable activity and thought I'd share some of the highlights! (Be sure to pause the music playing on the lower right hand sidebar before viewing):


I don't think I could find enough words to describe how utterly amazing this concert was! My husband could not have given me a more incredible birthday gift earlier in the year when he presented me with two tickets to her concert. It sold out so fast I felt like I have had in my possession two Willy Wonka golden tickets while I awaited for October 16th to arrive!! Even though Dave couldn't go due to work I was able to take my Mom who was a big Celine fan and make some "we will never forget this night" memories with her. We got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam for an hour, missed the pre-show (OK I was about to come unglued at this point) but thankfully we got to our seats just before she arrived on stage. The production, dancers, musicians, lights, videos, and staging were unbelievable...and her voice...well...beautiful, powerful and goosebump-filled perfection! For the little girl in me who spent many nights dreaming of being a singer...this felt like a true fantasy night!

Well if you'll indulge me for a little are a couple of my favorites!

The rest of the week was in preparation for my neices wedding! We had family in town for the event and it was a beautiful ceremony! It was very emotional as my son played the piano while all the guests arrived and then played a self-composed piece for my neice to walk down the aisle to. God has gifted him with the most incedible natural ability to play. It was such a blessing to see him have this opportunity to do what brings him such release! I was honored to sing two pieces that were special to my neice and then it was off to a lovely reception!

I savor these moments when we are all together...and my men are all miraculously dressed in suits!!! They clean up pretty well eh!

The week finished off with a fabulous time with Lisa Kaus for her "Home Sweet Home" workshop. I truly had the most wonderful day creating in her amazing, eye-candy-filled studio! She is the greatest teacher, her home is a delight and lunch on her patio was delicious...crystal goblets filled with sparkling cider, fajitas and fall decorated cupcakes! I was thrilled to discover my friend Michelle Allen was attending the workshop and her mom, Karla Dornacher who was such a special soul to meet and share time with. Each of the houses that were created were so incredibly unique. They were covered with beeswax as a finishing touch! I was so inspired by all that Lisa taught us and hope to get a chance to find my creative muse this week. Life has been so incredibly busy these last few weeks and I haven't been able to spend much time in the studio but after yesterday... I am itching for some creative play!

......................You can click on photos for a larger view!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lost...but not alone....

Just an encouragement for anyone who is feeling a little lost today. I think this is such a beautiful song.

Before viewing video please pause the music playing on my blog on the lower right sidebar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creative Invitations.....

I came across this video earlier and thought I would share it with you. I am always moved by stories of how art moves pain that has been hidden and contained within the body and the imagery transforms that pain and slowly over time offers healing. What the artist shares in her paintings is raw...and real...and honest. What emerges is images and symbols that have personal meaning in her own story. The imagery of pain is stark and can be graphic and bold...maybe disturbing to some. Reaching in and spreading it across the blank page is an act of redemption. It is the taking hold of something unspoken inside and giving it a voice. Sometimes those voices need to question...or scream...or weep...or just reach out to the external realm and be validated. I think you have to live outside the world's box to risk exploring as this artist has done. You have to be willing to not have things all clean and tidy...or pretty or neatly explained. You have to be willing to listen and then hold in your hands the images that greet you. There in lies the risk.....

Be sure to pause the music playlist on my blog on the lower left hand sidebar before viewing)

I find myself drawn to painting lately. I should say "the idea of painting". I haven't braved the bare canvas very often myself. I move in, dabble a little, then move on to what is more familiar...and safe I suppose. There is a letting go required it seems. I keep waiting...for what I am not sure. I collect every color of the rainbow in fresh, crisp new tubes and containers of paint. I buy paintbrushes and sponges and texture tools. I hoard every new book that peeks into the lives of those who seems to have crossed the threshold into discovery and creative bravery. I line them all up nice and organized, stand back and admire how rich and inviting they all look. Then I wait. I imagine what I might create with them. I am not sure why I hesitate. Maybe I am afraid of the revelation. But something inside is gearing up...getting ready...wanting to make time to see what it is I have been missing...what healing is waiting to be released through the trying. I think deep inside I know there is more to my own story. Maybe all this preparing and collecting and arranging is my soul's way of clearing a path...of slowly and gently offering the invitation. But thats the thing about creative are the only one who can finally take the step and decide to accept them!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Giving and Blessing.....

I joined a wonderful movement today that I am excited to participate in! Its called the 29 Day Giving Challenge. My heart is just bursting with ideas of how to let this idea flow through and express itself to those God might bring to my heart and mind. You can hear more about this beautiful story below and maybe you might feel led to join in and see where it takes you! (be sure to pause the music on my blog on the right sidebar below before viewing):

You can peek in and follow more about my journey in the coming weeks on my giving page at the site home.

