On Being Seen

One of our basic needs as humans is to be seen. You’ve likely experienced many examples of this necessity playing out in real life… The kiddo on the soccer field, or as a performer on stage, scanning the crowd hoping to find a familiar face or two, grinning from ear to ear, waving enthusiastically when the realization dawns that indeed, someone has honored her presence by showing up to watch a game or performance. Perhaps it’s the sweet, sleepy smile of your baby boy as he looks up into your eyes each morning. Or the almost imperceptible grin of your teenage son trying hard not to smile because it’s not cool, but giving just a slight nod of the head when he notices you in the line at the grocery store where he is bagging groceries for the summer.

It’s good to be seen. Being seen reminds us we matter – not because of something we’ve accomplished – but because of who we are and who we are connected to. Being seen with love – without judgment – is healing. Powerfully healing. Learning to see ourselves in love and light and accepting this as God’s view of us, is the beginning of truly finding our way in this world. Of settling in beside the Grace within, who sees only beauty and worthiness and the reflection of our Creator.

As humans we get used to seeing things one way, wearing one set of filters and becoming blind to change. With family and close friends, we can easily slip into patterns and assume what we’ve always observed is what will always be true. Of course, we do this with ourselves as well. If I learn early that I’m the clumsy, uncoordinated kid in the family, I may shy away from trying anything remotely athletic or active only to find out many years later during a midlife creative revolution (Doesn’t that sound better than crisis?) that if I want to run miles at a time, I can. Or when my 4th grade art teacher asks if I’d like to “try again” with that tree I’ve made by blowing through a straw and spreading ink on the paper (a tree which delighted me), I may hear the message that I’m not artistic. I then spend many years seeing in myself all the ways he is right about my limited capabilities… until one day I decide to try something new and discover the glorious surprise of an artist within!

Recently I’ve had opportunity to be seen in unique ways. I met a gal who intuitively sees energy and interprets that seeing into art. I received a gorgeous watercolor of her vision of me and my energy. I was amazed at how opening myself to this new way of being seen allowed a shift of perspective. A grand shift. A fresh reflection. I have never felt more beautiful. Aspects of myself that I’ve dared wish were true – a light within, a healing, divine energy, a spirit of compassion – were clearly visible to one trained and gifted in seeing such. (Spoiler alert: this beauty is within you as well!)

A few short weeks later, I was privileged to connect with a brilliant, intuitive photographer. I shared with her the watercolor painting, and asked that we set the intention of recreating that in photography.¬†As the sun rose over the banks of the river, she invited light to reflect back to me a brilliance I’ve been unable to see in quite that way before. I was honored. I was seen. I was loved.

Being seen is healing. It’s also scary! It’s important to trust the seer. And vitally important to be a trustworthy seeker and reflector of the light within others. As I grow older and wiser, I’m expanding my perspective. Taking off the blinders. Seeing myself more clearly. Opening to the possibilities of being truly, deeply seen. And humbly offering to see others and reflect beauty back to the open heart of those willing to be seen.

As I gather courage to continue growing as an artist and putting that energy into the world, it is my fervent hope that sharing my art in some way provides that connection. The validation that what has been seen is indeed lovely and worth sharing. Because you are lovely. You are important. You matter. You deserve to be seen and to begin seeing yourself for the magnificent wonder you are.

Purchase this lovely print here...

Message me for details about the original.

Peace, love and art,

Jeanye

To Market, To Market

Shop here!

Here’s what I have to say about the experience of having my art displayed at the World Trade Center of Dallas…

Wow! That place is immense and filled with every manner of ware one might imagine. Once I navigated parking and hiking to the sign-in desk, I began the task of finding Madi Kay Designs‘ booth. On the way, I passed expansive storefronts displaying aisle after aisle of crystal chandeliers, holiday ornaments, silk flowers, pillows ($300 wholesale throw pillows!), home decor, children’s products, clothing, jewelry, … It was “stuff” overload, for sure!

