Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prairie's God-Beauty

I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart

I will enter His courts with praise

I will say this is the day that the Lord has made . . .

We sing this regularly at our little country church

on the wide and windy prairie of western South Dakota.

In my mind as I sang,

for so long it was like a declaration of what I would do

as I enter His gates and His courts.

But now as I list 1000 gifts

and think about how photography

has ushered my heart so often to a place of


I understand



and praise

is the key

to His gates

is the way

into His courts

it is the path

that takes me


His presence . . .


on this prairie that some have


God-forsaken . . .

but that I have seen




and even

wind-beaten . . .

there is beauty

if I choose

to take the lead from my child

and really





Joining today
Finding Heaven
Jen hosts this gathering of bloggers
a sisterhood to glorify God.
Recently, she ordered a mixed media piece from me.
It was my honor to send it from
South Dakota
She featured it here:  What Do You Believe?
And I featured it here:  Lemonade Stands.
It feels like a part of my heart is in her home now
. . .

*Photos & text property of Jodene (Jodi) Shaw copyright 2011*

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Like Nobody Else

From the movie P.S. I Love You

"Find that thing that makes you like nobody else."

I love that line.

Makes me think of birds.

Yes, birds.

Embracing my bird fascination started with my grandma, yes,

but also this that I wrote a couple years back:

Grandma Marj had a unique appreciation for birds that became a natural part of my heart as well.  Growing up next door, affection for birds seemed like a normal part of life.  It never occurred to me until I went to elementary school that it was odd to call a bird by its proper name.  After all, a black capped chick-a-dee was not a nuthatch, nor was a slate junco an evening grosbeak.  Furthermore, to call it simply a bird was to disregard its unique identity.  A bird has a name after all.  The name was an intricate aspect of the masterpiece that each bird was.

A name.  A unique identity.

We all have a unique identity.

And things that make us like nobody else.

We are not the same.

And that



The thing that makes you and me like nobody else . . .

some people will

like it,

some will love it,

some will need it,

some will ignore it,

some will think it is foolish,

some will not even see it.

But what others think of it

is not as important

as being true to who each of us is made to be.

Even if those we want



and those we want


celebrate with

are not interested.

It is ok.  It may not be for them.

And that is ok.

And it does not mean we should stop

being what makes us like nobody else.

If I waited for everyone

I loved

to see and embrace and encourage

me to




and to put it all together . . .

I never would have started.

And it is nobody else's responsibility

to find, to see, to embrace, to encourage, or to live

the thing

that makes me like nobody else.

The thing

that gives joy

to my heart

like nobody else.

It is for me

to be,

to live,




think it is weird or foolish.

"Find that thing that makes you like nobody else."

And embrace it.

Be it.

Live it.

This was a sneak peek into my studio for this week.
I have been taking these photos of birds
through the windows of my home.
sneak peek
See what others are creating in their "studios" here
at Jennifer's blog:

All photos in this blog are property of Jodene Shaw.
Copyright 2011.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lemonade Stands

sneak peek
Joining my artistic friends at Studio JRU.

So about a month ago,
I am getting ready for my first booth showing my art
and I am just having a moment.
Like an exploded balloon where all of the
confidence, faith, belief, courage, passion, all of it just blew up.
Trying to put on my makeup, but it's no use, because tears keep coming.
I am annoyed with myself.  Mad.  Frustrated.  Scared.  Vulnerable.
And I was left with this one little voice whispering,
"What are you doing?"
"You are just a little girl with a lemonade stand."
"Just pretending to be a big girl with a business making nickels and dimes."

I get face down on the carpet and pour it out to God.
The fear, the doubt, the little girl feeling, and the anger.
Why am I angry?  At Him?
I am.  So I tell Him.  And I breathe deep.
And be authentic before my God
because He already knows what I am thinking and feeling anyway.

So ~ I call a friend.

She pep-talks me out of the lemonade stand mentality.

I get my make-up on and go











I talk to Heather

about stepping out in faith and risk

toward the lives we want to live. . .

even though money is oh-so-tight, it seems . . .

but I want to live what is most important. 

Family.  Faith.  Follow the calling in my heart.  Now.

"Yes,"  I think to myself, "that really is what I believe in."

Bob talks to me about my photos

and putting together a calendar.  Really?  A calendar?  Cool!

People look and linger and {gulp} . . . they buy things.

But it is so much more than the purchase

that makes my heart sing.

It is the "Begin one small step at a time" piece

that I loved, yet nobody ever looked at it.

And I wondered "Why?"

Until a mother bought it for her daughter

who had just begun to rebuild

after her home had burned to the ground.

And I knew why nobody looked before.

And a "made in South Dakota" store connection.

Then a woman with tears in her eyes

whose veteran husband suffers from PTSD

has a new home for "Be Real".

Another loves birds, and orders a set like I made in memory of Grandma Marj.

And the man from Montana studying my pieces

that I start a conversation with . . . he, too, is a mixed media artist.

Stepping out, sharing his work.

One is moving to Cody, Wyoming.

She buys prints of my wildflower photos to remember South Dakota.

Connections of the heart

through creativity.

Full circle


New opportunities that I cannot wait to share.  {SOON!}

Far and exceedingly above all that I could ask or imagine.

From this little girl lemonade stand.

Just putting my heart out there.

"See, look what I made."

That is how I felt. 

Like a little girl hoping somebody would like what I had to offer.





it was good.

Above, beyond, exceeding my imaginations and my askings.



copyright 2011 Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Look So Close


my long-awaited book order arrived.

A dare to







I resisted it at first.

Afraid of getting trapped in the legalism, duty, have-to, obligation

of making

a gratitude


But what I have found

is richness

a massage for my weary body, mind, and spirit



in my



now. . .

#20.  Looking so close at a dandelion . . .

Photos Copyright 2011 Jodene Shaw.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grateful Mom

A grateful mom.

For sun-kissed cheeks

on my three healthy chicks

For the
of my two oldest
first-time playing
at church.

For a weekend with my mom.

And instead of the nap

that my flesh was craving

a late afternoon of fishing

on a perfect Mother's Day.

My camera
helps me find
the beauty

in the littlest things

and fills my heart

with gratitude.


Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria this evening . . .
Finding Heaven