Yellow Flowers and a Yellow Dress

Long lasting marriages are something I’ve grown up seeing. One set of my grandparents were married 52 years, when my grandma passed. The other set was married 73 years when my grandpa passed away.

That is quite a legacy. Almost 2 lifetimes in the number of years alone.

If you’ve read my posts lately, you know I recently lost my momma. My parents were married just shy of 55 years, when she passed.

Today my husband and I are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary. We were married on an Ozark mountain top and there were yellow flowers everywhere. It was absolutely beautiful. Mom was my maid of honor and she wore a yellow dress.

When I considered the first year of ‘hard firsts’ without my momma, I never considered our anniversary as being one of them. I think it is though, because I sure am missing her today.

I thought I’d share some wedding pictures from that day with you, just because.

Thank you for reading. Hope you have a great Sunday.

Jessica

me- 23 years ago today
my husband and my mom
veil adjustment by mom
my nephew who is now 23
yellow flowers yellow dress

Ideas on Creating an Art Fundraiser Donation Basket

I love to make art. My roots for doing so lie in watching my grandmas and mom make beautiful stuff out of a variety of things.

My grandma Irene was the queen of mixing together flour, sugar, eggs, to artfully create masterpiece-worthy pies and bars. Rhubarb especially.

My grandma Wilma held the honors of crafting her own wardrobe. She made multiple dresses and two piece pant sets in various materials, with piping to boot. In fact, I have the outfit she made and wore to her 40th wedding anniversary party.

My momma’s quest for her creative self expression led her down many avenues. She did everything from making dolls to knitting sweaters, sewing curtains to home decor items. Eventually, she added jewelry making, acrylic painting, and stained glass to her list of talents.

My art is like a combo pack- some of each of them, I suppose. Bits of each, that when combined, equals something layered and unique.

This week presented a pretty cool opportunity for me. My husband’s weekly bowling league had a tournament to raise money for a local family who lost a loved one. It was a chance to donate some of my art to a raffle.

Ooooooo!! What should I give and how should I do it? Individual pieces or something combined?

I decided that several items together could be impactful. I mean, if we’re going to share our art, let’s share it.

After staring at an empty basket for awhile, ideas started trickling in. I thought it’d be fun to share them with you.

my art donation basket coming together

Ideas on how to create your own art donation basket:

  • Try to choose a basket size that will hold whatever you’d like to include
  • Dress the basket up, if you like- I added a piece of jewelry and an artificial flower
  • When filling the basket, maybe start with one piece – I chose the sparkly rhinestone necklace on its velvet stand, with a pink flower that I glued on
  • Stick with that piece’s theme- mine was ‘sparkly rhinestone’
  • Maybe consider a color theme as well- I picked pinks and blues, with yellow floral accent colors to draw the eye in
  • Consider adding fillers such as tissue paper and doilies
  • Use a hole punch on your gift tag or business card, attach it to a piece of twine, and tie it to the basket/ handle
  • Think about who is going to be bidding or buying those raffle tickets- I thought about how the women bowlers might really want to help that local family out, so I included different items that might appeal to many
  • Also, consider who the fundraiser is for- sometimes people will buy fundraising items, then gift the item back to the person/family- I thought about what the woman that lost her husband might like to receive if she ended up with my art basket
a jewel and flower added to the basket
added a business/gift card to the basket
the finished basket

My husband was so excited when he got home from the bowling tournament. Apparently, my art basket donation was well received. There were 24 bowlers total, and my basket sold 58 raffle tickets! (insert huge smile here.)

The other donated items included 8 gift cards and a handmade afgan. Total the raffles brought about $500 for the family. Isn’t that amazing??

Some pretty extraordinary things happen when people get together to help someone. Even in a tiny town and even on a Tuesday.

I am thankful I was able to be a part of that. Maybe your art donation basket/ gift basket will be a part of something heartwarming, too.

Hope you have an awesome day!

Jessica

A Wildflower Birthday Without Mom

On this day, in 1946, my momma was born in an old farmhouse in rural Iowa. Oh how I wish she was here to celebrate this day, but life has taken us on an unplanned, unwanted journey.

You see, unexpectedly, she passed away at the end of March. April brought my parent’s 55th wedding anniversary and Easter. May brings Mother’s Day and her birthday.

For a week, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a birthday without somebody. She had me when she was 21, so there’s been many years of gift making, card buying, and such for me. Her loss brings all those traditions to a halt.

So, here it is, THE day.

What I’ve decided to do is plant wildflowers. I picked out a place in my yard that’s not a ‘front and center stage’, but more of a ’come and sit for a bit.’ It’ll get plenty of sun and moonlight. Oh, how my momma loved the moon.

The lines are blurred about who started our love for wildflowers first. Years ago, I remember pointing out all types of them on the roadways when we traveled. Perhaps I sparked an interest for her, but it could’ve been the other way as well.

She grew wildflowers in her yard and would show them to me every summer. My, how she loved them. Seeds to colored brilliance is a miracle in itself.

For her services, I made wildflower seed envelopes for people to take. The sign I made read, ”She loved flowers. Let’s plant some.” Love the idea of people growing flowers to think of her, too.

My back pasture is in it’s gorgeous summer bloom. Daisies, wild roses, and more adorn my walking path. What a joy to see them there, especially today.

If there’s such a thing as heavenly birthdays, I hope today is a big celebration there. My family and I surely do miss her.

Here’s to wildflowers and birthdays. Time for me to go plant some!

Hope you have a lovely day,

Jessica

morning dew
I’m going to plant inside the fence
wild roses
some pretty flowers
her favorite color was yellow
my helper- mom loved cats

First Mother’s Day Without One

I made it through my first Mother’s Day without my mom. Never ever thought those words would be uttered by me. What a strange, difficult process parent loss is.

On March 16, 2022 mom went to her local hospital. Multiple tests results led us on a rollercoaster of fears and emotions. 10 days later, she passed away. Super suddenly. A rip-your-heart-out kind of devastation.

It has been so hard, and hard isn’t even a big enough word. I’ve experienced loss before, but nothing even touches this.

They say the first year of ’firsts’ is the hardest. ‘Firsts’ being holidays and such. There have been several right in a row for us. My parent’s 55th wedding anniversary, Easter, Mother’s Day, and tomorrow is her birthday.

Maybe you’ve already been in similar shoes- if so, my heart goes out to you. Or maybe you don’t know this type of loss-if so, my heart wants to protect you from it, because it’s flat out heartache.

My husband, Little Bit, and I had been planning a mini vacation before mom got sick. We decided to still go. On Mother’s Day, we went to my favorite place in the entire world, Dauphin Island, Alabama.

I’ve got to tell you, it was immensely healing to stand on the white sand, hear and feel the waves coming in, find sea shells, and take a huge walk down the beach.

We ended our island time at a tree that I love more than just about any other tree. It’s a gigantic live oak in the middle of the island.

Each time we go there, I visit it. There is just something about trees, you know?

They survive big stuff sometimes, like wind, hail, and storms. That tree has seen many tropical storms and maybe even some hurricanes, yet it still stands there, branches outstretched and welcoming.

While there, I cried about my momma and asked for strength. Strength for the other upcoming firsts and strength for the missing because honestly, there’s a lot of missing her.

Mother’s Day was a sappy, teary day for me, gratitude filled because I am a mom, and heavy because I don’t have one.

In Biloxi, I got a new t shirt that says, “Saltwater heals everything.” I’m not sure about the everything part, but it certainly made that day a little easier.

I appreciate you reading this, thank you.

Jessica

Beach at Dauphin Island
favorite tree, favorite island

Love and Miss

My mom liked my writing. When I wrote on my blog, she often commented. We lost her very unexpectedly a week ago today. Instead of me rambling on and on about some lesson I think I’m learning or something, I will let the letter tiles sum up where my heart is. She is truly loved and missed.

Jessica ❤️

Unmeasured Journeys

A Good Sunset

I love a good sunset, don’t you? The kind where the sun just holds its space. It’s not in a hurry to put itself to bed quickly, but instead offers a brilliant fading glow.

Last weekend we ventured to a nearby lake. I seemed to be the only one who was interested in stepping into the 30 degree chill to look about.

So, after layering on sweatshirts and a hat, I made my way to a dock, a beach, and up a long set of stairs. Photographically, it was worth a cold nose and toes.

I saw bird footprints in the sand, reflections in puddles, patterns on the steps, and the sun, that glorious sun! A lot of people I know are moon fans. I do love the moon, but my heart belongs with the sun.

We caught the sunset at the perfect time, but instead of me taking the pictures in my usual spot there, I went to the right. And, kept going right, which gave me a new perspective.

The cool part? I was able to try different things, see the sunset in a new-to-me way. It was fun and I love all the pictures I took.

So, here’s to more good sunsets and trying new things. Hope you are doing well! I appreciate you reading.

Jessica

the birds beat me to the beach
love this pattern on the stairs
reflections in the picnic shelter
sunset view
sunset around a tree

Adventures in Kittens

We have definitely had some big lessons this year. For example, we found out a pretty major one: apparently, cats are extremely fertile. Whoa, who knew? haha

It’s a long story, so I’ll give you the short version. We rescued a kitten that someone found in their truck ENGINE when they got to work last year. Not sure where the kitten crawled in at, the kitten needed a home. We were the home!

That was last November. February of this year brought another cat that needed a home. My friend’s kids found her under a farm house and brought her to my door. My husband and Little Bit connected to her instantly. (The cats eventually worked out their differences. Ha.)

We had the second cat about a week when I got this nagging suspicion that she was pregnant. No one believed me. March 31, my hunch was proven correct, when 4 kittens were born.

Our November kitten didn’t like the babies, so we put her outside. Then, when the new baby kittens were almost weaned, we started letting their mother go outside during the day. We had planned to get her spayed when her kittens were weaned and were counting the days.

Welllll….. that’s where the lessons kicked in. Our November kitten got pregnant and so did the mother cat. The November kitten was around 5 months old when she got pregnant! Again, who knew? I had no idea they could be so young. Also, we had been told that in order to spay the mother cat, the kittens had to be completely weaned…

Fast forward, we have had 3 litters of kittens since March. I kept all the litters inside until they were weaned since we live in the country where there are stray dogs, coyotes, and things. Now, all the kittens are big enough to be outside and they love it. Daily, they play in the yard and climb trees and things. I try to take them for walks in the back pasture often, too. At night, I put them and the dogs in the garage because it’s winter and cold outside.

It has been an adventure to say the least. It’s easy to go from extreme joy to a bit of overwhelm at the thought of keeping everybody well and well fed. Why not give some away, you might ask. We have tried. Lesson number 1,111,111, nobody seems to want cats. But, that’s a story for another day.

Luckily, I love babies. Actually, my cousin and I have talked about how I have always wanted lotssssss of babies. Like 5 or more. But, evidently I did not SPECIFY human babies. Ha ha.

None the less, we have many animal babies running around outside right now, and fur on them or not, I am thankful.

Unmeasured Journeys~ meet Ruby
Unmeasured Journeys~ ducks and Squealer the kitten
Unmeasured Journeys~ newborns looked like bear cubs
Unmeasured Journeys~ nap time!
Unmeasured Journeys~ those whiskers!
Unmeasured Journeys~ kitten love!
Unmeasured Journeys~ Stevie

Seems like, with joy sometimes comes loss. That last picture is Stevie. On my birthday a couple weeks ago,, she disappeared. I looked for her a week and cried for days. She was only 15 weeks old. It happens sometimes, in the country, with animals. I’ve also lost ducks, chickens, and another cat, to what? I’m not sure. But, I miss them just the same.

So, here’s to adventures in kittens. A heart opening and warming experience for sure!

Nature on a December Sunday

We’ve had a ton of rain lately. Yesterday, we went down to the river to see how much it had risen. At that time, it was up close to 10 1/2 feet over normal and certainly was not it’s regular glorious, clear color. My husband said it may take a week before the mud makes it way out.

As the trees clumps washed by, I wondered where they would end up. The current was quick. Will we see them again eventually, as we cross river bridges when we head to the state south of us? Interesting things to ponder, as water whizzes by.

After looking at the water for awhile, I found myself wandering about, taking pictures of various things. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, much less picture wise. Today, I start.

Unmeasured Journeys~ the rising river
Unmeasured Journeys~ a unique leaf
Unmeasured Journeys~ bark and things
Unmeasured Journeys~ river rocks
Unmeasured Journeys~ the river after lots of rain this week

My Heart and Art

I love art. I’ve been making it for awhile now. About a year ago, I had this sort of innate desire to create stuff. So, I started. It is such great fun. Then, yesterday, my pieces emerged out of my craft space and into my first-ever booth at an Arts and Crafts Fair!

You guys, I was so nervous to call to find out if there were even any booths available. Why? What’s the big deal? Well, for one, art hanging on my walls is pretty different from the chance for it to maybe hang on someone else’s. I almost backed out of calling, but then I did it anyway.

Sometimes things that seem risky are worth the chance! I met so many wonderful people there. It was also really exciting to have my own booth! I am just very gratitude filled for the opportunity. The pieces that I loved making were well received. It was really cool to see someone pick up one of my pieces and comment about it or say they were getting it as a gift for someone. How cool is that?

If I met you at the show, thank you for looking at my blog. As soon as I figure out my next steps, I will do a post with information. Right now I am trying to decide on online platforms and where to sell. If you bought a piece from me, I thank you will my entire heart!

Hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks for reading!

Jessica

My Heart and Art

Miracles in Marketing

Seems several days have passed since I last wrote. Well, I have been reading. In fact, I have read three books this week and am on my fourth one right now. I told you that I read “The Artist’s Way” and on Christmas day,

I was on Amazon looking for more Julia Cameron books to purchase. I have already read several others she wrote, so I was searching for what else was available.

And, you know how when you’re doing online shopping and ‘similar’ items suddenly come into view? That happened. A booked popped up and the cover and name caught my attention. I normally get books on my Kindle app and sometimes they let you look in them before you buy them.

One peek in, and I was intrigued. I bought it. I ended up reading several and one was on miracles.

If you’ve known me for awhile, you may recall that I am a believer in miracles. I have several blog posts about miracles and I even started a social media group about miracles and motherhood.

For me, miracles are where it’s at. But… look at this year! I mean, the pain, the suffering, the uncertainty, the chaos, the upside down-ness of just about everything, who in the world is even thinking about miracles???

Well, I am. The way I see it, miracles are all sizes and come in all forms. Like, just look at these two in my picture: a kitten and a guinea pig are besties. Super miracle! Or even books, for instance. Here I was looking for one specific thing, and more books, along the same lines, came into view. That’s pretty miraculous. Even if it is chalked up to marketing. Ha ha.

So, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, I’ll have my nose in a book. Or several!! Hope your holidays were great and if you celebrate New Years, hope you have a fabulous time! See you in 2021!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Some of my friends out there are going through some tough times. Please know I am thinking of you and sending lots of love and prayers.

Jess

Happy Christmas

As interesting as this year has been, it has skipped its way through months, and here it is Christmas Day already. Last night, I found myself thinking about how Christmas itself seems like a season, almost.

When Little Bit was little we were enveloped in all the excitement of baking Santa cookies, Santa tracking on the radar, reading of all the Christmas stories, and early to bed.

There is a bit of a shift this year. Kids grow. And, grow. And, grow. Taller and older. Ha ha. I knew it was coming, and I’ve prepared myself a few baby steps at a time for the whole ‘not a baby anymore’ thing.

So far, for the most part, I am rockin’ it. We seem to be doing pretty well with the “growing up, things change” stage.

Last weekend, we went to our old town and went by our old house. Gosh, that place is beautiful. It was soooooo hard for me to leave there. He was two when we moved into that house and had the majority of his life there.

We moved here two years ago and it is home now, but going back by our old place kicked up the memories of how fast time is going by. I mean, we were on the gravel road we traipsed so many times to the mailbox and back, the same road we rode bikes on, and threw rocks into puddles on.

