Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Please Come Over to the New Blog...

Please come and visit me at the new blog...
 
Stop by.
Leave a comment.
Follow me.
Join me as I continue to create art, look at life, and find joy in the every day!
 
 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES...

 
 
 
It is time.
Remember that line from "The Lion King"?
Simba has left Pride Rock and gone into the jungle.
He is living with Pumba and Timon in their little oasis.
Life is happy and blissful and then...
Nala returns.
And he begins to feel restless.
He knows that change needs to happen.
He needs to return to his home.
But before he makes the decision,
he encounters Rafiki who reminds him of his true purpose.
He hits him on the head with the stick and "knocks" some sense in to him.
And when Simba finally recognizes what he needs to do,
Rafiki calmly, but emphatically states:
"It is time".
 
Well it is time for me...
almost a year ago - my life as I knew it changed.
I didn't run away like Simba, but I knew that it would never be the same again.
Even though I did everything I could to keep it the same for as long as possible.
But life has changed...
and with that - so has my name.
I have gone back to the name I came into this world with...
Laurie Linn
The day that I made that a reality, a friend of mine wished me a "happy birthday" -
and that is exactly what it felt like.
A re-birth.
At first I was going to leave my business name as Laurie Miller Designs.
I have worked hard to establish myself under that name -
but I am no longer Laurie Miller
and I do not want my business name to reflect that name.
I am now
Laurie Linn Designs.
 
So I hope that you will join me as we move to a new blog. 
This blog will remain and you can still come back and visit old posts...
but all new posts will be at the new location of
 
Thank you for your support through this last year -
and the years before.
I wouldn't be here without you...
 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Upcycled Trunk


 
After my last post, which was a bit of a rant -
I figured I would get back to "art". :)
 
This is a piece which I recently completed.
A wonderful commission piece for a co-worker.
It is a box - a mini foot locker.
It measures about 18" square on all sides.
 
This client called me one day and said she had this box...
"it's kind of ugly", she said.
"I really don't want it in my house...but my grandfather gave it to me and I can't bear to part with it."
 
I agreed to see what I could do with it.
When she brought it to me, I was a little doubtful.
It is made of chipboard.
The outside of it had been covered with a heavy paper that was decorated with really lovely blue geese.
Can you say "1980s?" LOL
Not pretty.
Once finished it would be residing in her library room.
 
A good priming coat of black, some bright colors and design and...
it has been given a new lease on life.
A sun and moon and the admonishment to enjoy all that a good book has to offer.
 
And some day - if those lovely geese come back in style -
she can remove the paint and let them come back out to play...
or not.
 


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happily Ever After...

Recently, my son proposed to his future wife.
My niece also recently announced that she is engaged.
It seems that love is in the air!

These life changing, momentous events are occuring as I am sweeping up remaining debris from my failed marriage.
And it got me thinking...
What did I learn from my marriage and what advice would I give one of these people,
who I love dearly, as
 they prepare to step into a lifelong committment of marriage?
 
1. Love is wonderful - and you need to marry someone that you love with all your heart mind and soul. But more importantly...you need to really LIKE the person. They should be a friend.
2. Marriage is a verb. It is NOT ceremony. In the words of Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride"..."That's a wedding". And wedding's only last for a few hours. Then real life begins. And to be successful, you have to stay actively engaged and work at it.
3. Marriage is messy - you are going to see this person at their best. But more often, you are going to see this person at their worst...when they are overwhelmed, cranky, short-tempered, tired, sick, with morning breath and morning hair,  ... Take the time to let your partner see you at your "best" as often as possible. They deserve it.
4. There are no guarantees. For years, I heard all sorts of "formulas" that were supposed to guarantee a successful marriage. I have learned that there are many marriages that I thought were "perfect", only to find out that they were not. They were far from perfect - in fact, they were downright disfunctional. Bottom line...you have to remember to keep the marriage and your partner high on your priority list. Pay attention to them and forget the formulas.
5. Do not divorce your friends. Too many people I know decided that once they were married, they were no longer allowed to work on their friendships. I think that is a big mistake. We still need our friends.
6. Do not give up on your dreams. Life is going to get crazy. You may or may not have children and once you do, they will become your priority. That is how it should be. But we all have the ability to keep pursuing our dreams. Even if it is only for 5 minutes a day.
7. Keep growing and trying new things together - My oldest brother and his wife just started taking guitar lessons together. A friend of mine and her husband started contra-dancing. Find those common things that bring you together. Keep the sense of wonder and adventure alive. (Refer to #2)
8. DATE - Yes you are married. But you still need to go on dates. Make it a priority to reacquaint yourself with the person you fell in love with...get dressed up for each other; treat it like something special.
9. The old standby rule is still true - do not go to bed mad.
10. Play - Be silly and have fun.
11. Talk about everything - even the hard stuff. Share your feelings when they are small and manageable.
12. Say "I love you" everyday.
13. Say "I love you" - and mean it.
14. Laugh together.
15. Cry together.
16. Share secrets.
17. Call each other through the day...just because.
18. Take the television and the laptop out of the bedroom. And the smart phone.
19. Remember the "first 4 minutes of contact rule" - The first 4 minutes of contact in the morning or when you come home sets the tone for the rest of the day/evening. Make sure it is good.
20. Remove certain words from your vocabulary ... like divorce and hate.


