Thursday, October 18, 2007


"Her Old Homeplace"

When I was a kid, we had a neighbor named Joy. Joy lived down the road, less than a mile from us, in a little white planked house with peeling paint. She lived very simply and only wanted two things that I ever heard her talk about. The first and most important thing she wanted was to go to Heaven. The second thing she wanted was to get bricks put on her little house. "Just like that third little pig," she would say. I loved her house the way it was - a safe haven for me when I felt so alone.

To this day, I have not found joy to match the warmth and delight I always saw in that sweet lady's face.

I was just a poor little kid and thought no one really cared about me. But Joy was always glad to see me. She spent a lot of time sitting on her couch by the front window, watching the cars go down our lonely little road. She would start waving when she saw me coming across her yard. “Hey!” she would holler, and come running out of her little house. “Guess what happened to me today?” she would ask, with her eyes sparkling. She always had a little story for me. One day an angel had visited her. One day she found a special beautiful leaf – it had floated right up to the window – and she claimed the Lord had sent it to her. She had it in her Bible. And one day she realized how blessed she was to have the view of a beautiful mountain in her own back yard. “The Lord has put me in this place”, she declared with a smile.

My Grandmother told me that Joy was not right in the head after her husband ran off with some old hussie, but I had never heard Joy talk about that. She seemed to be filled all the way to the top with happiness and when she talked it sounded like laughing spilling out of her mouth. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with Joy at all. I thought it would be nice to know a lot more people just like her.

One day, I walked down the road to her house. I was sixteen and I was running away to get married the next morning. No one knew what I was planning, but Joy was one of the people I wanted to see before I left my childhood behind. I walked across Joy’s yard and she immediately popped out of her little house. She had a lace tablecloth around her head and shoulders. With laughter spilling out of her sweet face, Joy exclaimed, “Look - I am the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ!”

I hugged Joy and said, “see you tomorrow” – but it would be many years before I saw her again.

One day, a few months ago, my two sisters and I drove up into the “country” to see our childhood home. We stopped at Joy’s house. She came spilling out to greet us. Time almost stood still and, for a moment, nothing seemed different except Joy’s pretty black hair had turned to silver. And - oh yes - her little house now had red bricks on it - all the way around!

With smiles and tears, we left, each of us carrying a batch of teacakes. As we backed out of the driveway, Joy came tottering across the yard again. “Thank you for coming to see me,” her laughing voice said. “I’m going to call everyone and tell them what happened to me today. I’m going to tell everyone about my blessing!”

It was my blessing too. Oh what a joy!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pretty Things

"Autumn Dance"
When I was in the first grade, everything was a glorious wonder. The bells, the sound of chalk on the blackboard, the sound of laughter on the playground, the feel and smell of books and the smells of the lunchroom... I did not know how Heaven itself could be more amazing. It was too much to get my thoughts around. To add to the excitement, Dianne started coming to our school. Her Grandmother brought her and they showed up one day just before recess.

It was like Dianne had popped out of a book. Everything about her looked like a picture. The whole class stared as she hung by the door while her Grandmother talked to the teacher. Her Grandmother turned to leave and the teacher took Dianne’s hand to show her to her desk. Before our astonished eyes, Dianne kicked the teacher. Everyone sat up a little straighter. If I had done something like that, I would never have made it back to school the next day. My Daddy would have killed me.

We missed recess that day, but Dianne was better than recess. She pitched a fit every time her Grandmother brought her to school and tried to leave her. So the Grandmother would sit in the back of the classroom until it was time for us to go to the lunchroom. Then she would take Dianne home. I never understood why Dianne didn’t go to lunch with us. She might have liked school if she had tried that part. You could always have an extra piece of cake, if you cleaned your plate.
Dianne had long blonde hair, which she always wore in a ponytail. She had patent leather shoes with a strap that could go across the ankle or behind it. I would have worn the strap in the back. I loved shoes and wanted a strapless pair so bad I couldn’t stand it. But I had to make do with my tennie shoes that had a hole in each one right where the big toe was. Dianne also had a real grownup wristwatch. It had a tiny silver face with sparkly things all the way around. The strap was a fragile black cord. Sometimes Dianne wore a fuzzy pink sweater with pearl buttons. All those pretties were a sight to see.

