Dig deeper. Make something beautiful.

Let’s dive deeper into our art making experiences. Summer is the time for experimenting. I appreciate Peggy’s insightful comments about the classes she took this past winter and spring. 

“Having an interest in felt, after dappling in wet and nuno felting, I took two FeltLoom classes under the guidance of Laverne Zabielski. Inspired, I also have completed the Sibori dying class.


“More than a teacher, Laverne Zabielski mentors and guides her students through art theory and color theory while demonstrating the process of the art form she is teaching.  


“Laverne’s teaching methods are based upon sound educational pedagogy: demonstrating, explaining, and collaborating.


“After displaying  examples of  FeltLoom products and listening to her students, Laverne introduced some wool rovings, silk, and ribbon embellishments that could be incorporated into the silk and wool batting scarf that would be created in the beginning FeltLoom class. She reminded students of the color wheel and simple art theory concepts to help guide us in designing our pieces.


“I left class with Laverne, inspired and empowered, believing in myself as a creator of art.  


“Since the first class, with guidance from Laverne and the magic of the FeltLoom, I’ve made a shawl and then repurposed nuno felted scarves, and completed a 4’ x 6’ wall hanging. 


“I’m looking forward to expanding my Sibori dying abilities. Laverne Zabielski is unique, being a creative, skilled artist and teacher.” —Peggy Workman


Check my event page to see what’s scheduled.

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Comforting Indulgence

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Five things I notice

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Something hot to sip first thing in the morning is a comforting indulgence. Today it’s mate.

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I like to get up before daybreak when the house is quiet and I am the only one awake.

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 My reflection in the sliding glass door to the patio as I sink in my hand me down chair and wonder if I should get a new one so a bookshelf would fit up against the wall and my books would not pile up.

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Silk with the shibori dyed magnolia flowers moving gently in the doorway

reminding me how important movement is.

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Remembering conversations from yesterday. So many stories. All from a different point of view. My questioning truth. Is there even such a thing? Realizing there are only stories with different perceptions. Different for every person. Questioning how much one’s future is determined by the story they tell.

Turning Points

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It is so much easier to look back. I’m sure I’m coming across some turning points at this very moment. They are too close to glean any insight. Except for spring flowers. They are immediate. They let you know the season is about to change. the lightness of spring is imminent. The brilliance of summer is not far off. My formulas for shibori dyeing fabric begin to change.

Looking back for turning points, I ask, how far back can I go? To my junior year in high school when I changed my style wearing a borrowed, white, v neck dress with a circular, cinched-waist skirt to a civil air patrol dance on the Air Force Base where I lived. Guys out numbered girls ten to one. I danced and danced.

The time when I was 20 and I went shopping in at expensive boutique. I tried on linen pants, fuchsia and orange. They were bold and bright. I hated them. Wanting a change, I bought them. My dad said I was stunning.

I was working in an office. I sewed a deep sea bluegreen maternity skirt and floral print top. Wore it to work, brazen and pregnant. So many compliments.

My first divorce. It was not a bad marriage. Ms Magazine arrived. It was intellectual conversation I was seeking.

Letting my kids go live with their dad. It was the right thing to do. I wanted the divorce. It was my idea. I knew I could handle being a better mother away than he could be a father so far away.

There was a recklessness in the decisions to divorce and custody. A recklessness that gave me a freedom to seize my vision.

There was chaos and disorder in the second marriage. I divorced again. With a clear vision that I deserve to be with those who appreciates who I am and what I can do.

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Today I am following my curiosity. That will lead me to my passion, Elizabeth Gilbert says. I believe her. I am most curious about how to deepen my relationships. To know more. To understand more.

Michelle Obama says, “It is hard to hate up close.”

Maybe that’s true. That’s what I want. But most times my arrogance gets in the way. Like when someone takes a different stance and I stand back, with hands on my hips, and say to myself, how could you?

I had a fantasy the other day when we were at my daughter’s house. They had created a new “pub room.” They had arranged it with a little bar, a few tables scattered around. There were several different conversations going on at each table. Every one was smiling, nodding, laughing, listening. Most likely all in agreement since we are all like minded.

