Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm A Fraud

There.  I said it.  It's out there.  If I say it, then someone else can't accuse me of it first.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I'm not trying to trick anyone, or abuse anyone's trust.  But that's one of the lies the enemy whispers in my ear.

Remember the lies?  The enemy tries to trick us with lies.  There is usually some grain of truth in the lies.  That's why they stick.  It is truth that I don't have much formal training.  It is truth that I don't have classroom training past high school art class.  But it's also truth that I've taken online classes and read a ton of books about a variety of topics.  I've honestly read more books since being out of college than when I was an english major.  That feels good to say that.  I learn by doing and I really enjoy the process.  I am humble enough to know that I don't know everything.  I can ask for help.  I can find answers.  I can try another way.  I can brainstorm.  I can brainstorm with others.  The truth is I've done different and unrelated work that uses similar skills.  In the end, it's just paint and I can paint over it, and that's the truth.

I really struggled to put words to this post because I've been in a bit of a funk.  I've been afraid that someone will say that I'm not worth the money I'm being paid to do a rather large, relatively public project.  The truth is that not everyone is going to be a superfan of all my work.  Even my "superfans" will not love everything I do.  But I need to do it anyway.  I get to do it.  I'm creative.  I am an artist--as terrifyingly weird as that still sounds for me to say that--I am an artist.  It is part of my gifting and my calling, and it's part of what I must do.

 UL caribbean blue & electric pink
Board & expression available here.

What lies do you need to push through today?  In case you need a little extra nudge to keep pushing, here's an excellent video from photographer Jeremy Cowart.  (It's about 30 minutes long, but well worth watching until the end.)  Here's the link:

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Catch up with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@JensWallsTalk) to see what I'm working on currently.  I truly appreciate your subscribing to this blog.  If you haven't yet, just enter your email in the subscribe box.  I promise to never sell or rent your information to anyone else.  By subscribing, you are ensured to receive each new post directly to your inbox.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Confident Doubting

I earned my black belt in karate about a year ago.  In our style of karate, after a student passes their black belt test, they are officially a student black belt for a year then they can test for their first degree black belt ranking. Tonight was that night for me. I tested for my first degree black belt.

I'll save you the suspense because that isn't my point in this post.  I passed!  My point in telling you about this is to rehash the mental process. When I took my black belt test last year, I was terrified.  I had been preparing for it for 6 1/2 years. It had been postponed several times because I wasn't ready. I knew it would be a physically grueling test...and it didn't disappoint. Four and a half hours of testing, and one month later of waiting, I found out I had passed.  The test tonight was not the test of last year.

 color: UL pink peony

As I approached my big test last year, I was afraid it would be postponed again. I was practicing, but I was still stuck in my head.  About two weeks before my test, God allowed me to have clarity and an open mind to remember what I needed to know.  I thought it wouldn't stick.  I kept waiting for it to dissipate over the next year--but it hasn't.  Tonight I was able to remember.  I was able to perform. I was confident going into the test...until an hour before.  Doubt crept in and reared its ugly head. But it couldn't stay. It wouldn't stay because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I won't say I performed perfectly.  I'm still human after all, but I've turned a corner.  I've proven to myself that I can do hard things.  And now I do.  The pattern has been set.  And now I move forward.

What are you doubting that you will push through today?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Respond Much?

Here's a thought: every interaction with another human is 95% neutral and only 5% intentionally geared to a specific response.  Let me say that again: 95% is neutral.  So what's up with everyone getting offended and having to be politically correct then?  Because we filter.  We filter through our experiences, our personality, our beliefs.  That's not a bad thing, but we need to add in a dose of in the other guy's.

My daughter is growing exponentially in her artistic skills.  It's really cool to watch because she is most frequently working with a medium that I don't ever use: watercolors.  It's not that I don't like them, I just have not learned to enjoy that type of paint like I have others.  (Check out one of her pictures below!  I'm so excited to share it with you!!)  This morning she was working on a new picture called "Firework" while the rest of us were sipping coffee and eating toast at the same table. Someone made a comment about something in the picture (ie. "I like that color you're using there."), and she reacted...

"He said it was awful!"

Now I completely understand that my daughter is a fantastical, age 11 pre-teen queen, but the point remains the same: the feedback was completely neutral, but her perception and response was one of offense because she filtered it through the angle of being an incredibly sensitive, 11-year-old girl with a perfectionist attitude about her art.  What would happen if she (and the rest of us with her) took a step back and realized that the rest of the world is not out to get us, or offend us?  Wait for it...we might just get along a little bit better.

