Art Is Never finished… Only Abandoned — Leonardo da Vinci


 

It’s been a while since I opened up my blog page. I’ve missed writing here and checking in with you guys. Though I have been writing. I kind of got a new spark and have slowly been re-editing my book. I’ve lost count which time this would be. But I feel good about it. And now I am grateful that I didn’t try to publish it with all of the things that I have since changed and continue to rewrite still in it! As for the rest of the time, I’ve been getting ready for shows and restocking a little cozy booth I have at a store in town, called Reminisce. And working 12 hours a day doing it!  NOW that I am seriously attempting to make this what I want to do until I die!

Once upon a time, when someone asked me what I did, I would say that I was an Artist. And I was and always have been. In my heart. If you know my story, I worked as an Artist for over a dozen years and then moved to a small town in Paso Robles and opened up a little gift shop called Rose In The Woods which was supposed to mean “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.” It was a favorite of the locals and tourists and was doing extremely well for a few years until an earthquake demolished it. (You can find the rest of the story in the ABOUT section of my blog. https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/) But that is not what I want to talk about now, I just wanted to explain why for a while my  title was not “Artist” but Event Coordinator. And that was great. I learned a lot and had an amazing boss that has turned into a “forever friend.” But in my heart I always knew that there were more cards and dolls inside of me.

My husband built me a cozy little Art studio in our garage and created displays for me and has driven back and forth following me to Southern Californ to help me set up. And I do an amazing show that is still going strong called Sugarplum Festivals in Buena Park. I started doing that show almost 30 years ago and it is one of the largest family owned Arts & Crafts Show in California. With over 12 cash registers and a few hundred Artists, they have built an empire! The last show, A February show (mind you!) had customers wrapped around the building waiting to get in! They know how to Market their shows! They welcomed me back with open arms when I first approached them about trying a few shows again and each show I am learning new things. I think I could write a book on the dos and don’ts of doing shows.

But for now, I just kind of wanted to share a little of where I’ve been when not blogging!

 

My cozy little booth at Reminise in the heart of downtown in Paso Robles CcA. And when I’m not there, I am traveling to Sugarplum in Southern CA….

When you are traveling to do shows and have to be there by 9AM there are some perks to the challenge of getting up early to drive the four + hours to be there on time. That’s actually my sweet husband ahead of me, loaded up with half of my stuff.

This is what my booth looks like before I set up. I used to do this with no help at all. I’ve gotten so spoiled lately. Though I am trying to start doing it on my own again, just to see if I can since my sweet husband may be busier in the near future!

This was all set up

This was towards the end of the show! Blessed to take a lot less home! Gotta love me some of that Sugarplum!

My new line for 2019… My Antique Dolls and  if you notice my Shower Doll… Funny story, I was stuffing her and the stuffing got stuck in the middle and so I just went with it! So my new pregnant Shower girls are part of my line for this year!

Some of my cards out of my line… with a brand new line being introduced this year!

Thank you for taking the jouney with me. I am excited to see what this year holds for me! I am  definitely not ready to give up. I am praying that this year brings me enough success so that I can say that “I make a living” doing it!

Please visit my Etsy shop at dianeonawhim.etsy.com

and Sugarplumfestivals.com

(My mom creating when I was little)

I just lost my mom almost two years ago. She was a children’s artist during my whole childhood. I’d like to think that I am continuing her legacy!

Thanks for tagging along!

xoxo

Diane

 

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Letting Go


Yesterday, a friend stopped me to ask how I was. She will never know how much it meant to me that she stopped her day to ask. She’d posted something on her Facebook page that we’d discussed earlier that week. It really helped me put things in perspective. It was about the verse; “Be still and know that I am God” and how the original root of “Be Still” doesn’t actually mean be quiet, but let go! Which we both agreed is hard for us.

“Letting Go” means a lot of things to me. My control over everything out of control. My prayer requests, and my anger. Believe it or not I am a grudge holder. I know, I know, doesn’t seem possible right? THAT my friends is a rhetorical question. I mean, I am being sarcastic but I really do hold on to almost everything! And it’s exhausting. That is why letting go would be such a relief! I haven’t claimed any real New Year resolutions for 2019 yet. But I do believe that REALLY “letting go” would be a good start for me. To let go of any plans I may have, and to really believe that God’s GOT this! And that He’s working things out according to HIS will! Which sometimes is hard to understand at the time.

My son sent me this verse this morning….

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

First off, to have my son sending me Bible Verses IS a miracle in its self. But TODAY especially I needed this one! I am in kind of a Spiritual Warfare right now. And I need the Armor of something much more powerful than me. Funny, I asked God to let me know He heard me. He is so faithful if we stop to really listen and  yes…. let go!

 

When I’m On My Knees

 

In the darkest corner, or on the raging sea

when everything looks bleak,

I find You

when I’m on my knees.

No matter where I am, I know where You will be

and that I can always find You

when I’m on my knees

I don’t mind all the lessons that forever are reminding me

that I mostly find the answers

when I’m on my knees.

