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Van Gogh Journal Pages 45 & 46


Hello Friends!

Yesterday, I began painting these pages with a mixture of red and blue acrylic inks to get this shade of purple. Then I painted the vague shape of an ear on the left page with Burnt Sienna acrylic ink. Next I used black, white and green acrylic inks to paint the eye with tears. On the right page is an abstract profile of a discouraged Vincent with a green eye and bloody ear. I mixed some Burnt Sienna with some white and painted the face and body. And again I painted his bloody ear.

The last thing I did on these pages was come up with as many words as I could to describe the myriad feelings that Vincent expressed during his life of trying to make it as an artist and the hospitalizations he experienced for manic and depressive behaviors. Here are all of the words I wrote: sadness, vagabond, frustration, disfigured, madness, unsatisfaction, stain, defeated, hopeless, desperate, flawed, insane, weakness, lunatic, mistake, lethargic, overwhelmed, failure, labeled, black sheep, trashy and lost.

But on a more positive note, I chose the word GENIUS. That is what I feel Vincent van Gogh was the most.

Have a wonderful day! 😀

Wow!!! Again…it is never too late…..

I realize I have posted thoughts like this before, but I hope to encourage some of you today.

My friend on WordPress and Facebook, Elena Caravela, shared an article that is a must read for anyone who has started learning to do any kind of art “late” in life.  Really, though, when is it ever “too late?”  Who determines when anyone is too old to learn anything? Unfortunately, I guess many people in our culture do which is sad.  I have had to learn to try not be one of those people!

All I know is I am 55, have written lots of stuff but never been published.  Why?  I haven’t taken the time or energy to go down that road yet.  However, I also do not want the thought of “I am not a ‘successful’ author because I haven’t had anything published” to be what drives me to write.  If getting published is what drives me, I may not do my very best. Besides, “success” to me is just doing what I love to do and enjoying it!

I’ve done lots of artwork but haven’t sold much.  In fact I have sold very little, but I also haven’t taken the time or energy or had spare money to get out every weekend and set up booths at art fairs.  I did that once, it was expensive, and I barely sold enough to cover my cost of the booth.  I realized it just wasn’t the right time for me to be doing that.  And that is OKAY!  Time with my family is valuable, and that always comes first.

I am currently working on my first picture books.  I plan to try and get them published at some point, but even if they never are, perhaps that will be a job for my kids when I am no longer in this world.  Ha, ha!  Kidding aside, I really do want to get them done so I can have them to read to kids (and maybe even grandkids someday) who may enjoy them.

My point is this:  It really is never too late to learn, to produce, to share.  However, not everything we attempt HAS to become an end product!  Also, not everything we do has to be seen or approved of by others.  If I like it, that needs to be enough for me.  The main thing is that we enjoy the process!  Everything we learn is through a process anyway.  No one learns to draw or paint or play an instrument instantly.

Find what you enjoy and stick with it!  If you try certain things and discover you don’t really want to put the time into them that it would require to get to a much higher level of skill, let it go or put it aside for later.  And if “later” never comes, so be it.  I don’t think it is the same thing as quitting something because of becoming discouraged.  Believe me!  I know how it feels to be discouraged!  I have had many meltdowns; just ask my husband!  😉

It is hard to be ‘me’ some days.  Let me explain.  First of all, I have A.D.D.  However, I never use this as an excuse.  It is just how my brain is wired.  I also struggle with depression ocassionally.  I am a person who is interested in many different things so it has been difficult through the years to pick and choose what I want to spend my spare time doing in between taking my daughter to town every day for her classes, working out at the gym, and keeping things at home running efficiently.  (In past years I taught myself to draw while I homeschooled the kids all the way through grammar school and part of their upper grades.)   I just thank God for charter schools!

So even though I have learned a little guitar and spent some time on the keyboard and done some singing in years past, those are NOT the things I enjoy as much as I do drawing, painting, and creating art and delving into pieces of writing.  I had to make a hard choice a couple of years ago, but I know it was the right choice.  (Creating this blog was even a start in the right direction.)  I don’t get hung up on how many follwers I have or worry about who reads my thoughts.  I just pray my words bless whoever does.

Anyway……this is the jist of it of this post:

Take time to evaluate what you desire to do most.  Think about this:  what things excite you?  If you are a person who has many interests, learn to pick and choose and do what drives you most.  And most of all, have FUN doing it!  

