Surrender 121: National Go Birding Day Comes to Me

I didn’t intend to celebrate this unique holiday. I had other plans for the day that involved purchasing flowering plants for the containers in my mom’s front yard and on her porch. My mother had knee surgery Thursday and she is not able to work in her yard or garden. I looked forward to bringing bright colors to her yard and porch, and also to brightening her day. 

I awoke early, so that I could attend a local garden shop’s half price plant sale, and immediately my mind filled with a disturbing image. I “saw” my stepfather calling me to say that my mother was in the emergency room. I checked my phone. No such message was there. But I know how my intuition works. And this premonition was strong. I checked my phone several more times as I prepared to leave the house. Just as I turned onto 32nd Street, en route to the garden center, my stepdad called. My mother was in the ER and being admitted to the hospital. 

I was only minutes away. Arriving at the hospital, I learned my sweet mom had double pneumonia. She was very sick and she most certainly felt that way. 

The day shifted, and I shifted with it. My mom was settled into a private hospital room, with a pretty view of an enclosed courtyard out the window. I spent most of the day with her, chatting, watching over her as she rested, and talking to nurses, the doctor and Elissa, Dayan, Adriel, her fiancé Nate and Greg when they stopped by. 

I had a comfy chair in the corner, overlooking the little garden, content to be with my mom, content to observe the courtyard. The Divine, the flow of life, not only brought National Go Birding Day to me, as my lesson in surrender, the birds were brought to me as well. 

Mom and I enjoyed watching a pair of cardinals as they flitted about the tree and bushes outside the window. The male was a gorgeous bright red with distinct black markings. Although the female was not as showy, she was as beautiful as her mate. We were serenaded as the pair hopped about, their sweet songs seemingly saying, “cheer, cheer, cheer”. 

Much as I accept my intuitive side, with its quirks and the ability to bring me extraordinary information, I trust that everything that shows up in my life appears for a reason. I looked up the symbolism of the cardinal. These song birds represent clarity and communication (I know Spirit is present with me when a cardinal appears), health, vitality and renewal. Encouraging symbols when one is in the hospital. I read that cardinals are known to be feisty in nature. That’s certainly true of my mother as well! 

Google image

Watching the cardinals brought peace and joy to me, in the midst of knowing my mother did not feel well. And incredibly, they offered more to us. My daughter Elissa was watching the birds while she and her son Dayan visited Mimi. Suddenly she realized the cardinals had youngsters that they were feeding, one tiny bird in each bush. We peered out the windows, delighted, as the parents took turns stuffing food into insistent peeping mouths. The young cardinals are just about ready to take flight, yet they are dependent still on their parents. 

During my research, I read that cardinals are excellent parents, sharing the duties of parenthood. They symbolize a dedication to nurturing and caring for family members, as part of the cycle of life. That message struck me as timely today. My mother has cared for my sisters and for me, nurturing us, loving us, while encouraging us to fly away from the nest and create our own lives when the time was right. 

In the cycle of life, the time is approaching to nurture my mother, loving her and caring for her, encouraging her as she continues to live her creative and rich life, as independently as possible, for as long as possible. We’ve flown the nest, my sisters and I, but we are never far away. I want my mom to know that. 

I’ll still plant flowers for my mother some time this week, creating colorful living vignettes. However today took me around a different bend in the river. I’m grateful that Mom is receiving great care and should be home soon. I’m thankful for a quiet day spent with her, just being present. And I’m grateful for the cardinals who entertained us, sang to us and made us smile. Their messages of cheer were perfectly delivered and full of hope. 

Surrender 120: Series Review: Broadchurch

I was originally drawn to this British television series because of the main actor. David Tennant had finished his stint as The Doctor, on Doctor Who. Appreciating this Scottish actor’s charm and talent, I was eager to continue watching him, even in another role. 

My grandson Dayan and I added Broadchurch season one to our Wednesday afternoon viewing lineup, watching an episode each week after catching the latest Legends of Tomorrow. We completed season one last week, and I feel ready to share a review as we launch into season two. 

