23 February 2009

Cram-Packed with Opportunity

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."
~ Aaron Rose

How fabulous is it when you open a copy of your favorite magazine and see thirteen pages of the most jaw-dropping, eye-popping, mind-blowing great photos all devoted to the March Designer of the Month?

A week ago I received my advance copies of the March 2009 issue of Bead Trends. And guess who the Designer of the Month is? Me!

{Someone pinch me. I must be dreaming. Still...}

And today I was reminded of this momentous occasion when the lovely ladies at the Vintaj blog posted my magazine spread to their readers.

I wrote recently about the experience of winning the cover spot of the Bead Trends January 2009 issue. I merely touched on the fact that Tatia Meyer {Editor Extraordinaire} bestowed the greatest compliment on me. She liked my work and would I care to be the featured artist for March? You know, at that time, I was in a whirlwind. It certainly wasn't lost on me how very important that offer was, but I didn't realize until now just how much of an opportunity it really is. I worked for a month to come up with the original designs that I sent, challenging myself to make designs that had not yet been seen in those pages, as well as challenging myself to use color and texture and movement in new ways. But when I got that square white box on my doorstep last week I recognized immediately that this was going to be different. This was more special than I could have ever imagined.

I actually trembled as I opened the box and removed the shrink wrap around those glossy covers. {You can find your own copy at Michael's, Barnes & Noble, our local Book Finders and by subscribing here.} This is more than just another magazine. It is an Idea Book. And it really is cram-packed.

But when the pages fell open to what we jokingly refer to as my "centerfold" (no staple jokes, please :-), I couldn't help but shed a tear or two.

Joyful. Humbled. Ecstatic.

This is the culmination of what I have been working to achieve.
This is recognition from my peers in the industry.

This could be the start of something big.

I recently was given a fortune cookie with the instruction that I had to use it in a commercial about myself for my BNI networking meeting. My fortune was rather prolific: "Good news is on the way." I have kept that fortune close to me ever since. This Bead Trends issue is good news, but it is not new news. So I kept seeking.

I think my good news may have found me.

Last week I received an email response from someone I had written to back in October 2008. Lori Greenberg of Bead Nerd emailed to let me know that she appreciated my comments on her blog post about setting goals. One of the things that Lori's post inspired me to do was to start a blog and to set goals for myself. Well, look what happens when you actually do what you say! I let her know that I actually did start this little blog and I have set and started meeting my goals for 2009.

So Lori, intrigued, read a little of my blog. And then Lori gave me some good news. Would I be interested in being a contributing editor at one of her blog projects called WatchMeCreate? You bet I would!

In fact, when this idea was presented to me, I actually told Lori this in my email: "You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from so I believe we have to have the vision to seek them!" {A bonus quote from me today!}

The current contributing editors at WatchMeCreate are all glass bead artists who blog about their creative process and the triumphs and tribulations of being an artist. I was immediately drawn to their posts about creativity because even though I don't make beads, their stories still resonated with me. {And their beads are pretty darn cool.} In emailing with Lori, she is hoping that the WatchMeCreate blog will inspire artists - really anyone with a creative, inquiring mind - to seek inspiration around us and that by sharing our processes we will gain insight into the heart of a creative, no matter what medium.

So stay tuned for more about that little venture. I am very excited by the possibility.

"The riches of life, the love and joy and exhilaration of life can be found only with an upward look. This is an exciting world. Its cram-packed with opportunity. Great moments wait around every corner."
~ Richard M. DeVos

I wonder what great moments are waiting around the next corner....

What great moments have been finding you?
What cram-packed opportunities are you hoping for?

Do tell! I would love to hear all about it!

Check It Out::http://watchmecreate.com/

Enjoy the day!

14 February 2009

Secret #4: Surrendering to Creative Cycles

"Surrendering to the cycles instead of fighting with them is a skill of the creative warrior."

Surrender......interesting choice of words.

All I can think of is that famous scene in the Wizard of Oz - you know the one.

"Surrender Dorothy"
written in script from the tail end of the wicked witch's broomstick against a china blue sky.

Is it surrendering if I am jumping in with both feet? if I can hardly contain my enthusiasm? willing it to happen? like...now?

But perhaps that is the lesson.

"There is no way to push the river; equally you cannot hasten the harvest."

I like this imagery.

