Our Creative Circle of Friends

For the next few weeks I want to brag on some of my friends. My hubby and I have been blessed to travel the world and meet amazing people with amazing talent!

Today I want to introduce you to Jason Catron. He is a friend who lives here in Nashville, but we met at a retreat in Arizona. We just happened to be staying in the same little cottage (casita). We found out that we were both from Nashville and decided to stay in touch. Now we have a wonderful friendship and consider Jason as family.

Jason is an exceptional young man with an exceptional talent. Recently he was invited to become part of a trio of tenors, now known as Tenore.  These are three young men who are produced by the same person who produced The Canadian Tenors. If you've not heard of them, they are similar to Il Divo.
They call their style of music 'popera,' a blend of pop and opera.

However, Tenore is better than Il Divo and The Canadian Tenors. No joke!

You must check them out and you'll want to order their CD! This is their new website:

Jason is a gracious young man with a huge heart! I'm thrilled to introduce you! He is the one in the middle of the first pic that appears on their website.

This picture below is from a party at our house and my hubby is playing for Jason. We believe that Tenore will take the world by storm and we want you to be among the first to know about them.

Please take a look at their website and let me know what you think!

Also, please take the time to click the 'follow' button in the top right corner of this blog! I appreciate you and the fact that you take time to read what I write!

Have a great week!


Are You Fully Alive/Part 2

I’ve been thinking, I challenged you to recall a time in your life when you felt totally alive. Then I recalled such a time many years ago, when I was traveling through Europe. It really made me think . . . have I not felt alive since then? Why did I have to dig so far back in my life to find that magical moment when all the elements I loved came together?
And how does one keep that ‘alive’ feeling in the midst of the mundane, the humdrum of everyday life?

 I think I  have been learning over the past few years how to maintain in the midst of the mundane. I’m challenged by Elijah, who is 16 and often bored! He sometimes waits for me to give him an idea that will erase his boredom. Let me tell you, if you fall into that trap, it’s impossible! Everyone must find for themselves the thing that makes them come alive, the subject that they can’t get enough of, the thing they can’t wait to find a moment to do. No one can work through that discovery process for you.

I must admit, I never suffer from boredom. I love learning, so reading and researching are fuel for my fire. If there is ever a free moment, I run up to my office and either write, research, read, listen to webinars, teleseminars, tapes or DVDs. I told my daughter recently that there are not enough years left in my life to learn all I want to learn and to do all I want to do. It’s true, I thrive on information, beauty, music, art, love . . . life!

How about you? Do you struggle with boredom, lack of energy or direction?How do you tap in to that thing that makes you feel fully alive again? Sometimes life takes it’s toll and you are left overwhelmed with disappointment, afraid to hope again. So it takes time to awaken that sleeping giant, overcome disappointment and start to dream again.

Our lives are filled with seasons, some fulfilling and adventurous and some that are difficult, disappointing and just plain hard. If you find yourself in one of those times, just remember: it's only a season and seasons do pass . . . eventually. But I understand that when you are in a dry season it often seems that it will last forever.

Truth is, I’m in one of those seasons now, as I write. But I tend to have a
"glass very full" outlook on life. So even in my difficult seasons I press on. But for those who have a "glass half empty" outlook, it takes more effort to press through the dry seasons. But I encourage you to try . . . to work hard at coming out and pressing on.

How do you do that? I know it varies for each individual, but I'll  suggest 15 steps you can take to move yourself in a positive direction:

1.    Turn off the news for awhile. If your glass is half empty, the last thing you need is more bad news, more reasons to be pessimistic, more people to be angry with, more reasons to feel helpless. You will not die from lack of information. Believe me, it will find you.
 2.    Start your day with positive affirmation. Find a good devotional book, a quiet moment and begin each day by filling up. Reading a Psalm or chapter in Proverbs will get you off on the right foot. Protect the first hour of your day and don’t let negativity get a foothold.
 3.    Turn off the radio when driving and replace it with teaching CDs that build you up. My daddy was a war hero who faced much evil, was kept as a prisoner of war, and endured the Bataan Death March. He always had tapes from motivational speakers next to his bed along with his Bible. That is how he stayed afloat. Learn from my dad and let your time in the car become a time of learning.

