Imagine you’re up on stage, about to give a speech.  You are at a conference and have been asked to share something deeply personal about your life—something you’ve wanted to get off your chest for a while, but haven’t known how.  You are looking into the spotlight, trying to picture the audience, trying to gauge the crowd, to get a feel for who you are talking to.  You aren’t sure who is listening or how they will react.  Is the crowd filled with strangers? Your family? Your current employer?  A potential future investor? Will this personal story change how they view you?  Will they lose trust in you?  Change how they interact with you?  Will it forever impact your relationship with them?  You second guess your desire to share—maybe it isn’t such a good idea after all, maybe you’re risking too much. But then you hear a voice in your ear, a voice that reminds you that you don’t need to be ashamed.  A voice that reminds you that other people struggle, other people have insecurities.  And then the voice asks you: if you can share something that positively impacts just one person’s life, isn’t that enough?





A project that I have been working on here and there for a while.  (one spread is still in the works and not shown here.) A repurposed children’s bedtime book that I got from a thrift store. No longer for children.










Beneath the Insomnia

_20160923_184552.JPGShe paints the same canvas
Again and Again
In her dreams
while they sleep
and it sleeps.
Because otherwise
they never stay still
long enough
to dry
Her tear
drops of paint
That leave trails
of subtle color
behind them
And behind them
previous paintings
also made without brushes
That always end up
painted over
the next morning
to hide the evidence

And the canvas of it all
Is her face
and her fears
For at the core of each night
when stripped down
She will always find that stark white woven surface
of fears and insecurities
whose texture shows through each layer
And whispers to her
between brushstrokes
Reminding her that
There is no escape
For gravity cannot be bribed
And the running never stops because he’s holding death in his hands, at her head, and as the neurons fire she finds they sound remarkably like gunshots and all she seeks is safety and sleep
But she can never find foundness
Awake or asleep
So as she tries to decide which one is less terrifying,
She paints.

at the core of each night
mare each poem each painting,
Remains a reminder of running,
is running.

Beneath the Insomnia


Hey friends.

I have a confession to make.

Perhaps you already know this, perhaps you don’t care, perhaps this will shock you…regardless, I need to say it:

I am terrified.

I am terrified of failure.  I am terrified of disappointing people.  I am terrified of the unknown and of death.  I am terrified of terrorism, of losing my loved ones, of looking stupid in social situations, of being called dumb, and of public speaking.  I am terrified of getting into a car accident or of being on the phone with someone when they do. I am terrified of people thinking I am selfish, rude, or inauthentic.  I am terrified of being selfish, rude, or inauthentic.  I am terrified of wearing my heart on my sleeve, of putting myself out there for everyone to see.  I am terrified to share my writing and my thoughts with people who may not receive them well.  I am terrified of being judged and of being judgemental, of becoming an alcoholic, of being fat, of being a lousy wife, or someday a bad mother. I am terrified of making new friends and of losing old ones.  I am terrified of meaninglessness and of that feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me that I am not unique, not special, not important.  I am terrified of the darkness that creeps into my head, twists my thoughts, grabs me by the wrists and pulls me down. I am terrified by my doubts but also terrified by blind faith.

I am terrified of being anonymous but equally as terrified of being known.  I am terrified of the prospect of trying to start a business…for I am just as scared to fail as I am to succeed. I am terrified of dying, but I am also terrified of living.

There you have it: I am a repetitive scaredy cat.

I live in constant fear of what people think of me, of wasting my life, of denying who I am, of not knowing what that even means.  I feel like I am constantly fighting, swimming upstream against all of these fears…the ceaseless voices in my head warning me of all the ways everything could go up in flames.

But here’s the thing.  I am not going to stop swimming.  In fact, as I continue to identify all these things that I am afraid of, I feel as though I am slowly getting more equipment, increasing my ability to swim.  The more I study the flow of the water, the currents, the jagged rocks…the more I am able to avoid the things I should be afraid of and ignore the others. That doesn’t make the water flow less, but it makes my muscles grow.

Okay…enough of that long, rambling (kind of dumb) metaphor.

The point is: I want to keep taking steps to face these fears.  I want to identify the things I desire to be true of my life and actually go after them.  For basically my whole life my goal has been college.  And I thought at the end of it, I would be done searching… that I would know my “life path.”  Funny thing is: I’m here now, at life post-college, and I think I know less about this path than I did going in!  On one hand that terrifies me, but on the other it gets me so dang excited!  And some days I think it only terrifies me because of the way other people react when they hear that I am not getting a full-time architecture office job straight out of college.  (Yes, I am appreciative of my college education.  No, I don’t think contemplating altering my career path makes it a waste of five years.  No, I don’t intend to just be a lazy bum mooching off of my husband.  No, I am not worried about how this time spent nannying will look to future potential employers.)  At the end of the day it is not them who has to live with my choices and decisions (to get a job I resent, to chase my dreams, to take time off), it is me.  (well…. and my husband…who is wonderfully supportive!)

