Painting Day

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When I was first told about the painting workshop, I really debated whether I wanted to go or not.  I have no natural drawing ability and I had never been to any of those “paint and wine” things that are offered about town.  This one intrigued me though because it was going to be painting flowers on barnwood.  I love barnwood!  I signed up for the workshop, knowing that I would know two women there (I can get social anxiety in new situations so this was tremendously helpful in going out of my comfort zone).

paint day.jpg When I pulled up to the studio, I was mesmerized by its exterior.  It was an old cabin with a rocking chair front porch and a cozy porch swing.  There was a fire bowl surrounded by chairs in the front yard; the smoke of a freshly lit fire wafting up to the sky.  When I met the instructor, Tonya, she said that the cabin was 120 years old!

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The main entrance area was set up with a table that had seating for eight.  The room beside had seating for three, and the kitchen sat between 4 and 6 (next time I’ll pay closer attention).  The decorations about the place were amazing and most, if not all, were for sale.  There were wooden bowls and vases, some of which were beautifully inlaid with turquoise.  There were antique and estate sale items.  The friend who had told me about the workshop makes jewelry and it was on display (I was kicking myself for not bringing a checkbook or more money, but I had no clue about what to expect).

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After we got settled into seats, we picked which of the two floral scenes that we wanted to create.  I chose the dandelions.  The other was pretty, but looked much harder.  Plus, I love that dandelions represent wishes and dreams.  I’ve seen numerous representations of them being blown away and turning into birds.  I love this concept.  It especially reminds me of my children.  We pour all these hopes and wishes into them, blowing gently as we help shape who they’ll become.  Slowly, they drift toward more independence until they are set free like a bird in flight.

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Tonya instructs us on how to dry brush our background.  We used a chip brush dipped lightly in paint and wipe the excess off on a paper towel so that just a light amount is going on the board.  I was very nervous because I tend to have a heavy hand when writing.  I don’t know if this a lefty thing or an Amy thing.  I am pleased with how it turned out.  The wood definitely soaks in the paint, so I would be a little more nervous about my ability to replicate this on a canvas.

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This class was at noon, so there is brunch and mimosas. The evening classes have dinner, wine, and dessert.  We are served a french toast bake, sausage balls, and an egg casserole.  Shhh…. I ate wheat after not having it for four months.  I’m not so hardcore that I ask how food is cooked in a restaurant, so I’m pretty sure that I’m not fully gluten free anyways.  Plus, it was tasty!

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Off of the kitchen was a greenhouse.  It was so warm and inviting.  It looked like the perfect place to haul out a chair when the snow is two feet on the ground.  The project for the following workshop was a terrarium so various items were being housed in here.  After lunch, the paint was dry enough to move forward.

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Next, it is time for the flowers.  We had a sample piece of barnwood for practicing a flower.  First, we drew the stem in chalk.  For the dandelion, you would angle out from the top of the stem to where the center of your dandelion would be located and place a chalk mark there.  The thought being that the center is more compact.  My practice puffball looked horrid and made me really concerned for the end result.

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I painted my stems on the board. They came out a little thicker than I originally wanted, but the grooves in the wood have a mind of their own.  You can see the chalk lines here and my chalk mark for the center of the puffball.  Tonya said that after they are dry you can go back with a little paintbrush and the chalk just brushes away.  I made an attempt at my puffballs and decided that I could not create a round shape working from the inside and moving outward.  I can’t cut a straight line either (lefty problem??  Amy problem??) but that’s for another day.  I decided to loosely create the exterior of the puffball and work my way inward.

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Part of the issue was also that being too close skewed the overall look.  In the end, when I stepped back, I was happy with the overall painting.  It’s kind of like life.  When we’re going through something we might just think it’s an ugly mess.  When we get through, sometimes we are able to step back and think, “that wasn’t so bad”.

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I moved outside of my comfort zone and was rewarded with an enjoyable experience.  I won the door prize (and I never win Anything!) for a free class.  I’m looking forward to going back and trying something new.

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Recounting the days

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It seems so hard to believe.  I just can’t fathom how the time passed.  One day I was calling into the hospital at 6:00 in the morning to see if I was going to be induced and the next I’m sitting here processing the fact that I have a sixteen year old.  I can still remember that day vividly.  There wasn’t an open bed.  I called back at 8:00 and was told to come down.  My favorite song at the time was “Amazing Love” by the Newsboys.  As we pulled into the hospital, it came on the radio.  I sat there until it was finished and thought about how much love I had for this child that I hadn’t yet gazed upon.  Then we went inside to start the induction.  Some hours later, I would meet my 9 lb 11 oz little boy.

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Obviously, there has been a lot of living in between the moment when I first became a mother to the beautiful boy who had made his way into the bright light of the outside world and to today where he stands at 6’5″, towering over me.

