Monday, April 28, 2014


I feel empty and sad sometimes. Mostly at times when my "Mommy" life has taken over and my "Artist" life hasn't seen the light of day for far too long. While I appreciate the value of being a mom and raising well adjusted little people into big, well adjusted people, it isn't enough for my soul to just do that. Sometimes I wish it were, and I actually know quite a few people who gain a huge amount of fulfillment through caring for their kids and managing their homes well. And I am so happy for them. If you are like that, consider it a huge gift. I am not like that. While I love to see my kids flourish, doing the day to day management gives nothing back to me. I gain little joy from my house being cleaner, other than the satisfaction that I won't look like a total loser if someone comes over. But I think peer pressure and joy are just a teensy bit different.

So what is my point here? My point is that sometimes the crappy stuff takes over. And you just have to keep dealing with it. I had to postpone my workshop at the beginning of the month and then give up all creative pursuits for the entire month. It's just how the cards fell. So I have been reminding myself that life is not "being mean to me", it's just the way things are right now. I keep trying to remind myself to look and actually see at the beautiful weather (finally) and all the flowers. I have been trying to remember to find the nuggets of beauty tucked into each moment. 

All during spring break I watched my oldest daughter laugh freely and run in the sand with an unfettered joy I haven't seen for a year. I watched my eleven year old be the belle of the ball, surrounded by happy friends at her self planned and very successful birthday party. I have watched my youngest play dress up with her best friend and fall in love with her American Girl all over again. 

And we got a dog. She is a 4-5 year old beagle/hound mix from the pound. And she is a delight most of the time. I have been relearning why I liked animals so much when I was a kid. It has been 20 years since I lived with a dog, and I had forgotten how funny and sweet they can be.

But all this beauty still hasn't been enough.

I keep finding myself in tears in the corners of my house. My heart keeps returning to numbness. I don't want to write in my journal in the morning because there is nothing creative going on inside me, only enduring. And while I am all for enduring, I'd rather live my life than just grit it out.

So I started praying. And I felt better for a little while, but the sadness returned. So I worked some more and served some more and exercised some more. And they all worked until I stopped moving. Then I would just start crying again. And the doubts would hit that no one, not even God valued me being an artist or a blogger. That this period I have been going through for the last 3 years would never end. That something else would ALWAYS be more important than my dreams for myself and that all I would ever end up being would be an over weight mother with an eternally dirty house. 

I think this is the point when I threw myself on the floor and started crying hysterically. You're glad you weren't there. And so is DK. It wasn't pretty, and fairly reminiscent of a 4 year old's tantrum. At some point, I realized that this was not helping me and that the carpet needed to be shampooed sooner than later, so I got up and headed for the shower.

I don't know if I've ever told you guys this, but I have the Shower of Magical Knowledge. Seriously. It is the place where God talks the clearest to me. I know that sounds crazy, but you guys already know that about me, so I figure I might as well tell things as they are. 

So I get in the shower. And I start crying again, as I keep thinking how angry I am at God. Then I start screaming, I mean really screaming at the top of my lungs in my magical shower asking God why he made me creative, if I was never going to be able to use that gift? Why did He tell me to blog if I was never going to have time to post? Why did it feel so oppressive when I don't have any "real" problems? I screamed so loud, my throat started to hurt. And I have to be honest ladies, it actually made me feel better to scream at God, not because I wanted to accuse Him really, but mostly because it got all that pent up anger out. Once I had expressed all my venom, I apologized for my outburst and  finally got to asking the most important question, "Lord, what am I supposed to be learning from all this?" That, my dear friends, is when I got an answer that I could hear.

Sometimes the answer to our dilemma is to paste on a plastic smile, pray for the strength we need, and just wade through the challenge. Sometimes that doesn't work. And that's what happened here. I wish I could always remember the incredible kindness of God, but sometimes I can't and I get wrapped up in my fears and layer on my negative echoes of the past. I blame God for not "blessing" me even when I'm doing everything thing He asks. It is only AFTER I express all my pent up fear and misery and anger to Him that I can come back to my senses and feel the peace He gives. 

This, friends, is how you give your sorrows to the Lord. You talk to Him directly about them. Don't worry. He can take it. And then, if you need to, you apologize. He will take your fear and shame and anger and worry from you. And then, when you are ready, He will teach you what you need to continue on in joy...for a while. Keep in mind, this is a process.

My answer this time was that I am in a period of learning, rather than producing. I need to look at what others are doing. I need to think about art, I need to understand more about art. I was told this same thing several months ago, and I had been doing very well with it and was very happy, but then I forgot and got lost. With that simple reminder, things in my life lined up and fit into place again. I am ready to keep going forward with enthusiasm. As a special bonus, (maybe I really AM being as good as I told Him I was) He showed me what a profound impact the service I had been providing at the expense of my art time had made on my children and others I had given it to. Nothing quite like being shown just how "worth it" your sacrifice was. 

At the moment, my heart is full of gratitude,

  •  for a God that loves me enough to take a yelling at and still re-balance me because He knows it will help me become my best self, 
  • for the bounty I have of beloved people and lovely possessions, 
  • for the fact that even when I was suffering, I was smart enough to notice the joy and beauty around me. 
  • And for this blog, where hopefully you all will benefit somehow from my foolish ramblings and poor, (or sometimes good) choices.

You guys ever yell at God in the shower? I'd love to hear your experiences.

Talk to you soon,
CM Shaw


  1. OMG! I LOVE YOU! I have been so sad lately. I keep hearing those words you wrote last month...find the joy...Sue, find the joy! I've been in this business enough to know that it is cyclical. I tell my vendors this all of the time...take a need one every now and will come to you! But I have been unable to take my own advice. Rent due, on 2 stores, sales down due to Easter, can't paint due to rain....aaarrghhhh! I haven't even been able to muster up an ugly...I mean really ugly screaming in the shower either.

    But this morning as I was rustling up the kids, I felt just a tiny bit different, maybe a little less sad. And when I got to Blu, a former vendor stopped by and we had a great chat about the business and creativity and blogging and ...INSPIRATION! And when Karen left, there was your post! And I read your blog! And here I am!

    Stop thinking about how stressed you are and concentrate on how blessed you are! This is framed in my office...the frame a gift from one of my sweetest and bravest vendors who is recovering from brain surgery!

    I've had my sullen, sorry for me week and now it's time to refocus and get some results! I have to make the joy happen!

    Thanks for the push, my friend! Do you think Moen installs magical showers?

  2. Been thinking a lot about you lately. Now I know why.
    I love the idea of being in a period of learning rather than producing. I read a blog post by Claire Diaz-Ortiz about productivity.

    One quote I liked was this: "The productivity you enjoy when you don’t realize you’re actually being productive.

    Now I’m not talking about the concept of “flow” here (when you’re so much in the zone that you’re rocking it out and feel great). Instead, I’m talking about a strange, less understood type of productivity that happens when you think you’re not making progress, but you actually are."

    The original post is here:

  3. That is the most beautiful and honest post I've read, and I'm SO grateful you shared it. Isn't it crazy how these emotions build up and you have to work through it, and letting it out IS how you work through it, and then after that you've earned the ability to know what it all was for in this way you will never forget. God is so patient and loving and kind... and helpful. It always takes me aback how helpful His advice is in those quiet moments, and how it recenters the whole universe.

    So yeah, I've been so worried about you, and then you always manage to turn it around and share your experiences in a way that is beautiful for all of us. I just love you to bits, thank you so much!