Drawing Workshop

Today was Drawing Workshop day! This was the second workshop I’ve taught so far and I love it! It’s just a great time chatting with good friends and being creative together. I can’t wait until the next one! I think we’ll mess around with watercolor 🙂  Here are a few shots of the still life we drew this morning.

Have a beautiful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darkness, meet Hope

 

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t want to write this post and I really don’t want to publish this post. I’ve fought it for a week now but it will not leave me alone. “Write me, publish me,” it beckons. So I grit my teeth and write.

My goal with this blog, as I’ve recently discovered, is to escape all the things that scare me about this world we live in. Beauty, stillness, mystery and peacefulness make me feel safe so I try to surround myself with them. I miss those sacred moments in childhood when I felt totally safe and creating beautiful mysterious dwellings for my dolls to enjoy and have adventures in was my only priority. I’ve tried to recreate those feelings in this blog shutting out the fact that shootings, child abuse, starvation and so many innumerable horrors exist in the real world. But we live in this world and it is impossible (and probably rather unhealthy) to shut it completely out. So I’m letting a little darkness tinged reality slip in my safe place.

One morning last week I was doing my usual morning routine when a set of images popped into my head. These images were of a collection of paintings I did about ten years ago and they were very much unwelcome in my remembrance. The actual paintings themselves have been shoved in the back of my closet sentenced to collect dust and to be forgotten. I do not like to look at them anymore because when I do all the fear, pain, shame and unworthiness I felt when I painted them comes flooding back into my heart and knocks the air out of my lungs. That time, ten years ago, isn’t something I talk much about anymore because I’m healing now and the relationships involved are healing. (Here are the paintings. Please keep reading after them 🙂 )

 

A Plea to Listen

 

Silence

 

Silence Detail

 

Fragments of a Life Loved

 

Acceptance

 

There is a saying floating around out there and maybe it’s in the Bible too but the gist of it is that you can’t move forward when you’re constantly looking back. I’ve accepted that these things happened, that they have impacted who I am today and that I have control as to whether I let their impact ruin my life or to somehow use it to better my life. I’m choosing to look forward.

But this choosing has not been easy. Let me tell you. It feels safe to dwell in what we know even if what we know is misery and fear. That’s the part I don’t get. We just keep going back to it like a dog and its vomit. I know I did. But there is so much more out there, so much good that we didn’t know we could or were worthy enough to live in ourselves. So much beauty and hope, so much joy and contentment I never thought I would experience. But I am experiencing it now and I did not get here on my own.

Okay, now this part terrifies me to share with you…I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ and I love Him. Why does this terrify me? Because I hate confrontation and being a Christian isn’t really the most popular thing to be, especially now. I really don’t want to make anyone mad. I read all the comments people write about there being no God or how He couldn’t possibly be a good God when He lets all these bad things happen and I get scared. I don’t have the answers. I know that the ultimate cause of all this crap is sin but I still don’t know why He lets the crap happen. I don’t know why He let bad things happen to me. I don’t know why He let some of my friends be abused. I don’t know why He let my grandpa die in a car crash when my mom was 18 and my grandma had 8 kids to raise and provide for. I just don’t know. But I know that He is real and that He is good and that He loves every single person on this planet. I know that the sin that courses through each one of us keeps us from Him. I know that He loved each one of us so much that He made a way for us to be with Him, He gave Jesus’ life for ours.

Let me share a dream I had that might help you to see through my eyes. I was in an empty room somewhere sitting at a table. Everything was white like a hospital. Across from me sat a man. I couldn’t see his face but I knew this man and loved him with everything in me. I ached just to be near him, to kiss his face and breath his air. Something was happening but I was in some kind of a daze. He was hooking up a tube that went from his arm to mine. I tried to move but couldn’t and realized I was dying. The tube that was in his arm was draining his blood into my body and I knew that it would take every drop he had to bring me back to life. I tried to scream at him to stop, to keep his life because it meant so much more than mine. He just kept on. I struggled to move my arms but they were totally lifeless. He began to convulse and turn white and all I could do was sob and beg him to stop. His last drop left his body and he fell on the table, he was gone. At that moment I looked up at a clock on the wall. It read 12:00 and there was a noise so horrible I haven’t heard it on this earth before. It sounded like every soul that has existed since the beginning of time was screaming and it would not stop. The pounding of my heart woke me up and it took a second for me to catch my breath again.

That dream is exactly what He did for me. That dream is what He did for you.

I guess what I want to say is to beg you not to give up hope. If something so horrible has happened to you to make you believe there is no God or that He is evil and doesn’t care about you I am so sorry. I’m so sorry that you have felt pain that deep. I’m sorry if your heart has heard that it is not worth anything. It is a lie. You are so much more valuable than you will know. Your heart matters, your feelings matter, you matter. You are worth dying for. Please don’t give up hope, please don’t give up God. I promise, He is faithful.

Much love to each of you.

