Behind the Art with Felecia

I'm sure for many, being a Christian seems like the safe thing to do. Its perceived as an established spiritual choice, and has at its core what might be considered a very conservative, unrisky platform. 

But that is not what it is like for me...it is not what it has ever been for me. 

To be a Christian radically changed the direction I was heading in. I would like to tell you that I went along quietly and serenely. 

I didn't. 

My choice placed me dead center in ridicule and mockery from my very intellectual friends. It put me in a position to have to say I am a follower of Jesus and still explain that I love people for who they are - even when I might not agree with their life choices. 

It separated me from friends I dearly loved and made many of my relationships awkward. 

Some people couldn't accept that on certain subjects we would have to agree to disagree.They couldn't imagine that I was capable of having a relationship that was rich and deep with them unless we agreed on all the major points of life. Those people vacated themselves from my life.

There are precious few from my "old" life who have accepted my faith...and that understand I intend to live it as honestly and truthfully as I possibly can. Those precious few know I appreciate them as people, appreciate their point of view, that their relationships are my greatest gifts and I have a genuine love for them that likely wouldn't be possible without my spirituality. 

The kind of faith that sort of both flies in the face of the conventional church and also strives to live an honest and unapologetic love of Christ creates interesting conversations, forces me to dig deeply, to really understand my faith, to walk it out. 

Its is gorgeous and tough and easy and painful and worth every single solitary step. 

Not a popular stance, even more so when horrid things and hatred are done by those who profess to do so in the name Christianity.

Not an easy choice, perhaps...but one that is true to me, true to my heart. I choose to stand and call myself counted.

And all these things the Bible actually promises...that followers will be hated, mocked, ridiculed...that friendships will be ended and families divided...by conventional standards...it is not the safe thing to do. 

It is brave to follow a spiritual course. To lay down one's own life to pursue the soul enriching answers to those deep deep questions. 

This is my kind of brave. 


Behind the Art with Jen

"What does not kill us, makes us stronger"...  I always thought that statement was one that resonates with times that are challenging.  Not that I believe you have to be on death's door to appreciate your strength, but I think we understand our strength better when we have difficult things to overcome.

For this page, I was thinking of times when I've been scared to start, scared to go forward, or just scared to succeed for fear it would change things too much.  It's strange how our minds work.  When I think fear can either hold us back or push us into action.  Professionally, when I am most nervous to start something new or fight for what I believe in, it pushes me to do what makes me scared.  

This page was a happening... Something that started with a mess.  I used Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Gesso to add some white and drips to the Kraft cardstock. It just kept running and I kept adding more or moving it around.  When it finally dried, it left a big area that I needed to add some color to!
 I pulled out the new Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Texture Luxe in gold to create some painterly brush strokes.  I loved how it stood out from the Gessoed areas.
 Then I sprayed some of the color ink over the whole area.  It was gorgeous!
  Using the stencil from the kit and a white pen, I added some circles around the page. 
 Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Whipped Spackle was used through the stencil to create some dimensional circles.  I love the texture this adds to the page!

 This page was all about using fear to create something new or accomplish tasks that I might not feel so confident about, but in the end I feel strong and brave when I do accomplish it!  Each time I do what I think can't be done, I grow stronger!  Fear doesn't have to hold you back, it can empower you to move forward too!


Behind the Art with Melissa

 It's happened numerous times.

"Wow, Melissa. You are really brave!"

In the past, when I have heard that, I scoff and deny.

"No way... I'm just doing what I'm suppose to be doing."

Well, there came a point in life where that switched for me. No more denying! Yes. I am brave. I've made some tough decisions in life. I've taken risks. Sure I was nervous and a little afraid but, the fact that I took those steps anyway definitely makes me brave!

Fear doesn't hold me back. Life is just too dang short to not take gutsy steps because I'm afraid.

And my life is all the more richer!

I love the shields as symbolism in this kit. I don't see them as something cowardly. If you are a coward, or afraid, you run. People in battle prepare themselves for the fight. They wear the right armor and carry the shield. So, when I think of the brave things I've done in my life, I like to think I was holding an imaginary shield that warded off all the negativity. Thus, allowing me to see and experience the positive and wonderful things that were a result of my gutsy choices.

