new years resolution

Reverse Resolutions for a New Year

Reverse Resolutions for a New Year

I write with one goal today. Empowerment.

I want to empower you to achieve what you hope for this year. I want to empower myself to reach some lofty goals. I think I have just the trick up my sleeve we require. We'll make our resolutions in reverse.

But first, a confession. I broke some major resolutions in 2015. Some of those failures were very public. I’m embarrassed by them.


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You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

12 Months in 12 Posts - A 2014 Year in Review

It's been a very big year for The Bleeding Heart Art Space. This is the year we became a space. But that was just last month. A lot happened on the way to that space. A lot of you showed up and taught art, faith and community to dance. 

It is hard to narrow down my 12 favourite posts of 2014. Do I choose the posts I had the most fun writing? Those that got the most comments? The most reads?

In the end, I've chosen the dozen posts that, for me, best represent the last 12 months of The Bleeding Heart Art Space journey. 


The Grow Your Art Challenge Launches

Way back in January, I launched the Grow Your Art Challenge. It was largely a selfish endeavour, as I wanted to grow myself as an artist. But the more I thought about that, the more I thought it would be so much more fun to grow together. With you. So I put the challenge out there to anyone who wanted in. Choose an artistic goal. You have a year to complete it. We'll hold you to it. We'll celebrate when we're all done. Or not done.

With 2 days to go, I can safely say I have failed at my own challenge. But I've failed wonderfully well, and my goal is still alive. It will be done, and it has led me many wonderful places this past year. And we are still having that party.

Read the original challenge post, and who stepped up, here.


Click to see the full Valentine


A Valentine for Artists 

Dear artist, we love you. So began our first ever Artist Valentine. The Valentine was an original design and well received. It was encouraging to watch this put a smile on people's digital faces, and we'll certainly send a new one out come February 2015.

This post marks the first time I realized that an organization named The Bleeding Heart should be all over Valentines Day.

Read the Valentine post here.


A Poem and a Pause for Ash Wednesday

Obscured date by obscure date, we've made it a little, sideways goal to bring ancient Christian holy days into the light. Ash Wednesday was the first such liturgy we engaged in, in 2012. This year we did not have our own Ash Wednesday gathering, but I did post an original poem to mark the occasion. 

It would be wrong to mention a day like this without thanking the makers of Salt of The Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar – an alternate view of time as we know it, and a reminder that the Church marches on to her own beautiful beat. 

Read the poem here.


When Denominations Dance: Sacred Space in Review

For this special Sacred Space event called Mary/Martha, we teamed up with the good people of St. Faith's Anglican Church.

This post marks the time when I saw the value in sharing these experiences, in detail, so that those who couldn't join us can still get something from the gathering, and perhaps be inspired to craft their own. The event also underscores a deeply rich relationship with the Anglican church that continues today.

Read the full recap post here. 


Marcie Rohr Dreams of Anywhere But Edmonton

Neighbourhood artist Marcie Rohr submitted work for Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton, and her series of paintings became a featured post on our blog. Marcie also wrote a letter to our city. A letter that perfectly captured the complicated feelings we all have for this ice-cold oil town. But maybe that's just December talking.

With this post, the relationship between Marcie Rohr and The Bleeding Heart deepened, leading to further collaborations (one of which is just around the corner).

Read the post and letter from Marcie Rohr here.


19 (Mostly) Free Sites and Apps that Keep the Bleeding Heart Beating

I was starting to venture into the waters of Mega-List-Posts. I'll admit that the primary goal here was drawing more readers to the blog, and expanding our niche a little bit. It has worked.

These long list posts (like the one I'm writing right now) take a long time to craft well. But they also stand outside of time, which is good. They are not the type of updates that become irrelevant when an event has come and gone. They are 'evergreen'. This means that this post is just as valuable today as it was when I wrote it. Which, if you still haven't heard of or tried any of those 19 tools, is quite valuable indeed

Part of our mandate at the Bleeding Heart is to help artists achieve excellence, and sharing what we've learned along the way is a part of that. 

Discover these online tools here.



Why I Don't Have a Cell Phone

This was the biggie. Likely the most read, most commented on post I'd written to date. I knew it was a little odd not to carry a cell phone, but I didn't know just how interesting that oddity might be. It turns out my reflection on technology's role in my life gave voice to the wrestling of many restless hearts. It certainly made me question my decision to live just a little off the grid.

I ended the piece realizing that our relationship to technology is deeply personal, and always evolving. Discernment is required at every turn.

It's about time I wrote a follow up to this post. I now have a cell phone.

