Wednesday, February 27, 2013


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. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

She's the One Who....

This last week, I have been reveling in the companionship of a wonderful friend of mine.
Vicki is visiting from Canada and we are having a fantastic time.
Every time she visits, I get a chance to explore my city through a different lens.
But the best part is the conversation.
The heartfelt discussions and explorations of creativity and life and love.
One of our discussions made me stop and think while we were talking.
And then I woke up the next day thinking about it.
And continued to think about it ...
And when that happens, I know to sit up and take notice.
So here it is -
I was telling a story that involved another person.
The description of the person was important to the story.
I found myself struggling to describe the person in a "politically correct" way because they suffered from a disability.
It felt so wrong to say "this person is xxx" -
you know-whatever the disability or personality trait or physical trait is.
As if this "thing" is what defines that person.
But it was important to the overall story.
I expressed my discomfort with this issue -
and that led to more discussion.
We talked about when you are referring to a common acquaintance with someone.
You say something like...
"they are tall with brown hair and brown eyes . . .and they are..."
And that's where the "key" description comes in.
Because hair and height and eye color are somewhat generic and rarely help the other person out.
Sometimes that description is positive, like
she is the artist, or the one with really curly hair or the one who is always volunteering for projects.
Other times it is not -
like she is always depressed or grumpy or never talks to anyone.
We talked about how many times, it's this desciption that makes you think -
"Oh yeah, I know who you are talking about . . ."
Hmmmm -
So then I asked -
"If you were referring to me - what would you use as the final description?"
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted the question.
This could hurt!
I braced myself and from the back of the car my daughter said
"the one with the loud laugh".
That's ok with me. I like that description.
In fact, it is something I have heard all my life.
People tell me they can pick my laugh out of a crowd.
But the conversation has stuck with me.
What are we doing in our daily life and as we deal with others that they will remember?
Are they going to remember us for something about our physical appearance?
Or will they remember us for one of our personality traits?
Would we be proud of what we are recognized for or would we be ashamed?
Will we be remembered for being kind or cruel?
Happy or sad?
Anger or laughter?
Compassion or bitterness?
Ego or humility?
Generosity or greed?
Love or hate?
Will we be remembered as the person who sat on the sidelines watching or the one who always jumped into a new adventure?
Or as the person who crumbles when life doesn't turn out perfect or keeps on going with a smile?
Life is hard.
Much of what happens is beyond our control and we don't always have a choice.
But we do always have a choice as to how we will react and how we will view it.
Happiness is a choice.
I know what I want to be remembered for -
Even if others don't always see me the way I want to be seen or remembered,
I want to do everything I can to make sure that I am living my life in a positive way -
and I believe,
 that if we would all think about this -
and vow to be the person who shows love and laughter and compassion and generosity -
the world would be a pretty remarkable place.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Taking a Time Out . .

I started this girl about two years ago -
I liked her, but wasn't fully happy with her.
The colors were off - she just didn't feel right.
But the message spoke to me. I set her aside and was going to come back and finish her.
At some point, she ended up in a file, half completed.
It was almost as if I couldn't finish her because I didn't believe the message.
I wasn't committed.
I believed everyone else deserved that infamous "time out" -but I wasn't allowing myself that.
I had too much to do.
Recently, while sorting through files and boxes of stuff that I couldn't deal with before my move,
I came across her again.
I stared at her and thought -
it's your time to come to life.
And as I thought that - I wasn't sure if I was saying this the girl in the illustration or to myself.
I put her in my "active" file of pieces that I am working on.
Last weekend, I escaped to the Oregon Coast for a short visit.
My weekend was very, very busy -
filled with long walks, naps, reading, meditating, sleeping and drawing.
OK - maybe busy is not the right word - but it was the kind of busy-ness I needed.
Other than the long walks, most of my time was spent in a rocking chair in front of a fire.
I took a short nap and then got up. I sat in the chair.  I pulled out my drawing supplies.
I opened my pack of paper.
And there, sitting on the top, was the original drawing of the "time out" girl.
I didn't realize I had her with me.
I didn't feel right working on the original version.
That was drawn during a different time and I was in a very different mind-set.
So I started from scratch.
I drew the girl above, attempting to capture the essence of the weekend I was having.
Kicking my feet up and spending all of my energy on .... ME!
I posted this on Facebook to share with friends and I was amazed at the response form my women friends.
Obviously - I'm not the only one that needs to be reminded to take a "time out" for ourselves.
We spend almost every waking minute doing for others -
our jobs, our families, our friends, our pets, our homes, our chores...
it's hard to know where to slip in some time for ourselves.
But the lesson that I have learned over the last year - and have to keep relearning -
is that when I take a few minutes and give to myself -
I am far more productive on the have-tos.
So - I plan on taking this particular piece and sharing it with my friends -
I'm also going to make a copy for my own walls.
So here is the question - what are YOU doing to take care of you?
Is it time for a time out?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making a Choice

