The New Normal

I've finally let one of my photographer friends, Miah Oren, shoot while I painted a gradient 12-feet-tall in a dark stairwell. She braved my Justin Bieber and Destiny's Child jams, too. 

I had to work very quick, and used a couple liters of water on the wall. This painting process took around 30 minutes -- and about an hour to contain and cleanup the water world down below.

Thankfully, not photographed is me standing on the second to top step of a 6' ladder in stretchy painting workout pants. 

My Final Weeks At WELD

A few days ago, I sent out a letter to WELD members letting them know I am stepping out of my role as Community Manager on March 13th. 

This was a very prayerful and conscious decision, and to say it was difficult is putting it lightly. It's been the heaviest burden I've ever experienced because, well -- I never thought I would have made it here. It’s literally been a dream job for me. 

WELD Open House Party 9.14.12. Photo by Nicholas Leitzinger

WELD Open House Party 9.14.12. Photo by Nicholas Leitzinger

I’ve had the opportunity to encourage so many artists to pursue their passions as a profession — and that is what I intend to do now. Practice what I preach by taking advantage of my degree in watercolor painting and illustration.

When I helped launch WELD back in March of 2012, I literally had no idea who I was, what I wanted to do with my life, or what I was even good at. I met up with the founder, Austin, right after he signed the lease, and agreed to do some coffee consulting in exchange for a membership. After a few weeks, I was hired on as a contractor. Then shortly became the first salaried employee. 

My job has always been pretty nebulous — doing anything and everything required to stay open and keep members happy. Being the “Community Manager” essentially meant wearing every hat from: recruiting, vetting, and on-boarding members, to tapping kegs, to organizing massive events, to finally overseeing the expansion campaign to Nashville.

Organizing the WELD launch with Austin Mann, April 2012. Photo by Daniel Davis

Organizing the WELD launch with Austin Mann, April 2012. Photo by Daniel Davis

In three years, I’ve:
+ sent over 9,000 emails
brewed over 780 pounds of coffee
consumed well over 900 tacos from Taco Stop
conducted 113 member meetings
baked 2,713 cookies (with the help of interns)
sent 113 weekly member memos — lovingly called “the membo”
purchased around 45 kegs of local beer
on-boarded over 250 WELDERs
hosted numerous events for over 4,000 attendees
Interviewed 50 potential interns
hosted over 700 studio shoots
attended 3 weddings of members who met at WELD
+ had one of my favorite nights of all time documented by Paul Golangco
….and many more.

I want to acknowledge that the work we did at WELD was pretty fantastic. I have been carefully planning with the leadership, and know that WELD will thrive in my absence. The trajectory it is on is incredible. They will all continue to be my friends, family, and comrades — 

…but now I’d like to add fellow artist and freelancer to that list. 

Kammok Launch Party at SXSW 3.16.14. Photo by Steve Rokks

Kammok Launch Party at SXSW 3.16.14. Photo by Steve Rokks

I’ve gained an innumerable amount of experience while working for and with some of the most talented folks I’ve ever known. The love and encouragement I have from my community is enabling me to take this chance on myself. 

It’s always felt like WELD was this amazing gift that I didn’t deserve — that it had nothing to do with me and I was lucky to have it. Fear of losing that significance, fear of failure, fear of not having a safety net has kept me from dreaming bigger. Fear has held me back from having deeper relationships beyond what I was able to offer transactionally. 

Fear of who I am without WELD has kept me hidden behind it. 

The biggest impact I was able to contribute in WELD’s success to date has been culturally. I helped create an environment in which people can thrive on genuine encouragement and selflessness. The question around the workspace is rarely asked “what can you do for me?” but rather, “how can I help you?” 

Great friends, Tyler Sharp and Matt Alexander at the WELD Show 2013. Photo by Daniel Driensky

Great friends, Tyler Sharp and Matt Alexander at the WELD Show 2013. Photo by Daniel Driensky

Those words resonate through our competitive nature to our core — where we simply want to be heard and understood. Sometimes all a person needs is simple reassurance by someone who listened to them. 

