For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.
Charisse Petruno is a stay-at-home artist and a radical homemaker currently planting roots and raising two strong girls in San Jose, Calif. Charisse has always considered herself an artist and went on to study painting at San Jose State University before teaching art at a private kids’ studio. After having her first baby in 2014, she unexpectedly decided that her heart was called to be home nurturing her family. She stills paints from her home-based studio and is primarily a commission artist, specializing in custom oil paintings. Charisse strives to provide a home-centered, simple life for her family. Through homeschooling, home-making, and homesteading, Charisse hopes to grow her children’s hearts to be grounded, loving, to serve others and most importantly to love the Lord.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” When I was young I wanted to work with animals. I have always felt at home around animals and used to bring home all kinds of creatures. Things haven’t changed much. I still love being surrounded by animals and that trait has definitely been passed down to my oldest daughter Everly! We currently have 2 dogs, a cat, chickens, ducks, and a rabbit on our suburban lot. I’m trying to convince my husband Eric that we need a farm!
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I think I’m most proud of the little life my husband and I are providing for our kids. As a one-income family living in the Bay Area, we definitely struggle to survive here. But because of that struggle we’ve found ways to create the life we desire for ourselves, which has molded us into capable and self-sufficient humans!
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? One struggle that I am very open about is our journey to become parents. After Eric and I were married for a couple years, we decided to start a family. We both felt the desire for a large family but after trying for more than a year we were diagnosed with infertility. The road from there on out was a hard one. I underwent numerous medical treatments only to be disappointed month after month. We tried desperately to keep faith that we would someday have the family we prayed for but as we watched all of our friends welcome home babies, it became a weight that I constantly carried with me. I struggled with depression and anxiety from the hormone treatments and both Eric and I let this negativity creep into our marriage. It was a dark time and we really had to make a conscious decision to put work into rebuilding our marriage with or without kids. I remember praying “Lord, if we are not meant to have children please please take this desire away from me” but He never did. Finally, after 4 years of praying for a baby, we decided to try IVF and thankfully welcomed our sweet Everly in 2014. But the journey continued. After 2 more failed IVF transfers and 2 miscarriages over the next few years, we almost gave up hope again. But we were blessed a second time this last year with the birth of little Lilah Wren. We still hope to have more children and plan on becoming foster parents down the road.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? Saturday mornings are really the only day that we have absolutely nowhere to be as a whole family. Eric and I make it a point to have coffee together as a couple every morning before he heads off to work, but on Saturdays that cup may turn into two. From there it depends on the day and time of year! In winter you’ll find me inside knitting, sewing, or painting. If its Spring or Summer I’m almost always outside working in my veggie garden and by Fall I’m usually cooking and preserving all the goodies we grew for the colder months ahead.
5. What makes you smile the most? I’d say what makes me smile most is when something I create brings someone else joy. Whether it be watching someone’s reaction to special oil painting they’ve commissioned, seeing my babes beam all cozy in a hand-knit sweater fresh off the needles, friends sitting down to a homemade meal at our table or even sharing the freshest produce straight from my summer garden with neighbors. I love that I can create things with my hands that make other people feel happy and loved.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? The one piece of advice I’d give my younger self is to pray more and trust in God’s timing. Because He will write your story better than you could even begin to imagine.
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my friend since we were infants, Charisse Petruno, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.
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