 UL Caribbean Blue

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Here's is my sweetness' fabulous picture.  I believe she titled it "Raindrop." When I commented on the girl in the raindrop, she corrected me.  The girl is not in the raindrop.  You are looking through the raindrop at the girl.  It's all about perspective.

Thank you for sharing my posts when they hit a nerve with you.  I appreciate you subscribing, as well.  You can also catch up with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@JensWallsTalk).

Friday, May 20, 2016

How Learning Karate Taught Me to Paint

I know what you're thinking.  You can hear Mr. Miyagi saying, "Paint the fence.  Up. Down. Uuuup. Dooown."  You're thinking, "Wow!  You learned karate with Mr. Miyagi's technique training?  That's so cool!" Not really.  Okay.  Not at all, but like Mr. Miyagi's lessons, I learned things about myself that I didn't know I was learning.  In this particular instance, I learned about time.

When I was in the home stretch before my black belt test last year, I was putting some extra practice and study time in.  I wasn't cramming for the test.  I like to think it was more reinforcing what I already knew...for months.  I had a couple hundred techniques to remember that I was to be tested on. It was no small feat.  At this point, almost a year later, it almost seems like ancient history, but I could still tell you exactly what I did to work through my struggles and prepare for the task that I set out for.  One of those things was to squeeze studying and practice in the slivers and chunks of time between my obligations.  I studied on my lunch hour or got up early to practice my katas in my head.  I practiced during class time, but I also practiced before I went to sleep.  So what does all this have to do with painting?

As I was painting on a project last night while my son was across the hall in his meeting, it occurred to me that it didn't feel weird.  It wasn't strange to go to my full time job during the day and then gather my supplies and work on a side hustle in the evening time.  It wasn't odd to leave for work half an hour early to go check measurements on another job, so I can get more supplies on my lunch time.  It wasn't weird because I had already done it.  I had already set the precedent and knew that I could and do make it work.

 UL hot cocoa

Often life lessons overlap, but we have to be paying attention to catch it.  What have you done in your past that is entirely different from what you do now, but has an applicable lesson?  It's there.  Our life is not separate little compartments.  It's more like spaghetti...or karate and painting.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Personal Screw Ups

I always want to write, but sometimes I don't want to share.  I'm not an overly private person in that if you are honestly asking if everything is ok, I'll probably tell you--at least to a certain degree.  I think it's a woman thing.  We talk.  We feel.  We share.  It's how we process for the most part.  But as an extroverted introvert, I do spend a fair amount of time processing on my own.

The things I don't want to share are my vulnerable places.  They are the places that it's embarrassing to not be perfect--even though I know that no one on earth is perfect.  So here comes my honesty.  I'm afraid I suck as a mom.  My kids watch too much tv.  I constantly have a pile of laundry on my couch...which gets shoved to the side so we can watch tv while we eat dinner most nights.  I pretty much hate that one, but I'm so tired from working all day that I don't want to argue at that point.  I really don't like working full time at my job.  It's not that I don't like my job.  In fact, most days, I do like it.  I just don't like that I've chosen to give up time with my family to do that.  We need to eat and we are not yet at a point where I can work part time outside the home.  I'm bummed about that, too.  I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  You've heard me talk about that one before.  I'm bummed because we've been poking at our money stuff for long enough now that if we had just buckled down, we would be done by now.  That's a pretty sucky realization.  But I'm not going to play that game.

 UL electric lime
Life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Coulda, shoulda', woulda's will ruin your life.  It's easy to get stuck in the place where I contemplate all the things I've done wrong or that I would have done differently.  I can't.  Life is lived forward and the reality is that I did have the opportunity to make different choices and I didn't.  Keep living.  Mess ups and all.

Make is a beautiful day.  This is your life.

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Friday, May 13, 2016


2016 has been good.  In celebration of it being Friday (or Wednesday, or Sunday, or whatever other day you may happen to read this post on), I am posting a top 5 blog posts from this year thus far. They are actually some of my favorites.

5. Don't Get Stuck In Your Filter. It's easy to do.  We all do it.  Be open to other perspectives.

4. The Problem with Being Good at Stuff.  You wouldn't think it would be a problem to be good at something, but...well, it certainly can be.

3. Planning is Good, but It Doesn't Matter. Really and truly it doesn't matter how much you plan unless you do...

 UL electric pink & shoreline blue

2. I Squashed My Husband's Dream. Shooting straight on this one.  Buckle up.

1. Being Out of Debt is Not About You. One of my favorites, and shows what a screw up I can be.  God is good.

There you have it.  The top 5 posts from 2016, thus far.  Enjoy!  Please feel free to comment, share, and subscribe.  You are why I do this.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.



