Friday, June 8, 2018

Suicide is Senseless

After reading of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide this morning, and Kate Spade’s suicide three days ago, I started a post on Facebook that read:

I hate suicide. It's senseless and stupid. Depression stinks. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a new day. People can and will help you, but you have to reach out. If you can't/won't talk to a friend or family member, seek out a counselor, or a pet, or a plant - just talk to them. Write letters to uncork yourself. Or call this hotline. You are loved. You have a purpose. How to get help: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Suicide is NOT the answer. For anyone.

I stopped my post with that, but continued to think about the whys of suicide, and realized I need to say more.

Life is not easy for any of us. We all have our own battles we face - some may be social (like bullying or loneliness, or the fame of celebrity), some may be financial (like extreme poverty, debt, or extreme wealth), some may be mental (like depression, intellect, or Type A personality), some may be physical (like disabilities, autoimmune disorders, disease, or gorgeous looks and extraordinary physique). Our battles are as unique as each individual in the midst of them. We deal with different pressures, different responsibilities in our lives, and we all handle them differently.

And that's okay.

But suicide is not the answer to any of the problems. None. Not one. For any battle.

There is hope. For you and for me.

I'd like to share a list of some of the battles I've encountered in my own life's journey. I won't share details to protect loved ones, but each one of the battles listed below have touched me and/or my children personally, many overlapping at the same time:

Alcoholism
Verbal, Emotional, Mental Abuse
Obesity
Bullying
Poverty
Divorce (as a Christian, to some Christians, this is the unpardonable sin. And remarriage compounds that.)
Mental illness
Transgender issues
Remarriage
Foreclosure
Adultery
Narcissism
Domestic Abuse
Child Abuse
Depression
Codependency
Bipolar Disorder
PTSD
Psychosis
Personality Disorders
Drug Addiction
Abandonment
Bullying
Sexual Assault
Physical Assault
Verbal Assault
Reverse Racism (technically, they say there's no such thing. But there is.)
Discrimination
Jail
Homelessness
Cancer, cancer, cancer
Parkinson's Disease
Alzheimer's
Anemia
Physical ailments
Judgment of others
Legalism
Gossip
Alienation
And others I'm forgetting at the moment

Days, weeks, years of our lives have been taunted by darkness. A couple of times, the darkness was so deep, I wasn't sure we'd ever see light again.

Yet, I had Hope.

My Hope comes from God. A personal relationship with Jesus. Direction from the Holy Spirit.

My God is One in Three. Three in One. God, the Father, who loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to die for us. Why would God want Jesus to die for us? So that we might spend eternity - FOREVER - in Heaven with Him. So that we could live FOREVER in God's presence. Our only other alternative is to live forever apart from God, apart from all others, in Hell. And that's definitely not a way to live.

I've referred to some of the things we've gone through in our lives as 'hell on earth' because they were so painful I could hardly bear them. I've been through hell on earth - I imagine many of you have been there, too. Why would we want to spend an eternity somewhere so painful? Especially when we don't have to. We have an option.

My Hope is Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection offers us all the opportunity - the option - to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. In the Bible, Heaven is described as a place where there is no more pain, no more tears, no more death, no mourning, no crying (Revelation 21:4).

My Hope is Jesus. Because I know Him - personally. I asked Him to be my Lord and my Savior. I live life on earth by His standards (although I've failed many times in this, I've asked Him to forgive me, and He has.) The greatest thing is - every single day is a new day with Jesus. If we screw up, or have a really bad day, or make mistakes, or hurt someone or be hurt by someone - tomorrow, we get the chance to do better. Tomorrow, we get the chance to make changes. Tomorrow, we get the chance to start over.

With suicide, there is no tomorrow.

Jesus is there for you - today and tomorrow and forever. I know - without one shadow of a doubt - that I will live eternally with Him.

Why? Because He loves me.

He loves you, too. More than you can ever hope, dream, or imagine anyone here on earth could love you.

Jesus is my Hope. Jesus gets me through all the pain, all the loneliness, all the sorrow, all the mistakes, all the failures, all the stupidity and idiocy that this life tries to throw at me.

Sometimes I do need help. I've sought counseling in the past, and am currently seeing a counselor. Sometimes we need help to process all the pain and sorrows in our lives. Sometimes just having an outsider listen to us talk for awhile helps us work through the emotions, the anxiety, the stress, the past/present/future of our lives.

