Worry no More

See oil painting “Sparrows” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Today there were four little sparrows at the tower bird feeder at the same time. It was fun to watch them. They seemed so focused and organized, as if the flock of them had decided ahead of time where each should perch. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we humans were so relaxed and confident that our needs would be met? We could arrive at a dinner table provided for us- just sitting there for us to help ourselves- and we would then all harmoniously take up a chair. We’d eat peacefully, calmly, without a care in the world. And then we’d all go off together. Spiritually, life can feel like this.

I was able to let go of yesterday’s aggressive dogs incident. The trespassers didn’t return. I don’t think they will stay away for long, but it was a nice break from them. Today was cold and overcast with some light rain. I wasn’t outside much today anyway. But even so, I wasn’t tightly wound about the idea of seeing them. I’ve chosen to simply go back inside if they come around. There is nothing so urgent that I have to be out there when there’s a group of people who are so disrespectful of others, who arrive with dangerous large animals. It’s really that simple.

No, it’s not OK that their behavior restricts my freedom, but I can choose to ignore all of it if I don’t want this stress in my life. However, if there’s another bad incident concerning the unleashed dogs I will feel compelled to report it, if for no other reason than to be a responsible citizen. Heaven forbid they go after a child! So, I’ll get involved if I have to.

But, since they leashed the dogs after I screamed at them to do so, they corrected the problem. I’ve decided that this can end right now if I choose (unless there is further incident, and there may never be). Refusing to engage is nearly always a choice we can make, and it’s often the right one. What was just one bad incident could turn into many bad incidents, unnecessarily.

Sometimes we worry about things that may never happen, and in the fretting and imagining, we cause the escalation. My neighbors have already taken care of this problem by building a fence. We can’t do that because we don’t own this property, but I don’t have to let this situation rile me up. So my next best move is to avoid them.

There are so many things I enjoy doing (or work that needs to be done), so when they decide to squat here for the afternoon or evening, I’ll do other things indoors. Their decisions and presence are only a problem for me if I choose for it to be. The fear I had that this would escalate is likely overblown, especially if I don’t keep the confrontation going. They will probably hang out near our patio as usual and I’ll avoid them. That’s it. No drama. I have heavy curtains and I can close them.

I’ll be like the sparrows, unconcerned and happy to go where I’m fed, with my family who loves me. There is no reason to fight my way to other spaces, even if I legally have the right to those spaces while the intruders do not. I have decided that it’s not worth the stress, and that I am worth more than sparrows. Besides, our situation is temporary. Soon we’ll be ready to go house hunting and we’ll find someplace where we belong. I happen to notice that most of the properties we’ve window shopped for have a FENCE!

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See oil painting “Bulldog” come alive in just over 1 minute (time lapse)

I painted this for the book about Savannah, Georgia (bulldogs, sports team). But today I’m sharing this because I’m rattled by an experience that happened to me a few hours ago. I was nearly attacked by two large dogs. I was on my patio when they ran at me full tilt, barking aggressively (I know the difference between a bark when dogs are just messing around, and a bark that sounds like a junkyard dog who sees someone jumping over his side of the fence, or a police attack dog on command, etc.).

I yelled “No!” and held my arms out, holding a cardboard box I was planning to take to the recycling as a shield (which they could have torn through in a heartbeat, but they were distracted by it and froze). I screamed, “LEASH YOUR DOG!” to the dogs’ owners.

While the dogs were probably only secondarily distracted, I told my daughter (who was screaming and then echoed “Leash your dog!”) to go inside. She opened the door and we both popped in. My daughter heard the woman say, “they don’t bite”.

I didn’t hear that, but it’s irrelevant. As my husband said, “Everyone thinks their dog won’t bite until it does.” But it really doesn’t matter if they would have bitten me or not, the dogs were aggressive. The dogs locked eyes with me and I felt certain that they were going to attack me. It did NOT seem like just a warning bark, or an “I’m bored and will bark at strangers” bark. It felt like an “I’m going to take a bite out of you” bark. So, even if that were not true, it was clearly AGGRESSIVE and whether or not they would have bitten me if I hadn’t been a quick thinker and remembered my training for when threatened by a dog (never run, stay calm, try to distract their locked-on-you gaze, get away calmly during the window of distraction), is not the point. It was not OK! And they were in our space, near my patio where I was standing legally, whereas they were trespassing with two unleashed aggressive dogs.