Broadchurch stars David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Jonathan Bailey, Matthew Gravelle, Adam Wilson, Joe Sims, Oskar McNamara and Charlotte Beaumont. This crime/drama/mystery is the creation of Chris Chibnall and, commercial-free, has a run time of 48 minutes. Dayan and I watch Broadchurch on Netflix. 

Broadchurch is a close-knit coastal community in England, shaken to its core by the inexplicable murder of an 11 year old boy named Danny (McNamara), whose body is discovered at the base of cliffs near the sea. Danny’s family is devastated and shocked, as is the entire town. Lead detective Alec Hardy (Tennant) arrives to head up the investigation, partnering with local detective Ellie Miller (Colman). 

But in a community where it seems that everyone knows everyone else, Hardy discovers that each resident has secrets that they will hide at any cost. Danny’s dad Mark (Buchan) is bored with his marriage, asking his friend and co-worker Nigel (Sims) to cover for his mysterious absences, while his mom Beth (Whittaker) is hiding news that should have been shared with joy. Danny’s sister Chloe (Beaumont) is sneaking out to meet an older boyfriend, and his best friend Tommy (Wilson) deletes text messages and attempts to destroy his laptop. 

From the town priest (Darvill), to the ambitious young newspaper journalist (Bailey), to Detective Miller’s stay at home husband Joe (Gravelle), everyone knows more than they are telling. Even Hardy has a dark past that haunts him and a medical condition that he refuses to disclose. His attempts to redeem himself in this new town are met with suspicion and resentment. 

At the heart of this drama is a dead boy, who had secrets of his own, and who is deeply missed by his family. All of season one focuses on unraveling the town’s mysteries and examining the complex and often sorrowful backstories of the residents of Broadchurch. At the end of the series’ first year, Danny’s killer is identified, in the startling conclusion. 

I like whodunnits. I like the challenge of following the story and attempting to stay ahead of the reveal, so that at the end I’ve guessed who the perpetrator is. Broadchurch is tightly written, edgy, full of angst and secrets…and surprises. At the end, I was blown away and totally wrong in figuring out who did it. Although it was very difficult for me that the victim is a child, this series is so finely crafted that I was enthralled. 

David Tennant is amazing in this role. He portrays the life weary and embittered Hardy so well, that when I met him recently at Comic Con I was surprised at how youthful he looked and how full of life he was. Olivia Colman is equally captivating, eliciting heart felt emotional responses from me. The two characters have a great love/hate relationship that plays out well as the season progresses. 

Many life lessons are presented throughout the series. Hardy and Miller learn to trust each other and their instincts. And in a town seeking justice, many injustices are committed, with innocent decent people hurt in the process. Looking for a monster hidden in their midst brings out the ugliness and the beasts of prejudice in so many. 

As always, I enjoy watching these thought provoking shows with my grandson. We talk about what’s going on. We exclaim, we mutter in surprise, and during the heart-wrenching scenes, we look at each other with woe in our faces. We connect what we’ve seen with life and the journey. 

This afternoon we began season two of Broadchurch, with episode one. Immediately we were back with familiar characters and some new faces, and a tense, surprising opening scenario. Hardy and Miller have grown into a more relaxed and easy relationship that contained hints of humor. And for the first time, I caught a glimpse of The Doctor peeking out through Alec Hardy’s careworn face. 

It’s going to be a great second season of Broadchurch. 

Surrender 119: Happy Birthday Nicole

Another birthday to celebrate arrived today, of another dear family member. Nicole is the wife of my nephew Scott, mommy to Weston and Lola, daughter-in-law to my sister Linda. And although she fulfills all those roles lovingly and well, Nicole is very much her own delightful person. 

I discovered recently, while writing Tosh’s birthday blog, the value of looking up the name of each person as I think about her or him throughout the day. Nicole’s name is of Greek origin, and literally means, “victory of the people.” From the Seven Reflections site:

Nicole, you have a vivid imagination and can bring inspired messages to the world. You are intuitive and might be interested in the arts, drama or science.

Dependable, very down-to-earth and well grounded, you are always looking for meaningful work, a career where you can take pride in your work and do the best job you are capable of. Your prime desire is to build a protected and secure environment at home and at work. You can be very persuasive in achieving goals and gaining objectives. You can be very detailed and well-organized and you possess great organizational skills. At times you may appear stubborn and overly critical to others, but your practical approach to life and productivity makes you one of the most beneficent members of community.

True words, about Nicole. Thinking about this determined young woman today, feeling gratitude for her, the words that came to mind echo the characteristics listed above…dependable, down to earth, grounded. Nicole is one of the most grounded and reliable people that I know, always willing to offer her help.  

She does desire to create a protected environment at home for her family, and a fun one as well. She is a supportive wife to Scott, allowing him to be who he is, while she grows as her own beautiful self. And as mommy to three year old Weston and one year old Lola, she provides a balance of nurturing love and freedom, letting her kids experience independence as they are growing into their personalities. 

And while Nicole posssses all of the other traits listed…being capable and hardworking, detailed and organized…she does not sacrifice her creative or intuitive sides. I’ve had the pleasure of watching those areas in her life blossom in recent years, and I’m excited to see where Nicole’s journey takes her as she continues to explore who she is and all that she has to offer to the world. 

Nicole’s practical approach to life makes her not only “one of the most beneficial members of the community”, but one of the most beneficial members of our family. I’m thankful she said yes to Scott 10 years ago. Happiest of birthdays, sweet Nicole, do something that you enjoy. I love you! 

Surrender 118: A Story About the Red Light

Today is Tell a Story Day. What’s funny is, I didn’t know that when I woke up. And yet I arose with a story running through my head, a true story, that still amazes me when I think about it. This week I’m encountering a reoccurring theme of Light, of letting my light shine.  And this event in my life was about that very thing. I checked today’s holidays this afternoon, and when I saw it was Tell a Story Day, understanding dawned. I was being invited to share this story about Light. I surrendered. 

The Red Dot

I got lost in a church basement once. It was a windowless basement with a maze of hallways and rooms that opened off of other rooms. Night was falling outside and I was the last person in the building. I moved through the large church, making sure doors were locked and lights were turned off.

For some reason, as I trotted downstairs, I left the stairwell light turned on, and turned off lights as I moved deeper and deeper into the basement. I thought that the fixture above the stairs would cast enough light for me to be able to find my way back, and besides, I was familiar with the layout of the warren of rooms.

In the room farthest from the stairs, which opened off of a series of rooms, I gathered up books left scattered across a table top, and using my elbow, turned off the last light. I stepped through the doorway and took four or five steps into a larger room before coming to a stop. Complete darkness surrounded me. I couldn’t see a thing. The silence seemed to weigh upon me as I stood there. I grew up with a strong fear of the dark. In that moment, it didn’t matter that I was deep in the recesses of a church…an icy dread gripped my heart.

I walked forward, straining to see in the blackness, hoping that a glimmer of light would reveal the doorway into the next room and the hallway beyond. Just as my brain was telling me I had walked too far, I ran into a wall. That startled me. I turned to the right and took two steps and bumped into a row of lockers. Now panic set in. The room I was supposed to be in didn’t have lockers in it. Somehow, in the dark, I had blindly passed through a doorway and was now in another room.

I threw the books to the floor and groped for the door. I found a doorway but couldn’t locate a light switch. Confused and disoriented, I stumbled around, not knowing where I was or which way I needed to go. At last I came to a stop, my heart pounding. The darkness and silence seemed menacing now. I considered screaming and wondered if anyone outside, who happened to be walking by, would hear me. I didn’t think so. I imagined people coming to church Sunday and finding me curled in a fetal position on the floor.

As anxiety grew in me, I cried out, one word, “Help.” Immediately, a small red dot appeared, glowing faintly in the darkness. My heart beat even harder. What was that? My fear of being lost in the blackness was greater than my fear of the red dot. I crept toward it, moving through a doorway and into the basement kitchen. The glowing red light was on the stove. There was not enough light to illuminate the room, but it was enough for me to get my bearings. Feeling my way along the countertop, I found the door that led to the hallway and then to the stairs. My hands were still trembling as I locked the front door.

