Viewing entries tagged
raising kids

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Getting to Know Your Child

Laurel, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Laurel, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Some portrait artists work from photographs others have taken, but I don't. Getting to know the child I paint is a very important part of my process, and I couldn't create a portrait without it.

Actually, it's my mission to help children feel loved and valued for who they are by capturing their personality. I can't do that if I haven't met them!

I recently completed this commission for a family in Memphis of their daughter, Laurel. Laurel is five years old and the youngest in her family. She's sweet, thoughtful, and polite. It's clear she was ready to have her portrait hang alongside her brother and sister's:)

My time spent with the children helps make the portrait better. Plus, it's just more fun. When I go back to my studio to paint, I draw on my experience of being with that child plus the pictures I take. It makes for a richer, more life-like portrait. 

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A Young Mom Blossoms at Lifehouse Houston

Blossom and Kimori, charcoal on paper

Blossom and Kimori, charcoal on paper

Recently I was approached by a friend to help raise money for Lifehouse, a Christian ministry in Houston that helps moms in crisis by providing housing for them and their unborn child. Many of the young women at Lifehouse have been victims of abuse and sex trafficing.

This October Lifehouse is celebrating thirty years and I’m excited to be a part of it. When my friend asked me to donate a portrait, I told her I actually don’t donate my work. It wouldn’t be fair to the collectors who’ve paid full-price. I would, however, love to honor one of the moms at Lifehouse with a portrait to raise awareness for this great cause.

That mom’s name is Blossom and her daughter is Kimori. Blossom is the first college graduate from Lifehouse who has a salaried job and is saving for her first car.

Blossom says Lifehouse has helped equip her to be a great mom. The work they do “helps make a big difference in the life of a struggling mom and innocent baby.”

If you’d like to donate to Lifehouse and help moms like blossom, go here.

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Top Three Lessons You Learn as a Mom

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Over the course of my career as a portrait painter of children, I've interviewed the moms I work with about the greatest lessons they've learned as parents. Some are new moms, some are on their third child, but all have the same desires and hopes for their kids. They all strive to be great moms every day. 

 

1. Being a mom isn't a competitive sport. 

Anyone up for a little "mom-petition?" We all know the mom who seems perfect at everything and manages to look great doing it. But there's no perfect way to be a mom, and every child has different needs. One mom says to embrace help when it's offered so you can slow down and enjoy every moment with your kids.

 

2. Give your kids the best of you. 

It's important to take some "me" time. Whether it's a tennis lesson, an hour with a good book, or date night with your husband, happy moms make for happy kids and husbands. You owe it to yourself and your kids to be at the top of your game.

 

3. Stop and enjoy as many moments as you can with them. 

One mom told me how sometimes her kids' thoughts and words can be so powerful, and in that moment she is truly grateful for the precious gifts God gave her. If you're constantly busy or distracted, you'll miss those moments. Everyone says it but they grow up too fast. Savor it. 

 

What's the greatest lesson you've learned as a mom? How has it affect your relationship with your child?

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Are we raising a generation of jerks?

 

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, pediatrician and child development expert, says household chores have more to do with the character of your kids than you might think.

 

She says parents today tend to focus more on what their kids are achieving than who they're becoming. In her talks with successful Silicon Valley parents, she found that most of them had chores growing up, but very few gave their own kids chores.

 

Why?

 

Because their kids had such enormous work loads with school, sports, and other activities, they didn't want to add any more "to dos" to their lists. 

 

But this can hurt our kids, Deborah says, because it send the message that achievement takes priority over character. 

 

And chores like taking out the garbage teach kids responsibility and the importance of contribution. Which, in turn, makes them happy. You can watch her TED here.

 

Parents, do you agree? How do you teach your kids that who they are is more important than what they achieve?

 

Please share below!

 

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