Monday, November 24, 2008

Keeping Faith Firm

This just proves how small things can keep our faith firm !

These are the threads that people tied around the Marble windows in Fatehpur Sikri at the Mazaar of Khwaja Saleem Chishti when they pray for something!

Customs like this are popular at various other places as well in India...

e.g. In Uttarakhand there are temples where people tie bells in the temple compound when they wish for something. In two temples in Uttarakhand (Golu Devta Temple in Bhowali, near Bhimtal and another one at Chitai) people even write letters and leave them in the temple compound

There might not be a scientific explanation to all this, but when the mind really believes something will happen, small things like tying a thread or writing a letter can make it happen !!!

Original post by:चाय की दुकान... Click here to follow his beautiful blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Shack

I just finished one of the most powerful books that I have read in a very long time. It left a profound impression on me. I was drawn to it because it was deemed important enough to my husband's friend that he requested my husband, along with a long list of his other male friends read it. The story line is about a man dealing with the anger of his child's death. I would imagine most of us have been in a similar grieving process at some point in our lives. But, this story is so unique in dealing with the questions of why bad things happen to good people. How can God be father, son and holy spirit in one entity? Is God a he or a she, Jewish, black, white,or possess the "framed print" appearance? I'm remembering the song that says "Could God be just like one of us, a stranger on a bus..."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Leave behind a clear message

May you leave behind a clear message in some small way that says "This is how I saw the world." You are that important!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

quote of the day

“The need for devotion to something outside ourselves is even more profound than the need for companionship. If we are not to go to pieces or wither away, we must have some purpose in life; for no man can live for himself alone.”

—Ross Parmenter; writer, anthropologist

image: tin container - altered art from my website

Saturday, October 4, 2008

61 years ago - 2 becomes 1

Happy 61st wedding anniversary, Mama and Daddy!! My Mom is in ICU today, but they are still holding hands!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Award- I Love Your Blog

Karen, founder of, sent me a very kind compliment by naming my blog as one that she loves to read. It's an important affirmation to hear positive feed back from readers. Especially now that we seem to be bombarded with despair rather than encouragement. Thank you, Karen, just for being you. For never fitting into the peg and coaching others to celebrate their own uniqueness.

Life is not what you see, but what you’ve projected.
It’s not what you’ve felt, but what you’ve decided.
It’s not what you’ve experienced, but how you’ve remembered it.
It’s not what you’ve forged, but what you’ve allowed.
It’s not who’s appeared, but who you’ve summoned.
And it’s not where you’ve been, but where you’re going.

And this should serve you well, beloved, until you find, what you already have.

Now, in accordance with the rules, I'm nominating some folks whose blogs I love. I could actually add a whole lot more!! I am so grateful to you, ladies, for the inspiration you give so freely!

Elizabeth -

Rules of being tapped for this award.....

1.The winner can put the logo on their blog

2. Link the person from whom you received your award

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4. Link those blogs to yours

5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you nominated.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Photo: From our Wisconsin garden

Seeds of hope, nourished, encouraged, shored up, protected, tended... have granted us bounty. She continues to hold on to the last withering vine, as if to send a clear message of determined strength.

We thank her by taking in her nutrients, and then, again throughout the long winter. Proof of her beauty pose as if commissioned as a still-life of colored stacks in the freezer, colorful rows of jars in the cellar, or in color-filled bags to the neighbors.

I understand her unwillingness to give up the attention of the warm sun and the quenched thirst the heavens offer.

My father, at 80, still at work with my family's bounty in Texas. He says his daughter may get out of the farm, but the farm never gets out of the daughter. I didn't believe him when I left that small town heading for college, the big city, to accomplish big things. He was/is so wise. I miss harvest time at my family farm.

I miss my family.

"In a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart."
Louise Bogan

Monday, August 18, 2008

En Plein Air

The Plein Air Workshop was a real shot in the arm. I came back really energized and have been creating like a mad woman. Sometimes it just takes getting away from the familiar.

