Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beautiful days

This past week has been so beautiful! It makes you forget about 95 degree summers and drippy humidity. It also makes you want to walk in the woods and just experience the beauty. Unfortunately we don't have much in the way of deep woods in Florida, unless you count oaks and scrub pine. A little fall color would be appreciated but really, that's not going to happen! My mom, ever the optimist, thinks the Rain trees suffice for fall color. I have to admit, they are pretty. So maybe if I squint a little, I'll feel like I'm in the mountains.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday errands

Went to do my typical Saturday errands. Except for one thing, this time I decided to try and use the myriad coupons that find their way through our mailbox. I confess, I also went to a couponing website (www.truecouponing.com) for the inside scoop. I used to be a coupon aficionado. When I was an at-home, homeschooling mom, I used coupons out of neccesity. But it became something of a contest I played with myself, just to see how much I could actually save. I viewed it as my contribution to the family income. While I might not be earning money while at home with my children, I could be actively saving money. I also read somewhere that saving money was really worth more than earning it, as you don't pay taxes on what you save. Anyway, suffice it to say, it's been awhile since those days and since returning to the work world, I have not been paying much attention to coupons. So imagine my surprise when, after some time on the computer and a few minutes with the weekly Publix ad, I managed to save $66.20! $20.00 of that was coupons and the rest BOGO's but STILL. Pretty cool, huh? I think I may be hooked....

Score!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Hurricane Wedding Memories















Today makes 6 years since we "officially" joined our lives and those of our families. While I love the fact that we're married, memories of the "hurricane" wedding still bring me close to tears. Except that, as always, the love of family and friends brought me through. That is the real take-away message from any storm that I have weathered. I am loved....and those who love me, are always there for me! They listen to my rants, make me laugh through the tears, clean up my messes and then usher me through to a new chapter. Maybe that's why we need storms, so we can be reminded of God's love, shown through His people. So Happy Anniversary for Dan and Me and thanks for all you do to our families.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Life is Sweet

This is one of my latest art journal pages. I really love it! I used papers from the art swap I did with artists from the Flying Lessons group. This painting used paper sent by Robin at www.wellofcreations.com. Robin has shared through her blog her latest adventures moving back to the states from Germany. From what she has written, I knew it was not an easy move and I prayed for her and thought of her and her family often while I created this piece. Maybe that's why I feel such energy and peace when I look at this painting. I ordered some note cards and other "stuff" from Vistaprint using this design. I'm so excited to see how it turns out! I'm looking forward to using some of the other art papers sent by Trine and Bette. I'll post as soon as I have new things to share....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A few of my favorite things

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Collage generated with Smilebox

It's been a somewhat lazy day at my house. Dan left early for golf but I have just been putzing around the house. I was going to be all industrious and get something accomplished but it keeps rumbling and threatening to rain. Sooooo, I've been sitting at my computer playing with SmileBox. Hope you like the finished product....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Loving what is....

Dan and I have been talking over where we want to go next. Both of us feel that we don't want to stay in Florida, we want to live somewhere that we love, a place that makes our hearts sing with the beauty of nature. We've talked about living in different places for a time, just to experience the lifestyle. Our imaginations are rich.... Barcelona, Tuscany, Costa Rica, North Carolina, California..... we aren't too picky. Well, I am. I can't imagine myself somewhere cold and snowy. I really am a southern girl. I'd rather "glow" than shiver. We'll be taking my first European trip in a few weeks (six!) and I am excited to see how I feel in the places that, up until now, I've only fantasized about. I feel so much that I am struggling to break out of the cocoon, getting anxious for what the next chapter holds.

That said, the other night I was walking by the family room and glimpsed a shot of crimson through the window. I stepped outside to the most gorgeous sunset. I called for Dan and grabbed the nearest camera (my quick shot one, not the best for taking great shots, but you get an idea of how beautiful it was!). We both stood there and just breathed in the beauty of God's creation. He truly is the greatest artist, His colors are brilliant, shades I can only dream of, and He always catches the light exactly. Ahhhhh, just so perfect! And it came to me that I need to quit wishing this time away. The beauty is there, I just need to look around me. The future will be here, we will move into the next adventure but in the meantime....oh, the sunsets there are to behold.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The beauty all around us

Dan and talked a lot this weekend about God and when we feel close to Him. For both of us, the beauty of Nature fills us with the knowledge of Someone bigger than ourselves. It's different for each one.....Dan loves the mountains and longs to live where he can walk out his front door and see a vista that takes his breath away. For me, it's the beach. Just the smell can transport me to a place of joy and reverence. We haven't gone to the beach much this summer. It's so hot and I feel some measure of sorrow about all that has happened in the Gulf. Instead of reacting the way many Floridians have, by going there while they still can, I have felt more that I don't even want to see it. But we did go down to Little Harbor last weekend and the magic is still there for me. So even my relationship the the beach is complicated! How like life.....

Just like God is always there, in the midst of the sorrow and struggle, to remind us of the joy and peace, so too are the sounds of the ocean. The swish of the waves rushing to the shore, the seagulls crying and the deep, rich smell of salt water, fish and suntan lotion. And I am reminded that the presence of God is constant and I need to allow myself to experience His touch, in the midst of everything Life throws me. "Be still and know that I am God."

Friday, July 23, 2010

More sidewalk finds....

Dan stopped by last week to have lunch with me, so we strolled down to Centro Ybor. We had a lovely salad at Fresh Mouth and I was telling him all about the interesting things I see when I walk to lunch. I looked up and this is what I saw! "Just like THAT!" I said. Of course, I had to take a quick picture to share with the world. It just brightened my whole day. Well, having lunch with Dan was pretty day brightening but add a little cup man to observe...... pure bliss!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dolphin Adventure





We wanted to give my in-laws a taste of our beautiful (and HOT!) beaches so I arranged for us to take a sunset cruise from Clearwater Beach. Breanne and Derek joined us. The skies were clear and the person at the tour desk told us they had been seeing lots of dolphins. I never would have believed we would have seen so many dolphins! They were leaping out of the ocean and frolicking in the wake of the boat. It was incredible! Breanne got some great action shots.I shot a video that really shows how playful they were. I totally recommend taking the Little Toot tour.





Thursday, July 15, 2010

Walk in Ybor

I walked down to Centro Ybor today for lunch. I usually see something interesting while walking along the red brick roads. I came across this example of guerrilla art stenciled on the sidewalk and couldn't resist snapping a quick picture. It made me think, although I couldn't come up with any real explanation of what it could mean. Any ideas?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding treasures

Yesterday I was somewhat desperate to get my back porch cleaned out before my in-laws come for a visit today. We have a wicker table and chairs out there that I just have never really loved. I got it for $20 bucks at a garage sale and so, felt like it was good enough. The problem was, it was really too big for the size of our lanai and it just collected dirt. Last summer, I had big plans to re-paint it. That never happened. Soooo, it was late Sunday afternoon and the garbage collection is Monday. I debated on whether or not the garbage collectors would actually take it. Dan suggested we just put it out by the curb with a FREE sign on it. I wondered if this would work, as it was getting dark and our street doesn't have a whole lot of traffic. But, hey, it was worth a try. We drug it out to the curb, cushions and all. I was picking up some other trash and went around the corner about 10 minutes later. There was a gray pickup truck at the curb loading up the set. They even took the cushions! I was ecstatic. Not only did I get rid of my "problem" but someone else was feeling happy that they found a treasure. What a total win-win! I love it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Everyday adventures

I was out today running errands before I had to pick my mom up to go to the library. As I was coming out of Old Tyme Pottery Barn, I noticed a huge banner advertising the Grand Opening of an Oriental Grocery store. I decided, what the heck, this should be interesting.
Which it totally was! There were bins and bins of produce that I never
seen before. There was a deli, with squid and octopus, as well as dried seaweed. There were about 20 kinds of tofu available....Publix has three. The bakery food was even exotic. There was a place to purchase fresh fish...I mean, really fresh fish....they had them in tanks! The colors seemed so vibrant on the packaging. I'm sure our grocery stores probably look just as colorful but I really have never noticed.

I loved the names of things.... Happy Promise Choco Pie. Makes you think something wonderful will happen as soon as you bite it. Much like Willie Wonkas golden ticket.
While I was busy taking photos of everything, I noticed this guy following me around the store. He looked like maybe he owned the place and wasn't so sure why I was taking photos of food. I get that reaction about a lot of the photos I take! Anyway, he followed all the way to the checkout counter. I was waiting to see if he was going to ask about the pictures, but I guess he thought I was harmless.


I'm not really sure about Red Bean and Mung Bean popsicles. If I had been able to go straight home, I probably would have bought some of these, just to try. I'm sure I'll be back.




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stepping out in Faith

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
And you take the first step into the darkness of the unknown;  You must believe that one of two things will happen.  There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly
- Patrick Overton



I was commenting on another blog  (meant2bme) and shared this quote. I was reminded of all the times in my life when I have been scared and unsure of what I needed to do next. Sometimes I had to remind myself to just breathe and sometimes I had to simply commit to taking the next step. It wasn't big but I had enough faith to just take the next step. I read something once that said you can take an entire journey with just enough light to illuminate your next step. And, really, that's all you need.....just enough to take one step, and then the next, and then the next.

