Dawn Behrens Art

I have traveled down many different and exciting roads in my life so far. I have been a dancer, an actor, a musician, a teacher, a poet, a book author, a sorority house mom, and even a shoe shine. And I have tried to ‘shine’ in each of these endeavors.

And, now, I am officially traveling another exciting road involving sculpture and painting. I started painting to help illustrate one of the children’s picture books that I wrote, Benjamin Boo Paints.

Toys Together

I painted a few more paintings for special occasions as I attempted to let my artistic self break free from the negative voices inside and figure out in what voice my artistic self would speak.

With the onslaught of COVID-19 and sheltering at home to attempt to stay safe from the ravages of the virus, I began to really be able to focus on my artistic voice. And that voice spoke about the faces of COVID and the perseverance that so many have shown while trying to survive.

My artistic voice is now speaking through clay sculpture and palette knife painting.

Using clay sculpture, I have created five figures representing people who have continued to serve during this time; people we don’t usually call heroes, but people who are heroes in the best sense. I have ideas for more sculptures, and I will continue creating those.

Another artistic venture I have discovered is palette knife painting. This is where you paint on canvas or other surface using thick paint and palette knives. I mix acrylic paint and modeling paste to make my thick paint. I am discovering new and exciting ideas for these paintings.

I have been working on these artistic endeavors for a little while, but today is a very special day. I have published a website to focus on the art I have created and will continue to create.

Here are just two examples of my artwork:

Custodians/Housekeeping Staff
Food Service Workers in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, restaurants, etc.

For me, these pieces in clay express my thankfulness for those who have continued to serve amid the pandemic with little or no recognition for their efforts and their risk.

The representational body forms and use of multi-color clay express that they may be any gender, any race, any age. The focus is on what they have done and continue to do for the rest of us to go on with our lives in this horrific time.

The masks are black to represent the deadly virus that they must guard against with reference to lung damage like damage caused by black lung disease. Since the masks cover the mouth and most of the face, they symbolize that many had no voice or choice in the matter. They must work in order to keep their jobs and feed their families.

The red bases represent the life blood that they give metaphorically when they are working and the literal lives that some have lost by being struck by COVID-19.

I hope you will click the link below and check out my artwork on the website.

Dawn Behrens Art

Posted in Art, Benjamin Boo Books, COVID-19 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

COVID-19 Has Brought Me Back — Part 2

“…I believe this adventure will be some of the most fun and rewarding times I have ever had with teaching.”

Several creative activities have transpired since I began writing poetry again in April. I had planned to go in sequence to explain all that had happened, but I’ve decided to skip ahead to now. You see, I’ve been quite busy over the past three months looking for a job that does not require me to go back into the classroom. I’m just not willing to risk that while we are still in the midst of this pandemic.

And, now, I am very excited that I am pressing forward on a new teaching venture! Instead of returning to the classroom to teach, I will be teaching online for https://Outschool.com. On this platform, teachers choose what they want to teach and how they want to teach–within certain parameters. It’s a contract position, so that’s a little scary. But I’m hoping my classes that I am putting together will sell to the parents and students. Hoping! Fingers crossed! Yikes!

One thing I concluded was important about this type of teaching and the need for my classes to be marketed is the idea of branding. Any time you’re selling something, branding is an important consideration. And I believe the best brand for me is one I already have–Grandawn. So, I’m listing my classes as Learning With Grandawn.

So far, I’ve listed five classes:

Learning With Grandawn: ABC’s With Your Favorite Stuffed Animal. In this one-time 30-minute class, students ages 3-5 will use their favorite stuffed animal to learn and review the letters of the alphabet.


Learning With Grandawn: 123’s With Your Favorite Stuffed Animal. In this one-time 30-minute class, students ages 3-4 will use their favorite stuffed animal to learn and review the numbers 1-10.


Learning With Grandawn: Storytime–Benjamin Boo Real Super Hero. In this one-time class for ages 3-5, we will read the book “Benjamin Boo Real Super Hero” and use the story and activities to have fun and learn about how being kind to others can make us a Real Super Hero.


Learning With Grandawn: Diligent Dictionary Detective Class; Expand Vocabulary. Students ages 8-11 will expand their vocabulary by using the dictionary to find words and identify the part of speech, definition, and history through investigation and games.


Learning With Grandawn: I Love My Pet; Public Speaking–Introductory Speech. In this two-week class, students ages 8-11 will learn to give an Introductory Speech to introduce their pet to the class.


