Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Dances Along The Way

Twenty days ago,
I wrapped up this package
with this art piece:

and I wrapped up this package

with this art piece:

and shipped them off with an application
for the South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism.

A few days ago,
I got this letter:

YAHOO! Happy Dance!
I am so excited!

Made In South Dakota
means so much to me because
it is all about my heart
for blooming where you are planted,
for savoring right where you are right now,
for becoming fascinated with the ordinary,
for enjoying the little things.

where God has planted me.
That is on the prairie of South Dakota
with my husband Jim
~ a man of good, well-rounded character. ~
He is strong, hard-working, faithful, athletic, smart,
patient, kind and loves to play and eat candy.
My art honors this life that we have together with our family.
In this place.

Thank you for celebrating with me!
 Taking a journey that you REALLY want to work out is so scary, 
because it really is putting your heart out there on the line.  
And wondering . . . wondering about so much.
Will this work?
Will anybody even be interested?
Is this valuable?
Is this worth anything?
Is this worth my time?
Will I be laughed at?
Will anybody take me seriously?
Is it possible to actually make a business doing something I enjoy
and believe it?
Should my work involve my heart and my spiritual life?
Will people accept that?  Will they embrace it?

And what I am still learning,
is that it is better to be who I am
and take scary-brave steps,
instead of half-hearted ones,
in the direction that you want to go,
and even struggle and fail sometimes.
It is better than pretending to be someone
you are not.
It is better than trying to prove your worth
through things that you think the world will be impressed with.

Please, please , please be who YOU really are . . . 
the person that perhaps you are afraid to be 
because it will mean sticking your neck out there.

And also, please, please, please, be kind to yourself.
No shaming where you are not,
because of where you think you ought

I spent many years beating myself up in my mind
about who I thought I was
and about who I thought I ought to be.
Instead of letting myself really follow the things I loved and enjoyed.
And seeing that I was a person of value
because first and foremost,
I was and am a child of God.

God's grace changed that.
And continues to change that
day. to. day.

We struggle.  We fail.
Because that is life in this broken world.
But it is so much better
to work at something I believe in,
that I live to share,
that I want my kids to know and hear from me,
instead of keeping it inside.

It's not just about the artwork.
It's about the life I am living.
It is about the message that continues
to burn within me to share.

That comes out
in writing
in photography
and in bursts of color
or getting to speak to a group of girls or women
telling stories.

I don't know how to express how much it means to me
that you are celebrating with me in this!

SO MANY people have encouraged me along this journey
that I continue to take.
My neighbor and friend, Ann B., said to me the other day,
"We all need an 'Atta-girl!' sometimes."

She has been one of those atta-girl encouragers.
All those "Atta-girl"'s have kept me going!

Lots of exciting this are happening all at once here.

Including this book put together by Renee Rongen

I had a request through my Etsy store
to submit my artwork for an upcoming book project.
I checked out Renee's videos
and loved her motivational talks.
Loved that she was from the Minnesota ~ Dakota areas
and had spoken to rural women.

So I sent in a submission in the month of May.
May is crazy-busy for all of us with kids in school
and double so with cattle-ranch life.
So I kind-of forgot about it until I received this
sparkly red package last week with this letter:

My art takes up an itty-bitty space on page 80 of about 1x3 inches.
But still . . . 

It is a wonderful book about 
the complexities and beauty and humor and faith
of women.
No matter how tiny my part is in this book,
I am proud to be included!

The last couple of months
have held some exciting moments for me.

Know that it has been a LONG journey to this point.

Even before I started creating art,
I was scrapbooking.
The scrapbooking that I did changed from
recording birthdays and holidays
to everyday struggles and questions
along with breakthroughs and lessons learned, 
and questions I was working through,
as well as celebrations and new fascinations.
That journey that I recorded is what led to the art that I am doing now.

