Day 345 – Life After Apples

A lot of you have asked me, “What comes next?”

Great question! I hope the answers I have will lead to things just as great. Here are a few areas I have outlined. I hope you all continue to follow me as my journey switches focus a bit this fall and in the years ahead.

Here are my plans – we shall see.

1. I’m not going anywhere! I will continue to blog here at The Feeding Edge and work for AS awareness and other health and social issues. My scope will just widen a bit. I’d love to also continue to create occasional “Apples For AS” and support the SAA in any way I can. I believe in what they do and I don’t think anyone does it better!

2. For the last year I have been an artist, blogger, and health activist. I did not focus on making a living. That was not where I wanted to put my energies. I decided to spend the year raising AS Awareness and that took all of my energy – well, along with making apples! Moving forward, The Feeding Edge will become a Social Enterprise. What’s that you ask? From Wikipedia (I know) “A social enterprise is an organization that applies capitalistic strategies to achieving philanthropic goals. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit.” Additionally the primary purpose of the company is a social aim.

3. So what is my social aim? I will work to assist and learn from other artists who suffer from chronic disease and who wish to establish an entrepreneurial social enterprise for their emotional and financial well being.

4. To the moon and beyond… my loftiest goal is to strive to develop a non-profit organization –  The Art For Good Foundation – with artists and social activists everywhere to support issues for the common good. I reserved the domain name months ago – we’ll see where this goes. The Art For Good Foundation will be a vehicle to find ways to do good things for the world through art. It broadens the scope – includes any and all social programs and artists.

Big dreams? You bet!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 345 was created with watercolor, ink, black thread, and pastels.

***A big thank you to my Mom, Susan Dye, who is helping me organize my thoughts and reining me in when necessary. She will be joining me as my path switches to the above endeavors and helping me administer and manage while attempting to stay retired at the same time! You’ll meet her on Monday – she’s written a post that we will share with you all. When Doug read it a few minutes ago his comment was, “Your Mom is wonderful!” He’s very right on this one – she absolutely is!

Day 344 – Let’s Do This!

I want people to know what Autoimmune Arthritis is and specifically about Spondyloarthritis – a group of diseases that cause pain and suffering in millions of people. They are Ankylosing Spondylitis, Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy, Juvenile Spondyloarthopathy, Psoriatic Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, and Enteropathic Arthritis.

I want people to understand how challenging these chronic illnesses can make life. I want this so very much because I know personally what it is to live through pain and fatigue as well as the confusion of looking for years for answers to the pain that was robbing huge chunks of my life away. I know how difficult it is to continue on day after day and put on a happy face because you are afraid people will judge you if they know what you are dealing with. I want understanding and empathy for my AS family. I wanted it when I didn’t know them, just what they went through. But I want it even more now (I didn’t think it was possible) because I’ve traveled this last year with them. I’ve heard and understood what they are going through. All of you who’ve been with me, or just joined me, or I’ve yet to meet. I’ve been making apples in the hopes they will help spread understanding and awareness.

I have been making apples.

I paint them, I draw them and I use string and glue, pastels and acrylics. I use apple images to create and build day after day so that one day I’ve got something big. Something that cannot be ignored or turned aside, something that hopefully will gain the attention of people who have no understanding of what we endure. At least that has been my hope. I felt that if I could build something big enough, I’d have a way to get people to slow down and take a look. Even if that look was for a few minutes, those few minutes are all we need to say, “please hear us, share our stories and help us find a cure…”

I’m not good at asking for help. I never want to impose on anyone or burden others but I’m going to ask you all to share this story with me. With your help it becomes about all of us and it becomes bigger and continues to grow and with your participation more and more people may take those few minutes to slow down and learn about this disease.

I simply ask for 5 minutes of your time, maybe your child’s time, and maybe even their entire class or church group or neighborhood can take the time to create an apple. A piece of art that stands for something so much bigger. I then ask you to photograph or scan them, post them all over with the simple phrase “Please hear us and help us turn the blue apple green for a cure for Spondylitis” or use your words and share whatever is in your heart. I will be painting apples in NYC – The Big Apple – for 24hrs straight because I need people to hear us. It is my personal way to try to make that happen – I’d love and so appreciate it if you join me.