It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to need help. It's okay to be helped.

It's NOT okay to commit suicide. Suicide is not the answer.

You have options. Many, many options.

Talk to someone. Reach out. You are worthy. I promise.









Friday, May 25, 2018

Meet the Artist: Vickie Emms

Today, I'm happy to introduce a new artist friend, Vickie Emms.

Vickie, what type of art do you create?

I offer my own photography for sale on POD websites on products they offer. 

I am  a member of Redbubble and Zazzle where I have 4 stores, one of which
is totally my photography, called DiamondW_Photography.

I also create designs from elements I purchase on the internet from commercial use sites and add them to products on either of two of my stores on Zazzle, one of which is DiamondWillowDesigns and the other is a niche store of totally Plaids/Tartans, which originate from Scotland and offers products with those plaids on them on dozens of products in ThePlaidShop. 


This is a magnet offered on Zazzle from a photo of a Scarlet Macaw taken in Mexico.


A favorite design from Zazzle would be tartan pillows from The Plaid Shop.


How did you get started creating this particular type of art?

Photography has always been my love and just making photos for sale wasn't satisfying enough.  I started designing wedding invitations, shower invitations, wrapping paper and greeting cards, plus hundreds of other items that were fun to do.  After buying Photoshop CS5, the products just became a natural to me.  I love seeing end results, and specially sales!   

Tell us the story behind ONE of your favorite creations.

One of the highlights of my photography travel was visiting Alaska in 2009.  This is the most popular photo from that trip. 


On the Way to Haines Alaska


Explore Vickie's shops at: 

RedBubble
Zazzle: Diamond Willow
Zazzle: The Plaid Shop


About the Artist:

Vickie was born in Scotland in June, 1945. She is married,  and is a mother of three grown daughters and has 7 beautiful grandchildren. As well, Vickie and her husband Fred have 8 foster grandchildren, who are no different to them as their own. 

She lives in Manitoba, Canada, one of the prairie provinces. Most of her scenery is from those areas, although she lives close to the eastern lakes area of the province called the Canadian Shield and visits and camps in her favorite parks often. She LOVES the Canadian Rocky Mountains and travels almost every summer to Alberta to camp and photograph those beautiful icons.

She and her husband have been married 50 wonderful years, and travel quite a bit, usually within Canada and the United States.  So you will see a mixed bag of shots from both countries.  They have caught the travel bug the last couple of winters and have visited the Bahamas, Cancun, Mexico and the Dominican Republic and a couple of trips to Las Vegas.

She loves photography, camping, traveling, crafts, flower gardening and music.  She has been taking photographs most of her life, upgrading to the newest cameras as they came on the market.  Now with digital, she is having the time of her life.  She's had photos published in Canadian Wildlife, a magazine by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.   She has had photos published in Our Canada and More Our Canada and in the August/September issue of 2018 another is being published of a Cedar Waxwing eating Mountain Ash berries. 





Friday, April 27, 2018

Journal Entry

My journal entry yesterday took on a life of its own, so I decided to share parts of it here.

Since last fall, I've been bouncing from one project to another, trying to settle in
somewhere useful and productive. With family challenges we had in the fall, then dealing with my own grief and depression issues from that in the following months, I found myself drifting, yet unable to know how to stop it.

For the past week, I've been reading Matt Tommey's book, Created to Thrive. His first chapters have intrigued me so much, I've been exploring webinars he offers, and reading his website to learn more about him.

[See my post Ponderings: Mindset to understand why I felt the need to do that.]

Matt's words and his ministry resonate deeply with me. I'm eager to continue his book and will give a full review when I'm done. 

But yesterday, I started a new page in my journal that reads:

The blank page to the left represents time.

Time spent, but not wasted.

A time of learning.
A time of resting in His promises.
A time of growing.
A time of healing.
A time of serving.
A time of leaning into Jesus with my whole being.
A time of seeking.
A time of observing.
A time of questioning.
A time of thinking.
A time of lack.
A time of testing. Testing myself. Testing others. Being tested.
A time of creating.
A time of flailing.
A time of want.
A time of need.
A time of restoration.

Not until I typed the words above that I had handwritten in my journal did the connection to Ecclesiastes dawn on me.

Now is the time to take that next step. To settle in to what I feel God has called me to do, and to do it with all my heart and with all my might until He calls me elsewhere.


