day 24::be your own cheerleader

whether you think you can or think you can’t — you are right. ~henry ford

a couple of months ago, tripp and i were out jogging.  it was the worst heat of the summer.  my dear husband…being an athlete his whole life – he was just trucking right along.  me on the other hand?  i was DYING.

i’ve said this before, but i am not a great runner.  it did not and still does not come easily to me.  but i just keep at because it’s good for me in so many ways.. both physically and mentally.

anyway, tripp and i are jogging along and we pass by a couple who were strolling with their cute little dog.  and i guess the woman saw how much i was struggling because she said to me, “you’re doing great!  keep up the good work!”

something about the encouragement of a complete stranger breathed a little bit of life into me.  i stood up a little straighter, put my shoulders back.  running wasn’t any easier mind you – but just the thought of this lady’s kind words gave me the little boost i needed.

i think so often in life, we are our own worst critic.  in the case of my running experience, my inner dialog was along the lines of, “if you would lose a little weight, running might not be so hard.  you need to work harder.  try harder.  quite being such a sissy.”

i can be so hard on myself sometimes.

i was thinking about my encounter with this lovely woman all the way home that day.  because i’m not just critical of my running, i’m also critical of my Art.  and i wondered, what would happen if i was this kind and encouraging to myself?  what if told myself, “good job!  way to go kel!  hang in there!  you got this!”

how might my own positive words change the way i see my Art?

now, just so we’re clear, what i’m not talking about is blowing smoke up your own ass – because trust me…i’ve done a good bit of that in my lifetime too. and that really doesn’t any good.  no, what i mean is being your own cheerleader.  patting yourself on the back for your hard work.  for all the success, but for all the failed attempts as well.  speaking positive words over your Art.

gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. ~proverbs 16:24

i don’t know where you are with your Art, but in case you needed it today, i’m sending you a virtual high five.



you’re doing great!  hang in there!  you got this!

love, kelly

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.
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day 23::mastering the craft

            fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together. ~john ruskin

this is one of tripp’s and my favorite songs.

awful, beautiful life.  i so totally get that.

this song was written by darryl worley and harley allen in 2004.  darryl is an accomplished singer/songwriter who has enjoyed success as a country music artist in the last 15 years or so.

anyway, the reason that i am telling you about this song is because tripp was playing it on his ipod a couple of weeks ago. and it sparked a really awesome conversation between us.

how does one become a country songwriter?  what makes a good song? what comes first the lyrics or the music?

these are questions every artist has asked him or herself at some point in his or her journey.  and whether it’s a country music song or a water color painting, mastering the craft is something that every artist is working towards.


i’ve often compared music to photography.  because really, both start out as a song in your heart…something inside that you want to express.

in the case of a singer/songwriter, he or she has to be knowledgeable about the basic format of a song and be able to organize his or her thoughts into lyrics that flow.  he or she has to be able to control his or her vocal chords to sing on pitch.  and if he or she is an instrumentalist as well, that requires being skillful at whatever instrument he or she plays.


it’s a lot to keep up with.  a lot to learn and become proficient with.  but when a singer/songwriter puts all three elements together in just the right way…it’s magic.  a good song has the power to communicate a wide variety of emotions. it can touch a person’s heart and bring healing into their life.


and isn’t that is the true beauty of all Art?

whereas a songwriter uses music to paint the picture, i use my photos.  to sing my song, i have to know to use the buttons on my camera.  understand exposure, composition, light.  just like anything, there is a learning curve.  and the simple truth of it is that it just practice, time, and patience.


wash. rinse. repeat.

if you feel a calling in your heart to make art….whether it’s painting, or making cupcakes, or building houses, or playing an instrument, or directing a play…i have good news and bad news.  and they are the same.


you have to work at it.

the reason i say ‘work at it’ is good news, is that for me, for so long i felt like art was reserved for special people with ‘talent’.  like there was secret club and i didn’t know the secret password.  but now i know.

inspiration, creativity…it’s not magic.  it’s in the work.  through the process of trial and error. in the mistakes, in the success.  in the frustration and the joy.  this is where art lives. this is how you make Art.

but now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~isaiah 64:8


i heard somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something.  i have no idea if that’s true.  but the more i think about it, it doesn’t really matter anyway.  Art is never really mastered.  Art isn’t the thing…Art is the journey.

so if you want to make art, go for it!  get to work!  don’t get stressed out if in the beginning you make lots of shitty stuff.  because you will.  it’s the nature of Art.  be keep at it!!  you’ll find your way.  please!  keep working on it!   because we need it.  the world needs your Art.

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.
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day 22::when in doubt, vacuum

creativity is just connecting things.  ~steve jobs

you think i’m kidding, don’t you?


i know i’ve said it a million times on my blog, but it is absolutely, 100% the truth.  i get my best ideas when i’m doing mindless activities like vacuuming the carpet or blow drying my hair.  in fact, the inception for this entire series started out as a random thought in my living room while vacuuming the carpet.

there is some actual science behind this phenomenon. your brain basically has two major operating systems – logic and creativity.  if you are anything like me, your logic brain is the one in control most of the time.  my ‘real job’ requires a lot of critical thinking and it seems like the rest of my day is spent trying to cram in all the other stuff into the remaining hours.

but when your logic brain is mildly engaged in a relatively easy, yet repetitive task, it allows the creative side of your brain to be in charge.  where our logic brain looks for the usual answers, the typical paths of problem solving that are like carved out like ruts in the road, our creative brain is constantly scanning the catalog of images that we have accumulated.  and when our creative brain is allowed to take the wheel, so to speak, it can make all kinds of interesting connections.  things that we might not have ever put together.


so if you need helping solving a problem or need a little inspiration, go and find a mindless, repetitive activity.  vacuum the carpet, power-wash your patio, chop vegetable, clean your windows, take a drive.

the thing is, you already know what the answer is.  all you have to do is stop chasing it with your logic brain and let your creativity show it to you.

                              ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  matthew 7:7

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.
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day 21::playing in the shallow end

   every child is an artist.  the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.  ~pablo picasso

if you didn’t know already, by now you have probably realized that by nature, i am an introspective person.  i think about my Art.  i ponder the meaning of life.  it’s just who i am.  and i am totally ok with that.


sometimes though, even for me…i get tired of being in my own head so much.  and it’s in those time that i know i need to get out of the deep end and spend sometime in the shallow end of the pool.


this past weekend i had the pleasure of spending a long weekend with my focusing on life sisters in galveston.  it was a photography retreat so of course we took lots of photos.  but mostly it was a chance to spend some time face to face.  a chance to really connect.  linger over our meals.  share a glass of wine and conversation.  laugh hysterically.  play on the beach.


in her book, the artist’s way, julia cameron often writes that our inner artist is a child.  and that it is important for us to treat ourselves as such.  so what could be more childlike than play?


   a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.   ~ecclesiastes 3:4

through play we nurture our creativity.  through play we replenish our creative fuel.


and it has a profound affect on our Art.  i am living proof.

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.
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day 20::one small step

whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it.  boldness has genius and power and magic in it! ~goethe

perhaps this has happened to you.  that you find yourself at a place in your life where you know you can’t continue in the ways of the past.  but yet you’re not really sure in what direction you should take the future.  perhaps you afraid of making the wrong decision.  afraid of failing.  afraid of change.


this is what it means to be stuck.

and i have been totally been there.

whether you are working on your (a)rt or your (A)rt, being stuck is like orbiting around fear…the magnetic pull of which keeps us locked into our dysfunctional, circuitous path.  around and around we go.  the same frustrating loop.  no matter which way we try to play it through in our minds, we wind up in the same agonizing place.


but we can break free…all we have to do is make one small bold step forward.

it sounds simple i know….but it’s so not easy.   for me at times it has been downright terrifying.  but it is the act of taking this tiny little step that changes everything.


now i know what you’re thinking…how do you even know which way to step?  and here’s the beauty…it doesn’t matter.  just move toward whatever moves you.  even if it is the slightest step.  even if you have no idea if or how it will work.  move toward the light. 


i think so often when we feel stuck, or restless or unsettled…when we are trying to find our ‘thing’ …we put so much pressure on ourselves.  like we have to have it all figured out in our heads before we’ll take that first step.  or that we want a guarantee that everything is going to turn out exactly the way we want it.

i would offer that this is why we get stuck.  because life just doesn’t work like that.


over the course of the past couple of months, i have read three books on art and each one of them referenced this passage from the w.h. murray book, the scottish himalayan expedition.

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative or creation, there is one elementary truth…that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have believed would have come his way.

i love this.

and this is how it works…by taking one small step, no matter how small of a step it is, it changes the trajectory of the loop.  it changes the shape of the path.  and when we take action, when we step out in faith, we are free from the bondage of fear.


maybe for some, big life changes come only from taking drastic actions.  completely overturning and overhauling their lives.  but in my experience, my life – my Art – took off  by taking one small step.  a photography class.  and it has made all the difference.


in Christ we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. ~Ephesians 3:12

so i say, even if it’s teeny.  even if it’s barely recognizable.  be brave, be bold.  take the first step.  because the world needs your Art.

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.
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