Here is the link to the article my friend, Elena, shared.  It is not very long even though this post was!  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂



Encouragement for Writing/Art

Hello everyone!

Since I have been working on a few different picture book ideas and have completed one first draft of text and art, also one new longer story but only a few pictures for it so far, I have been perusing publishing websites, and reading books about how to write picture books.  Here is something I found that you may find useful.  Below is the web address where this came from.

Writing Tips:

Many aspiring book authors find it difficult to dedicate time to writing. Here are five ideas on how you can maximize your writing time while trying to keep distractions at bay.

  1. Write offline.The Internet can both be a good source of information and distraction. An obvious solution is to disconnect your desktop or laptop from the Internet and write offline.
  2. Schedule your “distractions.”List down important tasks and errands, and make a schedule for these tasks. Then, when you’re done with them, just write. No more excuses that you can’t find enough writing time.
  3. Turn off your cell phone.How can you concentrate on your writing if you’re checking your phone every few minutes? Do yourself a huge favor, and turn off your phone for the duration of your writing time.
  4. Find your own writing place.When you’re in a comfortable writing place, you tend to leave distractions at the door. For some, a comfortable writing place is a quiet library; for others, it’s a busy coffee shop. The point is to find your own special writing place, get comfortable, and just start writing.
  5. Write early mornings or late nights.Early-morning writing provides some writing time before a busy day begins, while late-night writing gives peace of mind because a busy working day is done.

Try these tips and you might just finish your novel, autobiography, or collection of short stories or poems earlier than expected.


Happy writing and drawing to all of you writers and artists out there!   Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!

New Years are Sometimes Sad

Hello everyone.  I know I have not posted anything on my blog for over a month, but I don’t think I am going to have near as much time for posts this year as I did last year.  Today I am home, however, so I decided to take advantage of that.

As some of you know, I drive my daughter to town four days a week for her Charter High School classes.  So since they are spread out and she’s only in one to two classes a day, I stay in town, go to the gym, and run errands.  Today, however, things are a little different.  My husband took the day off and took my daughter to her class.  He needed to get out of here a while to get away from all the stress I think.

Yesterday, here at the fish hatchery where my husband works and we live,  there was a loud knock on the door at 1:45 a.m.  One of the single guys who lives down the street said the house nextdoor to him was on fire!!  My husband drove down the street, then his co-worker and he began trying to put it out with the fire hose in front of the house, but it was spreading too big.  The neighbor who came to our door had already called 9-1-1 so we were waiting for them to come, but they didn’t arrive for at least 20 minutes or so I think.  We live out in a rural area, and the fire stations nearest us are mostly run by volunteers.  So you get the point.

The home that burned down housed a family of four; dad, mom, and two little girls, 5 and 8 years old.  We have known them for ten years or so.  We still don’t know the cause of the fire, but he was able to get his girls outside.  Unfortunately, when he went back for his wife, it was too late.  She died in the fire.  His oldest daughter has 3rd and 4th degree burns and his younger one has minor burns and smoke in her lungs.  I believe he was okay physically, but this will take a great deal of time to heal from I am sure.

This is a tragedy like no other I have ever seen.  She was my friend for many years although it has been quite a while since we have talked.  I loved her, though, and have cared about her, her husband and four children ever since we met them.  Her two older children do not live here anymore even though we see my son’s friend, her son, ocassionally.  I talked with him a while last night which was difficult.  I wanted to hug him but couldn’t.

His sisters are in two different hospitals because of the severity of one of them’s burns.  I have not gotten updated on her yet.  It was also so hard to see her suffering after she and her sister and dad came to our home when it happened to await medical care.  She was talking nervously and was in a lot of pain.  Her younger sister kept saying her mommy and doggie were dead.  My heart was breaking.  I have never felt so helpless before.  But this is not about me.

I love this family.  I am sad about the loss of my friend.  I am just sharing this so those of you who pray will hopefully pray for this family.  They need all the help they can get.  Thank you, friends.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug……before it’s too late.

Art, Life and Physical Therapy

Hello everyone! It seems like it has been forever since I’ve been able to post anything new! I have missed my WordPress friends so much over the last month. Unfortunately, I still haven’t done much art lately because of my shoulder, however, I have drawn a couple of small dragons which I hope to post soon.