I am happy for my son, my future daughter in law, my niece and her future husband. Regardless of where I am - I am still a believer in the dream of "happily ever after".
And I wish for both of these couples their own fairy tale.

 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weeds


 
 
I have had a house with a yard.
And in that yard was the green grass.
And in that green grass were the dandelions.
Those noxious weeds that seemed to take over the lawn.
I would dig them out and apply weed killer to them.
I used home remedies and store bought chemicals.
I cringed when I saw them emerging.
I made sure to mow my lawn frequently so they never had a chance to sprout their "flower".
And if someone happened to get a hold of those little puffy seed heads blow them about...
well, I can't even describe the anxiety I felt over that.
 
Then one day, when my children were quite small -
my daughter brought me a bouquet of bright yellow dandelions.
I smiled and thanked her and held on to them while I tried to decide how to secretly dispose of them.
She got a very concerned look on her face and told me to put them in water so they wouldn't die.
(Heavy sigh from me) and then with a smile I said OK.
I got out a drinking glass..
"No", she said..."Use a pretty vase".
I had some antique cut glass bud vases and I pulled one of them out of the cupboard.
I filled it with water, immersed the dandelions and set it on the window sill.
"No", she said...."Put them on the table".
On the table?
What would people think if I had weeds on my table???
I put them on my table.
 
Later, I was sitting at the table all alone.
The kids were probably napping or something because it was one of those rare quiet moments.
I looked at the dandelions.
I mean - I REALLY looked at the dandelions.
And I was caught off guard.
I had seen these little yellow weeds many times before,
but I had never really studied them.
And they were beautiful.
Really and truly beautiful...
Hundreds of perfectly formed petals layered one upon the other.
Straight edges and slightly fringed ends.
Even the leaves were special -
so much more interesting than many other leaves on flowers.
And then there are those magical seed heads.
Puffy clouds of white.
So fragile, yet so strong...
 
I thought about other flowers that are valued -
roses, carnations, daisies ...
Those are all beautiful, but the intricies of the dandelion was so special and unusual - and in many ways surpassed the rose.
Yet - it took me all of my life (up to that point) to see the beauty in them.
 
Hmmmm....
Life lesson here.
How many other things was I taking for granted?
How many other works of intricate beauty was I missing because I had been told it wasn't beautiful or special?
 
Now I am not an expert in this area.
I do not in any way claim to be perfect in appreciating the small details in my day.
In fact, many days - the details irritate the crap out of me. (Just being honest here...)
But I am trying ...
 
I try to remind myself to slow down and appreciate the wonders that are all around me.
I try to see things through the eyes of a young child.
Have you ever gone on a walk with a 3-year old?
Then you know what I mean -
 
I want to appreciate the beauty of the sunrise and sunset -
 even if I just saw one yesterday.
I never want to get tired of the amazement I feel when I watch a hummingbird.
I want to stop and examine the intricacies of a spider web with morning dew still clinging to it.
And I want to appreciate the beauty of the dandelion...
 
I want to be a participant in the magic of the world around me.
 
And just as a sidenote -
If my 3-year old grandson brings me a bouquet of dandelions,
they will be placed in the prettiest vase I can find and
proudly displayed on my table.
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Work In Progress...

 
A work in progress...
It's a term that is used in art a lot.
For a piece like the one above I start with a blank surface.
Stark white watercolor paper.
I take a pencil and lightly draw on a design.
Not all of the details - but a general outline.
Then I begin laying in the black lines - not all of them, but some.
Then comes color (my favorite part).
I layer it in.
I move all over the paper - because if you understand how watercolors work, you know they are very unpredictable.
You have to wait until each section dries before putting another color next to it or they will blend.
All on their own.
Whether you want them to or not.
Then once everything is colored and very dry...
I go back with the black and finish out the details and the words.
Often, I don't have a plan when I start.
And throughout the early stages 
the "work in progress" looks very plain and not very special.
But it builds and grows.
 
I have always believed that as people,
we are in constant motion.
I have taught my children that.
We are either moving forward and growing,
or we are slipping backwards.
But we are never stagnant and still.
We are not the same person today that we were yesterday.
We are "works in progress".
But too often we think that some magical event occurs as an adult that causes us to say...
"I'm done. I have arrived where I want to be..."
 
As an adult who is ... well, old enough to have experienced many things -
I often wonder where I will be in another year.
Do I still have the ability to grow and learn new things?
Am I moving forward or am I slipping?
Am I "done?"
 
So I have spent some time thinking about this and I came up with this list:
 
Ten things I have done in the last year that I was not doing before that...
 
1. I have returned to swimming on a regular basis.
2. I have started a belly dancing class (which I have always wanted to do and LOVE by the way).
3. I signed up for a choir class at the College where I work and have been singing with a group of 30 other students every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on my lunch hour. I am old enough to be most of the other student's mother, but I am loving having a chance to sing with a group.
4. I am learning to sing in 4 different languages  - which I have never done before. This is definitely challenging my "adult" brain.
5. I have purchased a ukulele and have learned several chords and a few songs.
6. I have become acquatined with new friends ...some in other countries.
7. I have learned to cook vegetarian meals to support my daughter.
8. I have attended several musical performances and have tickets for several concerts over the next few months.
9. I have returned to a habit of stretching and yoga.
10. I have begun to find my balance and each day am finding peace with being "alone".
 
