Summer is so sweet!  The freedom that comes with no hard + fast schedule, no school, no bedtime + seeking out new adventures + then, adventures that somehow find you.  The ability to drift from place to place + soak up all the bits + pieces of goodness you find when you step outside your usual domain.  That is the good stuff.  That is how I have spent this summer, the first in many years that I actually feel like I was fully present and took it all in.

Many of you who are familiar with me + my family know that we are abundant with love + blessings but there have also been trying times over the past decade or so for us.  Big, hard, trying times about things that REALLY MATTER in life.  Life + death + faith + love + moments when you question everything but we, by God’s hand, gratefully came through it stronger but certainly changed + possibly a little “worse for the wear”.  Things that most everyone in life has to deal with at some point but they certainly came one after another for us, we felt. They are the moments you’re taught you have virtually no control in this life.  But they brought us to where we are today + that is the sour that makes the sweet taste so good!  That is why this summer, we chose to wander + drift + seek out fulfilling moments without much concern of the past or the future. We recognized the opportunity was there + that we should digress, depart…..Drift!

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

I try to practice gratitude on a daily basis but traveling, drifting, the freedom of this summer particularly, has awakened an intense sense of gratitude in me; an awe of this beautiful world we are surrounded by + made me feel like a kid again. I’m suddenly uber-aware of everything around me:  every sight, every sound, every feeling.  It reminds me of waking up from a long nap + wondering how long you slept for; that sudden awareness of self + time + place that makes you jolt up + take action.

Following my passion for making art has allowed that gratitude practice to become easier + easier as well.  The process allows me to express all the feelings I’m having + a way to translate the experiences in my life.  It also allows me to create something that, hopefully, brings hope + happiness to whoever sees it.  I feel like I have always seen the beauty in everyday things but now, as I watch my children grow + my marriage grows, + my faith grows, I sometimes feel like I can’t take it all in; there isn’t enough space or time for me to process the blessings in my life + fully recognize the importance of every moment we are given.

I found myself wishing that I could paint all day so I could tell every story + record them in art for my future failed memory.  But, after a summer of “drifting”, I realize that’s where the inspiration starts + we have to feel overwhelmed with emotion to take action. We have to take it in phases.  You have to have the experience, digest it + then reflect on it.  It’s the times when we get out of our comfort zones, alter our usual schedules, leave the places we are familiar with + seek out new experiences (and sometimes revisit old ones), that fill us up so full that we are overflowing.  Overflowing with love + hope + gratitude + faith + passion + energy!!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1Thessalonians 5:16-18

So, that is at the heart of what I have created this time.  A commemoration of a beautiful, bright, energetic summer that was so rewarding + eye opening.  I am calling this collection Drift for all the places it took me: physically, mentally + spiritually.

Please take a look.  I hope you find it pleasing!  And if you do, please share it with someone else!!

xoxo, Michelle

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