Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Noblest of Arts

"The noblest of arts is that of making other people happy."
P.T. Barnum


Last Tuesday, January 2, was the last day of Christmas vacation
for my kids and my youngest had a gift card to the movie theater.
She had been wanting to see 
The Greatest Showman,
the movie musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum,
the founder of The Greatest Show on Earth...the circus...
I had no idea the connections I would make.
Or the ways it would display
how each person in unique,
yet so much about all of us is the same...

Story does that.
It has the ability to reach 
right into the depths of your core
and tap into your very own story
and create understanding.
It is why we love movies, a television series, our favorite books.
Why children love a bedtime story.
Why the Greatest Story Ever Told was about
the Greatest Storyteller,
who chose to teach us in parables.

This movie
reaches into a heart.
It reaches into
the struggles
of owning who you are.

This powerful video of the anthem of the movie "This Is Me"
says so much.
Take five minutes,
and you can't help but be encouraged.
Watch here:

If you've ever struggled
to be comfortable in your own skin,
you will get it.

If you've ever struggled
to find your voice
and then
to find the courage
to use it,
you will get it.

If you've ever been afraid
of people seeing your weakness,
you will get it.

If you've ever been mocked,
you will get it.

If you have ever had your knees knock
when you had to get up 
and give a speech,
 or sing in a Christmas program,
or try out for a team,
or go for a job interview,
I think
you will get it.

If you ever were afraid to show your face
somewhere, sometime
in your past,
you will get it.

If you've ever had a dream, a goal,
that seemed impossible,
you were afraid to admit
was even a glimmer
in your mind,
you will get it.

Researcher, writer, storyteller, Brene Brown
says that we are hard wired for connection,
this movie taps into that need.

When I started school,
I was painfully shy.
At conferences, my teachers would tell my parents
that I spoke so softly that I couldn't be heard.
They struggled to get me to speak above a whisper
when I read aloud
in class.
On the school bus
I was too afraid to ask
if I could sit with someone,
so I would just stand and look,
until the high schooler in the seat,
would move their duffle bag to make room
for me.
I would hear them whisper to one another,
"She never says anything. She just looks at you."
And still,
I wouldn't speak.
I was scared of older kids.
But they were the ones who had the bus seats
when by the time I stepped up those stairs.
I struggled to say what I wanted.
I struggled to say what I did not want.
I wanted safety.
I wanted security.
I wanted belonging.

I could not find courage.
I could not find words.

Numerous times
I needed to speak for myself,
but I did not.
Many times,
I have identified
with that
cowardly lion
in Oz,
who longed for

It has taken me my lifetime
to find my voice
and use it.
I have feared loss of connection
with the use of my voice.
Yet I am finding that 
real connection,
true connection,
comes from
living in authenticity
with my actions,
my words,
my choices.

I know it will be a process
for the rest of my days.
Using my voice
to speak
is a continual battle

The Greatest Showman
tapped into all of this
within me.
I was encouraged.
To keep being me.
And to continue to encourage
others to
discover the treasure
who they are.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Hello 2018.
2017 has left me tired.
As I read 
social media,
watch programs,
look at book titles,
I see that I must not be alone.

It seems that a bulk of us
are craving slow.
Many of us are on overload.
We need to slow down.
To stop.
To see 
the people
in our own
To look people in the eye.
Especially those we love.
Instead of staring at another screen.

It feels like a world away from where I was
when I started this blog.
My children are in an entire new stage.
So am I.
So is the world.
Our nation...

Hard, hard things happened in 2017.
Things that brought me face-to-face with fear.
I made good decisions and I made some poor choices too.
I sure do not have the energy that I used to have
for doing everything just right.
So I don't.
Some times I just get by.
Some days are wing and a prayer kind of days.

Some of my 
favorite moments
in our Shaw family
lives happened in this

I became an auntie to twins, a boy and a girl.
Our son turned 18 
to the tune of a mariachi band at Casa Bonita's in Denver.
My daughter experienced her first state track meet, 
breaking a school record with her relay team.
Our family just enjoyed being together
at a Colorado Rockies game and the Denver Aquarium.
I realized the depths of my husband's dedication to me 
as he cared for me after knee surgery in September.

I have lots swirling in my mind
about 2017.
But it all feels too vulnerable and tender to share.
So it must not be the time.

But I am ready
for a new year.
I am ready to
embrace imperfection
and give myself
for a life
that is always
a work in progress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Art and Photography Workshop: Wildflowers and Winging It

Oh. My. Heart!
My favorite part of summer
is this.