A great thing about this platform is that I can give a $20 credit to parents who are using Outschool for the first time. If you would like to take advantage of this, click on the class above that you want your learner to enroll in, and it will activate the credit.

Like I said, this is scary. But if it works, I believe this adventure will be some of the most fun and rewarding times I have ever had with teaching. I’m hoping I’ll be able to report great and wonderful things to you in the future.

Please, keep me in your thoughts.

Posted in COVID-19, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

COVID-19 Has Brought Me Back – Part I

There’s hardly anything I can do right now because of COVID-19. I can’t be around family and friends. I can’t eat inside restaurants. I can’t go to the gym. That one’s really not as relevant since I didn’t go to the gym before COVID-19…

But I might go to the gym if I could!

I can’t go to the grocery store whenever I want–I have to go to the first hour that’s set aside for us seniors in order to avoid the hordes of people. I can’t go shopping in a store without concern. I can’t teach in a classroom.

We left school for Spring Break this past school year. We knew there were issues with this new virus that was creeping through the world. But we never realized that we would not return to the school building after Spring Break. We never realized that we would begin using new phrases and new behaviors. Social distancing. Physical distancing. Shelter at home. Shelter in place. Flatten the curve. You need to unmute. You need to mute. This isn’t remote or distance learning; it’s emergency learning. Maskers. Anti-maskers. Essential workers. Only 3% will die. Be aware of your privilege. Zoom.

Zoom classes. Zoom meetings. Zoom backgrounds. Zoom concerts. Zoom theater. Zoom-Zoom-Zoom!

So… I’ve been sheltering at home since the middle of March. It’s now the beginning of August. Four and a half months. And what have I accomplished in that time? What constructive things have I done in four and a half months? Actually, very little. But I’ll leave that discussion for another blog post.

Over the next few days, I want to talk about what I did accomplish so far during this COVID-19 pandemic while I have spent hours and hours by myself, shut away from everyone except my sweet kitty cat, Gigi.

I preface this list of accomplishments with a caveat. I spent a great deal of time sleeping, watching television, crying, and being depressed. But the secret is to get back up and go on. And I did, again and again.

There are several things that I have not done for many years. Creative things. Things I have loved and then put aside, not completely forgotten, but left along the way. I picked up some of those things and examined them, and remembered them, and loved them–again.

I wrote poetry again.

At the end of March, I saw that April is considered National Poetry Month by the Academy of American Poets. America’s Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, suggested that Americans read a poem a day during April as one way to celebrate. I decided that I would try to write a poem a day during April as a way to celebrate. I didn’t accomplish a poem every day, but I did write several. Here are a few examples:

I Cry

Why do you cry?
Said they.
I cry for the losses--
Those that have been
And those to come.
Said I.

When will the tears stop?
Said they.
Said I.

--Dawn Behrens
The Plague

The sun shines, but
The world is dark.
A plague has crushed
The caring heart.

To save the young.
The old must pay
And sacrifice
To save the day.

Are failing now
According to
The great god Dow.

But will it really
Be all right
If elderly
Give up the fight?

Or will the plague
Just worsen then
And pit the young
Against their kin?

--Dawn Behrens
Beggar’s Choice

Beggars can’t be choosers.
What a sad refrain.
As if the thing we really need
Is what we shouldn’t gain.

You lost your job? On food stamps?
You think that you deserve
A soda or some ice cream?
Oh, wow, you’ve got some nerve!

The virus means you school at home.
You have no internet?
Won’t graduate, my friend. Too bad!
Requirements were not met.

You should have thought of money
And planned and skimped and saved.
Don’t make enough to put some back?
Then some things must be waived.

You can’t be choosy about your life
Unless you have the funds.
A beggar’s only choice can be
Absolutely none.

--Dawn Behrens
Sing Me a Song

Sing me a song to remind me
How strong and resilient we are.
Sing me a song to prepare me
To respond to what the virus brings.
Sing me a song to comfort me
Amid the mounting stress.
Sing me a song to assure me
That everyone is doing their part.
Sing me a song to amaze me
About all the heroes during this time.
Sing me a song to delight me
At those sharing laughter and joy.
Sing me a song to renew me
So I can keep going.
Sing me a song to guide me
To the best actions.
Sing me a song to soothe me
When fear threatens to overcome.
Sing me a song to wake me
To what I can do for a positive future
Once we can go out again…

--Dawn Behrens

The secret is to get back up and go on. And I did, again and again.