And when the dark has lifted and You’ve answered all my pleas

may I always remember

to thank You when I’m on my knees!

d.reed

2019

 

 

 

 

 

The Proverbial Bottom – “Just believe”


There comes a time in everyone’s life where we each have a day of reckoning. Much more than an “AHA” moment, more like a series of lessons that all come together at once. Similar to those mountain top highs that we experience at a High School youth camp when we are touched by a certain speaker’s message or just the praise songs sung around a campfire. Promising to God and ourselves the magnificent change we are about to make, really believing that we can make those changes…. That is, until we come down off of that mountain to face the real world. And are hit by “life.” When we are younger, it may be peer pressure, school, home life, whatever pushes our buttons that help us fail at being that person we really want to be. And yet as adults with decades behind us, we have a clearer picture and are more aware of our daily mistakes. Though we try to live right, have faith, be patient and kind, love our neighbors, our family, even our enemies until something happens that tests that faith and we  hit that bend in the road or the proverbial bottom of where we end up in a crisis, when we feel as if we have failed.

The older we get, more “stuff” gets in the way. And we feel more of an urgency to take account of our lives. But in a more surface matters of the heart kind of way. Believing that it is genuine but still becoming easily discouraged or offended. And not remembering that down on your knees kind of faith. Until that is, we start losing loved ones, or dealing with health issues, or financial crisis, relationship issues,  or whatever will send you to that proverbial “bottom” of where we hit when we feel helpless…. It is only then when we stop and take a good look at everything in a way that we haven’t for a while, maybe even not since that High School Camp experience.

I’ve had several crisis in my life. And have tried to renew my faith each time. But looking back, in a very primary kind of way. Though I genuinely meant it each time and was going through a kind of information gathering process. I don’t really believe that I understood this thing we call faith as much as I feel I do now. (And am still learning about it.) Through deaths and divorce, illnesses, financial stuff and getting on my knees kind of catostrophes. Everytime, making promises and praying for answers and receiving those answers but not continuing that walk of faith in the good times as well. NOW, realizing that even as I failed to follow through, I needed to go through those times of not following through, to land where I am now and to know that I need to keep getting down on my knees,  going in my prayer closet and giving it all to HIM daily. Not just when I need something but also to thank Him for His answers.

Recently a friend of my husband’s died and at the Memorial they gave away a book called Proof of Heaven, written by Eben Alexander M.D.  a Scientist and Brain Surgeon who got sick, and had a near death experience that he didn’t believe in as a Scientist and Surgeon beforehand. I highly recommend the book!  The one thing that really poked my heart was where he shared the (3) feelings of heaven that impacted him most… He said that he felt this overwhelming feeling of… (1) Love, (2) no fear, and (3) that he could do no wrong. The last one hit me the most and I was overcome by something inside of me that is so hard to explain. The realization that everything the Bible teaches us is about forgiveness and non judgement hit me with such a powerful impact it made me cry. I never really truly understood just how much I have felt like a failure in my life. To feel as if I could do no wrong would simply be heaven for me.

I believe that when we hit bottom, we are supposed to learn from those times. To rise up stronger than before. God has put people in my life with examples of strength that humble me. And make me count my blessings. To think that I don’t have it “so bad” and yet I wonder, why are they so strong as they continue to be a servant without complaining? And somehow I think that as I go through each trial, I am just beginning to learn how to fall on my knees, on my face and just believe. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Why haven’t I gotten that yet? Though mountain top highs are great memories of times when we felt as if we could almost touch the hem of our Lord, there is something about reaching a point in our life where we have to stop snatching back those prayers we  lay at HIS feet, and truly get down on our face where we are closer to the hem and just humbly believe that He is in charge and let Him be. Only then will we feel what it truly feels to be free.

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, “for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor fasake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight Proverbs 3:5-6

In My Doubt…


 

It has been a while since I have felt that feeling of “having to” write. I am not sure what it is. You know, that thought that gets you out of bed in the middle of the night? The one that you can’t go back to sleep until you write it down and then find yourself still writing way past dawn? Well, it hasn’t happened for a while now. But this morning I was reading a comment from a post I posted today on this day in 2013 (5 years ago!)  and it inspired me to come in here and try to write something.

I’ve had a rather sucky time lately. Just really sad. I try to snap out of it but I have all of these questions running through my head. Maybe it is because when my mom died recently, I don’t think I really grieved. I’m not sure I know how to anymore. When my dad died, I cried for weeks. And then as other loved ones followed,  it all just made me feel, I don’t know. Numb. Maybe because my dad died of a heart attack, I wasn’t prepared and all of the others were sick and it was a relief to have them not struggle in pain anymore. But numb about covers it. I haven’t really been able to really cry for a long time. Even when we lost our store in the 2003 earthquake, I never really cried.

And then the recent California fires happened. It was all so devastating. After losing our store, I never look at devastation like that in the same way. Your world just stops, while life goes on around you. People are still joking and shopping and eating out, when you don’t know what your next step will be.  I know the feeling all too well. And then in Montecito, the people who didn’t lose their houses in the fire, lost them in the mudslides.

