Love deeply. Laugh. Cry. Talk to God. Be realistic about the to-do list. Stay in touch. Hug. Dream. Smile. Break Bread often with Family. Spend Time with your Girlfriends. Shop til you Drop! Extend Grace. Be Quick to Forgive and Slow to Anger. Walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Read. Eat Chocolate. Savor a Good Glass of Wine. Wiggle your Toes. Sleep well. Life is Good!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Takes My Breath Away!!

Glad it's Semi-Wordless Wednesday! I'm working out of the home today away from the computer, so this is a great day for few words!! Ya'll have a grand day!

. . . well, there were words in the title!!!

My Peaceful Place(s)

Where do I relax? First, let me define what "relax" means in my vocabulary! Those moments come in brief increments! Kinda like vacations in our family which are the equivalent of weekends, 'cept for those week long excursions that come every five to ten years. I've learned to force myself to relax in small measures because I fatigue easily. Those brief moments can be refreshing too and I usually come away ready to tackle the next thing on the to-do list. Below are most of the "peaceful places" I claim my own.

First, the guest room chair. Here, I read (usually only a chapter at a time) while Keller naps. There's a peace I feel in that room that I don't feel anywhere else in my home. Perhaps it's because of the double wide book shelves (behind me as I take the picture) filled ... and overflowing ... with fiction, non-fiction, spiritual, gardening, art, etc. Perhaps it's because my sweet mother-in-laws spirit lingers there. I dunno. But it is my favorite peaceful reading spot. It's also where my grandbaby girl's crib and changing space is! Come to think of it during the roller coaster of emotions the week my mom was dieing and Keller's birth was taking place, running across town daily between two hospitals, holding both mom's hand and holding Keller were my total peace. God knew what He was doing. His timing is always perfect.

The spot below is in the corner of my living room. This is where I sit a couple of brief times a day with a cup of hot tea or coffee and take in the view of the main part of the house. I see the dining room, kitchen and foyer from here. I'm usually sitting there with my to-do list or looking thru the mail order catalogs, while Keller plays with her toys at my feet. It is my thinking chair!

Oh yeah! My studio work table! This would be my therapeutic space! My creative peaceful space .... well, most of the time it is. Especially those times when all the other ephemera has been put away and only the watercolor materials are out. Watercolors are the only medium that relaxes my mind and spirit. A lot of "Be still and know" moments happen at that table!

Don't you dare laugh! Yes, for the most part, Facebook is a peaceful place! I can catch up and visit, wish happy birthdays and laugh anytime I need a break! I don't even have to get dressed up for company!
Ok, this time you may giggle! You'll probably even gasp at the site! The rocking recliner landed at my request from the hunting camp after Keller came along. There is a large space between my living and dining rooms and there it sits. The ultimate comfort! We have two matching recliners in our bedroom and a smaller one in the living room on top of this one. But this one isn't noticed by most people ....... cause it is camouflage afterall!! I'm sure my husband would love to have it back at the camp but as long as Keller still scoots over to me and says "rocky baby gannah" it's gonna stay put! It is our peaceful place!

Recipe Share! Shortcuts abound this year in the Keller house! My Favorite cookie dough concoctions. You can add anything to cookie dough!! Come to think of it ... would it become home-made if you alter it? LOL!

Peppermint Cookies: scoop sugar cookie dough into small balls and dip top in crushed peppermint. Bake & cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

Smoochies: Sprinkle the top of slice-n-bake sugar cookies with granulated sugar and place a Hershey Kiss into the middle of each slice.

M&M Cookies: Mix mini M&Ms into the sugar cookie dough!

Jolly Jumbles: Mix pecans and mini M&Ms into chocolate chip cookie dough.

Doubletrees: Mix walnuts, choc. chunks and 1 cup oatmeal into chocolate chip cookie dough.

PBC Chips: Combine peanut butter chips with chocolate chip cookie dough.

Oatmeal: Add dried cranberries and almonds or walnuts to oatmeal cookie dough.

The ideas are endless!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Thoughts .....

