August 21, 2014

Wait Expectantly

When we plant flowers we do this automatically without hesitation. We wait expectantly. We know they will bloom in time as long as we nurture them. We do this so easily because we've seen it done before. 
As I was creating this piece for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search I painted first and then got stuck on what words I should add. Part of the assignment was to add at least one word. There are so many that just seemed over done.. Bloom, Imagine, Dream, etc. Honestly, I do love all of those words but they don't stop and make you think. 
So I went to the ultimate creator, GOD, and asked him to reveal what he wanted me to know in this moment. I flipped through one of my favorite books "The Circle Maker" and wow did God use that book once again. I want to just touch on a few of the parts of the book that I highlighted. 

Praying is more than words " It means acting on your prayers because you expect an answer"- Hello! Why do we sometimes not expect an answer. Again, we always expect flowers to bloom, why don't we always expect the GOD of this universe to hear us and answer us. We sometimes take a mindset that we aren't important enough for his to care about our dreams but that is sooooo wrong. He put those dreams in us. He WANTS to use us. We just have to believe he is who he says he is and he can make our big dreams a reality plus some. 

" We want to reap the second after we sow, but this isn't the way it works with dreaming big and praying hard. We need the patience of the planter. We need the foresight"

"We want our prayers answered immediately, if not sooner. But the key to dreaming big and praying hard is thinking long"...... Can I get an AMEN! 

And then this...
"Then David declares, ( in Pslam 5:3) ' I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly'. Most of us just wait; David waited expectantly. There is a big difference.
Our biggest shortcoming is low expectations. We underestimate how good and how great God is by 15.5 billion light years. "

When you wait on GOD expectantly your whole mindset shifts.

Psalm 5:3 "In the morning , LORD, you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. "

What are you asking God for? He doesn't always say, yes, but he does always hear us and answer us. Are you expecting to hear from him?

August 18, 2014

I am Loved so much more than I deserve

Today was a significant day in our household. Today, Kloe, my oldest started first grade. She only did half day Kindergarten last year so this is her first year going all day every day. She is more than prepared and super excited about it. But last night as we were saying our prayers I began thanking God for an answered prayer that started over 7 years ago.

About 7 years ago is when I was pregnant with Kloe. As a classroom teacher I saw that kids came to First grade already having formed their personalities, their work habits, and so much of their personality. I felt a huge tug on my heart to be able to stay at home with my new baby so I could help shape her. I had no idea how we could afford to do that. Through a lot of prayer, self reflection, and just listening to God and the clues around me it soon became apparent that I should try to teach art lessons to kids. After all .. art was a big part of my life, I had been trained on how to teach kids..put the two together and teaching art to kids seemed natural and also much needed in our community.

I started P'zazz while on maternity leave. I wasn't sure if it would last any longer than my year of leave or not. I remember praying and hoping it would last at least 3 years and if I could just make an extra $700 a month, even if I was eating noodles for dinner, we could make it.

When I think of that prayer and I see what God has done over and beyond what I prayed for I am absolutely humbled, thankful, and moved that he loves me that much. P'zazz is in it's 7th year now and we continue to grow every year. We have been able to help so many organizations and charities through fundraisers. We have loved on and encouraged thousands of kids. We are helping feed orphanages around the world. We have a second location that makes a difference within that community. My thinking was so small compared to what God wanted to do and is still doing.

So today, as Kloe went to first grade it was a huge milestone for her but also for me and my God. I felt that he was smiling as he said " I gave you your hearts desire.. why did you ever doubt me"

Sometimes I think that we don't believe that much good can happen to us. We know God 'can' do something but we aren't sure if he 'will' or not. But even when we don't know what he is going to do we can be sure of a few things.. 1) He LOVES us more than we can imagine 2) he wants the best for our lives more than we do 3) and he wants to use us

That's what I felt today. I felt God's love and faithfulness and goodness.

August 5, 2014

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. I entered!

Oh, this little picture above totally drew me and and I am all signed up for  Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search! We got our first assignment last night ( which made me super excited because I wasn't expecting it until this morning).