Am I, too, going with the flow? Or am I trying to swim against the natural current of my life?
Am I planting the seeds and nurturing them to grow? Or am trampling any hope of growth by my impatience?

This image also reminds me that creative cycles have swirling tide pools where the water flows slower, or not at all. Or times when my creativity lies fallow awaiting the rays of inspiration.

So when is my fallow season?

And more importantly, what am I doing during that fallow time to ensure that my growing time will produce abundance?

For me a fallow season would be right after Christmas. In the weeks leading up to the giftiest time of the year, I can be found most nights in my studio from 8p-2a creating on demand. Amazingly, I am able to do just that. But, as you can guess, that burns me out completely. I need a break. I go fallowin January. In fact, there are weeks when I don't step foot in my studio after that mad dash to Christmas. It doesn't help that every single bead and tool I own is strewn about hindering my ability to think clearly when I go in there.

But one day I decide that my beads need me. And I need them. So I take a deep breath and charge right in. It may take a few days to rein in the chaos, to control it at a manageable level, but I do. And the creative juices start flowing again.

During this downtime I am recharging my creative energy by reading books I have purchased but not found the time to read, perused magazines and online blogs that I have been missing out on, commenting on posts and connecting with other artists. My hands may be idle, but my imagination is not. And this helps me vastly when I am ready to dig into those beads and make something new.

For my fallow cycle this year I...
....donated items to charity and made a calendar to show me the progress toward my goal of donating one ensemble per month to a charity that I believe in.
....worked on my website development. It's coming! I promise!
...."fed the pipeline" for magazine and book proposal submissions and made a chart to show my progress toward the goal of being published in an online gallery, magazine or book once per month in 2009. So far I am on track and committed through July.
....made arrangements with a new outlet for my work - at a local photographer's studio who does a lot of wedding, engagement and senior portrait work in the spring and summer.
....swapped out the high end pieces on display at a Brody Design's Custom Goldsmith gallery where I am delighted to exhibit and sell my work.
....prepared for a gallery exhibit for the local ArtsWalk event in April at Art Village.

Wouldn't it be a better world if we were each encouraged to go "on sabbatical"? I have always liked that concept. I know that I would be happier if I were encouraged to find that which moves me to study and immerse myself in for the sake of my own betterment. Imagine how we would come back to our regular lives with that new knowledge! To explore that which piques our interest or brings our soul joy...to discover who we really are or are meant to be. That would be living!

One of my goals this year is to attend an artist retreat. Last fall I stumbled upon one that is right here in the state of Wisconsin where I live...and is practically in the backyard of my sister who lives in the same city of Cedarburg (read: cheap lodging!) as this artist convergence. The RAEvN's Nest Art Retreat sounds like that perfect meeting of the minds. Artists from various media converging on this quaint and artsy town for a weekend of food, fun, conversation and getting messy with all sorts of art-ful implements. I really wanted to attend last fall when I found it, but I discovered this event the day before it was to begin and my life wasn't allowing me to be that flexible. But this year, I hope it will be different. I am also looking into flying to the Art Unraveled retreat in Phoenix over the summer (coinciding with my birthday...pinch me!). And then there is a trip to France that my friend is leading. How cool would it be to walk the French countryside with a paintbrush in hand?

My fallow moments are most fertile. They are places to dream big and project where I want my life to lead me. And maybe if I dream big enough and hope long enough (and put some plans behind the seeds of my ideas) these things will grow to an abundance such as I have never known before.

"Letting go and seeing what we're really drawn to fertilizes the creative process, and finally the next step appears."

What is the next step for you?

Check It Out:: http://www.kimraenugent.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the day!

04 February 2009

Secret #3: Following Your Fascinations

"Ask yourself, 'How long am I going to work to make my dreams come true?'
I suggest you answer, 'As long as it takes.' "
~Jim Rohn

I find it interesting that the first header in this chapter is "Taking Courageous Risks."

So, I got to thinking...Are there un-courageous risks?

A risk by definition is the possibility of loss or injury; someone or something that suggests a hazard. Tell me...how can you not be courageous when faced with peril?

Today I need courage.
To face my fears.
To get out of my comfort zone.
To determine how and when to take the risk. If at all.

"And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more." ~ Erica Jong

So what is it that I risk if I don't follow my fascinations?

I risk being true to myself.
I risk my health and my sanity.
I risk my happiness. And my family's happiness.
I risk my integrity as an artist if I only say and never do.
I risk depression and anxiety and a sense of helplessness in my present situation.

You know how when you go through a break-up, every single song on the radio seems to be torn straight from your heart? It is more likely that you are overly sensitive and highly receptive to the voices around you, but it still feels as if the universe has placed a spotlight on your very soul and you take every phrase to have personal meaning. Well, that is how this book is speaking to me.

I was very taken by the story of Pam Moore in this chapter. The path to her true calling is one that I can relate to as well. I found the phrase "intuitive U-turn" to be very significant. Which made me think about what intuitive U-turns I have had in my life, and where I might be experiencing one right now.

"It takes courage to admit we're on the wrong train and risk disapproval or possibly looking foolish."

Have I been in a state of denial about my creativity? Or would it hve taken me this long to recognize my talents and bear creative fruit?

I have a new friend, an artist named Vanessa Valencia, who has told me that she has been making and selling her art since she was about 14 years old. She comes from a very supportive family who allowed her the room to be self-expressive. She has led a life that seems somewhat enchanted to me in that she has been making art and doing what she loves for more than half of her lifetime. So why did it take me this long to find my creative niche and even longer to follow that fascination?

And now that I have opened my heart to the universe, how can I make sure that I don't waste another minute following where those fascinations lead?

Ms. Moore seemed to know that she was on the right path when the signs were all around her. I imagine if I were to find a tiny ad in the local newspaper that said, "Looking for creative people" I wouldn't hesitate a second to apply, no matter for what position. To be able to be seen as a creative person and have that label be a positive, a title that would also entail making money...well, sign me up!

I just love the phrase that "her face glows with joy" when she speaks about the thing that she loves to do. That is the way I feel about creating and being connected to creatives.

"What inspires me is an incredibly profound belief that I'm not only creative but that I can help others discover their own creativity." ~ Pam Moore


That is the biggest fascination for me. Yes, I play with beads and I make beautiful things, but my real passion, my fascination is to inspire creativity in others.
That is precisely why I started this blog.
That is the path that never existed to me before but that is where I am headed.

I had been asked in the past to start a blog. I resisted for a long time. I feared that a potential risk would be that not one person would ever read this blog but me. I see Treasures Found as a very interesting way to reach out to the world (if anyone is actually reading), but I didn't see myself as a part of it. Frankly, there is a lot of self-serving attitudes out there. Or plugs for product. But not much worth reading, nor commenting on. So I actively started seeking the good that is all around the blog-world, determined to find one blog or website a day that would inspire me. And the most amazing thing happened...I liked what I was finding. I realized that there are others out there who were seeking the same type of creative souls that they were and that all they really wanted was to be inspired. To believe in the magic within. To find a sense of whimsy and playfulness and gratefulness and love. We all seem to be seeking a community to share our art, to grow in our creative cycles and just to enjoy each others' company.

The revelation to me is that I have connected, personally, to people who are in other time zones and even halfway around the world. Only one of my public followers is a person I know and love and see every week. That is powerful. And that fascinates me. If you have commented [thank you! I love comments!] I will attempt to get in touch with you [preferably through a direct email] to make that personal connection. Because when we recognize the impact that our words and our experiences have on people no matter where in the world they reside, it helps remind us that we are all in this together and we can buoy each other up by collectively raising the sea level of creativity and encouraging others to join us on the journey.

I have always believed that God made us all to be creative beings. I don't agree with those who say that only certain people can be creative, but not them. We are all called to be creative. But like Ms. Moore states we have "stopped using that muscle" and need to reawaken and flex it again.

Yes, even I forget how to flex my creativity sometimes.

My family and I have been enjoying Art Village USA for a number of years. A few years ago I even took my first oil painting class there, replicating a "Master's" artwork. I chose a Van Gogh. (Of course. What could be simpler?) My 10 year old son was fascinated by watching the regular pottery ladies on the wheels and would ask me if he could take a class. Now, you have to know that my son is a sports fanatic. If he isn't playing with a ball, he is thinking about it, or watching it on TV. He is a regular sports ticker [are you listening ESPN? He looks good in a suit, can talk endlessly about all sports, with authority, and would be a fine addition to your broadcast team in say...15 years.]

I wanted to allow Sport-o to follow that fascination, so for his Christmas present he received a 25 pound block of clay. I am sure that he was expecting a Wii. I knew that it would be either a win or lose, but no draw. Luckily, he peered into the heavy box at the handmade certificate inviting the two of us to take the 6 week course and said, "Sweet!"

