Category: Spirituality

What fear is holding you back?

Lately, I’ve been thinking alot about fear. I’m beginning to realize that it’s not an acceptable topic for adults to talk about. It seems like unless it’s a major crisis in someone’s life (death, illness, tragedy, etc) our sense of fear (anxiety) is not considered realistic. I don’t understand this because we all experience some fear in our lives.

Some people are fear junkies who live on the edge of life, jumping out of planes or climbing high mountains. Surely, they experience fear, because one false move could end their lives and they know it. These are hyper-adrenalin seekers. We view them differently because they do things so extreme, with apparently no fear. They are super-human. We might even ask them if they’re scared. They laugh with casual response like its nothing to walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.

But what about the fear of making a change or doing something out of the ordinary for yourself? We often allow these “milder” fears to stop us in our tracks and give up on our plans.  Sometimes it’s scary to move on with a project, so why not just give up? We can settle back into our “comfort” zone and just ignore the desire which set us into thinking about a new opportunity.

I think it’s important to be open about our fears and discover why they may stop us. Sometimes we fear the unknown. Other times it might be fear of failure, success, or a simply fear of change. Generally, none of these fears are usually life threatening, but we allow them to cripple us from moving forward. Why is that?

What’s worse is when we speak of these fears, they’re acknowledged as trivial… “Oh honey, that’s nothing to be afraid about.”

I feel fear about some of the decisions I’ve made with my art. Recently, talking with some other artists, I realized I’m not alone. If we all experience it, why don’t we talk about it.

Fear can be a healthy part of self-development. For me, fear usually will either make me give up or make me fight harder. It all depends on my passion for the project and my desire to overcome the anxiety. I’m the only one who can decide. So, what fear is holding you back?


Who you are

And now the journey continues as I start preparing for the new year. So many great things on my agenda for early 2019. I feel very fortunate.

Before I get to 2019 (just a few weeks away), I’m working on obligations that need to be completed in 2018. Busy. Staying focused. In the past it was easy for me to jump from one thing to another, but I always felt like I was behind. I’ve decided that the new mission needs to be focusing on completing a task and then moving on to the next.

I did this with success this year as I put focus on the solo show. It has given me a body of work that I’m proud of. Without committing to this, I would never have gotten here. So this week, the plan is to finish another task. I have several proposals/submissions that I need to completed. One at a time they will get done. This is the best way for me to move forward. If two tasks can be combined into one, than that’s an extra bonus.

I am constantly reminded to be true to who I am; to include my values, goals and limits. Each life experience teaches me to listen to myself and learn. Are you listening to your inner voice?  Do you really know who you are?

Happy Holidays

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. As I reflect on this year, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I was able to accomplish 2 dreams; getting work published in my favorite magazine and having a solo exhibit.

This year also offered a lot things that created stressors.  I am thankful that we survived 2 hurricanes with very, very minimal impact. Some of my friends were not so lucky and countless others, who I don’t know personally, experienced major loss from weather, fire and other events.

I am thankful to have so people in my life who support and encourage me. I’ve been reminded this year, how important it is to support those around you. A simple gesture of support can mean a lot to someone who is going through a difficult time.

I’m thankful for you reading my blog and following my journey. I hope by sharing my stories, you find ideas that you will connect to. My goal is to encourage you to embrace your creative side and to stay proactive even when you may be struggling. By dreaming the big dreams and embracing the power you hold inside, exciting things can happen.

I appreciate you! Have a joy filled Thanksgiving and happy holidays . . . Namaste!


As Nature Speaks, a dialog with an art quilter
Featuring the artwork of Nanette S. Zeller
Closes Saturday, Nov 24, 2018
Page-Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, NC
119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, NC 27513

Call ahead to check gallery availability (919) 460-4963

Be more mindful

Are you breathing? How do you know? Did you just check to see if you were breathing?

This is called being mindful. When you check in with your breathe, you are becoming aware of the current moment in time. Sometimes, I forget to check in. Usually when that happens, I realize the stress is also piling on.

