Just a little more nature ( I can’t help it)

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Red Bud trees are so beautiful. This little one has been through a lot! We bought this 3 or 4 years ago. Planted it, then had a really dry summer. I cut back the top because it looked dead but the bottom still had something on it. The next year limbs were growing from the bottom half, then it was moved because we put in a pool. Last year it had leaves and three flowers. This year there were many blooms on it. I cut off a branch that wasn’t doing anything so it could concentrate on the rest. I’m so proud of it!

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This tree I put in last year, to replace a dead one. It has come through beautifully! It smells so good too.

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This one I was worried about, but it is doing well too and smells divine.

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They are all three in a row and as they grow each year that part of the yard will be stunning.

In my Best Loved Poems of the American People I found a tree poem. It is the one that usually made to sound corny because only the first few lines are used. The whole poem is very beautiful and here it is:
TREES by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the Earths sweet flowing breast.
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
A tree that may in Summer wear,
A nest of robins in her hair.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

 

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I realized we had a robins nest and I am sure eggs in it also. I snapped a picture of mother robin before she flew off.

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This also is in a strategic spot away from the wind and rain for the most part. Birds are so smart!

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This is the action in our neighbors yard. I heard a lot of tweeting going on from that box.

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This is behind our house and I understand that the farmer had planted radishes after the fall. This must give the ground nourishment. He was in the fields last week spraying something and now it is this color. So it will be interesting to see what the next step will bring. I hope you have all kinds of activity in your area also.

The Nest

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In an earlier post I introduced you to The Finch’s.

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They have built a nest in my door wreath, which is a perfect place, normally. Tomorrow it is going to be open quite a bit. We will have to see how she handles this interruption.

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She always fly’s out of the nest when we come out that way, and then she sits in the tree and jabbers at us. I took the opportunity to point my camera at the nest to see what was in there. There are five little blue eggs. I think they are just precious!

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It reminded me of a painting I did a little while back, appropriately named “The Nest”. It says: They put their heart and souls into it. When the time came to leave the nest, They prayed they did enough. Happy Friday!

Green Growing

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I have been enjoying the coming to life of spring. Here I repotted a couple of succulents from the yellow container to the terra cotta pot. Then I decided to plant cat grass. It will be a perfect height for the cats to chew on.

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Pretty little primrose something or others. I used to have many lining my sidewalk but they didn’t last or they got dug up by something. I may have 5 or 6 plants left.

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Cat mint, this really spreads and I have to cut it back throughout the growing season. My cats love to eat the leaves. It develops tall purple flowers.

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More Johnny Jump Ups blooming. I have read that these are edible and can be put in salads.

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Cat nip, I got two good plants of these. These are really the delicacy for my furry friends. They are so funny with these. I love having things growing, it’s a happy spot. Hope you have a happy spot at your house also.

A week in review

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Here it is, thursday already and I have not done one blog post. The week seems to have flown by. I will do a quick recap with some pictures. Monday was a beautiful day. I had picked up some plants that needed potted, but before that my tulips needed some pictures. I have have never had any orange tulips and I am very enamored by them.

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A nice big white one with a pretty yellow center.

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I love them because I haven’t had tulips for a while. When you have a new house it takes such a while to establish flowers. I hope these grow nicely and multipy.

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On the weekend I went to an antique mall in Decatur, IN in search for a rustic bench. I came across this guy and it was perfect. The right length and very rustic. In the three pots are red geraniums, they were not planted yet, just sitting in the pots. They will be so, so pretty when they start blooming. I will show you the big picture further on.

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Here it shows that it is old and rustic with square nail heads.

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Other plants that needed pots, herbs. I had moved this stand to the other side of the porch and planted two cantnip plants, sweet mint, peppermint, lemon thyme, and garlic chives. It should get the right amount of sunlight in this spot.

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A welcome hello, come sit a spell.

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I am so happy with this creeping phlox, it was a piece that my neighbor Kathy gave me last fall. It’s blooming well and will add a great spot of color to the landscaping. These spread so nicely.

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Tuesday I practiced setting up the frame of my art fair tent. I have it well marked, and I feel confident it will go smooth at the next fair which is on May 15th. I just took it slow, and wrote my directions down and when I took it down it was bungee corded together in sections. Also it is 7 feet tall, the legs haven’t been extended in this picture. 

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It has a front and back awning to extend the space and also help with the sun in the summer. Also this week I found I was put on the waitlist of two summer art fairs in my area. Covington and Three Rivers Art in the Park. Since I am new at this I will have to see how this plays out. I will hear by May 31st for Coventry and probably June for 3 Rivers. On another note I heard from the Roanoke Art Show and since I participated last year I don’t have to pay a jury fee or send in pictures which is fantastic, I am just automatically in….this show is in October.

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Meet Mr.House Finch.

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And Mrs. House Finch…..Sounds like Person of Interest….Which the new season starts in May! It’s been a long time!

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If you haven’t heard finches, they are jabbering all the time. They have a very distinctive sound. Click here to listen and read about them. They have made a complete small nest in my door wreath. It really is a perfect spot for it because we don’t use this door often and it is in a sheltered spot from the rain and wind. Here she is coming back to the nest. She always flys out when we open the door to look at her. You can barely see the nest on the right side.

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She was getting closer but then heard my camera click.

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Johnny Jump-ups, I threw these seeds down in the landscaping two years ago so that they would randomly multiply. It’s going to be pretty this year. They are all over, I love these flowers. It’s going to be a fun weekend. I am doing an annual girls weekend and we are going to Akron Ohio to a stamping convention. Click here for the information. I just love these gals, it’s been a while. That’s all I’ve got. I hope you have a fun weekend too.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard

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Approximately a week ago we saw this little lady walking around close to the house. She heard me taking pictures of her so she started to head out.

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But still you could tell that she was looking around for just the right spot.

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As she was walking past the daylilies you can tell by the angle of her head that she spied just the right area.

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A few days later we found a hole strategically built behind the daylilies. I cannot be seen from the front. A couple weeks ago I had pulled those dead leaves out with the plan of throwing them away when I cleaned up the landscaping. She took them and spread the leaves around the hole. I would have loved to watch her do her work. So in this picture she has place one egg.

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The next day I saw her come back and sit in the nest.

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She got up and left and egg number two was there.

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So today I was watching these two. They took a swim along the edge of the pond. Then she would stop and go up into the neighbors yard and she would stop and look around then come back into the pond. I wanted to open the door and say “No, you’re in the wrong yard!” But she eventually realized it and she went out and was fluffing up her feathers while he stood guard on the bank. Then I saw them walking through our yard making their way to the front. But then I saw the neighbors cat out. And she froze and was not moving. I went back to whatever I was doing and did not see them walk away and I don’t have egg number three. I hope she comes back and doesn’t abandon the nest. I am really getting a kick out of watching them. I always feel blessed when animals choose our yard to have their babies.

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This is one of my favorite books growing up. Ping, decides to move her baby ducklings from the park to another spot. They are in the big city and walk along a busy highway and the policeman stops traffic for them and the ducklings get through a very populated city. I hope I get to see the little ducklings following their mom. Do you have any spring babies in your yard? Thanks for stopping!

 

The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen

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I received this book from my book buddy Colleen in December. I just recently finished it. As I have mentioned many times…I love books. So when I get a book it is a treasure.

 This book had a lot of sadness as you can discern from the title. It centers around one family that had the death of a new baby. It had a formative disease in the womb and the mother knew that the baby was not going to live long, only 57 hours after birth. The term was Anencephaly. The mother learned this during a routine ultrasound in the 5th month of pregnancy. She didn’t disclose this to her husband until right before the birth. They have two other children, a boy and a girl but this death has just affected the whole family in different ways. The story keeps unfolding and a daughter of the husband (from a previous relationship) comes to visit one day and stays for a while because she told them her mother kicked her out. She was pregnant and somewhat unknowingly brings the family together. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but give the story a chance because it starts making sense. I got very frustrated with the woman because she kept making excuses and was not appreciating what she had, but she eventually saw the light. I like happy endings and this book had one, but the family had many dark clouds over their heads before they saw the sunshine again.
I found the perfect poem to go with this story from The Best Loved Poems of the American People.
IF WE KNEW
If we knew the woe and heartache
Waiting for us down the road,
If our lips could taste the wormwood,
If our backs could fell the load,
Would we waste the day in wishing
For a time that ne’er can be?
Would we wait in such impatience
For our ships to come from sea?
If we knew the baby fingers
Pressed against the windowpane
Would be cold and stiff tomorrow-
Never trouble us again-
Would the bright eyes of our darling
Catch the frown upon our brow?
Would the print of rosy fingers
Vex us then as they do now?
Ah! these little ice-cold fingers-
How they point out memories back
To the hasty words and actions
Strewn along our backward track!
How these little hands remind us,
As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns-but roses-
For our reaping by and by.
Strange we never prize the music
Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown;
Strange that we should slight the violets,
Till the lovely flowers are gone;
Strange that summer skies and sunshine Never seem one half so fair
As when winter’s snowy pinions Shake their white down in the air!
Lips from which the seal of silence
None but God can roll away,
Never blossomed in such beauty
As adorns the mouth today;
And sweet words that freight our memory
With their beautiful perfume,
Come to us in sweeter accents
Through the portals of the tomb.
Let us gather up the sunbeams
Lying all around our path;
Let us keep the wheat and roses,
Casting out the thorns and chaff;
Let us find our sweetest comfort
In the blessings of today,
With a patient hand removing
All the briars from the way.
-May Riley Smith-
Enjoy the day, enjoy your moments.  Thanks for stopping!

Colors

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Bold colors, bright colors, I love them all. This was on the clearance shelf at Walmart and I couldn’t pass it up. It looked like a quilt, it had great colors and geometric pattern.

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A letter I painted for the word Artist. The red and the geometric pattern again.

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A color wheel I had made in art class. I blended these colors from the primary colors. We were to make an interesting color wheel.

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All my watercolor paints so I can see their true colors instead of from the outside of the tube. This was so much fun to make.

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Just a bit of my painting Serenity. All the bold colors make me smile.

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Here is a piece of my painting Teal and Blue. I love the teal flowers with the red middles. I think the reds look like cherries. I especially like the bit of white to set it off.

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Same painting only the yellow flowers with the textured petals beside the blue and orange vase. So bold and happy.

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This little bluejay is also one of my favorites with the multi-colored wing and the crown. Just a fun bird carrying a sunflower seed. It comes from my painting Happy Birds.

Prints can be found of these pictures in my Etsy Shop.
From the book The Best Loved Poems of the American People,  here is one of my favorites.
Try Smiling
When the weather suites you not,
Try smiling.
When your coffee isn’t hot,
Try smiling.
When your neighbors don’t do right,
Or your relatives all fight,
Sure ’tis hard, but then you might
Try smiling.
Doesn’t change the things, of course–Just smiling,
But it cannot make them worse– Just smiling.
And it seems to help your case,
Brightens up a gloomy place,
Then, it sort o’ rest your face– Just smiling.
–Unknown-
May you have a colorful day!

The Cleaning Lady

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To supplement my art income I took a job cleaning the dealership where Tom works. It consists of two large buildings, one is a Ford dealership and the other Chevy/Buick. I had never pictured myself as a cleaning person but it has worked out really well. It is hard work in the way that there is a lot of walking and staying on the go to get it all done, because I only like to spend 4 hours each day at it. I wear my fitbit and get 10 to 15 thousand steps a day, depending on what I am doing. I start out early, up at 4:30 and get home around 10:30….then I take a short nap. I have enjoyed the people I have met and I really like seeing what everybody does. Stay with me here and I will give you a little tour of the place. We will start with the Ford side.

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Here I get a company vehicle…..no really it’s just the parts truck that I throw the trash bags in the back to take to the trash bin. I had to brush up on my shifting since it was a stick shift. I just call it the “Little Red Truck”.

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This is where the cars get checked in to be serviced. It has heat to thaw the cars out too in the winter. Since I am the first one in it is all quiet. It was eery at first but now I am used to it.

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It was a very rainy morning when I was taking these. The big windows all rain covered.

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I like the service area where the cars are left in various stages of work. This is a big area and has all kinds of noises going on and I hear the wind wooshing through, and vents snapping back and forth.

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The Ford showroom. I don’t usually turn on the lights because I feel like I am in a fishbowl. Only when I am doing floors. I enjoy seeing the new vehicles coming in. Sometimes there is a Mustang, then a sporty Focus, this one is an Edge and they all smell like a new car should.

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I am showing you this cute 2016 Transit Connect that just got delivered last week. I was glad to see that there are cars coming out of Spain. I am waiting for my 2016 Race Red Transit Connect, so there is hope. I think it is the three hour siestas that hold up production.

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Moving over to the Chevy/Buick building this is where daily sales meetings go on. There is much training and discussion involved in being a salesperson. Not only do you need to know how to sell but you have to stay up on the products and paperwork. I don’t think it is an easy job.

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Corvette emblem in the showroom.

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The rest of the Chevy/Buick Showroom. To me the hardest part is cleaning the showroom floors, it is time consuming and repetitive. I want both these buildings to be in the best shape they can be because as a consumer I appreciate going into a building that is clean and smells good. It makes me feel like they will care about me as a customer if they care about their buildings.

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Camaro emblem, I like emblems because an artist had to design them.

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The front of the Camaro, it looks like it is smiling.

