Sometimes I think that our kids learn more from what we do that what we say. What has been interesting me lately is what things each of my children have modeled from me. I see different parts of me in different kids.

I have spent a huge part if my mothering years being 'the artistic mother', creating, being busy, living around art and art supplies. While all of my children like to draw and paint, I see the crafty, creative bug has taken hold in my child, Laura more than the others. She has seen me and she has become her own version of me - only she is doing way more that I ever did!

She is the embodiment of creative energy.

I have lived it before her. She lives it now, whether she is making houses out of cigar boxes or sewing a skirt that can never fit a real person or making overly sweet lemonade, she never stops. Never. If I have not seen Laura for a while I know she is deep in some creative project.

It is a little scary to be a role model to human beings!


Out with the old. In with the new.

It's the little things that count. The details. The door hardware. The faucets. The light fixtures. That match. Or at least coordinate.

Out with the old shiny 'gold' door handles; in with the Venetian bronze ones.

I am changing them out a few a day with my trusty old hand drill. I have also done some plumbing - I replaced Lily's bathroom faucet! I googled how to uninstall and install bathroom faucets and found tons of helpful videos. No more calling a plumber for little jobs for me again. I can work this out myself!!

I am determined. I'm doing a little bit of house updating everyday. 15 ceiling fans are next. This time they will all look the same and actually work!! In time my house will look like it should. Intentionally whole and thought out.

It's like gathering clouds together. Soon it will be rain. Lovely, necessary, green making rain.

Me and my drill. We are making it happen!


Where I am

My first new re-commitment is to my house. I lived for almost eight years in a wonderfully odd, rambling ranch house. Two of my five kids have never known another house. I do appreciate it most of the time, but lately I have been seeing the flaws and dreaming about building or buying a new house.

Realistically we couldn't move for a few years, so I need to live well here in the mean time flaws and all. Of course there are flaws, old houses have flaws! It is dark, the light fixtures are from the 80's, the tile in the front entry is cracked, the yard is so huge it depresses me to think about tending it!

But it is mine. It has held my tears and dreams and songs. I want to see again the good here. I want to tend what needs tending. I want to live here like I care about how it ages. I want to value our investment. I want to love it like I did when we first bought it, when it looked like something out of 'The Love Boat', a big empty brown space we had no clue how to fill.

I am going to start by doing some minor freshening up. New door handles. Replace the many broken ceiling fans. Perhaps new faucets in Lily's bathroom. Little things, handy man things. Things that say 'I am a whole living project', 'I am attended to'.

Yes! I am turning my dreams home here and making good with what I have.


Been there

'You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness'

One thing I am going to leave behind.

Reflections on being 40

Me after 'Spa treatment' by my 8 & 6 year olds
On April 14, 1972 I was born. 

April 14, 2012. I have been anticipating this day for a long time. I feel like my life is folded in half. First 40, second 40. Every year I live after 80 is gravy, time to enjoy the many grandkids I know I will have.

Looking at my life as a whole I am very happy with what I have accomplished so far.

The bedrock of who I am and how I live my life are in place: Religion, family, education, house stuff and politics are non issues to me now. I am just living this life. I am not trying to convince myself or anyone else to live this kind of life. It is just who I am - a Christian, homeschool Mom of 5 smart, lively, creative kids, happily married, living on 5 acres in Texas, traveling to Ireland in the summers, conservative with a libertarian flavor and committed to and supporter of artistic pursuits of all kinds. Mark and I put years of thought and sweat into making this life work. We believe in what we are doing.

My main hardships have been in my creativity and with friendships. I get unmotivated, side tracked, disappointed and feel rejection too deeply. When I am down about something in my career or with a friend it colors my day so I don't appreciate enough the rest of my blessings. I need to somehow reign that in, not lower my expectations but be realistic about my abilities and other people.

