“Everything in your life is there as a vehicle for your transformation. Use it!” ~ Ram Dass
I had lunch with the Happiness Gals today. I sat next to Jeanne Marie and popped off a selfie with her (below). I later realized I’d done the same thing a few weeks ago when I ran into her at Kentucky Crafted (above). I guess it has just become the thing to do when I see her. And who wouldn’t? She’s so stinkin’ cute and all. I’ve adored JM from the moment I met her, and as time has marched on, I’ve grown to love and trust her even more. Plus, she may well be the best dressed woman I know. I wish I had her fashion sense.
“Every encounter we have with another human being
offers the opportunity for profound connection and transformation.” ~ Unknown
Today, was a rare treat of late. I got to have lunch with Jeanne Marie Hibberd. She, Annie Bassoni, Stacy Yelton, and I met at Willie’s Locally Known. I had not been to Willie’s new location even though it’s within walking distance of my house. The decor is fabulous, and despite the large, open seating, we could hear one another: Bonus! But more importantly, I got to spend time with JM whom I rarely get to see these days. Is she not one of the most beautiful people you’ve ever seen? She’s got the spirit to match her looks, too, and that’s what I adore most about her. She’s thoughtful, smart, conscientious. She works at being a better person. She tries hard to be good to everyone, and she tries hard to be good to, and for, the world. She’s a positive contribution to our society and I’m proud of her for that and so much more. Our visit was way too short, but any time I get to spend with these gals is time well spent indeed. I’m grateful for every moment with them.
“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin
It’s been almost a week since we convened to hug Sandy Davis’ neck. I wish we could meet every Friday for dinner, or just laughs. Jeanne Marie’s phone says all that needs saying about my Kentucky tribe. I love them all so much, and I’m so lucky to have them as friends.
“Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simplify your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present.”
~ Dr. Steve Maraboli
The Michler’s Christmas Fair – way back the first of December – doubled as an excuse for the Happiness Gals to convene for our Christmas celebration. Not all of us could be there (we missed them), and none of my shots are very good. So, since I’m rarely in the group photos, I thought I’d lead off with a blurry self-portrait courtesy of the fair’s tuba player. That we’re missing excellent pix of the day is irrelevant really. What mattered was that we were together sharing conversation, laughter, and good cheer. I love my gals. They’re such a blessing.
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
~ James Allen
I had a guest register available at the reception. I didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I went to bed Friday night. I attended All Saints Day service this morning and picked it up afterward. Sixty people attended Friday’s reception. Sixty people took time out of their lives to come see my work. Some I’d never met before Friday. Some sneaked in and out without my seeing them though they were kind enough to leave their signature. Some drove nearly two hours to be there. Some took off work. Some were recovering from major surgery. Some couldn’t stay long, and others stayed the whole time. Someone pointed out how many segments of my life were assembled in that room: family, close friends, old friends, new friends, co-workers, writers, actors, artists, musicians, librarians, bankers, software developers, railroad men, professors, social workers, therapists, pathologists, nutritionists, the list goes on. They’re not all represented in this collage, but I couldn’t think of a better way to have a group hug in the outhouse. Sixty people. I may be speechless for a week I’m so overcome with gratitude.
“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”
Look at those smiles. This was exactly what I’d hoped for at the reception, and every picture I have from last night shows nothing but smiles. I’m told Stacy Yelton was so proud of me and the work that she was fluttering about singing praises to everyone who would listen. She played tour guide and took my family up to the sanctuary where they all sang Amazing Grace together. I’m really sorry I missed that. How do you repay that kind of support? I’m speechless yet again.
“You’re only human. You don’t have to have it together every minute of every day.”
~ Anne Hathaway
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.
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.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” ~ Stephen Hawking
It was a gorgeous day. One would expect an outhouse photo of some beautiful outdoor scene; budding trees, wispy blue sky, dogs playing, teens on skateboards, or just the Vitamin D starved hordes that took to the sidewalks as if they’d never seen the sun. Instead, here’s my Eden House post card from Jeanne Marie Hibbard that arrived today from Key West. I love post cards. No, that’s not enough. I adore, adore, adore post cards. JM took time out to make sure I got one, and a sexy retro one at that. This sort of gesture does not go unnoticed. After I’ve amassed a good number of post cards I sometimes create art from them. It takes years to make one piece. However, I think the real art from this post card was today. It brought with it the warmth and sunlight of The Keys. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I caught the scent of a salty ocean on the breeze. Thanks for sending some spring to us, JM, and thanks a million for thinking of me.
“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” ~ Unknown
For many years most of my best friends have lived far away. I’ve missed all that food and hilarity and talking over one another I used to experience. Over the last couple of years, however, there is a group of us gals that have melded into something that’s equal parts support group, art group, laugh group, and sisterhood of the middle aged cool chicks. I wouldn’t trade these women for anything. Every time we meet is enriching. The conversation is never the same. The jokes are never the same. The need is never the same. If my life went to hell in a hand basket they’d lift me up. Being in their presence is like going to the filling station. The fuel is love.
“Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” ~ Osho
It’s sweet Annie Bassoni’s birthday, so a pile of us gathered to celebrate her born day. The wait was long, and Sandy Davis’ Converse were cold, but it was all totally worth it to be in fellowship with such wonderful human beings. Happy Birthday, Annie! Thank you for being born, and for being one of the kindest, most compassionate people I’ve ever known.