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The metal iconic signs.

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The wonderful smell of popcorn is always in the both the buildings. I get it cleaned up so there can be fresh popcorn each day. Sometimes people just stop by and get a bag of popcorn.

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Sometimes there are treats out in the waiting room.

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I am particularly proud of this plant. When I first started these plants had been ignored. I started watering and feeding them and they are now flourishing.

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New Growth.

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A whole row of brand spanking new F150’s.

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A good American company. I have been a lunch lady, a waitress, a bank teller and office worker, now I can add cleaning lady and artist to my list. One never knows where your life will lead you. This is perfect for me right now. So glad that you stopped by.

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Our Crazy Cats

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I want to tell you about the 3 resident cats here at our house. They all have a story to tell and each has their own personality. This is Lily…her complete name is Tigerlily but she prefers to go by Lily and sometimes it is Lillian if she is acting kind of hoity toity. Lily was very young when she came to our porch meowing. I had heard her asking for food at other houses and she finally made her way to ours. I could not ignore her crying and when I went out I realized that she had recently given birth to some kittens by looking at her. She was so young that they probably did not survive. I gave her food and she was so grateful. I was afraid that there was still a baby inside of her so we went to the vet and they did and ultrsound but there wasn’t. She of course eventually made her way into the house and became a permanent member. She has her own mind, only likes to be touched in certain ways. Only like certain treats, and spits and sputters if another one of the cats gets close to her and makes it sound worse than what it really is. In this picture she had made her way down to probably Kevin’s room to grab a sock.

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She really does love us all but it has to be her way and her idea. She used to go outside and in the warm weather would surprise us with the rodent of the day. Now that she stays inside, she grabs socks.

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Here is one that she has brought upstairs. At times when I get up in the morning there may be 5 or 6 throughout the house.

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I throw them on the bench and when people need socks they go through and take them back down to their rooms….and then it starts all over again.

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This little gal is Sophia May…..she likes to be called Sophie. I found her on the road as I was going to work one morning. She came out of a field, shook her head as if she was dizzy, got to the middle of the road and fell down. I stopped the car and picked her up because she would have surely been run over. She is one of the most sweet cats I have ever had. She loves everybody and everybody loves her. She licks heads, ears, hands and is always glad to see you.

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This is what she looked like after I picked her up. I don’t know if she had been sleeping on a car that went to work and she was thrown from it or if someone actually threw her into the field but her bottom lip suffered an injury is pulled back from the gums, her mouth is not open. She weighed all of 12 ounces and was only 4 weeks old. I could not let this sweet little cat go.

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Here is she is looking out the window. I now call her my little pudge pot. She never grew very big but she likes her food and she is a little round. Her unusual thing that she does is opens doors. We have lever handles and if she is stuck in a room or if she wants in a room she will just open the door. We do have a few scratches on the door where she didn’t succeed the first time, she is tenacious.

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Lily is fascinated with the shower. She will just sit outside while I am showering and waits patiently. She sits far enough back where she doesn’t get splattered but I can just see her one eye looking in. When I am done and drying off she licks the water that has pooled on the edge. This is a ritual of hers. I never know what is going on in her head.

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This is Pavel, he is named after Pavel Datsuyk a Detroit Redwings player who is Russian. He came begging for food on our porch one cold March day. I had noticed him out in the field and didn’t know who he belonged to. A few days later he is up on our porch meowing persistently. I eventually realized he had been hiding under our pool cover by that block of ice of a pool. The poor thing was so hungry, He got to stay in the garage and made his way into the house. He had an infected bite on his back and I got that cleaned up and he is a really good cat. He doesn’t have a normal meow…..he sounds like a warbling blue bird. He and Lily wrestle in the bath tub, and that’s what they had been doing here.

 

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As particular as Lily is, she likes him, so he must be ok. He is a very gentle cat. Never, ever acts like he is going to bite. I think he has the prettiest eyes and his nose has the markings of a heart.

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I have to mention our 3 we lost last year. Smoke was our oldest at 20 years old. Stonewall was 18 and Sebastian was just 8 but had kidney problems. It was a hard year for us and our furry family. They all held a special place in our hearts and each had their own personality. I hope that you have had a special animal in your life, they add so much. Thanks for stopping!

 

Pursue the passion

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You have a calling in your heart. Change is hard but that feeling keeps tapping on your shoulder. You want to do it, you want to pursue what you love and make a living from it. It won’t be easy. It will be hard work but it will make you happy. For all of us who have done this, who want to do it….spread those wings. A recently completed, mixed media painting.