4.    Allow yourself time to think. Recall some of your favorite memories. What was the time of your life when you were most fulfilled? What are your happiest memories? What did you love to do as a kid? What do people say you are good at? Answer these questions and write out the memory.
5.    Become an expert. When you find a topic that interests you, read about it. I've heard that you become an expert when you’ve read at least three books on a topic.

6.    Set some goals. Research shows that less than 5% of the population set goals and less than 80% that set them, keep them. However, the most successful use their goals to set their agenda. They ask themselves each day: Does this move me closer to my goal or further from it? Therefore, they are better equipped to say "no" to the things that will sidetrack them and they are able to stay focused.
7.    When you set long term goals, make sure to add short term goals that are the steps along the way. This breaks up the long stretches that seem to take forever and gives you opportunities to celebrate progress. Some of your short term goals should be fairly easy to accomplish. This keeps you going with a sense of forward movement by breaking the big picture down into simple, doable steps.
8.    Delay reading email. Don’t start your day there. Set a time to answer email and stick to it. This will keep you from distractions and focused on work time.
9.    Do your most difficult task of the day first. By getting it out of the way, you will have a sense of relief and accomplishment. Then take time to create! Creating is energizing!
10.    Reward yourself for small accomplishments. Create celebrations with your friends and family.
11.    Make it a common practice to tell those around you just how much you appreciate them. Find what makes them feel special and do that!
12.    Find someone who has needs greater than yours and help them. If you can't help financially, help them by calling or writing with words of encouragement. It's amazing how much difference a little encouragement can make.

13.    Reach out to those you admire. Today with the Internet, Facebook and Twitter, you can almost reach out to just about anyone. And it’s surprising how many will respond.
14.    Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
15.    Find someone who will encourage you! If you can afford a coach, hire one. If you can’t,  look   for a friend who is positive and will encourage you. Make it a point to talk to them regularly. Ask them to hold you accountable on a project or goal.

 Know this - You are God's canvas, His art! He is longing to create a masterpiece out of you! Are you allowing His brush to shape you, or are you turning away from His hand? His art is always beautiful and you really have nothing to fear. I encourage you to relax and allow His brush to paint upon your heart. Then see the amazing colors, shapes and passions He fashions within you. Run toward them with all of your might.

Let me know if any of this resonates with you. Are you struggling with the mundane of life or are you
becoming fully alive as He paints upon the canvas of your life?


Are You Fully Alive

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

Are you fully alive? I often think of artists as being more fully alive than most. I guess because they are usually in touch with their feelings. I find it almost impossible to create if I can't feel.

I remember a time when I felt so fully alive. We had just moved to Europe. Germany, to be exact. I was walking through a lovely street market in the center of a quaint little village. The cobblestone streets were lined with fresh flower stalls. Village regulars were buying their groceries from local farmers, as the aroma of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" filled the air.  The Konditorei (German for bakery) windows,  filled with delicate beautiful pastries, looked like something from a magazine. Just the the church bells began to ring and their echos danced down village streets. It was all too much! I remember taking a deep breath in and thinking, "This is what it feels like to be fully alive!"

Every sensory part of me was awakened, as if from a long slumber.

What is it about America, the land I love, that has silenced our senses? Quaint little villages with cobblestone streets, lined with ancient stone walls, have long since been replaced by strip malls, florescent lights and concrete.

The aroma of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" have been replaced by McDonald's.

Fresh flower vendors no longer occupy village streets, but greet us by the glaring, light of florescent bulbs,  as we enter enormous supermarkets.

I often think what we call "progress" has taken a toll unnoticed by most. . . except for the artists.

What makes you feel fully alive? Can you relate to my observation?  Would you share an experience or time that you were fully alive? I'd love to hear about it.


A Divine Moment This Thanksgiving

I love celebration!
It requires a lot of work and preparation, but to me it's more than worth it.