Prairie Wildflowers.
Give me a pasture of wildflowers and my camera
and you will find a happy Jodi.

Since the prairie wildflowers have exploded here on the ranch,
we have a short window of opportunity
 to take some breathtaking photos in the evenings! 

I am opening up a spontaneous art & photo workshop
 in my White Owl Wings studio at my home by appointment from 
3:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the dates of July 5-8 and 11-15. 
Choose which day you would like to come for yourself and up to two more friends. 

Register here:

Here's what I have planned:

* Make your own "Winging It" Art piece
 on a round slice of birch wood 
with papers, butterfly diagrams and wire wings 
from 3:00-6:00. 


* An evening of wildflower "photography safari"
on the prairie through sunset. 
We will take the side-by-side 4-wheeler 
to some of my favorite spots for photos on the ranch.

*Limited to 3 people at a time. 
*Bring a couple friends for a very personal small group art/photo time. 
*Message or call me to reserve your date.
Register at
*$60 per person. Bring your own camera. All art supplies provided.


So here's a few things I have learned about these wildflower favorites
from my book: Grassland Plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains
by James R. Johnson and Gary E. Larson.

The top photo above of the yellow flower is a Prairie Coneflower.
*"Dakota and Lakota made a tea to cure aches of the stomach, head, or side;
Dakota also made a leaf tea beverage."
*"Cheyenne prepared a solution for relieving the effects of rattlesnake bite and poison ivy."
*"The dark red phase is known as "Mexican Hat" {which you can see below}.

This photo above is a Purple Coneflower, or Echinacea, or Black Samson.

A few interesting things:
*indicator of healthy range; safe for grazing
*when chewed, the root numbs the mouth.
*"root widely used by Plains Indians to treat the following:
sore mouth and gums,
neck pain,
mumps and measles,
and more."
*"The plant was their most important plains herbal medicine."

Here is the Mexican Hat version of the Prairie Coneflower,
a rare find.

I'd love to have you join me
for my Winging It Art and Photography Workshop.
Register Here:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Crescendo: Homestake Opera House Benefit "Artument"

I was invited to be a part of
which is a fundraiser for the 
Historic Homestake Opera House
in Lead, South Dakota
on June 3rd.

I am honored to be one of four fine artists
creating "Art-uments"
which are artistically altered
musical instruments
each of which
will be auctioned at the Gala.

My piece is titled
Live Your Own Song
it is inspired by my friend Dawn Wink's novel Meadowlark.

Meadowlark is based on the life of Dawn's Grandma Grace
on the harsh early 1900's prairie of eastern Meade County
in South Dakota.
It is a raw and heartbreaking story,
yet one of deep resilience, strength, and friendship.

I chose a passage from the novel
featuring a conversation between Grace and her friend Daisy.

Daisy encourages Grace to live from Song,
like meadowlark...
and that all creatures and people have their own Song,
they just have to find it.

"Most people live their whole lives and never listen to the songs of life,
not their own or any around them.
Scares them too much.
It's easier to go through life living the way everybody else expects you to.
But when you're listening to your own song, Grace, you feel deep peace, right here."
She reached out and placed the flat of her palm on the center of Grace's chest. live life in song, Grace,
that's what the Great Spirit intended.

Meadowlarks inspire me as a birder.
They arrive with the announcement that spring is coming
and then in spring blizzard's harsh winds
they sing in defiance right in the face of adversity.
I love that.
Meadowlarks sing hope to all prairie dwellers.

The process of creating an "Artument"
began with a collage
of an old hymnal page, 
a postmarked meadowlark postage stamp,
dictionary definitions for
Dakota, meadowlark, grace, and daisy;
a poem entitled Meadowlark from a 1916 South Dakota Bird and Arbor Day book,
a daisy elementary school coloring page 
from the collection of local Enning librarian and historian Irma Maude,
a vintage book spine,
and other various papers.

The sides of the guitar feature tissue paper
designed by Melody Ross
and created and sold through
a job readiness program for female refugees from horrific, war-torn situations.

Layers of acrylic paints were added,
as well as alcohol inks.
I sketched a meadowlark in pencil and then painted with acrylic paint.

The Live Your Own Song Art-ument
authenticity to your self,
the South Dakota prairie.

