Friday, June 29, 2012

What the world needs now

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What the world needs now are hearts full of compassion.

Love for one another.

Harmony among the people.

Communities bound by the ties of love.

Hatred only forces us apart, turns us against each other.

Love strengthens roots like a tree deeply rooted in rich soil.

Love binds our hearts together as one.

Lots of Love,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Simply Trust

Rocky path
Leading nowhere
Turn around
I hear clearly
Not for you
Voices continue
This was not
What was planned
Spoken lovingly
I have high hopes
Plans for you
No need to understand
Simply trust
All shall be revealed
In due time
Rest assured
Never fail you
Or lead you astray
Trust in me
No need to navigate
Leave that to me
I will carry you
If necessary
Simply trust


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Favorite Things - Inspirational Prints

1) Peace print from Catalyst 54

2) You are beautiful print from Fresh Words Market

3) Love the body you're in print from JooJoo

4) To be brave print from Mae Chevrette

5) We need quiet time print from Alli Coate

Join me each Tuesday for My Favorite Things, beautiful and unique finds from Etsy and other favorite retail therapy sources.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Leave it buried

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Do you ever suddenly start thinking about someone from your past? A person you haven’t had contact with in many years – 20 to be exact. That’s where I’m at this week. Reminiscing on a long ago boyfriend, wondering what he’s doing now, and how his life has been. I have no idea why he suddenly popped into my head but he’s been there all week. Google searches will tell you much but not the complete story. 

It’s funny when you’re reminiscing that you tend to recall the happy memories. When you dig a bit deeper you begin to recall the not so good memories, the ones that remind you why you’re no longer together. It’s fascinating that we bury so many memories but they can begin to emerge when you least expect it.

Well, there’s a reason they call the past, “the past” and it’s generally much better for it to stay there. There’s no use digging up old skeletons when they should stay buried.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Look at you, fearless girl! Stepping out of your comfort zone is a brave, brave thing to do. You are courageous and committed. Don’t let anyone stand in your way of making your dreams a reality. You are brilliant. You are bold. I’m so proud of you. You should be proud of your valiant self too. Go get ‘em, Rockstar!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Favorite Things - Fun, Flirty Dresses

1) Vintage floral dress from Rowan Joy

2) Layered tank dress from Seven Blooms

3) Purple flower dress from Angel Dew

4) Cabaret silk ruffle dress from Love to Love you

5) Tiered cotton dress from After Showers Shop

Join me each Tuesday for My Favorite Things, beautiful and unique finds from Etsy and other favorite retail therapy sources.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What I've Been Up To

I've been loving Christy Tomlinson's latest workshop, Your Living Canvas. Here's a canvas I did last week for the class:

I usually add faces to my girls even when taking the She Art classes but I decided not to this time and instead have fun with the background and details.

This is my art journal cover:

Here are a few art journal pages:

This is an owl canvas I did during a local art class:

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Story :: Part II

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My son is now twelve and a lot has happened since his birth. We went to live with some friends for a few months but I knew I needed to fly solo. I got a new apartment for the two of us and slowly met my neighbors who immediately looked out for me. My son had colic so those first few months were a living hell. He cried and I cried. Eventually the crying stopped and we began to get to know each other. My life had a purpose and it was to care for this amazing being.

Unfortunately, I was unable to reenlist for another Navy tour due to my single-mother status and lack of family support. I debated on staying in Virginia Beach where I was currently stationed but after my parents came to visit and encouraged me to come home I decided to do that. Finally, my family wanted to be a family! At the time I was dating a guy that lived upstairs from me. We decided to end things but the night before I was to drive back home he made the decision to go with me. We set off for this new life together as a family of three to Florida.

After I got home I learned that the reason my parents wanted me back here was to take on my sister and her two kids. She doesn’t work and relies on child support and welfare. Hmm…a two bedroom townhouse with two adults and three children (the ‘rents didn’t know about the boyfriend until this point). The math just didn’t add up. I was hurt once I learned this ulterior motive.

