At the encouragement of several people, McCown Fine Art has been established. I am blessed to be apart of a family of artists, and I want to support my children who are growing in their own talents.
McCown Fine Arts currently exhibits (and more will be added) my own work. But, we will be adding pieces from my children soon. My eldest (in college) has a panache for Ceramics and Photography, and we’ll be working on some collaborative pieces too.
My middle child is learning digital art, and my youngest is quite the illustrator.
2018 is the year of being FEARLESS!
I really try hard to not be captured by fear. But it happens, when I am most vulnerable… when I really put myself out there.
I really thought my word of 2018 was going to be THRIVE.
I have come to accept that instead, my word for 2018 is FEARLESS.
For me, being fearless is not about not having any fear at all… but instead moving forward IN SPITE of the fear.
Something I learned about myself a long time ago was that the moment someone would tell me that I couldn’t do something, it became a challenge. I was going to accomplish that milestone, break that ceiling, and prove them wrong.
So long as the person telling me I couldn’t do it… was someone other than myself.
I’ve pushed myself in so many areas over my life. I can travel alone. I’ve performed on stage and film. I am always willing to try something new, learn a new skill, take on a new adventure.
But when it comes to my vulnerable side, I’ve been afraid.
Today, I declare that 2018 is going to be a fearless year.
Well, this week is not exactly going according to plan. Nearly everything I had planned weeks (if not months) ago has been derailed. In the past, I would have gotten really upset about these things. If you know me, you know I am a planner. I like things to go according to schedule.
A few years ago, when sharing with a neighbor that I was a “ducks in a row” kind of gal, she laughed and said:
“When your ducks are in a row, they are easier to shoot.”
Friends, this is wisdom. GOLD NUGGET wisdom.
When my ducks start getting shot, I would get frustrated and snippy. It would stress me out, and usually I would begin to stress others out.
I’ve decided that there should be nothing in my life that isn’t flexible. Yes, I may be disappointed if I have to cancel plans… but I’m not going to stress about it. Nor am I going to try and juggle things to fit in things I should really pass on. The stress isn’t worth it, it’s not healthy either.
So… despite things going off the “Gena Plan” this week, I’m going to enjoy the week. I’m not going to stress. I’m going to make the best out of it, knowing what ever got shelved or put on the back burner … it can wait.
Also… I’m extending that freedom to my friends and family. It’s ok if you need to cancel or reschedule. If it’s been a few weeks (or longer) since we’ve gotten together… no worries. When we do get together it will be all the sweeter.
Enjoy the things you scheduled for life, and the interruptions.
Even when the interruptions include picking up a sick kid from school.
The last few days have been crazy. The kind of crazy that makes you stop, take a deep breath, and pause to look at your priorities. It was one of those moments where you realize it’s time to check your perspective on things.
As you push forward into the rest of December, don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday busyness to the point that your relationships suffer. As 2018 rounds the bend, look to this year as an opportunity to forge healthy, meaningful, relationships.
People matter more than things.
Not that long ago, I wrote a series that surrounded the theme of “Never Confuse a Deborah with a Jezebel”. Today, I want to spend just a moment and add to that thought with:
Never confuse a broken woman with a Jezebel.
When she first appeared on the scene, she was shy and timid. Gifted. Talented. Hard worker. Quiet. I figured it would take a bit for her to become comfortable around us and then she’d come out of her shell.
In just a matter of a few encounters later, what I saw was a completely different woman. Unhinged. Out of control. Loud. Boisterous. I was so struck by her behavior, that I thought to myself that this woman must have been under the influence of something.
By the end of the evening I thought I had encountered a Jezebel. Perhaps her reserved nature was simply as way to slink into the group, to get people to like her… before her true nature and intentions would be exposed.
Truth be told, my instincts were right… something was off. But, my interpretation of those instincts was off the mark as well. This wasn’t a Jezebel, this was a broken woman. She was wounded. She was treading water. She was trying to keep it all together, and it was falling apart at her feet. Grasping to maintain a sense of normalcy, building up a wall to keep people from seeing how badly she was hurting.
She was like one of those viral videos you see where the animal is trapped in an icy lake, and even though there is a person trying to rescue the poor beast… it thrashes and flails. Screeching out in terror, winging its limbs about, and even becoming a danger to the very thing that is trying to rescue it.
