Friday, August 01, 2008


("O" is still a work in progress)

At the moment I am sitting up to the old wooden table in the back yard. Louie is laying at my feet chewing on a stick and Anu is laying in the shade enjoying soft summer breezes. Actually, all three of us are enjoying the breeze--immensely. I'm sick of summer heat and even the slightest relief from it makes me incredibly happy.

I have a freshly brewed cup of coffee made from deliciously fresh roasted Ethiopian coffee beans in my favorite red and brown ceramic mug. I've had this mug for 14 years. Me and this mug have gotten to know each other well.

I really don't have much to say except that I will continue work on the Alphabet commission today and plan to finish it by Sunday. Ahhh, yes, a long awaited accomplishment. This morning, the woman who commissioned the piece came over with her partner and assistant to see it for the very first time. I'm not sure if that counts as doing my one scary thing for the day, but I am sooooooo relieved to say that they love it! I have to admit: I'm loving it, too.

The first half of the painting process, I spent a lot of time and energy being worried that they wouldn't like it or that it wouldn't turn out like they were imagining. The second half of the project I spent a lot of time and energy feeling bad that it has taken me so long to get it done. I threw in a lot of extra work that I hadn't planned for, including: a half dozen portraits, designing a line of cards, a butt-load of marketing, a call for dogs, a large number of photoshoots, a lot of emails and phone calls, a couple of events, a show, and plenty of the unexpected. All said, I am happy with the amount of work I've accomplished in the past 3 months. I've been telling people that I'm busy working on this alphabet commission for so long now that I'm starting to think that they don't really believe that I'm doing any work at all. HA! If they only knew.

Anyway, I'm excited about the possibilities of these letters. I have enjoyed painting each canvas much more than I thought I would. Somehow, this project became a meditation of color. It's given me space of mind to simply relax and savor color. My mind has been on overdrive lately which means that I am supremely grateful for anything that causes an internal state of quiet.

But the point of this post is not to tell you about the weather, my dogs, coffee, or what I'm working on. The point is to tell you that I did not do anything brave yesterday. That is, unless you count CLEANING THE HOUSE, which I did with amazing speed despite the level of chaos that had descended on it. Nothing like visiting clients and a visiting mom (who is on her way) to inspire a good dose of house cleaning! And, believe me, it needed it!

I've started to realize that it is very easy for me to get swept up in the daily busy-ness of my life and that, when this happens, there is not always room for intentional acts of bravery. But this, my friends, is dangerous territory. It has the potential to leave one sitting in a rut. Granted, every single day offers enough newness for me to consider at least one of my actions brave. This past month my life has been ON, amped to the max. I like it this way.

And so I ask myself:
What acts of bravery would I like to accomplish in the coming days and weeks?
here's the ever-evolving list that I've managed to come up with so far...

  • purchase a new festival tent
  • create another new line of greeting cards
  • add several new designs to the existing line of cards
    (on-going project)
  • purchase and learn Quickbooks
  • open up a separate business account--it's time.
  • get a handle on my personal finances--start keeping track of how much I'm spending and where I'm spending it and, from that, create a budget.
  • tackle the chaos called: my office closet.
  • create a resume for a business association that I've been invited to join.
  • and a cover letter.
  • learn more photography skills. Take a class?
  • begin work on my "secret" project (it's only secret because it is still incubating).
  • create a Be Brave link list--this is only scary because I'm afraid it will be an overwhelming task...but totally worth it. I want to create a space where Be Brave participants can find each other.
  • go through the entire house and GET RID OF everything that does not currently serve me.
  • and then sell it all in a big rummage sale! :)
  • finish my website. It's been a work in progress for too long.
  • continue eating well and working to lose weight. ...still in progress, but progress has been made! :)
  • start exercising!
  • get organized--ok...that is a totally abstract statement. This one is going to require some more in depth work.
  • make an appointment to see a tax consultant. I need/want to learn more about how to direct my business taxes towards rescue organizations. I have no clue how to go about the ins and outs of small business taxes.
  • ask for a discount for a bulk scanning order of paintings for fine art prints.
  • call and ask for a lower interest rate on my credit card.
  • continue to add images to my Flickr account and use it as a networking tool for Stray Dog Arts--this is something I started working on this week, per the lovely Thea's suggestion! :)
  • create a wholesale order form and brochure for greeting cards.
  • make a list of retail stores to send it to--nationwide.
  • and then do it!
  • *(remember to breathe)*
  • meet Ode in person.
  • begin a series of paintings to raise money for this rescue organization.
  • touch up my hair--ugh. It's a mess.
  • get a pedicure. My feet would seriously thank me. This might not be scary to some...but it isn't something I normally do and I'm realizing that the only reason I haven't already done it is that I am (truth be told) a little scared! :)- Funny how even life's little luxuries cause silly and unexpected fears to keep us from just doing it. Anyway, it's good to throw some enjoyable bravery into the mix once in awhile! Life doesn't always have to be hard. :)-
  • participate at an event at the Renaissance Fair.
  • begin work on a horse portrait--my first!
  • find a packaging supply company that carries inexpensive boxes (ect.) suitable for paintings and prints. Shipping costs SCARE me! Does anyone have any suggestions???
  • attend a motivational conference (next Wednesday, I'm already signed up)--something I've never done before!

