January 9, 2017
When I was growing up, I often searched out places to hide out and read, draw, or ponder. In a family of extroverts, I was an oddity, or so I felt. My brothers told me no one knew that they had a sister, but that was ok with me! I just wanted to be alone, it may not have seemed healthy , but to me it was a time for me to recharge, renew and be creative.
These days, I don’t hide out in my room, I do have a studio to play in and paint and read all day some days. I do have my places I like to travel to that invigorate me. Since I live so close to the coast, small villages call to me, like Apalachicola, St. George, and Mexico Beach. There is just something about the coast that calls me, fresh air, small town friendliness , and the townspeople are characters right out of books! I will rent a small sea captain’s cottage in Apalach when I need to recharge and hide out from the world. It is magical to me, we all need that in our lives. A place to go.
So the next time you feel like you are coming out of your skin, or need that alone time, time to just be you, carve out a space somewhere. Refresh your self with a book, a long nap, a travel brochure, a sketchbook and pencils, a pot of hot tea…. whatever gives you that peaceful, hopeful, glad to be alive moment and enjoy. I call it Bliss.
Yours truly, Suzanne
July 9, 2016
I hope this summer is finding you staying cool, enjoying life, maybe slowing down a bit. Maybe calling a few girlfriends to get together for drinks, shopping expeditions, or a movie. Usually there are only a few that you share your innermost thoughts, dreams and day to day life with. We know many, and love many, but a handful of people are who you can shed all artifice with and you know they will still love you tomorrow.
It is important to have this group because we all have the need to belong, to a tribe, it is right up there with shelter, food, etc. It is a strong current in us, we know when we are not getting enough friend time, and also when we need to pull away for some quiet time alone. I know that when I lost my mother, and then my grandmother five years later, I felt very alone. My daughter and I were the only ones left of the Steel Magnolias that was this four generations of women. They were so much stronger than me, I thought. How can I take up the reins of the ties that bind with my daughter? I felt wobbly, unsure of myself…. how can I do this? These women were strong and opinionated , southern to their core, I can’t do this alone!
And I found out I was never alone, my girlies surrounded me with love, support, and they lifted me up onto stable ground. My daughter being the strongest of all. I had not anticipated the strength that had passed on to me, my daughter , and the women that I surrounded my self with. Each had a gift to offer, generosity, prayer for daily life, understanding, pimento cheese with pecans, a beach house weekend, the gifts stacked up and I hoped that I had brought as much to the table as this circle of women had for me.
So in these hot summer days, and on those cold winter nights, I reach out to these ladies for friendship and companionship, and feel blessed to be called their friend. You know who you are and I love each of you! In Christ, Suz
p.s. I called this painting “Girl Talk”, but when my husband saw it he named it ” Girls On The Rocks”! I thought it was very fitting, and his name stuck.
Things to do with your girlfriends this summer… have a slumber party with a good chick flick movie, popcorn, and pineapple margaritas…. have an arts and crafts day together and do something you have always wanted to try….. go antiquing and then out to lunch… go lipstick shopping for new summer colors….. go on a beach day complete with pimento cheese sandwiches, cold tea, pickles and chips… and plenty of sunscreen… retreat somewhere, recently my friend Maria invited us to her grandparents cottage out in the country where we laughed, picked blueberries, slept in old iron beds with fresh cotton spreads. It was such a treat, and we saw where she came from, wonderful….breakfast at a fun little spot, where they serve french pastries and cafe au lait! Whatever you do, just enjoy and be present in your own life.
June 27, 2016
It’s officially here….. Summer time! For us in the panhandle of Florida , summer is the longest season of the year. Time to relax, shed the excess clothing, and pare down our schedules in order to enjoy life a bit more. At my home, it is the time when life slows down. The heat can get oppressive, so sitting in the shade, with a cool drink and a fan is the usual . When I was growing up summer meant swimming at Johnny Boy’s landing, going to Torreya Park to picnic , eating watermelon sprinkled with salt, shelling beans and peas, picking blackberries for my mama’s wonderful cobbler were among the few delights we experienced . These days we get really lazy taking afternoon naps on a blanket in the grass, going to the beach and just forgetting the cares of the world. I hope that you are having a wonderful summer so far, don’t forget to slow down, breathe in the smells of summer, and taste the delights of the fresh fruits and vegetables of the garden. xoxo Suz
May 7, 2016
A couple of years ago, I went through a terrible time in my life. Plain and simple, I lost two family members within six months of each other. I always thought I was a strong person, having been a single mama with a sweet little girl, working hard to get somewhere, I thought I could handle most anything. Wrong. Sometimes life grabs you by the collar and shakes you, and needless to say, I was shaken to my core. I found out if you don’t deal with the many things that happen in life, they bubble up to the surface and then have to be dealt with. So all the neatly filed things that was evidence of my zoning out, began to fly out at me like a crazy scene in Alice In Wonderland.
