Saturday, November 24, 2012

Progress On All Fronts!

Here's what has happened to my "bleeding canvas" since my last visit here.
You may ask yourself, "Why, oh why, is that thing covered in little circles and then big circles, just circles?"  The answer to that question is, as usual, "I have no idea!"  It is always such a big surprise to me to find out what will happen when I start painting.  That is why I do it.  My painting method leaves me with one of two choices...I will either like it and it will stay, or I won't and I will just keep adding layers upon layers.  This isn't finished so I can't tell you which way it will end up yet.  The next time you see it, it might just be covered in gesso!  Who knows? 
I also got the first page in my new journal finished.  Wanna see?
My son wanted to work in his art journal, so I helped him tear out some pages from his book and glue some together.  As I was cleaning up my desk, I saw this picture from his book.  It's a mom putting away dishes, a boy drying the dishes, and another one rooting around in the fridge.  Now that it's Thanksgiving break, it looked just like my day.  It was a picture I could relate to!  I love having my kids home on school breaks (I know, I'm weird) but the thing about having them here is that they are always hungry and neither of them seem to be hungry at the same time.  All day long it's, "I'm hungry." "What is there to eat?" "Do we have anything 'good' to eat?"  "Is the dishwasher clean or dirty?"  AND my absolute favorite question..."What's for dinner?" 
Just as I was taking a minute from my feed child/clean up after routine to glue this image onto my page, my son came in and informed me that he was hungry.  True story.  I cannot make this stuff up!  At least I never find myself sitting around waiting for gel medium to dry. 
By the way, for all you English buffs out there.  I totally know that the hyphen should go after the "S" in "Thanksgiving" but I just ran out of room.  I tend to ignore such rules in my art journal.  The visual is more important to me than the proper use of hyphens here.
This last little project was something that I haven't done in FOREVER.
I did this for the November Sketchbook Challenge.  The theme was the "Spice of Life".  I've pretty much given up on pencils and erasers.  If I use them I can make a drawing take approximately FOREVER.  I just don't have the time (see above feeding routine) to sketch unless I make it fast.  I've just decided to be brave and go for it with a Pitt pen and let the cards fall where they may!  I sketched this in a Moleskine sketchbook and used watercolors to add the color. 
As you can see, I've been a busy little bee.  I sure hope my busy streak continues!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Housework Schmousework!

I don't know if I've mentioned it before (maybe only approximately 1,000 times) that winter is my LEAST favorite time of year and around here winters are longgggggggggg.  So the other day I woke up to a day that could probably be best described by the word (if it even is a word)...BLAH.  It was gray, cold and of course, windy.  I had a "fabulous" day of housework planned but when I saw the "BLAH" I found myself highly unmotivated!  Then someone posted this on Facebook or Pinterest or something and BAM!!!  We have a day changer!
That was all it took for me to forgo housework and get some coloring done!  What can I say?  I obviously don't require a whole lot of convincing if some e-card on the Internet can cause me to make a big mess instead of cleaning one up.  I traded my bed sheet fort for my trusty green vinyl tablecloth (that thing has been with me longer than my children have), my coloring book for a big canvas, and my crayons for my Golden Acrylics.
Here is my "couch cushion fort" on my kitchen table!  This day is looking brighter already, well other than my 6 year old told me that my painting was bleeding.  I'm not sure that's good, but hey, at least it is "bleeding" bright colors.  AND right beside me ready to catch any extra palette paint, was this:
It's my brand new art journal.  Hand bound with a fabulous stitch I learned from  Mary Ann Moss' class Full Tilt Boogie that you can find HERE.  It is my first hand bound journal with 140 lb. Fabriano hot press and let me just say, that painting on it is an absolute joy!  I now know what all the hullabaloo over 140 lb. Fabriano hot press was all about.  I'm sure the cover of this will evolve over time but for now I just LOVE my "Second Easy Drawing Book" journal.  It turned a BLAH day into Happy. Happy. Happy.  (I suppose I should mention here, my love and slight obsession, of all things Duck Dynasty, including, but not limited to, the use of Happy. Happy. Happy.  I'll have to elaborate on that another day.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Silly Me

So, when you send off a journal to Art Journaling, you can include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for them to mail back to you when they receive your submission.  I took this little opportunity to send myself some happy mail and a reminder to be glad that I was brave and sent something in.  I made myself this little postcard and yesterday, it came back.