Choose to be happy.
A simple statement.
A big impact on a persons outlook.
Give yourself the best Valentine's gift ever . . .

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lessons I Am (Still) Learning . . .

I would love to post some wonderful new art work . . .
but the reality is -
I am in a bit of a slump lately.
I'm working on an order for a store -
and it's a lot of the "same" thing.
I'm still finding my routine in my new place -
when to walk the dog, when I need to leave to get my daughter to school, when to eat dinner . . .
you know - life.
I've had company, and committments, and obligations . . .
I just haven't had a lot of surplus time.
But here is painting I did about a year ago - and it seems appropriate for todays post.
Even though life is crazy busy - I have spent a lot of time thinking and comtemplating where I am today compared to where I was last year.
And I have started a mental list.
Here are a few of my thoughts . . .
1. Divorce is not a dirty word. It's not pretty, but sometimes it needs to happen.
2. Sometimes . . .in fact, more often than we realize - we pay the consequences for someone elses choices. So accept and deal.
3. Some things I will never understand - and understanding that simple principle is a great way to let go and move on.
4. It's ok to cry - just get it out and move on.
5. Being "alone" is not the same thing as being "lonely". And sometimes, we are very lonely when we are not alone.
6. I love cookie dough . . .cookies are ok. But I would rather eat the dough. Why is it considered bad to eat three cookies worth of dough - but no one would question if I ate the 3 cookies?
7. Cereal for dinner is ok - if is it ok for me to use it to fuel my entire day - why can't I have it in the evening? I like it better then anyway.
8. Nothing clears the head like getting out of the house.
9. Walks can be magical.
10. Pity and compassion are not the same thing.
11. I don't like to ask for help.
12. I need help.
13. When I ask for help - people give it!
14. I have amazing friends and family.
15. No matter how wonderful a person is . . .if I have change too much for them, they aren't worth it.
16. Sometimes, perfection has to wait. Not everyone is at the same place at the same time.
17. I don't like to wait - I am not a very patient person.
18. The universe is listening. God is listening.
19. Dreams can come true - but sometimes the way you get there is not what you were thinking.
20.  Coulda Shoulda Woulda - fun to say - but not worth dwelling on.
21.Regardless of how bad it seems - I still have it pretty damn good.
22. Did I mention . . .I have awesome friends and family?
23. We are all mortal - including my parents.
24. Redefining "normal" can be fun!
25. I don't like watching television.
26. Reconnecting to the past helps remind you of where you want to go and who you really are.
27. Taking care of myself first is not being selfish.
28. It's ok to say no - and I don't owe anyone an explanation of why.
29. I'm a dog person - always have been, always will be - take it or leave it - but my dog lives in my home. He has every right to be there.
30. I NEED the ocean - at least every couple of months, I need to hear and see the ocean.
31. Being religious and being spiritual are not the same thing.
32. Supporting someone and trying to fix them are not the same thing - I have always tried to "fix" - but I am turning in my tool belt. I'll support you - but I am done trying to fix you.
33. I don't need to "call someone" to change a lightbulb or a vacuum cleaner belt or a tire, thank you very much.
34. I'm not very computer savvy - don't judge me for not knowing or understanding all the "terminology".
35. I can learn to do it - but sometimes I would rather just save myself the time and ask an expert. This does not make me weak or inept.
36. I have been bruised a little - but I am not, repeat NOT, broken!
37. I have never been drunk or stoned or strung out on anything. That doesn't mean I don't know how to have fun or haven't fully experienced life. It just means, I remember it! And I haven't thrown up as a result of it.
38. Why bother forgiving others if you can't forgive yourself?
39. I'm no longer ashamed for choices I made 30 years ago - they brought me to where I am today.
40. I like who I am today.
41. Age is irrelevant.
42. I have curves. I have stretch marks. I have a real body.
43. No matter how bad it seems . . .laughter helps.
44. Its scary to meet new people - It's awesome to meet new friends.
45. I love diet pepsi - the colder the better. And I prefer to drink it with a straw.
46. I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate. I try to be a grownup and love it- but I'll take milk chocolate anyday. . .with nuts!
47. Being a grown-up is overrated. I would rather play, be silly and throw a little caution to the wind.
48. If I want to . . .I can! I don't need to let other peoples phobias or comfort level dictate what I do and experience.
49.  I don't like to watch the news. I rarely read the paper and talking politics makes me anxious.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Coming Out of the Dark . . .

