The Little Things ARE the Big Things

Watercolor painting of an uncle making soap bubbles for his nephewwI have always known that little things matter.  Recently I’ve remembered that the little things often ARE the big things.

After a week spent vacationing in the Whalen House in Grand Haven MI, my mind replays lovely memories.  There were gorgeous sunsets, incredible views of Lake Michigan, and the red light-house just across the road from our rented cottage.   All glorious, ostensibly big things.

But what stands out two weeks later?

  1. Watching my eldest and his wife make soap bubbles with their nephews.
  2. Seeing the delight on my daughter’s face after she returns from geocaching with her boys.
  3. Sitting in the sand with my extended family, visiting while watching the grand kids build sand castles.
  4. Watching the love of my life, Steve, grill for the billionth time for his family (sometimes “mad skills” mean lots of work…)
  5. Photographing little items that might be fun to paint, like the tea cup covered with clover decorations that I discovered in the living room.  It will please the Irish in my family so much!
  6. Visiting over wine and pie in the “man cave”, a little hut outside the main cottage.

Most of the things listed could happen anywhere.  Often business encroaches on the important “little things”.  Today I remind myself again to do better:  listen more, send more notes, respond to emails more quickly, etc., because the little things really are the BIG things.

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Best Friends – the furry kind

“Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend….never owned a dog”

Watercolor painting of the word "Believe" with a Golden Retriever as a backdrop

I believed in Daisy, and I’m pretty sure she believed in me!

You often hear individuals describe themselves as a dog person or cat person.  I’ve always considered myself a dog person with a capital D!  I grew up with collies.  The “dog love” of my life was a golden retriever named Daisy.  She started out as my kids “best friend” but became mine when they grew up and left home.  Daisy turned gray with me and limped a bit, having sore hips just like me.  When I drew or painted she sat at my feet moving closer and closer.  This was very comforting except for the following moment.  Stop reading if you’re squeamish!   I had just sharpened 25 drawing pencils and placed them graphite point up in my pencil jar.  The bathroom was calling my name.  I took one step away from the drafting table.  As I put my foot down I nearly fell because it landed on the dog.  I heard a loud yelp.  To avoid hurting Daisy I dropped my hand toward the drafting table for support, and it landed on guess what?  Yes indeed all 25 pencil points!  Who said art was painless?!  It took an hour or so to pull the graphite points out of my hand.  Daisy was loaded with empathy.  She  acted a bit sheepish and concerned.

Watercolor painting of a three-colored cat named Abbey, sitting in a window sill looking out

Abby loves to stare out the window

Presently I’m a cat owner (or is she the real owner?).  Our three year-old adoptee Abby can probably avoid getting stepped on because cats are quick and limber.  Thanks to my husband, children, and a mostly friendly Abby, I have recently come to appreciate the finer attributes of cats.   I still miss the empathic love I felt with Daisy by my side, something I’ve never quite felt from the often aloof Abby.  Cat, dog, or whatever furry friend you may have, there is nothing quite like the love of a pet who can’t talk back.

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

A Grandma’s Legacy

Grandma grand daughter mothers dayIt’s been almost twenty years since my mother-in-law died and yet May, her month, still fills me with memories.  Her birthday was May 9 which seemed so appropriate with its proximity to Mother’s day.  She was the consummate mother.  She always remembered the little things that really are the big things.  Birthday cards were never late!!  Her journals were filled with positives;  not one critical word.  She saw only the best in people.

She and I shared a love of birds, flowers, family, and even the name Barbara Bromley.  She is missed by all who knew her, but the memories remain.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Seven Rules for Life

The following “rules” have been floating around the internet in one form or another.  It seems appropriate to consider these as a guide to navigating life’s passages.

  1. Make peace with your past so it won’t disturb your present.
  2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  3. Time heals almost everything.  Give it time.
  4. No one is in charge of your happiness.  Except you.
  5. Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
  6. Stop thinking too much.  Its alright not to know the answers.  They will come to you when you least expect it.
  7. Smile.  You don’t own all the problems in the world.

Think these guys know the rules?  🙂

artfulpassages.com - Chasing Dogs

Life Transitions

Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To get somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind. – Fred Rogers

I’ve always found “new beginnings” to be a double-edged sword.

artfulpassages.com - Transitions Post.  Watercolor image:  Fly Away HummerAt the ripe age of 50, after 27 years in Texas raising our kids, the move to Concord, MA was difficult.  No more close friends nearby who knew the song in my heart…. No more cozy places where my children grew up.  Wonderful places like Zilker Park, McKinney Falls, the city of Austin, the state capital building, San Antonio Riverwalk and Zoo, the list goes on and on…..

My artful “new beginning” in Concord took 3 years to get off the ground.

I started teaching watercolor painting and drawing in a lovely hobby shop called Dabblers.   That teaching job led to another gig:  Teaching at the Weston Council of Aging which brought such joy and growth to me and my students.  Teaching at Weston helped me become a master colorist.  Who knew?!! Painting landscapes, etc. for the first time due to student request forced me to learn.  As always, the teacher becomes the best learner in the room 🙂

I met new friends who were artistically matched to me.  Some started out as private students, others were students in my class.

After seven years in Concord MA…. Fast Forward to a new beginning in Lexington KY, home of our grandchildren, the best on planet earth.  Here they are for my (and your) enjoyment!

artfulpassages.com - Transitions Post.  Watercolor of sam on the beach with gullartfulpassages.com - Transitions post.  Pencil Sketch of Gabriel with Horse

At this point we’ve been living in Kentucky for almost two years.  As we discovered in Massachusetts, it takes a few years to begin to feel at home.  Making friends, a bit of headway in the arts community, and of course the proximity of family have all helped in this transition.  I think this blog will help too!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Happy 59th birthday to me!

Welcome to my blog!

Come join me as I celebrate my last year in the “frantic fifties” and document my “Artful Passages” into my sixties and beyond.   In my artful blog/journal I’ll use writing, painting, drawing, and photographs to chart my blog-journey.

Since its my birthday and all, I deserve some cake don’t you think? In lieu of the real thing, let’s serve up a couple watercolors instead.  Lots less calories!

 artfulpassages.com - Watercolor Birthday Cakeartfulpassages.com - Watercolor Birthday Cake

Thanks for making this passage with me!

Barb

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature