Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cleidocranial Dysplasia: A Rare Genetic Birth Defect That Touches My Heart--Because My Oldest Daughter Has it

I was a teenager when I had my first child. I had an ultrasound at 13 weeks and the physician didn't see anything abnormal with my pregnancy. I was still stunned at that point that I was pregnant at all. I did not have a follow-up ultrasound as my pregnancy progressed, so when I delivered I had no idea whether I was expecting a boy or a girl--as a matter of fact, I thought I was having a boy (this was my killer instinct telling me what was up. I even brought a BLUE outfit to the hospital to take her home in).

After I delivered her I immediately heard whispering. I didn't know what was going on. She looked perfect to me. 5 pounds, 9.5 ounces, 19.5 inches long...of sheer perfection. Although, I was still STUNNED that she was a girl. Her newborn APGAR scores were 9 and 10. There was no indication to me that anything was "wrong". However, the hospital staff kept saying, "Well, we just want to have her looked at a little further...".

I still didn't notice anything was wrong with my daughter. She responded just like a newborn would to everything. The hospital staff and doctors said they were concerned with the size of her head relative to her body. She passed all of their tests with flying colors. They wanted me to follow up with genetic testing at Children's Hospital when she was three months old. I thought they were crazy--How could they not see that there was nothing wrong with this baby? I thought they were all hallucinating. She still looked perfect to me. However, she did have a bit of a big head. I took her in for the genetic testing they suggested.

We were at Children's Hospital in Denver for about 20 minutes before a physician sat my baby up on a table and said, "I think I know what's wrong with her!" She took my daughter's arms, crossed them over one another, and her shoulders touched together at midline. They took her off to X-ray. It was confirmed--my child had no collarbones. Zero. Zip. Zilch. There was nothing there.

Cleidocranial Dysplasia is an autosomal dominant genetic birth defect that only about 500 people in the entire world have. By being "autosomal dominant" it means that my daughter has a 50% chance of passing it on to her offspring. When I researched it, it turns out that the documented origin was in Africa--and it was perpetuated by a guy who was born with it, but who also had like 50 wives and passed it on through them to his children. This is not something you can "catch". It is either something that is passed on through genetics, or it shows up as a new genetic mutation in pregnancy (AKA--a fluke). It is VERY RARE.

"Cleidocranial Dysplasia" literally means, "Abnormal formation of the bones of the head, and the collarbones". When the nurses in the hospital suspected my child was "abnormal" after delivery it was because her head was BIG. And there was a reason for that. NONE of the bones in her head were as close together as they were supposed to be. Her "soft spot" was the entire top of her head. It took 8 years to close.

This picture shows the abnormally large cranium of Cleidocranial Dysplasia. There are no mental deficits in people who have CCD--they just end up with larger-than-normal foreheads and a "soft spot" that may or may not ever close. Thankfully--Paige's did.

This X-ray in a CCD child shows the partial collarbones. There can be partial collarbones in some cases, or "stubs". My daughter did not have any evidence of clavicles.

There are a few other things that go along with Cleidocranial Dysplasia. These people have an abnormally narrow pelvis--and they are "SMALL". My daughter is nearly 20 years old. She is 4'11" tall, and she weighs 80 lbs. I am 5'8" tall, and so is her father. Neither of us have CCD in our history. This was either a "new mutation" in pregnancy, or it is also possible that it is a result of many X-rays I had taken after a car accident I got into prior to learning that I was pregnant. I will never know. Regardless, because of her small pelvis, she will have to deliver any children she has via C-Section.

Another thing that goes along with Cleidocranial Dysplasia is having extra sets of teeth, or missing teeth. My daughter was born with one set of baby teeth, and two sets of adult teeth--at one point she had three front teeth as a child. She had to have them removed, chained, and braced. She ended up with a normal set of teeth, but she had to have all her teeth removed at one point in order to chain the embedded adult teeth and bring down into her mouth.

This picture illustrates the large head, and lack of collarbones that accompany CCD.

My daughter also has an enlarged rib cage, and slight scoliosis that are part of the CCD. You can see her small frame--again, she is 80 lbs. To put it into perspective, my 9 year old twins wear the same size clothing, and weigh nearly the same as she does.

