Summertime Goals

Who’s ready for summer?

We are!! After a spring of solid rain, a week of temperatures in the high 90’s followed by a week of 50’s and 60’s, I sure am ready for summer.

Our 23rd wedding anniversary was May 15th. My husband splurged and got us a big, fancy patio umbrella. It’s 11 feet wide, solar powered with lights, and the umbrella itself rotates!

So, if we are sitting on the patio chairs, shade. And, we can turn it so if we’re sitting/ swimming in the pool, shade. My son gets sunburns quite easily, so pool shade is definitely a gift.

Tomorrow, the temperatures start to build their way back up towards summertime fun. My summertime goals are:

  • wear my swim suit every day
  • swim every day (unless there is lightning)
  • catch fireflies at night
  • blow bubbles
  • watch sunsets
  • take walks
  • have a potluck
  • picnics
  • do sidewalk chalk
  • read a bunch of books
  • do art
  • take naps

Man, that does sound good! Sign me up, I’m ready. Here’s to a great season, whether yours is summer, winter, spring, or fall. What are your goals for your season?

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

Jessica

our pool and new umbrella
our 23rd wedding anniversary gift- fancy umbrella

I Have an Art Blog

In November 2021, I started another blog. An art blog. It was a few weeks after I did my first craft show.

It’s called Jeweled Again by Jessica. I take old jewelry and make pieces of art. I have done 3 craft shows so far. The last one was in between mom’s services. I wrote about it on there.

Also, I follow some of your blogs with both of my sites, because for awhile there, I was only blogging on one sight at a time. I’m trying to learn to multitask, ha ha.

Here’s the link if you’d like to see it.

https://jeweledagainbyjessica.com

Hope you have a great day!

Jessica

my art I make on jeweledagainbyjessica

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

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

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!

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

I Bought the Shoes

You guys!!!!! I bought the shoes!!! And, not just two pairs! Three!!! (If this makes no sense to you whatsoever, check out yesterday’s post.)

So, after I wrote yesterday, me and Little Bit (who is one inch taller than me, how does THAT happen?) set off on a shoe-finding-adventure. The first store had a couple I kind of liked, but the wrong sizes. The second store had absolutely nothing in my style. And, whoa, baby, in the third store, I struck it rich!!

I spied a pink pair of little tennis shoes. I don’t know if you know this, but I LOVE pink. Like, I have three pink rooms in my house kind of love. I tried them on. I LOVED them, Little Bit LOVED them. The box went into the start of a pile. A PILE. Like, for ME.

Now, I know what you may be thinking, “Geez lady, it’s just shoes, not anything very exciting.” But, to me, this is everything.

Under the pink shoes, wayyyyyy down on the bottom shelf, under something, was a black shoe. Immediately my interest was piqued. I picked it up. Oh my gosh, seriously? Can you instantly fall in love with a pair of shoes?????

They were in my size, but the box, it was pretty battered up. It was taped back together and looked rather rough. I tried them on. Still concerned that maybe they were a return, I asked a sales person. Not a return. That box went into the pile.

Down the row we went. Ok, I LOVE flowers, wildflowers in particular- it’s a long story, I’ll tell you later. Suddenly, I saw them! These amazing embossed-with-flowers gems! I tried them on!!

They are beautiful and are something I totally had in mind, before I walked in! Seriously? What are the chances that after striking out in two shoes stores, I would walk into the next one and in a single row, find my bestest color AND two others that made me want to jump up and down and clap my hands, IN MY SIZE?

Miracles, my friends. They show up, unannounced sometimes, and offer up a basket of “told you you could do this. Told you you were allowed and worthy and meant for really great things. Even great things like shoes.”

Life experiences can stumble all over us sometimes. They can bruise us up and pull the rug out from under our innate trueness and ability to honor our complete and total selves. I’m pretty sure I am not alone in this notion.

For instance, there was a point in my life that I went through some pretty yucky things, like they happened TO me. Someone at that time told me I deserved those things. And, that stuck. For approximately thirty years…. believing I deserved horrible things was pretty darn heavy.

The run off from that statement alone, presented ripples in my self confidence and self esteem for longer than I can even explain. It affected everything, even my ability to trust my own gut…

But, here’s the thing. We may believe what we believe until we don’t. Best I can tell, we are all healing from somethin’. Perhaps big, perhaps small. Probably not the same thing from the same time, but that’s a-ok.

I figure, we are all in each other’s life for a reason. Whether we have been friends for years, are newly aquainted, or if you are brand new to this site. Being a work in progress can be a glorious, beautiful thing.

Which leads me back to yesterday’s post. Most of my life, I thought I was only deserving of one pair of shoes, even if they hurt my feet, and even if they were totally worn out. How flawed is that? No one deserves bad things or blisters, including me.

Thanks for being here! See you tomorrow!

PS I’ve never even owned shoes like these before!! Woo hoo!!!

Jesssss

The Best in Friends

For the past 2+ years, I have hosted a couple of online women’s groups. Friendship circles, actually. And, in those spaces, grace showed up and taught me how to navigate the somewhat tricky terrain of connection.

I’ll admit, I struggle with the whole idea of friendship in general. You know, that whole letting “my guard down, opening my heart, and truly letting people in” thing. It’s defInitely been hard for me.

