Three Foot Rule!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,

Let me walk upon the waters,

Where ever you would call me,

Take me deeper then my feet would ever wander,

that my faith would be made stronger,

In the presence of my savior

My heart has sung this song so many times in the past few years, and my soul meant every word of it. Of course I admit I thought my journeys would be more of the metaphorical type. LOL! This is sort of a ‘Lord send me anywhere but Africa kind of story.” LOL!

So, I left you hanging at the end of January with us putting our house in Oregon up for sale. Our hearts had already made the move to Florida but our heads were still trying to catch up with the game.

This story begins on the third day of showing the house, after the third viewer made us a full price offer and we accepted it. It was so exciting. It was so terrifying. It was wonderful and horrible.

It is so strange how you can feel two seemingly opposite emotions at the same time. But you can! As I started to tell the people I love that we would be moving to Florida for sure I was so surprised by their responses. Our Kids were, of course, so supportive and happy for us. Though they were also very sad as were we. That didn’t really surprise me that much.

Turns out our kids were the easy ones to tell. It was harder to tell my grown grandkids. I figured my Eldest Grandson would be cool with it as he has moved away for work and has a lovely girl friend and is creating his own new life.

My Granddaughter is also grown and off to college and doing a great job of it, and I am so very proud of her! I have a special bond with all of my grandkids, but Em and I have grown even closer over the last few years as she has become a young woman. She loves to come and just hang out with me on stressful weekends when she can get away from school. We laugh together and sometimes cry together. We put puzzles together but our favorite thing is to play a card game called spit. I taught her to play this game years ago when I was at the top of my game, and I’m proud to say she has become the master and has dethroned my record. LOL! When I told her that we were moving, she and I cried together for a very long time.

The whole month of February my husband and I sorted, cleaned, fixed up, packed up, cleared out, laughed and cried. I looked forward to and dreaded every weekend at the same time. On the weekends all the kids and grandkids when they could make it down would come over and spend a couple days helping us with all that needed to be done. I made a declaration right away that I called the three foot rule. This rule states that if you come within three feet of me you need to stop and give me a big hug. I was great at first, all the hugs were amazing and came with giggles. I was on a mission and excited to get it done. Then at one point I was standing in my bedroom surrounded by all my girls and one of them said out loud ‘Three foot rule” and they all moved in to hug me. I just started the ugly cry right there and then. So of course my eldest Daughter had to get a photo. Photo included along with other three foot rule photos

Ya know sometimes in your life you wonder if you are doing what the Lord wants you to do. You struggle with making decisions and question the sanity of those decisions. I know I do. But this was not one of those times. God showed up and was evident in every step of this process.

Just a few of the ways God showed up :

  • My husband lost his job/ retired making it possible for us to move, which we never would have decided to do because it wasn’t part of our precious retirement plan.
  • We both started waking up earlier and earlier for a couple of weeks, not of our own doing, but it just happened. We woke early, worked all day going thru things and going to bed earlier because we were exhausted. So by February our bodies were already on Florida time, before we even moved.
  • In September of last year we planned a vacation to visit our kids in Florida. We purchased our tickets for February 28th. The tickets were an outrageous price but my husband said to buy them anyway! Which he never does. He is a serious penny pincher. I remember asking him then, “what have you done with my husband!”
  • Then the sale of our house in Oregon “just happened to” close on February 27th. We flew out the next day. God planned that months in advance for us.
  • At the beginning of February we needed to book a PODS container to ship our belongings to Florida. At the time we had no idea where we would be moving to. We had looked at a few houses on line but we were planning on moving in with our daughter in law’s parents and then look for a place. We scheduled the PODS container to be dropped off (so we could load our stuff) on the 24th of Feb and pick it up on the 27th. Then it would travel across country and would arrive on the 11th of March. We had scheduled it to be delivered to our son’s house to serve as a storage unit until we found a place.
  • Then a few weeks later our daughter in law sent us a link to a large house in Lakeland with an in-law suite attached. This was a house we could buy together with them. With Twins on the way they were fast out growing their home. This house was large enough to hold their growing family comfortably and give us our own side of the house. It was beautiful and Lindsay and I decided right away that this was the home for us. It was perfect for us to be close and be able to help out with the new babies and the three older boys. Well we put in a long shot offer and it was accepted over the rest. We closed on that house March 9th and guess what day we moved in? That’s right, the 11th. so on the 9th we changed the Pod’s delivery address to our new address and it showed up before all of our helpers.

