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,


Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Feels like the world is just rushing by me this summer.  There are some serious things happening, and some not so serious things happening.  All in all, it is just zooming past.

Paul & I landed in the NC mountains back during the last week of May.  He was here long enough to fix a couple of very important things and mow the yard.  

 Then I drove him to the little Tri-Cities airport and he boarded an Allegiant flight back to Orlando on that Thursday.  It was the longest drive back to the house EVER.  Took me a couple of days to get my attitude in check, my strength in order and my courage up to face what is in front of me.  But with the help of my sweet and precious friends up here, I'm good to carry on.  When we walked into the house, it looked like someone had just stepped out to the store and intended to come right back.  Coffee cups sitting on tables, things like that.  It struck me then how quickly we got out of here!  But we were greeted by these beauties!  They certainly were a welcome home gift!

We have already had one glue and grout day on the Verandah!  Soul quenching!
We are using things we can find around here, so china it is!  A lovely change in pace!

Cindy and Patti on the verandah just feels like it's always been so!

 Tammy's first grouted piece!

It may have also included picking strawberries out of the patch ... and they were so very good, too!  Tammy served us strawberry short cake earlier in the day ... we must've fallen prey to the goodness ...

Monday, June 2nd began the week of Weaving Class at the Crossnore Weaving Room.  It was an incredible group of 7 lovely women, all willing, ready and happily learning how to weave.  And I must say, each of them transitioned from student to weaver as the days went by!  Such a wonderful group!  Made the entire week such a pleasure!

This past Sunday I struck out for Atlanta.  Being sick is not my favorite thing.  And I was on a mission to see the "best of the best" to get diagnosed.  After having my appointment with Dr. Guy, I now have a plan of attack and shall be on the mend up here in the glorious mountain beauty.  Spit-Spot, thanks for that, Mary Poppins!  Happy dance right here. :-)

Atlanta has the most gorgeous spring of any place I know.  The azaleas and dogwoods, the hydrangeas, the lush green every where.  It just makes me want to hang out in the woods!  My friend Teresa has a lovely glassed in sun porch.  It is the most spectacular beginning to any day to sit out there and watch things pop open, watch the bunnies eat her clover and the squirrels get all excited because they are being invaded.  I really should just live in a thatched cottage in the woods. :-/

 Of course, while in the big city, I was fortunate enough to see all of my available children and their children and my heart is full and happy.  Even if nothing else helps with all of this changing, the love of those babies is the healing God himself provides when I most need it!  Grateful?  Immensely!  I even got to see my oldest grandson, Austin tryout for his soccer team, which he did make! Brought back lots of memories from a time long ago.  I was blessed enough to catch my beautiful daughter, Jenn and her son, Christian in a "lull" moment (probably a crazy time, but she made it possible with such grace) and I was able to meet the sweet Lathan, who is a visiting nephew.  I was able to spend time actually listening to my son tell me very cool things about his adult life.  Miraculous man.  And my daughter-in-law, Melissa is THE BEST.  That is all.

 I drove back up the mountain yesterday and was asleep by 9:20.  Then of course I wandered around half of the night, thank you rising full moon.  I am hoping to clean, pack and organize today with a furry that I haven't yet found since I arrived up here.  Whoo hoo!  I shall use the moon's energy to get it all done.  I can rest another day!  Just fyi, this is the last full moon on Friday the 13th until 2049.  Use it wisely! ;-)

I wish you all a great week and weekend, an incredibly productive full moon on Friday, and creative spurts that put you into sweet bliss.

