Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mary, Did You Know?

I forgot to mention in my last post that Hannah and I had a nice time taking some photos of her dressed up as Mary, holding Baby Jesus. Hannah knew what she wanted the shots to look like and it was fun seeing her be so creative. One of her favorite games ever is Bible Charades. We were playing on a Friday night and decided I should take some pix of her looking so authentic. I think they turned out very sweet.

I also wanted to boast a little bit that my (shy) daughter has been singing for performance chapel at school. The first song she sang was called The Hammer, by Ray Boltz. The most recent one she sang was Mary, Did you Know? by Mark Lowry. I think it's so great she's coming out of her shell enough to enjoy something like singing for people. I hadn't even had the pleasure of hearing her perform until she sang for mom, dad, John and me on Christmas day (with the stipulation that we don't look at her while she sang! ha!) Then after she said that, she said, "well, go ahead. I have 75 pairs of eyes on me during performance chapel... a few pairs of eyes right now shouldn't bother me!" ha! I don't think I'm just biased when I say that she has a lovely voice. Sweet. Pure.

This picture is of her playing "Queen Esther," from the Bible. I think it's so cool that she's growing up to love the Lord, to love His Word. And I love seeing her passionate about music--and hey, it's in her blood. Her two grandmothers are wonderful musicians, who both love to sing and play the piano. I am thankful for the song in her heart. Ever since she was little, she has sung most all day long.

All for now (or until I think of something else to add!) ha!,

Tufted Titmouse

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Okay, so here's two pictures of a little bird I painted. The first is, of course, a scan of the not-yet-completed painting and the second is the finished piece. I worked in some pen & ink detail on the branch he's sitting on.

I'm working on a couple of other paintings right now and will try to share soon!

We're having a nice vacation. Hannah's really enjoyed being home and reading and just spending time with all of us together. I decided to just chill this year and so I didn't send out any (gasp!) Christmas cards this year. But I've always been one to correspond throughout the year and so I'm not too worried about it. Besides, I try to send out Valentine's cards or something, to let people know we're thinking of them. I figure everyone appreciates a little note right about then, once the hustle and bustle of Christmas has passed.

All for now,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Watercolor portrait of Hannah, age 8

Okay, so the photograph is obviously the inspiration for my portrait. The next picture is a sketch I made of it, and the last one is where I am so far in the painting. I don't know if I'll finish tonight, but I'll probably work a little more on it.

Not too bad for my very first portrait. I'm trying to not be hard on myself, looking at the flaws, but to just enjoy the progress I've made in the last few months.

Can't recall if I mentioned we went to a wonderful Christmas program last weekend, at a local church. They had a choir, orchestra and vocalists perform. It was a dreary night to be out, but oh, the music was simply lovely!

All for now,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bluebird of happiness

I thought I'd share this little bluebird I painted. I found the image in a Birds & Bloom magazine and did NOT trace, people. So proud! :) ha! Now, he has his faults, he's not perfect, but I like him anyway. I know my dad will like him, Mr. Birdlover! I worked some pen & ink into his feathers as well, and even some special pigment powder into the blue to make it pop.

John and I had a funny conversation about him. I told him I thought the bird's beak looked like the carrot on a snowman. John said, "Well, now that's all I'm gonna think when I look at him!" ha!

I haven't been posting much lately, mostly because I'm in the "taking classes" and learning mode, which has been great. And I'll try to post more about our family soon. We had a good Thanksgiving. I was sick, unfortunately, but still felt like we had a nice time since John wasn't having to work so much and Hannah was out of school. Good family time!

All for now,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beachy Keene or Beachy Keen?

A photo collage of our family this past September. I apologize to my sweet John that you're not included in this collage--you were the main photographer that day! :)

Oh, and the beachy "keene" reference? Of course, that's because mom and dad live in Keene! :) I do love me a play on words...


Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting there

Here are a couple of drawings I did recently. I "drew" inspiration from a Victorian magazine. The bird cage is a little wonky, but I figure I can improve with time. I'm still practicing my drawing skills, and I love that book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Family Faith and Fun

Hannah has no idea what is about to come her way--sheer driving madness! [insert evil laugh here!]

Hannah and Mommy "on top of Mountasia's mountain." Um, about 15 feet high or so. Only in TX do they call that a mountain! ha! BTW, see how tall Hannah is??!!
Grandfather Schnell, Hannah and Tricia on Lake Whitney outing

Hummingbird "imposter"

Well, goodness, I haven't posted in a while. Just thought I'd share a few pix along with what's been going on with us.

A few weeks ago, John, Hannah and I went to Mountasia, a putt-putt/go-kart place just north of us. We had such a fun time! I drove the go-kart with Hannah as my sidekick. What fun! She kept telling me I needed to slow down! ha! I think she mumbled something about "getting back at me when she turns 16!" Or something like that.

John won the 18-hole putt putt round. But just by one point. Hannah and I tied, just behind him. But for a while, Hannah was ahead of us all.

Then a week or so after that, mid-September, J, H, and I picked up Grandfather and stole away to a very low Lake Whitney. It was so low, it was kinda sad. Realized just how much we need rain this year. It's been crazy! We saw some lovely deer, even a buck, maybe half grown, according to how big his horns were.

Then toward the end of the day, we stopped off at at a different section of beach. We found a hummingbird and I took like 20 photos of it!! But alas, it was not a hummingbird, even though it hovered and "hummed" like one. It was an imposter, some moth that looks and acts like one. But still it was pretty and a nice way to end the day.

John's working like crazy with his four jobs. I pick up freelance work whenever possible, writing and editing both. But I mostly hold down the fort, help Hannah with her increasingly difficult homework. (I'm often having to ask myself if I'm smarter than a 6th grader. You don't want to know the answer to that! ha!)

