It has been a while since I wrote on here. I started this new painting journey and it took me away for a bit. I am back and I am still painting. That has been both fun and scary.
I try to relax when I create, otherwise, it becomes drudgery instead of joy. I want joy. So, recently I took on a project that was foreign to me. A young man commissioned me to paint him some paintings for his apartment based on what I saw already on his walls as his theme. He gave me the freedom to paint as many as I thought I should. I appreciated that because it meant less pressure on me. Artists like freedom.
I like and I want to view my life as not wasted. I want to soak up everything I can from whatever journey I am on at the time. Horses. The guy like horses. The last time I painted/drew an animal, a mountain lion/cougar, it looked like it had down syndrome. No offence toward anyone, please. It was bad. But I decided to learn to draw horses and create two paintings for him. What was I thinking? Why do I always go in deep? Good grief.
Well, It took me a while and I struggled with my lack of ability and nearly quit several times. But I hate to quit! By golly, this old gal will break the horse and he will come out looking good!
What happened was, a lightbulb came on one day and I saw that these paintings were for him. A weight lifted off of me when I realized this. It was then that I was able to draw the horses and finish the commissioned work and saw his smile when he received them.
For me, I found that the extra pressure of creating what someone else wants is my choice. However, doing this one took me into another level of confidence in my creativity. Will I do horses again? Right now I say no. But maybe might be more truthful.
Here is a sneak peek at what is hanging on someone’s wall…
I have always had a love for Scotland. I think it began deep inside from my ancestors, I’m convinced of that, or I choose to believe that.
My mother’s grandfather came from Paisley, Scotland when he was a young boy. I never knew him but the few times she mentioned him it was always in a fond voice.
My mother also kept me enshrouded in plaid. I love plaid. I am still attracted to all things plaid.
Many years ago a friend introduced me to the Scottish author George MacDonald. The first book I read was The Lost Princess – a fairy tale. I fell in love with this man’s writing and how he lived his life. Looking for images for this post brought up books of his that I have not read or heard of. A new quest is at hand.
One day, in a small mountain town in Southern California, this wife and mother was engrossed in yet another tale of The Scottish Highlands and deep characters, when I had to set book aside and load the four kids into the car with husband and head down the mountain to do grocery shopping.
As my husband navigated down the winding highway I was lost on the moor and the heather hills. I actually said to myself, “I wonder when I will see the heather in Scotland”.
After parking the car I grabbed a cart and headed into the market. I came to an abrupt stop right inside the door. There, spread out on a long table and hard to miss, was a radiant display of Heather in full bloom. The sign on the table shouted my name: “SCOTTISH HEATHER”.
Who needs food? I grabbed a plant and proudly placed it in the cart. Was that a gift from God? I believe it was. I felt like He was giving me a glimpse of my dream trip that was sure to come.
The kids are all grown and have families of their own now. Every now and then I wondered when we would see Scotland. Then it happened. August of 2017 our middle son and his wife packed up and moved to Edinburgh, Scotland for him to pursue his passion at the University of Edinburgh.
When our son was accepted we talked and decided we would come and visit. We chose to spend Christmas and New Years there. They agreed and we booked the tickets. I was beside myself with excitement and trepidation. Being a person full of imagination and creativity, I tend to be a bit dramatic – at least to me I am. Probably to others also, but I try to keep most of it to myself.
However, I have never taken my life’s journey lightly. What I mean by that is that I tend to, and I plan to, glean all I possibly can from this life. If it’s a move across town or country or a new job then why am I here? What can I learn from the process of this journey?
And what a journey it was. I hope to convey to you, Dear Reader, a land seen through the eyes of a hopeful dreamer and therefore, you can step out and into your dreams, whatever they be. Life is too short to sit and wonder or to dream and not grab the pot of heather placed right in front of you. Go further. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there. But it does matter that you get there.
Get ready for Part II of My Scottish Journey……….
The Header for this page says this: “Sometimes life cries out for a nice break from the daily routine …… a pie break, so to speak. A time to sit, to listen, to reflect. To taste the sweetness of life.”
Every now and then I read those words and reflect.
You see, part of my personality is such that I just love to have the appearance of moving forward. I cannot stand the same-old, same-old. It’s like sitting still, in a broader sense of the term. I like movement. I like progress.
This is one of the reasons I like to move furniture around in the rooms of my home. I use to do it often but now I’ve learned to slow it down a bit and enjoy the moments.
I said above, “the appearance” of moving forward. Sometimes life looks like we are getting no where fast. Life seems to have paused and is waiting for the finger from the sky to hit that play button so we can move on. Waiting. That is one the the hardest things for me to do. Wait.
But in the waiting so much can happen. In that pause mode the universe is still going forward. Life round us keeps moving, time keeps ticking by. The seasons keep on changing and we are still here waiting.
So as I reflect here, with my proverbial slice of pie and a cup of coffee and a keyboard, I realize how good the waiting is. I can use this waiting time to see how far I have come and to turn and see where I want to go. It is a time to build strength for the journey of life that lies ahead.
I can also use this time to sort out my ever changing “to do list” of life. That list in my head of all I want to accomplish, which can be overwhelming since most of those things are things I think I should do, not what I really want to do. Sifting. Sifting and sorting is good.
But the waiting still sucks. There, I said it. It can really suck when you’re like me, not good at it. So, to those of you like me, I can tell you to take the time to breathe and reflect, to sort and sift, look behind and definitely look forward. There is strength in the waiting. There is hope in the things to come.
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31
Friendship is good. We all need to have friends and especially the ones that “get us”. Those kindred spirits. The ones where a spoken word sometimes isn’t necessary, they just know.
There are so many levels of friendship. Some refer to you as their best friend but you hardly know them and somehow they think they know you. Some are just acquaintances and some are those Facebook “friends” that you accepted their friend request but still have to wonder who they are when they appear in your newsfeed..
But those kindle spirits. Those people. The ones that just understand your words and hear your heart. Those are the ones we cherish so much and feel such a loss when they are gone.
This past week I lost two of them. Not to arguments or disagreements, but to life on this earth. These two left us for the arms of Jesus. They are truly the lucky ones and no more earthly pain for them. This makes me very glad because of my faith, I know I will see them again. But they left a hole in my heart here on earth.
Susan Irene Fox, a fellow blogger, is gone from us and greatly missed – her smile and melodic voice, both in words and on Skype. A true kindred spirit even though we never met in physically proximity the love and friendship was there.
And there is Sandi. I met Sandi many years ago, MANY. She was a single mom of several kids…… Her smile lit up a room and a neighborhood. We were instant friends – kindred spirits.
Sandi’s journey in life wasn’t easy. But she always kept smiling. Her love for God and family was endless. She was full of hope. She spent the last several years of life in sickness. Weak, but her spirit was strong. The morning of the pending solar eclipse she went home to her beloved God and I know she is dancing again. Some say she caused the eclipse – LOL
She is greatly missed. But I am blessed abundantly for having known her and laughed and cried with her and saw many answered prayers for us both because of our prayers together.
I love you girls and see ya later!
It can get pretty hot here in The Middle. This summer is mildly hot compared to other summers in The Middle.
This summer is better for us since we had central air installed. I have to go outside to warm up. I’m not complaining.
This particular afternoon I realized I needed to water my tropical plants that I have on the front stoop for the summer. It makes them happy to be in very warm fresh air, but if I don’t water them daily the wind can blow them over, then they bleed.
So out I went into the intense heat. I had the hose pointed toward the grass to cool the water down before spraying the plants. As I turned to water the plants I heard a friendly female voice call out to me, “Excuse me”.
I turned, and a woman slightly older than me, was standing halfway up my driveway. This is unusual since very few human beings are outside in the mid-west heat.
I asked if I could help her, then I noticed her husband standing at the end of the driveway. My phone was inside and all I had as a weapon was the flimsy hose and moderate water pressure. I prayed.
She introduced herself and even shook my hand. Boy how suspicious I had become over the years. I shook her hand saying my first name only.
She jumped right into the reason they were there. Thirty-five years ago her husband, who now shook my hand and told me his name as I gripped my ninja hose even tighter, had been stationed at Whitman Air Force Base and they lived in the duplex across the street.
They both went on about their time there. I asked where they were from. “New Jersey”, she said, delightfully. I relaxed at that point. I mean, hello! I am from New Jersey.
Well, out came the Jersey accent like a knife through butter. We laughed together and tisked as we shook our heads over the lack of knowledge of true pizza and bagels and the proper way to pronounce cawfee.
What a delight. I just love those moments in life that sneak up and surprise you with such little things that can make your ordinary day look totally amazing.
Those things that come up on you like a butterfly caught in the wind that nearly bumps you in the head. Something you weren’t looking for or expecting.
The little things. It may sound mundane or so simple for some of you and you don’t get it. That’s OK. But for others it may wake you up and you begin to “see”.
I think so much goes on around us that are small or large events but most of the time we just don’t notice them. If we could just slow down long enough….the watering of a dry plant or taking the trash to the curb can be quite an experience.
I love to go and sit different places and watch what is going on around me. I can’t explain it ….. I just enjoy it. And when you take that one slight step closer to a situation and actually
….. well, try it. You may just change a life that day or you may change.
After posting Love is the Key on January 19th of this year, it still stands. I just love my dogs.
Maybe they have replaced caring for my granddaughters full time. LOL I do call Teddy Roosevelt (the pup) Penny June (the girl) from time to time. I have even called Penny Teddy, oops.
It must be the mothering thing. It just doesn’t go away as time goes by, it changes. I like that. After all, as we grow out of childhood into adulthood and the decades that entails, we don’t go away…..we change. We evolve. We grow.
We are still there – or here. I know for me, my whole life has grown and changed and evolved. Some of us “find ourselves” at a young age. Some never lost ourselves so therefore, didn’t have to find ourselves. Some of us, like me, did not grow up in an environment that knew myself. But I found me along the way and I love me.
Did you follow that paragraph? I hope so. The bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. I’ve heard countless times that it refers to faith and spiritual things. I believe it goes deeper than that.
If you have five children you cannot raise all five the same way. You have five different people in your care and all five are individual personalities. I believe that as parents we need to purposely find out who each one is and help them along the way to see who they are and who they will become. Then they won’t have to go on that journey of discovering who they are. They won’t lose themselves in life and then have to find themselves.
Wow. That almost twisted my head. I had two cups of coffee this morning and then a noon latte.
So, back to my dogs….. Teddy Roosevelt is just about five months old now and has already outgrown his brother George Bailey. The games continue….
We moved to this lovely mid-west town, affectionately known as The Burg, two and a half years ago. Little did we know that we would fall in love with this town and it’s people.
Sure, it has it’s frustrations like all relationships, but the people here and the countryside puts you right back into perspective.
Shortly before we moved here we met a great couple that were part of us feeling at home. We became fast friends.
Early in our relationship we found that the wife, Shirley, had been battling cancer. We became fast warriors in prayers of complete recovery.
Complete recovery can have perspectives just like a painting. We never seem to see all the outcome or the image at once. Some see victory on earth, some see the battle and the hard work associated with it, and some see the victory being the dance and the songs in the courts of Heaven.
As humans we would like the earthly answer. It’s where we are now. So many have overcome the ravages of cancer and some the overcoming came too early and continues in eternity with no more pain.
That was our Shirley. I had plans with our friendship. We were going to tramp through woods and see wildlife. She was going to feed them as I took pictures. I chuckle as I write this. Not to mention her husband and her children and grand children had plans of a future together.
We just don’t know. As a Christian I believe in healing. I’ve seen healing. I believe we can, scripture says, raise the dead. But sometimes that terrible, yet beautiful, mystery of our God takes us to where we humans do not want to go. Death.
If we could just step back and see our life here, on this earth, is a part of the picture. Our lives continue into eternity. It hurts to lose. I know this.
