BAD DAY

See this oil painting of a wolf come alive in 1 minute (time lapse video)

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully rescheduled, but it has caused a big mess- the moving pods and truck had to be rescheduled, the clothes and kitchen stuff that was packed needed to be unpacked, and so much more. Now the truck and the POD will be at the house at the same time and there is only room for one in the driveway. We will have to walk much farther with heavy oversized things. All of the careful planning to ensure a smooth and safe move has been destroyed.

It has been an extremely stressful and emotional day. It does not look like the next few days will be any better. I cannot wait for this to be over.


Super Laundry!

Watch this superhero oil painting of my son come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse)

My son is college age now, not a little boy like in this art for children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” (about my dad, who died before my son was born, watching over him his whole life in spirit), but he still reminds me of this funny kid. Today he was getting his laundry done because we’re soon to disconnect our washer and dryer for transporting to the new house. I was confused about why he brought his large wheeled suitcase downstairs. The answer to this mystery was quickly resolved when he parked his luggage in front of the dryer, laid it down on its back, zipped it open and opened the dryer door directly over the opening. Then he scooped all of his freshly cleaned, unfolded, balled-up clothes from the dryer directly into his suitcase. That’s it. His clothes were packed! LOL! What does he care about wrinkles, right? He’s efficient, I have to give him credit for that. 😀


Happy Day!

See this oil painting of a girl on a tree swing come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video)

Today we had the opportunity to bring the kids to the house we’ll be closing on. Until now, they’d only seen the pictures and video. I was nervous that they wouldn’t like the house as much as we do, but they fell in love with it as soon as they saw it. They are now excited to move in. We had a happy day, exploring the rooms and the yard (the yard has a couple of really big mature trees and I’m wondering if we can put a swing in one of them!). They chose who would have each bedroom, and we took family selfies in the living room.

On the way back to this place we’re currently living in, we went out for a celebration lunch at Cracker Barrel, where we’d not taken them in years. We usually only go there when on a road trip vacation. We chose it today partly because of their fun gift shop. After we ate, we each chose a small keepsake item to remember the day by.

I just downloaded the photos we took, and I love them! I will cherish these always. I want to frame the last one we took, when I said, “do something silly for one last picture”. That was our best one.


Bandits!

See this oil painting of redwing blackbirds come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video)

These birds have been coming around and stealing our strawberries! What a disappointment! I was enjoying a fresh berry with Cool Whip as a snack after dinner, but now my berries are gone. I’ll have to use netting in the future. Maybe when we move my strawberry plant (in a grow bag) to our new house there won’t be any redwing blackbirds, but they will find us again eventually.

There are only 4 days until we close on the house! It feels hard to believe. Everything has happened too slow and too fast at the same time. I hope you are all enjoying your spring weekend, the last day of April already!


Easy Going

See oil painting “Bird in a Forest” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video)

This painting was a “free paint” project, in which there is no reference, plan, or agenda other than to let the paints flow. I start with a general idea- such as a bird in a forest- and let the art develop as I listen to music and relax. This type of exercise can help artists break free from being over structured, tightly wound and too focused on the project goals, details, technique, etc., instead of letting creativity happen. Then, when going back to the regular painting schedule, the projects should feel easier. It’s a bit like pushing a cart with a locked wheel and realizing it’s not moving freely, then releasing the wheel and immediately feeling the difference in how easy it rolls.

We can experience this spiritually as well. It happens when we take a vacation from work, whether a pleasure break such as for a holiday, happy occasion, and travel, or a forced one due to unemployment, illness, or other circumstances. Being free from our regular routine forces our brains to think differently. When we get settled back into regular life we may wonder why we procrastinated doing things that are really no big deal. Why did we have no energy? Why did we waste so much time? Everything feels easier after some time away.

I’m missing my routine. My paints have been packed up for a few weeks now. I can’t even say how long it’s been because I don’t remember. It’s all been a blur ever since we found out we’d have to move- and quickly! But the whirlwind journey is almost over. May 4 is the day we close on the house. Life is changing!

Happy Friday, everyone. Whatever you’re going through, may you take time away to gain a new perspective. When you resume your regular schedule, I hope you find it easy going, like a bird in a forest.


Joyful Memories!

See oil painting of my son jumping in leaves come alive in 48 seconds (time lapse video)

Moving is so hard and bittersweet. The passage of time is on display with every box that is packed, every room that is emptied. Today we loaded my son’s LEGO collection onto the moving pod. The LEGOs have been shipped to Ireland and back, and have been moved across several different states in the US as well.

