To Love is not to absorb but to radiate

Quote by Louis S. Strong


Posted in My Children's Books | Leave a comment

What kind of heart?

IMG_0193 (1)

I collect hearts. I look for them in unexpected places. I love heart art where people create simple or elaborate pieces of work. I love photography where people have captured them in clouds, flowers, architecture, shadows, or any random find. I am always in a search for hearts.  I love to create them in a variety of mediums. Hearts speak to me.

February is heart month. Lots of people are bothered by the Valentine holiday. Fabricated hearts can be found everywhere. You don’t need to go far to find one. Does there need to be a day set aside to tell someone you love them? Perhaps. But that is not what February is only about for me.

It is a time to look for hearts. All kinds of them.

Brave ones.

Broken ones.

Gentle ones.

Adventuresome ones.

Happy ones.

Relaxing ones.

It is a month to answer the question,

What kind of heart do I want in the present?

Then begin your search.

Hearts are everywhere. Everyone has one. If you begin to notice you will be quite amazed what you find.

Posted in Amazing Nature, art, Heart to Heart | 1 Comment

When the sun comes out

I get the rare treat of visiting Fort Bragg, North Carolina on occasion. I am here now. Besides being an eye witness to extraordinary human beings and sacrifices no one ever considers there is a crazy wonderful phenomenon that exists here when the sun comes out. Even in winter! It occurs no place anymore and it involves the children. The children here at Fort Bragg

Picture a moment in your childhood when you cared about nothing. It is that time in your life when the most important thing is you and play. You feel completely free. There is nothing planned. There is no scheduled “play date” with a time limit or arranged activity. It is pure spontaneous time with stuff or friends—OUT. (Friends used loosely. Stuff used loosely.). Stuff someone pulled out of somebody’s garage. It’s a pick up basketball game that’s altered because somebody’s kid sister wanted to play and use her pink ball. It’s kids wearing a mixture of super hero costumes, princess dresses, sports gear, and army stuff with an occasional cowboy holster or hat. It’s found bugs and sticks made useful. It is pure children.

They all come out! No matter what. They come out in hoards from every house. They all know each other. They know every mom and dad. The sun calls to them. They play in the middle of the street, running from house to house wearing mismatched shoes, rain boots, bear feet or wet grimy socks because that was the quickest thing to get on before the temperature drags them back indoors.

I stare like I’m in a movie script from Sandlot. I stare because I can’t believe what I am witnessing! I stare because I love it way way deep inside me

A door inside my soul opens up wide when I come to Fort Bragg for many reasons. A door that has opened my eyes to things I never knew before. Practice bombs and artillary sounds are part of the daily noises. Taps is played everyday. Soldiers are everywhere practicing, working, preparing…honoring.

And when the sun comes out I feel that same spontaneous beautiful urge to put on some cardboard armor, grab somebody’s football helmet, pick up a stick and charge into the middle of the street, barefooted, where it feels completely free…

Posted in My Children's Books | Leave a comment

Call me crazy…Go ahead

I’m barely allowing myself to come out of the Christmas dream.

If you’ve kept up with my blog posts there would be no need for explanation…

  • I LOVE Christmas
  • I am an emotional hoarder
  • I sssss-aaaaa-vvvvvv-ooooo-rrrrrr moments

So, next week, if I choose to put Christmas away by then, I will comment about that moment with a sappy, sentimental post..can’t wait, right?

But today I want to stand on my table and declare I did it!

I used Amazon and a host of other websites to do virtual convenient shopping for part of my shopping list. Okay, I’m a slow learner…

WOW! Was that ever efficient and fast. Especially the sites that kept my credit card…”safe” and ready to push and waa-laaa…done. My confirm e-mail popped up before I could swallow one sip of hot tea before buyers remorse settled in, and I would pay for return shipment which is more than the actual item I bought.

I got lots and lots of status e-mails so I felt important…

Then one of the days mid December, the mall called to me…

Do you know anymore? It’s that big place where shops are all together in one spot and Santa sits waiting for people to show up…but three patrons are there. One is me.

