The Sky IS Spilling Over

Joining up with Five Minute Friday this week on the prompt:  rain Those 4 letters were once just a common word in my vocabulary that described the weather.  The word was neither good nor bad.  It just was.  It rained.  Or it didn’t rain.  I never gave it much thought. And then my husband became […]

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I Listen Because I Call Them My Own

I caught myself sending up a prayer yesterday, “God….” I say “caught” because when I heard my voice, after that one word, I stopped.  Seriously?  Was I going to talk to God that way? I thought about that prayer the rest of the day.  Mind you, there is nothing wrong with addressing God by using […]

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Finding Their Creativity at 85 years-old

As I placed the watercolor paint pots on the table, I heard a few moans from around the table.  “Where are our markers?” was the question of the day. Earlier in the summer, trying to save myself some prep time for each class, I searched for a way to get my pictures onto the canvas […]

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Blessed To Do Art With My Favorite People

“Those paintings look so different,” my sister said when I showed her a recent photo from a Cookies & Canvas session.  That made me laugh because although Cookies & Canvas is indeed a “step by step, follow the leader” type of paint class, everyone’s finished picture is unique.  I tend to follow the rules and […]

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Sacrifice, Surrender and Survival

Recently I discovered a wonderful new blog, The Perennial Gen.  The creators of this blog hope to reach out to women in mid-life and beyond.  I copied part of their mission statement and  placed it below because I wanted you to understand why I was drawn to these women, and why I wanted to write […]

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The Wonder Years by Leslie Leyand Fields – Book Giveaway!

  I attended a conference recently where I had the privilege of listening to a dozen women recite the essay they contributed to Leslie Leyland Fields’ newest book, The Wonder Years.  It was such a fun evening, as women talked on aging, faith, beauty, strength — and training bras! In three thematic sections – -Firsts, […]

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5 Reasons Why I Love To Paint With My Mother

If you are following my blog, by now you know I’ve fallen in love with this simple painting class I facilitate at my mother’s assisted living home.   I didn’t want to do it.  I did it for her.  But the joke is on me because  I’m crazy about this class — and these women.  I […]

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Painting Atomic Age Art Stirs Memories For Seniors

During the last class in February, as I was setting up the art supplies, the administrator asked if she could talk with me for a minute.  As I laid the last of the paints on the table, I followed her into the hallway, assuming she wanted to talk in private about something concerning my mother.  […]

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Living Between the Summits

A few years back, we visited my daughter and her fiancé in Colorado Springs.   It had been a few years since we had seen Pike’s Peak, and we decided to experience it up close and venture to the summit.  And why not take the train?  We drove the short distance to the railway, and purchased […]

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Assisted Living Residents Color Valentines for Their Sweethearts

The forecast for Friday was daunting.  The news was calling for a winter storm with 14 inches of snow threatening our area.  I texted my husband on Thursday afternoon, saying, “I think I’m just going to cancel class.”  His reply was almost instantaneous, “just wait until morning.”  I think he gets just as excited about […]

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Snowmen, Firesides, and Bookmarks — Assisted Living Art

A Snowman picture just seemed appropriate for the first art class in January at my mom’s assisted living facility.  The roads were snow-covered and the trees glistened with ice.  Brrr.  I think we should have had some hot chocolate as well.  As Loraine took her seat, she told me her daughter had taken down most […]

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Assisted Living Residents Paint My Life With Joy

As I was setting up for our first art class since the holidays, Phyllis came into the room, saying, “Connie, I want you to see something.”  As she got closer, she opened up her walker seat, and pulled out the coloring book I had given her for Christmas.  “Look!  I’ve been working on these pictures.  […]

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God Is Choosing You

I am an Old Testament girl. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to live under the law!  I’m all about God’s amazing grace, but oh, how I love that older book.  I can get lost in the stories (and drama) in the lives of those men and women. I identify with Moses, and his […]

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Senior Artists Accept Whimsical Turkey Challenge

  There were only a few moans of apprehension when my class of assisted living artists saw my example of a whimsical turkey.  “You want us to paint that”?  But once I set the canvas down in front of them, each person took a large paint brush and began to paint the background.  That’s how […]

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Seniors Embrace Art Classes

“I turned down a birthday party invitation because I didn’t want to miss art class.”  That’s what Phyllis said as she took her seat at the table.  “Oh, Phyllis, I’m sorry you’re missing a party!  I hope it wasn’t a family member.”  “No, just a good friend.”  Oh my…. I am happy that the residents […]

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This Series Was For Me

When attending a writer’s workshop, I heard an author say, ‘writing a book is like birthing a baby.’  And now, even after just  17,000 words, I get that.  I have had some labor pains as I’ve worked on this series, a few sleepless nights even.  It’s bittersweet that today is my last post for Do You […]

