Grace

Since I was a young child I’ve loved the number 5. I remember counting by fives over and over again. I enjoyed the rhythmic sounds of multiples of 5. I didn’t know what the number 5 represented. I only knew that for some reason I loved the number.

Years later I found out that 5 is the number symbolizing God’s grace. I was comforted because I loved the number so but I also found it quite strange. The reason I found it strange? The life I’ve lived and the hardships I’ve endured required that grace would hold me up and strengthen me. I know that it was God’s grace that brought me through-and still is.

In spirit, coincidence doesn’t exist. Only destiny does. We are predestined to come and live on this planet. Everything happens for a reason: good and bad. It took over half my life for me to admit that even the worst things I’ve endured have happened for a reason. I believe we are here to learn and grow. To experience and understand. To gain wisdom about what love truly means and to prosper despite adversity. We are all born from the same beautiful spirit. But we have free will to decide whether we will stay in our predestined union with God or if we will turn away.

It’s easy to turn away and run. To become angry and hurt. The things of this world bring such pain that we have a knee jerk reaction to flee. But I have learned that because of God’s wonderful grace we can stand in the storm, accept the harshest reality and prosper anyway. It takes resilience and trust which are a test to gain in themselves. It isn’t easy. But if we are able to learn to reside in that grace, we will find peace. Not temporary peace but the peace of spirit. The peace that holds us together and calms us even when our lives have literally turned upside down.

Back in my twenties, after burying my first child, I was emotionally, physically and spiritually bankrupt. I had endured over a decade of molestation by extended family members. Then I buried my first child. I was an atheist. My family had taught me that we had descended from apes- the classic theory of evolution. After what had happened to me I had no hope. I had no reason. Then the day of my first daughter’s funeral came. And she visited me. I sat in front of her casket for over an hour, my hand resting on her tiny chest. At the moment I touched her, I was gone from the funeral home and encapsulated by the most beautiful bright white light I’d ever seen. I was completely at peace. There was no sadness, no regret, no pain. Just pure bliss. I could hear my daughter laughing and running through the light. I will never forget how cheerful her voice was when she told me, “Don’t worry, Mommy. I’m happy here.” Those words began my walk with God and carried me through the next twenty years as I dealt with the pain of her absence. God, in His great mercy, had allowed me to visit her forever home where He lived. It was such a vibrant, amazing visit that I’ll never forget it. And that was thirty years ago.

I thought I had learned a lot in the last thirty years. But it wasn’t enough to prepare me for the death of my second child just weeks before her 19th birthday. I waited to talk to her at her funeral like my first child had. But she didn’t. However, God opened up communication between us that has remained since she passed. I feel her, she visits me, and she communicates in ways that let me know she is always at my side. I believe she is one of my guides now, helping me put into words the experiences we have. I am convinced that it is my destiny to write about what I’ve encountered and to help bring the love of spirit into the lives of those who read my books and enjoy my art.

Life isn’t about who’s better or who owns what. Life is about learning and valuing each other. It is about growing into a person of deeper kindness, compassion and resilience. It is about turning to our Father and creator-the one who loves us and knows us better than we even know ourselves. And that is a lifetime commitment of deepening trust and understanding. Things that only grace can provide. It is my hope that I will increasingly gain that type of wisdom each day I walk out my time on this planet. And it is my prayer that everyone and everything will learn to live in the grace and mercy that life of that magnitude invites.

Meet Cameron Gray, A Talented Digital Artist!

I came across Cameron Gray while I was on Fine Art America. To say I was blown away by his talent is an understatement! Wow! I scrolled through his thought provoking images and found myself escorted to another dimension, which is what good art will do. I knew I had to share his work.

All From Nothing We Became Something available  here .

All From Nothing We Became Something available here.

I sent Cameron some interview questions. Please find my interview with him below:

1.  What inspired you to start creating art?  Is it still your inspiration today?

I was inspired to begin creating art around 2001 when my uncle gave me a piece of 3D software called Bryce3D which lets you create fairly simple 3D landscapes, at the time I thought it was amazing and I began creating desktop wallpapers for my computer that became more and more elaborate. I then began incorporating photographic elements and textures into the images from my photography class at school, and they began to branch off into their own style of artwork. Around that time I visited a digital art exhibition in my town and it was my first introduction to seeing professional digital art in an exhibition space. Back in 2001 it was still very rare to see digital art in a traditional gallery so the whole experience was very empowering for me. It inspired me to take my art to an even higher level and began my path to becoming a professional artist.


