Up from the ashes, a new studio!  ~
There are two things I know with absolute clarity, life is uncertain and both joy and challenge are certainly unpredictable.  For every situation, good or
bad, happy or sad, there is a deep need to make sense of life for ourselves and for those we care about.  Knowing someone cares to share in our life's
journey makes the world a better place.  A single act of compassion can send ripples of kindness outward, beyond the moment.  I know these things to be
true from vivid personal experience.  
On the 3rd of April 2010, I returned home just in time to see the last licks of the fire that had been ravaging my home and my studio for hours.   The
sudden realization that our home and many personal possessions were gone was a shock.  Yet, no emotion could compare to the profound relief of
finding out that my husband had made it out of the house before he was injured.  You see, for the longest minute of my life, I thought my husband had
perished.   
Although this was a shock and a very difficult situation, it was not tragic.  No life was lost, no one was injured.  The most difficult part was the very
natural, yet still unsettling feeling of being  lost, and vulnerable.  It was easy for me to preach, teach and share a message of attitude, confidence,
courage, and compassion, however it was something else to realize that I
must trust and embrace my own message to get my life back together again.  
I learned so very much about the goodness of human nature in those first moments, weeks and months following that overwhelming event.  Friends,
neighbors, relatives and even strangers offered kindness, each in their own special way.   Accepting the generous outpouring of the kindness from others
was, at first, difficult for an independent, energetic person like myself.  I experienced helping hands offered in compassion. I learned that it is a gift to the
giver when help is graciously accepted.  One of the hardest parts of any challenge is getting through it with as much grace a possible, with hope, with
confidence, with courage and with compassion for yourself.  Very slowly, up from the ashes, there emerged a great new beginning.  As our new home
began to take shape my new studio space was decorated with determination and inspiration.  Over time, with patience, perseverance and prayer, I
recovered my confidence and courage.  The daunting project of letting go of the old and the lost was accomplished.  Our new home was the beginning of
a whole new chapter in my never-dull life story.

Everyone has a story to tell.  When giving a presentation, or through my sayings, I am keenly aware that I am connecting with women living out their own
personal stories.   I have encountered women who were struggling to survive very difficult challenges, while others were gratefully celebrating and sharing
life's little joys.  I have learned that by sharing your story, the hard times are easier to bear and the good times are more joyful.  You attitude defines you!  
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Jan Bethancourt
Creating &  Connecting
Reaching out through art ~
Art was my identity very early in life.  By the age of six I felt creating art was intricately tied to who I was.  Making art, with paper, paint, clay, pencils or
words, I still find a great deal of peace and joy through the simple act of creating.  
It was by accident that I began to write; a God thing really.  It was through words, combined with watercolor art, that I found I could be most effective.  
The independent publishing of my book led to the performing arts, as motivational speaker, that is.  I found that when I combined my creative instincts
I could connect with and encourage women in a very powerful way.  I have learned that by sharing who I am, others are free to see who they are, and that
they are not alone in their challenges and anxieties about life.  Creativity connects us!  
Not much longer now ~
So many of you have asked when the next book will be available.   I am happy to say, not much longer now.  My new offering will be the second in the
series, with the same format and feel as,
Be Empowered!  Eat Chocolate with Breakfast.   I have to admit it is quite scary to give this another go.   It is
because of the generous and gracious support of readers that I am encouraged to produce another title.

I am diligently writing and will soon begin illustrating my new book
, Be Empowered!  Don't Let Life Melt Your Chocolate.   Once again, the sayings
will pay attention to the metaphorical "chocolate" of attitude, confidence, courage and compassion.  The focus will be on making it through life's
difficulties with a healthy perspective, adaptability, determination and gracious forbearance.
   

For a hint for as to where the title originated, see the section below, Up from the ashes...