life

[Video] Collages Feel, Fear and Nourish With Updates #headsup50project

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HeadsUp50Project Update With Video Over Tea!

Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.
— Matthew 11:28 ISV

It's Mental Health Awareness Week until the 20th and the focus has been on stress.  Stress is a normal phenomenon of modern day living but it's when it spirals out of control that it can lead to a mental health problem.  

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Of course, some stress can actually be good for us because it enables us to push ourselves beyond our day to day limits ie. a presentation that we need to deliver at work.  It's when you are experiencing stress for prolonged periods of time that there can be a problem.  

I heard that 75% of adults (in the UK) have experienced periods of stress in the last year where they have regularly felt not able to manage and 80% of young people feel the same.

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This is a reminder for possibly ourselves and/or our loved ones to identify stress triggers, find and then practice relaxation techniques and know that situations often have a limited point in life and that they often will pass.  

These statistics remind me that I can always work, exercise, clean, cook and just be MORE in every which way but that doesn't serve me or the people I love.  I can choose what I fill my brain with and that I must make better choices wherever possible...

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Here are three more collages that I've finished this week and I've recorded another video that goes alongside them.  I share three books that I think are helpful, some personal thoughts, more detail on the collages and a cup of tea!  I do hope you'll watch https://youtu.be/HXDT1Lwg2SQ or, click the video below.  

Have a wonderful weekend - I'll be watching the Royal Wedding of Meghan and Harry on tv tomorrow!

Take care,

Jane xo

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Confessions and New Artwork

Today, I'm wanting to let you know about my new style 'Confessions Of An Artist' Newsletter/Letter and to show you some brand new artwork... 

The Confessions Letter has been on my heart for some time now.  It's my way of 'getting real' and sharing honestly with you.  It's about deep connection, being vulnerable and pushing aside the Instagram or Pinterest version of life (just for a little while - it's all in the balance right?).  If you'd like to receive my next Letter, please click here

New artworks

Now for my new pastel paintings - the top one being 'hot off the easel' just yesterday.  They're all available from my shop and prints will be available here too.

I've so enjoyed creating these pieces.  They've felt gentle, feminine, nurturing and just what I've needed.   I hope you love them too.

Flowers are an easy, eloquent expression of love at a time when words can seem clumsy and inadequate.
— Lynn Coady

The flowers have all come from my garden - yes, I can't believe it either - roses still at the end of November in England!  Yep, I know.

The piece above includes some flowers from my patio - Salvia and a beautiful patio rose. The milk jug is based upon a Cath Kidston one that I own and love to use for flowers - as well as milk ;). 

Take care friends and I'll see you next time...

 

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Time to pray - an idea to help keep focused

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I take time out each morning to pray.   Lately there's been a number of challenging things happening to quite a few of our very close friends and family members and if I'm honest it's felt a little overwhelming. Love is Always the Answer...

I've also noticed that I easily lose track of some of the situations I've prayed for and often don't remember that the prayer has even been answered!  Take the other day - my son Joseph has had some problems with settling down to sleep at night like many children do with autism.  It was getting quite bad and I was really worrying to know what the best way forward for him was.  So, eventually the 'penny dropped' and I prayed about it (duh - when will I learn!).  The upshot was that I got some help really quickly for Joseph and it's now really turned things around for him.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)

time to pray cards

So to keep my thoughts and prayers really focused, I'm now combining my 'normal' journal with prayer cards (index cards).  To start with, I wrote out a card for each of my three children and my husband.  Then cards for other family members and a few specific people to pray for.  From there, I wrote cards for short-term and long-term requests.  Then one for answered prayers.  Finally, the last three cards are for my business, self-improvement and 'arrow' prayers (for any immediate need).

I've found it's really helped me to organise my thoughts and monthly dreams to not get too over-burdened with stuff flying around in my head all the time - which is no help!  Each day, I just move the cards to the next day in my journal and I'm all set.  I no longer have to look back in my journal or leave someone out of my prayers simply because I can't keep it all in my head.

Meanwhile, in my journal, I still write down general day-to-day stuff and also any inspiring quotes, poetry or something I've read that's really resonated with me.   I also like to write down my three favourite moments of the day (when possible).

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This time of prayer and reflection is so worthwhile and I sincerely encourage you to try it for yourself if you don't already.  For me, it's my way of acknowledging my faith and to feel His presence within me.  This makes all the difference to my day and how I interact with others.

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Some of you may already have your own prayer practice, meditation, mindfulness, reiki, visualisation etc.  Please reply in the comments below if you have a thought you would like to share.

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Jane xo

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June: dreams + goals

For the second year running, I am using the fabulous Tranquility du Jour Daybook by one of my favourite bloggers of all time, Kimberly Wilson.  Kimberly has always been a big advocate of penning monthly goals and dreams in a journal and brought out her very own planner with delightful illustrations dotted throughout from the very talented Mary Catherine Starr. Daybook - Tranquility Jane's monthly goals for June

My June monthly goals and dreams...

