Good Morning Sweet Jo, oh my goodness!

Received my WWC this morning and just had to send you a note to say the Mindful Studios cover is breathtaking and your “From My Kitchen Table” was so on point and inspiring. The entire magazine was so full of thought-provoking articles and tips. It led me down a journey in my mind and had me pondering the question of where I find my wellness and mindfulness? And what brings me peace and calm? And inspiration? I think both are fed through nature and all of God’s beauty that surrounds us. Sitting outside on my patio at my vintage patio set surrounded by my flowers as the birds fly in and out of my feeders singing and chirping while I dream of all of the rusty, chippy treasures waiting for me to find them… I can’t help but wonder who all may have sat around my “new to me” treasure that I found at Canton last year and what they may have celebrated around it.

I live with such a grateful heart for the life I get to live. Not always perfect, but ALWAYS blessed with goodness around every corner.

Thanks for another beautiful magazine and for the mindful journey you took me on!

Blessing and Happy Thursday!
♡~Liz Dujka/Junktion Alley


Actually, specifically, I am writing to thank you profusely for your comments in From My Kitchen Table. Wow..did you nail it! How do I get permission to make copies to give to family and friends, who are non-artists? Who just cannot seem to grasp why I have the ‘stuff’ I have in my studio area…or why I create so many various art forms. Honestly, I never read anything that so describes my personal artistic/creative journey ! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Kat B.

Hi there Jo

First of all thank you so much for this magazine! I have been enjoying it immensely. I’m 53 years old and have never read a magazine that has inspired me more.

Anne Marie Hodes

PS I don’t subscribe because I really enjoy my vienture to Barnes and Noble to pick it up and savor the excitement of a new issue! You’re doing a great job!!

Hi Jo

I want to thank you for all your wonderful work. When I get Where When Create, I am always so excited and thrilled. Can not wait to sit down and let it take me on the wonderful adventure a true soulful place for me. I would love to be a part of what you are doing.

I enjoy also your around the table talks, they always touch me and inspire me. This issue touch me in a deep way, to believe in myself and without true self care and love, we are lost.

Thanks for touch my heart in the very special way you do, by following your heart and doing the work you do.
Grateful and Blessed

Journey On, Charlene Stepe

Greetings, Jo:

I am not one who writes to magazines on a regular basis…in fact, this is the first time I have done it at all. But, I was so struck by something you wrote in your summer 2016 issue of Where Women Create Business, I knew I had to respond to it.

Your sharing of the “happy family homemade holiday celebration” was so brave and candid that I felt a sense of pride in you for doing so.

It has taken me all my life to get to the point where I am now – which is one of realizing that being candid and brave is the only way to go, if you want to be authentic and stay in control of your emotional journey though this world.

Though you may not know it, your approach to this situation has enriched me and encouraged me not to waver in the purpose of my own business–right at the time when an organization has been trying to change my focus for “marketing” purposes.

You never know who you’ll help when you pour out your heart and choose to be brave–today, you have helped ME!

Sincerely, Nancy


I never write fan mail or respond to FaceBook entries to share my opinions or philosophy, but I’ve just had the most amazing experience that I must write to you. I was shopping a few hours ago in my Wegman’s store, just ran in to pick up some tea. I saw the “Books and Magazines” sign over head and decided to peruse the offerings because something/someone told me that there was something there for me. I looked and looked but was having a difficult time finding what was calling to me. Then I saw “Where Women Create”, briefly glanced at it, and decided to buy it. Here at home I just opened the cover of the May/June/July issue and read your “From My Kitchen Table” editorial. And now I want to know how you got inside my head??!!?? I’m a few years behind you as I’m turning 61 next month, but I sat here with my jaw dropping as I read your words and knew even if there isn’t anything else in the issue for me…I needed to read your words on the first pages! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on aging, but most importantly living. Your sentence that begins “For the rest of my life…” is one of the most powerful sentences I’ve read in a long time. It speaks to me more than I could ever explain to you. I am so grateful for your words getting to me…however that happened?!?

Lynne Nielsen

HI Jo, I started reading this wonderful publication just over 3 years ago and have come to rely on it for inspiration, encouragement and wisdom.