I had a thought. What if that wasn’t true? What if the conversations at each table we’re radically different? Opposing views were being expressed. And everyone was still listening, nodding? What if it was like the game of musical chairs and when the band of brothers and cousins stopped playing one person would shift to the next table and enter the conversation? One they might totally disagree with? Could it be done? Could the knot in their stomach be pushed down when they heard things they disagreed with? Could they be silent for two beats and let the conversation flow without the need to be the lone dissent? Could they let listening be the path to deepening?

My husband said, “No, there’s too much at risk.”

“Isn’t being silent and listening equally powerful? “I asked. “Doesn’t living by example mean anything?”

Curiosity has lead me to explore the distinction between empty silence and the the silence of listening.

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Vision

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My dear, Pursuing two high intensity businesses, waiting to see which one takes off, will never work. You have to pick one or the other.

In today’s world, working for yourself is the best option. Nobody wants a job. Your second job, which brings in a little cash, exists to complement your passion. If it’s consulting, get clear about what you have to share and who wants what you have. Then you’re life becomes meaningful. What more could you ask for?

Know that it takes time to build your business. Begin a regular writing practice. This is how you will become clear on who you are, what you want, and what you want to do to have the life you imagine. Write your one year, five year, 10 year, 20 year, 40 year plan. What do you want to be doing in 40 years? It’s easy to write a one-year plan. And the list will be long. But looking forward to 40 years, the list becomes simplified. When I wrote mine 40 years ago there were only three things left on my 40 year plan. I wanted to write, make art, and have a house with the picket fence. That’s what I’m doing. The list of books I wanted to read, workshops I wanted to take, kids I wanted to get involved in sports and activities hav been accomplished.

Now, I write, make art and share. Ultimately that’s the essence of your consulting business. Sharing who you are. Not selling. And asking for fair compensation. Which people will want to pay.

These days, I’m working on more felting on the FeltLOOM, using repurposed clothes.

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Vintage skirts with merino wool

Prayer for Adornment

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May we taste ourselves 
when adorned in beauty, 
lick our lips in the delight

Surround ourselves deeply in dreams

Let the fragrance of our existence 
leave traces as we pass
a swish of color
the touch of serenity

Softness still abounds, 
sifted from the pursuit of power

All that is sensuous surrounds 
serene with understanding

May we remain deeply delicious
serenely fragrant 
sensuously soft 
strong and safe

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Precious Art

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At Lake Tahoe with DJ, Alyssa and Larry. We sit and ponder, silent for a moment. I remember beautiful things. It’s a strategy I use to keep from crumbling. That doesn’t mean I don’t cry. A focus on all the beauty that surrounds keeps me walking.

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The candles in the kitchen of my tiny house with its Karastan carpet in the middle of the floor. The candles making a soft light.

The bonsai on my window sill surrounded by tiny white lights and Ellen’s painted rock. The bonsai is a gift from my dear friends in the Story Sisterhood.

The orchid, tiny, tall and slender, a gift from Mead during the days following Donnie’s decision to move. Move on.

The card, artful, in blues and greens and purple and violet with a touch of yellow and orange water color marks and thin lines. From Monika, a woman I’ve never met in person, only online, sharing writing and colorful visions, vibrations of kindred spirits, a reaching out, her sympathy card, with its heart felt message.

Remembering the fire in the back yard fire pit two nights ago. Smoking from green kindling scavenged from the curb instead of walks in the words. Our strategy for urban fires is yet to be developed.

This morning wet glistens from the rain last night that kept Highlin’ awake and us through the thunder.

The golden light from the antique lamp on my dining room table, covered with the old lace table cloth I shibori dyed in fuchsia and yellow green shades.

I know the difference between satisfied and dissatisfied. I follow the good feelings a particular thought gives me and I witness he goodness that follows. The beautiful memorial for Donnie.

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Tryin to go back and figure out the past is of no avail. Better to go forward from where I am. In my Darley House. Sunlight streaming in. New botanical print fabrics drying.