My therapist recommended I do something that I loved to do as a child, to help heal that little child. I decided to paint, and paint I did. I painted memories of growing up in a small town, angels drifted in and out of my paintings, along with mermaids and beach scenes. Anything to bring me peace. The peace came, and I found out more about myself in this creative outlet than I had ever even dreamed of. It has been a magical, healing, outlet for me and I am still painting away!
I kept noticing that I put pink houses in my paintings, with shutters. Not even realizing why, I just noticed and filed away. One day I went back home to my small hometown to visit my grandmother. We spent the remaining few years she was alive getting to know each other better, listening to her wonderful family stories, grieving together the loss of my mother and my brother, loving each other. I walked a few hundred feet to the old house where my grandmother was raised. It just reverberated with old family get togethers, much love and sadness, still just a beautiful old house. And it was pink. I realized I had been painting this old house over and over again in my healing process. I was dumbfounded. It all came back to family, and love, and life and living. I smiled as I headed back to my grandmother’s house. I felt like I had connected a few more dots in my life and it felt really good. I am connected to this place, this town, my roots are here.
My grandmother passed away a few years ago, I smiled when I thought of her rejoining all those loved ones that had gone on before her. So thankful for the time that I had with her, the God breezes I experienced when I decided to be open to the hurt and love that happens in life. Connecting and reconciling , being present in my life, and learning to just be…… has been the greatest journey of my life. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day and God’s blessings to you! Suz
April 18, 2016
How beautiful have these days been!!! I always love the springtime, the windows in my house are opened to let the breezes blow the cobwebs out, freshen up everything and revive my senses. I plant new plants and see our strawberries from last year have wintered over and are producing beautiful red berries. The iris moved from mama’s yard are blooming purple and bright yellow. She loved those iris and I am happy to say they are thriving. It reminds me of her yard, lovingly tended to with a grand baby at her side, neighbors walking by, just a sense of content being that is so hard to achieve in this world.
The first things to bloom here in Northwest Florida are my snow drops. I especially love these because they were brought over from our family home on the Outer Banks by my grandmother. then my mother transplanted them to her home and now I am the happy recipient of their beauty. There is a family story that my great grandfather held up one and commented on God’s perfection of detail on these small snowy white bells with green dots. I know he died when they are in bloom because my great Aunt Sister tucked one in his lapel when he was laid to rest.
I feel so close to God, especially when I am outside working the soil and planting,weeding, planning. There is something very healing in being in a garden. I like to think my deceased gardening loved ones are smiling as I pull weeds and divide plants. I was talking to a friend recently and we laughed thinking about these loved ones tending to Heaven’s garden, which I am sure there is one. For some reason I picture it as the most beautiful of all gardens and every leaf and flower and droplet of water is praising God. Glorifying Him with all that is in them. In my garden, I am covered with dirt, blisters on my hands, hair tousled and smiling the biggest smile… thank you Lord for your beauty, attention to detail and for loved ones who passed on an appreciation for your world.
Love, <>< Suzanne
December 24, 2015
During this hustle and bustle of busyness, I decided to slow down a bit. After all the art shows and classes and joyful events…. weariness set in and knowing that a recharge was needed was evident. We were not going to even put up a true Christmas tree, not that we weren’t in the spirit, but we were just going to take it easy. But a single friend of ours, Rick, saw the need and brought over his own pre lit tree that soon was decked out in our favorite ornaments and that act of kindness warmed us.
Then the mother of a friend of ours passed away on Saturday, even though she was battling that robber of memory, it had been very hard on our friend and family who had been the sole caretakers, really the soul caretakers of her for the past five and a half years. I watched my husband kick into gear by baking a ham and friends coming together to surround this friend and her family with love, and comfort…. and that act of kindness warmed me.
Sitting here in the dark just before dawn, with husband hunting this morning and I am alone, I am thinking that this life is not about “I”, it is when we are loving one another and not thinking about ourselves that we were and are truly made for. We come alive and that is a true sign of what God, our Father, made us for. To love one another, just as He loved us by sending a baby one night, on a clear and starry night. When humanity met divinity to save us all…. and that act of kindness and extreme love warms me.