I have to tell you the most recent addition is exceptional. I am a punch needle rug hooker and am going to be taking my teachers certification this year. I found this particular issue to be over the top in terms of great words of advice, inspiration and information. I was overwhelmed by the sheer tenacity of these women who reach for the stars; their energy is contagious. It is one of the reasons I’ve pushed myself to pursue my own creative education; despite the fact that I’m a little nervous I realize that most of these women are where they are because they faced their fears and pushed themselves out of their comfort zone.

I also most enjoyed your editorial about aging; most profound.

I read, and reread all the issues as I seem to find something new each time I revisit them. This publication is outstanding in every way; the photos, stories, and the message to all of us to work hard, fear not, and explore our creativity.

Your gift to me with this publication has been invaluable.

my sincerest love and thanks,

Judy Conn

I just opened my newest issue of Where Women Create and read your opening letter. It was so honest and raw and powerful. About two years ago I found this magazine for the first time and am hooked. This and Where Women Create Business are simply the most inspiring magazines I’ve ever read. I go to Barnes and Nobles and scour the racks to get them as soon as they come out. ( I can’t really afford the subscription so I wait and grab them when they come in.). I am looking forward to the day when my work will be up and running and can be featured in one of your magazines. It’s my goal for my 50’s. As a visual artist my whole life I am taking this year seriously and working on ways to make it my full time career. Painting is something I have done my whole life and I have decided that it’s time to make it happen. Having a house full of art and no place to share it is kind of silly.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for the inspirational words this month. You hit the nail on the head and I will copy and print and post these on my wall to remind me to keep on keeping on.

Best of luck to you and your dreams. May they all come true. I look forward to hearing and reading about your adventures and seeing photos of your new studio.

Joan Gallagher

Dear Jo:

I just picked up the Winter 2016 issue and read your From my Kitchen Table and was awestruck by the description you gave of your new dream … I thought you had gotten into my head or my journal because you were describing My New Dream!!!! Now, granted, you have gotten much farther along than I have – you at least have a building already! I’m still in the “this dream scares me” stage, but I am determined to find my new place somewhere here in Oregon. There must be something about turning 65 too that makes us realize it’s either now or never to follow those wonderful, scary dreams we have. Thank you for the inspiration and your fabulous magazine!

Best of luck with your adventure, from one dreamer-artist to another!


Hi Jo,

I am so touched by meeting you and the simplicity in the way you reached out in your emails. I am also touched by your comments about honesty in your, “From My Kitchen Table” in the Spring issue of WWC Business. Amazing and thank you so much for being real, heartwarming, and down to earth in your very real and honest comments about being honest. Honestly, lol…..I’m glad to have made the shipping mistake as it gave me the opportunity to meet you in this quiet unassuming way in our email exchanges.

Have a wonderful week!

I approve and utterly adore the article! I am moved to tears and flattered beyond words to be featured. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love it. It is my favorite piece ever…I think better than when I was in Oprah!!!! I am just thrilled. You did an incredible job.

Cant wait to hold it in my hands and share it with the world.

All my love and gratitude-
Carrie Bloomston

Dear Jo,

I am working on my many details to prepare to leave for my trip to Texas, Marburger Farm Show, and of course our TRIBE event.. As I do this work, I think of all that I am greatful for – it is this that gives me strength and motivation as I continue and move forward with my creative work and dream.

Because I know that everyone will be busy as they immerse themselves with Texas, and all the creative friends we will spend time with, I wanted to write to thank you for the gifts of encouragement you have so generously shared with me by including me in your beautiful vision that is everything in your world of “Where Women Create”. Your hard work and determination, has blessed countless women ( and men too! ) who have a dream to create, and as well helped all of us to gain understanding and respect from those who may not have our talents, but seek to share our world. You have created a mountain of resources for us all to study and enjoy as you have shared our stories, and allowed us to paint the pictures of our visions on the lovely pages of your books.

I thank you for including me in the TRIBE Event. To share this opportunity with me to reach out to so many people, and have this experience with kindred souls who like myself are dedicated to making our creative works and vision the hard work and joy of our lives.