I did start taking watercolor classes at Hobby Lobby and am having a blast. It's just a few dollars a week, I can't believe how cheap it is. And it gives me something to look forward to, something that my psyche has always needed, since I was very small, but just haven't been able to swing as an adult. It means so much to me to learn something I'm very interested in. That's partly why I haven't been posting too many creations lately because I'm busily learning to draw and paint better. It's a slow process, mostly because I'm such a perfectionist. But I'm having fun with it and it's actually an answer to prayer to have something that's "just for me."

Guess that's all for now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nature and more nature!

I went to my favorite nature trail last weekend and decided to take some pictures. (Thanks, Hannah, for reminding me to take the camera!)

Anyway, I had a nice time. It was still hot out, but I was determined to enjoy some pretty scenery anyway. I saw Mr. Snake and, gulping down my reptile phobia, got pretty close to take a picture of him. Maybe six inches away? Of course, the fact that he was pretty small was the ONLY reason I was able to get close. He didn't move, for which I was very grateful! :)

But I mostly thought the sunflower turned out so pretty, I just had to share. And of course, had to make a simple collage just for fun.

Everything is SOOOO incredibly dry here in Texas. We are desperate for rain! But I try to see the beauty everywhere I go, wet or dry.

Enjoy life!

All for now,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For the grandparents especially...

Here are some sweet "Hannah-isms" recently heard in the Williams' household:

I was telling Hannah about a conversation I had with another mother, in which the mother confided that she knew her daughter (a rather bossy little thing) needed to learn that the world did not revolve around her. Hannah looked at me and asked, "Well, then, why didn't she raise her that way? Why is she just now telling her that??"

Out of the mouths of babes! ha!


Today on the way home from school, Hannah really had to go to the bathroom and kept telling me to hurry. Apparently, she doesn't like going to the girls' bathroom (in junior high building) after school because all the girl athletes are changing into their sports clothes. So anyway, on the way home Hannah suddenly said, "We better bring lots of toilet paper when we have to run to the hills! [in the end time, we believe we will have to flee due to religious persecution.]

"Well, that's a good idea," I told her. "But in the Bible Jesus tells us not to run back even for a coat." I mischievously added, "We'll probably have to use leaves or something, if we're in the woods."

Not to be outdone, she shot back, "Well God can do anything and I believe He CAN provide toilet paper in the end times! None of this leaf business!"

From her mouth to God's ears...:)


Lately Hannah has wanted to be by herself at bedtime. After 11 years of our nighttime routine, she doesn't seem to need as much of mommy/daddy time anymore. (Sniff-sniff) But I am so glad she is continuing to have her devotions at night by herself. One day last week she confided to me, "Last night I talked to God a long time. I told Him I was sorry for my sins. And you know what, mommy? I realized I had tears in my eyes as I listed them. I really was sorry. And I'm glad about that."

My precious, precious girl! She is growing up and is such a lovely young woman!


Last story: Hannah is growing more confident in herself and less shy around others. She came home from school Friday with a grin from ear to ear. "It's a good thing you're sitting down, Mama!" she exclaimed.

She then proceeded to tell me that she was the first 6th grader (grades 6-8) to make the DRAMA team! She was so excited! Apparently, her drama teacher asked her to sing Amazing Grace at the front of the classroom, and she just walked up there and BELTED it out! I think most of the kids had their mouths open, asking themselves, "who is this girl?"

So because she didn't hesitate, the drama coach knew she would be a good match for the group and told her she was in, just like that! We were ALL jumping up and down, I tell you! It was a good day!

The drama teacher (also 7th grade teacher at the small academy) said they will most likely perform about 5-10 times for various churches and venues this year. So that's pretty neat. I like thinking of Hannah involved in some sort of ministry that utilizes her talents. I mean, really, this kid has loved to play "Charades" and "pretend" since she was a wee thing!

All for now,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wishing on a Star

This kitty is thinking profound thoughts as he looks up at the heavens at twilight. He's thinking about scratching his claws on yonder tree as well. The rolling hills contain some tangles/patterns. The words in the fields say the magical words many of us learned as children: "Star light, Star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, get the wish I wish tonight."

Watercolor pencil, markers, black pen, silver pen.

Wishing you pleasant dreams,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Parlez-vous francais?

Still having fun with my zentangles--this time just a wee bit (oui?) in the letters! ;) I'm coming along with my shading, slowly but surely. Still find it quite challenging, and my blender pen didn't work so great this time around, but it still turned out okay. I created these french vignettes from a stencil.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hang in there!

I made this for a girlfriend going through a rough time. Haven't sent it to her house yet, but hoping she won't read my blog until she receives it! (She's not a regular reader to my blog that I know of.) Anyway, this is one of my favorite pieces I've created so far. The pink-y red looks really great with the black and white, on all the clothes on the clothesline. After I scanned this image, I went back and delineated the words Hang In There even more dramatically, so the end result was really good. I love the skirt on the right the best. I've been trying to practice doing neat lettering and like the way this turned out too.

This one is just a silly one I did for fun. It's not fancy or anything, but thought I'd post it. I didn't love the way the sidewalk to the door turned out, but I liked everything else. I esp. liked the chimney. It reminded me how much I liked to draw chimneys when I was little. Not sure why. I like the brick pattern I suppose.

Mostly, I'm glad I'm just having fun. As a perfectionist, I can focus too much on the end product and not enough on the process, thereby missing out on all the artistic journey has to offer!



This is something I drew pretty soon after I learned at Zentangles in early July. I like the way it turned out. I like the pops of red. I think it'll be fun to see how I progress with this artwork. I call this one Wheelworks, although I think it looks like either cogs or also CDs too.

All for now,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pool time

Hadn't done a photo collage in a while... thought it was time to share some pretty pix. And yes, I took them while in the pool myself. I held verrrrry steady, you can imagine! Our camera is not waterproof. Also, tried not to notice John's look of consternation at me having the camera in the pool--I'm not sure I could have kept quiet and not said "be careful" a thousand times if he did it instead of me! ha!

