"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Saturday’s Snapshot: Sigh.

How can this be a good thing, I ask you.
Well, I channeled my mom who could always find the silver lining in any (underline any) situation.
My daughter stopped for gas here, so she wasn’t stranded on the highway.
This didn’t happen right smack in the middle of all the wedding festivities a week ago today.
We have roadside assistance. ( I highly recommend that for many reasons: competent people come 24/7; it’s inexpensive; you don’t have to bother friends on weekends)
We have another vehicle.
Now, yes, having a vehicle in need of repair sucks. However, there are worse things.
Just another bend in the road of life.



Friday’s Five

Five good things from the past week, dear readers:
I’m a mom in law!!!!! Whoop!!!!!
Beautiful wedding last Saturday. My goodness, it’s a gift to welcome beautiful Daniela to the family.

Well. This week it looks like every blessing I mention here will be wedding related…

There was a mariachi at the wedding. My gosh. Pure. Joy. Like my best friend said, “If you witness that and can’t smile, you have problems we can’t fix.”

The in- law side is so kind. Daniela’s brother danced with me at the wedding and said, “You have a whole new family now and we have your back.” Well. Precious moment.

Dancing with my son to Rod Stewart’s Forever Young. Yes. That was perfect.

Actually, dancing all night long was perfect. It was a dawn to midnight day of music, laughter, prayer, and joy. A celebration.

We had a memory table at the wedding. My Sam’s picture was there. His dad’s. My mom’s. Daniela’s sister. People who were watching from heaven.
And no, it was not a hard day. It was a day of thankfulness. A day I remembered my own vows. A day I realized we created a son who grew to become a decent and dignified man. And he found a woman who is beautiful in every way. And so I ask you: could you be sad?
And, for those women who might read this and think Hmmph. I don’t get it.
Here’s the secret: decision.
I decided before I had my children or met my future daughter in law, I’d love and accept them. Luckily, they make it easy.
Did I mention I’m a mom in law? Oh, joyful days.


Blog Birthday

Two years!
Funny how this date sticks in my mind. July 23, 2012: the day I decided to try to blog.
I think back to those days. How I felt a sense of urgency to create something new, yet didn’t know why. Now I know.
All the paths in our lives lead us where we are meant to be.
The best thing I’ve found out about that is that there are angels along the way.
Sometimes they encourage us. Laugh with us. Or at us! Sometimes they help us. Pray for us. Strengthen us.
But they are there, and I have learned to be aware of them.
Some of you have followed me for awhile now; others, just a few days.
I hope you’ll bear with me as I figure our what this year means here.
Something keeps telling me
just write the day you’re in
and I think I may try that for awhile.
Some days that’s a memory day. An art process day. A photography day. Sometimes it’s related to being a widow, a grieving woman. Sometimes it’s just about being human.
I don’t know where it’s all leading, but I know I’m supposed to write until I get there. And make art. And try to be as real as I can.
Life is not a happy place sometimes. But then we can remember: those angels are waiting. They really are.
Don’t let them down.
If you want to start something, start it.
Listen to the whispers of your mind.
You can do anything at all…

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Monday’s Muse: Taking Flight

Well, gelli plates came in the mail this week. I am a happy woman.
I didn’t even know what they were a few weeks ago. Here’s a link in case you don’t either:
I also found a pallet knife mixed in with a set of cheap acrylic paints.
So, add an old refrigerator magnet from the 80s that lost its backing and throw in an empty film container ( probably also from the eighties) and I was set. Oh. A piece of woven ribbon for texture. The brayer.


I spent a few happy minutes playing. Adding texture. Skimming paint. Ended up with a lot of happy, but this is my favorite from today:


I used the gelli plate with some paint chip sample pieces pressed in, then
lifted out. Reminds me of trees. The butterfly is gold because that speaks of possibilities and it was on the table from last week when I was painting wedding canvases.
I keep lots of things, it seems. That butterfly has traveled with me to two homes, several junk drawers, and here it shows up today. Meant to be.
I’m still experimenting as part of the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day 2014 challenge, but I already see bigger pieces taking shape in my mind.
And that’s what play is about in the art world. Before you realize it, you’re flying.
Give yourself the time for what you enjoy…


Monday’s Muse

Well. This may be a new thing. We’ll see. If you follow me at all, you know I never know what’s going on. Do you?

So. I’ve been searching. Trying. Writing through these days. Wondering how in the world I was going to find my way to the other side. And really…was that side any better? After all, friends…we are not home yet. Don’t be fooled. But I digress.

So, as luck would have it (and no, I know it wasn’t luck and if you’re honest, so do you), I found an art site.
The site is Daisy Yellow (on Facebook) and its companion site, Daisy Yellow-Index-Card-Day-2014.
A place where artists meet to share their artsy postings on 3×5 cards… tiny
canvases. Limits. I was intrigued.
I’m nowhere close to catching up with posting, but I’ve learned more life lessons. Bear with me. You might need them too. If you are searching at all.

First things first. Quit explaining.
I remember Dr. Charles Mazer insisting on this in a writing project course years ago. “Shut up and read it”
were his actual words. But you know what? He was right. We need to bring to the table what we bring: good, bad, incomprehensible. Bring it. Bring. It.
A good audience knows how to sift. A bad one? Why would you care?
Let it be.