2.  Are you involved with other things besides your art?  If so could you tell me about them?

I used to do a lot of photography on the side, but my art pretty much takes up my whole day now since it’s become my full time business. But photography is still something I love experimenting with when possible, I particularly enjoy street photography, landscape photography and macro photography. Besides that enjoy hiking, cooking, exercising and constantly learning about new subjects whether through books, online courses etc. Continually trying to improve my mind and body.


3.  How do you create your art?  Are there any special techniques or supplies that you use?

The process has multiple approaches to it which have evolved over the years. I still incorporate 3D elements with photographic elements, hand drawn elements, and anything else I need to create the particular piece. But the process is much more in-depth and refined now. 

The process begins with planning the concept of the artwork, this planning stage usually takes 1-2 weeks where I begin with sketches and rough drafts to get a feel for the composition and feeling behind the piece. Then I move onto the creation stage which can last anywhere from between 1-8 weeks. An average piece takes around 4 weeks from conception to completion.

The artwork is composed in Photoshop which acts as the canvas, by bringing in all the elements from other software such as C4D, Vue, Zbrush, Illustrator, Painter etc, as well as any hand created elements. I don’t limit myself to any one tool, I’ll use anything I need in order to accomplish the particular artwork.


4.  What do you hope that your art portrays to your followers? 

Curiosity, compassion, gratitude, love, growth, the willingness to look deep inside your own psyche, etc. The art is essentially a self study of my place in the universe. I use art as a way to explore and understand my own self, others, nature and the universe. The deeper I go, the more I realise how little I understand. But this continual process of learning about myself and my place in the universe is one of the most rewarding journeys one could embark on.


5.  What advice would you give to other artists/creatives from your experiences thus far?

Continually assess your work, your beliefs, your approach, and keep learning. Each piece of art you create is a stepping stone of learning and creativity. When you create something that you really love, pull it apart, study it, and find what makes that piece of art so pleasing to you. Look for those tiny gems of wisdom and guidance within the art that you gravitate toward, and then take that forward into the next piece. Enjoy what you do and stay curious about everything around you. Curiosity in art and the willingness to explore your ideas is where the greatest leaps of growth come from.

Here are a few more amazing pieces:

I feel like I could immerse myself in Cameron’s work. If you’re as intrigued as I am, I know you’ll love his website! You can find it here.

You can also find him on social media here:

Facebook - www.Facebook.com/CameronGrayTheArtist
Instagram - @ParableVisions
Twitter - @Parabola

Thanks for visiting! Until next time…

Your Heart Will Lead You

There are so many reasons why it is important to have a childlike faith. And one of the reasons is because of your heart condition. Not your physical heart but your spiritual heart. The heart of who you are as a living being.

Children are amazing because they are accepting, kind, caring and peaceful-unless an adult changes that reality for them. Children come into the world needing their parents, needing someone to watch over them and guide them, someone who will keep them safe from the storms of life. We are God’s children. And we need Him more than any written word besides the Bible itself can tell us.

This world has a way of jading us. Of creating hardness in us. It is a world full of pain, anger and deceit. We as people on this planet have to find our way through the muck and mire into places of happiness and peace. If we look at the world system as a way to lead us, we will always be let down. Forsaken. Deluded by lies. Let’s face it: things that happen on this planet can be very difficult to endure. That’s why a childlike faith is so important.

We try to figure out the answers, to create solutions to every problem. But sometimes there are no solutions. What can someone say when their child dies? When a child becomes sick with a deadly disease like cancer? When a family loses their income and home because a parent gets sick or is fired from their job? There are so many devastating scenarios that I could write paragraphs of them. When it comes right down to it, we need to trust something or someone. When we put that trust in other people, we eventually will be let down because all people have flaws. Nobody is perfect. Except our Father and Creator.

We have the choice to discern and follow the advice of others or the promptings of Spirit. Since God is perfect, we can decide to follow Him. He can be the maker and ruler of the path of our life. I found out a long time ago that He knows best. So I decided to follow His lead.

Truths of this world are transient and brief. A “truth” may hold up for a long time but eventually it will be discarded for another truth. Such as the discoveries of science. And the discoveries of technology and sociological norms and theories. We always seem to be led to new ways of insight and understanding. This is because Spirit is so vast that humanity could spend eternity attempting to figure things out and never come up with answers, or spiritual truths, to everything. Unless we allow Spirit into our hearts. Then we can have a taste of actual truth.