This picture shows the super narrow pelvic region and the wider rib region that my daughter has because of CCD. The only other minor things that she has "rounded" fingernails (not that you can tell by her acrylics here), and a signature "nostril flare" that is characteristic of CCD. Mentally, and physically she is completely intact. She can do anything anyone else can do.

There was an incident years ago where a CCD person was the only one who could fit down a well to rescue a child who had fallen down there--nobody else could make themselves small enough to fit down the well, but the lack of collarbones allowed for it.

This is my baby girl at Homecoming during her senior year. She is now a sophomore in college--and still the same size. Her CCD does not slow her down at all. She is "petite", and she shops accordingly. She is a pistol--like her momma. When I told her that she has a 50% chance of passing this on to her children her exact quote was, "Meh, they can just SUCK IT UP!"

I wrote this blog to give you all a little insight into my world. I also wanted to post this because people from around the world read my blog--and information on CCD is hard to come by. Especially personal stories. People with CCD can lead VERY NORMAL LIVES.She embraces her differences and wants people to be educated about CCD--she is actually posting my blog entry on her blog to educate people. My daughter is beautiful, and perfect in EVERY way. I couldn't have made her better myself. ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

**NEW PAINTING**: AURORA: Under the Northern Lights ; Painting #1 in a series

Though a lot of my artwork revolves around my love for Hawaii, I have another state that is very near and dear to my heart--ALASKA. There is a very long story behind how I ended up living there for 5 years of my life, but while I was there I was able to take in some of the most beautiful scenery known to man. My latest painting is a landscape inspired by the Aurora Borealis (AKA "The Northern Lights). Seen in the higher latitudes, these lights are caused by the collision of charged particles that are then directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the atmosphere. The bright greens, pinks, reds and purples created by such a phenomenon are truly a sight to behold. There were many nights in college up at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where my friends and I either ventured out to the hilltops or out to ice skate under the northern lights.

I handcrafted the frame and painted it in a Sahara Gold metallic acrylic. The painting is texturized with my signature style. This particular painting was inspired by a photograph of Juneau, Alaska. The northern lights dance above the mountain tops and the Juneau ice field glaciers. The brilliance of the Aurora is reflected in the water. Snow capped peaks are in the distance, and snow dusted trees line the waterfront. This painting is on a 16"X20" canvas. The northern lights are coated with sparkle high gloss glaze and are in vibrant green and pink metallics. The entire painting is sealed in a high gloss glaze for protection and is ready to mount on any wall.

Another view of the texture on the mountains and the Northern Lights.

A close up view of the detailed texture on the trees an the water.

Another view in the sunlight.

To view this piece, and my other paintings please visit my online art gallery at

Friday, October 21, 2011

**NEW PAINTING**: "SURF LIKE A GIRL" Painting #1 in a series by artist, Whitney Madison

"SURF LIKE A GIRL" is the first painting of which I intend to make a series of surf-related paintings that focus on women in the sport of surfing. My handcrafted white, metallic frame has clear glass beads that have a splash of aqua blue in the center. This painting is in an acrylic medium, and is fully texturized. The painting is sealed for protection with a high gloss glaze, and the waves are sealed with high gloss glaze that has a bit of sparkle to it. Created on a 16"X20" canvas, this painting is ready to hang on the wall and bring character to any room.

This photo shows the textured detailing of the waves, and handcrafted frame, as well as the glass beads. This painting is done entirely in metallic acrylics that are bold and brilliant.

I sculpted this surf girl and her board. I love the size of the wave compared to the size of the girl. It was inspired by some of my favorite surfing photos, and proves that no matter how small you are you can still get out there and tear it up--and rock it like a girl.

Up close detailing of my surf girl and her board.

You can find this, and my other paintings in my online art gallery at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

But I Think It's About Forgiveness...Forgiveness...Even If, Even If You Don't Love Me Anymore

Ah, yes...I've been to church again. It happens--usually on Sundays. And what fun would going to church be if I didn't talk about some of the stuff I learn there on my blog? (This is where you say, "Well not much fun at all, Whitney!...and then this is where I say, "Well good! I'm glad we think alike!"--K, enough of me pretending we're actually talking to one another...)