I'm sorry that it's a little late in the month but I thought I'd share my 'June dreams' anyway as I find this practice to be really helpful in prompting me to get super clear about my monthly goals, dreams and wishes for the upcoming month.

Monthly goals dreams wishes for june

As far as putting the page together I used some spare watercolour paper with random colour laid on and then once I'd penned my June dreams, I torn the edges of the paper and stuck it down.  I then used various images that resonated with me and fitted in with my need to get outdoors more in the month of June.  Then I stuck down with washi tape a few flowers that I've recently pressed.  Lastly, I dug out a little pink tag and a star - all done!  It took me 10 mins.

If you want to know what I wrote, here it is:

'This month I'm looking forward to being outside more - time for reflection, nurturing and creativity. I want to go for longer walks with my dog, enjoy fresh green salads and drink plenty of water. Lots of painting for me this month as I paint on location at Grassfield Hall in the UK. My senses feel heightened - I plan on taking my lunch outside more. Benjamin (our youngest son) will be nine mid-month and it's Father's Day too! Lots to look forward to and embrace....'

Now when I get off-track, I can just take a little peek at my journal page and it helps me connect once again with my goals, vision and wishes for that particular month.

Have a wonderful weekend. jane digital signature

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You gotta climb the steep hill in order to enjoy the ride down after!

It's funny how an innocent comment from a child can spark a series of thoughts isn't it?

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Today was Bank Holiday Monday in the UK and we passed a pleasant few hours taking a family walk around a nearby reservoir.  Our boys had their scooters with them, I had packed a picnic for us and unbelievably it wasn't raining (boy, have we had a lot of rain and more to come this week!).

Inevitably (for around here anyway) we encountered steeps hills and at this there was much complaining.  Later, we were having dinner together at home and Joseph mentioned that not all of his 'walking experience' went well - ie. especially the steep climbs.

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As quick as a flash I said to him, '...but what about the sensation of whizzing down the hill on the return - didn't that feel good?'.  He said it had and I immediately launched into a 'Mum talk' along the lines of 'you can't enjoy the ride down if you don't climb up first'.

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As I was saying all of this, it struck me how true for life in general this is and I started to think about it in terms of my life both currently and in the past.

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What if we could pause?

What if we could take in the scene of our 'upward climb' and maybe even acknowledge the beauty on the way up - no matter how small? 

Let's look at what's around us, right here, right now?  What's there underneath the discomfort?

Let's acknowledge the challenge too - it's NOT EASY but I don't think it's meant to be.  Yes, it's arduous!  Yes, it hurts!  Yes, it's uncomfortable!  Yes, we might hate the climb!  Yes, we'd rather be on the way down but we're just not there yet...  What we resist often persists right? 

But then, just when we think we can't go any further, we reach the summit and look where you've come from - doesn't that fill you with awe, wonder and even gratitude!  Wow, how did I manage that?!  I did it!  Look what I learned along the way?  I needed to avoid those nettles, duck under hanging branches, stop and take little breaks but NOW look!

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So, that's my invitation to you my friend.  Are you climbing up a steep hill or mountain at the moment?  Or maybe there are a series of them and you're weary...  Or, perhaps you're on the way down from a steep climb and not sure what quite happened up there.  No matter, here are two questions for you to reflect upon either by writing in your journal or to paint, draw or collage what comes up for you using imagery in any way you wish:

* What is this steep, steep climb trying to show you - what is the lesson you need to learn in order to get up to the top? 

* Likewise, once you reach the bottom of the hill, how might you be changed?

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Do you give too much of yourself + then feel empty?

As a wife, mother and business owner, time and energy are in short supply at the best of times.  Even so, I want to 'embrace' the life I have in the here and now and not be stuffing it full to bursting with activity...

I need to take care of me - the woman that I see in the mirror looking back at me...

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Because we also have needs of our own don't we?  We're not machines.  We have desires, hopes, dreams and fears deep inside.  Stuff in our hearts, minds, body and soul that need sifting through.  Some parts may need raking, other bits dug up and still other areas that need to be fully excavated and moved on out!  It's the way of a life lived...

But friends, if there isn't time - (if we don't make time) to sift through our hearts with tenderness, love and respect, aren't we doing ourselves a great disservice?  Really?

Ironically, once I gave myself permission to explore my inner world and finally listen to my heart, I became a much BETTER mother, wife and friend etc.  I stopped denying my needs and persistent whispers and listened.  It's changed me profoundly.  Now, my days are still full, messy and unpredictable but I have reserves.  I'm infinitely more patient with our children, understanding and way less cranky!  So, stop being nice and start being honest with yourself and those around you.  What do you need?

So, this is my invitation to you with the new ecourse that I've launched.  Yes, I have changed things around a bit because it just wasn't quite right but I'm there now and I hope you'll answer the whisperings in your heart - I can show you how...

Below, I'm discussing the need for making time to breathe, pause and just 'be' and also showing a little clip of one art making tutorial that will be available in FULL on my ecourse, along with other projects.

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Ecourse details:

embrace info

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