Category Archives: Art

Shine Your Light On The World.

You are so amazing.

You have everything you need to live the life you dream of, to accomplish those goals and overcome those fears.

You have the strength, courage and wisdom needed to follow your heart.

You have the creativity, passion and self-belief needed to create your own path.

You have the compassion, purpose and determination needed to make this world a better place.

You have the power. You are the power.

There are people who may read this and roll their eyes. They are afraid of their own power, so they convince themselves that they have none, and make fun of anything or anyone that suggests otherwise. It’s safer that way.

They will even try to convince you that you have no power, to ensure that they will have company in their safe little box of doubts and fears.

Don’t listen to anyone who speaks from fear.

Listen to yourself. Listen to your heart. That inner whisper that knows your truth.

The more you listen to your heart, the louder it will become, until it is so loud and true and clear that it drowns out all the outside voices of fear and hate.

Please. Please! Don’t dim your light for anyone. Don’t hide in the shadows.

Shine your light on the world. Shine it so bright that it touches every living creature on this Earth.

Shine it so bright that it sends sparks of rainbows into the ocean like shooting stars.

You are an amazing, marvellous, incredible, wonderful, beautiful, inspiring, powerful, magical, miracle of the Universe!

Dance amongst the sparkles of your soul, and be gloriously, irrevocably, YOU.

 

Jen ♥

Rainbows & Miracles & Gratitude, Oh My!

Hello beautiful! Happy Sunday!

I’ve been doing some creative journaling lately, and man, is it AWESOME!

I don’t know how I lived 24 years without it. It’s such a creative, colourful, and sparkling way to heal and release my thoughts and emotions. I’m officially in love with it.

Here are some photos of what I’ve been creating:

Oh, and did you know that today (April 3rd) is Find A Rainbow Day?! How freakin’ AWESOME is that? A day to spread rainbow love and happiness and bubbles and sparkles and joy everywhere you go! 😀

You can read more about Find A Rainbow Day here, and read about rainbows (and a totally wonderful rainbow making machine!) here. I think this is my new favourite day!

If you don’t see any rainbows today, here’s one I prepared earlier:

Speaking of nature’s miracles, have you acknowledged the miracle of YOU today? Karen Mead from A Peaceful Path shared this video in her newsletter today, and it’s just so amazing. We really are all miracles!

In other news, I’ve been busy creating the My Smiling Heart ebook! Here’s a sneak peak of some of the awesomeness:

And, last but certainly not least, a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been participating in 30 Days Of Beauty!

We are only on Day 3 and there are already heaps of #imbeautifulbecause tweets that have been inspiring me so, so, so much! I feel so blessed to be in the company of such amazingly wonderful women.

And, we have already raised $10 for To Write Love On Her Arms! We are definitely off to an amazing start!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You really are BEAUTIFUL!

Sending you so much LOVE,

Jen ♥

Wise Words: Interview With A Goddess

Our March interview is with the beautiful, gorgeous, double rainbow of a woman – Goddess Leonie!

This wonderful Goddess is an artist, writer, mama, unicorn lover and the creator of the popular creativity and spirituality blog GoddessGuidebook.com and the online Goddess Circle.

What encouraged you to start the Goddess Guidebook?


 

There was this angel inside my heart that wanted to let loose wonders into the world.

I wanted to spill rainbows everywhere.

There were so many blessings and miracles and enlightenments happening in my life. I wanted to share my journey.

Deeply.

Authentically.

Joyfully.

 

Do you know what things you need to do on a regular basis in order to maintain your joy and Goddess-ness? What are they?


 

I utterly know what I need now, thanks to times when I was utterly deprived from them. I unequivocally need time each day on my own. To create. To sit. To breathe.

This was a hard won lesson – I’m a mama to my amazing one-year-old daughter, Ostara. And I went for many moons without any physical space or head space or creating space of my own. It did not make me happy or full or thriving.

So now, every day after I’ve put her down for a nap, my love takes over and I go to my office.

 

Want to know where my office is?

It’s at the top of an ancient fig tree.

I’m not even kidding. I climb up there with journal and laptop and spend two hours creating and writing and swinging my legs and doing my work. It is utterly blissful. I absoloooodely need to create. To make magic happen. And to be outside in trees.

 

What advice would you give to someone who is going through a challenging time?


Everything is going to be okay.

And that you may not feel it at all right now, The Worst Thing in the World Could Be The Best Thing.

 

What has creating your own path in life taught you most?


There is no one else I need to be in this world but me.

I need not be more like anyone else. I need not be the perfect mama,

artist, writer – anything like that…

I just need to be the best Leonie I can be.

