Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jessica's Art

Jessica Parkos-Alvarez aka Jess the Figment.......an artist, singer,  student, and mother of Briar Rose....... is a unique individual who creates the most amazing pieces of art, writes songs, makes purses, designs T-shirts, and all sorts of crafty things …..currently she was named Student of the Month.  She is also singing in her fiance's heavy metal band "The Banality of Evil" for which she designed a T-shirt.  Her local paper has run two articles about her art.  Her current art teacher, Kim Beyer, entered four pieces of her art for consideration of a $10,000 scholarship at the Nebraska Wesleyan University.   Two of them were accepted: "Her Breath of Cuteness" and "Flowers for My Rival". 

Here are the questions  asked …..

What Do You do ?
What Are Your Passions ?
What Drives You ?

Jessica is  passionate about those she loves and creates art from a very vivid imagination……..When she was little, her grandparents took her to the Children's Museum at Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she drew Clifford, the Big Red Dog.  The curators were so impressed that they hung it up for display.  She won other art contests at school so we knew that she was definitely an artist.  She also created digital art on our computer for us......usually a picture of her cousins or herself...
Music, writing, and art have been a way for Jess to cope with life.  She was raised by a single Mom in extreme poverty.  Often times she turned to writing songs and drawing sketches to express her angst about life.  This MEM  "The creative adult is the child who survives" certainly fits Jessie's life. Even though life was challenging,  her Mom always encouraged her and displayed her art in a prominent place.  This wasn't just refrigerator art, but art worthy of being displayed in her living room....so Jessie's Mom Teresa covered her walls with Jessie's art.
Even though her mom & dad never married, her dad played a big part in her life.  Her dad was an artist himself, and Jess picked up his attitude and emulated his art.   She was always close to her Nana so when junior high started and there was some bullying at the school, she came to live with her Nana and Grandpa for a year and a half.  While in Kansas with them, she auditioned and was accepted in a select choir called Chorale. She perfected her voice here.  When she entered high school, she returned to Nebraska to live with her mom there.  She met a quiet guitar player there, Alex Rawlings.  They shared an interest in music and fell in love.

Jess became pregnant and they had a baby girl, Briar Rose, when Jess was a sophomore in high school and Alex was a senior.  Being a teen mom is definitely not an easy route, but Jess went back to school six weeks after the birth of her baby girl.  She studied harder than ever.  She and Alex were devoted parents and kept up with their baby as well as school. 

Jessie's art teacher at that time, Emily Brooks, encouraged her to get involved in drama as well.  Jess had the support of Alex, her mom, and Alex's mom so she was able not only to attend her classes but also stay involved with extra-curriculars such as drama, music, and art.  After her junior year, her Nana and Grandpa sponsored her to attend the Kansas City Art Institute where she received three college credits.  Her painting teacher,Jonah Criswell, was impressed with her overall talent, especially her attention to detail and her work ethic. Her family attended her art exhibition, which featured many of her pieces.  Her favorites were one inspired by her daughter Briar Rose called "Her Breath of Cuteness", a tribute of the appreciation she has for her baby girl, and the other one is a portrait she did of her Uncle David in Viking gear.  Here is a quote from Jess about her daughter and the inspiration she had to create "Her Breath of Cuteness".  Jess says, "Briar makes
Her Breath of Cuteness

Jess crocheted this cap for her baby

One of Jessie's recent art paintings

A mural she made for the library

Flowers for My Rival

Another mural for the library

A portrait of her Uncle David in Viking gear
everything amazing. Even when you are having a bad day, she just blows cute breathiness out into the world."  Jess wants to inspire her daughter.  Briar is two now, and Jess and she do art together.  Jess says, "I do art around her a lot.  I even have a little apron for her, and I'll paint with her.  I have a little canvas that I let her add on to whenever we have time and a place that can't get destroyed." 

Jess also created two murals for her town library.

