It’s been a little crazy around here, as any of my faithful blog readers know. I’ve tried not to let the stress leak on to the blog too much, but at the same time, the blog is a creative outlet for me, and anything that close to my heart is going to reveal probably more than I would like. But the fact is, I love the blogging world. After the rush of the morning, I grab a cup of coffee and check in. With good friends, to hear the latest about what’s going on in their world without bugging them. At least, that’s where blogging started for me. But now, this whole new world has opened to me. I am guaranteed to get inspired every day by an amazing array of people. It’s opened up whole new avenues for me. So I guess, this is a thank you to the blogging community as a whole, for keeping me sane.

I’ve been most inspired in the aspect of art and how it blends into my life. I’ve always felt like I was living a bit of a separated, almost schizophrenic life, where the creative world within was never touching the "trying to be good enough" world without. It’s hard to explain what goes through my head on any given day…images, colors, snippets of prose, fully formed characters…a huge jumble of things that have no relation to my "real" life. In some sense, I was always telling that creative voice to shush, to pipe down, that I need to focus. I needed to get a "real job". I needed to be a "responsible adult". And in my head, responsible and creative were not compatible. It has left me feeling quite disillusioned. Sure, I had gone to school to get my BA in English, barely survived, but I did it! But what did my BA have to do with the rest of my life? I kept feeling like I had to have a real "bread and butter" 9-5, live-in-your-cubicle kind of a job to be "responsible". But that alone was a problem…9-5 and toddlers and newborns don’t mix. I felt totally conflicted between my responsibilities as a mother, and my need to be "responsible". Is this clear as mud?

The fact is, the answer (at least for me, and I am in no way saying this works for the next person) had been staring me right in the face. That creative voice that I had been quieting for over a decade finally got its day in the sun. A voice that I probably would have continued to ignore, had it not been for some wonderful people in blogosphere. I finally feel like I can say, without shame, I am an artist, a writer, an explorer of color and texture and word and photograph. I finally feel like the creative world within is finally breaking through to the outside, and I don’t feel like a walking contradiction any more. I wish the same for each of you, in whatever arena it may be…that you feel like you are living an authentic "through and through" life. I pray that you are following your dreams.

It’s amazing how my stress level has gone down as I have finally let go of some ridiculous expectations of myself- I only pray that I do not forget this lesson I have learned, and get sucked back into a definition of "good enough" that is not genuine or me.

There are a few resources I have been absorbing lately, and I thought I’d pass them along:
*Ali Edwards is a true inspiration in the scrapbooking world, and her blog has led me to many other paths.
* Amanda Soule was one of the first crafting blogs I read that made me begin to stretch past scrapbooking alone, and she too has some wonderful links in her sidebars as well.
* This manifesto by Hugh McLeod has really gotten me to think and examine. (It’s a PDF file that you will have to dowload, but it is totally worth it!)
* Studio Friday is a meeting of artists that post regularly (in many different mediums, too) on different subjects, and it always makes me think.

I’ve got quite a few books I am getting ready to find and read- I’ll have to share about them in a few weeks as I get through with them.

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