Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Offering - Daily painting 11/30

I had planned on writing all about this painting and my day of painting but now that I've gotten to the point of writing for my blog, I'm seeing double and ready for bed! So here is one of my creations today called The Offering. I explained a little more about the process for this painting in my description on Etsy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Original art holiday gift tags

Set of 13 original hand painted gift tags

Set of 12 original hand painted gift tags

I've been having a lot of fun playing with these hand painted gift cards. I was trying to think of different artsy holiday stuff I could create and put on Etsy, and these just came about naturally. At first I thought I could sell cut down reproductions of the tags, but a few test runs showed me the effect was lost with a copy. The original has that nice watercolor paper texture, and looks so much nicer attached to a gift. I have a few sets in my shop and plan to do a few more. I can do commissioned sets of certain colors or patterns as well, just contact me if you are interested.

Friday, November 24, 2006

11/24 - Black Friday? Nah... It's BRIGHT Friday!

Painting of the day:
Set of floral ACEOs now available on Etsy

After a spell of gray days and then a rainy Thanksgiving yesterday, today I awoke to bright blue skies, and a warm sunny day. My cold is definitely on it's way out, and I am thrilled to be feeling better. Leo enthusiastically bounded through the woods on our walk today - he's grateful the rain stopped too! He had a crazy look in his eye without a walk yesterday. It's been a great day and it's going to get even better when my best lady Emily arrives. Ladies night tonight - wine, talking, laughing, more wine, more laughing... good times.

I feel sorry for anyone trapped in the marketing machine that actually paid any attention to shopping today. Yikes. It amazes me every year to see people buying into the whole Black Friday thing. I saw on the news last night a few people interviewed waiting outside a Best Buy at around 11 at night to stay up for the 5 am opening. Wwwwhat???? One guy said it was because he could get something for under $200 and sell it on eBay for $500. Ok. But how about your medical expenses after your night spent in the cold rain (they were drenched)? Or the hours you spent waiting, weren't they worth something? Then there's the stampedes when the big stores open their doors. That is the LAST place I'd want to be!

I am looking forward to getting into the Christmas spirit, though, in my own way of course! I like to make gifts or search for unique items online or in small shops. Northampton MA is only a 40 minute drive from here, and I love going there to shop. They string lights through the pedestrian friendly downtown, filled with restaurants and funky shops and boutiques. I think there are a lot of people out there that think like me when it comes to gift shopping, and it's great - support the small businesses, artists and craftsmen! I plan to do a lot of shopping on Etsy this year. It feels great to say "this came from a potter in Maine named ____ who is..." vs. "I got it at Target, the receipt's in the bag".

Speaking of great gifts.... my husband's Aunt Wendy just gave us a wedding present, and it is beyond words wonderful.... For wedding favors, I had little bundles of a butterfly/bird attracting wildflower seed mix, and I wrapped them in brightly colored squares of fabric, tied off with a ribbon and card saying what the seed mix was, and the date of our wedding. At the end of the reception, Wendy asked to collect the favors people left on their tables and we said no problem! We assumed they wanted the extra seeds for their garden. Well, she ended up sewing the patches of my fabric squares along with an added butterfly print fabric together like a quilt, and then using that to cover a pillow. She embellished it with golden thread, in shapes of birds and butterflies. The ends of the roll pillow are tied off with the ribbon and cards from my favors! It was so thoughtful and considerate, and something that means the world to both of us.

My wish for all this year is to have stress free, fun time with the ones we love. It's not about the gifts, it's about the love. For years, my uncle would wrap his Christmas gifts in newspaper. Who cared? My beloved uncle was there, making me laugh! I don't remember what he got me, but I remember how great it felt to be around him. That's what lasts. That's what remains when toys get broken, clothes don't fit anymore, and trends become outdated. It's the memories of the time we've shared together. That is what is most important.