By instilling this into members, I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed by the fruits of my labor. I’ll always be a huge advocate for WELD because I have not only seen what a community can do to change lives, I’ve experienced it for myself. 

Over the next month, I’ll be spending a considerable amount of time just being a person in Oak Cliff. I’m going to exhaust my savings account doodling at Davis Street Espresso and ride my bike up and down Winnetka Heights. 

Me being a person in Oak Cliff. Photo by Jess Barfield

Me being a person in Oak Cliff. Photo by Jess Barfield

I’m just starting to give myself license to dream again. I want to finish editing and illustrating the book I’ve been writing, talk to a few galleries about representation, consult with start-ups around town, license my designs for textiles, and paint everything I can get my hands on. 

This time is so valuable, and I'm so humbled for this opportunity. I will be finally treating myself like a WELDER, and consulting Tiffany the painter on how to build and run her own creative empire. 

So shoot me an email or fill out the contact page -- let's create something great together. 

Law of the Universe: Gravity

I had an existential crisis and a vieux carre in Nashville last week. Luckily, I was with friends with a higher alcohol tolerance than I….so they could drive. 

It was a unusual trip because I normally travel alone. I’ll lean on my myer’s briggs personality results (INFJ), and spend a week with my only lover — the sea. 

But something interesting happened when I added: different variables, close proximity, and a lot of momentum… 

Gravity.

Newton was the first to discover that it’s the attractive force between objects that have mass — held together by a center of gravity.

The closer the objects get to each other, and to the center of gravity, the faster they gravitate towards each other. 

In contrast, as they get further apart, that force of gravity dissipates quickly. 

So for this vacation experiment, I added: 40 people, the city of Nashville, 6 days power-packed with music (of course), about 20 cups of coffee, and my entire monthly budget on restaurants. 

The result?

Proof of inherently being drawn to other people. 

I’m a creature made for connection — at the core of individual humans, there is a constant unseen force drawing each of us towards relationship with each other.

Over that gorgeous cocktail, hand-rolled gnocchi and a spotless city sky with a few folks I was just pretty good friends with, we had a conversation that changed me. 

I was no longer a wandering particle in a sea of dark matter — but seen. 

Put under a microscope, illuminated with light; and understood. 
All the while, doing the same for them.

It was there I realized that growing up, I was constantly running away and hiding in the hopes that someone would find me when I was upset.

In C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, he explains it this way:

“Pity was meant to be a spur that drives joy to help misery… Those who choose misery can hold joy up to ransom, by pity… Even as a child you did it. Instead of saying you were sorry, you went and sulked in the attic… because you knew that sooner or later one of your sisters would say, “I can’t bear to think of him sitting up there alone, crying.” You used their pity to blackmail them, and they gave in in the end.”

The sad thing is — I noticed I still do this. 
But instead of blackmailing people into finding me (which has never worked), I have learned to run away and run into my own arms.

I’ll leave a conversation and hide when I feel uncomfortable. 
I have 5-7 designated hiding spots at work when my inbox overflows. 
I run to a new city when a relationship goes south. 

Running and hiding is my default — not my personality, but perhaps a learned trait. 

A family member probably didn’t mean harm when he said this, but his description of me as a child has always stuck with me: 

“We didn’t even know she was around most of the time.”

Because my most comforting childhood memories were of climbing trees alone to read, riding my bike around our tiny town, and discovering the internet at our public library.

The greater the distance, the quicker a mass’s gravity is weakened to other mass and to the center of gravity.

The further away we are from our source — our relationships, quality of life, demeanor, well-being, health — everything good in us is greatly diminished.

It was refreshing this past week to be taken care of, loved, and treated as family. 
To be seen, to be really heard, to feel compassion — and to truly be that for another. 

 

It’s a interesting dichotomy to be replenished in the process of pouring out. 

At our core,
We are created for connection. 
To refresh and restore each other. 
To love without borders. 
To take a leap into relationship. 
To be in pursuit of real trust.

