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

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!

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

 

LOOONG overdue

Hello lovelies!

I know it has been entirely too long since I’ve written a thing!  I figured that now is as good a time as any to get back into this blog, full-swing!  I’m going to plan to post more frequently, and about more topics!  A muggy, rainy morning with a good cup of joe is the PERFECT time to “restart,” isn’t it?!

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Okay, so that’s not today’s coffee… but I wish it was!

Also, while we are talking about restarting things… you should check out my Etsy shop, which I’ve also revamped.  I’ve decided to focus it primarily on wedding-related pieces and projects… thumbprint guest books, invitations, etc.  Right now, everything is done by hand, but I hope to add graphically illustrated things to the wedding programs and invitations portion of it!  I suppose the hopeless romantic in me, combined with my recent part-time employment with a Wedding Coordinator at Separk Mansion in Gastonia, has brought about this change and made me really excited about it all!  I DO LOVE WEDDINGS!

Here’s my Etsy link…. https://www.etsy.com/shop/dmbfromtheheART?ref=hdr_shop_menu

And here are a few images from my shop:

And OF COURSE, I still take commissions and other projects, so any time you have questions about anything, send them my way! 🙂 I would love to help you make your visions and dreams come true!

There’s so much I COULD say… but I’ll just keep this one short, a “re-introduction” of sorts, and unashamed advertising of my Etsy shop… so go visit it! 🙂

Peace, Love and Jesus,

Danielle

Thesis Exhibition and Defense

So… I know I promised a full recap of the Thesis exhibition A WHILE AGO.  Is it fair to say that I’ve been busy?  Plus, I’ve been exhausted.  You know that emotional/mental/physical let down after a big event?  Yeah.  I didn’t even realize I was anticipating my Thesis Exhibition and Defense quite so much!  I knew it was a huge capstone and kind of a big deal… but WHOOOOO!  Am I glad it’s done!

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it–I did.  Thoroughly.  Although the two years I’ve spent at RIT have been FULL of ups and downs, I’ve really learned a lot and enjoyed myself here.  I’ve grown as a person, an artist, a critic, a curator, a writer, and so much more.  It’s going to be pretty hard to say goodbye in a few short weeks.  (I’m loading up a U-box on May 19th and sending my entire life to oblivion… okay, that’s a bit dramatic… I’m sending my POSSESSIONS to my parents’ house for a while, since I’m not yet sure where I’ll be living after May!)

So, now the show….

It was, in a word, AMAZING.  My family flew in from North Carolina, and my sweet Uncle even drove up from Jersey, just to see me and my work!  I’m so blessed to have such a loving, supportive, and all-around awesome family.  I would truly be nobody and nowhere without them!

The crowd was rather huge; I stood near my work most of the time and talked to people, and watched them looking at my work.  It is one of the most fun things, for me as an artist, to watch people interact with my work.  I love to see them get lost in it, question it, bring friends over, and talk about it right in front of me–since they don’t know I’m the artist… haha!  SO FUN.  I got lots of compliments and interesting questions, too.  Totally makes everything worth it when you get a chance to share your art with other people.  It’s a vulnerable time, yes, as artwork is often very personal… but it’s like an intimate dialogue, and I always learn more than I anticipate.

I was even able to get a couple sales from the show… I’ll be honest; sales are nice, but that’s not why I make art.  So to create something that I’m happy with and have enjoyed so much, and then have someone else find enough meaning in it that they want to buy it, to look at daily, is an incredible thing.  I truly consider myself blessed to be able to experience this interaction and help bring something to another’s life!  There are still quite a few pieces that are in my studio, though, that I would like to sell before I pack up the U-box… if someone loves something, I’d rather it have a happy home than risk damaging it during travels!

There’s so much more that I could say about the show, my artwork, how I feel… but that would be a BOOK!  The Defense went really well–totally not what I expected, but I’m pleased and my committee is, too!  So that’s all that really matters.  Now, I’m focusing on finishing up my Thesis Document so I can get it published and printed!  Once it’s all available online, I’ll embed the link and talk more about that! 🙂

So, I know I’ve already shared most of these images before, but wanted to include them again, simply because that is what my Thesis is all about.  If anyone has any questions–personal, artistic, commissary, or otherwise–please feel free to contact me at any time!