School starts a week from now. Poor Hannah, I think this is the first year she's not as thrilled to start as in times past. She feels torn, because she's excited to see her friends again, but doesn't want to start up with schoolwork (she's a normal, red-blooded American tween, for sure!) ha! But also, she wishes she had some girlfriends who weren't so much into the "clique" thing, or drama queens. They're definitely not as bad as so many out there, but Hannah recently said that all she wants in life is " a true friend." She's absolutely fine with her friends all playing with each other. What she doesn't like is when her current friends are nice some days, but then not-so-nice, or even snide, other days. So that's on our prayer list. I believe God hears even the smallest prayers.

All for now,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Anniversary (and Hannah) fun!

Yesterday, John and I decided to celebrate our (today's) wedding anniversary by taking our 11-year-old along for the date--at the waterpark! We went to an inexpensive waterpark across town and had an absolute blast! Of course, when I woke up this morning, my legs were complaining at the numerous trips up the waterslide, not to mention my lower back a little achey due to the not-so-sensational front flip I made off the diving board. What in the world?? You'd think I wasn't 14 years old anymore! ha!

Anyway, John and I took turns watching Hannah or playing with her while the other one went solo for a bit. During one of the times when Hannah and I were in a very crowded shallow pool, we good-naturedly grumbled about how much we were getting jostled around by other swimmers. "Hey Mommie," H said. "It's like the Bible story where the woman touched Jesus so she could be healed." I nodded. She continued, "All those people were jostling Jesus and touching Him every second, and yet He knew when that woman in particular touched Him. Can you imagine that?" We both marveled at the memory of the story, and of a God who knows us all by one simple touch. Or one simple prayer, for that matter.


Other Hannah conversations:

While quizzing Hannah on her personality, I had to explain what aimless meant for one of the questions. This in the resulting convo: T: Aimless means you don't have goals. But you have goals, right? H: Of course I have goals, Mommy! T: Great! What are they? H, with a puzzled look on her face: Um, I'm not sure... So there ya have it. Life and times with a energetic, if slightly-unfocused 11-year-old girl! ha!

[Note: Hannah, upon hearing the above story, said in a mild, huffy voice, "Well, I sure don't like how you ended THAT story!"] ha ha!


Hannah, upon discovering the the water in her water bottle had turned quite tepid after only a little time in the hot sun: "Ugh, I will spew this lukewarm water out of my mouth--that's what Jesus did, you know!" She then proceeded to give her girlfriend riding along with us an infomercial on what "lukewarm" meant, and why Jesus would rather us be hot or cold. Nice little sermon on the way home. Thanks, H!
I LOVE how often Hannah applies spiritual meaning to something that's happened during her day. God is good.
All for now,

Quite a Pear--Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my sweetie! 13 years, woo-hoo! Here's the card I created earlier today for John. This year I was kinda lazy in the card department when it came to John. I got him Father's Day and Birthday gifts, but no cards (sorry, sweetie! blame it on the economy!!??) ha! So I knew I had to do SOMETHING for our wedding anniversary today.

Anyway, I like the subtle baby blue and dark brown colors of this Zentangle. And I think I'm starting to get the hang of shading.

All for now,

Monday, July 25, 2011


Okay, guess I'll do one more tonight. I was encouraged by my auntie's and sister's (in-law) fast responses. ;) I call this one Sunbeams.


Well, here's another zentangle I created. I worked with lots of tangles (patterns) I've never done before and then colored it. I've been studying my Time to Tangle with Color book I recently got and having a blast. I especially like the one big "coil" pattern that goes through the entire middle of it all. My first time to draw it and it turned out pretty neat! Hope you enjoy!
All for now,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Tangled Up!

Okay, so you know me, always watching out for the next craft technique to come down the pike! A friend of mine told me about "Zentangling." What in the world is that? Well, to the founders, "tangles" is just another word for pattern. So they came up with a cool way to showcase lots of patterns together and, while it sometimes looks awfully "busy," can still be a whole lot of fun to create. I think the Zentangle "purists," prefer strictly black and white, but I personally like BnW plus a little color to make them pop!

The above photo is my second or third attempt. I looked up Zentangles online and there are tons of them everywhere! Lots of creative people out there, I tell you! I'm glad to have found it because I'd kind of reached a plateau with my card-making. I still enjoy it to a degree, but I think I was ready for something different.

Anyway, on a more personal note, we are having a nice summer. We found out John will be teaching part-time at Southwestern Adventist University this fall--audio and video production. He'll also be teaching business speech communication at Tarrant County College again too. It's a lot of work, but after last year, we are glad to have "too" much work than not enough. His teaching is in ADDITION to the usual 30+ hours he works for Dogster (now called owned by Say Media). So he will be a very busy man. But as I said, we are grateful!

Hannah's enjoying her summer. She spends the bulk of her time swimming, reading, watching free episodes on, swimming, running errands with me and her daddy, playing on the computer, occasionally meeting up with a classmate or two, and oh, did I say swimming? ha! It's nice to see that she still loves to swim and it's such good exercise. She's also, much to her dismay, doing some schoolwork in a workbook we purchased. We wanted to make sure she doesn't forget what she learned in 5th grade, so she works in the book once or twice a week. She has a prettttty good attitude about it! ha!

I can tell she's getting older, as she does not play with her toys as much as she used to. And as she used to absolutely LOVE playing with her neighborhood children, she seems to want a little more alone time, or "me" time. I think some of that is because they are three years younger and she gets tired of playing Barbies all the time! She does still enjoy one little girl who is almost nine, because that girl will sit and just talk and visit and is a little less rowdy than the others. My Hannah girl is such a mixture of John and me. As long as she maintains a good balance of alone time and being sociable, then I'm happy with that!

More tangles to come! (I know you're waiting with bated breath! ha!)

All for now,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Danger Zone!

"It's okay, little Mama bird, I won't harm your babies!" The killdeer swooped higher and higher, showing great acrobatic feats as she squawked loudly, protesting as I drew closer to her nest. I felt so sorry for her. I knew she was desperately trying to take care of her "children," and was worried for their safety.

