january 17, 2015

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“You’re only human. You don’t have to have it together every minute of every day.”
~ Anne Hathaway

 

his pensive, far away glance
his pensive, far away glance

 

I want to talk about just how awesome Sandy Davis is. First, her photo bombs of Josh James at last night’s Gallery Hop are a scream, the bottom two especially. Not the top one, though we three agreed it is an excellent photo of Josh. In any case, Sandy’s got mad photo bomb skills, but that’s really not my central point. The point is, she is a great example of how you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with living the good life.

 

peace bomb
peace bomb

 

We’re all faced with challenges along the way. Some of us face small incremental tests. Some of us get way more than our share. Some of us face enormous tribulations at birth, or early in life. Some of us get lucky and go without a big hurtle for decades. Whatever the case may be, as I see it, nobody gets through this life without events that test our fortitude, and build our character. Thankfully, there’s art. There is exceptional healing value in the creative process, regardless of medium, or the challenge at hand. To create is to be in a state of meditation like nothing else. “Be Here Now,” as Ram Dass said. You have to be in the moment to make art. Cross that meditation with the dedication/determination to do roughly the same thing every day for a period of time – 100 days, a year, whatever – and the energy and power that’s created in and around you is transformative. Good vibrations are real, and this is one way to manifest goodness. Sandy’s been on a rough patch for a while, but just look at her now! The 100 day pastel challenge transformed her, in much the same way the outhouse brought me through, and out of, the worst period of my life to date. What a beautiful thing it is to watch someone come back to life as Sandy has done. It’s like watching the first rose bud in spring open; fragrant, delicate, alive. Just look at all the fun and smiles (except for Sandy’s heil Hitler shot – that’s just funny to look at): Sandy made that happen, and that is a glorious thing to behold. A strong and mighty woman she is. I’m so proud to be her friend.

 

smiles for everyone
miles of smiles

january 16, 2015

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“You only have control over three things in your life:
the thoughts you think
the images you visualize
the actions you take.”
~ Jack Canfield

 

the joy of hugging
the joy of hugging

 

It was the first Gallery Hop of 2015, and Sandy Davis was square in the middle of it. For the past 70+ days, she’s been creating one pastel a day. It’s a 100 day challenge. Creating the same image every day, she is allowed only thirty minutes in which to create; no more, no less. Tonight, alongside artists Marianna McDonald and Anne Kindle, who also took the challenge, Sandy displayed her results. I barely got to say hello to her because she was so busy selling her beautiful works. Success is a good reason not to talk in this case.

 

happiness everywhere
happiness everywhere

 

As Sandy was dazzling Lexington, Deb Chenault was introducing me to a host of spectacular art people that I had never met before. One in particular stood out. She is Marcella Christensen (above with Sandy, below with Deb). She’s a sweet, gentle soul. It’s written all over her face, and in the kindness of her words. When I learned that, on Deb’s urging, Marcella made a visit to the outhouse, I was nearly speechless. She didn’t just read that day’s post. She started at the beginning, and read every single post right up to yesterday. No doubt she will read this one, too, as soon as it’s published. That she would take precious time out of her days to read about my life, and all the people who walk this journey with me, to enjoy the photographs, and let the positive nature of each post brighten her day is incredibly touching. What a gift that is to me. I’m still speechless, really. I marvel at what a wondrous world this is.

 

angels
angels

december 14, 2014

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“Your soul doesn’t care what you do for a living, and when your life is over, neither will you. Your soul cares only about what you are being while you are doing whatever you are doing.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch

 

smiles for lunch
smiles for lunch

 

While yesterday kicked off the holiday season at home, today kicked it off with my peeps. It started with an enjoyable lunch with my Happiness Project gals at a place called Crust off Richmond Road. Stacy Yelton, Sandy Davis, Annie Bassoni, Jeanne Marie Hibbard, and Deb Chenault were as delightful as always, and it did my heart so good to laugh and talk with them. Then, it was off to party #2 with my mUsiKcare family where we played and sang and laughed and ate even more delicious food. I’ve had to miss class a lot during this semester. Fortunately for me, they’re very forgiving people, though I’ll need to practice extra hard over the Christmas break to catch up. The holiday season has begun in earnest now, and I’m as happy as I can be having spent my day with such special friends.

 

Dr. McVay and the gang
Dr. McVay and the gang

september 21, 2014

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“If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
~ Unknown

 

the girls at Windy Corner
the girls at Windy Corner

 

“Do you remember the 21st night of September?” The Earth, Wind, and Fire hit has been rolling around in my head since last Friday when I heard a great NPR story on the song’s origin. It’s just so darn happy. Everything about the song is happy; lyrics, melody, instrumentation, everything. Happy. Seems only fitting that I should share this 21st of September with my Happiness gal pals. I’ve been suffering serious writer’s block for over a week, while also trying to cull photos into an exhibit going up in February. I desperately needed their opinions, and good ideas, and sweet, gentle natures. They did not disappoint. Our little waitress offered to snap a shot after seeing me do it myself, like I am wont to do. So, why not? Happiness complete.

