Life Is Good

Tea time with Haven . . .

. . . and a few minutes with the cats. Where does the time go?

Life is good, even though I’ve been behind since Christmas day. My ‘Monthly’ post is several months late . . . ‘So sorry I’m late’, has become the normal greeting I mumble when I arrive wherever I’m supposed to be. I used to never be late—and I’m not happy with me.

So I wonder, is it just me slowing down? Maybe, but things hinder me from getting out the door on time and from sitting at the computer to write. Things being a glance out the window and seeing a foot tall dandelion that wasn’t there the day before. I’m compelled to pause and marvel at how fast weeds grow with a sprinkle of rain and a shot of sunshine . . . the yellow flower is pretty, and the time  spent admiring the intricate design of it wasn’t wasted, knowing who its creator was . . . and I stop to peek in on the little Wren who’s back this spring and working hard to refurbish last years nursery for her new babies . . .

How quickly we’ve gone from Christmas to springtime, from huddling inside a warm shelter to spending as much time outdoors as possible. Life is good—which reminds me of a brand of ladies casual clothing and bags, it’s called, ‘Life Is Good’. I can’t help myself from buying T-shirts and totes that proclaim that good message—and although I’m not into wearing clothes with writing on them, I make an exception for the Life Is Good brand.

Life is good—and I cling to the hope of someday managing my hours and moments better—but it will have to be in figuring out how to do more in less time, because I simply can’t stop noticing and enjoying the small details of the world I live in—not with the many harsh realities vying for attention every hour of the day. If any of you have suggestions ( easy ones! ) that might help me, please feel free to share. 🙂

Happy springtime to all you other nature lovers—let’s ignore those weeds and watch the birds!

Until next time keep God in your plansHe cares!         MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Old Year!

Christmas morning arrived with a soft fog hanging over my neighbor’s pasture—I can’t resist a foggy morning. So, at about 5:30 am, I threw on my robe, grabbed my camera and made my way to the fence, closer to where the cows grazed. Have you ever noticed that it always seems quieter when the fog moves in? This was the kind of fog that you know won”t last long—the hint of pink and mauve reflected from the rising sun is the give-a-way.

After I got the shots I wanted—and photographs never capture the real beauty of nature—I enjoyed my rural habitat as I meandered back to the house. The soft sky, the trees all bare for winter and just as beautiful as when in full spring foliage. I remembered what one of my long-ago art teachers used to say—”This is a watercolor day.” I knew what she meant.

I breathed the same words while gazing around me—this was gonna be a watercolor day. Suddenly I had the urge to capture this watercolor morning on paper. I warn you, if the camera’s eye falls short of nature’s real beauty, my watercolor ability is way beneath the camera’s ability! I normally paint in oils ( W/C is much more difficult for me ) but lately I’m turning more and more to my first love, watercolor.

Difficult or not, I resolved to give it a try. In my defense, the painting looks better in real life than in this photo … really. With a new year coming up, I’ll just consider it practicing for the many new challenges of 2018. Here’s hope you get at least a tiny feel of the beauty I experienced on Christmas morning.

                                                                             Misty Morn

                                Hope your Christmas was good and that the new year brings everything you wish for! 

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, keep God in your plans and give thanks for all the good things you enjoy! MaryJ 🙂 🙂 🙂

Up-date on the new book I’m working on ( number 4 ), same characters, new setting. I’m having fun at Max’s ranch in Colorado! Max is the new person introduced in book three. Her ranch in Colorado is a nice change of setting, although New York was fun too. There’s a bit of mystery, a cabin in the mountains and … oh well, more on that later. 🙂

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 🙂 🙂 🙂