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Challenge

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It’s been 3 weeks and 3 days. I take on challenges in the same way Donnie approached life. I start with appreciating what surrounds me. My friends and family and the gift I have to be creative. I read and reread, my son, DJ’s words. I ponder colors. And after I choose, I reflect on the story they tell.

Eulogy 

by DJ Saltigerald



I’ve learned through this process that you don’t always realize how someone has impacted your life until something like this 

happens and you spend time to reflect and so thinking about Donnie I’ve seen how deep threaded aspects of my life have their roots in my older brother…



Two of my favorite things in life, are sports and music and I can trace some of that love back to my early relationship with Donnie.From the Beastie Boys back when I was listening to rap music and then to my transition to bluegrass and outlaw country.



I liked what Donnie liked, and I was eager to share music I had found or tell experiences of live shows Id been to.



Being a first generation Kentuckian, my UK fandom wasn’t passed down from my father and his father before that. My love for UK came from my older siblings. Dana took me to my first football game, and Donnie. . . that’s what we had. . .we talked sports.



He gave me a blessing. . .and a curse. The blessing was UK sports. We constantly talked UK basketball and football and most of the games I went to was with him. People always talked about the loudest Rupp Arena was is when #1 Florida came to town and we ran them out of the gym. . .and I always think “I was at that game. . .”

I was at that game with Donnie



For a while, when I first moved home from California, I went on Wednesday nights to put him in bed, and that was my chance to catch up with him on UK and the NFL.



Speaking of the NFL. . .that was his curse. It’s because of him I’ve spent the last 27 years rooting for the Dallas Cowboys.



He tricked me with three Super Bowls in the early 90s and its been all down hill since.



But the Cowboys are my team, and they are my team because they were his team.



People always ask me, “Why do you like the Cowboys, your from KY?”



I tell them, “My older brother moved to Kentucky from 

Texas when I was 11. I’ve been a Cowboys fan ever since.”



But you know, on a deeper level, the third way Donnie has impacted and influenced my life is by his spirit of endurance and perseverance and his fight.



Donnie endured a life changing accident and all that comes with that…surgeries, physical therapy, re-learning how to live and operate. 



He persevered through to his independence…graduating from college, starting his own business, living on his own, driving himself where he needed to be…

and he fought hard to overcome any obstacle in front of him…



When he told me about people parking in handicapped spaces, blocking his accessibility…



He didn’t punch down, He punched up…



and through all that, while im sure he had his moments in 

private, he never projected any self pity or a “woe is me” attitude.



To me, from the 

beginning, it was as if he said, ”OK, this is the 

situation, how do we 

proceed from here and move foreward?”



Donnie defined his life in a wheel chair, his life in a wheel chair did not define him!



His attitude, and determination inspired me to look at any 

situation I might be in and say the same thing as he did. “This is what Im dealing with, how do I move forward.”



But the thing about enduring…about persevering…about 

fighting…

it can ware you out…it  can be exhausting…



and 20 years is a long time to fight…and Donnie was tired…



so….I don’t blame Donnie…



I’m not mad at Donnie…



I love Donnie…



and I miss 

Donnie.





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My heart is broken

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My heart is broken with the passing of my sweet son, Donnie.

Donnie Wittler, March 23, 1972 - September 12, 2018

Donnie Wittler, March 23, 1972 - September 12, 2018

In Memory


Donald Joseph Wittler, Jr. (AKA Donnie, Uncle Donnie, DW, Big D, D Dub, Donaldo, Blacksheep, Great Dane) passed away Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at the age of 46.  

He was born in Elmhurst, Illinois and grew up in Roaring Springs and Alvarado, Texas and Lexington, Kentucky.  He will be remembered fondly by many family and friends in all three states.  

Donnie graduated from Alvarado HS in 1990. He moved to Lexington soon after graduation and worked as a carpenter, developing a niche in historic renovation. In 1998 he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. After the accident, he went back to school to earn an architecture technology degree at BCTC and transferred his building skills to architectural drawing and design. 