Holy and true.

 

 

What wise words do you live by?


Joy is an option.

 

What is something you are really proud of?

 

I am over the moon proud that my lil goddess business is not only my job, but my love’s too.

That we both get to be at home with our daughter.

That we have been able to move across the country to live in tropical paradise because of it.

It’s just so over-the-mountain amazing… the story of it makes me light up and glow.

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Who gave it to you?


 

My grandmother.

When I ask her how she is, she always responds:

“Well! I woke up this morning, and I was still breathing and I thought: OH! It’s a gooooood day today!”

I want to be as groovy and grateful as my grandmother.

 

What are you most grateful for?


 

Being alive. I’ve been saying this since I was a teenager.

To be here? Doing this magical thing called life? Getting to be Leonie?

Pretty much the BEST THING EVER.

 

 

Also grateful for:

Baby goddess daughter * hunky love * two fluffy doggies * a sweet old

cottage in tropical paradise * a job being a goddess that is pretty

much my wildest dreams come true * a sister who owns a cupcake

business = constant cupcakery in my life. Oh the JOY!

 

How do you want to inspire people?




I want every woman to know she is a goddess, through and through.

And that her life can be SO joyful and SO good and SUCH a delight.

 

What makes your heart smile?


Photographing women as goddesses.

 

 

Blue ocean eyes.

 

 

Hanging out by waterfalls with the ones I adore the most.

 

 

Check out Leonie’s blog, follow her on twitter, or add her on facebook 🙂

 

So much LOVE,

Jen ♥

 

On Love, Supermoons & Imperfections

 

This song is called ‘Say Hey! (I Love You)’, by Michael Franti and Spearhead, and I just LOVE it!

I listen to it almost every day. When I say listen, I mean I sing along and dance around the apartment like a lunatic, of course. It’s just so irresistibly happy, and full of good vibes that flow through the Universe, all the way into my soul. It is happiness.

I’m so happy right now, just completely over the moon – or should I say, over the supermoon! Maybe it’s the energies brought about by that beautiful full moon, or maybe it’s just me, but I feel AWESOME.


My view of the Supermoon, so beautiful!

 

I am exploding with gratitude. So grateful for that one moment almost six months ago, in which I chose happiness over everything else. Grateful for everything I have created for myself since then, and for everything the Universe has brought me as a reward for that one decision to be happy.

I am a hurricane of love.

And I want to express that love more freely, so I am going to make an effort to express myself creatively even more-so than I do now.

I want to paint more, create more, write more, live more, laugh more and love more.

I want to paint portraits, I want to start an art journal, I want to write a book about my year in China, I want to build meaningful relationships with people all over the world, I want to meditate more, I want to start doing yoga, I want to empower, inspire and make hearts smile, I want to do whatever you need me to do to help you see how freakin’ AWESOME you are.

I don’t want to sell out, conform to only writing top ten list or how-to posts, give in to anxiety, or pretend like I’m some sort of self-development guru that has it all together and promises you true happiness all at the discounted price of $99.99 – because I’m not a guru, I don’t have it all together, and I can’t promise you happiness – your happiness is up to you.

What I can do is be here, now, to go on this journey with you. I can give you my perspective, share my thoughts, creations and inspirations with you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you. I can create things for you, as resources to help you focus on the positive, reminders of your AWESOMENESS, and make pretty things to hang on your walls. I can see your beauty, and help you to see it, too.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to you. And that’s okay, you can handle that. You are powerful… so much more than you realise.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even want or need all the answers. And that’s okay, too. I’m just doing the best that I can, moment to moment. Sometimes I freak out a little, and I doubt myself a lot. Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to achieve my dreams.

Man, I love letting my vulnerabilities shine like this. It’s terrifying and liberating. It’s imperfect, and I love it.

I am letting go of my perfectionism when it comes to art, too. I will love what I create, even if it’s messy. I am moving forward with my creations, with my ebooks, ekits and hell, maybe even some ecourses. Because what I have to offer is worthy, valuable and amazing.

 

A messy painting I did yesterday

 

I love how this post was originally just meant to be a shout out of pure love, and it morphed into another soul-searching session.

How imperfect of me 😉

Well, thank you so much for ‘listening’ to my rants. I’m always here to listen to you, too. Whenever, wherever.

I’m going to spend the rest of the day walking in the park – the snow is almost completely melted and the weather today is beautiful enough for me to not have to wear my huge puffy George Costanza jacket, yay! Then I’ll be drinking wine and eating mooncakes with my soulmate.

I hope your day is full of double rainbows and flowers in bloom 🙂

So much LOVE,

Jen ♥

The Story Of The Bird

 

Hello beautiful!

 

Are you having an AWESOME day? I hope so!

Did you know that it’s nearly My Smiling Heart’s six month birthday?! 😀 Yay! Six months of growing, learning, connecting, inspiring and smiling at ourselves in the mirror! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be a part of such an amazing tribe, thank you for a wonderful six months – so far!

Anyone who knows My Smiling Heart is familiar with the image above, especially the bird, that has become the MSH logo.

I just entered this self portrait into an online art competition, and the prize for the People’s Choice award is $2,500 – more than enough for me to be able to continue writing My Smiling Heart once I return to Melbourne in July! – so I would be forever grateful if you would please vote for my work here (click vote in the top right corner). Thank you, thank you, thank you! 😀

As I entered my artwork into the competition today, I realized that I have never given you the full story behind this self-portrait, so here it is 🙂

The Story Of Me And The Bird My Cat Killed:

 

That’s what this painting is called: A Portrait Of Me And The Bird My Cat Killed.

A few days before I painted it, my cat, Juno, jumped through my window with a bird hanging from his mouth. As soon as I saw it, I ran over to him, took him outside and made him drop the bird, but it was too late. It just lay there on it’s back, eyes closed.

I took it to the back of my garden and placed it under a tree. I felt so saddened by it’s lifeless body, but at the same time I was mesmerized by it’s beauty.

It was a beautiful brown colour, with specks of green and yellow on its feathers. All I could think of was how tragically beautiful it was.

The next day I watched American Beauty for the first time. There’s a scene in it where a boy is filming a dead bird, as it lay lifeless on the grass. When asked why he was filming it, he replied, “Because it’s beautiful.”

Just as he filmed the dead bird for it’s beauty, and in turn immortalized it in film, I wanted to do the same for my dead bird.

I thought to myself, what better way to give something new life than to immortalize it forever in art?

Now, that bird will live forever.

And not only that, over the past six months of My Smiling Heart, the bird has become symbol of positivity, hope, and freedom for me.

This painting represents the beginning of my journey to recognising my own power. The woman in this self-portrait, is the woman that I have grown into since I painted it. And I hope that I have been able to use my power to help you realize your own immense power.

Because you are powerful, awesome, and just so damn amazing!

You have the power to create your life, live your dreams and make this world a better place!

There is no better time to release your AWESOMENESS to the world!

Start with a smile, and just go from there 🙂

So much LOVE,

Jen ♥

 

* It’s Link Love Friday! Head over to the Facebook page and share links to your amazing blogs/websites/twitter! 😀

 

 

A Love Letter To My Smiling Heart (YOU)

This was difficult and emotional for me to write, but it so needed to be said. It needed to be said, and it needs to be heard. This isn’t just a love letter to My Smiling Heart, this is a love letter to you.

You, who reads, supports and loves this blog as much as I do, you are My Smiling Heart. We are a community of smiling hearts. It wouldn’t be here without you, and neither would I.

Dear My Smiling Heart (You),

Thank you so much.

There are no words to describe what you have done for me. You appeared during one of the darkest times of my life, a time when I felt alone, meaningless, beaten down, and so, so sad. I was filled with hate, anger, and pain. I lived in fear, and let anxiety rule my life.

But, since the night you were created, you have been the light that shines my path. You have shown me my own truth, my own beauty, and my own power. You have reignited my creativity, my passion, and my self-belief.

Because of you, new doors have opened, leading me to meet some of the most amazing, inspirational women I have ever known. Women who have forever changed my life, women who support me, challenge me, and encourage me to live an extraordinary life.

You have made me see that I can change the world. And you have helped me do it.

You have given me meaning, joy, connection, and a reason to jump out of bed at 8am every single day with a smile on my face and love in my heart.

You have introduced me to my real passion. I thought my passions were art and writing, but really, it’s much deeper than that.

My passion, my life purpose, is to inspire others and help them to live their best lives. I am here to empower others, especially women. Art and writing is the vessel in which I can and will do that, I promise.

And now, as you continue to propel me forwards into new and exciting ventures, I know I have to trust the path that I am on, instead of trying to predict which way it will turn and where it will lead me.

As you continue to grow and become not only my passion but my full-time job, a way to earn a living while baring my soul, creating, and inspiring others, I promise I will stay focussed on my truth, my purpose, the community you have built and remember everything that has lead me to this point.

You are my passion, my light, my connection to the world and my connection to my true self.

My heart will always be full of gratitude for everything you bring me, and I promise to always honour you and continue to make you something that inspires anyone who comes into contact with you.

I want you to change lives, just as you have changed mine.

