This Past Week

This past week I received a surprise bouquet of flowers
from a generous friend named Gary
who grows the most beautiful dahlias.

This past week I also learned I lost a dear blogging friend
whose name was Terry from his beautiful husband named Gary
after I spoke to him just the day before sharing my love and admiration.

This past week I worked and I played and I laughed and I cried
in determination and freedom and joy and in sorrow
for family and friends both cherished in my life and those I have lost.

Tomorrow is Labor Day in the United States.
A day set aside to honor the American labor movement and the contributions
workers have made towards the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of our country.

I think about Gary laboring over the beautiful flowers he planted.
I think about Terry laboring to breathe when I spoke to him the day before he died.
I think about Gary laboring to get through the days following the death of his love.

I think about those who labor to provide comforting care to hospice patients.
I think about those who labor in hospitals and emergency rooms and trauma centers.
I think about those who labor to protect our country’s freedom.

I am grateful for a weekend of respite
and the opportunity to work
this past week.

Cheers & Hugs,



Red Rock Mountains of Sedona

Last week, Hubby and I had the great privilege of traveling approximately 2,000 miles across the U.S. to visit a beautiful area of our country far different from the area we live in – the desert Southwest of Scottsdale and Sedona, Arizona.

A highlight of our trip was sightseeing the beautiful Red Rock Mountains of Sedona.  I took quite a few pics, but haven’t had much time to look at yet since we’ve just returned.  Here is one I really like, but even it doesn’t compare to the enormity, the vastness, and the beauty of experiencing this beautiful corner of the world in person.

The rocks in Sedona are a deep, rich, orange-red like no others around.  Apparently, they are comprised of sediment layers deposited over many millions of years*. The shale foundation is the remainder of ancient swamp lands. Other layers are the remainder of an ancient beachfront, known as the “Schnebly Hill Formation,” that deposited iron about 275 million years ago. The Coconino sandstone layer was formed at a time when Sahara-like dunes covered the majority of the Western US.  The Kaibab limestone layer was deposited when a warm shallow sea covered the area about 250 million years ago.

The Red Rocks we see today were formed several million years ago when the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau that created the Grand Canyon also caused water to carve out Sedona’s red rock, cake-like layers. Currently, Sedona is considered to be a part of the Colorado Plateau and is in the process of making mountains, raising an average of one inch every 60-80 years!

The temperatures during our one-week visit ranged between a  low of 102 to a high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit!  Whoooowheee it was hot!  It was a different kind of hot than we are used to in the Eastern part of the U.S., however, as the humidity levels were only around 10% as compared to our typical 50-100%, so it was much more pleasant.  (Especially when in the pool with a frozen margarita!)

This is a place in the U.S. that anyone who can, should experience!

Thanks for the memories Sedona!
I look forward to creating some paintings from your beautiful inspiration!

Cheers & Hugs,

P.S. Thanks Jayme and Ryan for being our gracious tour guides!  ❤


Amber Waves of Grain

Amber Waves of Grain - America the Beautiful

Amber Waves of Grain – America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

America the Beautiful.

Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.

Happy Birthday America!  Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

Cheers & Hugs,

On our way home from dinner out one evening a week or so ago, I convinced Hubby to pull over when we drove by fields of grain growing as far as the eyes could see as the sun was setting.   Amber waves of grain glowing in the sunset caused me to pause and rejoice in the beauty of the country we live in.

And lest you be fooled by the gloriousness of the moment… To get the right angle, I tried squatting in the field when my leg decided to cramp up, so I ended up on the ground with muddy knees and bum, and Hubby asking if I fell as he saw me rolling on the ground.  Thank goodness nobody else saw!  Just keeping it real here….. at life in between.


Niagara Falls: A Great Weekend Getaway

Niagara Falls - Horseshoe and American Falls - from Canadian Side - April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls – Horseshoe and American Falls – from Canadian Side – April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls:  A Great Weekend Getaway.

When Hubby and I decided to “getaway” for a weekend…

Hubby suggested Niagara Falls to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.

Niagara Falls is truly a natural wonder to experience!  We are fortunate it is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from our little town of Mars.

Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls - April 1, 2017

Horseshoe Falls – Niagara Falls – April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.

Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by vertical height and flow rate.

Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than six million cubic feet (168,000 m3) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost four million cubic feet (110,000 m3) on average.

The Niagara Falls are famed both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power.*

Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls - April 1, 2017

Horseshoe Falls – Niagara Falls – April 1, 2017

We had fun visiting both the U.S. and Canadian side of the falls (a passport is necessary to travel between the two).

It was a bit chilly in early April, but so worth it to avoid crowds!  We visited early morning when the mist was heavy on the “American Side.”  We walked the path along the “Canadian Side” during the afternoon when the sun broke through the clouds.

A highlight to experience (which we did) is riding the Aero Car, suspended by cables, over the Niagara Whirlpool.  The Whirlpool is formed at the end of the rapids where the gorge turns abruptly counterclockwise and the river escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.

Aero Car over Niagara Whirlpool - Niagara Falls - April 1, 2017

Aero Cable Car over Niagara Whirlpool – Niagara Falls – April 1, 2017

A visit to Niagara on the Lake is another highlight, with quaint shoppes and wonderful wineries that host pairings and tastings.

It was wonderful to head back to the U.S. side and experience the Falls at sunset before heading for dinner.

Niagara Falls at Sunset - from American Side - April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls at Sunset – from American Side – April 1, 2017

And after dinner, another visit to see the falls lit up at night.

Niagara Falls after Dark - from American Side - April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls after Dark – from American Side – April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls is a great weekend getaway, with something for everyone – including casinos and wax museums and boat rides and cave tours.  This is not our first visit, so we’ve experienced some of the others previously.

There is something so beautiful and special and even a bit romantic about Niagara Falls.

Thanks to our guys for “kicking us out” so we could have such a great getaway weekend!

Cheers & Hugs,

*Niagara Falls Wikipedia

Hope Your Fourth of July is a Splash!

watercolor fireworks 5x7 fourth of july

watercolor fireworks 5×7 fourth of july

Happy Independence Day!

Not much time for painting this weekend since we are busy celebrating, but had to at least splash a little red, white and blue (with a touch of quinacridone gold too) for #WorldWatercolorMonth!

watercolor abstract fourth of july flag 5x7

watercolor abstract fourth of july flag 5×7

Cheers & Hugs,