9CCADEE1-BD8D-4A16-8AAB-E1B528CA3F791bc4de69-a2db-4ea0-9d8a-6c29349c5758.jpeg02A1855E-D475-4108-A5CC-C959248C293AWhat do we mean by this one word? Can we find abundance, yet live simply? A sweet friend once gave me a book dedicated to simple abundance.

We live each day in the hustle and bustle of the world, yet, do we truly feel connected to our essence, our soul? Wait, are you asking yourself,”How do I even connect” or “where do I even start?”

The Bible has so many scriptures that I don’t understand so it helps to have someone share their insight or interpretation. Yet, at times, there is a passage, simply stated, that rings home to me. Some examples are “I Am.” Such powerful words.

The creator, God, lives in us. We are all a part of this universe. We are called to be love, hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness. Now, say this to yourself, “I am love, I am JOY, I am Peace, I am patience, I am hope cause I am (all of us) are made in the image and likeness of God.

After listening to many beautiful Catholic hymns recently, I cried. Well, I actually even cried during them. They remind me of my childhood, of prayer/ song/ story time at night with my Mama and our own children, of times gone by.4A80A9FA-68DD-42B6-BED9-0679887E1570

I am an artist. I enjoy my solitude for in it I am renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated. I enjoy creating cause it is my whole ‘self’ on each canvas and makes my heart smile.

In theory (and hopefully in many of your lives), our childhood was simplistic. Think of the concept of time if you and your friends were outside on a hot summer day playing chase, hide and seek, freeze tag or manhunt (Rachael loved organizing and playing this game in our old neighborhood). Do you remember how time would simply ‘disappear?’ Where did it go? How did that even happen? Poof, it was suddenly 8:30 and time to be home.6174B2BC-FDD0-49E4-8A4E-6E88597CEDD1

Really, there is no time but NOW, simply put. I choose to embrace nature with a childhood wander, catch the moment and engage in happiness.

There is infinite variety in our lives if we let go, let God and be guided by our gifts and talents while engaging each moment as a gift to us in this universe in which we live.

Keep it simple: stay in the NOW!!! Embrace the present as a gift. I love painting for many reasons. I am in the presence of a mindfulness and meditative state when I paint. It’s BLISSFUL!!! I immerse myself in creativity in each painting.

With quiet time I reconnect with my being here, NOW. God meets us in this time and begins to guide us. Here we connect with the essence of who we are, our soul.

God has brought to me, in time, what I have needed, and provided me through prayer, paint and planting, HOPE in difficult times. I am flowing in the rhythm with life. Fear is in the past. I simply have NOW.

As an artist, I am passionate about the thrill of creating. Once a painting is created, I love the act of “letting it go.” I always pray it brings joy, color and maybe even hope, wherever it goes and to whomever’s home in which it lands.

We get so excited in our garden when we spot a new flower that has formed. Each new bud opens to reveal itself. Just like with the excitement of the flowers in our garden, JOY is simply in the creating of each painting. It’s an incredibly positive experience. I am both FULLY ALIVE and at PEACE.

I am but a ripple in time trying to be a light, share color and inspire God’s love through each painting He gives me.

Going “inward” with each painting is where my soul exists. It’s ZERO to do with EGO and everything to do with a deep connection with God.

I have NO TIME for EGO. It’s simple: I hear God’s Calling in my heart for me to paint and create. I am listening.

Someone recently asked me where I get my inspiration? I am flooded with inspiration daily and feel so incredibly humbled and blessed to be God’s instrument, His paintbrush, one of many artists called to do so on this Earth.

Our realities changed drastically over the last six years. Lots of “life” happened in BIG DOSES. I went through many stages of grief and still am at times. Ultimately, with God all things are possible. I had a revelation: He wanted me to move forward through time and infuse my heightened emotions, feelings and faith into each painting. This has freed me to be FULLY ME, my essence, my soul on each canvas.

I am happy and joyful and blessed. Through these last few years I have thought often of the ‘meaning of life.’ We experienced a heightened awareness within us and this has set our priorities on a different path and created a ‘carpe diem’ effect for both Richard (my husband) and myself.

I believe my mind does have an effect on my body. So, I started meditation and yoga; both have been wonderful.

I had to constantly remind myself that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Repeatedly I prayed that He would use our losses and many changes for His greater good.

I am choosing to look at life with wonder. Sing, cause there is a song in all of us, dance and move to your own groove, create like there is no tomorrow. I choose to engage life with PASSION and embrace it with an awareness that at any single moment I could be called ‘HOME.’

Our lives are our “songs,” our “paintings,” our “dances,” or our “books.” The essence of who I am is a spiritual being who is LOVE, LIGHT, a child of God, a creative soul, a planter, an artist, a nurturer and I am aware that I am to share.

