Sunday, January 31, 2010


Last Thursday we were in the Dallas Fort Worth airport eating lunch. I was enjoying by BBQ sandwich so much I didn't notice that Morgan, our six year old son, was staring at a man.

Out of the blue, this man, a soldier comes up to us. He noticed that our son had taken an interest in him. I was in such shock I don't remember what he said but, he took a patch off the shoulder of his shirt and handed it to Morgan. Hudson was about to start his protest - 'where's mine?' When he just stopped. Not sure if it was the look Chad and I shot him or if he just understood that this was a little bigger than that.

I don't remember his name, I know he told us. I do remember that he was on his way home from Iraq to his family in California. And that he would be there for two weeks before going back to Iraq.

I'll never forget that man and the patch he gave to Morgan will be kept with our most important things.

What's so special about all of this - Service. This man, a perfect stranger, is away from his family, putting his life on the line, so we can be safe. As if that's not enough, he comes up to my little son and gives him something, right off his back.

I know it's not all cut and dry but, I was so humbled by this man. How could I match this man in giving? How could I compare in kindness? Every time I see that patch, I will always remember what service means and how all of us should work to do more.

I wish I knew who this man was, I'd like to thank him - For his example to our family and kindness to our son, Morgan.

If your curious about what the patch was, it was a 3rd Infantry Division ACU Patch ->

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A very dramatic hour

Three year old drops two crayons between the panes of the patio door.... Now patio door won't close.... Mom and big brothers try to fish out crayons... No luck, Dad with his thrown out back limps over and joins in the fun. While Mom alternates between trying to fish the crayons out and crushing them with the door. Dad makes a tool out of a coat hanger...

Mom reaches back behind the curtain... Her hand is drenched in freakish sticky spider webs. She jumps - I gigantic devilish spider clings to the wall. No time for girlish shrieks she wipes the spiderwebs off her hand with the curtain. Disguising.... The eight legged demon will have to remain until the crayon incident is resolved. She keeps one eye on him while resuming her work.

As mom, dad & big brothers all work to remove or kill the door obstruction, right before our very eyes, three year old drops a stick between the panes of the patio door. WTF... Seriously. Right in front of them, the crime is committed again. But this time, not with a malleable crayon. This time it's a stick.

"I need a hero" starts running through the background of mom's mind.... Crippled husband stands up, (no offense hunny, dramatic effect) with one swift move pops of the wood face of the door track. With one quick glance determines how the door sits in the track... Through mom's protests, "no hunny! your back! let me try!" he lifts the door out of the track.... and the crayons, mostly mushed to a pulp are picked vacuumed out...

The stick was never found...

Really, we all saw the stick go in, but it wasn't there...

I didn't know there was a back hole lurking in my patio door.

Seriously - I did not lie... Seriously - I know you think I did, it was a very dramatic hour.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I took a drawing class from a local artist, Mike Schad, in January of this year. He's a wonderful, kind and honest teacher, and of course a great artist. Inspired by the first day of class, I went home and created my first charcoal portrait.

I liked it but after some of my more recent portraits, I was liking it less... So I created a new one:

Here's the original photo I worked from:

It was fun to do the same picture over again, let me see what I've been thinking over the last few weeks - I've improved..... I've been practicing obsessively, learning something new with each portrait.. Learning more about myself and my style with each piece I attempt.

I've learned that portraits are my love, my best thing. I'll work twice as hard getting a tree right as a face and ultimately I'm always happier with how the face looks.

I've learned that while it's good to stretch and learn new things there's a lot to be said for staying on home base and getting really good at what you instinctively love.

I've learned to keep the lines light, to let air into my drawing.

I've learned to see but, not force.

I'm learning I hope to go with the flow let it work or not. Stop fighting up hill because what you end up with is just forced anyway. Go with what you love.

If I can manage to hang on to these lessons, I can't wait to see what I learn in the next six months.


Friday, June 19, 2009

You just never know - do ya?

I've been on vacation this week, just around the house with kids.

So, I was at swimming lessons today, I usually sit and watch Jayden's preschool class. There's been this one kid, he's 4, Jaden... (Not my Jayden, but a different kid, same name...). Okay well, he's a lot of fun, really lively but, boy when he's being naughty well, he derails the class a bit. Today the kids were going in the Big Pool - Jaden must have had a bad experience with all of this because he was refusing to go and letting everyone know about it. He's a sweet kid and was cheerful and good natured in his refusal. He was also stead fast...

I couldn't help but get just a little annoyed. I mean, there he was getting all this attention for his refusal where the kids (including my Jayden) going along with all of this were getting short changed. I kept reminding myself that it's just preschool swimming and not to take it too seriously.

Well while all this was going on I was talking to Jaden's grandmother. Turns out Jaden lost his 2 year old half brother in a drunk driving accident over Memorial Day weekend. Jaden hasn't been sleeping since losing his brother, Carter.

Yep - I'm not one bit annoyed now. Not one bit... This little guy has to deal with his kid brother dying... God. Now, I see Jaden differently - I see how his strong spirit is such an asset to him now. Annoying as it maybe, on the surface. Look underneath and I see he's been given a necessary tool to help him cope.

Point taken - you just never know, do you. It's just never safe to judge people becuase you just never know why they are the way they are... Sometimes what we see as negative's are really blessings... So often what we think we know is so wrong...


Oh and Jaden got in the big pool after some coaxing. As for all the other kids, they had a great time too! None of the kids were annoyed by Jaden, his strong personality doesn't seem to bother them a bit.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Would you like a little self loathing with that?

Okay - I don't like to do this... As a typical Oprah loving american girl, I don't like to put energy into negativity. Oh not that I don't have negativity, don't get me wrong. I just don't like to bring it out into the light and look at it. That said, here goes.....

So I did the quick draw yesterday and it was fun and difficult. I ended up with something I thought was.... okay.... Which is a victory for me - landscape painting, all green and lush, just don't happen for me. I love them! But, I can't usually paint them, well. I'm thinking on the whys on that but in the mean time......

So after we finished our works we needed to bring the all together for the judging.... That's when the egos came out. I wasn't offended by these masters, no not at all... I was jealous, and here's where the self loathing comes in.... pissed off at myself. disappointed.......

There were some REALLY good works done in the same 2 hours at the same location and I produced my latest mediocrity. Really good. confident. cocky. bold. beautiful works. I envied. oh how I envied...

So where does the pissed off at myself come in.... Here's where - these guys, well two of three were in my general age bracket. Not senior members who have decades under their belt or young punks with freakish natural talent. These were dudes my age, who did art for a living. And they didn't have one spot more talent than me. They had tons more skill. They had the confidence that comes from years of practice.

That's the rub... While they were pursuing what the loved and getting better at it every day. I was watching Maury Povich. I wasted acres of time.... Just not doing what I wanted to do. Dismissing myself and what I had to offer to the world looking for completion outside myself. I was stupid. So stupid.

Don't get me wrong, that path I followed lead me here and here is a great place. I wouldn't change a thing. Except one thing - Did I really need to watch all the Maury to get me here or could I have drawn instead? Damn.

Well the kids are back - guess that's it for self loathing time :)