1. I'm going back and forth between which Christmas tree to erect this year ... the traditional 10' or the 7' 1960's era aluminum, which was passed to me from my great aunt. Petie kept me often when I was a baby. She used to put me under the tree and take my picture. (That's us in the photo on the left and me under her tree on the right. I miss her terribly.

2. I started my Christmas baking this morning. I love shortcuts in the kitchen. I pulled a tub of sugar cookie dough from the freezer. After it thawed I scooped small rounds and dunked them into peppermint bits and pieces. Baked them and after they cooled dusted with powdered sugar. They taste like Christmas!

3. Did ya'll go shopping on Black Friday? I did. But I traditionally waiting til the Iron Bowl game started and then went out. No crowd. No lines. Bargains still lingering! I was finished before the retail mayhem resumed!

4. This is my first year using the art mesh to decorate with. I seem to never catch on while it's hot. It's a love/hate relationship to say the least! But, oh! It's so pretty when it's done. I'm resisting the urge to put it on everything!

5. Besides soup, what did you do with your Thanks- giving leftovers? We made the yummy sandwich I posted the recipe for last Tuesday. I'm gonna make some white bean chili for dinner and tomorrow it's breakfast for dinner with turkey hash/brown gravy over scrambled eggs. Oh yeah! My mother-in-law showed me how long ago!! I put the carcasses from the three birds in the freezer. Yes! I said three. Only eight of us at the dinner table. My husband had to try three different ways to cook turkey. One in the green egg. One in the oil- less fryer. One in the oven. They were all amazing! Kudos to the turkey man!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Delusional List...

I felt the first wave of holiday blues this morning. Sobbed in between chores for a couple of hours. I'm better. I always am after a good cry. It helped me to journal what I was feeling after I talked to a friend on the phone about it. I miss my mom and my aunts that passed away the last year or two. I really do. But that turned out not to be the conclusion I came to. I'm frustrated and anxious because I'm just plain old tired. I do so much during the holidays .... mostly self-imposed expectations and with a bit of "what I think others expect me to do" cause I always have. I don't have the stamina and energy levels I had last year. For lack of a better word, I'm just pissed at this B12 thing. It keeps me drained tagging along with the Iron deficiency. I know I've gotta get a grip on reality and be selective of what I can realistically accomplish this season and still enjoy the holidays. I have other commitments outside of family activities as well during the month of December. What was I thinking? I know! I know! I'll do it all and love it all, as usual.

The JOY I'm looking forward to includes our extended family gathering, keeping Kell Bell for the weekend while her parents take a much needed mini-vacation, receiving our French exchange student for a two week visit (haven't seen her in nearly ten years!), Christmas baking and our family Christmas Eve Eve breakfast and gift exchange and Christmas Eve Communion. I know the anticipation combined with the anxiety of pulling off the perfect Christmas will be ever present on my shoulder throughout the holidays. Don't send me comments about remembering the 'reason for the season' either. I know the reason. If it weren't for my faith and the ever present Spirit of Christmas, I wouldn't make it thru. He made me. Martha just twisted me all up with the perfection thing.

I'm really missing being in my studio too. Haven't had an opportunity to paint in more than two weeks. That is my therapy. Maybe this weekend I'll catch an hour or two painting .... not cleaning. Oh my, that reminds me I have two commissions to do before Christmas. It never ends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble! Gobble!

In everything, give thanks . . .
Watercolor by Denise Inge @

ABC's of Life

Accept Differences.
Be Kind.
Count Your Blessings.
Express Thanks.
Give Freely.
Harm No One.
Imagine More.
Jettison Anger.
Keep Confidences.
Love Truly.
Master Something.
Nurture Hope.
Open Your Mind.
Pack Lightly.
Quell Rumors.
Seek Wisdom.
Touch Hearts.
Value Truth.
Win Graciously.
Yearn for Peace.
Zealously Support a Worthy Cause.

Santa's New Reindeer Team!

