But 30 Days is SO Long!

You might be wondering what kind of commitment this whole 30 Day Art Challenge is.

Honestly 30 days is a long time.

Will you be kicked out of “the club” if you miss a day?

NOPE

Will you be letting someone down if you miss a day?

NOPE

Will you be shamed or called out if you miss a day?

Also NOPE!

I would strongly encourage you to join our 30 Day Art Challenge with every plan of creating art every day.

Purposing to do this will allow you to get the most out of the process. It will also encourage you to get creative with finding ways to fit creativity into busy days. It could be a quick 5 min session while you wait for a bus or a kid. It could be drawing while you sit in the waiting room at the dr or dentist. It could be on your coffee break at work. We waste so much time but the more you realize that. The more you purpose to fit creativity in to your day to day life , the more ways and times and places you will notice that you can fit it in.

If you get to the end of your day and realize that you forgot or were too busy…..take note of that. Use that information to give you feedback. If you had the most soul fulfilling day packed with love and joy and people, then call it a win and have a good nights sleep. If you think back and feel like the day was tied up in fruitless busy-ness; think about how you can make changes to be living the life that you want to and make one plan to do so the next day.

If you choose to invest in a month of adding creativity to your life, make that month count. But don’t feel like a failure if life gets busy. Just come back to it.

Live life with the passion of a baby learning to walk. They try. They fall. They try. They fall. They keep trying and trying and trying and trying until they’ve got it.

This also means they fall and get up, over and over and over until they walk.

Also think about the fact that we say they are “walking” when they manage to stumble through 2 or 3 steps. We don’t run them down for falling. We cheer and squeal and shout and encourage them on.

Be your own cheerleader on this artistic journey. Speak gently and encouragingly to yourself. Let us, also, cheer you on. The more steps you take, the more you will be confident in your abilities. But it’s not about the finished product. It’s about the journey.

We’d love to have you join us from September 1-30 for our 30 Day Art Challenge. Stay tuned for more details.

Create With Me!

I thought it might be fun to have a practise round before we get going, so that you have an idea of how this process works.

Starting with the prompt “Flower” create something and either tag me on Instagram ( @pattic ) or post it in the comments of this post on Facebook.

You can draw, paint, write a poem, a song, take a photograph, sculpt, do whatever you want. But create your interpretation of the word flower and share it with us.

The word is just a prompt so create what that prompt sparks inside of you. It could be a flower, it could be multiple flowers, it could be a bouquet, or a field. It could be a flower dress or a flower tie or flower sunglasses. It’s up to you. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. I’ll probably take about 5 mins to draw and paint mine.

I can’t wait to see what you create.

I’ll post mine as soon as I do it. Happy creating!

Imposter Syndrome

We’d LOVE to have you join our art challenge in September. Keep following for more details!

But I can’t draw/paint/color/etc; “I’m not an artist.” you might be saying.

You might not be selling your art, or hanging it in a gallery but that doesn’t make you “not an artist.”

That was an awkward sentence.

I remember when I changed the title on my Facebook Page from Blogger to Artist. I most definitely did not identify as an artist. I felt like the hugest fraud putting that on there BUT……the fact was that I made art and crazy enough, I even sold my art…..even crazier, people had been buying my art on greeting cards for years.

But I wasn’t an artist because I wasn’t very good. I most definitely wasn’t as good as “them”.

Imposter Syndrome is that uncomfortable feeling that you feel when you think you are unqualified and incompetent. If you manage to do something well, you might chalk it up to good luck.

After much therapy, I figured out that feelings of “not being good enough” weren’t really serving me and I wanted to live life differently. That involved redefining how I saw and spoke about myself.

Art was a big one for me because I’ve always felt called to create. But I spent a huge portion of my life doubting my abilities and denying myself the right to try and fail while still having fun.

If I can, in some small way, encourage you to try – knowing that failing is just part of trying; and encourage you to have fun while trying – I honestly believe that if you want to, you can create art to spark joy, too!

Not everyone wants to draw or color and that’s fine. But if there’s a part of you that has always wanted to but hasn’t given yourself permission to – for whatever reason……know that this is a safe space to start.

Calling all my fellow artists and creatives, we’d love to have you join us as we do a 30 day Art Challenge from September 1-30.

Art Challenge Supplies

“What do I need for this Art Challenge? I’m not an artist. I don’t have any art supplies.”

