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Waiting For The New Year

      This morning I was looking through some of my photos from this year to find one that seemed to look like how I feel on this last day of the year---- and this is what I chose. I took this photo at Old Sturbridge Village this summer. What a pretty, quiet scene. The woman standing in her doorway looking out, watching quietly as life streams by her garden gate. 

   I'm feeling this sort of mood--- quiet and watchful. 2015 was full of such wonderful things, but I'm ready to close this chapter and set sights on the New Year. Someone in the house has had a cold or cough since before Thanksgiving too....so that probably has a lot to do with my mood of 'lets get on with the show, onward and upward!'

   I wanted to say thank you as well to all of you who made this the best year yet for Audrey Eclectic. I am so glad to have chatted with you, to have mailed you pieces of art to places far and near. It makes me so happy when something I've made can have meaning and bring joy to others. That is SO wonderful!

   Now that the Christmas mailing rush is done, I'm getting a little rest and thinking about what I'd like to do this coming year. I really want to do more publishing projects this coming year. And its my hope that more inspiring travel is in my future as well!

  I'm also wanting to do a little more blogging and writing here on the blog, and I hope all of these things will be interesting and fun for you to come along on.

  Thanks so much for coming to visit me here, I appreciate it so much! I hope you have a wonderful New Year, may it hold wonderful things for us all!~

See you in 2016!~

In search of 'hygge'

     This morning when I woke up the light was that pale, light blue of winter. Light made only when its coming in through bare branches and snow on the ground. There was nothing to do for the moment but snuggle in further under quilts and blink awake. 
   "It's snow!" The baby chirped, pointing out the window. And yes, our first snow of the winter has arrived, a little surprise at the end of a three day deluge that soaked this prairie through with wet and bitter cold.

   So here we are, on the other side of Christmas Day. And I'll confess....as much as I love Advent and Christmas Day, I was ready to be here. As the holiday barreled towards us, we all came down with colds and a hacking cough that still lingers. My head was so stuffy and ached on Christmas Eve. Time with family was lovely, and the Christmas Eve service at church so beautiful, but I just wanted to lay down in some little corner and close my eyes.

   Luckily I felt better Christmas Day, but by December 26, "The First Day of Christmas", I was dismantling the tree and the trimmings because I just wanted calm. I keep thinking of the concept of "hygge", the Danish word (pronounced 'HUE-guh') that envelopes the feeling of warm coziness and comfort. 

  Now, capturing hygge (but do you capture it? No, you probably sink down into it....like into a pile of furs with a cup of cocoa in hand by a fireside....) is fleeting here. Currently my children are howling as they pretend to be wolves and my 'clean house' disappears as fast as is if I were trying to sweep up the desert in a sandstorm. But I'm trying. I'll take it where I can get it.

   Some things that help--- lots of hot tea and coffee. The tea I take steaming and whorled with honey to calm this cough and scratchy throat. Also piles of new books from family and friends that I am so excited about: "Tasha's Delightful House" showed up on our doorstep all the way from Japan on Christmas Eve. The package, so very exotic, was waiting for us, propped up on the porch, when we returned from that night's church service.

   "Pioneer Girl" was also a fun surprise waiting for me under the tree, the annotated volume of the manuscript Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her life before she started her Little House series. I've spend some time curled up with this and trying to soak it all in. What I love so much about the series is that its, obviously, set out here in the prairie. So much of it is familiar and like home.

  Friends gave me some wonderful books as well--- like a beautiful edition of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" complete with a handmade bookmark from Patricia up in New York State and Natasha give me a signed (thrill!) copy of "In The Heart Of The Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick, who I first got to know when I read his book about Nantucket when I was looking into my ancestors who settled that beautiful little island.

  And so--- I have plenty of good books, and furry creatures, and little people to cuddle up with as I search for my year end's hygge. I'm looking forward to the new year with new projects and new adventures. Here's to a wonderful 2016!

