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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Searching for Courage

Today I need courage and want to ask for those of you who know and love me to pray for me.

I've already had a small army of loved ones rally around me, who support this book Starving Girl.  
Among many things, I recognize food addiction, combat the negative body image and negative self-talk I've battled my entire life and learn to stop procrastinating.  I learned how the difficult decisions in my life have shaped my greatest potential and that big dreams are only possible if I live in the present.  All while I lose weight.  Amazing.

I know it's no mistake for my story to come out in a memoir about a 30-day intermittent fast. Fasting is a story all on its own, a most fascinating secret that has incredible mental and spiritual power.  What a pleasure to not only experience fasting, but to research and write about it.

Breaking my food addiction finally allowed for the clarity of mind that I needed. As I make the final edits, add the last minute changes and ideas, I am overcome with this epic journey.  So many of my life experiences manifested in this 30-day fast.  I wrote the book in 30 days and it's taken me almost 9 months to make sure it sings like a beautiful song.  I've cried and rejoiced, tried to hide only to finally be found.  

Now, I must find the courage for that next step, to let my words out in the universe and trust I did the best I could not only for myself and my family, but for God.  After all, He is the one who designed the fast.

When I first felt impressed to practice 16-18 hour daily fasts for 30-days, I thought it was impossible.  Still, I knew I had to do it.  Around day 12, I became angry.  Time seemed to stand still.  My hunger became a nagging beast and I couldn’t understand why I was putting myself through this.   It took 3 days, but around day 15, my emotions were finally set free.  Food could no longer keep them bottled up.  With that freedom, I took on a determination I’ve never experienced.  I finally had the faith in myself that I would finish my commitment of the 30-day fast.

But what happened on day 26, I never expected.

I started crying.  How could I give it up?  My daily communion with God?  All the self-discovery?  Finally learning to love my body?  Experiencing the incredible power of prayer?  It was so good.  Still, I knew my 30-day orientation was coming to an end. 

The last day of my 30-day fast, I wrote:

It was the last day of my fast and I’d had some anxiety about letting go.  I knew everything would be fine, but the process of evolving had been amazing.  It had been life-changing to peck away at my outer shell the way a chick breaks itself out of an egg.  It’s the “breaking out” that develops coordination, strengthens muscle and builds the type of confidence that screams “I know I can do this!”  I would miss my own hatching, the ceremony of peck, peck, pecking as I broke away fears, discouragement and hopelessness.  What I told myself I could never do, I’d accomplished.  What I thought impossible was possible.  How did I not know the greatest experiences in life came from doing hard things? 

My hunger took on a whole new meaning.  I wrote:

While juggling the tasks of motherhood, I spent the day writing.  I pushed away the sorrow, the knowing my orientation was finished; my days of growth and self-realization would never be the same.  My initial reaction to fasting was to shade my eyes and look away, but I was now staring into the brightness and glowing.  Stepping away from such enormous growth felt like a loss.  I couldn’t believe the miracles God shared in my life.  I wanted Him that big, that present.  I wanted Him like the feeling of starving. It was all-consuming, inescapable, and He was what I starved for now.

Thank you for praying for me.  I can already feel like I’m ready to spread my wings and fly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Every once in a while, I have to get tough

Yesterday was the epitome of motherhood. Right after I bathed the baby, he pooped on the floor before I could get his diaper on.  We ran out of milk.  We ran out of dog food.  I lost my headphones and spent most of the morning looking for them, only to find them stuffed underneath Mayer’s pillow.  I left on my morning run frustrated about how unorganized my home is.  Contention has grown wings around here, I think in part because we are staying up way too late at night.  No one is getting enough sleep, except the baby who decided to nap from 5:00pm to 7:30pm and had no plans of falling asleep for the night. 

Mr. Bubs

This type of scenario plays itself out every few weeks in our home.  Things build up.  We get lazy.  The house gets messy, until something sparks, momma-madness strikes and things get done, whether the kids like it or not.

It had to happen.  No Christian song could cure this fever.  I was in that mood, that mood all us mom’s get in when we say, “Something’s got to change.”  I needed rock.  I needed roll.  I needed PINK and thanks to youtube, I found her edited.

There’s something about Pink that toughens me up.  

When she’s in my corner, I find my inner-punk and spunk.  

I kick dysfunction to the curb. I recognize that hard work is the answer.  I feel the passion of pushing one’s self to the brink, believing in dreams and fighting for rock-hard abs. 

Ok, I’m not too sure about my abs, but seriously, watch this video and tell me this is not the toughest thing you’ve seen an artist do.

This video makes me cry every time.  I listened to her interview on Oprah about how she felt during this performance.  It's incredible.  

About a month ago, I went out on a run and had the fever that I needed to toughen up again.  I was overwhelmed.  I was losing my voice.  I was lost in tasks and mess.  I couldn’t keep up.  I had unfinished ideas I wasn’t sure I could fix.  I faced difficult goals and had life-changing dreams breathing down my neck. Was I going for it or not?  Did I believe in myself or not?  I needed to rise above the negative self-talk.  I turned on Pink and literally ran the best run of my life.  I just didn’t want to stop.  I listened to interviews about her life and how she never stops trying.  I was inspired by her love of motherhood and her spunky little daughter, Willow

Somedays, it’s K-love, other days, it has to be Pink! 

It was my birthday this weekend.  Thank you to everyone for all the love.

I had a goal on this day.  Did I reach it?  Did I get my manuscript published? 
No.  My editor and I had a long meeting and after some exciting suggestions on her part, I’ve decided to take one more week and get this thing right.  Her changes are so good and I will be working the next few days to get things updated. 

Today, today I turn on Pink and get to work.