Our hearts lead us and guide us. The words we speak come from our hearts, or who we are deep in our core. If you are looking for explanations and understanding, let your heart guide you into eternal realms. The ways of God are a mystery, but He is willing to unfold some of His wisdom to help us end well. That’s what I’m hoping for, along with being able to join my children in Heaven one day and gain complete understanding as to why they had to leave and what their absence accomplished in me. I have some ideas but certainly nothing near completion. I know I crave completion. How about you? Do you long to understand things that don’t seem to add up? Things that haunt you and don’t make sense? If so, there is Someone waiting to take you by the hand and lead you into beautiful, inspiring places-even when life is hard. Give it a chance and heal your heart condition. You will discover insights that will truly amaze and comfort you!

Breath Of Life available  here .

Breath Of Life available here.

Experience

Experience is the greatest teacher by Diamante Lavendar.jpg

Do you ever wonder why things happen to you? Have you been stuck in the after effects of hardship? Well, take heart. There is a reason for everything. And everything has a season. There is a season for love, a season for pain, a season for learning, a season for relaxing. Everything that has happened to you ends up having a purpose.

Even the simple things happen for a reason. Usually the reason is a learning experience. I have decided to live my life with this perspective because it helps me to make sense of life. At times we don’t learn the reason right away. It may take years. We may never understand the reason completely. But we will always get a glimpse of an answer. I can give you a couple examples.

The first is a pretty common occurrence. Years ago, I was in a hurry. A big hurry. I ran and bustled about my home trying to get my kids to dress to leave. As I was running around, I smacked my little toe on a chair in the living room-and broke it completely, at a 45 degree angle from my foot! PAINFUL! What did it teach me? Well, after I left the ER, I decided to stop being in such a hurry. Was it a lasting change? No. It took several more mishaps before I learned to settle down. The last mishap-almost careening over a cliff in my car-taught me. It’s such a shame I tend to be hard headed. But yet it’s also a quality that has brought me through tremendous hardship. Yes, I now take it easier. I realize that it’s not worth dying over if I’m running late!

A very serious occurrence was my first child’s death. I have written about her in my books. Her name was Jasmine and she was born premature. She died ten hours later. This occurrence took me almost 20 years to come to grips with-just before my youngest daughter Kelby passed away. I can tell you that I lost it for a long time. But I can also tell you that I gained so much when I came to realize how much they both taught me. They led me to God. And because of them I became a better person. I decided to reach out and help more people. I have empathy for others and the agony they face. It caused me to write books, create beautiful art and seek Spirit with the greatest zeal that lives in me. I know they are waiting in Heaven. And I want to be with them. Because my children left, I now have a deep relationship with my Maker. Do I want them back? Of course. Do I still mourn? Definitely. But I also have the hope of our reunion which I dream of every day as I give my best for others through my writing and art.

If you have gone through things that you can’t understand, if you are battling the appeal of bitterness and anger, then know that there is a reason why you’ve been through what you have. I know it seems unforgivable but I promise that somehow it will work for your betterment if you allow it to. It’s a matter of perspective to live this way. But it will lead you to beautiful places of wisdom and understanding if you allow it to.

This life isn’t easy. And it’s not fair. Horrible things happen but beautiful things happen too. If you can come to grips with your deepest fears and pain, you can grow to a stature that you never dreamed you could. The sky is the limit when you discover your purpose and your destination. Everything in between is your life path. Please make it a good one through your experiences.

Why Weaknesses Can Be Strengths

You Are Beautiful by Diamante Lavendar.jpg

When I was younger, I was ashamed of my weaknesses. I wondered why I had so many problems and insecurities. I saw my weaknesses as pitfalls, or very negative aspects of myself. Only as I got older did I learn that my weaknesses could be strengths.

Your weaknesses cause you to seek help-to ask others for insight. That is a huge strength because no one is an island. We all need each other and asking for guidance is a very powerful way to not only get to know others intimately but also to learn more about ourselves. When we look at life from another person’s perspective, we learn more about life, ourselves and how we fit into society.

Your weaknesses also cause you to approach others which helps you realize and understand that you are part of a whole community and world. When you see that others have an answer you can’t provide, you gain respect for your fellow man. That is integral in being a valued member of society as a whole.

Your weaknesses also cause you to re-evaluate your life and your position in society. When you know your weaknesses, it also introduces you to your strengths. Your weaknesses help you to evaluate what you are good at and what you should do with your life. Knowing your weaknesses helps you to determine your life path and your destiny!

Your weaknesses also teach you appreciation and gratitude. When you see that you rely on others for help, you are grateful for them. You appreciate how you fit in like a puzzle with the people around you. And you also understand that nobody is perfect which ultimately causes you to value yourself more. You learn to respect who you are and not feel bad about yourself because you have weaknesses. You stop seeking perfection because you know it doesn’t exist. Therefore, you become a happier person.

