Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas

What a rare treat! It started snowing on Christmas Eve and we woke up to a white Christmas. This is the first one that the Nashville area has had in seventeen years.  an only remember a few of them ever in my life, so this was a rare thing for us. My parents got even more than we did so we were unable to travel to have our Christmas celebration with them. Hopefully that will happen this weekend though. 

I really liked this picture of the Christmas tree in front of the window with the view of the snow covered tree behind it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My favorite exhibit

My favorite picture that I took is above.

I think this was my favorite Chihuly exhibit at Cheekwood. I am sure it had something to do with the colors, but I also loved the fact it was sitting in the water, the shapes was all different and a lot of the trees reflected in the water have the same color palette.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cheekwood-Water exhibits

I love, love, love pictures of trees reflected in the water. Pictures of fall colors on trees reflected in the water are even better! These were all taken  in the same reflecting pool (or ponds) of water. 
A close up of some of the Chihuly glass on the water.
View from a little further back to see more of the glass. I love that I got such a perfect reflection of the trees. 

I think one of the purposes of this type of exhibit was to combine the man made glass with the absolute beauty of the surroundings. I think this picture reflects that. Well, all the exhibits were beautifully done, but since I like water pictures so much I liked this one a lot. The pictures I post next time will include my favorite exhibit.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Cheekwood Pics

Here are a few more pictures I took at Cheekwood from the Chihuly glass exhibit. 
I love the way the glass pieces were blended into the environment of the botanical gardens.

Just gorgeous, I was so happy we got to see both exhibits while they were in town.

Friday, October 22, 2010


For the next several posts, i will be showing pictures that I took at Cheekwood. If you are not familiar with the Nashville area, Cheekwood is a botanical garden and art museum. Currently they are featuring an exhibit by glass artist Dale Chihuly. I first saw a piece of his when we were in Wisconsin a couple of years ago at the Milwaukee Museum of Art. I started seeing ads for the Chihuly exhibit after the first of the year and after a little googling found out that this was the same artist. There are actually two exhibits in town right now. One is at the Frist Center for Visual Arts and the other at Cheekwood. Kip arranged for the whole family to join us at the Frist on my birthday and then this past week we finally made it to see the outdoor stuff. Wow these are just amazing. Hope you enjoy my pics! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Making Pizza

Samantha spent the day over her on Monday and we made pizza for dinner. Well, I made and rolled out the crust, she did the rest. Pretty tasty!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

S'mores treats

I  had to take a picture of these to share. They were heavenly! I made them for craft night and a fellowship dinner at church last week. They are a Pampered Chef recipe. It is a graham cracker crust with a layer of chocolate, then a marshmallow cut in half, baked and then dipped in chocolate. So far off my healthy eating plan, but so worth it as a treat!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I just want to say thank you for the comments and the emails that I have received since my last post here. It still amazes me that I have made so many friends through blogging, people that I may never have the pleasure of meeting in person, but people that have touched my life in a positive way. 

I was talking to my husband today and telling him about this post and the emails I had received. I have always seen my pain issue and my back problems as a weakness. And I was ashamed of my weakness so I have tried to hide it because I didn't want to be seen as weak. It was strange (but in a nice way), that every one commented on my strength in dealing with it. Kip said the same thing, that because of what I have gone through, he sees me as a strong person and not weak at all. And it seems that others do too and that I am the only one that sees myself as weak. Wow, I need to think on that some more. Thanks again for encouraging me, your words mean more than you could possibly know.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

30 Things you might want to know about my invisible illness

This is going to be a very different type of post for me, more personal than I normally am with anyone, especially opening myself up on blog land like I am doing. I felt compelled to write this post after reading two Facebook posts this morning from friends of mine. Both of these people were friends at one time, but we grew up and I moved away and we have reconnected through Facebook. One post included this notice about invisible illness week. Who new such a thing existed? The friend that posted this is a fellow chronic pain sufferer and has posted some valuable resources that have benefited me lately. And until I saw her posts about chronic pain, didn't know she suffered from. The other was a post by someone that I know to be a beautiful person that would probably never intentionally hurt anyone with her words or actions. But in her post she was lamenting the fact that due to Obama's Heath care plan that it would be messing with her life. She works and pays for insurance and posted that she and other full time workers would be paying for medical care for people that don't want to get a job with insurance.  I don't know how I feel about the health care plan, and do not want to debate that or any other politics on this blog. I do however want to stand up and be counted and perhaps give another face to that argument.