This whole move has been filled with things like this. It has been amazing. God is so good! So you would think that I’m on cloud nine all the time. And I am much of the time. I know we are where God wants us. I’m happy to be near my Son’s family and grandkiddos. I love my new home. Yet I miss my Oregon family and friends so very much and my heart aches for them.

I’m a very small town girl who is very uncomfortable with change and now I live in a Big City and Everything in my life is new and different. New state, New house, New neighborhood, new neighbors, New house noises, new vehicle when we can find one we like, new surroundings, New stores, new weather, new church… and hopefully soon new friends! You name it, It’s new.

Since I’ve been here I’ve been warned not to touch any plant unless I know what it is, It might be poisonous. I’ve been warned about alligators, Pythons, fire ants, Some huge spider I forget the name of but we have killed one already, water moccasins, mosquitos, and something they call no-see-ums! But I’m not really worried, I will just never ever leave my house. LOL! Just kidding!

In Oregon all I had to worry about was black widow spiders, rattle snakes, bear and cougars. Oh and BIG FOOT of course. Apparently everything in Florida wants to kill you! Oh Florida has the bears and cougars too! SO I do feel more at home knowing that! LOL!

I guess I am telling you all this to let you know that it’s ok to feel all the feelings. God knew I would miss my Oregon kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors. And that they would miss me. That is how it should be, because we love each other big! But with every heartache of things I miss, there is joy in the people and things I have here.

I do often still ask myself “Why am I here?” I think it’s still my head trying to figure it all out because my soul always comes right back with “Because the Lord invited you!” It is well with my soul and I do so LOVE MY LIFE!

New Beginnings

Have you ever watched a movie where in one scene the character is going on and on about how they would never do something, like I’ll never love again, or I could never marry that man, or You would never catch me doing that… Only to see them in the very next scene doing the thing they said they would never do? Well that is the kind of story I’m about to tell.

The summer I turned 16 my family moved from my childhood home in Ohio, uprooting me from everyone and everything I knew and loved. My best friends, my neighborhood, my big Red farmhouse that I loved, My Grandma… I think you get the picture.

I moved that summer to Texas to live with my sister, then I moved to California to be with my parents, then about a year later I got married and moved into an apartment with my new hubby. Then 3 months later we moved to Oregon to live near family that had settled in Glide, then months later moved to another house in glide. Where we had our first daughter. Shortly after she was born my husband got a new job so we moved to a rental in Myrtle Creek, then when I was 19 we purchased our home in Myrtle creek and moved again. In total I had moved 6 times in 3 years.

This is where this story begins. I was so sick of moving that I began digging my heals in and telling everyone that “You will have to drag my dead body out of this house because I am NEVER MOVING AGAIN!” This has been my story, my truth for over 40 years now. In fact I said these very words to someone in December of 2022. And meant every word of it.

Our Son moved to Florida years ago before he was married and for the last 6 years or so he and his wife have been suggesting that we could move to be near them. This was always met with laughter and the above statement. You see, I love Oregon. I don’t love Florida! I love my Home here that I have remodeled from top to bottom with my own hands, to be exactly the way I wanted it to be, comfortable and secure during our retirement years. I love my Yard that I have tilled, landscaped, laid pavers and where every plant that my children have given me on mothers day over the years are planted and bloom every May! I love laying in our hammocks on hot summer nights star gazing. Something I used to do with my parents, then with our children even with our Oregon grandchildren, and now just the two of us, my precious husband and I and the sky.

Just before Christmas My husband needed to retire early. Details are not important but we were planning on him working about three more years as we saved more money to live off of during retirement. I was devastated, and cried off and on for a week. My security seemed to vanish, my plans pulled away without warning.

This next part will probably not make sense to you, but I’ll try to explain. My family uses movie quotes and song lyrics woven into normal conversations to communicate. It’s our own little language and inside joke sometimes that others just don’t understand. Unless they have seen the movie and catch on. As I woke one morning on the verge of tears again, a quote from the movie Galaxy Quest popped into my mind.

Now for your sake I will give the quote context. The movie is a spoof on Star Trek and there is a character named Guy who was an extra in one of the shows episodes where he ends up dying in the end of said episode. So now we are in the apex of the movie and the evil aliens are attacking. So Guy says to one of the other characters something to the effect like “I’ll just go out and fight him, I’m going to die anyway. The extra always dies…” here the other character grabs his shoulders and says “What if you have this all wrong? what if you are the plucky comic relief?”