What was the red light that appeared on the stove in the basement? After I calmed down at home, I began to worry. I realized what I had seen was an indicator light, and that meant the oven must be on. I didn’t want the oven to remain on until Sunday. What if there was a fire? Reluctantly, I returned to the church, and the basement, turning on every light I could find as I wound my way to the kitchen below. When I checked the stove, the red indicator light was not on. Nor was the oven warm. The stove was completely cold. 

I still get a fluttery feeling in my gut when I tell that story. I have no explanation for how that tiny red light winked on precisely when I needed it to. Except, I asked for help and help was given. 

The message is clear though. As dark as that basement was, it isn’t the darkest place I’ve ever been. We’ve all had times of despair, times of feeling lost in the dark with no clue which way to turn to find our way out. I’ve been there. I never know who is standing near me, silently crying out for help, straining to see more clearly. It is so important that I allow my light to shine, for the joy I feel in doing so, and to cast out a ray of hope for someone groping in the darkness of fear or isolation. 

In truth I am a conduit for Divine light to flow through me. The little red light on the stove lit up as a result of the energy that surged through it. It didn’t create light on its own. It responded and glowed. And I saw it, gratefully, and I was drawn to it.  The red dot led me to the path I sought and I found my way. 

My desire is to draw, to walk alongside for a time, to point out the path for those who are searching, without letting myself get in the way. Just shine. Just be who I am. Just glow with the flowing Light of the Divine. 

I am a red dot. 

Surrender 117: Movie Review – The Revenant 

Tonight was movie night, with Best Picture nominated film number six of eight, The Revenant. I’ve heard excellent remarks about this movie. And yet, I wondered if the level of violence would be so high that I wouldn’t enjoy this story that many have called the “manliest” film of the year. Or would DiCaprio’s stellar performance win me over? I’d soon find out. 

The Revenant stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson and Forrest Goodluck. The action drama, based on true events, was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu. The movie is rated R for violence, strong language and intense sequences and has a run time of 2 hours and 36 minutes. 

The Revenant was nominated for 12 academy awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for DiCaprio and Best Supporting Actor for Hardy. It won three Oscars…for DiCaprio, for Inarritu for directing, and for Best Cinematography. 

Set in the 1820s, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) and his son Hawk (Goodluck) are members of a hunting party led by Captain Ashley (Gleeson). As the large group of wilderness men are preparing their bales of hides for shipment back to Camp Kiowa, they are ambushed by the Arikara tribe. Only ten men survive the attack. Stashing the hides for later retrieval, the survivors’ priority becomes making the long trek back to camp, without horses and in harsh wintry conditions. 

Dissension among the men threatens the bedraggled party as much as the weather. John Fitzgerald (Hardy), wild eyed and traumatized by a previous tribal attack, strongly opposes every decision Captain Ashley makes. He especially resents Glass, who because of his keen tracking abilities, naturally assumes leadership of the group. 

When a brutal bear attack leaves Glass severely wounded, Fitzgerald seizes the opportunity to rid the group of the man’s expertise. Ashley commissions Fitzgerald and the young Bridger (Poulter) to remain behind with Glass and his son while the rest of the party pushes onward. No one believes that Glass will survive for long, so grave are his injuries. Bridger and Fitzgerald are charged with giving the man a proper burial and then catching up with the group, bringing Hawk with them. 

Further tragedy results in Glass being abandoned, left for dead, suffering from his severe wounds. He is without food, water or weapons, unable to walk because of a broken leg. Camp Kiowa is 200 miles away, over rugged terrain, in the middle of a relentless winter. 

But the desire for retribution drives Glass to undertake a journey that is fueled by fierce determination and memories of a woman he once loved and lost. During his lowest moments, he hears her voice softly urging him onward, reminding him that as long as he draws breath, he must fight for life. 

I was right that this would be a difficult movie for me to watch. At times I chose to look away, from bloody woundings or battle scenes that were very graphic. These were brief, thankfully. Overall, The Revenant was a powerful film depicting a man who fights against all odds for survival. 

Warring tribes, French hunters competing for hides, animals, the terrain, his own men and the frigid cold and ever swirling snow all sought to destroy Glass. His life became as fragile as the wisps of breath that wheezed through his parched lips. And yet, this man refused to accept defeat, surviving by way of knowledge accumulated from years of living in the wilderness. 

