Wednesday, August 15, 2012


All my life - I have loved flowers.
I remember the first time a boy brought me flowers - the grown up kind -
flowers from a florist.
I was 15.
He wanted to invite me to a "Chicago" concert.
But I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16.
He hoped the flowers would impress me - but also my mom. If he brought me flowers, she had to agree to let me go to the concert . . .right?
They were roses.
They were beautiful.
Red. Velvety.
I was flattered - and we "dated" for about a week.
We did not, however, go to the concert. Mom wasn't that impressed.
Oh well.

Later in life - more boyfriends - more flowers.
Lots of roses.
In fact, a single red rose was the way my husband asked me out for our first date.

Then roses became a significant part of our married life.
They were used to commemorate birthdays, anniversaries, encouragement, I'm sorries, just becauses . . .
And they were beautiful.
Red. Velvety.
And very grown up.
I love roses.
But their meaning has been a bit tainted for me now.
And they were never my favorite - I  loved them for the sentimental reasons attached to them.

Truth be told. . .
If given the choice -
If I were standing in a field of every kind of flower imaginable and could only pick one kind of flower,
there is no question what I would choose.


They are, without question, my favorite.
Always have been. Always will be.
Bright. Sunny. Happy. Warm. Proud.
They stand out and tower above everything else.

The way they stand tall in the garden, following the sun throughout the day.
They are actually quite magical.

Every year, I plant them in my garden.
And every year, I am deligthed to find extras pop up thanks to the squirrels and birds.
Generally, by the time the beautiful blooms are nearing the end of their life, the squirrels step in.
I smile as the I watch them climb up the thick stalks and chew of the heads.
Then they spend the next couple days gathering all of the seeds.
The birds swoop in to get their fill as well.
Natures birdfeeder.

My sunflowers are not blooming yet - but they will be soon.
And they will be a daily reminder to me to "Shine".

Commercial message . . .
this weekend is the Silverton Fine Arts Festival in Silverton, Oregon.
A beautiful, quaint little community.
If you are in the area, it is going to be sunny and warm. Come meander through the trees and enjoy cool shade and great art, music and food.!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What Is Joy?

5 x 7 watercolor with ink on watercolor paper

What is Joy?
Where do you feel joy?
What brings you joy?

Lately - as I have been participating in my summer art festivals, I have had a lot of customers looking for art pieces with the word "joy" on it.
And it got me to thinking -
Why? and . . .
 what is the difference between happiness and joy?

People are looking for reminders to feel joy.

Joy, in my opinion, is so much more encompassing than happiness.
Being happy is a wonderful state to be in, no doubt about it.
But feeling Joy . . .Experiencing a state of Joy. . .
Well -
that seems like so much more.

So I have been watching for moments of joy around me.

A few things that I have witnessed -
the utter delight of my 2 year old grandson as he played at the park.
He felt pure joy when he accomplished climbing the ladder of the slide and coming down all by himself.
The look on my dogs face as he runs through the park chasing his ball and greeting his dog friends.
The look of my best friend as she holds her 2 month old granddaughter and is greeted with a smile.
The look in my parents eyes when they gaze at each other.
The feeling of accomplishment for a job well done that, at first glance, seemed impossible.
The happiness I feel when I am surrounded by my children and they are laughing and loving each other.

Joy -
that feeling of so much happiness that you aren't quite sure how to contain it.
In fact - you feel as if you might burst from it.

And as I have paid attention to these moments, I realize -
the only way to experience JOY is to be fully engaged and present in the moment.
In each of the moments of joy that I witnessed,
those involved were not plotting their next adventure, or multi-tasking, or balancing their checkbook.
There were no phones, or texts, or tweets, or tumbles. . .
They were not engaged in tasks that required money or extravagant circumstances.
The moment was pure, and simple and real.
And they were fully engaged and present.

I am not overly optimistic or unrealistic.
I know that sometimes - life sucks!
Trust me - I know.

Many days - I have no choice but to multi-task from morning 'til night.
And I recognize - we all have moments of sadness and difficulty and challenges -
but in the end, we do have a choice.

How will we choose?
Will we choose to be consumed by darkness?
Will we choose to be consumed by "busy-ness"?
Will we be distracted and non-present?
And although, there are many instances where I have to roll with the busy-ness and the distractions and the sadness and the darkness -
in the end, at some point each day . . .
I choose JOY.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Busy Month

All older print . . .but kind of appropriate for this occasion.

It feels like it has been a year since I have visited my blog.
At least a month . . .
And it has been a while, but really only a few short weeks.
Summer is supposed to be about lazy, slow days.
Waking up slowly, evenings spent sitting out on the deck and sipping a cool beverage.
Weekends lounging by a slow moving river.

Of course, my summer has been a bit different.
The combination of handling an upcoming divorce, my day job, and my art business has kept me more than busy.

So what has been going on over the last few weeks?
Well . . .
I had 2 major art shows. Which went great! Visited with lots of people and sent a lot of art home to go and live with their new families.
Mourned the sale of one of my favorite pieces of art. Glad that it went to a good home - but it was a favorite and I was sad to see it go.
Took my van to have it repaired.
Created more problems for the van.
Needed reliable transportation, so I bought a car.
That was scary - the first time I have had to make a purchase and decision of that size by myself.
Still working on having the van repaired because I need it to haul inventory to my sales.
Created and completed the biggest Purchase Order EVER for the local Made In Oregon stores.
Delivered the Purchase Order.
Had my living space of my house painted.
Listed my house "for sale".
Rearranged my living space.
Hung new art and shelves on the walls.
Bought new chairs for my living space off Craigslist.
Sat in my living and breathed a sigh of satisfaction.
Received an offer for the sale of my house.
Was overcome with the idea of an impending move.
Became exicted at the idea of an impending move.
Looked at my overgrown and weed filled backyard.
Walked away from the overgrown and weed filled backyard.
Filled over 10 smaller custom orders for clients.
Worked on inventory for upcoming sales.
Supplied inventory to another gift shop.
Went out to dinner and breakfast with friends.
Planned details of an upcoming vacation road trip for my daughter and myself.
I fixed my dining room table.
Fought insomnia.
Felt joy. Humility. Anger. Grief. Happiness.
Felt overwhelmed.
Created my to do lists and checked things off.
Felt proud.
Learned to ask for help.

Whew! No wonder I haven't had a lot of times for blogging and taking pictures of art work.

Now - before we all start looking for my superwoman cape - it must be stated . . .
I had help.
Lots of help -
from my kids, my parents, my brothers, my wonderful and amazing friends.
Did I say that I felt a lot of humilty?
There is nothing better than knowing you have people in your life that you can call and say "I need help" . . .
and their reply is "when and where?".
And they are right there by your side and helping you.
Or even better - they show up on your doorstep unannounced and just step in and "do".
Yes! I am humbled.

These last few months have been some of the worst days of my life.
And ironically - some of the best.
And I mean that honestly.
I have felt blessed, loved, and empowered.
My feelings of gratitude fo the amazing people in my life is all encompassing.
And so the adventure begins . . .