Good news! You don’t need anything special to join. Find some scrap paper, and any thing that writes. Pen, pencil, broken crayon…..you are good to go.

Ok honestly, you really don’t need anything fancy. Scrap paper is fine. A ream of printer paper is fine. I would suggest that you get a sketch book of some sort, just so you have a record of where you started and so you can see your progress. You can pick something up at a dollar store, but it’s not necessary. Pencil is a great medium. An eraser is super helpful, as is a sharpener.

I love my watercolor paints. Jon is trying oil based pencil crayons. If you have an iPad or a tablet, there are tons of digital drawing apps. If writing is your thing, a journal or computer. Get creative. I know someone who used cut up cardboard boxes to paint on.

It doesn’t have to cost you money to create; just some time and energy. And that’s not so much a cost, as it is an investment. Forbes says, “Creativity is the only investment that never fails.”

We’d love to have you join us from September 1-30 as we bring a little bit more beauty and light into the world.

Hurry Up and Wait

I woke up this morning from a sad dream. I’ll take those over nightmares any day but they are not my favourite kind of dream. I think the absolutely absurd ones are my favourite. Do you have a favourite kind of dream? Weird question, I know!

Anyway, back to my feelings! I felt sad and discouraged. It felt like my world was weighing so heavy on me.

I couldn’t easily shake the heaviness so I got up and got ready for the day. I grabbed a coffee and headed out to my garden. I watered a few plants, checked on my seedlings and then felt frustrated.

Some of my seeds sprouting

I was frustrated because I want them to be grown and mature plants producing beauty and nourishment.

I looked at my garden and felt irritated. You see, right now it’s in the beginning stages of growth. It looks an awful lot like “dirt”. The seeds are hidden and even the young plants are pretty sparse and gangly looking.

Cucumber seedling emerging

I know what it going’s to look like in a month from now. I planted healthy flower and vegetable seeds and it’s a certainty that at least some of them will grow. I also planted some more mature seedlings and provided that I tend to them and give them what they need, my backyard is going to be full of gorgeous greenery, flowers, veggies and herbs. There are going to be butterflies and bees flying around pollinating. Dragonflies will be zipping around and the ladybugs will be everywhere.

In less than a month, I’ll be harvesting salad and adding in herbs to my food. In 2 months, it will be even more stunning. I’ll have plants that reach over 6 feet tall and some that spread wide and it’s literally going to look like a garden oasis.

I can see it in my mind. I can picture myself drinking coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening while I water plants or sit and relax.

But I’m impatient and I want it now. This all ties back to my dream. There are things I’m working toward and hope for that I don’t see the full fruition of and it’s easy to get discouraged if I get stuck in the here and now.

But I can trust that if I’m planting good seeds and tending to them; that the laws of sowing and reaping are as certain as the changing seasons. Even if I don’t know exactly how long the growth process is, I can trust and believe that at the right time, it will happen.

That’s easier said than done but I will keep reminding myself of this when I feel discouraged or frustrated. And I’ll try to remember that no amount of wishing or hoping or dreaming can make things happen any faster than they are supposed to.

Plant the seeds, nurture and tend to them until you see a harvest. It will happen.

A Glorious Cascade

Jon got me the most decadent hanging baskets for Mother’s Day. You know the HUGE ones that end up being the most glorious cascade of color and substance.

I’ve wanted some forever and it feels so extravagant but also so incredibly special. We’ve hung 2 in front of our driveway and one by our front porch and would you believe that I currently have no pictures of them. Crazy!

We also got a bunch of flowers and veggies, herbs, seeds and dirt this past weekend.

Lettuce, Rosemary and Cosmos

I have tried to start seeds twice this year already and have killed both attempts. I’m not typically so deadly when it comes to plants but I’m still in a weird season.

Last summer, I missed my garden terribly but I couldn’t even fathom attempting to tend to anything. Just existing was about all I could handle.

Obviously, the desire to nurture is there and I’m hoping that with a bit of a jump start, the follow through will kick in.

Wave Petunias

I managed to get all the plants we bought planted. It took until today but in a month, my back yard should be the most gorgeous, lush oasis.

Oregano

There is a fabulous mess of flowers, mixed in with veggies and herbs; tucked into pots and baskets and corners and even neatly lined up inside the greenhouse that Jon built for me last year.

