Seasons of Life, acrylics…

This painting is actually in the shape of a circle, a mandala, a symbol of wholeness.  I just couldn’t figure out how to take a round picture.  When I look at it, I feel it comfort and reassure me that life goes on, through all the seasons and begins again, on and on, time after time.  The sun is the source of power and energy that makes the seedling sprout, become a sapling, bloom for spring, don full foliage for summer, then change its colors, drop its leaves, and fall into its deep winter sleep.  The water is the necessary element that quenches the tree’s thirst and helps it grow stronger.  Symbolically, we are the seedling that sprouts and eventually grows to full adulthood, going through all the seasons we must as we age and one day fall back to the earth, the Source, from which we came.  For this I am thankful: that all things have their time and season to flourish, both joys and sorrows, until their time has passed and then we must eventually let them go.  A multitude of sins and hurts are nourished by the Eternal Light, cleansed and healed by the Spirit of God quenching the parched soul’s thirst.  Is there not beauty and mystery in this sacred process called Life?

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you, not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Nelson Mandela, in his 1994 inaugural speech.


Collage detail…

The other night we went to a performance called The Acoustic Porch that is hosted by a local singer, Ann Caldwell, and she pre-invites a few guest artists to join her on stage. I was impressed with a courageous girl with blonde pigtails and a purple guitar who sang Route 66 and a song by Taylor Swift. She has been singing and playing guitar since she was all of 3 and now she’s a whopping 8, embarking on a music career and who knows what else with gumption like that pouring out of her like a water spout.

Regretfully, I admit that I am more like the little girl in the collage when it comes to acts of bravery such as performing on stage. I just want to scream and run away. Courage has come to me many times when I have been asked to play my flute but I haven’t played in awhile and wonder if I’ve lost my gumption. I have no desire for a music career, just love the flute and enjoy making music with others when the occasions arise. I can think of other ways some extra doses of courage would help me overcome my fears and find myself. As an old African proverb I read recently puts it: “God does not swat flies away from tailless cows.”


Of Frosts and Fires…

Leave it to Queen Callie, the calico cat, to investigate the slightest change in her kingdom and make her disapproval loudly known.  A week or so ago autumn’s first night of frost warnings prompted her loyal subjects to make some changes in the palace.  Pedro built a fire in the den for romance and warmth, and I moved the plants in from the porch to avoid frostbite.  I am trying really hard to overcome my past history of plant neglect and I hope this first attempt will help me rehabilitate my not-so-green thumb and turn over a new leaf! (Pun intended, of course!) However, the indoor greenhouse in the foyer has caused a domino effect because the bench where the plants are is the spot I used to keep the Queen’s bowl of food.  The food was moved to higher ground on top of the piano, in part to keep three large dogs from emptying the bowl when we aren’t looking.  This change has been very distressing to the Queen.  She whines to her loyal subjects and throws herself across our path as we try to get out the front door demanding that her palace be restored to order.  So what if she has to jump up on the keyboard and play a few tunes to get her food?  It is more disturbing to us in the middle of the night when we hear her strange music like she’s the phantom of the opera, until we figure out that we are not having strange dreams, just living in a strange kingdom at the mercy of a finicky Queen.  I did see her laying on the fireplace watching the flames dance and looking quite content so maybe there’s hope for peace in the land once more. 


Untitled by Corey Rodriguez….I was recently informed the title of this metal sculpture which is taller than the 6 foot 2 inch artist is called “Harry Potter”


Happy 23rd Birthday, Corey!

Tomorrow, I will be delighted to wish our wonderful son another year of surprises and happiness, especially since his early years could have filled a book called “Adventures with Corey.”  He was filled with energy and curiosity, a sometimes potent combination that landed him in my journal pages dubbed with the title “Kamikaze Kid”:

“It is amazing to me how my adventuresome middle son of two is capable of movements that demonstrate his agility, strength, and coordination but within seconds he may stumble himself into the most peculiar predicaments.  How is it possible that the tarzan boy I caught swinging from the handle on the refrigerator door be the same boy who trips and falls running at break-neck speed several times a day?  He proves his strength by doing pull-ups on the kitchen counter to snitch a finger-full of butter, yet this is the same boy I rescued from an acrobatic back bend gone awry where getting his head stuck upside down in his baby sister’s walker barely phased him at all….He rises up and proceeds on his way, undaunted by his sudden twists of fate that often land him belly first in the dirt or left hanging upside down in a tree….I do believe in guardian angels and am convinced that my children all have one, I just hope they never fall asleep on the job….At times I think it will be remarkable, almost miraculous, if Corey will grow to adulthood without altering his life permanently from one of his kamikaze stunts gone awry.” 