Right: "full circle respite"
Oil painting on canvas

Above: "left behind"
Oil painting on canvas

Click: for purchasing paintings and other works.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Full Circle Retreat

I am getting really psyched for my first actual En Plein Air oil painting workshop starting July 22 at Full Circle Retreat in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

Image- left- Full Circle Retreat farm house painted by Ken DeWaard.

I have never met the instructor, Kathie Wheeler, but I am in love with her work. Her sense of light and color is amazing.

Image - right - Just look at this sample of her work on what could have been a simple scene, but taken to another level. Gorgeous work!

Even more importantly, I am so ready to do nothing more than live and breathe art for 3 whole days in the middle of nowhere on a peaceful farm. Wisconsin does have picture-perfect-calendar art barns, silos, and wildlife. This is where life gets a little slower.
Image-top-Here is Kathie's vision of this area- a painting called "Heading In". For a quick fix, take a Wisconsin, cyber-vacation and breathe in other area scenes on her website.

Since I grew up on the family farm in Texas, this place feels close to home. I live so far away from all my Texas family, there comes frequent needs for connection to the deepest of my roots. I have come full circle. Coincidence that the retreat is so-named?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nature's Power

My favorite flower - Peony. Image- Photo of peony in our garden

They were gone before I knew it this year. Gorgeous heads bowed to the ground submitting to the weight of the rains.

With so many in this region losing so much to the rising waters, how dare I complain?

"Peony's Bow"
Original oil painting offered on my website gallery.

Nature is the art of God” - Dante

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Become Silent

Become part of the silence. Then if the simple sounds of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive...

We had a big storm last night.

Sometime in the dark of night I was awakened by spectacular lightening and booming thunder. I am grateful for a bedroom with an entire wall of glass. It allows my own private showing of nature's glory. I sat up in bed and contemplated this show of strength. Then came the soft tinkling of rain and the multiple songs. The birds' singing were louder than I have ever heard before. If the birds can sing after a storm, then why shouldn't I?

I have always been obsessed by birds. My collections of their works (nests, eggs, feathers) grow. I do not own a bird- never have, but I covet several bird cages. They each have the little door open at all times. If a visitor comes along with a instinct to close it's door, I explain that the door remains open.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Peace will come

Thank you for your concern about my absence.

Where do I start?

I have returned to my Wisconsin home after being away for over a month. Everything appears the same, even the paintbrush left awaiting it’s work.

But nothing is the same.

I had already been in Texas several weeks grieving my Mom’s decline in health and my Dad’s loss in memory, when I got the call.

Jeff, my husband’s brother, had been shot and killed in their childhood home near my own parent’s. He had lived there several years caring for their Mom (who had passed away 5 months previously) Three teenage daughters and three siblings were left to grieve continual questions that will never be answered. The only constant now, are the haunting questions. The haunting need for truth.

It wasn’t until I got back home that I clearly remembered this familiar trek.

I recognize this path from before.

I remember needing, even demanding, God’s plan—the need for purpose.

I remember the need for control.

The lesson I thought I had learned had to be recalled in the stillness of my nights.

I am anxious to leave the sleepless night of “need.”

Anxious to “let go” of the night’s fretfulness.
Anxious to embrace the dark in trust.

I remember finally reaching the day NOT needing answers to the questions anymore.

I remember finding peace.

I remember being surprised by joy.

There could be no better time than now to awaken – to understand the magnificence of BEING. Of BECOMING. Of BEGINNING again.

Jeffrey, may you find joy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Losing the battle with salt

An aging Indian sage grew tired of listening to his apprentice complain.
One morning, he sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
"How does it taste?" asked the master. "Bitter" said the apprentice and spit it out.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it into the nearby lake. Once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake. How does it taste?" Puzzled but curious, the apprentice responded, "Fresh".
At this, the master said, "The pain of life is pure salt. No more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container in which we put the pain. Stop being a glass. Become a lake!