Essence is love and a freedom rests there, for this awakening leads us to what God states,”I AM.” He is love, therefore we are love and to ‘awaken from our sleep,’ we must CHOOSE LOVE to connect with Him on a higher level.

Our lives are truly little ‘moments ‘ in time in what we perceive to be a long journey. I’d like my “moment” in life to be a colorful one, remembered one day prayerfully and fondly as JOY and LOVE. I see my paintings as “planting the seeds of love” with one colorful painting at a time. Thank you God.

I am beautifully content with the life in which I have been given as a gift. I am free to love my amazing and humbled husband, beautiful and talented children, family and friends. I feel so very enriched by my very grateful heart.

My birthstone is a pearl. With an oyster painting I did for one of my husband’s client’s many years ago, I put a little poem with it. It said that we each have a pearl within us, but we must search inwardly to find it. This takes courage, fortitude and silence. For silence, we must each carve out time to shut out “the chatter” that surrounds us. It’s in the simplicity of life that we are found.

It is through our experiences that we may ask God to be our guide, give us strength to journey inward into a deeper state of awareness, which allows us to grow and get REAL right here on this Earth. And, through it all, let’s remember to count our blessings daily.fullsizeoutput_14a6

Dare to be colorful and search for simplicity and many moments of JOY in your life. Colorful Wishes, Ann Lindsay Lutz

The Raw Truth

The Raw Truth

We are all unique, each as different as a snowflake or a fingerprint.

Fear, overwhelmed feelings, loss and change rather feed into that old song, “Growing Up is Hard to Do.”

We have all experienced these feelings in different ways. As children, we played, laughed, acted silly, took action, moved and were creative. Children experience genuine enthusiasm for life.

I have asked so many little children over the years (family and friends), ‘what is your favorite subject or thing you do at school?’ The consensus is always the same: ‘playtime’ or ‘recess.’

Why? My thoughts are because they pretended, used their imagination and focused on having fun. They laugh. They smile. They allow themselves to experience real JOY!

I watched a little video recently where they shared if you want to make true change then you have to radically change your focus, body and state of mind. To make no choice at all to create change is still making a choice.

We can make change, we can implement our ideas, we can create, we can imagine and we can grow at any age. Yes, it may be difficult and scary at times. There may always be fear.

Baby steps, however, are doable to move ourselves forward. We don’t all have to be ‘Tigger.’ ‘Pooh’ slowly moves toward his honey, his friends, his little treehouse.

We all want to protect ourselves from hurt and pain. No one wants to feel these hard feelings. But, again, with action (baby steps are GREAT), we can create great change. Instead of emotional arguments, one can have a calm chat about feelings, emotions, changes and loss. It is possible.

Conflict resolution is not overrated. One may experience fear at the mere thought of conflict resolution. Yes, fear is real. Doing something new of any kind: scary.

I wear my sister’s bracelet which reads,”with God all things are possible.” Letting go and letting God is truly a challenge for me. It’s a constant request I have to ask God: ‘Lord, please give me the grace and mercy to let go and let you guide me and let me ‘get out of your way.’ It’s a constant challenge cause my nature is to want to ‘fix things’ and ‘make things better,’ but I’ve realized I have zero control. Acceptance comes into play at this point for sure. The Serenity Prayer is quite handy here indeed.

The raw truth: I’ve felt fear, shame and embarrassment about our immediate family being wired very differently. The ‘naked truth’ hit me very hard years ago. I had complete clarity through the chaos that we simply were not then nor ever going to be a ‘typical ‘ or ‘normal’ family.

I felt like a failure at that moment in life cause things weren’t going as I thought they would go. I let those feelings put tremendous pressure on myself, my husband and our marriage.

Do you want your child to be loved? Does it sound like a ridiculous question? Do you want them to feel connected or are you comfortable with them being ignored, bullied, mistreated? Certainly, we all have the same answer. We’d choose the first option of love, as not only do we love our children, but, we too naturally prefer to be loved and not mistreated (regardless of our age I believe).

Recently, I heard a pastor share a phrase I hadn’t heard in a long while,”Children were to be seen and not heard.” He reflected on periods in history where children received no respect or were enslaved. He also reminded us that Jesus was the one who said, “Let the little children come to me.” He valued children, their innocence and their beautiful ability to love so deeply.

Rach came home from school one day years ago and was a wreck. Someone had put small dead frogs down her shirt and then pushed them into her back. They then pulled her back against the bus seat for them to squish more. She looked horrified and confused. She asked me, quite vehemently, “why would someone do that to me Mommy?” Anyone?

