Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seasons of Life

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to mourn and a time to dance,..." Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2a, 4b

Exactly one month ago today, Keith and I were gathered with family and friends on a sunny hillside in Whittier, California for a graveside service. A little over a week before, Keith's mom had passed away at the age of 80. Her death was not a surprise to us since she had not been well for some time, but it began for me the realization that our family would never be the same again...

It seems that life can plod along somewhat predictably for quite some time, and then all of a sudden, Kapow!! things happen all at once! That's what I've been experiencing for the past 30 days or so. The circle of life has taken me for a dizzy ride! While we were in California for Grandma Roses's funeral, our daughter Melissa was expecting, and was already one week overdue. I was so hoping and praying that the baby would stay put until we got back, but with the full realization that babies come whenever they are good and ready.

The funeral on that Saturday was warm, (80 degrees!) and we shared a lot of laughter on that sunny hillside remembering the life and often hilarious antics of Keith's mom, Elinore. With a love of community volunteering, an infectious laugh and the tendency to overreact to things...a lot, she was well remembered and well loved.

 Here's a picture I found that was taken when Melissa was about 9 years old. Grandma Rose had come up for a visit and us three girls were enjoying a very nice tea party at a tea room in Bellevue, WA. Wow...it sure doesn't seem like it was all that long ago, but I guess it was!

Sunday, the day after the funeral, Keith and I had an early flight back home to Seattle. We were welcomed  home to the Northwest by blustery, cold, cloudy, rainy (and wonderful!) November weather. I must say right here that 80 degrees in November just doesn't feel right. I was born and raised in sunny southern California, but I was always longing for rain, clouds and snow. So, my heart magnet pulled me up to the land of inclement weather and I've been quite happy with it ever since!

Well, anyway. Back to my story. As soon as we got off of the plane in Seattle around 11:00 am, we had a message on our cell phones that Melissa was in labor. "Thank you, Baby for waiting for us!!" I was thinking. Well, Baby kept us and her poor mommy and daddy waiting for 25 whole hours before she made her grand appearance! Anelie Rose Foltz came into the world around 8:30 am on Monday morning, November 28th. Hoooooray!!!

Here's a picture of me holding Anelie for the very first time, only a few hours old. She is wearing a Thanksgiving pumpkin hat that I knitted for her. She didn't show up for Thanksgiving, so there was no time to lose. She needed to wear that hat before Christmas got into full swing!

And now, here is a picture of Melissa and Anelie just a few weeks later. Aren't they beautiful?  

Becoming a "Grammy" is one of the most exciting, rewarding and beautiful things that I have ever experienced in my life. Being an adoptive mom, I had never experienced pregnancy or childbirth, so being able to walk alongside my daughter throughout this miraculous process was a huge blessing to me. A time of healing. A time of rejoicing without the sadness of a birth mother's loss. Babies are God's way of giving us love all wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket. An overwhelming kind of love for that little bundle that shoots up to the sky and explodes like Fourth of July fireworks.

Here's a picture of me and Keith over 22 years ago holding Melissa for the very first time...do you see the fireworks?!!!

Baby Anelie is blessed to have such wonderful parents, and we are blessed to have Anelie in our lives and in our hearts. The circle of life spins around at an increasingly faster and dizzying rate, but the the ride is soooo worth it! Remembering a loved one who has lived a full life and gone on to heaven just as another loved one enters our lives has caused me to really stop and ponder. It makes me stop and thank God for this life He has given me, the gift of family, and the knowledge and peace that we're all in His loving hands. There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under heaven. And sometimes, it happens all in one weekend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Queen Lulu Rules!

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Dogs have masters, cats have servants"? Well, I have a dog and a cat and I can tell you for a fact that it's true. I'll even go so far as to say that cats have subjects, royally speaking. Here's "Queen Lulu". She looks very royal, doesn't she?

Here she is when she was merely "Princess Lulu". Isn't she sweet??? Awww...

Queen Lulu did not always look or act very dignified, though...

It's hard to keep one's crown on sometimes. Oh, well. 

It's also hard to stay slim and aerodynamic. (I know that too well!) Do you see the little pillow back on the corner of my art table? That's Lulu's pillow/throne. She likes it much better on top of my painting, apparently. If Lulu were a dog I would tell her, "GO!" and she would go and I would get back to my painting. Did I order Lulu to "GO!"? Umm...no. I got up and decided to do something else. Oh, well. 

Queen Lulu is a beautiful girl, and sometimes she doesn't even need a crown to look like she's the boss. Now before you get the wrong idea about Queen Lulu, she is a very affectionate kitty! I drew a pencil portrait of her which I think captures her sweet, gentle nature...I love my kitty. 

Right now I'm working on a portrait of my dog Zoe and will show you some pictures of her so that she will get equal blog time. Parents need to try to be fair to all of their furry children, and even their UN-furry children...

