We Wanna Throw Clay!!!

Hello!

Okay, so we aren’t REALLY going to throw clay the same way we throw snowballs at a good ole fashioned snowball fight… BUT I am trying to secure a Pottery Wheel for my students at PCA… scratch that; I am GOING to secure a Pottery Wheel for my students at PCA!

We are almost halfway there already; this will just be a short post to help spread the word even more!  There are SO many benefits of the Arts in our education today… and I consider myself super blessed to be an Art Teacher to such amazing kids.  These amazing kids deserve the magic that can be “spun” by a Pottery Wheel… I’ve started a Donorschoose page for the project, which you can find here:

WE WANNA THROW CLAY

ALSO, any contributions made today or tomorrow will automatically be DOUBLED!  Y’all, that’s crazy exciting!! Not only will you make the initial impact you generously pledge, but using the code LIFTOFF at checkout, the pledge will instantly be doubled.  Then, each time my students are able to use the Pottery Wheel, the impact spreads… like a ripple effect!  I cannot wait to see the look on their sweet faces when we get to have a Pottery Wheel IN our classroom!  And it’s all cause of generous, loving people who care!  I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for you all.

Love always,

Danielle

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I am NOT my job.

Hello loves!

I suppose the title of this post could be taken a bit controversially; What exactly do I mean, “I am not my job?”  Does it mean I don’t like my job?  Does it mean that I don’t want to be classified as an Art Teacher or Artist?  Does it mean that my job (or any job, for that matter) is not important?

NO.

Does it mean that we often stereotype incorrectly based on a person’s occupation?  Does it mean that I don’t want to be seen ONLY as an Art Teacher?  Does it mean that my job is only ONE aspect of who I am?

YES.

Right now, I’m blessed enough to be going through a virtual Bible Study with some AMAZING ladies through Facebook.  We are reading “Working Women of the Bible,” by Susan Dimickele.  Each of us is a working lady… I’m an Art Teacher, obviously, but others are Personal Trainers, STAHMs, Auditors and all sorts of professionals.  I’m only one chapter in the book right now, but I LOVE it.  I am so excited about what this study will bring, and (being the nerd I am) I can’t wait to use the study guide as I journal and sketch all the inspiration, life lessons, and amazing stories I learn as I meed various women of the Bible.

So yes, I am an Art Teacher, but I am SO much more than that.  As I was re-reading Genesis 1, I came across a tidbit that I’d written a while ago that really sums it up: “Our occupation/function/job in God’s kingdom is NOT what defines us or gives us our worth… God’s very creation OF us is what gives us INFINITE worth. (Specifically referring to Genesis 1:27 here-“God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”

Oh snap!  He created THEM, MALE AND FEMALE… in His image.  Both of the genders.  In His image.  Even in our crazy, chaotic, gender-stereotyped and otherwise inequality-burdened world, we can find comfort in the fact that God intended something different; something more fulfilling and equitable for everyone.  (Dimickele 22).  I could talk all day about inequality and why I think we should treat others better than we often do.  I can’t understand how someone’s skin color, gender, ethnicity, background, etc. changes who they are; NO MATTER WHAT, we are all children of God, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory (Romans 3:23), but He loves us ANYWAYS!  There is nothing to be gained by demeaning others, lifting yourself or others up, or fostering racism (of any kind).  We can’t “earn” status with God… all we can do is accept it.  This blows my mind!

However, I digress… The point of this post is not to ramble or rant about fairness (or my perception thereof).  The reason I wanted to write this post is to share that you, my friend, are worth so much more than your career.  Our careers are so fleeting, ultimately such a minimal part of our lives and existence (maybe not in hours, but definitely in purpose)!  What’s more; our careers are always changing… we jump from one job to the next sometimes, trying to climb up the corporate ladder, nail the next audition, earn partner, or receive the highest honors in our field, whatever they may be.  ONE thing remains constant: God and His calling for our life.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

This calling is something that matters more than the ins and outs of daily life.  God doesn’t call us to ONE career–He calls us to one purpose, which He can fulfill through any career, if we let Him and expect Him to show up.

