A Ford Fiesta Birthday.

Yesterday he turned fifty-four. His first birthday apart from my mom, I can't imagine it was easy. I tried hard to remember what she used to do for him on his birthday, likely she'd make a big, fancy steak (his fave), and buy him a new t-shirt.

Instead of re-creating the impossible, I decided to paint for him. Because soon he will have his own place, his first place as a single man, and without a doubt he'll need some art for his walls.

One of my favorite images of my parents is from their wedding day... so very young, so very much in love. Life ahead of them, poor as can be, but completely together, and that's all that mattered. They piled into the back of that minty green, 1979 Ford Fiesta and rode off into their wonderland.  Thirty two years they shared as husband and wife. Not all roses and unicorns. No, no. But they kept their commitment to one another and I admire that very much.

So in the darkest of my heartache, I find art to be the most healing of all. So I do it, and I do it often.

Here's the original image:

 

Grief, you suck, but you won't consume me + images of my kids.

Yesterday started out like any other Sunday. But half way through church I was sobbing in the seventh row. Something triggered within me and I was so upset we had to walk out. I wanted nothing more than to hop in the car and head to Oakmead Drive where my mom would be smiling in the door way, spatula in hand making us breakfast. We would sit out back on the swing and watch the kids play. That's what I needed and what I wanted, but none of it was possible any longer. Some days I feel like I've got this grief thing under control. Others I wonder to myself "has it really hit me she's died?" as crazy as that may sound.

What I realized yesterday is the back and forth, the up and down of grief is a very, real, thing. It's painful and unexpected. It physically hurts in ways I never imagined.

So we did the next best thing, loaded up the kids and drove to my inlaws. It was cozy and familiar, and I needed to be anywhere but home. There I painted and I read, and I asked the kids if I could photograph them. They obliged, as if knowing it's what my cracked heart needed that day.

And it helped. And from it came a series of images I can't wait to see in print.

Grief, you suck, but you won't consume me.

 

dreaming & listing.

I shared on instagram this morning how I feel so overwhelmed with things I'd like to do. This is of course on top of things I need to do. I have an artistic spirit, and creating is one of my favorite things to do. But I'm working (right now), and have three young kids and a husband, and am cleaning up the mess my parents left, and am trying to take better care of myself, and yet at the end of the day my mind swirls with projects and ideas and dreams and adventures and ways to better take care of me.

So I've decided to get it out of my head and on paper, or um, internet. It's not a list of New Year's resolutions, no no no. Maybe more like a bucket list? Eh, I don't like that phrase. It is more a list of things I'd love to accomplish and work on and most importantly, enjoy the process I'm in while I'm swimming these waters.

In no order:

  • finish + publish my memior
  • order Nana books for my kids
  • crochet a huge throw for the family
  • shoot more of my kids
  • take on commissioned photo projects
  • shoot for a cook book
  • get a fish eye for my nikon
  • paint more
  • quit sugar
  • go to Europe with Justin
  • bring back my afternoon juicing
  • fill my mantle with Artifact Uprising books
  • fill my walls with art from my kids, friends, and those I admire
  • buy a hammack
  • take a writing retreat
  • go on a road trip when the kids are teens
  • visit napa more often
  • go to new mexico with my best friend
  • finish the outlander series

Now. Where to begin...

 

Dear last year.

It's safe to say you chewed me up and spit me out. You teased me with goodness and yanked the rug from beneath my feet. The innocence I entered into you with was fiercely taken from me by year's end.

A precious safety and security floated about and I with it. Our routine continued. And then it didn't.

You brought change: a move, our wonderful home, new opportunities. The gift of waking up to my children every 365 days. You brought with you blessings I can't quite seem to list, because in April you began to take my mother.

But, it was an amazing summer. A wonderful blur of gardening and picnics. Of ice cream parties and swimming.

And just as the leaves began to turn, she began to go.

My world was rocked. I lived in constant fear and anxiety. I was a caretaker of the one that cared for me.

When you took her, you took him too, in a different way. 2013, you thrust me into a world where I am parentless. And life will never look the same again.

So as you came to a close, I struggled. Did I want you to go? You most awful year. Or did I want you to stay, because the idea of moving past what you brought me is a very most confusing thought.

In the end, as the sun said goodbye, I decided I had to let you go. Not only did I have no choice but you needed to go. Time to put one foot in front of the other and navigate this new world.

And so, I will.

So long, last year. I'm glad to be done with you.