My running partner cancelled on me this morning at 5:30 which gave me the perfect opportunity to sit down and sketch before the kids woke up.

Here is my plan, I am going to sketch a minimum of 10 drawings that fit the theme within the next 2 days.

I will probably paint 2-3 of my favorite sketches. I am giving myself Thursday- Monday to do this. Then, I will get busy on getting it to my graphic designer, scanning it, making sure it's in the right format, etc. I have a huge mural job this week  at a local school so I am going to have to be totally disciplined to do this all at night when the kids go down for bed. I can totally do it. Sometimes juggling several big jobs seems to be my specialty.

My belief set is an interesting thing sometimes. Although, I know there are so many people better than me ( slightly negative but realistic belief) I still feel like the world is full of possibility( super optimistic belief). I am hoping that this competition stretches me and introduces me to new people who I can potentially work with. I do know that my art is a good fit for licensing in some areas. Its just a matter of connecting to the right people whose business and my art a good fit.

Thankful to Lilla Rogers for this cool opportunity! Here we go!

July 24, 2014

Giving back.. What we are made for

Giving report! 
Since returning from
Honduras in April we have pledged that every little artist ( or adult artist for that matter) who comes to P'zazz will be a part of our giving mission. For every painter we feed a kid for a day. Last month we provided over 1500 meals which brings us to a total of over 16,000 meals to orphans around the world through the  Rice Bowls organization. 

I think about our trip often and honestly long to go back. While I can't go every month like I would like to I can work hard here so we can give big there. 

My hearts prayer is that God will continue to expand my territory and give me more ways to use my art and my life to help others and give back in big ways. I know that he will..after all , that is what he desires for me too.

When you are asking for something that is in alignment with God's will their is no doubt that it is going to happen. I am just curious to see how he chooses to open doors. 

I love this journey called life. So thankful today for a job I love , a God who loves me, and a God who has come to give me a big ole full life!

July 22, 2014

God's got it.

I have been pushing myself to paint for myself more and I love the results that come from the push. I have big dreams and sometimes I feel so small. But I take rest and comfort in a Big God who has my back, who wants what's best for me more than I do, and who is totally on board with living a full big life. In fact, that's what he came here to do.. To give us life to the full! 

So today, I am going to live in this truth. 

June 21, 2014

Around here lately.

Oh it's been such a full few months! 
We had live music and open paint night at the studio by two of my favorite musicians! 

Summer art camps are in full swing!

Adult paint parties are also hoppin'. I still love that I get to meet so many new cool people all the time when I come to work. 

Our " All Boys " art camp was super fun!

And we are so excited about our new pledge to " Rice Bowls " . For every paying customer who comes to P'zazz.. That means  every kid, every birthday party attendee, every adult at an adult class or adult private party ,  Everybody.. We feed a kid for a day! In the past 2 months since we have gotten back from Honduras we have already been able to provide over 4000 meals for orphans around the world. Can't wait to see how many more kids we can feed in the coming months!

We sold our last tank ( also benefiting Rice Bowls). And if I can take a minute to dream here... I would love to have a product like this on a bigger scale. A product that people love that gives back in big ways. Right now I just dont have the man power to make that happen but if any readers have an idea and want to partner let me know!

I have been working on new collections for potential art licensing deals.

And my baby girl graduated Kindergarten!! How can that be? I started this creative adventure when I was pregnant with her. She was the  catalyst that gave be a shot of bravery to create the life and job of my dreams. I am so thankful that God has continued to have his hand on this business . I am thankful that he has used me  to inspire others and to do our part to make this world a more fun, cuter, and happier place !

April 15, 2014

Honduras trip with Rice Bowls!