I’m not advocating career-hopping.  The last thing I think people need is inconsistency and unreliability!  However, sometimes we change.  Our circumstances change.  The job and its requirements change.  Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves and everyone around us is to be honest; admit that we are either overwhelmed, or the job isn’t right anymore, WE aren’t right for the job at this time, or whatever.

I’ll use a personal example here.  I taught Art for two years (2012-2014).  I was so excited to use my degree and make a difference right out of college.  I graduated from Brevard in May 2012, and by June 15, I had a job… IN MY FIELD.  Honestly, I was surprised, ’cause I’d always been told that was rare, especially in the Arts.  I had all sorts of ideas of what I would do in the classroom, what my life would look like, and where I was headed.

God had other plans.

The first year was pretty good; I had done well, my students succeeded, and I got along with all my colleagues.  However, I wasn’t at peace entirely.  Throughout the second year, I struggled.  Not as far as the job was concerned; I knew what I was talking about, what I was doing, and teaching came easily to me.  Since that seemed to be the case, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t love it.  I kept thinking to myself, if God gave me this talent for teaching, why don’t I love it?  It got to a point where I was pretty unhappy, and wanted to go back to school, back to being in a studio, painting and working every day.

I spent the next two years at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, way up near Canada (for reference).  I LOVED IT.  Everything about it.  And I made so many amazing friends, connections, and learned SO much.  Then I graduated, culminating in the most surreal exhibition experience I’ve EVER had.  I found myself at a crossroads.  I had gone to graduate school to pursue a career in the Museum/Gallery aspect of the Arts, so I tried that.  I quickly realized that, between two jobs, I had no time to make my own work.  I thought I hadn’t had time during my teaching years, but juggling two jobs taught me that I really DID, I just didn’t realize it or know how to maximize it.

Enter Pinnacle Classical Academy.  I began thinking about teaching more and more, realizing (after the fact, of course) what I had taken for granted the first time around.  A dear high school teacher of mine reached out to me about teaching Middle and High School Art at Pinnacle, and I was leery at first, simply based on my previous experience.  But I was also excited.  I had done my student teaching at the high school level, and knew I loved that age group.  My first teaching job had been 5th and 6th grade and I only saw them once a week, if even.  At Pinnacle, I’d see them more regularly and for longer class periods.  Plus the school is on the newer side; I would be able to be part of something in it’s developmental stages, evolving as the school grows and improves.  THAT was and is super exciting to me.

So now, I’ll be teaching again in a few weeks.  I’m setting up my classroom soon, rolling out lesson plans, making samples, and drawing up some posters for the classroom.  Meanwhile, I’m really genuinely excited.  Add to that this Bible Study on working women of the Bible, and its focus on putting God first in work and doing everything for Him (Colossians 3:23) and this girl is ready to go!  I’m in a better headspace.  I appreciate what I have more, plus my nephew is 2.5 and has a wee little sister on the way and I now live only 15 minutes from them.

I know the future is uncertain.  I have no idea where this will lead.  I only know one thing: God says, “I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) BRING IT ON!  And keep me accountable, friends.

Peace and love,

Danielle

Lordy, it’s been too long!

Hello there loves,

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote.  Clearly I need to do a better job of committing to this blog.  I enjoy writing… I just never seem to make the time for it.  It’s one of those things that really relaxes me though–putting my thoughts into words.  I recently began reading a book by Nicholas Sparks (yes, I know, he gets a lot of flack… but I’m a sucker for predictable romances and Hallmark stories.)  Anyway, there was a tidbit in the prologue which got me thinking… man, I would love to write about that!  However, that will be my next post.  This post hearkens to the original intent of my blog; my art.  I’m going to share a bunch of pieces that are for sale; I’ve recently moved and am trying to downsize a bit… plus what artist doesn’t want to share their work?!

A few are paintings that are actually hanging at the Broad River Coffee Shop in Boiling Springs, NC, so you can see them in person if you’re local, and I’d love to meet up and talk about the piece if you’re interested.  If you’re not local, that’s cool too, and we can definitely talk about how to get the piece in your hands… I want my art to go to people who love it and WANT it, regardless of my relation to you; regardless of whether or not you share my meaning; regardless of price, honestly.

