Friday, August 1, 2014

It is August!?




This year has flown by! 
My health has been mostly stable, thank The Lord! The mild flares I have dealt with have been an inconvenience from time to time (there was a week or two my vision kept me from driving) but, otherwise, I feel great and my energy is steady. 
 
~I participated in Tioga Winter Art Fair this March. I had a blast! I will be doing it again next March. Amazing art, great people, cool weather- I don't tolerate the heat any more. 
 
~I have painted a great deal, at home and also at every opportunity I have for painting LIVE!- I love painting at events!


 
~I participated in St. John's River Festival of The Arts in May, what a fantastic weekend!!


 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

"Grace & Flowers" is a 30"x40" original commission painted for a client- her beautiful home is absolutely full of incredible artwork. I am so honored that she asked me to create this custom piece.
 
~I enjoy painting LIVE! during Artwalk Gainesville every month I get a chance!
 
 
 

 
 
These are the pieces I remembered to photograph!
 There have been a few I've missed. 
 
~I have work displayed at Gainesville Lighting Gallery, an amazing shop in Thornebrook Village in Gainesville.
 
~I have had my work in Galleria Lyons, a new super fun gallery in St. Augustine for a couple of months now... wild!
 
~I have been accepted to participate in Spectrum Miami in December.
I am still overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation! I am so honored! It's really a dream come true to be part of such a large event- and just to be in Miami during this art-filled week!!!
Now is the nitty gritty of funding this large of an event. I'm doing my part:prayers, affirmations, staying happy!
And painting up a massive inventory! 

~I also have small juried show I will be participating in this month, I will be August's featured artist for Artwalk Gainesville. I've been invited to be the featured artist at a local restaurant, and display work for a month or two...
~I will be attending Gainesville Fine Art Association meetings...
I am loving the local art community!
 
~My Etsy shop is still open for business!
More will be available there soon... go buy something :)
 
I also hope to blog again before another eight months go by! Yikes!!!
 
This has been the condensed version... when I list all of my art goings on in one place, I am really, really grateful for where I am.
I am surprised at how much I am actually doing and saying Yes! to...  Sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough... Dreaming as big as I am, I ought to be pushing harder ... painting more, getting art in more places.
I'm actually doing way more than I remember!
I am also taking more breaths and painting with the boys more regularly... I had gotten busy and out of that habit. Painting together is grounding and inspiring. It will be happening on the regular again.
 
I am blessed and grateful.
Happy August Everyone!
~Jess
 






Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013

2013
  • I started organizing my home studio space! (1.1.13)
  • I began experiencing double vision at the end of January
  • I was unable to drive February 5 - March 13.
  • Mold remediation - we were out of our house from February-May.
  • I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (2.21.13)
  • 3 day hospitalization
  • David got a promotion at work
  • I cut my hair short as it has ever been.
  • I turned 28.
  • I developed a recognizable, cohesive style to my artwork.
  • June I started painting LIVE! at the Artwalk in Downtown Gainesville.
  • David and I went to New Orleans, Louisiana and saw Mumford & Sons live. It was a dream come true... our brakes went out while we were there and required a $700 break job. The trip was worth every penny.
  • I participated in my first art festival.
  • I won Judges Choice Award and a cash prize at my first art festival.
  • I took a road trip. Met an online friend in real life! Five days away from my family- a creative retreat in Nags Head, North Carolina.
  • I pierced my nose.
  • David's mom passed away.
  • My oldest turned 5, my youngest turned 3.
  • David and I both had the flu. 
  • We had the best holiday season ever.
That is an overview.  

I have had a rough week or so. Realizing I am taking MS into 2014 is like revisiting the day I was diagnosed. For the most part I have rolled with the punches, kept my faith and tried to share the good things in my world and my positive outlook.

But today is January 1, 2014.

Here's the thing, I am all of those- positive, optimistic and most of the time filled with hope and excitement.
I am also heartbroken.
I am devastated.
I truly believe MS is a message from my body, feedback on how I've treated it. I believe MS has brought my artwork to a new and exciting level. I know my marriage is stronger because of it. I am honestly grateful for this year and the diagnosis.
But, I am also furious.
I want to break things. I want to scream and wail and tear out my hair.
I maintain my stability with anti-inflammatory supplements, a strict diet and emotional work that demands self awareness and attention.
It. Is. Not. Easy.

The times that it catches me off guard are still painful.
- The moment when I think it is just time for glasses and the eye Dr says your eyes are perfect, what other health problems do you have?
- When I am stressing out over something I'm dealing with and my eyes REFUSE to focus. That really is especially terrifying when I am not at home and I have the kids with me.
- When I forget and put on a heavy sweater... I have to dress in layers...  I've overheated and been scared. Yank off clothes, get enough ice water in me, or not be able to make my eyes work....no pressure. 

Absolutely, it is better than the couple of months I spent like a drunk. David catching me when I stumbled, not being able to drive, muscle cramps, spasms, tremors, numbness, brain fog, bone crushing fatigue, double vision, loss of cognitive function... I could not keep up a normal speed conversation.. couldn't find the right word...
Three days in the hospital feeling brutalized. My veins are good veins. I have never had an issue with finding or maintaining a stable vein. My. Body. Physically recoiled from the steroids. They brought in the phlebotomist instructor, even she had to stick me a FEW times.  I looked like a junky with track marks by the time I got out of the hospital.
I looked down the barrel of what I consider a fate worse than death. For the record- if I'm ever on life support past a reasonable length of time- pull. the. plug. Trust me. I want to be let go.

I've thought a lot about the song "Live Like You're Dying". I have changed the way I live. I'm not afraid of dying with my life unlived. I'm afraid of regrets.
I am terrified of one day being... in a wheel chair, in diapers, with a feeding tube, immobile,... any of those and regretting having not done something while I could have. "live like you are dying" is live it up and experience before this physical life comes to an end.... The question I ask myself at night is "If I wake up tomorrow and can't ... have I done what I could today?"
Have I hugged my kids enough?
Did I hold my husband long enough?
Have I told everyone everything I want to say?

How is it ever enough? That is my greatest fear: My cognitive function out living my bodily functions.

Top heart stoppers of my year:
Dr. "My dad had MS and treated it naturally, he lived to be 80 years old- and NEVER was in a wheelchair!" I choked on my own spit. Forget MS. That statement almost did me in.

Eye Dr. "You are doing really well, both of your eyes are pointing in the same direction."


2013 has been a great year.
I mean all of the positivity.
But. To be a whole person- I have to embrace the negativity too.
I am human.
This past year I have lived more grief and fear than ever before. I have also experienced more love, given more love, and had more joy than I ever remember.
This post is about embracing it all.
My whole self.
The parts I am proud to claim and the ones I'm not.

I'm taking all of me into 2014.
And for better or worse, I'm going to live it with all I've got.

 
Read about 2013 from my mom's vantage point here.