However, I couldn't stop thinking that she was a little to blame. Killdeer, sweet little birds like the one shown in the above photo, lay their eggs right out in plain sight for all to see. She had, whether she realized it or not, placed her own family in danger. Mama bird then showed her dramatic side:  Act I included her "broken wing" act that these plovers are so famous for, where they pretend they are wounded when anyone comes close to the nest. Pitiful cries complete the act and if she captured your attention, she considers herself worthy of an AAA (Aviary Academy Award)!

This protective little mother made me think of my own maternal skills. Do I unknowingly place my "baby bird," in harms way? What would this look like?

Here are a few things I will do to keep my sweet daughter out of harm's way:

1) Be careful what I let her watch on television or movies. When I was little, we used to sing, "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little ears what you hear..."

2) Remind her to choose her friends wisely. Especially as a preteen, I need to make sure that Hannah, my little social butterfly, is careful with whom she becomes close to. I mean, I definitely want her to get to know all types, all ethnicities, all ages, all races, and so on. But I especially want her to think about who her closest friends are, for her to choose those who lead her closer to God and not farther from Him.

3) I need to be careful what I watch. I need to make sure I'm not a hypocrite, and watch or listen to media that is not adhering to principles I stand for. She's watching me. She's watching her daddy. And she will make choices based on what we DO so much more than what we TELL her to do.

4) Watch my language. I'm not just talking about curse words (although that counts too). I'm talking about curbing my negativity. I will sometimes realize too late what's coming out of my mouth is just "blah negative blah negative blah." And I cringe. I have to go to her (actually did this today) and tell her, "Hey, I didn't meant to focus on just the negative. I'm sorry. That was wrong." I don't even want to say how often I have to do this.

I must watch my language in how I talk about people as well. Do I air someone's dirty laundry in the privacy of my own home, where little listening ears can hear? If I do, I need to realize that she is listening to me talk about someone else. She is listening to me, basically, judge someone else with my tone or attitude, and that's not what Jesus does. When the woman who committed adultery was thrown at His feet, His loving, caring ways won her heart. He "chased" off her accusers by writing their sins in the sand. Then He said that He did not condemn her, but to go and sin no more.

This makes me recall the last part of the song I quoted earlier, "Oh be careful little eyes..." The rest goes like this: "For the Father up above, is looking down with love, Oh be careful little eyes what you see." Isn't that great? It's so true. He's looking down with love. Not condemnation. Just longing for us to keep His ways and follow Him.

I want to do my best to keep Hannah from all the above mentioned "danger zones," and many more out there. I long to place her up high, in the "shadow of the Almighty," as much as possible. I will "mount up with wings as eagles," the same eagles who build their nests in tall trees or cliffs. A high place. A safe place. That's where I plan to be.

Won't you join me there?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Disobedience and Blessings

So awhile back, Hannah came to me and said this: "I don't know if I'm going to heaven for sure, Mommy."
A bit taken aback, I asked her why. "Because I have been disobedient to you and Daddy sometimes. I don't obey like I should and I forget to mind you." [I must make a note right here to say that this child never tries to sass or talk back to us. She simply seems to "forget" our instructions to her and has gotten into some trouble because of it.]

I assured her that that is just part of growing up and asked her why she thought it meant she wouldn't go to heaven. I mean, she knows the basics: Believe in Jesus as our Savior, that He has forgiven our sins if we confess, and we are made clean. Sounds simple because it is. But she still worried. Then she connected the dots for me: She reminded me that I had read II Timothy 3:1-6 to her, a verse that talks about what society, or the world, will be like right before Jesus comes again.

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them" (NIV).

She said that since she has "disobeyed" us, or not listened as well as she could have to our instruction, that she is worried she won't go to heaven. Well, my goodness, I re-assured her that it is GOOD that the Holy Spirit is working on her heart, her conscience, to do better. But I reminded her that this particular verse is describing people who do not not seem to care about spiritual things or going to heaven. They have no regrets about their lifestyle and do not think they need a Savior.

I think I helped her to understand. At first I thought she was pulling my leg, or being dramatic, but her eyes were a bit red-rimmed and I noticed a little glisten in them as well. I realized she really was concerned. After we talked for a good while, I think she felt lots better. I'm so glad she cares about things to do with God, and that it's important to her.

But you know, it goes both ways. I mean, that we as parents should treat our children with kindness, with decency, with respect to their feelings and needs. I observed a scenario the other evening at Borders that made me cringe.

A mother was looking at books and her daughter told her she had to go to the bathroom. "Just a second," was the mom's reply. For like, seriously, several minutes. The daughter, probably about 8 years old, did not harangue her mom, or whine, she just stated very clearly that she really needed to go. She finally reached a point of desperation where she said, "Mommy, it's about to come out. I really gotta go." With total disdain in her voice, the mom said, "Well, go ahead and let it come out right here. I'd like to see that." The little girl pleaded once more, for the mom to just let her go on her own. The mom finally agreed and the girl ran off quickly.

Now, I understand as a parent myself, maybe this little girl has a habit of being dramatic, or of bugging her mom. But I wonder how hard it would have been to just go with her. Or to just let her go by herself in the beginning. It made me about to go crazy to listen to this exchange; I wanted to wop that mom over the head. Her tone, her stance, her words--none of them were kind or caring. Just a lack of decency and respect. It made me sick. It also made me remember that the above verse. We owe so much to our children, simply because they are gifts from above. The Bible says they are a blessing. How do we treat this blessing day in, day out? How do I treat it?

All for now,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bobcat Trail and roadrunners

Photo taken from online site. By: Ucumari on

I keep forgetting to write about seeing a bobcat. It was so exciting! He was so close to me. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared. I guess I could tell he was as wary of me as I was of him. But anyway, he was beautiful! John and I found this wonderful nature trail down in Mansfield. It's a part of the Tierra Vierde Golf Course--such beauitful countryside! And of course, everything's so lush now in the spring. John and I walked there on Sunday (while Hannah played at a neighbor's house), and we enjoyed seeing a roadrunner strut his stuff right across the path! ha!