I made a couple of wrong turns, not knowing for sure where I was or where I was going, but I managed to fumble my way to the 6th floor of the World Trade Center (not to be confused with the atrium floors in the same building) and find the correct booth. Britany greeted me and showed me the display. Several pieces of my art, printed onto beautiful birch and tin signs were displayed and accompanied by their stories. I was overwhelmed, really. Gratitude. Humility. Excitement. Vulnerability. Pride. Disbelief.

It was the stories that did me in. Yes, I had contributed the stories. Yes, I knew they were to be displayed. However, knowing and experiencing are never quite the same. The experience was at first unsettling, not unlike those common dreams of being somewhere without one’s clothing and having to make one’s way across a large open area before finding a safe place – and one’s clothing! I read the stories in an effort to orient myself; I cried happy tears; I took some pics; I giggled. ūüôā

The rest of the day was mostly about observing. I people watched. I struck up conversations with a few strangers. I showed off my display feeling a bit like a Kindergarten student during open house showing off her macaroni art. Look what I made!  And honestly, I was ok with that. I let myself be silly and playful and excited and in awe of the happenings of the day.

I left that afternoon knowing a couple of things for sure:

  • I was brave! It took a boatload of courage to share my art and my stories, and I did it!
  • I’m grateful for my day job. I don’t want to ask my art to support me. My art agrees.¬†If we can play together and perhaps share a few pieces with a few folks, that will be more than enough. And if she and I simply continue to play together, that, too, will be enough.

Thanks for listening!

Peace, love and art,

Jeanye

I Have No Idea

Bloom Beauty Bloom Available Here

I have a specific memory of a hot day in August 2006. We had returned home from Texas A&M after delivering¬†our 17 year old daughter to begin her freshman year of college. Thankfully, her brother was already there, and they would be living together. Somehow that relieved a bit of my angst. Anyway, like I was saying… It was a hot day in August, we returned home to a rent house where we were living while Phillip built dream home #3, and I decided to go for a run/walk. On that run/walk I decided to train for a marathon. I didn’t decide to think about it. I decided to do it.

You need to know I was not a runner. Not even close. And I never became a runner. Not in the sense that running is fast and competitive (and graceful). What I became was a finisher. My race plan was simple. Finish the same day you start and have fun. I did it! I have the medal to prove it…. And while I never intend to run another, I gained a measure of confidence through that experience that has served me well.

The latest such adventure is having said YES! when asked by Britany Kutch, owner of Madi Kay designs, “Would you be ok with me taking some of your art to Dallas Market in June?” Hello, dream I never dared dream!

I’ve been afraid to tell you about this for a couple of reasons. One is I’m not really an artist. I’m just a part-time creator of fun stuff. And, I have no idea what it really means that some of my art will be at the Dallas World Trade Center tomorrow. I know that Britany has chosen some of her favorite pieces, has printed them on tin and birch wood,¬†and has displayed them in her booth. I know they will be available for retailers to order from Madi Kay Designs. What I don’t know is if anyone will like them. How scary is that?!

Here’s the deal. I have no control of the outcome, AND the outcome is not about my worth as an artist/creator of fun stuff or a human! Yes, I will be excited if something sells. Yes, I will be disappointed if it doesn’t. But either way, I’m grateful for the opportunity to flex my courage muscles! I have no doubt that I will learn something from this adventure. Chances are pretty high the learning will be valuable and the experience will be memorable.

So now you know! And I trust you’ll be available to hear how this all turns out and support me regardless of the outcome.

