More Coffee

See oil painting “Breakfast with Friends” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I last shared this one with you in my June 1 blog post “Are you my Friend?“. Today, I’m sharing it for a different reason: the warm coffee and breakfast. Now, this is a good breakfast (egg and bacon), but I look forward to tomorrow morning’s treat, the coffee cake I made today. It’s a from-scratch recipe that I used to make throughout my young married days, and while the kids were little. I hadn’t made that cake in a long time, it’s been years. 

I never had a bundt pan, except for a brief frustrating experience with a cheap one that made my cakes stick to the bottom (or actually the top in the case of a bundt pan). I’d make the cake in a regular pan, which was a bit disappointing because the streusel didn’t turn out looking fancy. I finally bought a nice bundt pan and I was excited to make my old coffee cake in it. It turned out beautifully! And it looks fancy too! Well, it did before I cut it all up and my family devoured most of it.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll stir resentfully until I remember my coffee cake. Then my eyes will fly open and I’ll spring out of bed, anticipating how wonderful it will taste with a cup of coffee. Or tea. I drink more tea than coffee these days. 

The cake tastes the same as I remembered, but having been baked in the special pan feels symbolic of progress. Funny how we can go through most of our lives without having the right tool for the job, and when we finally try the same task again with the right tool, suddenly it call comes together with the finishing touch, like the experienced professional that we have become. My fondness for metaphors brings me to this: the act of living is like baking my coffee cake. 

We begin with a desire for something good, something to share with others, something that makes us happy. And we bake a delicious cake that everyone loves, and we think it’s the best that life can be. But we haven’t seen the best of us yet. The best is yet to come.

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Peace to You

Play Video

Watch this beach painting come to life in under 1 minute

(time lapse)

Another new week begins. Rest, reflect, and prepare your spirit to be strong, focused, and positive. God bless you and your families.

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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

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Do you want a cookie?

Watch me paint these peach cookies with powdered sugar coating, from the book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia” (1 minute time lapse)

When we were children and someone asked us, “Do you want a cookie?” we’d probably have said yes without hesitation (unless it was a type of cookie we didn’t like, or we were allergic to the ingredients in it). But as adults, the simple yes or no decision about whether or not we want a cookie is more complicated. 

Beyond any allergies or dislike for the cookie, we might also consider the calories, any ingredients that don’t fit into our diet plan, who made the cookie and how fresh it is, if the conditions of the cookie look hygienic or if the cookie has been touched by many people before being offered, if the cookie has hard decorations that could hurt our teeth, if the cookie is sloppy and will be messy to eat, if the cookie comes with a paper napkin or plate, if the cookie has a political statement written on it, if the cookie is sold by an organization whose politics we don’t agree with, if the cookie is offered free or at a cost, if we are expected to eat a cookie right before singing or speaking in public, if accepting the cookie means that someone else can’t have one (not enough to go around), if not accepting the cookie will hurt someone’s feelings, and probably other considerations I didn’t think of.

Every decision we make as an adult is more complicated than our decision making process we had when we were children. And though it may be tempting to wish for those days back, the truth is that most of us prefer to be adults. For if we still made decisions in a childlike way, we’d be as vulnerable as children. Rash impulsive decisions based on immediate rewards sometimes leads to dire consequences that hurt ourselves and others. There’s a good reason for humans to grow up and learn to make mature, fully thought out decisions.

But every now and then… if offered a cookie (assuming that a single cookie won’t ruin your fitness plan), why not just say “YES, please!” and enjoy every sweet morsel of it? Life is complicated, so it’s a happy thing when we take a break from the seriousness of this world. Sometimes a pretty little cookie really is just a pretty little cookie that tastes delicious and gives us a few minutes of joy. And we can say “YES, I want a cookie!”

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Free Online Art Classes

Watch the above video for a teaser about what my art course is like, and also a short inspirational speech to motivate you to pursue whatever your heart desires (not limited to painting or the arts, but life in general). If you’d like to take this course, you need to do nothing to sign up, all 12 classes are available 24/7 on this site, and you don’t need to even tell me you’re taking it if you prefer privacy. My art classes are completely free and available for all (tips welcome, but not required). I hope you take advantage of the opportunity, whether you are a beginner or a professional. 

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Bluebird of Happiness

Sometimes called “bluebird of happiness”, seeing a bluebird is associated with prosperity, good luck, joy, life, beauty and hope. I saw my first bluebird this season and it took my breath away! I gasped and squealed aloud, even though I was alone. His belly was more red than brown, almost pink. The sun hit his blue wings when he flew away and it was gorgeous!

The cute plump bluebird above was painted for a children’s book called “Bird Days”. The one I saw looked more like the bluebird in this oil painting “Come to the Garden“, that is an exaggerated fanciful version of my real life patio. I painted a bluebird perched on top of the trellis, from my memory of seeing him there in real life. The trellis is an actual part of my patio (the path, fence, etc. are not real, nor is the row of white flowers in the foreground).

I didn’t get a real life bird video of a bluebird to share… I never seem to have my camera when he appears. But, if I do capture him on film I’ll post it. While cardinals have made their home here with us and live nearby year round, dining regularly from our bird feeders, the bluebirds are rare visitors.

I have a painting project in progress but, like seeing a bluebird, it’s rare that my husband is coming home early on a glorious sunny day. We plan to just “be”, doing home stuff at an easy pace while our kids are around us. I doubt I’ll get any painting done, and that’s perfectly fine. There’s always tomorrow to reach my 1k finished paintings goal!

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