Newsletter- Fall updates

Hello! Happy Fall 2012! Its been like an action movie plot twist around here, lately, so I thought I would update you via my blog this time. I think it is becoming necessary to do this more often, but I will do everything in my power to keep a personal tab on things and check in more than I have been.

Update #1 – We are 70 days or so until we see our baby face to face. Yes, in case it somehow slipped by you; Faith and I are pregnant with a boy! We are naming him Ethan Alexander Hays. Ethan means “strong and constant” to reflect the environment we are committed to giving him but also the mindset we wish to bestow on him through our love and affection, teaching and help through difficult times. Alexander means “defender of humanity” to remind him that he has been given the strength and consistency in his life for a purpose; to help others weaker than himself and to provide constant strength to those who need it. So far, he is very active in the womb and we have fun saying “YEP! That’s Shaun’s boy!” haha Faith is tired, but she is healthy and excited. We entertain ourselves watching him kick and move around in there! It’s a bit weird, but amazingly cool. He is due around New Years.

Update #2 – I achieved a dream in October. I was the first “Madonnari” Pavement Artist to be allowed to work inside the facilities of McCormick Place, Chicago. Now known as the Chicago Chalk Champ, many doors are opening for me. I have had inquiries from Navy Pier exhibitors and more. When I began doing 3D chalk art around Chicago, I set my goals to draw at McCormick Place, Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, and …well, to to anything for Donald Trump eventually. Well, I’m getting invites back to McCormick Place and since I have great possibilities of Navy Pier… I’m going to see if I can get hired by Shedd Aquarium before they get rid of their “Jellies” promos. I think Jellies that glow under blacklight might be the trick to make that happen! ;) Yea I can do that!

Update #3 – I also achieved a WORLD’s First for 3D chalk art (which is difficult to do): I am the first person to achieve a 3D QR code made entirely by drawing it in chalk on a flat floor. Yes, it actually worked! (To be fair, I used the AT&T QR code scanner to check my work and make sure it was functional. As it turns out not all scanners are equal. The AT&T scanner worked flawlessly, but others had difficulties or failed altogether to pickup the illusion. I will correct this in the future when I do QR codes in my art. (Now the daunting task of figuring out who makes the WORST QR code reader so I know my art will function for new clients!)

Update #4 – A representative from Disney International dropped off her card and took my info at my booth. Since then, we have talked by phone about the possibility of future collaborations. I’m not sure what that could mean but suddenly I am studying Disney artwork a whole lot closer.

Update #5 – I had to put 2 dogs down this last month (no, not Dugan fyi). Allie and Buddy both were getting very old and unfortunately going downhill quickly. With a move (#6) and baby on the way, we consulted 2 Dr.’s about Allie’s condition before agreeing it was best for her if we made this decision. Buddy, my mom and dad’s dog, was also living with us for the last 3 years and he was having hip problems and persistent breathing problems. We will miss them both very much but are glad they had so much time with us.

Update #6 – We moved! We planned on staying where we were for a while longer but the house sold (unexpectedly) and we needed to find a new place. We wanted to renovate a home near the Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove, IL but didn’t want to rush into anything yet. We have found a place to live until summer which will allow us to slow down, have the baby, be near the desired hospital and family, etc. We will begin looking into a more permanent housing solution soon.

So, now you are pretty well caught up with (some of) our life here. Please check out some of the older blog posts here and help me start some interesting conversations on those pages. They are missing that. I suppose I need to learn how to engage my blog readers better. Perhaps I need a different layout that will facilitate that better? Let me know your thoughts…that is, if you have kept reading this far.


Owning Your Destiny

I do what I do for a living to be happy and live my dreams. I value my free time and my freedom in general. Too many people are trying to get things and accomplish things so that they will be happy instead of going straight to happiness. I know its oversimplified, but seriously people forget that. (We often forget the most simple and important things and become consumed with busy – ness, justifying our stress and lack of control over our lives because it is typically accepted.) I want NOTHING to do with typical living. typical in America seems to be: In debt and still spending on frivolous things we do not need… Divorced… Medicated due to unhealthy lifestyles… too busy to stop and really experience the life and love around us…. and altogether, well, pointless existing.

To change my path I realized I would need Mentorship. A mentor challenges you while encouraging you in what you do. Like a personal trainer who only wants the best for you so they push you hard. A good mentor will not undermine your efforts and discourage you. Tehy may yell and get in your face if you aren’t giving it your all in the gym, but they are always encouraging you to go get some rest, live your dreams and not injure yourself.

I’ve had many great mentors along the way… many by “chance”. What I have learned to do (and I learned this from one mentor) is to go find my mentors and take hold of my destiny. I dictate who will be my adviser and who will not. I listen to the words of many people everyday who offer their unique experience and expertise. I do not, however, listen to “Arm-Chair Quarterbacks” who tell you how to do things they themselves have no experience in or are too afraid/unskilled to get on the field and actually play.

Every Sunday during football season there is an endless barrage of advice being hurled at the TV from out of shape (usually drunk) has-beens who are acting more important than they are and often never played on the field in any serious role worth talking about. They know it all though don’t they? the game would have been very different in the coach or the players would have done what these guys (who can’t live their own lives) knew all-too-easy what to do.

I cannot handle being around it. Get on the field and prove yourself. As Larry Winget once said: “Shut-up, Stop Whining… and get a life!” Are you great at sales? I’ll listen to you talk about that, but don’t give me advice on how to “deal with my wife”. I have been married for 15 years and with her for 22 years already and we talk things out regularly instead of fight for our own way. I think I have a good hold on the situation. Are you an artist? Let’s collaborate or exchange ideas. I love that. It makes me better. If you know absolutely nothing about art, you probably should have less alcohol in your system before telling me what to draw. Stick to your proven expertise or get out there and try something you’ve never done and let the hits come as you learn how to be a better you. If I do not know you, your lifestyle, your reputation… you have very little weight in my world.

Be an encourager and a mentor to someone you seriously have influence with. Get involved. This is a sign of greatness. People who take credit for other people’s work are a dime a dozen. Criticizers and complainers are everywhere. People who actually take responsibility for their own destiny… precious and few.

Find mentors to help you be a better you. Look for people who will not try to own you or your work to make them look good and then discourage your dreams. Really, if they hear your vision for your future it should spark some excitement in them. If they ONLY correct and make you feel like you never do anything right… run. They’ll never change. YOU CHANGE.

Get out there and stop waiting for someone else to make things happen for you. You can do this. You are better than you know.