They have been frequently trespassing and totally ignoring the signs not to trespass or fish in the lagoon that is behind these houses. Among other things.

I hate confrontations, but the genie is out of the bottle. There is no going back to hoping we can serve out our lease without those people knowing we are frustrated by their rule breaking (they hang out for hours on every major holiday, nice days, weekends, often- and of course it’s quite unpleasant to have them doing this just outside our yard- feels IN our yard, as the space is small). But… Now that I’ve screamed at them “LEASH YOUR DOG!” it’s a game changer, as they now know that we don’t like what they do.

I can’t say anything more about this, in case there’s a legal issue in the future. Just please think good thoughts. I need to be able to enjoy being outside. It keeps me focused on positive things and I’ve worked very hard on my garden. Oh well, these things happen. Life is never perfect. I will bounce back from this, and we’ll deal with whatever happens next. Thank you for listening. It’s not a big problem compared to the world’s horrors, it’s just a terrible day in my little world. The dogs didn’t bite me or my daughter (I think only because we got away!). But I am grateful for that! Today could have been much worse.

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  • Easter Painting Show
    I’ve started working on the 2023 Easter Show. The painting is planned, the music is chosen, and I’ve ordered this year’s dress. The art will be powerful. I hope you will remember to tune in. Here are my past shows: Painting Shows if you’ve not already seen them, or if you want to watch themContinue reading “Easter Painting Show”
  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
    Watch my Irish art oil paintings come to life in 2 minutes or less (time lapse videos), or watch my full St. Patrick’s Day show with live painting and surprises. Three of these paintings were inspired by living in Ireland, and one of them was painted while I was there. Click the images to seeContinue reading “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”
  • New Painting – “Piano Portrait”
    Just finished the next project in the new 2023 collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Joyful Living”, for the first section called MUSIC. These are quick projects to kick things off. “Painting Portrait” (in the video above) was done all in one session, about an hour or so. As the collection progresses, the paintings willContinue reading “New Painting – “Piano Portrait””
  • New Painting – “Celtic Harp”
    I sold my Celtic (Irish) harp when I knew my husband was losing his job and we decided to move to Ireland. I was supposed to have a month long solo art show there, but we couldn’t extend our visas long enough to stay. I was unfortunately unable to get an earlier time slot andContinue reading “New Painting – “Celtic Harp””
  • New Painting – “Ballet Shoes”
    This is the third oil painting in my new series for 2023 “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Joyful Living”, for the section called MUSIC. The first painting was “Mountain Dulcimer“, the second was “Tap Shoes” and now this third one is “Ballet Shoes”. I’ll share videos of me playing the dulcimer, tap dancing, and teachingContinue reading “New Painting – “Ballet Shoes””
  • New Painting – “Tap Shoes”
    Here’s the second oil painting in my new 2023 collection “Inspired by Joyful Living”. For most of my life I’ve been a dancer (student, teacher, choreographer, and in recent years online classes/shows- although not very often as painting takes much of my time). My main genre is tap dancing. Those tap sounds you hear inContinue reading “New Painting – “Tap Shoes””
  • New Painting – “Mountain Dulcimer”
    My first oil painting of 2023 is done! “Mountain Dulcimer” kicks off the new collection called Joyful Living, for the category of MUSIC. This year, my focus is on things that make me happy, and are universal to human happiness in general. Even if you aren’t fond of the dulcimer, or don’t even know whatContinue reading “New Painting – “Mountain Dulcimer””
  • 2023 Painting Collection Revealed
    If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that we had an unexpected sudden move that caused a big disruption in my life. Because of that, for the first time since I’ve started doing these annual collections, I didn’t reach my goal. I’m very disappointed about this, but sometimes life takes aContinue reading “2023 Painting Collection Revealed”
  • New Painting – “Chickadees in Holly”
    Latest oil painting (birds in our holly tree), from the 2022 Christmas painting and variety show. If you missed it: Watch free now. Here we are, another year gone. Wishing you a joyful 2023, with hope and faith that blessings will come to you and your family. Happy New Year! Here’s to another year ofContinue reading “New Painting – “Chickadees in Holly””
