Monday, July 12, 2010


I am leaving town today to head towards Idaho for Brave Girls Camp. I have business to take care of first and then tomorrow....BGC!

I am a little nervous though I have to say. I can't remember the last time I traveled without my computer... and I am going cold turkey for the sake of unplugging and investing in myself for a week.

I am a little fearful of what that means for my inbox, but it is a freeing feeling to leave it all at home.

Off for now...I'll see you on the other side, you know, post BGC!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Been to Utah on to Idaho

Hello strangers....

Its been awhile as I have been in Utah for the last week. I thought I better post a line to confirm I made it back! I am home for the weekend and then head off to Idaho for Brave Girls Camp!

I had a lovely time in Utah. I visited so many hospitals and clinics that my occupational therapy students go to for fieldwork. Great people there too!

My daughter was able to come along and it was a trip we won't soon forget. Not so much for the entertainment or trying new things. But for the time and conversation, question and answer sessions, sharing a bed, and dessert. I really looked forward to our time and cherish the memories!

Now, next week on to Idaho to Brave Girls Camp. So excited I can hardly wait. I will be computer free all week, so won't be blogging about my experience until I return. I know I will come back bursting with stories!

See you soon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Contentment in all things, really?

3 great friends and I are in the midst of the book "Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment in All Things" by Linda Dillow. It has been a tough journey for us to the middle of the book, we are really being challenged with some hard stuff in life right now in general, with work woes, family struggles, and no "me-time".

Content in all things...really? What if someone butts in and messes up your contentment? Well, I would say ignore it or them before. I'm learning though that any anger or resentment from stuffing my discontent turns really ugly inside. It stays with me and bubbles up until something little sets us off.

I would like to say I'm even keeled. And I have so much to be grateful for. But at least once a week, okay, once a day, I am challenged to focus on what is good and not broken, instead of what is currently chapping my hide!

It sounds a little unrealistic, but I have tried to focus on contentment and it really rubs off on those around me!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Indoor Kite Flyer

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been watching America's Got Talent the last few weeks. I've been amazed at some of the people that have come on and shared their passion, and of course, others, that were just a few fries short of a happy meal!

On Tuesday night when I watched there was a young man who was an indoor kite flyer. He handled his kite with his movement choreographed to music. He did an amazing job.

But what I found most intriguing is the fact that he is a man living with epilepsy. He found this creative occupation of kite flying as a way of concentration, stress relief, and relaxation!

I find him to be a completely genuine inspiration! The video link to his performance isn't up yet, but when it is, I'll link it for you to see!

The message to me is profound....don't wait for a perfect day outside to fly your kite, get off your duff and make your own wind!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Balance Testing

Balance testing is something I used to do more when I practiced occupational therapy full time in the that I teach occupational therapy students, I try to practice balance!

This week in Kelly Rae's ecourse we are talking about time management and setting schedules.

I can set a schedule, I often create lists and pre think things I need to do. That's not the problem right now. The problem is being able to start the schedule!

Having 3 little ones, a husband, and a full time job I'm constantly relying on a schedule. I can schedule in time for creativity and still not get to it because something comes up.

What do you put on the schedule that you don't get to as often as you'd like?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And on the 7th Day...Rest

My family and friends have often told me I struggle with just plain doing nothing. I have a hard time just sitting and watching a movie. I'm usually scanning a magazine or cookbook, making a grocery list, etc., etc. That is sad....but I'm working on it.

Every year at work we have an end of the school year celebration and the chair of our department makes up fun awards for each faculty member. I would like to say that last year's was "multi-tasker of the year" and I was so proud of that one. But this year "budding artist" award is much more in alignment to where I'm trying to be!

On the radio this morning I heard a woman talking about going to a vacation bible camp this week to speak to a group of gradeschool kids. The theme of the camp was God's creation. She talked about what happened each day, but really focused on the last day. The 7th day when God looked at all that he had created and said, "I think I'm going to rest now".

Taking a cue from my friend Louise on her blog today and the radio story I thought that's a great little question for us all....

Do we allow ourselves a "7th day"?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Whispers from Chocolate

If I didn't directly mention it yet....I am in the midst of week 2 of Kelly Rae's e-course on launching a creative business. I am thoroughly enjoying each day, feeling inspired and energized about ideas floating around in my head. It is always so much fun when my thoughts are echoed by other little whispers.

Last Saturday night my husband and I were out on our hammock enjoying the cool weather and stars. We were eating little Dove chocolates, which I LOVE! I don't know which part is better, the chocolate or the little inspiration on the inside of the wrapper!

