The Art of Letting Go

This weekend we have the pleasure of watching our youngest graduate. My baby girl, the youngest of four. It is bittersweet for lack of a better word. Tomorrow is the last time I will watch one of my children graduate high school and no more picking her up from school and asking what adventure she would like to go on before heading home.

We are all so proud of her and her accomplishments. She will graduate with honors and was gifted her medallion and stole Thursday. Her next adventure is college several hours from home but near close family. I know she will be safe and thrive.

I was thinking the other day about how as a mom our child grows inside of us. We care for and nurture our body to provide a good home for our child before birth. Once our child is born that first sound is an awakening, the first touch is amazing. Here is this beautiful part of us we have felt all these months and now we can hold. The love we feel is like no other love. The “Mama Bear” is born to care, teach and protect.

When you think about it parenting is teaching our child to grow to thrive on his or her own. So as we hold on tight we soon have to let go just a little at a time. Milestones teach us we have to help our child learn to soar. Kindergarten is generally our first time we have to watch our child go away from us. I remember crying the first time I watched my children climb on the bus. Their little legs and feet disappearing from view, counting the hours until they would be home. I cannot say it got easier along the way.

Time moves so rapidly it seems weeks become years in the blink of an eye. I was talking to my Dad and told him I hope I have taught my children what they need to know to be an adult and a good person. I hope I have given them what they need to thrive and enjoy life. He told me the fact I wonder and worry says I most likely did. I’m thankful to be able to sit with him and speak openly.

Here we are in two blinks at High School Graduation. We will be loud and proud when she is announced. I mean seriously, is anyone going to wait to cheer once all graduates have been called. We will once more reach a milestone of letting go a little more. It is time to allow her more independence (if you know my youngest -she is the definition of independent and confident) and watch her spread her wings and soar.

Eighteen years just doesn’t seem long enough at times. Basically, we are teaching our children how to live on their own and hope we did it right so they come home. I know I look forward to Family Weekend and breaks so we can adventure and spend time. I know she will be “Homeward Bound” and I need not worry. Amazing our biggest gift is one we have to let go and allow to thrive and create a life of their own. I have to say it is all worth it and the pride when we see our children happy, enjoying life and thriving is a great gift. My cup runneth over.

God bless you, God keep you and God watch over you!

The Happy Mileurs

Weekend of Art

First we want to wish all the Mom’s a very Happy Mother’s Day – fur babies included. We hope your day has been filled with love and joy!In my world there is nothing like a weekend filled with family, friends and art! This weekend has been full of both and a lot of love! Lunch with the children and grandchildren to celebrate Mother’s Day. My oldest treated us to lunch out on Friday and my oldest daughter cooked a beautiful meal Saturday afternoon. Saturday was also art events and date night.We had the pleasure of attending the Fine Arts Fair in Peoria Heights and the Opening Reception for “Everchanging” at the Preston Jackson Gallery at the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria, Illinois.The Fine Art Fair was filled with artwork. We met painters, photographers, jewelers, ceramic artists, sculptors, glass blowers and more. It was a wonderful stroll filled with tents of beautiful pieces and artists excited to share their work.Our evening was spent at CAC for the opening reception of “Everchanging” featuring artwork by Doug and Eileen Leunig and Gene Mialkowski on the second floor. The works complimented each other and are thought provoking.We took our time viewing the work and feeling our stress melt away as we viewed the Everchanging screens of nature caught in motion by the Leunigs. Imagine a screen with trees at sunset, slowly changing as new pieces come into view or the movement of water and all the images you can see as it moves.Gene-o brought relaxing pieces sculpted in metal. The pieces draw to mind the calmness of nature and the flow. The mini flow series created by Gene-o is fabulous. Gene’s home studio is at The Mill and is a great stop on First Friday. He enjoys sharing his work and teaching others how he creates.The third floor featured encaustic work created by Elizabeth Davis. Her work is incredible and shows depth. Elizabeth has a studio at CAC on the third floor and is very open to questions on how she creates such stunning works of art.Kevin and I enjoyed hearing the passion and love in each artist’s voice when speaking about their work. We agree it is important to think about our environment and how our own actions have an effect on the world. The exhibits are fantastic!Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We truly enjoy sharing our world with all of you.Until next time, God Bless.The Happy Mileurs

Artist Talk

It was an honor and a thrill to speak at the 4th Annual Tea Party in Alburnett, Iowa this weekend. The ladies came in dressed to the nines with fancy hats. We shared tea, snacks and conversation before my Artist Talk.