I am back in physical therapy but only once a week because of my crazy schedule these days. My physical therapist gives me plenty to do in between sessions, though. He knows I will faithfully do the exercises. The problem they found on the MRI I had done is that there is a lot of calcium build-up in the front of my shoulder. But the good news is that I don’t need surgery…yet. The doctor is hoping the physical therapy will be able to hold that off for quite some time like it did before. I am, too!

MEET LUKE WILSON. HE IS MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST. Shasta Orthopedics’s physical therapists are all wonderful, kind, and funny people. I really have missed going there, but I will be glad when I don’t HAVE to any more, too.


One thing that has been a benefit of my daughter’s new school schedule is that I actually get to the gym four days a week now! Sometimes I can’t go on the day I have physical therapy, though, depending on the slot I get. I am also able to exercise more at home now since replacing my stationary bike with a really good used one I bought a while back. I have all my rubber band thingies that I use for my shoulder exercises there, too, and my light weights, etc. So I have been trying to work out at home the rest of the days. I have to force myself sometimes, though, because there’s other stuff I’d rather do like read or eat!

I was talking with someone today about the fact that the only time in my whole life that I can remember I ever had a schedule that included consistent exercise was when I lived in Georgia from ages zero to 10! We had a close-by public pool, a ballpark where I played softball and did cheer leading, and of course P.E. at school. After that it was just P.E. at school until I graduated. Or riding bikes after school and roller skating on weekends, but once I became an adult, I never really found a sport I liked to play. I worked various jobs until I worked eight years at a newspaper. That is when my life became very sedentary. So I have struggled to get a consistent exercise routine incorporated into my life ever since.

I think staying physically active is very important for me especially since when I am not physically or creatively active, I have a tendency to become depressed. And that sucks! So……here and now I am deciding that I can’t allow myself to fall back into that sedentary lifestyle. I like to do art, write, and stay in shape. I know these are all things I NEED to be doing. I want remembering to exercise to become like remembering to brush my teeth!

As they say….today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

Loss and Change: A Recipe for Anxiety/Depression!!

Hello everyone. I just thought I would write a post today about how I’ve been feeling for the last few weeks. Actually, anxiety and depression are a part of my daily life unfortunately. I am not sure why change has always been so hard for me, but it is. I HATE CHANGE!

For the last month or so I have been reading a lot of novels, working out, and watching movies. That’s just how I like to spend my summers mostly. Oh, and I got hooked on Grey’s Anatomy. I actually started watching the later seasons first from 2004 or 2005 that are on t.v., but then I decided I wanted to start with Season 1, so I have been getting them through Netflix. What a crazy, good show! It reminds me of ER which I loved from Season 1 all the way through the end on t.v. I love a good series that shows character growth which both of these shows do in my opinion.

Anyway, getting back to reading novels. I joined the group on Facebook called “Coffee and a Good Book.” Wow, what a great group of people! I love all the people I’ve met on there and conversed with about different things. I have added several friends to my own Facebook page from that group, and we enjoy each other’s company. However, I think I have become too comfortable with having friends who are either ones I know and have had in my life who I only get to talk to online now, or are people I have only met online whom I’ve never met in person. When I am in town, though, I really don’t have friends to just hang out with. I never really have since we moved here in 2001. Let me explain.

About a month or so ago I tried to get back in touch with a woman who had told me last year that I was her “best friend.” I had always thought of her as my best girlfriend, too, for the last 14 years! (My husband is my best friend and always will be.) She and I met at church, the little church we were members at until October of 2014. I admit my husband and I were angry and upset about many things when we left that church, but most of it had to do with how the pastor ran it. A few of the other members knew this, but couldn’t understand why my husband (who had been an elder for many years) just could not deal with the stress any more. I even took the time to call all the ladies I was friends with there and tell them ahead of time that we were leaving. Some said they were sorry to hear that. They said they understood and wanted to keep in touch. My “best” friend said she wanted to stay in touch. I said of course we should! Honestly, I wanted these ladies to call and check on me after a while, but only one of them has. One sweet older woman who I really didn’t expect to hear from, because we had never really gotten together to do anything outside of church and she has been dealing with cancer for about two years now. Her call encouraged me so much, I felt a new endearment for her. I have done a painting for her, but have not gotten it framed yet and taken it to her. I also have not posted it yet, because I’m not sure I’m quite done with it.

