This summer I had the honor of doing a collaboration project with my artist granddaughter. I had started working on a floral diptych shortly before my annual art in the garden show. So just for fun I set up my easel along side my artist daughter, and pulled out my paints. The plan was that in slower moments I could steal away and paint. This would be great fun for me, but also for visitors who could get a peek at my process.

The problem was, that I was so busy with visitors that I just never got around to painting. But I did notice that my granddaughter was standing and watching her Aunt paint and I recognized her yearning to paint. So I placed my paint apron on her and said “have at it.”

She was very hesitant as I had already started the painting a couple days before, and she was afraid she would ruin it. But I assured her that that was not possible and encouraged her to paint.

Soon she was well into the process. So much so that she called her brother to fill in on her shift at work so she could keep painting. A sign of a true artist if you ask me. Someone who will give up a regular paycheck just for the joy of creating.

Anyway, her work was so beautiful with its broad brush strokes and bold colors. Totally in contrast to my well blended more pastel style. But together these two styles worked wonderfully when in juxtaposition with each other.

Since there were two canvas, I had her do the bud and a few leaves on my painting and I did likewise with her canvas. The affect was superb.

Our paintings are now available and hanging at the MindPower Gallery in Reeds Port Oregon.

Christmas Cuddles


I don’t know about you but the greatest gift I can receive is a hug from my grand kids, let alone when one comes up and cuddles in for the long haul just because. Well that is what happened Christmas day 2019. I was sitting on the sofa with my granddaughter when she leaned into me and got real comfortable. This was not the first time by any means, but as she is 16 now it was kind of a surprise. A very wonderful surprise.

I’m not sure why it surprised me, but it did. You see my eldest grandson (18) started collage this fall, and well I guess I have been telling myself that since him and his sister are full grown that this old lady was going to have to learn that she was just not going to see them much anymore. “They will go off to school, get lives of their own, move away  and lets face it, what young adult wants to hang out with an old lady? right?”

Now I’m not one for Drama, or feeling sorry for myself and dwell on negative things (AT ALL!) But this one kinda came in the back door without me noticing. Even without me realizing that I was thinking it. It just seamed like a fact.

But this Christmas proved all of those worries to be totally false. First of all, My grandson goes to school south of home and so he just stopped in to visit with me on his way home for Christmas vacation. I almost missed him because I was playing my stereo so loud. LOL! But he pounded loudly on my door to make sure I heard him. We talked for over 2 hours (something that he and I have never done before.) Grown up to grown up. It was the most fabulous thing to happen to me in years. We found out that we had a lot in common, and that many of our thought patterns were the same. We even like some of the same music! It was absolutely a magical moment in time that I will cherish for ever.

Then on Christmas day as I was sitting on the sofa beside my 16 year old grand daughter, she turned and leaned into me and snuggled in and stayed there for about 20 minutes, maybe more. At one point my arm went to sleep and my back started hurting, but I wasn’t about to move and possibly end this beautifully precious moment. Realizing that this was a fleeting moment in time, I asked my daughter to please take a photo of us together so I could cherish it forever. (Something I rarely do, but I am doing more often these days.)

Then a couple days later I see this post on my granddaughter’s Instagram and I was moved to tears. So much for my fears of the kids not enjoying time with this old lady! LOL!


To my surprise my husband heard me ask my daughter to take a photo and he pulled out his camera as well, so I was blessed with two different views. While I loved the head on shot my daughter took, the side view from my husband struck me as a potential painting.



So a couple days after Christmas I started on the painting. It was so wonderful to work on this one with the joy of this memory so fresh in my mind.


I started out with just basically blocking in the forms and trying to get a good start on the values. I did not worry so much about likeness right away.

The red blanket on the back of the sofa stops behind my granddaughter’s head in the photo, but I wanted to use that bright color of the blanket as part of the composition to bring attention to the two faces. So the blanket magically got a little bigger.

