Thanksgiving … And Seeing

Many years ago when I began to study painting, my instructor talked about learning to see. Being a shy young person, I wouldn’t ask questions—like what in the world did she mean? It was obvious I wasn’t blind—I could already see. I just wanted her to teach me how to apply paint to my canvas in a creative way. I didn’t realize then that one could look without seeing … 🙂 I eventually learned what my instructor meant about seeing, and I’m still learning to see—with an artist eye.

Here’s a sample of what I see every time I leave my home—just down the road …

I pass by this hayfield, isn't it beautiful?

A hayfield on my way to town—it’s beautiful!

Rolled hay in another field …

Sunflowers growing along a fence.

 

Cows are a soothing sight …

A neighbors horse enjoying a watermelon snack!

Hilltop farm house under a glorious sky.

And one of my favorites … the Red River.

Stop and smell the roses is an old expression we’ve all heard. And it’s a good thing to think about, just as learning to really see is a good thing to do. It’s easy to get busy and not really see our surroundings, or the people and things in our world that make it a great place to live. Often it’s taken for granted that they’ll always be there.

Not true.

Thanksgiving—a time of pausing to give thanks—is just around the corner. What do you see in your world to give thanks for? Who are the people in your world that mean everything to you? Do you really see them?

I’m thankful that Christ died so that I could live. I’m thankful for my family, and the many friends I count as blessings.

I’m thankful that my old pine tree made it another year, that my car still runs smoothly and… and that…oh, there’s too many to name. You don’t want to wade through all the words it would take to list all I’m thankful for! 🙂

Until next time, may God bless us all with a wonderful, safe and turkey filled thanksgiving day! 

MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

And another day slips away … what did you see this day to be grateful for?

Dead Dog Days of Summer

About this time every year when summer’s end is in sight and autumn’s return hangs in the air, my inner being stirs to the excitement of change. I love it.

The fall season is my very favorite time of the year—at the first hint of it in the air, I breathe renewal—but the feeling is fleeting, so, before the flash of renewal is gone in a blink, I celebrate by doing something fun that I’ve known I would do when the time was exactly right.

When I ran across the photo of an old barn I’d made several years ago, I knew that now was the time to record it on canvas.

I noticed this building every time I went by it, and I photographed it numerous times in different seasons of the year. Every time I would run across this particular photo, the image of a finished painting flashed on my vision.

When that happens, especially after  I haven’t seen the photo in a while, I know the subject is calling to be painted.

The sky was soft, almost overcast, the day outside the city limits of Weatherford, Texas, when I snapped the image of this faded red barn. I wanted to keep that look and feel in the painting—you be the judge if I succeeded or not.

Soft Skies Over Texas                                                            12×12 Oil on canvas

 

Signing off till’ next time—keep God in your plans and have peace of mind. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Mary J

P. S. Look for new paintings and other fun art objects at AMELIA’S ATTIC in Gainesville, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bored, what’s zat?

Take a lesson from this age—they’re never bored!

The other day I heard someone comment that they had too much time on their hands and was often lonely and bored. I tried to imagine what that might feel like. I gave the prospect some deep thought, and honestly, I can’t imagine what being bored must feel like.

But then, I suspect I’m easily entertained. Below are a few observations I’ve made.

Watching rain fall can be very satisfying, if you’ve never tried it. And grass doesn’t grow as slowly as you might think. My grass springs defiantly from the ground moments after the mower blades whack it. The clock speeds up as soon as I open a book—I know it does!

Time only drags while leaning on the counter waiting for coffee to brew, sitting at a red light, standing in line at Walmart, looking for Friday and when the electricity goes off. ( Oh yes, the last three weeks until baby is due seems like another three months! ) And the instant I go up-side down on the slant table the clock slows ( the phone rings, the caller asks if I’m getting a cold or something . . . I smile against gravity and insist that I’m just fine ). And time really does fly when you’re with good friends. Sunday afternoon is only two hours long, then Monday arrives again.

Boredom may just be a state of mind—that mind over matter thing. Maybe I am bored, but just find that entertaining, too. If boredom should strike at your door, try reading a good book or call a friend ( one you haven’t talked with in a while ).

