Thanksgiving…Here’s the Thing

I received a package in the mail today from my sweet friend Davielle Huffman, whom I met at Artful Journey back in February. I adore you, Davi! In the package was Patti Digh’s new book Creative is a Verb. It’s illustrated with original art from around the world, all submitted by Patti’s readers. Davi had shared on her Facebook page a while back that some of her art was included in the book, and I jokingly told her I wanted an autographed copy. Little did I know that she would do just that! Signed by both Patti and Davi! I must not have remembered Davi’s Facebook post because when I opened the book to the page she had marked, there was her art, a lovely mixed-media piece of a red truck pulling an Airstream trailer down a country road. Patti’s essay included with the piece is called “Drive an Airstream Trailer” and begins with “I don’t long for much. But I long for an Airstream.”

So here’s the thing. For the past year or so, DH and I have been talking about buying a used travel trailer and something to pull it with. Sure our old Isuzu Trooper would pull it, but DH is concerned about the “stopping part.” :-) Since we’ve started talking about this, I’ve been telling DH that I’ve always wanted an old Airstream trailer. Seriously!! I think those funky cool silver tubes just fit my goofy personality. And I don’t want just any average old Airstream. I’d trick that girl out. I’d paint gardens of big, funky flowers on the sides, and I’d recover all the interior cushions with fun, funky retro fabric. Can you see it? (Gypsy, you will be enlisted to help me.)

I showed the book, Davi’s art, and Patti’s accompanying essay to DH when he got home this afternoon and said, “See!!! We are meant to have an Airstream!!!” He couldn’t doubt the synchronicity of it all (ooh…big word…), and we’ve been on the computer all afternoon searching Airstreams and trucks. We found a few potential Airstreams on Craigslist and got a good feel for what a decent used heavy duty truck would cost us. Given some potential life changes that may be coming soon, we aren’t immediately jumping, but the hunt has certainly begun, and we are looking at how to make it happen.

So on this Thanksgiving eve, what am I thankful for? In addition to my DH who tolerates all my crazy schemes like flower-painted Airstreams, my two little redheads who bring me more joy than I ever thought imaginable, and my scattered and small but equally special family, I’m thankful for sweet new friends like Davi. I am blessed with a wonderful circle of close friends that I’ve known for years and years….friends I’ve had since middle school, high school, and college, and though I may not see them every day, I know that I can pick up the phone and, boom, here they’ll be. And now, through this amazing blogging world, I’ve met so many wonderful new friends. Some, like fellow writers/artists/moms Cathy, Miranda, Robin, e. beck, Aimee and Brittany (my Studio Mothers crew!), feel like sisters, even though I’ve only met one of them in person. Others, like fellow artists Davi, Chrissy, Wyanne, Leah, Roben-Marie, Gwynnie, and Martha, I’ve been blessed to spend time with and feel like I’ve found my kindred spirits; Martha and Wyanne are even right here in North Florida. And there are more I’ve found here in North Florida and South Georgia that I look forward to meeting someday soon (Lori, when are we going to meet for lunch!?!?). And there are so many more of you out there that I'd love to meet in person one day.

I think we grow exponentially by the people that cross our paths. Old friends are the salt of the earth; they knew us then, and they know us now, and the person we were then may be very different from the person we are now, yet the true old friends still love us just the same. I know I’m not the same person I was 20 years ago; heck, I’m not even the same person I was five years ago! New friends enrich our lives by bringing new perspectives, new encouragements, and new bonds that, though maybe spread all over the world, feel like a warm blanket when you need one. So tonight, I’m thankful for all of you out there who take the time to stop by here and visit me. I’m blessed to know you, and through your words and your art and your friendships, I’ve gained immeasurably.

A Little Bird Told Me

Cute little owl, huh? She’s coming to roost with me from a lovely artist named Michele who lives in New Zealand. I found her through the Brave Girls Club. Ever get one of those “knock you up the side of the head” moments? Those moments where you hear exactly what you need to hear right at the exact moment you need to hear it? Whether you knew you needed to hear it or not and completely out of the blue? I had one of those moments yesterday. Every day I receive the daily “a little bird told me…your daily truth from the brave girls club” email. They are always full of wonderful inspiration. But the one I received yesterday could not have been more dead-on in reflecting what I am currently experiencing in my life.

“Dear Important Girl,

We often don't realize it...but sometimes we find ourselves giving all of our best energy to the very things that we don't want. We do this in lots of obsessing about things because we wish we could overcome not forgiving things that have hurt continuing to do things that we know are not right for us because of guilt or shame or expectations....or even fear. Sometimes we have just done the same thing for so long, that it has become a habit, and even though we don't want to give any more of our time or our life to it, we just keep doing it anyway. Sometimes we feel trapped, like there is not a better way, like our choices are gone. We always, always, always have the ability to choose.

