About Me

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This is my journey. This is what I see. I am a wife, a mother, an artist. I am on His path.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Life in a Christmas Village

Dad always wanted a Christmas village.  A few years ago, the parents added a great room to their house, with a beautiful bay window and fireplace mantle.

As a gift, the children purchased a village for the parents.....

Now...this is where I have to insert the disclaimer on my family.  I am sure you have all figured out that I don't come from the average, normal family.  We have an odd sense of humor.  It comes from my dad.....it is all from my dad.  Life was always interesting at the dinner table.  Spinach will always hold a special place in my childhood memory...but that is another story.

The year we gave my parents the Christmas Village, my dad went in for heart surgery.  It was scary.  He was originally supposed to have knee surgery, but pre-op work up showed some heart issues and - BAM - open heart surgery was scheduled quickly.  What a crazy Christmas that year.

We set up the beautiful little village on the window ledge where he could see it from his recliner.  He could enjoy the lights while he lounged with his huge, puffy heart pillow that he was awarded for surviving his ordeal of surgery.

Our beautiful little village has a Christmas Lodge, a church, a shopping district and a green house.  We also added people.  Each person in the village is a member of our family.  I will admit now, that I get my creativity from Dad.  He sat and enjoyed his little village and began to make a story about it.

This was his view during his recovery:

Welcome to the happy little village of Dennyville.

Every village should be centered around it's church.  It is the foundation of family.

Check out that parsonage!  It is bigger than the church!

The carolers are some of the grandchildren of the mayor.

left to right
Kaleigh, Sam, Emma and Lew

The village has a nice little shopping village with a Christmas shop and a candy store for the children.  According to Dad though, this is really a brothel.  Just check out those lights strung up and flashing all night.  When I asked why there was a candy store downstairs, I was informed it was just a cover to make it look nice as people walked by on the street.

 There is always plenty of activity on the street....

 David and Janie.
Really the perfect image of them.
(Jane is in a wheelchair in real life)

A year after the original village went up, the mayor allowed a brewery to be built on the edge of town.

As I was setting the village up this year, Dad told me to be sure to put Tye coming out of the brewery.  I pointed out that she normally is coming out of the greenhouse with a poinsettia for her Mom.  Dad let me know though that Tye stopped for a drink before she went home.....

At least Tye remembered her poinsettia
before leaving the pub.

The last two couples are the mayor's wonderful children.
The older couple sitting on the park bench making out....

Darin and Angie
 ....and the cutie, young couple, stealing a kiss in front of the green house.

Steve and Julie

We added a new member to our family this year.  Lew was married in November to Kathleen.  I am on the hunt for a new villager and possibly a new building.  I am thinking we should find a vet clinic......just for Lew and Katie. (Yup, they are both vets.)

Wishing you all a very, merry Christmas!
May your family enjoy a blessed and safe holiday together with laughter and joy abounding.

Love to you all,

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I know....it has been forEVER!

If I only had an extra four hours in a day, I might accomplish everything on my list.  Yes, I have lists.

Lists of art that needs to be done.
Lists of chores.
Lists of bills.
Lists of appointments.
Lists of to do's.
Lists of school work...mine and Man Child's.
Lists of meetings.

I have my alarm set every morning, but there is 3:18 AM ... again.

I am surviving.
I am accomplishing what needs to be done.

I am looking for a rainbow.

....... and I am ready to cross one thing off my list.

I am presenting at the Lutheran Educator's Association Convocation this Friday in Milwaukee.  Two Classes.  Slides are done.  Boxes are packed.

I still have a:

List of supplies to double check.
List for packing.
List for groceries before I go.

I hope for a relaxing - and educational - experience this week.  I am hoping to kick back a little......

....and maybe....

I won't make lists for four days while I am in Milwaukee.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Hero

Every other Sunday, the pastor will announce from the lectern, "The children are invited up to gather around for the Children's Message."

About this time, Man Child will look at me with those darling 9 year old eyes and say, "Can I go?"

Yeah, he is SIXTEEN now, but will always be my NINE year old.  The little boy full of big dreams and energy. The little boy who looked at me and said, "Mommy, I will always stay home and take care of you."

Melt my heart.

He knows he will always be that little boy who stole my heart.

Of course I always nudge him and say,
"Yes! Go if you would like to!"

....and I get that giggle as he settles back in his seat.

There was a surprise this week though.