He has long outgrown playing with these favorite toys, but keeping them as a collector’s item and to perhaps pass down to children of us own one day is why we still lug these heavy bins of plastic bricks from place to place. These bins contain memories of a boy who loved to build things, and all the hours of joyful play indoors and out. I look forward to seeing where his LEGO bins end up in the future, and the family he will build for himself. One day he too may rake up a pile of leaves- just for his children to jump in.


WOOT!

See this oil painting for “Fred” children’s book illustration come alive in 1 minute (time lapse)

“Fred” was my dad’s nickname for me. This painting was inspired by a black and white photograph he took to complete an assignment for a photography class he was taking while stationed at Grissom Air Force Base. I was happy here because I adored my dad. He was smart, funny, and loved everyone.

I feel happy today and I wish he and Mom could be a part of the good news. Yesterday I talked about the risks we are taking with this unexpected move, and today we learned that the bank’s appraisal was good! The house came in at the expected value. We have a close date and time! It’s a GO! We will have our own home after many years of temporary living and losses!!!!!

I feel like the girl I used to be- trusting, believing that good things happen if you work hard and do good, if you love everybody like my dad, if you always try your best, if you are grateful for everything you’re given, if you are a good sport when you lose and an even better sport when you win, that kindness matters, and bad days never last forever.

WOOT! I’m going HOME soon!!!!!!!!!!! Just SIX DAYS until close! Thank you to all of you who have prayed for me and my family. Your prayers were felt and have made a difference! God bless you and yours.


Wild Days

See this “Wild Horses” oil painting come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Ever feel that you live your life with reckless abandon, like these wild horses? What do they care about consequences or the worries of tomorrow? Sometimes we have a season in life when we have to take risks. One risk may lead to another, and a state of emotional numbness may take over. There’s really no point in fretting anymore if the stakes are higher than we can control. It’s time to let go, let God, and let our hearts freely and wildly hope, with no constraints, no disclaimers, and no holding back.

Yes, we may fail. Our dreams may shatter. Our hearts may break. But it may be that a leap of faith- going “all in”- a complete surrender of fear, that makes the difference between getting what we want or not.

Tomorrow the second moving pod will be delivered and Thursday we should find out the results of the appraisal on the house we’re trying to buy. If you’ve been following my journey, it’s been a wild ride. We got our vacate notice and have to move out by May 31. My husband has a job offer that doesn’t start until June. The homeowner was not willing to let us stay on for a few weeks past the lease so we were really in a bad situation during this housing crisis (not enough houses to rent or buy for the glut of people who need/want them; driving home prices above their asking price in bidding wars- selling on the first day of listing- and the rentals as well. People are actually bidding on rentals and driving the rent up higher than the asking price!).

We have had many twists and turns, including our first bid on a house not being the winning bid and having to start over, and we’re running out of time, but it looks like we will make it. Our initial plan to rent a house failed, and buying, ahead of our plan to do so next year, has been only through many unexpected and undesired paths, but here we are. If all of this goes through, we love the house and will feel we’ve won a very happy future! If the deal falls through, we have only a few weeks left to find a place to live. It’s WILD HORSES time!

Joshua 1:9: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”


aww

See this oil painting of a living sand dollar come to life in 1 minute (time lapse)

My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it was fragile, and she was concerned about other boxes crushing it. I assumed that she had wrapped up her special knickknacks but when I picked up the box it was nearly weightless. It turns out that she had saved sand dollars she’d found at the beach and those were the fragile treasures she cared about. Not something from the store, but a memory of a beautiful day and a special gift from nature. Aww, times like these make me feel as if everything I wanted for her has come true.

BTW: The pumpkin vine we plan to take with us is even bigger! We are really going to look silly carrying that into our new yard.


Nature’s Music

See oil painting “Dancer in a Floral Forest” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This painting was an experiment. A talented indie composer shared his work online and I asked if I could use it to paint what I see when I listen to his beautiful composition. This was the result.

It’s hard for me to put into words what this emotion is. It’s when we have a peaceful soul that can’t be shaken by temporary circumstances, earthly hardships, or any other setback. It’s a state of being that is expressed by “it is well with my soul”. And then, one day, a beautiful laugh is shared between loved ones, or a spontaneous encounter in nature occurs- like seeing a rose opening, a butterfly or hummingbird flitting past, or deer curiously peeking at us from a clearing- or we hear good news that changes our lives forever, and that’s when this joyful moment melds with a peaceful soul: our happiness bubbles over, creating freedom that dances in a floral forest.

Today I experienced a few moments that felt alive with such energy that it was “almost” time for a dance like that. I am so close to being HOME after so many years of temporary living. It’s still not a done deal and it could all fall through, but what if- no matter how horribly this forced move journey began- everything goes according to plan? Let the dance begin!