Giving Thanks Today 11/23/06

This is my golden boy, Leo. He is my beloved "son" (first dog where I am Mommy), angel, and best friend. Leo and I shared Thanksgiving together today. He didn't mind that I had a cold, he just wanted to be close, and maybe get to eat my used tissues (which turned my stomach much like it's turning yours now - in fact, sorry I shared that detail).

Yesterday I was fighting the cold feelings. Trying to tell myself I wasn't really feeling that sore throat, that my nasal passages were fine, and I'd be bumping elbows with family members in just 24 hours. This morning there was no denying it. The idea of going to my in law's house and spreading my sickness to hoards of little children, then going off to see my own family including a few elder kin that do not need their immune systems challenged, was not an option. As my husband left in clean slacks and all, I felt left out, but couldn't feel too sorry for myself, this was Thanksgiving after all.

Giving thanks....

Okay, so I have a cold. It will pass. So I didn't get a meal with my family today - my husband brought me home a plate. All is well in Jessyville. The point is I HAVE a family, they are okay and healthy, and so am I (ultimately). I have a man that loves me even when I'm sick and gross, and kids that love me even though I'm not related to them by blood, and a dog that loves me no matter what. I have been blessed with many surrounding my life that have encouraged my art and I have been able to encourage others with their passion for art. I have a roof over my head as it rains tonight. I am able to call my Mom tomorrow and just talk. I can walk, talk, hear, see, smell, think, feel - all those things and so many more are true blessings in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody, I am thankful for you too!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Synchronicity - Painting of the Day 11/22

Ink and watercolor on 2.5" X 3.5" watercolor paper, 2006
Available HERE in my Etsy Store.

Last night, I spent a few hours working small, and a few of the pieces I was working on were ACEOs. This morning I got an email asking for my permission to be included as a feature artist on - the page I am on is

I love this site, and the creator of it, Jennifer, is not only a great artist, but a poet as well. It was just a neat little connection between what I was working on and the timing of this request.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

11/21 - We Figure It Out As We Go Along - Painting of the day

We Figure It Out As We Go Along
Ink and watercolor on 7" x 4" watercolor paper, 2006
Click here - FREE SHIPPING now available in my Etsy Store

This is a new creation in old, familiar territory. I've been doing these figurative ink and watercolor abstracts for some time - I just can't seem to shake them, and hey, why should I?

There are these various parts of me that want to be expressed. Part of me wants to kick ass all over a huge canvas - yelling, crying, screaming, exalting, freeing, doubting, and believing, in paint, and in raw expression. Another part of me wants to do these expanded doodles... calmer in the creation process and contemplative, but still very intuitive. Lastly, I want to create abstract art that is reduced to the most pure, meditative elements, colors and relationships of forms - a slower and more "aware of every mark" process..... Hey, while we're at it, I want to paint landscapes like Wolf Kahn and portraits like Sargent, and ahhh.... make crazy quilts like the prize winner I saw at our Four Town Fair, and blow glass, and..... (and we're not even getting into other things OUTSIDE of visual art - music, dance, writing, performance, etc, etc). Hey, I want to learn puppet making for goodness sake! Be a master chef! What can I fit in, in this short little life of mine! (no I'm not dooming my own lifespan, I'm saying even if I live till I'm 150, there's just SO much to do! to investigate and experience!).

Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.

I grew up knowing that phrase. It made sense to me, and evolved in relation to how I evolved. I thought of it just now, thinking about my desire to get into everything and how many people would recommend just focusing on one thing. But then I thought about the movie I saw last night called The Secret and I realized that the reverse is not only true, but ultimately more powerful.

Your greatest weakness is your greatest strength.

If you can overcome that perceived weakness, you are free, and that is the greatest power besides love on earth! Ok, I'm getting excited, and I need to gather myself to say what I want here....