It got a little banged up in the mail (which I kinda like) but it made me happy when I opened my mailbox and that was the point.  I also may have taken the liberty of writing myself a little note from Art Journaling (I hope they can forgive me).  I'm a little silly that way.  It's just that I am usually a bit hard on myself (like, ridiculously) so I thought I'd try giving myself a little pat on the back for a change.
That was nice of me, don't you think?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Warm Thoughts

Well, I did it!  I bravely boxed up my little journal and sent it on its merry way.  I went with UPS and have been faithfully (obsessively) tracking it along its journey.  Right now, according to the UPS website, it is "on time" and in Las Vegas.  I am kind of wishing I was in Las Vegas myself.  It's not that I am a big fan of Las Vegas...I don't gamble (well, unless letting my family talk me into a dog counts as gambling).  I don't drink.  I'm not really into Wayne Newton and I have a years long distaste of Nevada (a whole other story), but I really, really don't like COLD and winter is starting to set in where I live and it's making Las Vegas look a whole lot more appealing. 
Anyway (kinda got on a tangent there), here's another little page from my journal.
Doesn't it look warm?  I think I was fighting against cold when I did this.  Here's hoping that you are staying warm (at least in your journal).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm Finally Finished!

I've been journaling now for several years and all though I have done many journal pages, I have to tell you, I have never actually FINISHED a journal.  That's right never!  Unbelievable, I know, but true.  Well, until now, that is!
Play Book is FINISHED!  Wahoo!
I have completed pages in spiral bound journals, sketchbooks, a Moleskine, and altered books, but for one reason or another (paper issues, book size, exploding bindings, etc.), I haven't finished the books (yet), so I set a goal for myself.  Here's my goal:  I was going to finish a book and when I was done, I was going to submit it to Art_Journaling.
So here's the last page on the inside back cover.  I'm pretty proud of myself for completing a big goal!  It's taken a bit more than a year to finish up my book and there is a labeled package on my desk just waiting for postage.  Sending off my beloved Play Book is a bit nerve wracking but doing the safe thing and letting it sit on my shelf would not accomplish the final little bit of my goal, so I'm going to be brave and have faith that it will come back to me safely!  Don't let me down USPS!!!  It's also a little scary to send away a little piece of yourself and have to put yourself out there, but I am quieting my "not good enough" demons and sending it anyway!  For me that is a WIN!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

M&M's! It's What For Dinner!

I've been on a bit of a sketching tear lately...and boy am I rusty.  I was watching this video posted by Jane LaFazio of an interview with Danny Gregory and Danny made a comment about how easy it is to get out of the habit of daily sketching, but when you start again, you wonder why you ever stopped.  That's exactly how I feel!  So even though I'm rusty AND I'm using a Moleskine sketchbook with watercolors (FRUSTRATING!), I'm trying to get a sketch in every day.
This was a sketch of my dinner while on a 3 hour drive, on a very bumpy road (might need to lodge a complaint with the Road Department, sheesh!), using a Pitt pen, waterbrush, and watercolors.  AND while I highly recommend the Mint M&M's, I will concede that they are probably not the healthiest choice for dinner! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Play Book's Summer Adventures

Wow!  It's been a crazy, busy summer for us around here.  Most of my summer has been spent on fun, little adventures and recovering from fun, little adventures (and, obviously, not spent updating my blog).  This little friend has been with me on most of them.
My Play book is almost finished.  I just have a few more pages in it.  It will be bittersweet to finish it, but plans are already in the works on my next journal (Thank you Mary Ann Moss!), which is super exciting.
Here are some of Play book's summer adventures:
My husband and I rented a vacation house for our 20th anniversary and this was my indoor setup.

 And every evening when the sun would start casting long shadows, this was my outdoor setup.  It was beautiful and peaceful and was, without question, the best studio I have had this summer!  The funnest part would be these little friends...
...They would come and hang out with me while I painted in Play book.  They just watched me and ate their dinner.  Cool, huh?
I also took Play book along to my family reunion, but I didn't even touch a brush to it and do you want to know why?  I'll show you...
 ...because these sweet kids were so inspired by Play book, that we had an impromptu art journal school.  We bought a bunch of books from a local thrift store and started tearing and gluing and painting and making an absolute mess.  It was a blast!  Watching kids create is one of my favorite things to do.  It's remarkable what you can learn watching the fearless way kids approach art.  Love it!  We had some journal masterpieces and some paint experiments that are, quite possibly, still not dry. I do not know how many journals we made that day but it seems like hundreds (probably more like 30).  Cute little kids were coming and going all afternoon.  We even ran out of books.  I went to bed (on my air mattress, in my tent that I set up by myself, but that is another story all together) totally exhausted but completely happy AND with a new name, "Miss Jolene, My Art Teacher".  Yep!  That's me!  I used to be just "Jolene" in my family, but no more.  I like my new, longer name better!  Might need to make myself a name tag!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Student Work

Every Wednesday,  from January through April, I had the opportunity to introduce 10 amazing, awesome, talented girls to the world of art journaling.  On the last day I asked them if I could take pictures of their favorite pages from the semester.  To say they are inspiring seems like a massive understatement.  Take a look at their work.
Check out this page in Eilee's journal...
 ...and here's a shot of her cover.  Don't you love the graffiti lettering?
 This is Emily's journal.  Great use of layers.
 I love the colors of Blythe's cover.
 Here's a page from Aliysa.  I really like the colors and the book text circles.  I wish I had a picture of her background doodles.  They blew my mind.
 Hannah couldn't decide which one she liked most, so we took a picture of both this one (note the googly eyes in the center of the flowers on the bottom) and...
 ...this one.
 This is Monica's circle doodle page.  Monica has a knack with metallics!
 This is Dakota's cover.  So pretty!
Amira also had two pages that she liked.  This one with the great paint layers...
 and this one, which is just a brilliant idea.
 This one was Vanessa's favorite.  She rocks the circles.

I know I may be a little biased but these must be the most brilliant 14-17 year olds ever.  I wish I could show all their work because I found something inspiring in everything they did.  While I was teaching them, I learned too.  For instance, I learned to think about nail polish for more than just fingernails, I'm now obsessed with graffiti lettering, and SO MUCH MORE!  Plus, it was a great reminder of the most important lesson I've learned in art journaling (which translates into life)...there is power in DOING!  Trying to see the end from the beginning is a great way to end up stuck and miserable.  Doing the small steps along the way yields the best inspiration.  AND even when you're not crazy about the outcome, it's good to remember that things not working out the way you would have liked is still a valuable lesson.  Thank you to my crazy amazing class.  You're all WONDERFUL!  Just keep doing (sorry guys, I just had to say it one more time)!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Getting Out of a Rut

I love flowers.  LOVE them.  I know most of their names on sight.  I can recognize them by their leaves even.  I rarely run across a flower that I don't know the name of and when I do, I make a point to learn it.  Many years ago when I was taking watercolor lessons, my teacher would tell me how well I painted flowers and she would say, "If you can paint a flower, you can paint anything.  They are difficult."  But they really weren't all that difficult for me.  Other things intimidated me, but not flowers.  I am confident in flowers.  Whenever I am doing art, I seem to paint flowers.  But lately I've been thinking ("A dangerous past time I know."  By the way, who knows what movie that is from?).
When Kate and I were playing in our art journals the last time she was here, I posed a question:  Do I paint flowers because I am following my natural abilities and my own path or am I just in a rut? 
Kate's reply:  "If you still enjoy painting flowers then you are following your path, if not then I'd say it's a rut."  She's so smart!
Well, more thinking...
...which requires a journal page of course!  Fortunately I had this page kicking around in my journal from another art day with Kate.  She was letting me try out her Sennelier oil pastels and, for lack of any other ideas, I did this flower, but didn't know what to do with the page after that.  This was the perfect flower pondering page.
Here's what I've decided about flowers...I'm kind of sick of them.  I still love them but I also want to stretch and grow and if I'm totally honest, I really don't have to stretch much to paint them.  If I start painting a flower, I am relatively confident that it won't turn into a big mess and if it does, I probably can fix it.  I'm not that confident with other subjects and I really would like to be, so I am trying to take a little break from flowers and try new things.  But now I find myself unsure of what to paint.  If I don't paint flowers, what else is there?  I am certainly stretching.
So here is a "flower-free" page.  It started with a crazy, bright background of palette cleanings.  I toned down the background with some random collage and lighter paint.  Then I painted a heart and added a hand image from a magazine.  The image looked a little too "real" for the rest of the page, so I bravely started painting the hands, using the image as a guide.
Now that I have finished this page, I'm wondering what I will work on next that is "flower-free".  I'm going to have to work on that.  More rut busting is needed!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Play Days