Christmas Blessings,

Art With Heart: Crisis Pregnancy Outreach

     Can you believe it?! It's the fourth week of Advent. Christmas is almost here! It is also the fourth week of the 'Art with Heart" series here on the blog, where $10 from a specific print in my shop is donated to a different charity each week.

   This week's charity is a local charity that makes an impact to young woman across the nation. Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is an organization in the Tulsa area that helps women and girls dealing with unplanned pregnancy as well as make plans for their future and their baby's future.

    Crisis Pregnancy Outreach began in the 1980s in association with Christian Chapel Church in order to provide a meaningful and practical alternative to abortion to young women who found themselves experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. The organization is 100% volunteer run, and has now grown to include a transitional home, counseling services, medical partners, mentoring, parenting support, and a fully licensed adoption agency.
   CPO's solid reputation has spread not just from Oklahoma, but around the country, and they take in girls from around the U.S. What I find so inspiring about their work is, not only do they work hard to provide a good life for the babies who are brought into the world under their care, but they also turn around the lives of the women and girls who come their way.

   Many of the girls who find themselves at CPO are in high school, junior high, or even middle school. Others come from turbulent home environments.  Most are unsure where to start when it comes to caring for a newborn. 

   What they all have in common, however,  is their hope to turn a scary situation into something beautiful and positive. And through this organization, their unplanned pregnancy can be a turning point to a brighter future.

   I am also thrilled to know that a wonderful couple I know are about to become first time parents through CPO, and not only are they eagerly awaiting a new baby, but they have welcomed the birth mother into their lives and home and created a relationship with her that is simply beautiful.

    And so, if you'd like to help me support Crisis Pregnancy Outreach this coming week--- its easy! The print I'm offering for the $10 donation is "Madonna and Child in Blue." With each purchase of this print, I will donate $10 to Crisis Pregnancy Outreach so they can continue their important week.

  Thanks so much! And Merry Christmas!~

Christmas Blessings!~

       I can't believe it, Christmas is almost here. This happens to me every year....I spend months thinking about it, painting it, and then it arrives and it all rushes by so fast! Things have been busy around here, mailing out orders (thank you all who ordered--- SO MUCH!) and doing the Advent events at church, work and school functions, getting things done before the day actually comes.

     There have been times this month where I had to force myself to slow down, to let some things go because well, you just cant do it all! So much happens, seemingly all at once, this time of the year. And we totally miss the point of Advent--- watching and waiting--- when we're scrambling around trying to do as much, and buy as much, as possible.

   And so, I have decided--- I am going to be still. The post office rush is done. There are no more events or commitments until Christmas. All I have to do is sample all the holiday goodies. And I am oh so good at that ;)

    And so, in these last days of Advent, I'd like to just send you good wishes and many Christmas blessings. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, however you choose to spend it. 
   And may there be 'peace on earth and good will toward men."

Merry Christmas!~

Art With Heart: Rosie's Love

   Hi Friends!~
      This week's "Art with Heart" print is Madonna of the Blossoms. I chose this piece specifically for a special charity named after a very special girl--- Rosie! 
    The charity I'm highlighting this week is Rosie's Love. Since its inception in 2000, Rosie’s Love has been dedicated to providing emotional, practical and financial support to those who need help in dealing with childhood cancer in the Albany, NY area. Their mission is to make a difference in the lives of those affected by childhood cancer, including patients and family members. Rosie's Love provides assistance where other sources fall short – from providing fun activities for children receiving in-patient treatment to family getaways that provide a break.
    Every summer, Rosie's Love provide a house on a private lake in the Adirondacks to children and their families called Camp Hakuna Matata.  This house is provided entirely free from the cost of the stay, to food, and passes to local attractions such as the Adirondack Museum. We also provide fishing poles and access to canoes and kayaks.  
   Every holiday season, Rosie's Love opens their annual "Holiday Shop" at Albany Medical Center.  The children can choose gifts for their parents, siblings, special friends, grandparents, etc.  All items are provided for the children including gifts, gift wrap, and cards.
  Every September school supplies and backpacks are provided to any child who needs supplies.  
   Rosie's Love is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) charity.  It is named after Rosemary (Rosie) Frances Johnson, who lost her battle with Neuroblastoma at the age of 2 years and 11 months.  Rosie loved other children and never entered the hospital without a big smile on her face. 

    I am so fortunate to include Rosie's mother Patricia as one of my cherished friends and love her sisters Mary and Alice and "Grandma Pat" who organizes "Rosie's Love" and runs the camp in the Adirondacks. My daughter Audrey was able to join Rosie's grandma and sister at camp last summer and had an amazing time.

  And so, in honor of Rosie and this season of giving, I am so happy to highlight Rosie's Love here on the blog. If you are so moved to contribute a little to this wonderful charity, I'd love to send you Madonna of the Blossoms and we can do some good together!~

Christmas Open House

    Things have been so crazy busy around here! But I wanted to let you know, we are doing our Christmas Open House this weekend in our studio! And we've got so many things to share with you--- not just creations from me and Natasha, but also many beautiful things made by friends! We've got pottery, live wreaths, linens, totes, handcarved kitchen utinsils and so much more! If you're in the Tulsa area, come see us!~

Adoptable House Tomtens!

   Ooooh, it's that time of year again! I have a collection of handmade house tomtens that need homes! I cant wait to share with you this year's special little guys--- and gals!

   What is a 'house tomten', you ask? Well, a tomten (or tomte, or nisse, or tomte-nisse, etc) is a Scandinavian gnome known for their shyness and devotion to their families and animals! In Swedish, Norwegian and other Scandinavian traditions, these friendly little beings live secretly in homes where they watch over their family, animals and property at night, all in exchange for a bowl of porridge. A classic tale about tomtens is "The Tomten and Fox" by Astrid Lindgren, who also wrote "Pippi Longstocking."

  I find that tomtens make the sweetest ornaments, and love to make some to offer to you here on the blog at Christmas time! All their little faces are handpainted and they're sewn by me with machine and hand stitching. Their hair is raw fleece that I get from a friend and makes the most beautiful tomten locks!

  If you'd like to welcome a little tomten into your home, these are the little friends I have available to adopt. If you'd like one, please leave the name/number of the tomten you like in the comments AS WELL AS your paypal email address. I will mark each tomten as "sold" as invoices are paid. At this time, I can only take payment via paypal.

Tomtens are $12 plus $2 shipping, so $14 total

 Here are the little friends available.... 

Adoptable House Tomtens:
1. Lars -- ADOPTED
2. Otto-- ADOPTED
3. Erik -- ADOPTED
4. Hans -- ADOPTED

4. Kristin-- ADOPTED
6. Linnea-- ADOPTED
7  Johanna-- ADOPTED

Art With Heart: Heifer International

    Hey there!~ Sorry for the delay--- we've been dealing with coughing and colds and just came from the dr's office with a diagnosis of bronchitis for Audrey. Sigh....tis the season!

    Anyhow---- we are now in the second week of Advent AND the second weekend of celebrating "Art With Heart!" Where $10 of a specific print goes to a great charity! Taking part is easy! All you do is buy the charity print in the shop--- you get the print, and I donate $10 per print to the charity of the week! 

   This week's Charity print is "Country Nativity." I thought this print would go perfectly with this week's charity--- "Heifer International."

     Heifer International is a great charity to give to that does good all over the world. We have had gifts given in our name to this organization in the past, and we feel like its time we got in on the giving fun!
    The idea behind Heifer International is that they provide a means for families all over the world to support themselves by helping them gain the means to start their own business through raising animals. According to their website, Heifer International explains that "Giving an animal is like giving someone a small business, providing wool, milk, eggs and more. Animal donations can provide families a hand up, increasing access to medicine, school, food and a sustainable livelihood."

   Depending on the amount given, you can buy a 'share' in an animal, a whole animal, or a whole start-up flock of various animals that will help a family start earning a decent living wage and feed their family. Animals that can be bought include ducks, chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, and even honey bees!

   As a fiber art lover, I'm partial to the idea of helping someone get a sheep--- they can not only harvest the wool, but also use the meat to sell or feed their family. Sheep are such a dynamic animal to raise (plus, lets face it, they are fuzzy and cute.)

   If you are feeling the urge to give a little this Advent, i would be so honored if you'd help me support this very worthy cause! And I'd love to send you a print in the process!~!

   Thanks so much, and wishing you a Blessed Advent!~

*Photos used in this post come from Heifer International

Behind The Paintings: St. Lucia

     Hi there, friends! Hope your week is going well. I am enjoying an afternoon of getting things done and preparing for our open house at The Prairie House on December 12 and 13!
   I thought I'd take a little time to sit and relax my Mama brain and we could chat about art. Are ya game?

   One of my most popular--- if not THE most popular pieces in my shop is my red background St. Lucia.  I created her in 2011 and prints and postcards with her on the front always sell well, she's actually when I know the holidays are here. All the St. Lucias are heading to the post office! So I thought since she's so well liked, you might like to hear a little about her....

     This painting started pretty modestly and I had no idea that she would become as well loved as she in. In fact, the original painting isn't that large. It's 6x9". Which is pretty impressive since I have prints of it as an 11x14" and it enlarges fine. She's obviously "the little painting that could!"

   I painted her almost as a sort of 'afterthought', one more Christmas painting to do before the season was done. The inspiration for her was, of course, the rendition of the Swedish tradition of the girl dressed as "Sankta Lucia" with the crown of candles and a tray of Lucia buns. I knew all about this tradition because of, well, my Kirsten doll!

   Were you a lover of the American Girl dolls like I was? Back when it was still Pleasant Company? I had a friend with Samantha and once I saw Kirsten in her pioneer garb, ooohhh, my heart was captured. I got her for Christmas in the second grade and loved that doll so much she lost a leg and had to be sent to 'the doll hospital.' She came back in a doll hospital gown, which I thought was just the neatest thing.

   So, from that childhood beginning I always had a love for Swedish folklore, traditions and the like. I knew about "St.Lucia" the Swedish girl long before I knew about "St.Lucy" in a religious context. And when I did start learning more about the saints, St.Lucia/St.Lucy was like an old friend waiting for me.

   And so....one Christmas, I decided to do a little painting of her. And I liked it so much it became one of the few paintings I kept for myself (she's watching me now from the good china cupboard!) and as I shared her at craft shows and here online, I found that others loved her too!

   It's been so wonderful to meet so many others--- literally all over the world--- because of St.Lucia. When people see her and read the "god jul" (Merry Christmas in Swedish) they just know what the context is--- Scandinavian Christmas, tradition, family, hope. St. Lucia is 'the bringer of light' and in the Scandinavian tradition (other countries do this too) the daughter in the home wears the lighted wreath and brings the family coffee and the special "Lucia cakes" in the dark before morning. 

  December 13 is the Feast of St.Lucia and according to old Scandinavian custom, is the darkest night of the year. So St. Lucia, to them, signifies the return of the sun, the return of the light, and dovetails of course with religious themes.

  And so....each year I look forward to sharing this Lucia and St. Lucia paintings that came after (such as St.Lucia Morning and Forest Lucia) with fellow lovers of this little saint. 

  I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about her. :D
God Jul!~!

Art With Heart, Charity Print Week 1

    As I sit here typing this afternoon at my dining room table--- in a house warm with central heat, electricity and heck! even wifi! I know I am tremendously blessed. We are fed, clothed, loved, safe. And I've been so fortunate too that so many of you have decided to buy from my little etsy shop for Christmas gifts for your friends and family! And since you and I are both pretty blessed and I have art and you need gifts....I thought: hey! Let's put a little love and kindness out into the world!

   And so, this Advent, I'm doing a little "Art with Heart" special in my etsy shop. Each Sunday of Advent, I will choose a worthy charity that I would like to support, and a print that I think corresponds to the charity in some way--- and offer a portion of the sales of that print to the charity.

