Death makes brothers of us all

When I first thought of posting this, it was several weeks ago and I had just read about the loss of a friend from school, another friend I had met in the last couple of years and Facebook reminded me with their wonderful ‘on this day’ app that I had another friend commit suicide a few years ago. With the feeling of loss and inspiration, I was going to post these same thoughts then, but life continues to move forward, you follow it and some things get put off until another painful shot comes your way, reminding you of what you once started.

A couple days ago I was traveling with my kids across a few states that took me roughly 8 hours of driving, stops, and getting gas to finally reached my destination around 8 pm. Exhausted, I got on social media and started noticing similar posts only from my former high school classmates. Everyone was talking about him, asking for prayers, expressing disbelief, saddened for his children. It took up every other post in my news feed. Scrolling through the heartache and condolences, one post had a news article that said ‘fatal motorcycle wreck’. I clicked it, read it, saw the pictures that showed a motorcycle on its side and one empty boot laying in the middle of the road and as it closed the article and what happened, it ended with the name of the casualty. His name was Eric.

My stomach crumbled. He was in my graduating class. He was a father, son and brother. He was always kind to me and we were starting to catch back up on Facebook. Just the day before I commented on one of his posts to help encourage him.  And just like that, literally hours after that, he’s gone. And how, dear reader, how do you cope with that reality?

Death always brings questions. We always wonder why someone was taken, why they were so young, why now. We always feel better when we have the knowledge and reasoning behind certain events that occur. It makes us feel safer. And the reality is, we can’t know all of those answers. We can, though, trust that there is a higher power at work and is taking care of His ultimate plan. So in the case of trusting, what are we supposed to take away from death?

A small notion I have about people dying is for those of us who are in pain to remember the positive in their lives. That there is a reason we, the living, should be inspired by the dead in some way. We can look at the deceased and think about their qualities and adapt something from their lives into ours. Something that would help build us as better humans and bring us closer together. One bright aspect of death is that is does bring us all together. We cry on each other’s shoulders, hug family and friends we haven’t seen in ages, talk to those who we haven’t heard from, laugh about memories, console others, speak about the happier times in life and pay our respects to our brother that has passed from this life. On the final goodbyes that you say to them, be sure to thank them for however they impacted your life and live so that you are an inspiration when your time comes.

 

 

So….yeah

Remember in my last post when I said something to the effect of “hey, I took a break but now I’m back every Saturday” yada yada yada..?  Well, as you can probably tell, I didn’t post last Saturday and it is very late in the evening on a Tuesday now when I finally started to write this one. And I will admit, I felt so angry at myself for not posting on Saturday even though I had every intention of doing so. So what happened? And more importantly, why would I even be upset about it?

Well last weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday and we had a small party for her and a couple friends. It really wasn’t anything major and everyone had fun and there was great conversation. (Bonus, the house still looked clean when everyone left!) After the kids went to sleep I pulled out my laptop and started blogging about the day and how great it was. It really started out as a great post that was full of emotion, reflection and motherhood. I wrote about half of it and decided to step away to get myself something to drink and that’s when my husband showed me some houses (we are moving soon). Of course we jumped in that rabbit hole and looked at so many houses and I completely forgot I even wrote anything.

The next morning, I realized I didn’t post anything and thought ‘no big deal, a post a day late is fine with me’. But Sunday somehow became one thing after another and yet again I forgot to not just finish the post, but I forgot half of what I was going to write. So I went to bed yet again remembering that I still didn’t post.

Yesterday and today, I worked on commissions. Almost entirely for both days. I went to a friend’s house because she was also working on orders so we had our kids play together so we could work. And work we did. I’m done with a crochet doll that takes forever and was able to work on some individual sketches. But it wasn’t until tonight that I forced myself to sit and finish the blog post. Well, I started a new one technically.

