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 rural area of Ireland, gets some finishing details.
30 seconds can be the longest seconds of our lives when a baby is born with the cord wrapped around his neck and we’re waiting for him to breathe. That was how my son entered the world. Longest seconds of our lives. He was blue and lifeless. Then, he cried. Fear and impending grief turned to joy.
Life can change in an instant. 30 seconds is 30 instants. It’s a long time. So in that context, a full day is an eternity. Whenever I think I don’t have enough time, I try to remind myself of how time is our perception of it. When we are propelled by adrenaline, emotion, pressure, social energy, or other factors, suddenly we can pack a lot of activity into a short period of time. When we feel sluggish, discouraged, defeated, bored, or frustrated, we can drag our feet and make relatively simple chores seem like impossible burdens, missions we can’t possibly complete. We procrastinate and make excuses for why we can’t do what we really CAN.
I met all the taping goals today for the Easter show! Now I can turn my attention to the unexpected move we have to make in 2 months. It seems like an impossible task at the moment, but do I need a full minute? A lot can happen in just 30 seconds. In 30 seconds I can go from a resigned spirit to high energy. It’s really my choice. The pep talk I gave myself (and you) yesterday was similar to this one and it really helped! Some of you gave me great feedback and I was encouraged to stay the course (THANK YOU! <3 ). Now I can feel proud of what I accomplished today and I know that I can handle the challenges ahead.
Whatever you’re facing these days, I hope that my ongoing saga motivates you to join me in manifesting the outcome we want by powering through with full passion, energy, and hope. Obviously it will be difficult to maintain the full wattage of that power at all times, but if we think in terms of “30 seconds” we may be able to switch our mindset for just 30, and then 30 more… before we know it, the day is gone and we’ve done what we wanted to do!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday’s post called “HONK!” is wistful, expressing the simple desire to be as free as the Canadian Geese I painted. Today, I feel more like this snarling lion, as I’ve read so many angry stories and my own personal events are infuriating too. The vibe I’ve picked up from most of you is the same.
Whether it’s minor irritations that drip, drip, drip into our spirits like a maleficent faucet, or major frustrations that drench us like a scathing bucket of frothing malice dumped on our heads, fury is contagious and dangerous. If we don’t protect ourselves, we may drown in our own stress and anger. And when we collectively feel rage and despair, we bring each other down as individuals.
When I find myself drawn into the chaos for too long, I pull the plug and take a break from the madness. Balance is healthy. If you feel yourself sucked in, not living your own life, and paralyzed by news events, it may be time to take back your purpose. YOU matter. You matter as a sovereign human being, whose private situations and emotions are known only to God. No matter how big and how grand the global battles may be, they are never too big to diminish your struggles, your pain, your frustrations, your hurt, or your hope for a better day.
Stay strong and know that you are loved. God bless and keep you this day and always. May the sun shine upon your face.
2022 is the year of the tiger according to Chinese tradition. Tiger years are “all about going big or going home”. The tiger is known for power, daring, and doing everything on a GRAND scale. Courage, leadership, quick action, and crazy dreams are also traits associated with “tiger years”.
I found this interesting, even though I know nothing about these traditions. From my own perspective, I was floored because when I went to write tonight’s blog post, my tiger painting sprang to mind as the one to share, so I looked it up to see if it was remotely possible that I’ve painted an animal that is “the year of” for 2022. I about fell off my chair when I saw that this year’s animal is a TIGER! Wow. So, even though I don’t have any connection to those traditions, I *do* have personal experience with mysterious serendipity, intuition, and thoughts or feelings pressed upon us that we can’t explain in the natural world.
Happy New Year, dear friends! May you fully embrace your “tiger year” with good courage, big dreams, and risks based on hope for the future. God bless and keep you, this day and always, and well beyond 2022!
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“In brokenness, we find healing. We learn what parts of ourselves we want to put back together, and which pieces we don’t. This process can feel profoundly sad, as we may be temporarily lost.
When we lose the people, places, and purpose that defined us, we have an opportunity to make different choices. This can be a liberating and life-changing experience. We can be more of who we were always meant to be.”
May we see what’s possible in ourselves. We have the power to be who we were born to be, should we choose it. Let us accept the challenge to be happy, regardless of our circumstances.
God bless and keep you, this day and always, and may 2022 be a year of unlimited hope and spiritual prosperity.
In my blog post called “Season of Advent” I told you that I had a lot on my heart about Advent, but my story would have to wait because it was a long day and I was going to bed. Tonight I will try to put into words what I’m feeling. Those of you who have been following me for a while already know the story of this oil painting, but I’ll summarize it (and yet it will still take a long time to tell even the short version).
I painted this before I became a full time oil painter. You can probably tell that my setup was primitive. My art board kept sliding and falling because it was on a flimsy table-top easel. I didn’t have good lighting, and I filmed this with my old camcorder that didn’t have HD. But my heart was into this painting, more so than many of my others that would follow.