The absolute highlight of the trip
were the moments I broke down. 
When I was told to stop trying to 
control every outcome. 
To not put expectations on myself that aren’t fair.
To not project those onto innocent bystanders.

Our center of gravity — is love. 
It’s all encompassing of all things 
essential to life.
It’s rooted deep within us
growing a gravitational field
the more we nurture it.

Trust
Patience
Kindness
Empathy

And the more we individually, 
and those around us, 
chase the source
that is ever pursuing us --  
The tighter the bond.
The greater the force.
The more towards completed we become.




bib — Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). The Great Divorce (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis) (Kindle Locations 1225-1229). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. // http://physics.about.com/od/classicalmechanics/a/gravity.htm

Law of the Universe: Entropy

“Entropy” is gorgeously illusive word.

It’s safe to say that the majority 
and even the minorities
don’t understand what it means — yet.

It contributes to the direction 
of not only our
individual lives, 
but in all things 
moving through space.

Physics and Chemistry are highly, 
highly, HIGHLY complicated. 
I’ve studied and been fascinated by them since 
my grandfather, Norman, 
would talk about their laws 
on our way to get 
strawberry sodas after middle school.

My greatest wish in life was 
(and still is) 
to have a sliver 
of the genius he did.

BUT BACK 
TO ENTROPY.

The basic law of entropy 
kind of means 
that the further in time something gets, 
the more chaotic and 
away from it’s natural state it becomes. 
It’s literally the measure
of disorder.

A balloon bursts. 
Water boils.
Volcanoes erupt. 
Waves crash.

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It’s important to note that I said law — 
as in, it’s proven to be not only a fact, 
but a rule by which our entire universe obeys. 
As tiny specks in the cosmos, 
we are in no means 
an exception 
to this law. 
….sorry.

It is also probably 
important to know that it’s a measurement 
of thermal energy. 
Again, as part of a functioning solar system, 
human people 
are included 
in this.

And finally, for my last point, 
this mathematical 
measurement illuminates a grand mystery 
that is the 
spontaneous
phenomena 
also known as 
our everyday lives.

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We climb and build and paint and 
perfect lives that by law, 
are becoming more and 
more disorganized 
with each
passing
minute.

Plan this week all you’d like but — 
It still doesn’t change the fact that 
since the beginning of time
We are accelerating further 
away from the perfect existence 
created in the illusive beginning.

We are held together by 
particles just being discovered
by the regeneration of
order into chaos.

Today I anticipated filling my cup 
but instead, it lays on the floor
in shattered glass.

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It’s important to set goals — 
but how much more relevant 
is it to embrace the gravity
of your existence.

If the laws of thermodynamics 
and physics and chemistry and entropy
apply to the pulling of our sun 
away from other galaxies, 
then what business have I to believe 
I will ever create order.

Why long for a life with
statistical odds against it. 
What is the purpose
of the dreams and
longings of our hearts.

Yet, as great as we seek 
the deepest oceans of 
answers to these questions — 
We find rest on the walls
of the light in whom’s 
speed we travel upon
in a universe with only a 
four percent 
human
under
stand
ing.

To which I selfishly ask:

Is love
greater
than law.

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Exercising the right to bear inspiration

Anyone that REALLY knows me, knows that I'm not very smart. 

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However, I do love smart people and baffling sciencey things. 

Today, I had my first adventure to the Perot Museum here in downtown Dallas with the most brilliant person I know (Liz Goulding) and my sweet adopted family (which happens to be her real family).

Be prepared to see the following iphone photos pop-up in near-future doodles:

I just discovered that I'm obsessed with rock formations.

I just discovered that I'm obsessed with rock formations.

Are you seeing this. 

Are you seeing this. 

Umm. This is like, natural.

Umm. This is like, natural.

Is your mind blown yet. Mine is obliterated. 

Is your mind blown yet. Mine is obliterated. 

Okay, too far. 

Okay, too far. 

I didn't like the dinosaur stuff so I took pictures of hallways.

I didn't like the dinosaur stuff so I took pictures of hallways.