Cucumbers starting from seeds

We should have fresh salad all summer long. And I’ve planted 4 zucchini plants and have started seeds for 6 more. I know that sounds crazy but I’ve only ever once had a zucchini plant go crazy and I shredded and froze zucchini in 1 and 2 cup portions and still managed to run out before the next summer. So I’m praying for an over abundant harvest.

Zucchini

I’m hoping that growing them in the greenhouse will help protect them from the powdery mildew that seems to be rampant in my neighbourhood. I’m also going to try growing some in planters in my front yard. It gets sun mostly all day.

Garlic chives

I still have a few things that I’d like to plant, like beans and carrots and radishes as well as Alyssum. But if I don’t get to it, that’s okay too.

Tomatoe and Basil

I’m tired and a little sad tonight. Just feeling a little melancholy. Do you have moments like that, sometimes? Times when life feels a little bit weightier than others. I’m sure it will pass.

Cosmos and Petunias

As I wait with anticipation for this season to wind down, I’m thankful for life. I’m thankful for joy. I’m thankful that I have enough. I’m ever so thankful for the warmth and glow of the sunshine. I’m thankful that I have the capacity to hold both the sadness and the gratitude at the same time.

Lemon Balm

This too shall pass and until then, (and most likely even after) you’ll probably find me in my garden.

Oh Disappointment.

I had an experience today where I felt misunderstood and I received (To be clear, it was never said that I was a disappointment. I would hazard a guess that I heard it through my own hurts and trauma) the message that I was a disappointment.

Oh my! Did that ever trigger me. I can feel myself spiralling downward and I don’t know how to stop it. Okay, let’s process this.

I can remember as a child, feeling like I’d disappointed people and it feeling devastating because I was trying my hardest to be good, to do good. The message I received was that “my good” wasn’t enough. That’s got to be so hard for a little one who is looking for worth and validation from those who love them.

How can that be? What would lead me to accept and believe that I’m not good enough? Did I feel rejected? Did I feel a relational separation or distance when disappointment was expressed?

That’s definitely another huge issue for me. I’m desperate to feel connected and accepted in relationship. Is that wrong? I don’t think it is. Isn’t that what we were created for? To be in relationship. If so, then a separation or distance would feel intolerable.

I wonder if, when I was a child, disappointment and relational distance was used in an effort to affect behaviour? I don’t believe it was done maliciously but I also don’t see how that is not traumatic regardless of intention. I can think of several instances where both disappointment and relational separation were used, at home, school and church. At that point, that was my whole life.

So how do I deal with this.

Well it sucks. It’s brutal to receive a message that indicates that you’re a disappointment and that the comfort and love that you crave and need in relational safety will be withheld if you displease someone.

When I think about the little parts of me. The small child that I was, my heart breaks for her. No child should feel like they are a disappointment. No child should receive the message that they aren’t good enough and no child should be left to figure out relationship on their own.

I can’t fathom doing that to my kids. There are times when I’ve been disappointed in their actions and I’ve tried so desperately hard to pull them close and indicate that I love them even if I didn’t particularly like a choice or action they made in the moment. I’ve tried to make it abundantly clear that they aren’t defined by any one action and that my love for them never changes. I communicate that I see the good in them and I speak it out over them. I want them to hear and know and believe that they are the incredible people that I see them as.

So how do I do this for myself.

Well, I guess a start could be reminding myself of all the good that I do see in me. I can speak out over myself that I am a good person. I am loving and kind, considerate, thoughtful, and encouraging. I want to do my best and to be my best.

And, I guess it’s possible that my best might not always be appreciated or accepted or even good enough for others. While I might wish that I was always appreciated and accepted and seen as good enough, the mature adult parts of me can recognize that’s not really realistic or even really necessary.

Oh but to the small parts of me it sure feels necessary, sometimes. Those wounded parts want to feel loved and safe and connected.

So, I will tend to those parts of me. I will be gentle with myself and compassionate towards myself and show love to myself. I will act towards myself in ways that foster relationship and connection, especially with the small parts of me who struggle to believe. Because I am good enough and I am worthy of love and connection. Even when I struggle to believe and assimilate it, it’s still true. I will look for those who are gentle and compassionate and loving towards me and I will notice and be so thankful for every interaction that affirms the truth.

I am a blessing. I am loved. I am cared for. I am safe. I am good.

