with Olivia

Be Open


Today on the way to dance we noticed how gorgeous the light was on the fields. We pulled over and snapped some quick photos. Twenty minutes later the sun was sinking behind the mountains. ‪#‎goldenhour‬


oliviacupidvariation2oliviacupidvariation1Oh, so very proud of my ballerina! She amazed me with the Cupid variation (from the Don Quixote ballet) at one of our local festivals. Dancing is where her heart is and she lights up as soon as the pointe shoes go on.

this week…

…I received some exciting news. In August, Lesley Riley has a new book coming out, a book of illustrated quotes, and I’m happy and honored to say that I will have an artwork included! Whoot-whoot! The quote that I received to illustrate was a challenging one- ideas simmered in my mind for weeks before I was able to begin- but one that really resonated with me in the end and one that has even helped to guide me in several decisions in the last few days. Serendipity! I can’t wait until I can share more!

…I took a fall and hurt my back, making sitting an issue. Lots of emails and computer work has gone undone, plus driving has been the most unpleasant task ever. On the bright side, I’ve been able to organize the art room shelves and one day I spent standing at the dining room table, painting layer after layer of glow in the dark paint on a very tall skeleton costume.

133Yep, I spent the better part of a day on it. And it’s not that I’m getting a headstart on Halloween. It’s for the upcoming Cinderella ballet (recital). Didn’t know that there were dancing skeletons in Cinderella? Well, they are in this production! It’s going to be fun. Olivia is not a skeleton, however, much to her disappointment, saying that their dance is one of her favorites. Honestly, her parts will be a bit of a surprise for me. I know that she is a spider for the jazz dance and dust in modern, but I don’t know the dances and I’m completely clueless about the pointe piece. As always, I’m excited to see Olivia and her friends on stage. They work so very hard all year and it’s magical to see it all come together.

And thinking of ballet (which I do everyday as the mom of a daughter whose whole world is dance), the Romeo and Juliet Ballet (Southwest Virginia Ballet, the pre-professional company Olivia is in) at the end of April was beyond fantastic! I don’t have words to properly express the energy of the two shows. Olivia’s much-loved teacher and the artistic director, Pedro Szalay, choreographed the ballet and really outdid himself. There have been many compliments showered upon him and he has deserved every single one and then some. Plus, all of the dancers put their hearts in it too and were shining bright.

oliviandpedroHere is Olivia after the Sunday performance with the wonderful Mr. Pedro. I wish I could go back in time and change my camera settings. In all the excitement, I came away with blurry pics. Even so, I treasure this image.

…I made tamales for our mother/daughter bookclub. The book for this month was ESPERANZA RISING by Pamela Munoz Ryan. It was my first attempt at tamales and at a chocoflan but not the last for either! They were yummy! While I was making them, Olivia worked on some tissue paper flowers.101


New painting pics soon! I have several on the table just waiting for their finishing touches. 🙂


Making Wishes


We were meeting friends for lunch but were early so we decided to wander about. I was looking for four leaf clovers when I looked up and spotted her face, lost in wish making. I love that she wishes on things like I do. I love her crossed arms and her gentle heart.

“Wish on everything. Pink cars are good, especially old ones. And stars of course, first stars and shooting stars. Planes will do if they are the first light in the sky and look like stars. Wish in tunnels, holding your breath and lifting your feet off the ground. Birthday candles. Baby teeth.” ― Francesca Lia Block

“Nobody ever talks about the pyramids that weren’t built, the books that weren’t written, the songs that weren’t sung. Stop letting your fear condemn you to mediocrity. Get out of your own way. Your dreams are a poetic reflection of your soul’s wishes. Be courageous enough to follow them. There is no greater time than now to experience the full power of your potential. Make this the day you take the first step in the beautiful journey of bringing your dreams to life.”
―    Steve Maraboli

The last few days…

…have been filled with creative goodness, only not in the art room messy paint brush kind of way. Here are seven things that have given me cause to smile.

1. Olivia made a second batch of carrot cake cupcakes. They are downstairs in the kitchen right now, calling to me. There’s pineapple and coconut mixed in, along with the carrot. Cream cheese frosting on top. Yum! 8366121012_1957c9d64c_b


8366121390_261588ba8b_b2. On Sunday, we had a family day at Snowshoe. What a pretty drive! I squealed when I saw the snow on the mountain tops! I am like a child when it comes to snow. I love it! But, oh my, I thought I was ready for the cold. I thought I was dressed warmly but the wind on top of the mountain was BRUTAL. It unwound our scarves, took our words, and reddened our eyes. There is a nice row of shops and restaurants, like a little village, at the tip top. I would have loved to take my time and enjoy meandering through, but instead the wind chased us into a pub where we had lunch and warmed up. I added a sweater layer and got some hot tea before heading back down a bit to the tubing area. Not as windy there, thankfully. We were able to relax and enjoy. How wonderful to put my hands in the snow, to kick up my heels, to let my eyes rest on the big stretches of white! Heaven, I tell you! Olivia and her friend tubed until they couldn’t tube anymore. It was a day trip that we plan on doing more often. The next visit will be in the spring, maybe when my hubby’s band plays (they played there twice last year in the village), to walk the nature trails and maybe, maybe, do some ziplining. Or most likely, I will stay rooted to the ground and take photos as they fly by. We will see. I may surprise myself with bravery. 2013 feels like it could be that sort of year. There is also an observatory nearby and a mineral springs that has to be checked out. And soon. “Taking the waters” is a big part of the book I am working on so I must see for myself what the fuss is all about.

8365173381_f7dd85aa0b_b (1)3. In homeschooling news, we have taken a detour from our purchased curriculum (Oak Meadow) and are reading about India for Geography Club. And reading Anne Frank’s diary for our mother/daughter bookclub. The latter has Olivia so inspired that she has been writing nonstop in her own diary. The sight of her scribbling furiously stops me in my tracks every time. I stand there beaming at her until she looks up and gives me either a smile or shoos me away. Let’s just hope she is not writing about me in the same way as Anne wrote about her own mother. My heart would break!

4. And while flipping through an old notebook, (old as in 1999) I ran across a copy of  The Desiderata. Do you know this poem? I used to read it daily. I’ve never read it and not felt good afterward. So, I taped it to the inside of my current sketchpad after I shared it with Olivia. It’s what a friend of mine would call a “soul vitamin.”

8365173853_0faf88247a_b (1)5. Some new colored pencils arrived in the mail and have made the morning sketch project even more fun.

6. Writing news: I’ve had a slow start to the novel revision but I’ve a bit of time tonight to work on it. I can’t wait!

7. Also reading: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin. I found out about it at Lesley Riley’s blog. (thank you, Lesley!) I love the sharing of good information!

And now, I am off to make the most of my solitary hour and half. To Revison Land, I go.

Happy Creating!






It’s always a treat to get to hang out with Tiffany Trent. She drove into Roanoke on Saturday to talk about the revision process at the downtown library. Of course, I went. I felt a bit lousy but managed to pull it together. I’d already missed several outings with other friends and hated to keep adding to that list. So glad that I did. I have missed that girl!

She’s a fantastic speaker, giving lots of great tips and at the same time engaging the audience in discussion. I was a proud friend. One of her tips triggered a writing session on Sunday morning where I had a bit of a breakthrough.

Other writers were there. Becky Mushko, Amanda Cockrell, Kathleen Foucart, Amelia (I wish I had gotten her last name). It was great to talk about writerly things. Even though I’m not as far along in the process as the others, it was nice to be immersed in that world for a bit.

There was also a tasty lunch at Alejandro’s with lots of laughter and more writerly talk which was heaven. A ballerina pickup and then a trip to Black Dog Salvage. Have you ever been? You can wander around there for hours and not see everything. I love the old (and enormous) stained glass, doors, and mantels. My want list was long by the time we made it back to the marketplace area. In the midst of all the cool, vintage offerings there were paintings by local artists, a gallery and antique stored rolled into one! Joy! Oh, and there’s garden statuary outside. Lovely pieces-birdbaths, stone benches graced with rabbits and ornate gazebos. Really. Very fairytale-like. 

Here’s a pic of Tiffany and Olivia just inside the store.

And then there was tea and more goodness. We were so sad to see her drive away.


There has also been a recent celebration of ballet accomplishments. This was the day we found out that a sweet friend made it into Junior Company at ballet. Olivia received her acceptance letter the next day which means another year of fun and hard work and growth. I couldn’t be more proud.

And speaking of dance, I never did share any photos from The Nutcracker, did I? Here is one of my favorites of Olivia.