It's Winter. . .
The darkness is beginning to lift slightly.
The days are trying to get a little longer.
The weather is going through a variety of personality changes which have included cold, blustery winds, freezing temperatures, thick, dense fog, sunshine and pounding rains.
The foggy mornings have been . . .beautiful.
I leave the house early in the morning, just as the morning light is beginning to creep up -
still a little hesitant.
It's as if the daylight is still trying to shake off it's evening slumber just like I am.
I leash up my trusty companion, Redford, and we trudge out to stretch our legs.
The last several mornings, I have been greeted by flocks of little birds flitting around the trees and singing their song.
I can see buds on the ends of the tree branches bulging with the hope of bursting out in the future.
The ground is beginning to swell in spots as bright green shoots are starting to push skyward.
The whole world looks as if it might explode.
And I am filled with hope and anticipation.

And as the fog clears, we are left with bright blue skies and a light that is unequalled during any other time of the year.

Once Christmas is past, I find the heaviness of the winter a little too much to bear.
The colorful lights of the Holiday come down and we are left with gray and darkness.
But when I see the little hints of what is to come . . .I feel a sense of lightness begin to creep in.
And I remind myself to relax and enjoy the coziness of the remaining winter months -
it won't last forever.
Spring is coming.
New life. New growth. New Light. New color. NEW.

And with these things in mind . . .
the morning fog begins to remind me of a blanket wrapped around the cold trees,
offering warmth until Spring returns and clothes the trees with their bright green foliage.
I have felt the same sensation building up in me lately.
The feelings of emerging from a very long winter.
When I was young, I had cousins who were living in Alaska.
They came for a visit.
It was early Spring and although the weather was ok in Oregon -
it was still cold.
We were wearing our coats and still dressing in our sweaters.
My Alaska cousins, having been raised in a much colder climate,
showed up and were wearing short sleeves and shorts.
They were outside continually.
They said it felt like summer to them.
Their version of "normal" was much different from mine.
For the last several years, I lived as if everything was fine.
Life was "normal".
I had adjusted to the way my life was -
I got up every morning and kept myself in motion.
I played the role of wife and mother, business owner, artist . . .etc., etc., etc.
Whatever was required at the moment.
When my husband lost his job and said he needed to find himself,
I moved through each day and picked up the extra duties as needed.
I adjusted my version of normal.
With the changes that have taken place in my world,
it is as if the cloak of winter is beginning to lift.
I am begining to see that I was not living . . .I was surviving.
I was existing . . .but not thriving.
I laughed. Sometimes.
I smiled. Sometimes.
I slept. Sometimes.
I created art and used color and shared words of hope.
But I wrote the words of hope to save myself.
Now I write them because I want to share the joy that I am feeling in myself.
I feel like the buds of the trees that I see on my walks -
bulging with a joy and hope and anticipation that is just waiting to explode.
The fog is lifting.
I am seeing what was and what is to come with a brighter light.
I have felt like I have been standing on a cliff but was too afraid to jump because I couldn't trust where I would land.
I couldn't see the bottom through the thick fog.
But now that the light is returning and the fog is lifting -
my view is brighter and I can see that there are wonderful things at the bottom of the cliff.
Things that make me laugh and smile.
Things that make me believe that my dreams are truly attainable.
Things that make me excited with anticipation.
I am no longer existing . . .I am living.
I now laugh . . .often.
I now smile . . .often.
I now sleep . . .often.
My own personal Spring is emerging and I welcome this change of season.