Just two native American spirits on an escalator 

Just two native American spirits on an escalator 

To all the rich people in America -- thank you for being able to buy lots of fossil things with money made from fossil fuels so you could build cool buildings to put them all in.

YOU'RE GEMS. 

 

The Introvert Paradise

Across a field of lilac trees and newly sprouted canola lies a tiny wooden house.

Walk up the stone path.

The door creaks as it’s opened wide.

Light illuminates from within — something living which breathes only in the space which isn’t seen. The staircase beckons to an isolated crawl space.

Inside, there is a rapid flowing river.

One must watch their step as to not become trapped in the fierce waves crashing into the rocks that line it’s bed.

Along the river is a dirt path made from a familiar traveller.

She’s been here before — perhaps she is even here now.

The path leads down the river to the horizon. The sun is stuck setting in the most golden hour it knows.

Upon journeying further, it’s discovered that the river leads into the ocean.

The waves of the river collide into the ocean’s tide; the percussion section to this santuarious haven.

There, along the shore — she’s sitting cross-legged with hands high to meet the breeze. The crisp air hits her lungs and pulsates with the ebb and flow of the sea.

With soft, dark hair and deepened eyes — it’s evident she belongs here. She created this frozen, unseen moment.

A flash of darkness.

Yet another.

You’re blinking awake you

Fell asleep in the corner of the coffee shop again.

The weeks are growing longer and you’re so saturated with people that you drift away amongst them. You grasp for a moment away from the noise and

Across the room you meet her eyes.

The sweet and broken vastness for whom you travelled along the brain waves of in your other reality.

She hands a freshly crafted drink over with a forced smile.

The milk pitcher is rinsed. The espresso basket had been emptied.

She begins again.

Over and over you watch as she drifts away —

Beyond the bright yellow canola fields with trees of sweet lilac to recharge in the crawl space within the impossible tiny house

Which holds a river that leads to the ocean where

Isolation brings her consolation

As you pack up your things and politely wave out the door.

Today was very significant.

Exactly two years ago I started working at WELD because of a wedding album.

I met an incredible photographer while working at the old Pearl Cup on Henderson Ave. We became friends and I started designing some albums for him.

He then introduced me to a guy with an empty warehouse to help start a coffee program for a creative space.

Two years and thousands of photos (and emails) later, I got to spend this day with the new manager of WELD Nashville, and end it at the home of a couple I designed a wedding album for.

My dream job has been utterly exhausting, trying, and always a blessing. Thankful for the last two years to grow with some of the most amazing people this world has ever seen.

Transient

Viva la Deva

In September of 2012, a girl showed up at WELD in cut off shorts and boots as a volunteer for our Open House Party. She was fresh out of art school, and on a whim, responded to a tweet from Kyle Steed that led her to us. 

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Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever guessed that only 17 months later, I would be sitting on a white sand beach watching her marry a shy web developer in Tulum, Mexico. 

 

The photographers that shot the wedding are the newest edition to the "fell in love at WELD" club, and the filmmaker was the first member of that growing list.

 

The groom toasted to all 36 of us that trekked down to Mexico for the nuptials, and said

"you're all here today because we want to spend the rest of our lives with you."

 

Before the good professional photos come out, I thought I'd share my perspective of the week. All are terribly shot via iphone and helped a bit by vsco filters. 

The Cancun coast flying in versus flying out. 

The Cancun coast flying in versus flying out. 

Apparently, I use my hair as an eyemask when on vacation.

Apparently, I use my hair as an eyemask when on vacation.

View of the Caribbean on the left, and the peninsula on the right. Taken on top of the groom's house for the week.

View of the Caribbean on the left, and the peninsula on the right. Taken on top of the groom's house for the week.

Sitting up in bed at 5:30 almost every morning to watch the sun rise over the sea. 

Sitting up in bed at 5:30 almost every morning to watch the sun rise over the sea. 

Daughter and Mother -- at home in paradise.

Daughter and Mother -- at home in paradise.

