I'm excited to be working with the wonderful people at Flagology.com. Flagology is passionate about bringing your favorite photos and designs to life with completely customizable flags. With hundreds of design templates to choose from, you can create a one-of-a-kind flag in minutes.
The entire concept for their personalized flag company started with a very special mixed breed dog, Bella, who needed a flag just as unique as she is. Because every great dog photo, cat photo, family photo (or any other photo you love) deserves a one-of-a-kind flag, they offer completely customizable flags with a variety of design options, so you can make your outdoor décor uniquely yours!
I've been designing flags for them for a while but am excited that they just created a page where people can go find all my designs in one place! > www.flagology.com
– Tara Reed
With a few months of distance it's interesting to reflect on the past year and the things I've learned.
If I had to draw it, it would look like the letter U – the descent being the last months of watching my dad deteriorate and figuring out how to support and stay connected to him, how to support my mom who was losing her best friend and husband of 54 years and how to navigate the personal grief and loss.
The bottom of the U would be August through October – the initial loss and figuring out what life's new-normal looked like.
The ascent, or coming out of this stage of our lives, began in November when my mom, sister, brother and I went to London for a week – my dad's final request. He wasn't from England but always loved the country and all the history of Astronomy that was there.
I'm usually not a New Year's Resolution person or a person who decides everything will be different with the changing of the calendar from December to January. But this year was a little different…
Once again I have discovered that I'm a “happy artist” – I'm creative and inspired when I'm happy. 2016 was honestly the least productive new-art year I've had since I started my business. I'm happy to report that the inspiration is again flowing and I'm excited to be playing with some new styles and designs for the art licensing market.
I started my business in the throes of divorce in 2004. I remember a friend saying, “I can't wait to see what you create! Everyone knows the best artists are those that are suffering or have mental health issues…” Maybe that applies to some of the classics like VanGogh but it certainly doesn't hold true for me!
Grief has no timeline – everyone's process is different. I thought it would be easier than it has been since I had been pre-grieving the loss of my dad for over 5 years… it hasn't proven to be the case. As I did through the Alzheimer's Journey, I'm being kind to myself and doing my best to be patient with the process. (Patience isn't always my #1 virtue!)
– Tara Reed
P.S. If you want to learn more about my dad and his passing, click here to read my blog post on my Pivot to Happy website that helps families dealing with dementia and Alzheimer's.
My son graduated from Boston University on May 13, 2016. So proud of him!
This boy and I, we've had an amazing ride for the past 22+ years! Great weekend celebrating him.
I did really well in the tear department! But I'm sure when he leaves Portland in June it will be a different story (yup! Just typing that got me teared up!)
But this has been my job and I'm pretty darn happy with the results! Than you to everyone who has been along for the ride and supported us!
He and some friends had an open house for their families and used plates and napkins I designed. Love that I got a graduation license this year in particular!
when I began in 2004, I was recently divorced & wanted to work from home for him.
He’s been my art critic, my biggest supporter and by my side through this journey. It’s hard to believe that he is graduating from COLLEGE and that after 11 consecutive years at SURTEX, I won’t be in a booth.
See you next year…
– Tara Reed
Today I was listening to episode 12 of Elizabeth Gilbert's Magic Lessons Podcast. Listening to her and Brene Brown talk about the importance of creativity. How much being told your creativity doesn't matter or isn't good enough or… or… or… can hamper us.
And it's not about being able to draw well, sing well, sculpt well… it's about DOING and enjoying. If you love it or are inspired to do it, DO IT.
Does that mean that if you are inspired there is a magical universal net that is going to catch you and make sure you make a living, can pay your bills, go on an amazing vacation, etc? No. Does it mean the net won't appear? No. It may or may not.
“I don't jump and leap for the landing, I jump for the experience in the air.” – Brene Brown
The price of letting what others think about your creativity is too high – no matter what. If it speaks to you, go for it in some way to some level.
Have a listen – http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/magic-lessons/ (go to episode 12)
I've had this book on my “to get & to read” list for a while and after listening today, it's in the mail and on the way to me!
Here's to allowing yourself whatever creative freedom and exploration you want in your life!
– Tara Reed
P.S. If you don't have the book yet, click here to find it on Amazon. [aff link]
My hand painted alphabet and definitions have been such a hit that I have had a few requests for journals. A big fan of notebooks and journaling myself I loved the idea and it is now a reality!
100 lined pages let you use these journals in any way you want. They have a matte finish and qualify for Amazon Prime shipping. Get them for yourself or they would make a great gift to encourage others.
Find these, other journals and books I've written and created on my Amazon Author Page > amazon.com/author/tarareed
Now go create up an amazing day!
– Tara Reed
Every year I pick a word to represent the year ahead… last year I got a “cease & desist” from an attorney for my word – it was THAT powerful! (Sorry – won't tell you – don't want that to pop up in my life again!) This year after a bit of journaling and reflection, I've chosen ALLOW as my word for 2016. So many unexpected things happened and shifted in 2015 and so many things are still in flux for 2016… I find myself wanting to control them, to find a crystal ball, to KNOW how it will play out. But life doesn't work that way. We have to do the work and release attachment to the outcome. I've decided I need to work on my ability to trust and ALLOW things to unfold in the way they are meant to.
Allowing doesn't mean you don't have opinions, that you don't react, pivot and work to make things happen that make you happy. It doesn't mean you are a victim – it means you don't battle. You don't fight, you notice.
You look at the circumstances of your day, week, month, etc and you get curious. What brought this about? How do I want to react, if I want to react at all? Do I want to participate in this or not? Does what I see / feel / hear make me happy or something less than that? How can I PIVOT – can I change my circumstances, my attitude or both?
When I chose ALLOW as my word it is to remind me to be more peaceful with the process. To not pre-worry about things that may or usually may not come to pass. To do my work and see what happens. See who shows up and what evolves. I'm excited to see where my word and my work will take me!
What word have you or would you choose for the new year?
Whatever it is, I wish you grand adventures, lots of fun, laughter and happiness. I also hope you remember to PIVOT your focus when you aren't feeling these things so you can get back to what life is meant to be!
– Tara Reed
P.S. You might also like my information about Embracing Change Even If You Really Don't Want To… that is over on my Pivot to Happy website
You may or may not know that my father has Alzheimer's… it has been a long and twisting journey. Now, he has been in a Memory Care Home for over 2 1/2 years… we never in our wildest dreams did we expect the end of his life to be like this. My dad was a highly intelligent man who used his brain extensively… he wasn't overweight. He exercised. He had none of the basic risk factors… but sometimes you just don't know why or how these things happen and when they do, you need to figure out how to surrender and figure things out. (I'm not the best at surrender – I prefer to take action, figure things out and control what I can.)
What you can control is how you react to it. How you grieve. How overwhelmed you become and stay. How much you question and blame and how you decide to proceed.
It's a painful process – to watch someone you love slowly slip away. To deal with the behaviors that are so incongruent to who they have been. The “new normal” is rarely better than what they were. It's a minefield that no one fully gets until they are on the ground.
As you move through “the journey” as I like to call it, you can always look back with 20/20 hindsight and “shoulda, coulda, woulda'd”. I should have done this… oh had we only know we could have made this easier… I wish I would have done ______.
But know that if you are on this journey that you will do the best you can in a stressful situation. Just as I have done and am doing.
I've decided to write about my experience so that others can learn from my 20/20 hindsight. I've been helping others individually but am feeling drawn to do it in a bigger way. That begins with my book – What to Do Between the Tears. BETWEEN is the key word – there will and should be tears. You need to let yourself grieve and release the stress. But in between – when you can stop and think from the logical side of your brain – there are things to be done.
Read on to learn more about the book. Then I invite you to my other website for more information and resources – PivotToHappy.com/alz
“What to Do Between the Tears… A Practical Guide to Dealing with a Dementia or Alzheimer’s Diagnosis in the Family” by Tara Reed is the result of the extensive research Tara performed while developing the best caregiving solutions to lovingly address her father’s needs as he progresses through the evolution of his Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.
This easy to follow guide is a compilation of the professional advice, guidance and critical information Tara selectively pieced together from the countless doctors, care home managers, articles, support groups and classes she encountered in her journey for the optimum solutions to provide her father the best care possible and to prepare herself and her family for the road ahead.
This wonderful guide offers a framework to work through the decisions you will face and how to find the happy moments and joy in your new reality. Tara sprinkles personal stories throughout the book to illustrate the points.
Feedback from a pre-release copy:
“I stayed up and read your book from cover to cover …. WOW! Heartbreaking about your dad, I felt like I was going through it with you. In a way I am, as my mom is in the ‘recently diagnosed’ phase. I can now envision what I (and my dad) will be going through — and what I need to do PRONTO! The planner in me is about to come out and guide him more effectively!” – Penny S.
126 pages, 5.25 x 8″, softbound
Filled with links to articles and online resources
– Tara Reed
P.S. If you need help navigating this journey, register for my webinar – A Lifeline for Families with Alzheimer’s. You don’t have to go through this alone…
My son and I had a very creative house… it was just the two of us from the time he was in 4th grade through his high school graduation in 2012. His dad and I had divorced and we lived on opposite coasts for years. While I built my art business, my son learned to play the electric guitar. Later he became passionate about producing music and in addition to a double emphasis in Marketing and Operations Management, he's been working towards a minor in music. (AND he will graduate in 4 years!)
He was featured on the blog Mad Music and I just had to share. It's a mother's right after all…
You can find him online as “Cowp Music” – on Facebook and other places.
Follow your dreams and encourage others to do the same! Cheering you on Kyle!
– Tara Reed
I moved to Oregon (the first time) back in 1994. I immediately fell in love with the Made in Oregon stores. So many fun and amazing products, all made in or by people who lived in Oregon. When I started my career as an artist, I dared to dream of one day having my work in the stores too…
And writing that sentence made me feel old… but I'm going to let that unproductive float on through and focus on the accomplishment!
All 10 stores now carry my Color Yourself Happy coloring book and journals so if you live in or find yourself in Oregon, pop on in and grab a few! The coloring book isn't just another coloring book, it is part of Pivot To Happy – another passion of mine. At PivotToHappy.com where we share skills and techniques to help people PIVOT (from fear, sadness, anxiety, anger, you name it) TO HAPPY. The more you consciously practice, the faster you will recover from life’s setbacks. Coloring is one way to change your perspective and focus!
Each page includes arrows to represent pivoting – one definition of “pivot” is “to whirl about on one foot”. Even if you can’t change your physical circumstances, you can always try to pivot your perspective. As a fun reminder, there are three arrows in each and every illustration – some are big and easy to spot and others are smaller and pretty well hidden!
In addition to the arrows, every picture has the word happy somewhere in it. Just like life, sometimes it is large and easy to spot and other times it is small and hidden. No matter the size, there is always a little happy to be found!
I hope this is the beginning of my relationship with Made in Oregon – I'm an Oregonian by choice and proud to be in their stores!
– Tara Reed
P.S. If you love to color, I have a monthly eMail where you can sign up and get a new design to print and color each month! Head to PivotToHappy.com/free-coloring/ to sign up!