Monday, January 9, 2017

A look back at the begining

 I really can't believe we have lived in an RV for two years now. It honestly feels longer then that because of how much we've seen, experienced and grown as a family. I couldn't have imagined where it would take us and I'm so glad I didn't give into my fears, or none of this would have happened.

I have grown so much as a person, mom, wife and artist. I have learned to disconnect from the past and move on with the future. I recently looked back at some of the photos from the beginning of our adventure and shed many happy tears. It didn't help that I was listening to Clari de Lune at the same time, because that song always gives me the feels.  But I just can't help but look back with gratitude for the AMAZING experience we've had together. The memories and times spent seeing new things has been the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life. I hope my babes will remember at least part of our adventure, if not in their minds, then in their hearts.

I remember being so afraid.

I didn't know what we were exactly doing. I didn't know if we'd find some destination I would fall in love with and move to. I didn't know if somehow living at the beach would "cure" my chronic illness (which it did not) but I kept hoping anyways. I didn't know where we would go next.  It was scary not knowing. 

The unknown.

But in my heart I knew God had a plan for little me and my little family. And I felt so at peace with our decision.
Every time that I'd get a fearful thought coming into my head this overwhelming peace would come over me and tell me "You're exactly where you need to be. You are doing exactly what you need to do. This is in my hands." I felt it then as I feel it now, that peace, knowing it's going to be OK.

And that's what got me through those fearful times.
If I could go back and change only one thing about our excursion it would've been to say: "Chill girl. Gods got your back, live a little and enjoy these amazing moments because it isn't going to be forever"

As I look back, I know that these times spent together will live forever through photos for my kids. We laughed, we loved, we cried, we played, we had adventures and we dug many many sand holes and jumped wildly and freely and happily through the beautiful flamboyant waves. My friends, this life is short. Don't for a second waste a moment of it.

Galveston, TX

Monday, October 31, 2016

Precious moments

Nature handed me a seat today. I sat painting my favorite little people who were quite busy building sand castles, and playing with caterpillars while we listened to the waves rolling and crashing on in the distance. It was peaceful, calm and reassuring. I dug my toes in the sand and dipped my brush in titanium white and life was good. I am grateful for these kinds of days.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Welcome to New York!

*Sigh.  New York.  What a lovely place to be. (And I'm not referring to just the Ny,Ny)  The country lands are beautiful and lush and green everywhere. So many old Churches, so many BARNS! If you're a barn painter, move to this state. 

I even fulfilled a life long dream of visiting an artists studio who I know lives there currently. I always wanted to see his studio since I was young. His art has been very inspiring to me growing up and now I can check that off my bucket list. His wife even had a photo of my grandparents that I got to take a look at and it was such a happy time. They are beautiful people.

We went and saw several sites. We strung it out through a few weeks so that if we went one day, I could recover the next and so forth. And we had our own car which was awesome and insane if you've ever been to New York city.  It was perfect so I could take my own food with me, and walking wasn't something I could do a whole ton of so it gave us a more relaxed schedule.
I love New York. I went there as a college student for a class, and always imagined afterwords how I could totally live in the city. I'd probably attend art drawings and sit in food joints sketching people. 
But it's not a place for the faint of heart! So much action going on constantly. It's definitely a go go city.  As to where I'm at in life, I definitely prefer to be in a more subdued atmosphere, low key and low stress environment now.

The kids enjoyed the Museum of Natural History. 

We even enjoyed visiting the MOA, which was my favorite for obvious reasons. And I like exposing my kids to the arts and "edify" their education some more ;) And who doesn't love sculptures?

Architecture = dreamland.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Lemons from the lemon tree at our RV park :)

Unexpectedly during the Christmas season, we ended up renting a temporary place while the 'big rig' got repairs and registered again.  In the meantime I was kept quite busy for the month of December and January working on a commission painting long overdue.  

I still need to get a nice full photo of our awesome new cushions that were refinished professionally.  I still question why I didn't just have someone else do it originally, we love the recovered cushions. 

Seriously though, do not attempt to staple wrap fabric around a seat, just find a way to pay. 

However I am very proud of our fake subway vinyl tile I installed. It's been over a year and still cruzin awesome.  They have not peeled off and they still look new.
Best decision. 
Also  after a year I am completely happy with the choice we made to paint the RV white. 

This is a very candid photo of an example of us getting ready to drive with our slides closed. I've shoved all the hanging utensils to the right so they don't clank together while driving. (And as you can see we need a new trash can ).

Recently for two months I started some treatments to see if it would help my situation. I was going twice a week. We hope to get some results back and more answers.
 It was not easy. Sometimes I felt so low. But I felt God lifting me up in times I didn't want to keep going on with it.
We were able to have our kids in swimming the majority of  the time so they were able to have some fun swimming and learning. I attended some local art things going on and those things combined  helped us feel some normalcy in our lives.
One particular week was very stressful for me.  I was having trouble with my veins cooperating. I don't know how many times I had to be stuck with a needle only for the catheter to fail and not take. My blood was thick and my veins flat. I had been drinking a lot of water, but I think my body decided it had had enough for now.  I also deal with sticky blood issues.

