Monday, August 18, 2014

Slipping into Something a little More Comfortable & Walking on Sunshine!

Well, we made it! Walking on sunshine!  Two weeks and counting.  Most of the boxes are unpacked and there are not many nooks and crannies left open!  It is amazing to me that before we moved we thinned out so much, yet not enough!  My car is filled with things going to the donation center.  I have a new found joy in letting go.  And it has taken some serious  consideration to get there!  It's all working out!  

 We had an unpacking marathon yesterday.  Gosh, it was FABULOUS to get all of that put away and reclaim the space inside this area for more important things!  And the beautiful Heidi Fisher quilt is now displayed for ALL to see!  I am starting a trend here in FL.  ;-)

The comfort level is about 100%.  It is warm (ok, hot ~ but the point is, not freezing).  Vitamin D refills are right outside the door.  It is gloriously beautiful.  Not the same beauty as Grandfather Mountain, and this I plainly state.  He is GORGEOUS in a unique and perfect way.  But goodness knows, there is such beauty in sunshine.  And this cactus lives in the corner of the my neighbor's backyard that is beside us.  It is beautiful!  I've decided it is a very old man, so gnarly and battered, but his flowers come out at dusk and last until mid morning when the sun heats up.  It is spectacular to watch! The night we drove in from North Carolina, he had 2 or 3 dozen blooms.  So beautiful!  It is such a surprise to see something that normally looks very menacing and angry with prickly bits all over it to all of a sudden be the epitome of beauty with soft yellow flowers all over it.  Surprises are happening to us every where.  It's like being on a never ending adventure!  A good thing for us.

We are both working...doing what we love to do and even having fun doing it!  Paul is making some gorgeous iron work.  The company he works for just finished installing ironwork in the Four Seasons Hotel at Disney.  Gorgeous Hotel! Beautiful work!  Happy man.  Win/Win.  :-)  His badminton extravaganza continues with great gusto and he is organizing tournaments and all sorts of things.  His enthusiasm for life never ceases to amaze me and I am so grateful for the positivity!
I stepped into the Dance Studio last Monday for the first day in a new season.  The feeling of great gobs of happy was inside and outside, all throughout my entire being.  It felt SO GOOD to teach again ... and to teach dance again was the bonus.  And I was comfortable.  And I felt like I was once again home.  I am so grateful to Susi and Kelly, who still believe in me and invited me back.
The house here in FL is comfortable and we love it.  It is small enough to manage but large enough to get alone time when needed.  I have a perfect little studio with all of my treasures and art supplies, and a pretty long list of things that need to be made for sweet clients.  I have most of it put together now, so this week will begin the parade of handmade gems from artsymatilda. :-)
And just for you, Cindy Michaud, here is my gallery wall thus far:

The state of the studio went from this in every square inch of the floor

To this,  the art studio ... where I will live and breathe the majority of my time at home.  The energy in this room is awesome.  Added to my normal things to do in here are the new tasks of downloading music, choreographing classes and doing all things dance.

 I have stations because I do a variety of art ... this side is art related, 
paints, brushes, gel mediums, etc.  Plus weaving cotton and books.
journal making station here, plus the printer
mostly financials in the bins, big red bin on bottom is mosaic glass ... prep table in the corner where I cut out fabric, paint & doodle, etc.

 sketching and notecard writing station also here

 sewing center, obviously need to put the fabric on the shelf.  Still in progress there ... 
 wrapping papers, cork for mosaics, glass for mosaics and some lovely happy precious artwork

 My sweet desk ... my favorite piece of furniture.  And upon it are a myriad of projects.  All dance related today. Yay!  Music gathering ... always fun but SO time consuming!
 So my gratitude meter keeps pegging out!  The things I am grateful for are, well EVERYTHING.
We are blessed ... we are thankful ... and we are comfortable in our own skins, once again.  Personally, I am still seeking balance.  This may be the first time that my word for the next year will be the same one as the word of the year before.  Maybe 2014 is remedial balance, and 2015 will be advanced balance?  It is already toward late August.  Not that much more time in the year to get it figured out!  Have y'all ever had a do-over?  That's what this is feeling like.  :-)

Amongst the giant list of things I am giving thanks for is my improved health.  Goodness knows, this has been a CRAZY time for my poor body.  I am continuing to regain strength, for which there is no replacement.  I am able to do all the things I took for granted; walking around, cooking, talking to people, getting from the car to the store and back again, ingesting food & drink, staying out of the bed the entire day, yard work, laundry, etc., etc.  There is no taking for granted any more.  I am SO glad to be reporting the improvement!  And now I get it.  I understand when someone is sick, not able to regain footing, and all the things that are involved with illness.  And I wish perfect health for EVERYONE, always!

Like Red Shoes Catherine!  Who got this report back this week.  Great news!
The IG community held a big auction for her.  It was filled to the brim with love.  Everyone was so truly invested in her improving health.   I just know the support of friends makes all the difference in the world in/on a healing palette.  I am so grateful for all of my sweet friends, Olives, who clustered around me and fed me healing support and energy.  I know that was a MAJOR part of the healing I have received.  And to honor them, I unpacked the tambourines so we could all be in the back-up band together!  So here's to you, Olives: Patti, Peg, Cindy, Barbara, Lisa Lu, Heidi, Yvonne, and Tammy, for all you do, are and stand for!  I have boxes filled with these.  Come on down!!  They are waiting for you!

Our NC house is officially on the market.  Braswell Realty in Newland has the listing.  If you know of, hear of, dream of anyone who may be interested in buying an old beautiful home, please give them a nudge.  Although we love the home itself, we are invested in making this change.  And I would love to see another family in that home who could love it like we have.  Linda Taylor is our agent up there.  Making two house payments is no kind of fun ... <3  Help is appreciated. :-)
When I wrote I would be blogging more, I think I forgot to account for the unpacking!  When all is said and done, I'm sure the writing will pick up its pace!  Until then, I'll continue to try to update as time allows.  But meanwhile, here are some other beautiful photos you NEED to see!  Our very precious Tessa Jane in her photo shoot glory.  This little girls melts my heart, delights me in ways I cannot even imagine or express, and fills my soul with love and light.  She is such a HUGE blessing to our family.  Along with the three grandsons in our lives.  We are so richly blessed.

 Blessings to you all!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bitter Sweet Balance

Yep! Balance ... bitter sweet.  Who knew?  My word for the year 2014 is Balance.  
Whatever foresight "snuck" in and nailed that word to my forehead was amazingly accurate.  This has been a year like no other in my history.  That's saying something all by itself. ;-) I have actually returned to a place I have lived before.  That has only happened once in my lifetime before this, and it was because my mother was ill.  This time is because we made a choice to return to the other side of the balance beam.  And although the decision was originally made through completely different circumstances, the final decision has turned out to be of our own choosing.  Isn't it awesome to live in a country where you can just choose where you want to live, what you want to do, eat when you need to, make friends with anyone you want?  Always thank the military, y'all.  They are awesome.

Last month was a non blogging month.  We were busy.  It was a "pack up a house 2 times bigger than the one you are moving into" kind of month.  Slightly complicated by the fact that the "moving into" house was already filled with furnishings and treasures from the partial move in January.  There were a lot of decisions to be made, along with really tough "letting go" cleansings.  And then the saying, "so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight" to friends, both two and four legged; it was tough.  Well, actually, it still is very tough.  It will find its place amongst the rubble, I suppose.  The settling is the tricky part.

First there are the decisions - the practical stuff.  Then the emotions come in to play.  Then, the opinion of others sneak in.  Then the second guessing and the questioning yourself.  It was like being a ping pong ball for months.   It was as if the scale on which we were measuring the balance was constantly masking as a teeter totter.  It was just exhausting.  I found myself very quiet.  Hence, no blogging.   No energy for it.