The Secret

You need to see this movie. It may seem corny, cliche, said before, silly, far out, far fetched, you name it. Call it anything you want, watch it anyway. I'm into all this stuff, and even for me at the beginning I was wondering where it was going to lead, thinking "yeah, yeah, heard this already". But getting beyond that, and beyond that initial dismissal, things got very interesting. The real message of this movie is the power of our minds, and that we create our realities, and therefore, can achieve any relationship, state of mind, or life, that we want. People saying this is possible so confidently comes off in a way that we naturally feel wary of. That's what I mean about my own first feelings of being put off. But then I LISTENED... took it all in. There is real truth in there. Real power.

So what is it? I'll do my best to translate what I got from the movie, first pass (would like to watch it many more times). Let me use an example, that helps.


Jane Doe: I hate my job.

So what do she do? She spends all of her time hating her job, thinking about how much she hates her job, how much she envies others that have better jobs, judges herself for being not good enough to get a better job, and in reaction, feels miserable, tired, drained, annoyed, frustrated, and you know, the rest of the range of negative emotions. At the end of the day, all she can think is "I hate my job! I want a new job!". And if she prays for something better, it's usually in the form of "I want" or "I would like".

"The Secret" is about how when we think about and focus on how much we don't like something, we are drawing more of it to us. Like attracts like, the law of attraction. If Jane Doe is thinking all about how awful her job is, she'll get more of that awful job. If she concentrates on wanting something better, she'll get more of that too - more wanting, that is. The alternative is to not only visualize, but to truly FEEL the experience of having before you really do. Concentrate your mind's time and attention on the job you DO want to have vs. the one you don't like having. In Jane's case, she would first search herself for what she really wants to be doing in her career. Then she takes herself through every sensation of how it would really FEEL to experience doing that job and how it would positively influence her life. Not just visualize, but place herself in the "driver's seat" of the experience of what she desires. Then she makes her mind believe that she already has it, it's already hers, and she is grateful for it. The gratefulness is important - the law of attraction comes back into the picture. Injecting grateful thoughts into our daily life opens our hearts to greater potential in so many other ways.

A few of the true story tales in this metaphysical documentary included:

One man that was told would be paralyzed forever on a respirator, with crushed lungs and a broken body after an accident. He did this mind power "experiment" by picturing himself walking out of the hospital a healthy man. Against all odds, this guy was there to tell the story on camera.

Another woman had her case of breast cancer disappear with no chemotherapy or radiation by the power of her mind.

A business man made "vision boards", collages of images that captured his hopes and dreams. He was single, young, and just getting started when he made them. Years later, his son found them and they looked at them together. The man started crying because the EXACT house that he had clipped out of a magazine for one of his boards was the very house he had purchased and was living in today.

There's more, but for those that would be into this, you'll find a way to see it. I used a simple example with Jane Doe's career, but this expands to every corner of our lives, and is of greatest use in our relationships, health, and how we can best aid the world (visualize peace!). One of the exercises is to write out your "dreams in the now" (my own phrasing here) like...

"I am so grateful and happy that...." in the present tense. I MIGHT share my own here, we'll see.... but I will do it one way or another, and I'm excited to think about the effects. Why? Because I've already used this wisdom in my life a number of times without even realizing what I was doing, and I've invested this way of thinking consciously in some areas of my life right now, and it's already having positive effects....

... there's no end to this discussion, i'm discovering, so i need to say at least, goodnight!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holiday Sale - Free shipping on Etsy

Warm Embrace
Acrylic on 8" X 10" canvas board, 2006

From now until the end of 2006 I will be offering free shipping on all of my original art on Etsy to the US, UK and Canada. Visit my store at (Offer applies to paintings over 32" in any direction in USA only). Of course I will still accept other international buyers, and I'll be sure to fairly discount those sales as well.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Drawing With Eyes Closed

My latest hobby has been perusing other artist's blogs, and tonight I found the original post on Jafabrit's Art blog with her drawing challenge to draw with eyes closed. I loved the idea of this, so I had to do a few of my own.

