Author Archives: jenatmangrove

About jenatmangrove

I am a consummate creative. I have been a professional artist, designer, author and entrepreneur for 25 years. I am a problem solver, the challenges my life and work bring me along with my faith are what keep me moving in a positive direction.

Design is transcendent but business is necessary

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote a few years ago. I am revisiting it and adding more insight in to the the business aspect of running a creative based business.

This first book was all about how we use our language as creative to succeed in our endeavors. I wanted to revisit and make sure I still had it right. I’m trying to work on this blog from my iPad. Of course everything has changed on how to execute a blog post from how I do it on my computer. Please bear with my editing capabilities on iPad.

Design is Transcendent

We know that Universal thought has for its goal the creation of form, and we know that the individual thought is likewise forever attempting to express itself in form. We know that the work is a thought form, and a sentence is a combination of thought-forms; therefore if we wish our ideal to be beautiful or strong, we must see that the words out of which this temple will eventually be created are exact, that they are put together carefully; because accuracy in building words and sentences (and art work or any creative modality) is the highest form of architecture in civilization, and is a passport to success.͟ Kojin Karatani Architecture and


Baba Hari Dass, an Indian Yogi says the best ways to really learn something is to teach it. As a busy working Mom and wife this can be a challenge. When I decided to go back to school with small children I did not realize just how challenging it would be. Now 7 years later with a new direction in my life and children becoming more and more self-sufficient, I can return to what I missed. When I first started my design firm I was trying to kill two birds with one stone. I wanted to offer something to potential clients and get the word out about my new business. At the same time I want to integrate the design principles more into my soul. I wanted to know these principles so well I would use them inherently with everything I created. It was something

I felt I had been missing for years as a professional artist who was not formally trained. I was certainly creative enough, but never knew the basis from which to work and create and therefore really take my work as an artist to the next level of refinement. So I threw myself into studying the principles and created a seminar on them, presented them a few times to small audiences and then got so busy with work I could not continue with the seminars.

Principles are our foundation for success in Life and Art/Design

It has been a few years and our firm is doing very well, again I am looking to remind myself of my artistic principles with which to work from and sinking back into really defining and deconstructing the thought process I came to realize that these principles are the same intrinsic ways of thinking that create abundance and prosperity in our lives. The thought process that goes into designing, creating homes and spaces, artwork and developing our business all stem from the same system of principles and thought. If we continue to practice these principles in a systematic way our lives become more abundant, our work reaches new levels of excellence and brilliance, our relationships become more deep and meaningful, and we gain a sense of discernment for what is good and hopefully what is great. In the process of all of this happening we also gain an understanding of how important it is to gift what we have learned so our entire community can rise to a higher level of consciousness and abundance and our lives full of integrity can reach out and touch others and encourage them to walk with a light in their heart as well.

When we talk about what it is to have principle, we are talking about a manner in which

someone acts or a system of beliefs by which they live their lives. A set of principles is almost a

systematic approach to making all the little decisions in our lives that will shape our future. We

can have great principles and create an amazing life. We can lack principles and use little

judgment and create havoc in our lives. Living our lives based on a set of principles allows us to

act with integrity without any effort. This ability frees our minds and our hearts to create and

share with more people on a higher level.

Using Principles for art or design and creative endeavors works in a similar fashion. If we use

a set or group of principles for design we can create something that is unlimited, creative,

sensible, stimulating and serves us well. We should run our lives with the same goals, to create

a life that is unlimited, creative, sensible, stimulating and abundant as well as being of service

to others. This is a full life, this is an amazing design. The language is almost interchangeable.

I believe that the language we use to speak of Design and how we choose to live our Life

are transcendent, they are one and the same. Our lives are inter-dependent and are woven,

intermingled with people, experiences, places, time, etc. We can use the terms we use in

design as well as art to relate to our lives; In design we speak of scale, how the use of the size

of something, a pattern in a wallpaper or a sofa in a room, in life we measure the scale as we

compare what we believe our lives to be in relation to those around us and what we want to

achieve in our lives. There is proportion in our experiences. We try to achieve balance with how

we spend our time with emphasis on differing things over time. All of these principles will

create Harmony in our lives. These are the same principles used in Creating great Art and


