Friday, April 23, 2010

Lissa - An Amazing Woman

I have to take a moment to tell you about the
A M A Z I N G Lissa over at She is so talented in so many ways. Through her poetry, photography, writing, and art, she just continues to amaze and inspire me. I look forward to reading Lissa's short stories, poetry, and enjoy her art immensely.

You want to know the really amazing thing? Lissa is so very modest about all of her many talents, but she's someone you really don't want to miss! If you are a fan of poetry, imaginative writing, photography, and art in general, you should definitely take a few moments and check out her blogs:

Publishing: (that's right, I told you she's amazing!)
I so hope you enjoy getting to know this wonderful woman as much as I have!

Smiles All!

Sunday Sketches

I am gone for the weekend so had to post this extra early.

It's another in a series I am doing. I am not sure if I will add color to this one or not...I just love the black and white.

On another note...reservations are completed and we are on the early international sailing to Victoria BC! Two nites of fun AWAY from home! Yeah!

Smiles everyone! Hopefully I can steal my daughter's laptop and so be able to visit all of my favorite Sunday Sketches while away!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

IRELAND TRIP and 'Tree of Love'

This is an indian ink drawing I did that I am now adding color to...Title: 'Tree of Love'.
(I just added the finished picture to my sidebar and below - I love how it turned out...makes me
H A P P Y!!!

UPDATE on the IRELAND TRIP: First let me say thank you so much to everyone for your kind words about our cancelled trip! I sure appreciated the support over the past couple days.

We did head down to the airport to be met with the news that our flight was cancelled. I am so very disappointed, but equally relieved, because who wants to head over into that mess?!?

I actually feel blessed that we did not plan this trip five days earlier, or we would be over there with two toddlers wondering how to get home ~ not fun!

My daughter is quite disappointed too, but handling it like a trooper, and we have now decided to add Scotland to our itinerary when we attempt this again in the fall, so that is something exciting to research and plan for!

This is a cool reminder that we are not really in charge of anything in this life, and the best laid plans can be upset in a moment. I once read (and I sure wish I could remember where!) :

"The true measure of a man is not what he does when things are going his way; rather how he conducts himself when met with adversity." (may not be verbatim, but you get the idea.) I have always told my children this and it really hit home recently.

Throughout these past couple of days, I can say proudly that we have all managed to maintain our sense of humor, looking forward and beyond instead of steeping ourselves in self-pity. I am once again reminded of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful person in my life - Craig has been my rock and lightened our spirits at every turn, even tho he must too have been terribly disappointed. Love that MAN!

So we are off this weekend to Victoria for a mini-break, just Craig and me and the two little boys. Maybe we'll stay at the Empress Hotel, ( and have high tea, and pretend we are on the green isle...Whatever we do, doing it together will make it memorable and precious.

Smiles All!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rainy Day Dreamer

Just a quick sketch of my littlest Eamonn today poised to go outside and play in the rain...with rain boots et al...He loves to go outside and play in the mud puddles.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunday Sketches

Happy Sunday Sketches everyone!

I am posting this early because tomorrow I have the rare pleasure of heading off to the A i r p o r t to wait in tremendously long lines behind assuredly cranky people for lengthy amounts of time with two sure-to-be cranky toddlers in tow, only to be told that our flight to Ireland, the one that we have had reserved for over 8 months, (yeah, THAT ONE) is cancelled and "Could we please step over to the refund desk so they can 'see what they can do'?"

This is the trip I have dreamed about F O R E V E R and I am so SAD that it is most likely not going to happen right now.

I am madly scrambling to see what sort of cancellation policies all of our many accomodations have, and so far have been assured that we will receive full refunds on all of our bookings -

The I R I S H rock!!!

You can find more fabulous Sunday sketches by visiting Sophia at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A chapter from my novel


The divine fragrance of bright orange tea roses and sprigs of spicy scented Jasmine mingled in a plain mason jar on the window sill.


The breeze through the open kitchen window dispersed the yummy scent throughout the kitchen better than the most expensive atomizer.

“I definitely prefer nature’s perfumes,” thought Poppy as she arranged the napkin and tea cup on the tray next to the fresh raspberry scone. “There,” she said out loud. “Nearly perfect…”

She broke off a small spray of Jasmine and one of the unopened rose buds from the arrangement on the windowsill, and placed them in a tiny bud vase. Settling it next to the bright orange teapot she smiled, satisfied. No matter that her mother would not appreciate the touch, or in fact any part of the beautiful arrangement. Poppy was long past caring about that sort of thing. It was years now since she came to the realization that living life on her mother’s dark and dreary terms was soul suicide. Having reached that conclusion, she had determinedly moved forward from that day on with an unstoppable sense of optimism and cheer. Perhaps in some small way to spite her mother, she also applied her natural artistic flair at every opportunity, and turned a deaf ear to her mother’s discontented muttering.