Sometimes, after school, spinning around in the yard by myself, I would think about all the pretty things I would have when I was grown. My house would be filled with shoes and sweaters and watches. There would be stacks of presents everywhere and lots and lots of cake.

One morning Dianne and her Grandmother came into the classroom. All of a sudden, without even saying goodbye, the Grandmother left the room. All eyes turned to Dianne who was still standing by her desk, waiting for her Grandmother to go sit in the back of the room. She stood there for a minute and, all of a sudden, she threw herself down on the floor. Spinning in a circle on her side, she kicked the desks all around her. Papers were flying. Dianne was screaming and having a hissy fit like I had never seen. The principal came to get her. As he led her out of the room, Dianne turned to the class and smiled. I have never, to this day, seen anyone smile that big.

We never saw Dianne again.

I don’t know why she was always pitching such a fit – I would have wanted to go somewhere and show off all those pretty things.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How Far is Heaven?

"How Far is Heaven?"

The title of this painting is that of one of the first songs I remember hearing. I was a child, sitting in my little red and white up-holstered rocking chair. Beside me, on a table, was an old record player. I was mesmerized, watching the needle gently wave back and forth on the record. A woman was singing a very sad song. It seems that a little girl's Daddy had disappeared and her Mother told her he had gone to Heaven. An older woman sang the story part and, for the chorus, a little girl's voice would break in and ask the question, "How Far is Heaven?". When the song ended, I would get up get up from my little chair, and, standing on tiptoe, place the needle back at the beginning and listen again - and again - and again. That was probably the richest I will ever be.
This original acrylic miniature painting - 2.5 x 3.5 inches - is for that precious memory.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Promise

Blue Moon

I was in the fourth grade. My Aunt and I were under the chinaberry tree in Grandmother’s front yard. I was fiddling with Aunt Dot’s watch and talking about how much I liked jewelry and all the kinds I was going to have when I was grown. Aunt Dot pulled her arm away from me and put her hands on her hips and said, “I tell you what - when you get to the seventh grade, I’m gonna buy you a birthstone ring.”

I was beside myself with joy.

“A real ring?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she said. “A real ring. Your birthstone”.

A real ring was one that was not adjustable. It was made to fit your finger. And I was going to have one. My Daddy took us to a church that didn’t allow you to wear jewelry or any such foolishness as that, so this was BIG.

My ring would be a sapphire. I couldn’t wait.

I entered the seventh grade. Days passed and I didn’t hear from Aunt Dot. Maybe she was going to show up at my school one day with a little box so everyone would see her give my ring to me. Or maybe she was going to wait until my birthday. September passed. Surely she was going to surprise me with my blue ring at Christmas. But I didn’t even see her at Christmas. The next time I did see her, I mentioned right away that I was in the seventh grade and changing classes and making all A’s on my report card. I searched her face. I didn’t see any recognition that she remembered her promise to me. And I could not be so bold as to remind her of her promise. My Daddy might find out and he would have whipped me for having no manners.

Years passed.

I was looking in my jewelry box the other day, arranging and rearranging my rows and rows and drawers of bling. Lots of rings. Lots of foolishness. But I’m positive, nothing in there is as shiny as the sparkle of that one blue stone would have been...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Coca Cola Doesn't Taste The Way It Used To...

Lollybump Bridge

Do you remember how Coca Cola tasted when you were a kid?

We never had drinks or snacks at my house when I was a child. To get a taste of Coca Cola was something just short of a miracle. As I type, I close my eyes and inhale, and I can almost get the sensation - the cold hot burn of icy Coke rushing past my startled tonsils and down my throat. Almost a sin, it was so good.

Try as I might, I have been unable to find a Coke that tastes just that way. I switched to Pepsi. Nothing. I drink a lot of carbonated beverages now. I think it is just a habit - I'm trying to recapture the sensation of that first taste...