I discussed where I began and where I am now. It is humbling when you remember where you started and necessary so we do not forget the beginning. My table was set with a lovely lavender cloth covered in lace. Jewelry and tools set on display for our talk.

We had a wonderful time talking about art and that it is in my heart and feeds my soul. Several women asked questions during the talk. Several women came to the table after and we talked about the art they create. It was a great afternoon with these 24 women.

My heartfelt thank you to all who attended. I hope I was able to make you smile and inspire you to do what you love. Thank you for listening and giving me the opportunity to share my love of the arts with all of you!

Until next time. God Bless.

The Happy Mileurs

Our Hearts and Our Business

Kevin and I are humbled by the interest and support from fellow artists and collectors in our community. We began Happy Mileurs out of love of the arts and the beauty of the world around us. Thankful does not cover how we feel. The passion of the artists and the beautiful work produced in our community is phenomenal. Peoria offers arts of all genres and we are grateful to be a part of this community.

This morning we shared excitement regarding “The Spotlight” here at Happy Mileurs. We have received such positive and uplifting responses from area artists. Kevin and I are honored to know you and share your stories. You have all warmed our hearts! Thank you for your greatness and generosity.

The Spotlight is a place for artists to tell their story, share inspiration and favorite genres of art. We offer a gallery for all Spotlight artists to share their stories and showcase work. Our domain offers feedback and comments as well. We love learning about artists in our world and sharing their word and their work.

We have now opened five spots for artists to join our team at Happy Mileurs. Happy Mileurs offers artists on the team promotion, marketing, sales, storage of artwork and a page on our domain to showcase your work and share your story. Kevin and I handle the busy work so our artists can have more time to create. If interested, please contact at kevinheather@happymileurs.com. We would be happy to discuss our business with you!

A big thank you to all our family, friends and supporters without you there would be no us! You matter!

God Bless!

Kevin and Heather Mileur

Art This Week

We had the pleasure of attending the Local Art Show at TWO25. Thank you to Michelle Gulatto for coordinating an event with sparkle! Kevin and I had the pleasure of being introduced to Michelle and we enjoyed conversing with her about our passion for the arts. The artists’ spaces were quaint yet abundant. Each artist was very welcoming and it was a joy to speak to each one about the art on exhibit and share the excitement of the event.

Each artist was set at a booth or table. The atmosphere was relaxed yet exciting.
Each artist used the space in a manner that made us feel we were walking through gallery installations. Magnificent! The professionalism was outstanding. We enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting new artists in our area. Peoria is rich in the arts and the work is beautiful for lack of a better word. We are looking forward to more events such as this one. Thank you to all who coordinated and participated.

Friday we adventured to Galesburg Civic Art Center for the CIAO/CAC Exhibit! Another beautiful event. The gallery is well lit, the space is open and the coordinators are fabulous. The crowd was familiar with some new faces. Conversation was positive and upbeat. Artwork displayed was spectacular and we were proud to be a part of the event. All artwork will be on display until May 4th. A big thank you to CIAO and CAC for making events like this one possible. We are proud to be members of your organization.

This weekend the HOI Choir performed in Appleton, Wisconsin. The ladies ranked 9th and had a great weekend performing and singing their hearts out. We are proud of all of you and thank you for sharing your voice and your heart! Congratulations on your competition ladies!

We hope all of you have a great week and see you soon!

Take care and God Bless!

The Happy Mileurs

Photos from Fridays CIAO/CAC Exhibit

The Art of Living After Loss

Most of us have suffered a loss in life whether it be family, friend, mind, etc. Today is my mom’s birthday, she would have been 66 years old. Our family lost her on October 16, 2011 only three days after my dad’s birthday. Dad took care of Mom in their home until her last day. He mixed her medicine once she was unable and tended to her needs. My sister and I helped with the care but Dad did the majority. We were blessed with time to discuss regrets and triumphs before Mom was called Home. Our family, Mom’s siblings, came often to visit and were there at her passing.