   So--- it's really easy! If you like the print and would like to support the charity, simply buy the print in the shop! I will take $10 of the $18 purchase price and donate it to the charity at the end of the week. I will let you know at the end of the week how much we've raised, and show you in some way (whether a screen shot of my donation receipt, or whatever proof of donation I get from the charity) that the donation has been made.

   That way we both get to do some good, and Advent is the PERFECT time to do this!

   This week's charity print is:

and the Charity is:

    This is a favorite charity of mine, especially since I can earmark funds to go directly to Orthodox Christian refugees escaping the crisis of the Middle East. The original of this print was also auctioned off for IOCC last year, and so I feel like THIS print--- showing a young Iraqi Christian girl praying before an icon belongs to the plight of these people. God have mercy on them. And let every bit we can give go to help them.

FREE Printable: St. Nicholas Day!

   Hello and happy first Sunday of Advent! We've got our candles and wreath all ready on the table and we are ready to dine by candle light--- one little candle's worth of candlelight--- this evening! I going to TRY to make myself savor every special bit of this holiday season, but I can't help but look forward a tiny to bit to one of my very favorite days--- St. Nicholas Day!

   The feast day of Dear St. Nick is December 6, and a Sunday! We will be attending our church's St. Nicholas Festival and I'll be taking some of my art up to the little bazaar they have there too. I've also got a special treat for you--- this FREE St. Nicholas coloring page, which you can download and print HERE.

  I cant wait to see what pretty scenes everyone comes up with! And YES, adults are allowed to color too! I mean....I color pretty much every day, don't I? :D

  Thanks to everyone who has shopped the etsy store with the HOLLYJOLLY coupon code this weekend! And dont forget--- you have through today to take advantage of the sale! 20% off EVERYTHING! :D

   Happy Advent!~!

SALE This Weekend!~

   Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!~ And now....it's time to start thinking about CHRISTMAS!

   To help you get in the holly jolly holiday spirit, I'm having a sale in my shop, this weekend only!~ Use the coupon Code HOLLYJOLLY and get 20% off EVERYTHING!~

  I've also got big plans for Advent, with a charity print selected each week:

Stay tuned for more information!~!
have a wonderful weekend!~

Walnut & Indigo

     The colors of late November are lovely; deep and muted, the autumn blazes have faded and now things are mellowing with warmth as the north wind picks up and the trees become bare once more. That deep, moody brown becomes the central color of this part of the autumn--- before the evergreens and reds of Christmas take over.
    Lately Natasha has been simmering some black walnut hulls in our studio--- and that very scary looking bubbling brew has turned some of her beautiful yarn and fabrics this gorgeous nut-brown hue, which seems the perfect color for November.
   We also got into the indigo we've been hording for months and months now....stirring it up in the backyard and then dipping almost everything we could get our hands on this gorgeous deep blue!

  I've been putting back different skeins of yarn from Shepherd's Cross that I could dye, and I also dyed some cotton muslin with the plan to make Robbie a baby quilt for his birthday. My vision is to make a simple star quilt with the indigo blue and the muslin. I'm so excited to get started on it!

   The kitties have been out on the rock patio too, playing in the fading garden and sunning themselves on the warmed rocks. The only kitten we have left in need of a home is Cinder, the black kitten. She is so sweet--- and her soft jet fur is like velvet. And her eyes--- all the kitties have inherited their mama's autumn gold eyes. They are the sweetest!

  And so--- as the last of the dyed fibers dry on the line today, I'm thinking about Christmas gifts and quilt making. I also need to get going on ornaments, but probably wont take on any big painting projects until Christmas is over. I want to spend December enjoying the season and making things for my family and friends.