 

Made in Kentucky
Made in Kentucky

september 8, 2014

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“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” ~ Maya Angelou

 

magic (instagram)
magic (instagram)

 

You might recall my beautiful crystal made into a one-of-a-kind necklace by Deb Chenault (crappy picture, sorry). Turns out it’s magic. One day last month I put it on, and went to work. I normally touch the stone throughout the day, but for whatever reason, I didn’t that particular day. So, when I got up the next morning and found it missing from around my neck, I was bereft. I spent an hour wracking my brain, retracing my steps the previous 24 hours. When I found it wasn’t in the car, the truth sank in. I’d lost it somewhere between the car and the office. That’s a lot of territory with a lot of foot traffic. The chances of finding it after 24 hours were slim to none. As we pulled onto campus, I told Stacy I was going to double check yesterday’s parking place just to ease my mind. The necklace was gone. I knew that. Too much time had passed, but I felt I had to try. Another car was in yesterday’s space. I slowed down anyway, and glanced down the driver’s side. I didn’t come to a complete stop before I was unbuckled and out the door. There, between a sidewalk and a stranger’s car was my necklace, exactly where it had slipped down my blouse and onto the concrete the day before. Nobody picked it up because it had surely been run over and destroyed. Like a jeweler with a diamond, I examined the crystal. Not so much as a speck of dirt. I pulled out of the space and missed it. This other car pulled in and missed it. There may have been another car or two in between us that did the same thing. None of us ran over it. None of us stepped on it. And nobody but me saw it laying there. I’m telling you, this necklace is magic. As if I didn’t love it before, boy howdy, do I ever adore it now!

june 23, 2014

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“Positivity is contagious!” ~ Beth Burden

 

Lemurian light
Lemurian light

 

You might recall that recently Deb Chenault and I traveled to Camp Chesterfield, Indiana. In the bookstore there was a basket of lovely crystals. They were Lemurian seed crystals, so named for the ancient civilization said to inhabit the Earth millions of years ago. In the healing world, they’re used to aid one’s higher soul chakras, to facilitate spiritual deepening. I didn’t know that at the time. I just thought they were lovely and said to Deb on the way home that I regretted not buying one. Yesterday, she presented me with a Lemurian crystal she bought that day, but she had gone one step further and suspended it in delicate wire to be worn as a necklace. Gifts like this are worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. It’s just beautiful, like my friend Deb’s giving heart. Color me blessed.

june 22, 2014

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“Believe in your dreams people. Step out of your comfort zone. Dare. Never lose hope.
Trust God’s timing and process. It is not easy, but it is so worth it.”
~ Elke Krueger

 

summer porch
summer porch

 

Stacy Yelton, Deb Chenault, and I met at Sandy Davis’ house in Versailles for an afternoon of laughter and pizza. The ever delightful Harriette Swart (top), whom I rarely get to see, was also there. I’ve been sharing my purple iris with friends, so I took a bag for Harriette. I told her the story of the iris, how I got them from my old landscaping boss, Joe Calhoun, who got them from a horse farm in one of the surrounding counties. Then they went to my parents’ in Appalachia for 15 +/- years before they came back to my house in Lexington. Now, seven years later, I’m thinning and sharing. The rhizomes are estimated to be 120 years old at this point. But all I really had to say was, “I got them from Joe Calhoun,” because once again Kentucky proves to be a small place. Harriette knows Joe and his partner, Jamie, and she has for years. Plus, she adores iris. It was one of those perfect moments. Combine her enthusiasm with a really sweet southern summer afternoon of cucumber water, Bassett hounds, and BFFs, and yours truly had a pretty perfect Sunday.

may 27, 2014

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“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating.
Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
~ Ram Dass

 

traveling companion
traveling companion

 

I’ve had the most interesting day. Deb Chenault and I traveled to Chesterfield, Indiana, home of Camp Chesterfield “A spiritual center of light”. I knew spiritualist camps became very popular in the Victorian era, but apart from that, I understood very little. Deb’s good friend, Normandi Ellis, has a home at Camp Chesterfield. She was sweet enough to explain spiritualism and allow me to pop off a few photos. I found the whole day fascinating, and the company could not have been kinder. Blessings abound. I want to go back.

 

established in 1886
established in 1886

may 17, 2014

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“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Bluegrass in the Bluegrass
Bluegrass in the Bluegrass

 

Blackberry winter offered a wonderful day of gratitudes and fun. Happy 50th Anniversary to Uncle Greg and Aunt Virginia, and Francisco’s Farm arts festival in Midway was perfect. The crowd was small, the company fantastic, the art exceptional, and this young man gave me hope for the future of music. Then, California Chrome won the second leg of the Triple Crown by winning the Preakness Stakes. I call this a winning day.

 

style, by any means
style, by any means

 

laughter
laughter

 

 

march 8, 2014

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A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” ~ John Burroughs

looking forward
looking forward

After a wonderful brunch with my cousins, long overdue thanks to the brutal winter, I met up with Judy Sackett (mirror) and Annie Bassoni (left) for a twirl through Kentucky Crafted: The Market. Our first stop of course was Deb Chenault’s booth where she was being assisted by Sandy Davis, seen here showing off her new bourbon barrel stool. It was so good to see and talk with them. Even though it hasn’t been quite two months since we last met, it feels like six, which feels way too long. Judy and Annie gave me a wonderful afternoon, and they reminded me how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such compassionate, intelligent women. Good friends and art: the perfect day.

happiness friends
happiness friends
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