Even though I am scared and vulnerable right now, and feeling anxious about what’s to come, I know you will always be there, keeping me focussed and shining your light onto my soul.

You saved my life.

Thank you.

Jen ♥

A Gift Of Positivity!

Hello beautiful people!

Are you feeling AWESOME today? I hope so! 🙂

To thank you for all of your amazing support & for making My Smiling Heart such a wonderful community to be a part of, I’ve made you all a gift!

Print it out, cut them out, stick them on you wall, window, fridge, mirror, put them in your diary, use them as bookmarks, you can even print them out on sticker paper & use them as bumper stickers if you like!

Put them wherever you want, as long as they’re somewhere you can see them every day & be reminded of how AWESOME you are 🙂

Print as many as you like!

What do you think? 🙂

If you love it, remember to share the love with the world!

Tweet this to your followers as a gift for them, post it on Facebook for all of your friends, or print it out & give it to someone you love.

If you have a teenage daughter or sister, please pass this onto them. I really think girls in particular could benefit from seeing these everyday – I know I would have loved having these on my wall when I was a teenager! In fact, they’re on my wall right now, haha!

Again, thank you so much for being a part of My Smiling Heart. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for all of us! 🙂

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

A Little Something For You

Hello awesome people!

As a part of the art subject that I’m doing online, I had to make a 30 second stop motion animation. I decided to make something with a positive message, that I could share with all of you – my amazing readers, twitter followers & facebook fans.

Keep in mind though, this is the first time I’ve ever done any sort of animation work, so apologies for it’s not-so-good quality! I hope you like it anyway 🙂

Everything You Need Is Within from Jen Saunders on Vimeo.

In other news, you may remember me mentioning something called the Love Bomb a few months back, well this week’s recipient is someone I know & respect. Brianne, the inspiring woman who runs I Want Her Job & ran the Likes For Learning campaign that I helped out with recently, lost her best friend in a car accident this week.

As part of the Love Bomb mission, people visit Brianne’s latest blog post & leave her a supportive, love-filled comment. It would mean a lot if my readers joined me in supporting Brianne through this hard time, so please leave a comment here.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again:

Kind words never go to waste.

Also, Mike & I are heading to Beijing tomorrow night to celebrate Chinese New Year. I’ll be gone for a week, & I’ll try my best to get online & post when I can, but it will take me longer than usual to respond to all your fantastic comments, tweets, messages & emails. Don’t let that stop you from saying hello or leaving comments, though! I love hearing from you 🙂

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

2011: A Virtual Vision Wall :)

“Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has.

Your future is whatever you make it.

So make it a good one.”

~ Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in ‘Back To The Future Part III’.


To welcome 2011 & make sure it really is our best year yet, I’ve collected some of the most inspiring pictures from Tumblr & made a kind of virtual vision wall. These pictures represent what 2011 can be for all of us – this is 2011 in pictures.

This post will always be here – under the ‘Pure Awesomeness’ tab – for us all to come back to throughout the year, especially whenever we feel lost, confused, or ruined.

This virtual vision wall will point you in the direction towards what really matters.

So, save it, print it, bookmark it, & share it – let’s make 2011 AWESOME! 🙂

(For sources, click on the images)

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen ♥

Exciting News: Likes For Learning!

Last week, I mentioned that I had been working on something awesome & top secret.

Well, today I can finally reveal it to you all!

I have been fortunate enough to be working with the amazing I Want Her Job, She’s The First & Starfish One By One teams on a campaign aimed at raising money for a group of girls in Guatemala to receive the education that they need in order to live their best lives.

My contribution involved designing the promo for the campaign, & I had SO much fun doing it!

If you want to know how you can help, too; it’s all here in the promo 🙂

 

Design: Jen Saunders

So, “like” IWHJ on Facebook, follow on Twitter, & remember to tell your friends! Let’s get these beautiful girls an education so that they can achieve their dreams & make this world a better place!

I absolutely LOVE I Want Her Job, I can always find a never-ending supply of inspiration there, & it’s such a great community for women. And She’s The First & Starfish One By One are such passionate & committed organizations, they really are making the world a better place.

For more information, visit IWHJ & read the latest post:

IWJH is Launching its First-Ever Nonprofit Campaign, and We Need Your Help!

And, check out the sponsors page to see little ol’ My Smiling Heart there! 😀

For many years now, it has been a major goal of mine to use my creative talents to help a non-profit that focusses on educating girls in developing countries, so this is an amazing dream come true!

Thanks everyone for all of your support!

 

You are all so AWESOME! 😀

 

Keep Smiling!

 

Jen ♥