Without you . . .

This blog wouldn’t have happened. Healing would not have taken place. And the art that came after all the loss — well, that would not have flourished. Your love and encouragement is what propelled me forward on the darkest, hardest days. Thank you.

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My new etsy shop, The Joyful Hummingbird. A labor of love! 

With sweaty palms and joy, I’m excited to announce that I’m finally launching my etsy shop! You are the first to know–not because I am trying to sell you anything (and I truly am not, and I also promise not to use this blog to promote the shop beyond sharing today’s news!)–but because this is as much yours to celebrate as mine. I firmly believe that nothing creative, healing, or heart-driven can be done in isolation. This community has been everything to me.

Thank you, dear readers, and people who click “like” and people who post notes of encouragement! Every single darn one of you is part of this becoming manifest.

xoxo,

Sarah

P.s. If you *would* like to be in the loop about the Etsy store, text JOYFULART to 2393-03-4330. (You will get a special thank you and will be notified of other special promotions! But not more than twice a month, if that. Pinkie swear.)  This has been a promotional message. This is the last of the promotional messages. Thank you for your cooperation as these will no longer interrupt your Mourning Dove Motherhood blog reading experience. 😀

 

Where’s Sarah?

Has she fled to Canada?

Is she wandering the woods of Chappaqua? 

Is she holed up with Richard Simmons?

No, no, and *shudder* thank God no!

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Yes, I managed to find the time to photoshop my head onto a waldo illustration. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE THERE ISN’T TIME FOR THAT!

No, rather she is KNEE DEEP in envelope samples, logo designs, print runs, branded stickers, merchandise photography . . .

It’s full-blown ETSY SHOP SETUP over here!

Nearly seven weeks ago (!!) I wrote about how I was reluctantly going to setup a shop to sell my bird prints and such.

Wow, a lot can change in seven weeks.

If you had told me that by April 1st I’d eagerly be entering data into a PROFIT AND LOSS spreadsheet I would have laughed out loud. Truly.

And yet here I am. Not just casually getting a few prints made (which would be fine) and slapping a few up on Etsy. No, I have fully immersed myself in the venture. 

Branding! Product! Profit Margins! Search Engine Optimization! Suppliers!

It is nothing short of delightful. I never knew that I had this entrepreneur energy within. I spend every spare moment working on this (hence the lack of blogging).

Yes, it has truly been a year full of continual unfolding that surprises and delights.

I look back to where I was a year ago: broken-hearted, cying-while-I-sang-in-the-church-choir, painting birds. Hot damn that was a tough year–but all that hard inner-work is finally bearing fruit. Who knows what the next year will bring.

So yes, the answer to Where is Sarah?  is that she blissfully creating and ever-so-eager to launch her Etsy shop.  I cannot wait to share this with you all very soon!

Until then, if you’ll excuse me, those profit-loss spreadsheets won’t calculate themselves.

Yours,

Waldo-Sarah

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See you soon–promise! 

Sixteen robins.

That’s what I saw outside my bedroom window this morning. I think there were probably more, but the flock flew away before I could finish counting! 

I then crawled back into bed to hopefully sleep off the bug that is making the rounds. I’m up finally, feeling much better, and my Fitbit says I slept sixteen hours!

Today is brought to you by the number sixteen.

I’ll let you numerology people unravel that one. 

Now for some watercolor sketches of robins. Spring is upon us, friends. 

Peering into the closet

Sometimes we need to dig into the closet. What is in there that scares us?

I’ve read that the Chinese New Year’s FIRE ROOSTER brings with it the energy of tidying up, letting go, and being fastidious. 

Recently I fully embraced the rooster energy and decided to spontaneously empty and organize our walk-in closet. To the untrained eye the room was full of assorted piles of crap. Not so! I had fastidiously sorted each and every last content into items in need of repair (buttons sewn on, stains removed); items to donate–with sub-categories including the items to take to the domestic violence shelter thrift store (clothes mostly) and items to donate to a home for young mothers in foster care (for them, only the nicest household items, some children’s clothes and toys and don’t ask why those things were even in my closet in the first place.). And then was the pile of trash. The pile of random mementos that needed to put tucked away. The pile of clothes that no longer fit but maybe if I lose those last ten pounds? The pile of office supplies (why were they in there….?) You get the idea.

SO. MANY. PILES.

A week later and the project is complete, including the addition of a new plush rug inside the closet that my daughter and I gleefully rolled around on, all the while absorbing the beauty of the clean and orderly closet! 

I thought my Fire Rooster energy had run its course. It turns out, no so fast.

Alas, it seems there were other dark spaces that had slow and steadily collected items out of view. Left in the dark but ready for light to be shined upon them. 