Yes, she (her behavior) can drive us batty at times. We’ve lost our tempers, cried, yelled, sunk into the ‘proverbial hole.’ Then, we remind each other, she didn’t ask for this, any of it. It’s the deck of cards God has dealt her and we now are certain He had a plan. She has worked tirelessly in social skills classes, speech and occupational therapy, play therapy, with the psychologist, with the psychiatrist, with her special needs teachers, to learn the ‘script,’ to get the skills to try to navigate this abstract world in which we live. Rachael just had her BEST IEP ever at age 20. They have a plan for her future. She has a purpose. She has dreams. She has goals. Money and time are still really hard concepts for her to grasp. She is determined. She won’t give up. She has heard all of her life from us that she is by God’s design and God doesn’t make mistakes. I thank you God.

I was asked by a sweet friend to pop into a lovely group of folks who have Alzheimer’s. She wanted me to meet them and consider coming back on another day to do an art lesson with them. I was happy to do so. While I was there, we sang a beautifully inspiring song as a gentleman played the guitar. We did exercises with bean bags and were led by a very positive physical therapist. The sweet lady who created the group (yes, she and several other folks in there did the infamous: ‘Oh, I know Rachael’) read a prayer. I heard, ” focus on God and He will make your troubles lighter and you will feel more JOY.”

The Bible verse in my “Jesus Calling” book says today, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is unseen is eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

We’ve had great changes and many challenges the last few years. We’ve certainly been through many tests. My very old James Dobson calendar said recently that marriage is not a 5K, it is a marathon.

I am so incredibly blessed to be on this marathon of life with my phenomenal husband, Richard Lutz, whose heart is filled with so much love and humility.

I am so thankful God gave us our children, each one helping us to become the people that we are today.

Forgiveness is essential. Acceptance is a gift. Courage to move forward with baby steps through trying times is a must.

If you explore, try something and fail, get back up and try again or find your other strengths. We all have them.

If we could ALL choose to experiment with a positive attitude about life and circumstances, how different would our lives be?

Let’s all go do something positive in our world- again, baby steps. Let’s make, create, explore, connect, play, find courage, share love, be bold, experiment. Let’s create a positive wave of God’s love and light that has a ripple effect and unites instead of divides.

A gentleman shared at the group this morning in reference to ‘God is our song’ and if we play His song in our lives then that will bring us peace. May your song of life have a soulful rhythm to it.

We are still works in progress over here as we continue to strive to become the ‘best version of ourselves ‘ as Matthew Kelly would say. Failures will continue and growth will too. We will always keep trying. May God give the strength, courage and grace for us to all accept each other and our differences. May we color our thoughts with JOY!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

How do You Know if You’re a Good Parent

How do You Know if You’re a Good Parent

C4306F60-CEAA-456E-8B3A-F6A7A8DAA675Let’s face it, we all think “We’ve got this, our parents did it, how hard can it be!” Well, maybe not everyone has felt that before, but I did. I’d say it was confidence, not cockiness or arrogance.
Let’s clarify, I did not have perfect parents and would certainly sit in judgement of some of their choices.

I was blessed with caring, loving, and faithful parents who loved one another and loved each of us. My father was able to express that love through words and deed. Mama’s was more “scripted” almost. I received the gifts of prayers, story telling, and songs at bedtime. I had no idea what treasures I was being given at that time. Of course she said “I love you,” but I was a snuggler. So, in Mass I’d snuggle up next to her and get enveloped in a hug, or I’d lay my head in her lap. She’d rub my hair. Yes, I know, I should’ve been listening to the priest, but I was in my own little Heaven receiving the gift of “snuggles” from my mom.

My dad could dole it all out. He was a great communicator, calm unless you really pushed him (saw that only a few times and decided I wasn’t a fan), unshakeable in his pursuit of what was “right” and gave gushy wet kisses. Aaahhh, when I was a little girl, he’d get the, “Daddy, you wet my face.” He’d get all giggly.fullsizeoutput_4734

They were both such hard workers and determined mindsets was something they shared. They’d project together, hammer and nails out and I’d be enamored by them. They’d paint rooms together, again, on this one I wanted in. Mama said no, that I was to young to help. (My children have all been allowed to paint young- yes, rooms or spots in rooms, I changed that rule).

Even the two of them dancing was dreamy to me as they eloquently moved as one across the dance floor at Johnny Harris Restaurant. I found out within the last ten years that daddy knew of Mama’s passion for dancing, so he took private lessons for months before their wedding to surprise her on the dance floor after she’d said the words “I do.”

I’ve walked down memory a lot these last few years. Just as seasons change, life has changed and with great loss and change within a family comes time for acceptance and adjustments.

The love my mother and father shared, their love of God, their work ethic, their sticktuiveness , their desire to be good people, to make a small difference in the world, through a gift giving action or deed, made a strong impression on me. We did not have a lot of money, Mom taught swimming lessons over the summer at the Aquatic Pool and once it closed, at the campground pool down on Tybee. Daddy was manager of Red Cross. Mom said Daddy had “champagne taste with a penny pocket book.”