So I guess you could say that
I am a work in progress.
I am adding multiple layers to my life.
I am becoming reacquainted with things that I had stopped doing (like playing the piano and singing in a choir)...
and I am trying out new things and meeting new people.
 
My hope and desire is that I will never be a completed work of art.
I don't want to ever be in the position where I just stay in one place and decorate the room.
I want to be an ongoing work in progress for the rest of my days...
 


Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Love

I know I grumble about the weather to my friends sometimes.
I believe that Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is real.
I have felt the affects of it on many many occasions and it gets worse as I get older.
I fantasize about moving to somewhere in the South where the sun shines year round...

And then this happens in the sky...

And this happens on the trees... 

And this... 


And I step outside and see this...

 And these pop up along the path that I walk on...

And I fall in love with my Pacific Northwest all over again.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Let's Step it Up!

 
 
 
 
I don't think it is any secret ...
I find a lot of power in words.
And these words really spoke to me today:
 
"There is a profound and very painful mission we subconsciously embark on right around the junior high school years.
We set out to live a life free of embarrassment. Everything we do is designed to keep us safe from other people's ridicule.
But that strategy becomes a prison hou
se as we try to make adulthood successful, because it limits all the good things we could have done.
To aim for WILDLY SUCCESSFUL is actually more practical and beneficial than to try to be successful. So rise up. Step out. Use your voice. Speak up, and perform daring acts of heroic and creative service." From "Risk Your Safe Habits" by Steve Chandler
 
I remember my junior high years.
I watched my children go through these years.
It is a very painful time.
Fitting in is the goal...or at least it seemed that way.
 
I have a very vivid memories...
One day in seventh grade-
I got up in the morning and got dressed for the day.
I was sporting one very cool outfit.
I can still see it in my mind.
And out of the need to preserve my dignity, I refuse to describe it here.
But let's just say ...
It's purpose was to look "cool" and to be noticed.
Unfortunately...I didn't realize how uncomfortable "being noticed" would feel.
I think I made it until about 8:15 (school started at 8:00) before I was ready to melt into the floor.
I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to get home and into something more...
bland.
But regardless of the excuse - I knew I was stuck.
The day dragged on.
I was mortified and humiliated all day long.
I went home angry at mom.
How could she have let me leave the house in that outfit???
Like it was her choice....LOL.
 
Junior High was also the time for lovely body changes.
You all know what I am talking about.
It's like our bodies went crazy...remember?
I would wash my hair in the morning and by 10 am it was greasy and stringy.
There wasn't enough deodorant available in the entire city...
We were all going through our "gangly" stage.
Our faces were betraying us with acne...
Oh yeah. It was special.
 
High School came and I headed into drama.
That choice, in and of iteself, made me stand out.
I was onstage - and I felt at home there.
But there were cerain assumptions about the kids in drama.
Alot of us were "the social misfits".
So I did everything I could to blend ...
but that was a contradiction to what I wanted to do.
 
The story of attempting to blend in didn't change as I grew older.
But I am done wanting to blend in.
I am done wanting to settle for "ordinary".
Why do we cut ourselves short?
Why do we think it's acceptable to want "ok" for ourselves?
 
When I read the statement above - I realized just how much I want to stand out!
I also realize how much I have missed up to now because of the limits that I put on myself.
I say NO MORE.
No more limits. No more underestimating.
We are not here to fail.
We are not here to be average.
If we were meant to be average - then we would all be exactly alike.
 
I want to be WILDLY successful at what I do -
And I am not talking about money here - (Not that a little extra wouldn't be appreciated).
I am talking about being wildly successful so that I can say YES to all of the things that I want to try -
Say YES to adventures.
Say YES to LIVING!!!
 
And what's more...
I want to be able to empower my children and my grandchildren and every other young person that I meet to be Wildly Successful starting today!
Let's not shrink behind complacency and normal anymore.
Let's get out there and let our light shine!
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Talented or Crazy?



Warning...
This post might be construed as a rant.
Please do not be offended or think that I am being proud or any other unflattering term.
I just need to express something that has been on my mind too often lately.
I promise to get down off my soapbox immediately...

I play the piano.
I sing.
I cook.
I dance (or I used to when I was younger).
I have performed in plays on stage.
I can crochet and knit and do embroidery.
I create "crafts"
I create art.
 
I learned to do several of these things when I was very young.
Some were passions and interests.
Some were a result of boredom -
For example...
I learned to knit when our family would visit my grandparents in Idaho and there was not a lot for me to do.
I learned to do embroidery because our television died when I was in grade school and my parents didn't replace it for many years.
I learned to play the piano and dance because my mom and dad signed me up for lessons.
At first I was resentful of having to go to lessons after school instead of playing with friends...
but eventually I learned to love these things and can't imagine life without them.
I learned to draw and do "art" because my kids were little, I was a stay-at-home mom and I was trying to keep myself out of the depths of depression.
 
