Sunday, March 29, 2009


I have this deep need that swells up every now and clarify and reveal myself in ways that reflect and mirror who I really am....and dispel any misperceptions. I grew up with the quiet and subtle message to never reveal the painful shadows and only what was palatable and looked "pretty and good" keep things under control and not let the outside know of the dark struggles that were happening behind closed doors. It often left me with the feeling of being an imposter...for the mask covered what I knew wasn't so beautiful. Although I am blessed to be surrounded with supportive friends, wonderful groups, opportunities and situations that promote healing, I never want that to gloss over or disguise what it means to try to overcome the hurts and soul damage, that we who have been intimately betrayed, live with each day we arise. I know the daily challenge it is to work and push through the internal chaos and rubble left behind from abusive pasts and I never want to be yet one more place for others to feel "less than" or place me on some pedastal and be compared to as one who "has arrived" in any way, shape for form. Some days, in my own life, it is two steps forward then four steps back. The net result overtime is that we do gain positive ground and grasp a little more freedom than we did the last time we were faced with the same issues.

Yes...I am healing... learning...trying...growing. But I also fall short and struggle with the same hurts over and over...and unhealthy ways of coping with those feelings. I too stumble and have to get up again. How grateful I am for authentic community...for friends who see my progress even when I am too overwhelmed to trust and believe...for hands that continue to reach for me even when I pull away, isolate and become scared again. But for you who only know me through the images and words you see here, I feel a responsiblity to hold up a true mirror so that you too will see yourself in that mirror, can relate and know you arn't alone. There is beauty to be found as our hearts heal. But I am an imperfect vessel, a fellow travelor who just longs to forge a that is real, healthy and true...that is safe for others to travel but doesn't disguise its difficult terrain. So it blesses me when I am seen as one who inspires...but I so hope that blessing always comes after you have seen the truth of who I am...a fellow wounded one in the process of healing...imperfect but hopefully real...never hiding who I am not....and humbly revealing who I long and hope to be. Pedastals are far places to fall from. I have mercifully learned that no one should ever be placed on one. I just hope we can all sit in the space that is called "eye to eye". Humanity is really the great leveler. We are all so much more alike than we are different. Judgement and lofty pedestals can get in the way of that truth. I hope today your visit reminds you that in your hurts, struggles, insecurities, doubts and challenges... you are not alone. Behind beautiful masks often are the carefully disguised realties of living in a world that is not so perfect. I long to live without that matter how hard it is to reveal the truth and to expose the hurts and shadows. I hope here you find a place where there is no measuring up or comparing yourself. I hope that in my the presence of these words, images, stories and art...your authentic breath can be fully released...and there is no need to hold up that burdensome mask.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Body Reconciliation.......

So much to share. Its been such a week of deep emotions...I have needed time to just process all that is being woven around, under, over and through my heart. But first, I am so sorry for the delay in announcing the Art Blessing Giveaway winner! All of your names were gathered in my butterfly box and it gives me great joy to bless Susan Baldwin (Blog, "JensmeresJoy") with the little handmade journal. Please take a moment to stop by her inspirational blog! Thank you to everyone for your sharing and encouragement! Although I may not always be able to respond to all of your comments, please know each are cherished and I am honored that you took a few minutes to share your hearts!

This is a very special week in watching the seeds burst through the soil of a dream that I have shared with several woman who have traveled the long journey to recovery from sexual abuse and to healing our relationship with our bodies. Many years ago, there were several of us whose paths began to cross, hearts were shared, tears shed and journeys traveled. Over time, and difficult years of each indivually working through our own painful pasts, we began to share a vision to see our creative energies and gifts brought together to offer a safe place where those who had been hurt could come and experience healing in heart, spirit, body and soul. Tonight marks the opening of the Non-Profit called "Body Reconciliation" that I am so blessed to be a part of. My dear friend, Cristi Dillon, is founder of this sacred place and she and several other dear friends have partnered together to begin to offer workshops, resources, speakers, and other events for those in our community who seek healing and a healthy relationship with the bodies they call home. We all took part in a recently filmed news story by Tracy Barry of our local Channel 8 News. The story aired tonight and can be seen here at the website (Giving Back: Healing Abuse Survivors). It was a huge step of faith to reveal ourselves this way but we each know God has been leading this process all along and we are simply stepping into our part of His larger redemptive story.

So tonight I sit in awe of how God is redeeming what was painfully stolen from each of us as little girls. My deepest prayer is that by sharing this message of hope we might be able to touch one other "little girl" out there who suffers in silence and is needing to find a safe place to reveal her heart, heal the shame...and come home to her body. If you would like to encourage our vision your prayers for this place would be greatly appreciated. For those who would like to financially support this new non -profit, information can be found on the Body Reconciliation website link above!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Altered Art Jewelry on Etsy!

I can't remember the last time I was able to just sit in my studio all day! It seems I am able to catch an hour or two, here and there, these days. It was relaxing to crank up some great music and get in a creative groove today. I have had these necklaces in mind for awhile and it felt good to finally bring them to life. Each of these pieces can be found in my Etsy store!

So what did you create today? Memories with your child, time for a struggling friend, good food for your family, clean space in your surroundings to think and breathe...creating isn't always about our artwork. I suppose its all in how we frame our creativity. There are so many ways in which we can create something of value each day. So look at your gift of creativity with new eyes today and see where you might be creating and not even realized the masterpiece you were a part of! If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for the art blessing giveaway below...only three more days til someone gets blessed!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Retreat Reflections.....

