Mining for Gold: A Key to Artful Living

MinerGenevieve

Some days can feel heavy, darker than others. The weight of responsibilities is such that you’d rather not have to walk through them. These types of days can come round every so often, or stay for a season. Even at the holidays, we can experience these weighty days … perhaps even because of the holidays! All the shopping lists, the parties, the gatherings, the family events, missing loved ones who are no longer with us, the travel, the wrapping … add to that just regular ole living and working … well, you get the picture.

It seems there are two ways, no maybe three, that we can move through days like this. One would be, I suppose, to simply pull the covers up over your head and not get out of bed. Typically we don’t do that, even if we’d like to! We muster ourselves out of bed and go through the motions. This second way is just to “endure” it, to move through the days’ to-do’s hunkered down in a numb, mechanical sort-of-way. We call it “survival mode”. And it works. But it’s not very fun.

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The third way takes just a bit of thought before the day begins. Sometimes I imagine myself, down on my hands and knees, pushing through the weeds of life, looking, searching, straining to find something lovely. Other times, I imagine I’m headed into the mines. Yes, it’s dark and cold and sooty. I don my head lamp and coat … ready for the search. And I move through my day looking, searching, straining to see the gold I know is hidden there! Sometimes I find several gold pieces, sometimes only one.  But there is ALWAYS something that shines out among the dim (or seemingly dim) days. It may be a simple, but lovely interaction with someone, or an eye-catching color, or a beautiful comment or quote I find. It can be so many things … if we only look for it!

Does this seem “pollyanna” to you? Perhaps. But it makes a difference in my life.  I’m convinced that no matter how dark or blisteringly busy life can get, there is gold somewhere!  It may not be until later that you can see it. Usually, when I’m in “miner mode”, I see lots of lovelies strewn along my path. And then I sit down at the end of the day and record it in my journal, either sketched or written or both! This is living Artfully!! It’s so encouraging to know that when heavy days hit me, I can look back at other days like it, and see the gold I mined.

May your holidays be Mining Days!

Macy the Mouse-Part Two

Macy&Genevieve

Macy the Mouse lives in Genevieve’s house
right under the living room chair.
She darts in and out, dodging yarn balls about
but can’t quite make it up the stair.

So downstairs she stays, knowing Genevieve’s ways
are similar to her own.
They both love to make, for making’s sake.
To give or to keep for their home.

Pillows and quilts, sweaters and toys,
Crocheted or quilted or knit
No matter the time it takes to refine
they just couldn’t care a bit.

Sewing and painting, drawing and baking
Macy joins in with care.
But her favorite of all, sitting up tall,
is knitting with Genevieve in her chair.

Clicking away the last hours of the day,
their needles fly through the wool—
When the yarn is gone, their faces shon
and their creative hearts are full!

-jpe
12/2/2013

This is a continuation of the poem I wrote for my friend Ellen, about the little felted mouse she gave me as a present. You can read the first part of that poem here. These poems (there is a third:) evolved over a couple of days … still referring somewhat to my friend, but becoming more just about the mouse herself, or maybe me? The third part will be posted soon! Thank you for continuing to visit here! Macy and Genevieve love it!:)

Book Readings & Winners!

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My sweet sister coordinated some book reading events for me in Boone, NC. So on Tuesday of this week, I drove to my hometown where I grew up from age 5 through college. It was a delight to read Genevieve and the Kite to the children and moms who came for story time at the Watauga County Public Library. The county library is in a new building from the one I remember going to as a child.  After reading the book to them, they made kite bookmarks (like the instructions included in the book 🙂 ).  The librarians there were lovely…they truly seemed excited about my book and invited me to participate in the High Country Festival of the Book in June! Wow! What fun that would be!

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Reading to preschool age children is a completely different experience than reading to 2nd graders! From the library event, I went to my nephew Brayden’s 2nd grade class at Hardin Park Elementary School. It was amazing for me to be in my old elementary school and see the changes that have been made. My first grade class was one of the first classes in this school, built new then, and built in an open classroom style. Over the years they have closed all the classrooms in. It is still a beautiful school, and my sister and I reminisced about our memories of our elementary school days there.

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Here’s my nephew Brayden making a kite bookmark with his classmates! He introduced me to them before I read Genevieve and the Kite. Wonderful conversation ensued upon reading to them…they really “got it”. That’s a magical moment!

Brayden'sClassmates

I love seeing the creativity in all their kite bookmarks!! They did a super job designing each of their kites.  In the New Year, I may be back at Hardin Park Elementary School to read to my niece’s class…Kindergarteners!! So fun!