My oldest son was hurt in July at work. He suffered a fractured skull and a loss of sight in his right eye. It was traumatic for all of us to see him so hurt and not be able to fix him. The doctor told us a 1/4″ lower hit he would have lost his eye, 1/2″ we would have lost him. Thank God his Guardian Angel was there and allowed him to survive and to thrive. He is now healed for the most part and was given a new outlook on life. We were all given a new outlook on life. A 28 year old man with a wife and two sons. His wife never left his side and his oldest son told us he could not turn four years old until his dad got home. His dad came home within a few days and Ben turned four on that day.

Loss shapes us as does triumph in this life. The bonds we build with loved ones and friends. We are given the gift of knowing others and loving them for who they are. Losing Mom took a long time to be able to think about her and not break. My son’s injury was a shock, but he is here and it brought us closer. The key is to keep living and remembering the good. I am sure most that have lost someone or feared the loss of someone they love have many good memories to think about and talk about to help with the healing.

Healing for my family is also through creating. We create moments and we create art. My work is inspired by memories of moments in my life , nature, and materials used to create that bring an image to mind. As we grow in this life through our losses and our triumphs our work grows with us and changes over time. Healing is different for everyone and takes a different length of time. The goal is we are able to continue living and growing. We are not afraid to branch out and broaden our minds. We try not to live in fear of what could happen but rather rejoice in the good we see, feel and experience. We come together in the good and the bad and build bonds to help us through and bring us joy and hope.

The art of living after loss is not an easy path in some cases. Faith is so very important in these times. We remember the good and work through the rest. The scars that are left behind change us and hopefully make us better. Our motto is to try to create something beautiful by releasing the hurt and living to our fullest.

God Bless and be safe!

The Happy Mileurs

The Art of Sisterhood – Mom and Her Sisters

We traveled home to my Auntie’s this weekend and enjoyed an afternoon visiting and sharing a meal. On our way home we drove past my Grandma’s house and my head filled with memories of childhood and adulthood spent in her home. Grandma had seven children, two boys and five girls. My Mom and her sisters had a bond that was unbreakable. It was amazing seeing them all together as close they were. They were best friends.

I remembered the kitchen wall and it’s many layers of wallpaper. It may seem strange all the memories of my childhood coming down to a wall. But, this was not just any wall this was our own wailing wall. Growing up we knew when one of the sisters was having a difficult time in life because a special trip was made to Grandma’s and wallpaper was purchased. All of us children went in the front room while the sisters set to task on the wall.

Grandma would turn on the record player and Nat King Cole would carry through the house. The sisters would make daiquiri’s and discuss the current situation. As they discussed, they changed the wallpaper on the wall. It was as if that wall took all their pain and hardship at the time and helped heal the wound. Grandma would come in and check on us kids and dance with us to the music. She loved Nat King Cole and said his voice was that of an angel. We strung beads and buttons, talked and colored in coloring books while the sisters worked together through life. You know there was a time the girls decided to see just how many layers were on that wall, it was at least ten if I remember correctly.

I cannot count on one hand the number of times the sisters spent the afternoon sipping iced tea and playing canasta. My sister and I were able to sit in and play once we were old enough and we were given a clothes pin to hold our cards. We loved being a part of it all. Holidays and anniversaries with the girls in the kitchen and the men in the living room. Weekends spent with everyone and walking around town. Sitting in the back room listening to Mom, Grandma and my Aunties talking. Somehow, they all spoke at once, all stopped at once, answered or responded to each other then began the cycle again. I can still hear the buzz of their voices while they conversed and shared their thoughts.

Mom and her sisters went on vacations together on their own and vacations with their mom. They loved treating their mom to time away and it being just the girls. The sisters shared their lives, hearts, secrets, triumphs, heartaches and regrets. I remember thinking how strong they all were together and the strength they drew from that bond and that love. Mom and her sisters stood by each other through everything. We all learned the importance of family and the strength of family. My first friends were my cousins, we lived in each other’s back pockets. This was a gift from our mom’s who spent so much time with each other and truly embraced sisterhood. The art of sisterhood is inspiring and amazing!

