First, allow me to introduce myself. This is me, Anna (the one on the right).

There is an About Anna page on this blog that gives you some very specific details about who I am, or really, about what kinds of things I've done and what I am doing. For the sake of this blog, you only need to know that when I was a little girl I dreamed of someday being a writer. As it turns out, I AM a writer so I've since updated my dream. As it stands today, one of my dreams is to publish a book. A really good book.

You should also know that I recently discovered that I am an artist. I know!? Crazy. This was a delightful and EXCITING discovery! Since I became an artist, many wonderful things have happened. Lightbulbs lighting, doors opening, a business starting, and so on. The greatest thing about being an artist though, is I get to create pretty things. Like this...

This is my Funky Flower Collage. I finished it yesterday. It was a project assignment in an online class I'm taking called Brave Girl Art School. The class is taught by Melody Ross, an incredibly gifted woman. Melody and her sister, Kathy Wilkins, also an incredibly gifted woman, founded Brave Girls Club, which, in their words, means that they "are on a wild and crazy mission to find all of the brave women of the help them find each other...then to change the world with good news, good ideas, good people, and good times." As big and bold as that sounds, it is really just the very beginning of what they do with Brave Girls Club. They do that and SO much more. They are changing the world. They changed my world, for sure.

Brave Girl Art School is my fourth online Brave Girl Club class (I also attended Brave Girl Camp in July! Oh my GOODNESS! That is a whole other post entirely!). The other classes have mainly involved making collages and art journals. Really the classes involve so, so much more that than - like life altering, soul searching kinds of things, but as far as projects go, it's cool collages and journals and stuff like that. It is through my work in these classes that I began to think I might be an artist, or, at the very least, have artistic tendencies. In the process of selecting and cutting out words and images and carefully assembling these words and images into collages for my Brave Girl classes, I found that what I was really, truly doing, was re-assembling my SELF. I was broken. Through collage and writing and a whole bunch of other stuff, I put myself back together.

If you haven't figured it out already, yes, I do consider myself a brave girl. A very, very brave girl. Let's be honest, you MUST be brave to be a girl in this world.

Okay, so fast forward to yesterday. As I pieced together my funky flower collage and it neared what I thought was likely to be its completion, I was overcome with emotion. Just thinking about it again, I am getting choked up. 

I admired Melody's art from the first time I laid eyes on it. I love her style. I LOVE her flowers! I never ever ever in a million trillion years would have dreamed that I, would someday be making my very own funky flowers. Even at Brave Girl Camp, in JULY, I didn't think I could EVER make my own funky flower.

And so, as I cut and mod-podged and painted and very carefully lined up and clustered tiny beads together, I thought..


Being heart connected means listening to your heart's desires and pursuing them, no matter what. It is that light that comes on when you choose to follow your heart. It is the fire that ignites inside your belly when you are doing something that makes you FEEL ALIVE

When I finally stopped to listen, after years of pretending my only desires were those of my family and even my friends, I heard my heart whisper. 

My heart said, "Anna, you and I, together, we need to MAKE STUFF. You are a creative being. You need to create. As if your life depended on it..."

In the Spring, I took a class in the method of Zentangle. The instructor told us all about the time she spent in Rhode Island becoming certified to teach Zentangle. Briefly, in case you think I just made that word up, Zentangle is a lot like doodling. It consists of repeating simple strokes until you have created a work of art. It's really that simple (I'm sure there will be many, MANY posts to come on Zentangle). There I sat in a gallery in Fenton, Michigan learning and lighting up about it and my heart said, Anna, YOU could teach Zentangle! I said, OK, and I will be a certified teacher by the end of this month.

Being heart connected is not some kind of fancy trick that requires hours and hours of intense training. 

Almost 2 1/2 years ago my dad died out of the blue. It was a Thursday. He came to my house to take my son to his guitar lesson, something my dad did every week. They drove down on M-59 and talked about aliens and real estate agents and things that boys talk about with their grandpas. My dad dropped my son off at home after the lesson. A few hours later my mom found him dead in his shed. He wasn't sick. He was actually very healthy. He had just been to the doctor. My dad was my biggest cheerleader. He was my son's biggest fan. He was a huge part of my life and his death rocked my world. I still miss him. I missed him a lot yesterday, while I was making funky flowers. My dad's death made it crystal clear to me that in life, there are no guarantees. Tomorrow, the next day, none of it is promised to us. 

There are a lot of things I don't know, like what the future holds or how long the future will even last, but, also because of my dad's death and all the work I did to make sense my life afterward, I do know one thing FOR SURE: in each of us, there is a voice. You may think of it as intuition or God or just your gut - you know that saying, "trust your gut"? This voice speaks only the truth. This voice conspires with the Universe and together they make sure you run into the things that you are meant to meet in life. Together, they provide everything we need to be inspired. I know this is true with all my heart. I have experienced it and I have witnessed other people experience it too.

The voice is constantly sending you little text message like urges designed to steer you down your very own path.

It says thing like, learn to play the guitar, you love the guitar!

Or, learn to use your love for people and your discerning eye to take beautiful photos...

And, follow that pull you feel to spread the message you feel so passionately about...

Or, you love that product, SELL IT.

And, send flowers. 

Give that sad old man a hug.

Introduce yourself to that new mom over there.

Don't get mad just yet, this child needs your compassion.

The voice speaks to you. It delivers all the messages you need to hear. It wants you to know, if you do this, you will feel so alive.

I'm so sure about this voice. Positive.

Being heart connected simply means listening to that voice.

In our crazy, chaotic, amped up, super sized, HD, everything in an instant world, however, we hardly ever hear that voice! It is really hard to hear it sometimes. Sometimes, we hear a different voice. It says, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU CANNOT TEACH ZENTANGLE! YOU CAN'T EVEN TEACH YOUR KID HOW TO TIE HIS SHOES!" 

In our world, we receive so many messages telling us we are not slim or pretty or healthy enough or smart enough or fast enough or motivated enough. We started out as these fresh little gut-trusting beings and with so many negative inputs from all around, for so much of our lives, we became who we are today. We don't even need the messages anymore because we have our own big, mean, scary other voice, not to be confused with the kind and gentle one, that tells us we are not enough. We don't trust our guts anymore. We don't hear the truth of our hearts and our souls.

I have no business whatsoever starting a business. There are millions of people in the world who are smarter than me. There are better writers and better artists and savvier business women. But, my heart is telling me that I must start this business. That I must make stuff and share it and share my stories and share my heart. That I must create space for other people to do the same, so that they can slow down a little and listen to their hearts too. 

My heart is advocating for itself. It wants to stay connected. I want that for my heart, and for me. I want to do things that make me feel so alive I have no choice but to relish in that moment like it is my last. That is what it means to be heart connected.