One of the tools I like to use while painting a portrait is to take photos of the progress as I go and compare them to either the reference photo or to a previous stage in the painting to see if I am getting closer to the likeness of the subjects or further away. It is amazing what this process can point out to the eye very quickly.



Another tool I like to use is to change the photo of the painting to Black and white to check if my values are correct. Nothing makes a painting fail quicker then not getting the values correct.


This painting is only a 12″x 16″ so these faces were pretty small. I’m not sure why I keep doing this to myself, but it is hard to get a likeness when the faces are only about 2″ square.


Once finished with the painting, I purchased a lovely floating frame for this gallery wrapped canvas and wrapped it up as a valentines gift for my beautiful Granddaughter. It was such a joy to take her and her mom out for a coffee and to present her with my heart in the form of a painting. I think she liked it! What do you think? I sure do love this KIDDO~

Mary Did You Know?


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47391629_218022855766036_7897445495763632128_nHave you ever had a nagging thought that pops up one day and follows you around everywhere you go? The song “Mary Did you know?” has been rolling around in my mind for about a week now. One of my favorites around Christmas time, but this week it has been frustrating me. I listen as the singers ask Mary a myriad of questions.

Mary did you know that your baby boy was Lord of all creation? Did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man? Did you know that your baby boy is Heavens’ perfect plan? That sleeping child your holding is the great I AM?

The voice in my head tells me “Of Course she knew these things. If she had even a rudimentary knowledge of scriptures she would know the answers to these questions. And she was told by an angel directly. That should have given her a good idea. Right? OK, Sometimes the voice in my head is snarky! LOL! This week that voice is telling me that I want answers to other questions.

The questions I want to ask her are: Mary Did you know that your baby boy was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53? That he would be hated, beaten, hung on a cross, naked. Mary did you know that your baby boy would carry the sins of this world on his shoulders and sweat blood in agony over my sins.

Did this young mother have to deal with not only the shame of what was being said about her during her pregnancy, but also the thought that her sweet baby was destined to die? And if she did know, did she know when? Did she know how?

I can’t help but think that hers was a pregnancy of both Joy and grief, knowing that she carried God’s only son. Was she always waiting, not knowing if today was the day that she would loose her son?

I am the grandmother of a special needs child. We knew from the very beginning of the pregnancy that there was a high chance that this precious child would be born having an unknown but shortened life span. I’ve seen the toll it is taking on my son and Daughter in law as they care for and worry over their new son. Always turning those cares over to the Lord only to find that new cares have taken the place of the old ones.

Did Mary feel the same? Did she struggle with depression, fears, and sadness? Did she think herself inadequate? Did she struggle with living up to the responsibility, finding herself falling short, tired, worried, waiting, wondering? When King Harod ordered the infant males killed, and the angel warned them to flee, did her heart ache with fear wondering if this might be it!

If she had, would you have questioned her faith? I think not! Why? Because after all we know that God had chosen her, picked her out of all history, to be the mother of God. We tell ourselves that God would strengthen her and make her this super hero mom who always had that peace that passes understanding, because it fits our narrative of the prefect mom. But that is just not how God works! Mary was human, fallible. She had the same thoughts, struggles and I’m sure, at times depression, just like all moms everywhere.

Over the 38 years I have been a mother I have struggled with fear, anxiety, inadequacies, panic attaches, mega stress, worry and complete physical exhaustion to the point of cataplexy. I’ve known the fears of caring for severely ill children, that at the time, I didn’t know if they would live or die. I have heard a child stop breathing from a room away in the middle of the night, because my vigilance kept me in a state of light sleep not allowing me to go any deeper.

Motherhood is hard in normal everyday circumstances, the hardest job on the earth I believe. But for single moms or mothers of special needs children and those who suffer from depression it is a mind field, a war zone. As a Christian community we need to gather around and help to hold these precious ladies and their families up. making sure not to judge their faith. (Trust me they are doing that already!) No They need our encouragement, blessings and love. If you know someone who is struggling as a mom, let us be moved to action with compassion. Take them a meal; offer to do their laundry, clean their house, baby sit while they go grocery shopping or while they go see a movie that you buy them tickets for.