I am finally settling back in after a really special weekend retreat at the Dream Givers Inn in Oregon. Follow the link and take a peek at this place nestled in the hills of Oregon wine country. Owners Linda Kessler and Kristen Hardy have combined their gifts and talents and fulfilled a dream and passion of theirs to offer a Bed and Breakfast where you can feel pampered and truly experience deep soul rest. If you are ever in the area and want to find a perfect getaway I'd highly recommend this amazing place. The morning breakfast fare is delicious and presented ever so beautifully! You can also follow their journey on the Dream Givers Inn blog!

I was honored to present an afternoon of sharing my story and therapeutic collage with the ladies. I never tire of watching art transform our own stories and journeys into a visual narrative. There are always such unexpected moments of understanding and release that happen as the collages are quietly reflected on. There is such power in an image to speak for us the words we might not have been able to form. As always I came away with a renewed sense of hope and anticipation of how God might choose to use this work. My dear friends, author Meg Wilson and recording artist Kate White, shared their unique gifts of speaking and music to open our hearts to a message about deepening our relationship with God by seeking an intentional balance in heart, mind, body and spirit. The food was lovingly prepared and served by dear friend Judy (chef extraordinaire and miracle worker with Costco fare LOL!). Ellen eAkens, a massage therapist from "The Healing Room" also shared her gifted hands for an incredibly relaxing experience of massage with hot stones and cool marble. The weekend left me with a hunger to offer my heart to God in a deeper and more truthful way, live with greater intention and courage and to quietly pursue the next steps that are revealed. After such soul-filled experiences it seems it takes awhile to process all that took place. I am sure the pages of my art journal will slowly reveal what my heart needs to remember.

Please be sure to take a peek at the Art Blessing Giveaway in my previous post and join in the drawing!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Art Blessing Giveaway!

I found a litte niche of time in the studio today and created this sweet mini altered journal for this month's Art Blessing Giveaway. "Hear My Heart Speak" has been created with vintage collage, silk flowers, antique-toned metal butterfly gently accented with a pink jewel and rose colored organza ribbon! If you would like to be a part of the blessing just add a comment to this post and be sure to leave your name and email so I can contact you if I draw your name! It brings me great joy to share a small bit of artful encouragement during such a time as this! I will draw a name out of my butterfly box on Sunday evening, March 22nd! Please feel free to spread the word and share this giveaway blessing!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lovely Weekend!

I had a chance to create a large set of custom Altered Art Therapy Blocks for the counseling office of a good friend. This set will sit on the table in the waiting room and hopefully bring encouragement to those who come through the door and have a few minutes to play with and ponder the messages the blocks can reveal. I know many of you have requested more block sets and I am hoping to get several new sets made next week. Between family committments and new directions that have been unfolding, I don't seem to be able to have alot of time in the studio. I know these seasons ebb and flow though. Creative ideas continue to bubble up and I look forward to having them burst open in the studio in their right time!

I have had some hopeful developments with my writing and am currently having some of my poetic and inspiratonal writings put through a marketing review process for possible publication. The conversations with the editor have really inspired that first love of mine! As a young girl writing stories, essays and poetry was a haven for me. The process of creating with words brings my heart that same sense of spiritual and emotional connection that mixed media art has offered. What I love about new opportunitues is even if the outcome is not necessarily what we had hoped (ie. getting the piece published), the learning along the way is such a blessing. Sometimes we are taken down paths that we think are heading one way only to find out it was the journey, lessons and insight that later served us in a situation we did not even know was developing! Being flexible and holding on with hands that are also willing to let go if needed seems to be the key!

Shared a beautiful evening with my husband this weekend. He was honored by his company at an awards dinner and they generously gifted him with a weekend getaway for us both! The event, amazing food, music and relaxation was a much needed time away for us both! We felt blessed by the pampering!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Everything rides on hope now......

A song to reflect listen for your own heart's interpretation. Been thinking alot on love this week. Accepting the love that is given to us. Recognizing the many forms it enters into our lives and breathes in new hope. For some love can be confusing and distorted because of past experiences or wounding. It takes great risk to open up to its invitations. In my own life, love has come in many forms. I believe genuine love always brings with it the fragrance of hope. Today I am grateful for the love shown to be by those who know me only by my words and images here on this blog, friends who have entered in deep seasons of pain, wrestling and healing with me, those that have walked intimately along side as chosen helpers and guides, my husband and children who receive all the facets of emotion and perspective that I can no longer hold captive, and to a God who has waited as I have slowly and cautiously moved nearer to Him. Their collective love continues to set me free. This rich color of love has ushered in the kind of hope that I am willing to risk for. It seems this song resonates with me because it does feel as if everything is riding on trusting this thing called faith and the hope that is its sweet companion. I know these words can be overused and maybe even abused, overspiritualized and tossed around in trite ways. But I am holding them today in their true colors. In the end...they speak the truth. Each are a beautiful pathway to the undeniable truth...the kind of truth that opens our hearts to that which is bigger than who we are. And in that space is where true hope bursts open wide the doors we have longed to walk through! I encourage you to look for your unique invitation.....

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