I remember vividly a time in my life when I was devastated. I felt totally alone and unable to bear the thought of a lifetime by myself. Sobbing dramatically, I sat on my outside deck and cried out to God. "I am so lonely, I can't stand this loneliness. How will I endure a lifetime of this?" And a small, still voice answered back "Can you be lonely with Me for just one day?" Yes, I could hold on one more day. So one day became the next, and the next, and the next. Until one day I realized I wasn't lonely anymore.

This moment is all we have, step out in the light you have..... you'll land on something solid....or you'll learn to fly!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trauma Informed Care

I spent the day today at a training sponsored by the Department of Children and Families addressing the subject of Trauma Informed Care. The main speaker, Tonier Cain, was a crack addicted, homeless, prostitute until someone cared enough to help her heal from childhood sexual and physical abuse. She has been clean for the last six years and works with the National Center for Trauma Informed Care, advocating for change in our systems of care. Her enthusiasm is so encouraging. In a field where the professionals often get burned out and bitter, hearing her story of hope was like a breath of fresh air. She is the subject of a documentary titled "Healing Neen" and has a Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Healing-Neen/107153185980644?v=wall . This approach is something I can see transforming the way our programs are run and ultimately effecting the success of every participant who walks through our doors.

"Healing Neen" Trailer from Thom Stromer on Vimeo.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life Itself is Grace

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace." Frederick Buechner

I was just over at the Well of Creations ( Robin, a friend from Kelly Rae Roberts Flying Lessons class) and she had posted this quote. Isn't that just the most beautiful, most true thing ever? "Life Itself is Grace" I almost want to tattoo it across my heart because I so often forget that. I get so caught up in the minutiae of life, worrying about dishes and work and laundry, that I forget to look around at the ineffable beauty of life. I'm blessed that I have a husband who reminds me to breathe, that there is time to do those things but also to relax and enjoy the moment. I wish he had been around earlier, when I often was so busy doing, I forgot about being.

Getting back into art, painting and creating, have helped me look at the world differently, as well. I am trying to see through the eyes of art, to notice the shapes, colors and smells. To think with my creative heart, not necessarily my linear brain. It's working somewhat. With every painting I create, I get a little better at it. So today, while I have lots and lots to do, I'm going to take it a moment at a time. I need to sit and have coffee with Dan, savor the morning. And tackle each chore today with grace.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy to be a girl

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes you happy to be a girl! It was the day the cleaning fairies descend on the house. I love coming home to a clean house, especially one I didn't have to clean. I struggled for years with this concept and have had help on and off. There's that evil gremlin part of me that argues that real women have it together enough to keep their house clean without using hard-earned cash to accomplish it. But truly, my real thought on the matter is.....I dislike cleaning the house (although I love a clean house). If I can pay someone else to do it, why not? I can also add, I feel good that I am providing a job for someone. Maybe that's a cop-out but it doesn't feel like one. So, back from my guilt ridden rant and on to why it feels good to be a girl.....

I also had a pedicure yesterday. Alia, Breanne and I went and got our "piggies" done. I love it. Again, I have a love/hate relationship with acrylic nails (maybe I'll talk about that dysfunction some day) but getting a pedicure? Pure bliss, no guilt!








Third and final, "gotta love being a girl" moment.... unexpected flowers from Dan! What sweet surprise. Gorgeous as usual. He goes to this florist in Polk County (yeah, who da guessed!) who uses a beautiful mix of unusual flowers. This one had lots of sunflowers, which my DH knows I love.


So there you have it, all in one day. How lucky is THAT?








Friday, July 2, 2010



When we were touring around the island of St. Kitts, there were signs like this with similar sayings posted along the road. I questioned our guide, Royston, about them and he said that local churches were responsible for posting them. They were all concerned with the idea of fostering community. I didn't take photos of all the other signs (because Royston was flying around the island like a madman!). I went to do a search about the signs, hoping to find out who or what was behind them. I didn't discover much but I did discover that this is the beginning of the "The Four Way Test" used by the Rotary Club (which, by the way, has chapters all over St. Kitts!).
The Four Way-Test
“Of the things we think say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

So, regardless of who posted these and what thier intent was, I know they got me to thinking about them. I love the idea behind this and hope to remember this next time I am tempted to speak up about something.



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Angel Graffiti in Miami


I was looking through some old photos and came across this picture. I took it in 2008 on a trip to Miami. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the angel . It was just a picture painted on the side of a building, no particular reason that I could see. I would have stopped and looked at it more closely but the neighborhood looked sketchy, at best, so I just snapped a quick pic out the window. 

A Carrot, an Egg and A Cup of Coffee

I found this story a while ago and just stumbled upon it again. After yesterday, this just reminded me that adversity is inevitable but how we respond is what is important. And we get to choose how we will respond!