Instead of diving into a wish list, I thought I'd share a laugh with ya'll! This is a fun game to play during a big family Christmas! Divide everyone into teams. Each team gets a pair of new pantyhose and a bag of small round balloons. At the start, teams race to finish blowing up balloons and stuffing them into the legs of the pantyhose. Then they crown the oldest member of the team with the finished antlers!! We all laughed till we 'bout ..... well, you know!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's your distraction?

IT can . . .

... be a delusion and a snare.

... have the capacity to suck you in - heart and soul.

... foster the love for, and need for approval.

... become a set-up for discouragement when comments and responses do not flow in.

... take your eyes off of the people in your community and in your home.

... become an addiction with a vice-like grip comparable to crack.

... become a method of meddling in the affairs of others.

... stir up a sense of resentment and irritability when family members present with a need for your attention.

... contribute, in time, to major depression because there is no time for desires of your heart.

... bring on obsessive compulsive behavior.

... give a false sense of productivity.

... bring about an "all about me" focus.

... lead to your constantly seeking recognition, fame and praise.

... be physically crippling as a result of stress (eye strain, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, sluggish digestion, insomnia ... the list goes on).

Busy-ness and distractions are the "its" in my life. What is the "it" you pursue daily? What distracts you from living your life to it's fullest? Is "it" stealing away the blessings of what God really wants you available for? Be still ...... and know. Be blessed! tk

note: I found this in a journal entry from several years ago but failed to write down where it came from so I cannot take credit for the .... parts.

Two Things!

Today is Home Tour Tuesday on the Blog! I just couldn't stop with two things in my home I'm grateful for, but I think I hit the tops! Here goes!

I love, love, love my Viking! I'm especially thankful for it when there is a big cook going on! It's gonna get a workout Thanksgiving day! We completed a home remodel just before Hurricane Katrina. Except for the kitchen, the entire house was made over (not furnishings, just cosmetics), including floorings, crown, baseboards, doors, paint, etc. Because of the budget the kitchen and bathroom fixtures would have to wait. The total kitchen makeover (and I mean total) was the only good thing that came from the Katrina flood. The stove was my splurge!!

Unless I become homeless, I will always, always have a dual coffee pot! One of the rules of this house: Coffee on left. Tea on right. Don't cross the lines! They both get used daily!!

Especially! Especially! Especially Thankful there is evidence of my granbaby girl in my home! I am blessed to have her [and stamina] to keep her everyday while her parents work! Yay me!

We all need a little sense of humor throughout our homes mixed among the decor!!!
Almost forgot the required recipe!!!
After-Thanksgiving Panini
Sourdough bread slices, buttered
Spread cornbread dressing on bread (unbuttered side)
Add turkey and then cranberry sauce
Top with second piece of buttered bread.
Grill in skillet or panini grill. Yummo!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. I'll start with a Thanksgiving Thankful! Besides the obvious: family, health, food, pets and chocolate, I'm thankful for electric blankets! Yep! When I'm chilled or just need to snuggle I crawl in, take a deep breath and just ponder things. Nothing like being all wrapped up and cozy - even it is a something and not a someone! And on a cold night, nothing beats it. All those scientific studies about electromagnetic fields and electrocution? I'll take my chances with this one!

2. Mail order! Yes! I'd rather pound the keyboard than the pavement anytime! I kicked off my Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago thru Pottery Barn and LL Bean. I need some new sites to feed off of. Please! Please kick me a few this way!

3. Coffeemate Peppermint Mocha Creamer. Need I say more?

4. Remember when you get caught up in the rush of the holidays: Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat as necessary!

5. Get out there (or online) and order yourself a Third Day Christmas CD! Awesome! Mucho blessed!

6. Oh yeah! First weekend in December! Mobile Bontanical Gardens Annual Poinsettia Event AND the Artists' Christmas Market. I will be present with the Artology group showing my wares Friday and Saturday (12/3&4)!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Building Blocks

While watching my granbaby girl playing this week, I was reminded of how small things add up. Small steps get us closer to our goals and more likely to accomplish the task at hand. I've always been a procrastinator, putting off things until I had the time to do it, do it right and do it completely, from start to finish. With less and less large chunks of time, I've found it necessary to retrain myself to do the job in phases, whether it's clean out a closet or finish a painting. It has proven a wiser move. I'm not so hard on myself and the job gets done. One bite at a time, that's how you eat an elephant!