Donnie was always creating. He would design all kinds of gadgets to make his world more accessible. Donnie was passionate about improving accessibility in Lexington. He worked with the city government and was successful in significantly increasing the fine for illegally parking in a handicap space.  Donnie was also passionate about sports. He played high school football in Texas and loved his Cowboys.  

When Donnie moved to Kentucky, he embraced Lexington and its culture as his own.  He bled Blue and rarely missed watching a UK football or basketball game.  He loved the track and will be missed dearly at the Keeneland Spring and Fall meets. Donnie enjoyed bourbon and channeled his love for bourbon and design into creating beautiful pieces of bourbon barrel art. 

Donnie will be loved forever and missed by those of us left behind: His parents and step parents Donald Joseph Wittler (Lou) and Laverne Zabielski (Larry Vogt). His sisters, Danielle Wittler and Dana Logsdon (Gary), his brothers, DJ Saltigerald (Alyssa) and Johnny Saltigerald, nephews, Avery and Chuck Logsdon and step siblings, Sunshine, Rainbow, Nightsnow, Sky, Gretchen, Susanna, Timmy and Tommy. His aunts and uncles loved him like he was their son and he was like a brother to his cousins.  

Donnie had many great caretakers and aides over the years. The family recognizes their contributions to Donnie’s independence and know that he will be missed by them.  A special shout out to Joanna Lile, and Samantha Thornton and her family.  

Donnie forged many special bonds. We want to acknowledge the Rives family, Pat Logsdon, Jake, the  O’Daniels, folks at Hanover Tower, Donnie's fantasy football teammates, high school buddies, the Bourbon n’ Toulouse crew. Countless other friends and relatives helped Donnie live a full and exciting life after his life-changing accident.

Please continue sharing your beautiful stories during the reception. If we don’t get a chance to speak this evening, be sure to sign the guest book or call any time.  

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Brave Soul Seeking

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For soul seeking energy, I go to the ocean by surrounding myself with a sea of turquoise. Cool and calming next to all the red orange brightness and warmth I’ve been dying. Mixed messages of a life fully lived. Warm, hot one moment. Calm, cool and collected the next. I layer colors, layer clothing, layer life.

“ Focus on your bravery, not outcomes.” A wise friend said. “Really? You think I’m brave?”

“Well, of course you are brave. You’re 71. How can one not be brave having lived these many years?”

Yesterday evening, the art gallery was filled with bravery. The women in the room. The fiber art on the wall. It was earthy and alive. As though the fibers in each piece were responding to the conversations filled stories and questions.

“How did you do this?”

“Do you know the story before you begin, or does it evolve?”

“I start with the title. The story reveals itself.”

“Is your home filled with your art?”

“This is my first show. I’m new to fiber art.”

I was seeking turquoise in as many pieces of art I could find. Sometimes buried. Sometimes a pop. Leaning towards teal, I wanted a sea of calm to surround me. Something to reach my heart and find its way to my words and reveal the consequences of aging.

I really thought it would be easier. That age would be a time of coasting of emotions. I didn’t expect heartache and pain to continue as friends pass on, children suffer, grandchildren struggle and I still think I can fix everything.

Today, I will focus on formulas. Seeking turquoise. Finding more spiritual growth and empathy. I will let this sea of teals, blue and green become my shapeshifter.

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The older we become,

the more need for bravery. One of the consequences of age is we see more. We experience more. We must be brave. There are more people in our life and their lives touch us. Our creative process is how we prevent suffering from overtaking us and leave room in our hearts to comfort others without taking on their pain.

Living a Layered Life

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The layering begins with fabric and words

L     Living a layered life

A     All writing counts

V     Vibrancy abounds

E     Expression emanates

R     Ready

N    Never bored

E    Embracing each day

 

Community, the Ultimate Art

It was suggested that I admire my bravery for growth, no matter what happens. Fortunately, having an art practice allows me to do that and I encourage you to develop one also. An art practice happens when you value the process as much as what gets created. That’s where the growth lives. The act of sharing your art is where bravery lives. Bravery feeds our growth. Keeps us happy and healthy. Broadens our community.