When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you are able to move forward in life developing the things you are good at. It not only helps you to shine but it also helps others to shine around you!

The Benefits Of Tears

Do you ever wonder why we cry? So often we believe that tears are a sign of weakness. Have you ever been told that you’re a “crybaby”? Unfortunately our society devalues tears. However, tears are actually cleansing. If you’ve been through trauma, tears are a good thing. They help us purge negative emotions and thoughts. Tears need to be felt, released and then understood. Tears can be a misguiding influence at times if we feel the pain, cry and continue to be stuck in it. But if we feel the pain, cry and learn from it tears are a beautiful thing.

It is actually a sign of strength to show weakness. It is so easy to hide from hardship instead of having the approach of learning from it. When times get down and dirty, like death, divorce or financial distress, it can be so easy to get mad and want to get even. It takes great strength to feel the pain, learn from it and move on. I can almost hear you asking, “How do you move on when someone dies?” My answer: you learn from the situation, decide to be grateful for what you had and make the most out of your future to honor that situation.

When my children passed, I wanted to be angry. And I was for quite a while. But then I knew that I had to find good in the heartbreak and use that wisdom to move forward in becoming a better person any way that I felt I was being led to do so. And out of their loss came my books and my art. It was an outlet for me to not only help myself but to also help others who have experienced the same types of things head on. And when I was reeling from the effects of being abused and molested, I knew I had to find a way to make some good come out of all the agony and negativity. That was another reason why I wrote my books, talking about my life and healing journey to help myself and others. Gut wrenching pain like that needs to be acknowledged. And the journey of healing needs to be shared so that others affected by the strain and pain of difficulty can know that there is hope for better days to come.

This life isn’t easy. For anyone. Some go through more than others but the struggle of pain is universal. When we understand why we cry and why God gave us tears in the first place, we know that He wants us to learn from hardship the truth of His reality. He’s in the healing business. He’s in the business of growth and understanding. When we experience trouble,. we gain wisdom and insight not only into ourselves and others but also life in general. This world is a place to stretch and expand into a more loving, creative version of ourselves in His image. And with His depth of character and wisdom, the most effective way I have learned was through the pain I suffered. Fun is great and success is amazing but we can’t be “well rounded” beings without understanding both the valleys and the mountains. I believe God gave us tears, in His great mercy, to empower us to withstand those lessons. So if you’re having a particularly difficult time processing your pain, try the stance of being grateful for your tears. That in itself is an empowering lesson!

“Why Did You Leave Me?” available  here.

“Why Did You Leave Me?” available here.

Today's Spotlight and Interview: Author Lily McKenzie!

Today it is my pleasure to introduce author Lily McKenzie! She enjoys art, poetry and prose as well as fiction. A kindred spirit, to be sure! I was interested to interview her regarding her writing process and hobbies. Please find her interview below:

Freefall available  here .

Freefall available here.

1. Please tell me how you got started with writing and what you enjoy writing most.

I was a high-school dropout, and while I’ve always read a lot, writing wasn’t something I thought about until my mid-twenties. At that time, I went through a year-long deep depression that pushed me into therapy, and that’s when I discovered I had a writing self I needed to midwife. Once I earned a GED, I was able to attend college and my BA was in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing. I later earned two masters’ degrees as well, one in the Humanities and the other in Creative Writing.

Poetry was my foundational genre, and continues to be my favorite one. But I was adventuresome and wanted to see if I could include fiction in my repertoire. As you can see I was successful. I now have published three novels, with another on its way, as well as many short stories.

2. What inspires you to write?  Do you have a favorite place to write?

Reading well-crafted poetry or prose motivates me to continue mastering those genres. But I also have an inner need to write daily. It’s as important to me as food! I have numerous drafts in process of poems, non-fiction, and fiction that I rotate among.

As for a favorite place to write, I use a laptop computer, and I settle in different places in our house. I can’t sit at a desk to write. I need a comfortable chair and a window to look out of.

3. Are you involved in any other creative types of work/hobbies?

Don’t I wish I had more time for dabbling in watercolors and acrylics! Playing with color gives me intense pleasure. I’m not trying to be a visual artist, so that frees me to just enjoy the process and not get hung up on the end product. Our home is filled with my creations. Unfortunately, the business of selling books has stolen my painting and collage time, but I will get back to it. My art table is set up in the study I share with my husband and is ready any time I am.

4. What would you like your readers to know about you?

I’m intensely interested in our inner lives. Jungian psychology intrigued me when I was in my late twenties. I read every book I could find by Carl Jung and Jungians. I also have been in Jungian analysis and find that we are continuously evolving. I’ve kept a dream journal all of these years and look to my dreams daily for glimpses into my inner world.

5. Tell me about your most recent book and what you hope your readers will appreciate most about it?

The seeds for Freefall: A Divine Comedy came from a two-day visit I had back in 1998 with two of the three friends I’d travelled from Calgary to Toronto with in my late teens. I wondered what would happen if these four women had a reunion. Would the old bonds still be there and what would they discover about themselves and each other from spending time together? Freefall is a result of trying to answer those questions, but, of course, much more entered the narrative as I watched the story unfold. While the surface narrative is about these four females, the sub-narrative focuses on art’s role in our lives (the main character, Tillie Bloom, is an installation artist), female power, death, religion, and sex. Freefall zeroes in on a fundamental truth: We’re all in freefall, and that’s the real divine comedy. No matter how old we are, we’re still trying to “find ourselves” and discover what we want out of life.


If you’d like to get in touch with Lily, you can find her at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you, Lily, for being a guest on my blog. It was a pleasure to meet you!

Introducing Artist Laurie Cairone!

Eternal Optimism available  here .

Eternal Optimism available here.

I am currently featuring a beautiful piece of art in my art group, Emotive Art. The piece is entitled Eternal Optimism and it was created by Laurie Cairone. Her art is spiritual in nature and flows with a sense of peace and light. So I was immediately drawn to her creativity! I am always excited to introduce new artists and authors and Laurie Cairone is no exception! I asked her to write up a post about her creative process and background which you will find below:

I have created art intuitively for more than 40 years. Why Do I create art? Because creating soothes my soul and is a form of meditation for me. I enjoy working with Pastels, Watercolor, Acrylic, and Charcoal mediums. I also enjoy now learning and working with these mediums digitally in Procreate on my Ipad. 

My interests in the Universe,The Healing Arts,The Metaphysical World, and the Mind, Body, Soul Connection influence and inspire my art. I have also practiced as a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and hold a Second Degree Reiki Certification. Over half of my nursing career was spent in the specialty area of psychiatry, so I am very drawn to the introspective process. I believe that keeping our minds healthy with positive thoughts is a main ingredient to good health. 

I have always found Art to be a therapeutic, relaxing, creative process that soothes my soul. Creativity is a form of meditation for me that allows a way of letting go of the dust that builds up over time. Art can be a healthy form of distraction for us. Creativity can open the door to self-reflection that can aid in helping us gain clarity and peace over every day life. Drawing can be a sacred process of creating images from the heart. 

The creative process for me is often from a shape and a color. I seldom have a vision or sketch out what will evolve. I love to see what evolves and once I feel a piece is finished is when I name it. Here is where the introspective work arrives. I analyze my creation and look to the symbolism behind each color and shape and that is when the title hits me. Sometimes the title provokes much contemplation about a subject, so I will then write about the piece in my description. Sometimes the description to a piece is left for me to do a little more introspection before I can write about it. 

I have enjoyed the creative process since childhood and when I look back over certain times in my life, my work often reflects the joys and sorrows that we all go through at times. I will say that creating has helped me during some of the most difficult times of my life. I experienced a stillbirth full term many years ago and creating art kept me in one piece during that time. 


A percentage of all my sales are donated to Magnolia Pediatrics to help Dr. Linda Del Vecchio-Gilbert provide palliative care to children with complex, chronic conditions. You can learn more here

You can find Laurie and her amazing art here. Thank you, Laurie, for being a guest on my blog!

Forgiveness

I feel led to write about forgiveness today. I have been going through a lot in my personal life. My father is clinging to existence and is having a lot of trouble dealing with the fact that he will be leaving us at some point. The family history and current situation has prompted me to think about forgiveness once again.

My life has been rough like many of yours. We have had our share of angst, anger and hurt in our family history. All types of it. I have spent years trying to overcome the demons of the past. Once I began writing about my life, I started to heal. No sooner had I begun publishing books, but my youngest daughter passed away just before her nineteenth birthday. Which led me on more rabbit chases as I begged for wisdom and understanding from Spirit. It’s been a long couple of years. During that time my earthly father became suddenly ill and has been waxing and waning in health issues for a while now.

It’s really interesting when hardship strikes. It has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in you all at the same time. Everyone in the family has been affected and it has brought the topic of forgiveness into the limelight.

People used to tell me to forgive. Counselors, friends, some family members. I thought, “If you’re telling me that what happened to me was okay, you’re nuts. I’m not forgiving those who molested me and abused me.” But I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learned that forgiveness is a gift which we give ourselves. Forgiveness is a gift from Spirit. It’s a gift that lets us know we are loved and cared for by Spirit and that we will heal.

When I talk about forgiveness, I don’t talk about forgetting. I talk about accepting and moving on. When you’ve been mortally wounded in your life, you can’t just forget it. But you can learn to give it to God and set yourself free.

Sending some Sonshine available  here .

Sending some Sonshine available here.

There’s a big misconception about forgiveness. The misunderstanding which blindsides us and creates rigidity in our spirits is the concept of forgetting. If you were molested, raped, beaten, verbally abused or endured any type of debilitating trauma, I know you can’t forget it. So many people bristle at the topic and dig their feet in, promising themselves they will never forgive. But the truth of the matter is, when you forgive you are giving the pain to Spirit and asking for help. You will find that your heart will soften and you will begin to be able to receive understanding and empathy which will override your anger. After that, you will further notice that the pain of the past will begin to fade. If you take it a step beyond and decide to help others who have been through and are going through what you’ve experienced, you will turn the negativity into positivity. You will be able to teach those who have suffered like you how to transform themselves into better, more loving people because of the hardships they have endured. It really is a beautiful thing. A design of love and light.

There is nothing as precious as helping a fellow human being discover freedom. And quite honestly, if you’ve experienced trauma, it can lead to deeper freedom because of the wisdom and understanding you’ll receive as you let it go and give it to Spirit. I know it sounds strange, but it will deepen you to an internal point that will create more strength, dignity and respect within you. A sort of light that will lead others to truth.

I’m right with you in agreeing that this life is hard. But with a decision to forgive-and that is what forgiveness is-then we are learning to spread our spiritual wings and fly. Good can come from difficulty and pain. If you learn to believe it and embrace new possibilities, you will find yourself a much more fulfilled and peaceful person. It’s only a matter of time!

The Gathering Place

In my two most recent books, I write about my kids that have passed into Heaven. I tell stories about them and speak of what their lives meant to me. My youngest daughter who passed two years ago loved fairy tales and spiritual stories. When she was young, we spent a lot of time swimming in the summer. One of our favorite activities was swimming in the rain. There was something magical about being in the warm water while the cool rain dropped around us and created a mist. It was like being in another world. It was beautiful. Those memories are bittersweet now.

We used to talk a lot about folklore and fairytales. My daughter was convinced that she had been a mermaid in a previous life. She told me how she remembered sliding down some type of embankment as a mermaid child. She was always very accurate in telling the same story: she hit her head and fell into the water, drowning before her mother could get to her. It was magical listening to my daughter talk about the things of other realms. It made me believe more in other universes and possibilities.

This piece of graphic art is one I created in remembrance of my precious child. How she loved to dream and imagine! This is a piece I call The Gathering Place. It is a place of serenity and rest where mermaids come to relax and reminisce. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

The Gathering Place available  here.

The Gathering Place available here.

I find it intriguing that at the age of twelve I attended a writing class at a local university. In that class I wrote a story about a mermaid who fell in love with a human. Their story was one of sorrow because they weren’t able to marry and be together. Maybe there was a reason for that story. Some day I may receive a confirmation about that! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the memories of my daughter and think of her when I look at this piece of art. Perhaps she’s waiting for me in a realm somewhat like this. You never know. Many times truth is stranger than fiction!

Essence Of Soul

What happens when we leave this earth? Where do we go? What do we do? Age old questions of uncertainty. As I speak, my father is wondering what the answers to these questions are. He has been advised to be put on hospice. I am again contemplating the answers to these questions myself. My daughter passed into eternity two years ago and I am preparing for another round.

I have spent years studying the afterlife-since I lost my first child nearly 30 years ago. I have read books, watched documentaries, even delved into a sampling of physics and other sciences. I have read the Bible. I have learned a few things but it seems that the more I learn the more questions I have.

Essence Of Soul I available  here

Essence Of Soul I available here

Is it even possible to understand what we look forward to after we leave here? I think as God’s children we will come to know much. But I don’t think we could ever know all. Only God, in His wisdom could ever understand all of the nuances and infinite possibilities that His realm has to offer.