These are all gifts. Taking nothing for granted, I am focused on contributing all that I can to make TRIBE a wonderful event, and represent your “Where Women Create” world in a beautiful way.

Looking forward to spending time with you, and sending wishes for a safe journey.

Jill Garber

I’d like to thank you for inspiring stories from the Winter 2016 edition of Where Women Create Business. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for many years and arrived at a stage where I am re-evaluating my life because my last child will be graduating from high school in two years. I am fortunate to have read the articles of the successful women that were featured in the magazine. I’ve been away from the work force so I haven’t been around professional and inspiring women, and reading those articles was as if they were brought to me.

Being a stay-at-home mom has great rewards, but it is coming to a close and your magazine gives valuable insight and inspiration that helps pave a new direction for me.

Thanks again.

Pamela van Zee

Hi Jo,

Everything about the publication is amazing. I have gotten tons of great feedback on the magazine and several people have told me that they want to subscribe! I know we have cleared out some stores around us so far, and the news keeps spreading around Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati! I can’t thank you and your team enough for including me AND choosing to use Gina’s photograph for the cover!! I can already tell an increase in my business and love your idea of using the magazine as a promotional gift. I will be sure to contact Dianne about the wholesale copies. I would love to get a pdf of the whole article from you eventually. I’m thinking a nice long frame for my studio 🙂 But we can certainly wait until the next issue is out…or whenever you are comfortable with that. Thank you, thank you, thank you again.I hope you have a great week!

Bethany Kramer


What an amazingly honest and open letter…to All of us in various places on the Continuum!

It’s refreshing to hear that you weren’t just Born into the place that you are now, but rather bled, sweat and probably teared a bunch getting there.I loved reading it all…and read it again.I’m pretty sure we won’t end up in the exact same place that you are, because it’s YOUR life to live, but it IS encouraging that we will each be as sure to find our places as You did!Thanks for giving so much to so many.

Marching On on My Continuum:)Laura Roberts
Aka Hastypearl

I just want to tell you how much I enjoy all of your magazines. The way they are layed out is so inviting and I can’t wait to read them when they come out.

Thank you for producing such enjoyable reads.


This is for Jo.

I wish to thank her from the bottom of my heart for her latest Kitchen Table. I sat reading that article with my eyes filled with tears. I sobbed out of shame and disgust at myself for being one of the people she referenced. Shame on me. You can believe that it was an eye opener and it will be a long time before I forget the haunting words of Jo. I praise God for women like her. I just wish there were more and she had a way of making sure each and every American read the essay. What a revelation to me. It has spurred me on to do as she suggests. I will no longer walk past a hard working person that asks for nothing. I will make sure they know they are appreciated. I have such despair for our America at times as I see such hatred, rudeness and materialism that we have lost perspective as to what the Golden Rule taught us as we entered kindergarden or before. Our churches are vacated. Everyone seems to be so connected to electronics but disconnected from people. No one talks.. Phone calls are rare.. Texting is now the choice as its too much trouble to “talk”. Oh my, in less than 20 years, computers have taken over our lives.

This is not meant to be a dissertation. It’s just that Jo really hit a strong nerve and I want her to know it was a job well done. I do hope people read it and take a step back and embrace life, people, and family. Thank you so much for your inspiring work you all do every day. It effects many.


Ms. Packham,

I have intended to send you an email for a few years now. But, I suppose things happen when they are supposed to. After reading your “From My Kitchen Table,” in the Winter Issue of WWC, I knew it was time. I have been collecting and treasuring each issue of WWC for a long time. Each issue is a treasured resource for inspiration, ideas, and a constant reminder that I as an artist in my own right can, with faith and perseverance, realize my fondest dreams, just as many of the artist featured in your magazine have.

To get to my reason for commenting now: Your Kitchen Table Article was AMAZING! Quite different from any you have written before. Thank you for broaching such a sensitive subject in such a frank and outspoken manner. It is so true that we often ignore the needs that are staring us in the face and focus rather on those who are in need in distant lands. There is so much to do for so many right here each and every day. Your illustration of the ladies cleaning the bathrooms all over this country, and doing the thousands of thankless jobs each and every day made me stop and think. The pictures of the elderly, the young, the children, the hands that show age and care and use and years of living ….. were all AWESOME and certainly lent perspective to your entire article.

