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The past year has been filled with emotional highs and lows.  I am sure it is the same for everyone else.  My Mom has been gone just a year and I still find myself wanting to walk into the other room to tell or show her something.    Whatever your relationship is or was with your parents there is always mixed emotions about things said or unsaid.

I found myself in a profound exacerbation of my illness(es) and was told it was my stress and grief.
I needed to take care of ME and calm my stress levels down. 

I had been putting off donating my Mom's last shipment of Insulin that had arrived just a week before her passing.  So I finally took it to a local Women's Recovery Program. 

It sat on the seat beside me as I drove across town.  Her name printed on the outside of the container elicited tears.  It felt like I was saying good bye to the last of her.  I cried all the way there.

While waiting for the nurse I had just talked to about accepting the donation, I visited with the receptionists.  I had no idea what was going to fall off my tongue.. I just blurted out " do the women have an art program here?"

One of the ladies said not really.  The other said you should go to the Yellow House. It is the house for the nursery and school age children of residents here when they are in class or working all day.
So they promptly gave me a date and time for the next volunteer orientation class the following week.

I then met the nurse in charge of the Union Gospel Mission's 3 health clinics.  Annie came out and the receptionists said "We have a new volunteer"  She asked if it was for the health clinic and I said no to do art with the kids.

She said " come on   You can do it I can teach you."  I laughed and said I was a retired Nurse but had not kept up my license after acquiring my illness.  You don't need  a current license when you are volunteering.

So I agreed to also work in the women's health clinic at that House.  I got out in the car and just realized the commitment I made and  said.  "Thanks Mom.  This is your fault."

I know my Mom led me there to reach out and get out of my own grief and focus on someone else in more need. 

Every Tuesday I eagerly get up at 6 am to get ready and go the clinic and work with the women in the house who are sick or have sick children.  I have come to know them and care about them deeply.
They are women who took a wrong turn or made a choice that altered their live dramatically and not for the better.

They are committed to changing their life for themselves and some for their children as well.
They deserve love and respect just like any of us.

After Clinic is over I go across the court yard to the Yellow House and work with the school age children after school. In the summer most of the afternoon.  They have come to trust me and look forward to every new week and project I bring. These kids have been homeless and through traumatic childhoods.  They are broken and need so much love.  It took a while to break down their walls of acceptance and now I get hugs and smiles.  They even share some of their lives while we are working one on one.

When I first started I asked if there was a budget for supplies for the Yellow House and was told they had a one time budget of $20.  I didn't take it. I continue to haunt garage sales and thrift stores for art supplies and fill in with  personal donations.

This summer when all our granddaughters were staying with us, they came and volunteered in the nursery and worked with the school age kids on two different occasions.  A life lesson in viewing the underprivileged.  Our kidlets were wonderful and loved being there.

My health is more or less back to baseline with the limitations I will always have but life is good and busy. 

I still continue my Monday Mayhem art classes here at our house.  Kids come and go do to more sports involvement or entering high school.  I always seem to average a dozen kids.  These kids have happier healthier environments but I know Art is a universal tool to bring joy and some healing to anyone who indulges in it.

I would love to show pictures of the kids at the Yellow House and some of the art we have made but need to protect their privacy. I need to start taking pictures of just their art. I want to start doing art with the women but they have one free night a week and a card making artist has that time for now.

Please take a moment in your life and no matter how you feel just give someone a smile.  It will do more than you will ever know.

Hoping your day is filled with JOY and ART.


Liberate Your Art 2017

Once again  I have been participating in Kat Sloma's  of Kat Eye Studio's"LIBERATE YOUR ART swap.

The idea is to turn your art/photography into post cards and then send five different or all the same cards to Kat. With the help of many volunteers she then sends the postcards twice a week starting at the end of March until they are all delivered to the over 167 participants from  all over the world.  Everyone sends five and in return gets five and an extra one from Kat herself

Each year I look forward to trying to capture better photos.  Knowing I am going to be sharing them with other artists/photographers that are so much more professional pushes me to see the world around me form a different point of view.  And who doesn't love snail mail that is uplifting?

This year was a little different.  We were on vacation and so when we returned just recently I had all my post cards at once.  They all make me smile and so happy looking at them.

I sent the following photos this year.