I ate a chocolate #1 and the quote said "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams" I smiled.
I ate chocolate #2 because you know you just can't stop at one, and that quote said "You are the only thing stopping you from your dreams". I laughed and insisted my husband open one up so I didn't just happen to pick up a bag of Dove chocolates with a "dream theme" inside.

Sure enough, his quote had nothing to do with dreams, but with the measure of character or sometime like that! Anyway, does Dove have a clue what they're doing to me?

I know its not the most nutritious choice, but I can't wait to get back into that bag and eat more chocolate just to see what the quote says. I know, I know, we all have burdens we must bare, and chocolate eating is mine :) At least until the bag is gone!

Has chocolate spoken to you lately? What is it saying?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quit the Comparison

I have had a contemplative couple of days and quit the comparison is a thought that keeps coming up! I have tried to give myself a bit of time to think about setting goals for the creative ideas flowing in my head and have had a heck of a time finding TIME :)

I am in Kelly Rae Robert's ecourse right now and loving every moment! The most challenging part is following along and really pushing myself to journal along my answers to her probing questions. I have really enjoyed the process, but feel like I could enjoy it more if...or if I was able to.... and begin comparing my ideas, thoughts, circumstance, etc., etc., with those around me.

I just need to quit it, but easier said than done. Funny thing is yesterday's message at church was called "Quit Comparing"! Boy, that isn't a whisper, its a pretty loud shout!

I will keep working on it, but it is hard! I find myself comparing myself with others in work, family, church, neiborhood, school, etc. situations. I am trying to first become more aware of the times I do it, and then I will tackle the intervention!

Do you find yourself comparing your art, kids, house, talents, etc. with those around you?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Rain, Rain I Love it today! It has been raining all day, and even though my daughter's 1st grade field trip to the nature retreat center was cancelled due to it, I still love the rain! I think the best part of it is that it forces me to slow down. One of my most favorite things to do it to take a nap with the windows open and smell and listen to the rain. I love the cool breeze that comes in and whispers "its okay that you're taking a nap instead of doing something else right now". I wish I could just learn to slow down and enjoy a little nap on days when its not raining out too.

Note to self, you can do this whenever you choose :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day Gift

Mother's Day Gift...One that will keep on giving!

I am getting all geared up to begin the much anticipated e-course offered by Kelly Rae. I received this as a gift from my family for Mother's Day. I can't wait to get started! I am looking forward to learning from Kelly Rae's stories and wisdom from lived experiences in her creative business journey.

The e-course "Flying Lessons: Tips and Tricks to Help Your Creative Business Soar" (great title :)) lasts 5 weeks and I'm hoping that I get in to the routine to not only go through the course on a weekly basis, but carve out more time for getting my hands messy and creating!

The course starts on May 30th and there is still time to enroll! I'm sure it will be an amazing experience. To find out more about the e-course visit Kelly's blog at: htt://

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Message

I always look forward to going to church, but especially on Mother's Day. Our church celebrates mothers with a special gift for each mom, and I get so excited trying to guess what it might be each year.

Each mom received a necklace with a little charm that says, "Live Your Dream". Okay, God, not whispering so much as you are speaking with an "inside voice".

I was so touched by the message this year from our Pastor's wife, Kris that went right along with the gift. She spoke about dreams God gives us, and how we, as moms, sometimes put our dreams on hold, or they seem impossible, and we just give up.

I wrote down notes and verses she referred to, but drifted away to thinking about my dreams currently. I found myself being comforted by her message of dreams coming from God, being blessed by Him, for His purposes. That is exciting!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Travel Suggestions

More travel coming up in my job and I am going to ask for suggestions on things to do as I will have some free time. YEAH! I have to go to Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah and Oklahoma City, OK (not in the same trip, 2 different trips this summer) to visit hospitals and clinics where my occupational therapy students go for their internships. While I am there I would like suggestions of what to do in my down time. If all works out, I would like to take my daughter along and make it a girls trip. She is 7 so huge mountain hikes are not realistic, but I'd sure love to hear what others have done!

I'm all ears!

By the way, the art show I was a part of during the month of April "Part Time Artists" show, proved to be a successful event and I've been asked to create more artwork as a "more permanent" fixture in the boutique! I am very excited for the opportunity and to see where this path will lead!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hello from Orlando!

Its been far too long since my last post. I have been running around chasing children and grading assignments as the semester winds down at school.