I could go on and on but in short I just want to thank you for this AMAZING article. I will go back to it often – to remind myself that there is so much more I can do for some one else – great or small. I will make it my business to be more appreciative of the work and efforts of others who work long hours in thankless jobs that I benefit from in one way or another.

Finally, I would like to thank you. For the work you do. For WWC – I know I speak for thousands of your readers who look forward with great anticipation to the next issue and the next and the next. WWC for me represents a long cherished dream of putting my fears aside and venturing out on my own journey to create beautiful works of art. I am inspired by each artist’s journey, as it unfolds in WWC. It is obvious that all the artists featured are selected with care. And the photos, stories, quotes, ideas, everything, are all put together with such care and attention – this must take a lot of time and effort on your part and on the part of your staff. This latest edition is the best yet! In every respect. The Absolute Best. Again, Thank You. (One of my dreams is to be featured in WWC one day). …. We will see. God Bless.

Thank you for your thoughts on giving to our country first. I totally agree that there are people in this country just as needy. I support you and laud you for standing up and publishing what you believe. It will be interesting to hear about the response you get. I’ve spent my entire career in the non-profit arena and as a retiree will continue my work on behalf of those less fortunate.

Where women create totally resonates with me and I devour every issue. I am about to create my own creative space. I love the ideas presented and most of all, the license and freedom your examples give me. After many years of a busy career and raising a family, at 61 I now have time to have fun and be creative. Sometimes it feels like it’s too late for me, but your magazine gives me the feeling that it’s never too late to be creative. So I will be creative with myself, my home and environment and see what happens.

Thanks so much for your incredible and inspiring work.

My thanks – Lynne

Dear Jo,

It gives me pure JOY to dash into BN and grab the latest copy of Where Women Create! This month, I am especially grateful, From My Kitchen Table took my breath away.

What a heartfelt, thought provoking piece! So timely and beautifully written. You reminded us all to start healing where we are. We don’t have to look far to find someone in need of a smile, a kind word, or a warm meal. There are so many ways to nourish a soul and you reminded us all of that. You’ve inspired me to stretch even more. . . one woman at a time.

Wishing you a beautiful and adventurous day!

Peace and Blessings, Asia

Hello Ms. Packham,

My name is Denise Claire. I live in Round Rock, Texas and just wanted to send you this email to say, “THANK YOU”!!

I purchased my first copy of, “Where Women Create”, last December – if I’m not mistaken. I was browsing around with my son in Barnes and Noble and came across your magazine. I picked it up and skimmed through it, put it down and found myself returning to purchase it after 30 minutes. I’ll admit, it took a minute for me to convince myself to make the 15 dollar purchase and thought if I didn’t like it I would be sending you a different email. 😕 I absolutely LOVE this magazine!!!!!! It is absolutely inspiring!!!!! I just started my own small business making soaps and vanillas and am eager to have my own space to create my products, (I currently have a small desk in my apartment that I share with my husband, kids and two cats) and rent out a commercial kitchen hourly when necessary.

I thank you for showing us what it is that we are able to accomplish, even in the smallest areas, as entrepreneurs and women. I was currently in Michael’s and saw the newest magazine was out,( I picked it up without hesitation), and skimmed through it again. Tonight I read Kathy Davis’ story and was amused when I saw the picture of her starting out in a small corner of her bedroom as well. Then I read Stacey Caron’s story and the first thing I thought of was being jealous of her workspace. It is everything that I want in a workspace; but again, I am willing to wait and work towards it because I know that is what each of these women had to do. It’ll come, with the Lord and hard work – I know it will come.

So again, Ms. Packham, I thank you for your creation and inspiration to myself and all other female entrepreneurs out there who need, and want their own creative playroom. You never know, I may end up in your magazine one day! 🙂


Denise Claire

Estratto di Stagione

Hello Jo!

I love your work – you have a knack for spreading the JAM! 😉 I’m on a road trip with my friends band and brought some good reading.

