So glad you could be here to celebrate my First Blogiversary with me. A year ago today I sat at the computer and wrote my first post. I will never forget how nervous I was - and as I reread my thoughts from last year, I notice that the word "fear" was used on several occasions. I remember that my hands were literally shaking as I pushed the "publish" button for the first time: I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that, after years of wanting a blog, I was finally going to muster the courage to try it. But I didn't do it for myself. If it was just for me, I may not even be here today . . .
You see, you may not know this, but the reason I started this blog at all was to spread the word about our hope to adopt again. Adoption can be a numbers "game," and I was looking for a way to let as many people as possible know about our desire to bring home another baby. I was really looking for help; and when my friend suggested I start a blog, I thought I would give it a try. But then came the big question: what would I say? And to quote a family member at the time, "uh, who's gonna read it?!" I didn't know. But I knew I was going to give it a shot. So, after years of being a faithful reader of the Stampington line of mags., including Artful Blogging, I decided to focus on my art and joined a weekly challenge site in order to get people to know I was here . . .
And this is where you come in. What I didn't know a year ago when starting this blog in an effort to find a baby, was that I was giving birth to a side of myself I didn't really know I had. For years I created art in my head (and for the occasional gift or two), but with the excuse of this blog, I was actually doing it on a regular basis. And with each new challenge from Mixed Media Monday, I forced myself to try something different, to do something that I'd never done before. I became hungry for knowledge and, as you started to comment and offer words of encouragement, I became hopeful for praise. I never knew how much it would mean to hear positive feedback - and from people who "get it." It can change a person. I found my art developing, becoming hopeful, telling my story and, especially in the beginning, becoming a vehicle to express my hopes and fears of being a Mother for the second time.
And then, about half way into the year, when I was on a "roll" and feeling a bit more comfortable with my art, I joined The Artistic Mother's Group, an online group of women who are going through the projects outlined in Shona Cole's book of the same name. And there I found not only who I was becoming as, dare I say it, an artist, but I found friendship and camaraderie in fellow Mothers. And I started understanding that some of the excitement and frustration I felt being at home with Kendra was common. Gasp. I was not alone. I was beginning to understand that a lot of the things we feel as people, artists and Mothers are universal. We all want to be happy and live fulfilling lives. We want happy relationships and happy children. We want new experiences and to be proud of what we have to offer. We want to leave our "mark" while at the same time celebrating the successes of others. I have found all of this with you, and in the last year. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Although I can't say that I found a Birth Mother this year, or that we are any closer to having a sibling for Kendra, I can say that I am positive that it'll happen. I just know it will. And of course, what started out as a way to find a baby, has become a path to finding who I am as a person. I have never been happier than in this last year: I have my beautiful family, happy as we are and looking forward to the future, and I have a sense of who I am among you all. So grateful to support and be supported by you as we are on our paths to find how we can make the most of what we are given. I have finally lived the words of the quote that I spent my twenties repeating:
"The future lies with those who believe in the BEAUTY of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt
Now . . . on to the best part of a party . . . Prizes and Presents! There were over 61 comments left for the Big Blogiversary Giveaway, 60 of which wanted to be included. From that group, the winning number was split right down the middle . . .
(drawn this morning)
And the winner is . . . YOU!
Now, because I want everyone to go away with something from the party, I have a goodie bag for you all! Please feel free to download the following images to use as you wish. There is everything from vintage French text to the cover and interior pages of a vintage children's book to a vintage school picture to, my favorite, a collage sheet of several vintage Old Maid playing cards. All are from my personal collection and most have just been acquired. They would be great for mixed-media projects, art journals, scrap pages, well, you know better than I do. I hope you enjoy them. . .
Thank you for coming, and for your continued support of my art and life. I am honored to be on this journey with you and look forward to another year of laughs, love and fingernails covered in acrylic . . ..