Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beagle Walking

Our beagle is on a chain in the yard
because we have newly weaned calves.

Calves that are just weaned are very noisy,
but more importantly,
EXTREMELY paranoid, easily scared into a stampede,
by any unfamiliar sight or sound.

We live along a beautiful prairie creek.
HEAVEN for a beagle.
Beagles are hounds born and bred to track and hunt rabbits
with their nose.
If you are not familiar with hounds,
you must know that they make the most
high-pitched, writhing-in-pain, kind of sound
when they are on the trail of something.

This braying sound is why Toby, the beagle,
is chained up when we have weaned calves.

Normally, I walk with the beagle unleashed.
So he is quite untrained . . . a free-range beagle, we'll call him.

However, with the weaned calves I must keep him with me.

White Owl Creek is perhaps the most
explosive in fall color beauty
that I have ever seen.

Usually we have fall frosts and rains and winds that knock down the leaves.

But, despite the drought, 
there is gorgeous-ness.

So I adventure WITH the beagle into the creek.
With his oversensitive hound nose.

It is a miracle that I got ANY clear shots.
The creek is home to

It was a battle of wills the entire way.
Me with my camera hunting for light and color and contrast
Toby with his nose hunting for all kind of vermin and varmint.

My kids had just gotten on the school bus
when Toby and I left.

And I noticed how one tree
that was vibrant orange
on Monday
was brown and almost bare.

I thought about how little time
I have to get photos of the trees
once the leaves start to turn yellow.

How I had to go with the beagle through the creek,
even though it would have been much
more peaceful to leave him at home,
or tempting to wait until he didn't have to be leashed.

But how I would have missed the moment.
Which turned my mind to my kids on the bus
and how we have moments
that are fleeting
The years of being home with me all day
are over,
so our evenings, mornings and weekends are
fleeting moments.
To savor and to really listen to them,
to hear what they have to say,
what they are excited about
what they are struggling with
what they are learning.

Every stage of life has its challenges
and every stage of life has its beauty and wonder and newness.

Beagle on a leash = challenge.
Fall leaves = beauty.
Kindergarten = wonder at learning to read.
Fifth grade = excitement about volleyball.
Seventh grade = newness . . . transition.
Challenges for each of my kids.
Challenges for me.
Challenges for my man on the ranch in a drought.
Living it all.  Doing these things together.
Is the beauty of it

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Art Location!

I am thrilled to announce a new retail location for my artwork!

Sturgis Photo and Gifts
on Main Street, Sturgis, South Dakota
has done a beautiful job
presenting my work
and I am proud to do business with them.

I love that I can be featured in my hometown community
where I graduated from high school
sharing my art with Meade county, where I live,
and that inspires much of my work.

Thank you Bob Davis at Sturgis Photo and Gifts!

I also want to express thanks to Lori at
The Jon Crane Gallery in Hill City
who is also carrying a few of my originals
. . . although, they are almost sold out!
{Which is wonderful!}

Sign up for my newsletter and watch my facebook page
for upcoming art class and retreat opportunities
that are in the works!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Daring Adventurer

I am a reader.

I am a rule-follower.

I want to do the right thing the correct way.

I want everybody to be happy with the choices I make.

And here are the books that I ordered this week:

See a theme?
This is going to be tough.

Below are the books I am currently reading to my children:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Dragons and Giants from The Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel
On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

More adventure.
More daring.

Even Lisa Whelchel . . . when I ordered her book about Christmas
because I have been frustrated with what I'm teaching my kids
at Christmastime the last few years, when I ordered it,
I did not know
until last night
that she was going to be on Survivor.
I'm a Survivor fan . . . NOT a fan of them running around in their underwear . . .
but I like to watch human interaction and relationships 
and looking for people with depth of character
and how they play this kind of game.
But I am an observer, not one who would DARE to do it.
But here is Lisa Whelchel, daring to do it.
I hope she makes it a long way.

I did not select ANY of these books because of an adventurous theme.
But perhaps I am in need of courage and bravery.
EVERY step of sharing writing, art and photography has required courage.
It was scary purchasing my first art supplies.
I even tucked them in a corner and didn't want my family to see them.
And I only wanted to make things when nobody was looking.
It is still scary.

I am embarking on reading Daring Greatly with some friends 
(the CanAm Tas Philas which stands for Canadian American Sisterhood)
that I read through Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break by Kelly Minter
with this summer.
Nehemiah was all about, yes, building the wall of Jerusalem,
but also about a heart that breaks for people
and finding what breaks your heart.
And alot about serving those people where your passion lies.

Whenever I hear Brene Brown speak,
I am on fire because I believe all this
vulnerability, authenticity, wholeheartedness stuff.
It is what I wrestled with myself and God for.
Yet is STILL so difficult to LIVE sometimes!

So I find out about Christine Cain who is a co-founder with her husband Nick,
of the anti-human trafficking organization The A21 Campaign.
Talk about UNDAUNTED daring courage.
But this cause ignites my heart.
Yet I am AFRAID of the things that God might call me to do.

Like Christine referring to Moses,
I don't want to be full of excuses for God like Moses.
I want to be brave and courageous and say,
Here I am, send me,
like Isaiah.

But instead I feel a bit like a reluctant adventurer like Bilbo Baggins
who just wanted to stay in his nice, safe, warm hobbit hole
instead of adventuring after treasures and dragons with 13 dwarves.

"Remember what Bilbo used to say: 
It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. 
You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, 
there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

it's the steps it takes to getting out the front door
that are the hardest to take.

Yet even Bilbo
was the one to urge them on with hope to keep going
once they were in the middle of their daring adventure.

I'm reading On The Banks of Plum Creek with Sydney.
I adore Laura Ingalls Wilder.
And who is more adventurous and noble and wholehearted than
Charles Ingalls?
Homesteading on the wild prairie.

Erin and I read about Frog and Toad often.
Wondering if they are brave like the heroes they read about in their books.
We think bravery doesn't feel uncomfortable.
That brave people feel this powerful, surging, strong, noble courage.

But is vulnerability
and working with passion
and having hard conversations
and sticking your neck out
and putting your heart out there in artwork

 . . . isn't all of that
even though
when we do it??

When Erin and I finish the story,
she looks at me with a knowing smile,
every time,
and says,
"But they are afraid, aren't they?"

And I say,
"Yes, but they do it anyway.  And that is brave, isn't it?"

here is to 
to God's call . . . 
Here I am Lord
send me.

My knees and my voice are shaking.
But if You called little me to slay giants, You will make me a giant slayer.
You called Gideon, Moses, Mary, David . . . 
You just might call me.