So many things have been happening for me in the last few weeks. Family, art and life in general seem to have all shifted into overdrive with the start of the new year. And with all the craziness, I have been taking some time for a little reflection.
There a few things I’ve come to know for certain. There are 5 things to be exact. I’d like to share them with you.
#1: The greatest art can be found in nature.
We have been very lucky here in Southern California to be experiencing an unusually warm winter. Last Saturday, we spent a day at the beach and the moment we got there, I was overwhelmed by nature’s majestic art. The photo I took above doesn’t even do it justice. The skies were a bit cloudy with streams of sun blazing through, the tide was low and the wet sand was reflecting the beautiful heavens. I was dazzled. It was breathtaking and demanded attention. In that moment, I realized that nature’s wonder is overwhelming and inspires greatly. It should never be taken for granted.
#2: It’s important to surround yourself with uplifting people.
There is a quote from Jane Howard that goes, “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
Oh my goodness, that could not be more true. I have a group of remarkable women that I get together with once a month. We talk, we share, we support each other. It’s like a book group but without the book. It has been LIFE CHANGING.
#3: Commissioned art is very challenging.
I love when people commission a painting from me because we get to work as a team. We take ideas from paintings I have already created and evolve them into new pieces that are customized to the collector. But inevitably, when I get to work on a commission, I start to doubt myself. I find that I start painting to what I think that collector wants to see instead of trusting my instincts. This can be detrimental. But somehow I have always found a way to bring myself full circle and let the challenge lead me to new ground. Though quite challenging, commissions have always been a very rewarding experience in the end.
#4: Creativity enhances family life.
A few months ago, I was on a mission to find a great lunch box. Every lunch box I have ever purchased for my children has been seriously lacking in functionality. They’re either too small or shaped strange or poor quality or they leak.
So I did a bunch of research online and found the greatest lunchbox: GoGreen Lunchbox! It is high-quality, eco-friendly and it was created by a Mom so she knew what she was doing.
But my favorite part? There is a little dry erase board in the lunchbox so every single day I draw a different picture for my son. He told me that all his friends can’t wait to see the daily drawing (no pressure Mom, but they need to be cool drawings and not too cute!). But it has become our “thing” and such a fun way for him to get excited about lunch!
#5: As a Mom, sometimes it’s hard not to beat yourself up.
My son has a highly challenging dental phobia. Since he was very small, dentist visits have been painful. And by that I mean they’ve been painful for me because it makes him very uncooperative. He barely wants to open his mouth for the dentist and he won’t let me help him brush. It’s always been a problem.
This week, I finally took him to a pediatric dentist who I heard was especially good with fearful children. The good news is that the dentist and hygienist were wonderful. They were so gentle with him and for the first time ever, they were able to coax him into a very in-depth checkup.
The bad news is that he needs a ton of dental work. Oh man, did I beat myself up over this. I should have been more proactive, I should have forced floss into his mouth every single day, I should have found this dentist sooner!!!! I spent the whole evening killing myself with shouldas, couldas and wouldas.
Luckily I have very wonderful heart friends who talked me off the ledge. They helped me understand that beating myself up was not going to help the problem. Onward and upward. Dealing with the current situation is the most important thing. His tender nature tends to make me less likely to force him into challenging situations and I suppose that’s okay sometimes.
There’s no guide book to this parenting thing. We’re all just doing the best we can. And even though beating ourselves up will help nothing, we’re gonna do it. That’s just the way it is. We love our kids so much and always want to be doing the best job possible. Sometimes we’ll fail. That’s okay. Love is the most important part of that equation.