Wednesday, January 22, 2020

How Our Lives Evolve

The past year has been a huge year of change for me, personally and professionally. And, like many people, I am grateful for what life has brought me, and yet, I struggle at times, as well.
I come from a large, wonderful family, three sisters, brother, and father. And, I married into another wonderful family. Through the last 30 years, my husband and I have grown and built our lives embracing both families, as well our family's families (their spouses and children) and our own children.
Through this time, families change. People grow and mature and relationships change, some grow closer, some further apart. New family arrives by birth, adoption, marriage, friendship, or discovery. People age and take on different roles within the family, others develop physical conditions that require more assistance than they had in the past. Others pass away, leaving the remaining family with memories, but also at times, pain, hurt, and regrets.

In the best of times, family is a support, a loving refuge from the struggles we all face in the world. Families are united in shared experiences, extreme patience for loved ones, and similar sense of humors. And, family and the roads we travel together, can some times be bumpy, but for those willing to put others first (at least more often than not) it can be wonderful.

Family relationships are all different. I have two daughters and adore them both, but have very different relationships with each one. I believe my father would say the same about each of his children and my siblings would say similar.

Nothing remains the same and included in that, is relationships. And yet, accepting that relationships change, is very challenging for me. And yet, it doesn't stop things from being different, it simply prolongs my acceptance of it, prevents me from embracing who they are at this moment, and in fact, limiting our relationship, current day.

So, this year, in 2020, I am extremely grateful for my entire family and wish to live my life enriching those relationships.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” 
— G. K. Chesterton

I strive to be grateful for the everyday, the mundane, the extraordinary, and the ability to get past the awful in life. Being grateful, really searching at times, for things to be grateful is one way that helps me through the tough times. And we all have tough times.

Today, I will look for my blessings. Today, I will savor my blessings and not expect them, take them for granted, or overlook them. I will enjoy the sound of the water hitting the sea wall, the steady hum of my car engine, the bounce of my tennis ball. I will remember joyful moments with my loved ones, and feel their warmth from afar.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Watercolor Magnolia Blossoms

Here's a short video (sped up) of a painting of a Magnolia Blossom Cluster, like the ones I teach on Skillshare.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Unwanted Lego Bricks? Recycle them for Free

Lego bricks, the brilliant (and painful if stepped on) toy made for those ages 4 through 99, have come up with a clever way of recycling.
Just download a shipping label from the Danish company, place your no longer wanted bricks in a box, and ship them (at no charge to you) back to Lego. LEGO REPLAY
From there, they will be cleaned, sorted, and distributed to after-school programs and charity organizations.
Way to go, Lego!

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Blessings: Good, Grit, and Grace

Grattitude is a feeling of being thankful - not just for the clearly positive things in life, but for the sole  issue of being grateful.
I find it far easier to recognize the sunny days, the good fortunes, and friendly interactions. But, there are days, sometimes weeks, where it's harder to see the reason to be grateful: long waits, feeling overlooked or ignored, a long list of tasks to achieve, bills, lack of "wins", mundane life.

Maturing is the ability to see the "good" in tough times. Making it through the tough times is called "grit" and doing it with a good attitude is called "grace".

Currently, my life has changed. Being a caregiver is a very challenging task. Caregivers assist others to achieve comfort, knowledge, and life. Caring for an infant is all consuming, as you feed, love, nurture, educate, and teach boundaries. Caring for an adult is a different task. While you are responsbile for those same tasks, it is far different with an adult. You are now in a relationship with the purpose of succeeding together. It requires communication, patience, and letting go of "being right". It's about putting someone else's immediate needs ahead of your own, for as long as needed, without losing yourself.
That is a very difficult tightrope to walk at times.

And yet, it is a gift that you give to your loved ones, and one that they give you in return.
Knowing that you provided comfort and care for someone you love, is truly the most generous treasure. It not only assists them at a difficult time, but it teaches you lessons that you can only learn by doing.

So, I've had to take a step back from the things I like to do, the goals I set for myself, and the pace at which I like to function. I've had to spend time listening, rather than doing.
This is tough for me, as I like to achieve. I like to see results (from cleaning a cabinet and seeing thte results, to creating art, to learning new things.) Sitting and listening to another person, their feelings and opinions, doesn't allow me to achieve the things I like. So, I've had to re-evaluate my goals.
Some days, I achieve very little (in my mind). I go to the grocery store and do some cleaning, while spending a good portion of the day with my father in law.
Did I accomplish my tasks? Not at all.
Did I meet the requirements of nuturing and careing for a loved one? Yes.

I'm working to altering my goals and expectations. And in this way, I am blessed. I am fortunate in that I have wonderful family. I have blessings surrounding me and when I recognize them, I am elated.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Flip Through - Safari Journal (in Muted Tones)

I made this journal for Allie, as a way for her to keep some photographs, papers, receipts, stubs, coins, and tiny stuff from her trip to the African Safari. Inside, I also included places for her to write notes, record memories, and thoughts.