I've often marveled at the mystery of being at table with family. It can run the gamut from the divine to the disastrous and, believe me, we've had our share of both!

How can we have teenagers, little ones, and imperfect adults, and not have a few catastrophes to deal with? But the catastrophes don't keep me from trying, year after year, to create yet another timeless memory.

The Symbol of Being at Table

The symbol of being together at table is powerful. Many of our favorite moments, breakthroughs and fun filled evenings have come while discussing deep issues around a table.

When we lived in Europe, we learned the art of lingering at table. A European meal was not complete without candles, your best dishes, fresh flowers, and good wine. It all combined to create an occasion for all to relax and share heart to heart and many such evenings produced a 'divine moment.'

On trips back to the States, we were often surprised and disappointed when friends invited us for dinner. Most often we would just stand in someone's kitchen, with paper plates and styrofoam cups in hand, or we'd simply meet at a restaurant. While we enjoy eating out, that 'divine moment' is often missed in a crowded, noisy eatery.

A Divine Moment
I hope that you don't miss your 'divine moment' this Thanksgiving. Research shows that the single most important influence in developing the character of a child is the conversation around the table. Also, that children who know about their parents histories become more resilient and bounce back from disappointment more quickly.

So think of sharing some of your stories around the table this year. How did you decide what you wanted to be in life? Where did you meet your spouse? What was your most embarrassing moment? Hopefully everyone will join in and share a favorite story. Who knows . . . you might just start a new tradition!


Unleash Your Superhero!

Moving was a big part of my growing up. I spent my early years in Japan and Italy, so I missed out on much of the typical American "kid stuff," and especially the TV scene. However, I did have an older brother who somehow managed to find "Mighty Mouse" cartoons. And I have to say, Mighty Mouse made a mighty big impression on me! Maybe it was the fact that he was a singing mouse who belted out in his huge, operatic voice: "Here I come to save the day!" Or that he was lavished with hugs and kisses from the grateful population of Mouseville, when they were rescued from yet another disaster. I was a huge fan.

Each cartoon consisted of a crisis, which needed extraordinary, 'super power' help to resolve. Then, just in the nick of  time,  Mighty Mouse would appear and "save the day." He seemed to always find those who needed help.

I want to speak to the superhero in you! You may not possess 'super powers,' but you do possess the power to bring extraordinary help to someone in need.

The second line to the "Mighty Mouse" theme song is: "When there's a wrong to right, Mighty Mouse will join the fight!" I believe that when you 'join the fight,' you actually find new strength. 

Earlier this year, my hubby and I jumped in to help our friends, Bob and Jayne Farrell. When Nashville flooded, they lost their home and everything in it. We were compelled to help. The fascinating thing is that we did what we normally could not do, or would not do, for ourselves. We felt empowered to 'fight' on behalf of the Farrells. We made phone calls, wrote letters to ask for help, created a video, sang in a benefit concert with some artist 'heavyweights.' Normally, I would shrink back and think, "I can't do that!" But because it was for someone else - someone who needed my help - I found the strength or 'power' to do what I normally cannot do.

Lately, I've been contemplating how artists who find a 'cause' to represent seem to move mountains, reach higher, have more energy and inadvertently draw more attention to their art.

So, I'm "Calling All Supehero Candidates!"  It's a call to artists everywhere: Find a cause that you can get passionate about, then use your art to promote it, raise funds and give to it.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well, I'd love to do that, but I'm a 'starving' artist and I can barely feed my own family." You are the ones I'm especially talking to. When you are in a bind, the most productive thing you can do is to find someone who's needs are greater and give to them.

It will take some time to consider the options and catch a vision.  But if you ask God to put a specific people group, a segment of society, a school, an orphanage, or someone who is less fortunate, on your heart, He will lead you to them. You can then write a song, take photos, or create a painting.  Whatever your art form is, use it to serve - and to raise funds for - your cause. Believe for enough to provide for your needs, then to overflow to give to your cause.

I recently met Zig Ziglar and his famous quote comes to mind: "You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want."  I believe this is true. It's not that we should give in order to get, but in giving, we can't help but receive!