Or. . .  consider it a welcome relief. Grab a glass of cold water and sit in the shade ( it’s been hot here! ) and watch the birds. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature ( if you live in the country ). City sounds can be just as interesting—and speaking of city sounds, is it just me, or did drivers use to honk at each other more? I don’t mean the nasty, impatient honking of ill manners, but the toot-toot of greeting. Small town streets used to be filled with that sound when I was a kid. But of course we didn’t have air-conditioning and the windows were down in summer time. I miss it. Sigh.

Does anybody else remember when we didn’t have air-conditioning in our cars, or that napping on the front porch was a common thing . . . I’m not only easily entertained, I’m easily distracted too. 🙂

Keep God in your daily schedule, you’ll be happier for it!

Until next time, Mary J 🙂

 

 

A little late, but . . . Mothers & Daughters

School Picture

Mother’s Day is past, and June is upon us. Fathers’ across the land are now looking forward to their special day.

I mention this because I received a wonderful Mother’s Day letter that I planned to share on the May blog post, but, computer problems can seemingly change the course of ones life these days.

After four weeks of struggling to ‘fix’ my trusty MacBook Pro myself, without success, I finally headed to the nearest Apple store which is several hours away from where I live. They finally got my Mac up and running again, so, back to the Mother’s Day letter I received from my daughter, Gayle.

Gayle and I are different personality types. I spent the first ten years of her tomboy life trying to turn her into a ‘young lady’. Actually, I never gave up the challenge. That may be the reason she lives in Florida and I live in Oklahoma. 🙂 Needless to say, we butted heads often.

Budding dancer…

Gayle is still her own person, despite all my efforts—and I’m glad she is. What can I say? I was a young and perhaps foolish mother. I know now that once a tomboy, always a tomboy. Gayle and I are very close and I appreciated that she shared her thoughts with me on Mothers Day.

 

 

Dear Mom,

I have sat here all day (in between doing laundry, taking out trash, getting lunches sorted and ready for the work week), and I kept thinking how could I let you know how much you truly mean to me.

Today is Mother’s Day, a day we celebrate our mothers for all you did for us when we were kids, and even though I’m grown up, you still take care of me. We talk every day, you listen to me complain about David (my boss) or about work. You even listen to me yell at the idiot drivers we have here in Florida, and at the end of our convo, we both say, “I love you”… Words are so easily spoken. Actions however, speak volumes compared to words.

I guess, even though I am just writing a note to you, again words so easily spoken, but you have shown sooo much more. When I was a little 

Daddy’s girl

girl, I used to think Mother’s Day was a day dedicated to giving presents and telling you how much I loved you. I wasn’t exactly sure what that accomplished, or the reasoning behind it. It was just another excuse or reason to tell you how much I loved you and how lucky you were to get more gifts!! (LOL). Now that I am older, and I would like to think wiser, I understand things more clearly. I understand the sacrifices you made in order to give me everything I needed. The worry and concern you went through when I didn’t come home on time, wondering if you had done the right thing and questioned whether or not you did your best.

Graduate …

From the moment I came into this world you’ve been concerned for me. You’ve had nothing but love, and the best intentions at heart. I understand this now that I’m older. Everything you’ve done that led to this moment, has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. You are, and always will be, my idea of a great woman that none other could possibly compare to.

I feel that I am the luckiest person on earth to have had such wonderful, loving, and caring parents. I thank God every morning when I call and your phone rings, you answer it. I love you with everything in me and am so blessed to have you.

Ok, I know I’m rambling… but I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you all day. I hope you had a good one, and just know that I love you… and hopefully I will get to hear your lovely voice tomorrow morning. 🙂

Love you always,
Gayle

For all Mothers who read this, I hope you heard from your daughter on Mother’s Day and that the message was as delightful as mine was. Until next time, take care— and Keep God in your plans! 🙂

MaryJ 🙂

Rushed for Time?

