Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Hour: Long days, Short Seasons

 They are biting at my ankles all summer long. Bored because it’s too hot to go out and, yet, they’re not allowed to spend the whole day plugged in. Dragging their feet when I try to get them to go somewhere to have some fun with me, yet don’t hesitate to ask for my attention when they can’t think of anything fun to do or want a snack at 10:30 at night. Why are you up anyway?!

But the summer is passing faster than I can cross things off our list. School supplies are in the stores and I have even seen glimpses of Fall D├ęcor and Christmas Crafts. Before we have even finished with one season, we’re already planning the next two!  The house may get dirty twice as much with everyone home, but I’m not ready to give up summer just yet! I still want to savor the chaotic time I have in a house filled with viking boys. And what exactly makes it the best week of the best summer ever?
·         quiet mornings
·         super heroes
·         refrigerator pickles
·         cold water
·         pastel, oil, and water painting!
·         bees, birds and butterflies
·         lots of great friends
·         children biting at my ankles
So raise a glass with me and toast to summer! Pledge to make the most of these last few weeks before pulling out your Christmas tree and Jack-o-Lanterns. And tell me, what made this your best week ever?

Just a little pastel I did of Summer in Belgium for a friend!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Hour: Bring on the Heat!

Most of America is sweltering right now.  Also, it’s hot outside.  At moments like these I am so glad my life can exist in the sheltered bubble of my air-conditioned home. I think it’s humid enough to steam an egg out there and don’t even get me started on what steams me if I let it! But I haven’t checked the news in weeks and I’m not going outside today! I am content to celebrate Happy Hour indoors and my drink of choice today: water! Pour a tall one of your favorite, ice, lemon, straw, as I review what made this the best week ever!
·          I have noticed that I’m right here, not in the past, not in the future, but in the moment. I’m sure it will pass, but it feels good to get here once in awhile!
·         A week ago I returned from the most amazing trip to Washington State to see my family. (more to follow!)
·         And after personal art lessons from both my Great Uncle Earl and my father I am inspired to create. (more to follow on that as well!)
·         I have drastically reduced my internet usage and have discovered much needed extra time. Now I just have to use in appropriately!
·         All my boys got short haircuts and I can see their wonderful faces.
·         My dog is a sweetheart if she can tolerate fingers in her eyes and pulled hair and still not bite back…I will finally agree she is a keeper!
·         I am growing a succulent garden in addition to my vegetables. I might need more space because I want chickens, goats and bees as well!
My list could go on. Life is good as long as I stick to the simple things like homemade meals, paper and paint, smiling faces and air-conditioning. What made this your best week ever!?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

He Does it With Gusto!

He shakes those drinks. One in each hand, like a master with intent on creation. Someone will enjoy a perfectly mixed drink in about two minutes. I wonder what he wishes he was doing with that much strength and perfection. No doubt, dinner and drinks were perfect tonight at the Seatown Snack Bar. Who would have thought oysters could be just the new thing I needed? I'll skip the tatoo for now and just suck up the fact that I am already doing something new. Something different.

 The journey happens. You can't help uniting your fears and desires. You decide what the travel is about. Not exploration of a new environment, but rather the newness in you as you see something for the first time and feel something about life you weren't quite sure of before. Do we travel to check the box or to arrive home with memory of a new friend we've made with ourself? We want to see the world, but what it equates to when we no longer exist is only manifest in how we translate the experience to the next moment of our life. How we take the moment of awareness of the great big world and apply it to our relations of every day people.

Yes,  I want to go places and see things and do what I wasn't sure I ever knew I wanted to do. But truely I want to discover where I have been hiding all along. In the sheets, among the dirty dishes, I was always an explorer. I was always on top of the world. And I was always at home in my heart.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sweat and Tears



