And a New Journey Begins…

Dear Friends,

This post feels difficult to write. Not because I shouldn’t, but because I feel like there is so much to say. I just don’t know where to begin. People often say, “Write from the heart.” In fact, I’m one of those people. But what do you write when your heart is overflowing? What do you write when your heart feels emotions that your mind cannot express?

On June 13, 2011, I began this incredible journey here with all of you. It has been a journey of discovery…a journey of unveiling all the secrets in my roux…a journey of perfecting the gumbo that is me.

…the process of turning simple flour and oil into a rich pot of complex flavors and aromas is much like the process of transitioning from a young, naive girl into a strong, confident, and self-assured woman. It takes time, thought, and careful consideration.

~Donloyn LeDuff Gadson, The Creole Magnolia

Those were some of the first thoughts that I shared with you all.

As I reflect on all the emotions, inspirations and fears that I have shared on this blog with all of you, I see a woman freeing herself… moving away from the young, naive girl she has carried inside and making room for the confident and courageous woman she has become. I see a woman who understands the complex relationship between growth and acceptance. I see a woman who once undervalued her uniqueness but who now has gained the courage to celebrate it.

As I reflect on the ideas shared here, I see themes surrounding love, courage, fear, vulnerability, self doubt, uncertainty, growth and strength. But, above all else, I see the theme of Clarity.

My most insightful assessment regarding Clarity was when I recognized I was Looking for that which I cannot See.

Sometimes We Must Dwell In Darkness In Order To Appreciate The Light!! By darkness, I do not mean despair or gloom. What I mean is the unknown, the uncertain, the unchartered, the absence. Finding Clarity is not like finding a lost hairbrush or your favorite lip gloss. You don’t just happen upon it. Clarity is a presence, a knowledge, a breath of fresh air that is Attained! It is not tangible. And it is immeasurable!

I’m not sure I’ve truly gained Clarity. Some days I believe I’ve achieved it. And others, it’s gone. But I have come to accept that there is a large portion of Chaos that comes with Clarity. And you must work through that chaos, one layer at a time.

Clarity requires action, a continuous moving forward. And that is what I am doing…moving forward, embarking upon a new journey, working through a new layer of chaos.

This post will be last here on Creole Magnolia Cafe. This is last serving of inspiration I have for you. And the truth is, you’ve inspired me more than I have inspired you.

I will be moving forward, not as The Creole Magnolia, but as Donloyn…Donloyn LeDuff Gadson. I will step out from behind the moniker, and I will be whom I have always been…me. I will embark upon this next phase of my writing career with transparency and vulnerability. And I will take comfort in knowing that Clarity will come.

This blog has served me well. Not only has it given me the platform to inspire all of you, but also it has given me the opportunity to find the courage necessary to accept me…a unique individual who has never fit into any one box. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I do know one thing…

Clarity is always closer than you think.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. I will keep this site active so we both can reflect when necessary. Because sometimes, you have to remind yourself of where you’ve been in order to fully appreciate where you are.

I’d love for you to join me at my new website and blog, www.Donloyn.com. I pray my new  journey will inspire you to develop, accept and celebrate your own beautiful uniqueness.

Wishing you more Love, Peace and Clarity than your hearts can hold.

Happy New Year,

Donloyn_Logo

The Giver, Part 2: Confirmations, Trust and Newfound Clarity

I was obedient. I followed what I know God put on my heart (and, oddly enough, in the fortune cookie). I was obedient. I wrote, and I sketched. Ultimately, I created The Giver, and I shared it all with you.

And then…I waited…expecting Clarity to immediately pick me up, dust me off, and position me upright upon my once stable two feet. I waited…impatiently…and nothing happened. At least not immediately.

The day slowly faded and transitioned into the next, and I found my myself, and my thoughts, even more confused and muddied. Clarity, at this point, was a fleeting memory, a story of long ago, something I had possessed at one point in time but somehow lost along the way. Like losing a box in the midst of a move…you remember packing and handling it with care; but somehow, it’s vanished.