Just ask Keller Bug! One block at a time is how a building is built too!

Through perseverance, the snail made it to the ark!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another show ....

Busily preparing for an outdoor art show this Saturday on Dauphin Island. I had sworn off fall shows because during hunting season my husband isn't readily available to set up tents. He's gonna set me up on Friday and I'll beg help to get it down after the show. As much as I enjoy doing the outdoor shows, I abhor the preparation. Originals, framing, prints, notecards, checklists of equipment, postcard mailings, and the list goes on and on and on. Mostly, I dislike the mess I make of my home with inventory and the time it takes away from family and, yes! myself. The distraction throws me off-kilter for a few weeks. Imagine the spring shows which are every other weekend! But, I do love meeting the people who purchase my work and getting live feedback. That's something I don't experience with hanging at a gallery. Well, except for Artwalk events, but I think the people mostly come for the free wine! Anyway, if my neck and back continue to deteriorate my future tent set-up events may be numbered. It takes a lot out of me to do these shows. And these days I don't have a whole lot of stamina to give!

On another note, I attempted to do the NaBloPoMo or something like that. It's National Blog Posting Month and in order to get a blog badge you have to post every day during the month of November. I tried. I had issues with posts disappearing or posting out of order. And, to be quite honest, I was boring myself to tears trying to think of something to post. I refused to grab a post idea from the bag such as "What do you think about turtles" or "What was your favorite toy as a child" so I'm done with it. I'd rather post when something meaningful rises up in me even if it isn't every single day.

So, ta ta for now. I have paintings to pack and show equipment decisions to make. Will I take the tables and boxes or just the print bin? Should I just pull what's left in my closet that I'd forgotten about and leave my newer stuff at the galleries? Notecards or 5x7s? It's never ending.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cake & Champagne!

ArtOlogy has it's grand opening during ArtWalk Friday! Cake & Champagne! The gallery has been transformed in a short period of time. We still have changes to make and will do as the budget permits! Nice selection of fine art, funky art, jewelry, prints and notecards all around! Start-up was a lot of work for everyone. After the grand opening, we will settle into the routine and hopefully we will all find time to tap into the creative mode again! I've honored and privileged to be included with a wonderful group of artists and fabulous women to boot! Eager to do my part and step up to the challenge!

Caro is coming 'home'!!

A dozen or so years ago we hosted an exchange student from Sao Paulo. It wasn't a good experience. Enough said.

Ten years ago we braved the program again and hosted a French student. Her name was Caroline. We had a fabulous time with her! We lost touch a year or so after she returned to her home in Marseilles. More recently we reconnected on Facebook! We are excited to hear Caro will be visiting during Christmas and New Year!!! Can't wait!!! I've pulled out all the photographs from her previous visit reminiscing about the fishing trips, shopping excursions and frequent dining on our local cuisine! Looking forward to sharing our home again!

Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Familiar Comforts

11-06-10 I have an old quilt that is a familiar comfort for me. The smell reminds me of my grandmother's house. I made it while spending the summer with her and Pa when I was in middle school. That was my first experience with a sewing old Singer peddle machine. It is in my garage! The quilt is tattered and ragged but when someone in my home isn't feeling well, that's the quilt they want to wrap up in.

Other familiar comforts include songs I seldom hear on the radio and cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving. Isn't it odd how sounds and smells trigger memories?

I oddly find comfort in mundane routines too. Make coffee, walk the dogs, fold laundry, feed the cats, make the bed, empty the dishwasher, vacuuming, watering plants and dusting. I don't dust often enough. Life's too short not to write your name in the dust anyway!

Stuff! Stuff! Stuff!