ANDDD that last one, in the wee bottom right corner, is just to show where it all started… GOOD GRIEF! 🙂 It’s been a wild ride!  SUCH fun!

Updates and Thesis!

I know I’ve been rather MIA as I work on my MFA Thesis Exhibition.  I’m not entirely sure why, except that I’ve been busy!  I thoroughly enjoy writing, though, and will be picking back up with the blog now that my Thesis is winding down… hard to believe it’s nearing the end of my second year of graduate school at RIT!

The main purpose of this particular post is simply to share what my work looks like, currently.  Right now, things are mostly finished, and I’m just letting the pieces rest for a bit, so that I can clear my head of the “tunnel vision” and return in a couple days with fresh eyes to do any last-minute touches!

I’ve still got to finish hanging mechanisms for a couple pieces (three, to be exact!), and edit my thesis paper.. perhaps I’ll include the entire paper as a blog post one day… it’ll be super long, since I never know when to stop talking! 🙂

Anyways, without further ado, here are the PAINTINGS so far… I did not photograph the two sculptures yet… yeah, my show ended up with seven pieces (the Biblical number for completion and wholeness), even without my planning it that way! God is so awesome!  I know these images are rather large, and may be difficult to see on a still screen, unless your computer is way bigger than mine!  But I like how big they are, because you can see the details more fully.  After I post the sculptures, too, I will spend some time blogging about EACH image and what it means… so hang on, we’re going for a ride through Revelation! 🙂

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Okay… I can’t resist: “the” starbucks red cup post

So, if you’re on Facebook or ANY social media at all lately, chances are, you’ve seen post after post about Starbucks’ “war on Christmas.”  REALLY?

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I didn’t know what all the fuss was about at first, so I did some browsing–I didn’t have to go far–to figure it out.  Even the news is reporting it as a “thing” now.  It is absolutely insane.  Here is one example of a “report” about the “war on Christmas”…  Here is another… Here is YET ANOTHER…

Had enough?

Me too!  To quote Kristoff from Frozen (which we all know I love), “Can we please just stop talking about this?  We’ve got a real, actual problem here…”

Anna frozen

Starbucks has been using various holiday-themed cups for YEARS, with no indication of any relation to the Christian aspects of Christmas.  So, this year there are no snowflakes or decorations?  SO WHAT?!  Maybe Starbucks decided to go minimalist… does it make it any “less Christian” than before?… NO–They were never affiliated with Christianity in the first place!  Snowflakes, ornaments, reindeer…whatever… on a cup doesn’t make it Christian… NOR does the absence make it violent toward Christians.

IT’S A COFFEE CUP, PEOPLE.

I’m pretty sure it’s not written in the Bible anywhere that we should decorate our drinking vessels to promote Christianity.  No… however, it IS written that we should “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our strength, and with all our mind,” OH and guess what… we should “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  Luke 10:27

Sounds to me like we should all forget about the red cup “fiasco,” and focus on things that really matter, like spreading love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, and self-control (Galations 5:22-23).  We should share what we have with others, even if that means going out of our way to do so.  Matthew 25:40.

I could keep going, but I’m pretty sure you get the idea.  There are SO MANY more important things than worrying about whether a silly little cup has a snowflake on it.  And, quite frankly, if Starbucks WAS declaring war on Christmas, WHY would they still have Christmas blend coffee, Christmas gift cards, and Christmas ornaments for sale in their stores… just some food for thought.  Now, go enjoy your coffee… no matter what cup it’s in!  Drink it out of a jack-o-lantern cup, for all I care.

I, for one, am going to try to focus on what REALLY matters this Christmas: That Jesus was born, sent to earth, with the express purpose of saving me–and all His children–from ourselves; without God’s grace in sending His son, we would have no hope.  But because God is merciful and loving, we can know Him, His hope, His forgiveness, His salvation.  THAT is pretty awesome.  And no, I don’t need a snowflake to say so.

Peace, love and art,

danielle