Most of you know I'm not a bible thumper. I'm all about the churchin', but I'm not going to whoop you over the head with the bible like in a game of "Whack-a -Mole". It's just not my style. Besides, goodness knows I have a fair bit to learn before I go around pretending I know what's up in the "Land of All Things God".  However, sometimes when I go to church there is enough good stuff that comes out of the sermon that I feel compelled to pass it on. This past Sunday was no exception.

If you read my other blog post, you might remember that we have been going through a series at church called, "Live Like You Were Dying". If you didn't read my last post (shame on you), the premise of Live Like You Were Dying was to look at your life as if you knew you only had 30 days left to live, and what would you do with the time that you had left. I'm not going to go into detail again about how I'd purchase my plane ticket to Hawaii and peace out on a surfboard. I already went into that during my last blog blip about this subject. And NO...Live Like You Were Dying doesn't mean you should grab a case of Jack Daniels and head to Vegas to be a terminal idiot. It was more about putting into perspective the things in life that really matter. Last week was the final week of this series...and the topic was FORGIVENESS.

This is probably where some of you are going to click the big red X in the corner and feel like you're going to die of boredom if you actually have to finish reading this. However, if you decided to stick with it you might learn a thing or two--like I did.

Forgiveness: the other F word...the one that doesn't sound so trashy. Have you ever taken time to really think hard about the subject? I don't sit there and totally dwell on it, but it does cross my mind from time to time. Mostly when I get fired up about things that usually I have no control over changing. As I sat in church this past Sunday, the topic of forgiveness was brought up and my pastor said something along the lines of, "I know that when I say this word that it's going to bring up some hurt that you've probably experienced..." and this is true.

Have you ever been so ticked off at someone that it makes you sick to your stomach? I have been. Some of you might not find this very surprising--I'm a pretty emotionally charged up individual and sometimes it's for all the right reasons, and sometimes...not so much. When the topic of forgiveness came up I had one particular situation flash through my mind. It's the one area of my life right now that I am completely incapable of performing the "F" word, and I don't know why. If I only had 30 days left to live, I would hope I could figure it out pretty quickly. Here's to hoping I have a few more than that because I still obviously have a lot to learn when it comes to this topic.

I have a friend right now who doesn't think very highly of me. Actually, there's a whole slough of her friends who side with her on this one and who think I'm a complete snothead, but I don't care nearly as much about their peripheral opinions as I do about hers. I actually "lost" her as a friend because I can't "get over" a decision she made. It's super sucky because I adore this girl. You wouldn't know it by the way I've talked to her and about her lately, but sometimes anger and frustration drive you to do things that don't make a whole lot of sense when you're caught up in the moment.

Ever had those moments where you want to take somebody and shake them while simultaneously yelling, "What the hell is the matter with you!" and then finish it off with figuratively smacking them upside the head? No? Guess it's just me then. This is how I felt with respect to my used-to-be-friend. This is what happens when you lack the ability to implement the "F" word.

My friend is smart, and pretty, and freakin' hilarious. She is one of those people that you just get along with right away. She has a great heart. I actually met her through Tristan. She lives up in the small town of Palmer, Alaska. So what's the problem? She recently got married--and it was so impossible for me to be remotely happy for her that I cut off communication completely after she started dating the guy she is now married to. Sounds like a pretty jerky thing to do, eh? Well, believe me, it's been a struggle for me emotionally to deal with. I've had a lot of those wanting to shake her and slap her upside the head moments over the past year--only now it doesn't matter. She is married, and I would never do anything to attempt to destroy that commitment. I just don't know how to deal with it, either.

"So what's the problem with this guy, Whitney?" The problem is my friend fell head-over heels for him--and he was totally mean to her about it. This guy had grown up with her. They had been friends for a long time. When she started to manifest the fact that she liked him to him he actually told her to stop texting him, and to stop coming over to his house. The problem? It's not his house--he lives there with some of her other friends, so to tell her to stay away knowing darn well she was friends with everyone in the house was...well..RUDE. He didn't want to deal with her having a crush on him so he was mean to her. He totally gave her the Heisman Trophy stiff arm. It upset and frustrated me to watch this guy do this to her. It's hard to watch someone mistreat someone you care about.

