If you’ve been following our unexpected sudden move journey, and the way the housing crisis has caused a shortage of rentals and homes to buy, then you know it’s a tremendous weight off our shoulders that this house deal has progressed from accepted offer to the inspection stage. The inspection was today and looks like it has passed! We will get the official report tomorrow. Unless there is a nasty plot twist, all is on track for an early close and we’ll be moving soon.
BTW: our new house has a window box! That’s been on my dream wish list ever since we were first married and living in Germany in the attic of a house that had window boxes. So, I chose this autumn cottage painting for today’s blog post. It was a painting I did while just sort of daydreaming of a peaceful cottage with a fall seasonal theme, and the window boxes almost painted themselves.
I will be packing up my paintbrushes and paint, so it will be a while before I have anything new to share. But, I have 200+ paintings already filmed and my chatter will not cease. The daily blog will continue throughout this crazy time. I have many stories to share with you about everything that’s happened, and when I have a bit more time I’ll do that. There will be a day here soon when nearly everything is packed and I’ll be restless. I can tell those stories then. For now, I’m still in a packing frenzy!
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 there are many extra costs. Secondly, apparently the housing market is so insane that people are snatching up houses the very first day they are listed and having bidding wars. A friend of mine said it is like that in Texas, but I found out today that it’s like that here in Georgia as well. Also, since houses are selling above their appraised value, we may have to pay the difference between the value and the selling price. IF we are the winner of a bidding war.
So, it’s not the happy news I was expecting because immediately upon getting our approval we learned that it will cost us much, much more, that we qualify for less, and that it will be hard to get a house at all. But rentals are practically non-existent. It’s unfortunate timing to be forced out of this rental house during a housing crisis!
I’m going to have to dig deep into faith over fear. Today’s featured oil painting is these happy penguins because I need to focus on positive thinking, family, and love. Good things will happen, even if the journey might be difficult, disappointing, and exhausting. Meanwhile, I haven’t given up on my Easter show. The taping is nearly done- I think tomorrow may be the last segment! It’s a very special show and I hope that you will share it with all of your connections.
Well, there’s not much to say tonight, as I feel deflated, defeated and afraid. Tomorrow is a fresh day. Good night, dear friends. May you feel peace and strength. God bless you.
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 Hope” theme like yesterday’s. I worked at packing for the unwanted move, while opening my mind more to the idea that this will end up good for us in some way in the end. I worked on my painting and transplanted more bell peppers for our plant sale. The first created something new, the second is letting go of my garden since we have to vacate before harvest time. Life is often this way, something gained while something is lost.
I imagine our lives as a train station where tracks run both directions. Sometimes they run at equal speeds, sometimes not. Sometimes you can see both trains at the same time, other times not. But one train doesn’t negate the other, even if their journeys and destinations are different. I have to remind myself of this often because I have a tendency to feel as if I can’t enjoy the pleasure trip if a crisis trip is running alongside on the other track. But most of the time there’s an overlap of good things and bad things. We can’t wait for all of the bad things to go away- we must live our lives and find joy where we can.
So, on that philosophical note, I’ll wrap up by saying that our housing problem is unresolved. In fact, it’s worse. There are now NO homes that meet our needs listed for rent by the property management, and very few outside of that company either. What few are available are ridiculously expensive. It’s not a good outlook at the moment. It could change any day. If it doesn’t, we’ll muster through somehow. I’ll take one day at a time. It was a good day because I had a better attitude. I got a lot done. And my husband brought home cookies.
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. Today we found out that the person who owns this house has decided to sell it and won’t renew the lease. So, we have to move out in about two months. We were not expecting this, as we won’t be ready to buy a house until next year at the earliest. You might remember that after job loss (the company he worked for moved out of the country) my husband went back to school for a new career? He graduates in June, but we must vacate before then. We were so close to the end of this journey, yet didn’t quite make it and now we’re in a sticky situation to find a four bedroom house quickly.
We not only have to figure out housing, but we only have a short time to pack up five years’ of living in this house and move. I am shocked by this sudden turn of events and I have no idea how this will turn out for us. I will have to put certain things on hold work wise, like the new weekly show I had already postponed- now it will be postponed even longer. It involved a green screen, you might remember? I had tested it out. But, today I took the green screen down and I’ll pack it up. I’m still doing the Easter show though, as I’m very close to taping that and it would be a shame to cancel it.