Margaritas, new friends, the bride's mother telling an epic tale with her arms, and the groom wiggling. 

Margaritas, new friends, the bride's mother telling an epic tale with her arms, and the groom wiggling. 

Baffled by the Mexican graphic design and fine art. 

Baffled by the Mexican graphic design and fine art. 

Nature-made, Man-made, Tiffany-made. 

Nature-made, Man-made, Tiffany-made. 

I have a feeling hashtag Met at WELD is going to be a thing soon. Couple number three -- #delsi

I have a feeling hashtag Met at WELD is going to be a thing soon. Couple number three -- #delsi

Always fun to photograph the photographers. No -- she's not wearing pants. Yes -- he is filming in a bath tub.

Always fun to photograph the photographers. No -- she's not wearing pants. Yes -- he is filming in a bath tub.

The calm before the wedding. 

The calm before the wedding. 

Last selfie as a single gal on the left -- The groom's mother, Jeanene, reacting to seeing the bride for the first time on the right.

Last selfie as a single gal on the left -- The groom's mother, Jeanene, reacting to seeing the bride for the first time on the right.

Finalizing her vows -- and trying to sneak a peek at the groom. 

Finalizing her vows -- and trying to sneak a peek at the groom. 

The moments before life changes forever.

The moments before life changes forever.

We laughed, we cried, the groom dropped the bride's ring in the sand -- It's official. 

We laughed, we cried, the groom dropped the bride's ring in the sand -- It's official. 

It rained in the middle of the reception dinner -- but some stuck it out and kept eating. It was that good.

It rained in the middle of the reception dinner -- but some stuck it out and kept eating. It was that good.

Sunrise versus sunset.

Sunrise versus sunset.

Congratulations to two of the most incredible folks I've ever known -- you finally found each other. 

#DawsonyNeva

Adios, Pearl Cup

I walked into the Pearl Cup for probably the last time in my life. I had a dream about its finality last night, and just had to go in today.

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The first thing I saw? The hand written menu I created in my last weeks working there over 2 years ago.

When I first moved to Dallas from Oklahoma, the Pearl Cup was my first big person job after getting a degree in Studio Art (because what else do you do with a painting degree.....). I worked in coffee shops all through college, so it seemed like a safe next step.

It was weird being there because it's the same, and yet I'm so different. Oddly enough, it feels like I'm different because of it. The Pearl Cup was a place of transformation while transitioning into being a real person.

// It was my first job in management.

// The first place I showed my art after college.

// The shop I picked up my last two boyfriends, and about 50 first dates.

// I met my BFF Liz (& Poppi) there, and after a cappuccino bootcamp incident, she let me crash at her house (for way too long...) until I could get a place of my own.

Cappuccinograms taken by coffee pals, Dan Forsythe & Eric Madison

Cappuccinograms taken by coffee pals, Dan Forsythe & Eric Madison

// It was the first place where I had the proper tools to make good coffee.

// The setting for the most romantic five-minute long first date I'll ever have.

// When looking around, it's probable that I washed very dish in that place at least 25 times.

Oh hey, it's Dan. *Photo by David Herron*

Oh hey, it's Dan. *Photo by David Herron*

// I met a lot of photographers sitting at cramped, wobbly tables trying to edit, and landed my first design job from one of them. That design gig (with Shaun Menary) landed me a job with WELD when Austin Mann was looking for someone to help establish a coffee program. It's also interesting to note that Shaun introduced the world, via instagram, to his now wife, Shannon (@bumpit) there.

// I met my fabulous Dallas Mom, Rosita here when she would come in with her Dolche fur (boyfriends in tail).

// Not to mention, I got to meet: most restaurant owners in town, a plethora of chefs and mixologists, artists, cute seminary students, cops (who helped get me out of tickets...), and probably about 80% of the people I know in Dallas.

Oh I'm about to pour a latte. *photo by David Herron*

Oh I'm about to pour a latte. *photo by David Herron*

So that place was pretty important to me.

As with any service job, it was exhausting, demanding, and the pay was hilarious…but it will always be a sweet memory. The Pearl Cup was my launching pad into adult life. 

In the words of a current barista there tonight,

“Hey, at least we don't work at Starbucks.”

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*It's important to note that only the original Pearl Cup on Henderson is closing...and I'm very excited to go back in there when Houndstooth takes over the space!*

Digestive Press Release

In the last four weeks, I've almost died four times. 

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The latest was this morning while driving to church on i30 when all the ice from the top of my car slid down to completely cover my windshield.

But I barely even bat an eyelash at that one. 

It's weird to think that my life has almost come to a close so many times in such a short period, and that to be honest, I was okay with it. 

I love being alive and having such great experiences, but pain can easily make that switch flip within our hearts. 

Most people that know me would not be able to guess this about me, but on an average day, my stomach will bother me about 80% of the time. I've had seven surgeries on my stomach in the last seven years, two of them being major. It's evolved into a pretty mild pain, and I've learned to adjust everything in my life around that. 

But four weeks ago, while at the Ben Rector show with a beloved friend, I felt a weight fall on my chest. I tried to solve the problem myself by adjusting my diet again and resting, but I ended up in three different ER's, multiple doctor and surgeons offices before being finally being admitted for four days. 

Something tripped up my digestive system, and it began to shut down. My liver was on its last leg. By trying to rehydrate my system intravenously, my potassium levels depleted and almost caused a cardiac arrest. 

At so many times, I can remember being in so much pain that I couldn’t breathe — my eyes began to darken with tears and I knew in those moments that I was dying. There was peace and comfort in knowing that in an instant that pain could go away. 

Experiencing that level of pain does something to you. 

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It’s bizarre but, I’m choosing to look at this current trial as a gift. Even if I’m constantly hurting, it’s enabling me to examine my life from a different perspective. 

I have achieved and gained more than I ever thought possible, but am I who I'm supposed to be. What does it mean to be normal, and why can I never seem to achieve it. 

The most horrible part of any illness is the isolation. 

I want to maintain my independence. I want to be able to go to dress myself for work and drive my car without the fear of having to rely on someone else to help me. I don’t want anyone to think something is wrong with me, and I sure do not want to see the look on someone’s face when they see me in pain. 

The irony is that I manage a community of artists, most of whom work for non-profits to help those that are less fortunate. They have overwhelmingly offered to bend over backwards, and yet, I hold my ground. 

I do not want to have to ask anyone for help, or God forbid, ask someone to just sit and listen to me. 

To be an artist is to be a bit melancholy, and in this dead of winter, I too can feel the weight of the ice bearing down on my branches. 

It’s been too difficult for me to have the same conversation about what I’m going through, so I thought I would count this as my press release. 

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My dear friends, even those whom I have fooled the last month, I do need you. I need you to remind me that life is too fragile to not have that cup of coffee with your neighbor in the morning. That you shouldn’t be wasting your time and talent fighting for businesses you don’t believe in simply because they give you a paycheck. 

I need you all to tell me about the good happening in your life; about the love that is blooming, the music that sparks something inside you, or even the new way you’re re-arranging your living room. 

Simply put, it’s difficult to answer text messages and brief encounters asking how I’m doing. I need you to remind me to continue to trust the Lord during this time by just praying for me. 

I’ve thought a lot about Paul these past few weeks. He talked a lot about a “thorn in the flesh”, which most scholars believe was an illness. This is probably why he had his doctor BFF, Timothy, travel around with him (don’t quote me on this, I studied painting….) 

Even though this “thorn” was always there, he never let it take his eyes off his mission. He was simply a soldier, a person, a friend, a teacher — and he never let his humanity get in the way. 

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I’m getting over myself enough to realize that this will probably follow me the rest of my life. I can’t control it, I just have to accept it and move forward. The latest update is that no one still has any idea what is going on. I’m taking enough medications to keep my digestive system on life support while going in for tests as much as I can handle it.

Joy is found when my eyes are taken off of myself. In this beautiful season, when all life is frozen under a weight of uncertainty, there is a light that warms me —  a great peace given by a deepened salvation.

…and also by the heating pad Liz’s mom, Jane got for me. 

the life of a mystery

the best part of falling in love with a person or a thing is almost always the dark before the dawn. 

...the moment before the match is struck, when all parts are in tact and untouched.

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when thrill envelopes you, and leaves you awake at night. the pain in your chest from being too happy too quickly. 

...and the moment happens. 

what happens then happens to the suspense. where does it have to go.

if you reveal it too soon, do you keep it alive.

if you found it in it’s own time, and cared for it. would it still disappear.

how do you keep something alive with all it’s mystery out on the curb for all the neighbors to see. 

if nothing stands between you and your prize any longer, will anything remain.

is there room to move forward, or is revealing a mystery just discovering a wall. 

#lifeindeepdoodles

Perhaps because I blog so rarely, it means that each entry is that much more of a gem. 

Yeah, we'll go with that. 

-- 

A brief history of my favorite hashtag: 

One of my first church doodles at Life in Deep Ellum two years ago (pre-lugging a moleskine to church days)

One of my first church doodles at Life in Deep Ellum two years ago (pre-lugging a moleskine to church days)

I first learned how to read and write from sermon pamphlets at around 2-3 years old. The only way I could listen was if I could create a world for myself on paper. 

There's something incredible in the idea that the act of creation connects us to our Creator. 

I usually had to be very secretive about my drawings, poems and notes as to not distract anyone else. As my Baptist upbringing taught me: "do not cause your brother or sister to stumble." 

I've had a difficult time connecting to the church as soon as I got to college. I struggled to be inspired going through the motions. I had attended a church in Dallas one summer, and could never find a community in Stillwater I connected with in the same way. 

Plus, I was an art student. Drawing in church felt like a homework assignment. I drew in Art History instead of taking notes, and I found that to be way more inspiring than typing. 

When I moved to Dallas after graduating, I knew exactly where I wanted to go to church...the first place I ever met real life hipsterish folk. 

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So every Sunday, I roll into this community center called Life in Deep Ellum. They not only have encouraged me to doodle in church, they've even let me paint in front of the congregation during sermons. 

Like....what? 

I have a difficult time retaining information, but since the pastor is from Oklahoma as well, I have an easier time getting his point. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't just lolly gaggle around during sermons. I take crazy notes in my Day One app. Just email me...I share. 

I decided to start posting my doodles on Instagram basically because I'm so introverted at church. I really struggle to want to talk to people. 

Sharing a drawing is my way of plugging into my faith community. 

Created during the service following the Boston Marathon bombings and upon hearing news of Beckham Moreno. Quote by Rachel Triska

Created during the service following the Boston Marathon bombings and upon hearing news of Beckham Moreno. Quote by Rachel Triska

So when you find yourself going to church, a meeting, class, whatever, I would encourage you to find a way to engage. Collect as much treasure out of each word that is spoken. You never know at what point in the following week you will need that to pour into different aspects of your life.

Once, I was talking to the Elaine, President at ZenCash, about my struggles being a crazy-busy-career-minded maniac. She gave me some of the wisest words that has, in return, revolutionized my work flow.

All because I listened and wrote down ideas while she talked. 

From Mother's Day service, quote by Rachel Triska

From Mother's Day service, quote by Rachel Triska

 If you go to Life in Deep Ellum, I'd love to see your church doodles, too! Just post a photo of your church notes on twitter or Instagram with: #lifeindeepdoodles

I hope you're intrigued by the text or quotes from my doodles enough to check out these podcasts.  This current series about communication, relationships, and what it means to hobble along life with another person is fantastic. 

 

Truth can be found in the simplest of things...if only we take the time to doodle them. 

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alone in the sun.

I haven't spoken much of my time in San Diego. 

If I have, I've been pretty vague. 

My time there feels sacred….like I caught my first breath of life from the sea. 