This guy is actually a roommate of Tristan's. I've had to deal with him on a few different occasions. Some of it has been good. We've taken his Jeep out and gone 4-wheeling. We've watched movies together. He actually kept me from losing my mind as I had to painfully go through Tristan's brother's wedding (most of you know I'd rather die than attend a wedding--it's a little extreme, but true). This guy does have some good qualities. There are also some not-so-good qualities--not the least of which was him treating my friend like crap. She got over it by implementing the "F" word with him. I haven't gotten there yet.

I got a text message this past January. My friend finally told me that she had started dating this guy--this same guy who had been mean to her. I couldn't believe it. Why would you date someone who treated you like crap? It was too hard for me to wrap my head around. She was all about it though. Because I couldn't support her decision I ended up getting fired up and frustrated with her. I definitely had one of those, "I want to shake you and figuratively smack you upside the head so you snap out of it" moments. We ended up exchanging some words--most of which weren't very nice. I felt like it was my duty to point out and remind her of all the reasons she shouldn't be with this guy. I felt like she could do a lot better, and that she was settling for someone who wasn't good enough for her. This didn't go over well with her of course--she'd been head-over-heels for this guy--even when he was treating her poorly. When they started dating it was like a 180 degree turn, and it was a turn I couldn't make.

It was mentally impossible for me to be happy for her. Eventually, we just stopped talking completely. I heard through the grapevine after they had dated for a couple of months that they were engaged. I had nothing nice to say about it, so I said nothing at all. I never contacted her to say congratulations or anything. The wedding happened in September. Shortly thereafter she made and attempt to contact me. I thought, "Well, maybe I can give this another shot. I want to be happy for her...I just don't want to have to deal with the two of them as a couple." It all sounds fine and dandy as it played out in my head, but the fact of the matter is they are now a permanent couple, and there is no befriending her without accepting them as a couple...which I can't do because I still am having problems implementing the "F" word. It's still hard on me, because in my mind I still think she could've done better...and I worry about her. I know that the happy fairytale of marriage wears off and then people's true colors start to show through. It worries me that he'll revert back to being the mean guy he was to her before. I guess I never understood how he could treat her so poorly and then all of the sudden flip on the "I love you, will you marry me" switch.

"So where is all of this going, Whitney? And BTW...did we mention that we don't give a crap about your Soap Opera drama?" I'm keenly aware of that--eventually this is going to get back to the matter at hand--the matter of forgiveness. The "F" word that I am incapable of at the moment with respect to my soap opera drama...

So yes, she contacted me after the wedding. It was fine for a day or two--until I learned that this couple would be moving into Tristan's house for the next year or so. My head pretty much exploded. WHAT...THE...CRAP? It was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of. Not only was I now going to be forced to accept their marriage, but I'd also have it crammed down my throat by them living in my boyfriend's house. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't understand why a newly married couple would still live as roommates with my boyfriend. This problem just escalated and spiraled out of control. I felt cornered. Now I wasn't just pissed off at the two of them--I was ready to give my boyfriend the boot for his complete stupidity as well. Sounds like an all-around good time, eh?

THIS was the drama that popped into my head as my pastor sat up there and taught us about the importance of forgiveness. It's funny...I totally understand the importance of the "F" word. I've been through this all before. I learned how important it is to let go of anger and forgive people years ago. There are two options we all have when it comes to matters of the heart and being hurt--we can either hold onto anger, frustration and hurt, or we can forgive people and "let it go". Let's face it--the only one who suffers when we can't implement the "F" word is YOU...or me in this case. Why do I know this--yet I can't do it? I feel like I'm in the movie, "50 First Dates". I'm very aware that without forgiveness we are literally "imprisoned" by our thoughts and feelings. I don't get why I've been able to forgive people in the past and have experienced the freedom that comes along with that, yet have been incapable of forgiving at other times.

So what do you think, Jesus? Aren't you proud of me? I'm sure he's like, "Uh, Whitney...can you just pretend you don't know me? And please stop talking about me in your blog..." I'm sure He's got a few things to say to me--right after he stops shaking His head and rolling His eyeballs at me.

I can just hear my pocket Dr. Phil in my head yelling at me, "SO HOW'S THAT CHURCH THING WORKIN' FOR YA, WHITNEY?!!!" Well pocket Dr. Phil--somedays it's better than others.