Read the original post.


Twerking on God's Great Dancefloor: The Glen Day Seven

This post marked two milestones. My completion of a massive series reflecting on the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and my first public use of the word 'twerking'. It may have been my last use, too.

This post garnered good responses and high click-through rates. I'd like to think it was the incredibly rich quality of my writing. But the more realistic version of myself thinks it was that word that drew attention.

This post makes me very excited to return to the Glen this summer – and hopefully bring some of you along (early bird registration ends Dec 31).

Read the original post.

Rickshaw waiting


Kaleido Moments and 34 Photos

Fall begins on Alberta Avenue with the mighty Kaleido Family Arts Festival. For the second year, The Bleeding Heart Space was serving up food and ambiance for the hundreds of volunteers needing a short rest.

This time, we had a camera, too. When the floors were swept and the dust settled, I shared 34 photos – 34 moments that, for me, made the weekend one of 2014's highlights.

Discover the 34 Moments and Photos here.


Our New Home on Alberta Avenue

A 2014 highlight reel cannot miss the launch of our brand new space at 9132 118th ave. There were few posts I was so excited write as this announcement that we would take up permanent residence in Elm Catering's living room. It felt like writing down my dream, except that this time, it was real.

This post was such big news, in fact, that it beats out four others for a spot in the 2014 annals. This was the same month where I asked 'Why is Beauty?', shared photos and stories from '13 European Art Experiences I'll Never Forget', took you to the amazing abandoned Temelhoff Airport in Berlin and showed you how I use the magic of Trello to put the first 10 minutes of my day to good use.

But I can't mention all of that, because this was also the month we got our space. 

Read the post here.


13 Moments From Our Artluck

Ah, the Artluck. This November Artluck was to be the first time we gathered in the new space to share beauty and snacks. But with renos on our new space in full swing, it instead became the final Artluck I hosted in my home – always a great honour. 

With work from old friends like Marcie Rohr, Edward Van Vliet, Adam Tenove and Wenda Salomons, as well as newcomers like Aydan Dunnigan, this Artluck reminded me why I love these every-so-often get togethers. In fact, I think it's time for another, don't you?

Read the recap here.

Blurred inlook


Art Show on the Radio

Even if this were not among the most viewed posts ever on our blog, it would be a personal favourite of mine. CBC producer Isabelle Gallant put together a beautiful, in-depth story that reflects the heart behind Blue Christmas, and what The Bleeding Heart Art Space is all about in general. I am so grateful for Isabelle's care and attention on this piece, and hopeful that this is only the beginning of a good story at the new Bleeding Heart Art Space.

Read the post and hear the story here.


I write this on the very first day of 2015, with so much to look forward to. We'll be launching a creative coworking space. Bridge Songs: Perfict is just around the river bend. We'll celebrate our achievements from last year's Grow Your Art Challenge, and begin a new one.

You and I are about to blow those 2014 stories out of the water.

Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.

Take The Grow Your Art Challenge

Lately I have been feeling stuck. I’m unfocussed, muddy-minded and have a vague sense that I’m not quite where I’d like to be creatively. January is, of course, the season for reflection and for making resolutions as a way forward, but I’ve been hesitant to make resolutions for fear I will lapse and fail and end up worse for wear. But I want to grow. I want to grow my art and my self this year.

The best way I know to grow well is with the support and accountability of community.

I’m giving myself a challenge, and I encourage you to join me.


In the most simple terms, we will each move towards some definite, individual creative goal and we will connect here on the Bleeding Heart Art Space blog to report progress, failings and offer support so that we can all finish 2014 having accomplished our goals. In the end, we will have grown as artists, as individuals and as community.

Sound good?

Here is how the challenge works.

1. Define a Measurable Artistic Goal for 2014

I could say my 2014 goal is to ‘be a better songwriter’. That goal would likely fail, because I have no way to measure success. Or I could ‘succeed’, without any way to quantify that success. It would probably all depend on how optimistic I felt and how much grace I offered myself at the end of this year. A vague goal like that will not do. We need a goal that can be measured, and held to account.

A better goal for me could be “I will write 10 new songs this year”. That is a goal that either will, or will not, happen. And once I put it out there, I’m accountable. You can hold me to it.

As I think about what my goal ought to be, I can reflect on questions like, ‘how do I want to grow as an artist’, ‘what skills would I like to improve’, ‘what creative endeavour would be life-giving for me’ or ‘how could I serve others well with my art this year?’ Another question may be ‘what have I wanted to create for some time, but have not been able to make it happen?’

