The Unexpected

See oil painting “Porch Flowers” come to life in about 30 seconds (time lapse)

Here’s what I originally wrote about this art:

“When we moved here, I didn’t know that the shrubs near the front porch were the flowering kind, until one day they burst out in beautiful pink and white blossoms. The flowers graced the ground when they fell, leaving a carpet of petals. The floral shower right outside our door was such a nice surprise!

Sometimes in life we fear the unexpected- the call we don’t ever want to receive, the news we can’t bear- but there are times when the unexpected is a blessing. From the big surprises we didn’t see coming, to the small ones, an ordinary day can change in an instant over a cascade of flowers.”

So, here we are several years later, and these flowers are in bloom again. If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you might recall that there have been some unexpected developments- shocking sudden deaths- four of them within a few months of each other. I thought there were five, but my mind seems to have inflated that count. Now I’m worried that there IS a fifth one that I’ll learn about soon.

That’s a lot of “unexpected”- and not the good kind. Yes, an ordinary day can change in an instant. This time around, I feel sad when I see these flowers. They seem to be funeral flowers at the moment.

This is how life is, beauty is in the perspective. We can see something beautiful and feel joy, or feel sadness, or something else entirely. Here’s hoping that the next unexpected thing that comes our way is a blessing.

Peace be with you and your family.


Misery

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

Well, I said yesterday that I’ll know soon if the ant sting/bite attack was going to be miserable, and it is. My foot is very swollen and I’ve been hobbling along because any weight on it makes it throb with a horrible combination of stinging, itching, and pressure. It’s not too worrisome though- it seems no worse than the last time this happened. It’s definitely not a condition that will put me in a wheelchair, as I’d experienced after my white water rafting accident when I was 15 years old (and recovering from the injury the following year). 

Even though I know this is a temporary setback, I tend to be an active person and it’s driving me crazy to be forced off my feet for longer than I’m used to. If I would be willing to sit still, my foot would probably not be as swollen, but I get so restless and it’s hard to just sit here. I still managed to do most of the things I’d planned to do. It sure makes me appreciate that most of the time I’m healthy and mobile, as there was a time when I wasn’t, and there was a possibility that I’d be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

I’m very grateful for the times in my life when I’ve seen a glimpse of something horrible and was saved from it. I’m also grateful for the times when the horrible things happened, but I was given the strength to get through it and the peace to heal from it. Sometimes a nuisance crisis like an allergic reaction to insect bites is a stark reminder of how vulnerable we are, and how it’s a miracle when we have a pain free, active, healthy day. It’s a miracle just being alive for one more day. What shall we do with this blessing?

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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

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

Moving Day!

This looks nothing like the house we’re closing on, but our house IS in Savannah. I had no idea when I painted this several years

MOVING TOMORROW!

WHEW! The issues are finally resolved and our delayed close on the house will happen TOMORROW! Tomorrow is moving day! I shall fly like this

S T R E S S E D

Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods,

BAD DAY

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

Super Laundry!

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

Happy Day!

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.

Bandits!

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

Easy Going

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

Joyful Memories!

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

WOOT!

“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

Wild Days

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?

aww

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

Nature’s Music

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

Ooh, Pretty!

These flowers are probably the closest thing I have right now to what my new “Freedom Rose” looks like, but imagine the buds and open

LOL, Pumpkin

I planted a couple of pumpkins in grow bags and decided that I’d take those to the new house. Well, one of the pumpkins decided

Bearing Up

The PODS container was dropped off today. I spent hours packing the first round of our household, mostly by myself. I felt victorious, like this

Lead me HOME!

When I painted this city of Savannah oil painting, I had no idea that I’d one day live not very far from this fountain square.

Strawberry Mine!

Guess what’s ready to eat already? I had the most delicious vibrant red fresh strawberry with a bit of whipped cream, MMMM! But you know

Moving Soon!

Oil painting “Autumn Cottage”, time lapse video to watch Natalie paint this art, journey of move during housing crisis

Be Thou my Vision

I hope you are enjoying this Easter weekend with loved ones and are feeling peace in your spirit. I’ve uploaded the Easter Show 2022 in

HAPPY NEWS!