My poor husband just sat there one morning as I had a total meltdown and let me have it. Maybe I just needed to cry for all of the things that I hadn’t cried for when I should have. And just used this latest sad thing as my melting pot. But I began almost hysterically questioning  him why God didn’t stop the fires, or why He didn’t make it rain when the fires were happening, or why He made it rain so hard when it did rain?!! All metaphoric because there really is no good answer.

Though, I remember a day when we stood in the middle of the street, looking at the devastation on the block where our store once stood minutes earlier with Christmas trees twinkling in the window and customers packed inside just the day before, while my daughter clung to me sobbing asking “Why God made this happen?” I don’t remember my answer, but she does. She said that I said, “He saved us. He didn’t make it happen.” He did save us. Though the two women in the store next to us both lost their lives. It still is a mystery to me. Why not us? Why did they have to die?

I guess I will never know His ways until I can ask Him. But it scares me that I even have these questions. It’s not the kind of thing that people admit. You know… doubting. So I have asked God to speak to me. And it has kind of been amazing. So many things have come up about why bad things happen to good people. To children, and little innocent babies, and slowly I am hearing Him. Not really understanding, but I know He uses us even in our doubt to be a blessing to others and Glorify Him.

I know, I know, all of the right things to say… We live in a broken world. Bad things happen. Period. He could stop those things from happening, and He does. Sometimes. I know, because He has answered a lot of my prayers.  God does not want us to be His puppets.  Why create something that does not have any choice but to love you? That is not love. Love is a choice. He wants us to choose Him. He showed us love by sending His only son to die for us so that we can live with Him forever. This place is just temporary. So temporary. We are just renting these earth dwelling things called bodies. I AM actually understanding that more and more as so many of my loved ones have left this earth.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He cried. Even though He knew that He was going to bring him back, Jesus wept because He could feel the family’s pain. I think that tells us a lot. Though Jesus could have been there to save him so Lazarus wouldn’t die, He wasn’t. Perhaps to give us this message today. Jesus cares what we are going through. Illness, death, devastation. Lets face it… life is hard. Divorce, accidents, catastrophes, financial struggles, relationship disappointments, they all matter to Him. But this world is our school. A place of lessons, some really hard ones sometimes.

The other day, I was telling a friend about my meltdown. And she said she knew of my faith and she was glad I was questioning things. I am still not sure what she meant. But I felt really bothered by it. And felt that I was not representing God in the way that I felt I should. And then I realized that I have always felt that I have never represented Him in the way that I should. And hopefully will never feel that I have arrived. I may never be the believer that I want to be. The one who gets to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.” Though that is my biggest prayer. And still… Everyday I  feel the need to fall down on my face and worship Him. To understand that He loves me so much that when I ask for Him to speak to me He does. I may never understand why He can’t just heal every sick and crippled body,  and give every homeless person a home, and make every mean person kind. So that this world would have no more wars or natural disasters. But I do believe that someday we will live in a world like that for eternity.

I loved when Jesus said  to Thomas, You are blessed because you can see Me. But blessed are the ones who don’t see Me and still believe.

So I guess I will just be sad sometimes. I will still cry when people I love die or when people I don’t know suffer. And I won’t understand a lot of it. And  I may have a few questions from time to time but that is okay. Maybe it’s good to let others see that we all have times of doubt. It’s just about trusting that all things work together for those that love God. And not letting the stupid devil dig up in doubt what  I have planted in faith!

God puzzle piece

 

 

 

 

Me Reinventing Me


Life has a way of just happening. I remember wondering how I was ever going to survive a broken heart after something just clicked inside of me and I knew that I was finally letting go of a very rocky three year relationship with my first real boyfriend and fiance. And I remember a few years later, how  life  seemed to keep going on for everyone around me but me when my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. And when my world came crashing down around me as I experienced divorce after my first marriage of fourteen years ended. And  when our little store was lost after an earthquake shortly before Christmas over a decade ago. I’d given up an art business I’d built for twenty years to open our little shop and found myself once again…. in a place that I’d grown to know so well. Me, reinventing me.

I have come to realize that unless you live in a bubble, we all must survive those times of adjustment. As kids, if we are blessed, we are sheltered from most of it. We don’t have to worry about bills or deadlines, but life happens even to kids and as we grow, whether through experiencing family crisis such as divorce, or illness or even death of loved ones, we begin to toughen up. We are “survivors” and as we survive each obstacle, no matter how small or overwhelming, we learn that we can.

As earthquakes and hurricanes and fires and floods and wars and political discourse seem to overtake the news these days, my heart prays for us all. We are in a time of life changing events constantly. The thing is, it really is about surviving. When I was in College I took a Speech Class and one of the topics assigned to me was… The Instinct of Survival. Those cliff hanging events in life that make us stronger.

After the earthquake I had to reinvent myself. My husband had to reinvent himself. We had to get jobs and work for “other” people.  And we did. Funny how we both have landed back in a space we started out in. He’d worked with his dad for most of his life when we opened our store. And I had my own art business where I traveled doing art shows, which I was doing when I met him. To make a long story not quite as long… he is back working with his dad and I have been given the opportunity to go back to my roots and have signed up for the same art show that I did twenty years ago called Sugar Plum.   http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com (take a look, it is the largest, most successful of shows in all of California for the last four decades! And still going strong!)