So, what do all you 'superheroes-in-training' think? Tell me . . .  Are you ready to "save the day" for someone who needs your help?


What Is Holding You Back?

I decided a long time ago that I would NOT let fear rob me of life, that if something challenged me . . . I'd find a way to overcome the challenge and do it. It's been a motto that I've tried to pass on to my kids.

When I look back, the major joys in my life were experienced after I overcame an enormous fear. In other words, if I had not overcome my fears, I would have never done the things that have brought me so much joy.

We are all tempted to stop short, to never do the thing that would bring the breakthrough.

I'm talking about fear of speaking, singing, flying, putting yourself out there in life and experiencing the thrill and the possible rejection. This could be taking on a job that you're not sure you can pull off, because every new job and every new opportunity has risks. We are either paralyzed by those risks or we are motivated by them.

There are great rewards for those who allow themselves to function beyond their zone of comfort.

And now that I'm older, I don't fear people, or the word 'no' as much. Reminded of the scripture '"You have not because you ask not,"  I figure that it never hurts to ask, as long as you're prepared to hear a 'no.' But often,  I'm surprised by a 'yes!'

Do you push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to grow? Do you ever allow yourself to get out on the edge - knowing you must produce or sink? Honestly this is a very good way to live.

Much of our struggle is mental. We are capable of so much more than we imagine. Sadly, few of us ever reach the limits of our capabilities. What if you went out on that limb and actually succeeded? How would your life change for the better?

Now think - what if you don't? What if nothing changes?
Movement in one direction or the other is better than stagnation. So make up you mind to move in the direction of your dreams - take some risks - just don't stand still.

We're afraid of failure. We must realize that failure is a necessary part of becoming. Use those failures as opportunities for growth. Learn from you mistakes and move on.

If this concept is difficult for you, start with small steps outside of your comfort zone. You don't have to do it all at once. Try to do one thing each week that challenges you.

Successful people seem to walk that fine line between safe and reckless. Pushing their limits causes extreme growth. If you want to make a mark in this world - allow yourself to be pressed beyond your zone of comfort and then move into the land of the living, where life itself becomes an adventure!

Permission to Dream

When I was a kid my dad would call family meetings. It was just me, my brother, and my mom and dad, but these little meetings linger huge in my memory as an adult.

These were actually 'dream' sessions. My dad would give us permission to dream, to let our minds go and imagine what we wanted in life. He would give us magazines and instruct us to look for pictures that inspired us; pictures of houses that we might want to live in or countries we might want to visit. As each session of dreaming and sharing our dreams came to a close, he would say. "With God, anything is possible!"

My daddy passed away last year. He fell and was admitted to the hospital for treatment, I had no idea that our first visit to the hospital would be our last visit with my dad. I was telling him about some project I was involved in and he said, "Honey, all I know is that, if you're involved in it, it will be great!" Where did all of his positive affirmation come from?

My dad was a war hero, who survived the Bataan Death March and being held as a prisoner of war in Korea. Even when I was in high school he was off fighting the war in Viet Nam.

He returned home with severe depression and wounds from having been tortured and deprived of basic needs. I remember the evening he went into a rage, because my mother had served rice for dinner - all stemming from years of being near starvation and only having rice to eat.

But he had a heart to protect his country, his family, and me - his daughter - from evil. Evil that he had encountered face to face. Often he reminded my brother and I that there is evil in this world and that was the reason he was a soldier; he fought to protect us from that evil.

Under his bed he kept his medals: a purple heart, bronze star, and numerous other awards for courage, bravery and leadership.

He was and still is my hero. He survived three wars and the resulting years of brutal memories by filling his mind and his spirit with positive material: his bible, good books, and cassette tapes of motivational speakers.

After his death we went to his room to go though his things. There were stacks of tapes, casstte tapes by the giants of positive thinking such as Zig Ziglar. We listened to those tapes all the way home from his memorial service, a 12 hour drive.