And so I prayed. I begged God to pour into me. I just needed the answers and I needed them from Him. I needed to know what His plans were for me. I needed to know how He planned to use me. I needed to know what my next steps would be and how I was to use my skills to enhance the lives of Sassy Sophisticates. Sassy, I needed to know what was next for me AND for you.

Remember, I’m The Creole Magnolia, the Inspiration Specialist, leader of the Sassy Sophisticate movement…my job is to inspire. Only one problem…I wasn’t feeling so inspirational.

So I prayed. I spoke to a friend. Tearfully and reluctantly, I shared with her how shaken I was. I doubted my talents and gifts. I even questioned my calling and my ability to get the job done. I thought to myself:

My Sassy Sophisticates need me and I need them. We need inspiration, and they depend on me to find it and to find it from within. So just get out of your head, Donloyn, and get this job done. The Sassy Sophisticate movement needs YOU!

While talking with my dear friend, I shared with her my prayer asking God to fill me up, telling Him I was an open vessel ready to receive. She was confident that by the end of the day not only would God fill me up but also I would be overflowing. If anyone was ready to overflow, it was me.

Moments later, the first testimony came in. My post, The Giver, was speaking to people and in such a profound way, a way that I had never expected.

Then came more shares and messages. Like this one:

“This is my Season…I <3 this! Donloyn LeDuff Gadson…what a piece! You just told my story!” PRM

 

My 11-year-old daughter shared with me the first few lines of a book she is writing. Yes, you read that correctly–And it was GOOD! She is serious about having it published and has asked for my help in doing so. Then I stumbled across two beautifully written poems in my 8-year-old twin boys’ school folders. Moments later, one of those boys informed me that he would like to start a book club for kids. This is not a mommy blog; however, mentioning my children is quite fitting in this instance because I even began receiving confirmation through them. Yes, my children were speaking to me. It was as if they were saying, “Mom, we hear you. You’re inspiring us, too. Keep on inspiring. You’re doing good.”

 

And then came a testimony so grand it brought tears to my eyes.

Confirmation

Donloyn Gadson, I hope u don’t mind but I have put pic of ur tree on my locker next to my “Award for being the greatest Mom” that my son made for me. Your blog ministered to me in a great way. I put the tree on my locker as a reminder of who I am, as a giver to my family, co-workers, patients, friends and everyone else in my life BUT more importantly as a reminder of how great a Giver my Father God is. And that even when I rejected Him, He still loved me in my mess and gave His one and only Son as the best gift ever, for a daughter that He waited on patiently, to return to Him!…This Word that God gave u is going to travel and reach farther than u will ever know! It will be the catalyst God uses to heal, deliver and to set His people free. 
Your pic is no longer on my locker. It was up there for maybe 30 minutes. My co-worker has it now along with a copy of the message that came with it. I wanted to share, I mean how cud I hold on to life changing Words and not give them away (I guess that’s part of The Giver in me) She carefully read the Words, asked if she cud have a copy and said that God had just given her revelation, with tears in her eyes. I know that she too will have to share this great Word just as I did! God bless you sis! Be ready for when the testimonies begin to pour in!  LG

 

And then…a few days later…I won this!

 

MeandAward

MyAward

First Runner Up in the 2013 Charleston Multicultural Bridal & Events Association Awards for Best Blogger!

I was humbled, honored and, again, reminded.

After receiving all of the Confirmations, my Trust is being renewed, rebuilt and restored, and I am beginning to ease into a Newfound Clarity. And for that, I am truly thankful.

~

How has your Clarity recently been restored? Inspire us in the comments below!

Project SHINE: Celebrating Sassy Warriors

Three of the most important attributes of a Sassy Sophisticate are her strength, tenacity and ability to inspire. For the Sassy Sophisticates waging war against breast cancer, these qualities shine brightly. Their unwavering courage, persistent drive and relentless refusal to give up inspire all whom they encounter.

The nation pays tribute to these shining warriors every October, and though we recognize the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and are overjoyed to join the fight, many of us have been touched personally by these women, and thus battle alongside and claim small victories with them year-round. They are wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, grand-daughters, cousins, best friends and co-workers. These stars play leading roles in our lives and are deserving of their moments in the spotlight.