Hope the message finds you happy, well & peaceful!


Dear Jo,

I just received my first ever issue of Where Women Create and wanted to express my awe at your publication. It is one of the most beautifully created pieces I have seen in many years. It will be a treasure of enjoyment for my eyes and mind for a long time. There is something about the outstanding visual aspects of the photography and the stories that is so way above average.

Just a note of admiration, your dedication to your work shines through. Congratulations.


Hi Jo,

I went to the store last Thursday to purchase a couple of magazines. It was a strange feeling to see myself in a magazine, but after the initial shock was over, the honor overwhelms. What a privilege it is to be part of the Where Women Create Spring 2013 issue!

Thank you!!

Thank you Jo for allowing me to be featured in the next WWC magazine! It has lifted me up and filled me with JOY to be able to share my work that I had once hid for years!!

Sunday is a fabulous woman and now friend who has worked along with me to share what I do and where I live! This will be my 4th magazine exposing my cottage, gardens and now my wonderful studio! Wish you could come for a visit to my Pink Cottage if you are ever in Orange County, San Juan Capistrano. Would love to meet you and for you to see this special place with your own eyes!!

Thank you greatly,

Nancy Hamming

As I sit here reading the article I have huge alligator tears running down my face. I guess that is an overwhelming endorsement…at least from me! It is really something to reflect upon a 20 year career. Sometimes it’s almost hard to believe. Of course it has not been an easy road, but nothing worth a darn ever comes easy! Thank you so much for having me as a part of your incredible WWC family. I am so honored…truly. I wish I could better describe how I am feeling after reading the article. It’s just one of those a-ha moments I suppose. Priceless.

Thank you again for the honor and for allowing me to share my journey. Now all that it needs to make it perfect is…a cover! Just kidding!!! You don’t know the real “Melinda” yet. A bit of a goof… I can’t wait to see the article. I know my parents will be shedding a few tears too. You all have done a terrific job. Thanks so much for everything!


PS. I have to share this really quickly. I have been struggling with being homesick as Christmas approaches. The holidays are very hard for me, especially since I am so close to my family. Downside of moving to Sanibel Island and owning a retail business…so far from the family Christmas I cherish so dearly. But reading the article reminds me of just how much I have been blessed by my awesome family. It makes me feel like they are all surrounding me tonight. Thanks again for letting me have this sneak peek. It has really warmed my heart at a time when I am missing my family so much. Thanks again! The article looks great.

Hi Jo,

I just wanted to thank you again for all your help in making “Inspiration Incorporated” a success!

You often say that if it wasn’t for us there would be no you but I think it is truly the other way around. You inspire us to believe in ourselves and you show us the way…and that is so instrumental in our success. So again thank you for inspiring me AND for giving me the opportunity to inspire others!

My goodness…where to begin! Thank you for all of your hard work that goes into creating the 2 most enjoyable magazines on the planet! I have loved Where Women Create from the beginning and was so anticipating Where Women Cook and have not been disappointed AT ALL!

In fact, one of my very favorite create spaces was Elizabeth Maxson’s studio. and then….her kitchen! Oh Me! I have been interested in beautiful spaces since a pre-teen going on antiquing jaunts with my wild and crazy aunt. I had every issue of Victoria Magazine, County Living, Country Home…etc. But in all of my life, I have NEVER contacted anyone to compliment them on their room….until Elizabeth’s kitchen! First place I thought was absolutely perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing…I could live there in peaceful content! So….I just had to write her! Imagine my surprise in getting an immediate response! What a wonderful, creative, talented soul! and to think that she also photographed the articles which caught my attention the most! My husband will thank you too for all the $ he will save….I have found my Eden on earth and can stop looking for inspiration! {That being said, I do hope you will continue to include her in future issues of your magazines! I would love to see her other work!}

So, I would be remiss without thanking you for all of your hard work, your creative sharing and for Blessing our days with so much eye-candy and new cyber-space friends! Especially thank you for introducing me to a kindred soul who inspires me to get it done! Blessings on your life and your work…you are so great at what you do! Take Joy~ Patty Boyd


I am continually bewildered at how I got so lucky as to be wisped into your circle and somehow, consequently, planted in the pages of your beautiful magazine. Thank you for your vision, and your inspiration, and your devotion to helping women spread their wings and celebrate where they are, and how they got there.