  The older I get, the faster time goes. And it seems that I recall my mother’s words more often. Remember when Christmas was two years apart? You couldn’t wait for the next one, but it felt like it would never come? That was about the time I was measuring myself every other day.  I desperately wanted to be tall.

A Collection ( FRONT Cover ) 3-29-17   Mom always said, “A watched pot never boils.”

Now I hardly get the decorations back in their respective places ( having to stand on a box ) before I’m hauling the stuff out again—déjà vu (My new favorite word. I have to use it often, or I forget how to do the accent marks ) But everything seems like déjà vu anymore. I mean everything!

Just to say, I write short stories now and then when I’m busy.  I  need to experience that feeling of finishing something . . . you know what I mean? So, I’ve put a few of my short works in book form.

Of Different Minds is a collection that can be read in those odd moments while waiting on something or someone. With time so precious and fleeting, it’s a shame not to put our ‘waiting time’ to use or pleasure. I keep something to read with me always. Even when working on my old, slow Mac and sometimes have to wait for it to move along . . . I read to keep from throwing it out the door.! 🙂 

Take a look at  Of Different Minds.  Available on Amazon   CLICK HERE

Until  next time, MaryJ  :-))

Keep God in your plans, in your thoughts, and in your heart! 

Nehemiah In A Sweatshirt?

My Bible study today created a sense of déjà vu.  While reading in the book of Nehemiah this morning, it gave me pause, it was like reading or watching the news of today—only difference was the way in which the nation’s problems were handled then and how they’re handled today.

A quick overview of what Nehemiah, cup-bearer to king Artaxerxes, was faced with when he inquired of his brethren about the fate of the Jews of the captivity (the remnant that was left) and the city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah learned that the Jews were in great affliction and that the wall around the city had been broken down and the doors in the wall were burned out. The city and the people were a laughing-stock to those passing by. (Hmm, USA today?)

You know what Nehemiah did when he got that news? Nehemiah 1: verse 4 says he sat down and wept. He mourned and fasted, and the scripture says he prayed before the God of heaven. ( Nehemiah knew how to tackle a problem )

Do you wonder what he prayed for? Verses 5 through 11 tells us the very words Nehemiah spoke to God in his prayer. Nehemiah poured out his heart to God whom he loved and looked to for help on behalf of the people, and the city of Jerusalem. ( I could hardly stop reading, but I had to—cause stuff had to be done—life always gets in the way of the good times! )

The wisdom found in the book of Nehemiah (old testament ) is astounding. In Chapter 1: verses 7, 8 and 9, Nehemiah confesses the people’s sins before God and is reminded that God promised the people if they turned away from following him, ( the cause of all the problems ) that he would allow them to be scattered and afflicted. But, the good news was if they would turn and come back, God would gather them to him again. ( the promise still stands )

The thing is, Nehemiah lived in the king’s palace, he had no need to put himself out for the people who had turned away from God. He had little to gain but stood to lose much. He did what he did for love of the people, and he wanted God’s best for them.

God heard Nehemiah’s prayer and was with him and the people who followed his lead in turning back to God. They rebuilt the wall in fifty-two days, with a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other hand ( the enemies tried to stop the progress—not knowing they fought against God ).

Read the book of Nehemiah and see how he rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in the midst of great ridicule, rumors, and intimidation attempts. Reading the first six chapters made me determined to be stronger and spend more time in prayer. I’m looking forward to studying the rest of the book of Nehemiah.

Chapter 6: 16 is especially rewarding.

The photo above is of an old sweatshirt that one of my nephews gave me. I think it’s one Nehemiah might have worn. I can hear him quoting my sweatshirt, “Either lead, follow or get out of the way.”

Until next time, signing off with 🙂 🙂 🙂 Keep God in your plans—things go better!  MaryJ

 

As a reminder, one of my short stories, The Summer Boarder is FREE March 23-27. It’s a cute story—enjoy!

 

Almost there!

 

And I say, “Thank you for your patience.”

CoverA #1 - Avery 3269 Inkjet Half-Fold.jpegHoliday Hearts, the third book in the series, Valley Ridge Romance, will be available on Amazon in a few short days—happy dancing!