Project SHINE, a unique initiative created by Dana Klein of Photography by Dana, is an annual event held in Charleston, SC that celebrates the beauty of the breast cancer survivor. Its mission…To shine the light on these beautiful warriors. Through the coordinated efforts of hair and makeup talent combined with the photography skills of the project’s creator, local breast cancer warriors are treated to a day of beauty and pampering followed by a professional photo shoot to commemorate this special occasion.

Nancy Barnwell, one of the beautiful survivors celebrated during Project SHINE 2013!

Nancy Barnwell, one of the beautiful survivors celebrated during Project SHINE 2013!

This year, Project SHINE is 2 years strong, and I have been blessed to play a small role since its inception.

In 2012, after being asked to help spread the word about this wonderful cause, I was able to sit down in a one-on-one interview with Dana in order to learn more about her as both an artist and a humanitarian (She is extremely humble, and although I may get into loads of trouble for mentioning her too often, I must give credit where credit is due. She is a wonderful woman! Check out our interview from 2012 and see for yourself!).

This year, not only did Dana invite me back, but also she gave me a “backstage pass!” By allowing me behind-the-scenes access to Project SHINE, I was able to see first-hand how it all comes together.

And now here I am sharing it with all of you! I hope the positivity of this event and the strength and beauty of these women inspire you as much as they have me. These women are a true testament to the spirit of the Sassy Sophisticate!

May they continue to SHINE!

Is there a special warrior in your life who you would like to SHINE the light on? If so, I invite you to share in the comments below! Let us join you in celebrating her Strong, Sassy Spirit!

To learn more about Dana and Project SHINE, please visit her online at www.PhotographyByDana.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/danaphotography!

 

“Inspiration is a dish best served with coffee!” ~The Creole Magnolia

 

Diving into Purpose: Thoughts on Life in My Forties

In my twenties, I knew it all! Or so I thought. I was stubborn and strong-willed and convinced I had it all together, despite the crumbling walls that enclosed me. I had no idea who I was, what Life was really about or what my purpose was in it. I was a selfish, hungry caterpillar, whose prime purpose was to feed my EGO. I didn’t intentionally set out to be selfish; however, like most “twenty-somethings,” it was all about me.

When I reached my thirties, I was swiftly smacked with the realization I actually knew nothing at all! All the truths I held dear began to unravel, and I was thrust into a Decade of Discovery–a time to develop, explore and transform into the real me. During the early years of this decade, I was unsure, doubtful, fearful. I longed for the comfort I had created in my disillusioned twenties. Although that was the time I lacked purpose and was severely misguided, I had created comfort for myself. And even though the security and self-esteem of my twenties was created through immature tactics and lies I told myself, it was still comfort all the same.

Once I entered my thirties and recognized there was much work to be done, I had to become comfortable with the unknown…the unanswered questions…the uncertain outcomes. I had to learn that it was okay to spend time in the dark, uncomfortable places because it is only then that we grow. My thirties can easily be equated with entering a cocoon, where a magical transformation occurred.

When my 40th birthday arrived, I was ready! I had emerged from that metamorphosis knowing exactly who I was, ready to share my newly found sense of purpose and womanhood with the world. I had emerged as a beautiful butterfly, ready to test out my wings.

40 marked my New Beginning…a new decade…a new journey. It was to be one of Enlightenment. There I was on the threshold. Walking through the doorway, away from being a girlish imitation of a woman and into being a fully grown, fully matured woman with a voice.

And at 40, I stood there, gazing out into vast ocean of possibilities, excited by all that lay before me. Dismal clouds of fear, comfort and self-doubt were far in distance. And I stood there, a lovely Butterfly, God’s love and light shining upon me, illuminating all that was in store. I spent a year testing the waters, spreading my wings just enough to exercise them, but not quite enough to show that I had truly accepted my Purpose. And I continued to stand there, gazing upon the waters of possibility that made the Decade of Enlightenment so phenomenal…patiently awaiting the day when I would dive right in.