Others are some of my more recent greeting cards, quite a few of which are also at the coffee shop.  I LOVE doing these on a custom basis, as well… so if you see something similar to what you might want, holler at me, and we can definitely set something up!  All my greeting cards are handpainted watercolors, individually crafted to meet the client’s wishes (or my vision, if they’re not commissioned).

Anyways, here they are: Paintings first:

Absurd Monotony
$200-negotiable
Map of Self
$100-negotiable
Fantasy Landscape: Dreams are Real
$200-negotiable
As the Train Goes By
$100-negotiable
One by One
$300-negotiable (recent price drop)
Sinful Pleasure
$75-negotiable
Time Passes: Memory Fades
$200-negotiable

And now for some watercolor greeting cards: I’ve been on a bit of a Halloween kick lately… and have a lot of florals to add once I can get my hands on them (they’re at Broad River Coffee Shop, if you want to see!!)  Each card is 5″x7″ and totally customizable, if you want different colors, or say a different animal with a  witch hat, or whatever! My logo and signature will be on the back, and I can add writing on the inside if you choose. Each card comes with a size-appropriate envelope!  All cards are $6 for pre-made, and $8 for custom, plus shipping!  You can contact me here, on FB, phone, email, or in person if you see me! haha.  Typically payment is done through a Paypal invoice, but I also accept cash and checks (and bartering, to an extent 🙂 )

Nowhere Near…

Do you ever have those days where you realize you’re NOWHERE near where you thought you would be at a certain point in your life?  Maybe you thought you’d be married by a certain age, or done with school by a certain year.  Maybe you thought you’d be traveling or living/working somewhere exotic.  Maybe you never thought you’d leave home, or vice versa, couldn’t wait to leave, but haven’t.  Maybe you’ve failed at something, lost a job.  Maybe your significant other broke up with you, or you have been disappointed, stepped on, or let down in more ways than you can count.

Maybe you never had any idea where you’d go, who you’d be, or what you’d do…

Maybe you still don’t.

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Can I just say that I honestly think Philippians 4 is my favorite chapter of the Bible?! 4:11 and 4:13 are two of my favorite verses EVERRRRRR! 

This is something I struggle with sometimes (okay… a lot).  I’ve always been the type of person to look forward to the next thing; graduation from HS, graduation from College, working, marriage, living life… I’m generally happy and easily excitable, but am I content?  Do I know how to really live in the moment, soaking it up and enjoying all the wonders that God provides every day?

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As I sit here, on the day I turn 27, I reflect on the past years of my life.  I’ve done a lot, seen a lot, loved and worked a lot.  I’m not ANYWHERE near where I thought I’d be, had you asked me at 10.  I harbored fantasies that I’d be married by now (yes, I’m one of those people who have a pinterest board dedicated to my “one-day dream wedding”…no, I’m not ashamed), working at a job I loved, in a really cool place with lots of things to do, and of course I’d be making art, writing, reading, and doing all the things I love.

I’ve lost my hearing at 5, gained a Cochlear Implant at 6, played soccer for 16 years, graduated from High School as valedictorian, completed college with honors, struggled with an eating disorder (from which I learned a lot, and am eternally thankful for the people who supported me even when it made me want to hate them), run marathons, taught school, obtained a Masters degree, worked in museums, worked in a coffee shop (YUMMMMMM!), and am now wondering what else I will do.  I’m on the brink of potentially doing some things I couldn’t have pictured before; I’ve changed and grown a lot over the years, and I think I have a healthier perspective now than I’ve ever had.

There’s really only one thing I’m sure of… (okay; two… coffee is DELISH).

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Okay, I think I’ll leave it at that for now.  Sorry (not sorry) for all the images, but as an artist, images often speak more than text alone.  I should make some images with verses and watercolors and sell those… hmmm… or just plaster them all over my walls to remind me of what I never EVER want to lose sight of!

Love you all!

Danielle

New Greeting Cards!

Hello lovelies!

Happy February to all of you!  Gorgeous and sunny here for the first day of the month!  PERFECT time to buy last-minute Valentine’s Day cards…

Not that I’m dropping any hints or anything… But this post is primarily to share some of my newest commissioned Valentine’s Day cards and some spring/generic ones!  ALSO, I have Etsy linked up more fully now, getting more full by the day!  ANNNNND, I have my Paypal invoice system all ready to go for easiest payment and delivery of the cards!