Turning her back on the tray, Poppy swished back to the counter next to the sink where the electric kettle lived. It was nearly boiling so she quickly switched it off and turned back to the tray to fill the teapot. Her mother liked her water ‘scalded, but not boiling’. Poppy had never discovered what the difference between these two were, so sometimes she let the water boil and sometimes she poured it just before it boiled. Her mother never seemed to notice any difference as long as Poppy assured her mother that yes, she had scalded it, so that was ok.

Squaring her shoulders, Poppy lifted the tray carefully and carried it through the sitting room into the solarium. Her mother was in her customary spot in the corner, with her back to the view, knitting as furiously as a 82 year old woman with fairly advanced arthritis could. No matter that it must really have caused her considerable pain, Catherine would just as soon be dead as without her knitting. Since her hearing was also diminished, she did not hear as Poppy stopped just inside the door and watched her. Catherine was small and frail, and for the millionth time, Poppy wondered how a tall, large-boned woman like herself had come from such a tiny woman.

Much later, after the tea things had been cleared, and her mother settled with a lap rug tucked tidily around her spindly legs, set to watch her favorite show, Poppy let herself quietly out the back door into the garden. An easterly wind was up and long silky tendrils of dark red hair pulled free of the knot at the nape of Poppy’s neck and danced wildly about her face. Her hair was truly beautiful and she was quite proud of the fact that, at 44, there was still no grey in it. Though she’d been told once by a boy in her class, on the eve of her 17th birthday, that she was the most beautiful girl in the world, Poppy had no illusions about her physical beauty. She knew she was considered plain by most of the folk in her hometown, and this bothered her not the least. In truth, while her features were not really remarkable in any way, time and experience had added a certain dignity to her face, and her naturally good nature added sparkle to her bright blue eyes and a spring to her step. She was among the precious few to be blessed with a sense of self so profound that she affected not the least bit of artifice. Of course, Poppy would have been amazed to hear such things about herself, for although she was quite the daydreamer, she was tremendously practical as well.

Poppy hummed as she futilely tucked the strands of hair behind her ears and surveyed the garden. Lots to do to get the garden in order. She was lucky to have Magnus Fahey, a still spry seventy something gardener and the local Jack of all trades, come every year to help with the cleanup in the fall and spring. The tying up of perennials, transplanting, and most of the weeding she could handle herself. Pruning the hedges and fruit trees was another matter. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how. But knowing how to do something and enjoying it were two different things. Poppy was more than content to pay Magnus twice a year to take care of this for her. In the fall, he pruned the fruit trees, often bringing his grandson Liam along, and Poppy always gave them a hand with barrowing the limbs and detritus off to the lower garden to be heaped for a late Spring bonfire. Come spring, the hedge trimmings were added to the already dry fall limbs and left to sit for a couple of weeks. Finally an appropriate afternoon, free of wind and rain, was settled upon and the bonfire started. This was perhaps the only perk of the entire process. A thermos of tea, jam sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, and she and Magnus could chat for hours, poking errant sticks back into the fire and gassing about the garden, local gossip, and the political suicide currently being contemplated by the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

This winter had been harsh, but short-lived. It was only March, but already the crocus and hyacinths were fully up and starting to show color. Daffs and tulips were clumped randomly throughout the borders, cheerfully heralding the news: ‘Spring is here!’ The trees were tightly budded and one or two were even beginning to leaf out.

While fall was Poppy’s favorite season, spring ran a close second. The promise of new life invigorated everything, like a freshly plucked bunch of orange lilies in a stark white room. Stepping into the garden for the first time each day felt, at least to Poppy, like a secret admirer had stolen into the garden in the night, and left little treasures for her to find. It was lovely.

With most afternoon spent outside, winter’s pallor, the result of too many cold months inside, quickly disappeared. Outside now more often than not, her fair skin freckled endearingly, smattering a light dusting over the bridge of her nose and forehead.

Her mother, never much of a gardener, had historically left the gardening to Poppy, and in Poppy’s opinion, that was just as well. Occasionally Catherine could be found watching critically through the conservatory windows as Poppy cleared out beds, pulled weeds, and spread rich dark mulch from the compost pile over all of the beds, but for the most part she just left Poppy to it. Had she known what a gift she was giving Poppy, Catherine most likely would have found some excuse to insert herself more forcefully into the garden’s design and upkeep. As it was, she was content with an occasional critique or suggestion.

The garden in the spring was a place of solace for Poppy.

Here the northern wind wound fancifully around her, the sun darted in and out of the variety of seemingly ever present clouds, and the potpourri of blossomy smells emanating from the first blooms of spring was like having a perfumery in her very own back yard.