So there are the reasons, so why am I mad? It’s not like I wasn’t doing anything or that I just sat around for three days not caring. So there really isn’t a reason, right? Well, I hold myself to a standard with only a few things in my life. And keeping up with my creative outlets is one of them. I like blogging a lot. It helps me write, even when I haven’t written anything in my novel. I do expect myself to sit for an hour and write once a week about something because it’s not an unrealistic goal. But I also live a lifestyle that has a husband, 5 children, 2 dogs, homeschooling, working from home and  being a housewife. Sometimes those goals are easily over shadowed and even though I  feel great about staying on top of my proprietors, I still get upset when I don’t accomplish those personal goals. It’s so easy to lose yourself in taking care of others all the time. Seeing someone’s gratitude and appreciation for your hard work is a wonderful feeling and is something to be happy about. But when you set goals for yourself, to improve yourself or your own ability, and then don’t have the time to meet that goal, it can feel frustrating and a bit of a let down. But something I have learned and striving to remember, is that its not a failure. Its not a set back. Its a pause. I can pick up things relatively back up where they once were, may not be easy, but its reasonable and perfectly okay. When the time comes, and I can get my goals completed, I like to take a bit of time to appreciate what I’ve done for myself.

So if you can relate, then high five, because it’s nice to know we aren’t alone!

 

Check out my latest video on YouTube

Consider becoming a patron of mine on Patreon!

Unscheduled meltdown

Yesterday I had a planned out day to get some art done, a video recorded, laundry caught up (or at least attempted) and finish up school with my kids. While I was reading outside with my kids and waiting to hear the dryer buzz, I was interrupted by my 6 year holding a lock of hair that didn’t belong to her. I asked her where she found it and she explained the whole situation to me and from behind her came my 3.5 year old daughter. One side of her hair reached to the middle of her back and the other side was to her shoulder. I sat there just staring at her in shock. And not because this was the first time I have seen this happen.

My three year old is my third daughter and fourth child. She is very aggressive and equally loving. Passionate is the word we like to use with her. She is also the third girl in my house to cut her own hair and the second girl in my hair to cut her hair twice. Both her and my first daughter cut their bangs to the base and then took chunks out again. My second only cut her hair once and I was able to turn it into a layer look and everything was fine. But this time, I had to cut my three year olds hair shorter that I ever had to before and thankfully, she was happy with it. She now looked like big sister who also sports and short hair cut.

The second daughter, who is 5, was feeling a bit left out. With every sister having short hair, she wanted her hair cut too. Now this really wouldn’t be a big deal, but she has been letting her curly-q hair grow out and it was long and myself and my husband were trying to make sure she understood what she was asking. 30 minutes later and a meltdown of still having long hair, I cut it. I took off 3 inches like she wanted and as soon as I was done. I hear sniffles.

She was quietly balling her eyes out and telling me how she didn’t really want her hair cut. She wanted it long again and missed her curls, etc. I felt so badly because I am the evil mom holding the scissors in her hand staring at her with disbelief. I instantly felt badly for her and also angry. I felt like I was literally set up for failure. I hugged her and told her that I was just doing what she wanted, but that didn’t matter much to her and honestly, why would it. We all have had bad hair cuts so everyone can sympathize with how badly she was feeling.

After she ‘accepted’ the situation she went outside to the trampoline to cry and soak in the sun. The dryer buzzed as I walked past to find my husband to tell him what had happened. He felt a little badly but also reminded me, she will be fine and hair grows back. Something we all know, but still. I had decided to let her pick the movie for our movie night and the dinner. That really did cheer her up.

Mothering can be so hard sometimes.

 

 

Check out my latest videos on my YouTube channel!

You can support my art and get a reward on Patreon

 

Growth

This week has been so chaotic that I literally could not think of anything to write today. I have re written this post about five times because I want to give you something positive to start your week off tomorrow. So here we go.

Today’s post is really just a realization that I have grown in my artwork so much that I have become somewhat satisfied with my artwork, that is something I haven’t felt before. And honestly, I still don’t have a real chance to embrace it because, life is just plain hectic. There is so much going on with me right now that I seriously can’t just sit and indulge in my art. But its okay. At no point do I expect to be on top of every emotion and make sure things go according to my plan. My plan in life doesn’t matter as much as God’s plan.

