Discovering my life Beautiful…one drawing at a time!


Our Hero!


My husband and I often say to our youngest (age 12) daughter (pictured on the left in the above drawing)–

“You are our hero!”

We say this for many reasons, but mostly because of the amazing way she handles living with Type 1 Diabetes.

We said it to her when she learned this year to give herself her own inset WITHOUT any lidocaine!

We say it to her when she has to repeatedly prick her finger to get enough blood to test her sugars.

We say it to her when she recounts how a substitute teacher treated her poorly when her pump alarm went off in class.

We said it to her when she stood in a choral group to sing and a teacher ( who did not know her) went off on her about getting rid of her “cell phone”. No alarm had gone off. The teacher just didn’t like the “look” of her pump being visible.

We say it to her when she comes home from school telling us how a student asked her for the umpteenth time–“What’s that?” After she has explained it to her numerous times.

We say it to her when she chooses to do all the things necessary for keeping her blood sugars under some sort of control…testing and eating something when she feels “low”, giving a correction and drinking water when her sugars are high, exercising, etc.

We say it to her when she patiently endures people saying stupid things to her like, “You don’t LOOK like you have diabetes.” Ugh.

We say it to her when she goes to a birthday party or a sleepover and makes wise choices about what she eats and boluses the insulin needed for her to enjoy the party.

Time and time again, she models to us a fortitude in spirit and a graciousness of character to endure on a daily basis, living with Type 1 Diabetes. Randy and I want so much for her to be free of this disease. We want all children and adults who live with Type 1 to have a cure available to them.

And so we Walk.

On November 8th we will walk with her, proud to be her parents. Her older sister (pictured above) and brother are also heroes for the countless times they have stepped in to care for Maddie and to learn all they need to be able to help her live with this disease. We Walk for the amazing heroes of Type 1 Diabetic children and their families who bravely face each day together!

Please join us on our Walk! We would love for you to walk with us in Winston-Salem! Or you can give to help find a cure for our daughter and so many others! Every year, for the past four years, we have been amazed at your generosity!! Should you wish to donate to Maddie’s Mission to find a cure, click here.

**Thank you! To each and every one of you who gives, you are our heroes too!**

***To read  more posts about our life with Type 1 Diabetes, check the Category here.


Dixie Classic Fair!


Just popping in to say HI from the Dixie Classic Fair! I went on Monday to draw the sights at the Fair and had a fantabulous time! I’m planning on going back today to draw more!! I love, LoVe, LOVE the FAIR!!!!!


I’m posting as I go over on Instagram, should you wish to follow my sketches there. The above is the first of four drawings I made on Monday while there. There’s so much to draw at the Fair, I’m “fair”ly dizzy with possibilities.

Oh me…could life be any finer in Carolina than during Dixie Classic Fair days?

I think not. :)


Morning Draw


Started about a week ago, I’m making a drawing each morning before the day gets going. Perhaps its like my Morning Cuppa Joe (which I’ve replaced with herbal tea) or my Morning Meditation…it just starts the day off right. This was the first one and I didn’t date it like I have the others. This first week’s worth are uploaded to my Flickr account should you care to see them. I plan on uploading about once a week just to Flickr. I haven’t put any of my work on Flickr in a while so this will be fun.

Perhaps you’d like to join me in making a little drawing each morning. I enjoy a slow contour drawing to really bring my thoughts and focus on just what’s in front of me, savoring each line and connection of shapes. It’s a great way to harness the ping-pong thoughts in my head as the day gets started.


The Brothers Zucchini


In the vast land of Back Yard, two brothers lived next door to each other through the heat and humidity of Summer. Bubba Zucchini had a goal to produce the biggest and best zucchini ever known, while Jake Zucchini made it his mission to outlast them all.


As Autumn encroached on the land, Jake held his head high even as his limbs hung limp, weary from the toil of the season. Yet Bubba continued to nurture the over two foot long zucchini growing beneath his mammoth wings.