Happy Breakfast

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend 🙂

So lately I’ve found myself in a happy little fog in the mornings. The light is soft and the air feels somehow cleaner. As Anne Shirley said once, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet.” Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and it feels fresh and full of moments to be lived and things to discover. Sitting down on my futon sofa with a cup of french press coffee of the day and a little plate of breakfast flipping through my beloved cookbooks has quickly become one of my favorite ways to start the day.

This morning I made a simple little breakfast of bread and fresh blueberries but let me tell you about this bread! I took a few slices of Tuscan bread, buttered both sides generously, tore them into chunks, drizzled them with honey and broiled them until they were deliciously browned. So yummy! Eating this makes me feel like I’ve somehow transported myself to somewhere in Italy with the morning sun waking up my bright red flowers on the terrace outside beckoning me to come and play in its warmth. And my happy fog continues 🙂

Have a beautiful day today filled with happy discoveries and sweet daydreams.

 

 

 

Basalmic Parm Eggplant Bites

Eggplant. If you said that word to me two years ago I would have made a face and said no thank you. Slimy and cold are two adjectives I associated with the purple vegetable. Enter my mother-in-law.  She is so funny and endearing. When you meet her you realize that giving is very much her love language and it is her mission to make sure when you are in her presence that you are well fed. My husband teased one of his friends when they came home to visit from college one time that she would not leave his mother’s house without eating something regardless of if she was hungry or not. True to form my M.I.L offered pretty much the menu contained in Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I tease but I love this woman dearly and feel so blessed to know her and to be a part of her family.

So two years ago she gave us two little baby eggplant plants. We planted them in our garden and I watched their silver fuzzy leaves grow. Soon beautiful translucent purple flowers began to emerge and my heart began to soften. Then they gave us the fruit of their labor, deep purple veg streaked with lime green and hints of rich browns. My artist eyes loved them but my taste buds needed further prompting. The only recipe I knew of for eggplant was Eggplant Parmesan. We made it and it was okay. We found another recipe for Eggplant Feta dip and that was amazing! (I’ll share that one later). But the other night after harvesting a few stragglers I came up with this little appetizer. I’m…in…love! Its not slimy and is perfect for when your starving but dinner just isn’t ready yet. It takes a little prep but I think its worth the effort. Hope you enjoy it too!

 

 

Ingredients:

One large eggplant or several small ones

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Olive Oil

Shredded Parmesan

 

Preheat your oven to around 410. Take one large eggplant or several smaller eggplants and cut them to about 1/2 inch slices. Lay out slices on a piece of paper towel and lightly salt the tops. Then flip them over and repeat. Lay another paper towel over the slices and let them sit for about ten minutes. This combination will dry out the veg so they won’t be slimy when they are cooked.

 

 

After 10 minutes baste both sides of the slices with balsamic vinaigrette and a touch of olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes then flip and bake for another 5 minutes. Pile some shredded Parmesan cheese over the tops of the eggplant, bake for another two minutes or so then set oven to broil. Leave in the oven just long enough to lightly brown the cheese, about a minute.

 

 

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

After the Rain

Happy Saturday all!

It must have rained for 45mins straight this afternoon and it was wonderful! I opened the back door and just sat on the floor enjoying my dog’s company and the scent of my new maple leaf pumpkin candle glowing in the cozy kitchen. A glass of Bailey’s on the rocks later at dinner with my dear husband and I am pretty much the most contented person you’ll meet this fine day. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning!

Hello! Hope this day finds you blessed and ready to start a relaxing weekend!

Just had to share a funny little thing that happened on the morning of the 4th. I fell in love with coffee. Now, I know you’re probably thinking…”um, okay sweetheart, that’s great.” But you don’t understand. I’m a tea snob and have never understood society’s obsession with coffee. I was a barista at two coffee shops for a total of 3 years and never drank it, well, except for the required tastings Starbucks has you do which I totally understand. My husband is a coffee aficionado who almost bought his own coffee shop and buys green coffee beans roasting them to his liking. But me…no.

I grew up on iced tea. It’s hot here and nothing is so refreshing as a glass of tropical tea iced to perfection. Long lost peaceful hours spent reading under my beloved lemon tree next to the pool sipping happiness in a glass creep back into my memory and heart when I taste that first sip. Comfort pure and simple.

On the morning of the 4th the clouds decided to join us in celebrating the holiday. I love clouds just as much as I love iced tea and their presence was very welcome. The sun had been so bright and unflinching for the past month that I felt my soul becoming scorched like our poor plants trying to survive in our backyard. The morning was so perfectly cozy: the rain falling outside, my husband home from work and our customary holiday breakfast of cinnamon rolls waiting to be enjoyed. I was excited to try out my latest Goodwill find; a ceramic mug with big yellow flowers on it very much in the hippie fashion. Tea just wasn’t going to cut it this time, not with the rain and rich cinnamon rolls. My friend had given me some pumpkin coffee from Trader Joe’s a while back so I decided to french press some and give coffee a shot. It…was…perfect.

I’m excited to explore this strange new world…my journey begins 🙂

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