This week Dani and I had the surreal privilege to hold a real live 'proof' of our brilliant little book in our hands for the first time. On Friday we were gifted a single hard bound copy from our persistent publisher, so that we might peruse its pages before it was sent off to print. Before she arrived we both sat anxious and uncertain, just a teensy bit worried that it would not be what we had hoped it could be. But, as we gazed upon its completeness - it was love at first sight:)

Dani's art is exquisite and my whimsical words are scrawled out all perfect and playful. Its pages are bold and buttery, bound with a black linen cover, suited up all fine and fancy in a jacket with lovely embossed rose foil print, set amidst a flurry of finely etched leaves as a big beautiful tree holds YOU up in its loving bows. It is a timeless treasure to read and the kind of bound brilliance you'll want to leave out on the coffee table for all the world to see. It is everything we hoped and dreamed it wold be. And we cannot wait for you to hold it in YOUR hands!

We had grand plans for The You That Is YOU to be ready for the world before summer. We set deadlines and due dates, pre-selling and planning its perfectly timed debut - and then everything, everywhere unraveled. The world has been focused on healing for months now, scrambling to figure out a way to cherish and honor those who are sprinkled throughout its wondrous but often uncertain folds. There is sickness and sadness and struggle while daunting circumstances and division abound. It's difficult to know what to believe or who to trust and the messiness of it all has left us entranced. But, even in the midst of all this disarray - there is beauty unfolding. It burns within us all, but it can be drowned out and blurred by all the loud voices and the devastation that is being drummed into homes and hearts. I believe each of us was mused into existence by a genius Creator, who wove love and light into our beings. And that each of us has the ability to be real life 'proof's of our own - beautifully bound examples of that kind of goodness and grace. It is that kind of God given, sometimes hidden brilliance that will heal the world. The You That Is YOU may be arriving a bit late in regards to our timeline. But, in the grand scheme of things - we believe its timing is perfect. We hope that when it finally sits in your lap and you too get to peruse its buttery black pages, its words and wonder will remind you and yours of all the goodness that is still out there and the brilliance we each, innately, hold inside. Search for it, not just in yourself - but in others as well.

And ~ "Let is shine bright in all that you do."

Thank you for believing in us and being patient.



Updated: Apr 8

We all have a light that we were created to shine. Each brilliant beam, so extraordinary and necessary and full of purpose. When dark times arise, our individual lights can gleam together and illuminate the world when it needs it most. The five wonders, hi-lighted below, were caught in the act of brilliance. Each of them, in their own special way, shined some much needed light in the midst of this world wide COVID upheaval. One of them will be gifted 100 dollars to further their brilliance. And that's where you come in:)

Please vote for your favorite contestant by clicking on the 'vote here' button or emailing us at

(Use 'Be Brilliant' In the Subject Line)

May these bright lights inspire you to shine big and bold as well.

Khaley Audette saw a need amongst some some of our heroic first responders and responded with her own kind of brilliance, home brewing a big batch of hand sanitizer and donating it to the Issaquah PD.

Brooke Yount painted bundles of rocks with encouraging words and bright colors and scattered them along the now highly treaded Lk Wilderness Trail to delight little walkers along the way.

Hearts are popping up in windows all over Maple Valley, but Max went above and beyond and fabricated a heart that replicates the size of his own, making sure anyone passing by would know they are loved. Go big and stay home:)

Photographer by trade but brilliant in all aspects of her life, Jamiliah used what she had (determination, a lovely heart and dusty sewing machine) to piece together some much needed masks for the brave nurses and doctors working on the front lines of COVID19.

I am not even sure who to hi light here - as this little act of brilliance involved so many marvelous moving parts. But, Amy Heim was the mastermind behind it all. Rallying with the Girl Scouts and a community of do-gooders she not only supported a local business struggling to stay above water but also faught a battle of the hearts to feed the hard working fearless frontline.

Do as they have done - be brilliant.

Some of you may know that I’m a scratchboard artist. But, even if you know me and of my craft, you might not know that illustrating this book was what actually caused me to fall in love with scratch art. I was first introduced to this medium back in high school and although I liked my finished product, my seventeen-year-old self didn’t have enough patience to endure any more tedious scratching. I was all too ready to move on to a faster paced artistic expression.

Then 15 years later, I read Tristen’s lovely words and I loved them. At the time I was mostly working in watercolor but I felt like I needed to try a new medium to illustrate the story she was trying to tell. It wasn’t until one night when I was driving my daughter home from ballet under a starry sky that I remembered scratch art even existed. I went on to amazon and ordered the paper and tools and within two days the supplies arrived on my door-step. And I gave it a go.

It’s so cool; having been an artist all my life, how different experiences in life draw you to different mediums. For most of my life I had always begun my artwork on a white canvas/surface, looking to add shadows and depth to create my subjects. But with this medium, it was the opposite. I was starting on a black surface and seeking out the light. Only focusing on the light. The shift of perspective was meditative and marvelous for me! Now being a mother of four, my patience for this medium had grown significantly. And with the new focus of looking for light, I saw my subjects, and really the whole world around me, in a whole new light as well. Last week as I was working, I was reflecting on how cool it was that Tris’s words were my muse for this scratch art medium. And how both seek to focus on brilliance and light. Every day is uncertain, and I think everyone is feeling the weight of this even more with the current events. But we always have a choice on what we seek to focus on. What we seek to bring out. To shift from darkness, to light. Marvelous perspectives await. Danielle McDowell Art, LLC

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