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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Journey To Allspice...


At some point everyone must decide if they are a creator or a critic, a lover or a hater, a giver or a taker.” ~Author Unknown
I've got a wedding in ten days...

and apparently I should be stressing out now...

but I'm just trying to....

And why shouldn't I?  At this point, all I have to do is show up, right?  :)

And I've been quite busy in between dress fittings, rehearsing a bit of gospel for a Memphis callback...
"Change Don't Come Easy!"
And planning my reception for my latest art show Canvas Talk:  Tree Dreams...

 Trying to keep up my blog, and also managing to get down into the studio every now and then...

And taking some time to find some awesome art inspiration on the net...
This artist brings daily objects to life!

Blogging Away...

I've been blogging for quite some time now - and I gotta say - it's been an amazing journey so far.  I've gotten to know so many fun, creative and interesting people, I've learned a LITTLE bit more about computers and technical whatnot (not really), and I'm able to reach so many people from all over - something that never seemed possible when I was locked up in a hospital cubicle.  

I think most everyone creates for connection - to themselves, to the world, to others - and who knew that spending hours on my laptop trying to figure out how to upload photos and learn what Pinterest is would lead to such amazing opportunities?

So anyway, I wrote a bit about it for a wonderful blogger resource called Beyond Your Bloggers.  Here is is!

My medical journey is quite unique: my stomach exploded due to a blood clot, and when I awoke from my coma months later, I was told that I couldn’t eat or drink and it was not known whether I would ever be able to again. Having been creative all of my life, I hung onto my passion to create as my lifeline in order to persevere through years of medical turbulence.
To keep my hope alive and faith strong throughout ten years and 27 surgeries, and to feel like I wasn’t fading into the woodwork as the world I knew continued to revolve around me, I turned to art. I fell in love with painting and mixed media creations. Painting was an amazing discovery for me – it was a way to express things that were too painful and overwhelming for words. It was also a way for me to cope with uncertainty.
In 2011, I made the big decision to put myself out there after years of isolation and mount an art show with 70 of my paintings. I was overwhelmed with the amazing reception and for the first time since my coma, I felt part of my community again, no longer an alien looking in on the outside world.
But then the show ended, people went home, and my art was taken off of the gallery walls. It was such a depressing feeling – almost a tease – feeling part of the world again and then the letdown after it was all over. Then, a mentor of mine told me about the world of “blogging.” She set up a simple template on blogspot for me and gave me a quick overview of how to use it. I had never heard of a “blog” before, but the more I researched, the more enticed I was by the idea. Would people actually care about things I had to say?

I decided to name my blog Allspice & Acrylics to chronicle my daily routine of coping with not being able to eat or drink. To pass the endless hours, I’d divide my day between the furnace-room-turned-art-studio and ironically, the kitchen. Unable to eat, I actually became obsessed with cooking for my family, and took to spices as an artist might turn to different colors of paint.
Once I started posting on Allspice & Acrylics, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t care if anyone was reading my blog – it was an amazing way for me to mark time, document my daily creations, and have some kind of outlet to express myself. Even just sharing it with my family felt like a wonderful way to connect. Then, I used the Facebook account my friends had set up for me, and shared it with my Facebook “friends”. Suddenly I was a few steps forward from feeling completely isolated. Blogging made me feel less alone.
Then, I got my first “follower” – then my first comment. I was overjoyed and felt unstoppable – as though there was support around me that I could sense – a larger community then I could even comprehend cheering me on. I blogged every day, and knowing I would blog about my daily creations was motivation to create more.
Finally, I was surgically reconstructed with a make-shift digestive system and was able to eat. I grew a bit less interested in blogging and eventually stopped in favor of finally living the life I had waited for.
I took almost four years off from blogging and didn’t think twice about it. I went on to write a one-woman musical about my story, continued showing my artwork, finally enrolled in college, and even got engaged. Then, Allspice & Acrylics fell back into my lap at the perfect time. To promote all of my creative ventures, I launched my professional website. I resumed my blog when there was more personal content I wanted to share about my work, and too many updates on my latest projects to keep adding to my website. My blog allowed me to give a more personal slant on all of my work – a more intimate way to connect with my community.
Then, I discovered the wonderfully supportive blogging community. Starting with the blogging-related Facebook groups, I was introduced to the diverse blogosphere and the endless possibilities that can come from it. I was overwhelmed by the possibilities, including guest blogging, giveaways, paid guest posts, all the various social media, and linkups. For someone not “tech-savvy” it was very intimidating!
My first post after my hiatus was in late February (2015) and since then, I’ve been going strong. I post basically every day. I share my daily artistic creations, reflections on what I’ve been through, my writings, thoughts on nature, etc. It’s therapeutic for me, and it’s inspiring to others. I’ve expanded my blog’s reach through Pinterest, Google+, bloglovin –however I can reach others. I’ve even done a few guest posts on crafts, recipes, and sharing my story.
After everything I’ve been through, I just want to share my story and spread my message of hope, strength and creativity as a way to get through anything. Soon I will be selling prints of my artwork and other items on my professional site,  and because of my blog, I have unexpectedly built up a great online following. My eventual goal is to found an organization that advocates for the arts and healing, and by making my presence known online, I feel so much closer to spreading my story and gaining interest in my goals.
Blogging has anchored me with support I didn’t even know was possible. I am reaching out to people I never would have even heard of otherwise. Blogging has introduced me to endless possibilities, and I’m hooked! Now that I’m a “regular” blogger, I anticipate the challenge of what to do if I don’t feel like blogging every day. It’s hard to not feel pressured when I’ve been so regular about it, but with my wedding next month, honeymoon, and whatever other adventures life takes me on, I want to make sure I make enough time for other aspects of life as well.
Blogging has been an unexpected treasure that has turned this not so tech-savvy girl into a connected creator – now the possibilities are endless!
Blogging was a rewarding venture for me, but definitely out of my non-tech-savvy comfort zone.
What is one small step you can take - just a bit out of the norm for you?
(Go ahead and take it - you never know where it may lead...)

 Before I go...
Has everyone started their father's day ideas yet?  Come on folks - Sunday is around the corner!
(although my dad's got a soft spot for the ties I pick out)

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” ~Blaise Pascal


  1. Blogging can be so obsessive (and therapeutic). What a journey you've been on! I just love your attitude on it all!

  2. Haha, those paint color names are hilarious!! And totally, there's nothing to stress about, you're right, you just have to show up now! :)

  3. Amazing art and story! You are strong and beautiful! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Awesome artwork! Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. What an amazing story. That is exactly what blogging is for. I am a numbers person, always have been, but blogging is pulling something out of me I never knew I had. I am glad i came across your story. Thank you its wonderful.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. This part: "Painting was an amazing discovery for me – it was a way to express things that were too painful and overwhelming for words. It was also a way for me to cope with uncertainty." really reminded me of why I started blogging - to process my mom's death and the anxiety I was/am going through. I wish you nothing but the best.

  7. Found your blog through facebook page Artist Trading Cards and was touched by your story. You’re an amazing woman. Keep your head up, keep your heart strong! Christine

  8. Found your blog through facebook page Artist Trading Cards and was touched by your story. You’re an amazing woman. Keep your head up, keep your heart strong! Christine

  9. Found your blog through facebook page Artist Trading Cards and was touched by your story. You’re an amazing woman. Keep your head up, keep your heart strong! Christine

  10. I definitely know how you feel! Blogging has been an amazing outlet for me as well. Even if nobody read it, I'd still do it. I love your paintings! Thanks for stopping by #FoodandFitnessFriday!