2 Birthdays, a Blog Anniversary, a Trip to Italy & a Funeral
Good news first: can you guess what amazing gift I received for my birthday? Tobi has been working on this mysterious surprise for a month--collecting contributions from sweet family and friends to make this dream possible for me--my first Squam Art Retreat, and in Italy!!! Of course I'm absolutely thrilled and HUMBLED to get this opportunity. But even more than that, my heart is bursting with love and thanks for the precious ones who encourage and support me, believing in my dreams just as much (and maybe even more) than I do!
This is almost the best birthday present ever...but only almost. Because two years ago a nutmeg-blonde, button-nose, blue-eyed little girl named Penelope rushed into my life a week early--maybe just because she wanted to share this special day with me! She already lives to make us laugh--which is my word of the year, of course--so she is my special gift on our birthday and on every other day of the year.
It's funny that I missed blogging about this on my actual birthday--February 2 (Groundhog's Day!)--which also happens to be this blog's first birthday. Happy Birthday, A Picturebook Life!!! You can read my first, sweet little blog post here.
So, two birthdays, plus a blog anniversary, plus news of an amazing, upcoming trip to Italy for a magical art retreat...this is prime blogging material, people! Isn't it though? Then maybe you're wondering why it's taken me three days to post about it...I've been wondering about that myself. Why do I feel so blocked on the blog-front at the very time words should be flowing like the waters of the Adriatic Sea? I know, I did put myself on a little blog-rest again, but I'm still trying to post once a week. I should be able to find plenty to say, in just one post a week, right???
Perhaps, like our friend the groundhog, it's because I've been "hibernating." But this blog is what finally pulled me out of my hole a year ago, became a "home" for me when I was in such an "in-between" place...helped me to find home in my heart and in all the little joys everywhere I look. This blog is the place where I found unexpected friendships during some of the loneliest days of my life. This blog is what has finally convinced me that I AM an artist and that I can make this work my life's work.
It's the season of hibernation, anyway. It's ok. Nature does it; I can do it too. And spring is on the way. Don't worry; I haven't been scared by my own shadow--this blog is still a very special place to me, still a big part of my feeling of "home." I'm just resting up and getting healthy again (by going gluten-free, btw) in preparation for the amazing-ness that stretches out before me: the 31st year (and maybe the best one yet) of my life!
P.S. That new painting Sarah Ahearn Bellemare posted on her blog on the same day as my birthday--guess why I linked it up there? She's teaching at SqamItalia in October! Oh lucky, HUMBLED and overjoyed little ME!!!
P.P.S. Ok, here comes the bad news. Hope it doesn't seem insensitive, the way I'm lumping all this news--the good and bad--together in one post. But that's life--taking the good with the bad, the bad with the good. The other reason I linked this painting? Because it resonates with the way I feel right now--I've managed to squeeze in a little celebration this week, for my birthday and Penny's, but it's been a bit half-hearted: my cousin Ross was killed last Tuesday in a terrible oil field accident. Since the moment I found out, I can't get Ross and his bright, contagious smile out of my head--it like I can feel his smile, the same way I feel my mom's smile and know that she's not really that far away, overjoyed in the presence of our Lord Jesus. Still, I'm heartbroken for his mom, dad and brothers, and the rest of our family. Ross was 28 years old. The funeral is tomorrow, and of course, I am an ocean away. If you think of it, could you say a prayer for our family? Thank you.