As an author, I consider myself an introspective person.

introspective: adjective  \  in·tro·spec·tive  \ ˌin-trə-ˈspek-tiv 
characterized by examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings: thoughtfully reflective: employing, marked by, or tending to

Being introspective is part of what makes me tick. It helps me grow personally and in the craft of writing. I accomplish this a few ways: daily intentional alone time (I get up early for God, coffee, and to be alone), journaling my thoughts and prayers which also includes brainstorming, jogging/walking/hiking, or taking a drive.

What I discover about myself through prayer and introspection, I use as fodder for my writing whether fiction, Bible study, poetry, or songs. Afterall, a good story has lots of ups, downs, twist, good, evil, humor, to name a few. When I’m in touch with my own emotions and how circumstances, hardships, joys, and relationships affect my perspective, it makes for some more realistic stories. This practice also helps me be more empathetic toward others and to grow closer to God.

Although I consider writing an art, I don’t consider myself “artsy.” I’ve never been great at drawing or painting —unless you count doodling. So, when my dear friend, Sue Robson invited me to be a part of a heART coaching workshop with the help of her friend, mixed media artist, Lynn Richards—I was a bit resistant (heart coaching uses ART). And I didn’t even know what mixed media art was!

Sue Robson is a Professional Certified Life Coach. I trust her and I have benefited from her coaching. In case you’ve ever wondered what a Life Coach is, here’s a description from Sue:

“Life coaching is a process that helps facilitate movement between where we are in life to where we want to be. It involves examining what is going on right now, clarifying what it is you want,  identifying obstacles that might get in the way and choosing a course of action to get where you want to go.  All of this works together to create a preferred future.”

Sue said I didn’t need to be crafty or artsy to do the workshop. Plus, the theme of the workshop was Word of the Year. I believe strongly in the power of choosing one word (see my previous post). So, I decided to give heART coaching a shot. Just in case you’re wondering, my word of the year is: WARRIOR.

My twenty-two-year-old, daughter, Charity and I attended a “heARt Coaching: Word of the Year Workshop” yesterday. I must admit, I had my reservations. How can making a picture of your word of the year be that helpful?


Charity and I outside of the studio with our art piece.

The heART coaching workshop took place at Lynn Richard’s lovely art studio. Sue does the life coaching portion and Lynn helps guide participants in the art portion. They work together as a great team.

Lynn’s studio is situated on a bluff with a breathtaking view of the quaint city of Redlands, CA. Participants start by getting name tags, worksheets, and snacks (I like that part!). It was a perfect 75 degrees on a sunny California day in January, so the group of women proceeded out to the shaded patio to sip coffee and tea while Sue and Lynn introduce themselves.


Charity working on her art.

When introductions were done, Sue explained about heART coaching and why it can be a powerful tool.

“We take coaching and art then combine them to create a space to explore the deeper things,” said Sue. “Out of the heart flow the issues of life. This means that real and lasting transformation is a result of heart work,” Sue said.

She goes on to say that the workshops are not therapy.  They are for women who want to grow and move forward in life. They are for those brave enough to take an honest look at what’s working for them and what’s not. She tells us that choosing a word for the year acts like a compass or GPS that can serve by helping you self-correct when you get off course.

“You know yourself better than we do. So, we have worksheets for you to fill out and we will be asking questions and helping you design strategies not giving answers. We believe this is the most powerful way to learn.”

Sue and Lynn gave us an opportunity to fill out our worksheets. This was a helpful tool because it asked me things I didn’t know to ask myself. Here is an example of some of the questions:

  • Name three character traits or qualities (one-word descriptions) you want this year.
  • Think about living as the person you want to be in 2018—your BEST self—and answer the following: What’s the condition of your heart? What qualities and character traits are you embodying? How are you interacting with those you love?
  • Saying goodbye to 2017: I am releasing____________. I am celebrating__________. I am closing the chapter of ________. One lesson I learned over the last year is__________.

After more discussion and help choosing our word of the year (if we didn’t have one), we proceeded to the art studio where we each had all the supplies that would be needed to create our mixed media art piece. Oh, a little about that. Mixed media is a visual art form that combines a variety of media in a single artwork. For example, if you draw with ink, then paint over it with watercolors, then add some highlights in colored pencil and use other textures like fabric—that’s mixed media!


Sue and Lynn teaching the workshop.

Sue says that art is a great way to unlock what’s in the heart. And you know what? It’s true. Charity and I were both surprised at how meaningful it was. Not only did we do some self-introspection, but we also shared with others who were on the journey. And Lord knows, we need fellow sojourners on this journey of life!

Now we have a really cool reminder and a piece of art to hang on our wall that commemorates our time while serving as a compass when we get off course!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below:

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