I have done many artistic things in my life so far, but nothing that has amounted to enough to satisfy me. I think the next decade is going to be dedicated to writing. I have written my first novel. It is pretty good, but I'm going to make it better and focus on finding an agent. Yep. I am. Going to try.

And I am going to quit being so hard on myself and enjoy the security in Christ and in family I have.

So this is the beginnings of my new Vision Statement..... Next I will flesh out my new Long-Term goals..... Then break it down into a Short-Term goal list..... followed by my Action Plan..... I will get there.


The three

They never fail to astound me. My three girls. Stair steps of unabashed liveliness.

They can be cruel to each other. They can be loving to each other. In minutes. But always creative. Always constructing something out of whatever is around. Together.

I can imagine the grown up sisters they will be. The unity. The support. The conversations. The calls. The texts. The boys who will be, who already are discussed.

I am blessed to be around such people. My hands are so lightly parenting them for fear of messing up what God has made already so rich.


I own a forest

I own a forest
my name is on every branch
I am pointing to the heavens
and beckoning for more

why again and again do I choose
what is not right,
what is not good?

my ruined leaves
scratch the floor

will I listen this time?


The sad song of Alfred J.

"Everyday is for creating something. Something not necessarily for a purpose. Or to please someone else. But because it is better to do than to not do."

I have heard those words. I have written and read those words. Yes. But do I live them?

I am almost 40 years old. Half a life lived in Prufrock spoons. All measured and calculated.

This child, my Laura she is the opposite. No measurement. No calculation. Only doing. Forging ahead to the beat of her own drum.

Did the Lord know my child would be my teacher too?


traveling with friends

We drove from Magnolia, Texas to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. With friends. The Muchas. Artists. Journeyers.

Our children swapping cars. Eating together. Sharing hotels rooms. Excited about everything. Writing in their travel journals. Discussing the architecture of everything we saw along the way.

Our kids were magnificent in their interest in being together and claiming the world as their own.

Our kids are comfortable in their own skins. 

Our kids are the people I always wished I been like or at least known.


In my tightly rolled thoughts is happiness filled with regret

dark and light

I want to want to find the good in the moment everyday

but I am hard on myself

I see the dark

I want it gone but the habit is very real

there are days when I can't stand the sound of my own voice


double digits

Ten years ago she was a beautiful, happy, calm baby. She fitted into my arms so perfectly, expelling the idea that I could never be a good 'girl momma'.
I have been close to her this past decade, raising her, schooling her, talking to her, playing with her, crafting with her. I have watched her blossom into an even more beautiful, happy and calm girl. But more - she is strong, healthy, creative, interesting, fun, helpful, even tempered. And so her own person. She loves what she loves. She is not easily swayed. She has a steady love of cats, gymnastics, pretty things, high heels, comfortable pants, back rubs, a clean room, Justin Bieber, drawing, rip stiking,  trampolining with her brother and sisters, playing with her 2 year old brother.
People are drawn to her easy personality. She is loyal to her closest friends - Savannah, Grace, Hannah, Zeb, Zachary, Joshua, Luke, Emily, cousin Maya, her brother Matthew and sisters Laura and Annie Rose.
I marvel at how God planned so beautiful a person as Lily Kate and then gave her to me! I don't deserve such a blessing. I love this child. I pray that I get many more decades to be with her and watch her grow. I love every moment God gives me with her.


these days are sweet
my little ones are preparing,
counting the seconds
until Christmas morning.
like the original children
naming the coarse sugar
that sparkles on the tongue
from the curve of a cookie

I am tempted to hide
from the loud goodness that is here
but I enter the kitchen of seasons
composed and ready
my tranquility measured out
in spoonfuls
by my God who knows how much I need

today, everyday


And so life goes on
dogs fight and get hurt
unplanned vet visits are added
to an already busy week,
somehow school gets fitted in,
the toddler screams for a 'nu nu'
Mama tries to understand
as the laundry quietly grows
and lunchtime rolls round again

But later the lights are lit
on the living room tree
and the world becomes low and pretty
all woes forgotten, forgiven even,
the sounds are soothed in the dim space
and now appreciated for the life and soul they represent

the light always moves us like that
showing over and over a place of birth
a sudden energy, a new spirit
that makes everything brighter.