But the bottom line is...
None of these things came easily.
They all started with nothing more than a desire - sometimes my own and sometimes my parents.
I had a desire and I jumped in.
I didn't come into this world doing what I do today.
I have not ever, and will never, be considered a protege'.
I practiced and practiced and practiced.
Often, many hours a day.
 
I often hear things like ...
"I wish I could do that"
or
"You are so talented",
or
"It just comes so easy to you"
or my favorite...
"Is there anything you don't do?"
 
I'm never quite sure how to respond to those statements.
I say thank you.
And then I feel a little self-concious.
And sometimes - a little offended and ticked off.
I didn't just pick up a paint brush and start doing what I do today....
my first projects were terrible.
I mean...really bad.
Embarassingly bad.
Not one of the things I do came easy.
And I know - that for many of other "creatives" out there -
their story is very similar.
 
Here is what my day looks like...
I get up at 5:30 and do all of the "chores" to get myself and my daughter out the door for our day...
shower, get dressed, make something for breakfast and lunch, walk the dog, drop daughter off at school...
Then I go to my day job.
I work my 8-5 job.
I head home and change clothes.
I usually change into jeans or sweats, a t-shirt and a really "pretty" denim shirt that is absolutely covered in paint...
bottom line - I don't look very "pretty" in my evening attire.
I work with my daughter to fix a little something for dinner.
And then I go to my studio and work into the evening ...usually quite late.
When I need a break..I head over to my piano and practice singing.
If I shut down early (anytime before 9:30) -
I head to my room, where I draw and work on art pieces that will become prints until I am too tired to see straight.
On the weekends, 
I generally do marathon painting sessions - for several hours at a time.
Sometimes late into the night.
 
My reason for sharing this is not to brag or play the marytr but to make a point -
 
Art is my passion.

Music is my passion.
 
And those things that I want to do and do well -
I spend a lot of time doing.
 It is the first thing I think of when I wake up.
It is the last thing I think of before I go to sleep.
 
I make time for it...
Every. Single. Day.
 
When I was in high school I signed up for drama.
At the hands of my drama instructors,
I learned what it meant to be passionate about something.
I learned about the correlation between work and a superior end product.
I learned that to be excellent - you had to give up other things.
We were expected to practice every day (including weekends).
I cursed my drama teacher for her expectations.
I loved my drama teacher for the lessons I learned from her.
I learned what it meant to be passionate about something.
 
Every minute I spend doing my art and music is time I feel the happiest.
But there have been times I have worked on my art in tears of frustration or wonder what in the hell I am doing this for...
I do not think of myself as being gifted or special...
but I do think of myself as being driven and stubborn and even a bit obsessed.
My "talent" started as nothing more than a desire to try something new.
And when I learned that I liked that thing...I kept at it.
And continue to keep at it.
It has meant that I have missed out on some things.
For example -
although I love to socialize, I have been accused of being "too busy" to go to events or get together with people; I hardly ever go to the movies or even watch movies at home; I rarely watch tv and had to ask someone what "Duck Dynasty" was; I have missed out on a lot of sleep; I have had to miss various weekend functions because I have been sitting at an art sale manning my booth or I have been sitting in my studio filling orders; I don't drive brand new cars or have a fancy house or fancy clothes; I don't get my nails done anymore (they are always covered in paint anyway) or go on many vacations.

BUT...
I do not feel like I have missed out because I am doing what I love!
I am LIVING my passion.
I have worked very, very hard to reach the place that I am at with my art.
And I do mean WORKED...
But like, most artists/creatives . . .I still believe that I have a long way to go. I want to continue to grow.
I don't think of myself as being "so talented"...but instead I am obsessed.
I don't know...it doesn't really matter.
This is who am I and I will continue to live my passion.

How about you?
So...what is it that you want to try?
What are you waiting for?
Who knows - you may find a new passion and find something that you are really "talented" at.
 
 


Monday, March 25, 2013

Inspiration

It's Spring.
And I live in Oregon.
The place where there are all types of cliches...
like
"if you don't like the weather - just stick around. It will change in 5 minutes"
or
"oregonians don't tan...they rust"
 
yeah, yeah, yeah
 
The reality is - we do the seasons good here.
And this time of year the clouds can be so spectacular.
They are an artist's dream come true.
Big. Fluffy. layers of colors.
Yellows, oranges, blues, grays, pinks, purples...
Gorgeous.
 
And when I look up at them and I see the sun breaking through with rays of light reflecting color,
I am reminded of God.
And it makes me want to ask some questions...
 
Like -
 
1. Why do some people get "it" while others never quite figure it out?
2. Why does everyone think that stainless water bottles are the way to go? I think they make my water taste metalic. I don't like them. I don't like them at all.
3. Why does the plant daphne, that smells so amazing, bloom for such a short period of time?
4. Why do people take so long to learn from their mistakes (myself included!)?
5. Why can't someone invent a nail polish that doesn't chip off after a day and a half?
6. Were you having a particularly good day when you came up with hummingbirds and dragongflies?
7. On the other hand...what were you thinking when you came up with cockroaches, head lice and stink bugs?
8. Who's bright idea was daylight savings time and why are we still honoring it?
9. Knees...really?
10. And wisdom teeth? Was there a purpose that we haven't figured out?
11. Why do people think it is ok to put ketchup on eggs? Or ranch dressing on a quesadilla?
12. What is the story with the loch ness monster and big foot and UFOs?
13. Am I on the right track?
14. Why does music touch my soul in a way that nothing else does?
15. Why does it seem that whenever I really want to wear my sunglasses - they aren't with me?
16. And why do all my umbrellas seem to end up at work - but they are never in my car when I need them?
17. Why does my dog only want to jump on my bed when he is wet?
18.Why do some people work to stay in our life while others don't seem to care?
19. Why can I think of all the projects I need to get done in my studio - and then when I sit down at my work table my mind goes blank?
20. Why are some people so afraid of color?
21. And lastly...I just want to say "THANKS".