Here she allowed herself to remember long-ago summer evenings, rainstorms and summer houses, candlelit parties and afternoon teas. She lost herself to the memories of her brief and solitary experience with love, a girlhood tryst with a dashing boy that ended too soon.

And here, amongst the weeds and blossoms alike, Poppy dreamed.


The reason for it all...

LiLi is a lover of all hats - and why not? He looks so cute in them!

'Mody' ~ Making out with his wee bunny...

We didn't even pose him...He just peeped over the counter at us and folded his hands.

Pictures like this make me remember what it's all about...
All pics taken by my beautiful daughter Brittany!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunday Sketches

Happy Sunday Sketches everyone!

This is a 'just for fun' sketch in colored pencils...It makes me S M I L E!

Can't wait to see the rest of the Sunday sketches! You can visit Sophia at:

for links to more great Sunday sketches.


Monday, April 5, 2010

My 'Outer Child'

  • I remember what it's like to want extra, extra whip cream on my hot chocolate...

  • I remember what it's like to want dessert first and dinner second...

  • I remember what it's like to fly down the hill, standing up on the pedals, and screaming into the wind...

  • I remember what it's like to want breakfast for dinner...

  • I remember what it's like to open a brand new box of crayons and open a brand new coloring book...

  • I remember what it's like to make the whole batch of cookies yourself for the first time...

  • I remember what my mother's hugs felt like...

I love not being grown up all the time. Of course with seven kids between us and our own business, Craig and I have a mountain of responsibility, and we take that seriously. We have a lot of stress too, and it can take its' toll on us, just like everyone else.

But somewhere in my early thirties, after going through some really stressful years, I decided I needed to get back in touch with the wonder and excitement that the simplest things can elicit in a child. It really wasn't difficult. I was on a mission to simplify my life anyway, (an ongoing mission) so I began to take each individual thing and look at it in its' simplest form, searching for the joy inherent in many of life's experiences, (especially where children are concerned). You read a lot about 'Embracing your Inner Child'. I decided to embrace my 'Outer Child'.

Instead of being the parent that pushed my children on the swing, I was the parent on the swing next to them, pumping like mad to keep up and whooping with joy when I got high enough to sail off and land giggling on my feet, triumphant.

Instead of sitting on the sand watching my babies play tag with the incoming surf, I romped right beside them, barefoot, screeching as the ice cold water lapped around my toes, surfing the wind, and embracing the moment in the moment.

Instead of just watching them shoot hoops, I 'braved up' and waded into their games of Horse and Round The World, laughing with them when I missed the easiest shots, asking for pointers, and cheering madly for myself when I unexpectedly sunk a difficult shot.

When Craig and I got together, I decided he needed a lot of 'kiddening up' too...

Instead of giving him a tool or socks or something practical for his 44th birthday last year, I gave my Sweetie a whole slew of Nerf guns and extra ammo. Toys. It took him about the time it takes to get the Nerf out of its' packaging for him to turn into a ten year old boy again and start chasing the 'other' kids around the house in pursuit of what turned into an all-out Nerf war! (The 'Other' kids have Nerf already). For Christmas this year, everyone got Nerf. Now these wars are part of most weekends when all the kids are here ~ Craig and I are right in the middle of it, leaving our responsibilities and stresses behind us as we strategize with our 'teams' about the best way to sink the opponents. It's hilarious! We giggle! We send out the little ones to gather up the opponents ammunition. We tackle each other behind the couch and laugh so hard that if our lieutenants weren't on the ball reloading for us, we'd be done for.

For the two of us, it's a time to see each other as we must have been when we were still kids, before all of life's experiences, and ups and downs turned us into serious, responsible adults. Our kids get to see us as 'kids' too and they will hopefully remember that it's ok, and in fact important, to always find time to PLAY in life!

I think a lot about what things I want to pass on to my children, what values. Embracing the OUTER CHILD is definitely at the top of my list!

Smiles Everyone!
What do you do to embrace your Outer Child?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sunday Sketches

Happy Sunday Sketches Everyone!

This is a mixed media piece I did today - I started with colored pencils and then, being inspired by so many of you that mix different media, I added acrylic paint to the hair. This is my first time with Acrylics with any success - I like her. Then I mounted the finished piece on red paper.

I used a picture of myself as inspiration, but I wouldn't call this a self-portrait.

Best of all, I had FUN, which of course, is the whole point!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LiLi, Eamonn and Papa - Awwww!

Spring is here and the boys are out mowing ~ This is from last year, but it's so darn cute I couldn't resist sharing! There is nothing any of the kids like more on a nice day than riding around on the J.D. (John Deere) which is nice, since we have a lot of grass to mow!

Liam is nearly three and in love with riding around with either Papa or me to mow.

Eamonn and Papa share some juice after working on cleaning up an acre or two...We rented a mini-excavator and the boys were in heaven!!!