    Christmas Painting Show 2022 full length video, artist Natalie Buske Thomas, live painting special and time lapse, singing favorite Christmas carols and beloved hymns at home Christmas party with family and neighbors – You are invited!
  • New Show!
    Last year’s Christmas show feels long ago and far away, at least for me it does. So much has changed, so much has happened, and I can barely keep up with who I am in this new life. I wondered how I will even do my shows in this new place- will I do themContinue reading “New Show!”
  • Last Month of Autumn
    As we head into the last month of autumn, may you give yourself a few moments of peace to watch me paint these 10 fall scenes. Each video is about 2 minutes long (time lapse) to see each painting go from blank canvas to finished art. This first video (above) is called “Autumn Forest”. ScrollContinue reading “Last Month of Autumn”
  • New Painting – “Thanksgiving Turkey & Pumpkins”
    Watch this Thanksgiving scene come alive in less than 1 minute 30 seconds (time lapse video, above). It’s been a couple of months since I’ve last posted, when prior to our recent move to Savannah, Georgia I’d been a daily blogger and prolific painter, working feverishly toward my lifetime goal of 1,000 finished oil paintings.Continue reading “New Painting – “Thanksgiving Turkey & Pumpkins””
  • New Painting – “Alabama Landscape”
    Oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas “Alabama Landscape”. Watch Natalie paint this art in less than 2 minutes (time lapse video). New painting for September 2022.
  • New Painting Finished!
    If you’ve been following the progress of my new oil painting “Walking in Rain Puddle”, you’ll be happy to know that it is now finished and you can see the whole thing in the 2 minute time lapse video (above). The beautiful song in the video is called “Where Can I Turn for Peace”. WhenContinue reading “New Painting Finished!”
  • Back to Work! Session 3
    Well, it’s time to get back to work on the new painting in progress. Normally I wait until the painting is finished before sharing, but sometimes I share each session at a time so that you can see the progress (in the time lapse video above). If you missed Session 1 and 2, those areContinue reading “Back to Work! Session 3”
  • Today’s Painting
    LOL! It looks like my daughter (girl in the painting) is afraid of my fan brush in this still photo I lifted from the video! This is what I did today (2 minute time lapse video at top of the page), session 2 of the new painting in progress. I posted session 1 earlier onContinue reading “Today’s Painting”
  • New Painting in Progress
    I don’t often show my paintings until they are done, but I thought you’d like to know what I’m working on since there’s been a long break between projects. This one is called “Walking in Rain Puddle” and is inspired by a warm rainy day when our road lightly flooded and my oldest daughter (aContinue reading “New Painting in Progress”
  • New Painting – “Lion in Storm”
    Watch oil painting “Lion in Storm” come alive in under 1 minute (in the time lapse video above). This is an angry time. Many of you are furious about personal hardships and struggles that are unfair, unjust, and not yet getting any better. Many are enraged by world events. Whatever your source of anger (and/orContinue reading “New Painting – “Lion in Storm””
  • New month, new direction!
    Did you click on the image above? I’ve painted enough art now to re-design this website and sort by categories! This will be more fun for all of us, and it means a shift in my career as well. I will explain that in a couple of minutes. First, more about the categories: As IContinue reading “New month, new direction!”
  • New Painting – “Coffee Outside”
    See my new painting “Coffee Outside” come alive in less than 2 minutes (time lapse video). This art is for the 2022 collection “25 Oil Paintings Inspired by Seasons (of Life and Nature)“. It’s inspired by the coffee chats I have with my daughter. One day we’ll have an outdoor bistro set like this. TheContinue reading “New Painting – “Coffee Outside””
  • New Painting – “Frog in Garden”
    Watch this frog painting come alive in just over 1 minute (time lapse video) This project was inspired by my tree frog friend who would hang out in my garden planters, watching me and seemingly smiling (do frogs really smile or just look like they do?). He’d scare me the first time he’d pop upContinue reading “New Painting – “Frog in Garden””
  • Hymn for Cardinal Painting
