Wenona Gardner – White Turtle Rainbow

On July 11, 2015 I will be celebrating my 42nd birthday! Yay I am still alive!  So, it seems fitting that I would spend today reflecting upon the past year and some goals for the future coming year. In the last year 3 profound things occurred. I made a major commitment to someone by exchanging vows which I wasn’t sure if I would feel so strongly about another person again. I also launched my life long dream of being a professional artist under the name White Turtle Rainbow which happens to make me feel so empowered and life much more exhilarating! Finally, I am experiencing life from a sense of great beingness as a self employed artist rather than running around like a chicken with my head cut off chasing an endless to do list by cherishing this feeling of serenity.

Just five days before my birthday last year I experienced a profound ceremony and exchange of vows that would alter my entire course of life. I never knew if I was going to be able to marry anyone again until Sunday July 6, 2014 arrived. My Adopted Father Grady blessed my wedding with a grateful gift of $160 welcoming my husband into my family and my tribe. I am grateful my Adopted Father Grady was present that day as we explained that our spiritual marriage was our effort to counter the civil rights violation of Double penalty for two Disabled people to marry legally by the Federal government who penalizes the newly legal married disabled couple with losing their benefits and their health care. That is a very cruel way to start a legal marriage especially when each disabled person requires the much needed health care since Psychiatric medications and hospitalizations are extremely expensive! So my spiritual husband and I took a stand in love and decided to exchange spiritual marriage vows. My spiritual husband also identified himself as my spiritual husband on Mohican Tribal Court transcripts.  Because of my spiritual marriage vows, I ended up leaving Wisconsin the only state I had at that time ever truly known and ventured off to live in Omaha, NE for the sake of LOVE! I am amused when people ask me why a Cheesehead found herself in Omaha? As you may or may not know Omaha ranks #1 in place where it’s the friendliest in terms of the willingness of Omaha residents to strike up conversations with strangers. I love that! Since I moved to Omaha I have been striking up friendly conversations left and right with Omaha people. I also feel accepted by many people in Omaha as my shield from trauma has come down I am better able to let people in.

Launching my self employment under the name White Turtle Rainbow on February 5, 2015, was also a major life altering move. I had always had a dreamnt of being a self employed artist since my Alverno College days when I received my BA in Business & Management and Integrated Arts & Humanities in 1995. As many Mental Health Consumers can relate to, my career plans had originally gotten off course when I experienced my first mental break down. For the next almost 20 years, I experienced my life shifting to health concerns and focusing primarily on recovery. My career plans took a back seat until just recently when I launched my White Turtle Rainbow Artist Business. I proudly declared to Social Security that I was self employed artist!!  I am relearning accounting using Quicken Books since it’s been almost 20 years since I had last taken an accounting class. Accounting is not my strong suit, but Marketing is as I have been studying social media and how to promote my videos and written stories using http://gofund.me/WenonaLeeGardner as a sort video and written blog where my artist fans can help cheer and encourage me through Go Fund Me donations. Why don’t most blogs have a donation link simply set up like Go Fund Me? I am promoting the daily writing and video making which is like Native American oral tradition to tell my Crazy Quilt: An Artist’s story about living with mental illness .

Most importantly in Omaha I am experiencing a sense of beingness and serenity that keeps me in Omaha as my new home. I love Omaha! I love it’s people and discovering new places! I love walking to the local Omaha library and sitting in the computer lab writing and outside filming my latest daily video at 7 am. I need to feel empowered by going to work in this manner. I start my day at the local McDonald’s where I get my $1.10 soda for the morning and watch and talk to the local people while charging my phone. Then at precisely 9 am I go to the local library, outside film my daily video, and then upload. I admire my surroundings and look up at the sky. Lately, I am fondly people watching with my own eyes without my glasses as if it was a soft Monet painting to see the world as my spiritual husband sees the world who is legally blind. Then I strike up conversations with Omaha people. Sometimes at the library, I will attend a local class like I stopped by the Ask a Nurse station or I visited a Golden Quilting Threads class just because my story is also called Crazy Quilt. Funny little synchronicities. I love sitting down and writing my stories on the computer off the top of my head. I feel alive and part of life. . Noon I eat my packed lunch or treat myself to a cheeseburger from McDonald’s or Burger King. I can pick and choose!

I am grateful for Gayle Bluebird and Kathi Zarwell for the recent donations towards the development of my Crazy Quilt story. I love being on this creative journey and these two women have made profound impact on my life as an artist. Kathi who I fondly call Eastern Eagle is the eternal artist herself and she taught me the pleasure of making beaded jewelry, experiencing fun times sitting in a coffee shop at Steaming Cup, and an expert bargain hunter. Gayle Bluebird inspired me to sing a song for her on my video. as she is founding a National Mental Health Consumer Artist’s Network and Conference. Each woman helps me appreciate the joy of simply being an artist instead of trying to do artist work. I would much rather simply be the artist.

Now drum roll please….what are my top 4 goals for the coming year?

1) I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO DRIVE! Silly yes I know! I am to be going 42 years old and I missed out on learning how to drive when I was 16 due to family crisises. I want to make up for lost time and I promise myself to learn how to drive for the next coming year to make up for this teen milestone I missed out on.

2) PLAY MORE VIDEO GAMES! My spiritual husband owns a Xbox One and he never really shared it with me so I sat watching him play video games while I struggled with relearning business accounting for White Turtle Rainbow and seeking social services like a Social Worker for him and I. I grew bitter. I want to play more video games! I am going to Family Fun Center for my birthday! And I am going to make birthday videos!

3) Become a computer mechanic by learning more TECHNOLOGICAL LINGO ABOUT COMPUTERS so when my computer does not work I won’t freak out!

4) I want to earn 30K Income this coming year as a professional artist with White Turtle Rainbow. Seems like a nice big target to aim for! Anybody got any suggestions on how I can make this goal a reality?

With LOVE,

Wenona Gardner

White Turtle Rainbow


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