There are so many emotions that I feel having just returned from Honduras. This trip was absolutely amazing. As we drove through Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, we saw so much poverty every where we looked. Children walking by their selves on the streets, shacks on top of shacks, trash all over, it was just a sad situation unlike anything I had ever seen. We drove for about 45 minutes to the orphanage where we would be serving and this is what we saw. A true oasis in the middle of poverty. 
The Good Shephard Childrens Home is ran by Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International. It is located on this beautiful farm away from the city. This is one of over 50 orphanages that "Rice Bowls" supports. Below is how the orphanage is set up. There are 10 casitas with about 10-12 kids in each of them. Each casita has a 2 "Tia's" who serve as the casita mom . As you can see from the picture below the casitas are arranged in a circle and a play center is in the middle. So often times everybody is just outside playing together. It was so fun to play with the kids and see how creative they were with simply making up games with rocks and being content to just sit and swing. It was a refreshing pace of life.

Sweet Christian worked all day on this friendship bracelet. He tied it to his leg and worked on it everywhere he went. When we got ready to leave he gave TR and I both one. His sweet face stays in my mind when I think that we must do more.

On the farm were tons of crops and animals.

The children were responsible for washing their own clothes. They learned to do it the traditional way because most people don't have washing machines. Washing machines are such a luxury that we just often times take for granted. Not anymore.

In the mornings the children run down to where the cows are being milked and get their milk jugs filled. They take them back to their Tia's who then boil it and add sugar and cinammon. They prepared some for us to try. I never thought I would drink milk that I saw come out of the cow.. but I did and it was amazing! 

Their is a school on the property that the kids just wake up and walk to in the morning.  It was such a fun sight to see them so excited in the mornings as they ran by headed to school. 
We only got in a car one day to go into the city. The rest of the time was spend on the farm with the children. Even though we were very busy it still felt peaceful. I am searching for ways to add that tranquility and simplicity into my own life here in the States. I thought I was going to one of the most dangerous places in the world ( that's what the US travel website says) but instead I felt completely at peace. This orphanage truly has God's hand on it. 

P'zazz Art Camps in Honduras!
First of all , it was such a joy to see the banners that our P'zazz students made hanging in each of the casitas! They added color and displayed the message of Love. What a joy to be able to do art with children who don't get the luxury of doing art anytime they want to.  Teaching art in a different language had it's challenges and I learned a lot. I am so thankful for my wonderful translator Lilian. At the end of the week when I looked to see what the kids created I was so proud of them!

Even the older boys wanted to come make art! I expected them to ditch art for the sports camp so it made me so happy that they were able to do both!

We walked into one of the casitas the day after art camp and the canvases were already hung! The Tia told us that usually when they make crafts they just put it in a drawer or throw it away because they aren't really proud of it. But they were so proud of this art that they wanted to immediately hang it. Now that makes an art teachers heart feel good!

And check out these tiles! The orphanage had lots of roof tiles so we sanded them down and let the older girls paint on them. They turned out fabulous!! They are going to sell these to groups who visit the orphanage to help make money for the orphanage. Plus a portion will be saved for the girls as well! How cool that one art project can lead to generating funds for both the home and the girls! Love that!

And look, the boys had their art proudly displayed as well!

The children often want to give you a gift when you leave, however, they don't have much to give. Kevin gave TR his art piece as a going away gift. You better believe this will be proudly displayed at P'zazz!


Visiting the kids school was a real treat. They have recently started a bilingual program where the kids are learning English and being taught by English teachers. Currently they have 5 volunteer missionary teachers form the US who are teaching. (If you know of anybody who wants to have this awesome experience they are looking for teachers for next year. Your food and housing is provided for. I would have loved this when I was fresh out of college. So pass the word along)
We were able to visit them on club day when they were sharing everything they had learned at their Friday club. 
We listened the choir club sing in English.
Checked out the Chess team.
 And of course we visited the Art Club ( Club de art).

Check out the cool project the recycling club made!

The students are reading the same story in English and Spanish. The school is also looking for other schools to connect with in the states to have a cultural exchange type program where the kids teach each other about their culture and learn from each other. If any teachers out there want to look into that here is a link to the school.

The Dump

Nothing could have prepared me for this. I knew where we were going and I had even seen pictures. But as we drove up the mountain of trash and the smell set in ( we rubbed vicks vapor rub under our nose to help with the smell) and then the sight of the vultures overhead just swarming. I felt like they were going to dive down on us at any second. The amount of people living and working amongst the animals who were also scrounging for food. It was unlike anything I have ever seen.