Without further ado, here they are (please pardon the blurriness on some of the photographs!)

And then a few artsy in process shots:

Hope you enjoyed them, and STAY TUNED for more!  If you’re interested in ordering any for ANY occasion (Even Christmas 2017!) contact me below!

I’m a Ragamuffin… and proud of it!

Whoo-Thank goodness yesterday’s crazy Friday the Thirteenth AND full moon are both over… I don’t believe in those things actually affecting life, but yesterday was an absolutely insane day for me, emotionally.  But that can be a different post; today I don’t want to dwell on yesterday’s sad moments.  Today, I want to share a book I’ve been reading lately.

You may know by now, but one of my jobs is working as a Barista at a local Starbucks.  One particularly long day (I had come in early to help with coverage, and stayed through my shift, and it was a busy busy day), a group of three older (not elderly, just not necessarily young, either) people came in; one adorable couple and one man.  Working at the cash register, I get to meet a lot of interesting people, so of course, when this group came to the front of the line, they were CHATTY!  Both men were pulling pranks on the other, buying drinks and then changing orders, typical goofiness, really.  Being deaf didn’t help me much, since my Cochlear Implant can’t make mumblers talk more clearly…

I thought I was going to be annoyed, honestly.

Boy was I wrong!  Turns out, both men are pastors and best friends who’ve known each other for YEARS.  The lady with them was just as tight.  Their friendship was so much fun to witness, and then after a while, one of the men comes back up to the register (once I’m less busy, thankfully!) and asks if I’m a Christian.  I responded that, yes, I am a Christian, and he proceeds to turn to his friend and yell, “I told you so!”  Pretty sure my eyebrows hit the roof.  He turns back to me and said, “I just knew it… you seem so happy, so joyful.”  I couldn’t talk to him much then, but I thanked him, and was humbled to realize that people are watching all the time.  I was also honored that my happiness–definitely a God-given joy from within, ’cause Lord knows I wouldn’t be happy of my own accord sometimes–was a glowing light recognized by a fellow Christian.

After my shift ended that day, the group was still sitting at their table, talking and visiting with each other.  As per their request, I joined them, and we talked for another forty five minutes or so.  They asked about my art, pored over my site’s images, and tried to convince me to move to Hilton Head Island in SC to work at their church.  They almost got me, too… HHI is lovely!

But anyway, I digress.  A week or so later, I received this book in the mail; one that had been recommended by one of the pastors.  The title is “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning.  I was so touched that he had thought to mail it to me, and proceeded to begin reading it immediately.

SO GOOD.

It’s a tough book; if you want to be a complacent Christian, it’s not for you.  I’ll admit there were times when it was hard for me to read Brennan’s words because they hit so close to home.  Ultimately, though, that’s what makes a good book; TRUTH and HONESTY even when–especially when–you don’t want it.

There are so many tidbits in this book that go down as “Golden Nuggets” in my mind, but I’ll only post a few excerpts here… you should read it for yourself, though!

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“Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games, or pop psychology.  It is an act of faith in the God of grace.”

“We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh.  We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt.  This and so much more is sheer GIFT; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer…My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

When “we grow complacent and lead practical lives, we miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder.  Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit, but in matter–in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.”

“In faith there is movement and development.  Each day something is new.  To be Christian, faith has to be new–that is, alive and growing.  It cannot be static, finished, settled.  When Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead.”

“The biblical image of the victorious life reads more like the victorious limp.  Jesus was victorious not because He never flinched, talked back, or questioned; but having flinched, talked back, and questioned, He remained faithful.”

That’s just a WEE peek into the book.. I’m going to have to read it again and mark more, journal more, and overall absorb more of this book.  It’s not a quick read, and it’s not a guideline for life.  Rather, it is an example of how to live a Christian life that is fully reliant on God’s grace and actively using and living out that grace.  Knowing that there’s nothing I could ever do to deserve His grace or mercy, but knowing that I need to always pursue Him, rest in Him, and live for Him.  Knowing that I NEED His grace and I NEED His mercy, now more than ever.

If you’ve read this book, or others that you’d like to share, I’d LOVE to hear about them.  I thoroughly enjoy reading and discussing books, and am eager to continue growing in my faith, for which I need community!