Dad died when he was 37, Mom died 25 years later. Both died from slow, torturing terminal illnesses. I was in my bedroom that shared my parents’ bedroom wall when Dad was dying from cancer in his room. I knew it was the end, and I tried not to listen, alone in my room while the relatives were with Hospice on the other side of the wall. Many years later, I was my mom’s caregiver. So, I experienced the deaths of both of my parents and both died traumatically. As in, these were not sudden deaths or dying-in-sleep deaths, but slow deaths that ended only after wishing it was over, and then feeling crushing guilt for feeling such a horrible thing. I could speak volumes about this, and maybe one day I will, as I think it could help others going through watching a loved one die. But that day is not today. I’ll move on:
When Mom was dying, she talked about Dad and her memories went back to when they were young and dating. When she died, it was like Dad died all over again, like they’d both gone together. No one (but me) would ever tell his stories again, as no one in my circle had ever met him. He was gone before I met my husband. The loss of my parents made my soul ache in a way I never knew was possible.
A few physical, tangible things remain, that prove their existence in this world. One of those is the Nativity set that they made together. Mom poured the ceramic molds to create the figures. Dad hand painted them. I was inspired to paint the main figures of the set as an oil painting representation (the art at the top of this blog post).
My story will now abruptly switch gears. This (the images and video of my Nativity painting) is the art that BLM/Antifa conspired to delete from my website. At the time, I had very few visitors to my website, so it was very obvious what had happened. But, just in case it wasn’t clear, they made sure to upload a snarky devil cartoon in place of the blog post and art that they deleted. This was part of a larger terror campaign against me and many others in January 2017 (and this sort of thing- and worse- continues to happen to this day). I had done nothing wrong. I was just on a list of names of people who had supported an independent social media platform (one that I later quit, and never had any real association with other than enjoying posting my art there and making friendly connections). Anyway, rather than get too far into this, I want to focus only on how it affected me to be targeted, afraid that they’d go after my kids, and how violating it was that they deleted my art.
It was a spiritual attack. My parents were both cremated. I have no grave to visit. I have no flowers to lay down. My painting was a memorial tribute to them. My website at the time had few eyes ever on it, so it was such a shock when my site was invaded and my files were rummaged through. I’d told the story about my parents in that blog. Who could be so heartless as to delete it? No empathy? No human warmth?
I had done nothing to these people. I didn’t even know who they were. I was no threat to them. I was a broken, grieving person who was experiencing the loss of my husband’s and my own jobs, the uprooting of our family, having to sell what we built and believed to be our “forever” home, watching our kids take pictures of their favorite climbing tree and every room of their childhood house (the house in the above pictures)… while we were headed for years of rental homes and instability as we worked to rebuild our lives.
We are still not fully arrived into our new lives, but we are nearly there. My husband went back to college and there was an internship period as well, so it’s been a long road. But he is now on the last leg of it. I too am “nearly there” in my new vocation. As we move into this season, there’s a lot to reflect upon and a lot to look forward to. When sold our home, we also sold most of our possessions to finance the rebuilding of our lives. None of the things from the above photos are ours anymore, except for the Nativity set and each other. So, this particular set by my parents is very dear to me, as well as nativity scenes in general for their spiritual meaning.
Advent is a time of year when many Christians go through a time of serious reflection and joyful expectation. Like I mentioned, I went through a prolonged period of deep reflection and hope that lasted several years, and it was during that time when the “activists”, sponsored by my own government, put me on a target list. I was frightened that they’d find my kids on campus, as they knew their faces and where I lived. I didn’t know how far they’d take the terror campaign against the people on their list.
Yet, even then, what struck me the most was the deletion of my Nativity painting. Something inside me changed that day. I learned who I am, and I am a fighter. I believe strongly in honoring life, both on this side of it and beyond. I will never give in, give up, or back down. I will not be silenced. I will not be defined by others, by a collective, a mob, a cult, or a government. I am an individual. I am sovereign. My motives are my own, based on my life experiences that are unique to me. I will not be judged or condemned by those who have no spiritual authority over me. I will not lay down my paintbrushes. I will never stop reflecting on what was, nor will I ever stop expecting joy in the future.
The season of Advent brings out the Nativity scenes, and I will never be able to experience this in the same way again. It is highly personal, and the spiritual connection is much stronger than it ever was. And because of this, I am currently working on a new Nativity oil painting. I hope you will connect with it, and feel the beauty of peace, reflection, and anticipation of joy- in this life, and beyond. No amount of hate can stop this love. It is a gift for all who wish to receive it. God bless you and your family.
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I painted this just over a month ago, you might remember when I shared it. It feels like much longer to me. Does it to you? I thought of this one to add to my spree of fall related paintings. Something about the sky feels moody and ready for autumn even though there are still flowers in bloom and green leaves on the tree.
In the video, do you notice how the oil paints look when they are wet and the light shines on them? The sky feels real when the light interacts with the paint as I add each layer, along with the choreography effect of time lapse footage synced with music. What I share is often more about the experience of painting than the painting itself.
Sharing my art through moving, fluid video (and live on stage) is what I want to contribute as an artist, and as a fellow human. It is my hope that I can touch lives through sharing this experience, and that people like you will feel a connection- and will make it your own experience. Your reaction is personal and unique to you, and may even be difficult to explain to others. It is my wish that you feel understood, even though I can’t possibly know your story or why you might feel something meaningful to your own life when you watch these oils flow into finished paintings.