so much to be thankful for…

This time of year always reminds me how there’s so much to be thankful for and how blessed I am to share this journey with you all.

One of the greatest things about being a mother, is that I get to experience my children’s unconditional love no matter how imperfect I am.  Nothing could have prepared me fully for motherhood, but it is just remarkable how there’s no limit to the amount of love that fills your heart through being a mother (in spite of the fact that I believe it is the most challenging job ever).

The truth is, I never seriously feared about my disability until I became a mother myself and started thinking about how other children would view me and how that would potentially hurt my own children.  As I realised that children will always be curious and ask questions, nothing really prepared me for how their parents’ reactions or “lack of” wisdom in these situations would aggravate my angst and fears.  Too many times I felt like my heart was crushed because of what I thought was a parent’s missed opportunity to teach their child about diversity and treating each other with love and kindness no matter what the differences may be.

But miracles do happen and that miracle for me would be taking that huge leap of faith in stepping into my painting journey.  Why do I call it a miracle?  Because that’s when I came face to face with all my fears and insecurities and learnt to say, “I’m done with you Fear!”  As soon as I let go of all my fears about stepping out of my comfort zone, that is when I truly became free and that is when God placed a paintbrush between my toes and said, “You’re ready, now go for it!”

So now that I have my kids in school, I meet children all the time.  But instead of it being a fearful experience, I get to see miracles happen right in front of my eyes.  The miracle of “love and acceptance”.  I get to witness how their minds shift from fear and uncertainty to understanding with love.  From their curious question of, “Why don’t you have arms?” to the moment they hear me respond with, “Some people are born in a special way and this is how I was born, but I can do extraordinary things with my toes like painting!” there is always a spark that lights up in their eyes, which leads to them seeing me with a completely new perception afterwards. 
So now, I get excited about opportunities to share my gift with children because I know that I am shifting minds of a future generation – minds that will see with new eyes of love instead of discrimination.

Recently, a school mum reached out to me asking for my permission to feature my art to her 4th grader’s class.  I thought I’d share the questions that I had to answer for the kids…

Here are the questions:
1. Why do you use your feet to paint and not your mouth? 

I have more freedom using my toes and I dont mind them getting very messy!

2. Do you have any tricks or techniques to painting with your feet? 

I just need good balancing skills as I balance on my left leg to paint with my right foot!

3. How do you deal with frustrations, how do you approach them, when things don’t workout in your artwork. 

While I’m painting, I’m always thankful that I get the opportunity to do what I do and express my love for creativity so I don’t get frustrated easily and when I’m painting that’s when I am the most free, like I’m dancing with my paints.

4. When did you start painting? What or who inspired you, any artist or art? 

I started painting about two years ago. I’m inspired by what is put on my heart at the time – my paintings tell stories of faith, hope and love.  Artists like Leonardo da vinci and Michaelangelo inspire me because they created some of the greatest masterpieces of art history.

5. Why paint to express yourself, why not something else? 

My reason for painting is to inspire others to be extraordinary rather than ordinary and to share my story. 

6. How long did it take you to get to achieve your comfort level? 

As soon as I let go of all my fears of sharing my gift with the world, I was able to become more confident in stepping out of my comfort zone.

7. Did you try something that didn’t work/ your failures? And how did you move on? 

I never went to art college so this has been a learning experience for me too, but I just have to trust and have faith in what I’m doing and I’m just grateful that I get to do something that can be life changing for an individual who needs hope and encouragement in their lives.

8. How often do you paint? 

I paint whenever my kids are in bed or when I have a painting event 🙂

9. If you have one message to pass on to the kids, what would it be? 

We are all unique and it’s our differences that make us special and beautiful and each of us were born with gifts to be extraordinary rather than ordinary!

Thank you, may this Christmas time be filled with joy and peace for you all!

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