Recent Posts:

Ponderings: Mindset
Entrepreneur Encounters: Jennifer Guter
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Cervelli
Mother's Day Special Offer
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips


From the TMP blog:

Marketing Memos: Matt Patterson
5 Reasons to Hire a Book Publisher
Latest Release: A Sincere Heart by Phee Paradise
Looking for a Narrator for Your Audiobook or Video?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.




Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ponderings: Our Mindsets

The last several months, I've had discussions with business owners, life and career coaches, ministry leaders, friends, and online acquaintances. The specific ones I'm
pondering today all have one thing in common - they want to help people "change their mindsets" about various issues like mindsets about food to help you become healthier, mindsets about poverty to help you become wealthier, mindsets about business to help you become more successful or more powerful.

After the third time I heard the phrase "change your mindset" the bell finally dinged in my head. Normally, when the Lord speaks to me, I get a specific word for phrase three times in a row, fairly close together (like within a week or two). But this mindset phrase happened over a period of six to eight months, so I didn't notice it right away.

When I did, the phrase began to trouble me, and I wondered why.

There's nothing wrong with being healthier, wealthier, or more successful. Those are all good things. It's the changing of the mindsets that's so troubling, because of the methods used to do so. Their goals aren't really to change our mindsets to make us healthier, wealthier, or more successful, but to change our mindsets in the way we do those things - changing our mindsets to buy into the programs they are selling. Some of the programs exhibit cult-like qualities.

The Bible has a lot to say about our minds. (The word 'mind' is  used 167 times in the NASB.) Because of this, when I see someone wanting to change my mindset, I must ask questions.

The first question I ask is if this new mindset they're wanting me to acquire is of God or of man? Then I ask more. Could the mindset be considered false teaching? Does this new mindset cause temptation to sin? Does the new mindset contradict itself? Does it contradict Scripture or make promises that contradict Scripture? Is the purpose of the new mindset rooted in pride?

We live in perilous times. We must examine everything thoroughly (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and we must be discerning about what is good and right. Some things may look great on the surface, but when you dig deep, you'll find otherwise. We can't be complacent.

Christianity is under attack, and the enemy likes to divide and conquer Christians. If we allow man to change our mindsets to worldly ways, instead of allowing God to change our mindsets to His ways, we give the enemy a foothold into our lives and into our minds.

Be alert. Study those who are trying to change your mindset. Pray. Ask for the Holy Spirit's discernment. Let God be the one changing your mindset to where He wants it - not where the world wants it.



Recent Posts:

Entrepreneur Encounters: Jennifer Guter
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Cervelli
Mother's Day Special Offer
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist

From the TMP blog:

Marketing Memos: Matt Patterson
5 Reasons to Hire a Book Publisher
Latest Release: A Sincere Heart by Phee Paradise
Looking for a Narrator for Your Audiobook or Video?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.



Entrepreneur Encounters: Jennifer Guter

Today, I'd like to introduce you to an entrepreneur I became acquainted with only this week, Jennifer Guter.

Welcome, Jennifer!

What type of business do you own?

I have had a solopreneur graphic design business, Reflections Design and Print, for 23 years. Recently I started a niche business, Standout Handouts, which is specifically for presenters to help them improve their handout materials and get a better response.


I also create powerpoints (slide decks), branding and logo design, infographics, one-sheets, websites, and all types of business printing and graphic design. As a print broker, I also often handle the printing as well as the design.

My goal with every single client is to communicate their message better, faster and more effectively by adding visual elements that support their message and create a strong connection with their audience.

How did you get started in this business?

I have always been artistic and had a strong entrepreneurial streak.  I started Reflections Design and Print when I was a young mom with kids as a way to work from home doing something I loved.  Now my kids are grown and gone and I work full time - I still look forward to each day and every project - I love helping people build their business.

What is your biggest challenge as a small business owner? 

My biggest challenge is marketing myself - I would much rather spend my time marketing and creating designs for my clients!

Share a story with us about a specific moment in your business that changed you, or made a difference somehow in what you do. 

My inspiration for starting Standout Handouts was when attending a (introductory) free presentation for business coaching.  The lady who did the presentation did an excellent job, and her logo, branding, etc was also great.  But when it came to her handouts - they were loose, disorganized and sloppy.  I realized how often that is the case - that presenters rarely make proper use of their handouts to get a better response and build their brand.

