Home/Tag: faith

I Got Married.

wedding kiss

I’ve been a little MIA on here, but I have a good reason…

On May 16th I married a kind-hearted and generous man, who is the love of my life. The morning started with a rain shower, but ultimately, the day was perfect.  It was something I had always dreamed of–not the actual wedding, but marrying someone I loved with every ounce of my being.

It was a dream I held close to my heart but as time went on, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen.  It felt like maybe that feeling, that sort of life, was for other people–not me.  I was getting older, the odds began to feel like they were stacked against me.

Still, I kept my heart open. I knew that if I had faith and stayed true to myself, I would end up in the right spot. And that, I did.

That’s when I found Chris.  Thanks to chance, good timing and my big mouth, three years ago we were set up on a blind date.  From the very beginning we both played no games and put it all out there–who we were, what we wanted + why.  I’m not saying we didn’t hit some bumps along the way, (because we did) but we came together as two complete people looking to share ourselves.  It was invigorating.

So if you’re out there still searching for love, please don’t ever give up hope; it’s never too late and there is always time. You, as much as anyone else, deserve love unconditionally.

I promise this kind of love, the take-your-breath-away-is-this-really-happening kind,  is waiting for you too.






I Got Married.2018-03-29T20:23:10-04:00

Art In Progress: Kindness Is The Way

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.


I’ve been thinking about kindness a lot lately, especially around the holidays; my personal mantra has always been ‘kindness, regardless’ because, well, you never know what people are going through/feeling on the inside and it actually takes very little effort to be kind.  The world can be tough, and I don’t want to add to anyone’s suffering.

And yet still, I have my moments of forgetting the mantra (oops).  Even though there are times I’m not so great to myself or others, somehow I always come back to this thought as my touchstone.   I find that if I ultimately stay focused on kindness, it gets me where I need to go.

So I was really psyched when the sentiment of this piece popped in my head as I was painting.  I think it had to do with the soothing colors + the gentle overall tone–it was fun to experiment along the way.  And this painting was a great learning experience for me–the process gave me the faith + confidence to stick with my gut until it felt right, even when I got frustrated for not getting there sooner.

Here is the first pass through where I’m just getting some colors, textures and layers down.  At this point, I try to stay loose and enjoy the free-style painting:

Kindness is the way 1

I added in some lines and stamping, just to mix it up a little.

Kindness is the way 2

Then I felt like the girl was ready to appear–I experimented and used gesso for the first layer of her face, just to see how it made a difference.  I usually  paint with a flesh color right on top of the other layers. (Turns out this was a great idea!)

Kindness is the way 3

I added her dress, feeling tentative about the colors of it but went with it for the moment.  Again, checking in with my gut.

Kindness is the way 4

When I added her face and hair, it dawned on me that the dress was all wrong.  I was feeling my way through the process–rationale doesn’t have a huge role in my decision making while painting.  I try to stick to how it feels, no matter what.

Kindness is the way 5

So after I added the butterfly and leaves to her hair, I tore off the dress and used some turpentine to remove it from the canvas.  This isn’t a fun process because it’s stinky and can stretch the canvas a little, but it was well worth it.

Kindness is the way 6

Once I went with the different color dress, it all fell into place.  I loved the way it looked!

Kindness is the way 7

Here’s a close up of her sweet face with the sentiment: the gesso helped to make it a true flesh color.

Kindness is the way 8

And here’s the finished product:

kindness is the way final

 You can find prints of Kindness Is The Way  in my shop here.

We all need kindness in our life, friends.






Art In Progress: Kindness Is The Way2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

The Warts of Worry. {And How You Can Avoid Them.}


I have a confession to make: I am a recovered worrier.  I used to fret about things I couldn’t control, things I could control, even things that didn’t concern me.  Can you relate?

Then one day in college,  I missed half of a HUGE presentation for my senior project: I overslept my alarm (hello worst scenario, ever!)  I arrived in the classroom a panicked and disheveled mess thinking: how will I ever fix this?  It turns out over-sleeping the presentation inspired my group members to get creative, and in the end we got an A- for the project and our improvisational skills.