Preserved here in paint, the legacy of these two brothers will live in infamy, even though Jake has now succumbed to the natural course of things and is flattened to the ground, disappearing into the soil. Bubba is making a valiant attempt to continue sheltering the huge girth of his progeny. Soon, the gigantic zucchini will join the local Fair to compete for the title of Biggest & Best in the Zucchini family, thus making Bubba the proudest papa in the land.


**Good grief. What stories come floating in on a breeze as I stand washing dishes looking out the window at our backyard. I’m sure this happens to you too! Oh please do say that it does. Surely I’m not the only one. ;)


Michelle’s Challenge: “Go Big!”


One of the artists whose work I admire on the One Drawing A Day blog, Michelle Bedigian, posed a challenge over a week ago. She recounted that one of her former teachers had challenged her to “Go Big” when she went out to sketch on site. This was to shake things up a bit and to make her approach a drawing differently.  The “big” size she was challenged to do was 36″ x 42″…oi!

photo 2

I took this challenge immediately! However, not even owning a board or paper coming anywhere near that size, I decided to use the largest piece of paper I had which was 22″ x 30″. All week long I looked forward to taking the hot press w/c paper on a board with my French easel and all kinds of drawing media and watercolors, to our Ciener Botanical Gardens here in Kernersville, NC. I typically draw and paint there with no bigger than a 9″ x 12″ sketchbook, so this was going to be fun! I have certainly done larger paintings and drawings on location before, but this time I wanted to approach it in a similar manner to how I work in my sketchbook and see what would happen. In other words, I wanted to “think drawing”, rather than “proper painting”. This may not mean anything to you, but in my mind, there’s a big difference.

photo 3


Friday morning dawned with gray skies and spitting rain. We had been having this weather all week and I was just sure the clouds would part for Friday’s adventure. Humph. Not to be daunted, I hauled my stuff there anyway, determined to find some way to “Go Big”, even in the misting rain. Right as I hopped out of my car, I saw it. Just the view I wanted to draw! Flowers in the foreground, main building behind with the Methodist church in the far background. Yes! And as I got out my stuff, I realized the back hatch of our vehicle would provide some shelter from the spitting rain. Perfect.


I was joined by two of my dear artist friends from Reidsville who had come to Kernersville to draw with me. They were not daunted either and found a terrific spot under an awning to draw for the morning.  Once my setup was in place (which was truly perfect using the back of my car to open up all the supplies for ease of reach) I attacked the drawing, trying not to think too much. I had splashed a bit of watercolor on the page the night before. I often enjoy drawing over an underpainting (or rather an undersplashing). It helps tone down the large white expanse of the paper and offers lovely surprises later on as you view the finished the drawing. (See the first photo above for the “drawing only” on top of the pre-splash of watercolor.)


I got really caught up in the moment, only stepping back a couple of times to take a look and dive back in. After two hours, I decided I had hit the “niggling” stage. This is where I begin adding little bits of this and that which aren’t really helping anything at all. Even though I wish I had stopped long before I was near niggling it to death (I almost like the “drawing only” version the best!), I still liked it immensely if only for the fact that I did it! I drew larger and more expansively and oh boy was it fun!


I can’t wait to do this again! My little brain is hopping with ideas and different approaches and mixes of media! Definitely a challenge worth taking many times over! Perhaps you’ll try it too! I highly recommend it!


I’m including some close-ups of specific areas of the drawing so you can see it better. It really was a gray day so I apologize if the photos are a bit dim as well. C’est la vie!


And in case you’re curious as to the media I used, here’s a list:

Faber-Castell watercolor pencils, Feber-Castell PITT artist pens of various tones of black and gray, Prismacolor Premier Fine-Line Marker 08, Loew-Cornell oil pastels, Loew-Cornell 7020 Ultra Round watercolor brush size 14, American Journey Watercolor paints with a few DaVinci Gouache colors.