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When he holds the camera, you can see how tall he really stands… I’m 5’8″

Everybody tells you that it all passes quickly.  You believe them, but think that you’ll be able to savor it all.  That time will pass more slowly for you.  But it doesn’t.  You go about your life enjoying, lamenting, smiling, crying, and trying to bask in the gloriousness of it all.  And then you arrive at a destination that you knew was coming and you wonder how in the world you have gotten there.

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 Sixteen feels like such a right of passage in my mind.  At that age, I got my driver’s license and was finally allowed to date.  His passing into sixteen does not have that same attachment.  Virginia licensing is at 16 and 3 months and so he won’t be driving on dates until after that.  I still think it’s a pivotal time.  They are making so many more decisions for themselves.  You are guiding them, but at this point they are much more self accountable for their decisions.  I miss the days that have passed, but I am excited to see what his future holds.  I wonder about what twists and turns he will take to find his brand of happiness.  And I am overjoyed in the fact that I will be there to see it unfold.

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2/22/2016

Let your light shine!

Amy

Series of the sunset

This is an unfiltered, untouched series of the sunset over the course of 20-30 minutes on February 19, 2016.  Taken with a Nikon D3200 on the landscape setting.

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I’m still working on understanding more about settings and also how to sometimes use filters and such to convey exactly what I’d like the picture to show.  Self teaching isn’t always simple… 🙂

Let your light shine!

Amy

My first real prayer

I’ve had a hard time deciding on a throwback topic.  I have lots of things that I want to tell about.  My dilemma has been that I am a visual learner and have visual preference for telling my stories.  I haven’t found all my childhood pictures and need some others from my parents.  It has been a chaotic couple of weeks.  Snow always seems to do that.

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With the snow days and being trapped, I had to spend some time in prayer to keep my wits about me.  And even then, it doesn’t always work.  It reminded me of my first earnest prayer.

I was five or six years old.  I had been attending a local church since I was about 3 1/2, so I was well versed in who God was to me.  My first prayer was a selfish prayer, but one that has stayed with me for my entire life because it was answered.

My dad worked from home so he was the one to watch me and my brother while my mom was away at work. I don’t know whether it was his stern voice or his confidence in the way he spoke, but when my dad said something, you listened.  My mom always says that he “got his bluff in early”, meaning that we had a healthy fear of him and yet could count on our fingers the actual amount of times that we were actually disciplined by him.  Maybe I was just a well behaved child….

We lived in a trailer by this time.  There was a long hallway from the back bedroom of the trailer that ran all the way through the open living, dining, and kitchen combo.  It was perfect straightaway to put on some roller skates and fly from one end to the other at a glorious speed.  The only problem was that I had been told not to roller skate in the house.  I don’t know if I had ever done it before or what conversation had transpired for me to know this, but these were the facts.

But the straightaway was just too perfect.  And so I put on the standard 1980’s white skates, laced them up, and was on my way.  I was speeding along at full force when my brother’s bottle appeared before me.  It was glass.  I was going too fast.  There would be no way to stop.  And so over it I went.  POP!!  The bottle exploded, milk and all.

I was scared that I would be in trouble (as I move along in my blogging, you’ll learn that I’m a people pleaser and a perfectionist – these tendencies tend to overplay the ramifications of a given situation).  I knew that I had not followed the rules and look what happened.  I was sure that my dad would be mad.  And so I said a prayer.  I prayed to God that I wouldn’t get in trouble, that it was an accident and I didn’t mean to break the bottle and I shouldn’t have been skating (maybe this is why I am a rule follower, to a degree that, sometimes, even annoys me).

I’m not sure if my dad heard the noise.  He was outside.  I suspect it probably made a loud bang.  I just know that there was little time that passed between when I broke the bottle, my prayer, and my dad walking inside.  He opened the door and asked what happened.  Through my sobs I told him that I had been skating in the house and had run over the bottle.  He asked me if I was hurt and said next time to be more careful.

Next time?  Be more careful?  Nothing about how I was doing something I shouldn’t.  I was in shock.  And in that moment, I knew, without a doubt, that God had answered my prayer.  It would be the foundation that I would need to keep my faith in the the future when life would be begin to, and still does, throw me curve balls. It would keep me strong in the belief that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Maybe I should have been in trouble for not obeying the said expectations, but the greater good occurred in that moment of compassion and leniency.  Experiences can shape who we become and we have a choice to grow or shrink from them.  Kindness trumps most other responses.  Show some kindness to somebody today.

 

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Smiling at the thief

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The little thief

The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief. -Shakespeare

 

I love to watch the squirrels because I think they are so beautiful.  I wish they didn’t eat the entire bird feeder contents in an afternoon, but it seems a small price to pay for this view.

Let your light shine!

Amy