I guess the important thing is not that we arrive at the capability of forgiveness FAST...it's that we're able to arrive there at all. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later for some of us (me). Going through the "Live Like You Were Dying" series has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me. If I did have only 30 days left to live, I would certainly hope I'd be able to get over stupid crap a lot quicker, that is for sure. I'm sure God would appreciate that and have one less thing to shake His head and roll His eyes at me for. Go ahead and click "PLAY" on the video above--if it doesn't make you think twice about how you live your life then you're not allowed to read my blog anymore. ;)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

**NEW PAINTING**: "Sea Turtle Divas" by artist Whitney Madison

"Sea Turtle Divas" is the newest addition to my online art gallery. This painting was inspired by my love of sea turtles. They are fantastic, and amazing creatures. This painting was done in metallic acrylics. Handcrafted frame by artist, Whitney Madison. This painting has embedded glass beads in red and pink in the frame, the perimeter is adorned with paisley satin ribbon, the edges of the ribbon are embellished with Swarovski crystals, and the painting is fully texturized. The 3-dimensional turtles leap off the canvas, and hand sculpted bubbles add a unique touch. This painting is on a 12"X12" canvas.

This photo shows the handcrafted frame, Swarovski crystals at the corners of the ribbon perimeter, and the hand sculpted bubbles. This painting is in metallic light pink, red, and tangerine. Certain to add a pop of color to any room.

Each of the two sea turtles has a shell that was intricately decorated.

Another view of the texture and detailing.

The view from the side shows how much the texture of these turtles stands off the canvas, as well at the hand sculpted bubbles, and the glass beads in the frame.

To view or purchase this painting, or to see more of my paintings, please visit my online art gallery at

Friday, October 14, 2011

Go Ahead, America...Suck My Blood...See If I Care: WAIT! I REALLY DO CARE!

As many of you know, I am a nurse. Some people are probably like, "OMG...I hate nurses! They are always poking me with needles, or trying to shove IVs into my arm!" This is very true. I do this quite regularly. However, I don't suck at it, and I'm really flipping good at popping an IV line in people--even if it's a woman thrashing around in labor.

I hate needles. I hate needles more than most people I know. I can totally dish it out, but I can't take it. As a matter of fact, the past two times I've had to have an IV put in me the nursing staff has made fun of me for being a nurse while simultaneously being such a wimp when it came to having a line put in me. I guess I should be flattered at the fact that they find me so entertaining. I try...

I've been working kind of a kooky schedule lately. I only "technically" work three days per week, but somehow over the past 2.5 weeks have ended up with a schedule that is 2 off, three on, two off, three on, etc. Not a huge deal, but I work night shift, so technically I actually get off for my day off ON MY DAY OFF (confused yet?). This part kind of sucks, and doesn't allow for a lot of time to recuperate before having to go back and pull three more 12 hour shifts in a row. Why do you care?...well...you probably don't, but I'm leading into my rant, so if you're going to stick around long enough to find out what my gripe is, then I'm going to spend some time setting the scene for you.

So yes...not working the best schedule lately, and I actually have to drive all the way out to work tomorrow morning ON MY DAY OFF. See, they've made it mandatory now that we have to go through a health screening at work in order to be able to choose our insurance benefits. If we fail to go through the health screening, then we get the bottom of the barrel, total piece of crap health insurance that they offer. This is apparently part of the new "Obama Care" plan with our government. Now, a lot of you will probably be saying, "Well now, Whitney, if you didn't vote, you can't gripe!" Well let me just tell you, I DID VOTE, THEREFORE I WILL GRIPE AT MY LEISURE. Besides--it's my blog. I can do and say whatever I want on here--assuming www.blogspot.com doesn't pull the rug out from under me.

