Parental Sacrifice and the Hope It Provides

There is a core of who I am that is tangled in music. I grew up going to symphonies, playing in some of the best bands and orchestras in the state. I was through and through a clarinet-playing, band geek.

My house has a nearly constant musical score running underneath.

There I am with the pep band. Apparently I have no pictures of me ACTUALLY playing. You'll just have to trust that I did.
There I am with the pep band. Apparently I have no pictures of me ACTUALLY playing. You’ll just have to trust that I did.

My husband is forever noodling on his guitars. I write to music and sing snippets of Broadway, Mother Goose, Louis Armstrong, Simon and Garfunkle, and even “Uptown Funk” to my kids.

Music draws pictures and speaks words I cannot always form coherently. You know what I mean?

Continue reading “Parental Sacrifice and the Hope It Provides”

A Picture, a Girl, and a Reminder—Worth a Thousand Words

From the moment my daughter was born, she was most content when not inside. As a baby, the best way to calm her colicky crying was to snuggle her in a bouncy seat under the maple tree or, when it got cold, take her for a ride in a sled.

During her early years, I spent hours in the woods trailing a toddler looking for critters under overturned logs, disguised behind leaves, and lurking in the water. We amazed at how they were created to adapt to their environment and needs.

I started photographing the animals we found and put them into a book for my girl…and those little books became board books published a few years back. (Check out the All About God’s Animal series over here. They’d make a great Christmas gift.)

My girl is a tween now and doesn’t need me by her side as she builds tree forts and digs for fishing worms. And so it’s been a long, long time since I hunted the woods, beaches, and waterways for critters and nature to capture on film.

my-girlUntil now. Continue reading “A Picture, a Girl, and a Reminder—Worth a Thousand Words”

Why You Should Save, Celebrate, & Share Your Art

I met Pearl Allard through another writer friend. Pearl had driven a fair distance to be at my friend’s release party. And I knew right away I had met someone special—loyal, creative, and a kindred spirit in finding the beautiful in the not always pretty.

It’s a privilege for me to introduce you to her, and I hope you’ll love Pearl as much as I do. And, for the record, I didn’t know how much my little comments meant to her and I certainly didn’t she was going to write about it here. I’m still blushing 🙂


They were a lifeline from heaven; number twos drew me to Number One. How I don’t know, but those pencils were the only light during the darkest time of my life. I was desperate to see something, anything good, groping through blackness. Sketching brought meager solace.

I drew to learn to see. To cling to beauty. To escape. Though my soul anguished under the weight of oppressive darkness, I held a flicker of light. Something living, and good, still lurked when I looked at my imperfect rendering. It sparked hope—and guilt came galloping on its heels. Continue reading “Why You Should Save, Celebrate, & Share Your Art”

Discover: The Key to Life

 

 

 

 

I want to feel myself part of things, of the great drift and swirl: not cut off, missing things, like being sent to bed early as a child, the blinds being drawn while the sun and cheerful voices came through the chink from the garden. ~Sylvia Plath

This weekend my daughter and I went exploring. Not in the woods as we normally would, but dumpster diving in a car repair shop, my mom’s wood shop, and my clock repair man’s trash bin.

We were on a mission, looking for things that are one thing, but look like another—funky car parts that look like elkhorn coral, cogs that look like eyes, injector pieces that look like the mouth of a butterfly fish. She’s working on an art piece for a competition where “weird wins.”

And going out to play and discover felt oh so good.

Since April, my family’s been a little closed-in, trying to survive. Continue reading “Discover: The Key to Life”

Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped

I’d gone into the doctor’s office for a persistent irritating rash under my eyes and on my neck. I expected to hear eczema or some other small, albeit annoying, diagnosis.

The doctor walked in, took one look at me and sank to a seat. She paraded through all the diagnosis I’d hoped to hear, but she knocked down each one.

She was so calm it was unnerving. Just like the eye of the hurricane. Continue reading “Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped”

Remember—The Key to Finding What You’ve Been Looking For

There’s a reason this blog is called Beautiful. Ugly. Me. The last few months have been undeniably difficult, but here’s the thing. They’ve been beautiful, too…and I missed it.

I was flipping back through some of the photos from the last few weeks and am in awe of what I found. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the inanimate lens of my iPhone picked up what I failed to see.

So I’m taking a moment to step back and remind myself, and hopefully you, that goodness is available for those with eyes to see. That if I’m patient, I’ll stop sabotaging myself and find what I’ve been looking for all along.

The view from our cottage just as the golden light bends across the horizon. There’s a reason they call this time of day the golden hour.

Continue reading “Remember—The Key to Finding What You’ve Been Looking For”

Support: A Moment to Say Thank You

Support:
A beam, a girder, something that holds something else up. It’s underneath, hidden, not always noticed, but beautiful in its own right.

Without it, the whole structure would fall—a pile of random pieces with nothing to hold it together. Continue reading “Support: A Moment to Say Thank You”

When You’re Desperate and Afraid

It’s 3 am. And I’m awake…again. The darkness sits heavy on my chest as the sound of the air flicking on echoes hard.

It’s 3:30 am. And I’m too exhausted to function. My kids will be up in a few short hours. Ready for the day when I’m anything but.

It’s 4 am. And I’m brittle, fragile, pieces chipping off as each minute ticks away. Continue reading “When You’re Desperate and Afraid”

Words and a Life Lived

For Five Minute Friday, I usually write a short story. The character “magically” appear in my mind along with how they feel and what’s happening. Normally, I can see a scene—a rise in the action and the fall. (It’s a lovely byproduct of telling stories for YEARS…until someone catches you actually talking to yourself.)

But this week, the prompt speak has left me scrambling. It has, ironically, stripped me of words. Bits and pieces of thoughts & characters tumbled through my mind—images of my daughter speaking up for a fellow student, a gentle word from a friend, the struggle to tell the truth—but they’re void of the rise and fall.

And I wonder if there might be a reason for that. Continue reading “Words and a Life Lived”

Backstory, Life, and the Not-So-Bitter End

I am, at my core, a storyteller. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I think we all have a story. We all have a family of origin. We all have some blend of disappointments and accomplishments, loves and hates, comforts and discomforts.

It explains why I still sometimes cringe away from someone moving a quick hand and love the smell of orange-spiced tea. It might explain why the sound of moving water comforts or frightens you. Why the smell of cherry pipe smoke makes you smile or spikes your heart rate.

But that mishmash of singularities is only a sliver of who we are right now. Our stories certainly influence, mold, and shape, but we also all have a choice. Continue reading “Backstory, Life, and the Not-So-Bitter End”