The Gloom and Doom Report

Hi Everyone!

Let me start by saying that I hope life is sunny for you right now. Literally and figuratively it is NOT where I live. If you are looking for an upbeat, perky blog post today then I will warn you now that this is not going to be it. Check back next week to see if things have improved any. 

We are in our 16th week of February with that many weeks of rain. I’m pretty sure that North Carolina has now reached its normal yearly rainfall in the first two months of 2019. We are mildewed, covered in mud and extremely cranky around here. The horses are starting to refuse to leave the barn. One of my dogs has decided he will not need to poop until about June. The chickens are beginning to acquire webbed feet. We briefly saw the sun one day this week and everyone ran outside to soak up a few minutes of vitamin D. I don’t know whether to plant banana trees or seaweed in the garden this year. 

Outside of the weather, life has been equally gloomy. I went Tuesday to say my goodbyes to a dear friend and have been waiting on the call from her family ever since. I think there was a brief moment or two where she realized that I and another friend were there with her. I hope so at least. I desperately wanted her to know that we were there. She lost the ability to speak several weeks ago and struggled to communicate the last time I visited. How frustrating that must be when you need most to say you are in pain or “I love you.” 

After two or three extremely difficult weeks of processing and waiting, I can now mention the fact that my Dad is very sick. He and my Mom have begun to tell people so I can talk about it here. There are more tests ordered, but I’m not sure why. With each test we get more bad news and the fact that cancer has been found in two major areas already doesn’t lend itself to any possibility of much better news.  I only allow myself a few drops at a time to think about the magnitude of change and difficulty that is coming to my family. 

To end the week, I am going today with some other family members to visit another family member that failing fast. I am not yet allowed to discuss it as there are still plans to be decided on, but this is a person who is near and dear and has brought much fun and laughter into our lives and will leave a gaping hole. It’s been a super sucky week. 

I did start another commissioned piece of artwork this week. After we found out about Dad I swore I would not take on another one and add that stress to my life right now, but it’s for a friend and she said there was absolutely no deadline that I have to meet. It’s actually a blessing because when my brain and heart starts thinking too much I can start working on it and the concentration required gives me a little reprieve. I will show you some of it next week. 

I apologize for the gloom and doom, but I just can’t even fake cheerfulness at the moment and I’m not good enough a writer to make up any believable fiction for your enjoyment. Bear with me. Please realize that if my blog posts are not showing up regularly for a while, it’s because we are dealing with the big life stuff. The one bright spot is the impending arrival of my first grandbaby. That little bugger is much needed right now. We NEED a gummy baby smile, burps and poopy diapers and sweet baby smells to replace some of the recent conversations. 

Wishing you a sunshiny, warm and gentle week. 

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February?

Hi Everyone,

How has your week been? My week has been as erratic as the weather here in North Carolina. It has been a week filled with ups and downs, surprises (not necessarily of the good kind), laughter, tears, stress, sadness, dread, hopefulness. You name it, I’ve had it this week. It has matched the February weather here spot on. Yesterday was 77 degrees, a week ago we were busting ice so the animals had water. Today it was 63 at 6 am and will be falling into the 20’s tonight. I’m hoping the weather levels out as well as life. I’m not sure I can get through another week like this one.

In case you are dealing with life in all its crazy forms as well, I just want to remind you to find some time each day to give yourself a physical and mental break. My tag line on this blog is “adventures in creative living.” Sometimes you have to get creative to just hold on to the roller coaster. You probably don’t have hours, but even 15 minutes can do a world of good.

I recently started giving myself 1 hour a day, morning or evening, to do regular artwork. There is so much on my plate right now that I found there was some resentment starting to bubble up. That is not good for me or those who have to live with me. I managed four of the five days this work week. I finished my commission and delivered it yesterday! This is a birthday present to the Mother of these three gentlemen. She had a similar portrait done of them when they were young and they are giving her this one of them as grown men. 