In so many ways they lived lives of service. I see that now in retrospect. From being involved in civic activities like Rotary Club, United Way, Boy Scouts, and so many others, daddy served. He served us, his family. He served God he told me from serving others and treating others how he wanted to be treated . He served Mama by loving her through thick and thin, and we had some “thick and thin”. Daddy had an attitude of gratitude.fullsizeoutput_4cb3

He was an only child, adored by my Nana and all of our family in North Carolina. He was just a good and kind man who always tried to see the good in others. His positive “glass 1/2 full” attitude always made me smile. Always! I admired his strength of character and his determination to make a difference, from the smiles that he shared (he shared many) to the choices that he made daily, from head of our household to manager of the Red Cross.

I was a curious child by nature and would ask many questions trying to understand and gain insight into who he was and who my mom was on the inside. Shockingly, even as a child I thought deeply about things.

He told me his parents had raised him that way. He said his father (who had passed away by the time I was born) truly just adored Nana (his mama) and they were both so good to him growing up. He wanted to pass on what he’d learned, he was the eternal optimist. I loved that about him. Mom was the “glass 1/2 empty” gal.

Daddy focused on having an attitude of gratitude and Mama was worrying about this, that or the other. Actually, Daddy’s mom (Nana) was a worrier too. Nana’s brothers were such phenomenal men and I loved my uncles so very much. They were such positive and inspiring people. What were they too? Folks who carried around big giant worries.

So, I’m very thankful for my parents, the love they shared, and the gifts they bestowed freely on us through words, actions, and deeds.fullsizeoutput_4e12

I’m happy to report that I am a positive person. I see the good in others. That makes my heart swell with joy for it reminds me of my father  and my oldest brother, both now in Heaven. Yes, this leaves me vulnerable and gullible, I know. There are times in which I have been taken advantage and teased that I was clueless.fullsizeoutput_4745

I like to see the world through my rainbow glasses. Having flowers in our home, a candle burning, music playing, art on the walls, crosses hung, and Holy Water in a little font fills our home with simple pleasures that fill my heart with joy. I know they do my husband’s heart as well. What about our children? You know what I’ve never realized:  I really don’t know. So much of what I thought I “knew” in my earlier days, it was just a perception of me “Knowing”.

Here is now what I know: there is no perfect formula for raising children. Each child is immensely different and what works for one may not work for another. We have tried to teach them our faith, manners, respect, and shown them love.fullsizeoutput_59c

I was the cornball who used to say to Kaelan, Rachael, and Ashton: thank you God for this beautiful and sunshiney day. At prayer time I’d throw in with them sometimes (not always), “Thank you God for Daddy and his job, for our home, the electricity, the water, and the cars.” Yes, some of that is just “stuff”, but Richard has worked with the same determination as our parents. He has let his career cause him more frustration than my father had with working with the Red Cross. Each of us is different and how we process information varies incredibly as well I believe.

So, where is the “magic” book or what is the “perfect formula” for raising children? I know of a book called the Bible. I believe in self-help books. I’ve read a lot of them. I believe in counseling (done a lot of that too).

What do I know at almost age 50? There is no perfect formula. We are each simply trying to do the best we can to navigate through the “clutter” of this world and share the most beautiful gift: LOVE.

We have aimed high in trying to share our faith, teach please and thank you, have a genuine attitude of gratitude, helped them find their gifts and talents so that they may share with others, and accept that they are each by God’s design.

I’m now a far more anxious person than I once was long ago. I accept I’ve probably always dealt with anxiety. I’m far from perfect. Yes, I take anxiety medicine and don’t know how long I’ll take it. I love others, even though their actions or choices sometimes confuse me. I get excited about many little things in life. It’s a child like excitement that brings me much joy. I love encouraging others through my art and being creative.

Repeat: yes, I have anxiety. Yes, I accept this about myself. Yes, I focus daily on my blessings. Yes, I am happy to name out loud that for which I am grateful. Yes, I infuse all of my feelings into my art for my art is me, my soul on a canvas. Yes, through talking with other artists and reading about other artists, we are very emotional beings. Yes, I’ve tried to prioritize being a woman who loves God, puts my husband and my family first, and is now genuinely also following my true passion. My soul, my being is that of an artist. I am emotional, tenderhearted and can overwhelm people with my tears, passion, excitement, and enthusiasm. I am long winded and have a hard time “landing the plane.” I am happy, even though I cry and worry at times. I am following what God wants me to do… I am an artist. I am strong, I am sensitive, I am a faithful soul, I am a worrier, and I am not perfect. Not today, not next week, and not ever. All I have ever tried to do is my best, in all that I do. I am willing to accept things in which I am weak. I’m not a mathematician, I’m not someone who enjoys anything medical and I am not very scientific. I get confused by people and life. I try to figure things out but, I’m not good at it. For at age 49 it hit me, through lots of help, I am not able to solve others’ problems. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Here is a little game I used to do as an ice breaker with the girls at St. Vincent’s Academy when I helped with retreats: take your name and with each letter, come up with a word describing you that contains that letter:

* A- I am artistic

*N- I love nature

*N- I try to be nIce to others

I find joy in sewing the seeds of love, joy in a sunrise or sunset, in the Lord, in a hot cup of tea, in the warmth of a hug or kiss, and in a back rub. I ask God’s forgiveness daily for mistakes. I ask him daily for the grace and mercy for him to help me be who he wants me to be. I pray for my husband, our children, our families, and friends. I pray for those who have no one to pray for them. I pray for the hungry, needy, homeless, and less fortunate. I pray for those in nursing homes, hospitals, and handicapped. I am so thankful for all of my many blessings. I’m glad God gave me an artist heart and happy he gave me “rose colored” glasses. I like seeing the rainbows in the world! I enjoy watching the birds and the butterflies.

I squeal at the sight of new flowers. I love honey way more than vinegar, so I’m going to aim to be sweet  as often as I can for the rest of the time I’m here living in “Ann Land.”fullsizeoutput_14a6

Painting In Our Garden

Painting In Our Garden

Why paint outdoors? Who gets caught up in the business of living life? The chores, the “to do” lists, the needing to be here, there and everywhere. When are you going to give yourself permission to prioritize YOU? Is it when your baby (or grand baby) is sleeping or the extreme, once your children (or grandchildren) are grown? How “spread thin” is too thin?

I’m a little on the repetitive side for sure, but we still have our ‘child within’ that needs time to be creative, relax, explore, pray, meditate. Did you know that colors (music, storytelling, etc.) influence our moods and emotions, just like the seasons of nature do?

Our garden has been created over the last three years. Upon moving into our new home, there were some beautiful established camellia’s and azalea’s. After many deaths in our families, my garden became my retreat, my refuge from the ‘daily grind’ of our world. Digging in the cold dark Earth centered me. I was the little girl who made mud pies in little tiny leftover tins from our kitchen and served them happily to my Mama and Grandmama. They graciously accepted each one with pure delight and enjoyment. Listening to the birds songs soothed my soul.

The colors that began to surround me, plant by plant, blanketed me in God’s warm love. The birds nibbling seeds and splattering about in the bird baths recentered me and allowed me to focus on the simpler things in life.

Returning home on more than one occasion from Home Depot with bags of colored spray paint, I went to town coloring ‘my world’ in our own backyard.

Your Home tells the story of YOU and so does your YARD. How does your story read? Is it a ‘blank canvas’ just waiting to be decorated?

Why not take old china you pick up from Good Will (or thrift store) and write inspirational quotes on them with a paint pen. Throw a plate hanger on it and hang it on a tree. Our youngest child asked if we could use Alice in Wonderland as our inspiration for our backyard. She looked up quotes on the internet and we wrote away. Ashton’s theory was that Alice fell down the dark scary hole into a weird world! Losing 10 family members in 5 years rocked our worlds and her Point was well taken: our world was weird and different now. I thought that was incredibly insightful and certainly profoundly TRUE!!!

Grief, like flowers, comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. My tears flowed like rivers in our garden. I certainly was contributing to our lllower water bill. Months of spray painting, planting and bird watching began to heal the hollow hole in my heart.

We’d created our own ‘sanctuary.’ Our refuge from the hustle and bustle. Our little piece of Heaven on Earth right in our own very back yard. I felt wonderfully blessed. I was comforted in knowing they’d returned to their real home. God called each one by name. But, when the world turns upside down or inside out, we must channel our energy (or lack of) and creativity somewhere. Or, maybe we need to get our hands dirty and “dig” to reconnect with the Earth. It reminds us that we are only just a few ‘particles,’ tiny little pieces of matter all bunched together on this planet in this immensely vast universe in which we are a part.

Besides me enjoying it, my sweet husband began bird watching, refilling the bird feeders and bird baths (something I’d done repetitively). He began to experience a serenity that I’d hoped and prayed would happen. He began cutting flowers and bringing them inside to put in a vase. He’d show us the designs and intricacies of each flower. All of this was new and exciting.

An added bonus, a table or an easel could be set up and I’d paint away. If I was painting on our back porch, which I often do, the serenity seeps in there too. The waterfall flowing, my brother’s’ wind chimes blowing and bird’s chirping. Thank you God. Amen!!!

I have 5 table easels set up right now on our back porch. I set out 5 canvases and pop from one to another with colors I love on my palette. It’s a great way to stay motivated and energized. The “TONE” is set. The garden will prayerfully come back to life again as we had a big snow for Savannah this winter. Our perennials aren’t really snow fans.

Our 30 feet banana trees have been cut back to the roots. Oh how I hope they will surprise us and make their 2018 debut soon.

So, in our garden you can spray paint, decorate, tell your ‘story,’ and ‘paint’ with flowers. Through the array of shapes, colors, textures, designs, lines, edges, thickness, thinness, a garden emerges revealing your story. Nature is on our side. Everything began in a garden.

Let your garden ‘paint’ the story of your life. SLOWN DOWN. Smell the roses. Listen to the trees. Watch the beautiful butterflies, bees and leaves. Absorb the beauty that surrounds us and be inspired with more creativity.

While painting in the garden, decide what is your focal point and ‘blur’ out the rest. SIMPLIFY. Embrace colors: they cheer us up. They captivate us. Planting reenergizes us with a happy childlike energy. May your world be filled with joyous colors.

I believe you’ll be able to tell the two before pictures 😉🦋🌀🌻🎆.

How To ‘Set the Tone’

How To ‘Set the Tone’

My last blogpost was, “Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself.” Well, instead of fear, we need to embrace courage. A BIG DOSE helps. We need a positive attitude and MUST set the “tone for creativity.”

Sidenote: years ago, when I had no designated ‘art spot’ I’d have to pull my stuff out and put it back every time I used it. It was an added extra layer of unnecessary stress. Even the thought of all of that would weigh on me emotionally as it just seemed like a waste of my time. I wanted to be painting.

Recommended thoughts and ideas based upon past experiences:

LOCATION: Find a spot in your home (even if it’s turning an unused closet into an area with a desk and shelves) designated to be your very own space for creating. Throw some flowers or a plant there for a colorful pop.

MUSIC: it’s just ‘good for the soul.’ It creates a rhythm and flow that truly promotes dopamine (the happy hormone). I always paint to music, it is simply inspirational.

LIGHT: A candle smells yummy and fills the room with warmth. It’s a glow that lifts my spirits. A salt lamp is excellent and puts forth positive ions into your room. Amazon often has them on sale. The essential oil diffusers now also come in ones that light up as well as release fabulous natural oils with amazing fragrances into the air. Need calm: try lavender or stress relief oil. Want Summer: add orange oil and it smells like you’ve been plopped into an orange orchard or rose, for the scent of a rose garden. Need a touch of fall: sprinkle cinnamon oil and off you go with the scent of pumpkin pie. Winter is the perfect time to spread a pine or eucalyptus scent throughout your home. Goodbye stale air, hello scents of nature.

SUPPLIES: they are certainly important. I have an a range of brushes, which I normally pick up from Blick Art Store. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get something ASAP (normally in a day or two). I started years ago with acrylics. Love them!!! They are fun, easy to clean and dry quickly. Dawn soap and water are good for cleaning brushes. If you want to extend the ‘open time’ of the paint, they sell flow medium or extender. This allows you to work ‘wet in wet’ longer with your paint. If you want thick acrylics to create texture, I suggest “structured” paint, which is super thick and fabulous!!!(They also sell very thick mediums for texture. Find a salesperson at this point cause there are soooo many.) This paint is so much fun to experiment with a palette knife as one of your tools alongside your paintbrushes. Cotton rags, tissues and VIVA paper towels are great to have on hand. You can use paper plates as palettes or buy a plastic, glass or there are other various palettes from which to choose. For a place to hold your water, again, a plastic cup from your kitchen or one that has a place to hold your brushes and water. Since I sometimes paint with 4 brushes at one time, I love the places to hold my brushes. Blick has sales throughout the year and I’ll purchase 30-50 canvases of all sizes as the deal is phenomenal. I have a tax ID number as I have an LLC. So, a plus, I don’t have to pay sales tax. Michael’s also has great coupons to use on art supplies. Let both places know before they start ringing up your supplies that you have a sales tax exempt number. You may already have a favorite store.

COLOR PALETTE: endless, and I do mean endless, choices. So many artists that I love use different palettes. You may want to begin with a limited palette and expand as you become more familiar with color mixing. In college, we had to use a limited palette and it really helped our “muscle memory” of creating beautiful colors, values and intensities. Some artists choose to stick with a limited palette. I love an expanded palette for color truly is a ‘song in my soul’ and it makes me smile. This is true with both oils and acrylics, but again, these are choices that you must make through experimentation. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider googling an artist work’s that you love and find out what color palette they use that speaks to your soul. You can get started with a simple investment. You can use canvas paper (in a tablet) or wait for a sale. Another reasonable option are canvas panels. I love Gallery wrapped canvases and ampersand board.