Thank you, God and his guardian angel, for blessing our amazing son, who grew up after all into a handsome, creative, good-hearted, and intelligent man with a wacky sense of humor.  Yes, he still has a hankering for risks and adventures but  he is much more in control of his curious nature and boundless energy that have enabled him to create amazing sculptures, forge his unique path in the world, and follow his dreams.  He is an artist on his way to doing even more wonderful things, just wait and see! 


“Coo” pen and ink/watercolor

Let me introduce you to “Coo.”  She has been hiding on my shelf for awhile now but I think it is time to set her free.  I wrote this story in between day jobs and didn’t do much to try to get it published once the new job and life with teenagers became all my time could handle.  Now that the children are raised I have a few others, in a different form, waiting to leave the nest and “Coo” is one of them.  “Coo” is the name of this mourning dove as well as the name of the book in which she is a star.  The story was inspired by some children, including my own, at a church we used to attend.  It is a juvenile chapter book that involves adventure and a mystery.

Several years ago, we came to church one Sunday when our three children were elementary school age and we saw a mourning dove resting in her nest on top of a light outside the parish hall.  She wasn’t there the week before and she didn’t seem to mind us noticing her and making a fuss over her unusual choice of home sites, when there was a huge tree just a few feet away from her.  She was quite the topic of conversation and she inspired the book I wrote.  The idea for the book germinated for many years until it poured out of me about five years ago.  I don’t know when or how I will get it published but I do know it is time to try and not give up!

My excitement today is definitely attributable to the Capital Bookfest I attended today in Charleston.  I sat in one workshop after another on writing and publishing, spoke to authors, many first-timers, who found a way to see their dreams come true, and I felt my heart sing like “Coo” in the picture above, which I drew a few years ago.  It wasn’t like this was the first time I’d been to a writing workshop but this time I came with a new attitude.  I see the hard work and perseverance it takes to get there and instead of feeling discouraged by publishing horror stories, I feel emboldened and thought “If they can do it, so can I!”  Well…I’ll let you know how it goes but “Coo” is ready to take off, and I can’t keep clipping her wings to make her stay.  Wish her luck!


At two years old, maybe Jason had in mind a more stunning, starring role for his future in pictures but he is definitely famous in our book, our many photo albumns, that is!  I can’t resist on the eve of his birthday, the quarter century celebration of his birth to brag on our little shining star and say, “Happy Birthday, Jason!”  All grown up, he looks a little serious in this shot and I have seen this thinking face throughout his life.  Is it any wonder he is in seminary?  I don’t wonder about it at all and you won’t either after reading some of the conversations the little philosopher and I had long ago (don’t worry, my kids gave me permission to write about them):

God Goes Underground:

Jason (age 4): “Mommy, does God go under the dirt?

Mom: “Well…(moment of hesitation trying to predict the direction of this question) I think since God is everywhere He must be able to go under the dirt too, if He wants to.”

“But how does He get under the ground?” 

“I don’t know, honey.  How do you think He does it?”

“He probably uses a BIG shovel and digs a GREAT BIG hole!” he exclaimed with arms outstretched wide.

“Jason, why do you think God would WANT to go underground?”

(…looking at me dumbfounded)”To watch over the worms and roly-polys, Mommy!”

Why God Made People:

Jason(age 4): “Mommy, why did God make people?”

“Hmmmm….well…(again a pause hoping for wisdom in my answers!) I guess God wanted the world to be a beautiful place to live.  So, He made lots and lots of people, all kinds of animals, trees, flowers, and birds…”

“And bugs?”

“Yes, bugs too!”

(…after a long pause) “Must be God is tired.”

“Why, honey?”

“From doing all that hard work!”

“Well, I guess that’s right. It must have been a big job.”

“Mommy, He did a great job didn’t He?”

“He sure did.  He sure did, honey!”

Back then I was guided and am still inspired by the words of a favorite philosopher and poet, Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet, regarding children:

“Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.  You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.  You may house their bodies but not their souls.  For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.  The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.  Let your bending in the Archer’s Hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

Of course, we had no idea this little arrow would land all the way in Philadelphia someday!  We miss you, Jason, but we trust the Archer’s Hand who holds us all.