If you can come to the event please bring your family and share our coming together as a community and help us support the organization that gives us so much – we’ll be raising funds for the Spondylitis Association of America. For any apples received via mail or email – I will take them to NYC as part of the fundraiser. Your apples will be raising money too! I think I can paint 200 apples in 24hrs – my challenge to you is for all of us to match the last year of apples I created each day. Can we gather 175 more apples? I know we can! Paint one, paint two, paint as many as you can! And, here’s the really super news… the SAA has been awarded a challenge grant this month from the Jean & E. Floyd Kvamme Foundation that will match donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000! Can you imagine if we could match those funds! The amount of good the SAA can do with $100,000 is staggering!

For those who can’t be at the event. From wherever you are from all over the world, please be with us in spirit and post those apples on Facebook pages and on twitter and wherever else you can. Email them to the President, to Oprah, to your local governments or Spondylitis Group. Our apples can make a difference!

Please email your apples as a .jpg or .gif to jenna@artappleaday.com Your apple via email will be printed out once and be sold in conjunction with the fundraising efforts for this event. You retain all artist copyrights beyond this one fundraising use. You will be contacted if there are any other ways we’d like to show or use your art to ask your permission. If you are sending a digital image we ask you keep the original in a safe place – future goals are for exhibits of all our apples!

I will include the guest apples I’ve received at The Feeding Edge over the last year. For apples to be included in the Apple-A-Thon fundraiser event, your apples need to be emailed directly to me at the address above or sent to my P.O. Box (address on Contact Me page) Due to the amount of time it is taking to plan and prepare for this event, the apples may not be posted on the Guest Apples Page of The Feeding Edge until after the event. All apples will be posted on The Feeding Edge FB page – please make sure you’ve *liked* the page to see and share your apples! Apples, photos and video of the Apple-A-Thon will be posted there as well as close to live as possible! Please join me … “Be part of the story, be part of the cure!”

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 344 was created in grease pencil, watercolor, and pastels.

Day 343 – The Apple That Never Sleeps

This apple that seems to never sleep is so gosh darned excited to get to the city that never sleeps!

I know I’ve been telling you all that information about the Apple-A-Thon is coming – and it is – but I’ve had a few details that have been harder to pull together than my insanely optimistic self thought they’d be. Doh! But what I’d love to tell you all is that I’ve designed an Apple A Day Art poster that I’m really excited about and will be a big part of the fundraising efforts for the event and through the month of October. Make sure to add your name to the “Contact Us” form here and pledge to get your art poster or one of the originals I paint during the 24 hour event.

I’ve promised my husband and my mother that I will try to unwind and get some sleep tonight. I am getting so excited that it’s been difficult lately. So good night good friends – please let me know via email or the contact me form if you think you might be joining us in The Big Apple for the event!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 343 was created in oil penicl and watercolor.

Day 342 – Anything Can Be

Listen to the Mustn’ts, child,
Listen to the Don’ts
Listen to the Shouldn’ts
The Impossibles, the Won’ts
Listen to the Never Haves,
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be. – Shel Silverstein

I’m being drawn to the words and images of the great children’s writers. I wish we could keep being told the lessons we teach our children; the lessons of love and persistence and of starry eyed dreams of childhood.

As an adult it is so difficult to keep going after your dreams and to continue to believe that anything can happen, anything can be.

Do not listen to naysayers. We sure as heck wouldn’t let our children listen to them. Hold on to your dreams and don’t listen to anyone who insists on telling you what you can’t do.

Dig up those stories and listen to their messages…

Dream.

Hope.

Believe.

And sprinkle in some pixie dust for good measure!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 342 was created in pen & ink in the style of Shel Silverstein with a twist – a little girl instead of a boy and a blue apple for spondylitis instead of a yellow star.

Day 340 – My Panglossian Pommes

I’m an optimist.

Hadn’t figured that one out yet? I know – of course you have!