{Score one for Mom.}

A giant block of clay is one thing. Actually sticking it out in the class is another.

Things come naturally to him. He is good in all sports. He is a fine student. He doesn't have to try very hard to make things work out well. So this whole pottery wheel class could have conceivably come to a screeching halt with the first pot he attempted, and then it would be a very expensive lesson [for both of us] to learn.

I am proud to say that we have been through half the class together and not only have we had moderate success by making a combined total of 10 pots. Actually, our instructor Kristin has been praising the natural aptitude that he has shown. But we are learning so much more than how to throw a pot on a wheel.

We are learning patience. And humility.
We are learning to accept our mistakes. And to learn from them.
We are learning to slow down and appreciate the process.
We are learning that we can be each others' greatest cheerleaders.
We are learning a great deal of respect for one another.
[I am learning that it is okay to have your hands covered in mud. Ugh!]

We are learning that no matter what the outcome, no matter how many pots we actually end up with, there is a joy in the ability to flex our creative muscles and try new things.

Encouraging my son to follow his fascination has opened the doors of opportunity for him. His life can be more than just sports. He may not become a world famous potter.

But then again, he might.

My son was the winner of the school spelling bee in 2007 as a 3rd grader. He ended up placing 8th in the regional bee against 5th-8th graders. So the movie Akeelah and the Bee is one of our favorites and truly shows how following your fascinations can lead to great success. This quote, taken from Marianne Williamson, is a rallying cry for living your dream:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

Check It Out::http://www.oneprettything.com/

Enjoy the day!

01 February 2009

Windows on the World

"Better keep yourself clean and bright. You are the window through which you must see the world." ~George Bernard Shaw

How would other people describe you?

Many thanks to all who have commented on my posts, particularly the last post. You are all my cheeleaders and I really appreciate your support!

The lovely Miss Angie has given me the "Honest Scrap" award. Angie writes that this award is bestowed upon a blogger who often writes from his/her heart and soul. Thank you so much, Angie, for your kind view of my writing!
Terms of accepting this award are:

1: Upon acceptance of this award, the recipient agrees to list 10 honest and hopefully, interesting, facts about oneself. Recipient must also link back to the giver.

2: Recipient must also list 7 bloggers (with links) who they feel deserve the "Honest Scrap" award. [I will list some bloggers I appreciate, but I do not expect them to post unless they really, really want to.]

I don't really know if I can come up with that many interesting things, but I will play along as best I can.

1: I sing at church regularly as a cantor who leads the songs. I have also been asked to sing at baptisms, weddings and funerals.

2: I was once active in the local community theater and my greatest thrill was to play the lead role of Dolly in the musical "Hello Dolly." I believe that everyone deserves a standing ovation.

3: I love beautiful writing and look for opportunities to use my talents to calligraphy everything from invitations to diplomas. I also have a love of computer fonts and typography.

4: I collect quotes and dust. I invite you to send me your favorite (quote, not dust) to enjoytheday@tesoritrovati.com.

5: I live in Wisconsin, but I hate the winter weather and anything you might do in the snow. However, I love to watch it through my window and I have a small collection of snow people, particularly snow families with four figures.

6: I am a member of Tri Delta sorority at UW-Madison. People who knew me before college and people who know me now would never guess that I would be a sorority girl, proof that there is more to a sorority girl than meets the eye!

7: I am taking a pottery wheel class at Art Village with my 10 year old son. We are having a blast! I have also taken classes there in oil painting where I replicated a Van Gogh landscape.

8: I am so proud of my 7 year old daughter who is a gifted dancer particularly since I have two left feet.

9: I love to travel to new places, but I rarely have the opportunity. I would love to travel to Europe and Asia to immerse myself in the cultures there, like the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I dream of having a passport and filling it with travels.

10: I am married to my high school sweetheart. He swept me off my feet as a senior in high school and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. He is the best dad, the most loving husband and my best friend. He makes me want to be a better person.

I am not sure that I have the courage to find out exactly what others think about me, but I am encouraged by all the positive energy that has flowed my way since I began this little experiment. And the seven people who pour their hearts and souls out in their respective blogs listed below are truly honest and engaging people. I urge you to Check It Out::

Enjoy the day!


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