This animal is already in a bad situation, fight or flight has set in… there is no logic or reason. We watch from the outside thinking… “if you would just stop fighting, let yourself be saved”. We can see the hero coming to the rescue. We know that even though it’s probably even a bit painful in the way the animal is being round up, it is for it’s own good. But none the less, the animal is panic stricken. It doesn’t know.
We don’t always know, when we are in the thick of things, those who are actually trying to help us. As believers we know that God is with us, but we don’t always have the clear discernment of knowing who He has sent to help and who is out to harm. Our fight or flight has already been set into motion. We see threat everywhere, and we respond by fighting… yelling… flailing about… even to the point of making the situation harder for ourselves and those who are trying to help us.
We must be wise. But that is hard when we lack clarity.
I’ve never been so glad to find out that I was wrong about a person. Now, instead of seeing a person I needed to be wary of, I saw her differently. I responded differently. It also served as a lesson to me about being to quick to judge circumstances at a superficial level. Had I gone to the Lord first, perhaps He would have opened my eyes to her pain and brokenness sooner.
Every day I learn more and more about the wounded people that walk my city streets every day. I realize that not ever “disgruntled spirit” is someone who is out to hurt or destroy. They are not all Jezebels. They are the woman at the well. They are the woman accused of adultery. They are the woman who had just two coins to her name. They are broken women, wounded men. They need to not be cast aside as Jezebels, but instead introduced to the Savior. Even, if they are kicking and flailing as He mends their heart.
Last night I attended a local event where we made what most people would recognize as a “Vision Board”, but it actually was a bit different. The Vision Boards we are familiar with are big goals or dreams for our lives and futures. Instead, this was called a Manifested Board. The differences between this and a Vision Board is that 1) it has a specific time frame of just twelve months, and 2) you are working in the past tense. It’s not about what you are “going to do” but rather a declaration of what is already done.
Did you know that statistically you are more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down? Our event host, Tasha Chen, pointed out that we also make a deeper connection to that goal when we can visualize it. I’m a big goal setter, always have been. In preparation for this night, we were supposed to bring things like magazines to cut pictures from, etc. I had printed a few images from my computer of things that I already have on my 2018 goal list. This board would create the visual connection.
I was not only claiming for myself that I was going to hit these marks in 2018, but I was also sharing with others in the room what my goals were. Sharing our goals with at least one another person creates accountability, someone will be asking us about our progress. I’m sure several of us will be sharing our accomplishments as the year progresses. We will want to celebrate with each other as we reach these goals of health, deeper faith, improved relationships, and so much more.
Something else happened, as I prepared for the event. I was looking for specific images that I wanted to print out to bring with me. Something that would represent actually publicly showing some of my art. Up until this point, while I have given and even sold a few pieces … I’ve never attempted a public showing, entered into a contest, etc. (unless you count when I applied to an art college while in High School, and received a small scholarship to the school as well). My Uncle has been encouraging me, and I decided 2018 would be the year to do it.
That was what landed me on a few websites, and even before I went to the event… I put in 1 online application and printed out 2 mail in applications for juried art shows. Not shows late next year, but in just a couple of months. Which means that I need to get to work. Nothing like a deadline to motivate someone.
Here’s the thing… sometimes the biggest dreams and goals we have (for today, tomorrow, or down the road) don’t require much more than writing it down, sharing it with someone else, and then putting your intentions in motion. Thankful for the people in my life who give me the nudge… the encouragement… who stand in agreement… and the women who help me walk in confidence and victory.
I realized when I worked on this board, that so many of the things I wanted for 2018 were related to my creative talents. What was holding me back all of these years was the vulnerability of doing so, it is scary to put out something you created. I’ve always encouraged my kids to be brave and do big things… but me? Who would listen to me? Who would read what I wrote? Who would want something I made?
Over 100 times in Scripture are we told not to be afraid. Why should I be afraid to share a gift that the Lord has blessed me with? And if I do it for Him, honoring the gift He has given me… that is sufficient.
So, when Tasha Chen asked us what word would represent our board and intentions… I said FEARLESS.
2018 will be the year that I am absolutely fearless about pursuing the course the Lord has set for me, using all that He has given me, and standing in victory that His promises for my life are already fulfilled. I’m just waiting in eager anticipation for the moment I can see what He has already set in motion.