When I think of these questions, a clear answer comes to mind. I would like to record and release a collection of songs. A full album of my own.

What will be your artistic goal for 2014?

2. Evaluate Whether Your Goal is Realistic

One of the worst things about setting goals is the sense of frustration and failure when we do not reach them. The challenge we always face is setting the bar high enough to stretch us, while not so high we cannot possibly reach it.

We all have only so much time in the day, and most of us are not making art full time. For many of us, art is mostly or solely a labour of love, wedged between other roles and responsibilities. It will serve us well to acknowledge our reality in setting goals.

Is my goal of recording and releasing an album realistic? To be honest, likely not. The project will require a lot of work - writing many new songs, recording, mixing and mastering those songs and figuring out the whole world of how to release the thing. Even if I could write and record one song a month, which is about all I can manage realistically in the midst of normal life, that leaves no time for mastering, distribution and the like.

I am going to take my original goal and sand it down a bit. I am going to commit to recording an EP of 6 songs. I am going to have that EP finished at the end of this year. I will leave the release of that EP to early 2015. This I can manage, but it is still more than I would be doing this year without this challenge. It is still a stretch I will be proud of.

Do you need to refine your goal to make it realistic?

3. Share Your Goal Publicly

This challenge includes community. I encourage you to find friends or family who you can share your goal and your progress with over the coming year. Having real, face to face conversations about your goal will be and important part of accountability. If you like, I’d love to have coffee and chat about your goal, too.

We will also share our goals here, in the comments of this post and future posts related to the Grow Your Art Challenge. Typing your goal into the comment form below is a small, but definite step towards achieving it.

Are you ready to share your goal publicly in the comments below?

4. Plan to Reach Your Goal Through Small Steps

Your goal may be very simple (“complete that painting I started”) or very complex (“stage a play at the Fringe Festival”). The more complex the goal, the more important it is to break it down into small, measurable steps that you can complete one by one.

I get overwhelmed very easily by complex tasks. Without a razor-sharp focus on the next ‘to-do’, I can almost literally feel my brain-gears grinding at the thought of the whole project.

In planning out any project, I find it helpful to work backwards from the deadline, then define key parts that need to be completed, and assign deadlines to each smaller part as necessary. Essentially, you come up with a plan that is realistic, knowing that if you can manage to get this part done by this date, and that part done by that date, you will, in the end, have completed the whole thing.

Let’s take my 6 song EP. Through simple math, I can divide the 12 months of this year by 6 songs and know that I need to complete one song (write it if need be, record it, mix and master it) every 2 months. If I can do that all year, I’ll have finished 6 songs.

Is this a manageable timeline for me? I think it is.

You should also consider how you will keep track of each step of your project. A simple notebook may work well for you, or a series of reminders in your preferred Calendar app. For larger projects I use a free online service called Trello ( It works on the paradigm of a bulletin board where you can stick and re-arrange cards, each holding some bit of information about your project. As the cards can be freely moved around the board as your thinking about the project changes, I find it especially useful for tactile, visual thinkers.

Don’t get distracted by choosing a system to manage your goal. Just keep it simple and go with a system that works for you. The important thing is to have a plan.

How will you track your progress?

5. Share Your Progress in Community

I will post my progress here each month this year, the first week of the month, keeping the challenge alive. I invite you to keep track of how you are doing and share your progress in the comments, regardless of how well you are faring.

You may find encouragement to keep going, or help in an area you are struggling with. You may find others willing to come alongside and hep you succeed when you feel stuck.

You should also plan to meet regularly with those friends you chose to share your goal with. You can define what those meetings look like, and what you mean by ‘regularly’, but being intentional and accountable is a key to success.

Community is vital for me because I am a horrible self-critic. My self-doubt can easily become suffocating. Left to my own devices, I will likely talk myself out of this project. I am counting on you to keep me at it.

How can this community help you reach your goal?

6. Celebrate Success in Community

At the end of this year, we will have a party. Not just a ‘chat in the comments party’. I mean a real-life party. With treats.

We will bring our completed projects to the party and show each other what we’ve done. It will be a listening party for my EP, and perhaps a viewing party for your series of photos or your short film or a a reading party for your new book of poems.

Even if, for some reason, I have only 4 songs done, I will play those for you. We will celebrate success together and offer ourselves grace where we’ve come up short.

I imagine, even if all of our goals have not been met, we will have grown and we will have succeeded in other ways we did not plan for.

Will I see you at the party?

The Challenge is Before You: Grow Your Art

So there is our challenge. I’m going to record a new EP. What are you going to create in 2014?

Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.