To you precious Mommy

Know that God has chosen you out of all the mothers in all of History to be the mom of your precious children/child. He is with you and He is not disappointed in your faith. In fact, He is training you into a mighty warrior woman. But boot camp hurts, and It’s inconceivably hard, and overwhelming at times, I know.

Hold on to Jesus, He will see you through till the sun shines in your life again and your relationship with Him will be so much richer and sweet. Be encouraged dear one.


Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.


The movie IMPOSSIBLE  (Link attached to title) reminds me of this scripture. Though you may feel like you are being swept away, thrashed by the waves and debris, at times going under, GOD HAS NOT LOST SIGHT OF YOU. HE IS NOT DEAF TO YOUR CRIES. Though you may get deeply wounded and feel all alone, GOD IS orchestrating a beautiful life story/ testimony. HE WILL place you on dry ground again and YOU WILL see His hand in all of it. Till then grab on to the cross and don’t let go.


A Time to be Born


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This piece is #3 in my Ecclesiastes 3 series wrapping up a very emotional year.

Titled “A Time to be Born”

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. If you are a regular reader you know that I lost my big sister on Christmas day last year. So, even though I had planned to paint more paintings this year then ever before, turns out I have painted three. This season of painting has been filled with passion and raw emotion as I worked out the avalanche of emotions that were, and still are, churning around in my very soul as I allowed them to flow through me onto the canvas.

The first two paintings I have done in this series were working out my grief.Remembering tender moments and reliving old regrets. But #3 was going to be different.

In February, We found out that our son and his wife were expecting another baby. Our home was filled with joy again. This would be our 4th grandchild. Soon, though, that joy turned to worry as we got the news that the baby would have a 25% possibility of having Cystic Fibrosis. Months went by, waiting for news as Dr. visits  and check ups were scheduled, We found out the baby was a boy! Helping pick out names, counseling love and hope to our son and his wife as they worried, trying to be strong for them, feeling like a rag that had been rung out once to many times myself. Praise the Lord, the birth went amazingly well, and spirits and hopes were high, but after a few days it was evident that little man Kai was indeed sick with the dreaded disease. The roller coaster ride goes on still.

I decided to go on with my painting series. After all “to everything there is a season”, right? I decided to use my emotions artistically and focus on the positive. So about a month before Kai was born I started this painting. Using a reference photo of his older brother Grey taken by their aunt Naomi, I picked one that had the main focus on the connection of the hands and heart. It would be the companion piece to “The Last Goodbye.” and I wanted the emotional connection of the hands as well as a connection between the two pieces of art.

I started with a sketch up on canvas as I usually do, then quickly blocked in all the elements. In my typical way I adjusted the back ground several times and worked to keep the main focus on the hands not the baby’s face.





As I progressed, I felt something was wrong with the composition but couldn’t put my finger on it. So I walked away from it over night and when I had looked at it with fresh eyes I quickly realized that the mother’s thumb on the head was serving as a stop sign. So, It had to go. I fiddled with that hand and moved it several time before getting the thumb where I wanted it being the support for the head. fbsheet

Also around this point in the painting I switched from Acrylics to oils like I did with “The Last Goodbye” painting to get better blend ability.


The idea in my head was to make the background for the baby the sheets, like in the companion piece. I was also planning on adding just a touch of the green, like in the hospital gown, for the babies diaper cover. But once it was painted in, I felt it was too cold and void of emotion and warmth. So to fix this problem I decided to switch the green to the background and the white sheet to cover the diaper and lower left hand corner of painting. Once this was done I was so pleased. The painting was now warm and full of life.

To me the green represents the LIFE in these two paintings. I “A Time to be Born” there is so much life to look forward to, and in “Last Goodbye” there is just a remnant of life left. I had accomplished telling the story.

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Part of my creative process is watching what happens as I paint and deciding where to go from there. As I progressed through this painting I was having difficulty with the hand that supports the baby’s head. Things that work ok in photographs do not always translate well into a painting. you see the ye is naturally drawn to the point in the painting with the greatest contrast. The mother’s pale hand against the dark hair and strong shadows of the baby’s head was creating it’s own focal point. This created a problem for me as the story I wanted to tell was to be told through the emotional connection of the hands. So I had to do a delicate dance of lowering the values of the hand and even graying it out some so that it would feel more like a background element, even though in reality it was the thing in the far most foreground. I needed to be there as part of the story, but I didn’t really need it as a main character.

At the same time I was dulling out the left hand, I was increasing the contrast and intensifying the color of the baby’s hand. I did this by adding glazes of a warm shadow color and adding more warm reds to the tips of the fingers, with reflected red light bouncing off of the mother’s fingers. I also added those same reds to the ear to give baby a nice health glow.47391629_218022855766036_7897445495763632128_n

A Time to be Born

11″x 14″ Oil on canvas

#3 of the Ecclesiastes 3 series By Jackie Little Miller



I wonder what painting the Lord will have me work and FEEL my way though next. It has been therapeutic yet, painful. I love that it is taking my art up a level, but a little apprehensive of what might be next. I’m hoping for some laughter and dancing soon. LOL! But I know my God is faithful. I know that His plans for me are for good, His thoughts are of peace for me and not evil, to give me a future and a hope. And I will keep painting though what ever He brings my way next.


Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my art process! To see more of my paintings check out



Looks So Easy


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1-work cheaper

Who would have thought that this cute pic would get my mind thinking so much today! LOL!

Have you ever heard the age old question “why does it come so easily to some people to draw and paint?”
BUT This is a flawed question. Because, It doesn’t come easily to any of us.

I have loved drawing and creating all my life. So like anyone with a passion, I worked at it. I colored every coloring book in the house. To my mom’s dismay, I drew on walls and mirrors. To my teacher’s frustrations, I drew on my homework and colored in maps in my text books. I asked questions and got tips from other artists. I even posed for a portrait class, just so I could over hear the conversation and the teachers advice, because I didn’t have the money to take said class. And everyday in my down time, I’m not watching Downton Abbey, I’m watching 1 of 100 artists I’m subscribed to just to get every tidbit of info I can glean from them to make my work better. Why? Not because art comes easy to me but because I loved creating art.

Some people play instruments, and it seems to come easy to them, but it’s their passion and drive to practice, that makes it look simple. Some people are absolute wizards at finances, mechanics, social media or technology… Why? because it wakes something up in them that makes the feel alive, free, smart and fulfilled.

I have had an online shop for about 10 years now. And I stink at it. LOL! I know I need to learn it because I know I would sell more if I were more schooled on the subject. But no matter how many videos I try to watch or professional who tell me “OH that is so easy.” It just seams so HARD to me, because I have no passion for it.

I’m not sure why, at least in this country, It seems that people have a tendency to think that being and artist and loving what you do for a living is not a real job, “it’s easy for you so you should just do it for free.” Is the attitude we hear from people.
Don’t get me wrong, no one is asking me to sell myself short and they haven’t for a long time. I’m not mad or hurt or even upset! In fact I find it strangely funny.

Y’all know I love to remodel. LOVE IT! And I do most of the work myself from foundation to roof, Yes I even know how to do wiring and plumbing. But these jobs take me SO LONG TO DO! Why? Because I don’t do them every day, I haven’t learned all the short cuts or what the best and latest materials are…
But I know I can call the skilled craftsman and they can come in and in 2 hours have the whole job done and make it look SO EASY! Even though I know for a fact it was hard work.

So If I called a plumber or and electrician and told them what I wanted from them in great detail, then asked them if they could do it for free or at least lower their prices because it is so easy for them; what do you think their response would be?
In fact most of you would never even think about doing something so rude. After all these people are professionals and they do this for a living because they have families to feed.

If someone you know has the skills to do something very well, it is because they have put in the hours of study and work to be able to do that thing. Even more so, if it is a skill you don’t have and you find yourself in need of this person’s services, Then PAY THEM what they are worth! Or work out a mutually beneficial trade.
My point is that any skilled craftsman/woman deserves to be payed for the all the years of hard work they put into their trade. Just like you deserve to be paid for the hard work you do! Even if you make it look easy!


Last Goodbye


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This is my second painting in the Ecclesiastes 3 series, to everything there is a season. I have been a portrait artist for years and love the human expression. Driven by a desire to push myself past faces, I started thinking about doing a series of paintings on hands. Then I thought maybe hands and feet, and I came to the conclusion that I just wanted to be able to paint expressive emotion without the aid of facial expression. So I had all these possible ides running around in my head, day and night. especially at night. I tend to do all my best thinking just before I go off to sleep. After the process of painting “A Time to Mourn” the series was set in my mind. But this painting was of the full body and was a dancer. So then I’m asking myself questions like, if this one is of a dance, does the whole series need to be represented in dance? Do I use the whole body in all the paintings: Or can I still go with just hands, or hands and feet? So many conflicting ideas overwhelmed my thoughts. Then the answer came to me.

In December of last year when my sister was passing away,  I sat in the room with her holding her hand, as she was taking, what I knew were some of, her last breaths, I looked down at my hands holding and caressing hers. The artist in me wanted to capture this moment forever with a photo of our hands touching for the last time this side of heaven.The rational side of me, how ever, talked me out of it saying that it would be crass and insensitive of me. For several months afterword I mourned that decision, as my sister and I were so very close and her hands and my hands worked along side each other so many times. She was like an extension of me and I of her.

One day as I sat visiting a friend who had just recently lost a dear life long friend, she was expressing her feelings as she and another friend sat saying their last goodbyes to their failing friend. She looked at me and said, I have something I want you to see. She then opened photos on her phone and showed me this beautiful photo of the three friends holding hands. She expressed to me how she had apprehensions about taking the photo, and had almost talked herself out of it, but her other friend encouraged her to go ahead and take it. As I looked down on this photo, I was taken back to that precious unforgettable moment with my beloved sister. I instantly asked permission to paint this photo, and was graciously granted permission, with my friend saying, “Maybe it was meant to be shown to you!” And I think she was right.43672923_560139704412003_7099662553256558592_n

So I started with a sketch up. I changed the angle of the hand on the left as I felt it was leading the eye off the page coming in directly from the left. instead I angled it from the bottom left corner to lead the eye in to exactly where I wanted it to land. I also enlarged the drawing to fit the size of canvas I wanted to use. I did a little shading with my pencil to give myself indications of shape and values needed. I then started by blocking in the sheets and hand furthest underneath it all, working myself to the top hand.

working in acrylics has always given me a challenge full of frustration. It dries so quickly and just doesn’t give me the time I need the for subtle blending needed to paint skin the way I would like. I admit I am a blend-o-maniac! There I said it! Another frustration that was getting the better of me was that acrylics tend to dry darker then the wet paint. sometimes 2 or 3 shades darker. Usually I would be able to press on through and get it done anyway, but this year has been rough when it comes to how much patience and to be honest how much energy and even desire to paint. So any frustration at all will shut me down in minutes. So again progress on this painting stopped for about a month.


I know it’s normal, as I am grieving, to be frustrated and lose focus easily, but it is also very stressful. I have the creative ideas constantly flooding my mind and I need to be able to express them or I kinds get a little crazy. It’s like therapy to me to paint through my pain and emotions. Anyway, I started entertaining the thought of trying to paint with oils again. I had stopped because the fumes would trigger my migraines, and nobody can be creative with a migraine, right? So i did a bunch of research and purchased oil paints with just pigment and oil, and got an odorless solvent which I use very sparingly. I was so blessed to find that they did not trigger migraines and the blend like butter. I am In love!

Once I started painting with the oils I felt like a bird set free from her cage. These paints are wonderful. I am in blend heaven. And I can paint for days with the same pile of paints before they dry up on me. This is going to take me a while to get used to as the canvas stays wet for days too. But this is both good and bad. Good because I can continue to blend and get those subtle blends I want, but bad because I can still blend and get those blends I don’t want! LOL!

Back to the painting itself. In the photo my friend is wearing a silver bracelet that she wears all the time as it is very special to her. I really wanted to get that bracelet into the painting. But as I started blocking it in I realized that my eye was being constantly drawn to the bracelet more then to the hands clasping, where I wanted the attention to be. So I made the hard decision for the sake of the composition to remove it.

Once that decision was executed and the arm was finished being painted, I went over my darks with a couple layers of glaze to deepen the wrinkle, in the hands as well as the sheets. added a few age spots, and glazed in some red to the arthritic joins in the main hand. Showing the painting to my friend who took the photo she says “I love the painting but it makes me cry every time I see it.” This is the highest complement ever! and I have to agree, it makes me cry too from my own precious Last goodbye with my sister. But it’s not the ugly cry that it used to be, it is the cry of being blessed by a women I will never fully let go of!


fbsignature“Last Goodbye” From the Ecc.3 series

14″x18″ oils on canvas


Grief is a Strange Animal


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It has been Six months since my big sister/ best friend passed away. Six Months of grieving, six months of not being able to breath, six months with very little creativity and art; and Four months since I created my last piece titled A Time to Mourn. Though it may be my best to date. It expresses my grief more then I could ever express it with words.

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Grief is such a strange animal. I thought I knew this beast well, because I have met it on many occasions before.

This time somehow, it seams bigger and meaner. It seems to have backed me against a wall separating me from my creative side. It seems that with every attempt to vest this beast I am left feeling as though I have lost my artistic balance and I drop my brushes in defeat, frozen, temporarily paralyzed and unable to move my arms and mind into submission.

But I am not one to give up, I am brave, and bull headed. So I keep charging in and making myself go though the motions. Knowing that deep inside me creativity is alive and well and will eventually surface and be the victor. Each day I am desiring more and more to create again. I want to force myself past this dragon of grief and go to my favorite place to live, in the land of laughter, sunshine and creating things. Because I just want to be happy again.

I have to say though that It is not a scary monster, it’s just big and in my way and becoming very annoying. Like Rex from the movie Toy Story where he says “I’m going for fearsome here, but I just don’t feel it. I think I’m just coming off as annoying.”


I know that this beast called grief is not my enemy, or an enemy to my art. He may even be there, larger then life, to protect me from something that would wound me deeper while my heart heals.  I need to let him stand there and do his job. In the end it will cause me to be a better artist, painting with more feeling and emotion.

For without the darkness, one can not truly enjoy the light. Without the tears and pain, one can not truly appreciate the laughter and Joy. Without the experience of devastation one can not truly appreciate the creative process.

Thank you all for being so understanding and supporting me during this painful time for me. May God richly bless you!


A Time To Mourn


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Time to Mourn FB

As many of you know, I lost my sister/ best friend recently. It has left me unable and some times unwilling to express my emotions. Which is strange because this is what I do, I put my feelings onto words, whether in poetry, song or in some cute way to make us all laugh at our circumstances and feel better about them. But Now, I’ve got nothing! No words will come out, they will not even form in my mind, and even when they do they refuse to come out of my mouth in any coherent manner.

Being an artist, I turned to painting for my therapy, or processing of my emotions. My original thought was to just do something simple. I can’t concentrate long enough or even care enough to focus on doing a portrait and make sure that it looks like a specific person. I had painted a few dancers and thought I could continue in that series. After asking for help with reference photos from my friends on face book, I was overwhelmed with the out pouring of responses. Several photo were dramatically lighted and drew my attention and so I pulled one of them and started considering the composition.


Original reference photo from Melodie Lauhan

That night as I was falling asleep I envisioned a dripping background to this piece and that I could do in monotone in sepia colors. So the next morning I started to paint.20180203_132423

Once the background was painted and dry I traced on my drawing of the dance just like in the photo. Then I started blocking in her form.


But the more I painted the more I felt the sadness of the piece, as if I was painting my pain. So instead of trying to fix it and make it brighter or happier, I decided to embrace the pain, crying with every brush stroke applied to the canvas. Soon I realized that this dancers pose was not expressive enough to show the depths of grief that I was feeling. So I decided to move the arms and make her holding her head.




I moved her hands several times before getting them exactly where I wanted them also changing the tilt of her head. I was even blessed to get my Photographer son Isaiah Miller to photograph my beautiful daughter in law in the hand pose I needed, and under the same lighting conditions as the original reference photo to make it easier for me to paint it correctly.The problem I had now was that  I could not repaint the background as I loved the feeling of the drips so I had to hide the painting of the hands on the floor in the hair. Since my daughter in law has such lovely long full hair, this was an easy transition.



Once the detail in the hands and body were complete I felt I needed to clothe her in black to finish the look of one who mourns. Once that was done I felt that I had achieved expressing my inner most emotions. I hope that you can feel what my heart is saying and I hope that it touches you deeply.

Please leave a comment telling me how this piece makes you feel and what it tells you. I would love to hear from you.


Grief is So Strange!


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Have you ever walked around with your phone camera in front of you at a special event? You are trying to capture the special moments in your life, but you are watching it through a tiny screen instead of in living color. Your subconscious is worried about focusing, keeping things centered, and not tripping over your own two feet in the process. So many times, so focused on the video you are taking, that you become detached from what is actually going on around you. In doing so you capture the action, but miss the emotions of the moment. You wanted to capture this special moment so you could watch it over and over and get that same feeling. But since you were taking the video and were detached from the moment, you probably never will watch the video more then once.


Strange set up, but it has been one month today that my sister passed away and oddly enough, I feel exactly like I’m walking behind that camera. I am aware of the special people that are around me; those that want to comfort me, and those I want to comfort. There are things I need to keep doing like going to birthday parties and my granddaughter’s basketball games… So I’m going through the motions of going to the special events and the ordinary ones, but it’s like I am watching them through the video camera screen. I want desperately to be present, to remember this time, this event, this precious person. But instead I am focusing on just putting one foot in front of the other without falling on my face. Trying to focus on faces and hear the words that are being said, but finding that I’ve forgotten to press the record button.


Grief is so strange! Even though I feel so detached, I am also feeling things way bigger, way stronger then usual. I cry at the drop of a hat, and I get angry the same way. I Cry louder, laugh harder, (embarrassingly loud actually) and I am annoyed much easier than I usually would be.


I have often said that I hate being depressed, because it depresses me. And I usually follow that with a big laugh! I love to laugh about things. I love to see the good in everything and everyone. And that is still my motto. But I know now that there is depression that comes that is not despair. I have hope and a secret joy in my heart that my savior has given me that no man and no circumstance can ever take away. Yet I am sad, blue, and want to hide myself away. I don’t want to cry anymore. It hurts too much. I don’t want to laugh anymore, it feels wrong. I don’t want to be angry with anyone, they love me beyond measure and I them.


I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. I have never been able to disguise my feeling. But THIS, this is ridiculous.


My mind struggles to reconcile the joy of heaven that I have that is solid, and true and unmovable, with the grief that I bear which seems just as solid, true. But it is not unmovable! My grief will lesson as time goes by, my faith will only get bigger and stronger. Through this pain I am given a great gift. The gift of empathy and understanding, compassion and a deeper love then I ever had before.


So please be patient with me as I walk around in this disconnected state of grief. Please know that I love you all and thank you for all your prayers and support and loving hugs. They mean the world to me, even If I can’t remember whom it was that hugged me of prayed for me. I still remember that I am loved!



