Monday, November 24, 2014

A time of Thanksgiving….. and random acts of kindness.

Its that time of the year to count our blessings and be in that spirit of gratitude and Thanksgiving. A time to surround ourselves with family and loved ones but some people are struggling to do that. Some are dealing with broken families and illness. Some are far away from their loved ones and some are all alone. Some don't have a table to set or a turkey to cook. So this year, I pray, we each do something small to make a difference. To have the spirit that we will be kinder to those around us. That we will think before we speak the next time we meet someone in a bad mood or who is not filled with that wonderful spirit of Thanksgiving. That we will remember, that for some, the holidays are just reminder that this year it will not be happening for them.  I pray that we will be able to share with someone who may be hurting, to befriend someone alone, to create a place at the table for someone who has no where to go. Some simple, random act of kindness goes so far!

I want to share with you some thing that happened to us, in a very dark year. I am reminded of this gift each time I begin to take out my Christmas decorations. I usually always do this the weekend after Thanksgiving,but this year I wanted to decorate early. As I was taking out my decorations I came across the small little tree that is all decorated and stands about 2' tall. On it hangs an angel, a dove, a praying mantis, and little bear ornament that says "Jennifer". It is strung with lights and other small ornaments and the base has a big red bow that ties up the burlap that is filled with plastic cherries. Every year it comes out to find its rightful place in Jennifer's room.

You see, back in 2000, Jennifer, our 24 year old daughter lay in a hospital bed, fighting for her life after being hit by a drunk driver in July of that year. As Thanksgiving approached I had never dreamed that we wouldn't all have been home, well and healthy, celebrating together. I never planned to spend a holiday in a hospital. I remember thinking that it just wasn't fair that everyone was celebrating when we were so devastated. We received a gift around that time, a crocheted blanket that had a hospital bracelet through it with Jennifer's name on it. It sat at the foot of her bed, a gift, from a stranger. Someone who crocheted blankets for those in hospitals or rehab facilities who we would never meet but who touched us so deeply. The thought that someone noticed we weren't going to be at our Thanksgiving table that year and sent a gift was beyond kind.  As Christmas approached the feelings are even worse, there are no decorations, no parties. It was my mom who decorated that little tree and sent it to Jennifer in the hospital. A little tree that signified who Jennifer was, a lover of bugs, an angel to us, a lover of Christ and Christmas and all that that means, spiritually and personally. We plugged that tree into an approved extension cord so we could have a little bit of Christmas light during our families darkest time. That was along time ago, it sometimes feels like a lifetime ago. Today things are better, Jennifer lives with us and we celebrate everyday together!! We are happy and joyous in what God has done for her, sparing her life that year.

It was a few people who thought about us, who reached out and touched us that helped us through it. It was the kindness of not only friends and family but of strangers who never met us and still reached out. It was those special people, strangers, friends and family that helped us feel grateful again. My prayer for us this year is that we don't forget, that we don't just get caught up in the busyness. That we remember those around us who are hurting and we reach out, do something unexpected, make a difference even when we can't make it all better. Won't you join us this year. I would love to hear how you make a difference, leave a single sentence about what you do in the comment area and lets all be thankful together.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winston- The Sunbather

The days are getting dark early now with the nights falling into the 20s.  The sunny days of summer are now being consumed with the foggy blanket that will cover the valley off and on for the next few months.  Warm jackets, lots of layers and morning fires are the only way to get your body moving and the older we get the more fuel it needs! This is true for Winston too. He loves nothing more than starting his day next  to the wall heater, soaking up the warmth before venturing outside. On those special days of crisp, sunny skies you will find him on the patio, sunbathing. Nothing feels better than that sunshine on your back on a cold day!

The Sunbather
8" x 8" Oil on Museum board

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The inspiration of Living Loose!

Many of you know that I have been been busy designing new patterns and fabric getting ready for Houston. I have actually been so busy doing the business of art that I lost the inspired painting and expressing part of art.

The me part of Art.

I am someone who is always is covered in either paint or threads, but creating for me is often pushed off to the side.

Last year I committed to an oil painting workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry. I love her work and wanted to learn oils. I feel like my fine art work is static and wanted to shake things up for myself!

I decided last year when I signed up, that this was just for me, no expectations, no pressure to perform, no deadlines. I didn't sign up with with friends, I wanted to show up alone, with myself.

The lights are casting shadows but here is my first painting.

It turned out to be a wonder adventure, exploring a new medium with strangers and my own inner voice.  It was also just fun to just be a part a group of creative people all learning something new.

Art is a forever journey of practice and application, we never arrive since we are in a constant state of learning.

I had three days of just laughing, listening, painting and fun! I love the things I painted, even being unsure of this new medium. It was interesting trying to get my head around painting almost the opposite way I paint watercolors. I found not having enough paint on my brush was my biggest problem. I was painting with what felt like toothpaste or thick lotion compared to water! I know this will be some time  for my mind to adjust, probably for the next few years or so! LOL

 I also love the people I met, everyone exploring the rich colors and textures. I am so excited to pursue this medium and a looser, more impressionistic approach in my painting. So far I find I am constantly saying "stop adding details!", "Stop futzing", and it feels okay!

dropping in color

 I was raised to think being loose was a bad thing! Here's to letting it all go and taking on a different, looser, mindset! 
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