It’s interesting how life works. I am not sure how I couldn’t believe in God. He has been so faithful in my life. Even through all the ups and downs, I know He is in it! I’ve had miscarriages and lost good friends and loved ones. I recently lost a job due to the business being sold and the higher paid jobs being eliminated first through the process. But instead of looking at it as just another defeat, I had a funny feeling that I was being given an opportunity, another shot so to speak, to go back and revive my dream of working for myself again. And you know what? I’m taking it.

So here I am. Me reinventing me, once again. And I have a hero in all this. My husband. He has supplemented my dream through this version of “unemployment” and gotten inside my head as I have tried to explain my vision and the way that I am trying to fit everything in a 5X10 booth. (Half the size that I used to get.)  I have described card & display racks in my head and he has designed them so perfectly, you’d have thought I’d drawn them out for him! And I think everything is going to fit! We taped off  a 5X10 space on our driveway and set everything up, and it all seemed to fit! (There still is small stuff not set up, but for the most part it looks as if it is going to work!)

I remember when I was going through my divorce 25 years ago and this guy showed up with one red rose at one of my shows. All my artist friends knew how heart broken I’d been and they were so happy for me as they witnessed me once again, reinventing me.

I will keep you guys posted! My next show is Sept 21 – 24th. I’d appreciate all the prayerss I can get. This will be a huge test for the me reinventing me part!

PS:

This is a side note that has nothing to do with the above… But some of my readers have asked me to repost this… I think I need to write a whole new post regarding this… But so many people are still not aware of it. See if you are among them… Click on your gravatar (profile pic that people see when you LIKE or comment on someone’s blog) Did you know that if you don’t have a link of your blog’s address attached to your profile, people who may click on you trying to find your blog can’t? Below is the best tutorial I know about this very thing and how to fix it so that people can find you! Soooo sharing again.

https://nostolencatpictures.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/gravitar-links/

Right?


A fellow blogger posed a conversation starter, basically asking us to reflect on a question that had been on his mind for a while…. “IF our life was over, how would we view it, right NOW at this point in where we each land?” Would we have done everything, we wanted to? Accomplished everything we set out to?

https://kingmidgetramblings.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/8070/

Jewel has a song called Satisfied.                                                                                                     It is probably my most favorite of all of her others.  A few of the lyrics go like this…

The only real pain a heart can know is the sorrow of regret when you don’t let your feelings show…        

 Did you lay it on the line?                                                                                                                                                      Did you make it count?                                                                                                                         Did you look em in the eye?                                                                                                                                                                                                              And did they feel it?                                                                                                                           Did you say it in time?                                        Did you say it out loud?

I think I have, said most of the things that I’ve needed to say that is, and if not I will probaly end up writing it. That is one of the perks about being a writer… you break open your heart and spill it out for all the world to see, whether they want to or not. And I guess they have the option of… the “or not” part and that is fine. At least I did my part.

In my lifetime, I’ve had the opportunity to say pretty much everything to all of the important people in my life, at least once. So I am satisfied that the people that I love know I love them, regardless of whatever the situation is when I am dead and gone, and if you know me, one of my strong suits has not been in holding back. If I think it, I say it. Though recently I’ve come to reflect on that and just maybe… the smarter you get, the more you learn to speak less. I mean, if you always share every card you  ever held, you would always lose. Right?

I have always been honest. And have come to the conclusion that, that is not necessarily a good thing. Since I expect no less from the people around me. I am just setting myself up for extreme disappointment. I don’t mean to sound like a cynic but expecting less of people is a lot easier than being constantly disappointed. And when someone shows you otherwise, it can be a happy surprise. Right?

I guess that is why I don’t reach out as much anymore. My circle has grown smaller and smaller, admittedly of my own doing. My husband on the other hand, is a people person. He would be at a party everyday if he could be. He is an entertainer and loves to be entertained. I am an observer. I have to force myself to be “on” and sometimes it is painful. And therefore I may just very well have to buy into the fact that I may have a touch of depression. It is hard to admit because I’ve worked in a Psychiatric Ward and been on the other side. The one with the key and the one who does the charting. I’ve transcribed doctor’s plans for his patients and carried out his order for meds for other people.

I don’t  close all the drapes and hide my head under the covers. I get up and cook and clean and work.  My house is the one that normally hosts all the family holidays and even though I am currently unemployed, I am out there trying to survive. I chat with random people and look for whatever opportunity I can find. I  strike up conversations and laugh and cry with my friends. But some days I am just so mad at the world and focus on the wrongs and the evil and hold on to resentments and just can’t seem to muster up the energy to try to let it go and other days I  just move on and don’t think about it all day. I recently had a whole week of fun where I just made myself stay happy and realized it was because I was actually happy.

