Tag Archives: art

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 ♥

Updates & Link Love

Gratitude & LOVE to Dani at Positively Present for this image!

 

Hello beautiful!

 

Have you smiled at yourself in the mirror today? I have! 😀

A lot has been happening here at My Smiling Heart headquarters… by that I mean my couch and coffee table, haha!

I wrote a guest post for The Whole Self as a part of Happiness Week, which is this week! The post is about how I chose happiness during a difficult time, and went from ruins to rainbows as a result. I even made a special ‘Choose Happiness’ printout for it!

Yesterday, My Smiling Heart was featured on the ever-amazing and inspiring Positively Present! I’m so excited about this because I’ve been reading PP for a long time, so it’s AWESOME to be a part of it somehow. Check out the interview here, and remember to download the free the positive printable I created just for the occasion!

Our lovely sponsor, A Peaceful Path, held their first vision board workshop on Sunday, featuring some of the worksheets and cutouts that will be in the new My Smiling Heart ebook! I’ve heard that the workshop was a complete success, so congratulations to A Peaceful Path and everyone who has started to create their vision!

I recently entered my self-portrait, the one featured on the My Smiling Heart banner, in an online art competition called ‘The Power Of Self’, and I need your votes. The painting with the most votes wins $2,500. Winning this will allow me to continue My Smiling Heart after I go home in July. I really want to keep My Smiling Heart alive, so every vote counts.

I’m working on the My Smiling Heart ebook, which I hope will be a great resource to maintaining happiness. It will be full of positive printables for your wall, kind of like a vision board kit, as well as other goodies and awesomeness! I’m so excited about it, and I’m having so much fun putting it together! I hope you’re all as excited as I am! 😀

I’m also working on creating meditation recordings too. I studied meditation teaching not long ago, so it’s about time I started using it! 🙂

Jen Fromal from The Smashed Planet and I are doing something exciting for the entire months of April. It’s called 30 Days Of Beauty, and we hope to use it to raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms. Click here for project details and info on how you can be a part of the self-loving AWESOMENESS!

Through wonderful blogs such as So Uprightly Burning and Roots Of She, I came across an amazingly creative website called ABC Creativity, created by the beautiful Andrea Schroeder. Andrea has just started a free Creativity 101 e-course, and I’m completely in love with it! I am so, so happy to have discovered creative journaling, it is so amazingly healing. I will be posting pictures of my art journal soon!

Do you remember me mentioning my friend in Japan? Well, one of her friends has started an amazing cause called ‘3000 Letters For Japan’. It’s a letter writing project, aiming to get people from all over the world to write inspiring letters, send them to the project organisers, and they will then give the letters to children living in devastated areas of Japan. How AWESOME is that?

Now for this week’s Link Love Friday mission! For something different, I want you to share your favourite funny youtube video on the My Smiling Heart Facebook page. It can be anything, laughing babies, sneezing pandas, the classic people-falling-down videos, as long as it makes you really laugh out loud. Let’s get the giggles!

Go smile at yourself!

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 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 ♥

Wise Words Wednesday!

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds aremade under pressure.”

~ Peter Marshall

Force helps us to grow.

Just as the oak tree stands tall against the wind, & coal transforms under force, so does the salmon swim against the current, & the caterpillar evolve into a butterfly.

The lotus flower starts its life in the mud. It uses its natural strength to push through the sludge, & is then faced with the challenge to grow within the water, in order to reach the surface, where it is greeted by the warmth of the sun.

The beauty of a lotus flower has been mystifying people for thousands of years, & its strength & ability to elegantly rise above challenges is an inspiration to many, including myself.

Buddhism holds the lotus flower in a very high regard, in fact, the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ means ‘the jewel is in the lotus’.

I first discovered the symbolism of the lotus when I was reading A Lotus Grows In The Mud, by Goldie Hawn – one of my heroes. And ever since, this magical flower has played a crucial part in my life, spiritually, mentally & artistically.

Lotus flowers often appear in my artwork, I always look to them for inspiration, & learning about its symbolism helped me realise that challenges are a part of the journey of life.

We can learn from the lotus flower – it can teach us how to live our lives.

And, maybe most importantly, we can see the lotus flower within ourselves.

We have all grown through hard times; the mud.

We have all risen above challenges; the water.

And, we all have the ability to reach the surface; the light.

I’ll finish with another quote:

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. “

~ Goldie Hawn, ‘A Lotus Grows In The Mud’

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥

P.S Thanks to My Smiling Heart reader, Renee, for sharing the Peter Marshall quote on Facebook, which inspired this post 🙂

Goldie Hawn quote from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/193026

Day 24: Quotes, Self-Portraits & A Wolf

Today is Day 24 of Art Every Day Month, so I thought I’d should finally upload some of the creations I’ve made over the past couple of weeks.

I have stuck all these around our apartment, so that I can always see the bright, happy colours & read the quotes whenever I like. I even updated my Vision Wall.

