Sunday, June 27, 2010

Words to Live By: Weeks 53 and 54

My friend Jeanine is surviving and thriving after breast cancer.

June 15th was Jeanine's one year anniversary.  Last year on that day she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was dealing with the reality of that truth.  And since that day, she has been on special journey, a journey that has had tested her and those who love her.  She is in a very different place now than she was that day.  The world looks a little different and she has hope for the future.

Week 53

Week 53

The week after her anniversary, Jeanine visited Duke Hospital where they were proud to announce after her latest mammogram that she "shows no evidence of cancer."  She declared it the best day ever... and so do we.

Week 54

Week 54- the final canvas

This project started out as my way to support Jeanine through her journey with cancer, but I ended up being the one who is inspired.  A year has passed, but Jeanine is not finished with her journey.  She is determined to help other families beginning their own journeys through this devastating disease.  Please click here to support Jeanine on her journey.  Below is a summary of Jeanine's year in pictures, created by her big sister, Kristie.  Enjoy.

"When your heart speaks, take good notes." 
- Judith Campbell

Words to Live By: Weeks 50, 51, and 52

My friend Jeanine is surviving and thriving after breast cancer.

At the end of May, we traveled to Indiana to attend a memorial service for Jason's grandfather who passed away in December.  A lot of Jason's brothers and sisters attended the memorial service.  And although she really wanted to go, Jeanine had to stay behind in North Carolina.  It was doctor's orders.  Her white blood cell counts were just too low, and it really bummed her out to not be able to attend.  However, her sister, Kristie, came up with a plan to record video messages from everyone attending the memorial, so that Jeanine would know that she was in our thoughts even though she couldn't be with us.  I know she really appreciated being thought of so far away.

Week 50
Week 50

During the first week of June, some of the Patten women met up in Charlotte to watch Wicked and celebrate our niece's graduation from junior high school.  We had a fabulous dinner at P.F. Chang's and headed to the Ovens Auditorium to watch the show.  During the musical, Jeanine heard the song, "For Good," and whispered to me, with tears in her eyes, that she had found her new funeral song.  I joked with her and said, "Thanks for ruining that song for me."  I think the Pattens are the only people I know who declare their funeral soundtracks.  Funny but true.

Week 51

And finally, after many, many torturous months, Jason was able to shave off his mustache.  As his shave date got closer and closer, I asked if he wanted to throw a party to celebrate the shaving of his mustache.  I had ideas of making a mustache pinata, mustache-shaped food, and mustache favors, but no.  Jason didn't want any part of it.  When I asked him why, he said, "For the last nine months, I've had to look in the mirror and see this mustache.  When I see this mustache, I see my sister with cancer."  Needless to say, we didn't have a party, but now his face matches our present reality - Jeanine without cancer.  Hip-hip-hooray!

Week 52

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

By chance, I happened to notice a Facebook advertisement that promoted a sketchbook project.  Intrigued, I clicked on the ad.  (Normally, I totally ignore Facebook's planted advertisements, but this one genuinely caught my eye.)  The ad brought me to one of the most interesting projects I have ever come across.  The website drew me in right away with the following statement:

"It's like a concert tour but with sketchbooks."

Upon further investigation I learned that The Sketchbook Project is a reoccurring event established by Art House, a Brooklyn, New York based gallery.  Their mission?  In the words of the creators - to create "massive, international art projects that tie thousands of artists together - and anyone can participate."

How cool is that?  I love a challenge and a creative one at that.  I signed up immediately.  The deadline for me to submit my completed sketchbook is December 31, 2010.  After that, you can visit it on the tour.  Every sketchbook has a theme.  What theme did I choose?  Happy thoughts, of course.  I thought it was appropriate given the pure joy that art gives me.  I'm also going to have my sketchbook digitized so that it can live on in cyberspace infamy in addition to  becoming a part of the permanent collection in The Brooklyn Art Gallery.  (Yet another reason for me to visit New York one day!)

I have already received my sketchbook in the mail and can't wait to get started.  I'll be posting selected entries from it as the months progress, feeling like a rock star.  Won't you join me on the tour?

Sketchbook Tour 2011
"Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness."
-George Jean

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Beautiful Walk with Friends

I've often driven past the walking/biking trail overpass for the North Carolina Museum of Art on I-440 but had never been there myself until recently.  With the weather getting warmer and my desire to be outside increasing, I decided to visit the trail before the North Carolina humidity becomes too much to bear.  Luckily, my friends Alfonso and Beth decided to join me.

Beth and Alf
Beth and Alf

Me and Beth
Me and Beth

Early on in the trail, walkers and bikers are exposed to large pieces of art, many of them whimsical and fun in nature.  Here is a collection of what we saw on the trail:

Wind Art

Naked Structure


Brick Corn

Street Henna

Preserve the Earth

Although the trail does not contain art throughout its path, the art that it does have makes for a unique walking experience.  Now, if only I could find more walking trails like this one... Any suggestions?

Alf and the Rings

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

Monday, June 7, 2010

On My Wish List

I've confessed my admiration for Summer Pierre before when she published her first book, The Artist in the Office: How to Thrive and Survive Seven Days a Week.  But guess what!  She's coming out with ANOTHER book this November.

Guess what comes after November... December.  Guess what's in December?  My birthday... Just sayin'.

Great Gals: Inspired Ideas for Living a Kick-Ass Life Coming Soon! from Summer Pierre on Vimeo.

Maybe one day I can be a featured diva in future publications of her book... Oh, to dream.
Karaoke Diva

"There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women."
- Madeleine K. Albright

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An Exercise in Courage

As some of you may already know, I enrolled in Kelly Rae Robert's online class, Flying Lessons.  For a long time I've been half-assing my attempts of forging a creative life.  At the beginning of the year, I was super motivated and went as far as registering my business name with the Register of Deeds.  But as I got deeper into establishing an online creative business, I found myself frozen with fear.  Could I really do this?  What if I fail at this?  What if no one likes what I create?  And then I found Kelly's blog about her class...

It was a serendipitous moment.  I was searching for something, anything, that would help me get out of this rut.  I knew what I wanted to do, but I just didn't know how to get there.  The more research I did about starting a small business, the more I became unsure of the whole thing.  Creative businesses are unlike any other small businesses.  And asking someone who is right-brained to use her left-brain to sort out all the details of a business is like asking someone who is right-handed to write with her left hand.  Though not impossible, it is quite difficult.  In researching the how-to's of starting a creative business, I felt like the answers that I needed weren't answered yet or weren't geared toward someone like me.  But after finding Kelly's blog, I knew that I wasn't alone.

Her story is inspiring and could not be closer to my reality.  She had been ignoring the whispers in her heart all of her life, and it wasn't until she was 30 that she decided to listen.  What did the whispers tell her?  To follow her heart and become an artist.  No formal schooling, just a passion to do as she dreamed.

Kelly's class is one that addresses all of the dreams and fears I have been feeling lately.  And to top it off, I'm not the only one in the universe who feels this way.  Although the class just started on Sunday, I already feel like I'm making progress.  I have no one's time line to live up to but my own.

So here's to forging new paths and facing your fears head on!  Whoo hoo!



"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves; we are underlings."
- William Shakespeare


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