It's the season

It's the season of sparkles
and lights, evergreens and globes,
smiles and counting down,
full days and forgotten diets.

It's the season of caroling, 
red scarfs and hats,
plates of cookies, homemade and sugary
of silent nights, 
stars that appear in the sky, magically.

It's the season of the nativity
being shepherds or angels,
Mary wearing blue, Joseph standing by
in awe of what his woman has done.

It's the season of a gift given
wrapped and unwrapped
so inspiring
the thank you note is a book
written day in, day out
until the season comes again
and we find the next chapter is only beginning.



Annie, 5 and Shona
I feel rusty. Blogging. We used to be such good friends!

I am just popping in with an update.

Writing - I am still plodding through editing my novel. Two wonderful friends read it and gave me excellent feedback, all of which I took to heart. But the best thing was they loved it! They wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next. That was what I wanted, no needed, to hear. So the story is in place and working. The sentences and grammar, well, I'm still hacking away at that.

I have started the process of writing another book. I have to say I prefer the creative production of the story to the editing process.

Photography - my iphone and I have become inseparable! And all those processing apps have cut down on the time it used to take to upload, import to photoshop, upload to the net etc. iphone - very busy artistic mom friendly indeed!

Mixed media - not so much. I have only so much time for creativity and until I get these stories out of my system I am loyal to the writing process. One day I will crawl out of this cave and return to my first love, visual art.  She is letting me go for now.

The apartment - completed and beautiful. We use it almost everyday for college classes my husband leads and a kid's art class I am teaching with Shannon Mucha. (I plan to take some good photos of the finished place soon and post them).

Lily, 9
And my family. My people. The lights of my life. The reason I get up in the morning. The beauty of my day.

Nothing could tear me away from this life, this mothering, this homeschooling world. So here are a couple of photos of my beautiful kids. A time stamp.

Oh and anyone interested in seeing photos from our 2011 summer in Ireland I have made a set of photos here in Flickr or on Facebook.
Laura, 7 looking so like me when I was little

Matthew, 11 got a new dog, Athena the perfect little dog for our family

Maximus James, almost 2, all boy, obsessed with trains and movement

Lily at her first gymnastics competition

The utter joy of homeschooling with our friends the Muchas. Bringing paintings to life. 



Just a quick note to explain my absence - I have been writing a novel!

Yep, I always wanted to do it, but never had the confidence or the story to actually do it. I tried about two years ago and set that aside. Back in March I needed a new creative project and I found an old journal where I wrote to myself about my big dream to write a novel.  I knew the time was right, I couldn't put it off anymore, so I just started. It took me about 3 months to write, writing a little every day. I finished my first draft at midnight on June 12.

Now I am in the editing process. I am reading my words through and seeing so many flaws. The story is good, but needs so much shaping and pushing and pulling.  This process is not as fun as the initial writing, but without sever editing no one will ever read it.

So on I plod. Making time, showing up to do the work no matter what kind of day I had. I am applying all the processes that I talked about in my book, The Artistic Mother. I am fitting creativity into my busy mommy life.

I would be lost without a creative project. It just happens that this year it is writing.

Kitchen colors!!
Well... and house designing/decorating too. These past few months as I mentioned in previous posts I have been birthing a new apartment. We are converting our garage into a granny flat. It is almost finished (next stop wood floors, then plumbing fixtures, paint touch ups and viola). My head has turned the corner to decorating - today I went to Target to pick out bedding and dish towels. I won't be able to fully furnish the place before we leave for Ireland this summer, but it will be ready enough. I will post pictures next month when it is closer.

Lily, 9 T-shirt painting

And of course, life with children continues. We have been doing a little school, just reading and writing, drawing and crafts, always crafts!