 
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Daddy...

Ronald.
Ron.
Mr. Linn
Dad.
Daddy.
Grandpa.
Papa.
Doesn't matter what you call him...he has been the most influential man in my life.
My dad.
Today marks the completion of his 81st year walking around on this earth.
His birthday.
He has taught me much.
He continues to teach me much.
He is the person I still go to for advice and confirmation that I am on the right track.
There is much that I still am learning about him.
He has lived a very full life.
He has lived his life in the state of Oregon but traveled to many other states.
He loves the ocean an often played in it with us when we were children.
I have very fond memories of visitng Hawaii with him about 12 years ago and we played in the surf together again.
He spent many of his childhood days in the Tillamook Oregon Forest on the Coast where his mother was a cook for the loggers in the logging camp.
He loved the coast so much that in 1969 he and my mother bought a cabin shack that became our refuge for years to come.
The began a remodel on the cabin in the mid-70s and turned into a beautiful refuge that they enjoy to this day.
His father died when he was quite young.
He grew up as a child of the depression and has seen amazing changes throughout his life.
He always wanted to fly a plane but his eyesight prevented that.
He did however, enter the Air Force and worked on planes as a mechanic.
He met the love of his life and fell instantly.
They married when he was 20 years old...20!!!
He has remained married to the love of his life for 60 years...60!!!
Together they have had 4 children, 18 grandchildren and 3 (soon to be 4) great grandchildren.
He believes his family is his greatest legacy.


He has lived in 4 homes since he was married and worked to make each one a place of peace and love and a place that we were all proud of.
He has worked hard ..always in sales and has started a few of his own businesses.
Some did wonderful - others struggled. But he never quit.
He loves a good practical joke.
I was the recipient of many of those.
He taught his children to work hard for what they wanted and to believe in possibility.
As children, he made it clear that we were expected to contribute -
we were treated very cruely (LOL) and expected to do chores, obey curfews, and treat our mother with respect.
He taught his children that we were worth whatever we desired - but it didn't come free.
He has incredible patience.
He has a wonderful sense of compassion and selfless love.
He always has and always will put his wife (our mother) first - thereby teaching us what love really is.
He was never shy with his affection.
I do not ever remember him leaving our home or coming home after work without stopping to kiss our mother and tell her that he loved her.
He hugged and kissed his children often.
He worked long hours - often into the evening, due to the line of work he was in;
however, he attended every one of my performances when I was growing up.
He still does...
He even brought his work associates to my plays because he was so proud.
He made me feel like a princess.
He still does.
I love you daddy.
Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Over the Rainbow...

I can't remember the first time I saw the movie "The Wizard of Oz".
I just remember that it was an annual event.
Of course...
I am of the era that grew up with no dvd's or big screen plasma tvs or cable television.
If we wanted to see a movie, we went to a movie theater or
we waited for it to be played on television.
If we watched it on tv, the disclaimer that it had been "edited for television" always preceded the start.
This meant that minutes had been shaved off the movie to allow for plenty of commercials.
But there were no other options, so we endured the commercial breaks.
 
The "classics" were usually broadcast once a year -
"The Ten Commandments" was always played around Easter.
Sometime in the winter, they would play "Gone With The Wind" - over two nights!
"My Fair Lady" was usually a holiday movie.
And then there was "The Wizard of Oz".
Life stopped and schedules were planned around these special movies.
The whole family gathered with large bowls of popcorn sitting in our laps.
 
And the movie about the wonderful land of Oz was always a favorite.
The music.
Dorothy and Toto.
The witch.
Glenda.
But the best part...the transition from black and white to color.
Magic.
 
I remember, when I was in my early 20's,
a local movie theater that was known for playing only "classic" movies
had a showing of "The Wizard of Oz".
On the big screen.
I went.
And the movie took on a whole new feel for me.
 
Let's face it - today's movies are much more spectacular from a technical standpoint.
My children have a hard time appreciating some of the older "classics" because they are so used to the perfection that is achieved through computer technology.
But for me, the magic of the "Oz" remains to this day.
 
One of the most enduring aspects of that movie is "the" song....
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"...
In my humble opinion - one of the greatest songs ...EVER!
The melody.
The simplicity.
The complexity.
The message.
 
I don't know what it is about that song in particular.
But being a music person - and a music person that really appreciates great lyrics -
this one speaks to me on a deep, almost spiritual level.
The idea of a land where everything is perfect;
the feeling of possibility, of longing, of hope, of dreams...
 