I managed to work in a little fun last week when I went to Orlando for the American Occupational Therapy Association's Annual Confernece.

I had a wonderful time with my friends learning, shopping, eating, and screaming! We spent a day at Magic Kingdom and rode everything we could a few times!

I hope you are working a little fun into your days!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Triathalon

I hope you had a blessed Easter. Yesterday, we had an Easter triathlon...We are fortunate enough to have most of our family in town. However, to visit all of them, in one day, is an event! The kids woke up and found their baskets full of fun surprises.

After the Easter breakfast of champions, a.k.a. sour Twizzlers and lots of chocolate eggs, we headed to Easter service at church. It was awesome as usual! Then to leg 1 of the triathlon, my mom and dad's house. Yummy brunch, an egg hunt, and lots of laughter filled the time.

Matthew was so nice taking Mady around to find eggs. Then off to leg 2, lunch at Josh's dad and step mom's house. Grandpa thought it was a good idea to get Alex a water gun and fill it up inside his photos of this as I was too busy making sure he wasn't drenching any furniture. The boy loves his water guns, which he lovingly calls "my sqwert guns".

Leg 3, final destination, dinner at Aunt Robin's. I could hear the Chariots of Fire theme song as we drove across town. More food, more family, more fun. The kids were exhausted by this time, no naps, new toys, and extra sugar...who has time for a nap, mom?

We love our family, but now I understand why it takes so long to train for a triathlon!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Awe*some Friday!

Last Friday night was a bit surreal. I was one of the featured artists in the Working Artists Show at the Art Mill in town. I was so nervous to go there for the opening. I started to doubt what I was wearing, who would show up, where the art show director would put my stuff. I thought for sure I would be in a lonely, dark, corner in the back hallway. To my surprise, I was pleased to see my artwork in the front window of the shop! You can see it even if the shop is closed! YOWZA! (Not sure how to spell that one, as I don't put it in many emails :)) The sweetest thing I have to say is when my aunt brought my grandpa to the show. Here's a picture of some of my family that came, my mom and dad, grandpa and aunt, and mother-in-law!

I was so surprised and it was the best surprise of the night! I let go of my fears and apprehensions as soon as my parents walked in and I thought to myself...they are here for me! My husband on the other hand had to wait for the "its okay to come in and peak at the artwork with the 3 small children that have the capabilities of doing some serious damage now" . That lasted for a brief moment as they quickly discovered pretzels and M&Ms in the back of the place. Who needed mom anymore?

I am still in the "please pinch me, I must be dreaming" mode. I will have the artwork for sale in the shop until the end of April. I have about 8 pieces in there and 3 sold opening night! I am blessed to be a part of this opportunity. I hope to have more updates as the month goes on. Needless to say its an "AWE"some experience...get it...part of my vision for the blog...capturing "awe" filled moments and this ranks right up there!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Art Show Opening!

I am humbly letting you all know that I am one of the featured artists for a show at the Omaha Art Mill called "Working Artists"!!! Squealing within, composed on the outside of course :) I didn't tell anyone I submitted anything for fear it wouldn't be seen as "artwork". So, when Jane let me know that she accepted my submission and I'd be a part of the took a few more weeks to sink in!

I am thrilled to be a part of this show and look forward to opening night. The show opens this Friday, March 26th. My artwork will be on display and for sale through the month of April. This is another whisper that I am excited to share with you all! I will post pictures of the opening this weekend. I'm learning all kinds of lessons about making yourself a little vulnerable in these areas in order to move in the direction of your dreams!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Too much writing for a Saturday

Today, Saturday, I am knee deep in research articles and writing. I wish I was knee deep in gel medium and acrylics or surrounded by chocolate chip handprints and juice boxes from my kids! But no, in front of the computer, as a scholarly writer today, Saturday. This is such a perfect example of where my heart is vs. where my job is. Where my priorities are in my head and heart vs. where my physical body spends its' time. I have approaching deadlines to finish a book chapter and a journal article. Both on topics I enjoy. Both very much on my academic scholarship to do list...but right now it feels like too much. I'd rather be painting, creating, recreating with my family. My husband is so kind that he left me with a quiet house to work today. He took all three kids to an indoor bounce house place and lunch and then to grandpa's to visit. What a great daddy! I just wish I was there with them. This too shall pass. I have been saying no to a lot more these days. Now I just have to wait for the things I said yes to many many months ago, get turned in and completed! I am so looking forward to having these 2 huge projects done!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Empty Bowls

Yesterday I purchased an empty bowl for a good cause. For the past several years, the university I work for has had fine arts majors create ceramic bowls during a class and donate them as part of the Empty Bowls Project fund raiser for one of our local homeless shelters, the Sienna Francis House.