You see, a million moons ago, around the high school time frame, I had a “best” friend. And, I mean “attached at the hip, did every-single-thing as a team, if one was faint in breath, the other one would pick up the breathing slack, type of friend.

We celebrated together, cried together, lifted others up together, supported each other together, dreamed big together. We had tremendous life goals and were going to accomplish amazing things! Game plan? Check. Grand ideas? Check. Gonna rock the world? Double check.

It was all sooooo great, until it wasn’t and we didn’t. The friendship ended painfully and abruptly and with that, I think half of my heart fell out.

Eeks!! Wouldn’t it be easy to just sum it up to lessons of an impressionable youth? Just slap a “that happens sometimes” sticker on and move along. For me, though, the loss ran much deeper and stayed around for so many years.

Honestly, I haven’t had a “super gigantic, all inclusive, complete trust-filled, laugh “til you both wet your pants, open your heart ALL the way up, singular, best friend” since.

Scars do that, you know? Scars crust things over. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t completely give up, I tried again. If you’ve been through it, you may understand that draw, that craving, that quest almost to try to fill in that gaping hole.

For me all of those things equaled the perfect pathway directly into settling. As in, settling for friends. Boy, has that been a bumpy trail.

The other day, I told you that I’ve been working through the book, “The Artist’s Way.” Basically, it is a tool to help unblock limited beliefs and things that can slam on the brakes to creativity. During my work, interestingly, I discovered that I have some kind of attachment to the word ‘one.’

Like, if I get one of something, I hang onto it for dear life. One pair of shoes, one towel, one purse, one pen, one way of doing things. I hang onto things until they are completely worn out, barely functioning, and actually, right now, in this moment, I’m wondering if it stems from that huge, heartbreaking friend loss all those years ago…

Makes sense. Fear of something ending badly sure can sway the trajectory of things.

Call it life lessons or perhaps just some wisdom plus maturity, but my grand adventurous journey of finding and essentially replacing that one best friend has ceased. Instead, I have opened my heart space up to the notion that friendship isn’t a one size fits all venture and for me, maybe it never was.

In fact, an amazing soul sister I know recently shared something so cool with me! It was along the lines of: different people can make up whoever it is we need.

So, in my thinking, one person could be the “laugh ‘til tears run-er.” Another could be the “talk openly to-er”. The next one is maybe a “sure, I’ll help you feed a family, let me go grab a meal-er.” And, another may be the “having something at your house, I’m going to show up-er.” And, another could be the “cry if you want, I understand-er.” And, a whole bunch of them all put together could be the “cheer-ers, celebrate-ers, let’s dream big-ers.”

Wow! What a cool concept!

So, wherever you are in your quest for best friendship, let’s honor that. If you have one fabulous bestie- bravo!! If you’re more like me and have an ever expanding **value pack** of friends- bravo!! Or, if you’re still on the quest to find best friends, bravo!! Keep trying!!

What a lesson! Who knew that some thing from so long ago could have such a hold? And, that maybe in my lifelong mission of trying to find the best of friends, I actually found the best IN friends.

P.S. I think today I may do something I’ve never done before!!! Go buy TWO pairs of shoes! ❤️

Thank you for reading, I hope you have an glorious day!

The Middle

Where to start writing after a six plus month period of not writing. Tricky. The beginning sounds sort of reasonable maybe, but some ‘begin to now’ timeline feels a bit more linear today than I’d like.

My last post was a self invented challenge of sorts to not post any photographs and simply write, words. To essentially get back to the roots of why I started this blog in the first place.

From May to now, I have a whopping zero posts done. None. I suppose I could chalk it up to all the normal stuff that comes into play: busy with other things, life, this and that, the days tic by and before I knew it, half a year had passed. Those certainly are a huge chunk of it.

But, also intertwined in the mix was a combo of blocks. Maybe you know them? Writer’s Block, Artist Block, Creativity Block. Seems like they can sneak in when we are preoccupied with various things and they can make themselves right at home.

Soon, staring at a blank screen or blank notebook can lose its appeal and become an avenue of “I should write/ draw/ create, but I can’t. Nothing is coming out.”

Which, really, is not the coolest thing ever. It’s like sitting on the edge of some grand-to-me idea but not being able to pinpoint what exactly it is. Last spring that is where I was. I had a feeling I was meant to be doing some ‘thing’, but couldn’t figure it out what it was.

Until I did. An amazing tool showed up. Enter the book called, “The Artist’s Way.” I love that, don’t you? How tools show up? Especially those times when they really, truly resonate.

As I did the tasks, the blocks started becoming clear. Where they came from, how they got there, why they stuck. Things I had totally forgotten about such as: comments made to me in my youth, getting yelled at by the art teacher in sixth grade in front of everyone, competitiveness carried over from many years, and more. As I continued to do the work, more things unraveled.

What a gift it is to let all that stuff go, even now.

To open up and let my authentic in like I have never been able to do before. It’s been a somewhat hard, but beautiful adventure. I saw old patterns and even figured out why I’ve never had the confidence to stand up for myself or on my own.

Enlightening, to say the least. Anyway, tonight I had a draw to the blog, to write some post about whatever came to mind. This is it, ha ha. It feels really nice to sit down and write something again. So instead of starting at point A and going to Z, I believe I’ll keep writing from right where I am, in the middle.