I drove past my childhood home a few months ago. It looked so small. The long driveway that I used to run down barefoot, all year round, was just a pitiful winding long streak of dirt. I used to think it took forever to get to the mailbox.

My paintings come from my memories. No matter what the subject, there is a tiny piece of a memory or those I have loved tucked away inside the strokes. But I cannot capture it just the way it was...

Blessings to You and Those You Love!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Used to Play the Piano...

"Barn at the Old Homeplace"

I used to play the piano.

I was the church "piano-player" for most of my teen-aged years. One time I heard a preacher tell my Daddy that it looked like God was moving my fingers across the keyboard. That stuck with me because I really didn’t know how I could play the piano so well – I couldn’t explain it. (I hated taking piano lessons.) But people would come to our church from miles around to hear my piano playing. I ran away and got married when I was very young and was unable to touch a piano again for many many years. I was looking at some of my paintings today and I noticed the fence posts in this one called “Barn at the Old Homeplace”. The posts reminded me of dilapidated piano keys and my rusted talent…

Over 30 years after I lost my musical talent, I picked up a paintbrush. I have never had an art lesson and don’t know how some of the paintings “happen”. When I say that I like to load up my brush and see what comes out, it’s just true! So, it seems that my painting is like my piano playing used to be – sometimes I don’t understand where it comes from. My art is rather primitive and mostly from my childhood memories. I will remember something that happened during my childhood and have the urge to get out the paints! Many people do not care for my style, but sometimes a piece will "speak" to someone, as is the way with art, and I make a connection.

Usually, the first time I paint something, like a tree, it is the best one. Practice doesn’t make perfect for me. The first time is usually the best. The first tree I painted was a good one. The tree I painted last night went into the garbage.

Use your talents wisely, whether learned or God-given.

Blessings to All!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Peachtree Street in Atlanta


I love to drive or walk down Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia. It always thrills me to the core! When my husband and I were just married and as poor as church mice, we would drive down Peachtree and look at the sights - the rich, the poor, the hotels, the restaurants, the lights! Oh - the lights! Years later, when I worked in Atlanta, I would take Peachtree Street to get to the interstate - a longer route - but my favorite thing to do at end of business day!

Things are more simple for me now. I no longer work for the "corporation" and when I go down Peachtree Street, it's just for fun. I can "swing" down Peachtree any time I take a notion to make the two hour hike from my home - and it still thrills my soul!

Blessings to all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

O'er the Land of the Free...

I have a nephew in Afghanistan. Please keep Jonathan in your prayers. We look forward to his safe return!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Have you ever wanted to just run away?

Spring Field

I'm having a day like that today. I just want to pack a few things and go. No roofs to worry about - no fixing or mending to be done. Nothing to do except what I want to do!
But I would be like Steve Martin in that movie, "The Jerk". He was going to leave and he said he would just go and not take anything with him. Then he kept moving about the house and picking things up and saying, "I don't need anything to take anything except THIS. I'm going and I don't need anything except THIS." And pretty soon he had his hands full with all the things he needed to take with him. The one thing I remember is he wanted to take his THERMOS. So funny. It makes me feel better now, just thinking about it. Sometimes when I get really down, I say to my husband, "I'm going to leave - I mean it - I'm going to leave and I won't take anything with me except my thermos!". Then we start laughing and it makes everything seem better - a little lighter, a little brighter. And, after all, tomorrow is always better.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ways to Fly...

Ways to Fly...

If only my decisions could be this simple again...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hello from the South!

A Visit with Spring

Hello from the South!

I live in a little town in the South where "a river runs through it"! At this time in my life, I am an artist - I love to paint and write!
I hope you take a peek at my paintings from time to time. I plan to post new art regularly.
If you enjoy what you see, please visit my on-line shop. It is called SOUTHERN COLORINGS. There, you can see more of my art. You can even purchase a piece if it tickles your fancy! The shop address is:
I paint from my heart and memories - mostly childhood memories. In my art, you will find pieces of those I have loved.

Thank you and many Blessings!


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fish Garden

Fish Garden
This is an ACEO. The size is 2.5 x 3.5 inches.
Surely fish have gardens too!