25 years ago today I married this guitar man with a beautiful voice who I met in graduate school at the University of Louisville.  He invited me to hear him sing at an international dinner for students and that was it, the rest is history.  Seems like ages ago!  On this our Silver Anniversary, I am grateful that we are still together through thick and thin, ups and downs, and the many changes life brings raising three children.  He is a good and patient man, a forgiving and loving husband and father.  He sweetly sang his way into my heart then and still does now.  These photos are from Christmas gatherings with friends.  May God bless our journey for another 25 years….Thank you, Pedro!  

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“Gloria in Excelsis Deo”  pen and ink drawing… This drawing is inspired by a decoration in my home of the Nativity and it was our family Christmas card one year.  For me it holds memories of our times together enjoying our young children at Christmas.  Every year I would buy one new decoration for the house and one year it was this ivory-colored Nativity scene that I doubt my children ever noticed and that probably held more meaning for me than anybody else.  That is the way memories are born and grow stronger I suppose, because of the meaning we attach to things and the times in our lives.  This Christmas, we hold our loved ones close in our hearts and treasure those times together. 

“Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly o’er the plains.   And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains: Gloria in excelsis Deo” HF Hemy  

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This is Abbie, the oldest of the animal children that live in our empty nest.  I don’t mean to leave her out.  She is usually the most normal and low-key of the bunch so it’s easy to ignore her when the others are demanding attention all the time or causing outright trouble.  She is the sweetest girl, most of the time.  Sophia got her in the sixth grade, so with my fuzzy math I think that makes Abbie about 8 years old. 

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Roofus, aka “Houdini”…thought I should mention Roofus (he’s the white dog) since he keeps my feet warm and protects me.  His nickname is “Houdini” because of his almost miraculous disappearing acts from the backyard.  He is the ONLY dog we’ve ever had that jumps the fence just to come to the front door because we took too long to let him in the back door.  Pedro is constantly trying to outsmart him and he finally found a collar the dog can’t wiggle out of when he is tied up.  Even Indie, Corey’s dog, gets in on the act and tries to help Roofus out of his collar by dragging him by the chain.  It’s hilarious!  But maybe dangerous so we have had to stop that magic trickster in his tracks. 

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The Virgin in Art…a treasured book I came across in Asheville over Thanksgiving and just had to have it.  Today, with mint tea in hand, Louis Armstrong Christmas music, the house finally decorated (thanks Corey and Sarah for doing the tree!), candles burning, Roofus keeping my feet warm by sleeping on them, and a cold rain outside on a Sunday afternoon, I finally spent some time in the pages of this beautiful book.  Guess what I found there?  The Christmas Spirit and the peace of God that passeth all understanding, heals all wounds, and forgives all sins!!  Thank you, Lord!

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“It is the Lord’s mercy, to give thee breathings after life, and cries unto Him against that which oppresseth thee; and happy wilt thou be, when He shall fill thy soul with that which He hath given thee to breathe after.  Be not troubled; for if troubles abound, and there be tossing, and storms, and tempests, and no peace, nor anything visible left to support; yet, lie still, and sink beneath, till a secret hope stir, which will stay the heart in the midst of all these; until the Lord administer comfort, who knows how and what relief to give to the weary traveller, that knows not where it is, nor which way to look, nor where to expect a path.”  Isaac Penington

Inspiration Cannot Be Caged…Mixed Media detail…Did you know there are 9 Muses in Greek Mythology?  They each have a special gift and purpose to inspire creativity in mere mortals like me.  I made this wintry painting/collage about the Snowflake Woman whose snowflake hair symbolizes the uniqueness of the individual artist whose voice cannot be squelched by oppression.  The redbirds flying around her head are creative ideas and from this particular issue of Skirt magazine last year there was an article on the Muses of Greek Mythology.  I chose four that inspire me the most, whose names you can find under the redbirds: Calliope, means “Beautiful Voice” and she is the patron of epic poetry; Erato, means “Passionate” or ”Lovely” and she is the patron of lyric poetry about love and eroticsim; Euterpa, means “Rejoicing Well” and she is the muse of poetry and music; Thaelia, means “Festive” and she is the muse of comedy.  I don’t worship them but I honor what they mean and drew strength from what they represent at a time when my creative voice was at risk of suppression by trivial, controlling people who by their very nature attempt to squelch creativity.  This artwork reminds me that inspiration cannot be caged!

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