  I see lots of knitting and sewing in my near future--- as Tasha and I settle in at the Prairie House with all our newly dyed things. And hopefully....my hands wont be blue any more by Christmas, haha!~

Thanksgiving Blessings,

New Painting: Forest Lucia

     For several weeks I had this little painting tucked up on my painting table--- "Forest Lucia", bringing wheat to the winter birds from her cozy little red "stuga" on a Christmas morning. It's become a bit of a tradition for me to create a St. Lucia scene each Christmas, and I'm very pleased with the Lucia of this year!~

   I added many of my personal loves in this piece--- the fair isle style mittens, the cardinals, the little house tucked into the snow. This Lucia doesnt have candles in her wreath because, I guess I'm just a mom first before an artist--- I kept thinking "what a fire hazard to go out in the forest with your head on fire!" So, she's candleless ;)

   I just posted some fresh made prints of this piece in my etsy shop, and I'm really happy with how crisp and lovely they turned out. If you have a soft spot in your heart for Swedish Christmas, you may just love them too!

  And so....I feel like as we round the corner towards Advent that the holiday season is well and truly upon us. It's exciting but also a bit overwhelming--- everything seems to want to happen at once. I have to fight to keep on top of things, and sometimes I fail. Sometimes I have to say 'no' to things I want to do, or feel like I should do, just because....well, there just arent enough hours in the day.

  I've been trying to keep on top of my art endeavors, but then life throws curve balls--- like Robbie burning his poor little hands yesterday and a rushed trip to the emergency room. He is fine--- poor buddy-- and the whole ordeal served to remind me what really matters this holiday season. No one is going to care how clean the windows are or if I've cleaned the sink. It's these little ones I need to put at the center of these days.

  Anyhow--- wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving to my American friends, and many blessings as we head towards Advent!~

New Printable! 24 Day Advent Calendar

   It's so hard to believe that Advent is just around the corner! Perhaps because we still have flowers blooming here in Oklahoma, we havent even had a proper frost. Didnt I just buy pumpkins? But here it is, Advent on our doorstep!

  I created this fun little calander to use for the month of December. I added drawings of fun winter things like birds and ornaments and trees, and drawings to mark special days such as St. Nicholas Day, Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucia Day and Christmas Eve.

   You're welcome to download this FREE PDF to use at home, church, school or Sunday school. Its for free personal use. I'd love to see it when you're done too! You can tag #colorAE on instagram if you'd like to share!

   Enjoy and I hope you have a Blessed Advent!~

Behind The Paintings: Candle Light Prayers

      This week I'm starting a new feature here on the blog--- "Behind The Paintings"-- where I'll talk about what inspired some of my favorite paintings in the past and sort of 'what was going on' when I was creating them! I hope you'll join me for these little peeks back at past paintings! Should be fun! :D

    One of my favorite paintings I've created is this one called "Candlelight Prayers." It shows a mother and daughter in a little cabin on a snowy winter's night, lighting candles in front of an icon.

   What is so special to me about this painting is, it was my first 'religious family scene' painting. I was just starting to dip my toe in the water of that sort of art. This is the first icon I ever painted as well, and I loved creating this little scene that held so much emotion and back story, something that really came from my heart.
   I painted this in 2011, and we had just started our family faith journey. 2011 is the year we were baptized (it was a bit of a whirlwind love affair for us, we first attended on St. Nicholas Day and were baptized at Easter Vigil and confirmed in May.) 

  But at this point I was still pretty self conscious about putting anything too religious in my art. However, I wanted to create something that felt warm and lovely and peaceful--- which was how I was now viewing faith, and I wanted to share it in my art.

   People always ask "is this a picture of you?" and really its not, although I'm a mom with brown hair and have a blond daughter ;) Sometimes things just work out that way! Like how my bearded guys tend to resemble my husband--- I guess he's just the beardy guy I know best ;)

    Another thing that I love about this painting is the folksy motifs, like on the girl's bonnet and the dresser. I also painted a little icon on the dresser (technically--- my first Jesus??)

   I didn't really have a nationality in mind for them, I just wanted them to be folksy and old timey and drew from Scandinavian and Russian motifs.

   Looking back now, I think this painting was probably a turning point in my art into what it is now. Before this time frame, I was doing more whimsical, collage based art. Then collage art became really popular and I decided what I really wanted to do was more illustrative. Instead of little whimsical portraits, I started creating more detailed scenes, and started making the art contain more of a story. And to me, Candlelight Prayers is still one of my favorites--- when I started finding a way of painting what was more 'me' and something I felt really proud of.