The first one below is in honor of her drawing - a self portrait with her dog. Here is me with Leo.

In my next "eyes closed" drawing, I didn't have anything in mind... see picture below...

...once I was finished and opened my eyes, I saw an image about creation/pregnancy. I cannot deny these urges towards motherhood...

The last one is seen above. I was thinking about a Joseph Campbell interview when he spoke of a Mayan (pretty sure it was Mayan, that is) statue of the One, the Center, a face in the middle, with the polarities featured on either side. I really enjoyed this exercise and I think I should do more of this. I'm thinking of automatic drawing... and how I'd like to research it a lot more.

Artist Links - send me yours!!

As you may have noticed, I have a new look to my blog. I changed the template when I updated to the "new" Blogger. This allows me to change/add things SO much easier - I am really a novice when it comes to html code. So if you are an artist, and you'd like me to include a link to your site/blog, please let me know! You can reply to this post or email me with the link and the name of the site.

Hooray for Scorpios!!

I knew I'd find something right for my two Scorpios at Free Will Astrology - the great Rob Brenzy writes horoscopes like haikus, and always manages to get you right in the gut. My husband's birthday is tomorrow, November 16, and my mom's is Nov. 18. The two biggest loves of my life born two days apart - coincidence? I think not.

So here's what Rob Brenzy had to offer for Scorpios this week.

..... You were standing in the doorway with your crooked smile as big and wild as the morning light. I was spellbound--lost all memory of who I'd been before that moment. You were as shockingly real as the perfect giant spider web stretched across my front porch when I left my house today. Did I hallucinate what you said as you murmured into your cell phone? Or did you really say, "I'm looking for someone who'll teach me how to live forever as we make love with exploding hearts"? That was too sweet and fierce to bear. So here's my loving complaint, which is also my bragging promise: I want you so much I want to be you. I adore you with such painful lucidity that I think I could learn how to find you in every bird's cry, every cloud's flow, every changing face...... words from

Phew! I had to take a moment to re-read that a few times. It's a beautiful mirror of how I see my Scorpios, and how I feel towards them. I feel in awe of both of them - their enduring grace and humor, insight, beautiful, magnificent spirits that shine like a magnetic auras around them, drawing us near. I also read this and think of their own mind speaking - such fiercely passionate beings. I have felt that level of passion from both of them - the desire to merge with all of life's splendor - being so in tune with it all. I have felt the overwhelming levels of their love, encompassing me so that yes, we ARE one.

Tonight I say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you both! My greatest supporters - two big brown eyed loveys with the biggest hearts I've ever experienced. I love you both so much...

As for me & art, I have been thinking more than doing. Visions of what's to come are floating through my mind, and I'm excited to see these ideas come to life.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Indian Orchard Mills Open Studio Weekend, November 11 & 12, 2006

This weekend was the Open Studios exhibit at the Indian Orchard Mills. I just had my camera on Saturday, and did a lot more gabbing then picture taking, so I only have a few to share. Here's one of my studio below. The wall on the left was all recent works, then I had a wall of 8 x 10's. I also had a group of paintings hanging outside in the hallway, and the people on the right were standing by my discount table. It was a great opportunity for me to move some older works, and have some things that were affordable for buyers.

Below is my wall of small works.

Here's a picture of me with my wonderful aunt Johane. She's not only been a great supporter of my art, she's also a great inspiration for me! I think I've subconciously painted her many times!

This was Joe - we met at the show and he shared that he loved acting, singing, and art. He couldn't decide which one was his favorite. He was a bundle of creative energy and a pleasure to meet. Thanks for the performances, Joe!