I’m still in shock over this. I have no idea what we’re going to do.
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 in the United States, and I hope that happens. I am one of those people who doesn’t need an alarm clock. I wake based on how the light feels. I usually wake up at the same time every morning regardless of an alarm set, except when the clocks are messed with. Then I wake up disoriented and miserable for about a week until my body resets itself with the new sun rising time.
I’m bent out of shape over this, and also disgruntled that I’ve lost a few of my flowers in the cold frost. We saved most of our garden by covering the plants. There’s one more frost warning tonight and I hope that the only losses are the flowers we lost overnight last night. There is some damage to my roses and a few other plants also, but I think those will bounce back.
At the end of the day, these are small issues. But we project our feelings about big issues onto small issues, and these things represent significant losses we can’t control. Losing time, losing life- these things hit home. Grief is all about losing time and losing life. It’s a hard journey. When relatively trivial events put us through a series of metaphorical losses, it’s easy for the mind, body, and spirit to associate the temporary misery with the more permanent kind.
So, if you too are feeling out of sorts and wishing for a happier day, take heart that this is a normal human condition. You are not alone. Stay strong and let the week unfold. God bless you and keep you, and give you peace.
I uploaded this painting video to YouTube today and I struggled to come up with the words to put into the description. What started off as a simple project idea turned into a story of loss and healing. My grief journey began when I was a child, but when Mom died, it felt like I lost Dad all over again because she was the one who kept his memory alive.
But it has been several years now since she passed, and now my journey has me on a path where I’m hopeful and focused on the new roads ahead. Every now and then, though, my spirit needs a retreat to the cabin in the woods. Here is what I wrote for the YouTube video description:
What does this painting mean to you? Art is a language and it speaks to you however you want. This is what it means to me: When I painted this, the project goal was to paint from my imagination (no reference or plan) and paint however the emotions and inspiration leads. My thoughts were of a cabin in the woods, a peaceful and restful space, a spiritual escape from the stresses, chaos, and darkness of this world. But as I painted, I found myself lost in the scene with additions that changed the story. The empty rocking chair and the cardinal in the tree- the chair reminded me of Mom. Her chair is empty and her tea is abandoned, as she left it. The cardinal is Dad’s spirit, who died almost 25 years before her, when he was 37 years old. This space holds the spirits of loved ones who’ve left this world, yet they live on where time and physical distance has no meaning. When the burdens of this world are too much, let our minds escape to this cabin in the woods, where peace is forever standing still, and we are forever loved. But let’s not linger there too long. We are blessed to be alive. We have so much left to do. I have hundreds more paintings to reach my 1k finished oil paintings goal. We all have a destiny, a purpose, and reason to be here.
Here’s another painting video that I needed to change the music I’d originally used, to avoid copyright claims. I like how the new music works, but I also like the Irish music I had at first, so I’m keeping it the original way here on this site.
It feels like a journey looking into the past, going through these older painting videos. This was inspired by when I was living in Ireland in 2016 after my husband lost his job and we wanted to start over in a very big way. I’ve been thinking about Ireland a lot lately. Looking back is bittersweet.
We’d given up nearly everything we had to start over in Ireland, but even though I landed my month-long solo art show and my son got a partial scholarship to University College Cork, alas we couldn’t get our “permission to remain” visa and I had to cancel my art show (it was scheduled past our temporary visa expiration date), and the kids each canceled their school enrollment. It was rather crushing, as there was a process to get accepted for both them and for me, and our work to earn the money to go, by selling most of our possessions, and, well… it just wasn’t meant to be.
So, back we went, and by that time my husband was homesick and then the rest of us felt it too. We were born and raised in America, and no matter how much my dad’s spirit was calling me to Ireland, he was gone and I was not allowed to be an Irish resident. I will never really fully stop being sad about this, but I accept my place in life and I bloom where I’m planted.
However, when we first returned to the States, we went somewhere that quickly made us miserable, and we did not bloom! We were again landlocked and cold, and nothing we did was successful. But we didn’t let our journey end in such a crushing failure.
Even though we felt crazy to try yet again, we made one last long trip to somewhere beyond the rainbow where the dolphins roam wild. And now… if I were to stand at the coast near where I currently live, and throw a stone that could magically fly in a North Eastern direction across the ocean shore to the other side, it would land at the Celtic Sea Coast. I think of this whenever I stare across the ocean, imagining that it runs into the sea, and it reaches Ireland. I am just an ocean away. And this is where I belong. I will make a good life for myself here.
As I’ve been sitting here talking to you, the sun has come out. While it’s been cold here in Southern Georgia this January, today it is beautiful. It is currently 71 degrees F, with a high of 72. I’ll “see” you again tomorrow. I’m going outside!
The inspiration for this art came originally from the allegory and metaphor found in the Biblical concept of the narrow way (Matthew 7: 13-14), but it expanded into other thoughts: “I kept imagining an apple tree in the middle… between the two paths. I couldn’t let go of that image, so I looked it up to see if there was anything that could grow on a tree that is poisonous, that looks like an apple. There IS. It’s called a Manchineel Tree, or “tree of death”. Then I knew what the apple tree image [I imagined for the painting] was about. The half that is near the narrow path bears good fruit- red delicious apples. The half near the wide path bears poisonous fruit- in fact, the tree on that side is so poisonous that even being near it can be fatal. The tree that bears good or poisonous fruit also reminds me of the fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law“
Today I’m feeling a different connection to this painting. Here we are in a new year, and maybe you’re feeling this too- I feel myself being offered new paths to take. I definitely sense that one path is the clear intended “right” way to go, and I’ll take it. I don’t know what poisonous fruit I would have found down the other path, but I feel that I’ve avoided something miserable. Wherever you’re being led to go, accept that journey and don’t look back to see the path not taken. If you’ve done all that you were destined to do, you have done all you can. You can enjoy the good seasons of the journey and be at peace through the hard times.
Good luck and many blessings for all of your new adventures in 2022!
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Do you ever see yourself in the past, through a photograph, a video, through the eyes of an old friend or relative, or maybe a memory that flashes through your mind after hearing a certain song? Whatever the triggering moment, sometimes we fleetingly see our past selves. It can be a jarring experience. This was the case for me today when I edited this video.
I shared the story behind this angels painting in a June blog post called “Are you an angel?“. When I painted this I was still using my old camcorder and the footage is grainy. I tried to brighten and fix it today, but there was only so much I could do. I changed the music and smoothed the footage out a bit. That’s about all I can do since the raw footage isn’t very good. While I was editing the video, I felt like I was looking at a stranger.
This younger version of me doesn’t look vastly different from who I am now, yet I barely recognize myself. Why? Has it been so long ago that I’ve aged into a different person? That’s unsettling, and a bit of a shock. No, I don’t think that’s it.
I studied the face in the video and realized that I look sad. I painted this before we moved to Ireland. I think it was the year after Mom died, when we sold the house we’d worked so hard to build (I shared some of this with you in a post called “Downsizing our Dreams“), and when our first child went away to college. In such a short period of time I lost my only remaining close relative, my child left home, I lost my job (my home studio and arts program that I had built from nothing and had dedicated so much to), and my husband, who was losing his job, had just had surgery.
No wonder I was sad! But my melancholy wasn’t solely about our circumstances and hardships. 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. But, for a while, we may not know who that person is. It was during this period of brokenness that I painted the angels art. When I saw my sad face in that video, it struck me how far I’ve come.
Have you ever had a period of reflection like this, that hits you out of the blue? May we feel proud of how far we’ve come and the journey it took to get there. May we find joy in endurance, and passion for the road ahead. The journey never ends; we merely find easier paths from time to time, never knowing when the terrain will prove difficult again. When we look back on who we used to be, may we feel blessed to be who we are now, and encouraged that the best is yet to come.
Watch my new oil painting come to life! “Cardinal on a Tree Branch“, my latest painting that features a cardinal; a bird that is spiritually meaningful to many people and is simply delightful in nature, a truly peaceful and beautiful bird.
I also offer some fashion inspired by art from the previous collections. I plan to add some new designs from the 2021 Nature collection, and I’ll definitely include this cardinal. I know that some of you love cardinals and have been hoping for a new one. I understand because I love cardinals too, and they mean something personal to me and my family.
So the “and MORE” is the celebration that my 2021 art collection is FINISHED! WOOT!!! This feels awesome! I also wanted to announce that I’ll soon have the book and fashion parts of it done. But, I’ll hold back on the reveal of what the new collection for 2022 will be. I’ll be starting on the first painting of that series soon, so stay tuned!
Thank you for being a part of this journey. One more set of 50 done toward my lifetime goal of 1k finished paintings!