Thought this joyful hymn was a good choice to celebrate my good news update: WE GOT THE HOUSE! We still have the inspection and the

Missed it?

If you missed last year’s Easter Show, here it is. It’s quite different from the 2022 show in many ways, but yet the general format

Show on YouTube

My Easter Painting Variety Show is now on YouTube, for those who prefer that platform for easy sharing. The best video quality is here on

Holy Week Begins

On this Palm Sunday, may you feel encouragement for the week ahead and the hope that Easter and spring instills. Today we put down an

EASTER SHOW LAUNCHED!

HERE IT IS! Launching my new Easter Painting Show now, to give you time to share this special video with your family, friends, and social

Show Update

I finished the final taping segment for my Easter show today! When the video is finished I will launch the show, giving you time to

Faith over Fear

Well, we finally got our pre-approval, but the house hunting news is bleak. First of all, we couldn’t get the loan type we wanted, and

They’re Back!

Today was a horrible day- seeing a painted bunting was one of the few good things about it, so I’ll focus on that. Painted buntings

Packing Up

I spent several hours today packing up my art in preparation for our unexpected move. You can probably recognize ones I’ve shared with you (in

Gator Tale

Something interesting happened yesterday at the sale. It was the last day of the 2-day event and I was discouraged because we still hadn’t had

Exceeded the Goal!

It was a day at the beach! No, it was a day spent in the driveway selling our things in the yard sale, but my

What a Day!

I’m so exhausted, I feel like this jellyfish painting- surreal and floating. Guess what? Day one of the sale (I mentioned this yesterday) already exceeded

No Word Yet

Our weather here is now beautiful, after being cold or raining for quite a stretch. I’m feeling like my tree landscape oil painting above- clear

Whirlwind Day!

Mellow music, marshmallows on a stick, and dancing flames – a fire can be welcoming and sentimental – childhood memories, family vacations, and warmth on

Wish me Luck!

Yes, these are just weeds, but when I saw the dainty sprig of clover and its pretty delicate yellow flower, I thought of shamrocks and

Resistant to Change

Well, guess who’s cranky about our unexpected move? Mr. Cardinal. He was giving me the sulky grump face all afternoon because I moved things around

They’re Back!

The hummingbirds are BACK! LOL, I’ll tell you how I encountered their return. I was preparing for our unexpected move, and taking down the garden

Out of our Control

Tonight I’m disappointed that the houses we contact a listing agent about are already spoken for, before we even get a chance. Listings have dozens

Small Signs of Hope

When I painted the double rainbow painting, I was disappointed that I didn’t paint it in a more realistic way, but it was meant to

It’s a No

The update to yesterday’s post “Feeling Froggy?” is: no. No, the home owner is not willing to extend our lease by one month so that

Feeling Froggy?

‘Tis the season- the tree frogs are back! I’d seen a few earlier, but they were hiding in the drawer of my potting bench or

Spring of Hope

Today was much better! It was a beautifully gorgeous sunny and warm spring day. I was right, my next blog post isn’t a dreary “Losing

Losing Hope

Well, the rental market has spiked out of control! The cheapest rent for the number of bedrooms we need, expanded to a wide area that

First Day of Spring!

How did you spend the day? I sang a few hymns with a virtual church who didn’t know I was there on the other side,

30 Seconds

A lot can happen in 30 seconds. Here, through the magic of time lapse, this tree that I painted when we were living in a

Letting Go – Again

I’ve used this same painting for a very similar blog post called “Letting Go”. In that post I said these wise words “We may not

Losses

Well, we’ve made some progress on decision making after yesterday’s shocking news. Talking with a mortgage officer put some numbers into our heads. There’s good

Shocking News

The story behind this painting is on the “Road Unseen” page. There are times in life when we don’t know what’s on the road ahead.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

In the good news, bad news scheme of things, covering the garden plants was mostly successful in protecting them from frost damage. Some of my

Losing Time

Daylight Savings Time is a horrible event that happens twice a year in many areas of the world. There is talk of abandoning this practice

Fear

Watch me paint “Forest Fire” in 1 minute (time lapse)

What scares you? Fires, hurricanes, storms, floods, criminal violence, car/plane/train crashes, losing a loved one, medical issues, loss of freedom? Open spaces, closed spaces, heights, water, heat, cold? Social anxiety in a crowd, or isolation when not in one? When things stay the same, or when things change? Finding your own way, or being told what to think?

