Every Woman Project. Joann O'Connor

I met Joann, 30, in 2012, just a few months before we both got married. It turned out that we were getting married exactly a week apart. Since planning our weddings at the same time, we've remained friends, now journeying through motherhood, ministry and creative career changes together. 
As Joey shares, her road to motherhood wasn't an easy one - a season of waiting and praying but she has stepped in to the role with so much grace. The first year with her son Ezra allowed her to find a new calling, moving from a career in welfare to art. 

Joey is the kind of woman who would be successful in any creative endeavour, she can, paint, draw and design but has recently taken up stippling, creating incredible nature based artworks from tiny dots. Her label @punto_lane is one to watch. I chat to Joey about all things, motherhood, art, faith and her exciting and bold plans for the future. 
Describe yourself in three words...
Latina, quirky and organised
Tell us about your journey to motherhood... 
I am one of five girls (no brothers) and three of them have kids. They were all mothers quite early, but I didn’t settle down until I was 26. I did envision myself having my own kids by then, but my life was taken on a route I didn’t expect. Once my husband (Shay) and I decided that we were ready to have a baby we set out to do all that we could to make that happen.
After a couple of months we realised that I didn’t fall pregnant as easy as my sisters. I read books, scanned websites, downloaded apps, spoke to family and friends about how to best become pregnant. I began to feel so defeated and emotionally drained. Our family and friends really supported us in comfort and prayer. It was definitely a season of seeking God and leaning on our faith. It’s easy to have doubts and compare yourself to other women but I had to learn to fight those thoughts and declare God’s promises over my life. I also experienced several breakdowns that usually occurred straight after seeing negative results on a pregnancy test. During this time I was working for The Salvation Army, managing a team of emergency relief workers. The hours were long and my heart and mind were elsewhere. Finally, the stress of not falling pregnant pushed me to resign. One month later I found out I was pregnant!
Although it had taken over a year to finally fall pregnant, we had anticipated the arrival of our Ezra Ocean for about 3 years. As my husband knew we would have a boy, Ezra already had his name!
Now, in retrospect, I truly believe it was God’s perfect timing. So many things in my life just fell into place following the pregnancy. I also know that what I experienced is only a glimpse of what other women go through.    
Tell us about the moment you found out you were expecting... 
I was packing for a trip to Fiji that was scheduled for the following day and was tossing up whether or not to take a pregnancy test that night. Finally, I mustered up the courage. The test result showed two pink lines! I didn’t believe it so my sister and I went to the chemist and bought another pack. I took two more tests before it hit me! I wanted to cry and laugh. I called Shay to tell him the good news, but we didn’t get to see each other until a week later.  

What do you love most about being a mum?
I'm obsessed with my child! I love seeing Ezra meet milestones. To see him learn something new like clapping his hands blows my mind. Watching a baby learn the most simple act is just so incredible. I also love seeing his personality and his funny quirks. Ezra has some of the best facial expressions. 
Ezra is now one, are there any lessons you'd like to share from your first year of motherhood?
I am a big believer of routine and structure. I feel more productive when my day is intentionally set out. I understand with a newborn it takes time to get into a routine; you and your baby are getting to know each other and that takes time.
I initially really struggled to fit in time for devotion, cleaning and art amongst all the feeds, naps and playtime of the day. I really hated the fact that my devotion time was first off the list. The bible says 'there's a time for everything under the sun' so it's safe to say God knows how hard it can be for a mum, but He gives us the grace to do what we need to do. Don't be so hard on yourself. My mentor really encouraged me in this area. She told me to write out a routine and put it on my fridge and it has just worked wonders! I have quality time with God, time for art, Ezra and all the house chores.
Talk to me about Punto Lane?
Punto in Spanish means dot so I create artworks out of multiple little dots. Lines are strictly forbidden. 
Punto Lane is my creative outlet and at the moment I’m exploring my approach to images around nature. I love adding scripture to my artworks. I'm also collaborating with other artists who work with different mediums.
I'm currently building up a collection of artworks that I hope to eventually sell. I want to have an online store as well as sell my work through home and decor stores. I'm pretty excited to see how far I can take this. In the meantime I've been doing some art commission work which has been fun and challenging.  
How did you get in to dotting/stippling?
The changes that come from working full-time to then becoming a full time mum is quite dramatic. I found myself frustrated and I kept asking God ‘what is my purpose now?’ I love motherhood, don't get me wrong, I just felt like I didn't know what direction I was going in. I always thought that welfare was my calling but after I resigned I realised I had lost that passion and had no intention of going back.
I follow this amazing dot artist on Instagram and I decided I would try to a make a similar art piece for my house. I've always had an arty side. I love fashion and tried to pursue that in my younger years. I can draw but it really didn't interest me, although something stirred in me when I created Lupe the flamingo, my first ever dot art. I found that I really enjoyed it, especially dotting whilst listening to worship music.
I 100% believe God brought out this hidden talent in the right season. My objective is to create artworks that will minister to people's lives. I do believe art can do this and God can use anything to encounter people. 
Now I'm pursuing dotting as a full time job and it's perfect! I get to be an artist and spend each day with Ezra. 
What do you love most about what you do? 
Being creative and getting lost in my artworks. All of my artworks are created while being in God's presence! It's unreal to be in such an atmosphere of both ministry and creativity. 
Dot art has literally become a part of my devotion time. I have yet to create an artwork that I dislike.
Thankfully, each one has been a success so far.
Hopes and dreams for the future - your art, family, life and beyond...
'A man without vision perishes' - it so important to have goals. Next year I'd like to launch my online store and start selling my work nationally and even internationally. I want to have a successful business and even hire people. I'm so excited for the future.  
Shay and I want to travel back to Costa Rica, Ireland and the States so our family can meet Ezra. I want to have more babies too! Maybe even live overseas for a season... and the list goes on! As long as we're in God's will and serving the kingdom we're on the right path. 
Share a few of your favourite things.... 
I'm obsessed with plants! Telenovelas, milkshakes, summer, hanging out with my four crazy sisters and day trips with my boys. 
For more information on Punto Lane, follow Joann's work on Instagram 

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