    As promised, I’ve put together a singing video with the lyrics for the instrumental hymn that was in yesterday’s painting video. Maybe you already know this one? It’s a popular old hymn that many people love. If you missed yesterday’s new painting, it is called “Cardinal in July”. I have added this art to myContinue reading “Hymn for Cardinal Painting”
  • New Painting – “Cardinal in July”
    See my new cardinal oil painting “Cardinal in July” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video). I have lost track of how many cardinals I’ve painted, but I know this won’t be the last one. Cardinals are a recurring theme in my life and I know that many of you find special meaning, healing,Continue reading “New Painting – “Cardinal in July””
  • Go Light your World
    This is the song that is featured in my oil painting “Candle and Bible” video. The music in the time lapse video is an instrumental version, but the lyrics are why I chose this song for my painting. I put the above singing video (if you are reading this inside your email you will probablyContinue reading “Go Light your World”
  • New Painting
    See this oil painting come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse video). Note: if you read my blog via e-mail, my videos probably won’t show up unless you click on the link to this blog post and play the video directly on my site. My latest painting “Yellow Rosebud” is a companion piece toContinue reading “New Painting”
  • Hymn for Lighthouse Painting
    The painting video I shared yesterday included a piano instrumental version of “In Christ Alone”. My daughter (standing behind my chair) was kind enough to sing it with me for you. I added the lyrics at the top of the screen. This old hymn is good comfort for the times we are living in andContinue reading “Hymn for Lighthouse Painting”
  • Happy 4th of July!
    See this oil painting “Americana” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video), or view the longer version in the 4th of July show. This painting features an American flag painted on a barn, as a dog waits for his owner to come home. A yellow ribbon on the tree is a tradition to showContinue reading “Happy 4th of July!”
  • New Painting – “Lighthouse”
    The song in the video is a piano instrumental version of the hymn “In Christ Alone”. “In Christ Alone” In Christ alone my hope is foundHe is my light, my strength, my songThis Cornerstone, this solid GroundFirm through the fiercest drought and stormWhat heights of love, what depths of peaceWhen fears are stilled, when strivingsContinue reading “New Painting – “Lighthouse””
  • New Painting!
    See this osprey come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video). My new art area is now fully set up and I should be able to stay on track better now. I hope to return to daily blogging soon. There’s still quite a bit to settle in from our recent move, but one dayContinue reading “New Painting!”
  • Happy Father’s Day!
    I’m finally working on a new painting. I’ll share it on Wednesday. My daily blog has fallen behind since our sudden, unexpected move. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. But I’m finding my way back to normalcy and I’ll resume regular blogging again soon. Meanwhile, here’s another father/son painting (at least IContinue reading “Happy Father’s Day!”
  • New Painting, Finally!
    I’m finally back to work after our big sudden, unexpected move. The move took wild turns and we ended up buying a house at least a year before we were ready to do so. The way it came together wasn’t what we wanted, but we have landed in a place I already love, and IContinue reading “New Painting, Finally!”
  • Want to go to Church?
    If you watched the above video (a clip from this year’s Easter Show), you saw how emotional I was while singing the cover of “I Can Only Imagine”. I could barely choke out the new lyrics I added to reflect the dark times we live in. Why? Why do we get emotional when singing, painting,Continue reading “Want to go to Church?”
  • New Art Journey
    I’ve lost track of how many oil paintings I’ve done, but “over 200” is possibly right. My lifetime goal is over 1,000 finished oil paintings, so I’m about 1/5 of the way there. When I get closer to the goal (and after I’ve counted to be more accurate) I’ll add a progress bar to thisContinue reading “New Art Journey”
  • New Cardinal Friends
    New birds have already found us at our new home. These cardinals are different, as I knew they’d be. When I was sad about leaving our “old” cardinal friends, my family was amused because they thought that any cardinal is the same as another, and surely there will be other cardinals. But I was right,Continue reading “New Cardinal Friends”
  • I’m HOME!
    All moved in and my Internet is up. Did you miss me? I missed you! I’ll catch up when I can. Just wanted to post a short note for now.

