Thursday, December 20, 2012

pine cone birdfeeder {creative christmas}

i crave simplicity
at Christmas.
school calendars
and church calendars too
fill up our time.
each year,
i let go of expectations
a little bit more
for magazine and (now pinterest)
…at Christmas
and embrace something like this . . .

{Click the Creative Christmas box below to read the rest . . . }

Monday, December 17, 2012

Seek With All Your Heart

The Greatest Gift of Christmas.

I ask my Sunday School class of 13-14 year olds
What is the greatest gift of Christmas?

And they know the answer intellectually.
They answer like they have studied for the quiz.

Jesus Christ.

Their eyes are blank and unfeeling.
Is it because they know about what happened in Connecticut on Friday?
Or is it a normal Sunday morning tiredness and boredom that creeps in
says it would be better to stay home under a blanket and rest
than get dressed and come to church and listen?

I take a deep breath.

I don't find fault with them.
I feel this way myself sometimes.

Do I believe that Jesus is THE greatest gift?
Do I believe He is THE Gift?
Do I believe it today?

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief . . .
How often do I pray these words?
How often am I glad for these words to Jesus!

Help me believe today.
Help me want to seek you wholeheartedly today.

We read about the Magi
searching for a King in a country that is not their own.

We read a story of a man who ejected from his plane
parachuting behind enemy lines
waiting to be rescued.

Both of these examples are about searching with all our hearts.
But neither example strikes a true sincere chord in the hearts of my kids.
I am struggling.  There is no flicker of heart-felt understanding.

Praying, Lord help me . . . 
I breathe deep again and exhale.

"Ok," I say, "if I hid $100, a stick of gum, a puppy, and a stuffed animal
and told you to go search for those four things,
what would you search for first?"

Before they even answered, I knew what they would say,
by the twinkle in their eyes and they way 
the corners of their mouths turned up
when I said
the word

Who would have thought, Lord, 
that this would be how I could get them to think about

"Why would you look for a puppy first?" I asked.
Their voices perked up with tenderness and sweetness
joy and excitement.
Because they are so CUTE.
They are so soft and sweet and cuddly.
And their ears, oh my goodness!
They are so . . . . . . ooooohhhhh! I don't even have words for it!

Now we are going somewhere.
They KNOW what they love about puppies.
And they love them so much there
is a level of delight that you don't even have words to express.

I challenge them,
Could you believe that you would 
want to search for God as much as you would want
to search for a puppy?
Even more so?
Because what you knew about Him
caused you so much sheer delight???
As much as you would want 
a drink of water after
6 days of being in the wilderness,
as much as you would want rescue
from your worst fears,
He will be found by you when you seek him
with all your heart
and all your soul
whether it is for rescue,
for thirst,
for hunger,
for  . . . . even . . . . delight.

And I challenge them,
Could you believe that it is even
to find God?
Because you will not search for Him
if you do no think it is even
to find Him.

God is so much more.
So much more than
we can imagine.
So much more delightful
than a puppy.
But can't a puppy
--the way they make us feel--
tell us something
about fullness of joy
and pleasures forevermore
in His presence?

I believe so.
I believe the way our hearts
swell with
tell us
so much
the heart of God
His heart

I told them my stories
of delight with the Lord.
Stories about birds and quirky things like stars and butterflies.
Things that make sense to me but that might not to them.
I tell them to remind them
that God knows me.
And He knows them.
And that when I seek Him with all my heart,
I find Him,
in the most

I have found him in my darkest places
and my deepest times of shame and need as well.

They will find Him too.
And I can't wait to hear their stories
of finding Him.
I know they will.
I know they will tell me.

Their verse for Sunday School:
But if from there you seek the Lord your God,
you will find him
if you look for him
with all your heart
with all your soul
Deuteronomy 4:29

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let Each Snowflake Remind You...

Did you know
that man-made
from snow-making machines
are a jumbled glob of moisture?

But that God-nature created


Man-made snow
cannot replicate
the Creator's nature

Kind of makes me
think about us.

About each individual person.

Because God created nature.
And He has that creative nature about Him.
Creates each one
with unique

Makes me think of a chapter in this favorite book of mine:

you can find it here:

It is all about living as an authentic woman.
How each one
is meant to grace the world with her dance,
and the way we find our own dance
is to find Jesus,
and when we find Him
He leads us to Himself,
and it is in Him
that we find ourselves,
and that we find out who we are,
and we find the passion
He has for each of us,
and we find the unique good works
He has
for us
to live
for Him,
and for others.

Being you.
Being authentic.
Comes from finding
the uniqueness.
And living the life

It is a gift.
It is your calling.
It is needed.

It takes
each one
to be the Body of Christ.
Because each one

Each one sings differently.
Each one dances differently.

But each one's sparkle reflects
of the One

Photos and art property of Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Just do what you can do today

Anyone else feel like they
are always 2 weeks behind?

I have to remind myself
that the
are always swarming
around in my head.

Should be this.  Should be that.

But all I can do is now.  And all I can do is today.

Life happens.

And I have to remind myself
that it rarely, if ever, goes according to Plan A.
I am learning that
"Life is all about Plan B"
and that there is an alphabet of letters
waiting when B doesn't work out either.

So, my art class, 
A Note To Self
is now available on December 8.
I'd love for you to join us!

In addition,
here are my other upcoming events:

Friday, November 30 ~ 4:00-9:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 1 ~ 10:00-5:00 
Sunday, December 2 ~ 11:00-3:00

Prairie Pages Bookseller January 2013 Artist of the Month
Original Art and Prints for sale throughout the month of January
321 S. Pierre Street
Pierre, South Dakota
Artist Reception Friday, January 18 from 1:00-6:00 p.m.

Made in South Dakota Vendor
Wednesday, January 16 - Thursday January 17, 2013
Best Western Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center
Pierre, SD

So, as I am busy preparing for these events,
I am anticipating the people I will get to meet and spend time with.
New friends and classic friends for sure.

Become and remain fascinated with the ordinary, my friends.
My five year old, Erin Grace, helps me remember this.
And when the ordinary is cause for fascination and celebration,
life becomes abundant . . . full of richness.
And that is just how I want to live.
Abundant richness in the everyday ordinary.

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?