Anyway, once summer rolled around, I thought I might hear from the woman who I thought was my best friend since her school year job was over for a few months and she might have more free time. I thought summer would be the best time for us to catch up. In July I finally got up the courage to call her. I was NOT prepared for what I heard at all. In all of that time she had assumed we just were not friends any more! Instead of calling me to see how I was doing or tell me how she was feeling about everything, there was just this assumption that lingered. I tried to assure her that it was not the case! I said I figured she was just giving me some space to process leaving the church. Then I suddenly heard about the few times she had invited me to things that I hadn’t wanted to go to. She knew I didn’t like the same kind of music she did, but she kept inviting me anyway and felt rejected because I didn’t want to go. Yet, in all those instances, I never heard once how she really felt about that. If I had known it bothered her so much, I would have talked with her about it. I probably still wouldn’t have gone, but I have never felt the need to apologize for liking different things than she does. I am sorry her feelings were hurt, but I’m not going to change my interests to please others. I spent too much of my life living like that, and I was miserable. Then I brought up the fact that she said she had always liked my art. Yet when my pieces were in a gallery a couple of years ago, she never took the time to go see them and didn’t come to the opening night. I felt hurt, too, but I let it go. She did buy some of my printed cards a couple of years after that, and so did a few others at church which I was thankful for. Several years before she and I had even taken an art class together at the college one semester which was fun at first but ended up being way more work than either of us had counted on, and we ended up dropping it. That was no big deal either. I was bummed that we didn’t finish it, but I got over it.

I guess my point in all of this is that when she told me we were not friends any more, I began to question if we ever really had been, you know? I feel like true friends can give each other time to process loss and change. However, change has always seemed to be linked to loss for me. And that is what is a drag about anxiety. I became depressed after this loss, because that is just how I deal with it at first. I cried, got angry, wrote about it, and moved on. But now I am going through another loss and another change. Does it ever end??? 😉

I just learned the other day that a dear high school friend whom I have been back in touch with for the last couple of years just passed away from liver cancer. I think I am still in shock. I just talked to her on Facebook about two weeks ago. She was only 53. She was loved dearly by all who knew her. She came from a big family who all welcomed me into their home back in my high school days, loved me unconditionally, and who were all a lot of fun. She and I lost touch after I graduated and started working, but always managed to keep getting back in touch on and off for all these years. I was so happy when we became friends on Facebook and could chat, but devastated when we she told me she had liver cancer and didn’t know how long she had left. I wanted to go see her, but my own anxiety about traveling, my own health reasons, and the timing of her last family reunion just didn’t work out. I really wanted to see her before she died, but it didn’t happen, and it is a regret I will have to live with. So now I am just missing her. She was one of the absolute sweetest people I have ever known in my life. She always had a smile, we always were attracted to the same guys in high school, and we laughed so much whenever we were together that I can still hear the sound of her laughter.
My heart breaks for her dear family, because they love her so much, I can’t imagine the weight of their loss.

Now for the new change. Yesterday, my husband and I had to take our high school daughter to her new charter school to sign up for her classes and get her books. However, we had thought she would only have to be taken into town for the on-site classes two days a week which was going to be like the schedule we’ve always had. She hasn’t been doing math the last couple of years, though, because the history and advanced english classes she was taking were a ton of work, and she felt like she couldn’t concentrate well on math. Plus, I had reached the place where I couldn’t teach it to her, because I didn’t remember the higher level stuff any more! So when we met with one of the math teachers yesterday, I was sitting there feeling ashamed wondering if I should have pushed her to keep up with math in the last two years. This teacher, however, reassured her that she could learn it, but she would have to work really hard. However, she assessed our daughter’s skills a bit and deteremined that she should be in a different session of the math which meant we had to sign her up for the Tuesday/Thursday class. I almost had a panic attack right there. Driving to town FOUR days a week now? I wanted to scream NO!!! But we have no choice. If she wants to graduate in two years, it has to be done. The bright side, though, is that our son should be getting his license soon and can take on helping me by taking her two days a week. However, when she got home, she told me she wanted to go back and finish Advanced English where she used to go since it could fit in her new schedule now. That would mean a longer day on Mondays and Wednesdays, but I still think she will learn a great deal more with Charlotte. Charlotte hated seeing her have to leave to go somewhere else so I am hoping she still has room for her. However, if this works out, and those days are longer, perhaps in time those will be the days my son takes her! 🙂