It was a wonderful weekend and I had a pleasure meeting new people, and getting to know some more of the artists at the Mills. There's so many of us, and we all come at different times to work, so it's hard to get everyone together for a meet and greet. My thanks & love also go out to Martha, Helena and Jo, Ed, Matt, and Ceara for stopping by. And of course, a great big thank you to my husband for being by my side the whole time. Before I break into The Wind Beneath My Wings, I'm off to Etsy. Their new v2 setup is complete, and there are some fun new additions to the site that I am exploring. Check it out at - my store there is

Friday, November 10, 2006

Artworks Gallery: Holiday Exhibition and Sale, Opening Reception, Thursday, 11/9/06

Last night, I drove myself and two friends, Tim and Marissa, to the opening reception of the juried Holiday Exhibition at Artworks in New Bedford, MA. I was and am so thankful that they wanted to take the trip with me. After all, this was a 5+ hour round trip drive through north eastern Connecticut on long, dark, country roads, through Providence, RI (a nightmare to navigate, for those that know the area), and up the coast to New Bedford. But they were troopers, and we had a lot of fun talking, laughing and singing together on the drive. So, let's get on with the show, shall we?

Here, Marissa and Tim are checking out a case of jewelry in the back room of the gallery. Surrounding them are paintings, photographs, and on the wall above, brightly glazed, ceramic fish.

The lovely model Marissa stands beside one of my four paintings they were exhibiting. They have nine of my paintings all together, but the point of the show is for buyers to take the work right off the walls when they purchase it, and not have to wait until the end of the show to pick it up. So the rest of my work is in their inventory, and there are signs all over the gallery about the extra work they have from each artist. The painting below is Untitled.

This was my favorite nook of the gallery. On the left, they hung my two paintings, Expanding I and II, beside the work of Claire Pavlik Purgus on the right that I LOVED. Tim also commented on her work, and how pleasing it was. She had another smaller painting, similar to this, with these gorgeous colored, stacked bowls. The pottery below was in a range of colors that really flowed beautifully with the other paintings. I thought it was genius curating on their part. The circular forms repeated, the connections of color and earthiness. I feel so proud to be part of this!!

Here's another shot of the main room of the gallery. There was a woman there offering her foot massaging services with a chart of all of the pressure points on our feet (just a funky, fun addition to the opening reception event). So hey, sip some wine, kick your feet up, and soak in the art that surrounds you. Sounds perfect to me!

Here is another one of my paintings, Pre Sense.

I think this was my favorite artist there. As soon as I find a link to more of her work, I'll post it here.

The exposed brick in the gallery was beautiful. What a great show! One of the artists that was exhibiting was Alice Brock - THE Alice from the famous folk song "Alice's Restaurant". Her work was delightful - I am now regretting buying one of her prints.

Afterwards, we wandered the town and found, no joke, a Mexican restaurant called No Problemo!!! It was a funky little place, great food, and we byob'd some bevys for ourselves to compliment our fine, Mexican fare. Good times... Here's me and Marissa.

Well, the night was a blast, and I want to thank my friends so much for coming along for the long, crazy ride, and making last night a night to remember! So here's something just for you guys.... love u!

Tell Jerry Daddy that his dressing is super fine, and he's welcome in the luxury sedan any time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We Are One - ACEO collage series

Here are four of the seven faces in my recent collage series of ACEO's called We Are One. You can find these original works of art and others in my Etsy store at

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Perceived Distinction - Painting of the Day 11/4/06

Perceived Distinction
Acrylic on 8" x 10" canvas, 2006

It is a full moon tonight. I am feeling it. So in honor of the spirit of the full moon, I got a bottle of red wine - watch out world! This wild woman is on the loose!

I created this painting yesterday-today, among others where I'm carving out forms with the negetive space. This piece makes me think of trying to put ideas and experiences in understandable boxes, tucked away in one's memory in coded arrangements, to be retrieved later on. Life as it happens is so much bigger than what we can manage to hold onto, so I wonder what service these preserved pieces are to us. When I remember a certain birthday party, for example, I remember the time that so and so ate too much candy and got sick, or getting the doll that I wanted, or the flavor of the cake. All of the other elements of the experience are gone because they were never collected for the memory box in the first place. But those missing elements are what fills in the reality of our lives. All that we don't know, forget or didn't see, contribute just as much as the cherished, preserved bits we hold onto. Another painting I did a few weeks ago has a more appropriate title for this idea - Veiled Memories.

This title, Perceived Distinction, is about how we look at the world - this is black, and that is white, this is good, and that is bad, etc. In my own thoughts and spiritual seeking, I am attracted to the idea that there really are no boundary lines from one thing to the other. Duality, and the spectrum between opposites is OUR reality, but is it REALITY?

I recently read something along the lines of "when you can look at a stranger and see yourself, you will begin to understand the universe". Being unique makes us beautiful. Being connected makes us beautiful. It's all good.

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together." - I Am The Walrus, The Beatles

Friday, November 03, 2006

Decoration or art?

UntitledAcrylic and oil pastel on 8" x 10" canvas board

Today was a play day with paint. I wasn't feeling any powerful emotions or ideas that I wanted to convey, I just wanted to play around with fun shapes and colors that I love. I guess people could say these works would be considered "decorative" because the point of the paintings is simply to be pleasurable and/or interesting to look at. I feel okay about that. I don't think all art has to "say something" to be considered real art.

When I was in college, I was just a few credits shy of being a Women's Studies double major, and one of the higher level courses I took was about the art of quiltmaking. It was the coolest class - co-taught by a Women's Studies professor, and an English professor. The course could be counted as credits towards English, Art History, or Women's Studies (maybe one more thrown in there too!), so there was an interesting mix of students from multiple disciplines. I was so inspired by that class and all that I learned about the history of quiltmaking, quilt patterns, and contemporary fiber artists. One of the most interesting conversations we had was about how we think about this artform, and how it stacks up against the world of "high art". Those debates about high art vs. more folk artforms made such an impression on me, because as a woman, I could imagine myself being in another lifetime when my creativity would not have been encouraged or supported. No art school, no paintings with my name on them in art exhibits, just the expectation of being a wife, mother and homemaker. I know if I was me then, I would have taken advantage of any creative medium I was allowed.

The woman who wove a beautiful blanket, with the colors of the rainbow, is that not art? The woman who sewed a crazy quilt of scraps, is that not art? The woman who painted native patterns on her pottery vessels, is that not art? For some people, no. For me, absolutely.

That being said, I think my respect and appreciation for ALL creative expressions (not just "high art") leads me to a unique perspective about what art is. I have found that many artists have strict rules and expectations about what makes an artist, and what makes something "real" art. I don't think painting or drawing patterns is frivolous, it connects with patterns and designs our ancestors have used for ages. I visited Newgrange in Ireland, and there are great spirals etched into the rocks that surround the holy spot. Were those designs simply decorative?
Now I'm thinking about Kandinsky (yes, I write like my brain works - jumping all over the place!) and his book on color and shape theory. He wrote that we associate certain colors with certain shapes - for example, cool tones with circles, and warm tones with triangles. He got into how when the artist messes with the expectations we have in these relationships, a more interesting painting is created.... I miss that book, where did it go? I think I loaned/lost it about five years ago. I'd love to read it again....

I guess I just connect to these alternative ways of thinking about creating and purpose in art, because I don't like the feeling like I have to say something specific to create valid art. It's because I'm not a person that has rock solid feelings about anything particular, except the obvious like "war is bad", "love is good". It doesn't mean I don't think about things. I do, ALL THE TIME. I have strong feelings about politics, people, the state of the world, but I don't feel drawn to put all of them on canvas. I do feel drawn to create beauty, and I feel like I'm in a long line of creators with similar pursuits, that come from all over the spectrum. So Kandinsky, grandma, that anonymous quiltmaker, and Newgrange etcher are all there with me. HIGH artists? I say, just ARTISTS.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