Peace, love and art,

Jeanye

Courage Camp

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 12.17.15 AMCourage Camp

A fun-filled morning inspiring you to Live and Love with your Whole Heart

WHEN:
October 18th, 2014
9am ‚Äď 1pm
WHERE:
Peace of Life Chiropractic
4470 East Main Street Ste 500, Midlothian, TX 76065

COST:

Registration: $30 (light lunch included)

 

 

Facilitated by Jeanye Mercer, LPC, CDWF Professional Counselor, Certified Daring WayTM Facilitator
To register contact Jeanye at (214) 577 8986 or jeanye.mercer@gmail.com
 Or Sign up at Peace of Life Chiropractic for $5 off your registration.
‚ÄúI am thankful for the transformation from not- enough to I-am-enough!‚ÄĚ -Dr. T

Download a .pdf flyer here

Keep Calm and Dare Greatly

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 12.17.15 AM

Keep Calm
and
Dare Greatly

A fun-filled day inspiring you to Live and Love with your Whole Heart

WHEN:
March 22, 2014
9am – 6pm
WHERE:
Holiday Inn Express
984 W Hwy 287 Bypass, Waxahachie, TX 75165

COST:

Registration: $99
Facilitated by Jeanye Mercer, LPC, CDWF Professional Counselor, Certified Daring WayTM Facilitator
To register contact Jeanye at (214) 577 8986 or jeanye.mercer@gmail.com

 

‚ÄúI registered for the class with the intent of achieving a little self-improvement (since I’m always striving for perfection). What I didn’t realize is I would have an experience that revolutionized my perception of communication and self-talk! I am thankful for the transformation from not- enough to I-am-enough!‚ÄĚ Taryn L.
download a .pdf flyer for printing

A Grand Plan

ellie on a string

A few weeks back I noticed an elderly gentleman walking with a substantial limp. One leg remained straight instead of bending at the knee. Following close behind him was his grandson, matching his stride as closely as possible. Left knee bent, right leg straight. Left knee bent, right let straight.

A few days later I watched a similar scene unfold. A grandmother was walking a bit slowly down the sidewalk. Her grandson who was happy to be with her but could easily have walked much faster, slowed down and met her stride for stride sticking close by her side. What I loved about this particular scene was that his own pace took him past his grandmother for a split second before he instinctively settled in to her rhythm. No need to rush. Just be with.

In anticipation of our first grandchild, many have told Phillip and me that there is nothing greater in all the world. I have to admit that it’s hard for me to imagine loving Ellie even more deeply than I love her Daddy and her Aunt Jenna. In fact, just the thought of a love that grand brings joyful tears but a tiny bit of trepidation as well. Can my heart hold that much love?

Perhaps it’s not that the depth or breadth or intensity of the love of a grandparent is more or less than that of a parent. Maybe it’s more about the pace and space of that love. I remember when my kids were young and would visit my parents during the summer. My mom would spend hours with them planting flowers or choosing beads for a creative project. Tyler spent two summers working with my Dad and spent every lunch break hearing countless stories of the family’s history. Many stories I had never heard myself. Poppy and Granna are never too busy to spend time with the grand-kids. Quality time. Immeasurable blessings. Honor and respect flowing between and among and through hearts full of boundless love, connecting generation to generation.

My family has a special gift. The gift of faith in a creator who continuously showers us with love and mercy. It is His love that shines through us all and unites us as one. It is His love that will continue to strengthen us as we honor the precious spirit of our new arrival. Thank you, God, for Ellie Jaclyn. Thank you for your grace which fills our hearts and souls and spirits with all the love we will ever need.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

With my Whole Heart,

Jeanye aka Manna

 

I Struggle

 

‚ÄúOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.‚ÄĚ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Marianne Williamson

Many moons ago I took an intro to psychology class at Cedar Valley Community College. In that class we learned about two guys, Joe and Harry, ¬†who had a famous window. In psychology this window describes in part the processes of human interaction and personal awareness. The graphic above succinctly shows how we tend to share information about ourselves with others – or not. It also teaches us that we don’t know everything there is to know — about ourselves or anyone else for that matter. Shocker, I know.

The most frightening ¬†pane in the window to me is the piece which indicates our blind spots – What we don’t know about ourselves, but others do. It’s much like the¬†Emperor’s proverbial new clothes. Completely out of our awareness we’re walking around letting it all hang out!

If you have surrounded yourself with loving, kind and compassionate friends and family these blind spots can be revealed, if needed, through loving feedback. (I should mention that it’s generally a good idea to proceed with caution if and when pointing out others’ blind spots. Unless we have been specifically asked for this kind of feedback it can register as harsh criticism and do harm that we did not intend.) ¬†We should likewise be careful who we ask should we desire to become more aware of a blind spot. We should also check our motives. Are we truly wanting feedback because we’re ready to accept this part of ourselves with kindness and non judgment? or do we simply want to add another weapon to our self critic’s arsenal of tactics designed to keep us small?

I’ve heard it said that other people’s opinions of us are none of our business. I would answer with another well known quip, “Consider the source.” Being open and vulnerable to new information about ourselves shared in love and kindness can be a growth opportunity. However, if I seek “feedback” from individuals who have¬†continually¬†hurt me ¬†or¬†criticized¬†me harshly and/or proven time and again that they have anything but my best interest in mind, the information I receive will be erroneous at best, and quite possibly cause¬†irreparable¬†damage to me and to the relationship. Choose wisely.

I have lately found myself struggling in this arena. And I believe I’m struggling with the “other people’s opinions who are none of my business”¬†piece¬†of it all. You might recognize these folks as the “somebodies” out there. In my head the¬†conversation¬†goes something like this, “What if you post that on¬†Facebook¬†and “somebody” doesn’t like it?” “What if you write that post and “somebody” disagrees?” “What if you tell your friends about the workshop you’re facilitating this summer and no one wants to attend?” “What if people think you’re crazy?” “What if you’re not good enough or smart enough or this enough or that enough?”¬†

And then I have to rest. Because all that what-if-ing wears. me. out. Then I either¬†laugh¬†a little or cry a little and try once again to get over myself. I ask someone who loves me to remind me that I am enough. And on a really good day, I become that somebody who loves me and can tell me, “I am enough.”

With my Whole Heart,

Jeanye

Courage, Compassion and CrossFit

deadlift socks

I recently returned to CrossFit Waxahachie after an 8 month break. The decision to step away from the box for a while was a difficult one, but completely necessary for my well-being. I made the choice based on several pieces of information related to my health, but more importantly I made it because of what I was hearing from my body. And my heart. And my soul.

Here’s what I knew:

I. Needed. Rest. Lots of rest. I had symptoms that indicated a beat down adrenal system. I can remember the specific workout in which I instinctively knew I had emptied my reservoir. Completely. But I didn’t listen. I kept right on going because that’s what CrossFitters do! (It’s important to note that I do not believe that CrossFit caused my adrenal fatigue. However, it became clear that continuing to train in the manner in which I was training was ill-advised and just plain crazy if I wanted to heal.)

I wanted to heal. I wanted to feel better. I knew that healing meant being willing to give up something that I truly loved. For a while.

Here’s what I did:

I rested. I cleaned up my diet. I redirected my shifting energy towards new learning and workshops and certifications and life coaching. I practiced gratitude. I said and thought kind things to myself. I rested some more.

I followed this simple rule about exercise: I had to get more from it than I gave. If that meant a walk in the park or a ride on my bike or some yin yoga, then that’s what I chose.

I rested some more. I laughed. I played. I sang. I recovered. I healed.

I returned to CrossFit only when my body and my heart and my soul were ready at the same time. That, my friends, takes more courage and compassion than you might imagine.

Here’s what I learned:

Rest is essential.

Rest. Is. Essential. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor.

I love me and my health even more than I love CrossFit. ūüôā

Most importantly, I learned that the willingness to listen to ourselves takes extraordinary courage, and the commitment to take action (or non-action as the case may be) requires a continuous practice of self-compassion and self-care. Our bodies are always willing to communicate with us. And when we listen and respond with kindness, the results are incredibly positive.

Here’s to Wholehearted Wellness!

Jeanye

Counting Redbuds

Jaclyn

A¬†couple of weekends ago¬†Phillip and I¬†went on a hike at a nearby nature preserve. At various points along the trail one of us would point out to the other the season’s newest blooms.¬†Our favorites were the redbud trees. They have such delicate,¬†gentle pink¬†blossoms. The redbud is such¬†a hopeful tree.¬†She shows her¬†colors early each spring, quietly awakening us from the dark of winter and inviting us into the new light of spring.

I haven’t always felt that way about the redbud tree – or spring for that matter. It’s been twenty-two years since the darkest spring of our lives. Our Jaclyn Hope came and left in such a hurry that all we were left with for a while were our empty arms, broken hearts and unfulfilled dreams.¬†Our emotions and memories have a way of making connections that are not easily untangled. Because all that was blooming that early in the spring were redbud trees and daffodils, for the next several springs those optimistic trees and flowers provoked only grief and sadness and hopelessness for me. It felt as if each new redbud was exposing the broken, scarred places in my heart that I could keep more easily hidden in the dark of winter.

I’m certain the healing didn’t happen all at once, but I have a vivid recollection of the first spring in which I noticed the redbud trees and responded with hope instead of heartache. It was seven years later. Seven years. I can’t¬†express to¬†you how even today that fills me with such sadness. If I’m in what I call an “ugly” place – ¬†where I forget to remember I really do love myself –¬†I beat myself up for “taking so long to heal.”¬†Grief does that to people. When I remember how lavishly I am loved by my Creator, I can show a bit more grace to myself and allow myself to experience healing, hope and continued heartache during the springtimes and winters of my life. (Sometimes those are all on the same day!)

God is good all the time. I’m so grateful there’s not an expiration date on his provision. He has continued to provide family and friends who surround me with love, who honor the memory of our beloved Jaclyn Hope, and who patiently allow me to continue telling this part of my story – our story.

And so I simply say thank you – again and again – for the lessons of life, for the beauty and the heartache, for the Hope of new seasons ahead, for the gift of grace, and for the privilege of walking through it all with my Phillip by my side.

Thank you for listening (again),

Jeanye

She Lights Our Way

Mom with Danny and Lynn

‚ÄúNo language can express the power and beauty and heroism of a mother’s love.‚ÄĚ

-Edwin Chapin

 

 

My mom is turning 70 this week. Last Saturday¬†we celebrated by taking her out to dinner and to the symphony in Oklahoma City. While that¬†may sound¬†simple and easy it involved 12 family members, 3 vehicles, 2 states, many hours of travel,¬†and finding a day where 12 of 14 of us were available. However, seeing the light in my Mother’s eyes was worth any amount of effort involved in the preparations. It was a splendid evening.

My mom, Mary Jacquelyn Russell Antwine, lights our way. She is steadfast; unflinchingly convicted to keeping our family connected in love. Mom is a reflection of all that is pure and right and graceful. While she honors my Dad above all others and considers him the leader of our family, it is undoubtedly the beacon of her love that both sends us each on our own journey while lighting our path back home.

Mom is a very young 70. She still works full time and manages to take care of my Dad, my specially-abled sister, Martha, and anyone else who crosses her path in need of care. Mom never seems to tire of giving to others. She is simply the most modest, humble, servant-spirited woman I know.

Mom is also one of the most talented women I know. She sews, She cooks. She paints. She decorates cakes. She¬†creates more “somethings” out of “nothings” than you can imagine. Mom was reusing, recycling and renewing way before it was cool. One of my favorite memories from childhood is when she taught Sunday School and ran a mother’s day out program. She was so creative and innovative that she was asked to present her ideas at a teachers’ convention. She and my Dad loaded up her original creations¬†in a borrowed Winnebago and headed out to share those ideas with others. There was no amount of show. No “look at what I can do.” Simply, a modest exchange of gifts.

That’s the way it is with Mom. She simply lives her beautifully ordinary life, sharing her extraordinary¬†spark with all those around her – without even trying. Everyone who knows her, loves her and feels welcome in her presence.

One of¬†the songs I learned while growing up in her Sunday School classes¬†goes like this: This little¬†light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This¬†little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine all the time. Let¬†it shine.

Thank you, Mom, for lighting our way. Thank you for reflecting the love of God in a way that warms our hearts and our spirits and gives each of us permission to shine.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Keep on shining!

Jeanye