Early Spring!

Watch oil painting “Strawberry Flower” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

We’re having an early spring here in Southern Georgia, USA. One of my strawberry plants already has a flower on it and a few strawberries! I was busy most of the day planting seeds and tending to other garden jobs. The sun was shining for about half of that time and it was easy to forget the troubles of this world. When things get to you, try planting something and watch it grow. I don’t know why it’s so therapeutic to do this, but it just is.

I ordered myself a couple of gardening T-shirts. I was laughing at all of the fun choices. I settled on “It’s not hoarding if it’s plants”. LOL! That’s what I’ve actually said before. And the other I chose is “I just want to work in my garden and hang out with my butterflies”. You might remember me blogging about something similar in post “I Joined the Butterflies”, so I just couldn’t resist that one! I also got two positive thinking shirts: “Faith over Fear” and “Do More of What Makes You Happy”. Then I was definitely at the end of my budget and had to stop! But, that’s my summer wardrobe sorted. I only needed a few T shirts for working outside. I’m good on dressy clothes, but those aren’t practical for digging in the dirt.

Message from Beyond

See oil painting “Miracle Dancer” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Well, it happened again. You might remember that I was shaken and unnerved by signs from beyond, messages that made me look into the possibility that someone I knew had died? And yes, someone had- less than two weeks prior, a person in my family connections had passed away. I talked about this in post “On my Mind” and then “Shocking Update“.

So, it was an anxious awakening this morning when I woke from a dream that featured my deceased mom- and someone she knew, who I was close to. It was my childhood dance teacher, who was my teacher for eight years, from age 10 to 18. At age fifteen, I was in a white water rafting accident. I was later hospitalized for frequent daily seizures resulting in paralysis/weakness, and I overheard a doctor say that one day I’ll never get out of that (wheel) chair.

But my dance teacher held my spot open in my dance routines. She visited me at the hospital, dressed as a clown and gifting me with balloons- the good kind, helium filled, which was expensive and a luxury treat back then- and she told me I’d be back in class dancing again.

It took a lot of hard work, but I was on stage performing just a few months later. She awarded me a trophy. The best of all is that she believed in me. The above painting “Miracle Dancer” is inspired by my journey recovering from the accident.

I hadn’t thought of her in a long while, and when I awoke this morning I was distressed about why I’d be dreaming about her. In the dream, we were sitting at a table, talking about Mom, as if my dance teacher was seeing Mom again, or something- I’m not sure. But I knew her clearly to be my dance teacher and it was as if no time had passed between us.

Later this morning, I was still upset about the dream, knowing what these dreams have meant in the past. So I did an Internet search and the results popped up instantly- her obituary. My dance teacher died three months ago, too young to have died from old age. No cause of death was listed. She is the fourth person I personally know who has died within the past 6 months. None of these people died from old age.

Imagining our life connections as a web, strings of my (our?) web are being cut. I have a horrible feeling that this is not the end of these cut strings. I don’t have any anxiety about myself or my immediate family, but I do have a bad feeling about my more distant relationships, acquaintances, neighbors, community, nation, and world.

More about these dreams:

I’m an observer in these unsettling prophetic or message type of dreams (of which I’ve had several; they are always accurate, so I get upset when I have one). The style of dream is very different from a regular dream, and I wake up knowing it’s some sort of distressing message. I know during the dream and after that the message isn’t about me, but involves whoever or whatever is in the dream. Sometimes my dream self can interact, other times I’m on the outside of the scene- I can see the others, but they can’t see me and I can’t interact with them. Either way, I’m an observer/outsider. The premonition doesn’t involve me, other than being upset by a loss or upcoming loss when I wake up and remember the dream (sometimes I have a dream shortly before the person passes, other times shortly afterward, within days, weeks, or a few months).

I realize I should add- these dreams are peaceful, gentle, and the people in them are warmly enjoying conversations with others (sometimes including me, usually not), or are otherwise happy. It’s just that I can recognize that these people are gone (from this world), and that’s what gets me so unnerved. These are not nightmares. These dreams are calm and pleasant, as if the people are showing me that they are well and content, and they are still connected to the people they knew.

It’s me who responds by feeling distressed, but the dreams are meant to be healing I believe. I also feel compelled to share the dreams and their outcomes/updates, as these mysterious events may be comforting to others who wish they had glimpses of the other side. I feel absolutely certain that life goes on beyond. Somehow we are still connected and one day we’ll understand that love is forever.

Even with that hope, I’m really rattled by this one. I can’t believe she’s gone. I feel like I should be able to search for her name and get a different result. But I know what I read is true. When I read about her life, I wished I’d heard the update during a catching-up chat, not by reading her obituary.

I was recently in contact with one of her family members and now I know I’m meant to reach out to that person. It seems these dreams/outcomes end with giving me an “assignment” that is meant to help or comfort someone who needs me. So I will do that.