I did vote. I voted for Obama. I am part of the reason the State of Colorado went blue during the last election. After 8 years of having that pathetic monkey of a president in office there was no way I was going to vote on the Republican ticket. And let me just say that I'm all about socialized medicine, so let's make that abundantly clear. Most non-third world countries have some sort of government health care in place--and they aren't even socialists! We are the country that is completely ass-backwards with health care. As a matter of fact, I have the best-of-the-best health care benefits through my hospital job, had to have surgery two years ago, and still ended up paying $20K out of my own pocket for it. That's the beauty of huge corporations running our health insurance--they can charge you whatever the hell they want. Quite frankly it makes our government health care look awesome. You've heard of our government health care, right? It's called Medicaid. They give it to the vast majority of people who do nothing but sit around and leach off the system. It's quite amazing. Do nothing/get everything for free! SWEET! Sign me up! Better yet, don't sign me up. I'll just go to work, work my butt off, get crap for benefits, and then you can take everyone else's freebie government benefits out of my paycheck in taxes! Woohoo!

Some of you might be like, "Well if you hadn't voted on the democratic ticket then this wouldn't be happening!" Rest assured that even when the Republican party was running the show MEDICAID STILL EXISTED. Don't sit there and point party line fingers--our system is totally jacked up. Doesn't matter if you're red, blue, elephant, or donkey. It's a mess.

So here's the dealio. Back to why I'm ranting. I've been working a crap schedule and on my one day off that truly is my day off I get to go into work so they can suck my blood, run labs on me, and get to know me on a very, personal, metabolic level prior to offering me the (crap) options I have for health care benefits. Seems fair to me, right? I give you blood, and all my personal health care information, and you give me crappy health care benefit options through a private corporation, and because the United States of America said so...WHAT A DEAL! I wouldn't gripe nearly as much if we actually had government health care in place and the government actually gave me benefits to get to know me so intimately. However, when you throw in the private insurance companies in the mix as the middle man then I'm inevitably going to end up feeling SCREWED.

I understand that some of you are probably like, "But Whitney!...if there is government-run health care then they will start running cost/benefit analyses on people's lives and only treating them if it's worth the government's money!" I get this fear, I really do, but maybe, just maybe it's time that we start a few little cost/benefit analyses on people's lives. For instance, if you're obese, a diabetic, have congestive heart failure, and COPD--yet you sit around eating Big Macs, Snickers bars, and smoking cigarettes all day then NO HEALTH CARE FOR YOU! I think it would be brilliant. People might actually have to have some accountability for their health. It would be GREAT!

So yes...tonight at midnight I will start fasting for my ridiculous blood test so I can obtain my mediocre-at-best health insurance benefits for the next year. I'll also start dreaming of moving to France where they have fine wines, champagne, and provide health care for their people.

Monday, October 10, 2011

**NEW PAINTING**: "Sunset on the Tide and Lava Pools of Maui" by artist, Whitney Madison

My latest painting is inspired by my recent trip to Maui, Hawaii. While there, I was able to explore beyond the Wailea area and venture down where the ocean meets the rough lava rocks. This painting is actually a combination of a few different sights in Maui. Tristan and I snorkeled in a tide pool similar-looking to these captured in the painting. They were full of the most beautiful, and amazing fish, as well as other ocean life. We then ventured over to the black sand beach where we got into the ocean and swam with the sea turtles at sunset. I will never forget it.

As always, I handcrafted the frame and embedded opal, light lavender glass beads. The painting is fully texturized, and real painted rock was added and painted to give the full effect of the coarseness of the lava fields. The painting is in an acrylic medium, and covered with a gloss glaze for protection. This is a 16"X20" piece.

This painting is done in rich metallics that add a pop of color to any room, and create a conversation piece.

To view or purchase this painting, please visit my website at

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"RUNNING GIRL": New Painting by Whitney Madison

RUNNING GIRL is my latest painting for my client, and friend on the East Coast, Regina. She is a marathon runner, and pours her heart and soul into her sport. I have seen many photos of her during marathons, and she is probably the only woman I know who runs them with a smile on her face for the entire 26.2 miles. That is the essence of what I was trying to capture in her latest painting. Many of you may say, "How is that possible?...you made a runner with no facial features whatsoever!" This is true, and as the artist, I struggled with this, myself. However, I soon found out that you don't have to have pinpointed facial expressions in order to make a figure who looks like she is running her heart out and loving her life.