Aha! I identified a deeply underserved market -  that was the day Standout Handouts was born.

Presenters put a lot of time (and money) into building their audience- aka "getting butts in the seats."  They leave money on the table by not using their handouts to advantage.  I help by partnering with them to turn their handouts into powerful, organized, useful tools that will lend them credibility, professionalism, and help them close sales and get the results they deserve from their investment.

Jennifer offers a free handout for download: The Ultimate Handout Creation Guide.

Connect with Jennifer on the Web:

Reflections Design and Print
Standout Handouts
Portfolio


About the Entrepreneur:

Jennifer is a hater - of bad design and wasted opportunities. Her 23 year career as a graphic designer reflects a long-term dedication to the eradication of both. She can often be spotted helping her clients save their audience from boredom, apathy and confusion.

Jennifer helps presenters use the fact that 65% of humans are visual learners to their advantage by creating Standout Handouts and branding that communicate their message quickly, clearly, and delivers them a better response.

Jennifer lives in Southern Utah with her husband and two dachshunds, Mokie and Princess. Her studio overlooks both a vineyard and a volcano. She is a fan of great design, bbq potato chips, Asian cuisine and tropical vacations.



Recent Posts:

Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna CervelliMother's Day Special Offer
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist

From the TMP blog:

5 Reasons to Hire a Book Publisher
Latest Release: A Sincere Heart by Phee Paradise
Looking for a Narrator for Your Audiobook or Video?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Entrepreneur Encounters: C Hope Clark

Today, I'm excited to introduce you to someone who probably doesn't need an introduction to writers. C. Hope Clark was one of the first professional writers I began to follow, and her newsletters and programs have helped hundreds of thousands of writers in their own journey. Today, I welcome Hope to our entrepreneur column.

Hope, what type of businesses do you own?  


I'm a writer, but you might divide my business into the freelance side and the novelist side. I'm owner of FundsforWriters, a website selected by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 17 years. The newsletter for the site goes out weekly to 35,000 readers who are also writers, providing calls for submissions to grants, contests, markets, jobs, agents, and publishers. I also freelance via magazines features, podcasts, and speaking engagements.

My other side of the business is author of eight novels and two nonfiction books. Since I tend to be perfectly balanced between my left brain and right brain lobes, I equally enjoy the freelance side and the novel side, the business and the creative.

How did you get started in this business?

By loving to write. While still working my nine-to-five job, where I was quickly identified as the person to pen material to Washington, congressmen, dignitaries and often the press, someone suggested I write for myself since it seemed to be effective.

I started writing a novel. A novel based upon a bribe offered to me from a client. My federal agency gave loans and grants, and a client offered me $10,000 to obtain him a piece of real estate in our inventory. The ordeal was not fun, and quite stressful. I ultimately married the federal agent involved. Why not tell the story?

But I could not sell the story, so I turned to freelancing because I had learned to love writing so much. The result was FundsforWriters.com, and freelancing, and based upon that income, I left federal service to write.

After much editing and studying the voice of mystery writing, as well as several years of work, I landed an agent, then a publisher, and suddenly I was balancing being a novelist and an entrepreneur. One novel led to another.

The publisher proved happy, and now I'm about to release my eighth mystery with a ninth under contract. It took three years to go full-time with FundsforWriters, and over ten years to publish the first novel, but I think we figured our what to do now. LOL - I'm loving life, and the readers who follow me are great folks and keep telling me they'd love more of my work.

What's your biggest challenge as a small business owner?

Keeping up with change. We can never settle for where we are, or think we've ultimately reached success, because these days change is almost daily. We are a technical world, and the tools, venues, markets, and customers are all technically connected. These days the options for success for almost all entrepreneurial adventures are countless because of all this change giving us so much to strive for and dream to achieve.

However, we have to find a careful balance between being overloaded by change and sifting out the few opportunities that will make us great. Small business owners are powerful, but there's a lot of noise out there, and competition, and crossroads to make us lose focus on why we got into the business to start with. We have to have strong vision and benchmarks to stay on task.


Share a story with us about a specific moment in your business that changed you, or made a difference somehow in what you do.