While Hardy gave a remarkable performance as the crazed betrayer, this film belonged to DiCaprio. I physically hurt, watching his struggles. I groaned with him when yet another challenge threatened to end his journey. I looked up the film’s title word. 




a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.

The word perfectly describes DiCaprio’s character. Not dead. Not defeated.  Not finished with his mission or his life. This is a man who has returned from the dead and has nothing to lose, much to the dread of his enemy. 

Intense and starkly beautiful, look away from some scenes if you must, as I did, but experience this incredible film that honors the human spirit and the ability to endure for the sake of justice. Watch The Revenant, and Leonardo’s role of a lifetime.

Surrender 116: There’s a Light in my Minnow Bucket

This evening I had time to do something with the yard sale minnow bucket that I received. I’m all about repurposing common objects, giving them new life as they serve a new purpose. It’s fun. It’s play. It gives my creativity freedom to go wild.  

I was excited to acquire this minnow bucket. The exterior part is perfect as a metal planter in my garden. I love using metal containers of all types, grouped together, to hold an assortment of flowering plants. I have wash tubs and buckets, watering cans and tall containers, a rectangular box with handles and a red toolbox. 

Holes were drilled into the bottom of the outer bucket, so that water can drain out. I learned by trial and error, mostly error, to do this as a first step. No drainage means soggy soil which results in dead plants! 

The bucket was then filled with soil and I popped colorful verbana plants into it. This newly planted metal piece will join a group of containers on the brickio. 

My imagination immediately repurposed the interior of the minnow bucket into a candle holder. I actually have such a container already, serving as a planter. I found it in a flea market. But it is lacking a top and doesn’t have the interesting pattern of holes on the sides. This adorable version has so much cuteness going for it, including a star pattern punched on the lid. 

Watching the movie A Little Chaos, I determined to bring more candlelight into my own garden. And here came the first opportunity. I never would have guessed that a minnow bucket would bring light and joy into my backyard paradise. 

I could barely wait for the sun to set. I confess that I lit a candle within the interior while it was still daylight and checked frequently, ready to catch the glow. I was not disappointed! What a beautiful and whimsical candle holder that minnow bucket makes. I am thrilled with the look. After this next round of stormy weather passes, I will create a permanent place in the garden for my new candle holder. 

Mesmerized by the soft flickering glow emanating from the bucket, I was reminded of a childhood song. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…”  I thought too of the scripture that says don’t hide your light under a basket…but allow it to shine, giving light to others.

Don’t hide my light away. Make sure there are clear spaces for the light to shine through. I used to hide my light, or barely allow my light to shine. I tried to get by in life unnoticed. I no longer seek to be invisible. I shine, by being who I am, by expressing myself in creative ways. 

Like turning a minnow bucket into a planter and a candle holder. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…

Surrender 115: Playing with Colors

This spring day was gorgeous…warm, but with a cooling breeze, sunny, but with occasional cloudiness. It was the perfect weather for spending the day outdoors, working in the garden. I say working, because I accomplished so much. However, playing would be the more appropriate word, playing with colors and containers. 

Three gardening projects drew my focus. 

I planted most of my containers today, 27 of them. I have seven more to plant tomorrow, but I’m very happy with today’s results. My Aunt Annie’s old red box received its summer update, with flower pots filled with begonias and coleas. More begonias fill containers next to the box. The shallow bowl was another treasure from my aunt’s house, pressed into service holding flowers. 

The yellow baker’s rack was filled with a variety of colorful containers and equally colorful flowers and plants. I saw a quote once that said that gardening is an art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and that’s my experience. I focus on creating pleasing arrangements that balance color, look whimsical and have touches of surprise. 

Pleased with the finished front porch, I filled containers in the backyard garden…

…and turned my attention to the second project, planting perennials that my friend Beth gave me from her garden. I love how gardeners are so willing to share, both knowledge and plants. I visited Beth and viewed her charming garden, and left with native phlox and Becky shasta daisies. I hope to return the favor by giving my friend plants from my garden that she doesn’t have. These new plants were tucked into the ground, successfully filling a couple of bare spots in my southern border. 

Before completing project three, I considered how I could use several objects in my garden. Every container has possibilities, and my imagination fired with ideas for two vintage cone colanders that once belonged to my aunt…

…and a minnow bucket that Greg brought to me from a friend’s yard sale. Plants will go into the colanders and the solid bucket. The interior of the minnow bucket will make a whimsical candle holder. More on these projects later!

Finally, I completely redid a section of the garden. I had a great idea for the space just inside the Peace Gate, as shown in the picture above from 2014. I still like the way it looked. However, in reality the idea wasn’t practical and didn’t work. When it rains, water comes under the fence and floods the area, creating a little river that follows the path. I can’t keep mulch in the area, as the water carries it away and deposits it around the corner. 

Janet Kilburn Phillips says, “There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”  I acknowledged that this experiment failed. Time for a fresh idea. With Greg’s help, five slabs of concrete, left over from a demolished sidewalk, were repurposed to create stepping stones. Forgoing mulch, I am filling in the area with ground cover. 

I’m very pleased that I’m partially accomplishing this task by using creeping phlox from the garden of Greg’s mother. Leta had a beautiful phlox garden. Although it’s been at least 20 years since that garden has been tended, the phlox returns every spring. This weekend I dug up the creeping phlox and brought it home. This  re-created space is currently muddy and raw looking, and I’m going to love it. 

What an incredibly lovely day, engaging in one of my favorite activities. I’m tired, and wind blown, and extremely thrilled with today’s creative playtime. Oscar de la Renta is the person who said, “Gardening is how I relax. It’s another form of creating and playing with colors.” I totally agree! 

Surrender 114: Day of Celebrations

In 2014, during my Year of Firsts, I discovered a handy website that listed unique holidays for each day. While I didn’t choose one to celebrate every day…that would have become a Year of Celebrations…I often checked out the list and enjoyed firsts such as Face Your Fear Day. I still refer frequently to the list. 

There were so many unique holidays listed for today’s date that I decided to see how many I could celebrate on this beautiful Saturday. Many of the events were connected, and seemed to flow into one another, which is perfect for one who is surrendered and living in that flow. 


Impossible Astronaut Day is a Doctor Who related holiday, so of course I wanted to celebrate this one.  On April 23rd, 2011, the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut premiered, starting off series 6 with mind-blowing plot twists and new monsters, the Silence. The Silence are creatures that you can’t remember seeing the second you look away from them. To combat this unusual type of warfare, The Doctor and his companions draw tally marks on their skin to remind them that they’ve had an encounter.

Connected to Doctor Who, today the new companion for the Twelfth Doctor was announced. Pearl Mackie joins Peter Capaldi when the new season begins. 

Doctor Who is a British production and many of today’s holidays are English inspired. English Language Day is a United Nations initiative, recognizing English, one of six official UN languages. The other five are celebrated on different days throughout the year. 

St. George’s Day recognizes the patron saint of England, who supposedly slew a dragon. Which explains why today is also Slay a Dragon Day. I have English heritage as well as Scottish and Irish and I enjoyed reading about St. George. I did not, however, cross paths with any dragons today. 


Talk Like Shakespeare Day falls on the date recognized as the bard’s birthday. According to my research, this date also marks Shakespeare’s death anniversary as well. As this is also Lover’s Day, who better than Will to share a few words appropriate for the day. 

Other celebrations that I worked into my day included:

Take a Chance Day, observed as I dug up 20-25 year old creeping phlox at the Arkansas house, to transplant into my garden. I truly hope it survives.

And National Lost Dog Awareness Day happened spontaneously as a stray dog appeared in my backyard while I was gardening. Fortunately his owner lives nearby and there was a happy reunion. 

There were holidays I couldn’t get to, much as I would have enjoyed them, such as Movie Theater Day and National Picnic Day. And there were celebrations I chose to pass on, such as these three:

 Who? I had to look him up. 


At the end of this joy-filled and gorgeous day, I am enjoying National Cherry Cheesecake Day and World Book Night, curled up with a tiny piece of dessert, a cup of hot tea, and the newest Dean Koontz book, Ashley Bell. 