Sure I get frustrated when things don’t go the ‘rational’ way I have conjured up in my mind, but I get over it. Life isn’t about stressing over every single thing that went wrong. It’s about growth. Growth in anything and everything you do. Family, spirituality, career, hobby, health, responsibilities, etc. Embrace what you can when you can and keep growing. If your life is busy, embrace it and be productive. If your life is slow paced, embrace it and still be productive. Life is only lived once and dwelling on each mishap until a new one arises only slows you down.

Since I can’t just sit and soak in my little accomplishment, I can grasp on to what I can and keep moving forward. And I am happy with that. One day I will be able to take time to look back and be happy at how hard I pushed  myself, or maybe not. Who knows? But I do know that you have what it takes to move forward and the will to accomplish what you want is there. So the only question you have to ask yourself is – Are you ready?

 

 

Don’t forget to check out my books on Amazon and my YouTube channel for my drawing videos!

 

The challenge has started

[Featured image is my drawing and painting from days 2&3 from the daily challenge! Check out my Instagram for more detail on this image!]

I decided this year to make a resolution to challenge me to become a better artist. I am to draw everyday, nothing too elaborate and time consuming but a good sketch that I spend at least an hour on everyday. The goal of this has many angles to it. I want to become a better artist, I want to make sure I spend at least an hour everyday to myself doing something I enjoy, to show my kids that mommy has more ambitions than a clean house, to make my art into more than just a hobby, etc. The list really does go on because there are so many positives to taking on a 365 day drawing challenge, but I won’t bore you with every detail.

If you want to see the pictures, I post them everyday on Instagram and Facebook! I have also updated my Patreon rewards to include discount codes, tutorials, fan art, original prints, stickers and more! The rewards are for those who want to get to know me as an artist better, help the aspiring artist or just want to show their support! Make sure you check it out and spread the word to your friends!

Take a look at the menu on my site and you’ll notice more categories such as blog post, free coloring pages and a shop! The shop has my links for my coloring books and to a new account on Threadless where my designs can be printed on blankets, shirts and bags! I will add a new design every month so don’t forget to check back!

There are a lot of good things happening this year and I am to share it with you!

 

The most nostalgic Christmas

Today is the last day of 2016. Some of you are reflecting on the year and feeling many emotions over it. Maybe it was really successful and you accomplished more than you expected and maybe you didn’t realize the year was ending and wished you had more time. You may also not care at all about the fact that a new year is approaching because its just another way for you to spend all of January (or the first half of 2017) accidently writing 2016 on everything. Whatever your feeling may be on the subject, I will still tell you happy New Years Eve and I hope 2017 is a great year for you.

I typically spent New Years thinking about all the good things that happened to me or the lessons I had to learn, with either life or general knowledge, and talk about them with others and listen to their stories as well. But as I reflected on 2016 there is one thing that holds my heart more than anything.

When I was a kid I lost most of my childhood toys. Under very sad circumstances, I was left with just a few things to show my kids that I had from growing up. Not every toy had a special meaning but a few did and unfortunately, those were the few I would never see again. I would tell stories about them a lot to my kids and husband and they thought they were so cool, because they were! A couple of those was a Tuggabows doll I would call ‘Big Head’ because when I was little, she was so big and had a very heavy head that was covered in yarn hair, and an orange towel like blanket that folded in the middle into a pillow and zipped up. The blanket had a flower embroidered on it with the word flower underneath it. A Japanese girl scout who spoke very little English gave it to me and also took me out for a day to see what the Japanese culture was like with her family.

Yeah, I told you they were cool. So this year, during our many Christmas’s at multiple families homes, my husband decided to give me my presents before we got back home. We were at his parent’s house and it was pure chaos. There were 18 of us there with only 17 unwrapping gifts (the 18th was still sleeping and growing in my sister in law’s belly! (;  ) and my husband hands me two big bags and says, ‘Here’. I knew he had been up something and he isn’t a mushy romantic, he’s more like an awkward romantic, it’s really cute. So after he hands me the bag, he steps back and watches me open the gifts. I pulled out a pillow that had a sunflower print all over it and realized it unfolded from the pouch into an orange blanket. I stood stunned and looked at him and my eyes started to water. Before I could say anything else he pointed to the other bag that had a Lalaloopsy doll with a head full of yarn hair. I smiled and laughed to myself and had to hug him. He had no idea what he was looking for when he was buying me those things but he wanted to do something for my old childhood self. And I can tell you now, she was very happy!

