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SLOW down, a bit!

Currently I’m telling myself to slow down as I rush around taking kids to appointments and commitments, helping organize and attend art events, get work ready to sell and continue to work on my goal of 100 pieces of art.  (I think I am in the ballpark of 75 now!)  Tuesday night amidst a Menard’s run, my husband and I attempted to take some much needed down time; while he is also busy cultivating the expansion of his business.  Hopefully we will get some tonight, as well.  Drive time seems to give us the best opportunity to discuss current life events and work out future plans.

I recently discovered a wonderful training resource for artists to help them grow emotionally, and although I’ve been following along with others’ creations, I’ve yet to finish any of the creative lessons to completion.  (See paragraph above)  It certainly has set my mind in motion as to a direction that I wish to pursue for the studio space.  (HINT: it will involve mixed media and creating art from memorabilia-good, bad or otherwise!)  My desire to help others as they deal with grief and raw emotion in a positive way, I believe is getting a foothold.  Each time I give myself quiet reflective time, the vision becomes more clear of what it is I need to do.

I continue to pursue avenues for selling my original art and getting my work out into this great big world.  It is taking up more time currently than I have time for, lol.  All good things come to those who wait, they say.  Slowly these opportunities are coming at me, now I need to navigate which are the best choices for audience and personal lifestyle!!

This brings me to an update on the studio situation.  It continues to be a project that is getting very little of my current time.  I am fixated on an opening date of Spring 2019!  I’ll be more diligent about posting updates between this blogsite and my Facebook page, TJF ART studio.  Live updates, and short studio time videos are happening more often; I’m just figuring out how to use all of this social media most effectively!

I look forward to being at the “Ladies Day” event at the Edge Pub and Eatery on November 17th from 11-4 with some new paintings and prints of some of my popular ones!

Thanks for stopping by and

Happy fall, y’all!!!

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INSPIRE was the word that showed up today while meditating and reflecting along with the color yellow.  (If you know anything about chakras that refers to the solar plexus, the emotional connection of our being, aka soul, where everything combines together) Being quiet and listening to that inner voice speaking kind of caught me off guard, sort of like being bungee’d straight into the sky and losing your breath along the way.  What does it all mean?

Journeys can change at any given moment.   Each day is a new chapter in that journey.  I wake up and my course has been preset, even though the schedule may say something else completely.  Be ready for detours; they come in all shapes, sizes, challenges and surprises!  I’m learning to have a goal, but perhaps not an ‘exact’ way to achieve it and let the universe guide me.

So far, each decision I’ve made on my path of great self discovery, has delivered stepping stones for my future.  I’ve been able to renew relationships from the past.  It’s brought new people into my life from seemingly out of nowhere.   I’ve given all up to “Faith”  and am able to lean on “Hope” for the future (I know these are my daughter’s names, but there was another reason we chose those names many years ago).   My past was also necessary on this journey and I’m made more aware of that each day, as well.

I know that in time, my creativity will be used to inspire others, but it is important for me to be in a good place mentally and spiritually in order to help them on their journey using creativity to foster self acceptance, move beyond fear of failure and even heal from previous hurts.

I’ve been consistently creating, joined the Valley Art Association, got over my fear of hanging my work to display for more than ‘just’ family and friends.  I feel like I can trust my creative thoughts a little more after hearing comments from others about my work and how they perceived it as I envisioned the work to be viewed.   That being said, I had a creative light bulb also surface today shortly after meditation and I cannot wait to share what I’m thinking about trying in 2019, I shared this vision with my girls tonight, and they thought it was great.   You probably will be seeing some yellow in my work for a little while, and with it some emotion also.

I told my husband and several others that it is difficult to reign in all that has happened and how fast it is hurling this direction.  It’s important to recognize that when you truly follow your destiny; you may have obstacles to overcome but nothing can stand in your way!!!


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Spring into action

Well, its been awhile and I think its time to update.  Spring arrived late as ‘sprinter’ and we now seem to have fast forwarded to summer weather in May.  I’m thrilled to be out in my yard planting flowers; making my place of grounding and solitude even more beautiful to look at!  So much joy in prepping the earth every year for beautiful and good things to grow.  This year I didn’t ‘kill’ the dandelions popping up in the grass; the bee population is waning and these can be some of the first flowers to pollinate in the spring; I need those bees to pollinate all the beautiful things I planted!  Birds are chirping and I’ve seen the two Cardinal pairs back in the yard, hopefully nesting somewhere.  The lake is breathtaking and one of the reasons we live where we do!  Our kayaks have been out already and we are close to getting the dock and boats in for the complete summer experience.

I finally purchased my first ‘real’ TREK bicycle and have been enjoying perusing the neighborhoods via pedal power!  It hasn’t been an easy thing to get active and keep active since my back situation several years ago, but I am making progress.  Golf season also started, but I haven’t yet.  Some may know that I purchased my first set of clubs last year when my 16 yr old started Chi Hi girl’s golf.  She has been chomping at the bit to get to the course and encouraging me to do the same.  I will admit I can swing a club but have little control yet as to where the ball ends up!  I have a feeling the driving range and I will become good friends this year.  Only one place to go from the bottom, lol.

I am still enjoying the break that I took from the salon environment.  It has allowed me time to re purpose my dreams from my youth and I’ve been able to set some short and long term goals regarding the outcome I desperately desire.  So far I’m staying close to ‘on task’ and periodically get distracted for small periods of time from my painting, studying, sketching and research.  My planner is helping me, so long as I update it regularly and NOT forget to enter important appointments and dates in it. (sorry if you were on the back end of that, SQUIRREL!)  Those who are close to me know what my current goals are and how close I am to achieving them.  I’d like to thank them all for being my cheerleaders in this grand adventure of life.  I would also like to thank my family for putting up with me being a total art geek about subject matter and my girls for allowing me to do their portraits.  (A totally scary adventure, but I was thrilled with the outcome, Faith’s isn’t quite finished yet.  Turns out not using my skills for years did NOT mean that I lost my ability to read and discern images!  I just need to keep practicing the physical skill of drawing and painting.   SHWEW!!!)

I am hoping Chippewa Falls has room for one more passionate and quirky artist.  I’m looking forward to attending some of the local events to mingle with other artists and artisans as the confluence in EC gets closer to completion and summer festivals pop up everywhere.  I came as close to submitting artwork in the Heyde Center for the Arts Spring Art Show as printing off the forms; I chickened out last minute and decided next year there is no question about doing it, it will be done.  There will be a gallery show in my future, I just keep telling myself baby steps.  Sounds like there will be a similar gallery venue as Artisan Forge of EC located right here in Chippewa Falls near the river.  That is encouraging to all of us creative folk.  I feel as if we are physically together, exposure is magnified!!

Determination is as beautiful as it is scary and has been a staple lately in my daily affirmations.  I have my down times when I revert back to that old self who doubted her abilities; as a perfectionist and a recovering pessimist (we like to refer to it as realism) I struggle daily to move past walls that were devised to cope with negativity, disappointment, pain and hurt.  We are human and struggles are the stuff victories are made of.  SOOOooo, onward I go; marching into my middle years pursuing dreams and building a new and improved me.  I’m not holding anything back.  If you don’t try, you won’t know.  No apologies for becoming who I was created to be, and I sure hope my girls learn to do the same.

Poursuivre la joie de la vie!!!

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What’s your ‘hand’ story?

If eyes are said to be the ‘window to the soul,’ hands must be ‘footprint of our heart.’

Hands are really quite amazing.  A baby’s hands are soft and innocent, a child’s hands are inquisitive and covered in experiments, a teenager’s hands are curious and skid-dish at the same time, a mother’s hands are strong and gentle, a father’s hands are hard- working and thoughtfully disciplined, a grandparent’s hands are experienced and wise.

My hands alone have done so much; doing hair and nails, drawing and painting, nurturing and comforting and teaching my babies,  playing instruments and cooking.  It would seem to me they are a direct extension of our heart and its’ intentions.  Watching my husband fix cars, change diapers, comfort his girls and me with the same hands.  Remembering my parents’ hands and all they did.  It just simply amazes me that with all the humanness we possess and the day to day responsibilities that we do, there still seems to be so much energy and emotion recognized or transferred through our hands.

I know this was a brief message, but it was weighing on my heart to share this.  What story do your hands tell of you?  Are they being used to serve others or yourself?  It’s quite a curious thought, isn’t it?

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Spirituality-Religion or Faith

Are you spiritual?  What do you believe and why?  These questions befuddled me for the duration of my youth, and here’s why. (I’m using religion in quotations to set it apart for specific reasons.)

My mother was raised by devout German Catholic parents with 11 siblings on a farm in a small rural town right here in Central Wisconsin.  (I believe my grandmother was around the age of two when coming here from Germany.)  My father, youngest of four, was raised in one of the bigger cities in Central Wisconsin and also attended a Catholic church.  I watched my father’s quiet, yet steady faith while my mother struggled with practicing a religion versus having faith and a spiritual relationship with God.  For me, memorization and repetition ingrained the practice of this ‘religion’ into my very being as I grew up.  The Bible wasn’t opened at home, but preached by the Priest during the Homily at Mass, we didn’t get to question in order to understand it, we had to just believe it.  We prayed, but it was more like reciting words.

Watching and participating in the ongoing Catholic traditions; I was captivated by the beauty and mysticism surrounding it.   Attending Catholic grade school, I spent hours every week learning about Catholicism and attended Mass 6 days a week until I was in 7th grade (then it was only 4 days a week).  Even though I was taught to obey and not question these beliefs, I did exactly that.  I’m quite sure Father (our priest) winced as he saw my hand go up during ‘religion’ class when discussing such things as creation.  Asking questions such as,  “God created Adam and Eve and they had two sons, Cain and Abel;  if Cain killed Abel,  how did humankind begin without incestuous relations?”  “Why did Moses live to be so old?”  “Why can we eat apples if they are the forbidden fruit?”  (We seemed to have spent a lot of time learning about the Old Testament.)  And the list of questions goes on and on.  “Why must I remain faithful to this ‘religion’ or suffer certain damnation from God?”  “Who is deciding this, God himself?”  “Why does a Priest need to intercede on my behalf an absolve my sins?”  All the time thinking to myself, is this the type of God that I want to follow?  I don’t believe I was the only Catholic teenager to have these questions.  It was stranger still that fellow Protestant friends knew and understood the Bible and they seemed to question their faith far less.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us to live simply; why did Catholics seem to care so much about frivolous things such as large, ornate churches with statues and spires, gold chalices and vestments of every kind?  It seemed to be a lot of pomp and circumstance parading itself to attract followers.  Was I being presumptuous, perhaps?  Simplicity seemed the farthest from what this ‘religion’ was demonstrating.  I wanted so much to understand how this or any ‘religion’ was benefiting my own faith and spirituality.

Sometime in my late teens and early twenties I began to raise the question what is spirituality and how does it differ from ‘religion?’  I felt there was more than what I had been taught, and longed for more meaning in my faith.  In growing and learning about the complexities of this world and choosing NOT to remain in a state of prolonged naivety in regards to my spirituality and faith, I searched for answers.  I spoke with religious leaders, other faithful, read the Bible and other books about Catholicism, read about other ‘religions’, even books about spirituality.  I would sit in the library on the floor, at times, perusing the books and devouring any information I could find.  Throughout this time I came across many unique observations. Beliefs seemed to vary based on humankind’s historical interpretations of ‘religion’ itself. (Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and the list goes on and on.)  Many had similar fundamentals, but varying structures.  Even paganism, astrology and mysticism seemed to breath the same truth.  A common factor in these beliefs was undoubtedly the care given to heal, use and grow the spirit or soul of an individual.  This was certainly an AH-HA moment!  I understood that although we may achieve it in a myriad of ways, believers had a goal in mind and that resonated with me.

Now, in my fortieth decade, I recognize ‘religion’ as a term used to describe an organization in which believers follow a doctrine or specific regulations authorized by a group of people; perhaps even to benefit their own agendas.  GASP!  Now, you could assume that I am against ‘religion.’  This is untrue.  I completely support a group of faithful, well-intended, spiritual believers gathering and participating in events for the greater good of humankind.  Unfortunately, I have experienced far too many ‘religious believers’ speak, act or disregard the very ideals of the ‘religion’ they claim to be practicing.  It would seem contradictory to assume a title of a religious sect without practicing its beliefs and likewise for a ‘religion’ to assume the role of attaining followers to benefit their agendas.  For this very reason I chose to separate from organized religion and its practices, while maintaining my spirituality by practicing simplicity.

I prefer to ‘practice my faith’ by surrounding myself with those who have similar beliefs, morals and ethics as myself.  I choose to teach my children about the Bible and expand their knowledge so they may grow their own faith.  A personal relationship with God (or whatever you’d like to refer to that Higher Power as) is what I am referring to.  Something specific, intentional and personal.  A spirituality so wonderful, that when you establish it, you will feel incredibly blessed.  It is not always black and white, and at times I’ve been drawn away from God through temptation, but I always return.  In returning, I’ve developed a stronger relationship along the way.  I believe this is how we grow our spirituality and faith; molding and shaping all aspects of our lives.

Seem too simple?  Jesus taught two simple commandments; “Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.”  I really believe if more spiritually faithful people listened with their hearts and truly heard the Message and lived the commandments; we could drastically change the course of our world.

I am forever grateful for the journey I’ve been on.  My upbringing in the Catholic church with all the memorization and obligatory repetitive behaviors taught me fortitude.   I learned tenacity from watching my father, knowing that this faith can get me through some pretty tumultuous ordeals, and that it has.  Experiencing so many family and friends leaving this world has given me hope that there is more than we know waiting on the other side of our human realm.  Joining with other believers in prayer taught me that many hearts together can heal.  Listening to that inner voice that speaks can be difficult in this chaotic world and equally as difficult is demonstrating spirituality and faith by how we choose to live.

Take time to be still, open your heart and listen to this Higher Power, experience the love and peace that comes with It.  Imagine what It can do for us, our loved ones, our community and ultimately our world.  Remarkable idea.