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2020

Such an interesting number … 2020.

An interesting year it was for sure! A lot was documented in the first half of the year… and then fall came… and school started back up virtual, and then we bought a house.

Things have been in a constant state of motion. 2020 was like the winding up of the music box, doing the work with hope of something beautiful to come out of it.

I had been looking to purchase my first home for a while… but I had not seen anything that resonated with me. It took me over a month, and seeing over 20 houses until I finally found the right one.

On my way to see the house, a bald eagle flew over my car and followed me along my route for a while. When I finally pulled up the house and got of the car, I felt my heart start to get warm.

When we went inside, the current owner was there and I felt comfortable in the space and speaking to her about the home. As we took our tour, we headed outside to the yard… 1.53 acres.

Walking the property, my heart grew warmer and warmer… filling up with excitement. Tears began to roll down my face, tears of joy and gratitude that this land has chosen me as its steward. Excited to be able to care for mother earth in this beautiful sacred space.

We have 4 peach trees, and a very large area designated as a garden, with beets growing all over. There is a shed for the garden specifically, as well as a 3 car garage that will be used as a studio!

The house has taken up a lot of my extra time, as I dive right into home ownership and all that it entails.

Our first project was the hot water heater! It was slowly dripping from the temperature pressure release valve, which is not a HUGE deal but it did need to be fixed. So as I look into the project some more, I find out that the thermal expansion tank should be checked to see if it is still functioning. Well come to find out the tank had failed and needed to be replaced. After many many trips to Lowes, I finally completed the task and replaced the tank! I learned so much from one of the employees in the plumbing department, like to check your water pressure and to make sure you inflate the tank to the proper pressure for your system.

After replacing the tank, the temperature pressure release valve stopped leaking!!! First DIY fix completed and in the books.

Aside from fixing little things here and there, we have repainted almost the entire house, and are currently putting up drywall in places that had remodeling begun by the previous owners. Still lots to do!

It has been wonderful being home and teaching virtually for this period of time in my life. And being that it was winter, we were forced to stay inside and complete projects. Though I am very excited for spring, when I can get outside and work on the land more. Also it seems we will be going back to in person teaching in March!

We also got a new addition to our family! Meet Daisy! She is a Border Collie Blue Heeler.

And last but not least… one of my very favorite things about our property… we can see the sunrise from my backyard AND the sunset from the front!!

All of this, while completing commissioned art for clients, teaching 3 in person private art lessons, teaching virtually, and studying a few new interests.

2020 was a powerful year for me… it wasn’t an easy year for sure, but it was a year full of growth, and blooming. Coming into my power and realizing my dreams. Connecting with the land and with other like minds. Stepping into the future I have been manifesting for a while… it was such a powerful year, and has me excited about what is to come.

Making it through the energy of 2020 has helped me to see that I am strong, centered, unified and more than capable to navigate the path the universe has before me.

Here is to all of the learning and growth that propels us forward… Thank you for being here with me, and for following your heart as you walk your authentic path in this life. <3

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6th Grade Early Entry

Today we had 6th grade early entry for new students to our school. Since I teach art, we have two groups of students… A day and B day students. Today we met with the A day students for 15 mins on google meets for a team building activity!

Usually in normal circumstances, I would have students come in and paint their hands and stamp them on a canvas for our class mural.

We talk about making our mark, and expressing ourselves as artists. I ask them to think of a symbol or design that would represent who they are. We discussed collaboration and how we come together to make a masterpiece. Each one of us an important part of the whole.

Since we aren’t in school… I wanted to create this same experience in the virtual world. One tool I learned about this week in our professional development meetings, was Jamboard!

Jamboard is a google app that allows people to collaborate in order to create. There are different tools, such as marker, pen, paintbrush, and highlighter. Sticky notes are great for adding text.

So students got to work on their digital class mural, making their mark and expressing themselves in the digital world.

It was so amazing watching the mural to unfold! Seeing the students mark making in the moment and how everyone was working on their own ideas and at the same time we were all working together!

This was a great team building activity, and I we had a final piece of art after 15 mins!

I am looking forward to doing this with the rest of my students.

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Sacred Retreat

I know many people who are entrepreneurs, and small business owners. The world is different from the point of view of owning and operating your own business, whether it’s making art to sell at craft fairs and events, or doing reiki in a room you rent at a wellness center.

As practitioners, makers, and vendors we have in essence two jobs. One is to practice and create the thing we are passionate about. The other is to manage and structure the flow of that passion into a sustainable living.

The REVIVE, REFILL, REFRESH retreat was planned with a vision, hosting a space for people to come and find their center. To come and revive, refill and refresh their soul. What we received was far more powerful then we could’ve ever imagined.

There were 8 participants, and 8 vendors. Each vendor presented a 30-45 min workshop about something they were passionate about.

Auria Faith lead us in an active listening activity where we were partnered up and then given a sheet of questions to ask the other person. The trick was we could only listen to their responses. We were not to talk back or have a conversation about the answers.

She also led us in a guided meditation using essential oils to envision our passions as a seed growing and expanding out into the universe. The choice of oils were Lavender, Wild Orange, and Manuka. Most everyone went for the meditative qualities of Manuka.

Merlin Peters discussed Tensor Rings and how he was lead to being creating them. Marlin discusses how the length of the copper wire is important to how the ring works. Tensor rings transmute negative ions into positive flows. It clears out energy from EMF’s as well.

Joanna Baker lead us in a guided meditation to our shadow selves to see and accept ourselves as we truly are, from all points of view. This was a very peaceful meditation for me, as I felt my shadows were simply there as way showers for the path.

Johanna Geister talked about our energy bodies, discussing the different energy lines and points of our body. She also led us in a grounding visualization where we all went barefoot to the grass to connect with the earth and envision our energy flowing through us as we breathed. It was such a beautiful experience with a little mist coming from the clouds rolling over. She also taught restorative yoga which was a perfect ending to the day.

Brenda Solonoski from Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat gave everyone a tour of her gardens, and identified plants that most people would find in their environments.

She also led a bundle, and tea or steam blend making workshop where people created their own smudge bundles from freshly picked herbs.

Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman from Therapeutic Thymes shared with the group ways to take their business to the next level through target marketing. Therapeutic Thymes is a holistic and nature magazine based out of York.

Jill Reed from Green Healing Room shared her journey to practicing stone readings and was available for readings for everyone. She read EVERYONE at the retreat, each reading was spot on and exactly what each person needed to hear. After her readings she gave each person a stone that was called for them. I received two rough cut jades. These stones have really been powerful for me lately. Holding them while I meditate. Jill has a gift to translating messages she’s open to receiving for each person she reads.

I shared how creativity is spirituality, using the flower of life and sacred geometry to tie everything together. Everyone explored creating the flower of life as we discussed how the meditative process opens up your mind to seeing new perspectives. I also was blessed to share intuitive henna with a few people <3

Each of us has a passion and a desire to share that passion with others. Most of our time is spent working on our goals to keep our fire burning, as well as learning ways to share what we know with others. When we do events and vend at places, a lot of energy goes into preparing our gifts, as well as our hearts and minds for the many people we will interact with throughout the event.

Rarely do we have time to commune with one another. Let alone share and learn from one another. We each have so many gifts we offer the world, but we are also the people who miss receiving those gifts. We give so much of our time to goals, that we rarely have time to be open to receiving.

This retreat was a time for vendors to come together and share and receive from one another. This retreat showed us how important this was for each of us. We need to remember we too deserve to receive our gifts. It gave us time to listen, and process what we learned. To sit and communicate our own experiences and thoughts. To be there for eachother, witnessing each others light and standing in our own.

When we heal ourselves, we help others on their journey by sharing what we’ve learned. Supporting one another by holding space for self expression and authenticity is vital, we are all connected.

I am forever grateful for those who participated in the Revive, Refill and Refresh Retreat in August. Miigwetch to all my relations.

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Growth Mindset & Creativity

A growth mindset is when people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

A fixed mindset in this scenario is convincing yourself that you can’t make them happy or that things won’t go well for you at all. A growth mindset example for this is having the confidence that you’ll make it through. Sure, it’s possible that you will make mistakes, but it’s an opportunity for you to learn.

As an educator.. I see many new initiatives and programs coming in that are changing how things are done. I have had the opportunity of being under the leadership of both types of people. Those who only follow the system, and those who take risks to try new things for the benefit of developing a growth mindset in our students. The difference between the two is that one group has not developed a growth mindset.  

Most people have not developed a sense of self around creativity, which does not allow them to be able to stand confident in the role as a leader and educator of a new reality where creativity is the answer.  

