Sunday, June 29, 2014

Storms Make Trees Take Deeper Roots

After a frustrating week, creative wise, I finished this experimental piece on Friday. I'm cautiously optimistic at the results.  I want to put together a good T-shirt design and try again with Threadless. I'm having a tough time with coming up with a great look on a T-shirt with the designs. That should be the easy part. 

I am finding out more and more that the perceived "easy" things are really the hard parts, and vice versa. 

I was happy with another design that I hope to submit to Threadless, but then I took a wrong turn with color. Therefore, time to start over with that one, as there is no saving it at this point. Frustrating. 

So who said "Storms make trees take deeper roots..." ? It appears it was Dolly Parton. However, in this fast moving information age, it's easy for that to be incorrect. However, so far, it appears to be correct that Dolly Parton did indeed say it. 

It's clear that I love putting words within the artwork. Sometimes they are just random and part of the art itself. However, there is often meaning within them. Sometimes it can be a code for something more personal that I did not want to divulge publicly, but still wanted it in the artwork. Other times the meaning is pretty clear (such as the one above).  And because analogies and metaphors have always spoken to me in gaining clearer understandings (and communicate my point more effectively), messages like the above are especially inspirational and comforting. 

"Storms make trees take deeper roots" contains the clear message that adversity exists. It can make us stronger if we learn from it. Choices all have consequences.  That is how we learn. Well, it's how we're supposed to learn.  Some of us need a few extra lessons. 

Have we ever seen a baby not fall down when learning to walk? Not likely. Sure, they may not want to immediately try again after they fall, but they do try again.  Each experience of falling down shows them what works and what doesn't.  Their strength increases.  Persistence and tenacity yields to success. Walking turns to running. And in X-man's case, it turns into climbing up on the counter and walking up there

As parents, if we constantly caught them before they fell, their learning would not be the same.  Sure, we do offer protection and they can rely on us. But we also have to allow them to have their own trials and errors. If we caught them every time they fell, sure, they would walk later but the same level of accomplishment would not be experienced. 

As I mentioned earlier, adversity is also the "storm". We've all experienced it in one form or another. Death. Accidents. Illness. Abuse. Unemployment. Those are just a few. There are many more. Emotional pain is intertwined within them all. Heartbreak. Betrayal. Depression. Anxiety.

Yes, there is a period that curling up and just crying is a way to cope. That is certainly understandable. However, at our pace, we do push through and we learn. We are stronger because of it. 

I do partially disagree with it in one sense, because when Chris was losing job after job after job from 2000-2004, I know I had strength. But when it happened the fourth time, it was as if I, being the tree, finally broke and cracked and fell to the ground in the wind. 

Sure, that storm eventually, passed. But in the midst of it when you're being taken out by the storms and your roots are ripped from the ground as your strength falls, it's not evident that the storm will pass. I am grateful that that years later I can look back on it and be grateful that it's in the past and reflect on what was learned from that turbulent time. 

I am confident in retrospect that God knew how much we could handle. He just trusted us immensely by taking it right up to the breaking point. 
But despite the initial weakness shown by breaking and falling in the storm, it did make us stronger. 
June 29, 2014 Sunday Doodle
It just didn't appear that way at the time. I do hope, looking back on that experience, that it gave me perspective and my re-planted roots are now stronger and deeper into the ground. 

I also reflect on how we change in how we use our strength. Because sometimes, despite our strength, we're just not the same after each storm. However, I can see that direction of topic going on for awhile. 

Therefore, moving on. 

Today's Sunday Doodle does allude to rain, but this is desiring it in the literal sense. Some rain and storms to ease the heat of the day, would certainly be nice. If only the Mesquite trees that line our streets didn't have such hallow roots. We take bets of how many will come down with each storm.

June is almost done. Two hot months down. Three more (officially) to go. 


Friday, June 27, 2014

Random Rosy Thoughts

Okay, that's a cheesy title. 

But I've always loved roses. Over the years I've grown to love many different flowers, but I keep coming back to roses. 

I realize that sounds cliche, right? Roses are the most popular flower. They're all over the place in music, stories, poetry, and everything in between. 

And for good reason.

I am pretty sure the beautiful picture to the left is my favorite artwork of a rose. At least it's my favorite one at the moment. It's also important to me, because it's very reminiscent of the kind of rich pink roses I fell in love with when I was around 14 or 15.  I think I drew them over and over. Pale pink is pretty, but there is something about the deep pink tones that drew me to them. 

I did move away from that as I got older, but looking at the artwork pictured here, I'm brought back to the early years and why I found them so beautiful in the first place. I even have an embroidery of pink roses that I worked on off and on back then. I never finished it, but I still have it.

Red roses are a close second. I built my wedding theme around them. If I was married in the Spring, I would have done the deep pink roses. However, for a November wedding and approaching the holidays, I knew red was the way to go. 

As much as I love real roses, I decided on silk roses for my bouquet (as pictured below with our wedding rings). They still looked very real, but at least I can keep it forever. 
Our wedding rings with the red budded roses of my bouquet. (my original wedding ring and band...I have a different ring now with white gold...I'm waiting for just the right time to pick out a perfect wedding band for it...funny to say when you're approaching your 20th wedding anniversary, but I'm in no hurry!)

I think my next favorite rose picture is this one below. The gorgeous Osiria rose. The red and white combination is just breathtaking.  I wish that one, I had the patience and outside tolerance needed to maintain rose bushes. And two, that I lived somewhere where roses flourish better. They do grow here, however. A neighbor around the corner and down a ways has beautiful rose bushes. When they bloomed, I couldn't just jog by without stopping to admire them.
I wish the roses in these next pictures didn't have to die. Thankfully we have photographs. These are some close-ups of some roses Chris gave me this week. There's white, pink and red. But what I love about the red ones is they seem to have that pink tone in there that just accentuates their beauty.

I am feeling overwhelmed as I look at these pictures, because it makes me want to put aside my current projects and just concentrate on painting watercolors of roses.  

But not yet. I have an idea for a drawing series that I have to see through. 

There will be plenty of time for roses. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Throwback Thursday without any other title...

An abbreviated post for a typical June Throwback Thursday, where I probably won't venture out into the world until close to sundown. 

Alexander is in his last week of swim lessons, and it's not until this week, that his behavior has been deplorable and he's fighting sweet Ms. Shannon on everything, that I ask myself what's the point in bringing him at all? But Thursday is the last day, and at least that means I get to get in and catch him as he goes down the slide. Even if he is acting like a total butt.

I wanted to post the pictures from a week or so ago at one of his lessons when he's in his  more cooperative and "eager to learn" moods, but the computer has had a falling out with my photo card. They won't talk to each other. So immature.

As for the art and drawing adventures, I have three different drawing projects going on at the same time. Therefore, none of them are fit to reveal just yet. One of them should have been done by now.  I've sung that song before.

Tonight I was reminded again of Christ's love and how the Atonement heals. It is truly a miracle when there is so much pain we can experience in a lifetime. Physical pain. Emotional pain (if you ask me, that's worse), and all the other complicated pain in between. While I struggle to find the "switch" to allow that healing, I'm also comforted to know that it is there.
Not too much of a Throwback Thursday, but a throwback nevertheless. These are from November 2012. I chose these because right now it's so hot outside, these photos remind me how cool and cloudy our desert can be.  These were taken at Usery Pass/Park, but at my favorite time - when it's a cool, cloudy and partly rainy day. It gives beautiful diffused light for pictures, and perfect for a nice walk in this part of the park.

Alexander was almost 2. Mikelle was 12, and Christian was 3 months away from turning 9.


And now to find the motivation to accomplish more tasks preparing for this move.  
Turns out, we will be speaking in church next month which is probably our last Sunday there. We haven't been given a topic yet.

But first, we have to get through June.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Frustrated Artists' Society

Found on
I am feeling poopy about the Threadless results. Average scores for the two designs (from over 100 people) were between 2 and 3, when 5 is the best. I highlighted the submissions in THIS POST.

I'll try again with my Dr. Who design and probably my American Flag design, but my energy to get back into it is low. I'm not a wallowing in self-pity, but I'm just feeling "yuck" and frustrated about it. I have to have a kick-butt T-shirt design template/presentation. Maybe in a couple of hours or in a day I can dive back into it.  

Meanwhile, the emotion centers of the adult brains in this house have been on high. 

This move is quite the feat, and it's a marathon, not a sprint. Yesterday (Sunday) I was particularly headachy and cranky even though I finally had a real night of sleep in two days. Then I messed up the process all over again by taking a long nap on Sunday afternoon. That made last night another sleep struggle. It's like Russian Roulette around here (but with a bullet in every other barrel) if adequate sleep can be had due to the brain that won't shut off, and legs that won't stop twitching or forcing themselves to move. RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) is certainly no fun. If
 only they (legs) could be detachable for the night. I could place them in a closet and they can twitch all they want and I, on the other hand, can get some sleep. That is, if my brain has already agreed to shut off as well.

Or like Friday night, try 6:00am! Saturday was quite the fun day!
In the meantime, the other two of the address number tiles came through the kiln. I put all four number tiles together and they look pretty good - other than the annoying imperfections and issues we neurotic artists see that annoy only us to no end and we'll always see even though we can't do anything about it.

Last week I also finished this design (left) that a friend asked me to create for her grandparents. She left last weekend to visit them in California, and wanted to have this for them. Their anniversary is in September and she expressed desire to have me create a follow-up. I am honored to be a part of this for her.

More projects in progress! Stay tuned! In the meantime, below is my Sunday Doodle for 6/22 with a French flair! 
June 22, 2014 Sunday Doodle with a French Flai

Saturday, June 21, 2014

...Aren't "Things"

Tonight Chris and I were loading up some stuff to go to Wickenburg. We’re officially moving next month, but the process has begun. 

I found a binder I carried around my senior year of high school. I guess that counts as an artifact I found, since the binders and its contents originated 20-21 years ago.

I opened it and a lot of post-high school papers were in it: A Process Essay I wrote in English 101 at Mesa Community College, along with some spiritual thoughts and other hand-outs. Some were from when I was still in high school, but most were after the fact.

However, some of its content contained letters from a good friend of mine who went to St. Meinrad Indiana for college the fall after high school. I read two of the letters from him all over again and kept looking for the rest because I know I received more than two from him, but they weren’t in that binder. I wish I did have all his letters, because there was something in one of the missing letters that just cracked me up (in addition to the plenty I smiled and laughed at all over again in the two letters I did have).

It involved his college DJ experience and if I remember correctly (this was 21 years ago, so I may not remember correctly, despite the rumored good memory that my family members will insist I have), it had to do with him playing Dennis Leary’s “A$$hole Song…” and some heat he took for it as a student at the Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened, since years and years have passed and that particular letter wasn’t there, but I remember laughing pretty hard at the time I originally read it.

And when I did see him and have dinner at his house with him and his wife some 8 years ago, I did bring it up and we laughed again.


Reading the letters from Fall 1993 and Spring 1994, and then realizing it had been 8 years since I had seen him and his family (even though they don’t live too far away…well, for the next month at least they don't - and we do exchange Christmas cards), I kicked myself for not keeping better touch with him back then and since we saw them last, as a good friend should have.

Just some fun excerpts from his two letters that were in the binder:

“I think I can probably give you a big enough topic to write on by simply saying ‘How are you doing?” If anyone can write a novel on that question, it’s you.  That’s not an insult in any way, shape of form, and I’d really like to know"

“We can’t go into town regularly since the nearest town big enough to a Wallyworld is 45 minutes away from the hill (the college). There is a girls’ boarding school about a half hour away, but that’s a high school, so they’re jail bait”

“I did manage to pick up some useful bits of information which I have been organizing into a travelers guide to Southern Indiana: 1) Don’t yell “redneck” at a turkey shoot with men drinking beer and carrying guns. 2)If you do, don’t run for the police. They’re rednecks too. 3)If you want to sound like a native, don’t pronounce vowels. Louisville is pronounce Llvl. 4) Everyone is helpful, but no one knows anything. If you want directions, ask ten people and follow the directions you hear most often.  You can read the rest when it’s published."

(Regarding coming home for Christmas 1993) “I loved seeing how everyone has changed. The lousy part was that I was only home for four days.  It’s not that I hate my relatives in California. But do you know what it is like to go to New Year’s party and not having anyone under the age of 50 to kiss? You can express your deepest sympathy when you write to me.”

“Well, as usual, I won’t ask questions because, as a writer and a woman, you will have plenty to tell me about Christmas, life, and the state of the world.”

There’s plenty more that are gems, but out of respect for him and not wanting to further incriminate the reality of the 1993-94 version of myself that those snippets may allude to, I’ll leave it at that.

Well, he’ll hate me for this (but I haven’t used his name, so it’s not like I’m being too direct with sharing this story...), but I still laugh at a time during our senior year of high school where we’re coming out of a restaurant and he banged his leg/shin or foot on something in the parking lot. I was no stranger to hearing colorful language emerge from his lips, so it was hilarious that instead of a slew of profanities such an injury would surely provoke, we all instead heard (as he was hopping up and down, mind you), “Oh….oh cuss!.... Cuss Mother!” 