These two photos were taken last Oct. when we spent a month on the Big Island.  We took a boat tour
to view the lava flow from the active Volcano Kilauea.

The pontoon boat held 40 people.  We were about 20 yds  from the flow.  The sulfur smell was very strong and we felt the warm steam and spray from the ocean as lava fell into it.  It was a breath taking site.  I am sure one I won't see again.

I drove into the drive way just after our first snow storm last fall and was greeted by this rose.  I had to take a picture.

                              This was taken on a fall walk in the rain.

I received the following post cards:

This beautiful cat looks like she could be a relative of my baby. The inscription on the back reads:
A look that will melt your heart and the pet of a nursing home resident. This was sent from Vi Jones.
Thank you Vi.  The cat is beautiful and so is the photo.

This original art was done by Amy Garten from Nashville Tennessee.  Amy wrote "Dear Artist--keep going. You did it! You spread love and color across the globe.  May your creative spirit thrive in 2017.  I love the colors and the simple message.   When I look at it again and again I see an ocean and sunset with a sail boat in the foreground. Thank you Amy.

This mixed media piece was created by Regina. I apologize if I don't have it in the right direction. I love to do mixed media and I have yet to really put it out there.  This inspires me to try that.
The quote on the back says "create what sets your heart on fire and it will illuminate the path ahead." Karma Voce.  Thank you Regina. I enjoy the balance and the colors.I see something different every time I look.

This is a digital painting by Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio in Eugene Oregon.  Thank you Kat.  I love this piece.  It reminds me of a chalk painting.  Thank you for all of your hard work in the swap.

This  original mixed media piece is titled "California Springtime" by Natasha Monahan Papousek.  Our Spring time is way behind and we are inundated with rain.  It is a sweet reminder of what is to come.  Taking in the entire picture with the music notes as well as the mountains and trees etc I hear a spring song.  The note of the back: Hello Art friend "How does the meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold- William Wordsworth Let your life be free and bold.`Thank you Natasha.

This mixed media piece is from Andrea in Vienna...Peace-crossing oceans  Inspire Kindness.  This is a simple but profound message.  It looks like she sewed the lines on here.  Andrea started swapping art just a few months ago. I love hearts so this will find a prominent place. Thank you Andrea.

I am blown away by the art I received.  Everyone is so very talented. It makes my heart sing to know there are so many wonderful artists around the world.  I hope this gives you inspiration to keep going or try something new.
Maybe you would like to join in next year's swap.

I have extra postcards if any one is interested in them.

To see more amazing art follow this link and see what everyone else received.


Have you seen Olaf?

I am sitting here with a hot cup of coffee.  Won't you join me?  It is once again snowing and snowing and snowing.  Poor John is out shoveling after two week's reprieve.  This winter is reminiscent of those I grew up with.  I don't remember all the grumbling but who does when you are so busy playing in it?

It was really melting A LOT......but Mother Nature knows best......or just shaking out the last dredges of winter.  We have had big flooding and robins are out and about.

                 Did you see the movie FROZEN with the goofy snowman OLAF?
                        Well, he moved in down the road  a bit just after Christmas.

    He is 22 ft tall and took an entire month to construct.  His features are made out of plywood and a     tomato cage for a nose.    And yes,  the family had to 'borrow' snow from elsewhere to have enough.

We talked to the owners and they said they had a family meeting one evening to figure out a service project.  Now they build a new character every winter.  They spot light it at night.  They take your picture if they are home when you happen by.

John and I couldn't resist.  There is a donation bucket and the proceeds go to a local camp for kids who have a parent with cancer.  I find great JOY in that.  I applaud this family for their  ingenuity and  generosity.

I started volunteering at a woman's Union Gospel Health Clinic one day a week.  I needed to get outside of my health issues and focus on those less fortunate.  I have been there a month and am enjoying it.  The women are in a 2 year program for addictions so are long term residents.

I am learning a lot about displaced women and children and I thought I was smart enough to understand........God is at work in all of us........So HE made me open my mouth and at the end of the clinic it is time for the live in kids to get out of school......five of them.....so am doing art with them.
                                   The Joy I am looking for is always right in front of me.

Tulips and Daffodils have been on display in the stores.  They call out and I have to get a new bouquet every week.........They make me smile and I know Spring is beckoning around the corner.

Whatever your weather....I hope you are warm and cozy.....and your love is always reflected back to you.