I realized that the stuff I worried about?  It rarely happened.  And when it did come to pass?  It always seemed to work out, especially with options I never even considered.   So why was I worrying when it was getting me nowhere?These are some of the thoughts that now keep me off worry control and help me move forward:

::  Don’t make worrying a sport;  it’s often such a familiar and habitual behavior that we don’t even realize we’re doing it.  Consider other options:  If you are always in the worst-possible-scenario mindset, you can’t be open to the other great possibilities that could arise.

:: That projection of what might happen holds you emotionally hostage.  You’re not a better friend, partner or parent if you worry more.   Are you feeling concerned about someone?  Worry dissipates when we give attention and love to the situation. Let them know, send them good vibes, come up with helpful solutions.  Churning over ‘what if’ scenarios isn’t helpful to anyone.  Take action to improve the situation.

::  Pay attention to what is happening in your life.   Worrying can be a place to escape–check in with yourself and claim responsibility for what you’re avoiding.  The fallacy of worry is that it’s productive, but all it does is rob us of peace.  Make an effort to move forward by leaving the past and future where they are.

:: Having faith can provide great relief from worry.  Nature, God, Buddha, whatever your dharma is, know that you are being divinely guided.

Action cures worry.

Next time you start wringing those hands and your mind begins to race with possible harrowing scenarios, make a choice to either do something to quell your anxiety or let go of what you can’t control.  Understand that these fluctuations are just the ebb and flow of this beautiful life.  How can you ride the wave?

That senior project cemented for me that  worrying was a waste of time because we can’t possibly know or understand all of the outcomes that are possible.  And I’m thankful for that.

What would your life be like if you worried less and acted more?





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The Warts of Worry. {And How You Can Avoid Them.}2018-03-29T20:23:22-04:00

How Do You Know What To Believe In?

faithI was in a stressful, sad space this weekend.  Something serious happened to someone I love and he ended up in the ICU of a big NYC hospital.  The situation required my attention, time and whole heart to be present with him.  It’s looking like things will improve back to normal over time, but it’s that time that makes me so impatient.

Wanting things to be different, wishing to speed things up (healing, understanding, growth); I wanted a magic wand to wash it all away or change it instantly because it’s just plain uncomfortable.

It’s times like these that make me think of faith.

What is it? Where does it come from?  I know mine is an ever-changing, living thing.  I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family where we went to church  every Sunday.  I didn’t think much about it when I was young, it was just something we did.

As I’ve gotten older and encountered different challenging situations, I’ve realized it’s easy to have faith when things are going well.

It’s the troubled times that challenge my faith and make me dive in and really see what it’s all about.  Faith begins when the doubt creeps in.

I like to think of myself as Christian-Bu (a buddhist christian). It feels to me like all religious paths lead to the same general space.  Aren’t they basically saying the same thing?  Be kind to each other, respect your neighbor, don’t do/say anything you wouldn’t be proud to do/say in front of your mother, keep the main thing the main thing.

I have found being flexible to be a big part of faith–knowing that nothing is set in stone and situations can change in an instant.  The part of faith is having that trust–knowing it will work out how it’s supposed to work out.

My faith has become a springboard of sorts. When things are bad, I dive in; when things are good, I try to throw a mental tennis ball against it to make sure it comes back to me (by way of meditation).  To some, faith is nothing more than a wish in the wind, a fleeting thought of comfort, wondering what to believe.

Even though my faith fluctuates here and there, I want more than that. I find it’s the tough time that challenges me to flex my muscles around letting go.  Because I’ve found that’s what it’s really about…letting go of my wants and knowing to a certain extent, it is out of my hands.

What do you do in times that challenge you? Do you define your understanding of faith so that it helps you and makes you grow?



How Do You Know What To Believe In?2018-03-29T20:23:30-04:00
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