Jul 27, 2012

To live an ordinary life, extraordinarily

My ordinary world was knocked on it's side last week with the unexpected passing of my dad's lifelong best friend Mike. Mike lived an ordinary life as a husband, dad, grandfather, friend, teacher in a small town. And he lived that life so beautifully, so extraordinarily.

Mike and my dad in high school

Mike was quite simply one of the very best people I have ever known. Truly and deeply kind, caring, generous, smart, funny (silly!), wise, happy, principled, passionate. Mike loved his family, his friends, his community and life itself. He was always there for my family, always ready with a smile and a hug.

Mike with my cousins Sandi and Debbie

The photo above of Mike with my cousins conveys a little bit of what it was like to be with Mike. It was always a pleasure just to be in his presence.  His love of life was infectious.

My words feel so inadequate. Mike touched so many people and there have been so many wonderful tributes, including here and here.

Mike with his son Patrick at a Husky football tailgate.

 It's been a challenging week. My grief has been so strong, at times I've wanted to throw the covers over my head and hide from the world. And at the same time, my own ordinary life has been tugging at me. I hosted my own beloved family in my happy little home for the first time, a new friend had her first baby on Thursday, I was asked to be one of three featured artists at Sew Uniquely You next month. A brief glimpse at Facebook last night showed friends enjoying dinner with their families, a co-worker's baby taking her first steps, a friend leaving on a teaching trip, another friend watching her daughter play with a baby doll and a shopping cart. All of us living our beautiful ordinary lives. And I know that Mike will always be in my heart, just like he was in life, gently reminding me to live and love my ordinary life in an extraordinary way.

Thank you and a winner!

Thank you so much to the folks who donated to ovarian cancer research last week. Team Colleen ended up raising over $2800!!!

And the winner of my drawing is Amanda Jolley! Amanda, I think I have your address around here somewhere, I'll get the postcards in the mail to you on Monday.

Jul 17, 2012

Fight cancer and get a chance to win my art!

Ready to win some original art? I'm going to give this set of 4 paintings (painted by me!) to one lucky person who donates at least 5 dollars to ovarian cancer research.
Each painting is 5" by 7" and painted on a heavy Bristol card-stock type paper. They are suitable for framing or sending as postcards.

I've never hosted a giveaway before...mostly because it scares me to put my art out there in this way...
But a dear friend of mine lost her mom to ovarian cancer 1.5 years ago and this cause, the work for earlier detection, better treatment and someday a cure of this silent killer, has become close to my heart.

While survival rates for other women’s cancers – like breast and cervical cancer – have increased dramatically in recent years, the incidence and mortality of ovarian cancer has remained unchanged in 50 years. This is primarily due to the lack of an accurate early detection test for the disease.
When caught in its earliest stages, survival rates can be as high as 90 percent. Regrettably, however, early symptoms of ovarian cancer are difficult to diagnose, are often misdiagnosed, or go undetected, which leads to nearly 75% of all ovarian cancer patients being diagnosed in advanced stages. Long-term survival rate for advanced ovarian cancer is only 10%.

My friend is raising money for the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research in honor of her mom, Colleen. If you go here and donate $5 or more by 5 p.m. PST on Saturday, July 21, I will enter your name in a drawing to win this set of 4 of my paintings. Just let me know in a comment here or on Facebook that you donated. I'll draw a name and notify the winner on Sunday morning.

Jul 8, 2012

Makings of a summer

It's been a busy summer so far. Busy and glorious. My biggest creative project has been making these wedding invitations for my friend Jen.

I'm bubbling over with ideas but struggling to find time. I could whine about all the things that are taking up my time, but I'm trying to shift my mindset, thinking about changing my relationship with time. So far, I've discovered that a big part of my time problem is focus. There are so many things I want to do that I get scattered and distracted and I fail to use my time in a focused way. Friday night I decided to change that and I spent the evening starting and finishing this little bag. There are a lot more cute bag ideas where this one came from if I can just carve out more small blocks of time and devote them to one project at a time.

Of course, the need for focus applies to other activities as well. One of the things I really want in my summer is time spent swimming and soaking up the sun. That was my focus on the 4th of July! I'm happy to say I've already been to the lake twice and yesterday I went rafting on the Spokane River. It was amazing!

I also had lemonade and a mini blackberry pie from this best-ever lemonade stand a few blocks from home.  These guys were awesome. They even had sprigs of lavender and raspberry canes for sale.

And this weekend, Mom was feeling so much better that she and I went up to the Moran Prairie Strawberry Festival and enjoyed strawberry shortcake and some yummy vintage/craft shopping!

What are the makings of your amazing summer?

Jul 1, 2012

A message from Pistol

Hi there. It's Pistol. I just wanted to tell you how happy I am about summer.

I've been hanging out in the backyard A LOT! I like to help Thursday with the manly man jobs and get really dirty.

My new favorite thing is flopping on the sidewalk and rolling around. A lot.

Hope you are having as much fun this summer as I am! If not, you should try rolling in the dirt.