The song was magical to me as a child.
As a young mother, I sang the song to my children as a lullaby.
As an adult, I have sang the song for weddings as young couples began their new life together.
I have sang the song for funerals as family members have said their last goodbyes.
As a recently seperated married woman, I sat at my piano and sang the song with tears running down my face, as a way to find solace in my new uncertain world.
And now - as a divorced woman looking to the future,
I sing the song with an eye on possibility for greater things to come.
New adventures, new dreams, new roads to travel, new destinations...
anywhere my wings will take me.
 
Birds fly over the rainbow...
and so can I.
 
 
 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

the Story of the Red Boots...

The Red Boots - photo by Vicki Cane of Grace Photography
When I was in the sixth grade, boots were big.
Especially cowboy boots.
I wanted a pair and at Christmas, I put in my request.
I got a pair of boots, but they weren't what I had envisioned.
And they never really fit quite right.
I eventually grew out of them and they went away.
I had other boots here and there - but never another pair of cowboy boots.
 
Then I moved to Idaho for school and also spent some time in Montana.
There were cowboys everywhere.
And boots were worn every day as a clothing staple.
They lost their appeal to me.
Until...
the movie Footloose came out.
Remember that movie - the original?
Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer?
And Ariel, the main female character, wore those red cowboy boots.
She wore them with everything -
And I fell in love with them.
Or maybe I just fell in love with her feisty attitude, which I never could master when I was young- but the boots seemed to be her trademark - and therefore, I associated those boots with feistiness.
Yes - they were cowboy boots.
But they were RED boots!
 
I still love boots.
But I am very practical with my boots.
Basic black and brown.
No heels.
Nothing trendy or fancy -
Just basic.
And that works well.
I wear them to my day job almost every day during the colder months.
 
Late last summer, I was in the midst of dividing up assets and liabilities and preparing to be officially "single".
I felt...ok, I'll just say it...old.
I tried to appear and seem ok with the change I was in the middle of, but the reality was, I felt lost and scared and wondered how an almost fifty year old woman starts over?
Visions of the spinster aunt with her hair up in a bun sitting alone night after night started dominating my thoughts.
 
Then one day, I was looking online and I came across red cowboy boots.
My heart leaped and I got a little giddy.
I revisited the web site over and over and kept looking at them.
I had multiple arguments with myself -
These are not my style; these aren't practical; what if they don't fit; what would you wear them with; blah, blah, blah...
Then I found myself in October.
The month that final papers were to be signed and things would become "official".
I was going to be single.
No longer a "we".
I was starting over.
There were some tears.
 
And then there was a glimmer of hope.
And then there was ...

excitement.

I started recognizing that although much of my life was exactly the same...
I still got up and went to my day job; I still had to grocery shop; I still had errands to run; I still had custom orders to fill and bills to pay and a dog to walk and laundry to wash...
There was a sense of wonder and excitement at a world full of opportunity that I had never allowed myself to experience before.
There were friends to reconnect with.
There were adventures to be planned.
This was only an "end" if that is what I chose it to be...
 

Instead - I chose to see it as a new beginning!

I needed to somehow commemorate this new chapter.
Something to symbolically congratulate myself for moving forward and not wallowing in self-pity.
To reward myself for facing each new challenge head on.
A trip? An adventure? A purchase?
I began a quest for the perfect symbolic gesture...
And then...on the sidebar when I was surfing the web...the picture of the red boots.
And I knew. Instantly.
That was it!
What else would mark this change better than something I had wanted since I was young?
Something that was just enough "out of character" for me to say..."things are new and different?"
So I bought the red boots.
They arrived on my doorstep on a day when I felt completely overwhelmed.
I opened the box and they were better than I had hoped.
I slipped them on and, not only did they fit perfectly - but I felt so proud in them.
 I felt strong and empowered and ... anything but old!
 
The red boots have become a symbol to me of strength.
Of courage.
Of feistiness.
I find myself wearing them with anything and everything -
If I wake in the morning and feel a little cranky - I wear the boots.
If I know there are challenges ahead in my day - I wear the boots.
If I am going somewhere or trying something or doing something that is out of my comfort zone...
I wear the boots.
The red boots have gone to my day job, to hear live music, to meet new people, to sign my house over to new owners...
They have become a precious symbol of the power that exists in me . . .
The power that exists in each and every one of us.
 
Superheroes wear capes...
I wear the RED BOOTS!
And when I wear them - I know that I can!
 
What brings out the superhero in YOU?
 
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Before and After...A Thrift Store Makeover

On the weekend, my good friend and I meet for breakfast.
We talk and catch up and laugh.
And then we go for a walk -
We try to catch a local consignment shop when it is open.
We have failed.
So this last week - we did a local thrift store.
 
I love to go thrifting.
I grew up thrifting and garage saling.
My mom and I spent countless hours on Saturdays and during the summer months looking for treasures.
My mom was an expert at finding something that looked sad and dated and turning it into a one-of-a-kind treasure.
She mastered the art of it long be "upcycling" became trendy.
And I carry that love with me to this day.
I feel a sense of thrill when I find something special.
Some of my favorite clothing items were thrift-store finds.
Most of furniture has treasures that I have found and repurposed.
I love it!
 