Aside from the regular treatments I had needed to get blood drawn for another test. The nurse pricked and pricked and nothing. My vein refused to give blood. She tried to dig the needle around just so she wouldn't have to prick me again, but honestly that hurt worse.  
I had been so brave the many weeks previous. You get use to the fact that you have to get pricked and that's just what you have to do, but you don't get use to getting pricked every time they do it. 
But this particular day when she couldn't get it to go, I felt emotion swell up from the deepest part and tears streamed out. After a couple tries, I asked for a moment. I just let the tears flow. I wasn't sobbing aloud or anything, but I was tearing up a waterfall. I prayed to God. I said "God please help me! I can't handle this anymore, it's too much! please, please help my blood flow!"  
She came back after a time and I braced myself while still pleading in my heart that God would help her get a vein to work. I felt this enormous peace and almost as if someone was next to me comforting me, a feeling came over that said something like "It will be ok, it will work. It's OK!"
And sure enough she was able to get a vein to work on the next prick. It was slow but it went. I praised God.  

You know, as hard as some things are in life (and some people experience some major major things), I've never felt God so close to me in my life as I have in these last several years of pain.
There are blessings in the hard things. The biggest blessing I have had is knowing God is there because I've felt him near and I know he hears me.  I know who I am and I know where I come from. That is the greatest joy one could possibly experience or know.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

South Carolina

I realized I have not posted anything in quite a while. I'm going to make a goal (I tell myself) to keep posting. I will tell you that things have been very awesome on the beaches of S C (hard and awesome at the same time). I know these photos look like perfection, but remember that no ones life is a fairy tale. 

but we are going to be grateful.....

I have fallen in love again.

(sorry honey)

This PLACE, this EARTH is just so fantastic I get excited thinking about it.

I've fallen deep in love with the Ocean. 

If I could pick one place to live right now it would be somewhere right near this amazing body of water. 

I feel so positively charged here mentally. It's like someone plugged me into a socket of positive energy. 

I honestly don't even have a ton of photos that have been taken here because so much of mine and the kids time has been creating awesome memories together that we will never forget.
I thank God for this beautiful, beautiful world.

I also have some fun photos coming up of our RV kitchen/family space  in a couple weeks. We are having the seats recovered after almost a year of my "pinterest style" cushion recover job which did not last".

More on that later.

For now, just enjoy the moon and the waves. 
(and maybe go to YouTube and search for some wave sounds to enjoy while looking at this picture)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beach bums

I love the days spent with my kids. The exciting thing about rving, is going to new places.  I've not found a single place that's been the same. It keeps everything adventurous, which is what we like. The kids especially love the new playgrounds we come across.  And I don't have to take care of a yard, with all the work included. Lazy days are my kind of days.   

We especially love living near the ocean. I heart the Gulf especially, and the SC beach comes in second place. The sands at the Gulf are white, or almost. (I never understood the 'rave' about white sand beaches. I thought : 'honestly if your even at the beach, your a blessed soul! Who cares what color the sand is.'  While that's true, I can see the difference now in texture and refinement. White sand is so delicate, it's so soft and pure it seems. 

The water on the gulf has that teal tinge to it, and it sparkles. The ocean feels like home to me in someways. I can't really decide if I'm a beach bum, or a country chick. 

I'm working more on doing what I love every day, when my energy is up. I love spending time with my kids. Those are the best moments in my life, and i will cherish them forever. I will never feel like I spent 'too much time' with my kids, rather the lack of it, as I look back at my life. Truly family is what matters most. You can't fill that gap with things, entertainment (even paint).

 Here's some of Gods glory!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Body boarding

(2015 Oil on panel by Jen Tolman)

Yesterday I spent the day with the kids playing in the water and digging sand pools. Today I'm spending the day recouping with a migraine.  

But the best moments of my life are spent with these kids.  I love the simple moments, moments of laughter, moments of fun pure joy, and silliness!

My young-ins have picked up on body boarding extremely well (i'd say). 
I watch them go out into the water tummy high, as they patiently wait for the 'best' wave to come. 
Then with a squeal of delight, they make a fast dash to jump on top of that wave and ride it all the way till their board hits the sand.

It's hilarious, and adorable. 
It makes me laugh.

A couple days ago, we happened to go out to the water right at the moment some people on the left of us started jumping out, then pointing.  My oldest was already catching waves and I asked the neighbors what they were pointing at.

It was a shark!
(a baby shark)

But nonetheless a shark!

Boy, I hassled to get my kid out of the water.  

Ever since then, the scene of Jaws appears in my head every time my kids start walking out to grab the "good" waves.  

Yep, those sharks sure do ruin it for you.