Before FundsforWriters, I simply freelanced for anyone who'd have me. But with my
federal experience, I understood grants. A journalist read one of my pieces, impressed, and asked for assistance. She was homebound and needed financial assistance for grants, freelance opportunity, etc. In exchange, she would teach me how to create a newsletter. She advised I needed to publish one about what I had learned for myself: grants, fellowships, freelance markets, etc. I balked, not wanting to do anything nearly related to my federal job, but she coaxed me to do it. That was how FundsforWriters was born. It was then I realized the importance of branding, and putting one's name out there even before the novel ... to become known as a writer.

After a few months, I realized the intelligence of her suggestion, and I created a brand that has served me well for 20 years. I sent her a heartfelt thank-you letter only to have it returned. She'd died from the cancer I never knew she had. I saw that as a sign to continue with FFW, and I've never looked back.

As to the other side of my house, I had another memorable moment. Asked by a bookstore to pick up an author from the airport, and bring her to her book signing, I took advantage of the opportunity to take her to dinner. She asked me what I wrote. At that time I was 100 percent FundsforWriters. She asked me what I REALLY wrote that was special for me. I mentioned the mystery sitting on the shelf complete but rejected too many times to take seriously. She told me to get it back out and rewrite it, because years from now I'd regret it. I did, threw it away, and wrote it from scratch. It ultimately became Lowcountry Bribe, my first mystery. We have to learn to listen to those little voices of opportunity that cross our paths.

Find C. Hope Clark on the Web:

Funds for Writers (sign up for her newsletters!)
C. Hope Clark
Hope's Amazon Author Page


 

Hope is on a blog tour for the next couple of weeks. Check out her other interviews at all the sites on this video!

About the Entrepreneur:

C. Hope Clark writes fiction and nonfiction, but when asked which is her favorite, she can only say she just loves putting words together. She is author of eight mysteries to include her current release Newberry Sin. She sets her mysteries in real settings, loving the challenge of marrying reality with make-believe. Her award-winning FundsforWriters continues to attract readers, and her expertise has her writing for Writer's Digest, The Writer, Nonfiction Writers Association, and appearing at writing conferences nationwide. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina, the state that serves as the setting in each of her mysteries, alongside her federal agent husband.




Recent Posts:

Meet the Artist: Donna Cervelli
Mother's Day Special Offer
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.














Friday, April 20, 2018

Meet the Artist: Donna Cervelli

Today, I'd like to introduce you to photo artist and graphic designer Donna Cervelli.

Hi, Donna! Welcome to our art space.

What type of art do you create?

Currently my work is a blend of fine art and graphic design. Over the years my work has evolved. I’ve work in different mediums and I think that shows in my current work. Photography, which was once a hobby for me, has become more of a passion. With the ever changing technology in cell phones, the built-in cameras, make it even easier to take pictures. A lot of my current work starts out as nothing more than a garden photo or an evening sunset. By using filters and apps I alter the original photo, add text to achieve the final design. These designs have been known to show up on  products in my online POD (Print On Demand) store. For the past 18 months I have focused my attention on my POD that’s set up though my Zazzle store, HeART & Soul Artwork

I love creating art and my Zazzle store allows my to showcase my work on wide variety of products, everything from home decor to clothing and print products, such as invitations. 

How did you get started creating this particular type of art? 

I started my store on Zazzle about a year and half ago.  Prior to that I worked for a major newspaper in Chicago, for over 15 years. I was a senior designer in advertising and created ads for the newspaper. In addition to my full time job I did freelance work; everything from logo designs and business cards to acrylic paintings. Within the last five years I’ve my creative focus leaned more toward my painting. I opened up on online store with Fine Art America mainly to sell affordable prints of my work. Like other Print On Demand companies, Fine Art America, also prints artwork on products, such as phone case, pillows, tote bags, etc. Through a referral from a friend, I checked out Zazzle in January of 2017. I opened a store and tested it out. I didn’t take it too seriously, as there were a lot of personal changes going at on the same time. Later in the year, around June, I decided to pursue Zazzle on a full-time basis. While most of the work in my store is based on my photography and graphic designs, I have also incorporated some of my more recent paintings.

Tell us the story behind one of your favorite creations.

That would be my EARTH DAY is Every Day design. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd. But I feel it should be recognized throughout the year. I believe we should, reuse, reclaim and recycle whenever we can. With that in mind I wanted to design a logo that could be used all year round. Since I love gardening and have so many photos of my gardens, I decided to incorporate them into the design. That’s when I came up with the heart shaped collage with photos taken of my various flower beds. The green texture within the words Earth Day, is actually a close up photo of plant leaves.