Well, by the time yesterday afternoon was over, I felt like I was having an anxiety attack on the way home from town. My husband took his truck and took her to do some shopping at a few places for some special things she needed. So I went to the gym to try and sweat out some anxiety, but it didn’t quite do it. Then when I got home, my son and I talked about the school stuff, and that helped calm me down a lot. After everyone was home, he said he wanted us all to watch a funny movie together about role-playing gamers. It is called “The Gamers: Darkness Rising.” It was hilarious!! And I found it funny, because I know all about what they were doing since we have been playing Dungeons and Dragons. So that was a great stress relief. Then I had a long talk with my husband and good night’s sleep. So today I feel more refreshed. I have been wanting to write about this for quite some time, but hadn’t decided if I should. Well, it’s my blog, and I can write what I want. So there! 😉

Anxiety and depression are no fun when I am in their clutches; they suck! But I thank God for the people in my life who love me unconditionally and help bring me up when I am down. Teresa, my dear friend who just died, was one of them. I will miss her light and laughter more than I can say.

I may start drawing some more today since I haven’t been doing it much lately. I want to get more art posted. Thanks for being patient. Thanks for reading if you made it all the way through!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug. 🙂

Art is Therapy

Art is Therapy

Hello my blogging friends. I am sure you recognize this painting since it’s the background of my blog. It is the best example I have of what I will be talking about. I did this painting one day last year to 1) Experiment with color and 2) For mental therapy at the time!

In the last few days I started reading a couple of different books. One is called “Understanding Color” by Marcia Moses. I am constantly learning and re-learning about color in painting and drawing. Watercolors present such a unique challenge in the area of mixing color. I have a few books about color, but this one has given me some fresh things to think about.

One thing I like is how she defines certain terms that have always kind of confused me, such as tone, tint, and shade. These are basic things, but I honestly don’t think about them much while I’m painting. I like how she shows examples of each in the book

Another interesting thing is how she shows how to make colorful grays even sharing how she got rid of the color Payne’s gray from her palette. This surprised me, and I don’t think I’m going to do it as of yet, but I am planning to experiment with making different colorful shades of gray and even shades of black. I for one have never liked the way the different colors of black look right out of the tube. So I am looking forward to experimenting with making different blacks also.

I have never really created a color palette and stuck to it for all I paint. I realize there are many different combinations one can make for creating a color palette. However, I have never created any conciously and kept them. I do a lot of experimenting as I work on a painting to get the colors I want for that particular image. As you can tell in my previous child ballerina painting, I could not get what I wanted, because I am still learning about what colors to use for mixing skin tones.

This brings me to one point that Marcia makes in her book. She says that artists, even art instructors, should never feel that they have reached a point when they think they know it all about art, color, etc. I so agree. I apply this thought to everything in my life. I never think of myself as having “arrived” as an artist or writer or even spiritually. There is always something more to learn and room to grow. New challenges is what drives me in my life.

The other book I am reading is called “The Art Therapy Sourcebook” by Cathy A. Malchiodi, ATR, LPCC. She explains what art therapy is and how it can help even non-artists to deal with painful feelings. She talks about creativity, being spontaneous, and mental illness. I am not very far into it, but one thing I already read that stood out to me is when she said in Chapter One, What is Art Therapy? on page 14,

“Art therapy can also be helpful in releasing emotions. In psychological terms, this experience is referred to as catharsis. Catharsis literally means “cleansing” or “purging”; in therapy it refers to the expression and discharge of strong emotions for relief.” Then in the next paragraph she says, “For example, it is known that creative activity can actually increase brain levels of seratonin, the chemical linked to depression.”

I know art therapy is not for everyone, but I just want to say if you are struggling with depression or something hard in your life, just draw or paint and see what happens. You don’t have to have an art therapist to “interpret” your drawings; just try it for fun! Releasing pent-up depression or anger is healthy for us mentally. And life is so much more enjoyable when we learn how to deal with feelings and express them in a healthy way.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂 (Even that is healthy in and of itself!)

Christmas Melancholy…Don’t Let It Get You Down!