#2. There’s so much I don’t know. What’s a dala horse? Gelli printing? The best white pen? Kosheshi doll?
Matryoshka? Yeah. Me either. But I know more now than a week ago. And it’s empowered me. How? Just trust me. It has.

We need to know things. Ok. I do.

Now. This wasn’t easy, for some people. This sharing of art. And so my sweetest lesson was exposed. It was for me. I didn’t care if I got the coveted “like” or “comment” or not. I am finally at that place. That place that says, “Honey, if you can get yourself to the table and make something that wasn’t here yesterday, it is all good.” And it is.

So, dear readers. Hang with me. Know that all my days aren’t good ones. Yours either? Wow. I know. I know.
But do what you can. Search out what is missing. Believe in the power above and the power within. You will not fail. I swear.


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Friday’s Five

Grateful for all the blessings God sends. So many more than five from the week…
From today alone:
1) getting an email from a cousin who still addresses me as “Agnes Lou”–sweet southern ways, folks…
2) plans with my sister to book an art retreat cruise next year–and all the reasons we know it’s meant to be…
3) fitting into my mother of the groom dress and knowing in one week and one day, I’ll have a daughter in law, “officially”…
4) celebrating an early birthday lunch with an old friend and not rushing through it…
5) a text from a friend who was folding clothes and for some reason, she thought of me…and reached out… made my day sweeter.
How often do we have those chances, friends? To send a text, make a call, write the note? It all matters.
I’m also celebrating the fact my gown laces instead of zips. That fettuccine Alfredo I enjoyed today will not come back to haunt me. We can just cinch a little looser. 🙂
Look for the light, friends. And if you are searching and struggling, you are not alone. Just keep going.
God bless…

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First Fourth like This

The popping of firecrackers alternates with the hum and buzz of cicadas and crickets. The random frog is croaking too. A party. There’s a concert out there tonight, folks.
Just like a song that takes you back, I’m there.

My neighbors down the road are putting on a show tonight. I think of decades of former Independence Day celebrations, some delightful, others– more subdued.

Different. That’s what this one is. Just me.

My toes aren’t in the sand this year. I didn’t even look for the red/white/blue t shirt. The one I usually wear.
Sam isn’t out by the pond setting off boxes of fireworks while the kids and my mom and I clap and whistle and repeat “oooooh ahhhhhhh” as he smiles at us, shakes his head, and lights some more.
There’s no deer meat grilling, no extra pieces “accidentally” dropping for the the newest trio of dogs .
Nobody fished at the pond today. The earthworms are ready, probably wondering why we aren’t upturning leaves and rocks and old metal tubs to gather them up.
One year I spilled a container of purple hull peas in the truck on the way to the in laws’ Fourth of July celebration. Not sure why I remember that.

Different years took the kids and me down the gravel drive to see the July sky come alive with glittering sparkles of fire. Not tonight. Not this year.

But I’m grateful for the years. For those days. For those times.
Days pre-Sam when I’d go with my mom to family reunions and eat too much fried catfish. Days my first family ( the one you get born in 🙂 ) would be on vacation together, watching a freedom fireworks show from the bank of a river or lake or hotel balcony.
Good times.
And today, freedom to remember. I have seen a lot. I’ve seen my mom sit in a wheelchair on a nursing home patio while my husband positioned her perfectly so she could catch a glimpse of something he knew she couldn’t see that well any longer.
I’ve seen my kids twirling sparklers, spelling their beautiful names in the summer night. I can still see that smoke trailing away, the glowing letters like golden whispers, hanging in the air.
I’ve also seen people confined by their minds and limited by their fears. Not free , right in the middle of the USA.
And I’ve seen my Sam fighting like hell this time last year, knowing he might not be here today. But he fought anyway. And on his terms.

Tonight, I’m still celebrating freedom, like a worn out warrior maybe, but I’m still walking.
I put my youngest on a plane this morning and shared a sweet visit with my son and future daughter in-law tonight. They are free to live, and are.

I consoled dogs that think this is too much noise, and I listen as the pops and echoes grow louder. There’s no fading into the distance yet. Good.

I walked outside earlier, for old times sake. Saw those long ago kid days of spitted watermelon seeds. Saw our long ago new house in progress, the two of us laughing in lawn chairs in the front yard.
Saw those red bobbers floating on rippling water, our feet dangling off the bridge. Happy and free.

I’m independent today in a way that I never thought I’d be, not this soon. And I’m going to tell you, it’s not always so great. But I’m also here to tell you, there were good memories today. Old and new ones.
I live in a country where I can do pretty much what I want when I want. I stopped by church this morning, worshiped my God the way I like to. Saw the cemetery nearby where my father is buried. Someone took time to leave flags on every veteran’s grave. Dozens of American flags fluttering. This has probably been going on for years, but I only knew it today. Like so many of life’s ways. We miss things. We really do.
A few miles away, there’s a patriotic bouquet on my Sam’s grave. A shiny plastic windmill is twirling in the breeze near his name. I bet there’s a show in that sky too. Those people down that road are shooting off fireworks and passing around beers, eating some decent BBQ. Oblivious to me writing this. Not realizing their little lights are giving me happiness. Because I am free to honor his memory in my own way. And I’m hoping somehow we both are seeing some night lights tonight and smiling. We both are hearing those repeating pops and snaps and thinking … so many good things. The mind is always free, friends. Free to dream. Happy Independence Day.
Live free to feel and think…and celebrate all the moments. As many as you can.