When I was younger, I imagined Heaven to be a place where we floated around on clouds and watched angels fly by. Now I believe Heaven is so complex that it would take eternity in itself just to begin to comprehend all there is to know. I guess I’m grateful for that. Because I don’t like to be bored! So I am looking forward to being infinitely amazed once I get over there. And very much looking forward to seeing my children again.

A parent-child bond is a beautiful thing. I could share stories of visitations from my children; signs that they are still around. And actually I do share quite a few stories in my upcoming book. It was written as a dedication to my youngest child that passed away two years ago. I prefer to say that she graduated. Anyway, now as I prepare to send my father off in God’s love and light, I hope he sees her and tells me that she’s doing well. I know she is. I still feel her around me, wrapped in God’s love. A beautiful feeling. I am and ever will be grateful for that love and that guidance until I too join them on the other side.

Essence Of Soul II available  here

Essence Of Soul II available here

I created these pieces of art as I imagined what we look like when we journey Home. I think of us as being healthy, happy, in perfect condition physically with God’s beautiful light shining in and all around us. Overwhelmed with gratitude and peace. That’s how I hope it will be. I look forward to hugging and laughing with my dearly departed ones. Until then, I will write and create art inspired by the beliefs that I hold.

I am convinced that this life is a learning ground. A school for the soul. I know I’ve learned a lot here and I still have time left. So I strive to do my best through the good and the bad to evolve to a point where I can be happy and peaceful here as well as in Heaven. That is what I wish for all of us. And for understanding that we can forgive and move on from all types of hardship, knowing that the harshest of days create in us empathy, compassion and understanding. All qualities that I consider to be of high spiritual significance.

Until next time, take care and try to enjoy your journey. The time we have here really isn’t that long. Even one hundred years happens in the blink of an eye. If we make the most of it and learn from our pain, I believe we have gained enough wisdom to enjoy our next phase of existence!

Spotlight: Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us by Matt Michel and Maggie Daniels

Strxia cover.jpg

“Harper Williams” is a fictional 11-year-old sci-fi book fan who is the representation of readers

of STRXIA: THE ODDS ARE AGAINST US. Below, Harper interviews Maggie Daniels and

Matt Michel, the authors of the book, by posing questions they frequently get from readers.

Harper: I read tons of books, especially science fiction like your book STRXIA: THE ODDS

ARE AGAINST US. What do you think sets your book apart from all the others out there?

Matt Michel: Great question, Harper. Certainly, the primary goal of any science fiction book

for children ages 8 to 12 is to entertain, so action-packed entertainment was our first priority.

However, we go one crucial step further by incorporating a few STEM (that stands for Science,

Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles along the way. The best part is, as an 11-year-

old reader, you might not even realize you are learning something! One of the physics principles

explained in the book is how a rocket works.

Harper: Whoa! Are you telling me I’ll understand how a rocket gets off the ground and flies

into space after reading your book? I thought it was a book about baseball.

Matt Michel: That’s right. It is a book about baseball. But it’s also about a parallel world

called Strxia. The world of Strxia is governed by the same laws of physics as Earth. When the

main characters in the book realize that their actions on Earth impact Strxia and vice versa, they

begin to learn how to use physics to help them save Strxia and win a baseball game on Earth all

at the same time.

Harper: What about the characters? I mean, most characters in the books I read are big guys

full of muscle and athletic talent. That gets old sometimes.

Maggie Daniels: I feel the same way, Harper. That’s why our main character, Seth Cox, is just

the opposite. He would rather be at home, reading on the couch and snuggling with his dog, than

playing baseball games. Intellect is our hero’s main talent, and only his brainpower can help

Strxia survive.

Harper: Seth seems cool. Is he the only character in the book?

Maggie Daniels: Seth has plenty of help from an interesting group of teammates. Each of them

has their own special skills… and vices. Alex is the only girl in the boy’s baseball league. She

is fearless and the fastest runner on the team, but she never has been able to quite fit in. Jared is

all bravado with the county’s best baseball arm, but he is an egotistical mess of a hothead.

Finally, there is Chase. Chase is always kidding around but is a superb mechanic.

Harper: Is something wrong with Strxia. Why does it need saving?

Maggie Daniels: Oh yes, Strxia needs help. An elite group of scientists called the Odds have

found a way to control odd numbers on Strxia. The Strxians actually have to pay money to use

odd numbers, and not everyone can afford to do so. So their world is slowly falling apart

because without numbers, it is really hard to learn. Just imagine a world with no odd numbers!

Harper: The book seems to cover a whole bunch of different things. Wasn’t it hard to write?