And when the day came, I knew…

I knew that at 40, I had to continue to reflect, continue to prepare, continue to take it all in. The sun had risen on my new day, but I had to wait for each inspirational ray to fill the sky, warm my skin and illuminate all that was designed for me.

As I approached my 41st birthday, I had an epiphany. I realized why I had been waiting…why I had moments of forward momentum followed by long periods of rest. In that realization, I discovered the difference between being 40 and being in your 40s. Being 40 means having the wings and testing them out. Being 41, means having the confidence to spread them far and wide. Being 40 means standing on the side…standing in the doorway…standing at the threshold, watching, waiting patiently. 41 symbolizes the jumping right in.

And so I did…

Diving completely and gracefully into my Purpose. Embracing all that my 40s have in store.

Diving completely and gracefully into my Purpose. Embracing all that my 40s have in store.
Artwork by Donloyn LeDuff Gadson ~The Creole Magnolia

On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, I jumped right in. With complete trust, faith, hope and love, I jumped into all that God has prepared for me. I am committed to my purpose with no fear of the future.

And I have the promise that with each passing year, my Purpose will continue to become clearer and clearer, and my Decade of Enlightenment will become more fruitful and more gratifying than ever.

How will you live life on Purpose?

~

RememberInspiration is a dish best served with coffee!

 

And The Winner Is…

Greetings Sassy Sophisticates!

The last 2 weeks have been filled with marvelous encounters!

I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in several different activities and functions that have exposed me to some pretty spectacular ladies! And I have been overflowing with inspiration!

I was invited to be a part of the Renew & Restore Expo brought to you by Restoration From Within and even hosted my very first Sassy Sophisticate Social! At both events, all in attendance were able to enter the drawing for the Sassy Sophisticate Inspiration Sampler which is a gorgeous gift basket filled with tons of goodies designed to inspire the crap out of you!

Sassy Sophisticate Inspiration Sampler

If you have a dream, a goal, an aspiration–anything trapped inside and dying to get out–then pray your name is drawn, because the goodies in this basket were all selected with the purpose of encouraging you to explore your inner most thoughts and feelings.

Giveaways are awesome! Giveaways that inspire…Even Better!

I would like to thank you for taking the time out to enter. I am about to make one Sassy Sophisticate very happy!

So, without further ado, click on over to the video! Could the winner be you?! Find out now! And be sure to congratulate the winner in the comments!

Oh yes, and subscribe, too!

And remember…

Discover your passions! Create your own identity! And let the world hear your Voice!

Until next time…

Stay Sassy!

The Creole Magnolia

The Butterfly

FLORIDA  WILD    ~   NATURE & WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY ~ BY LEIGH A WAX: FLORA BUTTERFLYS DRAGONFLYS &emdash; WO-9889-Black Swallowtail Butterfly
~

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there was a beautiful valley nestled amidst two hills. There were open meadows filled with Milk Thistle, Shasta Daisies and Purple Cone Flower. There was a stream…wild flowers lined the sides of its banks.

This beautiful valley was the home to a community of butterflies in a wide array of colors and types.

The butterflies flew along the base of the hillside, throughout the meadows and near the stream. However, they never ventured beyond the valley. They never even flew to the top of the hillside to take a peek and what lied beyond this barrier. They were content with what they knew, and had no interest in expanding their horizons. The valley was a beautiful place, and they were just fine with that.

But one butterfly was not okay with this mediocre mindset. The valley was beautiful, indeed, but she wanted to learn new things, see new places and travel as far as her glorious wings could possibly take her.

So each day, Blossom ventured beyond the valley, taking in new sights and expanding her horizons.

The other butterflies did not like this at all. They scoffed at Blossom’s curious spirit and ridiculed her for seeking more. They did everything they could to dissuade Blossom from setting out on her journey each day,

But no matter how hard they tried to convince her that she was behaving foolishly, Blossom continued on her quest to discover amazing things. Each morning, after fluttering about in the valley, Blossom would fly high above the meadows and cross over the hillside.

She saw mountains, rivers and the ocean. She saw happy children playing in parks, far more than the few who would occasionally visit the valley to play. She visited the bushes and flower gardens of homes in quiet neighborhoods and frequented city parks surrounded by large buildings and honking horns.