Now I understand my dad better. He never stopped fighting, even though the war was over. He survived the Korean war, WWII and Viet Nam, but his fight continued. It was a fight for his mind, his soul, and for his family.

He wanted us to grasp how blessed we were, how fortunate we were that we did not have to face 'evil' in our own country. He wanted us to have a better life. He wanted us to dream - because he knew that dreaming was still possible, even after coming face to face with the atrocities of war.

That is why I'm compelled to encourage you. I just can't help it. It's in my bones, in my DNA. It's why I'm a fighter and I never give up. My daddy's voice still rings in my ear.

It's why I want to say to you today, with your dreams, your art, your projects: "All I know is that, if you're involved in it, it will be great!"


Art of Non - Conformity

I attended an interesting book tour event last week - here in Nashville on the 48days property. Dan & Joanne Miller, of 48days, are always full of surprises and this event was no exception. It was outside in the night air, complete with a bonfire to take away the chill. The chairs were stationed at the foot of the eagle, Aristotle, who is carved into the remnant of a former flourishing tree.

I loved hearing Chris Gillebieu speak about his book, The Art of Non-Conformity. Honestly, he only spoke for about 20 minutes and he didn't say anything I haven't heard before. But for me, the foundation of his life, the way he thinks, the things he stands for, took the forefront and they reached down to the core of who I am and challenged me.

He talked about living a life of non-conformity, of following your heart instead of following the crowd.

I would say that I did that for many years and still do, but . . . and it's the 'but' that hurts! Circumstances have pulled me away, in some ways, from my ability to stay on the edge of non-conformity. Chris . . . not his words, but his spirit . . . tugged at that edge. I left feeling more focused and sure of who I am, what I am about and what I want to accomplish.

I know that the majority of my life is now behind me. I know that I love life, appreciate beauty and marvel at the creativity humans possess. I know that I want my life to count, no matter what circumstances I face. And I realize that to accomplish this, it takes tremendous courage, relentless persistence, unwavering faith and LOTS of hard work.

I think I'm up for the task! How about you?

Are you following the crowd, when your heart calls you in another direction?
Is 'playing it safe' stealing the life you were created to live?
Are you willing to lose it all in order to live your call? Are you willing
to learn the ART of non -comformity? Could there be an Eagle hiding in the remnants of your

Just wondering . . . .

Are Artists In Touch With Their Heart's Desire

"Most of us don't know what we want; we've never defined our goals, values or passions, so we're out of touch with our hearts' desires." ~ Mark Batterson author of Wild Goose Chase~

I'm just wondering if the above quote applies to creative types . . . to musicians, dancers, poets, painters, artists, to you? Creatives are extremely talented and disciplined in their art form. At the same time, these disciplined artists are sometimes totally disorganized with their time.

Does disorganized thinking and lack of time management rob you of your ultimate goals and dreams? Do you make the most of every day? Do you know how to begin a productive day? Do you know which projects to tackle first?

If any of these questions hit a hot spot for you, it's time to make some changes, some drastic ones!

Let me help you do that by asking some questions:

1. What is your heart's desire ?

2. Are you fully alive?

3. If nothing changes in the next 5 years regarding your art and your income - are you OK with that?

4. What steps can you take that will move you in the direction of your goal for your creativity?

5. What obstacles are standing in the way?

6.What can you say NO to - that will give you more time to work on your creative endeavors?

7. Can you get up 1 hr earlier, or maybe 2, and give this time to work on your art?

8. Is there someone you can connect with that will encourage you to make headway with your art?

9. Is there a message behind your art - a greater picture or cause that you could link your art to?

10. What does the story of your life say about you thus far? Do you inspire others?

11. Is anyone helping you come up with a plan to support yourself with your art?

12. Do you know how to make real money with your art? (is there any other kind?)

13. If you need an extra $1,000 this month, do you know how to use your art to raise that money?

14. Do you think of your creative expression as a business?

I'd love to hear your answers! I'm in a transformation process myself and I'm learning how to view my creativity as a business that needs to be stewarded! I hope what I'm learning can help you too! Any questions? Fire away!