Wow!  It's been an awfully long time since I've updated my blog.  I have dreaded trying to get current and so I procrastinated even longer, which just makes me more behind.  So I decided that I won't even try to catch up.  I'll just start from where I am now.  The bonus is that you won't have to read about fibro flares and other "unpleasants" going on.  I really don't like to be unpleasant!!!  I like being REAL but want you to leave this little blog of mine a teesy bit happier for have taken the time to see what I'm up to.  I want you to feel uplifted and encouraged!!  We've all got "unpleasants" and our goal is to find ways to handle them with strength, courage, love, and a teensy bit of humor, right?
That said, my friend Kate came over the other day for an art play day.  I'm so grateful that Kate and I found each other through this art journaling world.  It's great fun to get together and just throw some supplies around a page.  Kate had some new treasures that she brought for me to try out and they were great fun!
I used her new Tim Holtz inks, Dr. Ph Martin liquid watercolors, and quickly tried out an Aqua Marker.  Kate gave me some letter stamps that made her crazy, so I used those too!  There is also a bit of gesso, fluid acrylics, fabric spray paint, Staz-On ink, Sharpie paint pens, charcoal and a playing dog image from an Oprah magazine. 
And speaking of art days, I finally finished doing something with the alcohol ink background that I made the last time Kate and I got together to paint.
I loved this background so much, that it has taken me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with it.  I wanted more layers but didn't want to lose too much of the green/turquoise ink.  In the end I used Inktense blocks, gesso, absorbent ground, Caran D'Ache watercolor crayons, acrylics, india ink with the script liner brush, and pit pens.
Thanks Kate for the great art play day.  I can't wait to get together again!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Fun... live in Thijme Termaat's world for just a day?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Script Liner Joy

While taking the Strathmore Traci Bautista workshop I discovered the joy of using the script liner brush.  There is something so therapeutic about doodling with india ink and that long, skinny brush.  After I painted around on what started out as a crazy, doodle-y, palette cleaning page.  I used the india ink to just doodle with some of the designs that I keep in my little notebook in my purse.  Whenever I am sitting near someone with an interesting pattern on their dress or see something that might translate into a good doodle later, I draw it in my little notebook for later...nothing fancy...just a little spiral bound, lined notebook and a ball point pen.  If you pay attention, there is great inspiration all around you.
Later, my daughter and I packed up our journals and headed to the local bookstore for some of their killer Mayan hot chocolate and some journal time.  It's one of our favorite things to do.  I brought along my Neocolor II's and some pens to finish it up.  I even let my daughter play with my treasured Neocolor II's.  I must really love that girl!  Only now she is as smitten with my crayons as I am and thinks that she needs her own set.  I'm raising a smart girl, I tell you!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Caved

My husband and my son have been hounding (no pun intended) me for a dog forever, but I have not been easily convinced.  It's not like I don't like dogs.  In fact, I really like dogs.  Good dogs.  Dogs who don't jump up or growl or just be plain obnoxious.  Dogs need to be trained and I was afraid that I would be THE ONE.  You know, THE ONE who doesn't know how to handle their dog and he would be the obnoxious dog and it would be all my fault.  I also wasn't keen on following an animal around my house with a bottle of carpet cleaner 24/7.  My family tried to sell me on the whole "we'll take care of it, we promise" thing but I wasn't born yesterday.  I know who will be taking care of the dog and frankly, there are days when the fibromyalgia acts up and I'm not sure I can take care of myself and my kids.  Why would I want to throw a dog into that mix? 
I rolled my eyes when many Saturdays my husband and son could be found checking over the cages at the local Petco when the Humane Society would bring their adoptable animals.  They could look at dogs all they wanted, but I was NOT interested.  Sometimes my daughter and I would even tag along.  Just window shopping and then we met Dee.  Dee is the best home finder at the Humane Society I swear.  I'm pretty sure she was a successful used car salesman in a previous life.  She had us walking all kinds of dogs for weeks.  Once again, I thought "go ahead, walk all the dogs, but we are not taking one home."  I was resolute!  I could not be moved!  I meant it!
With that said, I would like to introduce you to Mick....
He's our new dog.  Dee rescued him and was fostering him but she didn't want to just let anybody adopt him, so she had been hanging onto him until she found just the right family.  We traded information and even though this might sound funny, I knew he was our dog even before I met him.  So today, we adopted Mick, which is short for MacGreggor (said in your best Scottish brogue).  He really is a good boy and even though he hasn't even been around 12 hours yet, I kinda really love him.  He's already not the obnoxious dog.  And I haven't even had to use the carpet cleaner yet!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bird and My Word

It all started with a late night test of my new Tulip fabric spray paints.  I bought the party pack and I just wanted to see what all of the colors looked like.  Let me just say, all together, they definitely looked like a party.  The next day when my kids and I were examining my experiment, we saw kind of a creepy face and a bird hiding in the background.  I opted for the bird and painted it in with some gesso.  Then for a reason that I cannot explain, I painted leaf shapes in red, pink, orange, purple, blue, and green.  I don't know why, just did.  I started adding layers of paint and Sharpie paint pens but I still wasn't happy with the background, so I decided to experiment with my brand new, super, amazing, Caran D'Ache Neocolor II's.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE those things?  I may have mentioned it every single day to any member of my family that is pretending to listen to me.  I also may have GENTLY hugged the tin a time or two.  I still can't believe that I have waited this long to buy some.  They are definitely an example of the joy GOOD art supplies can bring to your life.  I was so frustrated with the other water soluble crayons I had tried that I couldn't imagine why I would want a crazy expensive box of them.  Now I know.
I also included my word on my little bird's wing.  I had this great idea to write it somewhere, on some layer of all my pages this year.  Then I'll remember it.  I probably won't be able to see it when I'm done, but it will be there somewhere.  My little secret.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We Have A Word

I have been racking my brain lately, trying to come up with my word for 2012.  There are just some really great words.  Narrowing my list down to one word was a challenge.  So, as I doodled for THIS class, I pondered what I wanted my year to look like.  As I neared the end of creating the absolute riot of color I ended up with, I still wasn't sure.  The word "persist" kept coming up so I pulled out one of my old dictionaries and fortunately for me, I hadn't already torn out the "persist" page and glued it to something.  When I read the definition for "persist", it felt close, but not quite right.  Then as I glanced up the page, I happened upon "perseverance" and fell in love with definition #2.  "2.  Theol.  Continuance in a state of grace until it is succeeded by a state of glory."  Perfect!

And just like that I have a word.  PERSEVERANCE.  I cut it out and glued it to my riot of color right away.  By the way, this was fun to do.  I'm pretty excited to get my hands on Traci's new book, but it's still not out yet so I'll have to be patient.  I had to force myself to use the oil pastels in this class, because normally, I hate those things, but I persevered (see, my word's working already) and I also learned that I love a script liner brush and some India ink.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello 2012

After I said goodbye to 2011, I needed to say hello to 2012, but after my resolution revelation, I decided that I wasn't going to do resolutions this year.  Many of my artist friends choose a word to focus on during the year, so I decided I needed a word.  The trick is coming up with the right word.  I know that we are already 9 days into the new year and I should have my word already, but I haven't decided on the right one.  There are lots of great words!  I've narrowed it down but I'm not sure just yet.  I've been working on Strathmore's Online workshop with Traci Bautista, so as I doodle away on my journal page, I'm pondering on just the right word.  Oh, and if you haven't been following along with Strathmore's workshop, I suggest you look into it.  It is FREE.  (Free is the only word I can scream without having to put a quarter in the swear jar!)  It is Traci Bautista and it is awesome.  Hopefully by the end of my doodle, I will have a word of the year.
By the way, the flowers on this journal page started out as a napkin that my friend Kate gave to me in a GIANT box of paper happiness.  After I separated all the layers of the napkin and collaged the flowers on, I started adding paint and pens and it now no longer looks anything like the original, but I still like it.  After I got it all finished I found a fortune that was hanging around on my desk, so I had to stick that on there too.
And now, I must go.  Fibro is kicking my butt today.  All this typing has set me up for a nap.  How sad is that?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Got Gum?

It all started when I couldn't find my favorite gum anymore.  I had to try something new.  So, I bought a package of Sweet Mint Orbit gum and when I unwrapped it, I noticed that it had some great graphics on the box.  Graphics that could inspire a doodle.  So when the box was empty, I thought I would hang on to it.  When I bought a new package, it had a different graphic, so I had to save that one too.  I started thinking of a gazillion little ideas for using those boxes, so I saved the next one too.  After a while, I had a ridiculous number of Orbit boxes that needed to be used up, so I just started cutting and gluing onto a background I had started.
The rest of the page is assorted, goofy randomness.  After I finished with the gum boxes, the friendship bracelet that my daughter made for me finally fell off after wearing it for months.  It was the same colors at the gum boxes, so I formed it into a heart and stuck in on there.  I also did a few doodles that were inspired by the boxes, and found the words "plumb bob" in the background.  I just happen to like saying "plumb bob"'s just fun to say!  Try it!
And that's my very random gum box page.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goodbye Twenty Eleven

I was looking back at my journal page with my resolutions for 2011 and this is the exact thought that went through my head, "if I didn't like this journal page so much I would run it through the shredder RIGHT NOW!"  There were only 4 things written on my list of "to-do's" for the year and, at first glance, I didn't accomplish A SINGLE ONE OF THEM. 
As I was just starting to silently berate myself for my apparent failures and waste of an entire year, I began thinking back...I really liked 2011.  How could such a good year been a "failure"?  I had so many opportunities and adventures and good things happen in the past year.  Things that I could have never envisioned for myself when I wrote those 4 "failures" at the beginning of the year.  For instance, my first resolution was to "get control of my health" and while I certainly don't feel "in control", I ended up weighing less than when the year started and I have made great progress in small steps.
My #2 resolution was "get a passport".  When I wrote that I really didn't have anywhere to go but I figured that if I had a passport, the travel would follow.  Plus, having a passport is just plain cool.  Well, no, I still don't have a passport but I did do more traveling this year than I have in a long time.  My family and I went on a vacation to the Oregon Coast and I went with my parents, kids, and nephews to California to be a part of a once in a lifetime opportunity to see my brother's U-2 solo.  I wouldn't trade either of those experiences for a passport.
#3 was to run a successful Etsy store.  Well, I don't have a successful Etsy store, in fact, I don't have anything in my Etsy store right now but I have been able to get a better feel for Etsy this year and what I want to do with my art.  I have also been able to identify better what I do not want.  It has been a year that has helped me grow and move more towards the true me.  Which means my resolution has turned out to not really be a big priority right now.
Resolution #4 was "art everyday (Sketchbook Challenge and get published)".  I know for sure that I didn't do art everyday and seemed to gravitate away from the Sketchbook Challenge.  Not only that but I didn't even send in a single piece of art to be published so unless editors are also gifted in the art of osmosis (which would sure make my life easier, by the way), I don't expect to be published in the next few months.  I have, however, done quite a bit of art this year and I am proud of the growth I have experienced.  I also did something else that I have never done before, I took an online class.  Not only that but I took three!  I took Mary Ann Moss' Remains of the Day (and I just signed up for Full Tilt Boogie, both of these AWESOME classes are ON SALE right now and worth every penny), Christy Tomlinson's She Had Three Hearts, and my daughter and I are working on Brave Girls Club's Brave Mothers and Daughters.  I am also teaching a high school age art journaling class this coming semester which is definitely "putting myself out there".
So, despite, my initial failure response to my 2011 resolutions, I have had a good year.  I've had the usual ups and downs but all in all, 2011 was good to me.  I've seen much growth and realize that much of what I thought I wanted in the beginning was just the tip of the iceberg.  The actual path that I was supposed to take was better than I could have imagined and all along I was (as the sign above my desk reminds me) "right where I should be".