Have I ever told you about my tortoise, "Queen Ona"?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Worship and Beauty"

At my church, Pastor Brad has been doing a series of sermons on worship, and today the sermon was "Worship and Beauty". As an artist, art and beauty go hand-in-hand. I think that most artists are lovers of beauty. For me, the creative process is attempting to express that feeling that I get when I see something of beauty, whatever that might be, then recreate it on paper or canvas in hopes that others will feel what I felt. I guess its all part of the longing as a person to know God better and to be known better by others.
Here's a picture of me taken a few years ago at Eight Mile Lake in the Wenatchee National Forest. Keith and I had hiked to this place and when we got to our destination, I plopped my tired self down, kicked off my boots and peeled off my sweaty socks to let my toes air out awhile. It's a little hard to see, but I have my sketch book in my lap and I'm drawing the view. I'm not always very good about using my sketch book when I bring it, but I'm glad that I took the time to use it here.

To me, sketching outside in a beautiful place like that is a form of worship. I see, hear and smell the sounds of nature around me. I'm aware that God created all of this (for me!) and being out in the midst of it brings me such peace and an overwhelming sense of God's presence. Like Psalm 23 says, "He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul." Being out in nature really does "restore my soul" by it's beauty and it's reflection of who God is. I think that's why I usually find it easier to "pray on my feet" when I'm on walks. My conversations with God seem to flow so naturally when I'm out there with all of the amazing things He's made.

If I'm lucky, the wonderfulness of it all will stick to the paper of my sketchbook and I'll have a great drawing. Sometimes though, I get frustrated with my drawing and just give up. The vastness of the view is so grand, and my drawing seems so inadequate in my own eyes. As I try to capture all of my feelings on paper (and even though I'm not usually successful at it), I need to keep reminding myself that it's the process and not the outcome of my drawing that is the worshipful-ness of it all.

As even my words here struggle to express what I feel, it's a good feeling to at least try to get it out there, share it and hope that something "sticks" as a small piece of encouragement to you. Pastor Brad said this morning, "Worship and beauty are traveling companions that are never found far from one another."  So, the next time you're outside, take a look around and take notice of the beauty around you, and tell God, "Thanks!". Because He made it just for you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Silly squirrel...

Do you ever wonder why God invented squirrels? I do. They must have some sort of  purpose in the animal kingdom, besides being someone's lunch. To those of us who enjoy watching and feeding birds, squirrels can be a huge pest. There is nothing that will stop them once they make up their minds to do something. So...perhaps squirrels can teach us about determination. Or, perhaps God just put them here on earth to make us laugh! I've had some of the best laughs over the years, watching some of the antics of squirrels in my yard.
Here's an innocent little fellow. This guy was just outside my dining room window, and clearly, he had his eye on the brand, new bird feeder behind him. He was nonchalantly washing his paws, knowing he was being watched. My son-in-law, Justin and I were both standing there staring at him, and he was staring back, just waiting for us to leave so he could make his move.
It was a staring-contest showdown. Justin and I couldn't help but giggle at him, knowing what he had in mind, so we slowly backed up and hid behind the wall to see if he would make his move...
 SCORE!! Squirrel - 1, birds - 0. Squirrels have an amazing ability to defy gravity and to stick to anything! Anyway, this squirrel was cheap entertainment and made me smile. So, Justin and I decided that he should be immortalized on a greeting card...
And, look! He's actually smiling! Or is that a triumphant little sneer?... 

Friday, October 7, 2011

That sunny, summer day at the lake

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago when I joined my painting friends ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Paints" as we call ourselves) at Beaver Lake in Sammamish for some plein aire painting. It was one of those glorious, and somewhat rare, Pacific Northwest summer days in the mid-seventies with clear blue skies. I look out my window now to gray skies with some misty, wet stuff coming down. Not exactly rain, but I like it. It's the perfect kind of day to hunker down with a cup of tea, catch up on some projects around the house and to get on the computer and start my new blog!

I have a separate web site devoted to my home portrait business, www.homes-by-heidi.com, but I needed someplace else to share with the whole wide world about all of the other arts and crafts that I like to do. So, here it is! One thing in particular I'd like to share are my new photo greeting cards. Here are two of them that I created from pictures that I took on that glorious-somewhat rare-mid-seventies-summer day at Beaver Lake. Do you see the little red boat with a couple of people in it? I think they were fishing...I wonder if they caught any? It was a great day to be out on the water and near the water and I'm glad I have a couple of photos to remember that pretty day.

I'll have my cards available for sale soon at local shops here in Issaquah and online too at some point in the near future. I'll let you know! If you'd like to subscribe to my posts, please sign up by clicking on the "Subscribe to" option on the sidebar . I also have some pen and ink illustrations that I've been working on of Issaquah landmarks to show you sometime soon, so stay tuned! Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My New Blog!

Thanks for your patience while I'm putting together my new blog. I'll have some artwork loaded up soon, so please stop by again and I'll have more here for you to see. I promise!