Can you say you are brave? 

I dare you.


Behind the Art with Stacey

Can you recall a specific moment in life where you had to reach out to someone else, showing bravery?  It can be a time where you weren't sure of the response or outcome, but you needed that communication to heal yourself.  When the word BRAVE came up as the kit theme, I immediately thought of such moments. 

One that came to mind involves a conversation I had with my mom.  I had been having flashes of my childhood.  Scary ones where I was frightened, hiding, and protective.  I knew I had gone through a trauma and wanted to hear the story.  I can't tackle what I can't see.

So I asked.

I chose a happy photo of my mom even though I am sure it was hard for her to tell the story.  She lived it too and reliving it must have been hard.  It wasn't a happy story to hear, but I still wanted there to be positive on the page. 

I used the star to symbolize the fact that this conversation was an important moment in my life.  I wanted it all to make sense and it did.  All because my mom told me a story.
I decided to journal in pieces, putting words in all the different boxes.  These were defining moments and putting them into literal boxes showed that.  I acknowledged the fact that I appreciated her bravery for telling and mine for asking.  A thank you is deserved.


Behind the Art with Felecia

Love is brave. 

It is not a thing - a feeling....it is a verb - an action word.

Love opens us up. 

It throws off the mantle of convention and status and language and exposes what we are underneath.

Love puts us in positions of vulnerability.

It enables us to act with kindness and generosity toward those who may not share our beliefs, our world view, our income, our neighborhood, or any of the other millions of little things that we use to identify ourselves.

It takes courage to be some one who loves. 

Because love can be messy.

My layout is messy...and full of hearts and glitter and little shiny things...much like loving others.

I pray that I always love others well, that I have the courage to love, even when it is uncomfortable, inconvenient or painful. I pray that my heart shows...with glittery, glimmery magnificence.

I pray that people know I endeavor to be a lover...and that my endeavor shows in my life. 

I pray that love is written all over my life.

May we always be brave enough to love...

Peace, ya'll!


Behind the Art with Jen Matott

After my oldest son and husband achieved their black belt this past February, I was so proud of them and decided that it was something that I wanted for myself.  I had never considered myself athletic enough or in want of a martial arts belt.  I run and take a martial arts kickboxing class but until that day when I watched my son and husband perform with the team, I didn't know that I would want that too.  One woman in particular shared her story of her journey to black belt.  She was out of shape, couldn't even complete 2 push ups the first class.  She didn't give up though and kept working towards better health and martial arts.  She told everyone of her struggles and her support from her family and how this accomplishment was the result of believing in herself and hard work!  I could have been the one standing up there speaking.  Her story was similar to mine except that I just realized that I could do this! 

 So, I went for it!  I signed up and 6 weeks later, I graduated to the next belt!  I loved it even though I was scared to start, nervous each time I learned something new, and terrified when I had to stand up in front of every one and perform what I practiced.  It was exciting and terrifying all at once. 
 I know now that I can do this!  I can learn new moves, become stronger, and perform under pressure.  I love it!  It is empowering to know that I can keep up with higher belts!  I am strong, confident, and willing to learn and grow! 

 Here I am accepting my new yellow belt!  It was such a proud moment!  I am anxious to learn the new moves and work my way up the belts until I reach my goal... black belt!
Have you ever realized you wanted something you thought you couldn't do, but then realized you could?  It's amazing when you believe that you can do it! Go for it!!!


Behind the Art with Melissa

Hello everyone!

If you had the opportunity to move across the country (or world), would you do it?

What if you had nothing holding you where you currently are? With or without a spouse or children... everyone was mobile and on board.

Would you do it?

What if you were single. Pretty content. Maybe feeling a little restless.

Would you do it?

I did.

And now that I've been back home for the past 9 months, it's slowly sinking in how big of a deal it was that I did it.

I mean, I left a secure job. Sold half of my belongings. Uprooted my entire life and moved to a land I had only visited.


Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Me.

I found that sentiment on Pinterest and loved it immediately.  By being myself, 100%, the boldness and bravery come naturally. I find that as I become more confident who God created me to be... I can completely trust my gut when it tells me to move.

Be Bold.

Be Brave.

Be Me.

Now, get off of here and go do that something that's been tugging at your heart.