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And now….for the winners to the book Giveaway!! I drew three names from all those who placed comments both here on Drawn2Life and on Facebook. The three winners are…

Lisa…………..Adine…………and Jacquie!!  Only Lisa let me know which book she would like, so she will receive a copy of my book Letters to an Artist!  I have let all three of them know, and so I hope to accommodate the wishes of Adine and Jacquie.  THANK YOU ALL for participating and for sharing the information about these books with others.

Have a lovely Saturday!

**It’s Giveaway Time!!**

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‘Tis the season for giving and I want in on the fun! For three individuals out there I am giving away one copy each of my three recently published books:

A copy of my new children’s book, Genevieve and the Kite!

A copy of Letters to an Artist, a book of encouragement for creative folks!

A copy of Words On A Line, a book of my poetry!

Here’s how to enter:

If you would be so kind as to advertise this giveaway either via Facebook or Twitter, or any other means you have at your disposal, I would love that! You can use the link to this post or share the post on Facebook.  And then, leave a comment on this post here on the blog OR in the comment section on Facebook, as to how you spread the word, and a way for me to contact you in case your name is drawn. ALSO: Put in your comment which of the three books you would prefer to have!! I’ll try to accommodate your wish when I draw the three names on Friday evening!! This giveaway is open to any who live in the US or Canada. So you have TWO DAYS to enter and participate in the gifting!

Thanks ever so much for sharing Genevieve and my other artistic endeavors with others! I’m so grateful for each and every one who visits my blog.

I’ll let you know the winners on Saturday morning! In the meantime, I hope you’re flying your kite, whatever that may be!

Twas the Night Before…

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‘Twas the night before

the Craft & Artistry Bazaar.

The author tried sleeping.

She couldn’t get very far.

The books were all nestled

snug in their box

While visions of children,

with long flowing locks…

…or short hair or curly…

were holding their books

about Genevieve and the Kite

and all that it took—

to get out of the beach chair

casting fear aside,

to grab hold of her kite

and be willing to fly.

-jpe 11/8/2013

**This precious boy hugged his new copy of Genevieve and the Kite right after I signed it to him at our school’s book fair. It warmed my heart near to bursting! I feel privileged and honored to be a part of kid’s lives in this way.

***Not sure how I’ll sleep tonight.:) Looking forward to a full day at the Craft & Artistry Bazaar event here in my town! Maybe some of you can make it out for what is sure to be a lot of fun!

Reading “Genevieve and the Kite”

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Enjoy this little video of me reading my new children’s book to a class of 1st graders at Redeemer School!

Oh. My. Heart.

Click Here to watch video.

“Kite” Cards are Here!!

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I’m so excited to announce a new set of cards available in my Etsy Shoppe! Created from two of the images in my new children’s book, Genevieve and the Kite, this set of cards is useful for any number of card-giving occasions!

These are two of my favorite images from the book!  “May all your wishes come true!” could be given for a Birthday or Graduation or any special occasion. While “Thanks for being my friend!” could be for just that! Or as a thank you!

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Like all the Genevieve card sets, they are packaged in a cellophane bag with a topper that has  “To: and From: ”  on the back of it. Makes it perfect for giving the set to a friend!  Whether you or your friends have the book, all will enjoy these delightful cards to send! The inside of each card is left blank for your message. Envelopes included! And what a wonderful gift set, the Book AND the Cards! Christmas is coming….:)

**Only a few more days until the JDRF Walk for the Cure! We have a few of Maddie’s friends walking with us on Saturday. If you would like to join us for the Walk, please let me know!! We will be there around 9:15 am and the walk begins at 10 am sharp! It’s so much fun! And if you’d still like to make a donation in ANY AMOUNT, I will include your name in a drawing for a FREE copy of Genevieve and the Kite!

I’ll be back after the Walk, hopefully with sketches and photos of the day!:)

A Drawing Morning

Trumpet&Leaf

In the flurry of activity surrounding all the good things happening these days, I found myself drawn to the Gardens here in town.  There were so many reasons why I should NOT go spend a morning to draw…piled laundry, dirty house, art “business” stuff to do, etc. But I knew I needed this. To sit in the quiet of the Gardens and use my pen to drink in the visual richness of an Autumn garden.

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It was a bit nippy out there at 9:30 am…hence the fingerless knitted gloves…perfect for a chilly morning of drawing. I truly get lost in the lines I see before me. I love these drawings just as they are without color. But something drives me to add color…

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A little bit at first. And then, as you can see in the first drawing…rich, dark color!  Mind you, I don’t want to overpower the lines too much! The lines are the THING and I don’t want color to take over.  I may have gone a bit too far in the end, but it pleases me and that’s the end of it. When you draw for the goodness, the benefit, and the experience of drawing, there need be no other criteria for your efforts other than whether it pleases you or not. It’s actually in the process of drawing, where it all happens.