Merry Christmas friends , I pray this Christmas warms your soul . With much love, Suz
November 17, 2015
I have been going, going, and gone for awhile now. Preparing for art shows, teaching classes, making ornaments…. I want to slow down, spend some time with my Lord, quiet time to realign myself, to listen, to rest and invigorate . I want to go home to Blountstown where I hail from but have not lived there for many years. I want to sit by the Apalachicola or Chipola river and just watch the water go by, I want to crunch leaves down a forgotten path, I want to go to old homesteads where family meals were shared along with old stories, good food, good people. I am missing home. I miss burn piles, leaf piles, hot chocolate with marshmallows, corduroy pants, flannel shirts, playing with cousins, hearing my name being hollered out to come wash up for supper… or dinner. I miss faces and voices that are gone now . I even miss deer being dressed in the back yard, and bags full of soft quail… knowing that a wonderful meal was soon to be had. I miss exploring with my grandfather, listening to my mama and grandma gossip in whispers, I miss a picture being taken of the Thanksgiving table because my grandaddy was so proud to have good food on the table. I miss them. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for all that I have family wise. A sweet husband, darling daughter and a wonderful son in law, aunts and uncles and cousins. My cup runneth over in so many ways. Eucharisteo, giving thanks for everything in all circumstances. I just am missing home. A place that is burned on me, deeply rooted in who I am. I am grateful for the memories that the good Lord has blessed me with and for all those that loom ahead. Be thankful, Eucharisteo, giving thanks just as richly as we have been given. xoxo, Suzanne
p.s. the painting is of a creek in Calhoun County painted from a photo of Jim McClellan’s.
November 5, 2015
It has been a busy month, I had intended to write more but birthdays, Halloween, and art shows got in the way. I have also been reading a lot. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp has been a real treat to read. Her book resonates with eucharisteo, giving thanks to God for all things and putting a name to it on her list. It is simply beautiful, and inspires me to do the same. It may seem insignificant to someone else, but gratitude for the large and small things in our lives are like incense rising to our Almighty Father. Love it!!!
I have been sketching a lot, it is something I have enjoyed doing, especially when I was a young girl. But lately I have had creative bursts, and instead of painting or writing, I get out a Number 2 pencil and a kneaded eraser and let my mind just go! It is a little like flying, a few shaky tries and then all of a sudden…. I am sailing. Good for the soul. I encourage anyone to do something that makes you feel young again, especially in the creative pool.
I have several more shows going on this Fall and Winter. This month, the 14th and 15th, Saturday and Sunday, I will be at Tallahassee Nurseries for the Artisians In The Garden. I am making new Christmas ornaments, a few new paintings and lots of new cards and prints. I also will have my Art Journaling class at Miss Mandy’s later this month, Tuesday November 17th. One class is at 9 am, the other is at 6.30 pm. Our theme will be A Thankful Heart, counting our blessings even in the ordinary things. On November 12th, I will be teaching a Christmas Ornament class at The Brush and Palette… intuitive painting I might add! I like different looks for Christmas ornaments and we always have fun there at Tyler’s shop!
I hope you have a blessed month, I am looking forward to all the good things that come with the month of November. xoxo Suz
October 1, 2015
Recently I was feeling a little homesick for my mama and grandmother and started reading some accounts of family history from my grandmother Mary. She was recounting when she and my grandfather Cary got married and he tied branches to the back of the car so when it was going down the dirt roads , it kicked up a lot of dust and was quite a spectacle. My grandmother , with no humor in her voice said ” It was the child in him”. I can’t help it, it was what attracted children to my grandfather like bees to honey. He was the pied piper and we are the hoard of rats following him everywhere he went. There is nothing wrong with letting our inner child come out to play, mine has been coming out lately…. thanks to a lot of creative play and some solitude ( which is necessary to coax that kiddo out). Sometimes, if you got married early and had children early, like I did, your inner child puts away her toys and sometimes forgets how to play. Everything is so serious and you can’t laugh at your self…. not good. I guess it is my age, the losses I have lived through, finding out who I truly am that has changed. Trusting in my Savior, knowing that I am loved immensely by the God who created the stars and starfish, I can let go and remember how to play. My daughter loves that I can play again, we giggle, drink wine, giggle some more, she never put her toys away, and for that I am truly envious. So its ok, to be that little child, see the world from the ground level, belly laugh, watch the clouds, watch the stars and one day, if I am lucky, someone will say ” It was the child in her”.
September 23, 2015
” This is what the Lord says: ” Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls”. Jeremiah 6:16
In January of our Art Journaling class at Miss Mandy’s, we discussed the beginning our journey for the year, where we were headed, what would we pack for the journey, how would we get there? Now we are closing in on the year very soon, and we are transitioning into Fall. Leaves, grass, all of nature begins to pack up, change color, change location and starts to wither. Gearing up for rest, and a time to go within. We too, are at cross road of sorts, packing away our summer things, saying goodbye to the casual, carefree summer and looking forward to the Fall of our year. Time to reflect, put our house in order as well as our hearts and minds. Being grateful for all that we have and know that our Lord provides just like he does for the rest of creation. Slow down, pause in the crazy chaos of our busy lives, and breathe in, breathe out. You are almost there. Suz
“ You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence”. Acts 2:28