I don’t know. Maybe you had to be there. But I was telling the story to Mikelle when she saw me reading the letters, and I laughed all over again. As did she.

Damn.  Nostalgia can really suck. Regret for not being a better friend sucks. Looking back and seeing how much time has passed sucks. But while all that is sucky, I am smiling at the memories and the fact that those friendships existed and can still exist. It just takes more effort. My goal is to get together with him, or the four of us as couples, before we move next month. And even if that doesn't work out (because people around here generally like to leave the scorching heat this time of year to nicer locales), it doesn't mean we still can't. It just means more driving to make it possible. I accept the challenge.

As I wrote in his yearbook at the end of our senior year: "'Cuss Mother’ lives on!"

And we do. Time just needs to slow down. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dad Day 2014

Fathers Day Sunday Doodle for 6/15/14

Sunday was Fathers Day, and that meant we could FINALLY show Chris the pictures the kids and had taken last month via a cute little photo album. It was tricky having the photos done in May, since it’s usually already hot. However, it was a rare (and probably last until at least October) day that only got to 79.

So adorable, it's disgusting...

In the middle of a goofy robot dance and making us laugh!


Along with the album, the kids also gifted Chris a Brazil World Cup Soccer shirt.They also drew pictures and wrote their own cute little things in the photo album.

One thing I was hell-bent on from the beginning was to make sure my kids had a great dad. Mikelle rolls her eyes at him, but in the same breath wants to spend time with him. Christian loves having technological discussions with him and still loves the cuddling. Xanderbug runs into the driveway excited to see him and knows Daddy won't initially kick him out of our bed. I love that Fathers Day is something to celebrate because of the awesome father of my 3 Things.
Left to Right: Mikelle age 7, Christian age 3, Alexander a few months old

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Whimsical Patriotism, Parrots, Pacyderms, Anicorns and Addresses...

Not the best photo quality. But here it is, pre-fired.
Ack! This post is looking like a real zoo. No, not a real zoo. A Freak Zoo. I got behind again! Not that I want today to be Monday, but that's when I was supposed to add a new entry. 

First of all, on the art front, I created the other two house numbers and they're in the kiln and I'll be able to pick them up on Thursday (only showing one of the other two numbers, since there's weirdos on the internet...besides me, I mean...).  I did bring the other two finished tiles to make sure I kept consistent with the colors.

Mikelle's "Alicorn" Pre-fired
Mikelle came with me this time and she had fun doing a Fluttershy "Alicorn" ala My Little Pony. I find it funny how My Little Pony appeals to all ages. There's even a documentary on Netflix called Bronies. Mikelle was watching it late Sunday night! lol

I also finally used my American Flag Design from 2012 and incorporated it for a mobile design and listed it officially on my Etsy shop

Here is the original (small - about 5x7) pictured with my Max Reebo from Return of the Jedi. This was BEFORE a sweet child o' mine took Max off the shelf where he sat safely and subsequently left him on the floor and the dog chewed out one of his eyes. But that's not what this is about.

American Flag Copyright 2012 Jill Henrichsen
American Flag Design on iPhone
American Flag Design on Samsung Galaxy

Other good news on the art front is Threadless accepted two of my designs to submit for scoring/voting. If I receive a bunch of high scores (Scores of 5!), they'll print the design on their T-shirts and I'll start making some real money on this art venture.  That would certainly be on the way to the dream. 

Of course it's still a long shot because I'm not really good at bugging people to score. I do not like that trend, but it is what it is. For example, my kids are the cutest kids on the planet and when I've sent their pictures for photo contests, I wouldn't hound enough of my friends to vote in the said contests because I think my friends should have other purposes besides being bothered and used. I just wish it was old school and the regular judging took place and we don't have to bother people.  You'd think they'd see how adorable Alexander is and go, "We don't need the bias friends and family voting. This kid is adorable!"

Back to Threadless, I submitted my Blue Hyacinth and Whimsical Elephant design for scoring. There's six more days left!  (Hint...Hint... If you did score, please click "share" and bother your friends and ask them to score. Okay, I don't want you to bother your friends either, but if you like the design, click "share" where it is on Threadless just to show it
Fathers Day was Sunday, but this art update took up way too much time and the post in general. I'll post again tomorrow with my Fathers Day Sunday Doodle and some fun photos the kids and I had taken in May as a surprise for Chris for Fathers Day. It was hard not showing them off for the last month.

Until Tomorrow....