 

The older we become, the more need for bravery. One of the consequences of age is we see more. We experience more. We must be brave. There are more people in our life and their suffering touches us. Our creative process is how we prevent suffering from overtaking us and leave room in our hearts to comfort others without taking on their suffering.

 

That’s a biggie for me. I want to fix everyone’s problem in ways that are not sustainable. I feel the weight of this desire in my shoulders, the back of my neck. My body sends me warnings in the form of headaches and anxiety lives in the pit of my stomach.

 

The phrase, “the art of . . .” has come into vogue. Everyone is an artisan. At first I was offended. I saw it has marketing jargon without substance. Now I see it as problem solving. I have expanded my definition of art to include anything that has problems to solve. Your creativity comes into play when you implement the solutions revealed.

 

Rock climbing becomes an art with the numerous problems presented with each rock. After assessing the situation, you come up with a solution and proceed keeping the most important factor in mind. I don’t  care. Of course you care that you are safe. What you don’t care about is what others think about your solution. The path you choose. Slow and around. Straight up. Or that you ask for help when needed. 

And then you share. When you share your accomplishment community is created. The ultimate art. Community lives in the act of sharing of what you create. 

Reveal

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Last Friday I arrived late for Meriah Kruse’s launch of her well written, informative, succinct, step-by-step book, “Life Force Marketing.”  Fortunately, I was able to purchase a copy. Her book presents a strategy for developing a successful solopreneur business. While she describes it as “a prosperity guidebook for holistic practitioners” the information can be applied to many other small businesses. 

She teaches you to draw on your past successes and use them to develop a list of personal resources and revise the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life. Your new story becomes powerful and engaging. It enhances your marketing tool box. She shows you how to take the contemporary over used concept of “what’s your story” and transform it into an effective message that communicates who you are, what you do and what’s the problem you’re solving. 

Using her own life as an example, you could almost call it a very creative memoir. Meriah shares her successes and failures giving you insights into what’s possible in a way you can’t wait to get started implementing her ideas. The strategies she shares make it worth reading her book, even if you don’t have a business. Everyone needs to market themselves. 

I am a fabric artist. I dye fabric and design art to wear that reveals your inner beauty.

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Patching Stories and Fabric

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Thundering. 6 AM. Still dark. My dog pants, drools and paces. He tries to climb onto my lap. That is not possible. He weighs 70 pounds. I cannot take away his pain. I cannot take any of my children’s pain. I cannot solve their problems.

My coffee is bulletproof. I like that word. It protects me. It sustains me. It is made with butter and MCT coconut oil. It helps me solve my problems. It helps me eat less of what I don’t need and more of what I do. For lunch I will make massaged organic kale salad. 

My dog, Highlin', pants beside me. He was Johnny's dog. Johnny asked if he could stay with me 10 years ago when he became an extreme athlete, kayaking class five rivers. He once was lost in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Confronted three rattlesnakes finding his way home. HIghlin' has been here ever since. 

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I am writing in low light at the folded down cherry dining room table. It is in the room usually called the living room. Larry’s music collection and some of our books are here. My new patchwork kimono, waiting to be photographed, hangs against the shoji screen.  The table is covered with an old lace tablecloth that I shibori dyed as part of the tapestry for my new home. It is the dark crimson of a garden rose, the color of a precious garnet, or as “Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours” describes, the outside of Quills of Terico. A purplish red. We call this room in the library.

I am old now. I am reading Stephen Jenkinson‘s book, “Come of Age, The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble.” He writes, “Without  the tutelage of limits and endings, we have no elders to practice and incarnate the wisdom of enough. . . no record of noble restraint that would make us an ancestor worth claiming, no defeat of the nobility making kind.” 

Old is a good thing. Today I focus on the tiny moments. Use remnants to patchwork new designs. Find books to give away. Wait for phone calls, and for the rain to stop.

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Prayer

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May you take each day slowly and safely. 

A sip of mango sweetness, a rush of sunset tea. 

May you have no fear. The warmth of hot red and flaming orange fire. 

And may an answer to your every quest appear with the tingle of sweet aftertaste lingering. 

May you have happiness and abundance. A child hood Christmas stocking filled with tangerines and candy. 

Everything you ever need is there for you. Slippery and sweet. 

May your body heal itself.  May every  ache and pain be soothed and touched, every step you take be as effortless as the rush of sunset heat. 

Go as slow as you need, my dear. There is no need to hurry.

Nowhere to get to. Nowhere better than now. 

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30 Years of Love

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Oh God, I have discovered love

how marvelous

how good,

how beautiful it is

I offer my salutations

to the spirit of passion

that aroused and excited

this whole universe

and all it contains.  

--Rumi

photo by Sue Beard, cake by Martine's

photo by Sue Beard, cake by Martine's

Being so in love with Larry, all these 30 years, I am renewed. 

photo by Sue Beard

photo by Sue Beard

There is an intense bonding. I feel protected and safe. I feel joy, exhilaration and upliftment.

As a result of loving and being loved by him, my heart is open, extending empathy and sympathy to others. I have become a vessel, light, sensing energy coursing through my body.

photo by LInda Gorton

photo by LInda Gorton

We make art, read. He plays music, I listen. There is an intense bonding. I feel protected and safe. I feel joy, exhilaration and upliftment.

I reread vows I wrote on May 15, 1988 while Larry plays. They are the same today.

Orchids Have Taken Over

linger

linger

After the flowers fell, I tossed them aside, into the compost. 

At the cabin I let them linger. 

A new bloom appeared a year or two later.

Orchids became my event flower. I bought one for the centerpiece. 

Took it home afterwards to take in the light.

The collection has grown, forcing me to let go. 

Can I save them forever? 

Can I save anything really or anyone? 

letting go

letting go

It’s that saving that’s got me going.

I must shift. 

I must understand that while everyone is an orchid, they don’t necessarily bloom in my garden. 

That can’t be true. I must reassess. 

standing back

standing back

There must be away. I’m standing back now, to witness, to see if I can understand, oh yes, to stand under. That is not so easy. 

Yet I promise. 

"I hear you," I say. 

And then like the orchid I wait. 

waiting

waiting

Calming Red Buds Bloom

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There is something calming when the red buds bloom. Their deep pink, petals fall to the ground. Mixed with moss, grass, and dirt, they cover stones. Each morning and evening, planning each day, then reconciling, we walk paths.

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The pink, pale and deep, is comforting. There is compassion and understanding about the tug of letting go. We are moving back to city life in Lexington with it’s commotion and excitement. This is more than we’re used to after the calm of the country.

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The cabin empties itself a little more each day. We find new places for furniture, dishes and mementos. Let go of others donated for safe keeping.

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The pink petals, with all the passion of red, excite this move and softened it with the purity and openness of white. You can do this. Trusting the difficulty, dropping pink on the path, so tiny you have to squint at times to see them, and I do. They are tender and kind with their message of understanding.

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I packed Johnny’s well-worn baseball glove and soccer trophy. Placed a broken teapot in the woods. All this layering of a past long gone next to a future imagined. We plan graduation parties and birthday brunches. Trunk shows and poetry reading smixed with music classical and jazz.

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You are invited



Five Senses Salon and Trunk Show at Tribeca Trunk

116 Old Lafayette, Lexington, Kentucky

Featuring Laverne's Newest Designs

Hand dyed Boleros and Kimono Jackets and Patchwork Dusters

Moving and downsizing means that I also have to let go of lots of art to wear from the past

and my artist proofs at very special prices.

(Sort of a everything must go kind of sale! Tiny houses have very limited space.)

and

Soreyda Benedit Begley

Statement Headdresses

Special Occasion Dresses, and Custom Designs

If you ever wanted a dress designed especially for you,

come on down and introduce yourself to Soreyda.


Friday Reception, April 20, 5-8 pm

Larry Vogt, Improv, Classical and Jazz Guitar

Saturday Trunk Show, April 21, 11-4 pm

Sunday Salon, April 22, 1-4 pm

Open Mic Poetry and Music