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Austin Trip

My tile from the plane

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

A few weeks ago, a lovely woman recommended I watch Brené Brown’s TED talk on Vulnerability. This is powerful stuff and inspired me to purchase the audio version of The Gifts of Imperfection. So, why am I sharing this with you?  The two played a significant role in the way I chose to share myself and my art with others this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by several of my team leaders to share Zentangle with our wider group – 50+ professional colleagues.  I was excited to be asked as I feel Zentangle dovetails very well with some of our wider research on wellbeing, mindfulness and brain function.  I got all the supplies, packed up my doc camera and a few other things I use for teaching and boarded the plane for Austin – easy, peasy.  While on the plane and driving to the resort, I began listening to my audio book.  The more I listened and thought about my upcoming classes, the more I realized I would have to expose my imperfections to all my team mates to truly allow them to understand the power of Zentangle and what it does for me.  Anything less would be dishonest and completely inauthentic.  Up until this week, I’ve held much of the full story closely guarded – especially from my professional network.  The more I thought about it, the more certain and terrified I became.

So, on Tuesday of this week, I gathered my courage to tell my story three times to people I admire and respect.  I taught them the value of Zentangle and the little bit of Zen that comes from putting pen to paper and making one stroke at a time.  As always, there were wonderful surprises along the way for all of us.  The best for me was when a team mate came to me to say how much he loved the lesson but the story behind it even more.

Somehow the lesson followed me to Friday.  This time I was speaking to high school students about the dangers of distracted driving for the Sudden Impact program.  My presentation centers around my experiences as the family member trying to take care of loved ones after they are involved in an accident.  This was THE reason I started tangling, got my certification and now teach Zentangle. I’ve been speaking for this program since 2011, a few months after my family’s accident and I’ve learned to distance myself a bit as I tell the story.  Even now, the emotions can be very raw.  This time, I allowed some of that to show, bringing myself and several others to tears.  One of the state troopers told me that was by far my most powerful presentation.

Saturday morning found me in an excellent workshop by Leslie Zann.  Leslie is a powerful speaker and my Rodan+Fields team mates brought her to New Orleans to help us in our professional development.  Her message was around courage to live your best life.  Leslie shared her own story and I was struck by the parallels I saw in my own experiences over the past week.  I was now on the receiving side of another person’s willingness to be imperfect and vulnerable.  When she talked about courage, attitude, gratitude and overcoming fear, every one of us understood that she had lived it and come out the other side to help us do the same.

Think about it a bit, as will I, and step out of hiding.  Even if it’s just a tiny stretch outside your comfort zone.  None of us are alone in this life and sometimes we need to share our authentic self to remind ourselves and everyone else we are wonderful and perfect in our imperfection.

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Bridal portrait taken just after the thunderstorm at Houmas House Plantation

“Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me.  Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories.”  ~Robert Brault

My goodness!  Where has the time gone?  It has been too long since I last shared anything with my virtual friends.  I’ve been a very busy girl as we move into 2012.  Teaching, speaking, working, remembering and being interviewed today.

I am coming to the end of a series of workshops this weekend.  It has been wonderful to introduce newbies to Zentangle and we’ll explore color and drawing on canvas this weekend.  My husband and I celebrated after my most recent class with dinner out and have plans to do the same this weekend.

I served as “wingwoman” for my 10-year old grandson on Valentine’s Day.  He wanted to make some good memories for his mom by surprising her for dinner that night.  I picked him up from school and we got busy.  We bought roses (yellow was his choice), a musical card, a stuffed monkey and candy.  Card selection was an experience as I steered him away from “You Sexy Thing” and assorted other inappropriate choices aided by two men in their work clothes looking for the right card for their ladies.  He got all spiffed up, put the cash to pay for dinner in his pocket and was his mom’s surprise blind date.  She told me later he was the best date she ever had – with amazing manners.  Plus, he tactfully scolded the man on his phone at the next table: “You really should put your phone away,  This is supposed to be all about her tonight.”   The man laughed, agreed with him and turned off his phone.  Ah, the boy remembered his coaching and those etiquette lessons from good old Kacki.

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Mother and son on their Valentine's Day date.

In late February, I was approached by the hospital where my family was treated after their accident to speak for their Sudden Impact program. “High school sophomores get a chance to hear from troopers, trauma nurses and victims impacted by unsafe driving. The goal is to prevent kids from driving distracted, impaired or driving without a seat belt”  My story resonated because they all lived because of their seat belts and also illustrates that you can do everything right but still be affected by another’s poor choice.  I have spoken twice with several more dates leading up to prom season.  This was so much more difficult than I anticipated, but worth it if even one kid makes the right choice when faced with a decision.  This has led to my interview today for the hospital’s Wee Believe Magazine.  One more piece of the silver lining from that black cloud in September 2010.  You can read more about that story here.

Finally, last September and October, I promised to share bridal portraits in a Plantation, Pictures and Puddles and Wedding Day dawns.  My friends, I finally have official photos to share.  AND. drumroll please, an incredible teaser for the wedding video. I hope you enjoy sharing a few of our happy memories.

I want to acknowledge the wonderful professionals who helped me pull off a truly perfect wedding day for my daughter and her new husband:

Photography: Chris Genovese Photography

Video: CV Films

Flowers: Fred Heroman (Katrina’s was one of his last weddings, he retired the next week)

Rehearsal Dinner and Reception: Boudreaux’s (Jeanne was a joy to work with)

Groom’s Cake: Amazing Cakes

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