The last few days, I have been busy stitching on this sunflower quilt (pictured). Did you know that’s a form of mindfulness too? When I do repetitive stitchwork (e.g, thread painting/quilting), I put my focus on making the stitches … well at least until I run out of thread. Drats!

I’m doing a lot of stitching on this sunflower, but its turning out to be a quick project and enjoyable. After the last two, this is a very nice change of pace. How I’m creating it is not a new process for me (“Soar” was created the same way). Its definitely not layer and layer of steps to create it (like the last 2). Mostly, I’m just stitching, so there’s less thinking about what I need to do next.

And so, what is next? For this quilt, I need to choose the color of thread to quilt the blue background fabric. Choices … choices. Which reminds me … just like life, I get to choose. I think I’ll choose to be more mindful.

As Nature Speaks, a dialog with an art quilter
Featuring the artwork of Nanette S. Zeller
Oct 11- Nov 24, 2018
Page-Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, NC




Live a little longer

I dabble in genealogy and really find connection with a Mexican tradition called the “three deaths.” Our first death is when our bodies cease to function. The second death is when our body is lowered into the ground. And the 3rd death is when our name is spoken for the last time.

Last week I wrote about my curiosity regarding the longevity of my art quilts. In that post, I was basically contemplating the three deaths , not some unrealistic concern about becoming famous. As I do genealogy, I love discovering a relative who’s been dead a very long time. I sense that when I find them, that they’ve been resurrected.

For me after I’m forgotten, I hope every so often there’s a quilt or 2 hiding somewhere which resurrects itself (me). Realistically, textiles are a very fragile medium to work with. There are so many factors which can destroy them into piles of thread and dust. As I prepare for my solo exhibit later this year, I’m thinking about what this all means … to be making things.

I’m near completion of a piece I’ve been working on for awhile and it struck me that there are things getting buried during the construction. I’ve added a lot of thread painting to this piece. This week, when it was time to quilt it, I had to cover up the back-side of the stitching. It amazed me to see how my stitching created its own art piece.

It makes me think that maybe, this process of creating can also experience it’s own stages of life and three deaths. My thread painting was once an active part of the process, but that is over now and buried behind layers of fibers. When you see the finished piece, the thread work does not take center stage as is does on the back. It becomes blended into the layers of fabric, color and quilting. This secondary art piece I unintentionally created is likely never to be seen again. So, I thought maybe if I leave it’s picture here, it might live a little longer.


That’s OK

These human-created ideas of time elude me. Sometimes I feel like I’m just whirling through the galaxy. Occasionally, I’ll stop and think, “What happened to April?” or “Is today really Wednesday … already?” or “Did I really just spend 3 hours doing bookkeeping?”

In my life, I’ve experienced days that feel like they just would not end. Occasionally, that’s because the situation is horrible and I just want to move on. Other times, its because I realize I did a ton of things and notice there’s still plenty more time to continue enjoying the day. Ahhhh, … time … sometimes I love you and sometimes I hate you.

What challenges my acceptance is when I know I’m working non-stop, yet, have little to show for it. I guess we all want to see quick results, but I know that’s not reality. Today, I look at the scraps on my cutting board and see the energy laying there. The bits remind me to accept that time moves slow. I know eventually I’ll be on to something new. For now, it just is and that’s OK.


Take time to listen

We’re living in unsettling times. There are so many things that seem uncertain, upsetting and chaotic. If we seek balance amongst the chaos, we have to look inward.

The only thing we can change is ourselves. So when dealing with troubling times, maybe its as simple as seeking a different perspective or just seeing the good things around you. Find the calm within you, because its there.

My looking inward has me focusing on the fire in my belly. What gives me motivation and inspiration? Answer: my art. I can sit here waiting for the uncertainty to resolve itself, or I can keep moving.

