I have been so excited about Custom Arts Studio's newest product! Of course, before creating it for you, I put myself to the test and did product research with my own life, at own office desk,... with pen and paper scraps. Nothing fancy. No big tah-do. My jar is a beautiful creation which, on my cluttered desk, truly stands out. That was beneficial.
I started by writing the usual things... I would take a slip of paper, find a pen or pencil and write what one would assume you'd write- "I am grateful for my family." I folded the slip up and popped it into the jar. Day One...DONE! It felt good, I must admit. No big deal, right? Over the next 3 months, I found myself grateful for the big and small, the complex and mundane and... get this... my outlook shifted. It was a day some time in February that, with pen in hand, I had my own moment of clarity around gratitude and just how powerful it is. It dawned on me that in my hustle and bustle of raising two children, keeping house- groceries, bills paid, bathroom cleaned, etc., working part time and running my business part time... that I easily get caught up in whatever cog is not working in my life-machine and often, even when really great things happen, gloss over the amazing things in my life. When things fall apart, as is often said, I give my full attention, my full energy and passion, but it seemed that I did not give that same energy and passion for what was working well in my world...
And I am not referring to the "normal" thankfulness that is taught and learned in church or self-help books. Not the automatic, turn it on thankfulness... I am talking about a real paused moment to really take in what life has offered you. I realized that I had been starving myself of this goodness, this "feel good" as I call it.
All of a sudden, the cute little jar being swallowed by my desk clutter took on much greater significance. Within the first 3 months of 2015, she has received more investments of gratefulness than all of 2014 combined...
Go for the "Feel Goods" and get your Gratitude Jar today!
It is always exciting to be stretched beyond your limits of knowledge, experience and know-how. Recently, I have been provided amazing opportunities to create illustrations and designs for clients for new applications (books, products, etc.) and I have spent some time learning the ins and outs of design licensing. 2015 is sure to become the year of laying a solid foundation for Custom Arts Studio and the future I envision for it.
As I look back over 2014, it is absolutely mind blowing how many seemingly small steps have been taken that have opened the doors to many new clients, experiences and projects! In addition to meeting new portrait clients, I have also met authors, business owners and visionaries who need design support, imagery and creativity to bring their work to life. I am humbled constantly at how my work and my talent assists them with reaching their goals.
This year, I will have completed 12 portraits in The Women of Inspiration series which I am so excited about. This project will be a breath of fresh air and a visual affirmation to so many. I am in the process of creating 3 illustrations for an author which has been an exciting journey. Bringing his characters to life and working with him has been great. Portrait requests are funneling in and design clients are starting to renew their sense of awe with their own projects. It is amazing how clients will find you who align with your passion and focus.
Well, I just wanted to share what's been going on at Custom Arts Studio.
Custom Arts Studio... your ideas, our technique.
It has been about a month since the last Men @ The Round Table event was held at The Black Writers Museum in the Germantown section of Philadelphia... I have realized that hearing from and listening to the stories and thoughts of black men has transformed me from the inside out. I am aware that compassion, care and true love go a long way to buffering me from succumbing to the effects of living in the sludge of male oppression, disappointment, lowered expectations and just plain anger. Anger towards myself and anger towards men.
I just spoke with a friend of mine today about the transformation (my favorite word) in my own life as it relates to my father with whom I had never had a real relationship prior to September 2013. There, in the midst of that month, came a metamorphosis of pain into forgiveness, apprehension into appreciation, resentment into love and today, as a grown woman with children of her own, I can say that my relationship with him is giving me what I longed for and so much more. I shared with my friend that I get early morning text messages from him about how beautiful I am, how amazing I am and I can feel his pride in what I have become... To any man who is unsure what his contribution can be or should be to his daughter (or son for that matter), know this- that this 35 year old woman is being nurtured as an adult in ways that I never thought possible and it is making a profound difference. Imagine what difference you can make early on!
Even in the sense of looking to a mate or potential mate for attention, validation or love, the motivation is not internally driven by a hole in my heart. I am complete, whole, lacking nothing- not just because my relationship with my father is whole but also because my relationship with ME is whole. It is in light of the dissection of all of these areas of my life that the Men @ The Round Table project could be born. The birth pains have been deep and severe but the joy of new life is sweeter than ever imagined.
Committed as I was to being a space for full self expression, unreasonable truth telling and sharing, there was no way for me to be prepared for what transpired last night. After spending two and a half hours with twelve men from all walks of life, varying ages, with various life experiences, I am floored, humbled and openly expectant for things to come. The men were open, willing and responsive to questions posed to delve deeper than the surface of experiences. We discussed various topics ranging from racial profiling (both by law enforcement and in the workplace) to absent fathers to the imbalance in the education system. The topic garnering the most attention, response and expression was around the topic of fathers and their absence, presence or ambiguous nature in their lives.
There were moments when it was necessary to draw the focus back to personal experience. There is a natural tendency to take on the role of problem solver or observer even in our own experience and I took it upon myself to hold the line with the purpose of the event... which was to delve into PERSONAL experience, PERSONAL places where life experience has cracked, marred or scarred you. It was an empowering conversation, an empowering Round Table of men that I will forever see as courageous, powerful, valuable human beings.