So… What is depression? Can’t it just be circumstantial?  All I know is that some days I am so blue I just wrap myself in regret. And other days I am glad for all the times that have brought me here because what hasn’t broken me has made me stronger, what I thought I couldn’t get through, has made me a survivor. And when sh*t “stuff” happens to us that we feel is unfair or we run into situations that seem to be driven  by pure evil. It is only normal to feel kicked in the gut and a little more cautious to trust again. Right?

On the other hand, when  someone special (that you really want to see) surprises you with a special visit or you plan a special trip and have things to look forward to, when things are resolved, and you can breathe for a while, or someone pays you a compliment, or you have had a success that validates your efforts, or you just stop and breathe and see things from the eyes of a child and listen quietly in the moment of a prayer while you are down on your knees, and here God whisper ever so slightly…”My Child, it’s all going to be okay.” You lean back on HIS promises and whisper back…. “I know, right?”

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

It’s been a while since I’ve written and even longer since I’ve worked on “my book.”  It’s funny. Once, I couldn’t “not” write. Now, I am not in a major writing block but I don’t want to just write to write. I have fleeting moments when I want to share something but if I don’t move on it right away, it kind of goes away like blowing bubbles… they are there floating around and then POP! Maybe it is because my study is out there with my art studio now. I have to walk outside, unlock a door and turn on a light and warm the place up before I can begin, where once I just walked to my office inside the house. Or… Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and my ideas in my head don’t last as long. Smile.

But in the time I’ve been away from my blog, I have a few things that have happened in life that I would like to share if you would care to pull up a chair for a while and chat with me…

In dreams… I’ve learned that you have to believe in yourself. and you have to become fearless in doing it. Even when you feel you are wasting time, or doubts crowd in so you can’t see the whole picture, you have to realize that dreaming is a form of planning and that nothing worth while ever just happens. Hard work and persistence is the only way you reach your goals. You must run toward your dreams as if you were on fire! And believe that you are never too old to set another goal and another, to reach that ultimate place that you want to be. The trick is… to realize that there is no expiration date on your dream. It is terrifying at times, when reality gets in the way and you have to make the choice to stay stuck in your comfort zone or go for it.

In relationships I’ve learned that love is a funny thing.  It isn’t just about that “all wrapped up in a butterflies in your stomach, over the top Ferris Wheel, falling in love kind of feeling. It is leaning on each other in the good and the bad times. Growing older but still seeing the beauty in staying. It’s still having a few fights but not wanting to pack your bags every time you do. It’s caring about each other with unselfish fortitude and doing things the other wants to do and giving freedom without guilt trips when they want to go do something without you. It is supporting their dreams and getting behind ourselves. And realizing that a supportive spouse is about as HOT as it can gets! And it is wanting to be together while sometimes doing nothing at all. And it is appreciating things in each other that you may have missed along the way. Things that have always been right at the core of why you’ve stayed.

I’ve learned that our kids are small for such a short time. That in the blink of an eye, they will be adults with thoughts and opinions of their own. That we have a tiny window to insert the values that we want them to carry with them. That they learn by not our words, but by our actions. Not by what we tell them, but what we show them. And in the end, it is their choice what to take with them and how well we packed those metaphoric suitcases for them.

I’ve learned that life is short. Time is fleeting. Love is more than a feeling. And only we can choose who we want to be. God has given us all free choice. In believing in HIM and believing in ourselves. I know people in my life who have given up on both. And I have learned through all my choices… never to give up on God or myself or the people I love and that everything is worth it in the end.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve gotta get back to work!

my-studio

(My new art studio/study my hubby made for me!)

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

(A start…. My Welcome Folk… Porch Dolls)

I’m So Glad I Didn’t Give Up


Things I might say to my future self…

“I am so glad that I didn’t give up!”

I no longer look out a window as I write this. I am inside my brand new cozy art/writing studio that my husband lovingly built for me after we moved here and has since made new, and recently moved me back into.

my-studio

When our daughter was in the third grade we had an opportunity to move and so feeling that raising her in the country might be amazing, we packed up all of our things  and moved four hours away from all of our friends, my son (a biggie) 😦 who opted to stay, and my business and all of my art shows and resources. Though we brought all of the show displays and art stuff, planning to reboot a new customer base, it just wasn’t the same.

show-display

I ended up traveling back and forth to do my shows and for a while it worked. And then we opened up our little shop; Rose In The Woods, which if you follow me, you know our story about losing it. (If not, you can find the story here:) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

But that is not what I wanted to focus on today. It is just that today, I sit here determined to not let anything stop me. To somehow let all of those times when I felt slammed up against a dead end, not discourage me, but to encourage me. Because… I am still here believing in that same dream.

Years ago, when my neighbor took a little painting I’d painted for her as a birthday gift, to her corporate building where she worked, and came back with forty orders for me. I believed that God answered my prayer about finding a way to stay home with my kids and work for myself. Which I was pretty successful doing, for a couple of decades.

Today, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. I have read hundreds of very helpful tips and tutorials and I am still not reaching a very big audience. I realize that this is barely week two since I re-opened my Etsy shop and that my art needs to be updated (which I am in the process of working on) and that today there are so many more talented people out there toting their own wares. Some that were not even born when I began and that those little artists  are way more techie than I am!