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We Should Be Better Prepared

As I sit here at my keys, thinking about the last couple of posts I need to write for this 31 Days series, my fingers are silent.  I promised to close out this month with a personal story about my journey of searching to belong.  And even though I’ve tried to be transparent as I’ve […]

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I Am Like Them and They Are Like Me

Today is Day #28 in this Write 31 Day challenge, Do You Belong, and I’ve invited a friend to speak in my place.  I first met Elizabeth Murphy two years ago at a writer’s conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Elizabeth is an enthusiastic encourager of women, a gifted storyteller, and an accomplished public speaker.  Elizabeth […]

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25 Ways to not BE-long

Be the center of attention Be a conversation stealer Be thinking of your answer Be a bad listener Be thinking about yourself because it’s ALL about you Be bossy Be the expert all the time Be entitled Be manipulative with flattery Be a grudge-holder Be unforgiving Be self-righteous Be right all the time Be demanding […]

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It’s Good To Be Me

One day I had lunch with an old friend, and we were catching up with everything our young adult “children” were doing.  We had been close when our children were babies, but hadn’t stayed in contact as the kids grew older (we all know how that goes — life just gets busy.)  But that day, […]

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Afraid To Be Me

Is fitting in the same as belonging?  It might be interesting to “unpack that bag” and see what we find.  I’ve quoted Brene’ Brown several times during this series, but she is the expert in the field, and no conversation about belonging is complete without her valuable research data.  Today, all quotes are from her […]

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Let’s Buy Some Whimsical Pillows

As we look around and search for our place of belonging, the world can be a very confusing place.  How can we find a place to belong when people are so divided?  Do I have to be “all in” to fit in?  Is conformity the only way?  Everything seems very sorted out.  Black and white.  […]

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Get Out There and Meet REAL People

This past summer, I attended a writers/speakers conference in Grand Rapids.  Throughout the two days duration of the conference, we were able to schedule one-on-one conversations with authors, speakers, editors, and publishers.  I was privileged to talk with 5 mentors.  Three of the 5 were what you’d typically expect from such brief professional encounters — […]

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

My grandson loves an app called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  Do you recall that name?  It’s a spin-off from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001) hosted by the endearing Fred Rogers.  Funny – his Mama LOVED Mr. Rogers when she was a little girl.  Even when I thought there were more entertaining, animated TV shows to watch, she […]

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What Makes You Tick?

Recently I was challenged to define my core values.  I mean really define them.  Put them on paper, and explain in detail why they define me.  I’m not good at these games.  I don’t really like introspection very much.  Or application questions.  I just like to fill in the blanks with generalities.  So this challenge […]

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12 Tips To Make That New City Your City

I read recently about a woman who was raised in Houston, and knew that city like the back of her hand.  A job promotion moved her family to Dallas, and with a trusty GPS, she traveled around her new city with no problems.  However, after 2 years, she still didn’t really know Dallas — she […]

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Don’t Steal Someone Else’s Perfect Place

I walked into the church cafe, and as I poured my coffee, I saw a woman who is normally in my small group on Sunday mornings.  “Hey,” I said, “we missed you upstairs this morning.”  She smiled and almost giggled when she said, “I’m trying a new endeavor.  I’m helping in the children’s department.  It’s […]

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Everyone Loves Good Fruit

You will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:16       The Fruit of The Spirit   As I continue with this series, Do You Belong, I am reminded of the gifts God give His children as we attempt to find our way while we are here on this earth.  Spirit-led people have these wonderful […]

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Maybe Kindness is Within Our Reach

I typed “bullying” into the search engine on YouTube and over 9 million videos were listed.  9,360,000.  I just sat there and looked at that number.  Next I turned to Amazon’s book section.  After typing “bullying” again into the search engine, I watched as 101 pages of books were listed.  Not 101 books — 101 pages of […]

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Where Shame, Mercy and Grace Collide

Shame.  Mercy.  Grace. How do all these words tie together?  And do they have anything to do with our sense of belonging? These are deep concepts that are hard to handle in a simple blog.  By a simple person.  But because my post from last week (Does That Shame Really Belong in Your Baggage) touched on these […]

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When Your People and Your Place Are New to You

During this two day hiatus from the Write 31 Days challenge, I’d like to share two books that are valuable resources if your place of belonging has actually changed to a new location on the map.  These pages offer wonderful insight during times of transition.  Both of these books will help anyone move ahead in a […]

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Once You Are Real

On this 14th day of the Write 31 Day challenge, I am sharing a quote from Margery Williams Bianco’s book.  It is a wonderful reminder that it is always easier to be real, vulnerable, and risk takers when we know we are loved. “REAL isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a […]

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Does That Shame Really Belong in Your Baggage?