So this post is for two reasons:

#1  –  I have been afraid to really mention my blog on Facebook much at all, for Facebook contains high school friends, old teachers, relatives, parents, fellow church members… a whole host of people who may not necessarily react well to all of the things on this blog.  Because this blog is one of the most honest and vulnerable places in my life.  Here I feel free to doubt, to wrestle, to share.  I am terrified of how people could respond… If I share that I am wrestling through doubts about my faith, my biggest fear is that people will turn me into “a project”…or that I will perceive it that way.  But by not even giving other the chance to enter into the conversation, to see the real, authentic, vulnerable me I am not helping anybody.  Are other people in my life asking similar questions?  Do they desire community as much as I do? Are there others who wish they had a group of artists to paint with, open-minded thinkers to chat with, nature-lovers to stargaze with? I’ll never know unless I push past those fears and insecurities holding me back.

#2  –  And secondly, today is Day 1 for me of the Life is Messy Challenge by Mayi Carles. You can accept this challenge too if you want to!  What I hope to gain from these five life is messy challengedays is some sense of where I want to begin heading.  I am not thinking that by the end of this I will suddenly have my life “figured out.”  I am not even really hoping to have any semblance of a business plan.  All I know is I need to start somewhere and this seems as good a place as any!  Plus I have really loved getting to know Mayi’s site better and it seems like she really knows what she is doing!  (and who doesn’t love the adorably cute illustrations?!) So here was the assignment for day 1:


Super Power Finder1

I was tasked with listing out things I love to do, things I am praised for, and thing clients will buy.  Things I love to do was easy.  Obviously I know what I love.  However the other ones were harder.  After some thought and sifting through memories I was able to pull out things I have been praised for over the years.  But that last one… man, that last one is the hard one!  Things clients will buy?  I don’t know what people will buy!  If I did, I wouldn’t be doing this! haha  But I took a stab at it… based on some of the things that have been purchased from my Etsy shop.  (If you are reading this and have suggestions or comments… pleaseee put them in the comment section below!  I would LOVE some honest feedback.)  In conclusion, pottery and kids seemed to be things in the overlaps.  With art/collages/cards floating somewhere near the middle.  So I guess we’ll see where Mayi takes me tomorrow!

Well, anyway… that’s all for now. To those of you new to my blog: Welcome.  For those of you who have already been walking with me through this roller coaster of philosophical-existential-poetic-rambling-mundane-art-filled journey of mine….thanks for hanging in there.


[…and now back to our regularly scheduled program…]


Collaged Canvas of Normalcy

And so it begins.
Life after college.

The canvas of normalcy yesterday morning, woven with waking covers stumbling coffee toothbrush, was collaged over with an array of emotions cut from every medium I own; graduation

the strangeness of the realization that the title “graduate” is now permanently embroidered on my identity, stitched for all to see, for all to assume, to expect, to judge;

the freedom from the lurking looming pressing in and down pressure of “The Thesis”… finally released with the placement of a CD in the tray next to the paper with my name still incorrect;

the feeling of subtle panic bubbling as I search for a way to turn down the heat so the full boil won’t erupt into lost wandering and existential crisis; the anxious need for a plan a schedule a checklist a map so that I can at least pretend that I am not “wasting my time” (whatever that means), so that I can make something of myself (whatever that means), so that I won’t disappoint my parents my friends my relatives my professors my husband myself God (whatever that means);

the excitement of getting to start a new adventure, a continued search for “who I am” and “what I am passionate about,”

the desire to begin life-giving, healthy habits now before I accidentally get into routines that are unproductive, unfulfilling, selfish, lazy, ignorant… the fear of mental, physical, emotional, spiritual decay starting the minute I walked across that stage… the fear that I will waste that paper, experience, five year period that cost tens of thousands of dollars, that I won’t “make something of myself,” that I’ll be a failure;

the peace of knowing that life doesn’t have a rulebook, that other people aren’t the judges, that I am married to someone supportive, that I have come to realize the things I value, that I am not expected to have all the answers yet, that I have been provided for, that I have jobs lined up that I am excited for, that this isn’t an end and it isn’t a beginning either… this is life and I am still here to live it.

. . .

In conclusion, in the first quiet moments after the graduation chaos died down, I was filled with peace and anxiety and fear and excitement and panic and freedom and desire.  I made goals and lists and plans, not wanting to be neglectful, but also open to those things changing. I hope to stay mentally and physically active, I hope to start a small business, I hope to find places to volunteer and ways to contribute to the world beyond myself, I hope to make more friends and deepen/maintain existing relationships, I hope to learn more about kiddos and grow in patience and love.

may2016Sooo…I began my life as a graduate (after coffee and list-making) with a nannying job for a sweet 2 year old boy (including a trip to Kroger, a car seat in my car, and time at the playground), a nap, working on a collage for my Etsy shop, and another childcare job watching 13 kids in a basement during a church small group.  I am excited for all the little ones I get to love on and care for in the coming months.  Kids keep me looking out, they keep me moving and learning, they keep me on my toes.  I am a different person with children.  I laugh more, I smile more, I feel like anything is possible.

Maybe it is.

. . .

And just as a final addition, here is writing from someone who so often verbalizes the exact things I have once thought or felt:


Written by Jacob Ibrag]

Questioning my inquiring process.
Am I seeking the right answers? Are
these thoughts original? If not, where
did they come from? Looking into
the mirror, witnessing fragments of
all the people that touched my psyche
take shape to form the face I see in
front of me. A hybrid. Better. Worse.
More of the same. Recycled. Carbon
copy cluster of garbage. I become
them. Part of the whole system.
Politically correct human.

Collaged Canvas of Normalcy