We use the elements in a design to affect our principles. These are a finite and can be used

in very specific ways, far less conceptual. Elements are used more like tools. In design, element

refers to shapes, line, form, mass, texture, pattern, light and color. When I speak of success, the

elements I will use are the small tools that will allow us to manifest our principles. What I have

found is in the breadth of our lives there is always design. We are building our life with the

choices we make. We build our life with whom we choose to spend our time, with what we

work at, as well as all of the everyday smaller choices, like what we had for breakfast. We are

working from a blueprint of how we were raised, our paradigm. Architecturally metaphorically

speaking, all of these day to day choices we make are the building blocks, the 2×4′ s that are our

walls , and rooms, sections of our lives; they are the canvas on which we create our

masterpiece. .

Sow a thought, reap and act,

Sow an act, reap a habit,

Sow a habit, reap a character

Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny

Great Success and Great Design are based on layering of Principles. Like a great cake

each layer gives you more to enjoy. Success and Design work the same way. You have to add

layers to achieve a level of excellence and discernment. My goal with this set of principles for

design and success is to create a foundation of thought. This will be the foundation from which

you will make choices for your home or work space to elevate your design and so elevate your

experience. We will learn to work from a set of principles to create a foundation from which to

make our life choices that will generate abundance and much more in our lives.

The success system I have put together for you will guide you to be able to create not only a beautiful space

to live or work in but also to create a life of abundance, clarity, health, creativity and service.

This is a system of principles that if practiced regularly will get you everything you want in your

Without reviewing how we have lived, practicing self-reflection, how we will be able to

recognize what works and what isn’t working, we are doomed to continue our not so great

pattern of choices we make. We all have issues. There is no perfect life, at least not these days,

and not even on t.v. We have moved from the June Cleavers to the shows like ͞The Middle͟. I

don’t want to really spend a whole lot of time rehashing what we already know about our lives,

but if you are sincere about making it to your goals you need to be real about what you do, how

you do it and with whom you are doing it.

I have already introduced the idea of the paradigm

or blueprint. This is an idea that through our childhood experience we are more or less trained

to think, be and act. We are heavily influenced by not only our parents, but also our friends,

teachers and society at large. The expectations and rules we are taught, if we are uber blessed

or even a little lucky is healthy, supportive and encouraging. I would say that for the majority of

us, not so much. I would say the majority of us have backgrounds that are relatively

dysfunctional; at the least we have some complaint about our original situation. What I am

saying to you now is that you have a choice. I am officially informing you that you have all the

power in your life to make it what you want. You have to believe!! You have the power to

change your blueprint!

Get Out Your Longest Spoon: Why the Why is Important

I’m reading “Your money or your life” by Vicki Robin. She shares an old teaching tale…

“A young man wanted to know the difference between heaven and hell. A Sage led him to two rooms with observation portals, one labeled heaven one labeled hell. looking in at hell he saw a banquet table filled with luscious food but the people at The table work emaciated and distressed. They are spoons had a long handles to reach the food, but the handles were too long to bring the food to their mouth’s. Then he looked in on heaven. Same table full of luscious food. Same long spoons. But the people were healthy and happy and using their long handled spoon to feed one another”.

This story is at the heart of it all really. It’s all so simple. I’ll say it bluntly.

People: please stop being greedy, if you have more than you need then help your neighbor, help your kids get to a better place, raise all around you up with you.

If you don’t have much and are struggling, give a smile, give kindness and positivity. You are still raising others up with you.

We are not super wealthy people. We are amazingly rich in our family, our friends, we are blessed to have plenty of work and we do our best to do a good job and do good for others as much as we can.

Get out your long spoon and feed your soul!

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3 easy ways to get more done and stay out of That cursed rabbit hole!

noun: rabbit hole; plural noun: rabbit holes


a rabbit’s burrow.

“a heather-covered hillside full of rabbit holes”


used to refer to a bizarre, confusing, or nonsensical situation or environment, typically one from which it is difficult to extricate oneself.

I am so guilty of going down that rabbit hole of internet searches calling it research and development. What a joke. Those ads to the side get me everytime. Ooh pretty shiny thing, I’ll just look for a sec. Next thing you know it’s 2 hours later and I have done nothing to my website and my deadline for that project is ever looming. So this is my practice. 

1. Set scheduled times in your calendar to be on the internet. Period. Set a timer in your phone to be done in a Certain amount of time. When it sing dings be strict about getting off the internet and getting on to the next part of your day. I call this compartmentalizing your time. 

2. Create before consuming. Stick to your content calendar. Create your social media posts for your company   Or project. And if there is time left on your timer or schedule then you can surf and consume. 

3. Practice and forgive. Practice and forgive. Practice and forgive. Follow these 2 easy pieces of advice everyday   You’ll find yourself getting more done, scheduling more posts, creating more content. And when you find yourself in the rabbit hole forgive yourself. Start over, it’s about practice it’s not about perfection, it’s just about getting more done. Forgive yourself for when you go down the rabbit hole and you wasted 30 minutes of valuable time of your life and your career. And move on. 

It has taken me a couple of years to be diligent about taking these steps. The way I know it has worked is when I’m with a group and they say hey did you see what blah blah did last weekend? I have no idea. My consumption is way down and creation is way up. I’m getting there and you can too. It’s the simple little things we can do to get better, bebetter amd do more for others and ourselves. 

Now go be brilliant! 

Don’t forget to check out my vlog on you tube and be sure to hit subscribe to this blog. It’s where I share everything I know about how to build a business in the creative fields. Been there done that. Now I want to help you because the creatives need to rule the world. 

“Christ hath no hands but yours”

I’m reading “the success principles” again. Every time I read it I find something new and pertinent to my life at that moment. 

This morning I came across a passage that describes a town in Germany where there stands a statue of Christ with its hands blown off during an intense bombing during the war.  The people of the town never replaced the hands. Instead they placed a plaque underneath that reads “Christ hath no hands but yours” pretty incredible the towns people understood this concept and came away with such a great vision for their future. 

God needs our hands to complete His tasks and do his great work. 

Jack Canfield and his book has done this for me over the years. Given me new perspectives to work from. 

2 Essential Elements to Create a Better Anything: Persistence and Vigilance

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Vigilance: the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.

I preach constantly about the importance of staying persistent to reach your goals. At times it may seem that you are making little head way on your journey. Keep the faith, you will see what you have created in hind sight. 

The key to persistence is to move through the troubled times and stay focused on the end goal no matter what. To do this you will need to ignore the competition. You will have to ignore your friends and family who may think what you are after is rediculous, a waste of time and money. You will have to ignore your inner voice that agrees with them. 

This takes practice. You will get to a point where you will only hear a faint chatter of negativity and after moving through a few distractions and baracades you will have gained the confidence to know you are on course and full steam ahead. That’s what persistence will give you. 

Vigilance will give you an extra edge to catapult you into the future. So you have your goals, you are taking action toward making them happen on a daily basis. That’s great! Now become aware. Be self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Be on the watch for what will take advantage of both of those factors. 

Being vigil means you need to be tracking trends in your industry, in your medium, in your area of the country and online. 

Get your head out of the sand. Look around you and be painfully aware of where your industry is going. It’s great to be an artist, designer or any kind of creative. You have to decide if you want to be a professional or a hobbyist. If you want to be a professional then this blog is for you. 

Read the future, read the horizon. Find those who are doing what you want to do. Find a conference or workshops to level up your skills. Find the newest ways to get the word out; learn more marketing strategies. Watch the economy, listen to what financial experts are saying on both sides of the isle. 

Being vigilant is being aware and will give you insight for the future. You will be able to pivot when you see a trend on the horizon and move toward it before anyone else. 

What I do is listen to NPR in the mornings, I read forums on Linked In in my industry and those that affect my industry (marketing, construction, building, economy). I read blog articles and I am a member of several organizations all who the same interests. 

Stay persistent with your Actions and your attitudes and practice vigilance with the future of your business. These are what the professionals do. 

Success is an Attitude

Success : This is an attitude, I have succeeded in everything I have undertaken. I visualize, I plan, and make it happen. It may not always end up how I first see it, but I have learned to let things evolve and become what they want to be. If I foster an idea and put forth the effort , find resources, plan and adjust, refine, my ventures always come to fruition. I take the same positive attitude when I am ready to ramp a certain aspect up of an existing project. I am sure I have some peter out or completely implode, but I choose to not give them the energy they certainly don’t deserve. On to bigger and better things. Learn what you can from it and move on, never giving up. I remember hearing that Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy just before his great Model T came to fruition.

Tackle your future now…