I am one of the people that this legislation could potentially help if it is administered correctly. My husband is self employed and works far more than the standard 40 hours a week. We do not have health insurance. I have a preexisting condition.  I do not work full time because I am not able so I do not qualify for insurance through my work. Once again, I do not want to debate the merits of the health care reform  I just want to let you know there are many many of us with illnesses you can not see.

I have struggled with back issues since I was six years old. Only recently have I opened my search outside of my scoliosis diagnosis and  started learning more about chronic pain. There are thousands and thousands of us. I have found a voice and a place where I am not a freak, a place where I am understood. 

I am fortunate enough to have a husband that is pretty intuitive to my pain levels. He will offer to go and get the car if I have walked too far, and not make me ask. He can read my walk and tell how bad the pain is, even though I will lie and say it's not as bad as it is. We are still working out the kinks but he tries and most of the time gets it right. But as great as he is, he does not understand because he does not suffer. He tries and I appreciate it, but it's nice to have found others. 

So here goes with things you might not know about me. My hope in writing this is that maybe the people that read this will not be so quick to judge people and just think we don't want to work or that we are lazy or that we are exaggerating.

1. The illness I live with: Chronic pain due to scoliosis and failed fusions (yes, that's plural, multiple failures).

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1976

3. But I had limitations/symptoms since: I was in a brace by 1977 and started facing limitations since then. Pain really shifted into a chronic state in I would say 1985 or so. I used to have more good days where the pain wouldn't be so bad, but not as many now. And no days where the pain isn't present at all.

4. The biggest adjustment I have had to make is: admitting that I can't do everything everyone else can. Also having to ask for help. Since my earliest memories or trying to prove that yes I can do everything that all the other kids were doing, I have tried to do it all on my own. Admitting that I can't after trying so hard to prove I could has been a difficult adjustment.

5. Most people assume: they know how I feel because their backs hurt too. Or the other extreme is they feel bad saying they hurt their back because they know some of my issues. Yes they are different pains, but you can tell me you hurt too. I am an understanding ear!

6. The hardest part about mornings: is just getting moving and walking. I am so stiff when I wake up, it takes me a while and a lot of hot water to get to the point that I can bend over to put my socks on.

7. My favorite medical TV show: don't have one. 

8. A gadget I couldn't live without: my computer. Online, I can blog and read and be just like everyone else. Wish I had a lap top though so that I could lay in bed or on the couch if I needed to. I am a craft related blogger, so there are no limitations in this world.

9. The hardest parts about night are: just trying to find a position to lay in that does not hurt. And to be able to stay in the position long enough to  go to sleep and get a good nights rest. I toss and turn so much trying to stay comfortable that I often wake up tired.

10. Each day I take __ pills and vitamins (no comments please) 5-8 depending on pain level

11. Regarding alternative treatments: I am open to them but sometimes get tired of hearing about your amazing chiropractor that helped you after your wreck, or the magic pill that cures it all. My doctor recently asked if I would be willing to try some more nontraditional treatments and I told him that at this point I would be willing to try dancing naked in the moonlight while rubbing frog juice on my body if it would help. But no, your chiropractor can't adjust me and make me better, and no, I don't really need his number.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or a visible one: I would take the visible one. when people can see the cause of your pain they know your aren't exaggerating or just trying to get out of doing something.

13. Regarding work and career: I have a job now that is flexible enough that I can do it without causing myself more pain. When I worked full time, I came home in tears most days. Now I can sit when I need to sit, stand when I need to do that, walk around if I need to and I don't have to bend, turn or lift. But working a full eight hour day is just not possible.

14. People would be surprised to know: that the pain never goes away, sometimes it is worse than others, but it just never goes away. That sometimes it is all I can do not to cry. Bending over hurts.

15. The hardest thing to except about my new reality: honestly for me, it is just admitting how much it limits me. Of how many things I miss out on because I say "I don't want to" because it kills me to admit "I can't" because I am either feeling too bad already or that I know it will push me over the edge.

16.  Something that I never thought I could do with my illness but did: A few weeks ago I walked through an entire mall with my husband. AN ENTIRE MALL and I did not use my cane, I did not have a shopping cart to hang on to and he did not have to bring the car to where I was. I walked the entire mall. I cannot remember the last time I did that without a cane.

17. the commercials about my illness: there are no commercials about my illness. 

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed: More active things, I used to hike more, roller blade, and bowl before the pain progressed. I also miss accepting invitation to people's houses, especially cookouts without having to obsess about what kind of furniture they have and praying that I will be able to find a comfortable seat to sit in. 