Midnight Musings

I’m laying in bed with a million thoughts running through my brain. You’re welcome to tag along, if you’d like.

Why do bad things happen? I’ve never really focused or got stuck on that concept and I’m not sure why. I’ve certainly had my share of tough situations. I know that it’s a common thing. Why? Why did this happen? Why did that happen? Why did it happen to me?

I have a vague recollection of my dad saying that there’s no point in focusing on “The Why.” I think he shared that with me either after his mom died or after Nathaniel died. He wasn’t saying it in a dismissive way. I believe he was encouraging me to accept that sometimes bad or difficult things happen. We don’t always have control over our circumstances but we do have the ability to choose how we act and react moving forward. Getting stuck focused on circumstances beyond our control doesn’t help us; but we do have the ability to focus on and choose what to do next.

I wonder if it has something to do with assigning blame. Does “the why” look to figure out what went wrong so there’s something or someone to blame? Or is it just a distraction? Is it our minds looking to shift focus from feeling to doing in an effort to alleviate pain? Hmmmm…

Is it possible to search for solutions without assigning blame? This is a weird thought trail I’m wandering down. I think it must be possible? Right?

I have this song playing on repeat inside my head and heart tonight.

All my life You have been faithful. All my life You have been so SO good. With every breathe that I am able. I will sing of the Goodness of God.

I want to always remember that my life has been so filled with goodness and love and grace; and that nothing can take away from that. That goodness and love and grace can coexist along side the tragedy and heartbreak that we experience; and although they don’t take away the pain or hurt, maybe just maybe, they fill our heart and soul with enough light and comfort that it makes it all just a little more manageable.

Getting Started

Someone recently shared a photo with a book that I was intrigued by.

I love writing and I’m tired of feeling burnt out. This book “Journal Therapy for Overcoming Burnout” hits both of those issues and so I went onto Amazon and purchased it. I opened it up, sighed and put it on my bedside table; where I’ve looked at it every day for almost 2 weeks but done nothing with it.

Why would I be needing a burnout journal? Isn’t everyone kind of a little stressed? It’s been a hell of a past couple of years with the pandemic , no? When you add in all the previous life adventures that we’ve been through, it’s a wonder I haven’t crashed and burned long before now.

Well, honestly, I did

In fact last summer, I crashed and burned in the most spectacular way. By spectacular, I mean devastating. I kept going trying to “take care” of everything and everyone except myself, until I couldn’t any longer.

It’s been a tough year, as I navigate the fallout from the crash and attempt to “do life” in a way that is honouring to both me and those I love.

I want to be the very best version of me that I can be. I believe that I am kind and considerate, compassionate, caring, understanding, respectful, loving, encouraging and many other wonderful descriptive words.

My own childhood traumas and triggers have me doubting whether anyone else sees me the way I do and if for some reason they don’t see the good in me, am I delusional? Am I actually a bad person? I can’t fathom that and yet, those little parts of me seek approval and can’t quite believe that they are good enough to be loved and accepted. It sucks.

Sometimes…..most of the time, I want to dive head first into pursuit of emotional healing and other times the insecure parts of me feel overwhelmed and fearful that there is just going to be more pain and hurt. I feel like I’ve experienced at least “a world of hurt” and probably deserve a short break from it.

I don’t think that’s how life works though and I’m more than willing to put in the work necessary because I want my best life and I’m responsible for creating it.

So, I sat down for 5 minutes this morning. Read through day 1 and wrote for 3 minutes. It wasn’t nearly as hard or difficult as I had made it out to be.

Sometimes, we just need to get started. Even if we do it scared. Especially when we know we will benefit.

Is there something you’ve been putting off that you know will benefit you? Is there a small first step that you can take? Sometimes, I find that “putting it out there” helps to hold you accountable or gives you that “kick in the butt” to get going.

Why the Focus on Gratitude (Part 5)

The title doesn’t really fit because I’m not focusing on the “Why” aspect of Gratitude, but to keep it as part of the series we’re just going to go with it.

I love talking about how practising Gratitude helps me but I REALLY LOVE sharing practical ideas and ways to help others put the practise into action so that they can see and receive the benefits for yourself.

There are many different ways to go about putting a practise of Gratitude into action but before I offer practical ideas; I have some suggestions for you to think through.