   The connection it has made with others around the country--- and the world--- has been so inspiring too! I love that it has meaning to people across denominational lines. That it sparks fond memories and has meaning for others as well.

  This piece is still going strong in my etsy shop, and is available as an 8x10 print or Christmas postcards. Perhaps there is a little meaning in it for you as well?


A New Chapter...

     Today is kind of a big deal. Robbie has started preschool at our church and today was his first day. Putting on his little back pack (filled not with books but with some extra diapers and a change of clothes) and handing him his little lunch pail, he suddenly looked like a kid. My baby is no baby....he is growing up!

   Although it was sad to turn around and walk out the door without him (although he's with lots of great people, friends are there, heck--- our PRIEST is there!) I know this is going to be an exciting new chapter for me and my art.

   I'll be honest, it took a good long time to relax this morning. Probably a couple of hours. When you're on toddler patrol, you are vigilant; those mama bat ears are always on ("did I just hear something that sounded like a toilet lid being lifted?!?!") and you are always poised to snatch away the toy before its hurled at the window or something is snatched off the table.

  Even when I painted at nap times, my ears were on, listening for a cry, and so to find myself suddenly....able to do what I need to do and concentrate fully? It is....miraculous

  Because, I'll be honest, I am a person who needs quiet and still. Things that are not readily available to a mother of small children! To paint well and with feeling I need to curl up into myself and get in that special place where my mind can roam and my hands can work. Painting, for me, is meditative--- even prayerful. I have fidgeted around since I was a child, yet painting has always been able to make me still and relax.

  And as my family can well attest to-- I need that time. For my well-being and everyone elses! My hope is that I can use this time not to just to get things done, but to recharge so I can connect with everyone in a much happier and less harried state of being. 

   I admit though, I'm looking forward to picking up my little buy and snuzzling that soft baby neck and giving him a big ol' kiss. I hope he's making friends, playing trucks (kid loves him some trucks!) and being too busy to miss mama too much.

  This evening after we get big sis from school, we are going to go on a little field trip that will be pretty interesting--- we will be attending the Mass for the relics of St. Maria Goretti at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa (You can read about that time I snuck into the cathedral HERE, lol....)

  I had originally planned to go alone and meet up with a friend, but things seem to be working out otherwise, so I'll have the kids in tow. I'm hoping its a special evening, at least for Audrey who will be old enough to remember it, and a wonderful experience for us to share.  Sometimes I feel like I stumble over trying to explain faith in words, and that "doing and showing" is a better option for me to give to my kids.

   That's sort of what the painting above is about....It's called "A Kiss For St. George" and is all about the incorporating of faith into the every day family routine....of showing and nurturing, of bringing faith into life and thought in children's every life and not just at church. This is something I'm trying to work on myself. Learning a lot as I go, but also getting to know (and see in action!) some really amazing people.

   I just recently had this painting made into prints and you can purchase it now in my etsy shop. I'm rather proud of my little St. George slaying the dragon! I think that's probably the first dragon I've ever painted....lol....I also scattered toys and shoes around on the floor because, well, that's what you're living when you've got kids. I suppose the meaning behind this piece is that sacred times can happen in the middle of mess, routine, and in any ordinary space. You just have to look for it.

   And so.....this evening we will close our adventures of the day with a visit with a saint. How special is that? And if the toddler minds and is well behaved, well, I will truly believe in miracles! ;)

  Til next time,

Christmas Postcards are IN!

   Hi friends!~
   So happy to share with you that my Christmas postcards are IN and they are now available in my etsy shop! I've got nine designs that are lovely for the holidays--- and if you'd like envelopes, there is a listing just for envelopes so you can get just as many as you'll need!

   Hopefully you see a set (or two or three or four!) that speak to you and that you'd like to share with family and friends. I always appreciate so much when you choose my little business to send your Christmas greetings!~
   Tis (almost!) the season!~