A Year Long Journey

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IMG_6535I have been silent here for months as I have been moving through a year long journey. It has been a bit over three years since my memory loss and in that time I have relearned many of my skills, abilities, and relationships. Yet, I have avoided a major area of my new life, the art studio. Sure in the last three years I have dabbled a bit with supplies, but I didn’t go all in. It was the one area of our home that still felt like it belonged to someone else, an area where I was an intruder.

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At the end of 2013 I knew that 2014 would be the year to go all in. I decided to take online classes to give the “going all in” plan the best chance of survival. I hoped these online lessons would give a sense of direction to what I was creating and help me focus on learning individual tools and supplies. There are so many classes offered online that it was a bit overwhelming to decide, but in the end I chose three. A six month class taught by many artists, a twelve month class taught by many artists, and a week long class taught by one artist.

These classes opened my eyes to all that was possible in this world of mixed media art. Amazing artists, teachers, and students shared their art journeys and discoveries. I had the opportunity to watch their process and be inspired to take the lessons and make them my own. Countless hours with paint on my hands, in my hair, and quite frequently on my phone as I worked and captured all that was going on in what finally began to feel like my studio. At one point I completely gutted the studio and rearranged the space to make it feel more me.

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As this year comes to a close and the last class is about to wrap up I am looking back and feeling so good about going all in. I have relearned and fallen in love with making art. I feel the pull to be in the studio everyday. This rediscovery has changed my life and I have BIG plans for 2015. I will be leaving the classrooms behind and focusing 100% of my time on creating my art. Bodies of work that make me sing with joy as I create. I can’t wait to share!

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The images in this post are a few of the pieces I made throughout the year. You can see a more complete collection of my mixed media art by clicking here.

Sweet 6teen

29 May

Today we are celebrating 16 years with our beautiful daughter Rachel. I took a bit of time today to go back through the last 12 years (the first four years were before the digital era and I didn’t want to battle with the scanner). It can be bittersweet for me to look back through the years I don’t remember, but today it was all sweet. We have had some great birthday celebrations over the years and it was so fun to spend today immersed in the world of Rachel!

Here is a quick look back through some of the birthday highlights and a few everyday moments as well…

 

Happy Birthday Rachel, we love you big bunches!

Sharing Stories with Laura Hedgecock

22 May

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to connect with Laura Hedgecock over our shared passion of preserving family memories. I wrote a piece of my story for her blog last week and asked Laura to share with you a window into her world at Treasure Chest of Memories. I love that her story starts with her grandmother as my grandmother is an inspiration in my life too.

Don’t Wait to Share Your Memories and Stories

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Jackie invited me to share my message of sharing memories and stories with your loved ones.

It’s not just my message, however. It started as my grandmother’s. She wrote throughout her life, recording memories and family stories in a re-purposed spiral notebook. She wrote about her relatives and grandparents, family stories, observations around the farm, and watching her children grow. She included things as “mundane” as watching a pretty bird and as personal as grieving the loss of my grandpa. She called this notebook her “Treasure Chest of Memories.”

Shortly before she lost her battle with breast cancer, she revealed and passed this gift down to her children and grandchildren.

Grandma shared more than our family history. She shared herself. Through her memories, I continue to connect with her, although she died in 1983. She’s not just a grandmother. She’s a woman with hopes and dreams for her children. She’s a widow that never fathomed how badly you could miss a spouse.

Through her stories of her childhood, she also passed down a legacy of family love overcoming trauma.  Although her father and stepmother abandoned her at age twelve to whatever relatives had an extra bed and food, she was a child that was deeply loved. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all treated her as someone special.

Don’t Wait. Just get Started Telling Your Stories

Hazel-at-VA-Beach-83Jackie and I agree that we shouldn’t wait to preserve and share our memories. Jackie can attest to the fact that we might not always have access to them to share. But, there’s more to it than that.

Without a doubt, sharing memories and stories breeds connections—and not just after we’re gone. Our writing can springboard conversations and bonds in the here and now.

The way my grandmother’s “Treasure Chest” has grounded my family inspired me to write a book to help other’s share their stories. Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life has prompts, in-depth brainstorming sheets, writing samples and writing advice. At TreasureChestOfMemories.com, I also blog about sharing memories and offer resources. I’d love you to come on over and explore.

Starting Your Legacy

“Creating a legacy” sounds hard, but you’re probably already doing it. Whenever you mention a memory or tell an old story, you’re forming a legacy.

Keep sharing and preserving your past. You don’t have to wait until you have perfect writing, time to scrapbook, or an extraordinary story. Start piecemeal. It can be as simple as adding journaling to your scrapbook page or writing a paragraph about your kids’ antics.

Just do it!

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Laura-Hedgecock-author-blkbLAURA HEDGECOCK is the author of Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life. Learn more about Laura and sharing memories  TreasureChestofMemories.com. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage sons, (and her Springer Spaniel), playing soccer, nature photography, and finding her roots—which might explain her messy house.

Connect with Laura: TwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestLinked InGoodReads

A child’s joy

7 Feb

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When I heard the word snow in the forecast my heart sunk a bit. While I know we are still in the middle of winter, I have been dreaming of spring. Dreaming of bright green growth sprouting out on trees and pops of spring flowers bringing color to the landscape.
But this beautiful girl of mine got giddy at the thought of real snow in the city (the first since we have lived here). When it began to fall and really coat our world she jumped at the chance to wander the neighborhood. So we bundled up to protect from the crazy cold wind (9 degrees is crazy cold for me) and set out to explore.
The neighborhood had transformed into a quiet (even the streetcars were moving slow) slightly slippery winter wonderland. There is just something so peaceful about a world blanketed in snow.
While I am still dreaming of the warmth and color of spring, I am embracing this bit of winter play and celebrating a child’s joy in a blessing from Mother Nature.

Connection

31 Jan

It has been awhile since I have shared a moment of celebration. With the start of my favorite month of the year (Hello February, so glad you are almost here) I want to once again bring everyday moments to the celebration table.

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Today I am celebrating connection. It is my 16th wedding anniversary and it has me thinking back to that amazing day years ago. I have so many memories of that day, wonderful moments with friends and family and of course the moment when my life bound to an amazing man who blesses my life everyday.

But the moment that is resting in my heart today is tea time with my Grandmother shared on that beautiful day. I don’t remember the details of what we talked about while we sipped our tea, but it was a time of connection and love. At the time I didn’t know we would only have another year with her, I just knew that there was nothing more important than taking the time to sit, relax and savor the connection to a strong beautiful woman.

Yes, definitely celebrating connection today!

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