The family sitting in the pew with us.....a Mom and two of her daughters.  The littlest one in her sparkly princess dress, ready for the Princess Birthday Party she had been invited to after church and the older daughter in her zipped up, sporty, nylon jacket....the tomboy showing through this Sunday.  Little Princess immediately jumped from her seat and excused her way passed my knees and Man Child's knees.  She turned to look at her sister who remained seated.  Her pleading eyes saying.....come on, let's go, it's time!  Mom looks at her with warm eyes and whispers, "Your sister doesn't want to go up today."

As her eyes fell to the ground in sadness, I nudged the Man Child.

His hand went out immediately and he asked if he could go up with her.  Her eyes lit with such joy as she grabbed his hand and led him up toward the altar of the church and proudly sat down. Her smile stretch ear to ear.

Man Child sat down, criss-cross applesauce, next to his new friend, a tower of a man compared to the small children that surrounded him.  He listened with her. He prayed with her. She watched him so carefully.

Little Princess had such joy in her new friend and I was so proud of him.  As the kids stood up at the end of the message, he reached to take her hand to return to our pew.  All I could think was.....

Man Child, you are my hero!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New-fangled Dishwasher?

“Why is there Tupperware in the washing machine?”

What? What did I just hear coming out of the Man Child’s mouth?
Tupperware?  Washing machine?

I ran down to see what he was talking about, and in his hand…
     …a round, red Ziploc plastic container in one hand….
             ….the screw on lid in the other hand.


Flashback to yesterday.  End of the day, I started stacking all of the items I needed to bring home from school; computer bag, laundry basket with wet paint rags, purse, and, I almost forgot, my container of oatmeal that I never took time to eat for breakfast.  Holy buckets, that would have been pretty gross Tuesday morning when I came back in to work.  I bundled everything up and tossed the red Ziploc container into my laundry basket laden full of red classroom rags.  Got home….scooped laundry into the washer and swooped down to the studio.

Fast forward to my laundry room this morning.

Yup. A Man Child holding a spanky, clean Ziploc container and a washer full of........
              …..glued rags.

Peanut wondered out loud…… ”How does this stuff always happen to you?”

I guess I am just blessed!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

School Supplies....New Undies!

Back to school.
This had a whole new meaning to me 8 years ago.
I had just been hired to teach art at a Lutheran school in town.
I was nervous…..I make art…..Teach?

"My princess has laser eyes!"

I wasn’t nervous about the techniques or WHAT I was going to teach.  It was the classroom management part of it.  I had those pictures in my head of kindergarten students running around with scissors….paint flying through the air….what was I thinking?

Things went smoothly the first couple of weeks.  It was all the rules and process of how we will make our art….the basics.

….and then….

I had the most excited kindergarten walk in and exclaim, “We are painting today!”
The joy in their brush strokes, the smiles on their faces…..
…..ahhhhh, watercolor…..

We painted color. 
We painted motion. 
We started clean-up. 
Directions were given and the excitement was still there. All the kids were so thrilled to share their paintings with me as they neared the drying rack.  “Look at mine! Look at mine!!”

I was carefully, but quickly, trying to load that rack with those wet, soggy papers, when the last couple of tables got up and set off in my direction.  Little did I know they had decided to add some more color to their paintings while I was loading the first groups.  They jumped up from their seats with their papers….dripping a rainbow on the way.

I am not quite sure how they managed to keep the lake of water on top of their papers, but I could feel that lake begin to drip….down my backside….. as I continued loading other papers in that drying rack.

I was soaked….down my backside.
I could feel the cold water running down the back of my legs.

Thank you GOD that this was my last class of the day!

I drove home, feeling a little damp and embarrassed, and only then did I realize the full impact of the class project……

As I peeled off my black pants to change, I saw my beautiful……
           ... newly designed...
                     …rainbow underwear!

With that memory in my mind last evening, I went school supply shopping to purchase my new canvas for the school year…..

……..my new pack of undies!  Clean, bright, and white…..ready for a new year of watercolor students.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Brain Fog Revealed

I have been off again.
So many things on my list to accomplish
before I head back to school once again.

Do I take time to write?
Do I take time to snap pictures?


......but this morning......

What an awesome sight.....the town across the field disappeared in the fog.  Completely enveloped and lost in the gray mist.

This is my life....feeling swallowed by this mist.

....and as quickly as the fog dropped on our lazy little town....

...it was gone.