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What happens when I draw is this: My shoulders start to relax. I begin to hear better…listening to all the garden sounds. My heart rate slows.  Thoughts become clearer, less jumbled.  An inner strength arises to face the rest of day.  I was so in need of this yesterday.  I’m grateful for the two hour space I carved out to go to the Gardens and draw.

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This week was a full one! My big box of books arrived! Etsy orders were filled! I read Genevieve and the Kite to a first grade class at my school! (More on this in another post!) And more preparations for an upcoming Craft and Artistry Bazaar here in Kernersville on Saturday, November 9th!! If you are able to come to this, it is sure to be a festive event, perfect for holiday shopping and picking up a copy or two of my new children’s book!:)  I also spoke with a local gallery owner who has offered to do a book signing event for me! I’m thrilled about this possibility and I’ll let you know more details as they evolve!

With all the goodness abounding, mixed in with everyday family living, I’m in need of time to draw, to regroup, to think and hear better, to find strength for it all. I hope you’ll join me in drawing your life, your gardens, your back yard, anything! May your weekend find you with pen or pencil in hand, even if it’s only for a moment or two.

P.S. We Walk for a Cure (JDRF) in one week!!! Thank you to all who have so generously given to Maddie’s Mission!! If you would still like to donate to this amazing cause, CLICK HERE! And remember…your name goes in a hat for a drawing for a copy of Genevieve and the Kite! Merci!

A Garden of Gratitude

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I’m feeling quite overwhelmed these days. The only way I can wrap my head around it is that we’re experiencing a harvest time in our family. With the goodness of a harvest, comes a lot of activity. It’s all good. But wow. It’s a lot.

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I’ve been moved and delighted by the response to Genevieve and the Kite. A few of you have already gotten your copies (I’m still waiting on my BIG box to land on my front stoop!:) and your comments have been so encouraging to me. Thank you. All of you, really and truly…thank you!  If you are so inclined, I would love for you to submit a simple review of the book on Amazon. You’ll see the words “customer review” highlighted in blue. Click on that and you can submit your thoughts on the book. That would be awesome! Thank you in advance! 🙂

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Another thing growing in our Garden is an EP of six original songs and retuned hymns, titled Songs of Grace, by three incredible musicians in our church. One of these guys is the fella who lets kids throw pies at him. 🙂 He’s pretty special to me.  Every time I listen to this CD, I’m amazed at his voice and all the talent these men have.  If you enjoy worship music, click here to go the BandCamp site where you can stream and listen (free!) to the songs, and/or purchase the digital downloads for so cheap! Also available there for free are the lead sheets to the music so that you or your church can incorporate these tunes into your worship experience. It truly is beautiful music.

William'sEP

 

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And…our son. Goodness me. As if the above two weren’t enough, our son William’s EP of original songs came out last week as well! We have watched (and listened) to him bloom into an amazing musician/singer songwriter. With the help and expertise of Michael Kuehn, a friend in our church and one of the guys featured on the Songs of Grace CD mentioned above, William was able to record six of his own songs and compile them onto a CD. When he asked me for artwork for the cover, I was happy to oblige. 🙂  (If I type any more of these smiley faces, it’s gonna be obnoxious!)  William plays guitar, banjo, and harmonica and sings, while Michael has added numerous other instruments to make for a marvelous listen. Randy and I are so proud of and excited for our 16 year old boy.

OurHarvest

Whew. Harvest time for a farming family is the busiest time of year. And the above three things are only just a few of the things going on in our family. Our oldest just performed in her Fall Concert at Wingate University and will be performing in the their fall opera in just a few weeks. And the JDRF Walk is coming up for Maddie and I.  Once again, we have been overwhelmed by your generosity in giving on her behalf for this wonderful organization. We can’t wait to walk on Saturday October 26th to represent Maddie and all of you who have supported her in finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes!!

I feel a bit like I’ve got the Kite by the tail and I’m soaring off into some pretty lovely, but unknown realms.  Thank you to all of you, dear readers, for your cheers, your encouragements in comments, your thoughts and prayers. We, the Edwards family, are so blessed by you!

P.S. The above watercolor is a recent sketch from the Ciener Botanical Gardens. In the midst of all that’s been happening, the Gardens are a lovely respite to the “fullness” of my life. Can you stand one more smiley face? 🙂