A New Chapter

My Daddy - Bob Gillis 88 years old.

My Daddy – Bob Gillis 88 years old.

May 25th 2014, my life changed from being the child to being the ma·tri·arch. My father passed on to heaven on March 25. Death is not fun. It changes things whether you want them to or not. Grief comes to all. Just when you think you are doing so well, you are reduced to tears without warning.

With the loss of my mom 5 years ago, and the recent loss of my father, my siblings and I spent nearly 4 and a half months getting my dad’s house ready to sell. Even though he was in a nursing home for 15 months, none of us wanted to begin liquidating his possessions. Occasionally my brother would bring him home for an hour or so to sit and look at his gardens. We were all faced with this feeling of respect for our father and wanting him to enjoy whatever he could in his last days.

When he died, the process began. The first day we began taking items out of our mom’s hutch cabinet in the dining room. My oldest sister came after we had already begun and was reduced to tears. After that we tried hard to honor each other as we slowly went cupboard by cupboard, closet by closet and drawer by drawer through the home.

Every thing was scattered for all of us to see and decide on who would take what. At first it was hard to take anything. We were raised right, grabbing and demanding was a NO NO! Our hearts were breaking as memories came forth with each piece. We found ourselves filling our homes with our parents. That is how it felt to me.

After the initial shock, yes, shock. (We knew dad was going to die but it is still a shock when death comes. Suddenly they are gone. You can no longer ask them questions about their lives.) We started going through belongings more quickly. When we finished, we opened the house to the nieces. I watched as they did the same thing. They each had things they loved and certain items brought memories. They were also slow to take things. .. always asking first. It did my heart good.

During this time, life was pretty much on hold until we could get the house finished. In this process our brother who had lived at the house for 25 or more years helping our folks, had to find a place to live. Our father wanted him to have the house, but it was not in his will. Still, we sisters felt that our brother should be able to find a place to live that would be paid for. Our brother  saved our dads estate from disappearing with his careful watch on his funds and his spending. He was at the nursing home with our dad three times a day. They were best of friends! Dad would have insisted that our brother was well reimbursed!

On August 11,  the house sold. The months of cleaning, sorting and moving and helping our brother ended. We siblings felt like we have begun to live again. When you clear out a 4,000 plus, square foot home, you find yourself coming back to your own home and wanting to clear it out too. It is like you have new eyes. You see all the work your own children will have to go through someday when you are gone. The work does not stop.  You begin the process of clearing and cleaning your own home.

And so a new chapter begins. Taking things for granted is out. Noticing everything and being thankful becomes a must. Desiring to speak love into my kids and grandkids lives is becoming more and more important. Even my work has been effected. I want to create with passion and love each image I draw so that that love will be conveyed to anyone who will see it.

My brother and my sisters are closer to me than ever! We each hold our memories of our parents in different ways. We are planning two parties. One will be just the 4 of us, rummaging through our parents letters and photos. The second party will be at my brothers new place. He gave up his whole life to take care of our dad for a number of years. As a musician, he will now enjoy playing his tunes, writing more songs and visiting friends. I told him that Dad would be pulling for him in heaven! Before he even got completely moved to his new place, a job came in. He was able to write some music for a scene in an up and coming movie. Go Bob!!!

I know that in the months to come I will get back into a rhythm, but I don’t want an old tune! I want a New Song! Always a New Song!

So if you have lost a loved one, take heart. You will heal. You will find new insights along the way. It’s healthy to cry! It’s okay to want things to help remember your lost loved one, but memories are the greatest thing to hold on to.

I wish you a wonderful New Chapter!

Bicycle Built For Two

The last few months of preparing for Surtex have been grueling at times.  It is amazing to think how sitting at desk is so hard on your body.  Today we took some time off for a nice ride through the parks in town.  The roses are peaking everywhere. We passed garage sales, people walking dogs, and once in a while the smell of breakfast was in the air.  That always makes me smile.  Our bicycle built for two was a very good investment in time together many years ago.