When I think of 2016 and my accomplishments, hardships, lessons learned, and fun times had, I am happy to be where I am now. But those few minutes over Christmas when I was standing in a living room that wasn’t my own, mother of 5 children, holding a doll and blanket that my husband bought for me, I felt blessed and elated. It was truly the best Christmas I had ever had.

Are you done wiping your eyes? Because I still tear up when I think about this and it was almost a whole week ago when it happened! But that’s what floods my memories and heart when I spend time reflecting on 2016. I am truly grateful for other things, my kids scoring high academically, publishing 2 coloring books, starting a blog, getting a novel half written, spending time with my husband, expanding  my art career and so much more. There were a lot of hardships also, but the way I handle those times are to remember the good that came from it and move forward. That wasn’t always easy but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have so many things to be grateful for.

I am glad about 2016 and am excited for 2017! What makes it better, is that my followers, supporters and patrons from Patreon, are here by my side! I can’t thank you guys enough for your encouragement and helping make all of this possible. I could just be sending words and pictures into the abyss of the internet, but you decided to stick around with me for my art and writing journey and that’s just amazing!

I hope you have a fun and safe evening bringing in the new year and as my husband would say “Happy New Year where the cubs won the world series since 1908″……..so there ya go! He’s always been a die hard fan!

Thank you all for being you! Happy New Year!

 

Want to have tips and tutorials to help you become a better artist? Or maybe you want a print every month of one of my art pieces? Come by my Patreon page and check out all the reward tiers or just make a donation, that is always appreciated!

Don’t forget to check out my coloring books that are still available on Amazon! Fun for Hours and Stressed Out!

 

 

So….where is Nell?

If you remember, a few posts back I wrote about a woman named Nell whose husband was ordered out of the house by a group of men from the military because the second civil war had finally broke out. She was distraught, helpless and confused. She couldn’t figure out what to do but knew that if she were to stay where she lived, she would die.

I got a great response and I had a few people say that they are ready for more! I even managed to get my husband excited about it, which may not be a big deal, but he prefers non fiction, sports and religious books. So for someone like him to like a story, it really needs to capture his attention. And to some writers, the interest of a few followers and a spouse isn’t something to get excited about. For me, it’s huge. I have taken the leap into sharing my stories and there are people who appreciate it. So I am going to keep following those dreams and turning them into goals!

So what is going on with Nell?

We left her driving away from the bomb that just detonated in her neighborhood and now has to find her way to the Midwest where the detachments are. At a security stop she ends with a man named Howard in her car and he basically takes over the talking to all the officers so no one suspects anything from either one of them. While they are driving on the highway, Nell notices that all the highway signs are painted four different colors, each representing one section of the country where everyone must go according to their political or wealth. Nell and Howard are headed to the Midwest to join the rest of the detachments, those who don’t have a preference of either political side.

The highway runs relatively smoothly but on occasion there is a rush of cars from one exit because of another explosion in another town. One point there are helicopters that will pick people up from cars that have been pulled over. Howard says they are being arrested, but Nell isn’t convinced of that. She still believes that any side of the government holds any power that high. Howard is constantly telling her that she is naïve and gullible and gives her the nickname ‘Gully’. To no one’s surprise, Nell doesn’t like that nick name and isn’t very fond of Howard.

 

Well that’s pretty much all I am going to write. At the advice of some friends and my husband, I need to turn this into a book. Fortunately, I have so much of it written that not only is it turning itself into a book that people are interested in reading, there is a way to make it into a series! I will be posting updates on the book and of Nell throughout my blog so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

In the illustration: It’s Nell and Howard. I didn’t want to have them in the car like most of their dialogue is upon their first meeting, so I went with her closer to the front and him in the background. I like the red pencil and ink. It was actually an accident when I found that technique. I was sketching ideas for another YouTube video and stumbled across it. Thoughts?

What do you think of Nell’s situation so far? What would you do?