To Everything There Is A Season

Hey Folks!

I'm sure that some of you have wondered what happened to me and my blog.

Here's my story:
In a nutshell, I lost my voice!  At a closer look, for a time I lost my way. As a singer/songwriter who loves people and loves to talk, it was devastating!

At first I couldn't sing and, before I knew it, I couldn't talk.  All at once everything I was doing and loved doing became impossible to do. I was face to face with uncertainty. This led to many questions about how to move forward and what 'forward' would look like. Now that's not good for a extroverted encourager like me. So I stopped everything. I gave myself permission to breathe, heal and relax.

But now I'm back!

I apologize for ducking out on you,
but honestly I couldn't do anything about it.
It was what it was .... a season. Thankfully,
that season is over.

My voice is better - not perfect - but better and I'm
stronger, full of ideas and eager to help.
So, if you can put up with a less than perfect voice,
I'm excited to announce my upcoming webinar!

Artists Arise: A 3-Week Transformation.
We'll be discussing:

- The big picture and breaking it down into doable, bite-sized steps
- Your dream
- How your dream ties in with your art
- How you can use your story, your dream and your art to create an income stream.

We'll also cover:

- Blogging
- Pinterest
- Facebook marketing
- Creating digital image books of your art
- Marketing

.... and much, much more!

3 weeks for only $39!
Click Here To Register for Artists Arise ~ 3 Week Transformation

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. What would you like
for me to cover? Here's your chance, so feedback is appreciated!

Angels Appearing

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I had the pleasure of photographing some awesome folks this past weekend! These were taken at the Open House at 48 Days. It's amazing what happens when you sprouts wings.


Is There A Michelangelo In You - Waiting To Soar

We all glory in the magnificent paintings of Michelangelo, 
but did you know that he was NOT a painter? 

He was a sculptor! 

                 Why did a sculptor agree to take on one of the most 
                             important painting jobs in the world?
                    Obviously, he had a few characteristics that we as 
                                          creatives need in order to succeed.                                                                                                            
                                                   History tell us that he was:

1. Flexible and willing to challenge himself: 
Michelangelo was a sculptor who preferred working with marble to anything else.
2. Willing to work outside of his area of expertise:  
The only painting he had done was as a student in a brief workshop.  

3. Willing to persevere under pressure: 
While painting the ceiling he faced many setbacks; such as mold and miserable, 
damp weather that would not allow plaster curing.
4. Willing to work in awkward positions and circumstances:  
Michelangelo often had to bend backwards and paint over his head. 
This awkward position obviously made his neck and back ache and,
according to him, it permanently damaged his vision.
I see strong character traits in Michelangleo. 

I'm wondering if you posses any of these:

  ~ Flexibility

~ A willingness to try new things that are outside of your area of expertise

~ A willingness to work outside of your comfort zone

~ A willingness to accept your 'Sistine Chapel' opportunities

Let me encourage you to reach higher, dream bigger and let the Creator flow through you in ways you've never even considered. He will do exceedingly 
above all you could dream or imagine.

Please leave your comment below. Make a declaration 
of your willingness to believe for more.


Been Rejected Lately

Has your art, music, book, dance, design, painting, voice or song ever been rejected? Once, twice, or a multitude of times? Then you're in good company!

Success is for those who persevere. Kathryn Stockett's The Help was turned down 60 times before becoming a best seller and now a hit movie!

Every creative must be prepared to hang in there for the long haul, expecting rejection and being strong enough to take it. And take it a multitude of times, without being devastated.

For some, even a hint of criticism is all it takes to throw them off course for months and even years.

For others, the ones who prepare for rejection may sulk for a bit, but before long they are up and off again, ready to prove to the ones who rejected them that they've missed out on a great opportunity. Like Kathryn Stockett. What if she had given up after 20 . . . 30 . . . 40 . . . or 50 rejections?

If success were easy, everyone would be successful. It's not easy but, success is possible for those who expect rejection and are prepared to take it, learn from it and course correct.

Success finds those who choose to stay the course for the long haul, the ups and downs and the "NOs."

"Rejected" doesn't stop me . . .  it just makes me push harder.

How about you? Are you prepared for "rejection?" Do you have a plan to push ahead even when the answer is no? If not . . . write yourself a "pep talk" letter - the one you will read after each rejection.

Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis  - 15 rejections
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfeld and Mark Victor Hansen - 140 rejections
Diary of Anne Frank - 16 rejections
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell - 38 rejections
Harry Potter, Book One, J. K. Rowling - 9 rejections
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach - 18 rejections
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot - 17 rejections
Watership Down, Richard Adams - 26 rejections
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle - 26 rejections

The beautiful LadyAntebellum lead singer auditioned not once, but twice for "American Idol," and never even made it past the preliminary rounds, never even sang for Simon Cowell, Randy or Paula. She won five Grammys this year, including Record an Song Of The Year. No Idol has ever done that!

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn't last long and ended in bankruptcy.  He didn't give up though. He eventually found his path to success and all who enjoy Disney World today are thankful, because he kept moving forward in the face of rejection.

Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire lifetime and, if I recall, there was someone somewhere who told him to "just quit".

So what about you? Have you been discouraged by rejection? How about turning that discouragement into determination? Give yourself that pep talk, dust yourself off and try again.

Share your rejection story below and I'll encourage you. Together we can push though the disappointments until we find our breakthrough.


Push Your Dreams Forward!

Do you feel that you have a destiny, that you were created for a purpose? Can you see it, feel it, taste it, but still struggle to bring it to reality?

Do you sense opposition? Does it seem that for every two steps forward, you end up taking three steps back?  Are you tired and weary?