But then I have to go back. Back, back, back. To my VERY first art show. It was  THE ONE to get into and there was a waiting list. I started praying that somehow I’d make the cut. I knew it was slim to no chance that I’d get into it that year, and I still had no idea what I was doing. But someone dropped out at the last minute and wahlah! for some reason “I” got in! I was not in the greatest spot and I was outside and it was FREEEZZZING and I only made a few hundred dollars that weekend, but I took the opportunity to walk around and study the booths that were packed with “buying” customers and took notes! The next year at that same show, (I had a better booth inside) I made One Thousand Dollars the first hour! Keeping in mind that this was in the late eighties and that was BIG money at the time. During that year in-between, I’d added dolls to my line and started making a line of actual kid-sized ones. As the show opened, a lady who lived in an amazing near-by neighborhood known for their elaborate Christmas decorations  called “Sleepy Hollow” bought all of my elves that morning.

sleepy-hollow

(Her house won the award that year)

I can’t say that I was THAT successful, every show after that, but it made me realize what I could do with a lot of preparation and understanding the market. Now, I feel as if I am kind of starting at the begining again, and I just need to research like I did for that first show. My kids, my husband and my friends have been great cheerleaders. Though, somehow I need to reach that customer base I was so spoiled having for so many  years . I’ve been wandering through the Etsy shops that have thousands of sales to see what they are doing right, that I am not. I know that I need better photos and to keep educating  and challenging myself technically. (Which is probably my biggest road block.)

I welcome all my reader friends to wander through my shop below & I welcome any feedback as well!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane?ref=hdr_shop_menu

I am not sure what is in my future, but someday I pray that my future self says: “I am so glad I didn’t give up!”

May I never forget that on my best day I still need God just as desperately as I did on my worst day! believe-defined

 

 

 

Chris Pickens, Carrier Of God’s Word


 Bible (2)

CHRIS PICKENS

His words are stored inside our hearts,

His life has been a work of art.

He’s planted seeds and grown new vines,

And he’s done God’s work all this time.

His eyes reach out and touch my soul,

his body is no longer whole,

this disease has come to take control,

to snuff the flame and take it’s toll.

But, life still lives inside of him,

the light dances, it won’t grow dim!

He still has lessons we must learn.

The fire continues still, to burn!

His mind is wise and he is there,

and hosts a heart, we’ve found so rare.

the numbers climb of those he’s touched,

the ones he’s taught, the ones he’s loved.

We can’t repay all that he’s done,

though if you are one of the ones,

and you are here now reading this,

Please reach out and help our friend Chris.

Diane Reed 2015

When I first met Chris, he had a Bible in his hands and that was always his trademark. He was and has always been the carrier of God’s word. Planting seeds and reaching out to anyone he felt led to approach. I am glad he felt led to our little store, because he changed things up in our lives as soon as he walked through the door!

I have said time and time before that I will never believe that pain and suffering and illness come from God! Or that bad things happen to punish us. I truly believe that God is not sitting up there choosing who to inflict with what. We live in a fallen world and that is just part of the deal. People suffer and die. They have financial successes and failures. Sure, some have brought on their own form of suffering through bad life or business choices or even health choices. But things like babies dying and ALS and meaningless accidents just don’t make sense and probably never will. Though I believe God allows opportunity in every instance and I have known people who have used their pain for God’s glory and Chris IS one of them!!

I will never forget sitting in a pre-marital counseling class when I was 21 with my on the fence non-believing husband to be. Our pastor at the time, Wayne Frase, shared with us something that even I never knew… that his baby son had died earlier in his own marriage. He was sharing the story to teach us that sometimes heart wrenching, life changing events that can come up in marriage, can either break it or make it stronger, and in that moment, I KNOW that a seed was planted in my soon to be first husband’s heart that would later lead to his own decision to accept Jesus as his Savior. At the time though, he was so confused at how this Godly man kept his faith, and yet very intrigued by his faith in God. Later, when my dad who we ALL loved died suddenly of a heart attack, my husband finally made the choice to believe after watching my mom’s strength through losing my dad and all the other little seeds that were planted along the way. Seeds like Chris has planted all throughout his lifetime!

I guess what I am trying to say is bad things happen to good people daily and it is how they handle them that can be used for God’s glory. And that life is not fair. And the formula has never been that bad things only happen to bad people and good things only happen to good people. If that were the case, Chris Pickens would be living on top of a hill in a mansion without infliction! But the fact is that he’s not. He is in need of our support. I have written about my friend before.  (Through Papered Windows) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/through-the-paper-windows/

But as this horrible disease progresses, my heart was pricked to share again.