We all have it! Clutter! Paper trails! Dust bunnies! Well, for me, dust bunnies are clutter. I hate stuff. I hate piles, although my filing system is more like a piling system. I'd rather just close the door to the clutter same as I do my daughter's bedroom. Outta sight, outta mind. Or is it? No, unfortunately, it's skipping around in my head when I'm looking for something that is out of place. I'm basically a perfectionist. You know, the kind of person who procrastinates until there is a large enough block of time to do it and do it right? That's me. I'm not OCD about anything except doing it right. Well, maybe I do go a little out of kilter when I'm expecting company ... or so my girls' say. I suppose I, like 90% of the country, have too much stuff to begin with. My art supplies and equipment aside (cause that doesn't count here), realistically, I have too many dishes, to may floral arrangements, too many seasonal decorations and too many shoes. Really. I collect serving pieces probably because I love color and pattern. I've tried parting with some as gifts with food items. But I bring home more than a give away. Floral arrangements are seasonal and sit on the shelf in my garage when out of season ... the 3' x6' shelf. Yes, it's full. As far as the decorations, another collection issue. I've already gone thru the shoes and eliminated over a dozen pair because of a foot issue. No, I'm not telling how many are still there. Nope!

I know I'm not in this alone. This website has helped me to be reasonable about clutter. Well it's a start anyway. Check it out. They are on Facebook too. Clutterbusting! Not for the faint of heart!

Busy Bee !!

Been in my studio off and on this week preparing for a couple of art events. Off and on because my time has been limited so it's been catch-as/catch can all week. I've joined forces with five other artistic women to open a funky new gallery downtown called Art(Ology). Check out the site at . I've also been busily caring for and playing with my granbaby girl, Keller. She's not napping as early in the day as she used to and not as long. So while she snoozes, I paint or whatever project is pressing. Currently that would be pieces for holiday shows. I'm trying to keep several things going at once so drying time is not down time. Yep, doing some multi-tasking.

If you haven't already filled up your calendar, put these two events on it!

November 20/21 Dauphin Island Art in the Park Festival at Cadillac Square.

December 3/4 Mobile Botanical Gardens Artists' Market during the annual poinsettia show.

Also!! This weekend is the Christmas Jubilee at the fairgrounds, Trinity Episcopal Arts & Crafts Event, as well as a couple of churches on the island holding arts & crafts events. Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts! (my art blog)

Art Scoop!

Upcoming art shows are looming nearer. I am no not prepared. But! I will be ready. Been busily distracted with higher priorities. My granbaby girl is tops! Watching her grow and develop and learn new things each day is priceless time spent! I switch into overdrive during naptime and accomplish quite a bit ... only if I have a plan.

Been pitching in every free block of time to help a great group of artist women/friends to ready and open a new art gallery/gift shop downtown. Grand opening during next Friday's ArtWalk. It's such cool little space right in the heart of downtown Mobile and the hub of the art scene. Excited about being a part of this new (ad)venture with Art(ology)!

And of course, the holidays are coming up! I have a love/hate relationship with the holiday season! My last art show of the season will be the first weekend in December. After that, I will spend the remainder of the month preparing and creating Christmas gifts for family and friends. Then immediately after the New Year arrives, the cycle will begin again. I'll get crackin again in the studio producing work for sale at Spring shows, beginning in March.

But for today ... recover this morning from my daughter's 18th birthday party last night. Gather artwork to hang at one of the galleries for ArtWalk followed by a visit to ArtOlogy to help out and a 5:00 meeting for the Botanical Gardens Show.

Breathe. Just breathe!

Friday, November 5, 2010


There's a new gallery in town! It's right in the heart of the art district in downtown Mobile on Cathedral Square. A fabulous group of artists. A great group of women. A funky, eclectic collection of fine art and fabulous gift ideas! All this birthed from a dream of local artist, Ardith Goodwin. We'll be open the 6th. Stop by, but pardon the process cause we still have some tweaking and polishing to do before the grand opening during Artwalk. We are located on Dauphin Street next to Spot of Tea at Cathedral Square. It's gonna be a beautiful weekend to explore downtown with all its great galleries, gift shops and restaurants!