On Her Passions

“My daughter, my fiance', my art........I have a facebook page called 'Jess the Figment'. https://www.facebook.com/jessthefigmentart?ref=hl I like to share my art and ideas and other people's art that I admire....." 

On What Drives Her

“I am still figuring myself out right now and I have been experimenting with a lot of things and I've really been getting into painting right now One of my things has kinda been having a lot of swirls in my art.  I have been looking at other artists and their styles and picking out things that I like and trying to figure out my style......I want to be an entrepreneur.  I want to sell art in useful ways.  I do love painting and I want to have that basis, but I want my art on shirts and cups and things people use in everyday life.  I want to make prints and make it accessible to everyone.”  Her drive to be successful comes from her love for Briar Rose.  She talks about how important it is for Briar to have a strong female role model, as well as the support to accomplish her dreams. "I want her to see me doing well and being successful so that way she'll want to do that too, you know?  Maybe not painting, but in whatever she does, to do a good job."   
Pat Hays

"Life isn't about how you survive the storm, but how you dance in the rain"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

What a wonderful year it was!  Last Christmas we celebrated with all the kids.  Teresa, Jess, and Briar Rose came Christmas Eve day and then left for the Holiday Home to visit Tori, Caleb, and kids for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  What fun seeing Rosie in her pretty Christmas dresses! Since her birthday is in December, she always has the cutest Christmas outfits.  Christmas Day Mandy and Chad came for an awesome dinner.  The next day we went to Holiday Island to enjoy the holiday with the rest of the kids.  Tori and Caleb had put up a huge tree and exterior lighting so it was easy to get into the Spirit of things.  Rosie started to walk so that was a highlight of the holidays last year.  New Years found us in Mulvane celebrating with David, Sherry, and boys.

Frank's birthday in February was spent with me recuperating from a cold in lovely Wichita, KS, where there was a record-breaking blizzard that snowed us in the hotel where I had accompanied Frank on his business trip.  We did manage to have a lovely dinner at the Scotch and Sirloin before the snow.  When we were able to shovel out, we headed for the Holiday Home to attend a battle of the bands show in which Caleb was drumming.  That was a fun time.

In March I enjoyed a wonderful spring break.  While Chad and Frank attended the NCAA basketball tournament, I made my way to Kimball, NE.  I stayed with Jess, Alex, and baby Briar Rose.  I spent time with Teresa too.  We always celebrate Jessie's birthday then.  She turned 18.

We were saddened by the passing of my Great Uncle Bud in March.  He was the last of the sixteen kids in my maternal grandma's family.  A great man and a pillar of his community left us.

We had an awesome Mother's Day at the Holiday Home.  We had breakfast at the Mudd Street Cafe in Eureka Springs where I received flowers from Tori.  I think that was the weekend we decided to buy the home in Holiday Island.  It's a lovely property with a panoramic view of the lovely Ozarks from our wrap around deck.  We closed on it in July.  Tori and Caleb continue to rent it.....now they just have new landlords. They continue to make improvements on their lovely home in the Woods as well so things are going well for them.  Tori continues her naturopathy practice in both Fort Smith and the Eureka Springs area.  Caleb does construction and handyman work as well as drums for various events.

My good friend, Mitzy Nattress, aunt to Tori  and Teresa, passed away in May.  We celebrated her life in June with photos and shared memories.  She was Mom's beautician for years in Sargent, NE.   The girls were close to her.  They used to stay with her in the summer.  I also feel the loss so much because Mitz was always so sweet and positive.

The summer began with one of the busiest but most amazing times of my life.  I had a family reunion on Mem. Day weekend and then a nice visit with Teresa, Jess, and Rosie.  It got hot early this summer so we set up a pool for the baby and enjoyed watching her so much.  She is a water baby, loving every minute of it.

After that weekend, I started three weeks of graduate work from Friends' University.  I'm always busy re-certifying.  I especially enjoyed the class on humor, but the classes on organization and motivation were good as well.

