Live Reflections Workshop

I mentioned in my last post that I had some happy news to share. Well, I am getting ready to attend my very first art retreat and it happens to be at Jeanne Oliver’s brand new studio in Castle Rock, Colorado! The workshop is on art journaling, “all about unraveling your own story and creating authentic art that only you can tell.” I was blessed to win one of three spots that Jeanne gave away to celebrate the opening of their new studio. If you’ve ever taken any of Jeanne’s online courses you know how wonderful they are. If you haven’t, I recommend them to anyone who needs a creative boost. You can read more about their offerings here. When I get back I’m sure I’ll have photos and stories to tell. Until then…

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I’m Here and I’m OK

I can’t believe it’s been five months since my last post. It has taken me until now to acclimate to our new situation and feel ready to share in detail all that has gone on in my world. Even though I haven’t posted or commented on other blogs I haven’t remained completely out of the loop. I have continued to read posts that I subscribe to as I’m able and the beauty and inspiration contained in them has been uplifting. We all go through stuff. The honesty and human spirit demonstrated in the blog world has been a source of comfort to me. What I’m about to share, I don’t share easily but I have decided (with full consent from my husband) to share this part of my journey with you. I share it now with hope for healing and the prayer support of my dear readers, but also with the hope that my transparency might in some way help others go through their “stuff”.

In October my husband of 35 years was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease (also known as younger onset). Gary is 55 years old and has worked as an accomplished, preferred respiratory therapist for over 30 years. He has now been taken off the job because of his illness and will not return to work. The devastating news has washed over both of us in waves. Gary has kept his wonderful sense of humor through it all, even joking about it at times. He is now taking advantage of his time off to enjoy his favorite pastime.

Gary and His "Rod Guitar"

When we first got the news, anything blog-related seemed completely frivolous and I imagined I might stay away indefinitely. But I have come to realize that, not only do I miss the interaction with my readers and other bloggers, it is an important outlet for me creatively. So I have decided to build the time in to post once again. We have been making many changes in the way we live (diet, finances, spiritual life) that I will share with you in upcoming posts. I will also be sharing photos of our entire house that is now on the market as well as the direction I am going with my money-earning pursuits. I’ll share a bit of happy news as well! Thank you for listening, I look forward to connecting once again.

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Here’s To a Better Year

I would like to wish all of my readers Happy 2016! With the old year passed and the brand new year ahead I would like to thank you for reading, commenting, supporting and be-friending me and my blog in 2015.

When I wrote this post, little did I know how much I would cling to its message in the months to come. 2015 was a difficult year for our family in many ways, not the least of which was watching my daughter and son-in-law end their ten year marriage. Our family had never been touched by divorce in any significant way prior to this. It is a very painful experience for all involved. My heart still aches every time I think of them and their three children and try to accept that their family as we know it no longer exists. I know many of you have experienced the heart-wrenching pain of divorce as well and my heart goes out to you.

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In late 2015 we received news regarding my husband’s health that overshadowed even the pain of the divorce. Though I can’t share all of it in detail, he has been on sick leave since October and we don’t know when he will return to work. Because of the unknown future of his work status, I have begun looking for a full time job. We will also be putting our house on the market this spring and downsizing to something with less maintenance (i.e. move-in ready).

I don’t want this to be a lengthy post full of bad news and woes, so please allow me to share with you what I believe. God can take even the most painful, negative experiences and turn them into good. We are trusting God and leaning on Him heavily to show himself strong on our behalf. We believe that God still heals today and we are asking him to heal my husband. I am going forward with plans to prepare for the future in any event but hope to someday share a good report with you on the wonderful things God has done. Trying to get a handle on my need to know what’s next. By yielding control and trusting God who holds my future, I can rest in the knowledge that He knows the desires of my heart and wants to lead me in the very best plan for me (us). His ways are higher than our ways. I put my faith in Him.

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This Christmas I Choose Joy

Hello Friends. I know I have been MIA and have not posted or visited other blogs for quite some time. My heart is heavy with some changes going on in my world. The changes are of a very personal nature and I’m not ready to divulge all the information. I would just ask that if you believe in the power of prayer, please keep my husband Gary in your prayers.

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I took these pictures in November. One day I pulled in the driveway as he was leaf blowing. When he saw me he began to play the blower like a guitar. I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera and getting some shots of him. He humored me happily. That’s the kind of guy he is.

My comfort comes from the Lord and I choose joy during this holiday season. Here is a shot of the dining room buffet decorated for Christmas.

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I used greenery that I cut from one of the trees on our property. The branches were covered in these cute mini pinecones.

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There’s a very interesting story behind this pair of lanterns. I will share it in a future post.

I don’t know when I’ll post again, so for now I wish you a Merry Christmas
filled with joy, peace and wonder.

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Vintage Christmas Décor

The day after Thanksgiving I like to start slowly pulling out my Christmas décor. Although I have been gradually introducing more natural elements into my décor there are some old favorites that I wouldn’t dream of leaving out each year.

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These vintage bottle brush wreaths are a perfect example. Each of the wreaths on this stack was gathered from a different place over the past 20+ years and each has a story.

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Three of them were picked up at yard sales, the one on the bottom was found in my mother’s attic among some forgotten Christmas items and my favorite, the one in the middle is one I picked up for 10 cents at a church rummage sale.

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The back of the wreath is a darker pink than the front which has faded to a soft peachy pink. The faded colors and crumpled bow just make me love it more.

Yep, I’m a sucker for vintage Christmas. I think it brings out the kid in me. How about you? Do you have any treasured old decorations or ornaments?

Now that the temps are dropping, I have a good cold weather tip for you.

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Baby Boo Pumpkins At The Holiday Table

It has been over two weeks since I last posted but I do have good reasons for my absence. I can’t share all of the reasons just yet but I promise to soon. Following my last post I was busy preparing for a local holiday shopping event where I was a vendor. Whew! It was an amazing show and I was extremely happy with my sales. The venue was an art gallery and they do it up right so I always enjoy selling and/or shopping at the annual event. The down side is that it takes several days to recuperate from exhaustion! But it was a happy exhaustion.

Many of you will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your home and you may or may not have your holiday table planned. Today I want to share a last minute idea for your Thanksgiving table. My love for baby boo pumpkins carries on through Thanksgiving and they will make a special appearance at the family gathering.

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Your Thanksgiving guests may be expecting sweet potatoes, but they won’t be expecting them to be served in cute little baby boo bowls.

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I mashed these sweet potatoes with a fork and topped them with a dollop of marshmallow Fluff that I toasted under the broiler till golden brown.

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I’ll show you the simple steps to preparing your “bowls” but first I have another dish that serves up nicely in them.

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Filled with and set on a bed of wild rice.

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Finish off the look by topping with the “lid.”

To prepare your baby boo pumpkins, simply score the top with a knife in a circle.
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Next, cut through the scored place to remove the top.

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Scoop out the seeds and guts, scraping the inside with a small pointed spoon, fork or knife. Rinse, pat dry and fill.

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Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

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