Proof of Life | Journal Entry No. 09

Proof of Life

Journal Entry No. 09

Welcome to the Proof of Life journal entry series.

Writing more in general, and specifically with you, is something I hope to continue throughout the year.

Like many of you, life has become clearer over the past year and there are many things I have dropped along the way that I deeply desire to pick back up. In turn, there are things I never want to pick up again.

From the very beginning, I have always felt like we are on this journey together and I can’t wait to hear what proof of life will come to mean to you.



We recently were hiking in the woods around Nashville and as we were hiking along the trail there would be red or blue (based upon your trail) paint on the trees every so often letting you know you were still on the correct trail and that you were actually ON a trail. These signs are often called a blaze along The Appalachian Trail. I have always appreciated these simple signs along the way on most hikes letting me know that I am not lost or off the intended path.


During this most recent hike it crossed my mind that I really wish I had something so clear and simple to let me know I was on the right path in my real life. A clear red blotch of paint along the side of the road to cheer me on and let me know I am going the right direction. No red swatch of paint would be telling me to stop, regroup and find my way to the correct path.



In the woods and out in nature everything seems simple and clear. The distractions of life are not present and there is a connection with my surroundings, the murmurs of my own heart and the voice of God that is sweetly amplified. Over the years I have had to intentionally search out ways to draw this connection and clarity in hearing well in my own day to day in a very loud world. I need a red blotch of paint along my journey each day to know I am going in the right direction.


I know we each create intentional acts that help us find clarity and I hope that some of the ones I use will help you create your own.


Before I share any of the life and business filters that I use I want to add that my faith and time in prayer and in the Bible are the first intentional acts I do each day. I am easily distracted and I also know that if I don’t start my day in quiet that my day can get away from me. I also have multiple times a day that I walk or spend time in the garden without any distractions (mainly my phone). Creating and coming up with new ideas in general take a lot of quiet and time alone for me and this can not be compromised if I want to move forward and grow as an artist, businesswoman, and human.


Here are some of the life and business filters that I run everything through before I create a new product, say yes or no to a collaboration, take on more responsibilities etc. Many times my family is also involved in helping me answer these questions especially when their own day-to-day lives may be impacted.


*Do I even want to do this?


*Am I wanting to say yes because all of my peers are doing it and I am feeling left out?


*Do I want to say yes because I am afraid I won’t be asked again?


*Does this align with my faith?


*Does this xyz bring me closer or farther away from how I want my life to look and feel?


*Does it honor my family life and me being able to be as present with them as I want?


*Have I done my due diligence on this collaboration/person/business?


*Does this honor our finances?


*If I say yes to this it means I will have to say no to something else. Is it worth it?


*Am I wanting to say no because I am nervous or scared?


*Am I experienced enough to bring my best to this xyz?


*If I say yes have I honored my time and this xyz enough to do my best?


*Once I say yes or no can I be in 100% and feel good about my decision?


I add new filters when I think of them or when a new situation helps me learn and grow. I know these don’t always give me that red paint on the trees along the path but they help me to get something pretty darn close.





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  1. Cindy Wahlstrom

    Great questions to help filter out what is right and what is not! My oldest daughter moved to Tennessee from Washington state three years ago. She spends her free time hiking in and around the area. This past weekend she and her husband went to Hot Springs, North Carolina, stayed in a cabin, and hiked there. Gardening has been a creative space for me over the years. I love to connect with others but also need my alone time. I love your spirit Jeanne and the thoughtfulness you show for others, your family, and yourself. I have been to Colorado several times. I love Fort Collins. My husband and I traveled many backroads while there and took in all the natural beauty. One special memory for me was seeing flocks of sheep grazing among the Aspens while sheep dogs kept them contained along with a few sheep herders on horseback. Nearby were wagons where I’m sure the herders spent their nights. Our heart helps sway or answers at times. Thank you for being you and sharing of yourself!

  2. Lee Thoresen

    I love your filters, number 1 especially is relevant to me. Your question (although rhetorical) are you on the right track… you share so much light and love….you are on the right track ❤

  3. Wilma V Prohaska

    This is so accurate and very helpful. This year I realized that , it’s not that don’t want to be too social , or don’t have time for any creative outlet.
    My issue is that others don’t have a hobby, and I’m always putting other people’s needs before mine. Therefore I’m not developing my God given gift of creativity. Looking forward to your next blog. Thank you.

  4. Julie Smith

    Number one. Do I even want this? Resonated strongly. Without going into a long drawn out story( as is my usual modus operandi), you have helped me make a decision concerning my art. Thank you. X

  5. Lisaellen Evola

    I can be very impulsive. Distraction simply amplify that and I often find myself doing what I THOUGHT I wanted to do, and discover entirely too late that it doesn’t look as it should… or as I would like it to.
    Planning has always been my issue – being intentional feels like the right place for me right now. And these question might be exactly what I need to light up that space in my creative soul….

  6. Leslie

    This was so good! And your questions are good ones to ask before launching off in another direction. I will be borrowing them for my own life. Thank you Jeanne!

  7. Marianne

    Jeanne you are by far one of the best teachers artistically and spiritually I have had. I wish I had your blog/ website/ classes as soon as I finished my B.F.A 20 years ago. As with all the wisdom you share, I will be adding these filters to my journey. Thank you for continuing to share your gifts with the world! 🎨

  8. Donnie

    Loved his post and so appreciated that you included time in prayer and Bible study. So often this is left out of our lives as we hustle along. Your questions are very thought provoking and lead toward being much more intentional. Thank you for your wise words.

  9. Vicki Miller

    I find that being in nature grounds me. Like you, I am often asking myself questions to be sure that what I am doing is right for the person I want to be. This is -particularly true of social media. My question is Am I doing this because I want to do it for myself or because I want to put it on social media? If the latter is true, then I generally won’t do it, or else I will have to reframe what I am doing.

  10. Leslie Johnson

    Autumn is always a time of reflection and starting anew. I just got home last night from 2 weeks away, and am eager for new beginnings here at home. There are a thousand ideas careening around in my mind. Your blog was a reminder to take a deep breath, spend some quiet time in reading, prayer, reflection, and order my thoughts and priorities before launching into all the activities,

  11. Kim

    Your thoughts are so relatable, I also feel the need to spend the first part of my day in my Bible, with writing a part of this. In August I started a new challenge for myself. It is to write the words of Jesus, you know, the Red Letters. I’ve found myself thinking on the words that I’d written that morning.
    Today I was on a trail here in East Tennessee and there were blue paint markers on trees, yet I wondered what it was! Thanks for letting me know. There is nothing like going to the woods for clarity of mind. Keep writing Jeanne, love your post!

  12. Kim Hill

    What a cool metaphor…the trail blazes. If only it were so easy huh?! Asking those questions are like looking for the markers and I appreciate you sharing that idea with us! (BTW I just ordered cool trail blazes for our actual trails LOL)

  13. Jackie

    your filters are so thoughtful. I don’t think I would ever have had the mind set to come up with each of these questions- thank you for sharing them. Your gifts help in more ways than you know!

  14. Maggie

    All those pointers along the way are relevant to me. The hardest part, I find, is being okay with allowing myself the “right” to say no/yes when it involves others and not just myself. Thank you for sharing this. 🙏🏼

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