And each day, when Blossom would return to her home in the valley, the other butterflies would laugh, point and stare. Some would whisper, while others would jeer.

One day upon returning from an exciting adventure, the taunting from the others was far worse than it had ever been. Blossom had had enough. “Why do you insist on being mean and spiteful?” said Blossom to the others. “Why do you poke fun at me every day and why is today worse than all the others?”  Bianca, who always seemed to be at the center of the mockery, fluttered forward. “Blossom, look at yourself,” she said in a disgusted tone. “You leave this valley every day, stretch your wings beyond their limits and spread them far and wide. And each day when you return, your wings are larger and grander than the day before. Now look at you! You are monstrous and hideously huge—a disgrace amongst butterflies.”

Blossom looked around at them all, shook her head at the sadness of this situation, drew in a deep breath and calmly responded, “Bianca, perhaps it is all of you who should look at yourselves.” They all looked around at one another, puzzled at the point Blossom was trying to make. “Have you all not noticed how much higher you have to fly before you get to the delicious bud of the Milk Thistle?” A few eyes began to open and expressions began to change. They hadn’t thought about it before, but now that Blossom mentioned it, they realized that was true. They quickly shook off any effect this truth had had upon them, and continued to scowl at Blossom. Blossom went on. “And have you all not noticed how long it takes you to flutter from one side of the stream to the other?”  Again, their expressions began to change. “And have you all not noticed how large the Purple Cone Flower is when you rest upon it, or how you must steady yourself when drinking from the Shasta Daisies so you don’t become stuck in its center or buried within its petals?” By this time, everyone was nodding in agreement. Blossom was correct…these things were true. But until this very moment, it had never occurred to any of them.

Blossom looked around at them all and said, “The flowers in the meadow have not changed. The hillside has not grown, and the stream has not widened.” She flew towards and landed upon a Shasta Daisy. “Notice my size compared to this flower. It is quite normal.” Everyone looked confused. Blossom did appear to be normal in size next to the daisy. They all looked at one another and then back at Blossom. “Broadening my horizons and spreading my wings has not caused me to become hideously huge,” she said. 

“Well then what is going on here, Blossom,” said Bianca in a flustered tone.

“Don’t you see?” responded Blossom. “It is not I who has become grand and monstrous. It is you and your wings that have become withered and wilted.”

~

Are you a Blossom or a Bianca? Will you allow your wings to wither and wilt?

Or will you spread them and take flight?

To view a live reading of this blog post, please click HERE

If you like this blog, then please subscribe!

Whirlwinds, Pinwheels and Passions

The past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind! It’s been both amazing and overwhelming.

Some of the highlights…

With many blessings–whether in business or on the home-front–come many responsibilities. And between you and me, sometimes the whirlwind is filled with chaos that ain’t so blessed! Yep, I’ve had to tussle with a bit of that, as well (A husband, 8 kids, aging parents and bills! Need I say more).

But even when the winds have blown in an unexpected element…even when they’ve stirred fearful emotions or have thrown me so far off balance that I miss a step or two…even when good stuff is all mixed in with a little bad…even when business blessings pile up so high on my plate that it appears to be too much for one person to handle…even then, it has been amazing!

An amazing whirlwind…

Whirlwind by Lisa Strazza

 

And me…I’ve been a pinwheel. Twirling. Spinning. Dizzy. One direction. Then the next.

 

Pinwheel1

Standing tall in the wind, facing its strong currents head on, allowing its energy to fuel my passions.

The Passion flower bears a stunning resemblance to a Pinwheel.

The Passion flower bears a stunning resemblance to a Pinwheel.

Dancing during times of challenge, showing off my colors as a celebration of victory…This is how I handle overwhelm.

Like a Pinwheel!

Why am I telling you this?

You know you’ve had those moments. Moments when the pressure seemed far too great. Moments when you’ve felt the weight of the world on your shoulders. Moments when you’ve felt you couldn’t possibly get through or hang on. Moments when you wanted to let go, cry and allow the whirlwind to sweep you away.