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

THE Graduation Class of 2014

I had the distinct pleasure of being an audience participant today for 8 young men and women who graduated from The Crossnore Academy.  As always, it was a chance to wish some graduates the very best wishes from the depths of our hearts, to beam with pride, and to offer what words of wisdom would come tumbling out of our mouths.
I arrived in the mountains from my FL hiatus in time to see 8 of the best graduate from Crossnore Academy!  These kids have varied backgrounds which ALL include being removed from their homes as a result of neglect and/or abuse and put into a foster care system.  Sometimes they are in several homes before being assigned to Crossnore.  Siblings who are lucky go to Crossnore first as to not be separated in the foster system.
When the 8 graduates marched down the aisle to the obligatory "Pomp and Circumstance" processional, my eyes filled with tears.  They spilled down my cheeks, of course (hey, I'm a grandmother) and into oblivion some place as reality set in that these young adults were going on with their lives.  My mind had gone to all the places they'd been, the doubts, the obstacles, the recovery, the healing, and the journey these 8 kids took before their walk into this auditorium.  It was overwhelming.  And the respect I felt for them was massive!  It is, after all, their determination that got them to this point.  I was in awe of their accomplishments.
As the graduates took turns speaking during the ceremony, most of them very shyly, it became clear that I was not the only respectful admirer of their great journeys.  The entire room was in awe of these fine young men and women.  It is not an easy thing to tell the tale of.  It is even a less easy thing to imagine what their trail has actually been like.
As I was finally able to move my gaze from the kids, I began looking at the teachers and administrators.  They were each just beaming, grinning from ear to ear, chests up and out and eyes dancing, some with mist.  And the men and women who actually live with the kids in their cottages were mirroring the same proud demeanor that was on the stage.  And the love in the auditorium was thick enough to cut with a knife.  {You can sing Kumbaya right here if you'd like :-).}
 The Commencement speaker was Dr. Ronald Carter of Johnson C. Smith University.  I have never witnessed a more inspiring, empowering, dynamic address.  I encourage you to hear him speak if you get a chance.  His message was so on point for those kids.  One loud and clear point he made, "you are not your parents".  So important for these particular young folks to know that for a fact!  And, do not let ANYONE take your dream away from you!  You might be from abuse and neglect, but you are not that now!   And have faith.  God has a perfect plan just for you.  And he spoke from personal experience.  Always more credit with that fact!  Dr. Carter used some great phrases ... "Phase up", for example.  This man was a true gift today.   And he blessed them in a way they will always be able to benefit from.  Oh yes, and he blessed the rest of us, too.  You better believe it!  His theology background was ever present and his delivery was exquisite.  I was honored to have been in the presence of this man, soaking up his intention. 
The principal and the CEO of Crossnore were so elated today they drifted into the atrium on cloud 9.  Knowing that their role in the school system is just different from all those other schools.  Knowing their calling is worth the "stuff" that goes along with it, just to see 8 children (more or less) per year turn into "better than what they were when they arrived".  Knowing that they do operate a program for children based mostly on HOPE and nurtured by love and time.  Knowing that if they don't fight for a child's rights, most times no one will.  Knowing they simply made a difference in a human being's life and let me tell you, that feels euphoric!  And those are my words of what I saw in their eyes and in their grins today.
It is so amazing to realize all that goes in to making a "normal" school function well. But when the additional challenges are added in, and all of the miles of paper work is done, and the 5 systems are finally speaking; and eventually, those 8 kids that you've been advocating for get to walk down the aisle and participate in a commencement ceremony and graduate from High School .... it is sheer and utter Magnificence.
My love to each of you 8 graduates.  My admiration to each of you teachers, administrators, staff members and co-workers.  My gratitude to the Universe for guiding me into this tiny little spot in this big old world, where I get to participate in such goodness.  God has a perfect plan for us all.
 p.s. this is a post written from my heart.  I do not represent anyone else, nor do I have any one's request to write this!  My heart was just screaming to write it.  :-)

Friday, May 30, 2014

And the WINNER is

 So this morning I took out my purple hat (which was easy to do because I am in NC with my hat collection!)

I wrote all of the entrees on paper (yes, even those of you who could not make the blog understand you wanted to leave a comment!)

I put the entrees in the hat and drew out a winner's name (the old fashioned way)

The winner of the Pen and Paint, $25 Shop Credit Giveaway is
(drum roll right here)

 MARY WARNICK You are the WINNER!!!!  
Mary, send me your email address!

Thanks to everyone who participated, and hopefully you found a new favorite artist!
Thank you to Lindsay at Pen & Paint for letting me FINALLY officially endorse her fabulous work!!

Blessings to all,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vascillating (and a Giveaway)

 It's what's for breakfast, lunch AND dinner lately.  Some place between trying like a mad woman to stay young; and accepting that I am, in fact, a mad woman; and I would be best to just age gracefully and get over myself!  Humph!
The last several weeks of life has been coming at this Artsymatilda household fast! It has offered curve balls, fast balls and some real hard knuckle balls.  But it has also offered opportunities.  MANY different kinds of opportunities.
One opportunity was to make Mr. Paul a Prince Charming costume out of the only gold in the house, a table cloth.  And the crown is an old green St. Patrick's Day hat, redesigned and a Burger King paper crown added and updated.  Such a handsome Prince!

Most of our opportunities have to do with future plans.  Future ... an interesting concept when you are approaching an age in which one would normally be considering retirement.  All of these opportunities are blessings, and not the kind that are in disguises.  These opportunities are gifts which we intend to open and enjoy, and then scatter seeds of gratitude in every direction!
But if I am to be honest, some of the opportunities seem to be screaming for me to consider how many sunsets I have already seen!  

Pen & Paint Goodness!

Most of you have seen my inspiration wall, filled with beauty from all kinds of artists.   I have shared with you sweet readers here before, just how amazing and talented Lindsay Hopkins, from Pen & Paint is.  Her quotes are always perfectly snuggled into art that is filled to the last drop with creative goodness.  And they are gorgeous!  Hence, my window valance above.  And Lindsay is a lovely young woman, with precious plans and dreams all of her own!
C.S. Lewis is one of my very favorites!  As luck would have it, Lindsay has the PERFECT quote for Paul and I right now!  I love that it is in black and white ... so we can fill in the color with whatever we want!  I framed it in orange because I feel like it represents sunrise and sunset, all at the same time.  So perfectly us!

You are NEVER too old to Set a new Goal or 
Dream a New Dream
C. S. Lewis

 GIVEAWAY!!!  You can win a shop credit for $25 from Pen & Paint!!!  All you have to do is check out Lindsay's amazing work and comment back here on which one of her pieces is your personal favorite.  You can enter below.  Her shop is right HERE.
So easy to enter!  Don't forget to leave a comment so you are registered for the contest!
  Lindsay's work will help you to be inspired and to STAY inspired.  Keep a reminder at the ready.  Check your inhibitions and your negative committee at the door!!
Set yourself some dreams and goals.  No matter HOW many chattering voices tell you that you are too old!  It's invigorating.  ;-)
Go enter the contest!
And just a little peek at the sweetest ballerinas EVER who just finished their 6 week introduction into dance classes.  Be still my heart!  And thanks to, Laura Anne Photography for the precious photos!  You can visit Laura Anne Photography on Facebook to see her amazing work.