Love you all!

Danielle

 

CHRISTMAS CARDS!!

Hello!  I know; you’re shocked… two posts in ONE week?!  Well, as I previously stated, one of my resolutions is to do better with using my time and social media.  That being said, this post is dedicated to images of my most recent Christmas Cards!

This year, I decided to paint each member of my family a card.  I painted a card for each couple, individual or family, depending on who lived with whom.  Since I haven’t had a lot of time to make art, due to working two jobs and whatnot, this was a GREAT outlet to be able to relax and just let my creative juices flow!  PLUS, I discovered that I really enjoy painting cards, and it’s DEFINITELY something I plan to continue.  In fact, check out my Etsy site, and let me know if you want any custom cards for anything–I’ll be happy to collaborate and help you create whatever you want!  All from my heARTmade shop!

So, I’ll post each card, and then describe why that card fits that family/person/couple!  Super fun and if you have any questions, comments, or ideas, I’m totally game!

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This one was made for my cousin and her husband.  My cousin is an avid Disney fan, so I chose to “arrange” multi-colored glass ornaments into the classical Mouse Ears!  Stay tuned for a post dedicated to another Disney-themed Christmas project, as well!

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This one was done for my brother, his wife, and their ADORABLE two year old son (yes I am shamelessly smitten with my nephew!).  I thought the little penguins would be fun for them, especially for my nephew, and there are three penguins ’cause there are three in their little family!  The penguins are skating since my brother’s family loves to do active things together, and we all know that ice skating is one of the best ways to spend a winter day with family!

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This was definitely one of my favorites to work on–the color combinations were so much fun!  This is one I did for my aunt’s family (aunt, uncle, and three kids).  Each year, my aunt decorates with the most fun “chunky” Christmas lights and a Charlie Brown-inspired tree, so I couldn’t think of anything better than fun lights for their family!

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This one was actually done for one of my closest friends from school.  We both love pickles and it’s kind of a running joke between us.  So, in the tradition of the Christmas Pickle, I simply couldn’t resist!  My family has ALWAYS done the pickle tradition, as long as I can remember.   My parents would hide the green pickle ornament in a “difficult-to-find” spot, and my brother, sister and I would scour the tree!  Usually, I ended up finding the ornament first, but my sister would “shove” me out of the way and claim the prize!  Whoever found the pickle first would open the first present.  She’s competitive; I’m not…

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This adorable snowman (if I do say so myself) was created for my mom and dad.  My mom LOVES snowmen… like, really loves them.  She decorates multiple rooms in our house with snowman decor that usually lasts until… errrr… March?  Haha… Needless to say, a cuddly snowman reaching out for a hug was perfect, since my parents give the best hugs, and I adore them for SO many reasons!

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This one, I painted for my aunt and uncle, both of whom share my love for a nice hot beverage!  In fact, my aunt is a frequent customer at Starbucks (I’m a barista, but not at the one she frequents!), and I have her drink memorized to a TEA… (heehee… see what I did there… she drinks Chai Tea Lattes!)   Anyhoo, cold days, hot drinks, warm hearts is what Christmas is all about!

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This is the one I painted for my grandparents.  My grandmother always notices the pinecones loading the trees in her backyard, commenting on how beautiful they are, and my grandfather taught me the importance of working hard, including yard work.  Thus, a pinecone in all it’s complexity and simply painted seemed suitable for them!

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I have a dear cousin whose goofiness can be very politically-inspired, including obnoxious RWB outfits and whatnot…. So I chose to paint him an Uncle Sam inspired snowman!

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This is another of my favorites… largely for the same reason as the lights; all the colors mingling together were so fun to play around with.  Plus, I love the repetition of the circular/spherical shape of the ornaments.  I created this one for another dear cousin who is incredibly talented in design, calligraphy, and those types of things.  Therefore, I wanted to make a card that was more design-based than concept-based.  This was/is the result!

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This was done for another aunt and uncle who are some of the classiest people I know.  I’ve always felt that their home and style were pretty traditional, and I have always loved visiting their house!  It’s so cozy and has remained mostly the same since my childhood, so I figured a simple, traditional ornament hanging on a bright ribbon would be perfect for them!  Really happy with how it turned out, too.