Right now, I’m working on a songbird series which brings me joy. To keep the inspiration going, I stop and make a bird between larger projects or when I get artistically stuck. Up next in the series is the Eastern Towhee. They make me smile when I see them foraging in my yard. The male bird tells us to “drink your tea” or some say he just says his name “Tow-hee.” Either way you hear him, just take some time to listen.

Gathered along the way.

In a couple days, we’ll be at the official end of summer. For me, it’s been a long one filled with a lot of good things. I got to spend a few days at the beach and I worked on an exciting professional opportunity. This opportunity presented me with 2 deadlines. One was at the end of July and the other was this week. I look back on the days and I’m proud of my accomplishments. High-five to me, I did it! I also realize I enjoy what I was doing. Now I have to figure out how to continue with this momentum.

Over the next couple months, I’ll be working to make changes with my professional journey. After a year+ hiatus from teaching, I’ve decided to get back into it. I’m going to be approaching it all differently this time. I want to share my enthusiasm for “art” quilting and encourage other’s who feel the cravings like I did when I first started this journey.

I’m going to use the motivation of my summer deadlines, to continue moving forward. Using the symbolism of my bee friend, I will continue to explore the possibilities while remembering to enjoy life’s nectar, to work hard on my goals, and to share the information that I’ve gathered along the way.

Make sense of the world

What were you doing on Monday, August 21, 2017? Did you get to see the eclipse?

I felt lucky to live 3 hours from Columbia, SC. This was a site of totality where the moon would cover the sun 100% for several minutes. It didn’t work out for me to be in this path, but I did get to see it as it crossed my neighborhood at about 96%.

Talking with people who witnessed it, some felt that it didn’t live up to the hype. I’m one of those who felt otherwise. I sensed something more in the air Monday afternoon. I cannot describe the vibes I was feeling. I was aware that during the apex the cicada’s became very loud and seemed in synch with their melody. I was, unfortunately, in a place where young children were playing and their sounds drowned out other details I might have detected. It didn’t get too dark here, but everything had this strange color. It seemed like I was wearing cheap brown sunglasses (cue: ZZtop).

Things seemed eerily surreal to me. Having experienced this, I can understand how ancient civilizations could have been confused and even scared. Before scientific study of the planets, we couldn’t predict anything to this level of accuracy. I might never have known the exact time of day I needed to be peering at the sky. This is why I love science and use it for creating my art. It helps me make sense of the world.

Have the opportunity again

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Herdon, Virginia to be part of the Sacred Threads Artist Weekend. Sacred Threads is an art quilt exhibit held every other year which focuses on the spiritual side of making quilts. For this juried exhibit, artists were asked to submit quilts with statements that explain their story.

This was my first time entering this exhibit. To my great honor, my quilt “Soar” was accepted.

It’s always a treat to visit the exhibits where my quilts hang, but this time things were different. The emotional energy that’s in the building can’t be explained. Most quilt exhibits, you look at a quilt and move on, but in this exhibit you’re compelled to read the stories. More than once I was moved to tears reading the artist’s intent. Lisa Ellis and her team of volunteers also produce an audio tour of stories told by the artists and there’s the book, a big book, of all the quilts and artist statements. I didn’t have time to read all the statements while I was there, but I did buy the book and plan to read every one. I had the most fun, stalking fellow artists and asking them to autograph my book. It gave me a reason to have dialog with these talented people and personally learn about their artistic motivation.

During the weekend event, there was a special gallery viewing in which the artists stood by their quilts and talked about their art. Due to the traffic flow of show, I found my best observation point to be across from my quilt. I enjoyed the opportunity to observe people’s reaction to my piece. I had a great vantage point to see people’s reaction without them knowing I was there. I found that a lot of men were attracted to “Soar’s” large osprey wing. That intrigued me. Was it the size? Visual impact? Or that it didn’t look like a traditional quilt? I didn’t ask, but its an interesting tidbit for me. If you have the time to visit this week, I encourage you to go. If not, it will be 2 years before we have the opportunity again.


SEE MY QUILT “Soar” at the 
Sacred Threads Exhibition
July 7, 2017 – July 23, 2017
Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA