Category Archives: Grief

Facebook Virtual Oil Party and YOU are invited!

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Please join me in my very first Young Living Facebook class! I would love if you would support me and just check it out! It begins at 7pm eastern tomorrow and runs through Monday! I will put up all the info tomorrow night and you can pop in at your leisure today through Monday and learn about Young Living. I have some free oils i will be giving away and another secret cool thing that I can’t tell you about until tomorrow. Simply click on the picture below and JOIN!  With huge thanks and appreciation, Michelle

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7 Quick Takes Friday

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1. Wow.  What a summer…

  • Icky weather.
  • Dad very sick.
  • No beach.
  • Pasty white skin.
  • No trips.
  • Pool only one time.
  • No barbequing
  • Pasty white skin – did I mention that?

BUT, what a fantastic summer it was anyhow!!!!  I immersed myself in learning more about my craft.  This summer was all about making myself a better artist.  Online classes are so incredible!  I absolutely love them.  I learned so much and I think I really improved and learned a TON!! I took several classes from my “idol” artists this summer.  “Paint Your Story” by Mindy Lacefield,“How to Paint Whimsical Animals” by Juliette Crane, & “HerStory” by Danielle Daniel and I’m also enrolled in a year-long course called “Serendipity” by Juliette Crane.  I also took an in-person class by the famous Donna Downey called “How to Paint Like an Artist.”  She came to a local scrap booking store called Altered Angel.   It was a blast!  My dream is to go to Donna’s studio and take a weekend long retreat/class.  Mindy Lacefield will be coming there to teach in 2014.  What a dream come true that would be!  I need to win the Lotto!

Here are some pics of what I created in those classes:

PhotoSheet 5x4 (Owl Fini,Serendip,C,9)

2.  Dad is doing so good!  He was diagnosed (finally) with a condition called “Polymyalgia Rheumatica” after 7 months of hell.  He’s taking Prednisone and it is controlling those terrible fevers and chills.  We are ever so grateful for all the prayers said on his behalf.  It just takes one determined doctor who decided to take ownership and not give up.  We are forever indebted to Dr. Stephen Szabo.  He’s our “Dr. House.”

3.  Join me and thousands of others in praying our latest Novena.  It will be to Saint Jude.  Saint Jude is the patron of Hopeless Causes and Desperate Situations.  Sign up here to get the daily prayers delivered to your email in box.  My father’s diagnosis came while praying the novena to St. Therese the Little Flower.  And we just finished the novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  What exactly is a Novena?  Click here to find out!

4.  There are only 67 days until Christmas.

5.  I’m thoroughly disgusted with our government.  All parties – don’t care who they are.  They are an embarrassment and a disgrace.  I will stop there.

6.  I am so excited!  I had someone reach out to me and ask me to give her and her granddaughter an art lesson.  I about cried.  This is part of my dream and it’s going to come true!  Very humbled and honored!

7.  Even after 2 years, I still miss my mom so much it hurts!  I think of her every day.  I talk to her.  I still cry for her.  And there are days that I still just can’t believe it.  I’ll see a picture of her and my heart will just plummet.  I have so many things I want to share with her.  I need so bad to hear her voice.

“Stars”

I lit a fire with the love you left behind
And it burned wild and crept up the mountain side
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can’t look out the window, I can’t look at this place.I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars.All those times we looked up at the sky
Looking out so far, it felt like we could fly
And now I’m all alone in the dark of night
And the moon is shining, but I can’t see the light.

And I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars.

Stars

Stars, they make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I can’t look at the stars.

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Surrounded by Cardinals

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I love birds. I especially love cardinals. When I see a cardinal I know its my mom visiting me in spirit. I don’t know why but I just know its her. An instant calm comes over me and I feel her there with me. For almost 2 yrs now I have seen a cardinal almost every single day.

So…some of you know my father has been sick on and off since his back surgery April 11, 2013. Every month without fail my father has come down with the most intense shivers, chills, fever (101+) and sweats. Weakness, low blood pressure, faint, rash on face and dry skin, sick to his stomach, and some throwing up out of both ends. He has been in the hospital a total of 3 times not including the surgery hospital stay. So, 4 x in 4 months. Its been very tough on him. Every single time he’s admitted, they do extensive blood tests, MRI’s, Aspirations, never finding any infection or any cause of this fever. VERY FRUSTRATING. Imagine actually begging God for something to show up wrong so he could be “cured.” No one ever wants to pray for a disease or infection but it got to that point. We needed an answer for these crazy symptoms that came on once a month towards the 17th of each month. He will go through about 4-5 days of these symptoms (intense) and then low grade fever and then he’s better again but weak. It takes him a while to get back up to speed. Before this time he was doing so well. Out and about, grocery shopping and running errands. I was so happy for him.

BUT, It happened again this past weekend. We decided to take him to another hospital. In the ER an older, southern “good ole’ boy” took care of him. We all thought he was a doctor. He wasn’t – he was a Physician’s Assistant but he was as smart as they come. He had a great dry sense of humor, immediately put my dad at ease and he was really funny. We started chatting about what has been going on with dad these past months and offhandedly one of us said he’d gone Thursday to get his “EPO” (Procrit to help him make red blood cells as he’s anemic) shot and had chills that night and then full out sick Friday night etc. etc. You could just see the light bulb go off in this guy’s head. He said “this is presenting to me like serum sickness.” Never heard of “Serum Sickness” before and I’m not braggin’ – I know a lot of medical stuff. (through years of research with my mom.) He explained that he thought the Procrit shot was making him sick.

I have been fully convinced that the titanium that had been put in his back was the culprit. I thought my dad’s body was rejecting it. No one would listen to me though – they all though I was wacko. I didn’t care. The next step was going to be a special blood test and I was going to have it sent to the Melissa Organization for metal allergy testing.

Even though this is very uncommon, the doctors have agreed. The Procrit has to be the culprit….so what does all this have to do with Cardinals?

Dad was released from the hospital Wednesday night. I prayed all day Thursday for a sign that this was the answer. I prayed to see cardinals. I took my dog out several times Thursday and did not see one stinkin’ cardinal. I was devastated. BUT, throughout the day I did see my artwork “Pursue” right in front of me. I told God that just wasn’t enough.

Cardinal 1

Then in my hypersensitivity to cardinal spotting he showed me this one.

Cardinal 2

And this one…Cardinal 3 And this Cardinal 4one.

Cardinal 5Then I saw these two…

And then these.

Cardinal 6 Cardinal 7

And once again, I’m like…”Lord. These are all right in front of me. But if this is all you got, I’m going to trust you.”

Then around 7pm I got a phone call. “Michelle, what are you doing Saturday? Do you want to go to the Braves and Cardinals game? You need a break.” I said ABSOLUTELY and then a few minutes later…it hit me and it hit me hard. CARDINAL. CARDINAL!!!!! AHHHHHH holy crap! I was stunned.

I knew I had my signs. But our Lord just gives and gives and gives…He knows you have to “SHOW ME” many times. So today, after the doctor and visiting my mom at the cemetery, I took Jackson out. Wasn’t really looking for cardinals because I was bought in that I had my signs. Low and behold, 3 REAL ones were on the fence just staring at me. Not moving, making sure I saw them. Tears. Can you stand it???!!! True story. THE END.

Until next time…GO BRAVES (but I love my Cards too) Big weekend here in the ATL!!

Michelle

Mommy and Me – Reflections on an amazing year

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The art journey that I started a year ago through Smash-booking has been the most amazing, healing, exciting, scary, out of the box, uncomfortable and crazy experience!  It has been a huge life changer and quite simply a miracle metamorphosis that I am still amazed by and thank God for every day.

I have learned so much, I have been given new eyes to see more beauty than ever before,  a new perspective and a renewed sense of wonder and dreaming.  It has been such an emotional and spiritual walk for me.

Along the journey I have mourned my mom and I continue to do so yet not so intensely.  I have been drawn to things I’ve never been drawn to before.  I have made a whole new group of artsy friends through cyberspace.  I have gained a new sense of self worth.  I have become more self-confident.  I have embraced the fear and did it anyway many times over.  I have taken chances.  I have listened to my gut.  I have walked through open doors.

At age 46, my life has not taken the path that most women’s lives have taken.  I have always been a late bloomer, but now I know God’s timing is perfect.   I feel as if I am becoming who I was born to be.  I feel at peace.  (Better late than never!)

A large part of the journey has been a renewed love and thirst for art – OTHER PEOPLE’S ART – now being able to admire pieces through a different lens…those new eyes of a fellow artist.  I am starting to be a collector of artwork featuring Mothers and Daughters. They bring me so much joy where a year ago they would have brought only sadness.

Take a peek at the start of my new collection of “Mommy And Me” artwork!

“Like Mother, Like Daughter”- I love her primitive style!  This is the very first print I purchased to start my collection.  I painted the mats.  Artist: Mindy Lacefield

You can find Mindy here:  Tim’s Sally

Tim's Sally

This beauty is called “Moi et Maman” – Mama and me. Words on the right hand side are in French also. Translated “I love you Mama, I will love you forever!” Artist is the lovely Danielle Daniel. I painted and “Michelle’d up” the mat. Check out Danielle here: HER PAINTED WORD

Danielle Daniel

And this is entitled “Being There” – painted by talented artist Paula McDonough.  This print is part of a series called Lucky 7 and chronicles her journey through breast cancer treatment.  You can visit Paula on Etsy

Paula McDonough

Keep your eyes open for me!  Would love to add to my collection!

Until next time…Blessings,

Michelle

1 year

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“When she shall die,
Take her and cut her out in little stars,
And she will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”  Shakespeare

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down and let us know they are happy.”  Eskimo Proverb

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)  – – e.e.cummings

“There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and of unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irving

“There are no goodbyes for us.  Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.” ~Mahatma Ghandi

I love and miss you mommy!!

Gratitude And Grace

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Have you ever have one of those days where you feel like you just might bust?  I have been having several recently.  That feeling of extreme gratitude and happiness?  Where you can’t stop grinning and your adrenaline is making your heart leap with joy?  Its been such a long, long time since I’ve had that amazing feeling.  Long time.  I have felt like I was just existing, getting by and sorta zombie-ish for almost a year now.  Losing a parent can do that to you.  Losing anyone you love can throw you into a pit that you don’t feel you’ll ever escape from.  But, looking back, I can say it has been an journey that has been COVERED in God’s love and GRACE.

People have been asking me, “Have you always been an artist?”  (ha ha…artist.  Really?  LOL)  “How long have you been doing this?”  Well the answers are NO, absolutely not! And…only 2 months.  I have always been extremely jealous of anyone crafty and artsy.  My brothers can draw really well, my uncle Dale is an artist, my uncle Paul is an excellent photographer, my Gram is one of the most creative and crafty people I know.  My Aunt Mary Ann is crafty and does excellent needle work.  As a matter of fact, I think all the males on the Saxon side have the artsy gift. I did not get those genes.  I have tried to draw.  I even took a class in High School. I think it was “Drawing on the Right side of the brain” or was it LEFT side?  Anyhow…I sucked.  Bad.  I have always considered myself as a person with a “good eye” for things.  (decorating, buying clothes)  I read, I can write a bit and I can cook.  Oh and I can put on makeup well!  LOL!  But other than those things, that’s about it.  I don’t knit, crochet, draw, paint, make things out of nothing.  I just don’t have the gift. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have the patience for any of it.

BUT what I do have is the ability to learn.  To research.  To dream and to listen to what I’m supposed to do.  This journey began quite honestly on Pinterest.  I saw a pin of a “SMASH*book.”  I really loved the idea of not having to be precise, neat and artistic to do a SMASH*book.  So, like all things, once I decided to try it, I went full force, diving into the world of SMASHING.  I loved it!  I started a remembrance book for my mom.  It was healing.  I started a book for myself, I started collecting postcards for another book.  I decided to join a facebook group called “SMASH*aholics.”  I learned so much!  Then one day, a girl posted that video of an artist named Gabby teaching how to create a “She Art” canvas.  I watched.  I said OMG!  I can do this.  See my blog about it here!  And the rest is history.

While I don’t really consider myself an “artist” (that sounds so strange and a title that is hard for me to accept. Also it is a tad bit presumptuous.) I am really having some wonderful things happen in that world.  My work is consigned in our church’s bookstore and people have really given great response and support!  I also have at least 10 commissioned pieces to create and I am on the verge of having some wonderful support and promotion by someone who’s pretty “big” in the Catholic World.  Once it is a “done deal” I will fill you in!!

My friend Cheri recently “reinvented” herself.  She went to school and now has a totally and completely new career that she worked hard for.  I was jealous of her.  I wanted to re-invent myself too.  Not that I’m unhappy with my career.  I am not.  I love what I do.  I just wanted to do something at 45 that was totally out of character for me, something that I have always wanted to do.  This is it!

Some may think I’m being overly spiritual.  But you know me.   I could care less.  I know my mom has made this happen for me up in heaven.  I know she is my intercessor and has really looked out for me – God has made me a new person.  The Holy Spirit is definitely involved and so is my Mother Mary and my Saints!  Its too surreal to be anything less.

Remember my giveaway happening now.  (previous post)  Join in if you haven’t already!  Someone’s gotta win!  Why not you?

With Gratitude and Grace,

Michelle

They say that out of pain and heartache come growth and grace. I am living proof of that. I lost my precious mother on August 29, 2011. Out of that tremendous loss I have found an unmatched amount of grace and a brand new artistic me. 
 
The name “TeaBags And Gardenias” is in tribute to my precious mother Kathleen Saxon.  
 
My mom loved hot tea. She took sugar and milk. She also would say “tough teabags!” instead of a curse word! The gardenia is a special flower to us. We loved the smell and the perfection of it. I took a gardenia from one of our bushes to the hospital to try and “smell” her back to us. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
 
“She missed her mother. She mourned her mother with every fiber of her being. She took the pain and turned it into beauty. She tapped into a new love to dull that pain. She paints from her heart in tribute to her mom. She knows her mother guides her hands.  Her mom would be so very proud.”

The SMASH*aholics PINK Challenge

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More pages from Mom’s SMASH* Book.  Nurses school graduation in 1962 and more recent shots from her career as a nurse.  The challenge was just simply USE PINK.  My mom was such a beauty.  She was an awesome nurse and loved her career.  Even when she was retired and went to dialysis 3 x a week, she pretended to be at “work.”  She would say, “Today at work…”  Subconscious slip.  She really meant, “today at dialysis.”  The nurses at the dialysis center knew my mom was special.  They let her into their world, shared things with her and treated her like she was on staff.  They were so wonderful to her!  And my mom never lost her “nursing heart.”  She smiled at everyone, asked how they were and watched over the place many times alerting the nurses that “so and so” needed something, or “so and so” wasn’t feeling good.  Once its in your blood, I guess it never goes away.  She wanted to be the NURSE.  NOT the one being nursed.

I think my most favorite part of this spread is the card I found from Joey.  I love that I could “disassemble” it and preserve it forever instead of it just sitting in a box somewhere.  The huge pink rose is the cover of that special Mother’s day card he gave her.  And the signature says it all.  She was an amazing mother to us.  Miss her so much!