Yesterday we went to the museum of natural history in our city of Daqing, I took a lot of photos! My favourite is of a wolf, the photograph actually looks more like a painting, thanks to the painted backdrop. I added some text & viola! My creation for the day was done 🙂

I have also been playing around with my camera & setting self-portraits. I will always look upon this time in China as an awesome adventure, a time of great learning & growth, & a year that changed my life for the better…

I wanted to capture who I am now, in these moments, so that I will always have these photos as a reminder of how amazing life is 🙂 I included some of my favourite things in the photos, my favourite scarf, books, crystals, candles, incense, jewellery, fairy cards & tarot cards.

In my last post, I wrote about Tumblr. I am so in love with it! So many photos, quotes, awesome people… it’s overflowing with inspiring things to share, I’ve even started adding my own creations to the mix 🙂

Check out my Tumblr page here!

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen xo

The Cosmos & Other (AWESOME) News

 

By Jen Saunders 2010.

I have bee having some very interesting dreams lately. All my life I’ve had very odd, symbolic dreams, & I always look up their meaning the next day – if I can remember them, that is! Sometimes, I only remember a very tiny part of a dream, but then things happen during the day that help me to remember the rest of it, things like a conversation I have with someone in which they say a word or phrase that triggers my memory, or something I’m doing or watching on tv. It’s pretty cool 🙂

A few nights ago I had a dream in which I was in outer space, sitting on a planet, admiring the moon that was right in front of me, huge, glowing & so close that I could see all it’s craters. There was a greenish coloured planet in the distance, & countless stars twinkling at me. I felt so completely at peace, so still, & blissfully happy. Weirdly enough, I was singing Taylor Swift‘s song ‘Today Was A Fairytale’ to myself, haha!

As you can see from the above image, this dream inspired me so much I decided to paint it. It’s now another creation to put towards Art Every Day Month 🙂

The next night, I dreamt that dinosaurs were roaming the earth again, similar to Jurassic Park. I spent most of my dream running & hiding from the huge creatures, trying to stay alive. All of a sudden I saw a T-Rex heading my way, so I jumped on top of a building & saw this amazing view of the ocean. What I didn’t see was a huge tidal wave that was speeding into the city, & as I jumped off the building it swept me away. That’s it, I woke up straight after I was swept away by the wave.

So, I looked up the possible meanings to these two dreams, & here’s what I found (courtesy of DreamMoods.com):

Outer Space: To dream of outer space, represents your boundless creativity.

Space: To see or dream that you are in space, represents exploration and independent thinking. You are broadening your horizons and view.

Moon: To see the moon in your dream, represents some hidden, mysterious aspect of yourself. It is often associated with the feminine mystique and intuition. A full moon signifies completion and wholeness.

Galaxy: To see the galaxy in your dream, represents your creativity. It also means that you are looking at the broader picture and are more aware of your surroundings.

Singing: To sing in your dream, represents happiness, harmony and joy in some situation or relationship. You are uplifting others with your positive attitude and cheerful disposition. Singing is a way to celebrate, communicate, embrace and express your feelings. To hear someone sing in your dream, signifies emotional and spiritual fulfillment. Your mood is changing for the positive as your outlook in life is looking up.

Dinosaur: To see a dinosaur in your dream, symbolizes an outdated attitude. You may need to discard your old ways of thinking & habits.

Tidal Wave: Symbolizes the clearing away of old habits. If you are carried away by the tidal wave, then it means that you are ready to make a brand new start in a new place.

It looks like they were both very positive dreams, one symbolizing my creativity – which has been boundless lately! – as well as broadening my horizons & enhancing my life with positivity & celebration. The other symbolizing my need to discard old habits – negative thinking, perhaps? – & finishing with a tidal wave, meaning I have already started to clearing the negativity & make a new start. Yep, that definitely sounds like me & my life right now! 😀

In Other News:

Amazing news everyone! Something I wrote about my experiences in China & lessons I’ve learnt from it all is going to be published on Tiny Buddha! 😀 I’m so happy about this, it’s a great opportunity to inspire others & reach such a large audience with my thoughts, creations & inspirations. I’ve been following tinybuddha since it was just a little tweet, & I’ve watched it grow into this huge inspiring empire, with the website, blogs & now a book, so this is an absolute honor for me 😀

It will be published sometime within the next month, so watch this space for news of it’s release!

Also, I wanted to thank everyone for all the amazing comments I’ve received! When I started this blog, I wasn’t expecting any readers at all, let alone such kind, supportive & fantastic comments, so thanks! I hope you are getting inspiration to live your best life.

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen xo

Day 11: More Photos Of China :)

Hi!

Today marks one year until my love, Mike, & I say ‘I Do’ ♥ So we spent the day just relaxing, walking around our neighborhood – in the literally freezing -7 temperatures. It was a great day 🙂 We did some shopping, then went to the park & played on the swings, followed by sitting on a park bench & marvelling at the beauty of the lake freezing over. Coming from Melbourne, where it very rarely reaches 0 degrees, & never snows, all this is very exciting for us – it’s supposed to start snowing tomorrow! 😀

Here are the photos, & my creative task for today – Day 11 of Art Every Day Month. (I also still need to upload photos of all the other things I’ve created over the past few days so stay tuned!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen xo