Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sentimentally Ornamental

For the first time in many years, we managed this year to get our Christmas tree up during the Thanksgiving break.  Last year, I think I kind of boycotted Christmas.  Our tree is 9 ft tall and weighs at least 87654 pounds.  Wrestling its three sections downstairs by myself then trudging back upstairs to get the ornaments out of the oven-like attic, then decorating it myself isn't my idea of a good time When I asked the family to help, they were less than enthusiastic.  So, last year, we had a 3 ft tree that weighs about 3 pounds and comes in a box that fits under the guest bed.  It worked out just fine.  This year, everyone was more amenable to getting the big tree down and set up. (We've decided to ditch the ginormous tree when the trees go on sale.)

 Tree is bigger than it appears.

I actually do love decorating the tree.  I like an eclectic tree full of ornaments that have been collected from travels, family and friends.  Those partial to satinized matching balls and color coordinated ribbons would hate my tree.  I love seeing all kinds of colors, all kinds of shapes, mismatched and homemade and full of memories.

In this post, I'm going to share a few of my favorites.

My kiddos

The essential AOL CD ornaments

Love the Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore

My sister-in-law  makes beautiful ornaments for the family every year. This is one of my favorites.

From a fun trip to Lake Tahoe many years ago and a heart one of the kids made after 9/11.

Inherited from my husband's sweet grandfather, Baba.  We used to visit him every Sunday afternoon and eat snacks and play cards and laugh and laugh.  I miss that silly old man.

 One of my daughter's angel ornaments we've been collecting for her for years.

I got this adorable fellow from my friend Kathy May at Kathy May Designs.  She's in the midst of reworking her website.  Love Love Love her stuff.

I even made an ornament this year.

As I was walking through JC Penney today, I took a look at their ornaments and made a commitment in my head.  From now on, I'm going to make every effort to buy handmade ornaments as our family ornament and our travel ornament.  There are too many great artists and artisans hand making great ornaments to waste my money on any more Made in China things.  

Here are some of my arty friends who have some ornaments available for purchase. There are many, many others, as well.  Buy handmade this Christmas.

Flutter Before You on Etsy has these adorable little "Captured Fairies" ornaments. There are several to choose from:

Jill at Jill's Dream has some really cute little mini canvas ornaments in her shop.  I'm loving that little pink and turquoise bedecked snowman:

Melanie at Sunshine Girl Designs has so many cute ornaments.  She had mini canvases, as well as hand sculpted ornaments.  I love this one:

Please visit these shops or search in "handmade" for "ornaments" on Etsy.  Made by hand. Made in America.  Perfect!

My friend Kim at 3 Wishes Studio posted an awesome giveaway  on her facebook page on Monday.  She'll be your secret Santa for someone who you think could use a special treat this season.  All you do is leave a comment on that post or send her a message that you have someone in mind.  On December 14, she'll pick winners and contact them for the name and mailing address of their nominee.  She has great art.  Go like her page and let her know if you'd like her to spread some Christmas cheer secretly on your behalf.  Here's a sample of her beautiful fused glass:

Now that I've been wandering around the Christmas aisle at Etsy, I'm going to have to get our family ornaments, too!!  Yea!

May the good Lord bless you today with light weight trees, cooperative helpers and sweet memories to flood your Christmas season with love.

<3 Lori

PS: If you are an artist who has Christmas ornaments available for sale, feel free to add your links in the comments.  It'll go in the spam folder, but I'll check them and publish them as soon as possible.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Was Wrong

When I was in high school, there was a certain mother who I thought was a little too involved in her kids' lives and a little too enthusiastic in her support of their activities.  She was at every single thing her kids ever did (including the 5 year high school reunion, which I still think was weird. I haven't been back, so I don't know if she was at the 10 or 20).  I never saw her dressed in anything except the school colors. She was a substitute teacher, so it's not like I only saw her at football games. She drove a Cadillac that was also in the school colors.  She was a self-imposed, if not self-proclaimed, matronly school mascot.  At the time, I thought it was too much.

Fast forward twenty-five years.  I've mentioned here before that I'm a basketball mom.  My two kids play other sports, too, and have other interests, but basketball is our family's favorite.  I played in high school.  I know the rules.  I can see where the ball is. It's indoors where you don't bake in the summer and freeze in the winter. What's not to like?

 I do love basketball and my two #23's.

A few years ago, I was inspired to buy these to show my support for my team and my self-proclaimed and self-imposed "super fan" status:

Last week, I got these to add to my collection:

The other day on the way to town, I saw a really cool looking two-toned Camaro.  I thought to myself, "That would be awesome in red and blue."  It was then that I knew that I have made the conversion to complete sports mom whackadoo.

At least these colors are nice, and I look good in red.  So, Mrs. Black and Gold Cadillac, I apologize. I was wrong.

Until next time, friends, may the good Lord give you teams to cheer and fans to cheer you.

<3 Lori

Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't Walk In Fear

Not long ago, mostly for grins, I went strolling around the internetland looking for boots.  I am neither a  cowhand nor a barrel racer, neither a pioneer woman nor a prairie flower, neither a cowgirl nor a two-stepper. The truth is that I don't even get out much, except to the porch, which I've talked about here ad nauseum, but here's another pic in case you forgot.

In spite of all the stuff I'm not, I have noticed a trend among the truly arty types of wearing crazy cute boots.  Melody Ross from Brave Girls' Club wears them.  Kelly Rae Roberts wears them.  I might need some, too, I thought.  So, I did a little search for boots. You should know that when you search for something on the internet, as soon as you find it and spend any time at all looking at it, it starts to follow you around every where you go saying, "Buy me! Don't you wanted to buy me?  It seemed like you might want to buy me."  

These are the boots that have been following me around the internet :::prepare to swoon:::

I love these boots.  They are the boots that the brave girl in me wears.  That girl who doesn't know that she's really not a girl anymore.  The one who doesn't care that she's probably too old to wear crazy cool boots.  The one who lets her hair go white and doesn't care what people think.   I've had them in the cart more than once, which I'm sure is why they are stalking me.  The bad news is that they are also crazy expensive.

I've worked pretty much all my life starting with babysitting when I was twelve, lawn mowing, cashiering at my parents' convenience store, working the counter at Dairy Queen, and all manner of other tasks as described in my very first post here on the blog.  I've also been pretty poor. When I was in college at Texas A&M in College Station (where it's really hot and humid), we didn't have any air conditioning because my sister and I couldn't afford to get it fixed after the fire ants ate the wiring. My big splurge on payday was a cheeseburger meal at McDonald's.  When we first got married, we started out broke.  It's been a long haul from there.  Because of all that, the worldly part of me says, "I deserve those boots!!!" 

I've been saving my Christmas money for something especially special and extravagant.

However, those crazy boots cost more than some people in the world (in Malawi and Liberia, for example) make in a WHOLE YEAR!  Earlier this week, I read this post on David and Kalina Raboin's blog, The Raboins and their four little kids moved last summer far from their middle class home in Arkansas to Costa Rica to make a difference there and to plant a church.  Kalina's stories about bugs,Velveeta deprivation,  electric bills,  and little legs walking to church are riveting.  That particular post is about the extreme need she sees there every day from her new neighbors, how hard they work and how little they have.  I did a little research.  According to, the average annual income in Costa Rica is $7,776.  She reminded me how blessed we are and how much is required of us. (Luke 12:48)

They are doing amazing things there.

Things like this!!

"What hindereth me to be baptized?"

I believe we all have a calling, a purpose on this Earth.  Some of us are called to far away lands to evangelize.  Some of us are called to adopt orphans. And some of us are called to live where we live, make a difference where we are when we can, and work in regular jobs to help support them.  So, I'm going to break my "especially special and extravagant" stash out of its not-very-secret hiding place and be fearless with it.  Not to get some fancy boots that I'll only wear a few times, but to put it to work doing some good. Please pray about how you might help.

Until next time, I thank the good Lord for my friends here, ask Him to bless the Raboins in their work, and ask you also not to walk in fear, but to be bold with your gifts, whatever they are and whereever they take you.

<3 Lori

P.S.  I'm really going to do art again soon. 

P.P.S.  I'm going to turn comments off on this post. I didn't write this for any kind of recognition or praise. I posted it because they have a need that I wanted to show I believe in enough to "put my money where my mouth is", as they say.  Please read their story.  Any tiny bit would be greatly appreciated.  To donate, use the paypal button on the right side of their page.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Walmart--A Poem and a Warning

I went to Walmart today after work.  I thought it was early enough that I wouldn't suffer the usual mine fields that accompany a trip to Walmart.  I was wrong.  Last time I was there, some crazy person with very bad parking skills and a very large truck parked so close to my door that I couldn't get in the driver's side.  I'm too old and too a-few-other-things to easily vault the center console in my SUV.  I was not very happy.  And for some reason, they have decided that 80 degrees is a comfortable temperature for the place.  I stand in the meat aisle as an intermission just to keep from hurting someone or bursting into flames in the last 30% of the store. 

So while I was getting the stuff the family can't live through the weekend without, I entertained myself by writing a poem.  

Dear Walmart

Oh Walmart, Walmart,
How I hate thee!!
You irritate, torment
And frustrate me.

Your people are mean.
Your parking stinks.
Customer service is bad.
That’s what everyone thinks.

Your “guests” are so snarly!
But it only seems fair,
Because nobody ever
Wants to go there.

By the time I get out,
I just want to cry.
I sit in my car, bang my head
And ask, “WHYYYYYYY!!!???”

No offense to nice hardworking
Folks you employ.
I’m sure their mean coworkers
Give them no joy.

I wish I could find
A new place to shop
That has as much stuff
In one single stop.

But I’m giving you warning
That until I do
I’ll go on despising
And rhyming ‘bout you.

Fix it! I mean it!
Straighten up your act!
Because one day we might not
Ever come back.

Somehow, at the end of the trip, I felt so much better than usual. Perhaps I'll write a poem every time I go there.

May the good Lord bless you today with great customer service, fresh produce, well-stocked pantries and peaceful shopping experiences

<3 Lori

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Getting Real

I haven't mentioned this for awhile, so some of you might not know or might not remember that I have two teenagers at home.  A while back, I was sitting at a group lunch with my coworkers talking with my boss about kids these days.  She said that the most challenging ages were 13 for girls and 17 for boys.  "Yippee", I thought, "I have one of each." 

Standing, as I often am, on the brink of losing my mind, it's been a really, really, really (REALLY!!!) challenging year or so.  People don't tell you that.  If you believe everything you read on Facebook, you'd think the world (or at least this part of West Texas) is populated with perfect kids and their perfect parents. (Note to self: Unfriend all those people.)

Being checked out by the dolphins in Hawaii this summer.
Today's poetic post is for all the imperfect parents and their equally imperfect progeny.

Teenager, teenager,
Smart as a whip
You can’t wait ‘til it’s time
For you to jump ship.
To take hold of your destiny;
Make your own way;
Be your own person;
Seize your own day.

But take it from me
Being grown up is hard.
It’s more than a valid
State ID card.
Along with your freedom
You pay bills and get bosses.
You get to pay taxes
And count stock market losses.

One day, you may have
a teenager, too.
And there’ll be no one dumber
Or more backward than you.
Then maybe you’ll come over
And give me a hug.
And tell me you’re grateful.
And I’ll try not to be smug.
For I once was also
A smarty pants teen
Who thought that my parents
Were nothing but mean.

Now I will stop,
So I don’t start to bug.
I need to go give
Your grandma a hug.
May the good Lord bless us today with infinite patience and infinite peace and may we share those things with all the people in our lives.
<3  Lori

Monday, September 3, 2012

Scenes from the Porch: A Lesson in Slowing Down

We lead busy lives around here most of the time.  I have a regular job, LeissnerArt, Creative Clearinghouse, and all the work that a household requires.   I also have a husband, two teenagers, two dogs and six cats, all of whom require varying degrees of attention.  So, although I do come home from work some days and pass out in front of the television, it's a rare occasion that I get to spend several hours just sitting on the porch in the quiet--no requests for anything, no basketballs echoing off the driveway, no guinea fowl squawking their complaints that there's not enough food in the coop, and no arguing penetrating the exterior peace from the interior chaos.   Today was that day.

Today I learned, if you are quiet and listen, you hear the ducks splashing in the tank (that's what we call natural and man made, smaller scaled, earthen bodies of water here.  Elsewhere it might be called a "pond". No self-respecting Texan would call that a "pond".  It's a "tank".)

 You may also see a beautiful butterfly reaping a bounty of pollen in the Texas Sage.

Or watch a hawk land in a tree top,

And take flight again when the big white dog barks.

You might notice the helicopter hum of the dirt daubers busy with nest building.

You may experience the ruby brilliance of the setting sun through the trees.

And, if you are especially still and especially quiet, you'll discover the favorite tiny perch of the favorite tiny bird.

Sometimes, when the noise of life seems almost too much to bear and the hurry hurry that accompanies it seems impossible to maintain, the only answer is to slow down, be quiet, watch and wait.

"Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14

May the good Lord bless you with quiet moments to calm your soul. 

<3  Lori

Monday, August 27, 2012

Good Things

I don't know if she does it anymore, but Martha Stewart used to have a section of her show where she talked about "good things".  She'd create a six foot tall centerpiece out of a stalk of wheat, a pineapple and a roll of duct tape then look into the camera and say slyly, "It's a good thing."

I got some good things today, too (no duct tape involved).  Actually, I have had the good news for a while but I didn't want to say anything until I saw it in person for myself.  Thanks to my friend Ursula who mailed it to me, I now have seen it in person!

My art is in the Sept/Oct issue of Cloth Paper Scissors!!!!

It's a good thing.

I found a blog post today from my friend Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman, who doesn't know that we are friends, by the way (but we are)) that says I should blog more.  Since I know she has my best interest at heart, I'm going to try to do that.

So, I'll see you again soon.  Until then, may the good Lord send you good things, too!

<3 Lori

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Giving Thanks, Giving Back, Giving Flight

Button cred goes to the super talented Susan at Susan's Charming Trinkets

Welcome to the Summer 2011 Flying Lessons 1st Anniversary Giving Flight Blog Hop!  We are all celebrating the companionship, comradery, and community that class has afforded us in several ways. Today I am giving thanks, giving back and giving flight.

Giving Thanks

I am so thankful today to our Heavenly Father for the amazing blessing He has given me in being physically and financially able to pursue this dream.  It's a slow moving process, sometimes almost imperceptible, but there is movement.  I am also thankful to all of you who read here, hang out on my Facebook page with me, follow on Twitter and Instagram and help to create this community. I'm grateful.

Image cred All Things Bliss

Giving Back

Part of our celebration is to talk about how we can give back some of the blessings we have realized as a result of participating in this class. One way that I do that is the BEtter KIND of MONDAY (BKM) project I've talked about a few times here.  BKM is an effort to make Monday's a little brighter, little less stressful, little  You can do anything to make a Monday better for yourself and those around you. It's just some small kindness to brighten a day. I'm not trying to blow my own horn here, but there may have been a couple bucks left under the gas handle at HEB, maybe a few coins in the coin return of Coke machine at work, some cards mailed out to unsuspecting folks...that KIND of thing (get it?).  Let's do it!  Let's make BKM a movement??!! 

This Monday, do a little something.  You don't have to tell me or anyone else what it was.  But I would LOVE it if you could come over to my Facebook page and tell me if you BKM'd anyone.  LOVE it.  Make my day, m'kay?

Giving Flight

Another part of our celebration is to Give Flight to someone else.  We have created 8 amazing opportunities for others to enjoy the last Flying Lessons class that Kelly Rae Roberts is offering this September.  (Cue Ginsu Knife commercial voice)~~~ AND THAT'S NOT ALL~~~ Kelly Rae has most generously agreed to MATCH our donations.  At last count then, there are SIXTEEN opportunities to win a spot in this class, the last time it will ever be offered. 

To enter, go here to the FlyTribe blog (which will be live after 12 midnight, Aug. 20, 2012).

Thanks again for stopping by and for participating in BKM. You have already done a couple of good deeds today.

May the good Lord bless you with opportunities to live your own dreams. 

<3  Lori

Please continue to celebrate with my friends by moving to the next blog on the list below.

Rachél Payne
Live Laugh Love Retreats

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fasten Your Seat Belts. The Pilot Is Ready For Takeoff.

If you've been around LeissnerArt very long, you will have heard about "Flying Lessons" a number of times.  A year ago this month, I embarked on this creative journey by registering on a whim for Kelly Rae Robert's Flying Lessons creative business class.

What I found there was not just a class on building a creative business.  In the private Facebook group that comes with the class, I found a community of other women who have become my friends.  They come from many walks and seasons of life and from literally all over the world.  We share triumphs and tragedies, victories and defeats, personal and professional.  We promote each other's businesses, cheer each other's successes, and counsel each other.

The group has brought me a lot of laughs, some tears, a new love of learning through on-line education, and a new business venture in Creative Clearinghouse with my classmate Ursula Smith.  It's been a great year.

You are invited to our anniversary party! 

Check our group blog FlyTribe  on August 20th for more details about our Giving Flight First Anniversary Blog Hop. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

I'm very excited to now be the proud owner of a "real" camera.  She doesn't have a name yet, but she has joined the LeissnerArt creative team.  And she's cool.

I wanted a camera I could keep in the car for all those great impromptu photo ops that occur when one does a lot of country driving.  This little guy was following his mommy across the road in front of the house.  Obviously, I still need some practice in the quick draw of the camera. 

And remembering to take the lense cap off.

But I did get some pretty good shots around the yard.

Max guarding the guineas


My favorite so far..our friendly neighborhood crane.

One day soon maybe I'll do some more painting.  Until then, may the good Lord give you beautiful images in your viewfinders.

<3 Lori

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This is My Cathedral

Happy Independence Day!! 

I was sitting on the porch (my very favorite place in the world so far) this morning while the family was sleeping sipping my coffee and thinking how grateful I am for our blessings.

 My boy got home safely from camp.

My girl had fun with her friends at a sleepover and pool party. 

My man had the yard looking nice, and we had a beautiful day before us with no plans to go anywhere or do anything except a little reading, a little writing and maybe some fireworks and a movie later. 

Some other fun stuff that's been happening around here~~~

My friend Ursula and I have launched our website where we are collecting information on all kinds of creative classes in one spot for your searching pleasure  Come on over and have a look around, create an account so that you can make a favorites list and keep up with all your favorite classes and instructors.  We'll be doing a grand opening soon.  Make sure you have an account! You won't want to miss out!

Speaking of classes...I'm taking one by Mindy Lacefield called Paint Your Story.  I painted this first venture into the cool layers she makes.  I'm sure this is not finished.  I'm not sure when it'll be finished. I'm just grateful to have gotten to put paintbrush to canvas, something I had no confidence would happen at all this summer.

Other fun views from the porch:

Max practicing his lounging.

Ruby checking the aroma.
Texas Sage that will soon be filled with bees.

And now I'm going to go get the pork roast out of the crockpot.  This arranging of photos is driving me nuts. 

I'll plan to be back sooner next time.  Until then, may the good Lord continue to bless you...because when you are living in the land of the free and the home of the brave, you are already blessed far more than you could ever deserve. 

<3 Lori