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“Feeling love and gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward

1. Simply listen to someone with your full attention.

2. Look someone straight in the eyes and say, “You make the world a better place.”

3. Pinpoint something you admire about someone’s commitment to their beliefs—even if you don’t hold them, as well.

4. Smile. Give one away today!

5. Offer to get a coffee for someone.

6. Write a hand-written thank you note, acknowledging things you value about someone and their work.

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This opportunity meant pushing myself way out of my comfort zone, but the possibilities were too great to let it pass by. Many friends and family members played such a big part in making this happen that I had to honor their support. When Friday the 13th came, I was getting myself ready for the event in my hotel room. I had a beautiful dress to wear that came from a good friend back home who generously donated her fashion sense to make me feel awesome. This was a huge gift that my friend gave me.

The weather was amazing, and as I walked in, the sight gave me a thrill, and I took the liberty of walking around the compound. I enjoyed many wonderful conversations and took the time to really absorb the art of each room. The designers poured their hearts into their spaces and collectively made the home an inspiration. The Christopher Kennedy Compound was such a huge hit it made features in Dwell Magazine, Traditional Home, Houzz and much more.

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2013 was a year of digging through the things I value most and trying to narrow it down to the most essential one, two or three. It’s been a challenge. As I looked back through the challenges life threw at me expressing love and gratitude to my husband, kids and dear friends was an essential and helped get me through the tough times. I also realized that at times I struggle with feeling loved and that I need reminders sometimes, well, a lot of times. Love is a top value of mine and recognizing the importance of expressing that love followed. As emotional, tender human beings the moment we realize how much we are loved, valued or appreciated the healthier and happier we can live. So I am on a journey to help people express their love through my art. A custom painting allowed me a concrete way to tell other people’s story and share their love and legacy through emotion and vivid color.

Special thanks to Dana and Doug Kollar-Flora and award winning SilverBox Photographers.

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They started their relationship fresh and separated themselves from what was familiar to them. Thus, giving my folks an opportunity to face the trial of a new culture and test out a new set of skills together and alone. They were far from support of either family, close friends or familiar cultural influences. I imagine both families on either side thought they were nuts, but maybe a bit of nuts can be a good thing, a thing that can challenge the status quo and can possibly form a tight bond between two people. It doesn’t take leaving the country or the familiar to strengthen a relation but it does takes endurance, letting go and perseverance through difficult times to fully enjoy the capacity we all have to love another human being. Love you Mom and Pop.

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My father and I share a love for art and a space for creating it. I hope you enjoy reading this VOX Magazine article written about our collective creativity “These two artists work in close quarters. Jenny McGee, who takes the right half of the art studio, paints in abstraction with long, sweeping acrylic paint*. Robert Hodgson creates portraits, landscapes and the occasional abstract piece. She paints with passion; he paints with pragmatism. However, the interesting contrast in styles between the pair does not affect other aspects of their relationship: McGee is Hodgson’s daughter.” But Hodgson says that their art transcends familial bonds. “There’s a kind of pure relationship that exists,” he says. “Art has kind of leveled a lot of the old distinctions that society might place on you.”

Please continue to read the rest of the VOX Magazine article!