After I dropped John off at home, I headed to Central Market near downtown Fort Worth. Such a neat place, although I don't like how it's always so crowded! Then I headed over to Trinity Park, right across from Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. I still had some daylight left and wanted to get another walk in. For a city park, it really is quite pretty. Anyway, we had a little excitement! I had just come back from a walk and was sitting on an overlook, watching the people down the steep bank as they fished. All of a sudden, a firetruck and ambulance show up on the scene. Turns out a lady had an argument with a wriggling catfish--and lost. The fish hook got embedded into her palm. Ouch! The only way I knew is that her kids came up to tell the paramedics where to go, and I caught snatches of their excited conversation.

As I studied Trinity River yesterday, I thought a lot about Earth Day. I really, really dislike seeing all the trash everywhere. It's just so rampant. Sometimes when I walk up to the park a mile from our house, I take a big trashbag and clean up alongside the road as I walk. It's just so FILTHY. I hate thinking what we humans have done to our earth. And for as many who care and don't litter, there are so many who DON'T care, it feels like we're waging a losing battle.

All for now,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April doings

Photo: My man, hard at work... in his bathrobe! Photography by: Hannah Williams

Well, I thought I'd write a little update on how we've been doing. It's been awhile since I posted. I thought I'd post in a sort of bad news/good news format!

Bad news: Last week Hannah was sick and missed a day of school.
Good news: She was only sick for part of Tuesday and all of Wednesday, and was raring to go Thursday.

Bad news: John was sick last week too.
Good news: With lots of TLC, he didn't miss *any* work (of course, I'd have to tie that man to our bed even if he coughed up a lung--he's pretty dedicated to his commitments!)

Bad news: The "malfunction indicator light" started coming back on and we had to take our car into the shop on Friday and not have any transportation over the weekend. Totally stuck!
Good news: Our car didn't act crazy until AFTER payday! And even then, the bill wasn't as high as it could have been. Also, neither John nor I were far away from home when it happened.

Bad news: John had decided he didn't want to "bother" anyone to take him and Hannah to school on Monday, so he said they'd just walk the 5 miles. He ended up walking in the lightning, hail and heavy rain with only a rain slicker for protection. (And caught a ride back home to pick up Hannah.) I couldn't decided whether to wop him on the side of the head (frustration) or hug him (in admiration for his dedication). He has what you'd call "dogged determination!" I like to think if this was a western, he'd be saddling up and heading up the posse to round up the bad guys (yes, I've been watching Big Valley on again, folks!) ha!

Bad news: We still don't have a clear plan for what John will be doing about employment for the summer and next fall
Good news: God will take care of us as He always has. He keeps helping money and jobs to come into our lives at just the right time.

Bad news: I feel so cut off from my friends and terribly lonely, since I'm unable to attend my Bible study or other things since John needs the car more often.
Good news: He has sent friends to me in the past and I know He will continue to give me a good friend-filled future!

All for now,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Relief in sight

Here is a page from my art journal. The hut pretty wonky (hey, it's my first attempt at a jungle hut), as are the clouds and palm trees! ha! But hey, I like how the ADRA lettering turned out. I like the bold colors paired with black.

It's nice to know there are agencies in the world that provide comfort, relief, and tremendous support to people in the face of tragedy. One of my favorite organizations to support is ADRA, which stands for Adventist Relief and Development Agency. This agency has helped so many countries in need--Katrina, Haiti, Japan, you name it. They also help communities in developing countries learn how to take care of themselves, not just to survive, but to thrive. That's so important!

In the past couple of years, ADRA has created an inventive way to help people--through their catalog. You can go to this catalog online (or request one via mail) and see just where your dollars will go. For instance, as the mother of an 11-year-old girl, I found one particularly meaningful: for $20 a month, I can prevent a young girl from becoming a child bride. The money helps her parents support her, feed her and educate her. That is so great, in my opinion.

Sometimes it feels like there are so many problems in the world, it's too much for one person. But if I help one little girl, who knows where that will lead? It is incredible to think of what that little girl could be, could do, if only she had a chance. My Hannah will have many opportunities. The least I can do is make sure another little girl, from a continent far away, will have just a few of those opportunities.

I think I'm doing a little better emotionally. Yesterday's visit with the doctor went really well. She spent an hour with me--that's unheard of. But as she is also a Christian, she tried to help me remember that we all fail and mess up and that we just have to keep going forward. For some reason, I'm not very good at that. I live in the past too much, sometimes without even realizing it. But I'm trying to keep my chin up.

All for now,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness??

Confession: I had a true meltdown Tuesday.

It started with a school uniform.

I should have known it was coming, given my state of mind the past few weeks. I only did it with John and Hannah there, but I couldn't hold in my frustration of all the past several months. Paper was thrown, not-so-lovely words (gasp!) were heard, my voice increased ten-fold in decibals, and all over a stupid uniform.

Well, it's never really one thing, is it? John losing his full-time job, the car being so quivery and not working right, acting like it was going to break down all last fall, and on and on and on. It's like the niggly little things all snowballed into one huge weight that refuses to roll off our backs.

The past four years, we have tried and tried to figure out exactly which type of uniforms are acceptable. Of course, one can go the expensive, buy-it-from-Parker-firsthand route. Which will make you did so deep into your pockets, you can tickle your own ankle. OR... you can go to area second-hand stores or Kid to Kid, which carries non-Parker brand, but uniform-style at least.

So (deep breath), I bought two NEW skorts last week. Then Hannah comes home and says it's not the right one, or at least her teacher makes an announcement and says that some girls are not wearing the correct skorts. Now, I must tell you that my daughter has this horrible habit of smiling and being so chipper when she tells bad news. And lately, it seems the more stressed WE get, the more she needs reassurance (of course, that's reasonable), but instead of backing off, she tells us bad news after bad news like she's waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The other shoe dropped.

