Monday, August 15, 2005 5:18 PM

Illustration Friday: Wise It's my birthday. I'm not sure if this past year has made me smarter, but it has made me a bit wiser. I've learned so much about finding joy and pleasure wherever I can find it, in the smallest things. I've learned that it's okay to be vulnerable, to be broken, to not be the superest, bestest, happiest supermom ever. That being human is perfectly acceptable. I've learned how vital art is to my well-being - that I am an artist, and that the act of creating and painting can save my very life. I've surprised myself by discovering that I love to work from home, that I can set up 33 things to do in a year and do most of them, that I am much stronger than I think. I've found out a lot about nutrition and the way food is grown and processed that will change the way my family and I eat for the rest of our lives. I've learned that many of the obstacles I think I face, I've created myself. And that I'm the one with the power to clear them away. I've let go of past hurts and misconceptions that made me scared to dream BIG. I've learned that prayer can take many forms, including singing, painting, and taking time to notice the simple beauty in a leaf. I've also learned to say thank you much more often. I've learned to accept whatever blessings come my way with open arms, instead of saying "I'm not worthy" or trying to think what I can give back in return. and... I've learned that treating myself as precious makes me strong.

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