Charlie Brown Not Happy

I have been struggling with my depression……again…..!!! UGH! Sometimes it just feels so…well…DEPRESSING! I am such a “Charlie Brown” this time of year! In all seriousness, though, recently it was triggered by the oncoming of the whole holiday season beginning with Halloween! I think this year it is worse, though, because of several reasons. However, I am determined not to let it get me down!

1. I really miss my parents at this time of year. I feel sad that they were only able to spend less than ten Christmases with our kids. My daughter was seven when my mom died and ten when my dad died. My son is two years older than she is. They don’t really remember those early years very well which also makes me feel sad. But hey, how many people DO remember their really early years? I have a very vague memory of being in the hospital when I was just three years old after an operation I had. I remember the surgeon giving me an orange stuffed crow and signing it. I remember there was a teen-aged boy across the hall with a broken leg up in a sling who was nice to me. That is as far back as I can go.

2. Our kids aren’t little any more. Shopping for them is different now even though it is easier in a way. We get fewer items, because they are usually more expensive now! 😉 I am sure many people can relate to this. I used to enjoy having lots of stuff to wrap. I felt excited about putting toys too big to wrap under the tree on Christmas Eve after they went to bed. I really miss those years.

3. I have arthritis. This is the thing that is the most depressing for me this year, even though this problem began a few years ago. It began in my feet several years ago when I started developing bunions while walking two miles a day. I thought the bunions were what was causing my pain, but it was actually the arthritis and a bone spur. I was operated on two years ago for a bone spur that was removed from my right foot, but the bunions aren’t bad enough to remove. I just can’t wear the kinds of shoes I used to be able to wear, but that’s no big deal.

On Friday I went to the doctor about my back. I keep getting tight muscles that knot up overnight sometimes even if I haven’t done anything extra strenuous or different. Earlier this week it happened to me, and I couldn’t hardly move without pain. I was in tears by Monday night. I called a massage therapist I have been to a few times who has been able to take me in times of urgency in the past. This time, however, she was completely booked! I resorted to looking for someone in the phone book. I let my fingers do the walking. Low and behold I learned that in the largest town closest to me there is a place that has twelve massage therapists! Who knew? Have I been living under a rock? How did I not know about this place? I don’t have an answer. All I know is that this young lady massaged me for 45 minutes and I was almost completely out of pain by that evening! All of the tightness was gone, and I was not in tears any more. I thank God for these wonderful people! One of my dearest friends is a massage therapist. She gave me one the week my mother died while I was in that area. Wow, it was great! Thanks, Tania (in case you’re reading this.) I really wish she lived close by, because I would definitely go to her regularly. Well, I decided that I am getting one once a month to keep myself from getting in that state again. 🙂

Anyway, the doctor I went to on Friday prescribed some cream that is much stronger than anything for pain that I can get over the counter. I have been using Aspercreme for years, but it doesn’t do much. Also, this doctor is getting me into physical therapy for a while again. I went several years ago for a torn rotator cuff that cleared up in just two months time. I am hoping to learn whether any of the exercises I have been doing for my stomach and legs are making things worse. So, I am thankful for my husband’s wonderful medical insurance!

However, I was not thrilled to learn that I also have arthritis in my lower back and a little bit of scoliosis going on in the lower half of my spine. No wonder I feel so much older physically these days! No offense intended to anyone over 55. (I’ll be 54 next week.) It is no fun having to live with these physical limitations especially since all I want to do is continue the writing I do and the art I create these days which obviously requires a lot of sitting! That’s what I see myself doing most when my husband retires and the kids have been kicked out of…er, I mean…left…the nest. 😉 So the temptation to become depressed on Friday was strong. But guess what? I didn’t let myself go there. If I have to fight to my last breath NOT to give in to the temptation to become so depressed that I feel like this life isn’t worth living any more (like I felt on Monday,) then fight I will! Deciding to fight for my health, and my life reminds me of the image of Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail” when she’s dancing around like a boxer saying, “Fight, fight, fight!” I couldn’t find a picture of that particular scene, but here’s a pic of the scene when she asks her boyfriend if she should fight for her store, and she mentions “going to the mattresses” and is surprised when he also knows instantly that this expression came from “The Godfather.”

Meg Ryan boxing

That is one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way. I love her character’s determination, but also how it shows her very real pain when she loses her store and has to start all over in her career. I guess I need to watch it again! (Oh how my family will love that.) That is one movie that if I happen to see on television while channel surfing, and watch only the last five minutes, it will still make me cry no matter what kind of mood I’m already in. Yep, that’s how much it means to me. I have lost count of how many times I’ve watched it.