There are lots of reasons that we waste minutes and hours of our precious day doing things that STEAL OUR TIME FROM THE THINGS THAT WE WANT THE MOST...from the places where we are truly needed...the places where we will find the most happiness...the places where we belong.

And that is how we must view it, sweet friend.....each minute we spend lending ourselves, our time or talents or energy or thoughts to something that we really want nothing to do with is time that is stolen from the things that really do matter to us. Each minute spent with the parts of our life that we want to be free from is a minute that we are not at peace....a minute that is spent feeling miserable instead of joyful.

Please evaluate your time, lovely. Evaluate where you are giving your very best self. Evaluate what it will take to get back on track. It is worth the work, it is worth the scary steps that it may take to get there. You gotta be in charge of one can do this for you. You are so important...and you have such important things to do. You are strong, capable and it is time. xoxo”

How 'bout that?  Certainly reflects my "happiness is a choice" motto, doesn't it?  Sometimes I even have to remind myself of that.  I read this note yesterday afternoon about 2pm, which was about two hours after I had finished a long conversation with a very trusted friend. Suffice it to say it was that knock on the head, and I know where I’m going now. Sometimes change is simply very necessary. And, no worries! DH and the girls and I are fine! And now that I’ve had my knock on the head, things are going to get even better. How about you? Have you had any knocks on the head lately? Do you need one? Go sign up for the Brave Girls Club daily truth.

What Shall You Do?

This little scrap of spelling list has been floating around the house for months. I find it here and there, and for some reason, I’ve just never thrown it away. Today I was thinking about everything that I have on my plate on right now, and when I came home, I saw this on the floor in the bedroom. Shall.

Sometimes things get so crazy that we lose track of all the things we said we shall do. The kids get sick (Olivia). You get sick (me). The cat goes on the lam again (Tink). You become over-committed, oftentimes because of things you cannot control (me, work). You stay sick because you’re over-committed (me, still). You follow through on obligations you make because you committed that you shall do them (me, participating in the Halifax Arts Festival even though I was still sick). You work one very demanding full-time job, one part-time job and try to manage a creative business, for a reason (you, um, I, want the part-time job to become the full-time job so I can have more time with my family and more time for creativity). So you keep going. You keep plugging along. What shall you do to pull all this together?

Kathy, Kelly, Coleen, and me
Today, I shall try to remember that all things will fall into place where they shall, in their due time, as the Man above plans. And I shall be thankful that I got to get away for a brief 24 hours to reunite with my sorority sisters Saturday (45 of us), antibiotics and cough drops in hand (and a few beers to help battle the germs). And I shall decide that those custom orders can wait just a little while longer, and that will be okay. And I shall decide that I’ll get to my blog when I get to my blog, which obviously hasn’t been very often lately. And I shall sit on the couch and cuddle with my girls while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and then lie in the bed and snuggle with DH while watching Antiques Roadshow. And I shall try not to worry about all those things I’ve been losing track of. And I shall take a deep breath and decide that everything will be just fine. It certainly shall.  What shall you do today?

Shelley, Kim, me, and SaraBeth

Time for November Free Bling!

Time for Free Bling Friday (a day late...)! picked lucky comment number 21 as the winner of October's Free Bling, so congratulations to Karen from Smyrna, Tennessee!

For November, how about one of my glass tile pendants, this one featuring my "Waiting for Flight" photo.  It comes with a silver plated ball chain cut to the length of your choice.  To be eligible to win, simply visit either of my Etsy shops (here for jewelry and here for photography) and leave a comment in the comment box below with the link to your favorite piece along with a way to reach you and where you’re from by midnight Thursday, December 2, 2010 (my birthday!). Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via Friday, December 3, 2010. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email updates or subscribe in the reader of your choice over there in the right column.  And be sure to join my Facebook Fan page for Fan specials. Thanks for stopping in!

Front Page Tuesday Treasury Shout Out!: ZiBagz

9-29-10 KellyWarrenPhotoArt

An extra special thank you to ZiBagz for including me in this Etsy treasury that made the front page!  On a whim, I was just zipping through CraftCult and searched my shops and up popped this front pager.  It appeared September 29, so I'm a bit behind in sharing it (aren't I a bit behind in everything?!), but here ya go.  That's Old Hank, third row, second spot. These treasuries have gotten so big I can't get a full screen shot so be sure visit the actual treasury here for direct links to all the items included. 

I'm still far from 100% but I'm slowly on the mend.  I finally beat the alien that had taken up residence in my intestinal tract (mine lasted a full day longer than Livvie's) but I've yet to kick the sinus infection.  Still working on that one!  I will be constantly sucking on cough drops through teaching two classes tonight. Luckily I have a guest speaker in one.  And yes, I have a major arts festival this weekend..Halifax Arts Festival in Daytona Beach, so please say a little prayer for me that all these yuckies are gone by Friday. I'm treating myself to an oceanfront hotel room for the weekend!