Show Plans

See this 3 panel panoramic oil painting landscape for Easter Show 2020 come alive in 2 minutes

It’s that time of year again – I’m working on the new Easter Show 2022. The above painting was for my first holiday show, Easter 2020. Since then I’ve done several shows, including last year’s Easter Show 2021 (below):

This year’s Easter 2022 Show painting is planned, the songs are chosen, and I already have the start of my dress. I’m making the rest of it myself and I hope you’ll love it. I figured I better up my game and make one-of-a-kind gowns instead of missing an opportunity to be creative.

These holiday shows are separate from the new shows I plan to do on a regular (weekly is the plan) basis. Those have been temporarily postponed due a number of things that came up and bumped it off schedule. I will put it back on schedule as soon as I can. You might recall I mentioned an inspection I had to prepare for that came up without much notice, and I’ve been planting seeds indoors for my garden. I have limited space and need to use containers because I don’t own this property and can’t put anything into the ground. This makes for a good challenge, and I’m fine with that. Bring it on! I already have a lot of goodies sprouting. But, it is a lot of work to grow our own food and I have to fit it in quickly so I don’t miss the optimal window for our growing zone (8b). Anyway, I didn’t want you to think that the new vlog/green screen show I was talking about has been postponed indefinitely. It’s only on hold, especially since this has now merged with the Easter show prep.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I say what I mean, do what I say. I will deliver the show I promised soon. Until then, new paintings as I finish them, and in a little over a month I’ll launch the Easter show. Busy times. It helps us escape the gloom and doom of this world when we focus on positive, productive, happy things. But I can’t always measure up, and some days I’m just in a nasty funk. Today was sort of like that. I got it together by the afternoon, partly because I was looking through our Easter song choices and it’s hard to stay sullen and resentful when seeing such beautiful lyrics of hope and promise.

Stay strong. God bless you and yours. Spring will be here soon! May the new season bring peaceful times for this dark world.

Almost Home

Watch this cheerful bluebird oil painting come to life in under 1 minute (time lapse)

Yesterday’s post was bittersweet, looking back at the hobby farm life we lost. But our journey toward a new life, after almost a decade of working toward our goals- after selling nearly everything we had, moving five times- across three different states (up North, to Midwest, then finally to the Deep Coastal South) and even abroad (Ireland)- we are so near the end of this adventure. Hope is stirring within us that we may be able to buy a house within the next two years. HOME finally!

Last weekend we celebrated our anniversary with a nice dinner on the eve of our anniversary, and then on the actual date we drove to the area where we want to buy a house, about an hour’s drive from here. We daydreamed and imagined ourselves living there. Then we stopped by a gift store and looked for something special to remember the day by. Both of us saw this pretty little trinket at the same time. Our son had given me a similar cardinal gift for Christmas just a couple of months ago, so it seemed like this would make a nice addition. Well…

I didn’t know about this little message attached to the bluebird until after we already chose to buy it. Near the bottom of the card it says “Bless this home and family with love and happiness”. So we took that as a sign! Now the bluebird hangs in the center of the small house we’re renting, on a decorative tree that we keep up all year long with our family pictures, fairy lights and some other decor on it.

Part of a tree that needed to be removed from the yard, husband sprayed it to preserve it and keep it indoors. We use it for accent lighting and decoration. This idea worked so well, we’ll probably do this again someday if the right tree comes along.

Whenever I look at our bluebird of happiness ornament, not only will I think back fondly of our anniversary, but I’ll be reminded to have faith that our hard work will pay off. After many years of uncertainty and temporary places, we’ll be HOME! And this hope gives me motivation to stay the course. Sometimes all it takes is one small thing to keep us going. When we look for that one small thing, we find it.

This world is uncertain and unstable, and perhaps your life is right now also. Whatever we’re waiting for, let us be expectant and confident that this season will pass, and one day the things we hope for will happen. God bless you and yours, this day and always.

New Painting

See this oil painting “Walking to Piano Lessons” come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

This is a cherished memory of my two daughters walking hand in hand to piano lessons. The sisters are on our gravel driveway, walking down the long, steep hill, where they will then cross the one-lane gravel road and walk directly into the foot of the neighbors’ long driveway to go up their long steep hill. They will then do the reverse coming back home. So it literally was “uphill both ways”!

Even though the piano teacher lived directly across from our house, it was a long walk from our house to theirs, and during the snowy icy brutal Minnesota winters it was an adventure to walk on their own without falling. The girls are far apart in age, as you can see here, but now that they are much older than this, their age difference isn’t very noticeable.

