WINTER NOTE 2018

Out my window the grass glistens in a frosted fairy dusting, the subtle whisper of winter's charm. It's mid February, and time to send out a seasonal newsletter to you, my cherished email subscribers. Thank you! 

The last letter was sent out during Fall. Since then holidays unfolded, along with Super Bowl Sunday, and the Olympic Winter Ceremonies. Soon March will bring us into Spring. 

If you are new to my seasonal letters, it's where I share special content just for email subscribers;

  • current reads and book suggestions
  • insider's news on my latest creative projects and goals
  • behind the scenes look at what I've been up to or plan to begin
  • favorite things
  • and a little bit extra about what's been resonating in my heart or giving me inspiration

With it being Valentine's week, I hope this little note slipping into your inbox will offer you a gentle presence +  a kind companion in the the form of words, ideas, and art shared. A reminder that you are not alone and you are loved. I am so thankful for you, reader. 

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
— 1 Thessalonians 3:12

A PERSONAL UPDATE

Hopefully without boring you with too many details I can share what's been going on in with us. This Christmas was unlike any other because we packed up and drove to the ocean to be with Jeff's brother in Galveston, Texas. It was still cold and windy, so on Christmas morning I wore my softest furry coat to stroll along the beach and collect a few shells. I wrote a poem a few years earlier about Advent + Christmas + the ocean + seashells, and therefore marveled at life imagined somewhat becoming reality this Christmas at the beach. Here's a link to the poem: Seashells for Advent.

Though the trip was so special and unique, of course I experienced some FOMO; fear of missing out. It was to be our first Christmas in the home we had just spent 9 months renovating. I imagined for quite a while what it would be like finally at home on Christmas morning. There was definitely some mixed emotions, when it turned out we would be out of town.

Then also, wouldn't you know, it snowed the exact night we left Tulsa. We haven't had much snow at all the last few years. Oliver has been dreaming of playing in the snow. So as all my friends post pictures of the beautiful snow or joyful scenes like kids in mittens with rosy cheeks building snowman in their front yards, we were driving through Texas away from the snow into the rain and gray cloudy skies.  Still, it was special to go on our family adventure to the ocean and make unexpected memories at the beach. Oliver LOVED staying in a hotel. And having waffles, bacon and coffee delivered to our room on Christmas morning was amazing, haha!

January ended and February began with the flu. Both Jeff and Oliver caught it, but I thankfully stayed healthy and could care for them. As usual, it took me a while to get to my bearings again after a week of a disrupted schedule; another opportunity to practice offering myself some gentleness and grace.

What I continue to love about the Winter months despite the holiday busyness and the annual cold/flu season is that once my calendar declutters a bit in January and February I can enjoy making soup and wearing cute warm fuzzy socks and oversize sweaters. Something about the bare branches, in a quiet cold sky, gives way to quieting my mind, waiting before the Lord, and learning to listen. It also seems to usher in a season of getting back to deep work; for me that means focusing in on painting, blogging, writing and keeping up my home. So that is where I am at about right now; enjoying the stunning and swirling Olympic figure skaters at night, and picking up my paint brush, my pens, toys scattered about, dirty dishes and laundry during the winter days.

FAVORITE THINGS

koala crates

Oliver was gifted a monthly subscription of Koala Crates for Christmas. It is awesome. "Koala Crate sparks kids’ natural creativity and curiosity while saving time for busy parents. Every crate includes all the materials and inspiration for projects related to a theme such as colors, transportation or safari. Crates are designed to give preschoolers exposure to new materials and new concepts that encourage hands-on learning and fun. "

affordable soft comfy fleece LEGGINGS

fine tip brush pens; they look more like calligraphy than big brush lettering

veriulux happy light therapy lamp

snoopy flying ace game

these recipes i tried and loved

Paleo Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Recipe @ Against All Grain

Crockpot Paleo Thai Stew @ Against All Grain

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup @ Life in Grace Blog recommended by Anne Bogel

This calligraphy kit @ designroots

these target finds

blush colored shoes + rosemary mint candle (I just noticed they are sold out of this scent online- bummer!)

WHAT I'VE BEEN READING

Peace like a River by Leif Enger 

Melancholy but beautiful and hope-filled too. The references to Bible stories and Robert Louis Stevenson poems throughout the story was just one reason I loved it. I listened to this book on audio while practicing calligraphy and sketching out some paintings. Here is the description copied and pasted from amazon:

"Young Reuben Land has little doubt that miracles happen all around us, suspecting that his own father is touched by God. When his older brother flees a controversial murder charge, Reuben, along with his older sister and father, set off on a journey that will take them to the Badlands and through a landscape more extraordinary than they could have anticipated. Enger’s novel is at once a heroic quest and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world."

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Enjoyed this historical fiction book. 

"Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden—one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed..."

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

I am about halfway through this non-fiction Christian book. The main message it carries is one I often need to be reminded of in my everyday life.

"All too many of us struggle under the weight of life, convinced we need to work harder to prove to ourselves, to others, and to God that we are good enough, smart enough, and spiritual enough to do the things we believe we should.
Author and Bible teacher Jennie Allen invites us into a different experience, one in which our souls overflow with contentment and joy. In Nothing to Prove she calls us to…

* Find freedom from self-induced pressure by admitting we’re not enough—but Jesus is. 
* Admit our greatest needs and watch them be filled by the only One who can meet them. 
* Make it our goal to know and love Jesus, then watch what He does in and through us.
 
As you wade into the refreshing truth of the more-than-enough life Jesus offers, you’ll experience the joyous freedom that comes to those who are determined to discover what God can do through a soul completely in love with Him."

Soul Keeping by John Ortberg 

I just started this one, and guess what? On Sunday, at church, the pastor used the same analogy and story in his sermon as the author used to start this book. I heard the same story twice in two days. I pay extra attention when the same message keeps popping up in my life over and over. Looking forward to reading more of this book.

Chief Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny

I am currently on book 8; The Beautiful Mystery.

latest projects

art

  • I have been teaching myself to learn Copperplate style calligraphy using the book Mastering Copperplate. Next, I am super super excited to learn the Belle style calligraphy by Maybelle Imase-Stukuls. Both these goals will probably be something I work on for several months. 
  • Watercolor Calendar; I am creating a watercolor/gouache collection that I hope to turn into a calendar and possibly sell prints of too. We will see?! I have done 3 paintings for the collection so far; one for February, August, and March.
  • August at the Philbrook: I finished an original 8 x 10 watercolor painting of one of my favorite places to visit in Tulsa, the Philbrook Art Museum. The painting is still up for sell on my site.
August at the Philbrook
75.00

8 x 10 original watercolor painting of the Philbrook Museum gardens on Strathmore ready cut, hot press, watercolor paper. 

The painting is inspired by a photo I took while visiting the museum for my birthday in August. 

  • On the blog: through the month of February I am spreading a little love by sharing a list of artists who inspire me including painters, calligraphers, bloggers, and writers. Last week I shared a list of my favorite painters to follow on Instagram.

home

We just had a mud bench and some cubby/shelves built in our utility room; one of our last projects; hooray! However I need to paint it and pick out hooks still. Hoping to get this done in spring or summer. Before and after pictures to come...