I knew the Lord was talking to me, and yes in movie quotes the way I communicate best. I knew that I had been looking at everything from the wrong point of view. What if this wasn’t bad news at all but instead something good? I was reminded that my security was not in my husbands job, or saved up money. Not even in my home, or the things that I hold dear. But it has always been in the Lord!

” My heart grew three times bigger that day!” sorry , another movie quote reference. My attitude was changed in that moment, and Just like in The Grinch That Stole Christmas, my heart began to grow and change. Well My life did anyway. With those few words from an obscure weird movie that I love, my heart and mind began a secret mission of changing me. And Not only was the Lord working on me but he was also changing my husbands.

In the first week of January 2023, As I looked out my back door at my garden one day I said to my contented self, “I love my yard!” and that still small voice said “But it is only a yard” and my head and heart agreed and in that moment I felt myself letting go of my yard. Then a couple of days later the same thing happened as I said to myself “I love my house” it was like I was watching myself third person. Seeing myself let go so easily I would think to myself “This is so weird! What is happening.” This went on for days with so many things that I “LOVE”

Then during a video chat with our Florida Son and his family, They told us the great news that they were expecting Twins in July. I was over the moon. But sad at the same time because I already miss my three grandsons and I only get to visit them like once a year. But now it would be 5 grandchildren. But even that didn’t make my mind shift into thinking about moving. Toward the end of the conversation our eldest grandson Grey said “Papa, some day I’m going to come to your house and play with your train set” and I knew that that wouldn’t ever happen. Mom and Dad could never fly here with 5 kiddos in tow. The thought came that the only way he could come play with Papa’s train set was if Papa moved his house to be closer to them.

This thought started growing like a seed inside my heart and my head. I started sneaking a peek at real estate prices in the town the kids live in just to see if we could even afford to get a nice place near them. Prices were comparable and It was possible! and I found a few cute homes that I liked. One evening I sheepishly showed my husband the house I liked best, totally expecting him to put the kibosh on it right away and laugh it off. But what he said floored me. He said ” When we move, we are only taking a few pieces of furniture but we will leave the appliances with the house…” I was so shocked that he was saying it as if the decision was already made.

The next day we woke an hour or so before usual and just started clearing out cabinets and closets getting rid of stuff we didn’t need. Saying “We won’t need to take this with us”… followed by “we probably won’t move, but it never hurts to clear out things we don’t need.” It was the weirdest thing I have ever experienced. The Lord was covertly changing our hearts to accept it all, and our bodies were listening to him speak, but our heads took a little longer to except it all.

Our Kids all gave us confirmation that this was the right decision and they have spent the last few weekends helping us clear things out , box things up and stage the house. The house went on the market Saturday and Sunday we had two showings. We don’t know where this rollercoaster is headed too. We don’t know how long the ride will be. But we know that God is driving, so we are just throwing our hands in the air and enjoying the ride. I’ll let ya all know how it ends up!

House for sale!

Sacred Solace

Sacred Solace is painting #3 of the motherhood series. There is so much about painting this one that excited me as an artist. I love the brightness of the painted background. I’m absolutely in love with the mother”s hands that gently supports her child’s bottom and head as he looks around exploring with innocence his new world.

My reference photo was granted to me by photographer and Author Naomi Lynn. I just adore her work!

Again I pre-toned the canvas in the transparent iron oxide. I absolutely loved how the background turned out, dark in some spots and glowing in others. Working with that glow I allowed the reflected light of the painting to actually be the background showing through.

Notice in the reference photo how the dress is a darker but similar color to the flesh tones. This works wonderfully in the photo, blending the two figures beautifully into one against a dark background.

What works to make something a great photo does not always work to make is a great painting. The artist has to decide what story she wants her painting to tell. Where do I want to direct the viewers eyes? What Feeling do I want to convey?

In my painting the color of her dress in the reference photo more closely resembles the background of the painting. So I decided to transposed the colors by taking the greenish blue back ground of the reference and putting a dark greenish blue dress on her in the painting. I felt that the contrast of the dark teal dress would draw your attention to their pail smooth skin, body language and facial expressions.

As always I followed my usually steps of blocking in and getting tones, values and shapes right. Then touching just a few dabs of blue color around the face. Normally I would blend these colors into the wet flesh tones making them more subtle. But when I stood back, I decided that she was perfect the way she was.

This may surprise you , but this was very hard for me to physically do. I actually had to leave the studio for several days, just so I wouldn’t fiddle with the paint. I really feel it would have ruined the painting to refine and define her more, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I’m so glad now that I listened to that voice inside telling me she was done.