The “M” Word

A few days ago I wrote about the flip side of focus. After second guessing myself, I removed the post – all but a link I had within it, that is. I’ve decided to re-post it but only part of it.

The Flip Side of Focus - 

Do you know what I wish? I wish my ability to what I call hyperfocus on a task – which can be a very good thing at times – I wish this ability did not have the flip side that is sooooo wearisome. When trouble comes, I have an overwhelming need to relieve myself of all extraneous responsibility and commitments.  My mind goes into overdrive focusing on how to manage the trouble as best I can. That management feels like removing every other thing that feels like a weight on me until the trouble has passed. Even when the weights are not weighty on a good day but good things I’ve chosen, on a bad day they can feel like bricks on my shoulders. It’s really an awful feeling. It makes me hold my breath and then let it out again in a huffy sigh.

I think I used to handle stress fairly well (before my son got sick). But maybe all those years I wasn’t dealing with it at all. I just kept doing the thing that needed to be done – staying on track, keeping the routine – and pushed down my emotions. I was so very good at covering my emotions. I was master of the no expression expression. But is that really handling the stress of a hard situation? Some would say that’s being strong. But I disagree. Stuffing your emotions and telling yourself that what is happening is not really happening is just a different kind of coping strategy – but not a healthy one.

(At this point I’m deleting a paragraph from my original post. I’ll talk more about that further down the page.)

I feel the responsibility to fix broken things that although I did not break, I feel I must fix. I admitted to my husband a few days ago that I have lived my entire life feeling that nothing I do is enough. Just under the surface of this 51 year old flesh is a girl with sweaty palms who lives in fear of being called to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE. Not because she did something so wrong but because she didn’t do enough right. She didn’t meet all those expectations that for some really dumb reason she thinks people have of her.

(Here’s where I should insert, “People don’t think about you half as much as you think they think about you.)

Maybe it’s because she’s actually heard some of those words through the years. Maybe it’s not dumb after all. Maybe it’s just remembering the real words. It’s a terrible burden to hold yourself to words like these.

She should…

She ought to…

She should have been there.

She should do more.

Maybe it’s revealing that the good little girl is not that good after all. I prayed for wisdom today because I just don’t know what to do in a present trouble. But I’m so tired of the wearisome mental and emotional focus.

After I originally wrote and published this today, I decided to google “hyperfocus.” Then I edited my post to link the article. This statement from the article sums up my feelings to a T.

“In short, positive hyperfocus feels good and makes you happy. Negative hyperfocus feels bad and makes you stressed.” 

End - 


Now for a little explanation on what I left out from the original post -

I wrote about something that, truth be told, represents a place of wounding in my life. The wounds left scars and those scars are very sensitive still. I’m talking about manipulation. 

Disclaimer: I have no problem with persuasion that is open and honest but that’s not what manipulation is. Persuasion is up front and comes from a sincere place. Manipulation is another ballgame altogether.

Manipulate - to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to  one’s own advantage (Merriam Webster online)

Insidious – causing harm in a way that is not easily noticed

By the way, “harm” does not have to be great harm to be harmful.

I have such an aversion to the feeling of being manipulated that my knee-jerk reaction is to escape the source. And I have considered that I may be so overly sensitive to it that I misinterpret it at times. But I also believe that often the people who do it do not even realize what they are doing. Manipulation can be so subtle. A person may not even recognize it for what it is. They may simply feel bad or have a sense of guilt (false guilt!) and not realize what’s just happened. Maybe the best thing I can do is, recognize it but refuse to get inwardly worked up about it – unless it has to do with my kids. Then that’s another scenario.

If I could sit with you face to face, I could speak more candidly about this and if manipulation is not a source of wounding for you, you may dismiss most of what I have to say. But…if your heart beat a bit faster when you read my words and a few past or present scenarios came to your mind, you might find some freedom in an open discussion in safe company.

I have more to share but it’ll keep. I had a conversation yesterday with an older woman – my aunt – that soothed my hurt and made me realize how much I miss being mothered by my own mother. We need one another. We need spiritual daughters, sisters and mothers in the faith. With just one term of endearment in that quick call yesterday, a weight rolled off my shoulders. But like I said, that’ll keep.


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Find Me On Etsy


Last week I opened my Etsy Shop.  After a year of selling my BellaMella Canvases and two months after selling my watercolor prints and Flower Power Pins, I decided to open shop. Currently I am not listing my BellaMella Canvases but you can still find those here.

How can you connect with me and see my listings, get coupon codes, gifts with purchase and other special deals?

  • “Like” my facebook page Melanie Dorsey Designs. You can do this from my sidebar.
  • “Follow” my Etsy Shop board on Pinterest. You’ll see that in my sidebar as well.
  • “Re-Pin” from my Etsy Shop board. This helps others see my pins and directs them to my Etsy Shop.
  • Order something! :)  When you order from my Etsy Shop today 9/10 – Friday 9/12, let me know in the “Note To Seller” that you were referred from my blog and I’ll include a GIFT WITH PURCHASE.

Here are a few things you’ll find in my Etsy Shop.

Burlap Tote Owl Watercolor Print Canary Note Card

peacock notecard

Note Card, Dolphin Note Card, Goldfish, Fedora, Twine Note Card, Sea TurtleChristmas Card Cardinal fb collage Magnolia Bloom Leather Pin

Linen Flower Pin $20 includes s/h

Magnolia Bloom Pin – Linen

Thank you so much for your continued support and all of the encouragement I’ve felt these past few years. This particular time of the year brings its own set of painful memories as it’s the 4 month season in which we got the devastating news of our son Andrew’s brain cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing ten days before Christmas. Besides running and spending time at the beach, being creative is one of my coping methods and it is a joy to this mother’s heart that I am able to use some of Andrew’s own art supplies in my process.

Thank you, in advance, for checking out my Etsy Shop and any other way you choose to show your support of my new venture.

sunburst etsy badge

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Vintage Owl Lamp Make Over

I picked up this lamp at a yard sale a few days ago. After checking online, I found out that it was produced by the Atlantic Mold Company in the 70′s. Similar vintage owl lamps are priced at $70 and up. This owl measures about 21″. With the shade, this is one statement piece! I painted it and covered the lampshade with a fabric from HGTV called, “Like Lace.” I gave this one a makeover in order to sell it. Until then, I’ll enjoy it myself!

Here’s the before and after pictures. What do you think?

owl lamp before pic

Vintage Owl Lamp

Vintage Owl Lamp

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Burlap and Button Down Shirt Pillow

I’ve been making things lately. A lot of things.

burlap biz shirt collage

I stopped at a yard sale this afternoon and bought this chair. I had intended to use it in my backyard but once I got it home, I realized it would be perfect for my Creative Studio. Studio sounds like such a fancy word for the enclosed Florida room where I write, paint, sew, crochet and do my Bible study.

  1. 1.
    a room where an artist, photographer, sculptor, etc., works.

However since Google defined it thusly and “etc” leaves the studio door wide open to interpretation...and there’s quite a lot of creating that happens in this space, Creative Studio it is!

It really is a comfortable chair but it needed something to add color, texture, comfort and style. A pillow! A burlap pillow! A burlap pillow with fabric on the backside – yep, that’s what I envisioned. I went through my box of discarded clothing and pulled out one of my husband’s old button down business shirts. I cut the backside of his shirt, leaving the tail. I cut the burlap to size, pinned and sewed. I kept the pillow case open to change out the pillow. I prefer down pillows but I didn’t have one that fit, so I used some fiberfill I found in some of my mom’s things. Thanks, Mother!

Notice the band around the pillow Can you guess what part of the shirt it’s from? :) The finishing touch was one of my burlap flowers. I may have hollered for joy when this was complete. It’s so cute and it’s my design from start to finish. And that just thrills my heart.

I’m a big believer in using what I have on hand. I enjoy the challenge of creating something new from something old. And for some reason I gain more inspiration from a limitation. What about you? What inspires you?


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colors for june – watercolors & prints

Last week I painted this peacock using watercolors.



About three weeks ago I picked up some watercolor paints and painted my first watercolor. I am smitten! Smitten, I tell you. Dipping the brush in the water and swirling it in the little pan of paint, I remembered something I have not thought of in a long time. Over the years my mother shared with me a regret. When she had the opportunity to take classes in watercolor painting, she did not do it. Mother was in her early forties when she had the chance to take a watercolor course. A couple of women from her church were registering for it and invited her along.

Over the years, she confided in me that it was one of the things she regretted not doing. She felt she could not take time to do something that was only for herself. I suppose she may have believed if it was not for her home, her family or her church, that it did not merit her time away from home, family or church.

Let’s pause for a collective sigh right here…

I finished that first watercolor.

colors for june - hydrangeas in blue jar

And about half-way through the next one, I remembered what my mother shared.

Bee Yourself

At that moment, I was inspired to give my watercolors a name and “colors for june” was born.

June Williams Clark 6/28/38 - 5/9/13

June Williams Clark
6/28/38 – 4/9/13

I know Mother would be happy about that.

I’m now producing note cards with prints of my watercolors. Click on the fish below to see my designs and order “colors for june.”

Be sure to check out Elaine’s blog at Peace for the Journey because she’s generously hosting a give away for 5 of my cards. My friend, Elaine, has always been supportive of my creative endeavors and I appreciate her friendship and encouragement. You’ll love her writing and be sure to click on the link within her post on “solving the problem of pain.” Wow! Did that resonate with me!


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I Still Believe

Yesterday things began churning within me. This is good. I had a spiritual dry spell for several days and that always makes me restless and dissatisfied but it also causes me to cry out to God for something. To cry out to Him for whatever it is He wants to speak to me or show me. I’ll be honest, there are times when I just don’t feel up to hearing what He may say (which is partly the cause of dry spells).

Sometimes it’s exciting and feels good to my soul. Other times it’s a humbling, arrow to the heart. Of course, His heart pricks always, ALWAYS, result in a beautiful end. I say end, but there is never an end with God. There is only eternity.

I sat in the pew at church Sunday and had a flashback to a fall day in 2009. My husband and I were driving Andrew to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. I clearly saw the scene replayed. I sat in the front passenger seat as my husband drove us. Andrew sat in the seat behind his dad so I could see him easily and assist him should he get sick on the drive. (If you have not been a reader of my blog, you may not know my twelve year old son, Andrew was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in August 2009. He went on to Heaven that December.) I saw my Bible open to Psalm 97 and I was reading a passage aloud. I was calling upon all the courage and strength I had. I read and I encouraged Dannie and Andrew to believe that not only COULD God do a miracle to heal Andrew, but that He WOULD do it.

In the pew, I sat and remembered and saw it all again…and then God spoke to my heart. He showed me that for some of us who have had the faith to believe He would intervene, yet did not see it manifest here, our faith will still be rewarded in Heaven. In fact, our faith acts and words are recorded in Heaven. And one day, there will be a reward for that faith. For some their highest reward is the answered prayer here on earth and that is cause for great joy in the here and now. But for others their prayers were not answered in the way they hoped. Their faith was not made “unto sight” in the here and now, yet for eternity their joy shall be unquenchable and their hearts will display the faith they exhibited in God’s power to respond even though it was not seen in this time.

Tears filled my eyes as I saw this yesterday. I’m still weepy over it. Last night I took my art journal and created these two pages as an expression of that spiritual vision.

I Still Believe

There is a future blessing that will last for all of eternity for those who believe and have not seen…yet…

Are you believing for something? Keep the faith. It’s recorded and rewarded in Heaven, my dear friend.