What? Of course I didn’t have time to go to the mall! In less than one week 5 babies, 10 more adults, wrapping, finishing putting Christmas “up,” and grocery shopping for preparing 18 delicious Partridge in a Pear Tree meals was looming around the corner.

But I needed to go.

You see, as I stand on the table, declaring on-line shopping was a snap…

I felt something strange and lonely afterwards.

It occurred to me what it was.

As an artist, I have learned from doing thousands of hours of tiny little ink dots, enough brush strokes to wrap around the world twice, pinches of clay, drips of Elmer’s Glue, glitter stuck on my cheeks for days, smears of food-colored frosting and tiny little sprinkles over cookies that will be eaten in 5 seconds, cutting little sections of grapefruits, finding sock matches in heaps, tooth-brushing my wedding ring after planting bulbs…that the actual physical gift you give is only a very small portion of it.

The gift begins at the beginning of it’s thought. In fact the gift begins even before that. The gift begins, usually, with a human being that you wish to give something to.

It is the thinking about you and the excitement what to give you and what would make you happy.

The gift is the search for it and wondering if you have enough money to afford it, but want to. (Perhaps even earn the money just for the gift)

The gift is getting in the car and driving to look for it or to pick it up and then stumbling on something else for another person which fits unexpectedly like an extra surprise.

The gift is holding it in a bag that is heavy and have to shuffle it to one shoulder, then the other and place it safely until it gets to you.

The gift is knowing it will be a secret and being so excited.

Part of the gift is slowly taking it out of the bag and figuring out how to cut a piece of paper to cover it, then look for a ribbon color to make it look special, because you are special. And the whole time wrapping it, think of you.

The gift is writing a tag; to you from me and feeling that excitement again, anticipating when you open it.

…The gift is all the stuff done before that gift is ever opened. It is time, sacrifice and effort.

The gift is hoping you will think of me every time you see it and use it.

-When I was efficient and waited for the boxes to come to my house, I felt homesick for the process and the sacrifice. I missed all the parts.

Go ahead, call me crazy.

But someone was being payed to find my gift among billions and taken off a fork lift in some cold impersonal warehouse. Someone boxed it up with blown up balloon plastic and placed it in a bin for the post. Many people threw it into piles and then sorted it to get to the right plane, to the right post office or Fed-Ex office, to get in the right truck, to get to the right driver, to get to the correct address. I live on a private lane. The package deliver-ers left piles of packages at our shared mail boxes on the main road for anyone to snatch for Christmas. Did not care.

There was little love in the process…

I know I will continue to use the internet sporadically to buy conveniently and efficiently.

But as an artist of the heart, I also know I will mostly just keep going to the mall and bookstore, and sports store, and grocery store. I don’t wish to loose the process to put in the effort to touch, feel, smell, hear, and experience what it takes to give to the people I love to show them, by the process that you are worth it. I feel happier by  participating in giving the WHOLE gift.

(Besides it is way cheaper to return–with a saved receipt!)






Posted in art, From my Heart and Hands, Have fun with Family, Heart to Heart, Sensitivity and Spirit | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where can we get some Christmas spirit?

Have you felt the Christmas spirit this year, yet?

Don’t you wish we could go to Costco and buy some Christmas spirit in the freezer section (North Pole) and put it the microwave until it gets toasty and warm and then drink it up and we would feel that warm glow of Christmas.

Or, we could Google up Amazon and order it to be delivered (free shipping) to our house in a day and it will be on our porch waiting for us in a brown box with a smile printed on it, to unwrap and put on for the season. And we would feel warm and happy.

How about this idea…

Get out your phone.

Find your flashlight button and turn it on.

Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could push this “light” button that we carry around with us everywhere we go, and when we need Christmas spirit we shine it out, only a touch away. It’s always with us…

I’m choosing that one as the best idea yet.

But it doesn’t work like that does it.

Christmas spirit comes with some sort of feeling…of warmth, and participation right?

It comes naturally for kids, but for adults it ebbs and flows; up and down..or not at all.

The Christmas spirit is one thing we can’t order or buy, dang it.

So how do you get Christmas spirit?

I am going to tell you.

We have to want it.

We have to come to the big huge wonderful virtual Christmas door…

and we have to open it.