Something about that stupid uniform set me off and I was angry. I was LIVID!!! I didn't throw things AT John and Hannah, mind you. But I took the paper recycling bin, and starting ripping and shredding and tearing into it like there was no tomorrow. I'm not exactly thrilled the screen door was opened and all the neighborhood heard my brief, but anguished cry for a less-stressed life.

I know I scared my baby. I feel bad about that. But I realized that I needed to just get mad for once. Not cry. Not simper. Not whimper. Not coddle my angry mood until it goes back into its corner for round two or three or 58 of a crappy life. I needed a no-holds-barred outlet of raw, mental pain that won't let up and has been building for days, weeks, months and, at times, years.

I feel like I need to just go to a cabin for three or four days. Just totally get away. As someone who needs utter peace and quiet, those things are nowhere to be found. I go to many a park, true, but it's so hard to find true quiet, where people are not traipsing up and down and everywhere. And yet to go somewhere truly remote is, well, in today's world, a concern. My pepper spray will only help so much.

When I finally made eye contact with John as I took a breath, the love in his eyes, the concern, was nearly my undoing. I wanted to melt. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to say, "I don't deserve your love, go away, I can't handle any of this anymore."

This is what I wrote later that evening.

I see love
in your eyes

not the hate or greed
or pride,

I see me
the way I long to be
I see love
for all

The bleachers,
the Vows
you love me
even now.

The day we said
I DO--
it all goes back
to me and you

I think I shall never see,
Something as lovely as...
gazing back at me.

"One day at a time," John said, when I asked him how was I going to get through this horrible depression. "One day at a time."

All for now,
a miserable, shaky, feeling-forsaken Tricia, still reaching out for His strong hand

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A light in the darkness

First of all, I want to say that my heart goes out to the people of Japan. I'm so sorry for the losses, the heartache and tragedy they are dealing with. I pray they will continue to receive the aid and support of people everywhere.

Lately it's been hard to catch my breath, actually for both John and me. It just seems like life goes at such lightening speed! I have no idea how people, especially moms and wives, work outside the home (part time OR full time!) It just seems like there's "always something," doesn't it?

Maybe that's why I've been struggling with depression again. Just that awful, overwhelming sense that I can't get caught up, and want to cry often. But really, it's more than that. I think the combination of tragedy in the news, plus earthquakes, plus personal struggles has just done a number on me.
I think most of all, my hormone stuff, which I thought we had figured out, is still up in the air. Basically, my doctor is trying to figure out the dosage I should be taking. Meanwhile, my face has broken out SO bad on the bottom part of my face--it's so embarrassing! I know, I try to keep it in perspective with the Japanese who have lost so much this past week. But still...

I hate that deep DARKNESS. It's so hard to just function when I feel like crying so often. I hate feeling on the edge of either crying or yelling at someone. Last week some neighbor kids came over looking for Hannah, and when I told them she wasn't here, they asked, in what I thought was kind of a snotty voice, "Where is she?"
I could have handled that, but they just stayed outside the door, peering in our window! What in the world??!! The one girl, hands on hips, still continued, very demandingly, "where IS she?" loud enough for me to hear through the window. It was such a weird exchange! I tell you one thing: I wanted to yank that door open and tell her... Well, I should stop there. But I took a deep breath and opened the door and actually said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings and I don't know a nicer way to say this, but it's really none of your business."

The question itself didn't bother me so much as the attitude. Grrr! These young girls, sister, really *are* sweet girls. I think they just didn't realize how they came off.

But the thing was, I was so CLOSE to yelling at the oldest! But I knew, really, that it wasn't just her. It was me, with my hormones and all being so close to the surface.

Fast forward a few days: The same girl, we'll call her "S," knocked on the door. Thankfully, Hannah was home and could play. But I decided to talk to them then and there. I gathered both girls close to me, squatted down, and told them that they had upset me the other day. That because they were so demanding, that it made me feel like getting mad at them, and that they need to learn 1) to ask questions in a sweeter manner and 2) that there are some things in life that are none of their business and they need to learn what sorts of things they are. I felt kinda stupid, because my voice got a little "quavery" while talking with them. Their eyes were as big and round as they listened to me. I could tell I had their attention--maybe being near tears helped them listen even better. (Wasn't trying to be manipulative!)

I just think there are not enough people in this life sitting down to explain things to children (or adults for that matter). We are all in a hurry, rushing and huffing and puffing if someone offends us. But we don't take time to sit down and say, "This bothered me. I need you to do _____ so I don't want to yell at you. Can we change how we do it next time?" I know it's not always possible. And that one night, I absolutely felt like I could NOT do that to save my life!

But I don't ever want to give up! There are so many fake, mean-spirited people out there who say they love God and then turn around and would just as soon "spit on you as to look at you." Or whatever that expression is. And I'm tired of dealing with those Christians myself. I'm tired of them giving a representation of God that does not even come close to what He's really like.

Last night, John and I came up with reasons for me to "give thanks" for my depression. (Deep breath) Here we go:

~ It makes me want to get closer to God, to read my Bible more.

~ It makes me want to help others who are hurting too, to reach out to them, and to pray for them. I know what it's like to hurt, and I know the darkness of a mental illness (if you count depression as one).

~ It makes me stop thinking about myself and focus on someone else. I can't always go and "volunteer" somewhere, as people sometimes suggest. But I truly do pray for people, think of them, and try to write little emails or notes of encouragement.

~ It makes me want to help Hannah and John get closer to God. That way, even if I can't help them and show them love when I'm feeling so down, they have Someone who can show them loads of love.