      Do you find yourself tempted to give up and give in?

For every creative force, I believe that opposition follows. Creatives give birth and giving birth is painful. It requires all of your energy reserves, all the strength you possess, all the determination you can muster, and it really helps if you have someone alongside to coach your breathing and to encourage you to push.

So I'm filling that role today and I'm encouraging you to breathe and then PUSH!!

If you are constantly pushing, you'll eventually wear out. So it's important to take time off to breathe. Breathe in life, stillness, beauty, nature. Surround yourself with inspiring music, books and films, or spend some time in nature. Watch a sunrise or sunset, get your feet wet and your hands dirty. Breathe deeply, live fully and stay in the moment.

After a bit of refreshing  . . .  it's time again to PUSH!

Create something and push it out of your hands into the marketplace! Every creative I know struggles with thoughts like:

    Is it good enough?
    Does it measure up?
    Will anyone like it?
    Will it sell?
    Am I nuts for trying to 'make it' with my art?

You won't know the answer to those questions until you put it out there. 

Are you tempted to wait until it's perfect? And even 'perfect' seems not good enough? Are you stuck in paralysis analysis?  Stop it!! You don't bless anyone when your product stays in your studio, you don't make money, you don't learn, and you certainly don't move forward. Forward motion is powerful.

Are you holding projects that should have been released long ago?

Perhaps you don't yet have a platform. What then? Share with your friends, get feedback, start building your list, and plan for an upcoming BIG push!!

If you have questions or if I can help in anyway, please let me know.

And if you want to make a commitment to push something forward and out of your hands, comment below!!

Don't forget to click the +1 button next to the twitter icon.


Building A Tribe

"Building a tribe is not a matter of a miracle. Instead, it’s about converting tiny groups of people at a time, leading them, connecting them, building an audience. When a self-published author does this, she has a new job. Not the author part, the publisher part. She’s not putting a book into the universe and hoping it will be found. She’s not even putting a book in a journalist’s hands and hoping it will be hyped. No, she is engaging in a years-long journey to build a platform. It might take a decade to become an overnight success, but if you keep it up, if you keep building, the odds keep getting better and better."  from the blog by Seth Godin

This paragraph from Seth Godin's blog today really hits home with me and I hope it does with you. If you have a product to sell, or information to sell, you should be spending time daily building your tribe and your platform. If you understand this, your odds of becoming successful or being able to make a living with your creativity increase exponentially. However, I must add the taking action part. Once you understand it, you have to take the steps of getting out of your comfort zone and reaching out on a regular basis, to build that tribe.

This is a tribe of people that you communicate with and encourage regularly. You may never meet them face to face, but you care about them and they feel like they know you. This can happen through a weekly or monthly newsletter, a blog, speaking engagements, concerts,  gallery showings, a forum or even twitter. Somehow, someway, you need to build a tribe of followers who relate to and draw strength from your message.

When you have a tribe and you release a new CD, painting, book or e-book, you have an audience who is ready to push the 'buy now' button!

I'm wondering . . . what are you doing, or planning to do, to build your tribe?


All Things Work Together

“For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Really? Do all things work together for good? I choose to believe that they do, but admit that it’s difficult to cling to this when tragedy strikes, or when things don’t go my way.

In my last blog, I expressed the frustrations I’ve had with vocal problems. As a singer, I’m choosing to believe that things will work together for my good. And I must admit that this has led me on an interesting adventure!

At the beginning of summer, I decided that I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone and do some things that I normally don’t do. This was to be an attempt to live life to the fullest and to live fully in the moment. I had no idea of where this would lead me.

It started with a conversation with a friend. She knows an opera singer who prepares for performances by swimming. He said that it was the absolute, best way for a singer to get in shape.  Well, being desperate, I decided to try it. Our neighborhood has a fabulous resort-style, salt water pool. I hate to admit it, but I had never swam in the pool. Why? I hate even the thought of wearing a bathing suit in public; however, I had already made the decision to push myself out of my comfort zone. So I knew that there was no stopping me now.

I went on a desperate search through the inner sanctum of my cluttered closet and found this little, dusty, spandex thing called a "swim suit." I pulled it out, dusted it off and stretched it over winter's extra 'poundage.'

Here's an excerpt from my journal: "July 13th: Swam 6 laps this morning. I’m doing new things to be fully alive. What is not normal is what I am doing . . . pushing myself out of my comfort zone into a new way. I like it! It jolts you out of the ordinary and brings forth new ideas and new breakthroughs. So, here’s to new beginnings!”

Now that I’m fully into this swimming thing, I’m convinced that it is indeed the best thing for my voice. I still don’t like stretching the spandex over the expanse of my privates every morning, or dealing with "wet pool hair" every day, but the benefits definitely outweigh my complaints. My voice is stronger, I’ve lost weight, I have a golden tan, sun streaked hair; I breathe deeper and have more energy than I’ve had in a very long time. I'm loving it!

Now, I can’t help but wonder: what else have I missed out on because I’ve refused to get out of my comfort zone? Are the very things I desire out there for the taking if I simply step out and do what’s difficult for me? And I wonder the same for you. Are you missing out of being "fully alive" this summer because you’re hiding behind an excuse?

Please, let me encourage you to step out and do that thing that you’d like to do, but you’ve held back on doing because it would make you feel uncomfortable. Your breakthrough is there for the taking!

Will you take it? Odds are, it could be the very thing that works together for your good, coming to you to enrich your life. Choose, along with me, to believe that even the obstacle you are facing could be just the catalyst to move you beyond the norm of your life, into a life that is more "fully alive."

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