I hope you, dear visitor, are well and I do apologize for disappearing from blog land. All of my creative energy has been tied up in non-internet related activities. And it feels good. I am where I need to be right now.


Blank slate update

I have decided on the color scheme!!! It seemed that 'cool' was most popular, thank you to those who commented and emailed me, your input was helpful in my decision making process.

My husband Mark weighed in also and said we needed to pick a color that allowed us to put furniture from our house out there (he plans on buying some new things for our house), so that means we have to go somewhat warm (as most of our furniture is heavy and dark). I found a compromise. I have chosen colors inspired by the stonework on the outside of my house and a tray with a glass bead handle that my husband won at a silent auction this week.

On the walls I will do a light, yellowy beige, the trim will be white and in some of the rooms the walls will be a light sea green blue/gray.  The accent colors will be burnt orange and turquoise. The fixtures stainless steel and the countertops black (with flecks of blue and yellow). I found a tile at Home Depot with all the colors in it for the backsplash in the kitchen. I am very pleased with how this is going!!!

If you are interested I did a video update and posted it to Facebook.


Blank slate

Yes, I know I am a lucky girl right now. I get to choose the color scheme for the granny flat we are building. This week I need to choose do I go warm, like my current house...

or cool...

I think my mother would like cool, Lily & Matthew wants cool. Mark likes bold, warm and colorful but will go with whatever I choose. I am torn. When I am looking at house books I always like to look at the cool, sea colored, shabby chic houses, but when I am in a furniture store I always go with big and heavy and medieval.

torn, torn, torn

I have this blank slate to work with. I think I will be mood boarding this week. 

View from door to French doors off living room

View from living room towards back bedroom (left) and study (right)

View from living room to kitchen, that window will have the sink below it

Taped, floated and ready for paint. Oh, I have to pick cabinet and counter top colors too!!

Do you have any suggestions for helping me make that choice?


Creative Spring

First things first....

Homeschool Mom advice.
Beading - colorful. bold.
It is the thing to do when she is 5 and everyone else is doing school.

Second. This: I am taking my own advice (the words I laid down in my book). Living day by day my own creative dream. Fitting art time into my day, everyday.

This time not mixed media, not even photography. I am writing. Creative writing. I feel like I am flying.

I hate to be so oblique here and not tell you exactly what I am working on. It is so against my nature to not be straight forward. But I have to honor the Spring of my creative venture. At least for now.

And my kids are ever growing and pushing inwards and I have to meet that challenge. I have to help keep their world moving forward. I have to keep them challenged and encouraged. Everyday my husband and I wonder where each of their huge personalities come from. One day is more awesome and creative than the next.

I look back at this blog and I am amazed at how many people I have met. It is wonderful to have found so many people who 'get' what I am doing here with my art and book and homeschooling and all that. People that are committed to living the artistic life in their homes too. I don't want to loose that. So please, while I am not blogging regularly please don't forget me. I will have something awesome for you in a few months. Seriously. Trust me. I am using my time diligently. I am excited and hopeful.

Stamp from CRESCENDOh 'Everyday Me' by Christine Mason Miller.

A touch of nostalgia

I made this using a supplies from Stampington & Co. For directions on how to make this card pocket folder please go here.

frozen in time
I see an old friend
from way back
he is looking in the window
of a store on Grafton street
his image tight
never older
I am looking from above
leaning from a small wooden chair
in Bewely’s mezzanine
and he doesn’t see me
he doesn’t even remember

those days, ‘Dublin
in a rainstorm in the summer
keeping warm’. But I remember it
I remember his thin shoulders
would pull up when he laughed
bending at the waist towards me
the smell of his leather jacket
I thought we would never make 19

‘we’ didn’t
but 'I' did

that was the year I met
the true love that
misses my shape when
when I am late for bed,
that knows my face
older now and loves me more.

‘Dublin in a rainstorm in the summer keeping warm’
- a line from my favorite Sinead O’Connor song ‘Troy


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