We were going with another missionary who has a ministry and goes into the dump once a week to give them a meal of rice and beans and clean water. I honestly expected the people to pounce on the truck like animals trying to get the food. The exact opposite happened. As we drove into the dump the truck was recognized by a few kids. They jumped on it as we rode up the hill. 

When we got there, some of us hopped in the back of the truck to begin dispersing food and others passed out water. To my surprise a line started forming. A line? I thought we were going to be attacked. But these people were really kind and patient. They waited in line for food. They said thank you. Two young kids even hopped in the truck to help me as I was seperating bowls. They didn't help and also try to get food first.. they just simply helped me. This all took me by surprise. I saw a lady giving a sip of her water to a dog. Again, it surprised me that she was caring towards animals when she was in such a desperate state her own self. 

Slowly my perspective began to change. Instead of viewing these people as animals, I saw them as people. Really kind people who just had a really hard life. Who were born in a really poor county. Who were not given much of a chance. They weren't begging for money. They were working. And they were working HARD. They were gathering paper, plastic, and tin to be recycled. Of course, they didn't have vehicles to take it far. They would make a pile and sell it to a guy with a truck who would pay them about a penny a pound and then that guy would go turn it in and make more money from it. They were doing whatever they had to do to survive.

This man with his back full of cardboard may have had .20 cents worth. He is working this hard and in this condition for .20 cents. But thats more than he had before. 

Matthew 25:35 " I was hungry and you gave me something to eat."

And honestly, this may be my favorite picture from the trip. This is my husbands hand feeding a man. Hands touching Hands. Not afraid to reach out and touch and care for the least of these. That is what this trip was about. God has called to serve the poor and needy. To take care of the orphans. All to often our American way of life keeps us to busy to even think about serving others. But now I have seen.. and I can't ignore it. I am so proud to be partnered with an organization like "Rice Bowls". If you aren't familiar with them let me tell you a little more about them.

Rice Bowls 
For those of you who may be unsure of what Rice Bowls does you can check out their website here. They support over 50 orphanages nation wide with their food budget. Trisha and Kelly Lawrence, who run the Good Shepherd Childrens' Home where we stayed said that when Rice Bowls began sponsoring them they were able to provide more fruits and vegetables for the kids. I had someone ask if  they only provide Rice Bowls, and NO that is definitely not the case. They provide the money to ensure that children get healthy nutritious food so they can grow properly. 

If you are an individual or business who wants to support this amazing ministry you can do so in a variety of ways. They have great T- shirts to buy ( one shirt feeds 40 kids), you can start a rice bowl campaign within your work, church, or whatever your sphere of influence is. Please just check out the website to see how you can get involved!

There are also other products that support Rice Bowls such as Bridgewater Candle Company. They have amazing products that you can order online or if you are local to my area you can find at "Blessings" inside of Laser Copy. They have provided over 3,534,942 meals for orphans. Upward Sports is also a corporate sponsor. So be sure to ask your local Upward program about it. 
P'zazz is also a sponsor but we have to do more. I now know and love these kids and there are so many more just like them. Precious kids who are living on the streets if an orphanage doesn't take them in. Sweet kids seeking love. There are so many missionaries like Trisha and Kelly who are doing the hard every day work of running the orphanage, rescuing children from the streets, and showing them Jesus's love. As the body of Christ we all have to do our part though. Orphanages just like this around the world still need money in order to provide food. We must look at our abundance and figure out ways to give. Seriously, it's not that hard. Giving up one or two fast food runs and giving that money to Rice Bowls would provide enough food for over a month for a sweet kid. 
At P'zazz we are going to start letting every person who comes to P'zazz be a part of the success story of a child. Instead of just one fundraising night ( which we will still have) we are also pledging that for every paying customer who comes to P'zazz we will feed a child for a day. That means every after school kid, every birthday party attendee, every adult in our adult classes or private parties, every field trip, EVERYBODY is going to help be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. 

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