I REALLY am excited to see you in September at our event on the 23rd!! I’m particularly excited to share your remarkable energy with my friends, family and colleagues who will be coming. Plus, there will be cupcakes. 🙂

Love you SO much!!



Hi Jo!

I just wanted to send a quick note to you to let you know how much I love and appreciate your words in “From My Kitchen Table” in the Where Women Create magazine, especially the new summer issue!

Your thoughts about being a “dreamer” instead of a “maker” struck such an unexpected cord with me. While I was reading I thought, “Oh my gosh! That’s me!” but I’d never realized it until I saw your words staring up at me. I never realized that I could be a dreamer; I always thought I had to be a maker if I loved (and purchased) all these products and projects so much. That type of thinking, of course, leads to much guilt over never finishing the piles of projects I’ve started.

This new insight is just what I needed to give myself permission to love and continue to find so much inspiration in beautiful fabrics, paper, embellishments and ribbon that I want to surround myself with, without feeling the need to follow through with a full-blown project! How liberating!!

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and for continuing to bring such a beautiful, inspirational magazine to life for so many people who love and appreciate all things handmade.

All the best,

Jennifer Levin

P.S. I loved last years Creative Connection Event! What you created in that event was AMAZING! I’m wishing it was on the calendar for this year.

O, dear Jo,
It’s a lazy Sat. morning while I drink my coffee I decided to revisit some past issues of WWC. You truly are my (& sure many others) “art soul sister.” In reading “From My Kitchen Table” issue Aug, Sept. Oct. 10′, you ever so eloquently put in words,my soul. Is it the artist spirit you touched or a “fellow 60 yr old women?” Who by the way is happy to be in the place she’s arrived! How fortunate to be a woman today to have this freedom to become whatever she wants. WWC is an awesome publication and re-energizes creativity & “wakes up” women to live the creative life!
~Shelia Sheets

These quotes are always so inspiring, I’ve made a few art journal pages using the quotes and inspiration you send.
I just bought the latest issue of WWC at Hobby Lobby, as usual it’s an inspiring magazine because not only do we get a peek into the studios of these women, but their spirits, souls and inspiration. My daughters who are 9 and 11 love looking through them as well, picking out bits of each room that they aspire to have one day.
The ladies you feature are beautiful, so are you…I loved your letter regarding the men in your life. I took a look at the men in mine with happiness, some with sadness, some with anger, but realizing I wouldn’t be who I am without each and every one of them.
~Crae Nelson

Dear Jo,

Things have a funny way of working out…so that is the reason I am writing this letter to you…

I recently gave a talk at a Women’s Spring Brunch, in which I talked about your inspiring magazine and what it had done for me…. I received a lot of wonderful feedback, but most of it was wanting to know more about your magazine and was I going to write to you and let you know my story. So, here it is… I do have a story and I wanted to share it with you… I have included a copy of the talk I gave, but here is the background information so you can fully understand it.

On June 9th, 2010 we buried our 20 year old son, Ethan who fought an epic battle with cancer. He was and is a ‘rockstar’ in our opinion… he taught us so much about life and how to make every day count. This was his third battle with cancer; the first two took place when he was just three years old. That shifty disease came back when he was 19 and on top of the world. You would think that he would be angry and feel cheated, but not so…. Ethan told me that he had lived a wonderful life. Our family of seven faced this battle united, with lots of support from family and dear, dear friends. Ethan felt that the Lord was either going to heal him here on earth or in Heaven and he was okay with either way. We had the most amazing, cheerful and colorful funeral (no black allowed). We celebrated a life well lived!