I'd like to recommend this as a wonderful tool to move you in the right direction!
It's created by my coach, Carrie Wilkerson. I can assure you that she has some answers that we as creatives need to move forward. If you want to reach you goals you must have a plan, and a way to organize your day!

Juggling?? Time Management Tips - Strategies for Your Success from 3 Experts!


Changed at the Boss Event!

Just returned from "The Boss Event" with Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive! It was an amazing event and I'm thrilled that I was able to attend. The speakers were "movers and shakers" who run their businesses with high standards! Each of them spoke of their families as their treasures, their relationship with God, and the fact that their businesses were how they give back to the world.

The speakers were Zig Ziglar, David Frey, Paul Evans, David Ring, Paul Martinelli, Joel Comm and Carrie Wilkerson. They opened my eyes to a 'new' kind of business, where character, ethics and authenticity RULE!!

So it leads me to this question: Are you AUTHENTIC? Are you honest with your audience? Are you willing to use your weaknesses as your assets? Are you willing to get over yourself?

Each of these speakers talked of their weaknesses, their problems, their tragedies, and each of them had overcome what others said were impossible.

What are your biggest challenges? Do you have an impossibility in your life at this moment? Are you willing to stay the course and believe that God will turn them into your launching pad?

Honestly, I'm facing some enormous challenges at this very moment, but I believe that they will become the launching pad to my future. I have NO idea how . . . I just choose to believe.

Wanna join me? Wanna share your challenge and make a statement of faith regarding your future? Wanna walk away from your past and into the present?

Let me know and I promise to CHEER YOU ON!!!

P.S. Zig Ziglar was better than ever, even though he had a tragic accident and suffers from brain damage, pure sweetness flows from every word he speaks. What a role example!


Beauty Inspires Hope!

"Beauty inspires hope. It reminds us that we are human–and that we have a responsibility to add more beauty to the world before we leave."  ~ Bill Strickland

A trip through Ireland and Scotland made one thing perfectly clear: the haunting Celtic music I enjoy regularly sounds exactly like the landscape looks. It was obvious the inspiration for the music came from the beauty of the surroundings.

A typical drive, down winding roads lined with stone walls, led us through misty hillsides, along waterfalls, and face to face with rainbows. It was obvious that the music was 'of the people' and 'from the land'. It emphasized what I already knew instinctively: the very reason artistic types migrate to beautiful areas is that they need beauty to survive. Beauty nourishes the creative soul.

My hubby and I gained years of inspiration from our trip through Scotland - to the remote island of Iona. I still see the sights and feel the emotion of the land. It doesn't take much to take me back in my mind. From that trip we wrote songs, recorded a CD, and designed a muti-sensory event called "Come to the Quiet."

If you are a creative, how long has it been since you treated yourself to natures symphony . . . to beauty which nourishes the depths of your being? Are you blocked, depressed, sad, stuck or overwhelmed with projects that you started but never completed? Perhaps you need to feed your inner soul. Sometimes we actually have to MAKE ourselves get out of our normal routine, get outdoors and soak up the sounds of nature. Take in a sunset, listen to crickets, smell hay, lie down in the grass .... and just "be."

Our busy, hectic, stress-filled world robs us of the inner passion that fuels our souls and fuels our creativity. We are designed to enjoy that which is beautiful! When we are deprived of it, our soul aches; it's as if a piece of us is missing and we become aware of a deep inner longing.

Are you longing for something, but don't know what? Perhaps it's that deep, God-given longing for that which is beautiful, noble, true and good.  I encourage you to seek for it like a precious jewel . . . and when you find it use the fresh inspiration to fuel your creativity.

Create something of eternal value - something  that  will inspire hope in others and nourish your own soul for years to come.


Why We Need Your Art

"Whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

We need to fill our minds with beautiful things. The old saying is true - what goes in must come out. Whatever we take in seems to dictate who we become.

It's difficult to find balance in this stressful, crazy world we live in. If we live in front of the news, taking in all the bad reports, we can easily become overwhelmed with world issues that we can do very little about. All of this bad news creates anxiety that fuels stress. Many of us are completely stressed out and are desperate to find ways to replenish.

This is why I feel that artists need to keep doing their art. When life goes crazy, we need that beautiful song that touches the inner core of our being that inspires and uplifts, or the painting that creates in us a thirst for the divine. Beauty appeals to the noble, lofty sublime parts of our being. These deep parts of ourselves need to be stirred, nourished and given room to become. Often they are what carries us through our darkest nights, our deepest pits and our
broken hearts.

I have a lovely friend who found much solace in an art museum after the murder of her son. Another friend found hope in the sounds of the piano, after being abandoned by his birth mother and adopted into an abusive home. Lines, patterns, sounds, colors all entwined in 'the beautiful' that march straight into the deepest parts of our hearts.There they transform despair into hope and sorrow into rays of joy and confusion into focused truth.

Don't neglect that which feeds and restores your inner man.

Artists, keep painting. Singers, keep singing. Poets, keep rhyming. Musicians, keep playing. Dancers, don't ever stop dancing  . . . we need your passion and you need to express it. Together, we will find our way through the darkest of days.

Continuing - Straight From My Heart - It's Complicated!

After my last article some of you may be thinking - why don't these 'artists' just get 'real' jobs? The economy is struggling and we all have to get out there and work!

My response to this kind of thinking is in the following story:

We have a friend who is a Broadway leading lady. She was touring with the roadshow, "Thoroughly Modern Millie." As Millie, she was the star of the show. They were opening the show in Nashville and she invited us to have dinner with the cast. We met at The Stock-Yard, the historic downtown steakhouse and were seated around a huge wooden table. There must of been 15 or 20 of us. The members of the cast were telling painful stories of auditioning for various shows in New York and receiving countless 'no's' before finally hearing 'you're hired.'

There was a brief pause in the conversation so I asked, "With all of this rejection, why do you keep on doing this?" In unison - as if the answer were perfectly choreographed - they all answered, "It's all we know!"  Then one by one, they shared that they don't have any other skills, that they don't have a clue what to do other than sing, dance and act.

I left the dinner that night with a solid sense of understanding. We - my husband and I - are artists, musicians and songwriters, and to be honest . . . we don't know how to do anything else either!

So when a dear friend mentioned that artists just need to recognize the season and get 'real' jobs, I began thinking. . .

Most gifted artists who've managed to actually make a living in the arts, have done well financially. But if they can no longer do what they are gifted at . . . what DO they do if they have no other marketable skills? If they simply go get a job, they might be fortunate to make $7.50 an hour.

 Let's see: $7.50 x 40 hr work week = $300 a week. How many weeks would it take before this gifted artist is filing for bankruptcy?

Just saying . . . it's complicated!


Straight From My Heart

"When you give money to artists, you are yourself doing an artist’s work.”
                 ~Vincent Van Gogh~

I was stirred to the core of my being this week when I read an article.
It was about the Medici family; a powerful family who helped art flourished during the 15th century. Michaelangelo lived with this family. They gave financially to support his gift and even encouraged their friends to become patrons as well. The vision and actions of this one family gave the world great works of art that are still celebrated today.

  If Michaelangelo had not had the support of the Medici family, we would not have The Pieta, David, or his magnificent paintings in the Sistine Chapel.

Many famous artists became part of The Medici Court: Leonardo Di Vinci, Piero Benci, Andrea del Verrocchio. The list goes on - artists that were supported so they could give themselves fully to their art.

Living in Nashville, I personally know of amazing musicians who are creating works of excellence that are having to lay aside their gifts to go into the workplace, just to survive. It's painful to watch. The world needs their gifts, but sheer survival demands that they lay them down.

Unless an artist is wildly successful, odds are that they are some of the most overlooked people in society and receive very little encouragement. Even the Church falls short in recognizing their gifts and offering any type of support at all.

I exhort you to find an artist who has enriched your life with their gift, call them or write them and tell them how much you appreciate and recognize their gift. And if you can, bless them with a monetary gift. In this way, you'll also bless the world for generations to come.


Will You Dance

God spoke and the worlds were created! There is no limit to our creativity when we are connected to the Creator! Spirituality and creativity are mysteriously linked.

"Marvel at the beauty of our profoundly mysterious universe and you will be inspired to create."
               from The Evidential Power of Beauty

I'm amazed at how listening to beautiful music releases the writer in me. I have written my best lyrics while listening. That which inspires has the power to release creativity. But sadly . . . many of us live such busy lives that we are deprived of inspiration.

How long has it been since you sat under a canopy of stars, watched a sunrise or waded in a creek bed? If your creativity is blocked -  take some time to get outside in nature, marvel at a butterfly, catch a firefly, or just lay down next to a stream.

The Creator pursues you for a sacred dance. Will you take His hand . . . will you dance?


Follow The Leader

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, "find someone who is successful at what you want to do - then do what they do!"  Actually, I know it works but it's harder than it sounds. You all know that too.

But . . . if you are a struggling musician who is good at your craft, you need to take notice of this couple. They have risen from obscurity, make a living with their music and don't even have a physical CD. It would be wise to "do what they do!" All of you using other art forms pay attention. You can use these same strategies with your art.

Meet Jack and Nataly who are Pomplamoose. they are perfect examples of my earlier blog about doing art the 'new way!' They have used YouTube to carve out a niche for themselves, and they are the new leaders. Click here to read an article and hear an interview with Pomplamoose.

If you have not considered using video to promote your art form, you are missing an easy way to share, advertise and keep your work front and center! An easy way to start is with Animoto.
They have a free trial that I started with, but quickly realized I wanted the 'Pro' edition.

Check out my animoto video here. Click here to view.

I'll be sharing more tips about using video and YouTube soon - so sign up for the auto feed and stay tuned!

Your ARTrageous Success Coach,

Deby Dearman


Speaking of Successful Habits

While wondering what successful habits I could add to my routine . . . I got this idea about setting monthly and weekly goals. Many articles talk about the power of goal setting and I've applied the concept to my work. Each year I write out my goals with a time line. However, I'm beginning to see the power of writing out monthly goals with a weekly time line. This is different from a 'to do' list.

 It's not a list that you check off at the end of every day,  it's bigger than that. This list would hold your big dreams for the month; those things that you know you want to do, but never seem to get done. For example, I've wanted to start a podcast for several years now. Don't ask me why I've not started yet because I can't really tell you.

My goal this month is to get my podcast up and running.  You will be able to see and judge how far I've come by the end of Sept. I'm just putting it out there. My goal for the podcast is to encourage artist. I want to interview artist who are making a difference and making a living, so we can learn some of their successful habits. I now have 27 days to accomplish this goal. :-)

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . .


Successful Habits

"Successful people are simply those with successful habits." ~Brian Tracy ~

So what successful habits have you incorporated into your daily routine? How do you start your day? Julia Cameron of the wildly successful book, The Artist Way, suggest morning pages.
Dan Miller of the best selling book, 48 Days To The Work You Love, suggests that you turn off the news, avoid email and take a walk. He also suggests that you spend your first hour listening to something inspirational or reading a good devotional.

I have taken Dan up on his suggestions; quiet devotions, hot tea and an occasional walk.

Just wondering . . . how do you start your day? Is it a habit that leads to success?

How Artists Are Coping With The Sluggish Economy

Artist’s are already referred to as ‘starving,’ so how do they fare in this sluggish economy? Many are struggling for sure, but there are those that are knocking it out of the ball park!
What is the difference?
From my research, the ones that are struggling are still doing business as usual; the ones that are prospering have found the ‘new’ way.
This reminds me of the classic book Who Moved My Cheese! So I’m making an official announcement; “Artist, your cheese has moved! Learn more about the new ways to get the work out about your art.”
I’m going to be talking about the new ways in this blog, so stay tuned, sign up for RSS feed and let’s move forward and find ways to prosper with the ‘new’ way of doing art. I call it Artrageous Living!