February Art Challenge: Take A Picture Outside Your Home

This past week has been interesting weatherwise. Sunday through Monday it snowed. It didn’t snow on and off. It didn’t snow a little. It snowed consistently for at least 24hrs.
Those in the northeast will mock me. Those is the deep south will be horrified. Here in my little part of eastern Kentucky, we got between 15-20 inches of snow.
Thankfully, it was light snow. If it was the heavy stuff, a collapse in society may have taken place. More on that shortly.
The light snow came, then the below freezing temps, then some more snow (the heavy kind), then the sleet, then just ice, then the temps went up above freezing, and finally the rain.
The light snow from earlier in the week had melted and refrozen where the salt trucks had scraped and have created barriers to the water causing it to sit in the roads. Water that does make it to the creeks, along with ice chunks, have caused some flooding. To add to the water misery, our water utilities have been shut off.
I could go on a tirade about the water, or how people seem to believe that it is OK to put your truck’s front bumper right on my back bumper. Yeah, I’m looking at you large pickup truck obviously bought to compensate for SOMETHING…ass…but I’m not.
As much as I hate being stuck, it has been nice to just read a book, do a sketch, play the ukulele, see my parents, and not feel like I need to run anywhere. The snow was beautiful…the ice, not so much. I got to spend my birthday with my parents just enjoying the day. I was able to help my Dad shovel his road and I’m really thankful I could do that on a couple of levels.
So, while I probably will gripe about certain aspects of this last week, particularly that douchebag in the pickup, there are a lot of things I am truly thankful for.
I’m going to try to remember that while I boil water for my sponge bath.

Oh! Here’s my pic from outside.

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This was taken while on a break from shoveling my parent’s driveway. My Uncle Preston and my Papaw built a treehouse for me and my brother. Since our home burnt down in ’04, it has served as a storage place for items we are still too bound up to look through.
We always say we’ll go through it, but we don’t. Maybe it’s easier to forget what you have than remember what you lost?
Still, it’s one of my favorite places and seeing it reminds me of games played, times with friends, and, most importantly my uncle, grandfather, and brother – my first friend.

Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

Run Away, Run Away!

A friend recently asked me, in so many words, how I handle living here in eastern Kentucky because I don’t belong here. In all honesty, it is probably one of the nicest things anyone has said to me.
Before anyone gets too fired up, I took it as a compliment not because I hate my home, but because it feels like I have defeated the stereotype.
Unlike the image of the ignorant hillbilly that has been burnt into the social consciousness, this person sees me for who I am – an art loving, Star Wars fan that loves to travel and learn….a person that refuses to be defined by where she is from, but, at the same time, is trying to find the positive in living in an area that is, sadly, dying.
I don’t plan on discussing the economic life blood of my home (it’s coal, if you weren’t aware). I could give you my thoughts on how a middle ground could be reached to improve the area, both economically and environmentally, but that is for another day.
Right now, it’s taking a lot not to run away. To run far and fast towards something different, something promising, something – anything! – other than……other than this place where progress seems to be stalled by greed, corruption, and snuffed out by those who don’t see beyond their own bottom line.
I moved back home for a variety of reasons – to heal a broken heart, figure out my next step, spend time with my family. It’s the spending time with my family that is keeping me here…for now. Beyond that, and the fact that I love the students I work with, there really isn’t a lot to hold on to.
I’ve become very proficient and making the arguments to myself to justify staying: It is easier to hop in the car and go spend one…two…seven days somewhere else and then come home to family and some close friends. In this Age of the Internet and interstate highways, that long distance affairs can be maintained – and I believe they can be, if both parties are interested. Anything is possible if you try….right?
What I want is it all. I want access to things that will make my life more vibrant and what I want it to be, but I also want to be an active member of my family, spending time with them and having those all too precious memories with them.
As those who float into and out of my life keep reminding me, you can’t have all the things, all the time. I also can’t keep running away; from home, from possibilities, from the uncertain, from x, y, and z, from myself.
At some point a decision will have to be made. It will be difficult, it may not make a lot of people happy, but it will have to be done for myself. Until that day, I will keep making choices and decisions that let me be happy and hope that, along the way, where I should be becomes a little clearer.
At the end of the day, I’m just getting tired of running.

This Has Potential To Get Dark

I do believe it’s only fair to warn you, hence the title of this, the first blog post in a while. I believe it brightens up quite a bit at the end, but…just be prepared.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write. I have two, maybe three drafts that are incomplete or, really, just garbage.
Forced attempts when there really was nothing to say.

Today…today I find myself full of things to say and, with any luck, these words will work their magic – taking thoughts plaguing me and expelling them; making sense of of the jumble that is how my brain works.
To understand the process, let’s start at the root of the issue: a date.
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Granny at Hardy’s House

It’s amazing what a fairly decent night’s sleep and Birthday Pancakes can do for one’s motivation. Tack on some amazingly warm February days, and you have the makings of a multiple blog post Sunday!

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This used to be our ballfield

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33 Years

I am now embarking on my 33rd year on this great blue marble we call Earth. During that time, I have made friends, lost loved ones, traveled, worked on my education, entered adulthood, been engaged – became unengaged, failed, found success, made a small difference (more good than bad), randomly met Chris Hardwick – yes, he is amazing! and, overall, have had a pretty good run.

This last week celebrating the big 3-3, I have realized that while there are, as always, things I need to work on it is easier to acknowledge that I’m more like how I want to be than not.

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Pinterest Pin Review

I’m an artist, crafter, I love to cook, I DIY everything, and now I’m a mom. Of course I’m addicted to Pinterest! It does what me and my friends have been doing for years; sharing tips and tricks to life! Pinterest has just taken it to a whole new, awesome level!
So, if you’re like me, you pin everything like a maniac, and don’t check the links, and/or you flood your boards, and don’t know what to try first, or it’s overwhelming, and you never get around to trying anything. Well, I’m going to share with you some things I’ve tried, and loved, along with the link (if there’s a good one available!) and anything I’ve added to make it different for my liking! I’ll do some of the experimenting for you!

Today, I’m going to share a recipe that I have literally made a hundred times this winter, and it can easily be made in the crock pot without sacrificing flavor, which is awesome when you want a good meal when you walk through the door!!
Recipe: creamy white chili

This recipe comes from the blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and I have to say, she’s become one of my favorite blogs! She’s a busy mom that loves to cook and share delicious recipes (a lady after my own heart!) and they are all busy woman friendly!

I don’t do much to this recipe, it’s pretty well perfect! I do add mushrooms, it adds a little more volume, and it’s nice to make more product without having to use more chicken, and, I love mushrooms! Also, I’ve been on a big coconut oil kick, and that’s what I use to sauté everything when I cook it on the stove top. By the way, the stove top version of this recipe may take 15 minutes to put together, if you already have your chicken thawed of course. If I don’t get up early enough to put together the crock pot, I don’t stress too much about exhausting myself over the stove after a long day!

I hope everyone tries this recipe, and look forward to more of my pin reviews in the future. I’m going to do a little of everything, not just recipes! Get ready!

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