The story is written, the cover is done. The hold up now is the hundred and one loose ends waiting to be tied off—and that’s almost finished.
( We’re down to 99! )

The e-book happens first then the print book follows in five to eight days.

If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, check them out here …Mary’s books

And by the way, where did February go!!?? Looking for January?

Again, thanks to everyone! 🙂

Keep God in your plans and see the difference. 🙂

MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

 

January, oh where have you gone?

The christmas decorations remain piled in the garage, tissue paper and gift bags were put away only this past week, and January is … over?  Already!

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My town is a bit blurry—it’s greatly enlarged!

And still my Christmas ‘pretend like’ village sets on the window sill above the kitchen sink … I’m struggling to give it up. Because, as I wash the dishes after meals, I enjoy looking at the collection of small buildings. And though my hands are washing up, I’m whisked away to a snowy, pine covered mountain far away from my brown lawn, and the Oklahoma wind … to my dream town. A place that offers everything I personally want and need in a town—except one major thing—church.

I find it odd that the world recognizes Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and some people go to church for the first time since last Christmas, yet I haven’t been able to find a tiny church to complete my favorite Christmas village. Have I just not looked in the right places? ( I confess, Walmart and Dollar stores ) Maybe I should check at Hallmark?

My pretend town has a  bookstore, a general store, coffee shop, and all the places I like to hang out, but no church. I’ve looked and will continue to keep an eye out for a tiny church to complete my perfect imaginary town … ( mine even has an art school! ) but for now, I really must pack it away and face the reality of February and the wind it brings.

But … can you believe—January is gone for another year!  😐

Take care, keep God first in your plans, and have a wonderful year!  🙂 🙂  MaryJ

Be sure to check out the third book, HOLIDAY OF the HEART in my series, Valley Ridge Romance. The e-book will be available on Amazon in February—I’ll post the date! The paperback version follows a week later. Thanks everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All In The Mind—Literally

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Hand-painted Christmas Carol music box; one of my favorite decorations.

Christmas-time still makes me happy. And I wonder about that—because I’m definitely old enough to have outgrown it. But I never have. I hum Christmas songs as I go about putting up the tree. I love the red, green and gold colors of the season and when the weather snaps and crackles with cold, uh-huh even better.

I write this because one afternoon as I handled an ornament that had seen better days, it struck me as absurd that a combination of colors, glass balls, song lyrics and winter in the air should excite my mind and cause me to hum happily.

Does that mean I believe in Santa Claus? I won’t answer on grounds that I may be committed. 🙂 Do I hope Santa will bring gifts on that magical morning?

I have more ‘gifts’ than I can keep dusted and give thanks over already—no gifts please, Santa. And it’s not like I grew up in a home where Christmas was a big gift-giving affair. My siblings and I were all happy and thought it was a good Christmas when we got our customary apple, orange, a hand-full of walnuts and several pieces of hard ribbon candy—all in one of Dad’s socks—wow, that was fun! I’ve always believed giving truly is as much fun as getting.

Three days before the big day I had better things to be doing, but I was suddenly very curious by my childlike enjoyment of Christmas. So, I made a cup of tea and settled into my comfy chair to give this phenomenon deeper thought.

A short doze, and a second cup of tea later, I reached a conclusion: Christmas is a state of mind—just like happiness is. I mean really, logically, colors of red, green and gold, song lyrics of home and hearth and frosty weather happen on days other than just December 25, and without the ‘Christmas’ reaction. It’s all in the mind.

Each year, come December, childhood memories that lie buried eleven months out of the year, rise to the surface bringing the same excitement and fun as when I was six, ten, twelve … and I’m carried back to childhood … back to Christmas.

This gave me an idea for an experiment. I’m leaving all my Christmas decorations up through tax time. Maybe it’ll help me keep a happy state of mind as I empty my bank account in ‘giving’. I’ll let you know. 🙂

I hope you had a great Christmas! And keep God uppermost in your thoughts and plans for the 2017!

Until next time, signing off with hugs. 🙂 🙂 🙂