Memories gushed in. It was absolutely wonderful. We went to the creek where we have spent so much time. I wrote many, many blog posts about that place several years ago. We even passed the park where we’d spent countless afternoons and mornings on slides and swings.

Instead of early to bed on Christmas Eve, this time we stayed up late. I made cheesecake at midnight and Santa got fresh brownies and milk this time, instead of cookies. Kiddo was busy with other things, so I read the Christmas books to myself, which is fine, I still loved the stories.

However, Santa was still tracked via the radar and I was still informed what city he was in, which I love. Looks like the going to bed early, like in years past, has passed. Which is ok, too. More time with this once premie boy who is now taller than me!

Today, for old time’s sake, I am going to share a couple of pictures I took last weekend of the place I used to write about so much. Seems like things come around full circle sometimes.

If you are celebrating the holiday, I hope have a great one. If you don’t, I hope you have a wonder filled day. I am going to leave you with what one of my friends from Australia told me last night. Instead of merry, she said happy. Happy Christmas.

Thank you for reading!

Unmeasured Journeys

Pool Art

We did something really huge and cool this year, we splurged! Even in chaos. Even in a year of unknown outcomes. We jumped, with both feet.

My husband has been wanting a pool for a looooooooong time. He was a lifeguard in high school and having a pool of his own, was just something he wanted. Little Bit LOVES to swim. I love water- the reflections off of it, the ability it has to cool something off or warm something up without even trying. This blog is full of posts about lakes, oceans, and rivers. For us, water is where it’s at.

So, we did it. In the midst of a pandemic, we ordered a pool!!! Because of the way of the world these days and limits in the supply chains, locally all of the above ground pools sold out, causing the inground pools to sell out, too. I’m told that there’s never been a run on pools like there has been this year. It was suggested that if we wanted one, we’d better order it early.

In June, we ordered our dream, inground, fiberglass pool with sandstone granite coating. Oh, and we were on a twelve week wait. Unheard of in this area. Ok, fine. We didn’t mind waiting. Later, that wait got extended six more weeks. Ok, no problem.

That put us at an October 29th install date. But, it rained continuously for an entire week. Like, mud everywhere kind of rain.

On November 4th, installation began. You guys, watching that pool come together was like in the “Top Five Most Amazing Things I Have Ever Seen” list. Our back yard was slanted. Not exactly a sledding hill, but raised enough that I didn’t like mowing back there. The transformation of the space to what it looks like now is unreal.

Watching that pool install crew was like watching artists. I told them that, too. Every day I sat out there watching a masterpiece come together. They were able to use dirt from our own land to build up the sides around the pool shell, increasing the elevation of the yard, aka, getting rid of the slant. How cool is that? (Seeing that all come together even made ME want to get creative! Hello bracelet making! Ha ha.)

It was a super amazing thing to witness. The short version is: dig partial hole, bring in the crane, truck the fiberglass pool from Tennessee where it’s made, the crane lifts the pool off the trailer and into the partial hole- spot on, the first attempt, huge miracle. Next, bring in lots of dirt, raise the yard, add the drain lines, put in the plumbing, set up the filter, pump, and accessories, spread gravel, bring in the cement trucks, pour cement.

I have never seen such grace, as watching all that. There is a rhythm to it. Definitely a team thing, but also each person is very gifted at what they do. Start to finish it took nine days. Art, in that little teeny time span. Simply amazing.

The pool was finished right before Thanksgiving and when my husband mentioned closing it down, I abruptly threw out a “Nooooooooo.” Ha ha. I didn’t want to see it covered up already.

So, we kept it going, until last week. Multiple days of twenty degrees and the thoughts of busted pipes, allowed me to let the pool ‘rest’ until spring and summer show back up. And, it turns out, covering a pool is a personal choice. You can or you don’t have to. This year we decided to leave it uncovered so we can admire the art, pool art!

PS The sandstone coating gives the water a beachy look, almost an emerald color, which is super fabulous because normally we go the ocean once or twice a year. Traveling got nixed this year because of state restrictions. So, I like to think that we brought the beach to us, minus the sand.

Thank you for reading, hope you have an amazing day!

Jesssss