C'mon down and take a look and meet the participating artists! Our visions are coming together in this colorful, upbeat and lively art gallery and gift shop. Ardith Goodwin Gail Wilson, Marsha Sutton, Claire Noojin, Michelle Leech and myself invite you to stop by Art(ology) for a visit! You never know what you might find all funked up in this delightful little space!!!/profile.php?id=100001794939456

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Small Child!

Happy Birthday to our youngest daughter, Lindsay Morgan. Today is her 18th birthday! Lindsay is a freshman at the University of South Alabama and stays so busy, busy, I don't see as much of her as I'd like. I often don't think she realizes I'm her biggest fan. Perhaps cause of the mother/daughter dynamic. : ) She loves photography and writing and hanging out with her friends. She also loves watching movies and plundering thru my photos for her monster bulletin board ... not to mention heisting things from my studio. I wish I could have found the photo of her at two years old with the bucket on her head or the one at one after feeding herself spaghetti. What a riot! Lindsay was born ten years after her sister. After Jen married and took up housekeeping elsewhere, Lindsay declared she was now an only child and has been enjoying those benefits for nearly half a dozen years now. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for our "Small Child" but for now enjoying watching her grow into a beautiful young woman!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Timothy Kavanaugh. Get to know him!

I love, love, love this series by Jan Karon! I began reading The Mitford Series over seven years ago. Fell in love with them. I lost over half my hardback collection when our home flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, I recently found most of them online. Still looking for At Home in Mitford and A Light in the Window to complete the collection again. In the Company of Strangers is the second in the Father Tim Series. So far I'm not disappointed. Some of the characters crack me up. Some of the chapters bring me to tears. All of Father Tim's anecdotes and scriptural references are encouraging. A Continual Feast, which is reminiscent of a journal Father Tim would have kept, is one of my favorite books. Father Tim falls in line right behind my favorite pastor, Jeff Spiller, of Christ United Methodist Church. There's also ample conversations surrounding food and I was thrilled to come across the Mitford Cookbook with recipes for Puny's Cornbread, Uncle Billy's Sweet Potato Pie and Esther's Orange Marmalade Layer Cake. A dear friend of mine made all our neighbors this cake for Christmas one year. It was to die for!!! (hint hint). Pick up any of the series and start reading....doesn't matter where you join the family in Mitford. Although, after you read one you'll want to stop and start reading at the beginning!

"If we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes." from a Father Tim sermon]

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Carnival Season has Passed.

"Carnival" (watercolor)
Another fair season has passed. I drove down Airport Boulevard this morning alongside a couple of trucks with a colorful array of disassembled carnival rides piled to the clouds. I missed the fair again this year. Missed it last year too. I probably shouldn't use the word 'missed' cause it was by choice. First time since, hmmm, I was a child. It was a sentimental event for me cause my first date with my husband was at the Greater Gulf States Fair. Come to think of it, our second date was to the fair as well! Nothing like fair corndogs! The image I've posted is a watercolor from a picture taken on our last trip with some dear friends and family. Had a blast! Now that our children are old enough to go without us, it's lost it's thrill. Perhaps when my grandaughter is old enough to enjoy it I'll go back. I love seeing the county fairs portrayed on old movies with the cattle judging and preserves and pies. There's still a good bit of that these days, but it's still not the same as seen on TV. I haven't ridden any of the rides in a long time. That old song says 'tequila makes her clothes fall off' and I'm here to say some of those rides almost do the same!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Growl Growl! Grumble Grumble!

Why is that we have to wake up and get outta bed just cause the sun does? I say 'as long as you put in a full work day (or evening) it shouldn't matter'. I am not a morning person. Let me clarify that statement. If I get up at 6am or before, I'm moving at a pretty good clip by 7: but after that it takes a few cups of coffee or some other intravenous caffiene to get me moving. My husband says I sound like a troll in the morning. Honestly! I perform my best in the evening. I get more done. My creative side is a night owl. It's nothing for me to be wide awake at 1am busy as a bee. Maybe that's why I'm not a morning person. Gotta get crackin' this's 8:00 already! Where has the day gone?!

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