Truthfully every day is full of moments to celebrate, recognized holidays or not. But what a fun, and full, day as I was especially mindful of today’s unique opportunities. Who knows, perhaps I will have a Year of Celebrations in the not so distant future. 


Surrender 113: Artist Taylor Kubicek Exhibition

I had the privilege this evening of attending the opening reception for artist Taylor Kubicek, held downtown at the classy Infuxn Vodka Bar. This is Taylor’s Senior Exhibit, and while I have followed his work online, I looked forward to seeing new pieces on display for the first time. 

I’ve known Taylor for nine plus years. We met when he began the search for a first home. Over the years, I’ve worked with this bright young man as he’s bought and sold homes, moving often as he married and then welcomed two sons to his growing family. 


Taylor has always demonstrated creativity as he fixed up the homes that he purchased. I admired his ability to transform a house, doing the work himself. He created fresh interiors with clean, modern lines that were pleasing to the eye and homey. 

 It was no surprise when, just a few years ago, Taylor explored his artistic side more deeply as a student at Missouri Southern State University. What did surprise me was the high quality of Taylor’s art work. 


Described as a contemporary realist style, Taylor’s art lends itself to contemplative symbolism by exploring the subtle emotional qualities of familiar objects. I observed Taylor’s early work with wonder and appreciation. He wasn’t just good. He was phenomenal, painting pieces that mixed technology with common objects. 


And he wasn’t timid about what he painted, creating portraits showcasing thought provoking subjects interacting with older forms of technology. It’s one thing to render a pastoral landscape and quite another to paint people in such a way that their likenesses are captured along with their emotions. 


The reception was well attended, Infuxn’s interior full of people studying the paintings on display, and seeking out Taylor to discuss his work. I was thrilled for him and spoke to him briefly, asking permission to take pictures and feature him in today’s blog. Taylor’s sweet wife Lindsay was present too, on her birthday no less, beaming with pride. 


I’m proud of Taylor as well. He followed his heart, willing to explore a new area of creativity. I love to see people express fully who they are, discovering what their gifts are and then offering their magic to the world. And the world is receptive, paying attention to Taylor Kubicek. What fun for him to see where this journey takes him. I’ll be watching too. 

Learn more about Taylor’s art HERE 


Surrender 112: Slowing Down the Moments

It’s been a full, and fun day, with many surrendered moments, and many reasons to celebrate. I stopped by the Webb City Farmer’s Market this morning, the first time it has opened on a Thursday. I love the market, and took home fresh produce and freshly baked wheat berry bread. I had intended to attend Third Thursday in downtown Joplin this evening, where all kinds of activities were underway. 

However, the moments that I surrendered to and chose to write about are the ones that made me laugh the most. 


I picked up granddaughter Aubrey from school. Rather than hang around Joplin as we normally do, until her dad or stepmom get home from work, we spent the afternoon at her house, where she had access to the backyard trampoline. Aubrey self-prescribed jumping and doing stunts as a way of moving energy after a long day at school. I respect and admire how Aubrey knows exactly what’s right for her in the moment. 

As the spectator to her acrobatic feats, I asked if I could take photos. That’s when the hilarity began. Aubrey requested that I take slo-mo pictures. My phone has that capability, but I’ve never used it. My seven old year granddaughter showed me how to use the app. I’m not surprised. Aubrey has been teaching me about functions on my various phones since she was 18 months old! The app was not difficult at all, and in moments, we were taking turns capturing slow motion videos. 

Check out my first slo-mo video here:

Aubrey does a cartwheel 

And the amazing flip here:
Aubrey does a hands-free flip

These little slo-mo clips, each under 20 seconds long, made us giggle so much. I’ll spare you the one Aubrey captured of me talking about the cloudy day. I’d much rather share Aubrey’s graceful moves on the trampoline. Here is a still of me though, gazing skyward, mid sentence, as I spoke soooo sloooowly. 

What a fun afternoon, spending time with my granddaughter, learning something new and engaging in joyous shared laughter. These moments with my grandchildren are going by so fast as the kids grow into young adults. For once, it was wonderful to slow time down.