Posted in COVID-19, Poems | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Down With Tummy Frown—Week 5

4 Weeks-Compare

Just a note—Someone asked if I had sucked in my stomach for the 4 Weeks picture. Yes—I sucked in my stomach for BOTH pictures. 🙂

A bit disappointed about this past week because no weight loss and no inches lost. HOWEVER, in other ways, this has been a fabulous week!

I finally gave in and went to shop for new slacks. Yes—I did end up buying a size smaller! No more saggy crotch pants! I can’t even remember when I last wore a size 8 pants.

Had assessment at the gym this week. I rated excellent for my age (64) in every category except good cholesterol and grip strength. (Don’t quite understand how bad cholesterol and total cholesterol can be in excellent range with good cholesterol low—hmmm…).

Had to do pushups for the assessment. Haven’t done those before. Trainer said to just do as many as I could. I did 35 pushups. Trainer was excited and told me that 17 pushups are excellent for my age. If she had told me that before, I could have stopped at 17! HaHaHa!!!

I know I wouldn’t have achieved the excellent ratings if I hadn’t just finished my first 28 Day Challenge. More energy! More stamina! Woo! Hoo! for healthy eating and Arbonne nutrition products and support! Continuing this new lifestyle!

I posted about smaller pants and excellent assessment in the Arbonne 28 Day Challenge Facebook group. Our director, Jodi, commented “Wow, Dawn! This is so inspiring. I have a sense that the way you feel is much better than the taste of any donut!”

Donut?!? Donut?!? I don’t need no stinkin’ donut!!!

Posted in 28 Day Detox Bootcamp, Aging & Changing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Down With Tummy Frown—Week 4

4 Weeks-Compare

Well, I haven’t lost my Tummy Frown yet. But there is a major difference in the abdomen area after four weeks, as you can see in the comparison photos!

My goal for this 28 Day Detox boot camp was to change the Tummy Frown into a Tummy Pucker–a regular belly button 🙂 –and to be healthier. I was excited, but I was also anxious about starting the boot camp. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to eat anything and would become discouraged.

I soon discovered that using the Arbonne healthy, yummy products, adhering to the meal plans and shopping lists, and learning how to eat healthy made my life so much better! I lost 7 lbs. and overall 20 inches in this 28 day challenge.

I also lost major puffiness under my skin—especially apparent on my back, shoulders, and arms. The puffiness was a result of inflammation and toxins in my body. My massage therapist has been amazed at the loss of inflammation and how much better my skin has become. My chiropractor is so excited that I am following this path — especially with Arbonne because of their excellent products and the support in the Facebook groups.

I am sleeping better at night, I have so much more energy in the day, and I don’t have the awful, daily cravings for unhealthy food that I used to have. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have cravings, but they aren’t as often or as strong. In fact, I turned 64 during this boot camp. My lovely coworker brought a chocolate cake with buttercream icing to work to celebrate and “just in case I might want a little piece.” The rest of the department enjoyed my birthday cake–boy did they enjoy it! 🙂 I didn’t even sample the buttercream frosting. I really didn’t want it.

I’ve decided to continue this journey by participating in the next 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge. Maybe I can get that Tummy Frown closer to a Tummy Pucker. 🙂

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!!!

Posted in 28 Day Detox Bootcamp, Aging & Changing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Down With Tummy Frown—Week 2 & Week 3

Down with the Tummy Frown

I didn’t get a blog post written after Week 2 of my 28 Day Detox Program through Arbonne (no gluten, dairy, processed sugar, or soy—and drastically reduce caffeine until I can get to none).  I was too busy discovering and trying new ways of shopping for food, new foods, and new recipes. Whew!

This experience is a mixture of challenges and rewards. Challenges—because I have to learn new things about food and my body. Rewards—because my body, mind, and overall health are constantly improving.

Week 3 involved an added specific body cleanse. That resulted in trip after trip after trip to the bathroom—flushing out even more toxins. Some tummy cramps and definite exhaustion. This all must mean some of the stuff I’ve been putting in my body all these years is not of the highest quality for health—to say the least!

Here are the body stats after three weeks:  Lost 6 lbs. so far. Lost a total of 16 ½ inches overall.

Another stat that is driving me a little crazy—I have to keep pulling up my pants so I don’t have the droopy pants crotch. I think I can handle this kind of crazy!

I’m sleeping so much better, and I have much more energy in the day. And I’m becoming much more normal. No, wait! People who know me would say it’s impossible for me to be normal.