As painful as it is I get to still be a part of the earthly tribe. The parts of Shirley that still live one. The heart of her husband that beats with joy, though pained, and a giving heart so big. Her daughter carries her mother’s heart for her own children and husband that shines with faith and love so deep for so many. Her son carries her creativity in levels that go so deep I am sure Shirley is rejoicing over them! And those grand children! An amazing legacy!
That brings me to the images I want to share. There is a property in Russellville, MO that has been in Shirley’s family for quite a while. It is beautiful! If you go there and sit on the front porch with her son and his wife you feel completely at home.
There is a peace there and a piece there of Shirley’s inheritance that I cannot find words for. There is hope there. There is vision for the future there.
A vision to help those who have struggled to come and farm and learn and use their talents to make their life better. A vision of hope for the hopeless.
As this project develops I will write more about it. But right now I honor Shirley and her inheritance. It is so wonderful to see that it never ends when our pained and broken bodies fail and leave this earth. Life does go on. History teaches us that. Memories are like gold and seeing someone living on in the hearts and talents and actions of those still here is priceless.
In the old barns they found the original tools for farming – made of wood!
I just poured myself another cup of coffee. Join me as I sip and ponder, music playing in the background, thoughts circling and swirling in the lyrics with a sense of assurance and breathing in and out the colors of hope.
We have lived in what we call The Burg for just a hair over two years. While culturally I am still adjusting and trying not to voice my strong north eastern opinions on how wrong they are here (said in sarcastic jest), I feel almost at home.
I think it is real to say that this is the second place in my life that I feel at home and welcome. You see, when you are one who “travels to the beat of a different drum” it can be quite hard to fit in. But that’s just it, fitting in and different drums don’t always go together….. yet they should. It’s like having an orchestra or a band without that one different instrument that takes it over the top.
There is a place for us “drummers“. Not all will see it or see you for who you are but I, for one, have to remain true to myself. True to who I was made to be. Good grief, it has taken me years, decades, to find who I am and to walk confidently in who I am.
And then you move to a small mid-western town with strange definitions for words and ideas that are so different than you ever knew and POW! There are people here who like you. Just last night I was with a group of people who see me. They enjoy me. They encourage me. Some don’t get all of me and guess what? I don’t get all of them. But we flow together in similar philosophies of life.
And best of all we accept each other for being different and thinking differently. I do believe they call it love.
Have another cup and ponder. May you find you and find your symphony in life.
Cate B ❤
I came across this video the other day and have now listened to this girl about five times. I weep as soon as she opens her mouth. Some of you will totally understand why I cry and why it touches me. Some will not. And that is OK if you fall into the “not” category.
I will try and explain. Some of us wonderful humans came into this world quietly. We’ve sat in shadows and listened to others and let them talk. We have even been invisible, in a sense. These types are usually bent on the creative side of life. Not always but many are.
I fall into that category. I never minded being in the background. I like the quietness and sometimes the solitude. However, I also like the visibility at times. Especially as I got older and found out more of who I am and what makes me tick. I like me. I like others like me. I like this twelve year old girl named Grace. I feel the words of her song. I feel her heart.
Having married someone of the opposite spectrum has been good – for both of us. Sometimes though, I feel very invisible and have actually been snubbed and mis-judged. It is OK but sometimes quite aggravating. My spouse knows that I complete him. I know that he completes me. It’s those others that can’t see that. Sad for them.
This girl and this song speaks to me of these feelings. And guess what? I do know my name even if no one else does. I do keep trying and I tend not to play by the rules of the game.
This post isn’t for you to understand me. It’s for you to understand others and for those who are like me and this girl named Grace. “I’m lost, trying to get found in an ocean of people”.
Like I said before, I like me. I like Grace. I like people who find themselves in an ocean of people. I know you will like us too. Even if you never understand. You need people like us. 😉 We all need others to complete us. To see more of the puzzle of life. None of us can do this thing called life alone. None of us.
So try, just as we have had to try you try to see beyond you and drop those religious ideas and narrow minded thinking. There is a whole big puzzle out there waiting to be put together and it takes all kinds of pieces, called people, to put it together. It takes a lifetime.
Love ya, Enjoy! Listen to her heart sing…..