The photo above captures my version of Regina on a mountain trail at sunrise. She spends the time that she is not training for marathons volunteering her time at the animal shelter. The last painting I did for her included two of her cats that she had acquired at the shelter. She recently moved, and one of her cats passed shortly thereafter. She replaced him with the little butterscotch critter you see in her painting whose name is Harley. Harley is a cat. In this photo you may say, "Well that's a mighty big cat and a small person!" Actually, Regina is what she claims, "Fun Sized", so I figured it was a good representation of what they look like relative to one another in real life. :) Regina picked out a favorite quote to go on her painting, "You don't have to go fast, you just have to go" which is perfect for what she gets up and sets out to do with her running everyday. She wanted a painting that had the third of her three animals represented in it. She wanted her cat to be running with her. Harley looks like he's actually doing a pretty good job keeping up in this painting. :)

Handcrafted frame, and fully texturized, this painting is a pop of bright colored metallics that is both fun to look at, and tempting to touch. The painting is in an acrylic medium, and gloss glazed for protection.

This particular painting was a custom order. Custom orders may be placed, and many of my other paintings can be found in my online art gallery "Ooooh La La Gallery by Artist Whitney Madison" @ www.etsy.com/shop/arcticbarbiegirl

Monday, October 3, 2011

**NEW PAINTING**: "Surf Girl" by Whitney Madison; my latest painting added to my online art gallery at www.etsy.com/shop/arcticbarbiegirl

As many of you know, I am planning on moving to Hawaii in 8 years. Until that time, a large portion of my art gallery is going to be dedicated to paintings inspired by my love of Hawaii. They will also be funding the expensive housing I will one day need to purchase in order to live my dream. ;)

SURF GIRL is my latest painting, inspired by my recent trip to Maui and by the movie, "Soul Surfer". I am taking my twin daughters to Kauai for spring break to teach them how to surf, so I figured the three girlie girl surfboards were a good representation of us. :)

Handcrafted frame by artist, Whitney Madison. The frame is a true blue metallic aquamarine color with glass beads and glitter glaze. The pink backdrop was perfect for placing colorful surfboards. The perimeter is adorned with paisley and blue satin ribbon, and embellished with Swarovski crystals. Truly a surf girl's dream.

To view my online art gallery, please visit Ooooh La La Art Gallery at www.etsy.com/shop/arcticbarbiegirl

Another view of "Surf Girl"

Glass beads around the handcrafted, sparkle glazed frame, and Swarovski crystal embellishments.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

THE WHITNEY EXPERIMENT: 30 Days of Refinement

I woke up this morning and was not super stoked that it was Sunday. I usually look forward to going to church each week. That may sound strange to some people, but it’s true. I love listening to the band at my church, and I adore my pastors. I usually get a lot out of listening to the sermons, and strangely enough, some of it actually sticks with me and gets applied to my life from time to time. Impressive, I know. But back to this morning—I didn’t want to go to church. I almost talked myself out of it. I was in a crap mood from the time I opened my eyes—which is kind of pathetic actually, considering I still had an entire day ahead of me at that point.

From the time I got out of bed today it was like the universe was against me. One of my twins got dressed for church in an outfit that looked like it was put together by a preschooler, and she topped it off with a coat that had sleeves that were 5 inches too short for her. She had on her twin sister’s jacket. Why it didn’t hit her to look at whose coat was whose I have no idea—or just noticing the fact that her sleeves were way too short. Then I went to grab something out of the freezer and Emma had put the ice cube trays in there all cocky wampus because she’s too short to put them back properly and the whole tray fell out of the freezer, onto my bare foot, and then ice cubes exploded all over my kitchen floor. AND I didn’t want to go to church today anyway—but I’m glad that I did.

I was pretty humbled today once I actually made it into church. I stood there during the music at the beginning, thinking about all the other things I would rather be doing other than standing in church at that moment. I read the words on the big screen as they were being sung. A couple of times they brought tears to my eyes (no, I didn’t break down into a full-on blubbering idiot, in case you were wondering. Sorry to disappoint). I wanted the music to be over with so that we could move onto the sermon and so I could move on to going home. Great attitude to go to church with, eh? I’m sure God was super thrilled at my “going the extra mile” for Him today.