You purchase a one of a kind bowl and you get soup! And, all the proceeds go to the shelter. It is such a cool project that I enjoyed being a part of. The bowl that I chose, or that chose me, is the one with the hearts in the middle on the left! The others are beautiful bowls that some of my friends chose.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Artsy Professor

Most of you know that I love creating things and being "artsy" any chance I get. The struggle I have with my creative artsy side is I also have a very structured academic side teaching occupational therapy full time at a university. More importantly I have a husband, and 3 little ones 6 and under! It can be a struggle to make time to create as we all know.
However....a funny little email crept into my inbox at work (GO BLUEJAYS)yesterday that I believe was a whisper to me.
An email from alumni and faculty relations sent out to find what professors do in their down time, outside of work...

First reaction, uh, eat and sleep, and change clothes for the next day at work! Second reaction, I don't want to bring my artistic side to the table and feel vulnerable about "what they are looking for" or what "someone would deem as art".
Third reaction, maybe this is something that will acklowledge who I am fully instead of the part of me that shows up for work in front of my students.

I responded back to the email simply saying, I like to create stuff anything from painting, scrapbooking, quilting, jewelry making.

You name it, and I bet I have a few supplies from every aisle at the craft store!

We'll see what comes of it! Today I have the luck o' the Irish backing me!

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Explore your Iceberg

Last night my husband and I attended a talk by "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" author Peter Scazzero and his wife Geri. They are from Queens, NY and have church planted there since 1988 I believe. Anyway they shared about their path to emotionally healthy spirituality.

We read the book last year and really enjoyed it, it has some brutally honest pieces that are a bit scary, but really push you forward into exploring your iceberg so that you can be a more emotionally healthy person for you, for your loved ones, etc...

We re-did the "Explore your Iceberg" exercise last night and new things cropped to the top. We were to answer 4 questions by writing whatever comes to mind in 1 minute, seemed simple enough.
Q1: What is making you mad right now?
Q2: What is making you sad right now?
Q3: What is making you fearful or anxious right now?
Q4: What is making you happy right now?

So we write in solitude (in a room of 800 people) for 1 minute on each question. Then she asks us to turn to the person next to you and ask how the experience was for them. A little awkward as I suddenly felt like turning my paper over and tucking it into my purse. My husband had jotted down one word bullet points for each question, while I wrote paragraphs under each! That is just one example of how we communicate a little differently and it made us laugh!

Geri, Mrs Scazzero, went on to talk about the iceberg analogy which I'm sure most of you have heard of....

The tip of the iceberg is the top 10% of what is going on in/with the people around us in our perspective. What is going on in the other 90% is beneath the surface. What I picked up on last night that I don't recall reading in the book, was what she said next.

She talked about anger, hurt, and fear being the top layers, followed by depression, disappointment, and shame. I know its an uplifting thought :) What really hit home is that the layers of life, joy, hope, health, creativity, pleasure and love are "below" the top layer and are often suppressed becasue we do not acknowledge and process through the top layers!

Totally resonated with me. If I am angry or disappointed, I may put on a happy face and go on as if "everything is just fine" But when that one moment of stress hits, the iceberg, for me, can turn into a volcano, spilling and spewing. Can anyone relate?

I want to chip away at the tip of the iceberg by talking about my disappointment or frustration, so I can get to the good stuff! She goes on to say, if we have unaddressed top layers of hurt or fear,etc., it does not mean that we cannot experience pleasure, creativity, and love. It just means that we may not be fully experiencing these emotions.

For me it made sense and provides a visual analogy of what I work towards, simplifying my life!
If we are too busy and have too much activity, how are we going to stop and make time to answer those 4 questions to check in with yourself? I think the 4 questions are something I'd like to look back at on a more regular basis with myself, my husband, and kids.

Can you hear the theme song from Titanic in the distance? I can!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Best Day

WHOA! Way too long since I posted last. Too much to talk about so I'll just pick one thing.

I have to tell you a cute little story about my 6 year old that happened this morning. I had just finished getting all 3 little ones dressed and ready to go downstairs for breakfast, when Em said "Mommy, wait a second I have a song I want you to hear". This happens so frequently as she is a music junkie! But this morning she had a different insistancy in her voice, so I stopped and said, "OK, Em, hit it"

And on came Taylor Swift, which I hear way too often these days :)

But, she said, "Wait for it mom, your part's coming up" And the words sang and tears just started running down my face. "Mommy, its all right" "Mommy you are crying because you're happy right?" "Mommy, say something".

I was crying my eyes out because I was happy yes, but the lyrics really touched me this morning. And Taylor Swift's lyrics usually are not a tear jerker for me!

The lyrics were from The Best Day and they go,

"I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run and I had the best days with you

There is a video I found from back when I was three

you set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me,

its the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs,

daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

Now I know why all the trees change in the Fall

I know you were on my side even when I was wrong

and I love you for giving me your eyes

Staying back and watching me shine and I didn't know if you knw

So I'm taking this chance to say that I had the best day with you today"
I am so thankful for an sensitive little 6 year old that loves her mommy and tells me as often as she thinks it! I was crying not only because of her way of telling me "thank you" but because it also makes me think of my mom and how I need to tell her too!

Hope you have The Best Day! Andrea

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reunited And It Feels So Good!

I've been busy painting today! I have created another Mati Rose like elephant and Kellie Rae Roberts like girlie. You can't read the quote on the girl but it is one of my favorites: "Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake" Thoreau.
Now I'll get to the best part of my day...and I can't help but hear these song lyrics in my head, "Reunited and it feels so good"! For those of you that know what I'm talking about...I found them!
I returned home from An Artful Journey and unpacked my bags only to find that the paintings I created were gone! I looked through everything....or so I thought. After filing a 10 page missing property report with the airline, I found my long lost paintings!

I set aside time to paint and create today and as I was pulling out all of my supplies from a box that I took to the retreat, I saw a tiny piece of wax paper peaking out at me. I thought, no way, it could be the same wax paper I wrapped my paintings in. So I sifted through all of the supplies, only to find my 6 pieces of artwork. I cannot believe it. It could be my grandmother up in heaven that made them reappear, or St. Anthony, or any other person you know of that you count on for bringing back lost items. Does it really matter? I was relieved and shocked at how well they endured the trip back home. So, without further ado, here is what I created at An Artful Journey retreat:

I am so thankful that I found them! What did you find today?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mr. Blick You Are My Friend

Mr. Blick you are my friend. You may not be my husband's friend, however; for the amount of money I imagine will go out of our account and in to yours. Nevertheless, I will be back! I have started gathering supplies from Michael's and Dick Blick's that I borrowed from my friends at "An Artful Journey" last week. Things I had not heard of before but definitely make a difference! For instance, the Crop A Dile!

I love that thing! And Shiva Oil Paint sticks! I am waiting until next week to get the whole box because they will be on sale :) I picked up a few canvases that were irregular sizes that I thought would be fun to play around with. I'm planning on painting away my Sunday!

Before signing off, I just wanted to share with you what I saw when I came home from work last night. My youngest daughter was all dressed up and dancing to music with oldest daughter. You can't fully see what I saw, the bandana and headband, boa, and flowers were the icing on the cake. She also had on a pair of pink slippers and a purse! Too cute.

I wish I could pull off the look!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Awethentic Living

Hello! I have finally created my own blog. This is an accomplishment in and of itself considering the major slump I'm in right now. You see, I just returned from an experience that is hard to justify with words. I was fortunate enough to attend a retreat in Los Gatos, CA called "An Artful Journey" with Kellie Rae Roberts and Mati Rose McDonough. You'd think my instructors alone would be enough, but, I also made incredible friendships with women from around the globe! I want to keep in close touch with these new friends and most of them have blogs, so I thought what better time to jump in than now! On the plane ride home from California, I started pondering blog names. I didn't want it to be too boring and I wanted to have a name that would stick beyond how I am feeling right now. I came up with Awethentic Living. Yes, I do know how to spell authentic correctly. But, I wanted a blog in which the title represents my journey. Everyday we have a choice. Settle for the status quo, the monotony, and the numb zombie like routine that pays the bills. Or, go through our days with our eyes fully open and work to create the life you dream of. I want to choose the later, to be authentic, but in the day to day hustle and bustle, my authenticity can be comprimised simply in order to survive.
Hence, the spelling of awethentic. I hoped to capture the essence of my daily goal. I want to go to bed at night and reflect on experiences that caused me great moments of "awe". I want to focus on the moments of pure bliss that makes my heart whisper "my cup runneth over". So, let this blog be a written record of "awe" filled, not aweful moments in my life. Let it be a place to capture my thoughts, struggles, and victories as I work to live authentically. Won't you join me?