SOCIAL MEDIA: in the age in which we live, ‘setting the tone here’ is imperative if you want your art to be shared all over the world. I’ve treated social media like ‘planting seeds in my flower garden.’ There requires dedication, perseverance, and creativity here as well. Like the seeds, your presence on social media needs to be ‘nurtured’ in order to grow. Let it tell an authentic story of you, your life, your art. Obviously, in a humble but sharing way. Folks who buy your art and may even start collecting pieces, understand they have a connection to it, you or both. It may evoke an emotional response through touching their hearts through memories shared in the past. They may simply love the color, design, texture. Your art is your soul on a canvas…it is YOU. Take a deep breath and begin with baby steps. In my opinion, Pinterest is a wonderful visual platform to share boards in which hold value to you and provide wonderful inspiration. Instagram and Facebook are both sites where folks and I have connected and they’ve reached out to purchase “a splash of my color” for their world. I’m always honored and am forever thankful that they ’embrace’ all of my colors. Tumblr, Google+ and so many other sites have beautiful imagery to get your creative juices flowing. You can google STOCK photos and free images if you need a photo reference from which to paint. Again, baby steps and BALANCE. You are ‘planting seeds’ not creating a beautiful garden in one day.

SENSES: So, have you noticed I’ve covered our senses here? Sight, sound, smell, oops, touch (don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and use your fingers for painting too). The TONE is so very important and all of it pours into YOU and YOUR PAINTINGS. I always say a prayer (or more than one) and have recently started writing in a light Sharpie marker a Bible verse on the front. Then, it gets covered in paint, but the beautiful words are a part of the piece, there hidden under layers of paint.

Your 6th sense, your INTUITION, is a gift given to many creative souls and it is very important. The importance of learning how to trust your intuition takes time and practice.

I once asked a very talented friend and an AMAZING artist in my twenties, “how do I become a better artist?” He’d lived in Italy and painted, appeared on a Master Painter HGTV show and traveled to many places creating breathtaking murals, faux finishes and canvases. He is also a creative designer. His talent has always mind boggled me. I’ll never forget his response: “PAINT, PAINT and then PAINT SOME MORE.” So, I now say to you,”JUST KEEP PAINTING!” If it is your DREAM to be an artist, as it was my childhood dream, your passion to explore color or a hobby you’d like to pursue, I say,”REACH FOR THE STARS!!!” Begin with baby steps, be your best cheerleader, NOT your worst enemy. Pretend you are 5 years old again and embrace this playful creative outlet. Feeling stressed, don’t digress, set the TONE, go CREATE and you’ll happily INFLATE your your spirit with JOY and PURPOSE. Colorful Wishes, Ann Lutz🌻🎨🌀

“What Do You Have to Fear but Fear Itself?”-FDR

“What Do You Have to Fear but Fear Itself?”-FDR

Nana quoted this to me more than once growing up. She said “Teddy” made a great point. For me, this little diddy has zero to do with politics and much more to do with the “TONE” that is set for our lives.

Naturally, we learn so many lessons as children. And, not surprisingly, this was a quote both of my parents restated repeatedly to all of us while growing up. The mantra contains merit, would you agree?

So, let’s “flip back” to the beginning. Who “made” you crawl? What about walk? Do you remember? Were you scared? Why did you decide to take a chance? If you are anything like me, who knows why, you probably have zero memory of it. But, for some reason, something compelled you forward. “Just keep moving!”

Rachael, our daughter who will be 20 this summer, has many special needs. She had “fine motor delays” (and some gross motor) from the get go. We did lots of Dr.’s as she was very sick at one week old. They never determined the cause of her sickness, but they got her 104 degree fever down and sent us home after a one week stay. We had many follow up appointments. Rach was late with her crawling and her approach was unlike any I’d seen. Hmmm. She made it work for her. It was a “scoot/crawl” motion. She has a brother one year older and was determined not to be left behind.

Rach walking? Well, thank goodness it wasn’t on a tightrope cause she ran into every wall, tripped over imaginary everything’s and continued on her way. Nothing stopped her, not even a broken leg from our trampoline. She kept dragging her leg behind her. She had a very high pain threshold, so it took a tiny minute (or a few days) to find out that her leg was broken. In a cast at 3 years old…she used her energy to propel her forward and still make her fire station field trip with her class. She hobbled on as days turned into weeks.

I’ve watched this little girl grow into a young adult. Through much prayer, love, stress, aggravation, frustration, confusion, determination, steadfastness, grace and mercy, here we are together, as the Lutz Family Team. Corny, I know; the truth? YES! Our head coach: GOD. She has crawled, walked, ran like the wind (before breaking both of her feet on different occasions). She was like a Gazelle when she did Girls on the Run. Wow how the tears flowed. Our hearts filled with joy watching how much she embraced it. With God, all things are possible. GIVE UP? Never an option. Has she been scared before? PETRIFIED of nightmares, being left, having 2 different stays at Coastal Harbor Treatment Center, starting school again after being out of “traditional School” for several years, moving to Isle of Hope 3 years ago, losing many family members in a 5 year period (and trying to understand those emotions and process them), and now, starting a little “volunteer job” at the YMCA through her work study program at Johnson High School. “Sticktutiveness” our daddy called it and boy, DOES SHE HAVE IT!!! Fear, she has been consumed by it at times, but perseverance and faith, she has more of these for sure.

