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:



  1. Such inspiration!!! I've been spending time in 'the cocoon' lately... seeking a change. So excited for you and doing the happy dance for you here in NC. :-)

  2. Congrats on all the exciting opportunities coming your way as a result of your hard work and faith. I needed to hear your message and to be reminded to push through doubts and downtimes (have been in a hole for a while, but am climbing out). Thanks for sharing your journey.

  3. So very happy for you, amazing accompaniments and mile stones. Congrats to all of them!

  4. I am SOOOOOO HAPPY for you!!!! LOVE your work and your spirit and your HEART:)

    I am doing the Happy Dance with you!!!!


  5. what a beautiful, heartfelt post! so happy for you that you have found this wonderful place to be. happy dances are wonderful things. :-)

  6. I love to see the work of the Lord when we seek and walk obediently. Never easy....never overnight....but the blessings are so rich and so worth the time in the cocoon. The time in the loving care of the Lord while He prepares us for what He has for us! What an amazing Faith story! What an amazing awe inspiring story in which the Author writes beautifully as He reveals himself through you the main character in the story. Thrilled to continue to read the chapters of the story He is writing about and through you!

  7. I forget to dance but am dancing it with you! I'm so thankful that God has directed your steps and your path and that you will continue to be bold and courageous and follow hard after him! I have a piece I would love to have you create for me. A naked tree and a spring!


Welcome ~ share your beautiful thoughts.