Blog Hop...What do you love? And why?

This is what a good story can do. "Children at a Puppet Theatre", Paris 1963 by Alfred Eisenstaedt
      "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
                                                                          Anais Nin

When I heard about "The Courage to Fly" blog hop from Stephey Baker of the Marked by the Muse blog, I really connected to it. I love the idea of giving willing participants(there are 37 of us)the opportunity to sit with a big question and answer it on our blogs.  For my question, I chose a seemingly simple one, "What do you love? and why?" I will admit it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to answer, but I am going to give it a try.

 This past year has been kind of a spiritual quest for me. Last summer, I quit my dead-end job and  I started my new illustration business. It's been a pretty scary endeavor for me but I think I've been preparing my whole life for it. And guess what? I'm doing it. I'm living my dream. And I feel like a completely different artist from who I was a year ago. I've finally allowed myself the time to truly sit down with myself and figure out who I am as an illustrator. Believe me, this has been one of the most rewarding and difficult years of my life. And I realize how much I really still need to learn.

So what have I learned? I learned enough to answer the question, What do I love?  So, here are the basics.... I really love dark stories. The spookier the better. I suppose it is because in most of these tales there is always a hero that must rise and save the world. The hero finds hope within the darkness, and he/she always seems to  find hidden strength within themselves. There is something really romantic in that to me. 

What else do I love? I really love learning about history. It really fascinates me. I can get pretty geeky about it, but I don't care. I love doing research for the illustrations I do. I love creating characters and imagining what their lives would of been like. What did they look like? What kind clothes did they wear? Where did they live? What did they believe in? How did they live their lives? It's all totally amazing to me,  just like jumping in a time machine. I love sharing all the cool things I've find with friends. The research is almost like finding a treasure chest if you dig deep enough.

What is biggest thing I learned this year? Just how much I love creating things. It still amazes me how many emotions you can create with a few simple lines drawn on paper...I always wanted to be an artist and storyteller. And now I am.  I just need to learn to go even deeper with it. I need to learn how to conquer all of those demons that stop me from sharing all the stories I have buried within me. Slowly, it's happening, I'm so happy to be finally dealing with those fears.

 And lastly, I have one more big thing I love. The fact that my life is good and I am surrounded by love. I have to thank the universe for sending all of these amazing people in my life(especially my husband, Damon). I feel very lucky that I can do what I do. And perhaps with a tiny smidgen of extra luck, maybe by next year I can figure out a way to make a living...Now that would be something I could really love!

So...What makes your heart soar?