I opened my home yesterday to welcome the gals for our monthy Art Journaling group. My dear friend Jaron shared her many creative gifts and talents and taught us how to bind and create our own journals. She is a wonderful teacher and has a depth to her art journaling that always moves and inspires me. This week it was a treat to welcome Paulette Insall and give her a hug in person! Check out Michelle's blog for more great pics of the day! I really encourage you to gather together where you are...maybe find a few other kindred souls...invite them together...share you heart and who you are with each other...journey together. Artists especially can find they spend alot of time alone (a creative necessity for many of us) but our souls were never meant to travel without some companionship and encouragement along the way. Its worth the risk to maybe move outside your comfort zone and bring others into your life...right where you are...with all that you are...maybe you can be a safe place for someone. I look forward to sharing our progress over the coming months as we take some new risks ourselves in the pages of our art journals.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Art and Soul Inspirations....

I was lucky to get into Tracy Bautista's class "The Art Book" at Art and Soul" in Portland this past week. I feel so spoiled since I only live ten minutes from the whole event! Tracy's class was a palette of delicious creativity! She was a delight and shared so many fun techniques with a variety of paints and everyday tools. We spent the day getting our hands covered in all the colors of the rainbow and creating our own papers with cool designs and patterns. Then we cut those papers in a variety of sizes, assembled them together and handbound our own unique journals! I have been wanting to create something special to record all of the "Divine Whispers" that have been moving my heart towards each new step in my own journey. This book was exactly what I had been dreaming of! So I look forward to the day when it is overflowing with experiences, treasures, images, stories, dreams and inspirations...and I look back through the pages and see how the story unfolded!

First we painted and played to our hearts content!

Next we cut our designs into shapes, collaged and created our journal covers!

Then we bound our pages and wove beautiful ribbons, fibers and embellishments into the binding and wah-lah! (well it was a teeny bit more involved than that haha)

What a pleasure it was to sit and soak in all of Judy Wise's wealth of experience and wisdom in her class "So You Want to Sell Your Art"! What a generous and insightful soul she is. I so appreciated Judy's advice and perspective on being generous and giving as an artist. She was rich in sharing the wisdom of living in a way that allows us to freely release our gifts into the world without getting caught up in holding too tightly onto "what is ours". Her creative heart and calming spirit truly inspired me! Had fun running into fellow ZNErs Gina Smith and Tina Curtis too!

I was sad to have missed the vendor night at Art and Soul but was so inspired by the moving stories of healing and lives being restored that were shared at the ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services) annual fundraiser banquet my husband Dave and I attended that same night. We hosted a table and shared the evening with our Moms and friend's Dave and Meg Wilson . It was a sweet time to be with my dear soul-sister Shelby as we each were honored to participate in a video presentation for ARMS which debuted that evening. It was such a reminder of how God weaves lives, hearts and circumstances together to redeem our pasts and usher in new hope for the days to come!

"Sweet friends you offer gentle hope and renewal to my spirit"

Friday, October 3, 2008

The River......

The last week has truly felt like a pivotal point in my own journey. Have you ever felt the sense of your every step being guided by an unseen hand...toward sweet souls you had never met before, through doorways that are slightly ajar, into situations you couldn't have orchestrated if you tried...down paths that you feel your spirit being drawn like a magnet? Its as if your body has suddenly been dislodged from the earth and lifted in rising waters which now carry you downstream. Although there are too many winding turns ahead to be sure of the destination...there is a sense you will be safe.

It has taken many years of attending to the layers of pain in my own past to open my ears and even trust these risk allowing my soul to enter these unknown waters. But mercifully...there are seasons where in the midst of our fears and struggles...our inadequacies...our feeling unprepared and not ready...that the invitation is just too enticing and the waters envelop us. I can almost hear God saying..."My child...I know you are afraid...but I am can trust can trust you...we are going somewhere together...I have plans for you that I have waited to unveil". My human nature wants the plan layed out ahead of time so I can make sure I won't get hurt, look foolish if I follow or worse yet...drown in the trying. God gives me tiny glimpses instead. Little miraculous vignettes I find myself in that enlarge my vision and make me thirst for more of where these waters might take me. Its seems my hands have let go of the shore and I am more willing than ever to risk the river...and go where it may take me.

There were so many divine apppointments and experiences this past week that I need to take time to just sit with it all...let it sink in...listen to what I need to learn and take from each one. Many of these will be private conversations that will wash over the pages of my journals and then hopefully seep into my artwork and into the words I share with you here. I also had a wonderful time at Art and Soul the last few days and look forward to sharing a few photos with you all soon!