Find Donna on the web to learn more about her art:



About the Artist:

Donna was born in and grew up in Chicago. As long as she remember she has loved art and the arts.  When Donna was 10 years her parents signed her up for weekly art classes, at the home of a local artist who taught adults and children. There, Donna learned the basics of art such as shapes, color and composition. She worked in several mediums and painted landscapes and still life. Several years after high school Donna attended the American Academy of Art in downtown Chicago. Her areas of study were illustration, lettering and design, and advertising. Donna went on to work for the Chicago Tribune Newspaper, as an ad designer in the creative department. Wherever life takes Donna, her art work is always there in one form or another. Currently she has a print on demand online store, through Zazzle which allows her to showcase and sell her artwork and designs.



Recent Posts:

Mother's Day Special Offer
Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mother's Day Special Offer

A customer asked today if I ever autographed my photo canvases - they wanted one for a Mother's Day gift.

I decided others might be interested in the same information, so I'm creating a special offer just in time for Mother's Day 2018 (instead of thinking about it after the fact, like I usually do).

Yes, I can and will autograph any canvas print ordered directly from me. (Zazzle is print on demand and shipped direct, so I don't have control of those items.)

But for Mother's Day 2018, which is May 13 for those who may have to look at the calendar like I did, I'm offering limited quantities of the following four photo canvases ordered directly from me. Each canvas will be signed, and I'll include a personalized note to the recipient. Each canvas ordered also includes free shipping to anywhere in the continental US. (If you need items shipped outside the continent, please e-mail me for a quote.)

Orders must be placed by Sunday, April 22 to ensure delivery, so e-mail me today and we'll start the process. Once your order is placed, I'll send you an e-mail to get your shipping instructions and any personalized information you'd like to add. I'll also gift wrap the item if you want me to ship directly.

The watermark in the images below are used to protect my photos. The watermark will not be on the photo canvases.

The four photos I'm offering for this Mother's Day special:


Water Lily
20 x 30 
$299 includes shipping (continental US)




Soft Peach Tulip
20 x 30
$299 includes shipping (continental US)



African Daisy
16x20
$149 includes shipping (continental US)



Gerbera Daisy "Heart"
16x20
$149 includes shipping (continental US)
(This image is one of my favorites and
has never been made available for sale before today.)



If your mom is not an art collector like I am, I'd love for you to explore my Zazzle store to see if you can find anything else with my artwork that might fit her fancy. We have thousands of different products for inside the home, car, for vacations, for RVers and camping enthusiasts, and so much more - items like ceramic tiles, shower curtains, bathroom sets, coolers, extra-large beach towels, flip flops, notebooks, melamine plates, cellphone cases, jewelry boxes, duvet covers, bath towels, placemats, clocks, dartboards, jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, and the list goes on! (Look for the coupon code at the top of the Zazzle page and enter the code for savings. You can join the Zazzle Black program, for $10 a year for free standard shipping or $39 a year for free 2-day shipping, and you'll save on shipping all year, too!)

Come visit TMPixArt to find something she'll love!






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.




Recent Posts:

Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed
Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist

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Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at


Entrepreneur Encounters: Donna Sneed

I recently joined an online group of female entrepreneurs, and I've loved getting acquainted with them. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Donna Sneed, owner of SDS Solutions.

Welcome, Donna!

Tell us about your business.

I am the CEO of SDS Solutions, a virtual call center company, partnering with independent contractors who provide professional customer service to major Fortune 500 companies – from the comfort of their own homes.

How did you get started in this business?  

My husband is the pastor of our church which is located in a very deprived area of our city.  For quite some time, we’ve been trying to figure out what we can do to help some of the people in our community bring in some revenue into their homes. 

A lot of the families don’t have transportation, which can be difficult to get and maintain a job. 

We had an opportunity to host a job fair at our church and with the help of advertisement via the local news, more than 150 people showed up to find out more about how they can work from home.  This helped us to make up our minds to pursue starting our call center with hopes of helping families who cannot leave their homes for one reason or another, earn revenue to take care of their families.

I did some research for several months and we made the decision to go for it so we launched SDS Solutions, LLC.

What's your biggest challenge as a small business owner?   

My biggest challenge is helping people change their mindset to believe these opportunities to work from home are real and with some discipline, they can be very successful – setting their own hours and working for themselves.