But sometimes I am blindly optimistic. Is that naive or is it living in hope and faith? I haven’t figured that one out either but, I plan on retaining my rose-colored glasses at all costs. Rose colored, blindly and ludicrously optimistic apples all around!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 340 was created in acrylic with a new find – a stabilo aquarellable pencil – and watercolor on top to create the interesting blending effects.

Day 339 – A Real Treasure

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. – Walt Disney

Today’s apple, post, and quote are for my friend Holly. First and foremost because she is a treasure. She is a sparkly, shiny box of valuable goodies. She is passionate, creative, and funny and she has AS. I’ve been awed by her positive and happy nature despite some very difficult times she’s going through right now. I created this apple with her in mind, you see she creates beautiful treasures out of trash!

LOVE that!

She makes amazing vases that she covers in chewing gum wrappers and other objects. They are beautiful and interesting and creative.

The quote – was just a lovely coincidence. I searched for quotes on treasure and found a quote that talks about one of Holly’s biggest treasures – books!

So today, I was thinking about Holly and all that she is going through. I was thinking of her creations, and her art she makes out of recycled objects and I wanted to create one for her today so that she knows we are all with her. Big love to you – hang in there my friend!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 339 was created in a piece of plastic shopping bag from my hair salon yesterday that I painted on top of, a collaged apple made from a yellow Southwest Airlines Ad & a used Safeway tissue box. The leaf came from a milk ad that featured The Green Hornet (because Holly is on MY superhero list), and the stem and beads are made of chewing gum wrappers. The “beads” are attached to the piece with a pretty strand of yarn.

Day 338 – An un-Saturday, Saturday Apple

I was all ready to post a Saturday Apple.

In order to attempt to have a life that went beyond apple making, I instituted the “Saturday Apple.” These apples have often times been simpler images with almost no post. The decision to reel in my apple life on Saturdays may have saved not only my husband’s sanity but mine as well and I have come to look forward to them as much as I’m sure Doug has.

But today, after completing my apple I saw a post on Facebook about the risks of taking biologic medications. These are fairly frequent conversations – as they should be. Taking biologic medications are a serious decision to make and everyone has to decide for themselves what choice is best for them. I have people ask me about how I decided to start on them quite often since I speak on this blog about how effective they have been in my case. For me, it was a choice to do anything to stop the suffering I was in regardless of consequences. Luckily and fortunately – it has worked for me and I feel blessed everyday I’m better. If tomorrow it isn’t or I become ill – I will never regret that I have been given these last 5 years back.

What struck me about the question tonight that was so different than usual discussions was that a physician told this person that they would absolutely not prescribe them unless the patient insisted because of increased risk of getting cancer. Here is a report about this exact topic that came out a few months ago at the yearly EULAR conference. EULAR is the European League Against Rheumatism. The report shows no increased risk.

…..

…….

Yes, I was a bit stunned by this too.

I’ve decided to not pass judgement or write a commentary on this. I’ll just report what I heard. But what I would like to say is that there are risks to everything in life and most certainly in this crazy world bad things unfortunately happen all of the time. I choose to live for today and not worry for tomorrow – it is my personal decision – I’m not advocating my choices for anyone else. People unfortunately get cancer, we get AS, we have heart attacks and life is difficult – I’m stunned everyday by the tragedy and difficulties that people have to endure. I just don’t want people to suffer needlessly – for any reason. Naive and idealistic, I know but that is what I wish for as a person working to raise awareness of a painful and often times debilitating disease.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 338 was created in watercolor, pastel, mesh origami “paper”, polka-dot paper, thread, ribbon, and a stick pin.

*** I encourage and appreciate debate – please feel free to comment and disagree. Our shared views only help one another and increase understanding of how difficult it is to live with a chronic illness.

Day 337 – “My, What Big Pies You Have!”

Yes, it is again Fairy Tale Friday!

It was time for a bit of levity and as I was brainstorming fairy tales possibilities, this idea came to mind.

And… well –  I just had to.

Of course – they are apple pies. And, look closely – Little Red Riding Hood has some apples in her basket.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 337 was created in pen & ink and watercolor with a touch of Red Tria Pantone Letraset marker – difficult to get red watercolor that vibrant.