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This is for another more traditional family member… ironically, the daughter of the previously listed aunt and uncle!  She lives with her hubby and their two adorable kids in a really sweet little house, so I wanted to depict that cozy welcome that a wreath brings to a front door!

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This is a whole different kind of cozy!  This one went to a couple (my cousin and his wife) who live in Charleston SC, and have made a lovely life together running dive charters and working in the great deep blue!  Unlike Olaf, this snowman isn’t melting as he basks in the sun…no puddles here!  Plus, the sun is really an ornament… so I don’t know how much heat it really generates… 😉

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This card was/is for a VERY musically talented cousin-family of mine!  My cousin, her hubs, and their adorable kiddos are all AWESOMELY musical, and the daughter would totally be the pink birdie, teaching her little brother the right notes to sing, as the bell rings below!

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Last, but not least, this is the card I painted for my little sister and her new hub!  First married Christmas this year!!! Yay!  The two live in Nashville, hence the cowboy boots, and the hubby is a HARDCORE steelers fan… hence the spurs.  Plus my sister is as crazy for Christmas as I am, if not more, so a traditional Santa hat was a MUST!

Well, that’s all folks!  I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these cards as much as I enjoyed making them.  I don’t know about you, but I get SO excited about sending personalized things to loved ones that I can barely wait to give them whatever I’ve made or bought.  That being said, this was definitely something exciting for me this year, and I look forward to future Christmases (and other occasions) to paint cards!

If you have any traditions you love about the Holidays, I’d be thrilled to learn what they are!  And if you have any questions about ordering cards, shoot me an email or message me on here, and I’d be happy to see what we can concoct!

 

Love you all!

Danielle

New Year, New Resolutions

2017

Okay, so we hear about New Years Resolutions EVERY year at the beginning of January.  I get it; we are probably all sick of hearing about it.  I doubt anyone wants to read about my three resolutions, but I’ll share anyway.  PLUS, I am long overdue in posting about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon I am doing as a St. Jude Hero in March!

First, the resolutions.  Last year, I honestly didn’t “set” any.  This year, they kind of came about on their own.  Perhaps it’s necessity?  Perhaps I’m just growing up?  Regardless, here they are:

  1. I plan to lead a “tidier” lifestyle.  Rather than allowing myself to be bogged down with work, time constraints and other things, I’m going to try to keep my room/living spaces and my car cleaner.  I know that I tend to breathe more easily in a clean, clutter-free, organized space.  One might assume that knowing this would simplify my problem, but it doesn’t.  I can never seem to find time to clean deeply, so things build up and then can get overwhelming.  Sound like life?  YUP.  In theory, I’m hoping that cleaning a little more each day, putting things away more immediately, and just working to improve overall cleanliness will carry into my time management of life, in general.  Having time is not the issue; choosing to USE the time I have is.
  2. My second resolution is pretty straightforward.  I am going to work on my Social Media presence when it comes to marketing my artwork and other projects.  I have an Etsy account, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, but I don’t use them well.  2017 is gonna be the year in which that changes.  If anyone has tips about that one, PLEASE let me know, because I’ve clearly not been too successful in the past.  Again, I do think that the use of my time influences this as well.  I need to use the time I have to create things, market them, and reach out through Social Media more regularly.
  3. Last, but definitely not least, I want to build my relationship with and faith in God.  While I know what I believe and where I stand, I want to become even more enthralled with my amazing Savior; I want to spend time poring over His Word, His Grace, and the abundance of His love for me.  I want my introspection and devotional studies to overflow the vessel of my body and heart so that others can get a glimpse of the amazing God I love and serve.  I want Him to be enough.  REALLY be enough.  Not just in theory or word, but in active practice and daily life.  I want to build up my fellowship circle, which is currently lacking, as I’ve recently moved.

Okay, so that’s the basic gist of my New Years Resolutions… and NO, I am not going to talk about Mariah Carey at all… let’s just say that 2016, as lovely as it was, is behind us, and I am looking forward to all that 2017 has in store!