The Art of Love

Today my youngest and I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower for a family member. The tables were set up sweetly with pink and white. The food was scrumptious. We could feel the excitement of the upcoming birth. Our new mom looking radiant and her baby bump evident. She glows!

A baby brings peace and hope, the love is boundless. Sitting there today it took me back four and a half years ago when my first grandchild was born. The anticipation was incredible! We were so excited, we could not wait to hold the new baby. I remember going to a sonogram with my daughter-in-law and seeing my grandson for the first time. We swear to this day he gave us a thumbs up.

I remember when we got the call and rushed to the hospital. My sister beat us there and was in with Emily. Emily, my daughter-in-law is a warrior. She welcomed us in and spoke with us through her contractions. We stood bedside admiring how well she was handling her first time in childbirth. My son was a little sad his Grandma and Great Grandma could not be there for the birth, both were in Heaven. I told my son they have already held him and seen him, when he is born he will have a dimple on his chin where they kissed him before he was sent to us.

Martin, my son, was in the room all through labor waiting for his son to be born. My best friend and I in the waiting room. We waited for what felt like an eternity, but truly it was only six hours. I can still hear the sound of my son’s footsteps as he walked to the waiting room. I stood and waited by the doorway for him. My friend asked how I knew it was him. I said, “I have listened to my son’s footsteps since his first step.”. His face when he saw me, we both cried as he announced, “Mom, I have a son! Are you ready to meet your grandson?”. I walked in the room and there he was a dimple on his chin, the most perfect baby boy. He was ten minutes old when I held him for the first time.

There is something about loving someone more than you love yourself. Our children and our grandchildren bring out that love, that mama bear in us, that limitless love. We do our best to raise our children with the knowledge we have at the time. We may not be perfect but we do the best we can with the tools we have. Grandchildren are a little different, we have already raised our children and have more knowledge. We do not have the stresses of working to keep a roof over their head, food in their bellies, clothes on their backs or of raising them and hoping you did it right. I do know nothing else matters if you do not do well in raising your children. To me, it is the most important part of my world.

Grandchildren and time with them is a gift the same as your own children. I love time with my children and grandchildren. It is amazing watching them grow. the boundless and limitless love we have for our children. The best part is when your children and grandchildren know you really do love them to the moon and back again.

The art of love and forgiveness. The art of doing our best for those we love. The art of life. Art is truly around us in so many facets. I guess you could say it is how you view things in life. Congratulations to our loved one and a new baby soon to arrive. I cannot wait to hear the footsteps and hold the new baby. Much love to all of you and may your days be full of love and blessings.

Until next time.

The Happy Mileurs

Tomorrow Happy Mileurs Turns One Month Old!

It is hard to believe our infant company turns one month old tomorrow! This month has gone by rather quickly. We have learned a lot in this time and continue to learn and grow. Kevin and I have learned we cannot do everything in one to two days a week, it is everyday working to grow our company. We are also learning how to better manage time for family, home, raising a teenager, full-time occupations, creating and managing our new business.

Starting a business is a leap of faith. We are glad to take this leap together and look forward to our growth and our business flourishing. Our Etsy shop is up and running and we enjoy seeing the number of visitors we have each day. Over the next few months, we will invite artists to showcase and sell their art on our site and in our Etsy shop. We will also introduce more artists in “The Spotlight” at Happy Mileurs, a place for artists to tell their stories and share their work.

Our small business has given us the ability to share our artwork and to offer a place for local artists to share their artwork. Kevin and I found early on in our relationship we have the same big dream. A place for artists to share stories, artwork, techniques and to have the ability to collaborate together to create. We hope to have an old barn someday with a gallery, coffee and studios for artists to have this option. I am sure those that know us are not surprised we would like to have coffee on the premises.

For now, we are working toward building our online world with artists’ stories, artwork, blogs, photos, news, announcements and events. We want to thank all of you for reading our blog and viewing our work. Kevin and I greatly appreciate all of you and your support!

Until next time, God Bless and Enjoy the Journey

The Happy MIleurs