One of my best friends, Michele, (Chris’s wife) has been her husband’s caregiver now for about 70 hours a week or more. Chris is totally paralyzed. He can no longer talk and with the occasional flick of one wrist, he is totally dependent. I have never seen Michele complain and she is always smiling. She is now in desperate need of funds to be able to hire capable caregivers to take care of her loving husband and take some of the load off of her. Another friend has set up a fund-raising site for him.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/caring-for-chris/288756 

Also Michele sells Shaklee. We all use cleaning products and need vitamins along with so many other things I never knew they sold that I use everyday!! Please take a look at the millions of things that she sells (on the handy link below) and instead of going to the store,why not support Michele and become a regular customer?! (she is even offering free shipping!) It doesn’t matter where you live within the United States. Why not just decide to order everything you would have gone and bought at a store, through her? And the products truly are so much better than any you might find on the shelves AND…. reasonably priced! If we all did it, we could turn their lives around financially by just supporting their business! Please click on the site below for information there! http://www.healthysteps.myshaklee.com

Michele Pickens

LifeQuest Health

Natural Products Supplier and Nutrition Consultant
714.536.6555 Cell 805.423.2064

lifequesthealth@aol.com

Improving the lives of everyone we touch

If you know Chris and Michele, you have probably read this all the way through because they have touched your life. I remember our friendship when Chris was the one who approached us, invited us to church and embraced our family. Even when they had to move back to Southern California to be closer to family and doctors, I’d hear stories about how he’d take his little scooter to town and witness to many, many people who came to the Lord just by Chris being Chris and sharing God’s Word.

The last time I visited, Chris could no longer take those rides to town and was in a wheel chair full time, by then, but those eyes and that heart still were strong. He is in there, still believing and loving God.  If he has touched your life or if you don’t know him and his story has just touched you… Please pray for them and then if you will,  reach out to him (them) in any way that you possibly can and thank you!!!! And along with just clicking LIKE (which I always appreciate!) How about stopping a minute and looking at Michele’s Shaklee site and perhaps sharing this post on your facebook page or send the link on email to your praying friends and any other site of theirs that you think might help!

And again…

THANK YOU!!!!!

micheld and chris

Chris and Michele before ALS hit hard

Repairing The Keys


path in the woods

I’ve realized that the paths we take, may not always be the ones we envisioned. They may be charted out for reasons we don’t understand right away. In my journey, I’ve discovered that it is not about the job, nor definitely  the title, and it may not have anything to do with what you feel you bring to the table or what your talents are. You may just have to “be there” because God wants you right where He has you. It has taken me a long time to realize that. And to know the difference. Am I trusting HIM? Or am I just stuck? Even in writing, I catch myself thinking one or two words ahead and am constanly having to back space. It is not even just a mispelled word. I have actually observed that when I back space, it is because I have written words that I am thinking of, ahead of my current thought. And it has caused me to reflect on how I’ve lived my life.

door little girl peeking out black and white

I’ve gone through many doors in my lifetime, and have been PUSHED through a few! Recently that has really been the case for me.

typerwriter keys

It was as if some of the keys on my keyboard were stuck and I couldn’t really finish the story. I’d just typed around the broken keys.  NOW, the keys have all been repaired and I have been freed! I see the path before me and though it wraps around many hills and valleys, I am writing this story! It is not finished! I must stay on the path and continue the journey to the end! Even if it’s not really the one, I would have written into my own story. Sometimes I just need to let God do the editing!

 typewriter keys2

In my lifetime, I have realized it is not about the power of others, it is about the power that you define as yours. I’ve met some very brave people in my lifetime and I have met a few cowards. It has all been a measuring stick for me. WHO I have become and am becoming. Do we ever stop becoming who we were meant to be? I don’t think so. No, I really don’t. You only must believe.

woman leaving

“How can I get there?” Asked Dorothy. “You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic I know of, to keep you from harm.”                      The Wizard of Oz

 

 yellow brick roato Oz

 

His Plan


writing just hand view

As I reflect upon this journey that I am on, certain things have been triggered that  I must share. In going back through journals and memories and even in just writing this blog…  I really wish I could have grasped all this  at a much younger age. It might have saved me a lot of pain along the way if I’d “gotten” this stuff much earlier!

But so far I have learned…

That God probably (most likely – oh okay…. He DOES!!! )  has a plan for all of us and a lot of us miss it by being impatient and forging ahead without HIM a lot of the time. Forgetting to bring HIM along on our journey.  Just like the Garden of Eden, when He gave us the gift of life, His plan was perfect. We were the ones that  messed that up and thought we needed more. I mean now how did that work out for us? You’d think that we would have gotten the very first lesson He taught us now wouldn’t you? But we are hard headed. At least I am and slow learners and so we have had to deal with the fall out.

adam and eve

God does not see the sin nor pain that hits us the second we breathe our first breath. He only sees the beauty of our potential and His plan. It is our own nature that feels greedy and angry and wanting more. If only we could keep that plan of His in tact. But we live in a fallen world with sin and pain and grief and there has been only ONE human being who has lived it perfectly and that is Jesus. Though, that doesn’t mean that we can’t strive to imitate His life the best that we can. And I think in the end, when all is said and done, that is “The Plan.”

I’ve learned that every day I have the choice to see the glass half full or half empty, to pray and believe in answered prayers or to doubt and give up. I have learned that I can get angry and take my ball and go home or stay and try to be a team player for the sake of the bigger picture. I have learned that not everyone may see my full potential and may pass over me several times in way of promotions or rejection letters, job offers or in my own  personal relationships.  And that I  can consider it all and stay offended and stuck because of it or I can be true to myself and realize that they are the ones losing out and continue to shine and move on. And that God’s plan may be better in the end anyway!

I have learned that not everyone has the same story and to be sensitive to where someone else has comes from, to not judge as quickly but to find out their story and have compassion. I mean didn’t Jesus teach that over and over again? We need to drop those stones and learn the art of loving for once and for all and maybe in the act, we might just learn our own lessons.

I have learned that you have to let things go or you will drive yourself crazy. It takes more energy hating than it ever does just moving on! Whether it is people who  you know or strangers that randomly choose you to cut off in traffic, it just is not worth ruining your day over when they have probably forgotten about their own offense shortly after they did it. I am robbing myself of joy by staying mad.

I have learned that it is better to keep your mouth shut than to gossip or to listen to gossip. When someone is talking about everyone else constantly, I pretty much have to accept the fact that they are also probably talking about me as well. And it just feels better to say nothing, rather than worry about my words being repeated.

I have learned that the bad times make you grow and the good times are the rewards for getting through the bad times. That there is always joy in the morning and that every time I have found myself on my knees, I have received a bigger blessing even amidst the pain. Because God’s voice does not return void.

I have learned that every mistake I have ever made, every wrong choice and even my worst sin, can have a redeeming message that I can learn from. And that God is a God of Second Chances.

And finally, I have learned that the lesson is all about trying to bring God’s plan to life for our lives. When we smile at a random stranger or  love the unlovable, when we forgive an unforgivable wrong, we are finally “getting” it.

Heaven may seem far away but it is actually very close and we can have it in our life daily if we are constantly on our knees remembering to seek His plan first.

praying woman b&w

“The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” –Psalm 121:7-8 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

 

It’s Not Just About the Powdered Sugar


powdered sugar box

I just want to share a silly little story with you. It really happened and I know would happen more if I’d ask more. But with a grateful and rather humored heart, I wanted to share my story with you today. When I was about nine I had a little orange patent leather purse. It had eight dollars in it and back in the late sixties, that was a lot of money for a little fourth grader. I tore the house apart looking for that little purse.

praying little girllll

Finally I remembered Mrs. Anderson, my Sunday School Teacher telling us that all we had to do was talk to God when we needed something and He would listen. So I shut my eyes and Prayed believing full well that He’d answer: “Dear Jesus” I prayed… “Pleeeease help me find my purse.” And for some reason I just happened to look out the window as soon as I opened my eyes and there in our  car, in the garage ,was my little orange purse sitting right in the rear window of our car.

Okay, so I have lived a few decades since then and I have come to the realization that the answers are’nt always that forthcoming. Or at least the answers that we think we are or aren’t recognizing.  But I know God heard my prayer and He was right there when I ran out to retrieve my prized possession and knew my heart as I marveled at just how specifically HE answered my prayer. And on that day, that prayer changed my faith.

orange purse1

In the years that followed. I have prayed for things and it is not always like magic for me. But because of that little orange purse memory, I don’t doubt that HE hears my every word. And that if we ask for specific answers, He is not above giving them. Now, I dont mean to minimize the important prayers, and believe me, I have needed to pray for life and death answers before. But recently I have been pretty out of touch with my walk with God and I needed a reminder that HE is always there, even when I don’t always feel Him. On this particular morning… I’d decided to make cinnaomon rolls for work and my name to fame is the cream cheese icing that goes on top.  I buy powdered sugar by the bag and usually have a small stock pile of bags in my cupboard.

powdred sugar bags

This particular morning, I had to be there early and when the cinnamon rolls were finally in the oven. I usually make the icing while the rolls are baking. So I opened my cupboard only to find not even one half of a bag anywhere to be found.  I am not sure what the big deal was, and why I was so invested in making them that particular morning. But I pulled everything on every  shelf in my cupboard apart and there definitely was absolutely NO powdered sugar in it, anywhere. As I closed the doors I was about to give up and that little orange purse popped into my mind and I almost laughed at myself but I prayed: “Dear Lord pleeease give me just one box of powdered sugar.” Now I told you that I normally buy bags and I don’t remember buying a box. But I opened the cupboard doors one more time and there was one sitting right out in front.

praying woman's hands

Magic? No way. It was my reminder that God hears EVERY prayer, no matter how small.  In fact, I’ve always thought it was a lack of respect to ask for things like parking places or other things that aren’t life and death when HE has much better things to do. But I think God wants us to be in conversation with HIM much more than we are, or at least than I am.  And I know that  it was that same God who found the importance in answering my prayer almost  fifty years ago that took the time on that morning not too long ago,  to find a silly box of powdered sugar for me. I truly think I needed a reminder, that I need to talk to God more about even the little things. This was a refresher connection, personally with HIM to remind me what a specific God we love! Because after all, it really never was just about the powdered sugar.

powderd sugar sugar