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05/23/2010


So my Happy Spirit Can Prevail • by Kelly Warren


I have been blessed with a happy spirit. Sure, everyone has her share of struggles, and I’ve had mine. My parents have had five marriages and divorces between the two of them, my mother attempted suicide and then a year later did take her own life, and I miscarried twins two days after losing her. But I’ve found that even through all that, I’ve remained a pretty happy spirit. I attribute some of it to those very events. The one lesson that has stuck with me through all of that is one that rests squarely on my shoulders: I am the only person responsible for my happiness. Just me. No one else. I believe that happiness is a choice, regardless of your circumstances.

Art Forms Emerge
When I look back over those times in my life, I realize that what kept me focused was art, in whatever form it took at the time. As a kid, I was into any craft I could get my hands on. In addition to being a wonderfully talented seamstress, my Nana was also a ceramics artist and had her own business selling her ceramics for years. She taught me to sew and she taught me to create dozens of whimsical little ceramics pieces. After my parents divorced in 1978, Mom and Nana introduced me to needlepoint. I was 12. From there I discovered cross-stitch and embroidery. And music ... still yet another art form. I started playing piano then and play still today, 32 years later. I realize now that through each major event I’ve experienced in my life, another art form emerged. In high school and all through college, I wrote, pouring my experiences into long detailed essays and journal entries to get everything out. Through the power of the written word, I rid myself of any sadness I experienced so that my happy spirit could prevail. I didn’t dwell on why things happened. I accepted them for the lessons they could give me and then released them. After my mother’s death, I recorded a CD, using music as my therapy, which led me to add guitar to my artistic endeavors. To this day, I still very much have an “it is what it is” attitude. Why not just make the best of what it is, whatever “it” happens to be? I believe that life is far too important to be taken too seriously.

A Place to Create Happiness
When my twin girls were born in 2003, my artistic side really started taking center stage. I started creating jewelry, simply because I wanted a mother’s bracelet commemorating my girls’ birth. From there, I got hooked on jewelry design and Happy Shack Designs was born. Since I started my business six years ago, I’ve expanded my art to include my long-lost love of photography, and I’m now delving more and more into mixed-media art. But even before I incorporated my business, I had dreams of having a happy little shack where all sorts of creativity took place … place where people could come together to create art and share stories and make their own happiness ... a place where they, too, could discover that happiness is, in fact, a choice. And from that dream, The Purple Cottage was born. I’m now combining my love for art with the experiential education skills I’ve learned in my career as the coordinator of student life and leadership development at a large four-year college here in Florida.

Helping Me Save Myself
This is where I believe art has the power to save. From my own experiences, I’ve learned that art cannot only be an escape, but it can also be the salve that heals and the glue that mends. Through the simple act of creating art, in all its many forms, I believe you can create your own happiness and build your self-confidence. Has art saved me? Honestly, I can’t really say that for sure. What I can say for certain is that art helped me save myself. My wish is to use those lessons to empower others to do the same.

To learn more about Kelly Warren, visit happyshackdesigns.com or purplecottageretreats.blogspot.com

Comments

Kelly, I'm so glad that you've landed in a good place. Your positive outlook along with your amazing ability to adjust is admirable.

You have beautiful work! You did a great job of turning tragedy into triumph! :)

~Kim

So many Artists might have taken the same tragedies and used their Art to dwell on them. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you use your Art as a vehicle to help that beautiful, happy spirit shine through the challenges and struggles of life. What a beautiful story you have. I am so happy you shared it so eloquently...and I am honored to share the guest curatorship with you this week.

All the best!

Big hugs,
Connie

Kelly, Your story is powerful, to persevere, no matter what! Happiness is a personal, inside job only you can discover what it is you need to do to heal, move on and find the sunshine, again. I am admire your strength to continue onward and
let your light shine! Your outlook is positive and contagious!
Congrats on your business, the journey and beautiful twin girls~

happy is the first word i would have chosen to describe you, kelly!! wonderful tribute to how a happy heart and strong will can prevail. ((hugs)) julie

I LOVE your happy attitude! Regardless of what happens in our lives, it is what we make of it that means the most! And look at the goodness you've enjoyed and created... two beautiful girls, the retreats you've dreamed of, and two wonderful businesses! You go girl!

Kelly, you have such a moving story--I realize now more than ever why so many are drawn to you including me. I've always liked your positive attitude and admired your talent. But your spirit, that's where you really shine. Your positive attitude and perseverance against even the darkest moments really shine with everything you touch. Here's to many many many more years of moving forward and discovering all the good in the world. Life is too short to treat it any other way!

Becky, so nice to see you here! I'm glad we've found each other recently!

Kim!! Thanks for popping over! I'm hoping to meet you in person soon! We'll be down in your area in a couple weeks! :-)

Connie, so glad to have finally connected with you. Looking forward to our chats. :-)

Ellie...I love that your brother called your Ella. :-) Thanks for your sweet words. I love how your phrased it: "Happiness is a personal inside job." Yep!

Julie, my sweet friend! Thanks for popping over here today.

Dede, so nice to "meet" you and thanks for your comments. I've admired your art in several Somerset publications!

Jodi, thanks so much for your sweet comments and well wishes. As you know, I too, often love visiting your blog!

I adore you Kelly!!! What a great story. Your happy outlook and upbeat attitude always makes me smile! I'm so blessed to know you!!

xo,
Carmen

I adore you Kelly! Your happy outlook and upbeat attitude always make me smile. I'm so blessed to know you!

xo,

Carmen

as always, you shining beacon! i'm right there with you, creativity is much more than an outlet or something to keep your hands busy. it's what connects us to our deeper selves and with the rest of the world.

Kelly,
What a beautiful story. Like you, I have learned that you have to accept "what is" and move on past that reality instead of dwelling in it. Art gives you the power needed for the strength to move on.
xo
jeanne

You have a powerful story Kelly. Your spirit and positive creative energy is contagious! You are an inspiration and I am so happy to meet you and learn about how you became you!
:) Laura

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