I used to sit in awe watching other people live their dreams and I wished that could be me too. I always wanted the courage and boldness to look at my dream and say, “I choose you.”
I made myself believe for so long that my passion was just a hobby. A hobby that I enjoyed but wasn’t even that good at. I allowed fear to be the loudest voice in my life and all of my decisions were rooted from that place of fear. I let fear control my creativity and courage for so long.
It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that I truly started to believe that the voice of fear I had listened to my entire life was a lie. I heard the voice of God speak so loudly that I finally stopped to listen.
January 1st, 2018, I began reading through the bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Immediately, the story of Adam and Eve struck my heart, but not in the way you may think. Genesis 2:23 tells us a story of a Father bringing his daughter, a bride, to her groom. Just like walking down an aisle. It was Adam’s natural response to seeing her for the first time that began this wildfire of inspiration for me.
Adam looked at his bride, for the first time ever, and said, “at last.” That was really powerful for me. Adam had never met her before; yet when he first saw her, he felt the relief and comfort of knowing that God had made her for him. At last, he had a life partner, a bride.
After reading and studying this verse, I started dreaming of bridal bouquets. After years of not painting, I dug into my child’s closet and found an art set that was gifted to them. I painted thick textured roses, and it felt so good to create art again. My first real painting after that was a painting of a bridal bouquet and I titled it, “At Last”. It’s one that I’ll never sell and will forever hang on my wall, to remind me of my mission and message.
After that painting, it felt as though everything finally fell into alignment. I knew without a shadow of a doubt what I was meant to do, with the gift I had been given. It wasn’t easy though. At the time, I was six months pregnant with four children at home. That same year we had gone through a failed international adoption, suffered through a miscarriage, and we became foster parents. To say it was an incredibly hard season for my husband and I would be an understatement. But God took my broken pieces and created the most beautiful picture out of them. There is beauty in the ashes.
Back then I was just painting these bouquets from my kitchen table. I was so grateful for our large dining room table, but I really began dreaming of a studio space where I could freely create without little hands getting into it, and a quiet place where I could let creativity lead.During that season of life,
I learned that gratitude still allows room for dreams.
I held on to my creativity like my life depended on it in those first two years, and in a sense I still do. I now know just how fragile creativity is and how it has to be continuously nurtured, just like all other living things in our lives. It’s a practice and a choice that we get to keep choosing, over and over again.
There is beauty here, in my studio, but it wasn’t always beautiful. In fact, when we bought our home it was just a ripped-out pool house. The insulation was hanging from the ceiling, there were no walls, and it was home to many bugs. Yet, the moment I saw it I knew how beautiful it could be. After a couple of months, it was brought to life by the grit and determination of a husband who wanted to see his wife’s dream of having an art studio come true. There was so much love poured into my studio, even before it had walls.
Every thought, curiosity, and experiment is safe here. It’s become the space that I run to when I need the world to slow down and when I need to release the fire of creativity burning within. Every inch of this space has my energy in it, both my fire and my peace. It’s filled with my mess and madness, my gratitude and greatest sorrows, my healing and heartache.
When we were building my cozy art cottage, I knew that I wanted to add vintage pieces throughout and the first piece added was my gorgeous picture frame window. I lucked out and found it on Marketplace for $100. One of the gorgeous homes near the beach was getting a facelift and this vintage window was getting replaced. Isn’t it quite ironic that the house it once gave light to was looking for something new, while I was looking for beauty in something seasoned and aged? Call it irony or a blessing; either way, I am grateful for it.
This window lets me see my children swimming in the hot summer days, it lets me see my husband pushing my children on the swing, and it helps me find solace after a long day. What this window really gives me, though, is the gift of connection. It allows me to still be connected to the world around me, while keeping my creativity safe inside my studio.
My studio is filled with little vintage treasures. My connection to vintage pieces started as a young child always going to antique stores with my mama. I was always in awe over the age, history, and beauty of these antique stores, filled with pieces from the past. There is something so inspiring to me about honoring the past and bringing it into the present, and I love seeing how that’s translated into my work of painting bridal bouquets.
When I am standing in front of a canvas, I know I’m exactly where I am supposed to be. When I walk into my studio, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am grateful that I get to live a creative life. I am grateful for my husband, who made my dream of having an art studio come true. I’m also so grateful for my children, who cheer me on every single day in pursuing my dreams.
I’ve found that gratitude has such a profound impact on creativity. When I focus on gratitude for both this space and this gift of creativity, there is no room for fear. Fear doesn’t control me anymore, and that’s the most beautiful story ever told. Gratitude lives here now, not fear.
I have known two sure things since I was a young child. I knew I wanted to be a mom and an artist.
As I write this, I have tears thinking about how I am living my childhood dreams, at this very moment. I have a house full of children and an art studio full of artwork. It is all happening right now, and I wish I could stop this moment in time and just cherish it a little longer.
It’s been an awe-inspiring realization that motherhood and following your dreams can not only coexist but intertwine beautifully. I held onto this belief that we can only choose one or the other, but that’s simply untrue. In fact, I believe my children are getting a front-row seat and get to see the hard days, early mornings, celebrations, failures, and joy that comes from doing what sets your soul on fire. It’s not just about following my dreams, but it’s also about showing them that it’s not just an option to follow their own dreams, but a necessity.
My daughter has come to love this art studio as much as I do, and it’s an absolute joy to watch her creativity come to life here. She says she wants to be an artist when she grows up and to have her own art studio as well. She doesn’t understand though that she is an artist already. She already sees the world like an artist.
Looking at her, I now realize just how important it is for me to keep going. If I would’ve let fear cripple me and keep me from painting and sharing my work, my daughter would’ve never seen her mom work for her dreams. I hope I’m blazing a trail for her, and the rest of my children. I hope that all of the inner work that I’m doing on myself will only help me teach them how to become the healthiest version of themselves. I hope that they grow up knowing that you have to fight for your dreams and that it’s a gift to be able to wake up and choose to follow them every single day.
Painting is not just a passion for creating, for serving others, or for healing. While it is all of those things for me, it’s also a tool that I have to use to show my kids that they can blaze their own trails and that every hardship, heartache, and setback is worth it to live a life that sets your soul on fire.