When there is a new initiative for restorative practices, arts integration or mindfulness… the teachers that have not developed a growth mindset are usually the first to give pushback. The thoughts of having too much to do already, make them feel like they wouldn’t ever be able to handle anything else. That’s because they will have to first LEARN something new for themselves. But in reality, if you begin with a growth mindset, then the other things fall into place exactly how they need to.

KNOWLEDGE of SELF is key for both students AND EDUCATORS! We all are first humans… we all are first on a journey of self awareness. True education comes first from the awareness of self. Once on that journey we become aware that we ARE CREATORS!

Having a growth mindset allows us to begin the journey standing in our power, knowing the universe works with us to receive what is ours by divine right. Even though tough times and challenges… we are constantly growing. Just like an artist painting a picture, we paint and edit and continue to paint some more until the painting becomes a picture into our mindset.

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Creativity is Spirituality

Art and creativity are VITAL to life.

Most adults I speak to do not see themselves as creative at all. So before we can “change the system”: we have to first realize how creativity is key to a growth mindset which is vital to true learning. This can only be done if we are actively seeking knowledge of self.

Our imagination is what we use to create our realities. So therefore creativity is spirituality. A creative person is connected to their soul and has unique ways of showcasing their spiritual connection through art and imagination. Spiritual intelligence is an all-encompassing form of intelligence.

Creativity and the use of our imaginations is the first step to everything we do, even our spirituality. When we are praying or meditating, we are using our ‘imagination” to envision our higher selves, our spirit guides, or our prayers coming into fruition. The mind’s eye sets the stage for what we draw to us in the astral realm. Our thoughts and visions of the world come from our perception which is molded and created by our choices and experiences.

Spirituality is an ongoing journey and learning experience from the inside out. Where as creativity is the ability to take that learning and apply it to our reality.

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Summer art camp experience during COVID19

This summer I took an art camp job, in person at The New Century School in Fells Point MD.

The New Century School is a small multi-lingual charter school in Baltimore City. Art camp runs from now until August 21st, 2020.

Two weeks down, and we’ve been having a wonderful time creating!

With 12 students a week, we have navigated this COVID paradigm with unconditional understanding and grace amidst of the unknown. Working for this school has shown me there are a lot of differences between public county schools and charter schools in the city.

The first week of camp the theme was Mythical, Magical Creatures.

We made dragons, unicorns, imaginary worlds, fairies, mermaids and more!

The second week of camp the theme was Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies!

We zentangled birds and butterflies, made styrofoam stamps of bugs, build birds from model magic and pipe cleaners!

The students are having a wonderful time, even with having to wear masks all day, and having to stay at their own table 6 feet from other students. It has been a little challenging to get the kids to remember to keep their mask up or not to get to close to other students. But overall the experience has been fun.

Everything is better with ART!

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Watercolor Exploration

Usually I am the teacher, but sometimes my daughter Element wants to teach as well! She made the beautiful painting featured in this blog, and showed me how she did it!

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RMS after Quarantine

Today I went into my classroom to grab a few things.

It was like the twilight zone.

I felt like the kids would walk in any minute!

It felt so familiar, yet students working in the classroom is such a distant memory.

I took pictures of some unfinished artwork; that really had me feeling disappointed and sad. The students were doing so well and created so many amazing things that they just had to leave behind.

It felt like I’m living in two realities at once.

Such amazing artwork… So much to look forward to. My only hope is that the time we had together taught them how to be creative no matter how good they thought they were at “art”.

I miss my students and my classroom.

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Meditative Mandalas

Mandalas are one of my all time favorite things to create.

Each mandala resonates its own energy.

When creating a mandala, I meditate with the certain energy

Putting my intentions into each piece.

Each color is chosen to be symbolic, as are the designs.

Representing the movement of energy.

Mandala means sacred circle, and represents all of life above and below.

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Stone Creek

The water at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat that flows beautifully through the woods, has been named Stone Creek, for the many stones you can find there.

Stone Creek houses many little waterfalls and surrounds a few little islands! These islands have been cleared and named as well… Solomons Stone Island, and Circle Stone Island.  Each island has been cleared so that people can camp and enjoy the water all around them.

My friend Eli ArtSparkle came to visit last weekend and I took her out to the woods and let her pick the spot we would sit for our artmaking. This specific spot is a beautiful place to sit on huge rocks that Brenda and Theo arranged.

Having Eli here really reinforced that my idea of a Plein Air workshop here at Burns Valley is something that I must plan! I can only imagine what beautiful work would be created from having many different artists here, inspired by the land.

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