A Carrot, An Egg and a Cup of Coffee
 A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. 
Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.  She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
 In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.
She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.
She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
 
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what you see?"
 
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.  Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.
She did and noted that they were soft.  The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.  Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.  The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"
 Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ...  boiling water.  Each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
 "Which are you?" she asked her daughter.  "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?
Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?" 
Think of this: Which am I?  Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?  Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
 Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.  When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?  How do you handle adversity?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

http://www.hapkido.com/deepthoughts/coffee.htm

Friday, June 11, 2010

arghhhhhhh

I need to be somewhere today at a particular time. I almost never need to be somewhere at a specific time. I can roll into work whenever I want but the one day I need to be somewhere (with all the stuff someone else needs!) I have a dead battery. This is ridiculous but it is true. I am waiting now for AAA. I guess I need to be thankful that there is AAA. Okay, I'm grateful..... now please get here soon AAA!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Art weekend

This last weekend was a very arty weekend! I finished up an angel picture I have been working on for a week. I think this may be the one I show to the ladies at The White Rabbit who have expressed an interest in my art. I am very hesitant to take anything up there, afraid that they will not see it as legitimate "art". I have gotten many positive reactions to my paintings but I always wonder if folks are just being nice. I'd hate that! Part of me feels like, "Hey, this is what I do and I enjoy it so if you like it, wonderful. If not, that's cool, too."  The other part of me just wants to curl up with embarrassment. I think maybe I'm just too full of myself....really, is it that big a deal? Dan has totally encouraged me to go for it...he's proud of my work and thinks it's beautiful. I need to take some photos so I have it to post.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Best Husband Ever!!

Okay, so here's the scoop! Dan booked a cruise to the Mediterranean! In secret, well, sort  of in secret because once he hit that confirm button, he just couldn't keep it in. (I just want to squeal and run all over the house dancing just writing that information!) Beware, this post will have lots and lots of exclamation points! I am soooooo excited. This is a dream come true for me. I have always wanted to see Italy, Greece, the pyramids. And we will be seeing them all in September. We will fly to Rome and then cruise to Rome, Naples, Athens, Rhodes, Ephesus, Cairo and Messina. 12 days of touring. I know this will be whirlwind but I love the fact that I will get to taste a little bit of all those different places. Almost like at Taste of the Mediterranean tour.....little samples at each stop! Anyway, we're both just so excited...this will be the honeymoon that Hurricane Francis postponed, better though! See how those things just work out? We were just going to spend a few days at the beach....now I have twelve days of foriegn ports!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The latest art journal piece. I feel like lately I have been reading and thinking more about art than actually doing it! For some reason I don't seem to be able to concentrate long enough to finish a large piece. I have a store that is willing to sell my art on consignment but I haven't done anything to take to them yet. I think it is fear that is keeping me from doing anything. Putting my art "out there" is scary. What if no one likes it?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The "perfect" Journal page....

This is another art journal page that I love. I originally went through and created several pages as backgrounds so I could journal on them later. But some of them I liked so much I was afraid to "ruin" them by writing on them. This is one of those pages. I just love the colors and the way the layering just looks right. So I guess it will just stay "as is" until the perfect moment that needs to be "journaled" appears. (Spell check just let me know that journaled is not a word. I think it should be.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Art Journal pages

This is probably one of my favorite Art Journal pages. There is just something about it that reminds me that joy is to be found in the everyday happenings. It also reminds me that I am spirit and I am free!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! I guess this has been a retailers dream....Valentine's Day on a Sunday! I know Dan started it off with a bang. He came home Friday night with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Yellow roses, of course. That's been the Valentine's tradition since 2002, the first time he ever sent me flowers. He also gave me and Alia a sterling Silver heart necklace, one created by Lori at Spinelle in Napa. Lori is the jeweler who designed my engagement ring. She is only making 100 of the necklaces, each one is numbered. Their website is http://www.spinelle.net/index.php. Then we went out to eat Saturday night at Macaroni grill. The wait was horrendous but we spent part of it at Barnes and Noble and I bought a copy of Somerset Studios Artful Blogging magazine. I am officially inspired! The today we have just schmoozed around...napping, reading and eating heart shaped brownies. Yummie!

I am going to try and post some photos on the page, wish me luck!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl 2010

I usually watch the Superbowl (Super Bowl?) just because, well, because it's seems like the cultural thing to do. I don't care at all about football. I am the quintessential fair weather fan and proud of it. I just want to watch a winner. So, anyway, this year was weird. It seemed like the commercials were just non-stop. I felt like I was watching Football MTV.....they played football for a few minutes then it switched to a commercial, then back to football. Just seemed very indicative of the way we're entertained now. I actually enjoyed it more! *sigh*