A lot has gone on this past week. A week ago, Jody found this very nest and several of her feather images in the Etsy shop and on the blog of a German artist. Through hours of detective work, Jody tracked down three other Etsy artists who had their work copied by the same person. The copied images are gone now but the past week has been a week of pain, anger, and frustration for Jody. I got involved because Jody is my friend and I feel sick when artists, especially friends, go through this kind of thing. I ended up being labeled a 'hater' and 'bully' for standing up for Jody and the other artists by saying that the other artist was wrong to do what she did. While she has apologized that others saw a resemblance in what she was selling (they were identical), she still claims never to have seen Jody's work before. Yesterday, despite two walks with Meeko in the forest, I was in and out of tears. I was feeling disappointed with the world, discouraged with what that means for my daughters in the future and reeling from the names I had been called. I have taught Emma and Chloé to stand up and speak out when things are wrong. It is a strong message in our household, not to mention their school. I thought, if this is what happens when you do speak up, had I taught them the right thing?
But, do you know what? This is a new month. Bird nests, especially those filled with tiny, sweet eggs, are symbols of hope and love. Here is a list of good and wonderful things I can take from the past week:
I am thankful for my friendship with Jody. Who knew that an email I sent her last October on Etsy telling her how much I loved her watercolours would turn into such a special and supportive friendship. We have our painting styles, motherhood and a sense of humour in common. It turns out that she grew up just minutes away from my sister's house. My sister now owns some of her originals too. I encourage you to have a look at her beautiful paintings, maybe even say hello to her.
I am thankful for my beautiful friend Colette who sent me the most amazing email one morning this week full of words that had nothing to do with me being a bully or hater without knowing how very much I needed to hear them. She is also the sweetheart who delivered that bouquet of Valentine candles to me.
I am thankful for my sweet friend Lucile who took time at midnight in Paris to send me words of encouragement when I told her that I was feeling discouraged this month about my art and Etsy. I am also the proud owner of two of Lucile's original paintings and I will show you them some day.
I am thankful that a stranger named Mary Jo took the time to leave a sweet and kind comment here after I visited her new blog, a welcome place of peace and beauty called Still.
I am thankful for the internet. Though this past week, I started to think of it as the big, bad internet and it definitely has that side, it has been the source of the most wonderful creative inspiration and beautiful friendships. There are a lot of very nice people out there and I am lucky to know so many of them. I am thankful for knowing Geninne, Margie and Arounna...and there are so many others that I can't list you all here as I would be afraid to leave someone out and hurt your feelings. I appreciate each and every one of you.
I am thankful for my daughters. They are kind, sensitive and wise. They are so supportive of my painting efforts--"Mama, go upstairs and paint!". They have a true sense of integrity, not to mention wonderful senses of humour (they are slightly nutty). For everything I teach them, they teach me something back.
I am thankful for my parents because I know that my moral core comes from what they taught me when I was young. I am also happy to say that my Mom is doing really well these days.
I am thankful for Meeko and how he gets me outside even on days when it's icy and horribly frigid, and the unconditional furry love he gives me throughout each day.
I am thankful for my husband and the gift of this painting. And Jody again, for making this beautiful bird nest, this symbol of hope, something that I get to look at each and every day.
One more thing: I am thankful that January is over! :)
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Bird nests and feathers are symbols of hope.