Regular! That’s it! I’m becoming much more regular—you know, with eliminations. And that’s a really good thing. Who wants all those toxins just hanging on inside my body and adding yucky inflammation and weight. Eeewww!

Oh… and I’m down to ½ cup of coffee most days. Some days I discover at the end of the day that I didn’t drink even the ½ cup. That’s definitely a surprise because I’ve always enjoyed my coffee—lots of coffee—morning through night.

One more week! Feeling good!

Posted in 28 Day Detox Bootcamp, Aging & Changing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Down With Tummy Frown—Week 1

Down with the Tummy Frown


This is day 6 of my 28 Day Detox Program through Arbonne (no gluten, dairy, processed sugar, or soy—and drastically reduce caffeine until I can get to none). This first week has been challenging, to be sure.

I have not cooked from scratch in many, many years. I now have to cook from scratch. Yikes! That takes planning, thinking, finding stuff—like the right ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, pots and pan—somewhere in the back of my cabinets (I bought a new baking dish because I didn’t think I had that size—then I found one way in the back—ugh!), and time. Time! I’ve spent lots of time in my kitchen over the years, but this is crazy!

Cleaning up. I don’t have a dishwasher—I didn’t really need one with just me. But now I have mountains and mountains of dirty dishes—and then, clean dishes.


I’m sure I actually have heard my dish drainer groaning and crying.

And, then, there are the reactions of my body to the detox. Not so good! Headache, foggy, irritable—very irritable—downright angry!

The thing is… there also have been rewards.

The Arbonne group with whom I’m making this journey is amazing! Major support and help on Facebook group with tips, menus, recipes, shopping lists. In town Arbonne group is giving support online and on the phone. And we have weekly dinners together.

Deciding that I will probably maintain the clean living lifestyle after the detox. If my body is reacting like this to the absence of things that I normally put into it, then maybe they are things I never want to put back in.

I have assurances that the detox funk will end very soon, and I will begin to feel better than I did before the detox began.

Oh… and there’s the weight loss and inches loss—2 ½ lbs. and a total of 4 inches in 5 days (weighed and measured this morning). I like it! Now, to see how the rest of this getting healthy journey goes.



Posted in 28 Day Detox Bootcamp, Aging & Changing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Down with Tummy Frown-Preparing

Down with the Tummy Frown

I have accumulated too much belly fat over the past few years! Because of that, I no longer have a regular belly button. I have a Tummy Frown! Ugh!

From things I have read, too much belly fat can be caused from stress, inactivity, and unhealthy eating. And extra belly fat is extremely unhealthy.

I’ve had quite a bit of stress these past years. In 2008, I had to start helping with finances and paperwork for my parents in another state. In 2010, my mother had shoulder replacement surgery, so I stayed with my father while she was in another city for the surgery. During that stay, we discovered that my father was suffering from dementia—and, evidently, had been suffering for several years. I had to take over finances and paperwork fulltime. My sister and I had to start dealing with all aspects of care for our parents—Dad with progressing dementia and Mom with numerous physical problems. I had to spend a great deal of time in Texas while trying to keep a fulltime job in Oklahoma. In March, 2012, I lost my job due to company-wide layoffs. In June, 2012, my father died. I had to deal with the additional paperwork and financial stress for my mother. I finally got another job in November, 2012, but it paid about 1/3 of what I had been paid before. And by that time I had lost my house, had to get rid of a majority of my possessions, and had to move into a small rental. Then, in December, 2013, my mother died. This is, of course, a very simplified inventory of the stress. But the stress has had much more than a simple effect on my life.

With everything that was happening to cause the stress, depression took away the energy and the desire to exercise. So—there is number two—inactivity.

And fast food works so well with extreme stress and inactivity. Except—it doesn’t really work well. It’s just another bad result of no time and no energy.

Finally, I’m able to work on the stress aspect, I recently started regular exercise again, and now I’m adding healthier eating with a 28 Day Detox Bootcamp. I start the new eating regimen tomorrow with help and support from a special group from Arbonne on Facebook!

The program includes getting rid of gluten, dairy, processed sugar, and soy for 28 days. It also includes getting rid of caffeine, but that can be reduced little by little instead of thrown out completely. Thank goodness! I think the total loss of caffeine right now would not be pretty!!!

Groceries have been bought, cooking some ahead has been done, and everything ready to start in the morning. I need to have as much possible ready at hand to help me stay on schedule in the morning. I think I’m ready!