I have started a new drawing and as usual keep my knitting with me when I’m in a waiting situation. Several of my evenings this week have found me mentally, physically and emotionally drained. Too tired to read, knit or draw, I escaped to YouTube and watched art tutorials or American Pickers. Whatever it takes to give yourself a break. Well, there are some things it’s better to avoid when you are stressed so choose wisely. 

Find something you enjoy and preferably something that gets you into a creative flow and takes your mind off life for awhile. Music, games, sewing, gardening, playing with your goofy dog. Something to make time stand still and let your heart and mind rest and recover. 

I have about six boxes of stuff to clean out today. I was about 108 items short of my January goal. No lack of stuff just a lack of time. This week as I jump into another round of the minimalist challenge I need to clean out 46 items so far for February. Right now (before breaking into three unopened boxes) I have exactly 100 items either being donated or trashed. I found an entire box of socks that belonged to my son and D. had a big box in our closet. I estimate that neither of them will need new socks for the next 10 years! Sock hoarders!

Wishing you a peaceful week.

It can change in an instant

heart in hands

I had the beginnings of three different posts started to choose from this week, but yesterday (Sunday) changed all that.  A friend lost her 28 year old son in an accident.  Another local family lost their son on Friday in a separate accident.  Life changed in an instant.

Even though most of you would not have known the difference it seemed insane to write about a favorite book or website in the aftermath of such shocking news.  My heart hurts and grieves for them. The clarity of the very few things of true value pierces through everything else right now.

I saw my friend as she expertly directed a wedding Saturday afternoon, laughed and danced at the reception and went home to be awakened by the phone call no one wants to get.

I got the news when I walked in the door at church to set up for the service Sunday morning.  There is some comfort in corporate grief.  After the announcement we all sat in silent prayer because our assistant minister could not get the words out without tears. We understood completely.  Our Senior Minister had gone into his office early that morning after he received the call and changed his sermon to one that spoke of grief, the stages of grief, and how to comfort the grieving.  For now, all we can do is wrap them in our prayers, words of love, embraces and provide what basic tasks they need help with.

Like most people who have had five or more decades on this tiny planet, I have had some painful losses.  It seems as one gains the wisdom of experience the more one realizes that there is only a miniscule amount that we have control over.  We can let that lack of control drive us mad (and we all know people who do) or we can learn to embrace the people and the moments tightly, knowing that nothing is guaranteed to be there in an hour much less the next day.

This may seem to be a depressing post today.  I don’t mean it to be, but a sadness grips me right now.  This same weekend I had the delight of seeing the grown and newly engaged, daughter of my late dear friend and college roommate.  Due to circumstances beyond our control, my former college suitemates and I had lost contact with CV after her Mother’s death.  She had been very young at the time.  For oh so many years we thought of her, wondered how she was and prayed for her a wonderful life.  Through the power of social media we found her again and she made the trip with her fiancé to NC for a visit and to learn more about her lovely Mom.  What a wonderful thing to see what a beautiful, sweet, smart, down-to-earth woman she has turned out to be.  It was one of those times to pay attention to and wrap your heart around.

If someone out there happens to read this who is grieving, my prayer for you is that there are people near you to give comfort and if not, you will find your way to someone or someplace that can.  So many people resist a place of faith now, but a good one can truly be a saving grace.

For anyone who is taking what and who is important for granted right now, my prayer for you is that you will become aware and rectify the situation before it’s too late.  Regret is a terrible, awful thing to live with.

Quit working extra hours to buy the boat and go home to read to your kids.  Put down the phone and see your friends face to face.  Spend time with your parents and listen to their stories. Play fetch with your dog for the thousandth time just to see his tail wag. Don’t put off what you love to do until later.  Later your eyes may not see or your hands may not work like they do now, kids leave home, parents pass, friends suffer in silence, dogs are not here nearly long enough.  These are hard earned words, don’t take them for granted.