“So why were you humbled today, Whitney? And BTW…do you even know what that word means?” Why yes, I do, Nonexistent Heckler Person. I was humbled because we’ve been going through a new series at church called, “Live Like You Were Dying”. The premise is to look at your life as if you knew you only had 30 days left to live. What would you do? Where would you go? Most of you know that I would high-tail it to Kauai or Maui (probably both since I had 30 days to live—that has to allow for some island hopping). However, the topic today was called, “Speak Sweeter”. Oh crud. You might as well have smacked me upside the head after the week that I’ve had. There has been nothing sweet flowing from my mouth this week. As a matter of fact, I got told at one point by a used-to-be friend that I spew venom. Sweet. Apparently I’ve graduated into full-on snakedom.

Basically, the sermon emphasized that you can’t sit there and spew out God’s love with the same mouth that you sit there and beat the holy living crap out of people with. Hmmm. I hadn’t really thought about that. Oh, and this is the part where you all should be really thankful I never attended seminary school because my sermons would be chocked full of colorful language and visuals. So, no…hadn’t really thought too much about A.) how much words hurt, B.) that often times my words are contradictory to the intentions of my heart, and C.) how anger, manifested inappropriately, is absolutely lethal to relationships, and D.) that words can actually scar people for life.

It was kind of funny, I was looking up at the screen as they put the scriptures up there and I was thinking, “Hmmm…who knew all this stuff was in the bible?” What’s even more ironic is that there is a bible on my nightstand—and believe it or not it gets thumbed through pretty regularly. I hadn’t “tripped” over those particular scriptures before. This is where going to church helps. It’s nice when the pastor does your homework for you.

The funny thing is I should really know all of this. I’ve been on my own since I was basically 17. My family wasn’t super hip on the fact that I had kids so young, and it caused the slow, painful, angry degradation of my family. We haven’t spoken in years. One thing we were super good at as a family was bashing the hell out of each other verbally. As a matter of fact, I went pro for a while. I’m still pretty good at it, actually. Not as good as I used to be, but on a bad day most people wouldn’t want to mess with me. Not my best quality by any means. As a matter of fact, from the sermon today, it sounds like it’s my worst attribute. Awesome. I’ll take that slice of humble pie ala mode, please.

So LIVE LIKE YOU WERE DYING: We were told to think about how we would talk to people if we only had 30 days left to live. Would we want people to remember us by words that we’ve used to build people up and encourage?...or by harsh, crazy crap that gets spewed out in the heat of anger or at the peak of emotional meltdowns. It really made me think.

I’m a nurse. I have the opportunity to touch people’s lives every time I work. In the past 6 months I have gotten more compliments from my care delivery than I have ever heard in my life. I was recognized by my hospital for excellence in patient care and advocacy, and I’ve received letters from my patients telling me how I made their hospital experience amazing. That’s all great, fine, and dandy, but I feel like two different people on any given day. I pour my heart and soul into my job. However, I feel like I kind of half-heartedly do things at times in my regular life. We were asked during the sermon to think of someone who has loved and molded us into what we are today, and I honestly couldn’t think of anyone who had done this in my life. Since I’ve had no family from a fairly young age, I’ve kind of tripped and trudged my way through things and attended the school of hard knocks with a lot of things. Then I thought about my kids, and I thought, “If I died in 30 days, would they be able to say that I was a good example to them, or that I molded them into the fine people who they are today?” A harsh question with an even harsher answer—I don’t know.

 “So where is all of this going, Whitney?” Well, I’ll tell you. I’m launching “The Whitney Experiment”. For 30 days I’m going to make it illegal in the Land of Whitney to be negative, mean, and grouchy. I don’t know that I picked the right month to attempt such a thing, or if I’m setting myself up for failure seeing as though I’ve just broken up with my boyfriend and had a few choice words with some of his pals this week. However, I am committed to taking 30 days to work on building people up and being more loving instead of tearing them down—starting with my family. Hopefully by the end of this 30 days my children will feel as cared for as my patients at work. Maybe they’ll be able to say, without a doubt, that the person who invested in them and who loved them most in life was me. And maybe, just maybe at the end of this 30 days it will feel so good to build people up that I continue to do it for the rest of my life. I could be jumping the gun on this one, but here’s to hoping.

So yes, it’s open season on me. You can poke the bear with a stick this month and I won’t even tear you to pieces. Just be careful, cuz after 30 days all bets are off—and I’m really good at taking notes.