Share a story with us about a specific moment in your business that changed you or made a difference somehow in what you do.   

There’s something that puts a smile on my heart every single time and that is hearing the excitement in the voices of young women who have struggled for many years.  These women get so excited hearing they can be their own boss and spend more time with their families – all while earning revenue doing what they enjoy!  Every time I hear their excitement about these opportunities, I smile because it has been and will always be my desire to help people be successful.  To help someone get up from what they have considered to be a place of defeat is so important to my husband and me.  We believe communities are made better when families are strong and strong families start with strong individuals who believe in themselves.

Connect with Donna on the Web:

Facebook ~ SDS Professionals 
Twitter ~ SDS Companies  
SDS Solutions, LLC 

About the Entrepreneur:

Donna Sneed is a Pastor’s Wife, Mother of six daughters, Grandmother and Entrepreneur.  She has been employed full-time for the Department of the Navy for over 31 years.  During this time, she has gained invaluable knowledge through extensive training at Georgia Military College, Valdosta State University, and the Defense Acquisition University which helped to develop entrepreneurial skills which equipped her to start and operate a publishing company.  She has authored and published a prayer/study guide and founded the Christian magazine entitled, “Character Magazine.”  Recently, she launched a virtual call center to give families the opportunity to work from home.





Recent Posts:

Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham
Entrepreneur Encounters: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.




Friday, April 6, 2018

Meet the Artist: Dayna Bickham

I love how my life overlaps into different categories on a daily basis. I met today's featured artist through an entrepreneur group, then I learned she's an author, too. Please give a big welcome to artist Dayna Bickham.

Dayna, share with us the kind of art you create.

Abstract expressionism:




How did you get started creating this particular type of art?

My friends were art journaling in their Bibles. I too wanted to express my relationship with God artistically, but could not seem to do so in the same way everyone else was. Stickers, drawing and painting in my Bible was not fun for me. I talked with a friend about my lack of drawing skills and my desire to be artistic and she encouraged me to pick up a paint brush. Three years later I am creating art nearly every day and it has become more than a time of devotion. Many of my pieces reflect my emotions, thoughts, or times of worship. It is often a ministry to share my process as much as my art.

Tell us the story behind one of your favorite creations.

A friend of mine told me once that she did not like my work. I laughed and assured her that was okay, not everyone likes all art. I went on to explain that art needed to evoke
feeling and connect with the viewer. It was okay if mine did not connect with her. Fast forward several months (and after her home was hit by the POST Harvey flooding south of Houston) the Lord told her to ask me to paint something for her home. SHE DID NOT WANT TO ASK ME TO PAINT AT ALL. She did and after I laughed, (I am not perfect by any means!) I said yes. She asked if I could worship and paint to a particular song and of course I agreed. The song, "Peace, Be Still" by Lauren Daigle, (The Belonging Co) evoked images of ocean waves and moonlit nights. I wanted to convey the crash of waves and the stillness of the in-between moments of inhale and exhale. I did not charge for this large painting - (30" x 40") but instead gave it as a gift for her house warming. Her reaction was priceless. Needless to say, she loves my art now and even sees herself in the painting, floating in the waters, not worried at all about the wind and the waves of life. (I put her face in the picture near the top so I was super glad she saw it!)


Connect with Dayna on the Web:

Facebook ~ Dayna Bickham University
Facebook ~ Dayna Bickham Author
Instagram


About the Artist:

Dayna is an avid adventurer who writes, paints, and lives life out loud. Her passion for people leads her on mission trips around the world and into her own back yard. Her art is a business in itself, but she also teaches people to connect with their inner abstract artist and to embrace creativity in all its forms. Dayna never lets fear or circumstances keep her from moving forward because she follows after the ONE who makes all things work together for good. What is there to fear in that?





Recent Posts:

Meet the Entrepreneur: Marnye Young
Meet the Artist: Sarah Annerton
Entrepreneur Encounters: Zach Bolton
Meet the Artist: Patricia AZ Phillips
Entrepreneur Encounters: Dottie Coffman
Patron of the Arts
Meet the Artist: Mark Spivey 
Just Because You Can ...
Meet the Artist: Corinne Danzl
Meet the Artist: Krystine Kercher
Our Trip to La Jolla
Dreaming of Vacation?
My Inner Artist


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Come join Tracy's journey through the screenwriting and art worlds at






Come visit Tracy's TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.