Heaven & Andrew

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Lilla Rose Review and Give Away

It’s a give away for a Lilla Rose hair accessory!

I recently heard about the Lilla Rose hair accessories from Deborah Cook. She sent me a Flexi-Clip and asked me to give a review. I was happy to do this as I often wear my hair up when I’m painting, cleaning, cooking or running errands. I have long hair and in our humid climate, it’s great to have an easy up-do. I’ve used all kinds of things to keep my hair up and out of the way – bands, bobbies, and even a clothes pin and a stick! Okay – the stick was out of necessity when I was walking on the beach. I forgot a band and used a small piece of driftwood like a chopstick! I have no excuses for the clothes pin. :(

As soon as I opened the package from Deborah, I tried my new Flexi-Clip and, I have to say, I’m now a fan. It’s easy to use and really pretty – like jewelry for your hair! And just like jewelry, there are pieces that have a casual vibe and pieces that are suitable for dress up affairs! I can easily see a few pieces that would look lovely on a bride. I chose the Celtic Cross style as I planned to wear mine for my everyday styles and didn’t need the bling for that. I’ve used it in a variety of ways – for a pony, a half up-do, a chignon and even a messy bun. Again, I find it very easy and quick to use. In less than a minute, my hair is up or back and actually looks like I put in some thought and time to fix my hair.

The photo below was a quick up-sweep I did in just a few seconds. It stayed with no problems until I purposely took it down. The Flexi-Clip grips well but does not pull. It’s a unique design that easily adjusts. It’s a one piece clip – kind of like a barrette but much better! I use the size small Flexi-Clip and it works great for several styles. Like I said, because of the unique design, the clip adjusts. CLICK ON PICS BELOW TO ENLARGE.

Celtic Cross Flexi-Clip

Lilla Rose Celtic Cross Flexi-Clip ”errand day”

And here with the Flexi-Clip holding my “everyday” pony. Both of these pics really are of my hair! Lighting makes a difference, plus my hair is darker underneath my top layer of highlights!

Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip

Lilla Rose Celtic Cross
“at home day”

lilla rose flexi-clip

Lilla Rose Celtic Cross
“painting day”

Lilla Rose has Flexi-Clips. Bands, Bobbies, You-Pins and more! There is a size guide so you get a great fit regardless of your hair type or texture. There are seven sizes from “mini” to “mega” so even the little ones can sport a sweet lilla rose hair accessory.

You can enter the give away below. It runs for one week. Watch a video for demonstrations on just how easy (and pretty!) the lilla rose accessories are.

This give away is for one lilla rose hair accessory. If you win, you get to choose the accessory you want (value not to exceed $16). {Independent Consultant Deborah Cook is sponsoring this Giveaway.}

How to enter the give away: You can enter in 3 ways:

1. Visit Deborah’s Lilla Rose biz page to check out all the lilla rose hair accessories then come back here to leave a comment on this post about your favorite accessory.

2. “Like” Deborah’s lilla rose facebook page.

3. Share this blog post on your blog or facebook wall. You can tag me on the fb status and let me know if you shared the post on your own blog. A single blog post is not required. Simply mention this give away.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


From Deborah: “At the end of the Giveaway, I will offer a 3 day special for all NEW Lilla Rose customers. Purchase 3 items from my biz page and receive a FREE item up to $16 in value. To redeem prize, email Independent Consultant, Deborah Cook, at with your Customer Number and the item number and description of your FREE item ($16 and under). Your FREE item will be mailed to you within 2 weeks.” 

If you live outside the U.S, Canada, or Mexico, you can still order some great Lilla Rose Hair Jewelry. Just email your order using item numbers or descriptions to the sponsor of this give away, Independent Consultant Deborah Cook @ She will calculate shipping costs and use PayPal to send you an invoice and will ship your items directly to you. 

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