After my classes I picked up Rosie and Jess.  Jess took PCAL (Pre-college art lab) where she earned three college credits.  I got the privilege of watching Rosie.  She was an absolute blast!  She was a busy little toddler but so much fun.  Loved every minute of it!  The class culminated with an exhibition.  We loved Jessie's art.  Her local newspaper did a nice article about it.

Baba (the grandkids' name for Frank) took Jess, Briar Rose, and me to the Topeka zoo.  It is a grandkid tradition.  It was Rosie's first time to enjoy all the animals, train ride, & 100 year old merry-go-round that her mommy and cousins had experienced so many times.

Camp Nana was a short week at the Holiday Home with a 4th of July boat ride on Table Rock Lake, visits to the park, ice cream, and a drive in movie.

After the art class, we took Kaya on her seven-year-old trip.  Tori and Sierra went with us.  We stopped in Hannibal, MO, the home of Mark Twain, on the way to Niagara Falls.  The Falls were spectacular.  Loved seeing them again. We spent a few days there before going to Toronto.  At Toronto, we attended a musical, went to the CN tower, and met my longtime facebook friend, Cat Forsley.

Labor Day weekend found us once again in Kimball visiting Jess, Teresa, & the baby.  We watched the first NE football game of the season there.  Speaking of football, Frank and Chad bought Jayhawk season tickets so they have been enjoying the tailgate parties and fun times at the KU football stadium.

In October I picked up Mom, and we enjoyed a five-generation weekend with the Kimball folk.  We had a slumber party and treated ourselves to meals out.  It was a memorable time!

That about wraps up the year so far.  We enjoyed Thanksgiving in Kimball and plan to celebrate Christmas at Lawrence and the Holiday Home.  We will probably celebrate New Years with Dave and Sherry and their boys again.  The family is doing well.  Mandy and Teresa continue to work in health care. Mandy and Dustin moved to a new place.  Tori is expanding her naturopathic career. Chad is in his third year of coaching and teaching. Jess and Sierra are in high school.  Jess will graduate in May.  The little ones----Kaya, Samson, and Briar Rose----keep growing and becoming more special and sweet to us every day.  Frank is still instructing insurance, and I am still subbing.  Life is good.  Hope you and yours enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful new year.

Patty and Frank

Pictures:  (1) Grands: Jess, Sierra holding Briar Rose, Samson, Kaya (2) Chad and Kaya playing mini Uno at Camp Nana this summer (3) Girls at Biggs before Jessie's art exhibition: Teresa, Briar Rose, Sierra, Tori, Kaya (4) Girls at the art exhibition: Teresa, Briar Rose, Jess, Kaya, Sierra (5) Dustin and Mandy at Halloween party (6) Rosie (Thanksgiving) (7)  Frank and I (Easter)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Give Joy a Chance

"Be glad for the things you have and you will find you have far more than you thought.  Then you will not miss in the least, the things you have not.  Besides, the happier you are over what has come to you, the more and the more will come to you in the future.  This is indeed a great secret, and if universally applied would cause want to disappear from the face of the whole earth." ~ Christian D. Larson

Counting our blessings in gratitude causes awareness of our abundance.  If we have water, food, and shelter, we are indeed blessed.  If we have family and friends, we have someone with whom to share these blessings.  If we have a relationship with God, we are heirs to the kingdom and can attract all good in our lives.  Indeed we have answered the call of rejoicing and gathered where life is a song, according to the man who wrote the above quote.

Whether we believe life is a struggle or that life is an exciting adventure, our perspective either limits us or frees us.  Those of us who lived during the sixties remember being asked to give peace a chance.  We should also give joy a chance.  If we do, we open ourselves up to all kinds of good.  WE become part of the divine flow that provides everything we need.

Love, Light, and Life,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just As I Am

It's so easy to get down on ourselves, but what we really need to do is be our own best friend.  How would we treat our best friend?  That should be our guide for how we treat ourselves.  God loves us just the way we are so we should do the same.

I am always struggling with my weight so I have to treat myself as I would if my best friend had the same challenge.  I remind myself that I have dominion over my behavior.  I can change how I feel. I don't have to have that stuffed feeling, indigestion, gas, and discomfort when I am trying to sleep--- because step by step, thought by thought, I can change how I think and how I respond to food.  I can remember that some food craving I have is not worth the body I have always craved.

However, that being said, I love myself, even in the middle of any challenge I face.  I don't have to measure up to anyone's standards, not even my own, to be loved by God.  He loves me unconditionally, and that is how I need to feel about myself as well.

I am worthy, and so are you.  God loves us just the way we are.  I remember that old hymn that used to be played at the end of Billy Graham's crusades, Just As I Am, as a reminder I don't have to change to be worthy. I am worthy of good health, happiness, success, and inner peace.  I accept the promise of John 10:10, "I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly."

I have everything I need to face every challenge in life.  I have dominion over whatever is thrown my way.  You have it too.  God blesses us every day because we are His beloved offspring.

Light and Love,

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I let go of limited thinking.  Why?  Well, seven years ago, a beautiful miracle happened.  My granddaughter Kaya was born.  She is an absolute miracle because less than two years before her birth, her mom Tori was in a very serious motorcycle accident and was told that she would not have any more children. We worried and worried about Kaya. Tori kept saying that Kaya would choose her own birthday, and she did.  She was born over a month later than her due date, and she was and is perfect in every way.  She weighed 9 lbs 1 oz so was a big, bouncing baby girl.  She is awesome.  Her name Kaya is Hopi Indian for wise child, and wise she is!  Tomorrow is her birthday, and she taught me that God is in control.  I do not have to strive in life with such intensity.  God is good and everything will work out perfectly.

Light and Love,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Forgiveness

It's Good Friday!  It's a great day to think about forgiveness and seeing good in everyone.  It would be so difficult to forgive if we had been Jesus back in the day, and yet we know He did.  Luke 23:34 says, "Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.'"  It is so cleansing, and yet not an easy thing.  It is so important, though, for our inner peace.

If you have trouble forgiving, God will help you.  He says in Isaiah 54:4, 10 and 55:9, "Fear not...My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed....For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are my ways higher than your thoughts."  So even if our human reason won't let us forgive, we have God's Spirit within that will see us through.  He will give us strength to forgive and love and see the good in people.

This Easter Sunday as we remember Christ's resurrection, we should remember that God sees us through the darkest night to the brightest day.  When we awaken Easter morning, we will joyfully go forth with the new life and knowledge that God has seen us through the darkness and brought us into the light of forgiveness, peace, and joy.

Light and Love,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blessings Galore!

God has blessed me beyond measure, and I am grateful.  I am happy.  I have a great husband, an awesome family, a flexible, satisfying job, and a lovely home.  Yet my life has not been without its trials.  Both my girls have been in intensive care.  Thankfully, both recovered.  I have been through divorce, but I have an amazing husband now.  For all the pain and trouble I have endured, God has blessed me double.  That's how He rolls.  I give myself credit too.  I believe this quote by Jemome P. Fleishman, "It takes courage to live----courage and strength and hope and humor.  And courage and strength and hope and humor have to be bought and paid for with pain and work and prayers and tears." Not that I deserve all the blessings I receive.  I realize that had it not been for God's goodness and favor, I would not have all the blessings I do.

People may be jealous of our blessings and wonder why we are happy when they are miserable, and the best thing we can do for them is to be a smiling example of God's goodness and peace.  Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." He blesses us daily with all the abundance of all the world's beauty.  And this is available to everyone so no one needs to walk around defeated.  Joel Osteen says, "Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for the favor, the honor, the joy, the peace, the victory that God has given you."  The truth is that these blessings come from God and are free to all who choose happiness on a daily basis.  We will have pain and tears, but with work and prayer and God's grace, we can overcome anything with a positive attitude.  Every day is a gift from God.

Love and Light,