“Art isn’t just a hobby. It’s not even a choice. It’s actually a matter of life or death.” – Jennifer Allison

Watch this wild, yet intimate and inspiring TED Talk, to see how art transforms Jennifer’s world of pain and chaos (due to a sensory disorder) into one of mesmerizing awe and wonder.

Read more about this talk at the TED Institute and UPS United Problem Solvers.

 

Lessons Learned from the Least of These

7 Principles God Taught Me in Prison

 Recorded at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA – 11/1/15 – Jennifer Allison

 

Feet shackled in chainsEvery time I step out of my comfort zone and follow God’s calling, I get to witness Him do miraculous things. In the audio message above, I share 7 principles that God taught me about Himself while I was speaking with inmates in prison. I’ve learned more about His power, mercy, grace and forgiveness while talking to addicts, murderers and thieves, than I have sitting in a pew. Helping others has allowed me to experience Him first-hand which is truly awesome!

Art Therapy for Special Needs

treehouse illustration

Treehouse Illustration by Jennifer Allison

I have Sensory Processing Disorder and the struggle is very real. As a child I was in constant battle with the world around me…as well as my parents and teachers. I’d often retreat to the woods behind my house where I built a tree fort to escape the chaos and drama and seek much-needed solitude. That was where I found peace, and I spent hours talking to the various insects and birds that accepted me and my quirky, special need for quiet time.

As an adult, I’ve learned that throwing myself on the floor while kicking and screaming isn’t a socially acceptable way to deal with the overwhelming sensory input that my brain fails to process properly. But the disorder continues to wreak havoc in my everyday life. For example, in order to survive the corporate cubicle world where I work, I have to wear noise-canceling headphones all day long, but this isn’t ideal for inspiring creativity or productivity.

I no longer have a treehouse or secret fort deep in the woods that I can retreat to as an adult. Unfortunately. However, there IS one thing I’ve found that truly calms my stress and melts away the chaos and discomfort of my hyper-sensitive sensory system. That one thing is drawing. 

Flying Colors

An Expert Level Coloring Adventure

I am very excited to announce that my new adult coloring book is now available. This video showcases all 30 detailed illustrations I did for the book.

I would love for you to share the images you color with me. If you will post them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #flyingcolors in your post, I will see all your beautiful creations and share some of them from my own social media pages. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Right now the coloring book is only available on Amazon.com.  ENJOY!!!


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The Making of a Jedi

Today I decided to give ballpoint pens a try. First, I sketched out a rough pencil drawing of my favorite Star Wars character, Yoda. Slowly and gently layers of color were scribbled upon each other to make texture, shadows and darker tones.

Sketch of Yoda

I had a lot of fun working on this but it took quite a bit of patience to fill in the larger areas. Overall, this took me about 15 hours to complete.

Yoda Illustration

Prints of this drawing and more are available on my gallery at jennifer-allison.fineartamerica.com.

The Great Santa Debate

Am I really the only one who was traumatized as a kid when I learned the cold, hard truth about Santa? Honestly, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe I had been so gullible and that my family, friends and teachers all conspired against me. As a result, I never carried forth the Santa tradition with my son. When I tell people this I’m often met with wide eyes and gasps of horror. They say, “how could you rob your child of the Christmas magic?”

Here are four reasons why I believe the TRUTH is so much more magical than Mr. Claus.

Creating a Sanctuary of Solace

Kid in ClosetRelaxing, and even sleeping, doesn’t come easy for me. Because of my Sensory Processing Disorder, the process of unwinding is usually a battle. It’s essential for me to have a quiet place to retreat after work, church, or social outings so I can be rejuvenated for interacting with the world again.

Quiet time is important for everyone though, not just people with special needs. Even Jesus Christ, who had the most important mission on earth, often found time to be alone. This discipline refueled and focused Him for interacting with the crowds He wanted to help, serve and heal. (Mark 1:35-38)

Those of us with disorders like SPD, or who have introverted personalities, need time alone for overall health and well-being. Time to heal and become refreshed is important so we can reengage with the world at our very best. Here’s are a few ideas that have helped me.

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Kid

Girl Running AwayAs I was growing up, I heard a lot of the same words over and over again in regards to my behavior. The redundant questions and statements from parents and teachers brought a lot of unnecessary confusion and pain into my life.

I have Sensory Processing Disorder which creates a lot of unique challenges for me. You can learn more about SPD by reading my article, One Reason I’m So Weird. I’m sure my disability was the main reason the following words were repeated like a broken record to me. However, they did more damage than good. Words have a lot of power so we need to be wise about how we use them.

Here are five things I believe you should never say, with some alternatives to say instead. I hope these will turn a struggle with a difficult child into an opportunity to help them instead.

My Memoir is Here!

Book PhotoToday is the day. I’m so excited! For over a year and a half I’ve been diligently working on putting this book together. Now it’s here. I can’t believe it. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement along the way. You all helped in making my dream a reality.

Check out my store for buying options

Here’s the book summary:

This book is a nostalgic coming-of-age memoir about growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. Jennifer began her quest for self-discovery at an early age when she realized she was different from other kids. Suffering from a bizarre condition known as Sensory Processing Disorder, she has a unique perspective on life and shares her innermost thoughts and struggles. She fell into many deep potholes on her journey, which included abuse, addiction, and poverty. Ultimately, however, the challenges taught her some valuable life lessons. This story will make you laugh, cry, and cheer as you travel alongside Jennifer on the road to hope, transformation, and the meaning of life.