First and Final Breaths


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I’ve been called out in the middle of the night, to race to the bedside of a friend or family member, to help usher in new life many times. With the knowledge that the time was near, I would set out my clothing in a neat pile so that I could hastily put them on and be out the door within minutes of getting the call to action. Unable to fully give into sleep, afraid I might miss the call.  Anticipation filled my mind as I lay thinking about how this could be the night. Eventually, the awaited call would come and I would jump out of my bed and rush out the door.


Hours would pass as my sister and I would bathe troubled brows, put pressure on lower backs, and talk women through each contraction; helping them to relax, easing their pain, whispering words of encouragement and love into the ear, and words of the life that was to soon come. Long painful minutes often stretched into back breaking hours of bending over beds with no thought of our comfort, only thoughts of helping to ease and comfort others.

How many time have I held a hand as life struggled to make its way into this world, to take it’s first breath? 50? 60? It’s a moment that takes your breath away, Unexplainable, sacred, and Holy. A moment celebrated with laughter, tears, and relief. And I was honored to be present for so many.


As I sat by my sister’s bedside Christmas Eve 2017, I reflected on how much the last days and hours ushering life out was much the same as ushering life in.

For weeks I lay in my bed at night, phone by my side, a pile of clothes ready to be put on at a moments notice. But this time instead of waiting with great excitement and anticipation, there was anxiety, my chest tight with sorrow and worry. Tears wet my pillow, as I would see my sister in my mind, wasting away. I was haunted by the thought of losing her. I needed to be there with her, with all my heart. You see, she had been by my side since I was born. She was there for every major and minor event of my life and my children’s lives. I had to be able to care for her, yet I was afraid that I wouldn’t be called in time to rush to her side.

My sister loved Christmas and last wish was to be home for Christmas Eve (The night of their annual Christmas party. She wanted to be with her family. It was a very subdued and quiet party in the living room that night. We all took turns going into her bedroom where there were several chair by her bedside and soft Christmas music playing. Some came in to say their good byes, others crying, some just sitting in silent vigil.

When the hour was getting late, reluctantly, her grandchildren were taken home and tucked into their beds. Christmas music was turned off and we whispered into Sherry’s ear that she had made it through Christmas with the family. All the kids were home in their beds and that it was Ok for her to go to her new home to her eternal life with Jesus.

I was blessed to be able to stay, with a few other family members, to spend one last night with my sister. To tend to her needs, to make sure she was comfortable. I bathed her brow with my tears, Knowing that her pain would soon be over. Whispered words of encouragement and love into her ear, words of the life that was soon to come with Jesus. I held her hand for long emotionally painful minutes that silently slipped into back breaking hours of bending over her bed with no thought of my own comfort, just wanting, needing to do anything and everything I could to ease the last hours of this precious Woman, that had done so very much for me, and that I loved more then life itself !

How many time have I held a hand as life struggled to make its way out of this world, to take it’s final breath? One!  It was a moment that took my breath away, Unexplainable, sacred, and Holy. A moment celebrated with tears, sorrow and yet relief. And I was honored to be present for her birthing into Heaven.

My heart aches now, more then I ever thought possible. I have never hurt this bad or this deeply before. Speechless and sometimes breathless, but never hopeless, and maybe even a little jealous. WHY?

Because: I know My Redeemer lives, and I know that my sister is with Him in heaven today, seeing Him face to face. Oh, How I envy her that. For it is what I long for most in life. I long to see my Jesus and thank him for all that he has done in my life! To thank him for giving me such an amazing sister and family, and allowing me to love others as He has loved me for as long as He has planed for me to do so!

Beautiful things rarely happen in our lives without pain being present. Pain is part of life. I don’t fully understand that, or even like it, to be honest. But I know that without darkness we would not know what light is. With out sickness we do not appreciate health, and without pain we could not truly experience joy. I do not understand God and why he chooses to do what He does. I argue with Him quite often, thinking I know better then He does. I also know that He is big enough to handle my little temper tantrums.

His ways are not my ways. I have learned to trust and respect that, surrendering every aspect of my life to Him! Because I know the plans He has for me, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give me a future and a hope! (Jer 29: 11)