Speaking of what 2017 has in store… I’ll be running my FIRST Rock ‘n’ Roll race on March 11, so I’ll begin my marathon training regimen soon, and would simply LOVE to hear from other runners what you typically do in the months prior to a marathon, or any race, really. I’m super excited about this race, especially because it’ll be the first time I’ve done a race as a St. Jude Hero.  This means that I’ll be raising funds for research at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and running in support of (and supported by) St. Jude.  Here’s a link for more information about this AWESOME charity/endeavor.

I’m particularly excited about running for St. Jude because 83 cents (on average) of every dollar raised goes directly toward research and treatment for the children supported by St. Jude.  This allows families to get the help and care that they need at NO cost to them.  To me, that is one of the most important things in the life of these families; they are able to be together in a safe environment where people care about them and helping them improve their situations.  See here!  So far, I’ve raised $530 at the Bronze Level for St. Jude.  Mathematically, this means that all the people who’ve supported me so far have sent about $440 dollars directly to St. Jude.  While I’ve actually reached my initial goal set in 2016, I want to see how far I and my lovely friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and other generous people can go.  If you, or someone you know, would like to donate, here is a link directly to my donation page!

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Whoo– that’s enough for tonight, I believe.  Remember, Social Media improvement is part of my NYR… so do expect to be seeing more from me soon! 🙂  Perhaps my next post will involve some homemade Christmas items from my own heARTmade collection!

Happy New Year, and Happy New You!  May your 2017 be as awesome as I intend to make mine!  Love you all!

Danielle

 

Running for a CAUSE!

First of all, HELLO again!  Goodness-it feels like it has been forever since I’ve written anything.  Probably because it HAS!

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While it’s unfortunately true that I’ve not been painting or creating much lately, so I don’t have much to share, I have still been busy in other ways!  Since the last post I’ve written, I’ve moved to PA, started two jobs, potentially a third in January–CRAZY!  I’ve also worked on, and almost finished, watercolors for my Christmas cards (don’t worry–as soon as I get them all sent out, I’ll post pictures, but they have to remain a surprise until then!).  Lastly and perhaps most pertinently for the remainder of this post, I ran my FIRST 50K!!! Yes, 31+ miles… at once.

I’ll be honest; at first, I really did not think I would be able to do it, had never planned to try a 50K… I was satisfied with marathons.  BUT, my brother is the Visitor Services Manager at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, and they were hosting a trail 50K, called the WC-50 Ultra… 31+ miles on trails with my brother and a chance to see my adorable nephew and the rest of my family… I definitely couldn’t resist!

And now, I AM HOOKED! The atmosphere of an ultra is completely different than that of a marathon.  I had heard as such before, but didn’t know what to expect.  The “ultra world” seems so laid back, supportive and community-based.  Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE both–marathons and ultras, now.  Unfortunately, I tweaked my knee a bit around mile 22, and had to walk more than I wanted, but I finished, and I’m planning to do another one soon!  Needless to say, my brother didn’t have to work NEARLY as hard to convince me again; I have something to prove, now! haha

Which leads me to my next topic; I’ve signed up to run a Rock’n’roll marathon in DC as a ST. Jude Hero… I AM SO STOKED ABOUT THIS.  I’ll write another post completely dedicated to this venture, why I’ve decided to embark on it, and how it is going, etc.  But for now, I’ll keep it to a minimum, ’cause no one wants to read me ramble on and on and on… I’ve committed to raising $500 for St. Jude, and so far have raised $120.  If you are interested in donating (please don’t feel obligated–sharing word of mouth and awareness helps, too!) to the cause, I’ve attached the link below:

http://heroes.stjude.org/danielleburch

If you have any advice or want to share any FUNdraising ideas, please feel free to let me know!  And keep your eyes peeled for the next post; fully dedicated to St. Jude!

As always, peace, love and Jesus!

Danielle

“Patience is a virtue”

We’ve all heard it said AT LEAST a million times… “Patience is a virtue.”  I honestly have no idea where this quote originated, and let me spare you the time of looking it up online; you’ll get a zillion different answers, and who knows which one is correct!

For me, I’ve heard it the most from my parents…

As a kid, I was ready to start playing soccer before I was old enough… “Patience is a virtue.”  (Although, my Athletic Director father went ahead and let me start)

When I lost my hearing, I was impatient to get to the next step, because I had to wear useless hearing aids (hearing aids are great, but when you have NO hearing for them to aid, not so much)… “Patience is a virtue.”

Growing up, I’d be super-impatient about something with school, theatre, art, etc… there it was again… “Patience is a virtue.”

Applying for college… “Patience is a virtue.”

Now I’m at a point of my life where I’ve heard it SO many times, I’m about sick of it, honestly.  I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MFA in Fine Art this past May, and have VERY impatiently been applying and waiting for jobs.  In fact, I’ve been so impatient, I let fear rule my thoughts, and I almost took a job I didn’t really want, simply for the sake of working again–I’m so ready to get out on my own again, pave my own way into this crazy world, meet new people, see new things, visit new places…

But am I REALLY ready?  I know I’m mentally ready… but maybe I’m not physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually ready… All I know is that God has been really working on patience with me lately.  I KNOW that He will provide a job and sustenance and that His timing is so so so so much better than mine.  I KNOW that.  I trust Him.

But do I really LIVE out that knowledge, that trust?

I think that’s what God is trying to tell me.  Until I can 100% trust Him, maybe I’m not really ready to be on my own again.  Maybe He wants me to stay with my parents longer than I want, so I can be part of their lives, and enjoy the time I have with them, ’cause goodness knows it won’t last forever.  Maybe He wants me to be close to my brother and his wife, so I can watch their ADORABLE child, Bailey, grow up a bit before I leave and go elsewhere.  Maybe, maybe, maybe…

That brings me to today’s devotional reading from “David: Seeking God’s Heart,” a devotional study written by Beth Moore.  Today, I was reading in 2 Samuel, and the title of the chapter in the study was “Right Place: Sometimes God reveals Himself through experiences we don’t understand.”

Hello, smack in the face!

Today’s specific passage was 2 Samuel 2:1-7.  David has just heard about Saul’s death, as well as that of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, with whom David was incredibly close.  David is trying to decide what to do, and where to go from here.  Instead of acting of his own accord, David ASKED God what he should do!  This is super important to note–at least for me–because David ALWAYS asked God what he should do before he did ANYTHING.  David knows that God can answer and that He will… in HIS time.  This is where Beth Moore says, “He had taken some wrong turns and some right turns, but he took virtually every step crying out to his God,” which reminds me that, no matter where we go or what we do, if we strive to plant our feet in God’s Way, we will get where we are going… it may  be a different route than we originally think… it may not be the scenic route… and it may start MUCH later than we want it to… but God knows what His plan is, not us… and HE knows what needs to happen in order to make it come to fruition.  We just need to trust and follow.

I used to think that constantly asking God for direction would be like pestering Him… like, He has SO much going on that I shouldn’t “bother” him by asking for the same thing over and over again.  But that is exactly what David does.  He asks God for direction, repeatedly, until God gives him specifics.  And until God does supply these specifics, David stays put.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything or go anywhere until God says something extremely specific (I honestly believe that God can and will use us anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that seems unlikely).  In fact, if you struggle with that, you should totally read the book, “Just Do Something,” by Kevin DeYoung.  It’s a pretty good read!

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Unfortunately, I cannot take any credit for this absolutely gorgeous and inspiring collage! 

Basically, what I’m saying is that, maybe… just maybe… asking God for specific directions isn’t a sign of impatience or a lack of trust.  Maybe it’s a sign of deepened trust; a trust that transcends the fear of becoming a bother.  Maybe, like prayer, asking God for specific directions is more for us, as humans, than it is for God.  Perhaps it is a reminder, a daily mantra, to help us persevere in our patience and remember just why it is that we are patiently waiting for God’s direction: ‘Cause His way is the ONLY way!

Beth Moore left some pretty good guidelines/suggestions for how to learn to listen to God’s Word when we are in doubt or struggling with what to do.  I’m gonna leave them here, and challenge you, and myself, to try to incorporate these more daily:

  1. Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
  2. Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
  3. Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
  4. Ask for a confirmation if you have any doubt. (God didn’t even hate Thomas for doubting, way back in John 20:24-29, when he appears to Thomas and the disciples after the Resurrection… He won’t hate us.  He’ll just help us understand.)

Sorry it’s a bit of a long one this time… I guess I had a lot to say!

Peace, love and Jesus,

Danielle