Monday, May 9, 2016

What Did You Catch?

I have heard it said that more is caught than taught when parenting our children.  While I had good parents that intentionally taught me a lot, I was fortunate enough to catch a lot of extra lessons.  In honor of mother's day, here are a few lessons I learned from my sweet mama.

1. My body may not be "model" perfect, but I'm healthy and strong, and proud of it.  Period.

2. Women can be in business, and do it well.  My dad used to say that my mom could sell ice to an Eskimo.  She didn't sell people something they didn't want.  She could help you understand that you really do need it.

3. It's okay to pursue your passion.  My mom is dog trainer.  Not only has she trained dogs for as long as I can remember, she's really good at it.  She took that passion from just teaching a weekly class to creating an entire program inside our state prison system.  She helps reform cast off dogs...and people.

4. It's okay to be weird.  The story goes at my house that my mom once asked me what I would be like if I had a normal mother? I'd be normal, was my response.  Now that I'm a little bit older than 17, I realize that it was a gift to be able to embrace my inner weirdo...and now I'm passing that lesson onto my daughter.

5. I may not be perfect, and I may not have always made perfect choices, but the buck stops here. We will make mistakes.  It's going to happen.  Own it.  Then move on.

6. You're stronger than you think you are. We don't know what life will bring our way. But we can get through it.

This list could go on forever.

 UL herb garden

I love you, Mom!  I'm so proud of you.  I'm so thankful that you really and truly have always supported me.  I'm so grateful that you have helped me become that mom that I am to my kids.

Thank you.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Yay for a Broken Dishwasher!

When I was a child, I hated doing dishes.  It's not that I loved other chores either, but that one in particular was my nemesis.  We had a dishwasher in every house we lived in as far as I can remember, but I still had a vehement dislike for washing dishes.  As I got older, I finally realized that my mom wasn't going to come over and do dishes for me, so I had to suck it up and do them myself. I was hoping they weren't joking when my parents told me they'd get me a lifetime supply of paper plates when I got married...

Now that I have a family of my own, I have decided that I would rather wash dishes than cook in a dirty kitchen.  Eeeewww.  I just can't.  So when my dishwasher died last week...oh boy.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know I'm a fan of Dave Ramsey and the baby steps. We're still on step two (debt snowball for those that don't know my buddy, Dave), and we have our rental property for sale.  Let me translate for you: that means we don't have piles of cash laying around because we're paying two mortgages currently, which means I'm not going to go spend the money to buy a new dishwasher right now. 

BUT there are benefits to having a broken dishwasher: that means my family has a new opportunity to work together.  That means I get to have time with my kiddos where we're in close proximity and we have to communicate.  It also means I get to teach my kids about delayed gratification.  I get to acknowledge that, yes, this absolutely sucks that we don't have a dishwasher currently, and we won't be getting one until either our other house sells, or we get our debt paid off...and here's the towel to dry.  

 UL mustard seed & hot cocoa

I don't think it's as simple as making lemonade from lemons, but there are plenty of life lessons to be learned in sucky situations.  What do you need to learn today?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@JensWallsTalk).  You'll probably get some glimpses of current projects.  And thanks for sharing and subscribing.  It's always appreciated.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Honing Your Craft

It took me 6 1/2 years to earn my black belt.  I had a lot to learn to get to the point where I felt I had earned it...that I knew what I knew--and that I deserved the title.  Likewise, it's taken me a while to really start to build my readership, too. I'm okay with that.  

I checked my stats yesterday to see what my top 10 posts of all time are...and by all time, I mean since January 1, 2015, because that's when I started this blog.  It was really interesting to me that 9 out of 10 of them were written since January 1, 2016.  (The one exception to that was written in December of 2015.) So here I am over a year later, and really just starting to grow my audience.  I could argue that people didn't know I was out there to read.  I could say that I wasn't promoting myself well...or any other number of excuses.  However, I think I was just not really worth reading.  I wasn't writing terribly.  There are some good posts hidden back towards the beginning of this blog. But until I was able to dig a little deeper, be a bit more honest with myself and you, my readership, I wasn't truly putting something out there that others could benefit from.

 UL crimson red
"Never Quit" expression available here.

I am growing.  My skills are being honed.  I'm becoming a more concise storyteller.  I'm refining my voice.  Even if something is a natural skill, it still needs practice and training and feedback to get better.  Thank you for riding along with me while I hone, improve, and define.

Just for the record, it only happened because I kept going...

What do you need to keep doing?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

I appreciate you subscribing to my blog.  It's free.  You can also visit me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (@JensWallsTalk).  See you there.

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