The key word is “COME.”

When you open that door, there will be a flood of senses which make you “FEEL” things. Your senses are intensely magnified. FEELING is a piece of Christmas spirit.

Do you know why we are distracted so much? It keeps us from “feeling.”

When you walk inside that Christmas Door you are choosing to be a participant of Christmas.

Here is how it works:

I am going to read a part of true story written by a man named Michael Drury which is called Christmas has a secret.


Outside a village church in Switzerland one cold winter night, a tired man waited for the evening service to begin. He had come a long way, and the church was dark. He began to wonder if any service was planned–despite the ringing of the bells that had lured him there.


But then through the forest he saw pinpricks of light bobbing and moving toward him. The congregation was assembling, each group carrying its own lighted lantern. After a few had arrived, the weary man followed them and sank down on a pew in the shadowy church. As more and more people came, each hanging his lantern on an iron hook in the wall, the shadows retreated and the church began to glow with light.


After the service the traveler stopped to ask the pastor about this unique method of illuminating the church.


“But it is the only means we have, monsieur,” the clergyman replied. “In the fifteen hundreds when many of these churches were built, it was too costly for the church to supply candles. It was usual for each family to carry a lantern. Our church has chosen to carry on the old custom. if someone does not come, we all feel it. The church is darker by one lantern.” He paused and looked sharply at the visitor. then he added, “We are called the Church of the Lighted Lamps.”


The traveler thanked his host and went away, knowing at last what he must to do to regain his joy in living. He had to light and carry his own lamp.


Those iron hooks can still be seen in the walls of the church in Switzerland…

(Mr. Drury goes on to say:)

Christmas is good only because we make it good–for no other reason. That is part of its message.  It is up to us.

It may sound absurd to say that anything so public as Christmas has a secret, but it does and this is it–the necessity to light your own lantern in the darkness. The customs must be kept guarded, cared for if Christmas is to take on life for us. The elements are there, but they must be given the breath of life–your life, not someone else’s. Your breath is what does it. (Unquote)

That is hard sometimes.

But it is the only way…


Posted in kindness, Sensitivity and Spirit, Thanks God | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Keeping Christmas

Christmas doesn’t just appear.

It happens.

With effort.

Keeping Christmas is more than pulling it out from the dusty attic rafters.

It is more than buying costly gifts or putting up that “darn” tree.

It is about doing something to make it live on each year.

We do it.

Or not.

We give Christmas life.

All of us.

It is an investment of spirit and effort.

We are the ones responsible to put oxygen in the believing.

That is part of Christmas’s magic.

That is part of the Christmas’s secret.

We keep it.

We preserve it.

We serve it.

We love it.

If we do,

Christmas wraps us up in its arms

and gives us back so much more then we give…

That is the real piece of the magic.

It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

I believe He has everything to do with it.

We have to keep Christmas or it will not happen.

photo 1 (26)






Posted in Enchantment and white magic, My Thoughts, Sensitivity and Spirit, Thanks God | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s coming…

Those three words give me a little thrill.

It feels like every single day more options become available to wait… less.

Instant info…

Instant speech…

Instant pictures…

Instant food…

Instant lights on…

Instant air freshener…

Instant communication…

Instant up and down tall buildings…

Instant parallel parking with no hands…

Instant shopping…

Instant entertainment…

Instant knowledge…

Instant intimacy…

We are training ourselves to become “instant fanatics.”

We are the I WANT IT NOW generation.

But, there is something about “the wait” that captures things inside our souls that we long for.

A simmering pot of chicken soup…

Lighting a candle menorah…

Warming up cold sheets with your feet…

Christmas Eve count down…

The first opening blossom of spring…

That first touch of a hand by new love…

A long ride to see loved ones far away…

We rush for convenience.

It’s a pain to wait!

But our senses miss

the process



and imagining

and thinking about






There is so much

sensory filled happiness



Christopher Robin asks Pooh about his favorite things to do:

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best–,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

(Part of Joyful anticipation by Ingrid Fetell Lee)

Lee, I. F. (2018). Joyful. New York,  NY: Little, Brown Spark.




Posted in My Thoughts, Sensitivity and Spirit | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment