Gratitude 52 Journal Interview #1 of 4: Jennifer Nave

In 2016, we participated in the Gratitude 52 Project.  We had the pleasure of connecting with many wonderful women.  To wrap up the project, I wanted to highlight a few of you lovely creatives who had completed at least 46 of the 52 prompts in a series of interviews.  

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing their gratitude journals and stories in my blog.

For the first interview, I'm happy to introduce Jennifer Nave to you.

Her interview is below.  Enjoy!

Hi Jennifer!  Introduce yourself.  What’s your full name?  Your profession?  Your biggest passion?

My name is Jennifer Nave.  I’m a 43 yr old mother of 2 grown children:  a son, 21, who is in the Navy and stationed in San Diego, CA, and a daughter, 19, who lives at home while she attends college full time.  My husband David runs the municipal cemetery.  He is the most precious and amazing man on earth. We live in western Colorado.

I had been an office administrator my entire adult life until November of 2014 when I was unceremoniously forced into “early retirement.”  Since then I have been a full time domestic engineer and part time self-employed web and graphic designer working towards offering my skills to the public.

My passion(s) are my husband David, camping/boating/hunting/fishing, my dog Delilah, and my art, which in a nutshell consists of pen & ink sketching, watercolor painting, writing and illustrating.

How would you describe your personality and your interest in art? 

My personality and my art (as well as my writing) lean towards whimsical and capricious.

What made you decide to join this project?  

I was searching for something that was a year-long commitment (whimsical and capricious often equals scatter-brained and squirrel moments).  I wanted to challenge and commit myself to completing a project.  It was a gigantic bonus to learn about your art and your Christian-based expression of gratitude.  It felt tailor-made for me.

What did you learn from this project?  

I learned that there is ALWAYS a positive and grateful way to look at almost anything, and the act of finding the good in things becomes a habit.  Also, I learned that when I am passionate about something, I can see it through to completion. The act of pushing through to reach a goal can also become a habit.

How were you surprised by this project?  

I was surprised by how much I looked forward to the emails arriving every Friday, getting the prompt, and then digging deep to come up with a creative “answer."

How has your own art and journaling style developed as a result of this project? 

I have learned that journaling of any kind doesn’t have to be strictly In . A . Journal. I was super disappointed early on in our weekly arting, that the journal I had chosen for 2016 was far less than ideal for a watercolorist.  I made some modifications to the journal itself which decreased my available pages to about half of what I had projected. Consequently, I needed to use alternate items to draw and paint on by approximately week 38.  What I discovered was torn bits of leftover 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper make lovely make-shift journal entry pages.  Making due with what you have on hand is the Mother of good and beautiful things.

What were your favorite materials to use in this project?  Did you discover that you were drawn to some materials more-so than others?  

My favorite materials are my clunky OLD drafting pencil, my Pigma Micron pens, and my tiny little pots of Twinkling H2o’s which I only have in 6 simple colors, but they have served me so very well. I LOVE a little (or a lot) sparkle on...well, EVERYTHING!

What was the most difficult part of the project?   What did you overcome?  

Hands down the most difficult part of the project for me was Week 8 - Role Models. My role model is my pastor, co-worker, and close friend, Rex Townsley.  Back in March of 2016 he was battling colon cancer.  With absolute certainty in my mind and heart I used the term “Cancer Survivor” on his page.  On January 13th of this year we attended his funeral.  He was 57 years old. It was painful in March of 2016 to deal with someone so precious and dear to me battling something so unfair and frankly unimaginable; but today, looking back over my 2016 art and coming to his page is almost unbearable. I am forcing myself to see his page, not as a constant reminder of a desperately loved man lost, but as immortalizing a superhero who is no longer bound to earth in a body that failed him.

 EPSON MFP image

How did you fit it in with your schedule?  What did your schedule look like before/during/after?

The word schedule is something I have not been very devoted to since Nov. 2014 when I stopped working full time. I just haven’t had one, and my state of mind and the cleanliness of my house has suffered for it.  My resolution for 2017 was to develop a schedule and weekly routine and then stick with it.  To answer the question, art was my priority, and I did it when/where/for as long as I felt like it.  Now, I have my day split in two, first half is “Eat The Frog” time which is household chores. The second half of the day is dedicated to “Office Hours” where I can then retreat to my home office/art room to work on websites and their maintenance, developing my blog, and arting!

Describe a page or two of which you are most proud.  What do you love most about those pages?  

I think my most favorite page is from the Week 17 - Eyesight prompt I did of my daughter’s eyes. I love that it really looks and feels like her beautiful green eyes, and the chance to honor the doctor who saved her eyesight was such a blessing.  


Describe your creative setup.  Did you have a special Gratitude Journal space to create? 

I do have a very nice and cozy art desk set-up in my home office, but I found that I gravitated to the kitchen table where I sit next to a low window to work.  Arting in the kitchen allows me to do what I WANT to do (draw and paint) with the things that I HAVE to do like dishes, cooking, and laundry.


How has gratitude journaling made your life better? 

It gives me something to look forward to, gets my creativity flowing, and helps me focus on the good stuff.

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to journal and express themselves artistically? 

Keep an open mind when it comes to art supplies and DO NOT compare your skills and abilities to anyone else's.

What else would you like us to know about you?  Feel free to share anything that’s on your heart. 

This month of January has been brutal in more ways than one but also because I haven’t had G52 Prompts in my email box! When do we get started again? I’m so anxious!!

How can we connect with you?  

Thank you for your interview, Jennifer! (And new journaling prompts will be be coming soon :)). 

Be sure to head over to her blog and connect with Jennifer there.  And be on the look out for 3 more interviews coming to you soon.


What have *you* created for yourself today?