~ I realize how dependent I am on God for my very breath, and how I can't do anything without Him.
All for now,
p.s. My doctor and I decided that, while we're trying to figure out the best progesterone dosage, I will go back on an anti-depressant for a while. I'm also taking something natural to help me sleep better.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I keep thinking I'll get some time to share what's been going on in our house, but just can't find the time. So, I guess it's time for the Highlights of the week:
Took Hannah to the eye doctor. Surprisingly, the doctor said her eyes have corrected themselves except for her astigmatism. So she still needs glasses, but not to wear them as often. Any eleven-year-old girl is happy to hear that!
Tuesday was a lonnnnng day. Hannah is supposed to tell us every bit of homework she has. Lately, she has, um, become more forgetful in that area. I think it truly is "selective memory!" Tuesday she told me quite breezily that she only had two things for homework, and "just a little" in a third. Fast-forward to 8:30 p.m. or so. Hannah starts looking tearful while on the couch. "Um, Mommy?" She begins. "I forgot I have a science, uh, test tomorrow!" Upon my stern, exasperated look, she added, "the teacher just told us only today, Mommy!"
Whoo-boy. I tried to squelch my annoyance. This is getting to be a bad habit. The past few weeks, she has forgotten to bring one thing or another home, a book, a list of something, a lab report, and on and on.

I got her book, and then we began the long process of studying for a test, on three chapters she had not even read yet. I know, I suppose other parents go through this all the time. Thus far, I have tried to be understanding. She seems truly remorseful... each time! ha!
When we were done, I told her that she would have a "consequence," for this. She was embarrassed and mortified, being cut of the same cloth as me, where even a "look" seems to discipline her after a fashion. It was simple: no Flipper, or I Love Lucy, Wednesday night. Nothing. I think it's just hard because, really, it's been years since we've had to do something like that. She's a little perfectionist and I know we got it easy that she cares about her grades and keeping things running smoothly in general.
But it was so hard. I don't know. The thing is... she gets so emotional that I felt like I was on tenterhooks. Once she gets all weepy and emotional, the homework situation can go on for HOURS. (sigh) So you have to tread carefully.
Thank goodness for Spring Break now--time to recover.
Hannah and I took daddy to his job at Tarrant County College and then drove to the Botanic Gardens. We had a fun, giggly time that (almost) made up for the stress of Tuesday evening. We skipped, frisbeed (is that a word?), smelled early blossoms, contemplated carving our names into the names of a big ol' tree. (For the record, she tossed out carving hers and a little guy friend's name on the tree, but I nixed that idea in a hurry! ha!)
Next, a little supper and then a date at Barnes & Noble where she used some of her birthday money to buy two cute little stuffed animals. She's definitely in that "not just a girl, not yet a woman" phase, vacillating between carving boys' initials on trees and buying puppy and horse animals!

I'm just trying to enjoy every day of it.
And Friday? It's called... Crash! I'm telling you, the last few weeks have been so busy, I can barely see straight. We're also dealing with a bully problem at school, and that takes every last ounce of energy and drop of wisdom a parent has (not to mention time on our knees...)
I guess that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed the update!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

House of Representatives

Warning: No political parties were mentioned in the writing of this story. :)

When I was younger, my dad used to call me his "little ambassador." My dad's position in the Oklahoma Conference of Seventh-day Adventists caused him to travel all over the state. I often went with him. One of my favorite times of the year was campmeeting, which is like a Bible camp, where you hear all sorts of good speakers and, for the kids, have terrific meetings that teach you about God.

The ministers, in addition to their other 1,000 duties in life (!), had to arrive early to help pitch the tents. Yep, you read that right. The pastors had to set up tent after tent in the 100+ degree weather in July (hottest month of the year). So as daddy readied himself for some heavy-duty manual labor, I'd head out to find the other kids who'd come with their dads. All the other PKs (preacher kids) banded together during Camp Pitch. Then, in Week Two, the actual week of campmeeting, we'd scatter like the Diaspora to find other friends besides us PKs.

Within a few hours we'd all be hanging out, best of friends, and treating ourselves to snow cones or a dip in the pool. (Did I mention my dad was still hard at work pitching tents? or, if he was really lucky, he'd get to be the Parking Lot Supervisor. This coveted position, while still outside in the extreme, no-shade heat, allowed one to rest while simply waving arms like a semaphore to direct all those crazy Okla drivers as to where to park!)

I got to know everybody, their brother, their cousin, and their dog. Normally an introverted child, I seemed to blossom in this setting and, for just this fortnight, became an outgoing, gregarious person. And again, that's why I was his "little ambassador." He told me I did all the important work of getting to know people and that, because of me, they were naturally predisposed to liking him as well. Not sure if that's true, but it sounded good!

Now, fast-forward to the present day.

The other day we received an interesting note in the mail. A thank-you note, from our apartment complex office. The office manager was thanking my dear husband for going above and beyond, in picking up all the garbage around the Dumpster, because so much was left outside on the ground due to heavy snowfall (the garbage collectors had to make a second trip that day, but John didn't know they were coming back.) John threw so much trash in the Dumpster, it was almost halfway full after he finished. Apparently one of the office workers "caught" him at it! And sent a thank you note. Wonder of wonders!

Now that John occasionally substitutes at Hannah's academy, the staff and teachers have gotten to know him well. He has made quite an impression on them. For one thing, he files a report (yes, people, it's true!) for any teacher he substitutes for, so they know whether the kids behaved themselves--or not. I can't tell you how many times I've gone into the school office and the efficient, matter-of-fact school secretary gushes (and this lady NEVER gushes), "Oh we just LOVE your husband!"
I think of my own child, playing with the children in our neighborhood. Her manners, her compassion, her sheer delight at life--I like to think all of these represent John and me. Even if our neighbors never met either of us parents, would they have an idea of what we are like based on our daughter's behavior? I believe so.

I consider myself well-represented! So now I'm thinking, "Am I representing God in the truest light, so others can see what He's really like? Do they see His love pouring out of me?"

Jesus Christ said numerous times, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." He knew we had questions about what this mysterious Being, this divinity was like. Was God angry and full of wrath? they wanted to know. Well, look at the life of Christ. He healed, loved, cared, gave, taught, shared, spoke, listened, and... died. This Son of God represented His Father by sharing His light and life, and by giving life more abundant.

In the words of 2 Corinthians 5:19: "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

All for now,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birthday girl

Happy birthday, precious girl! I can't believe you are now 11 years old! Whew, where does the time go?

This week, for a variety of reasons, as been a bit stressful (could it have something to do with another snow day, anyone??!). But I am hoping it will all settle down and that we can get back into a semblance of a routine after the past two weeks. I mean come on: five snow days in two weeks--in TEXAS?? who'd a thunk it?

We invited one of Hannah's friends to sleep over Tuesday night. Having heard the weather report, I told her mom that maybe she should pack extra clothes. Good thing, I did! But they had a good time, I must say. They built tents, played Uno, played Barbies and Build-a-Bear, sang Christmas songs so loud I had to put earphones on, roasted marshmallows, and generally talked and giggled their lives away for two whole days! Come to think of it, not a bad way to spend a snow day, is it?

Hannah and her friend told everyone about the prank I pulled on them last night. Now, I am not a big prankster usually. I don't like them pulled on me often. In the past, my depression made me just take everything so to heart that it was hard to laugh at all, at myself, or the situation. I think I'm doing a little better.

Anyway, I couldn't resist: They decided to camp out on the floor so they would have more room. They were being silly and pulled their blankets over their heads. I leaned over and opened the door for a couple of seconds and then closed it, as if I'd left. Then I leaned in real close next to their heads and when they cautiously peeked out from under the blanket, I said, "Boo!" Shrieks and screams and laughter filled the room for the next two minutes. And here I was supposed to be settling them down! ha!

Hannah got phone calls from family--Aunt Pam called and Hannah was so excited to visit with her. And then we were surprised when later we realized we'd missed both sets of grandparents' phone calls! We were carrying on in Hannah's bedroom a little too much--we were a wild bunch, I tell ya! ha!

All for now,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A different point of view

Image: Watercolors and black pen
I didn't like what she was telling me. Not at all.

Her statement? "Tricia, you can't judge others by your own strengths, if they are not strong in the same traits as you."
That statement has taken me two years to fully process and understand what she was trying to say. My strength, in the conversation, had to do with being good at correspondence, in keeping in touch with family and friends. In the course of our talk, I had complained to her about a mutual friend of ours who had not kept in touch while we lived away from Texas for six years. "You should go visit her," said my friend. "She'd love to see you."

"I don't think she really cares," I said in a whiny voice. "She only emailed me once or twice while we were gone!"
If I expected sympathy, I would be sorely disappointed. But she has a point. A very good point.

How many times have I hoped that others would love me in spite of my weaknesses, in spite of the fact that my "weakness" might hurt people?

Like the times I need solitude, and someone else, say Hannah, wants to spend quality time with me. Or when a family member feels bad that our family doesn't travel much due to low or no $$, or that I go a little nuts thinking about being in the car for long stretches of time because then I'm "trapped" and cannot have the quiet I need. How do you explain that to someone else, especially when you've had another someone "rip into you" for being the way you are? Makes you draw within yourself and just stop explaining or giving reasons!

In the past year, I've had some situations where someone said or did something and I took it the wrong way. Maybe, just maybe, they were needing me to look beyond the "initial hurt" to see their point of view!

Like the time...

*** someone at Hannah's school didn't pay much attention to me when I was trying to discuss something super important to me. She was super distracted, even though she'd said it was a good time to talk. I found out later she is just someone who is easily distracted (adult ADD?), and has a difficult time keeping focused or not losing things like keys or cell phone. Instead of thinking she "didn't care," maybe I should just realize we needed to talk at a different time!

We never know when someone may feel insecure or inferior (weak) about something. Then something we say or do can trigger them to feel defensive or angry. I guess that's why the Bible cautions us to be "slow to anger." It also has lots of verses about controlling the tongue. I'm trying to learn not be to so reactive. That maybe there's a whole background story there for that person that has nothing to do with me.

And isn't learning to love, in any circumstance, what it's really all about?

Is it easy? Uh, no. Not for me anyway. But I can't give up. I won't give up. Because I'm learning from the Strongest Person I know, the most ForGiving Person I know. And I can't give up until He gives up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Light up the Sky!

I'm really digging the song by a Christian group called The Afters. I don't know anything about the group really, but John sent me their song, Light Up the Sky. The video and song are amazing to watch and listen to! It's basically about how so often we lose our hope in life, yet God continues to bring Light and Hope into our life, if we will only look up. The song/video deals with the major stresses in life: terminal illness, unemployment, divorce. Pretty heady stuff. (If you want to check it out yourself, go to, and type in the search: Light Up the Sky official video.)

Anyway, lately I've been playing around with an art journal and decided to use the elements of this song and theme on one of the pages. I wrote the words of the song around the clouds. You can't tell, but the sun is completely filled with a gold-colored glitter and it really sparkles in real life. I tried my hand at a whimisical style font, as well.

I know in past posts I've listed some of the crummy things that have happened to us the last few months, but today I want to list some amazing things that have happened, which I see as little ways God has "lit" up our sky:

John is asked to teach classes at Tarrant County College, at the nearest campus location to our home!!
John discovers, next to the DUMPSTER at our complex, about 7 pairs of shoes, all in excellent condition, exactly in his size. These include work boots, deck shoes, church shoes, and more!
In the first ten days back from Christmas vacation, John is asked to substitute a total of five days, which I know will help us take care of the basics until the TCC checks are automatically deposited.
I have no idea why, but because John is now working at TCC, we will get a discount in our rent!! Woo-hoo!
Even though I really hated that our car was in the shop for most of our Christmas vacation, it really was the best time to get it fixed and not have to worry about how to get Hannah to school and stuff. The PTO check arrived just in time to get it fixed, too, arriving the same day Hannah's vacation started.
We received gifts and some $$ from friends and family to help us have a wonderful Christmas, as well as tide us over during the tough times. We were VERY thankful for all our loved ones, and especially GOD, did for us!
These are just a few examples of little miracles that have helped encourage us the last few weeks and months!