My glass is a salt-filled chalice this morning. My Mom is in the hospital with her congestive heart failure worsening. The build-up of fluid is winning the constant battle and I am 1,300 miles away. The usual argument with myself is, do I fly there right away, do I wait.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Alone in thought

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), philosopher, poet

© Photo taken by me in Virginia cemetery.

Saturday, March 22, 2008



Today the sun shines strong, the snow melts slow, the ice daggers thaw - one drop, then another...
We have faith in the Resurrection of the Son
rising tomorrow,
Spring and healing on His wings,

We thaw our heart.
Grateful for permission to start anew, yet again...

* photo: Taken at our Wisconsin home.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Letting Go

Why is it that I, we, continually refuse to trust our own instincts? At what point did we lose confidence in our own judgement? Why is it that we need the opinion, agreement, and ultimately the stamp of approval from everyone from family members to co-workers to strangers paid to push a product? I wanna know when, and most importantly, I wanna know WHY?!

I have a continuous dream. I awaken with such clear memory that I spend more time sharing the detail than My Beloved can afford- cutting into his time polishing for his own “testing” at the office.

The latest was yet, another continuum. I am in a place where I am being tested. The instruction from the leader is that I will be allowed into the next level only after I have passed this particular level. He leads me to a door, guides me just inside, and leaves me to face numerous doors. They each bear labels (messages?) I do not understand. I look back to ask about what class I am to look for, but realize I am alone. I remember that this is a test. I’ve always done well in school, so this should be a snap. I even get to choose my subject. Let’s see now, which to choose. The labels read unusual categories such as era, dance, voice, trust, faith, legacy, etc. I choose the most intriguing that simply says “letting go”. When I go inside, I see people lined up at a huge diving board waiting their turn to reach the very top, just to fall face first into the waters below. I think to myself that this exercise is way too scary for me, so I sit and watch for awhile. Anxious to find a subject that pertains to me so that I may move to the next level, I find my way to the door looking for the leader to ask where I am suppose to go to begin my test. When I reach the hallway, the only thing I find is that now all the labels have changed into different subjects. I continually poke my head into each room to get a quick preview, only to find that the members are already half-way finished or that the subjects don’t relate to me. (i.e. dance class of older women looking silly in their tight tutus learning late in life to be ballerinas .) All the while, I am looking for this leader to tell him my discovery, and demand some guidance with no uncertain tone. I need to know just what direction I am suppose to head to find the testing that is meant for me. In frustration, I go into rooms and participate, but find myself starting late and rushing to catch up, or starting in the group as the lone opinion in the process for the end product. I go along with the majority and change my opinions on the assignment purely to obtain approval so that I finally get to graduate to the next level. When I return to the hallway, I find that, once again, all the labels have changed. I must start again. Oh........ I think I get it! I awaken. OK! OK! I get it! But the dream continues.......

Blog reads for the day -
Suzi's whimsical life as an artist bravely marching to her own drum without noticing other opinions.
Ann, a young mother's candid journal of drowning in the daily attempts of self-perfection. She just doesn't realize that she already IS!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Secret to Patience

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Photo - Concrete Angel in our backyard - waiting patiently for Spring

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leaving a gift of fragrance

Almost every morning of our 34 years of marriage, I have awakened to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Alongside the pot awaits a tiny china cup and saucer. Not a travel mug, never a hefty mug, nor, heaven- forbid, a plastic cup. Instead, patiently waiting for me to awaken, is a beautifully hand-painted, heirloom cup*. It’s just a cup, a simple gesture, a daily, unconditional token.

Most of the time, it's the simple joys that make my heart full.

“How delightful is your love! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!” Solomon 4:9-11

*Pictured above: Nannie's (My husband's great grandmama) china- in all it's glory-with it's chips and stains. We do not save it for special days, we use it to make every day special. We do not store it up in safe-keeping, for, we only have today.

© Original by Janie Mills -"Leaving a gift of Fragrance" - 9 x 12 acrylic on canvas