Holy you see where this is going? There is no end to the possibilities! When I'm feeling tired or not-so-brave this list will be here to help remind me where I want to go. Next time I'm not sure what brave action I want to take on, I can always come back to this list.

Now I invite you (no, I DARE you) to make your own list! What's in store for you? I'd love to hear about it. ;)




Anonymous said...

Wow great list!

Lisa-Marie said...

Jessie, you've been an incredible inspiration and have inspired me to join up with you. What an incredible list and year you've had. Thanks so much for sharing.

Marilou said...

Jessie.. if you only knew how much of an inspiration you are to me and how grateful i am that our paths crossed! :) I have another idea to add to your list ;-) After your dogs of Linden Hills project... how about Dogs of Red Lake?? I could reach out to the adopters of some of the most incredible dogs we have helped rescued from Red Lake (the same place where Ode came from) and see if they would be interested. Another spirit who will touch your soul is Spice Girl.. check out the 6/22/08 posting on the Pet Haven dog blog ( Spice Girl, along with Ode, will also be at our Fall Benefit fundraiser as a doggie model and is going to be featured in our next newsletter.

I feel a movement emerging inspired by our teacher Ode... it will be the Ode - open heart, brave spirit movement! Through our compassion for Ode, she will teach us in turn how to open up our hearts to show compassion to people/children in wounded communities.

Namaste Jessie...


Anonymous said...

Oh dear, a dare. Ok, I hear ya. Hey, I think you will like Quick Books. I used it many years ago and remember being able to teach myself in no time. It's very user-friendly.

Leah said...

making a list of brave things i want to do has been helpful in keeping me on track as well. those are some good ones on your list!

*love* the alphabet series you've created thus far!! gorgeous work, as always.

Anonymous said...

Love the paintings...I too am doing the be brave project and find it amazing though I fear I may be doing it wrong (or maybe not)I have made no list, actually nothing on my list really scares me, I just do whatever comes up in a given day that scares me. Some days it is 3-4 things the next nothing. Jessie, tell me what you think of that...Also some stuff that scares me is so little and small and shocks me that it is so scary ;-).

Toni said...

Okay, I'm in! Just discovered your wonderful blog and posted "Be Brave" on two of my sites.

Gotta get off-line and prepare my list. What an inspiration.

pERiWinKle said...

As soon as you start with one thing... your mind flies off to another... and then more and more and more...and that is how lists grow.. and hearts open and bravery steps out and make you feel so proud! xx

Olivia said...

I am totally amazed, Jessie, as always. Bravo, bravo, bravo!

I think your idea of making a list is a great one, and that will help me to focus and to accomplish more---to LOOK for opportunities to accomplish the brave acts I yearn to do.

Much love, as always,


Anonymous said...

I will make my list this week. Thank you fo leading the way to be brave.

Melanie Margaret said...

J you are so inspiring. I am going to make my list today.
I too get caught up in the busy ness of life. I don't know if there exists an ideal balance as the needs of my children are constantly in flux, but I am working on some type of plan that will sustain me more.
Lets make a phone date soon.