The Singing Cousins

Aaahhhh childhood!  Tis a time of make believe, wonder and  fun!  My cousin just sent me this picture from many days gone by.  It made me laugh out loud!!!  It is with great thanks to my parents and grandparents that I was raised with music in the house.  My dad and uncle were barber shoppers but long before they started that up, we spend time together in the basement around the piano singing songs.  It was great fun! This shot was taken while visiting my cousin.  She is the little one on the left… sooo cute!  Every child should be given the opportunity to sing their head off!  It is good for the soul!!

I wonder!

Every grown up in this world should be touched by the lives of “wee” ones! To distance yourself from children is to lose sight of what is important in life, that being, simplicity and wonder.

Looking at life through the eyes of children is to see the WONDER of it all.

Last night we had our two little grandsons over.  We watched with fascination the way they responded to each other.  Nolan, our oldest, was laughing as Henry was trying to pronounce words and make conversation. Henry was trying his hardest to show Nolan how big he was.  You could almost see their brains working as they flew from one toy to another.

One of my goals in life is to live a life of wonder. Must we always tear things apart trying to figure it all out?  Can we not just enjoy the simplicity of life?  The fresh air, the clouds drifting by, the birds tweeting in the bushes, snow falling or even the wind howling as the trees pelt the house with dead branches. Oh the wonder of a child forming his or hers first words, baking a cake with a toddler, building matchbox car race tracks and a familyroom full of tents!

Life is short!  Have some fun!

Crazy Busy With My Cartoon Family

It has been busy busy busy in the studio!   The place is jammed packed with characters waiting to be famous.

Newton has had his day in the sun with a new Baby Journal out in January. 

“Yes You Can Man” wants a bit of the action for himself. He has been waiting in the wings with his REALLY BIG ideas!

Peep Squeak?.…  he is always “On the Move!.  There will be Peepsqueak fabric out in February and a Peepsqueak‘s children’s book in the works for 2012..

Lae Dee Bugg is hoping for a July release at Christian Art Gifts for the TWEEN market.

Bitty Bot?…  she and her bot friends really wants to be on fabric. They are waiting to hear back from a recent submission.

Hen Rietta fabric is in revision mode. Hen Riettas friend, Grace is serving us up some hot cocoa. She is standing near ……. Shivery the snowman!  Brrrrr!!! He has high hopes for a children’s book someday.

There is no forgetting Bea Bunny.  She is always trying to get in the picture. She will debut in the Peepsqueak book.

This is life in my studio.  Never a dull moment!

Oh NO! did you hear that?  It’s Zippy! That little hedge hog came in late and missed the photo shoot.  I will not hear the end of that!

“Zippy!  Next time try to be on time.  Remember, you snooze  you lose!”

There are also bears, clowns, birds and more. It is never boring in the studio!

Saying Goodbye at the Lainey Cafe

Many, many years ago, a woman named Lainey Garvin, gathered a small group of 5 other women and formed an email group. It was called,  “The Cafe”.

Each morning someone would begin by sending out an email to everyone.  The group would all respond.  For many many years we have continued on with our emails.  We are “art” friends, but we are also, “heart” friends!

We are all very different, our art is different, our personalities are different, but we have one thing in common, we love and respect each other. When our Lainey passed away suddenly, we re-named our group, “The Lainey Cafe“.  Now we are Karen, Joan, Luanne, Leslie and the baby of the group, Roz.

We are all artists pursuing our dreams of earning a living doing what we love,  ART.

As it is with life, there are many ups and downs.  This week was a down.  Roz’s son passed away on Monday morning.  His name is Kevvy.  He is only 15 years old.  Most of us never met Kevvy in person but through the years we have all grown to love him through this thing called email.

I am dedicating this blog to our Kevvy.  Live on in heaven Kevvy!  Run and dance and jump!  You are still very much alive to all of your aunties in the Lainey Cafe!!!

A teen tiny picture of my teeny tiny grandma Helen.  I was thinking of her today.  Every couple of years she would come and visit us. It was not long after she arrived that she was frying up bread dough, sprinkling it with sugar and making her four grandchildren very happy!

My grandma Helen was very creative. She was an expert seamstress and spent many hours making presents for all her many grandchildren. From stuffed animals, baby bibs, crocheted afghans and tablecloths, she always had something she was working on.  Perhaps that is why I am always working on something!  Thanks Grandma!!