Before the transition in my scrapbooking,
there was a period of a few years where I was in
what I call the cocoon stage...
where it looked like NOTHING was happening,
but BIG CHANGE was happening within me.

You can read about the
the cocoon,
and the growing wings

{One of my first collage paintings.  Now owned by Kendra Sandal.}

All of that happened to me
several years ago.

Lots of time
in a cocoon.
To get to here.

Still growing.  Still changing.

All images property of Jodene Shaw.
Fundamentally Female is a registered TradeMark and can be found here:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Treasure Hunting With Toby

I've been walking with Toby the Beagle each morning.

He attacks me when he sees me getting my shoes.

Yesterday, he pouted for 15 minutes 
while I collaged a few pieces of paper onto a board
so that it could dry while we walked.

It is a good thing.
As I said a few days ago,
it does wonders for our relationship.
We are becoming good friends.
Not to mention, we both need exercise . . .
AND he does unpleasant things when we don't walk.
Which he knows are wrong
because when I call his name,
he heads straight to the kennel.


Plus, I am finding lots of treasures.

Like heart shaped rocks


interesting feathers.

And more rocks.

I do not know yet
what I will do with my rapidly growing
rock collection.

But something . . . 

And more treasures like


Most of the leaves have fallen.

So now I can see the nests.

I was snapping pictures of one wishing I could climb a tree

In fact, I really considered climbing one,
sized up the tree,
found a fence post to attach the beagle leash to,
and thought about how I would
manage going out on the limb with my camera.

I decided I better not do it alone.
So I walked a little further down the fence line
to find this sacred home:

I took a deep breath
and smiled big
and thought of
Grandma Marj.

And then I thought about our birdwatching times together.
And then I just wondered . . .
what if she and the Lord are in cahoots up there in heaven
just thinking up ways to surprise me...
and if they are just as delighted as I am
when I come around a bend
to find a nest . . . 

or a cardinal in my yard,
or a strange yellow feather,
or whatever beautiful surprise it might be.

Just what if?

And if they are not,
what fun I will have telling her
these stories
when I get to heaven!

Tomorrow, the weaned calves will be ready
for Toby to be unleashed.
So he will be free to roam the ranch again.
And our walks will still happen,
but I won't be tethered to him and his nose
and he won't be attached to me with my camera.

Lots of exciting things are happening inside too!

Because I recently sold all of my artwork
 to Sturgis Photo and Gifts on Main Street, Sturgis, SD,
{stop in and see them!}
I am busy making new art for upcoming shows:

Pinedale Bazaar at Pinedale Elementary School on Saturday, November 3; 8:30-3:00
Sturgis Winter Frostival, at Sturgis Community Center, Friday November 30-Sunday, December 2
Featured Artist of the Month at Prairie Pages Bookseller in Pierre, SD
for January 2013

So here's a peek into my "studio"
which is my kitchen island:

I am also super excited about THIS:

Lots of excitement happening here!

I'm too busy to be too lonesome for my kindergartner!
But I'm always excited to see my kiddos
come through the door, or step off the school bus.
I am super blessed!


Life is good!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Walking Boots

I'm working "in the studio" this week
and sharing a sneak peek
along with these lovely artists:
sneak peek

I keep backing up my Etsy store re-opening date
because I recently sold out {YAY!} my art,

and it is taking me longer to build up some inventory than I expected.

{Joyful challenge!}

This week I submitted an application
to the South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism.

A big gulp, deep breath, and sending it off it the mail
with knee-knocking, heart-thumping courage.

Even putting a box in the mail
can seem daunting!

Butterflies in the stomach ~ excitement and vulnerability.

So, today, I have been working on this piece
that I am loving.

Loving the themes


stepping out,



I'm playing with my new {old} alphabet set
that I bought from GASP studio in Spearfish.

L.o.v.i.n.g. it!

And step-by-step
building up a new body of artwork.

All new.
My new target date to re-open my Etsy shop is now October 10.

What are your goals for October that you are working at step-by-step?