I talk about a “practise of Gratitude” because we as humans are hardwired with a negativity bias. It’s easy for us to focus on the negatives in life, on those things that aren’t going well; and even if you get to a place where gratitude seems to be a habit (a behaviour or action that is repeated almost subconsciously); it’s likely that when life becomes stressful or overwhelming, the natural wiring of our systems will revert back to negativity. This is where a “Practise” or purposing to do things differently from before with the intention of getting better is so important and helpful.

You actually need both Habits and Practise to be successful.

One cool thing about Gratitude is that when we practise being grateful, the brain releases dopamine and serotonin and those two “happy chemicals” make us feel good. It’s an instant boost to your mood. When you’re struggling, that’s a really good thing. However, when you’re struggling, if you don’t have habits to fall back on or a plan in place, it’s way too easy to slip back into “Stinking Thinking”. Oh, I’ve been there way too many times. It’s not beneficial or helpful.

So, my suggestions are:

  1. Determine what you want
  2. Decide how often you are going to practise
  3. Create a Plan
  4. Have a support system
  5. Continue on regardless

I’d suggest either writing it down or just getting super clear with your intentions. I like to write so I’d probably write in a journal, something like this…

I want to start a daily practise of Gratitude because I want to improve my mental health and be more aware and focused on the good things in my life even when things are tough. For the next 30 days, I’m going to share, every day, with my family and friends on Social Media, a photo of something I’m grateful for and describe what I’m thankful for and why. Even if I miss a day, I’m going to carry on. I don’t have to “make up” the missed day but I can if I want. I’m going to try and find something to be grateful for before noon and will definitely take a few moments before bedtime to think back through my day, if I haven’t already posted.

The reason I do this is to get clear with myself, what my intentions are. It’s so much easier to stick to it, if you create a clear plan. You don’t have to write anything down, just getting clear with yourself is enough. Then, get started and make it happen.

Different ways that I’ve heard of or seen people practising gratitude.

  1. Write in a journal – Start your morning or end your day with a couple of things that you are thankful for. It could be a list, bullet points, a paragraph or even a drawing.
  2. List on the fridge – I’ve seen lists on a fridge of the things people are thankful for. You open and close the fridge multiple times a day and it’s pretty central and prompts you to do it when you walk by. Plus seeing a piece of paper fill up as you create the list is so satisfying.
  3. Gratitude Jar – Get a decent sized jar, some scraps of paper and a pen, set them on your table. This could even be a family project and again, its so satisfying to see the jar fill with all the reasons you are thankful. When it’s full or at the end of the allotted time, take them out, read through and remind yourself of all the good in your life.
  4. Digital Images or Memes – This is one of my favourites. I take of picture of something that I am thankful for and create a digital memory. You can take the images and put them together in a photo book when you have enough and it’s a great reminder and keepsake.
  5. Post on Social Media – Social media is filled with garbage and negativity. Can you imagine how inspiring it would be to see 4 or 5 of your friends or colleagues posting daily about the things they were grateful for. You can be part of that. Make it happen.
  6. Sticky Notes – Get a pad of sticky notes and write down what you are grateful for. Stick them to a wall in your 0ffice, or bedroom or bathroom. Put them someplace where you will notice them and as you add more and more it will encourage you and those who see, to be thankful.
  7. Poster – Purchase one of those huge sheets of cardstock from the dollar store, decorate it however you want and start writing all the things you are thankful on it.

You could just hold a memory in your mind, create a word document on your computer, send an email or daily letter to yourself, create a Group on a social media platform, paint, draw or choose something else entirely.

I find that doing something tangible really helps me. To see a journal, jar or wall fill up or a list get longer encourages me to keep going and it reminds me by just being out and in my field of vision.

While you are putting this practise into play, there’s a good chance you might miss a day or forget. JUST! KEEP! GOING! Think about it like this, when a baby is learning to walk, we encourage them over and over and over. We champion them. We prop them up and when they take one or two steps together, we cheer “They’re walking!” Then they fall. We tell everyone we know that the baby is walking, even though they only took two steps in a row. Why? Because we believe they are going to get it. We prop them back up and encourage them to keep going because we know, we are CERTAIN they are going to do it.

We don’t turn away in disgust and say, “You stupid baby. You fell. You’re never going to get this. You failed and you might as well just give up.

So, believe in yourself as much as you’d believe in that baby. Encourage yourself with as much fanfare as you would that sweet babe because YOU ARE WORTH IT.

You’ve got this! I believe in you.