My story however, is about healing. My story is about how beauty and creativity play an essential role in the healing process. Your beautiful magazine is so full of life and encouraging words… one cannot help but to be touched in a deep interior way… page after page of eye candy, story after story of encouraging one another… what a thoughtful and refreshing concept! Thank you for helping me in the healing process… I just thought you would like to know that if this is what you are trying to accomplish, you have done a great job, indeed.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Best regards and many blessings,

Nancy Mills

Here is what I shared at the Spring Brunch:

This sharing is about possibilities, opportunities and about simple beginnings…

This sharing is about God The Father, as the Master Creator, The Master Artist who made all the animals on the earth, all the fishes in the sea, the snow caped mountains, the green hills, all the stars in the sky…

He is responsible for every single color that we appreciate in the flowers, the trees, the fruit we eat…

It was He who invented beauty, the concept of it, the glory of it…

It was God who knew that humans would so need His beauty…

It was His beauty that would bring us back around to Him…

God knew that women would love beauty… He knew that we would revel in its magnificence… that our hearts would respond to it and that there could actually be healing in it…

After Ethan died, I was just so incredibly sad… nothing seemed to be able to touch it…

I tried to pray it away
I tried to sleep it away
I tried running away

and although all those things helped a great deal… I still had this enormous gaping hole in my heart.

In my misery, I cried out to the Lord to send me a lifeline… and do you know what… He did it…

my lifeline was not just one thing… it was actually several things…

It was daily Mass.

It was ‘front porch’ girlfriends not excepting my “Oscar” quality acting skills,with me saying… “Oh yea yea… I’m doing just fine”…

My lifeline also came in the form of a brand new magazine on the market called “Where Women Create”.
My sweet sister, Monica, just on a whim, sent it to me, cuz she thought I would like it…

And finally the last lifeline happened to come in a random conversation I had with a dear friend…she said the most simplest thing, but it was as if she had a megaphone pointed right at my ear… We were conversing on facebook and I was asking what she was up to and she said, “oh, it’s a crafting day”… she said “you know, I’m always the happiest when I’m making something”.

I sat there and looked at my computer screen for the longest time…

I remember thinking… “Oh,Ethan has been hard at work, I see… he’s been working on getting his mamas heart healed…

You see, Ethan loved artsy-fartsy things… He was my biggest fan when it came to making things or trying new techniques… he knew I loved creating stuff…

… so I said good-bye to my friend, turned off my computer and just sat a while…

I started piecing things together and saw that this whole thing was beginning to make sense…

I said, “Okay, Lord… I’m beginning to get the picture… (No pun intended)…but, am I understanding you correctly… that you intend to heal me through stickers, and tape, and paper, and scissors, and glue and paint”? I mean, who am I to question You… but really?… 🙂

So, I got up, went to my craft cupboard and decided it was time to unpack a few things…

The first thing I saw was that magazine that my sister, Monica sent me… I figured now was as good a time as any to sit down and enjoy it…

I opened it up and to my extreme delight, it was filled with beautiful, inspirational pictures of artists, their work, their stories and the places where they create…

I was overjoyed with what I was seeing…

My heart, at that very moment, started to fill up, started to heal… I was actually happy… really happy… I remember saying to myself… wow… this is awesome!”

As I read all the Artists stories… I realized that their stories were really not that different from mine…

It seems that sorrow, grieving, and sadness must find a way to exit the body… and it seems that there are all sorts of ways for those emotions to do this…

what happened next really took me by surprise…

I started crying…

You need to understand that during my life, I was never much of a crier…I just didn’t do it… I remember that I never cried at all when Ethan had his first fight with cancer at age three…and over the last year of Ethan’s life, I was too busy being brave and strong for Ethan and everyone else… so no crying then…

As I was reading this magazine,which was so full of beauty and inspiration, the floodgates opened and I wept for hours… I cried about everything I could remember, for every single little thing I could think of… when no more tears would come, I was so exhausted that I slept for the entire rest of the day.

Beauty and emotions are related… one effects the other..

since then… I think I have cried every single day… I allow the tears to come as they may… so be it…

So,as the sorrow and grief were finding their way out … the desire to create was finding its way in…

I kept saying to myself… “what on earth am I going to make?… what is it going to look like?… is it going to be dark and morose?… ugly and sad?… pitiful and pathetic?…”

I decided to be brave, to explore the possibilities and to simply…begin….

what came out of me was amazing… it was bright, beautiful, cheerful, happy, positive…

there were moments that my eyes were just watching what my heart was telling my hand to do… I felt like my hand and heart knew how to paint, but my brain didn’t…. it was an amazing experience…

it was then that I started feeling the warm, peaceful, quiet, healing process and it was wonderful.

