~~This time of the year always makes me think of new beginnings. I'm sure it all comes from the "back to school excitement." When I was younger I loved getting ready for school;
Fresh new pencils and crayons.
Brand new notebooks waiting to be filled.
The excitement and nervousness of a new school year.
I loved it all. And thankfully my girls seem to have inherited that same love.
On the first day of school they were up early, practically buzzing with eagerness.
~~But this year is different than most in that it truly feels like a new beginning.
~~The summer has been life-changing. That sounds so trite and over dramatic but there's really no other way to describe it.
We started our new business and have been learning the ups and downs of small business life. It has truly been a family effort, requiring all of us to stretch and grow as we learn how to adapt to our new life.
Then we experienced my Mother's life-threatening health emergency. That time pushed me through the gamut of every emotion I've ever known. I witnessed a true miracle and the absolute amazing power of combined prayer. I've been moved deeply by the sincere kindness of strangers. But I also faced many of my deepest fears head-on.
~~When I came back home after being away for two weeks with my Mother, I tried to pick up and go on with normal life. I thought that I had done a good job at handling the stress and emotions of everything that had happened. Honestly though, I think I was just avoiding my feelings. I felt the need to retreat a little; to pull back, to shut off. I quit blogging. I hardly painted, and I kept myself busy with our business and day-to-day life.
~~It wasn't until just recently that I finally realized that I was in the middle of burn-out.
~~That realization hit me hard. But it was what I needed to begin cracking open the door to inspiration. I've spent a lot of time in the last few days praying, journaling, and opening my heart to the little whispers inside. My wonderful husband has been such an encouragement to me. For a while I was afraid that the inspiration was gone but I'm coming to realize that it can never truly go away. I'm starting to feel little sparks of excitement and ideas again. I'm learning that when I hand my dreams over to God, He can fan the little sparks into a burning flame. And I'm also learning to accept that life has its cycles. It's okay to go through a down and to pull away. In fact I think at times it's absolutely necessary.
~~It seems that I've been stumbling across so many things that are encouraging me to "begin again;" to pick back up with my painting and pursue the dreams that I've kept hidden for so long.
I have to mention "Messy Canvas," the blog of Mandy Steward because I believe God helped me to find her writing at this point in my life. Like me, she's a Mom with a big, deep love for her children and big, deep creative dreams in her heart. One of the first posts of hers that I read was called: "Taking my Art Seriously"
"I’ve decided to take my art seriously, to dare to believe in it as not only a valid calling but also a valid ministry."
And that line pretty much rocked my thinking.
~~There's also Kelly Rae Roberts. I've been reading through a lot of her blog archives and following her along her journey to becoming a first-time Mom. She's so inspiring because she decided five years ago to whole-heartedly chase after her dream to create art.
And in that short amount of time she's become a successful artist, bestselling author and inspirational teacher.
But what encourages me the most is that she did it all through little baby steps.
~~So I'm picking up my paints and dusting off my poor, abandoned blog.
I'm handing my dreams over to my Saviour and then taking one little baby step at a time to reach them.
I'm filling my heart up with gratitude for all the everyday blessings in my life.
I'm focusing on faith and courage.
I'm feeling excited to begin again.
~~Have you ever experienced periods of burn-out in your life? If so, how did you handle them?
I'm so glad you're here! "The Art of Life" is where I share my journey as an artist & Momma. It's a place where I hope to encourage other women that they are artists too. In this small little space I seek to share, document, and be reminded of God's wonderful grace, all around us. ....And I would be so happy to have you journey alongside me! So grab a cup of coffee and linger for a while. I hope you leave feeling refreshed.