Unplanned Adventures

Excuse me for being a little MIA lately; we've been on an unplanned adventure for the last two weeks. We had sudden major problems with our house and hefty repairs had to be made. Because of that, I haven't been able to blog as regularly as I'd like.

On the upside, it's made me grateful for all the little things I take for granted daily ~ like running water.

I just wanted to check in and say hello. I'm hoping to get some posts scheduled for next week, but if not, you'll know why.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

What's Your Single Motivating Purpose?

What's your single motivating purpose?

I'm not asking what you do for a living or even what you do in life. But what drives you to do the things you do? Whatever it is, it often makes you giddy; or leaves you with a sense that you accomplished what you're here on earth to do.

I've been listening to a podcast by Internet Business Mastery describing how to uncover your single motivating purpose. It challenged me to think through what motivates me.

As I tried to consider what it might be, I thought about things that light me up. I absolutely love to learn. I eternally have a new book, podcast, article or post I'm gleaning from and I love sharing that information with others when it applies to their life. It's not just sharing information (although that's really fun for me) but when it applies to a problematic situation and helps someone is when it feels most aligned.

After spending a weekend obsessing thinking about what my single motivating purpose might be, I finally concluded it was this:

I love to teach and inspire people to grow and move forward in their lives (spiritually, creatively and practically).

It's not that I think I'm an expert or that I know everything, but sharing and connecting what I've learned to help people overcome problems is when I feel most alive. When the information I have, can be used to further someone in their life, whether through growth or inspiration, or whatever; I feel as though I've done what I'm here to do.

What lights you up and motivates you? Have you ever thought about your single motivating purpose? 

If not, I'd highly recommend listening to this podcast. Understanding your single motivating purpose helps in daily life because you can see what things you may be doing that do not pursue your purpose. It's helped me see things I needed to delegate to others whose purpose falls more in line with those activities.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Five April Goals

Last month I finished almost everything on my goal list except opening my shop. I've had some glitches in getting the downloadable files up to the quality that I want. So my little shop has been delayed. But hopefully it will be remedied soon and I'll get to throw a launch party.

Doing these monthly goals makes me happy so I'm continuing in April. Here are my five April goals:

1.  Have coffee on the porch and enjoy Spring.

2.  Paint a super-secret gift for a super-special friend.

3.  Listen to three encouraging and/or inspiring podcasts.

4.  Send a postcard to a friend.

5.  Enjoy a girl's night out.

What are you hoping to do in April?

100 Happy Days

I'm participating in the 100 Happy Days challenge. If you haven't heard of it, please go check it out. It's a challenge to post something that made you happy each day. I've been doing it on my (personal) Facebook but I thought I'd share a few of my moments from last week here on the blog. Thinking about this each day has really helped brighten my perspective.

My dressed up nail stubs!

My favorite YouTube series of the moment, based on Jane Austen's, Emma {Emma Approved}. I love when a new episode is up, like today!

A hidden cemetery discovered on a beautiful day.

Any happy moments for you last week? If you join the challenge, please let me know; I'd love to follow your journey.

3 Ways to Gather Stories for Your Art

Gathering stories is something I believe we all do naturally. We collect moments and pieces of stories as we walk through life, like a kid on a nature hike. But I think there can be an intentionality about collecting stories too. When I begin to paint, I don't always know exactly which story I am going to tell, but I have a sketchbook and journal full of them; so it's not too hard to choose.

Often my paintings begin with some kind of color and then a theme or shape. The theme or shape grows out of whatever story is going through my mind.

A few years ago, when I discovered my dear friend's cancer had spread, I couldn't think of anything else. I couldn't make sense of how I felt until I painted her story onto the canvas. It started with pink because she'd started with breast cancer. It had elements of her through it all. I did this without thinking. It just oozed out onto the canvas from my hurting heart.

But other times when I start a painting, it's without knowing where it will end up or whose story it is.

Telling stories in art comes naturally, but I believe collecting stories helps that process ~ either through sketchbooks, journals, art journals, doodles, post-its or whatever is best for you.

On days where I've felt dry with no place to begin, collected stories have been a God-send.

3 Ways to Collect Stories:

1. Make a list of people you know: friends that are important to you, family you love; even enemies {they add dimension to your stories}.

Every person adds a wealth of stories. Just think of any one person who you deeply care about and I bet you could spend all day telling me stories about them: who is important to them, what they love to do, and what they fear.

Each person offers an infinite mine of stories and you are there to dig them up.

Since most of my paintings have people in them, this is a majority of what I collect. I enjoy thinking of one or two people who exemplify the story I'm trying to create. Of course there is room for imaginative additions, painting is a creative pursuit after all. But people give me a beautiful starting point.

2. Write down important events.

Just the act of putting down events throughout your life or the year, help bring up so many stories. I seem to start with holidays, because they're easy and then move into culturally celebrated events like weddings, birthdays and achievements.

It helps give a frame to your story. 

Perhaps your thoughts are on your brother and his marriage, or your best friend and the baby she's waited for. This event helps frame that one moment in time that you want to capture and share, just like a photograph.

The event sometimes gives me thoughts for background collage or painted hints of what I want to say to the person "reading" my story.

3. Collect small everyday moments by jotting them down or photographing them.

I think everyday moments are the ones we tend to overlook. We think days like this will always be days like this; but they won't. I can remember thinking that we'd never have a day without nap-times. But my kids grew up and suddenly no one was napping.

I can remember the day when I walked into my daughter's room and realized there were no toys. It happened gradually, but I hadn't noticed until I stepped in and it hit me. All those moments of not wanting to take pictures because of the messiness of toys, now seemed precious and lost.

Think through your day, all the seemingly unimportant stuff. What is your morning routine? What family member does what chore? How does your morning drive go? Whose shoes are always in the middle of the floor?

Also, we often shy of capturing ourselves, especially if we're overweight or have some other imperfection, but this is an unfortunate mistake. I regret not taking more photos of myself with my kids when they were little. I always felt frumpy and didn't want to be in the picture. But now I wish I had more record of those frumpy days ~ how tired, yet happy, I was.

Try to capture the un-celebrated moments of your day and tell those simple stories on canvas.

These 3 ways of capturing these moments will help you as you stare at a blank canvas. It will be a starting point from where your mind and fingers can take off.

What I love about painting stories, is that when someone looks at my art, they connect to the story. They add their story to the mix, maybe it's their brother they see in the painting, and it resonates with them. That's how painting a story can be so universal, because it becomes someone else's story as well as mine.

Do you have a method for gathering stories? What other collecting advice would you add to this list?