So…I have decided that I have to make up my mind that my days of long hours in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies, traipsing the mall or other stores for gifts, and standing over a card table wrapping presents are gone. They really are. My back just can’t take it any more. Even though this makes me sad, it’s kind of a relief at the same time. Being an older parent, (I will be 54 in a week or so) has been difficult at times. I have always wished I had better physical health and more energy for raising our kids. However, I don’t, and they seem okay with it. They are great that way. They have never complained about my age compared to their friends’ parents, but of course they tease me about being old. 😉

Lastly, I have learned that once I have acknowledged all of my “Scrooge” tendencies every year, I usually cheer up. Trying to deny these feelings just makes me feel grouchier. Watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” always helps. So in spite of the news I received Friday, I am thankful it wasn’t something worse. I really have so much to be thankful for! I thank God that we have a new church to go to. I thank God that the pastor is filled with God’s Spirit and loves to preach. It is so evident in the way he delivers a sermon

Today after church we are planning to get our Christmas tree. Our tradition has been to get it closer to my birthday which is on the 14th, but last year when we went around that time of the month, there wasn’t much to choose from. So this Sunday we get to put up our tree, drink eggnog, listen to Christmas music and sit back and look at the lit tree in the living room that will only have the glows of the computer and t.v. on around it. I like to turn all the lights off just to gaze at it. Then we usually watch a Christmas movie.

The greatest thing about Christmas, though, is that I believe it is Jesus’s birthday. When I allow myself to focus on God’s greatest gift to mankind, I remember everything I have to live for. He sent His son to save us from our sin, to give us new life. Just like Linus said to Charlie Brown after his speech on stage, “and that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Linus speech

Until next time, have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

Turning Fifty

Today, I am featuring a piece my husband wrote on one of his blogs. 🙂 Have a great day everyone, and give someone you love a big hug!

The Grinning Dwarf Pub

Today I turn fifty.

This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news. There are a lot of fifty year olds out there. Almost everybody else in the Class of ’82 has already turned that corner. My wife has already turned fifty. (And that’s all I have to say about that.) It’s never happened to me before, though, and it got me to thinking.

Other milestone birthdays that are known to instigate mid-life crises have come and gone with barely a thought from me. Thirty was no big deal at all. When I was on trail crews, all of my bosses were over thirty and they could still work and hike me into the ground at twenty-two. Thirty wasn’t old at all. At forty, I was married with two little kids and had settled into a career. I still had a lot to view ahead of me.

Fifty, now…

The kids are getting ready…

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Change: A Trigger for Depression?

Lately I have been going through a huge change with my husband and kids. Not with them directly, but with them as a whole. Our family had to change churches after being at one for over 13 years. It was not a snap decision nor an easy one to make especially now. We had been looking for every reason to stay since we were being expected to fill in for a time after the pastor retires in May until a new one was appointed.

Believe me I would love nothing more than to tell you all about why we left there, but it wouldn’t come out very nice, because I know mistakes were made by many of us all around. Also, I would never publicly humiliate anyone, especially on the internet. But I have friends who know we have left, but don’t know why, and I am not going to vent here. What I want to talk about is where I am at right now.

1. Change makes me feel a little lost. On the one hand, I am glad we left that church. I like the new church we have found. It is bigger, seems a lot healthier, and the pastor is young and very knowledgeable. My husband commented that it feels a little weird having a pastor who is younger than we are, but we are both fine with it. Actually, I find it refreshing. I enjoy the worship music there also much more than where we were or having to do it ourselves. In fact the task of having to take over the music there in May was weighing heavy on us, and we just didn’t feel it was God’s calling at this time. We enjoyed doing it while we could, but were not looking forward to the pressure and
time-committment of it every week, especially since my husband works full-time. The pastor there is retired from his past career so pastoring is the only job he has. That makes a huge difference.

On the other hand, I feel we may have let some people down who were counting on us to take over until a new pastor was appointed there. In fact I know some people were counting on my husband to be preaching and teaching more, and for us to do the music. However, the congregation knew nothing about what was really going on behind the scenes in the leadership there. We didn’t feel it was our place to tell anyone everything either, but my husband was under so much stress between his committment there and his job, that he said, “Something has to go. I can’t quit my job or my family, so we have to quit this church. We need to move on and find a healthier one.” We also decided that we would not allow ourselves to jump into getting involved in anything extra besides going to Sunday services and maybe a men’s or women’s bible study during the week. The problem with that, however, is that this church is in town. So… means another trip to town during the week.

Fortunately, the men’s group meets twice a month on the same days my husband has his chiropractor appointments in town anyway. So he went to it last week, felt spiritually fed and uplifted, and enjoyed it very much. The women’s study is on Thursday mornings, though, which would mean even another trip to town for me. I almost went last week, but I didn’t. I am just not feeling very sociable right now or up to meeting new people. I don’t know when I’ll go. All the other women’s studies are in the evenings at people’s houses and on the evenings of the days of the week I take my kids to classes which would mean more driving on those days. THAT is not going to happen! It would totally wear me out. So I am still thinking about all of this.

2. I really hate change! It feels upsetting to me, even moreso when it is on the heels of something negative happening. My husband and I are having to deal with hurt, anger and forgiveness. I don’t like leaving a church this way, but in this case it was the best way. We chose not to go and announce it to the congregation. We just didn’t go back. Otherwise, we would have both said things that could have been misconstrued or come across more hurtful than we meant them. We didn’t have any issue with anyone really except the pastor. We heard that he obviously didn’t talk about any of it to save face on his part, and told people we were taking a sabbatical. Well, that isn’t true, and he knows it, so whatever. I did call the people I care about the most and told them a little about why we were leaving, but not details, and they said we would be sorely missed. That felt good. However, I have yet to have heard from anyone I talked to since then. No one has called to inquire about how we are doing. I try not to focus on that, but it hurts. I find myself questioning whether we ever made much of a difference there.

To change the subject for a bit, I remember always feeling nervous on the first day of school every year. New classes, my daily routine being upset from lazy, fun summer days to riding the bus there and back and having to do homework, etc. Part of me would feel a little excited, but mostly every year I hated it. Change has always been difficult for me. Perhaps it is because it gets me out of the comfort zone I am in when it comes.
I know, though, that instead of staying stuck, change can bring growth which I am looking forward to now.

3. Change always triggers depression in me. I have been this way all of my life. I became depressed both times my family moved when I was growing up. Relationships that came and went brought it on. An experience of date-rape brought it on when I was 16. And that was a couple of months after my family’s second move, so everything was compounded! Then to top it off that year, being bullied by three girls at the new high school I went to compounded it even more. Starting to drink and do drugs brought it on when I was 19, but I fooled myself into thinking that was helping me somehow. I was finally “coming out of my shell” and was “the life of the party” all the time. Ten years later, quitting drugs and alcohol brought it on. I lost friends whom I didn’t want to hang out with any more so I could avoid the temptation to go back to it. Divorce, and even re-marriage brought it on. Pregnancy, and having newborns brought it on.

4. Even good changes sometimes bring on depression in me. I have never understood this, and it actually depends on what the good change is. For instance, I didn’t become depressed when I graduted high school. I couldn’t wait to get out! However, I became depressed right after I re-married. Why? I think the difference may perhaps be that in the first case, I was celebrating an achievement. I made it throug high school. I graduated with good grades, and I also wasn’t being pressured about going to college by my parents. On the other hand, when I
re-married, I was psyched about finding a man who really understood me, loved me for who I am, and who I knew would stay committed to me until one of us dies! But after we were married, fear began to set in. I feared being able to stay married. After all, my first husband divorced me for selfish reasons on his part. But it was actually the best thing for both of us in the long-run. I believed for the first few years after the divorce all of the “if-only’s” that I usually have when I feel like I’ve failed. So I found myself going back into my “perfectionistic” habits in my new marriage for a while. Fortunately, a lot of counseling helped me through all of that, and we are getting ready to celebrate our 20th anniversary in December. I know I am a better person because of having a husband who is also my best friend! I thank God for him all the time.

The change I am going through right now is good; I know this. Nevertheless, it still feels scary. It still feels depressing. However, I know God will get me through this. He always does. I know that He is always my light in the dark places. He is my strength. He is always there for me. The best attribute about God, for me, is what the writer of Hebrews in the Bible declares about Him:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.


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Artist. Children's Book Illustrator. Visual Storyteller.

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