19. It was really hard to give up: control. My pain dictates what I can or can't do most days. It's not what I want to do, it's always what I can do. It's hard to make plans too far in the future.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis: stamping, card-making and blogging about my craft related hobbies. 

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Not stop! I would go hiking somewhere beautiful, take pictures, go shopping, I would just keep moving.

22. My illness has taught me: Patience. Understanding of the pain others might have. Not to judge that person that looks perfectly healthy that parks in the handicap space. Not all pains can been seen.

23.  Want to know a secret? One thing that people say that gets under my skin: I feel so sorry for you. Don't pity me. You can say I am sorry you are dealing with that, but don't pity me please. Pity makes me angry and makes me more determined to prove I can, even if I hurt myself to do it.

24. But I love it when people: will let me change the subject when I don't want to talk about my pain. I appreciate your concern, really I do, but sometimes it's all I can do not to lay down and cry and when you notice I am trying to focus on something else and you go with me to another topic, I really appreciate that. I like it when people notice that I am struggling and they offer to help so that I don't have to ask all the time.

25. My favorite motto, scripture or quote that gets me through tough times is: It's one that I recently read. I do have body image issues so this means a lot. "In nature nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways and they are still beautiful." Alice Walker

26. When someone is diagnosed I'd like to tell them: Don't search the internet until you have really talked to your doctor, because the first things you find are going to be the worst and you might scare yourself unnecessarily! Make sure you have a doctor that will talk to you and not at you. 

27. Something that has surprised me living with an illness:  That there are so many people that suffer with chronic pain. That I may not be able to do everything but there is still tons I can do.

28. The nicest thing that someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was: just let me cry. Sometimes the tears just need to come out. One time shortly after we were married, my husband cooked dinner for me.He let me sit on the couch and cry and he made food that I could eat laying down without spilling (pizza) and brought me my drink with a bendy straw so I could even drink without sitting up. All that without making me feel bad about myself. He also slows down when he is driving and its bumpy or we go over railroad tracks. Its the little things that mean the most. 

29. I am involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I want others to know what the face of an invisible illness looks like.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: a little less lonely because I am not hiding any more. 

I would like recommend a book I read recently. It is good for anyone that suffers from chronic pain, anyone that loves someone that suffers from it or if you are in the medical field and work with chronic pain patients. The name of the book is "The Language of Pain" and was written by David Biro, MD. Excellent book and so liberating to know I was not alone in the silence of my pain.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dad Wins!

This weekend we went to North Carolina with my parents to a Wine Tasting event. For the first time, my Dad was entering some of his wines into the event. He took first place with his Lime Wine and 3rd for his Blueberry Port. Not bad for his first competition! Two of the three wines he entered placed. In addition to the ribbons, he also got some nice gift certificates.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Silas is 3

This was taken at my nephew's birthday party this weekend. I can't believe Silas is three years old now.  I like this picture, even though he is slightly blurry. The cake is in focus though. He looks so happy with that icing on his face!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 22 Pizza

This is my new favorite thing to cook and eat...homemade pizza....YUM!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 21 Cats

Here is Dewey's favorite place to nap. He sits behind Kip and every once in a while he will take his tail and slap Kip in the back of the head. One of us thinks that is very funny.

Here's another picture of the cats all lined up on the couch, two facing one way and Hobbes being different and facing the other.

Day 20 Mugs

I collect coffee mugs. Love them, get a new one every time we take a trip or do something exciting. There is some type of memory attached to almost every mug I have. I rotate them out every few months or so because I have enough to fill this shelf about three times! Every time I drink from one I can recall the people I was with or met on each trip. It's nice. They make me happy.

Day 19 Shadows

I've been paying attention to shadows to more I have been coloring/drawing. This is my front porch at night.

I am taking pictures every day, but not getting them loaded every day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18 Embellishment

I used these to organize a lot of my art supplies, especially those I use for card making and scrapbook embellishments. I like that I can see inside the drawers. I have found that I will actually use the things I can see!

Day 17 Never ending

This is how I spent a large chunk of my day. Trying to reduce the never ending pile of laundry.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 16 Flowers

I bought these flowers at Kroger the other day because I just loved this red flower with the yellow edged blooms. I decide to get a picture before they went the way of most of the indoor flowers that I have! I am still trying to learn to take better pictures with my camera, the color is a little off, but it's a little better I think.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day15--Life is Good

We got a shipment of K-cups for our Keurig coffee maker yesterday. We now have this lovely bowl full of coffee choices with flavors such as Chocolate Glazed Doughnut, Irish Cream, Rain Forest Nut, Caramel Vanilla Nut, and Butter Toffee to name a few. Life is good!

Day 14--A Picture of me

Obviously this picture was taken of me not by me! I took a class at my local scrapbook store and these were the cards we made. I have decided to get out more and meet some new people. I had a great time and am very glad I went!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 13 Finished Painting

Here is the finished result of yesterday's painting. The flowers are actually pink although the look a little red in the photo.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12 Painting

I am painting today, making some Valentine inspired art. I really enjoy painting, but don't consider myself very proficient at it, but it makes me happy. How do you like my amazing work area? My craft area is just past the washer and dryer so I use the top of the washer as my painting workspace.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11, An Anniversary of Sorts

Sixteen years ago today, I move to Nashville. It was not a move that was planned out very far in advance, I had no desire to break into the country music world and wasn't one of those teen-agers that swore that they were going to get out of their small town as soon as they could. Nope, none of that. I had a friend that was moving here, that did want to be a singer, and he was looking for a roommate and jokingly suggested that I move with him. And I did. And it has made all the difference in the world. When we moved, I was so excited when I saw this sign. Every time we go out of town and are returning home, it is this sign that makes me know I am home.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10 More Cats

Awww, here's a shot of all three cats napping together in the same chair!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9 Cats

These are two of our cats. Dewey, a.k.a. Doobie is the orange cat and Hobbes is the other one. This is a pretty rare sight, it's not uncommon to see Calvin and Hobbes curled up together, or Calvin and Dewey, but Hobbes tends to chase Dewey and generally irritate him, so I had to see this picture of them napping together.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8 Snowflakes and a Story

I stopped to get gas after work today and while I was standing there these perfect snowflakes were landing on my window. Fortunately I had my camera with me so I snapped a picture. And why was I standing outside my Jeep pumping gas when it is only 16 degrees? That would be because when I got out of the car to pump my gas, I left the keys inside and locked myself out of the car. That leads me to the next photo:
This is Kip's car and my car at the same gas station. He had to leave work and drive to where I was stranded. Good thing he was available to rescue this damsel in distress!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7 Snow

The original forecast for today was 2-4 inches of snow. The newspaper headline read "Mid-Tenn. Braces for Snowstorm". This was about all the snow amounted to, no where near the amount we were promised. Glad I didn't brace myself too much!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6 A First

I made my first card and post as a design team member for Shirley's 2 Girls. I play along with their challenges all the time and love them, but for some reason knowing that I am now a DT member, it freaked me out just a little! Ok, not a little, actually quite a bit. Since this has been my focus for the day, it is also my photo for the day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5 Relief

This was my best friend today. I had a headache this morning that kept getting worse and worse. I left work early came home, took something and then went to sleep for a couple of hours. It's the wrong time of the year, but it feels like a sinus headache. After a few caplets and a long nap the headache was gone and I feel much better now.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4 Snow-Ha!

When I opened the door to leave for work today, there was white stuff falling from the sky. I am like a six year old when I see snow--I love it. I long for it every year but, living in middle Tennessee, I don't get to see it that often and when I do, it is never a lot. So here are the snowflakes I captured on my windshield before I left for work. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3 Peppermint

Two of my favorite things in the world, peppermint coffee and peppermint ice cream. Fortunately, Kroger carries this ice cream year round, but the coffee can only be found from November until about January. When I go the the store tomorrow, I will have to pick up a couple of bags to last me for a while.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2 Detergent

One of our goals for the year is to live more frugally. After doing a little bit of research, I found that many people that live a frugal lifestyle make their own laundry detergent. I have gathered up all the supplies and am making my first batch today. Here is a photo of the grated bar of soap. Yes, it takes a little while to grate that bar!

Day 1 Create

Welcome to Day 1 of my Life in Photos. My goal is to take as many pictures as I can of what is going on in my life each day. I may post pictures every day, or I may not! The goal is to capture things in the every day that might be forgotten.

My word for this year is CREATE. The photo is of my bag of markers, which I use on an almost daily basis to create something. My goal for the new year is to create. Not only creating with my markers but to create on many different levels.

~~I want to continue to learn new ways of creating art and pushing the boundaries of what makes me comfortable in expressing myself in different mediums.
~~I want to create some systems around the house to help us reach our goals of organization and financial stability.
~~In myself, I want to create someone more confident, and continue to step outside of just what is comfortable.