The thing that I had in common with those artists in the magazine was that “something”, some issue, situation or experience in their lives brought them to a point that they must create something. It was a restlessness in their spirit or a small voice telling them that it was time… they felt compelled to create and in doing so… helped the Master Creator heal what needed healing in their lives.

Creativity encourages happiness and happiness encourages healing.

When you create, you feel calmer, happier, more reflective , more in a position to heal.

I know it was the Holy Spirit, guiding me.
I know it was Ethan’s prayers… so wanting his mama peaceful and happy again…

In preparing for this sharing, I found this quote…
“When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight”.

In closing…

Is your spirit sad like mine was?

Are you experiencing a restlessness deep inside you?

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?

Is He calling to you?

What matters most is that you listen, that you pay attention to that small quiet voice deep within you and then simply… begin….

Hello Jo,

I am writing to you today because after all the years of your publications, issue after issue, I find that I enjoy your opening letter most. It is what starts my new issue! I read WWCreate and WWCB regularly and peak at WWCook. I am not one to respond “out loud”, but this issue, in this issue, the words you put down are my thoughts whenever this issue (and it is an issue for me). It’s content is more than friends, family, art…it is a little political. You have written a beautiful letter that stands up for OUR homeland. It seems we are always off to help other countries when, though we are not a third world country yet, many of our citizens struggle. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lisa Hampton Callies

Dear Jo,  Bravo to you!

It is so refreshing to read about all of the wonderful things you are doing to help women in their creative endeavors. Continued good luck to you. I will be following your website and watching for your publications at Costco.Best wishes,

Congratulations on your newest publication “Where Women Create Business”. I have enjoyed the “Where Women Create” magazine for sometime now, but I absolutely LOVE your newest endeavor! I am relatively new to the business of art and I found the magazine to be very inspiring and full of great information. I truly hope you will continue publishing this new business magazine often.

I can’t wait to see the next issue! You have filled such a need. Thanks very much for all that you’re doing to educate and inspire! Debbie

A lovely tribute about our publication on La Femme Knitkit


I wanted to pop by to say how wonderfully inspiring and informative your new magazine Where Women Create Business is.

I received my copy, Tuesday Australia time & have found so much so inspiring and gives me that dream space that has direction. It is just the best !!!

Kind Regards
Barb of Theodora Cleave

Dear Mrs. Jo Packham,

I just read the article about you in The Costco Connection and I felt compelled to write to you. Just to say how wonderful I think what you have accomplished is.

I have long wanted to just creative all day and somehow put food on the table. I have a degree in newspaper design but have left that field for a new challenge. And although design was a wonderful creative outlet and something I was good at—I always felt like there had to be more. I do prefer to do things with my hands…knitting, cross-stitch or just seeing something and saying I can make that. A dabbler in many but master of none.

And now I’m married with two young girls and feel like that is something that I will never get to do. Your story gave me some hope. I’m not really sure what it was that struck me, but I am always in awe (and a bit envious) of people who can and do follow their heart and (to quote you) “…do it for the passion, not the paycheck.”

I wish you continued success. I will pick-up a copy of your magazine next time I am in Costco. I look forward to reading about those passionate women in those pages. And if you are a praying person, I would appreciate prayers for my girls, that I can instill in them to follow their heart and take the road less traveled toward a life filled with passion for something they love to do everyday.

Sincerely, Maria

Dear Jo,

Bravo to you! It is so refreshing to read about all of the wonderful things you are doing to help women in their creative endeavors. Continued good luck to you. I will be following your website and watching for your publications at Costco.

Best wishes,
Lynda Evans


Just read the article in Costco and agree with you. I am 60 and starting a new career-and often feel “dumb” that I didn’t do this years ago. Enjoyed the article. Good luck to you.


I got the new Business mag today at Ruffles & Rust Square. It’s fantastic! Totally ignored customers to day and started reading.