After working several dead-end jobs and struggling to make ends meet I finally got a decent job. It took a while to dig myself back out of debt while carrying the load of the family. I eventually kicked the boyfriend to the curb and life started to get much better. I paid off my car, bought my house, a finished my bachelor’s degree (in communications, mostly marketing) – all before thirty. Things were looking up.

Along the way, I met a guy through work who I fell for hard even though my heart told me it was a mistake. We were together for several years although we had several breakups along the way. One night I was driving back from open house at my son’s school, just me and my son. It occurred to me that it would always be this way. The boyfriend would never commit to me and I would always be a single mom. That night I ended things on the phone and his words were, “I understand.” I think those words hurt more than anything because they were so nonchalant and lacking in emotion. This was when my food addiction began. I learned that if I stuffed myself with enough food that the crying and heartbreak would cease, at least temporarily.

At some point I met the next guy whom I dated for a couple years off and on. This relationship was intense, to say the least. This guy would end up being Ex #2. Can you see the pattern of destruction here? I couldn’t at the time. I was eating to shove down my emotions, never dealt with that pain, and jumped on the next train. We were married for all of three months before I finally realized what I had done. Sadly, I can say at our wedding I realized I was making a mistake but I ignored it and figured we could work it out. During our separation I started talking to the before mentioned ex and had hope that we could work things out. I was telling myself lies.

We met back up but I could tell that he was bothered by my larger weight. He didn’t say it but I could feel the elephant in the room and it was me. I was already on the road to self-destruction there was no turning back now. We stayed friends even though deep down I hoped things would work out eventually. During this time my son went to live with his dad who lives nowhere near Florida. My divorce became final after six or seven months of marriage. I went to India to find myself. It was the greatest adventure but I didn’t find myself there. Honestly, I’m still searching. Before I went to India I discovered that I loved art. It was not something I had spent any time on before and with my son getting to know his dad I had more time on my hands.

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At some point, the ex who wouldn’t commit decided to commit. To another woman. My heart was broken into a million pieces. Our friendship ended and they got married. I assume they still are but it’s been a year since he and I have talked. Ex #2 and I tried another go at it but the damage was already done. I’ve been by myself since. Most of the time I’m okay with that. I realize I have a lot of internal work to do before I can be a good partner to another. That doesn’t mean things don’t get lonely. My son spends the summers and Christmas breaks with me. I realize it’s not the typical custody arrangement but it works for us. I raised Donovan alone for the first nine or ten years of his life and now it’s his dad’s turn. He has a stepmom and a little brother and he is loved tremendously.

You’re probably wondering why I suddenly decided to share my story. The truth is I was reading Susannah Conway’s latest book, This I Know, over the weekend and she talked about how we tend to only share the parts of ourselves on our blogs that we want others to see. In other words, we’re inclined to sweep the less beautiful parts of ourselves under the rug, out of view. I know that I do this. I’m completely honest with the things I share but I don’t expose my dirty laundry. The problem is that dirty laundry is what’s made me who I am. So here I am stripping off the layers to reveal myself, flaws and all.

There are a few more parts I should add to this story. I still struggle with myself over the God that the church from my childhood forced upon me and the God that as an adult I’ve learned is a more loving Father. Although I can’t help but question the things in my life that the church preached as being sinful but I get to decide now. I know the basic right from wrongs and live my life according to those.

I’m still struggling with my weight but I make more of an effort to notice why I’m eating. Also, depression and social anxiety have been key players in my life for as long as I remember. I know those are the deep dark secrets that most people fear sharing with others. I’ve kept quiet about it for so long because of the stigma attached. I also know that there is no reason to be ashamed. We all have a cross to bear and this is mine. I recently started a new treatment plan after the one I was on for many years was no longer working. As discussed with a girlfriend, it’s like when your shampoo stops working and you have to switch them up.

This time with myself has given me a lot of insight into my destructive patterns. I realized that the guys that are all gaga over me I tend to throw away easily. The guys who seem uninterested or broken themselves I dive right in trying to fix him or fix myself. In Susannah's book (page 178) she talks about how we look for validation in relationships by being needy when we're insecure with ourselves. Not knowing our own worth we need others to love us and not leave us. This new found self-awareness is vital to my healing and recovery.