And now it is over.  The new book is here, and the first chapter has begun.  We are once again unloading a trailer with our treasures, hoping to find a place for everything.  There are a couple of "loose ends" up in NC ... and that is all.  There were a lot of things that didn't go as we planned.  As always, in the end, they went perfectly and were much better orchestrated than what we could have done on our own.  The Universe if amazing.  I even got to see my beautiful, gorgeous, precious and brilliant daughter, Jenn.  And she came up and worked her little bootie off helping pack up and making decisions I just didn't have the strength to make.  And I will forever be grateful to her.  Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks. 

Photo by Heather Turner of Strawberry Goldie,
daughter by another mother
xoxo Heather
And I have a very good friend who is watching over our house for us until things change in that arena, as well.  And the packing would never have been finished if not for him.  So, so many thanks, Jim.  I feel quite sure all things will be fine.  And life remains all good.  And we remain ALL GRATEFUL!  Even Tinkerbell, our trusty "wagon" got us back to FL without too much complaining.  :-)  I know she is as tired as we are at this point!

First thing to unload?  A piece of happy art from one of the best friends I have ever made.  Thank you, Tammy.  We love it.  And although it doesn't fill the place in my heart that you and your family occupy, it at least keeps my heart filled with happy memories.

And thanks for letting me love these two like my very own grand babies.  I already miss them gobs and bunches.  Please don't forget all those photos you promised to send!

Peg, Cindy, Heidi, Barbara, Patti & Yvonne
I had an opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful women on the planet and share time with them.  We will always be a force ... The Olives; The Goddesses of the Verandah.  I will forever treasure each of you.  And you will always be a HUGE part of my Grace, Gratitude and Sister Act.  *And Tammy, Lisa & Jane, you must not have been at this Verandah experience, but you are NOT forgotten!

And as a bonus to these women, there are amazing folks whose acquaintances I was fortunate enough to make.  And because of Facebook, we can all stay in touch.  Bryon, Will & Jamie (& Randy, who ducked out of this photo), it was such a pleasure to hang out with y'all.  Can't wait to do it again sometime!  Maybe in my neck of the woods!?  Or someplace with ample Vitamin D! ;-)

I will treasure the community we were involved in; The Crossnore Weaving Room and the weaving genius women, downtown Elk Park & their small business heros, The Roan Mountain food oasis', the children & their parents whom we met whilst teaching, refereeing, coaching and just being and my incredible neighbors.  I will miss the casual ways of the mountains; not having to lock your doors, herding your neighbors goats, having the neighbor's dog be your security alarm, minimal traffic, kindness of strangers times 100, being a part of a real village and the simplicity.  And there were a few other people who I will hold forever close in my heart .. Shannon & Beckye, you two lead the pack.  Shannon, thanks for your ALWAYS being there to help...and even offering your strong, strapping, 17 year old Caleb! He was awesome.  There are so many to mention, please do not think I haven't thought of each one of you, even if you are not named here.  Especially gems like Sarah & Brian Whitfield & family, Sara Moody and Meghan Daiuto.  Such history we will always share.  I wish all y'all ALL GOOD THINGS!

Truth is:  almost 8 years after moving to the mountains of NC, I am tired.  And I have been quite ill.  So, I am going to bid farewell to the ties that bind me.  And I am going to embrace the life ahead.  I am going to raise my Vitamin D level, at the urging of my healthcare provider ;-).  I am going to heal through happiness of teaching children and making art.  

And Paul & I are going to finally get to live in the same place and enjoy each other, our partnership, what we have created together ... and of course, our kitties, who I missed a GREAT deal.

And they all lived happily ever after ...


 I have been taking a fabulous art e-course with the amazing and incredible Jenni Horne.  If you are not familiar with her, do yourself a favor and check her out.  She is a lovely person, a wonderfully talented artist and writer, a mom, wife, etc., etc.  Super human, like all of you!  Go here to check her out!   Best art course (not even kidding) that I've ever taken  --- and it was on line!    AND it kept me sane during the chaos and craziness. Most of the time I took the class in my jammies with coffee, gazing out at the mountain.  It was delightful!  Thank you, Jenni!
In order to move on ahead (forward, even) I had to document the events that took place in July.  

Mostly upcoming on the blog here will be:
And I cannot wait!

Blessings to you all,

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Another World

My little world sort of tilted on its axis in late May.  There was a shift in Cheri-ville that has been a real trial.  The changes in location, changes in jobs & career stuff, moving, packing, traveling ... no big deal, right?  WRONG!  Related health issues turned out to be a really big deal!  Who knew!?!
Introspection, of course, turned everything plain as day.  All the life changes and frustrations trying to be digested, along with Mercury being retrograde, turned otherwise healthy intestinal function rancid, toxic and debilitating. Humph!!!  Upon visiting a few different health professionals, a scientific diagnosis was made and proper medications were dispensed, and I am truly grateful and ecstatic to say, I am feeling a major improvement now!  It won't be long before I have my energy and strength back and am rocking and rolling once again.  Let me just say right here, right now, how very blessed I am that I did not just "kick the bucket" a couple of weeks ago.  Truly blessed and VERY grateful.  And I was rested as a side benefit!

I arrived back up in Avery County in our little universe on the mountain top in late May.  My sweet Paul brought me up, mowed the yard and went back to Orlando to begin a brand new job!  (all good things, counted as blessings and given grace for)  I was intending to pack up this big ole house, have a bunch of garage sales, enjoy the cooler than Orlando weather, and hang with the Goddesses on the verandah for a couple of months, while working some at the Weaving Room.  However, too weak and frustrated to do any packing, I had plenty of time to "therapute", read a few good books, educate myself on my condition, have lovely and delightful visits with my very precious girl friends, and of course, visit some doctors and nurses along the way.  Here is some of what I've been up to while convalescing.

OF course, there are Goddesses on the Verandah.  How could I possibly heal without them?

l to r, Peg, Cindy, Heidi, Barbara, Patti and Yvonne
We are welcoming a new Goddess member this summer, Peg Shroeder.  I was fortunate enough to meet Peg in a weaving class I taught the first of June.  I knew by the 2nd day she would fit right into our little group.  Such a lovely woman and delightful addition!!  She is currently living in Newland  with her sweet husband and enjoying a life out of the hustle and bustle of the big city.  Peg, we are so glad that you dropped into our little universe here!!

And we even have a Goddess in training, sweet Everly.  This little girl came to visit during art day.  Precious is the word.

There are art days on the Verandah, too.  These two lovely women showed up at my house with bags filled with magic ingredients to make the BEST quiche I ever put in my mouth.  They busied their inner chefs in my kitchen, all the while acting like it was NO BIG DEAL to come 20 miles out of the way (one way) and make dinner for a pitiful friend.  Well, it was a GIANT BIG DEAL to me, and I will always be grateful for their love and kindness!  Many, many thanks, Cindy and Lisa!

There is a little bit of creative productivity.  Sitting up took a lot of energy, so not a lot of pretty product produced (say that three times fast) ... but I really like this piece so, at least there is that!

 I'm sure you recall Cindy Michaud's project of last summer and fall, 'Sainted and Painted, Stories of the Not Wholly Holy' in which she wrote a book about 12 of her friend "Saints" and then painted them all (or visa versa) ... check it out HERE for update if you missed it. 

 I mention this because one Verandah evening, the Goddess Gathering brought 3 of the Saints to the same table, along with the author of the book, Cindy. So here you have a photo of 3 Saints and the Pope!  ;-)

 l to r: St. Patti, Pope Cindy, St. Cheri and St. Lisa
photo credit, Barbara Aycock

There are daily visits with these two precious tiny humans.  They touch my heart in a way no adult can.  They are learning so fast and growing even faster.  They have captured my Nana's heart, of course.  They are entertaining and loving, and quite simply, precious.  AND their Momma, Tammy, has been another one of the healing fairies in my recent days.  She is always ready with food,  support and letting me love her babies.  I am truly, really grateful for this family of Brinkleys.  Thanks, y'all.  True rays of sunshine and fields of daisies, which Tammy paints beautifully!!