Maggie Daniels: Well, besides being my co-author, Matt is also my husband. He and I have

worked together coaching baseball, basketball, and robotics. My job at George Mason

University is to teach, carry out research, and write, so writing is a natural process for me. Matt,

on the other hand, is a “rocket scientist” and has a firm grasp on all the physics in the book. In

fact, he calculates, with aerospace engineering accuracy, all the numbers in the book so that even

the most discerning teachers and librarians are satisfied. Together, we created a book we think is

quite unique.

Harper: This all sounds really great, but I have to ask, how on Earth do you pronounce Strxia?

Maggie Daniels: The name of the book is a fun story, because we went through many iterations

before we created one we really liked. Try saying “Strick-see-ah” – that will get you really

close!

Harper: If I have more questions, how can I contact you? Or if I want to buy the book, where

can I do that?

Matt Michel: We have set up a website for our book as well as author pages on Facebook:

View Matt’s page here and Maggie’s page here. Our book is available on Amazon.

Meet Artist Julie Turner!

wisteria dream 11 julie turner.jpg

I came across Julie Turner’s work while I was working on my art site. I immediately fell in love with her wisteria prints and contacted her about a feature on my blog. She happily obliged! Below you will find her biography:

Julie received her BFA from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA). She spent her career working in the visual arts for various industries producing commercial art, technical graphics and multimedia. Concurrently she created fine art, representing many disciplines. Her most recent works are primarily acrylic on canvas paintings and digital art for print and home decor. Her style is a unique blend of Abstract Expressionism and Expressionism. Turner has exhibited in the USA: San Diego, CA; Las Vegas, NV; New York, NY; Alexandria, VA; and Bologna, Italy. Her artwork has been published worldwide and has been sold to many private collectors.

Although she’s skilled in many art disciplines: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, stained glass, jewelry, video, multimedia and digital imagery, she has a strong drive and passion for painting. She enjoys experimenting with difficult paint challenges and likes working with bold paint colors and varying degrees of paint thickness and layering. She’s inspired by love, family, friends, nature, music, dreams, astronomy and spiritual/metaphysical subject matter.

After I contacted Julie, I found that she and I share similar interests. Not only is she an artist but she has also written a children’s book. A kindred spirit indeed!

If you’d like to contact Julie, you can find her on her Website, Facebook, Fine Art America, and Handmade At Amazon. You can find Julie’s book here.

Dream 06 Julie Turner

Dream 06 Julie Turner

The Meaning Of Christmas

Since Christmas will soon be upon us, I have dedicated this post to the season. The most obvious reason for this time of year is Jesus’ birth. But what else does it mean? Here are some of my thoughts.

Christmas to me is a time of regeneration. We are reborn into a spirit of love and community. Christmas is a season of goodwill and celebration; a time of remembrance for a Savior born of man. Christmas is a time of refreshment and renewal. A time of new hope and promises which began by the birth of a child destined to lead us into a spiritual place of wonder and love.

Christmas is also a time of respect and observance. For God, for His son, for Spiritual insight and wisdom. The truth of the season is that we are loved more than we can ever know while we walk this earth. Here we encounter hardship and suffering, disabling our ability to live in complete peace and rest. But hardship gifts us with great understanding that eventually leads to more respect not only of spiritual matters but also of our fellow man. These truths of Christmas live in each day of every year.

Christmas is a time of passion. A time to remember One who came for all of us because of love. A time of redemption and purpose. We all crave love. We all crave understanding, empathy and compassion. These are things we find as we seek Oneness with our Creator and greatest love, no matter where we live or what we do for a living. We are all part of the great whole of life, each of us being of immense importance to the prosperity of the Oneness into which we were born.

Christmas is a beautiful time. It can be difficult because of loved ones having left us or situations in our lives having let us down- jobs, friendships, death-but the truth remains that we can still find some semblance of beauty if we only look through Spirit’s eyes of love and light. Life is a mirror of things which we need to learn. It is also a test of what we have learned. In the light of eternity we can only be more blessed after having learned harsh lessons. Our reward is deeper truth, love and understanding after the impact of hardship has marked us.

It is all about perspective. And understanding. We can always dive deeper into realms of truth and insight. Christmas is a reminder to me of that very profound fact. There is always more to learn, there is always more room for us to grow. That is my Christmas wish. Not only peace on earth and goodwill to men but also a profound Oneness which emcompasses nature and every living, breathing thing.

That is what I wish for you, for me and for this wonderful planet that we call home. That’s one of the greatest enticements offered by heaven: the Oneness that we all are part of. The love and enlightenment that we all share.

Merry Christmas and very Happy Holidays!