could this be contentment?

 

I have a confession to make.

I have been experiencing something. It’s snuck up slowly.

I’ve tried to deny it, rename it, question it.

But friends, I believe it’s called Contentment.

Sunset 30 miles north off the coast of Cuba, taken this February.

After years of believing that I always have to be moving forward, growing, taking on more and more.  I’ve reached a place where I finally trust that no, right now for me;  I want to sit and bask in this time.  I don’t want to expand the time I put into my business, I don’t want to be involved in large numbers of art shows and networking and online classes.  I don’t want to join a bunch of mom groups.  I love my life right now.

After years of diligently looking at all my commitments and areas of stress, many which I wrote about in my ebook Finding myself in the Moonlight, I have added in breathing room and space into all areas of my life.  I’ve learned to trust myself more than ever before.  We’ve busted our asses for years and finally gotten to a financially free place where the only debt we have in the world isour home.  It’s truly freeing.  After years of having my head down and checking off an endless list of to-do’s I finally feel like I am in that place I prayed for so many times.

 

I’ll never stop learning (in fact I’m listening to a TED talk right now while typing this) but what I am getting better at is looking at classes and programs and knowing that now is not the time for most of them.  I’m still growing and learning and in fact my faith and spirituality is deeper than ever. Prayers and meditations and time in nature have all helped me to feel a contentment that I’ve never felt before. 

I share this to offer hope.  This may surprise you but I’m rebellous to my core.  I’m a rule following rebel I suppose.  I love to do good, I love to find good in others… but… the  minute society or people tell me that something should be done a certain way.. I question it.   It works though; I’m the happiest person I know.  I don’t feel like I need to do things the way everyone does them.   We all have areas we feel that pressure from. Here are some of the choices I’ve made that work for me (us) that have lead me more towards contentment:

  • moving 40 miles from the cities to a property where we can grow food, embrace nature, have a workshop to build and create in.  We are tucked into the trees and have privacy and also the rejunating energy of nature.  We get a whole floor to ourselves and the kids have their own bathroom, all in our cozy little 1500 sq. foot house.
  • getting out of debt.  We paid off $48k in just under 2 years (you can read about that here).  What that has done to our lives and the peace it has brought since though has blown my mind. We recently were able to take our kids on a week long cruise to Belize and also do a small road trip after we got off the ship and see the Everglades and visit a state park in the Florida keys.  The best part; we paid cash for the trip. It is so freeing to be able to plan and save and pay for a trip like that and come home and still have money in a savings account.  We worked so hard for so many years saving every penny, selling things and praying that I share that to say all that sacrifice was worth it.  
  • Homeschooling our youngest. Our oldest is in public high school and she thrives and loves it, I was faced last year with a decision to homeschool our youngest.  While I admit I wouldn’t prefer to have homeschooled my oldest, each kid is different and it has been the right decision to homeschool our little guy. And we LOVE it.  Just this morning in fact, sitting with him and watching him learn to read.  It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve gotten to do in my life. Teaching him about living from the heart, music and the arts, endless time for science and real life experiences.  I am so incredibly grateful for this time, piecing together a curriculum and resources so I can connect him with learning opportunities that help him become the best whole health and knowledgeable person he can be.
  • Our 16 year old just got her driving permit and I’ve had a similar feeling teaching her to drive. It’s so special to get to witness and be a part of that growth. In a world where everyone’s first reaction is to go to the fearful side of this time, and yes of course that part is there too; I’m choosing to really honor the blessings that this stage of life is bringing for her and us.
  • This past holiday season I did something that I had never done before.  After years of doing holiday art and craft shows and in person shows, hauling all my work from place to place, getting sitters and paying entrance fees I turned them all down and trusted this little voice inside that knew I could do it my own way. (At least for now, with kids at home I have found myself losing interest in shows. There is only 1 that I love where the people and atmoshpere and crowd are so amazing that I may keep doing it, we’ll see – lookup 4Angels boutiques if you’re curious)   Instead I offered very specific items online including remembrance ornaments and sold hundreds of them. I also got a chance to connect with small groups of people in online artwork parties. During these parties I was able to show videos where I got to explain the deeper meaning behind my artwork pieces and really hear people’s stories and what exactly what people around them were going through and connect them with the perfect gift they could get for those they love.  It was such a rewarding and special set of parties and I got to meet so many beautiful women. Plus I got to do all of those from my home on my own schedule. 
  • January 1st, I deactivated my personal Facebook. I was finding myself having underlying levels of guilt, after cutting my friend list from over 600 to around 250 that helped a lot. Ultimately though I had to get really real that me being at home and having endless access to “check in” was costing me many minutes once I added it all up.  Now after 2 months after being away I can see that the part I was really reluctant to admit to myself was that there was a continuous feeling of static in the back of my mind. Anywere I was, anything I was doing; I always felt like there was something else I was supposed to be doing.  I don’t know if everyone feels that, but for me stepping away has allowed me to feel so present in my day to day life.  At some point I’m sure I’ll get back on but for now it feels like the right choice for me.
  • I don’t do networking groups.  Or mommy groups.  Here is what I know about me. My go to emotion is guilt. I really want to honor and connect with people once I let them into my world.  What can seem like a fun one time, meet new people networking experience for most people leaves me feeling flaky and unreliable after the fact.  I connect with people and then within my daily life I have no room for follow up.  I am not available to do follow up coffee meetups, business meetings in person or mommy activities.  So instead I’ve chosen to honor this time and know that someday I may want to dive back in and network and meet more people and really give it my all then I will do so with joy. For right now though I feel fulfilled with those in my life and the simplicity of our day to day.
  • I don’t do phone calls or in person meetings if at all possible.  Artwork is visual and for me sharing information via email or online works best.  I am choosing right now not to do a ton of in person events.  What I have found also is on my deeper, more intuitive based artwork projects I attain better results if I don’t have phone conversations with my clients.  That my sound strange but I hate the phone. I don’t like talking to new people on the phone and it drains my energy.  So knowing that I choose to keep my internal energy high and my intuitive energy at it’s deepest level by honoring them.  This will change at some point, but for me right now with a kiddo in tow and a routine we stick to it is what works best for me.
  • Choosing to drive used cars.  We don’t do car payments and all our cars (4) are paid for in full.  I was especially glad the other night (when I hit a deer a few hundred yards from our driveway) that I don’t worry about scratches or other life things that seem to happen out here. For the record the deer jumped back up and was fine and so was my car.  Someday we’ll get some nicer cars but for now, this works great for us.  I’m grateful that Bruce knows how to fix cars and keeps them all running.  I think the biggest thing has been to disconnect our feelings of self worth from the cards we drive. Yes, of course it is fun to drive a super new, decked out car and we had fun last year when we rented a car for a weekend and chose a new BMW suv. It was really fun.  But I don’t feel like less of a person because our cars are from both the 90’s and early 2000’s.  I actually feel great pride and think of the other things we have been able to do with that time instead of having to spend it making money to pay for upgraded cars. Right now, I prefer more family time.
  • Minimalism – we have gotten rid of so much extra stuff over the last few years.  6 months after getting married and combining our lives (stuff) my mom passed and over the next couple years our garage filled up with furniture, decor, clothes and candles that were hers.  It’s taken almost a decade but we finally feel like we have just a few really special things that help me remember her but don’t need to have our whole house stuffed with things.  We spend less time organizing, cleaning and moving things which has freed up not only time but also energy for the things we really want to spend it on.
  • We don’t have cable. We have a roku with netflix and amazon and a couple other channels.  We don’t dvr things.  So yes, we miss things that are on tv quite often.  Years ago I spent so much time watching tv and scheduling out what things would be recorded and learning about new shows but now it has faded.  But somehow I’m still okay.  This past year I’ve bingewatched; Heartland, Hart of Dixie, Hallmark’s Home is where the heart it and a few other shows that everyone else enjoyed years ago.  I’m okay with that.  They are coming into my life at the perfect time for me to really savor them and enjoy them.
  • Diminishing toxic relationships.  We can’t always completely avoid people who bring negativity into our lives but I strive to eliminate unnecesary drama or people I don’t trust.  Today I don’t have to spend much time or energy on this but years ago I had a list of people in my life who I knew I needed to move on from. I send them love and I chose to limit or cut them out out completely and it’s been life changing.
  • We talk in the language of love.  If you where a fly on the wall in our home you would hear my 6 year old talk about how his heart is exploding with love. How he happy cried in the car yesterday while looking at the sunset and again last night when we all sat on the floor working on legos with him.  We talk about our love, what eachother mean to us and share gratitude fr
    eely. Even while having a 16 year old daughter I love that we can talk so openly and validate feelings, our intuition and have worked so hard to make our home a peaceful respite in contrast to a sometimes crazy and stressful world. 

I share some of these things because I know so many people do fill so much of their day’s doing things they “should” do instead of really allowing themselves to schedule in breathing room, space and peacefulness.  We want to make the people around us happy and sometimes we let the rule over that little feeling in our gut that knows something doesn’t feel like it fits anymore.  Give yourself permission to honor peacefulness as much as success and knowledge in other subjects.  It will make every area of your life better.  I’ve experienced the death’s of loved ones, a divorce, multiple moves, and defining and developing my business. Then later marrying a wonderful man and making choices that move me closer year after year towards a life I really connect with (including working really hard to un-learn so much I’ve been tought growing up.) That journey has led me to now has given me this gift of a chapter of contentment.  I feel so grateful, even grateful for the really tough times that make me even more grateful each day for good times.  I know life will be full of ups and downs and times where I can’t wait to be around people and others where I again crave solitude and quiet, but for now in this moment…  it feels so right.

Sending you all love!

Summer projects with photos

We’ve been working hard around the new house to balance getting projects done and relaxing and enjoying being out in nature.  A few of the highlights:

– The day I got in the car and got one block down the road and noticed something looking back at me from inside the car on the dashboard.  It took my brain a few seconds to even register what it was seeing.. then I realized it was a garter snake.  It stared back at me for a few seconds then as I somehow tried to maintain my composure and not crash into the ditch, it then turned and slithered into the dashboard vent.   I jumped out of my car screaming (how you’d expect) and tried to figure out what to do.  And that folks is how I met our first neighbor..  me totally freaking out like the biggest city girl ever.   I ended up leaving our car in their driveway for a few hours until I got up the nerve, put on socks, tucked my pants in, tennis shoes and gloves and marched over there determined not to be beaten by a snake.   It was one of my bravest moments as I got in my car and drove it back home.   Thankfully my husband is a badass and drove the car the next day for me and sure enough, the snake slithers down out of the dashboard onto the passenger foot area and he got it out of the car for me.  My real life HERO.

– Another funny story happened just the other day.  We were painting the house and Bruce brought the car over and we were thoroughly enjoying some 80’s music.  A few hours later he started the car just to make sure that the battery didn’t die.  He walked into the house to check on something and I was on the deck getting more paint and suddenly I saw the car jerk into motion and swerve up onto the driveway and then back down again until a hundred plus feet later it crashed into a tree.   All I could do is watch it happen in slow motion..

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I’m glad that we can laugh about it.  Bruce was able to pull most of the dented area back out and order a new headlight.  Someday we’ll replace the car but for now, it’s paid for and we have a ton of other projects we want to spend money on so it’ll have to do for now.

I’ve been busy with some projects around that house that I’ll be sharing soon.  For now though I’ll share a few fun ones that I’ve managed to take pictures of.    I’m a thrifty gal, I love a good deal.  Boy did we find one with this set.

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  I scored this huge hutch, armoire and queen bed set all for only $200.  Solid wood.   I was so excited.   Of course we painted it all.  Sky claimed the armoire and painted it white.  I claimed the bed and we also painted that white.   And the hutch, I admit I had a symbolic life moment of choice.  I really wanted to go with a bold color and add some fun into the dining room, but my sensible side was telling me to just do it white.  I’m glad I let my fun side win out.

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On the back of the mirror above I also experimented with taking part of the back of the mirror off to give it an antiqued feeling.  I still have lots to learn but it was a fun project.  I then put some neutral wrapping paper behind it so that is what is showing through the clear parts (instead of the chipboard mirror backing).

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This summer has been all about surrendering.  Things taking longer than I thought they would. Being okay in the midst of boxes still unpacked.  Having fun along the way.

As I unpack and set up each room I’m been working hard to only put things in this house that we love and that are part of the life we want to have here.   I’ve been reading, “The life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.  Also some books on Feng Shui and decor.   Really trying to hold each item and feel how it makes me feel.  Some rooms have been a slow unfolding for this reason others had to be set up and I’ll continue going through them later.  I’m loving what is happening though as I continue to make sure we don’t overcrowd this house and instead allow room for future great finds on vacations and future projects.

One of my favorite spots in the house.  These pieces are right next to the computer desk area in the living room.  The top one is a shadow box from my Europe trip last year.  A postcard from Germany, my Eiffel Tower ticket.  A rock from the Mediterranean in Nice, France and some coins.  When I look at that box it makes me think of what is possible. The connect to others around the world. Friendships formed. dreams. Feeling on top of the world.

The box below it to the left is one Bruce and I made a couple years ago as we worked to put our goals out into action.  A nature style cabin/house in the background.  In front of it; all our credit cards that we cut up. It was our message to ourselves and the universe that we were doing what it took to make our dreams a reality. That we would be really careful with our spending, save, be wise and it would get us to our home.

The to the right of that, a 2D sculpture that Skylar did a few years back. To me it reminds me to consider the earth, its sacredness but also sometimes let loose and howl.

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I’ll get some before and after shots of more actual projects for my next update.  In the meantime here are a couple other random fun shots.

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Thanks for letting me share what we’ve been up to here.  I can’t wait to share more of the big ones.

Noelle_Signature

a new move

We are getting all settled in the new house. Painting, unpacking, decorating, savoring.   This move has been a lesson in life about faith, trust and manifestation.

Let’s rewind to just over two months ago… my loving hubby and I were having a long look at our budget, bills, list of house fix-it projects and by all accounts we could not figure out a way for us to move.  We had been working hard to pay off everything so all we’d have left was a house payment.  It was a wonderful thing to not have all the payments but for the moment we were cash poor.  So we debated and decided the safe thing to do would be to list out all the projects we needed to work on and we’d spend the next year working on them and saving up as much cash as possible for a down payment.  We got to work that weekend and fixed some exterior things on the house.  It seemed fine for about 48 hours…

I sat with the feelings I was having and tried to identify what wasn’t sitting right.  I realized we were choose fear instead of going for our dreams.  We were playing it safe instead of taking a leap.  So I made a conscious choice.  I started packing boxes.  That night I shared my feelings and Bruce agreed. We decided that we would do whatever we could in our power to make a move happen and if it was meant to be for this summer then it would happen and if it was meant to be that we wait a year then that would happen.  We just needed to do all we could.   That week we continued working on our list of house projects.   I happened to post  the picture online of our packed boxes sharing our intention to move.  My lifelong best friend let me know of a house that would be perfect for us.   So we scheduled a showing that weekend and came to see the house on the hill.   We both knew immediately that this was our home.  It was what we’d been looking for over the past years, the yard, space, buildings all were a perfect fit for us.  All being finished enough that the house was move in ready but still enough character to the home that we could continue to do projects and add our own special touches.

We let the seller know that we wanted it and since he is a friend he agreed to hold it for us until our house could be sold. AMAZING.  So we were able to spend the next 3 weeks getting our house ready to be on the market. I was so grateful for family coming over and helping us paint, plant flowers and borrowing us a few things for staging.  It all worked!  We listed it and it sold in 2 days.   The buyer for that house wanted to be in it by the end of May and thankfully we had a new home to go to.

Pictures of the old house once we got it staged:

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So my friends, here we are.  Living in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley area in Wisconsin.  We can see Minnesota off in the distance.  We are learning more about this amazing community we are getting to be a part of here in Osceola and loving it.   Here a few pictures of the new house:

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This is the ugly peacock / chicken coop, remember how creepy, dirty and ugly it is now…  next summer it’s on the list to transform it into one of the coolest guest bunk houses ever:

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So that my friends is our story of our spring miracle.  What seemed impossible and we had no way to figure it out, we surrendered, trusted and worked our asses off and somehow here we are.  🙂

Sending love and support to every one of you for that impossible dream in your life!  And also to myself that I can remember this life lesson for the other areas where I have big dreams that seem out of reach.

Noelle_Signature

Do you ask for what you want?

I just watched this video, it’s a brilliant PR move and so incredible to even watch and feel the joy for these people.

You can watch this video here:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/09/viral-airline-stages-magnificent-christmas-miracle-for-hundreds-of-lucky-passengers/

As I sobbed my way through, smiling and laughing I had another thought also.  This situation is so much like life.  Some of us expect great and powerful lives, others expect very little. And often we get what we ask for.  I’m gonna get deep here.  It’s one thing to casually throw out ‘dreams and wishes” and expect them, it’s a whole other thing to know in every fiber of your being that you are called to be a part of something, live somewhere, have things. You are worthy, you  are deserving.   When you focus on what you don’t have the energetic vibration you are putting out into the world is that of lack, not enough. You will attract that.

In applying this to my own life here is what my takeaways are:

1. I know that I’m being called to move our family somewhere else.  I love being near our families and friends but it’s as if chapter is closing and it’s no longer in alignment with my or Bruce’s calling and purpose.  No matter how much we are trying to convice ourselves to stay put, suck it up and that it’s safe and comforatble we know different.

2. It is really easy for me to go into my default way of thinking and curse the cold, dread going outside this time of year and focus on knowing the details of this calling.  Where are we supposed to move? How will we financially make a living there? What about the benefits we have here? What about the kids and their friends that they’ll miss. On and on.

3. In trusting the bigger picture it’s vital for us to do a handful of things:

     a. Visualize the feelings I feel when I think of being in the perfect place (for our family). Imagine everything working out, the jobs fall into place.

     b. Don’t get stuck in my perception of reality right now and all the things that appear to be conflicting.  Example – I will miss my siblings and their kids, our parents and grandparents are aging, does this make us selfish?  How is Bruce going to make what he makes now? He’ll lose his senority, benefits, etc.

     c. We must live our lives here in Minnesota with as much happiness, fun, and gratefullness as possible. Appreciate it, savor it. Knowing this won’t make us stuck here but it will put us in a vibrational match with the feelings we want to have. (Wherever we live.)

     d. Make room for miracles.  We have been de-cluttering. Asking ourselves of every item we own, “would we still want that if it meant we had to move it?”  many times the answer is no.  So it goes.  Lightening up is both literally making room for miracles and decluttering our thought process and spirit so we can spend less time cleaning, moving and walking around things that no longer serve our vision or life.   This also includes financial preparations; saving money to move, paying down things, doing fixes on the house to rent it or sell it.  Anything that will hold up the process when that place we are meant to be calls our name and steps forward.

4. Honor the knowing, not the ego.   I no longer feel the need to constantly explain why I feel called to move.  The biggest thing I looked at internally however is “am I running away from anything?”  I think a couple years ago when I wanted to move the answer was yes.  So I’ve stayed, worked through the muck, done lots of deep soul work, the repairing and understanding of relationships. I can say with certainty that we are making changes that are in complete alignment with why we have been put here on this planet, at this time.  It’s connecting more with ourselves, honoring ourselves and trusting.  Knowing it will fall into place when the time is right.

 

So back to the video, it also made me wonder – there is a guy who asks for socks and underwear. necessary parts of life. But do you think he was a little pissed when he saw the next family ask for a big screen tv (and get it)?  Do you think he kicked himself for not thinking bigger?  Not in a selfish, greedy way but maybe he needed a new dishwasher or something really valid.   Just a thought worth pondering.

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So it all comes down to this.   The universe, God, source, energy is asking you every day what you want.  And from a deep, spiritual, loving place you can stand up and claim what you need and want. But many of us never do.  We stay little, we don’t want to make waves or seem “different” or crazy.  So we don’t dig deep enough to find that place in ourselves that is peaceful and authentic.  We are so caught up in our stories. All the reasons why things can’t be.  We need to let go of those.  This can take moments or years, some people never will let go of all their story or victim mentality.  There are so many great coaches, speakers, pastors, online courses that can help us do this.  Some of the things I’ve done and I continue to do so that have helped me learn to listen and release the past:  I’ve cried, prayed, talked, meditated, had dreams, re-birthed (breathing technique), released blocks on a cellular level and pulled cords, re-lived emotions letting myself cry them out and re-enact them releasing their hold on me. I’ve worked with coaches, learned breathing techniques, found connection with people who are wise, supportive and loving. I create vision boards, lists of goals. Done acupuncture visit my chiropractor bi-weekly, this makes sure my body if functioning and the nerves are unblocked and my energy is flowing. I pray some more.  Then I make sure to sit and listen. Not to an external voice but an inner knowing that arises.   I also use my art and journaling as a release.

It sounds like work but I savor every one of those items on that list. Like a gift to myself. They feel good. Like coming home.

 

Wishing you peace and love!!

 

 

 

On the 10th Day of Christmas

On this 10th day of Christmas I offer an original Crossroads Painting for someone to win!

Chaos on one side and calm on the other, she holds her head high. She’s classy, she’s got this.  This artwork is a great reminder to work to handle so many different life situations with such grace.  This artwork is 11″x14″ on canvas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To enter to win, leave a comment on this blog post by midnight tonight.   Make sure to follow this blog and/or join my mailing list to stay in the loop.  Only 2 more days left after today of giveaways, make sure to check back.

Have a great day!     Also, Renee was the winner of the yoga print set from yesterdays drawing.  Congrats Renee!!!  I have a surprise though, not only will Renee be getting the print set plus a bonus,  I’m sending each person who entered yesterdays drawing a free surprise!   Happy 12-12-12!!!

 

 

Noelle

 

The story behind the art – Hold on Girl!


Title: Hold on girl – girl on bike

As my daughter prepares to begin middle school tomorrow, I think back to when my sweet girl was only 4 or 5.  She went through a phase I can only describe as Mary Poppins meets Sound of Music meets bag lady.  She’d layer her outfits, one day we counted 13 layers including 7 of them being dresses.  She’s wear a wide brim hat and carry around a basket or a bag full of her goodies.  It was so precious.  This artwork was inspired by that time. Care free, ready to take on the world and full of love, hope and all things good.

My vision for this artwork and it’s prints is to see them given to women that are stepping into new roles, changes, chapters.  School, college, first place, retirement, etc.   Encouraging yet fun and carefree.

You can click the picture to be taken to this print on my etsy site.  I also have a card available here.

*Noelle