Here’s a definition of the word “niggle”:

nig•gle (ˈnɪg əl)

v.i. -gled, -gling.
1. to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details; trifle.
2. to criticize in a peevish way; carp.

***Should you be up for an excellent read about an artist’s life, read J.R.R. Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle. 




Pure Joy


I’m not sure I know what it means. Nor do I feel I am doing it well. But I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the words, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2

I am certain it does NOT mean a plastic smile. Nor does it MERELY mean to gloss over the immediate reality of pain and discomfort to claim that One Day…One day all will be well. This is certainly true and does hold a great deal of hope for us. But the above call, to consider it pure joy, is definitely speaking to the day-to-day experience of it, the ongoing reality of the trial in one’s life, the uncertainty as to whether it will get better, or whether one will have to endure it to the end of one’s days.

In these months post-surgery in early June, I’ve been holding onto that One Day idea. The surgeon and his nurses speak this way: it’s an adjustment period and once you get through that, in a few months, you’ll feel great! I’m going on four months now and I’m not there. In fact, I’ve developed other issues that have my experienced surgeon in a bit of a quandary. First it was a fistula and now ongoing inflammation has developed which is not responding to the antibiotics he has had me on for weeks now. I’ll be going in for testing to see if he can identify what’s going on and prescribe a medicine or other regimen to get rid of whatever is causing the issue. Now I’m thinking this will be more of the same: try this med, see what happens, if it doesn’t work, try another, hope that the side effects are minimal, and if that doesn’t work… Ugh.

I’m now needing the fortitude to find joy, pure joy, in the midst of this trial. I don’t want to “gloss over”. I want to approach each day with an eye toward understanding what these huge words mean…consider it pure joy.


One thing I’m certain of, is that in drawing, I know this joy. Or perhaps to put it more succinctly…it is THROUGH drawing that this joy comes to me. It might be called happiness at times. But not always. One’s happiness is often tied to how a drawing turns out, whether I’m pleased with it or not, whether it is “good” (whatever that means).  There are times, however, when I may not be feeling good about my drawing, or I may not be feeling good period (as I was on Friday morning, drawing the two you see here, with my friend Debbie, up the road at Smith Hollow Farm), and I STILL experience that joy.

So… I draw. And as I draw, something wells up inside me. It may be called peace. It may be tranquility. It may be an assurance that somehow, some way all will not only be well, but it IS well, just at that moment. It matters not how the drawings turn out. Indeed I felt what I produced on that soggy morning was well…a bit soggy. The act of drawing becomes a conduit for joy to break in, no matter what my body may be feeling at the moment or what may come in the future. Drawing, quite literally, draws me into the present moment and ushers in a joy that does not necessarily include a grin on my face.

It also helps to have an encouraging friend, as I did on Friday. Someone who holds out hope that, yes, tomorrow will be different and possibly for the better. Drawing outside causes me to start thinking of all that I DO have: the beautiful outdoors, the cool breeze, the love of my family and the encouragement of friends. Drawing the people, places, and things in my life causes me to see beyond the resident discomfort and pain and allows me a new set of eyes for the grandeur of what’s all around me. If this sounds too pollyanna for you, I do not apologize.

In suffering of any kind, we can choose one of at least two paths. We can either be sour, bitter, beat down, and resentful. Or we can take a deep look at what it might mean to “consider it pure joy”. I’m choosing the latter because I know there is LIFE there, and there is death in the former. I feel the sour, bitter, beat down, and resentful start to bubble up. And I’m battling it with drawing… my pen a sword, my watercolors a shield for the fight for joy.


It’s worth every minute of time facing an empty page in my sketchbook and filling it with what is right in front of me: fences, friends, family, flowers, cows, anything! Through the act of drawing I’m understanding a bit more of what it may mean to consider it all pure joy.

Won’t you join me?


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