Faith is about believing even when there is no evidence of our belief. We just “know”. Some call it intuition. Others think of this as a spiritual commitment to hold certain truths in our hearts, never wavering or disloyal to a higher calling. Usually this relates to living a moral life, defined by our personal values. For animals, faith seems much less complicated. Little birds may be literally pushed out of the nest by their mothers, but in a few short seconds they believe that they can fly- and indeed, they can.

When we believe in who we are, and the abilities we were born with, we trust that we can do what we were meant to do. Faith comes easier, requiring no proof of our claims, if we make a spiritual, intellectual, and physical commitment to be true to our purpose. If we believe we are meant to be strong, healthy, and positive for our families and communities, we can act in faith to BE strong, healthy, and positive.

Fear can be a mysteriously beautiful thing, just like an out of control forest fire. When we are afraid, we are aware of how fragile life is, and how vulnerable we are. We are aware of how precious time is. We may see our role in this universe as very small, but each of us are a tiny intersection point on a vast web. We matter. Every life connects to other lives. When we lose a connection point, part of the web falls apart. All of this may come to us in a fuzzy sort of way that we don’t analyze, but on a gut level our focus is sharper when we are afraid.

Fear is an opportunity. Do we rise? Do we respond with cowardice, submission, and defeat? Do we abdicate our responsibilities to others, and let them dictate our lives? When we give up our authority, when we surrender our sovereign self, we allow fear to be an excuse to abandon who we are, to lay down our purpose under the cloak of compliance.

When we choose to rise in the face of fear, some may call it choosing faith over fear. But perhaps it’s more fitting to say that we choose faith through fear. Fear can be an exhilarating journey; when we are aware of death, we are aware of LIFE. Our passion to live may be ignited, cultivated, and utilized to provide lasting change. We may “level up” spiritually, intellectually, and even physically. Mind, body and spirit are always connected. When we elevate in one, we elevate our full selves.

Fear can be a blessing. The choice is ours. Fight for your purpose. Never give in, back down, or give up in the face of fear. Embrace what scares you and stand firmly rooted in who you are. May your responses be in alignment with your core values, and never compromised by the demands of other entities, agendas, or people.

I finally started my new painting today, after two days of planning to do so, but getting distracted by family things. I don’t regret going with the moment and focusing on the family. Awareness of time helps us choose what’s most important. Even though my vocation is very important to me, work is work. It is here today, and gone tomorrow, even if I become successful enough to be legendary. One day my art will mean whatever people want it to mean, with or without me. 

But love is forever. What we invest in people lives on spiritually, eternally. When we experience fear, we understand this concept in a heightened way that is a blessing, should we accept. I accept. I hope you do as well.

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HAPPY 4th of JULY!

If you missed my new painting show announcement, here it is! Have a happy Independence Day, no matter where you live. Freedom is for all persons, and is a right of humanity. Be brave, be strong, be FREE!

All photos in the slideshows are of my own family and places I’ve been. Most of the pictures are my own photography (except for the ones that I’m in, and the photos from Germany and Iraq taken by my husband or his fellow soldiers). This is my American story. I hope that you can see how much I love America, and why.

Wherever life finds you, find a way to love your home. The ground beneath your feet must never be condemned, lest you condemn yourself and your neighbors. The blessing to be alive for another new day is a privilege awarded to all who live and breathe.

My new painting featured in the 4th of July show is called “Americana“. See the art page for a 2 minute time lapse version to watch me paint it, and/or options to purchase prints.

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