Friday, September 23, 2016

My red-headed neighbor

One day, about six years ago, I met a red-headed girl named Kristin by my mailbox.  She had just moved into the home next door to me.
We visited for a few minutes, I remember laughing at one of her witty jokes and we’ve been friends ever since. 
I learned early on in life that a red-headed friend is a feisty gift to be cherished, even with the flames.
I love this girl.
(At the baby shower she had for me before Canyon was born.)

She is a giver, eager to share food (and she makes killer guacamole), but even more, she’s willing to share ideas, compliments and concerns.  I never get out of a conversation without honesty and wit. Spending time with her is never boring.

She is an artist, and always willing to put her art and heart into action.  I’ve seen her serve at church and with her family, but there have been times I've been one of her charity projects. 
She's prayed for me, served me, loved me.  

One night, she said she had a dream she built me a pallet wall, so the next day, she did.  

The banner, yep, a gift from her.  

She finishes my unfinished projects, like this clipboard wall art.  

And in her spare time, she built and installed these gorgeous barn wood shelves, "Because I thought you would like them," she said.

Demonstrations of her friendship are all over my home, like these large scrabble letters she made and hung.

What do you do with a friend like this?  How do you give back?

At this point, we are co-parenting our kids, with open doors between homes and kids running in and out through the day and night.  She launders my kid's clothes and I, hers.  She knows where my sock box is, pulling through it looking for her son’s socks and I know the spot under her porch bench where she leaves the items my kids have left behind. 

Our family photos are a combination of each others kids.  She shares hers and I share mine.

When I’m feeling gray, Kristin’s kitchen always has something homemade I can grab. 
I don’t take her for granted.  She’s my go-to when I’m flying high or crashing down.  She picks me up or keeps me up.  She’s seen me mad, I’ve seen her livid.  She’s seen me crushed, I’ve seen her bent. 

This girl has been there for me, through so much.  She’s never a judge, but she does have an opinion and she’s never afraid to share it, I think that comes with the red hair.

Last week, I had a flood in my house.  

For those of you who read my blog regularly, yes, this is the second time in just a few months that we've had some sort of water damage.  Here's the story.  The day before, the pool company came over to fix our pool pump and the system was not put back together properly. 

 Throughout the night, the pool motor pumped and dumped the water from our pool out into our yard and by morning, our living room had 2-3 inches of standing water. 

My first response was to text Kristin.

I gasped when I read her response. 
She shares, cooks, serves, cares, listens, inspires, but this? 
This time she’s gone too far. 
Willing to help clean up my flooded house? 
How did I get so blessed?
Now, I have another reason to love this girl.

She’s so there for me. 
My baby Canyon got into the flour during this scene.  Funny, baby.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I Make Things - Furniture Make Overs

I love to make things. 

Specifically, I love using items in my art that would normally be thrown out.  

I use old wood, frames, fixtures, even discounted paint.  

I used wood from my dad's stock pile to restore this music cabinet.  I took out the speakers and replaced the panels with aged wood.  

This is still one of my most favorite pieces of all time.

It was a lot of work, but worth it.

I turn old mirrors into chalkboards.
You can read more about how I do this on an earlier post, by clicking here.

The french mirror/repurposed chalkboards sell very quickly. Many mirrors from dressers do not have professional hanging hooks because they attach to dressers.  These are usually the pieces I convert into chalkboards, because once I take the mirror out the frame is light-weight and I can add a hook for easy hanging. Every mirror I work with has a back panel.  I simply remove the mirror and back panel, paint the back panel with chalkboard paint and reattach it.  Other than nails, no other supplies are needed.

With a bit of imagination, chalkboard paint can be added to even the most unusual item.
Like this antique silver platter.

If professional hooks have been installed behind the mirror and I know my client can hang the mirror safely, I might add something special to make an old mirror look new. 

I love using the word LOVE when I make things.

I love using stencil patterns to make something ordinary stand out.

Want to see more chevron?  Click here for a piece I wrote about earlier.

I found this old piece of plank wood and added the chevron pattern with the midcentury swordfish I found at Goodwill.

This took some time to create, 

but I love how it turned out.

Midcentury exemplified.

This piece had wicker cabinets and wicker is so not back in style, so I took the wicker out and replaced the panels with old wood, then added the chevron pattern.

Ombre with stenciled arrows.

And if a piece is really lucky, I'll accentuate the natural wood and leave the top butcher block.

My clients really love this look.

So few things are made out of real wood anymore, it's nice to show it off if it's there.

One of my all time favorite pieces was this Bassett hutch.  I really worked with the color and pattern.  Funniest thing, when the counselor took this into the shop, he placed the top piece on upside down.

See the electrical cord for the lighting fixture.  Yeah, normally, that should not be on the bottom.  Sometimes men and detail do not go hand in hand, but my man's a keeper anyway.  
  This shows just how well it was put back together, that it didn't completely fall apart while upside down.

There she is in all her glory, right-side up.

Vintage bar painted in red oil gloss paint.  The oil paint went on like sticky marshmallow whip.  I wasn't sure if it would work out, but viola!  

After several days of letting this thing dry out, it was gorgeous.  This piece felt so sweet to run your fingers over.  

I shop Hobby Lobby and when fun items, hooks and knobs are half-price, I stock up.

I took a chance on this Thomasville hutch desk.  

I don't normally like to work on pieces with glass, but I fell in love with this style and those brass fixtures.

I guess I could be called an environmental artist. 
I'm just happy I'm no longer a starving artist!

There are so many items I don't get around to photographing, like my custom shelves and barn wood wall hooks.  You can find my original pieces at either Merchant Square in Chandler AZ, booth 73 or Antique Plaza in Mesa AZ, booth 52.