We planned to live on this rural hobby farm “forever”, and it would have been our kids’ childhood home, but seven years after building the house, the company my husband worked for moved out of the country, shuttering much of the little town. I’ve told you all of this before, but I didn’t know if you’d recognize this land as the one I’ve talked about. I’d know it anywhere, whether a photograph or a painting.

When our neighbor, my children’s piano teacher (our son took piano lessons too, but he preferred guitar), said she was selling her piano for an upgrade, we bought it so our kids would have their childhood piano, it was a lovely piano. We moved it with us for the first move post selling our house, but we had to sell it before moving to Ireland (we are back in the United States now, in Georgia). The piano is long gone. They have plastic keyboards now that they seldom play.

I teared up a bit while watching this video. I’m glad I didn’t know then how it would all turn out and how the world is now. I’m still hopeful for the future, but that future is not today. Today, we’re still in a rebuilding and loss season, while the world is dystopian, delusional, and seething with malice. But, in my mind, I can go back in time to this memory of when my girls would brave the long cold snowy walk to piano lessons. And then I re-direct my thoughts to the many good things about my life now, how close we are to finally finishing our “starting over” journey, and how the best is yet to come. Nothing stays the same forever.

Sour Grapes

Watch this oil painting “Fruitful Vine” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I planted two new grape vines today, then foolishly put weed-prevention mulch on them. Toxic to use on food producing plants! So I scraped it all off and hoping that trace amounts won’t be harmful because I’m not going to throw away my new grapes (and the planting process for these grapes was more labor intensive than I thought they’d be which makes this even more infuriating!). So, it’s sour grapes from me. I had to scrape the peach tree soil and the blueberry bush soil too. Wish I’d read the bag BEFORE mulching! At least I scraped it off nearly immediately after mulching and topped it off with fresh soil. Hopefully I’ve done enough to prevent making my plants dangerous. I’m so upset and angry about this. Happy Monday!

Special Dinner Invite

Yesterday’s anniversary dinner update: It turned out so wonderfully, that I’d love to invite you to your own special dinner. It’s so worth the effort to go all out with candlelight, “fancy” (beyond your usual routine) details, and a dressy tablecloth. Do it! Make a night of it. And don’t forget the music. Make a playlist, formerly known as a mix tape, of songs that mean something to the people you’re cooking for. Maybe you already do this sort of thing but haven’t in a while? If so, it’s time to do it again!

Above photo is of my plate with the gyro meat (my masterpiece!) made with ground lamb mixed with ground chicken, spices/seasoning (onion powder, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and heavy on the garlic), then pressed onto a skillet in one giant patty that fills the entire surface of the skillet. Browned until firm, then cut with a silicon spatula into strips, flip the strips over and brown on the other side. Husband made the pita bread and it turned out perfectly.

Natalie and husband, anniversary dinner at home February 2022
The kids were making us laugh
Anniversary Cake

I didn’t bake this cake- it was a spontaneous purchase from the bakery, but I thought it was perfect! It reminds me of an infinity loop. It had cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake, and little accents of chocolate as a topping. MMMM!

It doesn’t have to be an anniversary to plan a special dinner. It was amazing how much fun we had just by dressing up our from-home eating experience to be an event worthy of a fine restaurant. Dining out has not been pleasant in years and we’ve stopped doing it. We cook and eat at home routinely, but this felt very different. We genuinely had a wonderful time, and I encourage you to do this, even if it feels silly at first. It’s worth it.

Well, our special weekend is over and finally I should be back on track with new paintings and my show. Quick update: Last week’s inspection popped up without much notice and our schedule was derailed by it. I also had some other things come up, and a delay with the green screen (needed a second piece to fill the space). All of this is behind me now. Playtime over, let the work week begin. Happy Sunday, everyone. Let us have a good week ahead.


Watch this oil painting of me dancing with my husband come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This painting was part of my 2021 Christmas Show . A couple of months later, this is our wedding anniversary weekend (tomorrow, but we’ll have our special dinner tonight). He’s making homemade pita bread, I’m making the lamb gyro filling. We’re trying to re-create one of our favorite memories, when we went to a Greek restaurant while newly married and living in Germany. Right now our house smells like garlic. The table is set. We just need to let the pita bread rise. No matter what darkness happens in this world, may we always make time for happiness. God bless and keep you this day and always.