Saturday, August 30, 2008

An award from a cherished friend...

Cheryl at Cherdecor, has a beautiful blog and shares her heart so generously. She is a breast cancer survivor, as is my mother-in-law, and partly because of that I feel a special connection to her. She also shares a strong faith, and that is so encouraging to me. I feel very honored that she has presented me with the Friendship Award.

I would like to pass it on to a new blogging friend and very kindred spirit in many ways... including being a homeschooling mom of teens (yikes, did I really say that?), a woman of faith, and a fellow southerner... Mrs. Trixie at Making It Our Home. I really enjoy her stories about their life on the farm, homeschooling, and all the adventures that go along with that. Be sure and say a prayer for her and others along the coastal areas, as Hurricane Gustav looms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Stop, Look, & Listen...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fruitful Fridays...

More Disney sketching...

More Victoria Magazine inspired artwork... How could any artist not be inspired by the Children's Corner features in these vintage Victorias?
(May 1990 issue.)

White Flowers Series:
Each of these pictures is from a flower featured in Victoria Magazine and has the issue and page number written on the back.

(These are Prismacolor pencil on black matboard.)

(Hollyhock - March 97, p. 85; Rose - March 94, p. 79; Camellia - June 96, p. 44; White Jasmine - January 90, p. 37; Queen Anne's Lace - July 92, p. 45)

Another painting inspired by a photo from Victoria magazine... this is one I worked on a while back.
(March 1990 issue.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Letter...

I just thought some of you might actually like to see this treasure... see, it isn't fiction but rather a treasured piece of beautiful literature!

And I must tell you that today is the birthday of the most special man in my life, my hubby! In many ways he reminds me of my grandfather, but especially for his sense of humor. He cracks me up... often. We have been married for almost 22 years, and I don't think we've ever been happier together than we are now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesdays and Bankers' Hours... and Life Lessons

Normally I love to give you a delightful visual when you arrive on my "Cottage" doorstep. But, today I am going to take a little creative license and talk about one of my favorite subjects, my grandfather. My mother's father was the son of a farmer born into a family of 10 brothers and sisters. It was a loving family and a hard working one. The children were all expected to help with the chores and be productive from an early age. This was something that, as I imagine it, must have come easy for my grandfather. He was a kind and joyful-hearted man, and though I didn't know him as a youngster, I am sure that he was a generous and loving son. He went into the military in his late teens, and later came home from a tour in Europe to fall in love with and marry my grandmother.

As a newlywed, he began working in a small town bank. Starting out as a teller, his determination to be an outstanding employee and his ambition soon pushed him into jobs with greater responsibility. Eventually this led to his becoming president of the bank in the town where I grew up. He held this position until his premature death from lung cancer in 1978. He was loved and respected by many, and at that time was the youngest president of Alabama Bankers Association. But, to me he was simply the most wonderful grandfather I could have ever imagined.

When I was a baby and my father was away at school, my mother and I lived with my grandparents. This was the genesis, I suspect, of some serious early bonding with my grandfather. And I can remember from a very early age how special I felt when in his presence. He adored me, and I adored him. And on Wednesdays (back in those days) bankers had the day off. So, many times he would concoct some scheme for the two of us to spend some of that day together doing something special. He would take me riding in his car or take me to the drugstore for milk shakes or a book of paper dolls. He would drive me to the next town to see the monkeys that the owners of the local hardware store kept in cages outside their store. And one time I remember him taking me for a ride in his golf cart... he drove me from his house, across a four lane highway (we're talking small town, low traffic, here), and on to the golf course for a few "lessons."

He was really my hero in so many ways. He had an incredible sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. He loved helping people, especially those less fortunate than he. He made me feel so special, and he made me feel respected and treasured. And most of all, he loved me unconditionally. I am thankful for Wednesday bankers' hours in those days because they gave me the opportunity to make some awesome memories with one of the finest men I have ever known.

On the day of my graduation from high school, my grandmother handed me an envelope. As I looked at it, I noticed that the envelope had the logo from the bank. I thought this was a little odd because my grandfather had been gone for several years. When I opened the envelope, I saw the familiar letterhead with the bank logo in brown and the unique brown type that my grandfather had used as bank president. The letter was dated just months before his death and began by telling me that though he hoped that he would live much longer than the doctors predicted, he wanted me to have this letter of his memories of me. Then he recounted in detail some of his fond memories of our times together. He told me that he had always wished he had known his grandfather and had something to remember him by, but had not. So, he wanted me to have this to keep, to remember him and to know how special I was to him.

I still have the letter and take it out to read it every now and then. And though by now I have much of it in my memory, I still love to hold it and look at that familiar brown logo, brown type, and his precious signature. What a treasure... it didn't cost him anything to do that, but I can't imagine anything else he could have given me that would have meant more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Encouraging Mondays...

Poetry to tickle your funny bone
by Ogden Nash.


Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.


Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good,
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.


God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stop, Look, & Listen... heart of a champion

My oldest son has had the privilege of working at a local Paralympic training facility (which is also an official Olympic training facility) this summer. He comes home with inspiring stories and generally just loves this job. With the Olympics winding down and the Paralympics approaching, I thought I would share this incredible story of a double amputee who God is using in amazing ways!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fruitful Fridays...

Two weeks ago I gave you a sneak peek of a sketch I was working on for a friend. This precious lady lost her husband last year and has had a tough year since he passed away. He and she were performers in the award-winning American West Reenactment and Performance group, Southwest Legends Gunfighters. They so enjoyed doing this together that as a tribute to his memory, she asked me to do a sketch of her in costume standing by his "gravesite" at the Southwest Legends Gunfighters' cemetery called Boot Hill. I consider it an honor to have been able to do this sketch of her and hope that it will be a source of comfort to her.

"Widow Noakes at Boot Hill"

Love ya, Miss Rosie!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Along the Garden Path...

Some images from the beautiful Cotswolds in England...

Images courtesy of Perry & Robyn Granberry

Monday, August 18, 2008

Encouraging Mondays...

Light poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson, from a Child's Garden of Verses, to brighten your spirit and put that childlike gleam in your eye...

Hail, Guest, and Enter Freely...
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Hail, guest, and enter freely! All you see
Is, for your momentary visit, yours; and we
Who welcome you are but the guests of God,
And know not our departure.

The Sun's Travels
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The sun is not a-bed, when I
At night upon my pillow lie;
Still round the earth his way he takes,
And morning after morning makes.

While here at home, in shining day,
We round the sunny garden play,
Each little Indian sleepy-head
Is being kissed and put to bed.

And when at eve I rise from tea,
Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea;
And all the children in the west
Are getting up and being dressed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stop, Look, & Listen... Steven Curtis Chapman & Family on Larry King

If you haven't seen this, you must watch. After the tragic death of Steven and Mary Beth Chapman's daughter, this was their testimony of one way God is comforting them...


Friday, August 15, 2008

Fruitful Fridays...

This week I have been one busy camper... we are putting our house on the market, so I have had lots to do aside from artwork. However, I have had a chance to do a little bit of

Vintage Victoria magazine-inspired artwork...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yellow Flower Day!

Some of my favorite yellow flowers (unfortunately, not necessarily from my yard)