The goal of the program is to help our bodies become more alkaline instead of so acidic. So we are healthier—with a side benefit of losing bad fat. Can’t wait to see how I feel and if this Tummy Frown has turned back into a regular belly button by the end of the 28 days! Let’s do this!

Posted in 28 Day Detox Bootcamp, Aging & Changing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Father’s Day More Difficult

My father died the Sunday before Father’s Day in 2012. Father’s Day that year was difficult, of course. But I was busy focusing on my mother and her difficulties. Then, Father’s Day last year was difficult, but I was still busy focusing on my mother and her difficulties.

My mother died in December, 2013. Though I am still dealing with the aftermath of her death, ongoing estate paperwork, and other situations, this Father’s Day has been much more difficult. Maybe it’s because I was never able to really grieve for my father after his death. After all, I was even more overwhelmed after his death with paperwork, phone calls, and texts while trying to still handle the “normal” paperwork and finances for my parents that I had been handling for several years.

I miss my dad. I’m afraid that much of him had disappeared before his death. He suffered with dementia, and that stole so much of his spirit. There were times he didn’t know my mother or where he was. There were so many things about the last two years of his life that bring tears to my eyes: the confusion and fear in his eyes, the physical deterioration from his brain not functioning well to give directions to his body, his inability to understand the frustration others expressed toward him.

Through the years when I was growing up (and even as an adult), my dad and I didn’t always agree on many things. But I always knew that he loved me. He gave me many good things–among them, a love for humor, a strong work ethic, a desire to live responsibly, a love for music, and love for God.

This year, the week leading up to Father’s Day has been more emotional and difficult than before. I wish I could hug him and tell him in person–I love you, Daddy…

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

Posted in Family, Songs Come to Mind | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Open Letter to AT&T from a Customer who Died…

(After receiving the communications from AT&T referenced below, I decided to post an open letter to AT&T as if it were from my mother who died in December, 2013. Everything in this post really happened, except for my mom writing the letter, of course. Oh, and I will pay the final bill.)

Dear AT&T Credit & Collections:

Thank you for your recent communications regarding my address change and the final billing on my account.

I really appreciate the postcard AT&T sent to me at my old address to verify that I had actually changed my address. “Dear Customer who Died:  We have completed your request to change your mailing address. This letter is being sent to the previous address on file to ensure the change to your new address is valid. Thank you for using AT&T for your communication needs.” However, the address you show as the new address belongs to my daughter. It is not my new address.

It is my understanding that my daughter called you to cancel my land line, release the phone number my husband and I (and then just “I”) had for almost 45 years, and ask you to send the final billing to her at her address. I believe this was very difficult for her because this number was imbedded in her mind and heart as her parents’ phone number. The postcard you sent—addressed to me—was very hurtful for her to receive once it was forwarded to her address.

I do appreciate that AT&T sent the final billing to my daughter’s address as she requested. However, again, it was very hurtful for her to see that you had addressed the final billing to me instead of to her.

Then, you sent me a collection letter at my daughter’s address only four days after you sent the final billing. “Dear Customer who Died:  We are writing concerning the final bill. We have not yet received payment. We realize that there is occasionally a delay in settling an estate; however, we would appreciate you letting us know when we may expect payment. Please call AT&T today at 1-800-288-2020 to discuss the disposition of this account.” This I do not understand and do not appreciate. There is no way payment could have been sent to AT&T between the final bill and the collection letter since only four days had transpired between the date you mailed the final bill and the date you mailed the collection letter. And the collection letter was addressed, once again, to me instead of to my daughter. Do you really expect me to pay the final bill or call you about payment?

I am not sure when you will receive payment for the final bill. I’m afraid your thoughtless correspondence received by my daughter has caused additional anguish to her to the point that she is now incapable of handling this situation.

I, on the other hand, can try to handle this situation; however, I am confused as to how I can handle it from my new residence. You see, I don’t have access to a post office here to send payment. And I don’t have access to a phone in order to call you to “discuss the disposition of this account.” I’m afraid AT&T and the Postal Service do not operate in this land where I now reside.

I apologize for any inconvenience my inability to mail payment or discuss this with you may cause. I hope you understand how your incompetence and uncaring attitude as a “communication” company in communicating appropriately has created such anguish for my daughter and rendered her incapable of handling the situation herself. I, also, hope you understand my inability to comply with your requests from my new residence.


Customer who Died

Posted in Eccentrically Eclectic, Family | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments