New Cardinal Friends

See this oil painting of a cardinal come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse video)

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 our “old” cardinal friends, my family was amused because they thought that any cardinal is the same as another, and surely there will be other cardinals. But I was right, these birds are different.

Our old friends were kind of chubby, which may have been our fault by overfeeding them. They were also quirky and would look into the patio doors, interacting with me. The new cardinals are much smaller, leaner, and athletic. They soar straight up like a rocket when they are done at the feeder. They are curious about me, but skittish. It will take a while to win them over.

I take this as a metaphor for any life changes we go through. It’s the “same but different”. New adventures (especially the kind that are forced on us unexpectedly) are a chance for re-inventing ourselves, expanding who we are, and making new choices. It’s also an opportunity to appreciate the things that make us who we are- the things we don’t want to change, but are open to doing better.

A fresh perspective can elevate us to better people if we accept this challenge. Yet, we are the same as when we were born. We don’t “lose” ourselves. We simply fly a little differently, perhaps higher and better.


I’m HOME!

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

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 a short note for now.


Moving Day!

See this oil painting of a house in Savannah come alive in just over 1 minute (time lapse)

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 ago that I’d be living nearby. This painting seems almost prophetic or foreshadowing now.

I’m looking forward to setting up my new art space and digging my paintbrushes back out. Until then, I’ll try to keep up with my daily blog talks with you, but I don’t know how soon our Internet connection will be up and running. I may be able to hotspot with my phone. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, assume I’m not set up yet.

Today will be a very busy day of moving and closing. I’m nervous, and excited! We are going HOME! After more than a decade of temporary living, we’ll finally be home!!


MOVING TOMORROW!

See oil painting “Butterfly of Hope” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

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 butterfly!


S T R E S S E D

See oil painting “Sheltering Tree” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

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, truck, cleaning service (required to close out lease), and all of the other parts of this process. I’ve worked on cleaning and loading the pod all day and am exhausted. I’m struggling not to worry. It is difficult.

Sheltering trees (the theme of my painting in the video above) are places we can go when we need rest. “A shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain” – Isaiah 4:2-6 When we are under a great deal of stress, may we spiritually retreat to a sheltering tree.

In this emotional space we can breathe and remind ourselves of how difficult times do not last forever, and how often we emerge from a crisis stronger. When we are at peace it is “well with my (our) soul” and it’s much easier to handle stressful situations. It doesn’t mean we don’t ever lose control of our emotions or let anxiety get the better of us, but we may pull ourselves together more quickly. A restful spirit is a good companion to a faithful spirit. Faith leads to hope, and hope makes all the difference.


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.