My first painting in over a year using a paintbrush. The herb is Turmeric.

“Investing In Myself”

From the time I began my “Journey of Insight,” my life changed. The benefits for me have been miraculous and everything that I’ve created fills me with amazement. It is difficult to describe the passion I feel for what I am doing. As I have throughout my life, I strive to do my best.


Pressure due to financial stress was looming on the horizon for me. I’ve had little income for over five years now. Thankfully, my husband accepted that refinancing our home was something that would alleviate my stress over our mounting debt.


I realize that I’ve never hesitated to invest in my children. I have a son and a daughter in college now. My youngest son attends a private school where he thrives.


I have decided that now is the time to invest in myself. I believe in what I am doing.


“The Art of Speaking” 

I have written before about “the art of singing.” I became a better singer when I started to listen to my own voice. When I began to really hear myself as I sang, everything changed and my improvement was huge.


Even though I’ve known that I am a good speaker – I’ve never recorded an audio book before. This was completely new territory for me. I’m grateful that I decided to spend the money to record my book at a friend’s recording studio.


I began recording my book and assumed that a professional recording was enough to ensure that my material was of excellent quality. Certainly, my recordings sounded far superior to what I had practiced recording in my closet a month earlier.


My book is comprised of 32 stories. It was when I was recording the last ten stories that my voice changed. It really did. Suddenly, I could hear many nuances in it. I backed off when a word erupted from me that sounded like gravel. I didn’t want my voice to sound the way it did at 5:00 a.m.!


I noticed that the gravelly sound was sprinkled throughout my first recordings. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t aware of it, but then again it was a learning experience. On my later recordings, I always repeated any sentence where the last word had that awful sound.


Just like the importance of vibe with singing, I knew that I needed to feel my words. I certainly did when I recorded Jason’s story. However, with 32 stories and a lot of words to read, I honestly did not put in the effort required on every story to “feel” all those words. I decided I could inject more emotion into my earlier recordings. The “catch” in my voice and tearful moments made a huge difference for the listener.


I anticipated that I would record my final story and celebrate that my book was close to completion. I have decided to spend the money and re-record 20 of my 32 stories. There are countless hours involved with editing as a result, but I have never looked at any part of my journey as time wasted. Every hour I have spent is filled with lessons and knowledge for me. My book is my passion and I am not racing to a finish line. Nor am I looking to make my creation so perfect that I will never finish.


I plan to finish and look forward to sharing my honest fairy tale about how my music healed me!

“My Musical Life”

I have missed performing at Border’s, but realize the considerable time I am putting into my audio book has put performing on the back burner anyway. Sometimes I wonder how I will feel when my book is done and I put my energy back in that direction. Certainly, I spend long hours alone and don’t feel like putting myself “out there” at open mic venues like I used to.


In February, I will be performing at a venue with several hundred people in the audience. I plan to have my book done by then and that makes this opportunity even more very exciting.


My friend, Larry, who owns the studio where I am recording, will be setting up this performance with another musician he works with; we will each play that evening. I’ll be able to play for perhaps 30 minutes, and look forward to sharing details about this when I know more.


Because music fuels me, recently, I decided to once again invest in my joy by working with my arranger, George, on some of my older songs.


George and I got together and improved several of our older arrangements. I must force myself to only work on songs that will be part of my book. I do look forward to writing and improving my other songs once my first book is completed.


Although my newest song “Hang On” still fills my heart, I am starting to hear new chords in my mind. I hardly have time to play with them.

My parents enjoyed my company for lunch two weeks ago. It makes me sad because my parents cannot converse anymore due to my mother’s dementia.

“Beyond Surviving”

I like to write about finding meaning from my life. When I mention what I’ve learned from hypnotherapy, “thoughts equal feelings,” for example, I actively practice what I’ve shared.


Despite continuing challenges with my parents’ situation, I continue to feel joyful. There is little for me to write an update about, since their condition remains about the same. I do as much as I can to alleviate their suffering, while at the same time living my life in a way that they would want me to. I do not allow myself to feel guilty about not spending more time with them. I do know that when I see them, they adore and appreciate me and I am grateful to still have them.


I was in the elevator with both of them and snapped a picture. I felt very sad at that moment as I left both of them at their facility.

Getting into an elevator with both my parents at their facility. It was challenging for all of us to fit in there. Miriam, my mother’s caregiver, was with me.

It is always a balance of making the time and staying positive, despite seeing their pain.


Sometimes it is the smallest of things that can give me stress. Two weeks ago, I accidently scratched my beloved guitar while playing a song for my mother. The scratch was noticeable, ugly and totally unnecessary.


I looked at that big scratch on the front with my eyes watering and then I got over it.


I laugh when I think about how much pain I felt looking at it. My guitar was almost new when I pulled it out of its case in the closet a year and a half ago. I decided it would be just another battle scar to remind me how beautiful it is that my guitar is getting played so much.


“Pulling Out My Paintbrush”

I receive a lot of Internet traffic on my art blog. On top of everything I’ve done this year, sometimes I am astounded that I wrote that blog in addition to “My Journey’s Insight.” http://foodartist.wordpress.com/


I am generous with my sharing, and I realize that many people download my images. I prefer not to look at that as stealing, and have decided that those images would have been hidden away in boxes in my closet. It gives me pleasure to think that other people enjoy what I have done.


However, as a result of that traffic, I have pulled more people into my journey and have also directed more attention to my languishing art career. That was not my motive when I wrote my blog, but now search engines guide many people to my site. Currently, I am at the top of the list when anyone types in “food illustrator.”


When I landed a large project this past week, it reinforced how staying positive and joyful can lead to unexpected dividends. I have not painted with a paintbrush for over a year and last night I was painting again.


It was not easy, as my eyes strained to see the tiny pieces of frisket I was peeling back with tweezers. But within a few hours, a painting emerged and I was relieved to know that I still had the ability to illustrate. It also reminded me that it was something I have not missed doing.


I was pleased for my bountiful financial rewards this week, but if I never painted again in my life – I would be fine with that.


I often receive emails as a result of my art blog, from people wanting to buy my illustrations. I was touched by this recent message. As I sign off to go back to completing my new art project and then to working on my audio book, I want to share part of that message below:


Dear Judy,


I love your generous spirit. I am sure it takes a great amount of time to create a work. I would be embarrassed to ask you to do a work for me for what I can afford. I’m just a little startup.


I would love to work with you and pay you what you more than deserve – what I am offering is a token and as I said I am even embarrassed to mention it. I have to shake my head in almost disbelief in our world economy. You’re grateful for any income and I am grateful for any help… we’re quite the pair. Better days are ahead. If you feel inclined to turn me down I understand – truly.


Sincerely, Rhonda


P.S. I had a cold this morning and a runny nose to begin with but now that I’ve read your blog a whole roll of toilet paper is almost gone from wiping tears and blowing my nose. You express yourself beautifully. That is quite the song you wrote! I admire you for doing that and I am sorry for your loss- it truly touched my heart. I have a three-year-old grandson that I absolutely adore and I can’t imagine what my life would be without him. I almost lost my own son to bone cancer; grateful to the Lord for his miraculous survival- today he is 32 and married. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that. Thank you for sharing.

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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