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting as much recently. Mostly this is because I have been doing a lot of artwork, and also keeping busy with my little project #100daysofhope (mostly on instagram).

You could say I’ve been consumed by my art. Every spare moment I seem to be in front of the watercolors. I’ve been posting them on Instagram…and then something started to happen.

Within the span of days several people asked to purchase prints I had made. Did I have a store?

I think the best way to describe what happened next would be paralysis. 

I know, it makes zero sense. This is awesome, people want to buy my artwork! How wonderful!

Yes, yes yes. But it meant getting my act together. It meant collecting and properly scanning and uploading and editing and printing and….and….all the excuses you can imagine. Know what it really meant?

It meant shining a light on my creative work. IT MEANT VULNERABILITY.

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Image found online
The universe was giving me so many nudges, it was ridiculous. And then my sister called. She urged me for the thousandth time to setup a damn online shop. And after I told her about the inquiries she jokingly and lovingly scolded me, WHAT? Sarah get your butt in gear!

I was a tad defensive. Do you know how busy I am? Blah blah blah. Well, in talking to her, I decided to cut work early yesterday and at least get started on the project. 

So yesterday afternoon, dragging my feet still, I slowly assembled the artwork until every last piece was laying on my bed.

My jaw dropped. There was SO MUCH ARTWORK. I had created all this? All this time it had been tucked away in the dark, in need of fastidious sorting and cataloguing.

And it needed light.

At this point in the afternoon I realized I needed to make a call. I left a message for my sister and I told her she would not believe how much artwork it turns out that I had! (Oh, I think she knew.) I thanked her for the nudge. The loving nudge to push the baby bird out of the nest. The bird who was more than ready to fly.

I’m sorting, scanning and fastidiously editing and preparing to print the artwork. I will gleefully-and fearfully-share with you when they are posted online for sale. And if I drag my heals, you officially have permission to nudge this baby bird once again.

What about you? What is hiding in your closet, in the dark, in need of light and air? Are there things you need to let go of? Are there things that need to be seen? Who can hold you accountable and gently push you out of the nest? The fire rooster calls!


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Give light and People will Find the Way.

“On Friday we wept, on Saturday we marched, on Sunday we rested. Today we get to work. What will you do today?” – Valerie Kaur

I live in the very, very Southwest corner of Florida. Not near Miami, or Orlando, or Tampa, where you might find some blue dots in our red state. No. I live where it is not weird at all to see a dude driving his pickup around a parking lot with a shirtless dude in back waving a flag larger than my garage that says “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.” Totally normal. Totally happened in my local Ace Hardware parking lot.

Because of this lack of blue dots in a very, very red area of the state, I almost didn’t attend my nearest sister march for the women’s march. I was certain that it was going to be me and the usual twenty aging white hippies who usually show up at these things.

Illustration based on a photo posted on Facebook by the baby’s mom Jenny Sowry. This is #wokebaby. Marched in Charlotte, NC on Saturday with her crayon-scribbled sign. Can you handle the cuteness? (Follow my instagram @100daysofhope for daily art like this.)
I WAS WRONG.

As I approached the march location there was a fair amount of traffic. There were tons and tons of cars parked on lawns illegally. There was no way this was because of the march, I thought. Not in this long-established republican stronghold where the last democrat to win the county was Adlaid Stevenson II in 1952.  (Source: Wikipedia.)

It turns out the crowd, the traffic, it was in fact all for the march.The organizers expected 300: At least 2,500 people showed up.  

YES, that is right. Over two-thousand people in our sleepy little vacation town showed up to march. Thousands of people marched and chanted past the tony vacation homes and high-end boutiques. The retirees in sports cars gawked. The passer-bys on their way to brunch bristled.

It. Was. Amazing. 

There were elderly marchers being pushed in wheelchairs, young marchers being pulled in wagons. Families, singletons, teens, twenty-somethings. Men! Women! And yes, a lot of white sixty-something women. But not just the aging hippy-sisters-who-paved-the-way oh-so long ago. We couldn’t have been here without them, but we need more than just them to move forward.

The best part was that the tone of the crowd wasn’t angry (though we were angry, yes); it wasn’t sad, or defeated or gloom and doom. No, it was…joyful. Jubilant even. It was downright spiritual: we were transmuting our pain with art, with dancing, with music. And levity! (The signs were hilarious, no?)

(And in case you missed it, the baby marcher with her crayoned-protest-sign. THIS. This is what we need.)

Let’s keep doing it. Let’s keep showing up for each other. Let’s keep giving light so others will find the way. And let’s do it with much rejoicing.

