Saturday, August 17, 2013


Greetings hale and hearty Reader!

I am thrilled to announce that a dream is coming true here in scenic HoCo.  August 13th marked the birth of Arrowood Paper Arts!  It is exhilarating to share this news, and *if possible* even more so to be living this wild ride every day!

Look for me in Chicago!
***website coming, soon!***

As many know, this isn't my first foray into a creative business venture.  It is very flattering that long time users of my candle and soap wares still ask *hopefully* if I have been 'back in the Barn.'  The Man misses those days, too.  He, like so many others, had his favorites.  If I am honest with myself,  I miss them too -- at least parts of them :-?  I am proud of all that Pennywise Specialties was, but I am incredibly "a'fire" with the road ahead of me -- which has been a long time in paving ;-)

Two Halves of One Heart
...the result of a savored moment of serious play
with my friends in the CMMAG with most things in my world, I have jumped right in to this current venture.  Loads of things are in the works! With all that is already a 'constant' for me, these happenings have served to prove true an amazing phenomenon.  I have often marveled that it seems the more there is to do, the more you can get done!  Alternately, it could just be that having something you love to do makes it easier to do the 'other stuff,' too -- so you can fit it all in (?)  What e'er may be the case, I've been hoppin' -- and having a freakin' ball!

From the "What Happened In-Between" File:
Two pieces from a new series, currently on display at
Liquidambar Gallery & Gifts in Pittsboro, NC.
These are part of a CMMAG show, hanging through September.

All of this wicked goodness has developed while preparing for my first Road Trip under this new banner!  I am hitting the road, next week, with a supah Art Bud to debut at Create Mixed Media Retreats in CHI-CA-GO!  The incomparable Jodi Ohl will be teaching throughout the event, and I will have the chance to serve as ready and willing assistant to her and her students *ahem, throng of adoring fans!*  To wrap up this big first, we will both be participating at the Vendor Night event on Friday, August 23rd.
Upon returning home, there will be more fabulous-ness to report!  I can hardly wait to tell you all about it -- but the work table is calling, and the clock is ticking on what must be done before we embark!  I do hope you will join me again!  

Onward & Upward, 

 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"The doors we open and close
each day decide the lives we live.
                                      - Flora Whittemore
Photo Notes:
   Heart and What Happened, taken with my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1
   Look for me from my design at Vistaprint

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them* 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In the Midst of My Joy, I Wept

Greetings!  I might be hanging my head in shame, given my lengthy absence; but I'm pro'lly not  ~>;-)

Life is good!  ...and it keeps me busy, happy, productive *for the most part* and ever on the cusp of adventure.  I am seriously considering a new 'tab' here for the occasional "catching up" post -- okay, yeah, you know me...  it's not really so much 'occasional' as 'ordinary' - *sad but true!*

Great and wondrous things await The Girl,
following her graduation from ECU in May
The adventures have been plentiful since our last reconnoitering, here; the latest, to celebrate both our anniversary (16th) and the birthday of The Man (62nd).  We lit out for our favorite, coastal run-away; enjoying incredibly mild *if a little rainy* weather, peace, quiet, the song of the sea, and the *blessedly* few work-related distraction(s).

a break in the clouds,
the nodding sea oats glow, as
a sweet breeze glides by
While reveling in virtually all that gives me joy, I received some news that stopped me in my tracks -- causing The Man to re-enter our temporary domicile to the vision of me:  wracked with tears - trying desperately not to cry, and failing miserably.  The explanation even more bizarre than my tremendous sorrow in the lap of luxuriant indulgence...

A woman with whom I have corresponded and exchanged gifts, yet never met, is a TRUE hero to me.  I fell head over heels in love with Amy McCracken* through the regular reading of the 3x3x365 blog, *all due to my admiration (aka:  virtual stalking) of one Patti Digh*

To understand this photo, visit
To understand why it is such an awesome photo,
visit *and read daily/weekly*
*Amy is a shepherdess to animals without homes (Executive Director of Richmond Animal League), a cheerleader for CF patients lacking a sufficient voice, and a writer (nay, Writer) who continually moves me with her profound observations of our frail, grasping attempts to make sense of Life and its ponderous inanities for us mere mortals.  One of the things that drew me to this dynamo is her love and dedication to defeating Cystic Fibrosis while lifting up those who suffer so from this ravaging disease.  You can read more about such heroic endeavors here, and here.

SO...  The Man and I are quite unexpectedly 'away', and all is right with the world -- or so I thought.  On the day after we arrived at Kure Beach, we enjoyed early morning sun, and typical *for this time of year in NC* afternoon thunderstorms.  On Monday of last week, these came with gusty winds that drew us inside - unable to even enjoy the  ocean view from our covered deck.  As we prepared to move the afternoon indoors, I checked the latest news of those I care to know about via Facebook.  I was utterly gobsmacked to read that Alyssa Doane (aka:  Little A, Cheeto, Sweetness *okay, so I might have added that last moniker on my own*) had lost her fight with CF.  She. Was. Gone.  It has been nearly a week, and the simple act of typing this brings tears to my eyes.  Why?  I did not know this girl.  I was more than thrice removed:  not family, not dear/real-life friend, not even a passing acquaintance.  I only knew of her peripherally -- through someone else I do not know (?)

Little A and Big A -- flight ready
It was her promise!  She was such an amazing young woman.  She was strong, and brave, and gracious, and funny; all in the face of being terribly sick.  In spite of my awareness that hers was such a fragile existence, I had the abiding, crazy (?) belief that she would be fine - she would rally, once again - she would continue to be the amazing girl that her all-too-brief and troubled life had allowed (nay, required) her to be.

I wept.  I was not surprised at my beloved's inability to understand my upset -- I did not fully understand it!  I thought that I had finished weeping, only to find that I had not -- not by a long shot.  I was heartbroken; grief-stricken for her family, her personal warrior, and her friends.  I, selfishly, admit that I was also sad for me -- for the sudden, real, and crushing realization that I would never meet this incredible being.  In that moment of my wicked sadness, however, I arrived at another truth:   I/we are beyond blessed!  I am a mother, sister, aunt, god mother, friend, and passing 'known' to countless children -- all of whom are totally healthy.  What an incredible blessing to know that these beacons of our future are complete and among us -- they do not struggle to breathe, walk, laugh, play, and/or share and return our love, and wild faith in their futures.

My heart continues to reach out for Little A's family and friends.  They remain in my mind and my heart as I go on about this daily rise and rest - advance and retreat - try and succeed/fail that we call our 'every day.'  My soul continues to be heavy in the knowledge of such a loss.  In spite of it all, I remain crazy thankful for all of those who I can 'reach out and touch.'  I am tremulously small in the face of my life's greatness.

...a view from the backside -- Okracoke Island, NC
(from a visit in May '13 -- already looking forward to '14)

I'll leave you with this:  Go, and go NOW!  Hug them (if they are near enough), call them (if they are not) -- tell them now how crucial their being in your life is to your being.  Proclaim your love, support, and gratitude for their presence!  You will all be the better for it.  I know this to be true!

Onward & Upward,
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:
"Our attitude toward life
determines life's attitude
towards us."
                                      - Earl Nightingale
Photo Notes:
   Graduation, Sea Oats, and Ocracoke Island taken with my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1
   Roller Girls via 3x3x365 Blog
   Little A & Big A via Facebook

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*