Lesson learned by me…oh, there are too many to list right here, right now. One checked off the list- Fred and Lillis Lindsay had a grandchild who could have completely fallen through every “crack” and been lost. Through great faith, love, sticktuitiveness, many prayers, large doses of hope, Rach has faced more challenges than some face in a lifetime. Education, with an IQ of 60 (average IQ is 85-110) has been an incredible challenge. While she has zero desire to work at NASA, she does want to work with children. This is her dream. This is her passion. At 19, she feels confident this is where God wants her to use her gifts. Her greatest gift: LOVE (faults and all), there is LOVE.

So, what is your passion? What are your gifts? Are you using them or have you kept them “wrapped up tightly” hidden away from others, as well as yourself? Pull them out, “unwrap them and share them!” What do you have to fear but fear itself. Take a leap of faith. Colorful Wishes, Ann Lutz

Why create?

Why create?

Imagination…how do we define it? What is it? Why should we use it? Is it really that important or should it be “tossed out” like an old pair of socks? Do we ‘lose’ our imagination when we grow up?

Albert Einstein said, “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” What a baffling quote by Einstein. One of the most brilliant minds emphasizes imagination. To what avail?

Anyone out there attend an imaginary tea party when they were little? What about pretending you were a bird flying so high in the sky as your wings glided, soaring higher and higher. Maybe you were a pirate and your ship was in your own backyard.

My imaginary friend, named Many More, attended my tea parties. We always had lots of ‘chatting’ among us. One day Mama asked me where Many More came from? I was insulted. A few days later while riding in the car an announcement came on,” and many more” is how it ended. I started hollering,”Mom, that’s my friend, Many More.”

My sister, Josephine, was a beautiful writer when I was little. I remember reading one of her papers she wrote when she was in high school. It was titled,”The Life of an Ant…” I read it with complete fascination. With words she had created beautiful imagery. I felt one with the little ant, seeing moment by moment through its eyes.

Words: lyrics to songs, poems, stories, they can transport us through time and space. They can touch the innermost chords of our soul. Words can evoke deep emotional responses from us. There is a “power” in words.

What makes a person respond to a piece of art? Is it something they need? Does it remind them of the joy of imagination, the bliss of childhood or does it capture a fond memory that holds a special place in their hearts? Do the colors ‘dancing across the canvas’ simply make them smile. Color is like a song but ‘speaks’ a visual language all on its own.

In creating, we lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time. Our dreams can create unrest or great peace. We may not always remember them, but we can recall the ‘feeling’ they gave us.

Imagination is a place of wonder and awe. It’s the happy place many of us “left behind” in childhood. I know we can’t all be Peter Pan and fly off to Neverland, but imagination is a spark that lights a fire to the freedom to CREATE.

I encourage you to grab a blanket or a towel on a pretty day, lay it outside on the ground and you become ‘one with the towel’ for a little while. What do you see in the clouds? Is it a unicorn or a butterfly? What shapes can you find up there? Maybe it’s 1/2 elephant and 1/2 fish…an ‘elephish.’

Embrace your inner child…they are still there inside you. What were your dreams and aspirations? Through courage, face fears and find your creativity…your joy…your bliss. We only get one go at this (I know, it’s corny, couldn’t resist😉).

Facing my fear of creating people this year…

How to Create a Photo into Art

How to Create a Photo into Art

Grey days have returned. We all have creative spirits. For fun, take a stock photo of a flower (or another interesting pic) & create your own design. Type in (free). It has amazing design ideas. Click edit…Click a photo you have downloaded onto your computer or 1 you already had on there. Hit “open” & be patient. It’ll appear on PicMonkey’s Design screen. Your options are on the left. All are free except the 1’s that have a crown on them. I have used the crop button. Can move the crop box all around until you get a design you like. Hit apply. Don’t like, hit cancel. Same with all of them. The little lipstick dodad on the far left column opens up a few more creative ideas with lighting, color, etc. I found one button that said “poster” with sunflowers on it. Loved that look on my own flowers. Let creative juices flow. Adjust color buttons, fade, shadow, etc. Cancel or just put it back to where it was if you don’t like it. Be free. Have fun. Create a special birthday present, a Mother’s Day gift or a Graduation Present…Framed art that you designed for that special person going off to college who needs art to remind them of home. Have a colorful day!DSC00125 Complementary flower.jpg IMG_1471 Funky Abstract Flower.jpg IMG_1469 Very abstract iris.jpg