Back to this last weekend.
My friend and I pulled into the parking lot and I got a little giddy.
What would I find today? Anything?
Who knew...that's part of the fun!
 
We meandered through all the aisles looking for treasures.
A few gadgets for the kitchen.
A little something to decorate with.
Something to repurpose.
And then I flipped through the racks of sweaters.
I know the seasons are getting ready to change -
but it's still sweater season where I live.
 
I found a nice brown sweater vest -
it's long, will work good for work, and was in good shape.
It looked nice.
And the price was right.
With the colored tag of the day, I got the sweater for about $6.
Like I said ... it's nice.
But kind of...brown.
And plain.
Very plain.
I'm all about dressing it up.
But I decided this time, to do a little extra.
I have toyed with the idea of brightening up clothes with some art for a couple years.
But I never seem to get around to it.
 
I decided that it was time to change that.
So with a little felt, some embroidery floss, a needle and a couple hours for a few evenings watching a movie before bed....
 
This little sweater vest got a little splash of color.
Just a little something to say...
Hey! I'm special.
I'm a little different...
Kind of like me!
Hmmm...I wonder what else is in my closet that could use a makeover?
 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Am....


I came across this quote by CS Lewis the other night.
It YELLED at me...
And I created the drawing above.
Then when I was saving the photo, I noticed I had another photo saved with a similar name.
Obviously I love this quote because I did another drawing with it very recently - back in January.
Is the universe trying to teach me a lesson here?
 
 
So it got me thinking...

What do I believe I am?

I remember sitting in a workshop many years ago.
We were supposed to find a partner and introduce ourselves.
We were then instructed to write down who we were.
We took our pens and began scribbling quickly.
We created our personal resumes on our paper.
We then shared our answers...
Wife, Mother, Sister, doctor, lawyer, assistant, teacher, student, volunteer, etc., etc., etc...
 
The teacher thanked us all and told us that not one of us had answered his question.
We all looked around in confusion.
We had long lists stating who we were.
 
"Those are the roles that you fill each day. They are not 'who' you are...", he said.
"Now - write down "WHO" you are".
 
We took our pens in hand and .....
Sat in silence.
No pens were moving.
We were all stumped.
We looked around the room hoping that the answer would find us.
How do you answer that question?
 

If I couldn't state my roles - then who was I?

This question wasn't about what I did or how I spent my time -
but it was about those things that we hold so close to ourselves, deep down inside.
The things that we feel uncomfortable speaking out loud because it may be interpreted as being
egotistical or vulnerable or afraid...
The ever-thriving personal internal debate...
"like yourself just the way you are - but don't brag about it or you are conceited."
or
"don't show your fears and vulnerabilities or someone will take advantage of you".
 

So "who" am I? Who do I believe I am?

I'm still learning the answer to that question.
I may never fully know the answer because I am always growing and changing and evolving.
I hope I never stop.
 
But let me share the words of Marianne Williamson -
 
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
 
This quote gives me goosebumps every time I read it.
This is who we are -
it is who I am...
 
And I hope that, as I let my light shine as bright as I am able, it will "give other people permission to do the same." As I am "liberated from my own fear", I can "liberate others".
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, March 1, 2013

Close Your Eyes and Make a Wish...




Wishes...
As a child I made wishes a lot.
I wished on stars.
I wished on the rainbow.
I wished when we drove through tunnels.
I wished when I blew out my birthday candles.
I wished when I threw a penny into a fountain.
But I would panic if I told someone -
because we were always told that if we shared our wish,
it wouldn't come true.
 
Wishes were important and I took them very seriously.
 
I still do -
I believe that in order to achieve anything -
you have to put it out there.
You have to think about it and visualize it and believe that it can happen.
 
As a grown up we call them goals.

I went to classes and heard lectures about goals and goal setting all through my growing up years.
I was instructed in the steps of goal setting.
Think about your goals.
Write them down.
Identify, develop and write down the steps required to achieve the goal.
Give each of the steps a deadline.
Review the list regularly.
Blah, blah, blah...yada, yada, yada.

As a teenager and even as an adult -
I didn't really buy this.
It just seemed like busy work to me.

And then several years ago, I wanted to open a business.
And I was asked for a business plan.
What the heck was that?
I took a class.
I researched.
And then I realized...a business plan was really a series of really big goals.
So I started writing things down.
And as I did it - I began to feel empowered.
Especially when I started to see the checkmarks that started accumulating as I accomplished individual tasks.

Goal setting...or wishes...are a big part of my life now.
There is a little girl inside me who still believes in wishes.
Who still likes to see the magic in things.
Who still believes in magic.
I make wishes for all sorts of things.
Things I want to accomplish, new adventures I want to try, places I want to visit...
I create "vision boards" - usually just a series of pictures and words that I put together on a blank piece of paper.
I tuck them into a sheet protector and tape them to my bathroom mirror and look at them everyday.
And it makes me feel excited and full of purpose.
But I also realize that a magical fairy is not going to come along and make the wish come true.
No genie is going to come out of a bottle.
I have to do the work myself.

And when I accomplish something...
it IS magical!
The big difference is this....
I believe in the magic of wishes - I just don't believe that they are free.
I believe that I have the power to make them come true.
And that...makes the whole process even more magical and special.
 
