I was living in Minnesota and ended up getting a divorce. I had been beaten down in the last years of my marriage to not know who I was and not know my own potential. But through Christ and through my connection with Him, I was learning that I was strong and I could teach my daughter to be strong as well, even through really really hard things in life. That was such a cool experience because I think without it, I don’t know if I would have looked so internally, and also I don’t know if I would have reached towards Christ as much as I did at the time. When I came to Utah, I had some decisions to make on how to proceed, how to proceed with my life, how to proceed with my career. It was a difficult decision, how to provide for us.
I illustrated myself and my daughter 100 times for a 100-day project. There’s one of me very frustrated when she’s throwing a tantrum. There’s one where I’m chasing Remmy and she’s naked after her bath, and it’s called Nicky Bird on the Run, because that’s what she would say, “Nicky Bird on the Run.”
I had so many parents just comment like, This is what we do every day. And so even though it was such a personal story for us, it ended up being such a universal one that I didn’t realize would be so universal. But it also helped me to strengthen my skills and hone my craft. And that project has led to projects that really are very meaningful to me. I really wanted to create a large scale mural that really digs deep into my core belief that Jesus Christ is part of each of our families. I think often, especially as women, we feel like we can’t be a good mother and also fulfill our passion. We sometimes think it has to be one thing or the other. But when I was going through this difficult time, the continuous answer that I was receiving was that I could do both and live a fulfilling life and be a good mother and also follow what was really a part of me, which was being creative. I have since found an incredible husband. It’s been so great to join our families together. It’s been, of course, not perfect and ups and downs like any family, but it has just given all of us strength to be together.
I really like to focus on inclusion, accepting people for who they are, diversity and beauty and diversity, and just beauty and diversity because that is what our world is made of, and finding joy in the simple things. I included a single mother praying with her children because that is how I personally have connected with Christ through prayer. And then I conveyed a family with older children and used my own family, which was really fun. I wanted to represent that in the mural by putting us all in a canoe together because we’re navigating our life together now. I thought a canoe was a fun way to show the adventure of life together as our new family. There’s a line that goes through the whole image that is wobbly and goes up and down and around. I just thought that was a good way to illustrate our path as parents. Sometimes we feel like we’re doing a great job and we’re the best parents in the world, and sometimes we just feel like we fail every day, one day after the night. I hope when people see this mural, they take away a sense of the joy that comes with parenting, the joy of being together as a family, no matter what your family looks like.
I hope that they can see Christ in these families at the center of them and helping these families find that joy and find that strength together. It does feel like it’s such a big responsibility, but taken day by day, Parenthood is manageable with Christ. It’s a universal truth that he is part of each of our families. And it is so comforting to know that we have someone like that that is on our side and helping us through. I truly believe that Jesus Christ is the strength of parents, and having that ever-present love really strengthens all of us.