new in the etsy shop: made to bloom 5×5 fine art print

  Yesterday, I received one of my favorite emails ever. It came from a former high school classmate of mine, Heather (Lalley) Sennett. Heather and I had a unique bond in junior high and high school; though we didn’t hang out in the same social groups, we spent a lot of time together at school. We were both in the “gifted and talented” group (umm, yes, I can hear you snickering!), which meant we were in many of the same advanced classes and a super-nerdy amount of after-school activities, including the school newspaper staff. We were both quite certain that Heather would wind up becoming one of the greatest newspaper writers of our time and I would end up being the next Oprah. Hey, we’ve still got time!

I lost track of Heather until several years ago, when she emailed me out of the blue. She was working as a newspaper reporter (of course!) in Washington state and had stumbled upon my blog while searching online for our favorite English teacher. Since then, we have kept in touch via email and watched each other from afar as our passions and well-laid plans began to shift. Though we both still love to write, we’ve found other pastimes that fill us up, bring us joy and give us purpose; cooking for Heather, art for me. While I was beginning to dabble in paints and papers, Heather was heading to culinary school. Today, she’s known as Flour Girl for Chicago Now magazine, where she blogs about her fun and funny adventures in cooking (decorative breads, anyone?).

Last month, when I opened my etsy shop, I was floored when Heather bought this original collage as a birthday gift for a friend. It’s the first original I’d ever sold! But I worried that once she received it, perhaps she’d think it was total crap. My inner critic was a raving lunatic during that week of my shop launch. And to know my art was going be a gift for someone made me so nervous! That’s why Heather’s email yesterday was such a welcome sight.  She wanted to let me know how much her friend had loved the birthday gift (whew!!) and passed along her friend’s specific comments:

Thank you for the incredibly awesome birthday gift (and the highly entertaining birthday card, too)! Please let your friend know that I love the artwork she created — it’s as though she grabbed a handful of the random ideas and images swirling around in my brain and magically transformed them into a cohesive statement that is both eloquent and beautiful. She is super talented, and you are super nice to think of me on my birthday!”

Isn’t that amazing?! Heather’s email was not only a huge relief and confidence booster, but also a big reminder to me that we’re all here to bloom and grow, to listen to the whispers of our hearts, and to do what we love…not what we think we’re supposed to do. Looking back, there were little clues along the way that art was calling my name. I don’t know if Heather was a closet cook growing up, but I love that she’s taken this detour to follow another passion. So, what do you need to do to let yourself bloom a little bigger and brighter today?