Stephen & Everly

Daisies  art by Tammy Brinkley

There was a Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery Art Auction to attend that was simply glorious.  Managed by this beautiful lady, Heidi Fisher, the gallery is always promoting beautiful art by wonderful artists and expanding the art education of Avery County.  The evening was lovely and raised a tidy sum for the Crossnore School's Stepping Stone program.  It provides necessities for the children who have reached 18 and are no longer able to stay on the campus with the younger folks, but they are not quite ready to move on.  They can stay in the Stepping Stones program to finish high school, begin college, find a job, and basically learn how to survive as an adult.  It's a much needed program and very prudent for the service Crossnore provides in educating children.  The Art Gallery is the only place where the proceeds go to that program.  What a great honor to raise funding for such a wonderful cause!  You can like the Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery page on facebook to keep updated on the latest and greatest things Heidi and her artists are doing in the gallery.  You will recognize some of the artists, I promise. ;-)

  Additionally, Heidi is another of the Goddesses who is helping me heal, having me stay in her home and spoiling me with her sweet spirit, her incredible cooking and her lovely, lovely house and land.  Heidi, if you ever give up Art Gallery Managing, please become a healer and have spirit filled weekends at your house.  You totally rock! xoxo

I went to Atlanta to see my doctor.  The one who has been treating me since 1985, Dr. Guy.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!  When he asked his lead in question, "So what's going on?" and I answered, the look on his face was worth the trip down.  For the very first time in almost 30 years he told me I would have to seek out traditional medical attention because I needed some antibiotics S.T.A.T.  And in order to get them, I would need lab work to confirm the suspicion. I may or may not have been in shock with that coming out of his mouth, but I followed through with a clinic in Boone that turned out to be a saving grace.  Let me just say here, being a new patient looking for a doctor is an adventure in system manipulation and patience.  I now have an appointment for July 1, that I was able to get after stalking a particular doctor's office for over a week and begging. Ugh.
However, going to the doctor in Atlanta was also an excuse to visit my kids instead of pack up a house with no energy, stamina or ability to think about such things.
So I was able to visit my sweet Tessa again, along with her parents and big brother.  I was honored to watch our first grandson, Austin try out for the soccer team.  He is such a cool kid.  With lots of 14 year old energy. :-)  And he is officially in high school.  WHAT????
Tessa is now saying "momma" and taking some steps.  They grow SO fast.  
Cade was able to visit them recently, but sadly I missed seeing him. :-(   Tessa is happy to see him!  Both brothers are very smitten with little sister ... as it should be.  And my appreciation is HUGE to Jon & Melissa, who let me come and crash their home with such a generous spirit while I visit with everyone.

 So, so adorable, beautiful, precious, amazing and heart warming!

Austin's soccer tryouts.  He is the third lime yellow/green shirt from the left.  

He made the team!  We are so proud of him.  And he turned 14 years old on the 18th of June.  Wow! High School and everything coming right up.  Yikes! Where did THAT time go?
Cade and Tessa
Cade looks so much like his dad did when he was the same age that I have to do double takes when I see photos of him.  I am so bummed that I didn't get to see Cade this time through ... but maybe next visit I will be up to a trip again.
I was fortunate enough to catch my very busy daughter, her son and nephew for lunch whilst in Atlanta.  It was a coveted hour and a half, I assure you!  So good to set eyes on them and put arms around them.  And to see how much my grandson has grown and how blessed and healed he is.  Plus, it's always enlightening to touch two miracles in one day. :-)

 l to r Christian, Jenn and Lathan

Jenn has recently been blessed with all kinds of good things.  She was recently interviewed in  You can read it RIGHT HERE!  I am so proud of her, her hard work and her persistence.  Not to mention the woman she is!  And her health is getting some positive attention as well.  There are so, so many blessings to count.  Life is good.

I also was able to visit with Teresa and Sabrina, two 20+ years long friends of mine.  The power of healing is in love.  I truly felt that when I returned up to the top of the mountain.


I made the annual journey to Washington, DC with the Crossnore Weaving Room's Manager, Lisa Banner again this year.  It was, on all accounts, a spectacular trip.  We raised a good deal of funds for the school and, as Lisa says, "for the kids".  That is always our first and foremost goal.  The sisterhood at the DAR Continental Congress is astounding.  Thousands of women (quite literally) all coming together for a greater cause (Daughter's of the American Revolution).  But the interaction we see between the ladies is precious beyond words.  These are women who sometimes only see each other every 4 years, but their bond has been established.  They are darling to watch, and we get to sneak peek a lot from our booth.  I am blessed and grateful to have been given an opportunity to make friends with some of the women.  And it is really fun to reunite with them after a year.  Also, well ... DC is a great city, and there were always a lot of options for entertaining ourselves after hours.  But just to be clear, driving to D.C., hauling the merchandise into the hall, setting up the booth, educating and selling for 5 days running, packing it all up again, hauling it all out of the hall, and driving it home is HARD work.  Lisa is a Champion.  I am so honored to stand beside her as we represent the school.  And as I absolutely believe in The Crossnore School and their mission, it was a wonderful way to spend the week!

And as a bonus this year, two of our former students were asked to sing at the School's Supper event.  And that allowed Lisa and I to see them once again.  These are beautiful girls, inside and out!

l to r: me, Giselle, their mom, Annette, Lisa      
Lisa and I arrived back at the school at 1 a.m. in a major rain storm this morning.  I got to my house about 1:30.  I was asleep by 1:40.  Albeit long and hard hours, I am always a better person when I've had the opportunity to give for a cause greater than my own petty stuff.  IT is such a joyful return home knowing we have made a difference, been touched by a little culture, and survived the test once again!!  It is nothing like what the children of Crossnore have to live through day in and day out.  It is a huge reminder to touch base with the perspective of others' realities.    And I'm always saying grace with a GREAT BIG smile in my heart.

I put a call out to the girlfriends and asked for boxes.  They all showed up with them, and now I must fill them.  Lots of them.  And quickly.  Please send good thoughts!  And I will be eternally grateful to you for that!  It was interesting to know who showed up with liquor boxes, who showed up with milk boxes and who showed up with a variety of boxes including water and printer boxes.  I appreciate each one of them, believe me!  So this week, packing and sorting and throwing out will be my agenda. 

Our precious Goddess, Yvonne has fallen and broken her hip.  I do not have much information to date.  But please send prayers her way, and to her sweet husband Paul, who is having to hold his own while Yvonne is in rehab.  We love you, Yvonne.  Please heal quickly.  We will hold you close in our thoughts and prayers until you navigate your way through the maze. 

And Finally ...
This morning when I hooked up to Face book a friend of mine had shared a video of a young man dancing in a competition.  He was exquisite, and then some.  Her status bar read as follows:

The passion for his dance is clearly demonstrated in his skill level. Thank God for instructors like Cheri Glover and Paul that know how to draw that kind of excitement into their charges! I know this isn't one if your students but as a parent of one of your former students, YOU ARE MISSED!

Part of what I am working through considers all the changes that Paul & I are making.  We've gone back to Orlando and have been welcomed with open arms, wonderful job opportunities and warm air.  We have made the decision to stay there and I am constantly looking for a sign that it is the right thing for us to do.  I so miss teaching  kids as my main activity.  I love weaving, I truly do.  And I love selling the weaving and teaching on occasion.  But my calling is teaching children.  And the opportunity to go back to what I love and know is a nugget greater than I could ever have dreamed of.  So it is with a very grateful heart that I will be on The Dancer's Pointe roster this coming season and I begin teaching the week of August 11th.  Therefore, Janis Foskett, I cannot tell you how very touching it was to read your post this morning, nor can I tell you how very grateful I am to you for being the messenger I have been longing to hear from.  Thank you, dear friend, for writing that.

I think I've about caught you up to date with what I am doing, thinking, and living.  My only other thought is to say, I 100% miss Paul.  And I am counting the days until we meet again.  Even if I don't know when that is going to be!  I love you, honey (just in case you read this).

 Blessings to you all,