Did you march, sisters? (And brothers!) Tell me your stories! 

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Give birth again to the dream

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

Maya Angelou, excerpt from ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ (emphasis my own)

Saturday Morning

Outside the mourning doves are cooing. Inside the house, my daughter is declaring the toast to be too toasty (and her highness is requesting less-toasty toast please!). There is a low whine in the background — the sound of a broken toilet that won’t stop running and that my mediocre plumbing skills are not capable of fixing.

I am wearing a happy birthday hat that my daughter put on my head. I am eating the discarded toasty-toast. It is all glorious because I am also sitting here writing! With my coffee, natch. 

Happy Saturday, friends.

Self-Control

I am supposed to be working.

And if I am not working, I should at least be finishing the job application that I keep procrastinating on.

And if I am not working on my resume, I should be doing anything other than staring at the sight of three huge, frosted cupcakes at the table next to me.

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“Get in my belly now!” Says everyone but the elderly Zen master.

Get this: the three elderly people sitting in front of three frosted cupcakes in Starbucks of the Barnes and Noble have still not taken a bite of their cupcakes.

They are slowly sipping coffee. While NOT eating the cupcakes. Just sipping and talking and not devouring them like heathens.

TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.

UPDATE #1: I literally just reread my post to check for typos and several minutes have passed. The elderly male has eaten his cupcake. The elderly woman within my line of sight has still not taken a bite. Is she a Zen master disguised as someone’s white haired grandmother?? Omigod. Now she is flipping through a magazine and not consuming the cupcake.

Speaking of self-control . . . I should get back to my paid work. Or the resume. Or something other than this.

UPDATE #2: Elderly woman has peeled the cupcake liner away from the cupcake but has not taken a bite. It is seven minutes and counting.

Gratitude (kind of) for the darkness

Friends, solstice is upon us. Tomorrow. That is right, the days of winter darkness shift toward the light. I don’t want to speak for y’all but damn, it is time for the dark days of 2016 to exit the building. 

The church I attend had a lovely solstice celebration this past Sunday. We toasted “wasail” (apple juice) to the new year coming and the the turn to light. And there was an urging to think about darkness not as something “bad” or “evil” as it is often considered in our culture, but instead as a gift. What if we met it with gratitude? We couldn’t have 24 hours of sun – everything requires a period of rest and darkness. What if we look at the darkness as a womb capable of creating and birthing life anew?

Never before have the themes of winter solstice resonated with me so much.

This year brought lot’s of darkness for me. Not in the form of “bad” or “evil” but in the form of letting go, release, and being left with emptiness and not-knowing. The not-knowing is SO HARD for me. I am not a patient person when it comes to just sitting. (I get this from my mother. The woman moved ALL DAY LONG! She would be sitting folding clothes at midnight while watching tv.) So yes, sitting, waiting in the stillness, not knowing, and knowing that it isn’t time for me to know just yet? SO FREAKING HARD. I wrote about this in September and it still resonates with me — how it feels like frog swimming and let’s just say that is not a pace I like.

Yes, if I am grateful, this year brought many gifts that did not feel like them at the time: the release of pain and loss, more pain and loss, and shedding of that which no longer served me. The dissolving of identities and patterns and masks that are no longer needed. I feel as empty as the northern wood, stripped of leaves, all life burrowed away and hiding in hole.

It was a year of pausing. It was a year of rest.

But if I am honest with myself, it was also a year that showed me hints of what can come out of the darkness and chaos. Creativity in the form of Art! Writing! Music! Wow, amiright?

It was a year of embracing the unknown and unexpected, of holding on to faith and hope that eventually the wheel will turn, the axis of the earth would slowly and eventually move its position in relation to the sun and the days will grow longer. They will — at last — tomorrow!

On Solstice Eve, value the dark. On this longest night of the year, before the light overcomes the dark, sit in the dark (alone or with others) and think about the importance of darkness. Bless mushrooms that grow in the dark and honeysuckle that sends its luscious scents into the night. Be grateful for the darkness that soothes us to sleep, the darkness that animals require for hibernation. Give thanks for sheltering dark places: the rich earth where seeds germinate, the caves that harbored our ancient ancestors (and where some of our sun gods were born), the cellars that keep us safe from tornadoes, the wombs that provide our first nourishment. Acknowledge the darkness of suffering, which can deepen our appreciation of life and strengthen our connection to one another.


From a post at http://www.uuworld.org/articles/celebrate-winter-solstice and Excerpted with permission from In Nature’s Honor: Myths and Rituals Celebrating the Earth (Skinner House), copyright 2005 by Patricia Montley. Available from the UUA Bookstore (see link below).


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