I have something to say about my run today. I’m not going to bore you with the details of finding proper running shoes or how cheeseburgers do not make good fuel for lead thighs. But today I tackled the hill. I surprised myself. I’m doing it! I’m actually doing something good for my body and getting stronger as I go. I looked at the top of the hill and realized only a month ago I would have been sitting on my butt instead. And then I just kept going up that hill. I felt stronger.  I felt inspired. I felt happy. I thought about my sister and her accomplishment of losing a lot of weight and becoming athletic. She was running, and it encouraged me to run. It felt good to be doing something for me, and even better as it dawned on me that I was doing this for my boys. For the people I love. And then I began sobbing.
Someone close to my family was diagnosed with lung cancer this week and my heart was breaking. I was angry and sad for obvious reasons. I could not help but cry out at the top of the hill, gasping for a breath; not because it was difficult to run, but because it was difficult to accept that the action of NOT running (eating well, drinking less, quitting smoking, wearing sunscreen, etc.) would certainly result in pain and suffering somewhere in the timeline of life. At the very moment I was finding strength do the right thing with this one fragile and resilient body I’ve been given, I was also fully aware of what happens when you choose not to do just that. Either right now, or later down that road of life, we all answer to the decisions we have made on how to handle the flesh and blood we inhabit.
What is your answer? How are you making that choice every day? Are you going to wait until it is too late? Today is the day. If you have time for television and Facebook and Xbox, then you have time to get up and make your heart pump that oxygen rich blood. You can put down the high fructose corn syrup drink and pour a glass of water instead. You can ask a doctor to help you quit smoking or find the right nutrition plan to lose weight. YOU CAN. It’s not easy, but taken in small steps anything can be accomplished, including the way you treat your body. I have a long way to go. I know I can make better choices even now. But I am taking the first step. Will you take the first step?
because I can only handle so much sweat and tears on my own, you have to do the rest....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Slice of Life

This is Happy Hour Friday & Ten Before the Tenth!

Not every Friday is as happy as a Friday should be. Last Friday I wanted to post my Happy Hour summary of a good week, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was a pretty crappy day. Which is exactly why I should have put my “world is crashing in” attitude away and face the hard facts: Life is good, even when it’s not.
Let me rephrase that: Life is good, even when you think it’s not. The key is all in how you think. A lot has been written on happiness and how to find it. Jesus and Buddha and Plato and Mr. Rogers all had something to say. I’m still looking into all my options. But I do know one thing, when you focus on the positive it sure helps lighten your load. That is why I am working on a weekly post that celebrates both the joy that Friday’s release brings and the ability to look at all the little things that made the week at hand the best week I ever had…each and every week.
And because this is the first of the month, I am also soliciting participation in both my endeavor to write more on my blog and to push myself to create more original art. So, I am once again promoting my TEN BEFORE THE TENTH challenge. It’s Happy Hour, grab a drink and a pen and paper and chill with me for a minute! I am looking for ten things that made this YOUR best week ever. I know you love your family and you are thankful to have your home, church, job, health, etc. I am asking you to look past the obvious and find TEN specific things that happened or somehow affected you in a way that re-affirmed for you that life is good.  Let me go first:
1.       I ate a crisp cucumber from the garden I have growing in my front yard.
2.       I discovered lino cut art, and the ability to make any image I design into a one of a kind stamp.
3.       My youngest can’t properly say “hot lava.” Instead he says “hot mama.” Naturally I have been asking him to say it as often as possible!
4.       I went running today and when I got to the end of three miles, I just wanted to keep going!
5.       The sound of Legos is a beautiful sound. It means all the boys (dad included) are playing together for hours.
6.       Dinner at the dining room table sitting across from my husband and next to my boys after a long day is my favorite place to eat after working hard to make a great meal.
7.       My oldest at 12 (going on 20) still likes to give lots of hugs and kisses.
8.       After finding “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee at the second hand store for .50 I realizing there is a reason it is one of America’s best novels. What a treasure.
9.       Facebook connects me with my friends and family like I never thought it could and I have come to realize that without it, I would not know or be close to many of the wonderful people that I get to “chat” with everyday.
10.   When I was having a bad day (again on Sunday) my dear middlest child passed by me trying to sing Bob Marley in his words, “Cuz’ everything’s gonna to be alright.” And it melted my heart because he was right.
Ok, your turn! Write them down. Put them where you can see them, post them to the world, share them with your family, but be honest with yourself! Then write at least one of those things here as a comment to this post. And there is an incentive, everyone who participates will get an original ink printing of my hand carved stamped image in the mail from me. YES, everyone! (just  participate and then send me your address via email: with the word blog in the title.) You have until July 10, 2011 at 7pm EST. So turn on some Bob Marley, pour something cold, and celebrate because this was the best week ever!