Caught in the Net

Caught in the Net - Fishing Net in Black & White - Lake Arthur - May 2017

Caught in the Net – Fishing Net in Black & White – Lake Arthur – May 2017

Caught in the Net.

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?

― John Steinbeck, East of Eden


A good question to ask ourselves at the end of each day … “Have I done well?”

And if not…  tomorrow is  another day.

Keep on trying.

Be caught in the net of good.

Cheers & Hugs,

Child Gift-Giving: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ

Becoming a first-time grandma recently, along with several of my besties, has caused me pause to consider child gift-giving.

It is sooooooo easy to get carried away and spoil – especially these first ones.

So I was thinking it is time to establish the “trend” for hopefully lots more grandie gifts.

I have read several places a good rule of thumb to simplify child gift-giving is to consider four categories:

  1. Want
  2. Need
  3. Wear
  4. Read

Consider gifts in the four categories – buying one of each:  One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read.

Well – let’s see if I can stick with this…

In the meantime, my bestie’s first grandchild turned one, so going with a fish theme (just because I thought it was fun), I made the above little T-shirt for him (to WEAR), bought him some bathtub fishing toys (I think he would WANT to play with), some socks (I’m sure his mama could say he NEEDs), and the Dr. Seuss Book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” (to READ).

Happy Birthday Ben!  I hope the years don’t continue to go as fast as this first one did!

Cheers & Hugs,

The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind

autumn leaves in sunshine

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head?
A random song you haven’t thought about in a long time?

For days, I have had this one in my head – a classic I never tire of – and that withstands the test of time and ages: The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind (written by Bob Dylan 1962 – sung by Peter, Paul and Mary).

How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?
How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?

My thoughts today:

Let’s not turn our heads.
Let’s look up and really SEE the sky.
Let’s truly listen to and respond to people’s cries.

Let’s listen.
Let us realize that we can make a difference…
One person at a time
by turning towards instead of away,
by looking at head on.

Let us be present.
Let us not turn our heads and pretend we just don’t see.

The answer lies within each of us.
We can make a difference – one person – one act – at a time.

Cheers & Hugs,

Real can’t be ugly…

stuffed bunny watercolor card

How could I have missed this?

It is a classic novel.

It was made into a film, a musical, and a soundtrack.

It is a story that caused my heart to swell,
reminded me of the past,
gave me pause to consider the future.

It made me smile broadly.

It gave me a lump in my throat.

It caught me off guard and caused me to gasp.

Tears welled up, and then magic appeared.

The Velveteen Rabbit, illus. William Nicholson:

How could this be considered a “Children’s Novel” when it teaches such relevant adult life lessons?

“How about this old Bunny?” she asked.
“That?” said the doctor.  “Why, it’s a mass of germs!  Burn it at once.  What?  Nonsense!  Get him a new one.  He mustn’t have that any more!”
And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house.

How often does this happen in real life….
to real people….
whose hearts and souls are young,
but their bodies are aged, broken, weak, and have germs….?

How could I have missed this beautiful story that was never read to me as a child and that I never read to my children?

The Velveteen Rabbit.

Written almost 100 years ago, and I just bought my first copy this week…. via Amazon Prime….   for ages 3 – 7… and I am 52… and I LOVED it!

The life lessons are so deeply profound.
I so encourage you to read this… slowly – and at least twice:

The Gahan Girls: Thank you, Skin Horse. I couldn't have said it better myself.:

Thank you, Skin Horse, for your insightful wisdom.
I will try very hard to remember this every day.

Whether you have children or not, The Velveteen Rabbit is a MUST-READ!  It will be the best 10-15 minutes (depending on how long you linger over the beautiful illustrations) you’ve spent in a long time, and the best $7.49 you will spend this year.

A new, old, profound classic on our bookshelf!

It is waiting to be read to or by anyone who visits our home….   anyone who wants to know what it means to be REAL.

velveteen rabbit

Cheers & Hugs,


P.S.  I was so amazed by this story (which I discovered after a friend posted a quote on Facebook), that I had to draw a version of a stuffed bunny (a velveteen rabbit) late one night.  It came freely.   From a Google Search of stuffed bunnies, I saw a photo similar to this one I painted.  It came quickly and easily, and I was delightfully surprised when I saw how it turn out the next morning – when the paint had dried, and my eyes were clear, and it became “Real.”  And “Real can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Our Children

winter front yard bush 020115

My copy of “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran arrived a few days ago.

And what a treasure it is.

It is a book to be savored in small bits and pieces,

with words to be read over and over.

Several people told me about the section on Children, so it was the first place I went…

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I love this.
I hope to think I have raised my boys this way…
respecting that they have their own thoughts…
not forcing mine on them.

It was the greatest privilege of my life to house their bodies,
but I will never own their souls.

I’m so proud of the men they have become.
Sometimes we have different opinions, sometimes we disagree, but I have, do, and will always respect them immensely…
and love them all the same.

This was not necessarily the way I was raised, but that only makes me feel all the more convicted about it.
I am honored to bend my bow with gladness, and shoot two blazing, sharp, strong arrows into the world.

May all of our children be as unique and individual as they desire, like each snowflake that falls and blows in the wind and catches on thistly bushes.  And may we love them all and cherish their beauty.

With much love and pride to my Jake and Nick,
Your Mom