Sunny skies ahead.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Road Well Traveled 2013 : 3.3 Finding Jesus

As we prepared to leave Wisconsin....

Beautiful country!

...we saw a few unexpected treasures we just had to stop to see.

Hi Igor.....I'm Thelma!

Hi Igor...I'm Stella!

Hi Igor.....I don't like spiders....
and my name is Thelma!

 We had one more stop before we crossed the border.  You see, our entire trip, we were searching for Jesus.

I know, I know. We looked for Jesus last year and found him in Sioux City, Iowa.  If you remember, that Jesus was 33 feet tall and we had a terrible time finding him, even with GPS.  You can read about that adventure here .

We tried to find Jesus on our first day, but night came too quickly and we had a few hours to go before a hotel.

On day 2, we concluded Jesus was not in the Northwoods.

We had one, final day.

We were on a mission.

While searching the roadways for our final supply run of

I "spotted" some cows in a field along the road.

Who could ask for anything more?
Oh, yes.....those are "spotted" cows, dinosaurs AND a flying sauce WITH a little green man inside......pay dirt!

We drove on the ROAD for awhile.

 And there....in the distance...

It was hard to imagine that our trip was coming to a close.....and we hadn't found HIM yet.  We had one more clue in our arsenal of the Wonderful World of Web.

According to my sometimes reliable resource, if we just dipped into Dubuque, just a wee bit by the looks of the map, we might be able to find Jesus.

......and there

           ......along the road

                      .......Gas Station Jesus!

Hey, Jesus, it's me....

...you have a little something in your nose....
I can get that for you.
Woot! Your nose is clean now!
High Five, Gas Station Jesus!

Yeah...Louise and I were excited too.
Our mission was complete, and we realized....

An hour left of our trip.
An hour on the road until we hit our own beds once again.
An hour left of side splitting, pee your pants, laughter.

An hour left of what has become my favorite trip of the year.

This was our second annual Roadside America trip.  On Day 2, Stella announced  that she has accepted a call to California.  She would be leaving us for a state that is going to fall into the ocean.

This announcement put a small damper on our spirits, but then the question was asked......

Do you think we need to look for Jesus in California next year??

The Road Well Traveled 2013 : 3.2 Pilgrimage to Mecca (Wisconsin Style)

Wisconsin is so much more than

It is also about

So where better to take a pilgrimiage to than

beautiful LaCrosse, Wisconsin!

Sadly, all of the visitor centers and welcome centers were unwelcoming and closed to visitors.  Is there no call for beer tasting?

Or does the king require all the tasting to himself?

(I must mention, by this point I had "spotted" many "cows" in BOB (big old Buick), so the pilgrimage was not a complete waste!)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Road Well Traveled 2013: 3.1 Can You See Me?

Southward, ho!

On to Sparta, WI to see.....

The World's Largest Eyeball!
We found out at lunch, that we were lucky to have planned our trip when we did.  The eyeball is being dismantled and is being shipped to it's new owner in Texas.....'cause all things big go to Texas!

The eyeball is at the factory that creates ALL the large fiberglass items we see everyday.  The ones in parks, swimming pools and mascots such as Big Boy.

There was a mass graveyard of molds that stretched forever.  We drove through, but a sign warned weary explorers of wasp and hornet nests.  YIKES!

No thank you!
Is that a Big Boy??

Hey Tall Man! How would this look
mounted on the wall?

Let me help...You have a boog right there.
I caught a fish THIS big!

What?  A Milk Maid?

No!  A Dairy Queen!
 As an added bonus to our adventures here, we saw this on our way out of the parking lot:

Like I said before, this is a working factory.  They were lifting a hat on a very tall figure.  Anyone recognize that hat??

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Road Well Traveled 2013 - 3.0 The Wegner Grotto

We started off our third and final day traveling from Eau Claire.

We stopped in Eau Claire to see Transmission Man along the roadway.

Another prospective, and tall, beau for Stella!

This old firetruck was an added bonus by Transmission Man.

We started south to Cataract to view another grotto.

The Wegner Grotto was built around the same time as the Concrete Garden in Phillips.  This folk artist focused more on flat surface design, rather than the sculptures themselves.

This is a small chapel built on the property.  Each corner is decorated with a different church.  All the decoration is made of small shards of glass.

It would not be recommended to lean on anything in the grotto.  All of the pieces are covered!  Even the tops of the railings!

Doesn't Stella look wonderful, modelling in all of these fabulous roadside areas?