When the overwhelm is just too darn overwhelming and the winds become too intense, be a Pinwheel.

Hold your head high, tap into your why, and roll with it…one breeze, or gust, at a time!

Remember these 4 key points!

  1. Prioritize! You cannot handle everything at once. Focus on the most important demand, knock it out and move to the next!
  2. Change your outlook! You can’t get anything done successfully if you have an attitude of dread, doom and gloom. Think Pinwheel!
  3. Approach your tasks as challenges! How awesome do we feel when we’ve kicked a problem in the Patooshka or crossed an item off our To Do Lists?! Pretty dang awesome!
  4. Keep your vision at the forefront! By doing this, you’ll be inspired to come up with innovative ways to get things done.

Tell me…How do you handle overwhelm? When things have become so intense–whether good, bad or a combination–what techniques do you employ to get through?

Tell me in the comments below! REMEMBER! Your techniques may be the answer that someone else needs to hear! So please, share!

 

If you love this blog, then please subscribe! And remember! Inspiration is a dish best served with gourmet coffee! Want a complimentary cup? Then click the OG symbol on the column on the right!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauntering through, Learning Lessons…Picking a Few Miracles Along the Way

Over the course of the last several months, I’ve learned many invaluable lessons. My journey towards a clearer state of mind has exposed my vulnerabilities and, as a result, has empowered me.

I am Strong because I allow myself time to be Weak.

I am Protected and Secure because I allow myself to be Transparent and Open.

I am a Success because I allow myself to reflect upon and learn from my Failures.

I am Enlightened because I allow myself time to dwell in the Darkness.

I am always changing, transitioning, developing…I forever will be. This constant state of metamorphosis used to unnerve me. I felt unsteady, unstable, uncertain. I see the beauty in this now. I have realized that this constant need for change shows my love for learning, my unwillingness to remain stagnant and my refusal to conform to a life of disconnect.

The Universe needs learners. Learners must be deep thinkers and feelers, willing to reflect, make connections, arrive at conclusions, change and become new, and share these experiences with others in meaningful ways. I am one of these learners.

At the start of 2013, I had lost momentum…slow to even come out of the gates. In a scramble to catch up, my goals and purpose became clouded. I doubted everything I did or planned to do. Eventually, I allowed that doubt to keep me from fulfilling goals I had set for myself. I momentarily fell into the trap of comparing my journey and achievements to those of others, foolishly thinking their outward appearances (because no one knows what internal struggles someone else may be facing) had become the all-purpose scale by which to weigh my value.

Thankfully, I woke up in time–in time to enjoy my saunter.

I realized that there was (and, still is) beauty and necessity in my slow pace. Slowly journeying…sauntering, strolling…has gifted me with the ability to absorb, reflect, connect and learn.

On tough days, I’ve been able to see the lessons, appreciate the value of struggle and develop the strength that comes from endurance.

The beautiful days…those are the days I enjoy my miracles…and even stop to pick a few more along the way.

PickingMiracles

Ironically, today is World Sauntering Day…I hope you’ll take a moment today, and everyday, to see the beauty in a slow, steady pace, for this is what makes a true learner.

Enjoy the world around you, soak up the lessons, and pick every miracle in sight!  (Tweet that!)

The Gift

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching recently. Much of it has to do with my writing and taking it to the next level–becoming a published author. As writing has been at the forefront of my mind, fittingly, so have quills and inkwells. I’ve found myself almost subconsciously, and quite uncontrollably, attracted to them, stumbling upon them in both familiar and unfamiliar places and, truly, taking notice. Each time I gaze upon the pair, the symbolism and the private meaning they hold just for me feels like a secret shared only through a sacred bond. It’s become quite a love affair, one that I don’t want to end.

Last week, I shared my new obsession with my husband, telling him of my desire to one day own a quill and inkwell set (in addition to an easel, stretched canvas, paint brushes and acrylics…but I’ll save that passion for a separate post). I’m certain the gravity of my revelation escaped him, because he nodded, said “uh-huh,” and continued about his business on the computer. Despite my school girl need to “blurt it all out,” my secret romance had, essentially, remained secret.