So embrace your inner child...
Look up at the night sky.
Close your eyes and make a wish.
Just don't forget - the magic is already right inside of you.
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Possibility...

Did you hear it?
Yesterday, there was huge noise.
It sounded like a loud BAM....
At least it seemed that way to me.

It was me -
slamming the door closed on the last chapter of the previous life.

Let me explain...

Yesterday, I went to the title company and signed off on the sale of my house.
Notice, I said house - and not home.

When it became evident that my marriage was over,
one of the first things I had to do as a "grown-up" was put my home up for sale.
It was one of the hardest things I had ever done.
And it was filled with a lot of conflict -
I had wanted to move for quite a while.
I didn't like our neighborhood at all - it had changed so much since we had moved in there -
and not for the better.
But it was still our home.
I had lived there longer than any other single residence other than the house I grew up in.
I grew up in a family that "stayed put".
Having a place to call home was so important to me as a child - I wanted that for my kids.
I wanted that spot that they could come back to again and again and again and feel the comfort of home.
And if I was to move from that home,
it needed to be on my own terms.
It needed to be a well-thought out decision.

But in July, I found myself talking with a realtor to sell my home -
and it was because my world had been ripped apart.
All of a sudden I was getting ready to sell my home and it was not by my choice.
I was paying the consequence for someone else's choices.
And it made me sad.
And then it made me angry.
I moved in December,
but the house had not sold yet.
I continued to be responsible for it - at least financially.
I wasn't living in it -
but it was still there.
And I had to return to it several times over the last few months.
Which was surreal.

But enough of the past -
yesterday, the house officially because someone elses.
On Monday, I returned to it for a few miscellaneous things that still needed to be collected.
I walked through the empty rooms.
The heat has been off for a while so it was cold - really cold.
The halls echoed with the emptiness.
It was a house.
No longer a home.
And I felt a heaviness.
I drove home and cried on and off all evening.
But I awoke cleansed and ready to move on.
I signed yesterday.
I officially "closed" out the account on all of the utilities.
And then - feeling strong and empowered and somewhat lighter,
I went a step further...
I went to the DMV and changed my address and . . .
wait for it . . .
my name!

Yes! I have officially taken back my maiden name.
I am no longer Laurie Miller -

I am Laurie Linn.
FYI...The business name will be following shortly -
but here is the point...

As Laurie Miller,
I felt trapped on many occasions - hopeless.
I didn't allow myself to think about new adventures, vacations, or anything big -
I didn't even allow myself to think about things closer to home -
like trying new restaurants or going to hear live music in a local venue.
I had accepted that those things were not going to happen so I quit hoping.
Now don't get me wrong -
I was in a "good" marriage.
I wasn't abused or dispected.
But my former spouse didn't like to try new things.
Or to plan -
and definitely not to dream like I did.
And after asking and suggesting with no positive feedback, over the course of time - I stopped.

But Laurie Linn...
Well - that's a different story.

She is believing in POSSIBILITY!

 
 


Friday, February 22, 2013

Random Order


 
A few random thoughts on this Friday morning . . .
 
1. I'm going to be a Grandma again. Or "Nanna" as my grandson calls me. He is going to be a big brother! Yeah...So happy, proud and excited.
2. We are just about ready to close on the house I moved out of in December . . .I was beginning to think this was never going to happen. (Heavy sigh of relief).
3. I love clouds. I don't like gray skies - but I love the clouds we get in Oregon this time of year...So majestic and beautiful.
4. I am ready for Spring and color.
5. I love to laugh.
6. I have a lot of things I want to do . . .and sometimes I feel a sense of panic because I am so anxious to do them all....NOW
7. I still love to read some of my favorite children's stories. And I read them to myself.
8. I feel honored when I witness miracles.
9. I LOVE dragonflies and swallows.
10. I miss holding hands with someone special.
11. I don't like the judges on American Idol this year - it kind of ruined the show for me.
12. I love listening to live music.
13. I love to drink fresh juice in the morning.
14. It's never too late to try something for the first time.
15. I don't like to have my picture taken.
16. I don't like to be the center of attention.
17. I love spontaneous get-togethers.
18. I want to take a dance class.
19. I would prefer to see live theater over a movie.
20. I am grateful for my dog - who forces me to get outside, even when I don't want to.
21. I love pistachios.
22. I've discovered I actually like Country music - not all, but a lot of it.
23. Making new friends is scary . . .but fun.
24. I have learned how to ignite the pilot light on my gas fireplace, trouble shoot my garage door opener when it isn't working, and fix my garbage disposal when it gets clogged.
25. I have a love/hate relationship with the weekend.
26. Honey Nut Cheerios are really yummy.
27. I am not as organized as I would like to be but I am willing to accept this flaw.
28. I love hats - but I don't like wearing them. They make my head itch.
29. Dreams are Weird!
30. I get so frustrated when I have a day off and can sleep in but wake up earlier than I do during the week.
31. Why do people wait until they are far away to tell you how they feel?
32. Shrimp salad rolls with peanut sauce.  Enough said.
33. A good pillow should never be underestimated. Same goes for good pots and pans.
34. My kitchen knives really need to be sharpened!
35. 10:00 in the morning is NOT too early for good chocolate.