Time lapse videos of the art in progress:

Part One

Part 2

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Consider Birds Sneak Peek and Supply List

 Consider Birds:
Trading Anxiety for Peace of Mind

an online class
Jodene Shaw
based on Matthew 6:26
"Look to the birds of the air..."

beginning May 16, 2016
 Register at
Early registration just $38 through April 20.
Regular registration: $55

Hey friends!
Today I am showing just a sneak peak of a few
projects from Consider Birds
along with a little prayer for the class
and a suggested supply list.

First, just a peek.
I don't want to give away all of the surprises...

Just a note:
the easiest way to get
close photographs of birds
is to feed them in your yard.
I have videos about this
and some fun bird food projects.
But if you want to get started attracting them now,
get some black sunflower seed and start feeding.

My Prayer for this class is inspired by this:

My Grandma Marj took me under her wing when I was a little girl.
She taught me the names of the birds and to appreciate the uniqueness of each one.
Each bird was a treasure.
She taught me to build a bird life list.
I will share this with you and you can begin yours if you haven't yet.

Here is my video reading of the prayer:

Thank YOU for bringing
Consider Birds together in my mind.
For the legacy of Grandma Marj.
May this journey begin 
to unravel the threads 
that have been tied tightly in knots
of anxiousness, worry and endless striving
that always felt "not quite enough"
in my life, some family members,
and all those who interact with this material.

May the knots
each of us
in freedom
the abundant life
unforced rhythms of grace
that You offer.
May a legacy of grace fly forward
on wings
This is my prayer for Consider Birds
and the lives it touches...
Amen, Jesus.

I am just excited for you to experience 
the material I have prepared for you.

This has been growing in my heart since I was a little girl.
I had no idea what a beautiful thing God would do with it all...
including the pain of my migraines
which made me pay attention
and dig deep.

My video message to you about supplies:

Following are photos and a list of suggested supplies for Consider Birds.
Some supplies have links for ordering.

*2x4 or 2x6 inch board cut into squares or rectangles
*Birch round (Michael's)
*Stretched canvas 5x7 inch or preferred size
*old weathered pieces of wood

Paper:  scrapbook papers, old books/dictionaries you can tear up, vintage papers, wallpaper books

You will need a computer to watch videos and a printer to print PDFs of vintage bird images and poetry that I will share with you.
I use a vintage typewriter for text in my art, but you can download a vintage typewriter font for your computer and print from there.

*Gesso:  white, black and clear
*Mod Podge matte or Liquitex Matte Medium
*Golden Crackle Paste and/or Molding Paste
*Optional: Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish

*Sponge brushes
*Stiff bristled brushes
*Black tacks/nails

*Plastic palette knives or just a plastic knife
*old gift cards
*Acrylic Paint:  heavy bodied, academic level, and/or craft paint

Colors I will use:  
Raw umber, yellow ochre, payne's gray, any shade of turquoise, reds, unbleached titanium, white

Suggestion:  Use a 40% off one item coupon at Michael's and get a starter set of Golden or Liquitex heavy bodied acrylic paints. You can mix and make your own colors from a basic set.

*Distress Ink Pad in Vintage Photo and/or other preferred colors
*Others are optional:  Distress Stains, Distress Crackle Paint in Clear Rock Candy (highly suggest), Ranger Alcohol Inks

*Hammer, needle nosed pliers, scissors, sandpaper (100 grit)
*20 gauge wire in your choice of color (found in beading/jewelry section)
*found or collected objects like sticks (sanded), heart shaped stones or stones of a certain color, beads, buttons, safety pins, clothes pins.... just fun objects you might have or find.

Various Rubber Stamps with patterns and perhaps birds.
*In addition to stamps you may want to collect netting, bubble wrap, jar openers and things that you can create patterns and textures with...

*Sculpey Clay, white, 8 oz.
You don't need an 8 lb box!

Recollections Chipboard Kit for creating a bird life list book.
Spiral bound sketchbook for gratitude journal and prayer projects. (See video.)

These are suggested.
You don't have to use the exact supplies I have.
Use what you have.
Watch the videos and decide how you want to do the projects.
You might have supplies that will fit the project.
Remember, you will have access to this for an unlimited time.
Consider it like a cookbook.  You don't have to buy all the ingredients for all of the recipes.
You get to decide which ones to try first. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Just This.

When I walk,
I collect images.
Things that are simple.
Some gratitude.
Signs of hope.
To attempt to
shake the cloak
of melancholy
on windy days

I know that
Pooh bear
was talking about
But if he were talking
about wind,
he would say,

The more it BLOWS
The more it GOES
The more it GOES