11/2/06 - Earth and Sky series on Etsy

Earth and Sky #1
Acrylic on 8" x 10" canvas board, 2005

Now available, along with a group of others from the twenty painting Earth and Sky series at

P.S. It's official, my eBay store is now closed! All sales will now be offered in my Etsy store.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Necessary Breaks

I haven't checked in here in a couple days because it was time to focus on family. Time to take long, nature walks, cook big breakfasts, play games, set up a watercolors party in the kitchen, paint spooky spiders on little cheeks, and laugh at the squealing mass of little costumed bodies running from door to door. I may have been in a mommy role, but the kid in me was giddy with excitement. Happy Halloween everybody. :)


When I first decided to go full time, I didn't allow myself any spare time. I felt guilty if I wasn't painting, planning or working online. I was envious of the 9-5ers that could clock out and leave their jobs at the office. I didn't feel like I could do the same thing without feeling guilt, and I knew to make a real go of this took 200% of what I had to give. As it turned out, right around the time I started to feel comfortable without a "real" job, I was called into action by a family emergency. I know it was all meant to be. If I was still working when my mom had her stroke, I probably would have quit my job on the spot, and then I'd probably lose my house soon after. Seeing her suffer kicked me into high gear, and I did it all for her. She had been my lifetime supporter, and she had seen me struggle for many years, wanting to be a real artist, but too scared to give my all to it. She's the reason I was able to study art, and I was desperate to show her it was all for something. I wouldn't let her down.

I was destroyed inside, but I functioned like a machine for a few months. Every day returning from the hospital, and diving into painting and marketing full steam, not quitting until the sun came up. It was my own survival technique. Eventually, the terror of losing her started to be chipped away(first because they determined that what they thought was an aneurysm, was not. If it was, that would have been very bad news. Second, because she started making progress that gave me hope. Third-most important, I always had faith - I had to.). When her situation shifted gears into recovery/rehab mode, I found that my own health was suffering from my coping mechanisms. I needed to get out of a bad cycle to be there for her, my father, and my soon-to-be husband, and step children. Then, another horrible blow struck our family last fall, and I was back to my old ways, more intense then ever, overwhelmed by loss.

In the first few months of 2006, I was spending a lot of time with my parents, helping them in my mother's recovery. I spent a month total, in two separate trips, down in Florida with them at the Ocean Hyperbaric Neurological Center (if you or a loved one has had a stroke and would like to talk to me about our experiences with alternative therapies, *P*L*E*A*S*E* do not hesitate to write to me!! If you have heard the expression "window of opportunity" and feel the weight of that statement, know that there is hope. And please contact me.) Then, after a few years of going back and forth on when/how/what for a wedding, Rob and I just wanted to be married as soon as possible, so we literally threw a wedding together in a few months! Our friends and family weren't surprised by our last minute antics, and the celebration was a great time for all. Since I was our wedding planner, I had a lot of work to do in that crunch time, and once the big day came, I was off the clock for the next couple weeks of honeymoon bliss.....ahhhhh....

The whole time all of that was happening, I was also a painting, showing, etc.

Fast forward to today, and my beautiful, wonderful mom is a shining figure of light, and she gets stronger every day. For someone who was basically paralyzed for about three months, it's amazing to see her walking around with her walker, balancing at the sink without it, and getting in and out of bed on her own. Our new little family has wonderful times in our way too small house, and I'm working on finding my center again. Not running from emotion because it's all too painful, but welcoming the joys and blessings that are in my life, our lives.

I've found that there is a reason to allow yourself a break, a moment's rest, a siesta. You need it to refuel. You need guilt free "me" time, you need laughter with family, and long conversations with old friends. It's the heart of life, and what is it all for without that? What on earth would I have to paint, if I never allowed myself to live?

If you're like me, and you've got a slave driver in your mind, do yourself a favor and buy that jerk a one way ticket out of your soul.

Take a break, for safety sake.