When I was a sophomore in high school, a boy decided a good nick-name for me would be Tank.  That’s right, Tank.  Just what every 15 year-old girl wants to be called.  I’ve never told another living soul that until now.  I use to hide from him at school.  If I saw him in the […]

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Its Time To Put On Our Capes and Be Brave

I’m working on being brave.  I’m working on my courage.  I want to be a superhero. My granddaughter is one of my superheroes.  She can see the kids on the fringe.  She is sensitive like that.  She knows when girls aren’t fitting in.  About a month ago, a new girl showed up at her youth group.  […]

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I Tend To Hug The Wall

You don’t have to search long to find a discussion about the differences between introverts and extroverts.  It’s a popular theme of many blog posts and articles.  Even Facebook has joined the debate, and you can play a short game to know definitively whether you like to be with people or not.  Like we need […]

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Her Head Knows, But Her Heart

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this blog post.  And to be honest, I thought the best thing to do was to just delete the series and pretend it never happened.  I don’t want to play anymore. I can’t solve deep issues like “being enough” here on this silly blog.  […]

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I Am Never Enough

I am finally typing.  I’ve been resisting all morning.  Finding so many ways to procrastinate.  Facebook.  Online shopping.  Email.  What else can I find to do before I hit the keys?  This is a hard topic.  Do you belong?  Do I belong?  And if not, why not?  To look deeply into this issue can be […]

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It Wasn’t Ever Going To Be My Home

The table was cluttered with scraps of colorful fabric and long lengths of ribbon.  Thread clung to my shirt and littered the floor.  I am a messy seamstress.   In the corner, on top of an old, creaky ironing board, a steaming iron hissed, ready to press the seams of my newest creation.  The ironing board […]

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If We’re Honest

Sometimes we build the walls that keep us from fitting in.  Walls nobody can get through. Sometimes we’re pretending to be somebody we’re not. Only when we are transparent enough to be who God created us to be do we find our place, our people. You can catch the previous post here (All I Know […]

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All I Know Is I’m Not Home Yet

On Day 2 of this 31 day writing challenge, the title of my post was, This is NOT Where I Belong.  Ever since that post, I can’t get this song out of my head.  Today I am going to put the song with lyrics right here for your enjoyment. Click here for previous post. God […]

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Is Green Acres the Place for Me?

Recently a new friend, a mentor actually, confidently said, “I have a deep need to belong”. My first thought was, ‘Wow, did she just say that out loud?’ I, too, have always had a deep need to belong, but I thought something was wrong with me.  Like I was insecure or just too needy.  So […]

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The Pages of The Story Keep Turning

So here we are, real characters in this ‘grand epic’, this amazing story of God’s.  But do you ever feel like you didn’t get here at the first roll call?  Like you’ve arrived in chapter 2?  It seems as though everyone already has a part, a role, if you will.  Everyone knows exactly what’s going […]

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A Grand Epic

When I am looking for a good summer book to read, I like to find a nice long novel.  I want to hold the actual book in my hand, and I want it to be thick with pages.  When I turn the book over to read the back cover, I want the description to say, […]

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This is NOT Where I Belong

Adam and Eve were placed into the Garden of Eden.  It was where they belonged.  One wrong decision changed their lives, and set them on a different course.  I left off in yesterday’s post questioning if they could ever find complete peace and contentment after they had been banished from their home.  I think a […]

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Created Into Community

Right from the get-go, man had community. Once upon a time there was a man named Adam and…  well, the animals.   That’s a community, right? There is a bit more to the story than that, but man was created into community.  Adam “belonged” even before his eyes beheld any of the newly created beauty around him.  […]

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Just a Simple Magnifying Glass

I wasn’t prepared for the reaction Phyllis had when I set the magnifier in front of her.  “Oh my!  Look at that! Can you believe it?  Wow.  I can see the detail!  Oh my!  Wow.  I just can’t believe it.”  Her response went on, “I bet I can read the newspaper now!  Look at that! […]

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“Follow Me” Was Coined Long Before Twitter

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God — even as I try to please everybody in every way.  For I am not seeking my own good but the good of […]

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Encourage the Artist in your Life today

  Some of you, who are artists, might recognize this picture.  It was one of the very first drawings I did as an adult when I rekindled my interest in art.  It is an exercise in the infamous book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards.  This exercise is titled, “Upside-Down […]

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Color Or Paint? Assisted Living Art Class Update

In my last blog post, I promised to keep you updated on the art class at my Mom’s assisted living facility.  We have had two classes since that last post.  Not many words today, I’m going to let the pictures from our time together speak for themselves… Here are the pictures from our second class […]

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