I spent most of my time journalling and observing….and came up with some ah-tiffanies to put into practice now that I'm back to real life:

 

Coronado Island

Unplug….make time to get inside my own brain. This includes books, podcasts, and even the new incredible JT album.

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Stop being afraid….of everything. Okay….be afraid, but at least face it.

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It's okay to run my schedule around whats natural for me. I'm much better for others AFTER I have taken care of myself. If I constantly please everyone else first, the only thing left is maybe a few hours of sleep.

Make a goal every day to go out into the world: well-rested, well-caffinated, and confident. 

// 

I walked everywhere….which surprisingly made me feel lazy. Everyone else was running, biking, and even roller blading (especially the middle aged moms….) to their destinations. My car is awesome, but there is something about simply walking to where you're going. 

Barefoot surfer running down Pacific Beach Dr // Black coffee & Capt. Crunch French Toast at Woody's on PB Boardwalk

 I am best at being me when I'm relaxed.

Case in point: a cute train conductor from New York named Vinnie came up to me at breakfast.

Normally, I would feel anxious and annoyed…but I had an incredible ten minutes of pure banter and fun with him before he had to catch his plane. He said it was a highlight of his trip, and wished he had met me earlier that week.

THAT is the kind of impression I want to always be capable of leaving on someone.

// 

Surfing has so many great analogies….but I'd rather watch. The first challenge is getting behind the waves. Everyone puts precedence on riding them, but I don't think many people ever get to experience that. Even if you do ride waves, it's usually for an average of 2-3 seconds. The entire experience, not just one great wave, is reason to pick yourself up and go out day after day. Don't get swept up to shore just because the last wave seems impossible to get behind….that's the most difficult, but most rewarding. 

Behind the waves; observing surfers from the Pacific Beach Pier

When someone honks at you, throw a peace sign out your window. 

Don't rush from one thing to the next….look around instead of always looking forward. 

Play a harmonica down the street. 

I LOVE drinking terrible coffee in an incredible atmosphere. 

Clayton's on Coronado Island...incredibly crappy coffee served in a mug that reminds me of Grandpa Bob.

(pre-coffee photo, obvi)

Find experiences that leave your ears ringing; stand on top of the world….and own it. 

Empower people to grow naturally…without needing me to constantly tend them. Know when to let go and let people walk alone.

One of my longest living friends, Trey Hester, on top of La Jolla Cove

Commit to something. New is not always good. Evolution? Yes....but,

Be okay with something being part of your story instead of just a chapter. 

Even when I'm not travelling, bartenders are usually my best friends. Be ESPECIALLY nice to the guys at Craft & Commerce....You just might get a "We Love You!" discount to rock your weary soul.

The only drink that could make me smile -- a neat, and very direct, improved whiskey cocktail from Craft & Commerce // L'Mamma & P'Daddie (Lacey & Patrick Dodd) in love at the incredible Polite Provisions.

Looking forward to finding a man that is as crazy about me as p'daddie is for l'mamma.

I'm definitely willing to wait for that. 

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I discovered that I've always been afraid to move near the ocean for fear of a hurricane ripping my house apart. Seriously...says the girl who grew up in tornado alley.

I want live without fear of the possiblilty of a storm.   

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   And FINALLY, what I learned five days after getting back from my Dallas Dad (Poppi B. Thomas):

"scheduling, boundaries, and self-maintenance are key to being happy and successful in all aspects of life."

// //

I don't have it figured out…not even close. But, that in and of itself is comforting. Nothing I've said is significantly new or innovative, but it is mine. 

Now that I am a quarter of a century old, it's about time I move past self-actualization and onto the beyond…incredible friends, a dream job, and car payment in hand.  

Seals hanging out with pigeons on La Jolla Beach

let's try this again.

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I've been secretly cheating on my wordpress site with this squarespace one. It took me about three days to create this site as opposed to the month it took me on the other one.....

So you're going to be seeing a lot of new stuff from me, and not just insta-stuff. We're talkin' full-on doodles, canvas paintings, and maybe even a few songs...maybe.

If I don't post something new at least once a week, shoot me an email and put me in my place.