So here I am – stripped bare. These are my truths. I speak them bravely but I no longer choose to be defined by them. This is where the next chapter in my story begins.

My Story :: Part I

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I want to tell you a story…and it’s the story of my life. It seems like I’ve lived a thousand years but the truth is, it has only begun.

I was born in 1976 to a poor family in a poor town. Our family was held together by a God-fearing religion that I often refer to as a cult. I didn’t understand this God who would place so many restrictions on his children and call it love. I woke many nights from nightmares of dangling over hell or of a multitude of snakes slithering over my body. My biggest fear in this world is snakes and the church taught us that a snake represents satan.

Because of the strict worldly limitations placed by the church, I never felt like I belonged. I hated going to school even though I was an honor roll student. I would fake being sick so I could go home early from school. My mother would tell me to go back to class but if I went behind her back and called my grandmother she would send for me. I was the closest to her out of all my family even though I’ve never heard her voice. She had a stroke in which she lost her speech. Around my fifth grade year, another stroke took her life.

My family life was tough not only because of our religion but because I never fit in there either. Most families have bonds that tie them together but somehow we seemed to lack those bonds. I was the “black sheep” and “snob” in my family. I haven’t decided if those are hurtful or empowering words.

I left home the day I turned sixteen and was legally emancipated several days later. It was also at sixteen that I married for the first time. We were married for two torturous years before I finally had enough and walked out. I filed for divorce the following week which was granted almost a year later. While we argued over the divorce, Ex #1 stated words that haunt me to this day. He said, “The only reason you were with me and married me was to get out of your parents house.” I think he may have been right.

I carried on and finished high school while working full time. I started a respiratory care program at the community college but found myself struggling to pay for tuition. At this point I was also drinking heavily and hanging out in clubs often. I had an epiphany one night while out clubbing. I noticed the older crowds were the exact same people I would see there every time I was out. I also noticed how drugs were running rampant in both the younger and older crowds. I didn’t want either of these groups to be me.

At the age of twenty-one, I decided to join the U.S. Navy and see the world. Halfway through my four year enlistment I found out I was pregnant. I was in shock and terrified. I was honestly never sure if I wanted to have kids but throughout my pregnancy I came to terms with my doubt and looked forward to my son’s arrival. His father walked out towards the beginning of my pregnancy. I was left alone with an apartment I could barely afford and a baby on the way. It was beyond words the fear I felt during this time. The best descriptive would be devastated.

I began packing up my apartment to move in with some friends temporarily when I went into labor. My son was born the next night. I lay awake the night of his birth watching him as he slept. I knew I needed to get sleep while I could but I was a mixture of emotions – excited, scared, and in awe of this little person I carried inside me all these months. I knew this would be the start of the next chapter in my life.

My Favorite Things - Photography

1) Spring tulip from Lisa Russo Fine Art

2) Spring blossom from Dahlia House

3) Snow queen from Fleur Bonheur

4) Bubbles from Kseniya Belodarova Photography

5) Green party from Beth Retro

Join me each Tuesday for My Favorite Things, beautiful and unique finds from Etsy and other favorite retail therapy sources.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Being the change

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You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Gandhi

This is one of my favorite quotes but sometimes it seems so overwhelming. How can I bring change to the world? The answer is simple, really. I am “being the change” just by being in the world, being myself.

By acting in accordance to my beliefs and values.

By being the best version of myself – a better mother, friend, neighbor, and community member. By opening my heart to those around me and opening it up to things that I don’t understand.

By trying to understand instead of being fearful. We tend to fear what we do not understand.

By lending an ear. You don’t have to agree with their point of view but that person, just like everyone else, just wants to be listened to. They want to be heard and for their voice to matter. By being a part of the world not of the world.

By respecting myself and respecting others.

By practicing the values I hold dear. Practicing, not just preaching.

By celebrating expressions of love.

By promoting peace.

By being aware and mindful.

By being full of passion.

You are making a change by simply being you. Just as you are, right where you are.