Today, Thomas, my no-longer-kindergartener, found a big goose quill by the pond near our house. And he brought it home as a present for me. He was so pleased with his discovery. He was even more elated with his plan to gift it to me. He told me all I needed was some ink and I could write with it. I was amazed. How does a newly turned 6-year-old know what a quill is or how it was used? I don’t think I was aware of quills and inkwells at such a tender age.

TheGift

Both my father and my oldest son tried to discourage his sweet offering, telling him this lovely plume was filled with germs. But, I, for once, saw beyond the possible salmonella contamination, and saw only the beauty in this kind, heart-felt gesture of a child. After saving him from all the insensitivity that men can sometimes bring, Thomas and I took the feather to the bathroom and we washed it, over and over again. While we carefully lathered it, we discussed what a lovely pen it would make. I never asked him how he knew these large feathers were once used as writing instruments. I never even asked him how he knew ink could be purchased in a container. I just let the moment flow…just as the sudsy water flowed over this perfect gift.

And as we talked, washed and dried the feather, here was this imagery again…only this time in a familiar place, a more personal setting…intimate surroundings. The object of my secret love affair was, again, staring me in the face, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it all meant. The timing of his precious gift couldn’t have been more meaningful. I’ve been struggling internally…really struggling. I’ve been tussling with my purpose, reevaluating my dreams, reexamining my approach. All this searching, redefining, transitioning…it has caught me completely off guard.

TheGift2

As I gazed upon his precious face, filled with so much excitement and innocence, I found myself thinking, “Is this a sign? Could this be the answer I’ve so desperately been looking for?” Because, in reality, I have been awaiting a sign, some miraculous epiphany, some mystical answer to my questions and confusion.

Why am I confused, you ask? Well, I’ve been thinking of packing up my floral designing tools and pushing Creole Magnolia Creations to the side, at least long enough to focus on the next phase of my writing. Did I just type that out loud? Yes. I did, and it’s true. However, I’ve been struggling with this possibility. I don’t like the thought of accepting this answer. You see, I dream of flowers everyday. I study the arrangements of floral artists I admire; I create new designs in my head; I toy with a myriad of design concepts. My passion for floral artistry is very present—each and everyday, it is present…that has not changed. But what also has not changed is my shortage of time, my large family and the demands and responsibilities that come with marriage and motherhood.

My crazy life doesn’t leave a whole lot free time, and when there are a few extra moments at the end of long day, I feel the need to fill them with family, quiet, and some much needed relaxation.

Some might ask, “Why can’t you continue to do both?” Well, the aforementioned gives the answer to that. Furthermore, I’ve been attempting to do both all along, and look where it’s gotten me.

And so here I am with a still-on-the-ground floral design business, an unpublished children’s book manuscript and a bitter pill labeled “Focus.” Yes…Focus. I’ve been resisting that for, well, forever. I’ve had many well meaning individuals advise me. And their advice all sounds the same. “Yada yada…blah blah…Focus on one thing…wonk wonk…blah-zay bland.” It feels too confining for me. Like a loss of freedoms. Like I’m being told that I can’t soar to unknown heights…that if I fly, then I have to do so cautiously low. Like I’m only capable of doing one thing well…something I know is completely untrue.

My husband and kids are the longest things I’ve ever done. Marinate on that. I’ve always spread my wings far and wide…allowed myself to experience a multitude of things. I love to learn and grow, and when I feel stagnant and unchallenged, I move on. I dig deeper, explore new interests and add another layer to the complex woman that is before you today.
Some call that fickle, flighty or uncommitted. I call it passion…desire…living! I am passionate about and in love with so many things, and I can’t wait to do them all! And, when faced with the decision to choose only one, I just can’t. How do you choose which passion to pursue? How do you willfully walk away from one, even if only for a short while, without feeling as if you’ve abandoned it? Especially when it is so strong within you?

That’s where I’ve been…in my head and my heart, that is. Struggling, deciding…

And then came the gift. From a child. A child who knew just what to give and what to say, without really knowing at all. A child who, unbeknownst to anyone else, essentially, walked up to me and said,

“Here. Now write.”

TheGift3