Monthly Archives: January 2012


When I was going through my darkest time I stopped cooking.  All of it, no making meals or snacks or even light baking of any kind.  I remember Andrea’s hopes getting up when I started getting well and she said, “Maybe you can start cooking dinner again,” and that just sounded impossible even though I knew how much (and what) it meant to Andrea.  I didn’t see how I could ever get there and now here I am, I am there.  And when I decided to try my hand at using up some of Andrea’s paints, I knew I wanted to do up these two quotes for the kitchen…

They’re kinda crazy and sloppy!

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An Ideal Life

I came across a journal from a class I took 4 years ago.  One project’s goal was to narrow down the most important characteristics of the life we want to live and these were mine.

When my life is ideal…

  1. I actively and affectionately love and feel loved by my family and friends.
  2. I remember God and talk to him all day long.
  3. I go on adventures sightseeing and exploring.
  4. I write about everyday life experiences and bring meaning to them.
  5. I laugh.  A lot.
  6. I celebrate things – big and small – and pay attention to how magical life is.

The awesome thing is that is very close to the life I am currently living.  I need to work on #5, though, I still don’t hysterically laugh as much as I used to.

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Family Day

I love my family.  We had a get-together at my parents house today and celebrated mom’s birthday.

She was the cutest baby and now she’s the cutest 80-year-old!  (Dad’s pretty cute, too).

Andrea and I spent some time in my old bedroom going through boxes of stuff we had stored there and deciding what to bring home… and what to give Andrea’s cousins.  Like the dance recital costume we put on Macy.

That is the wallpaper dad put up for me in the 80’s and the desk he built me at which to get ready!  Here are some other things that remain the same:

A high school boyfriend wrote this on my wall… and a college boyfriend crossed it out:

Same stairs I fell down a million times:

If these walls could talk… they’d tell you about years of jumping on the bed.  HA.

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There’s more room in a broken heart.

I’ve been working like a crazy woman trying to get a bunch of home stuff done before I start my new job on Monday!  I don’t know why I do this – these projects have been looming forever – yet I suddenly need them all done yesterday.

I was painting the upstairs hall (“Dusk”) when I decided to paint the shutters I salvaged from a friend’s house the same color.  I couldn’t bear for these shutters to get scrapped when she remodeled.. I still remember her directing me the first time I went over there years ago, it was “the house with the heart shutters.”  I’ve always thought they were so cute and cottage-y.

I may eventually hang them up, but for now they sit flanking my bed.

I think this one on the left looks like it has an arrow through it:

They got so banged up during removal and I spent a lot of time cleaning dirt and spiderwebs off of them.  But I did no sanding and just quickly brushed one coat of paint and they’re perfect.

I have a soft spot for any heart that’s been put through the wringer.

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Cause Pink, It’s My Favorite Crayon

Come in and see my recent project!

For almost a year I had these color swatches taped to my wall until, today, I painted:

The color is named “Potpourri” but the neighbor kids say it’s “pink,” and so it is.

Gotta do a couple more walls, all the touch ups, and then I’ll be done.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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The neighbor kids are always pounding on my door wanting to see what I’ve been up to and I love them for it.  I don’t want to disappoint so I tell them anything I’ve done and they award me with enthusiasm.  Today was great because I’ve been painting so much – the green-blue in the kitchen and a rose color on the staircase – plus I haven’t put away all the Christmas decorations AND Andrea has snack food to take back to school all out on the kitchen table.

They tore through the house oohing and ahhing and then blast back out the front door to friends waiting on bikes.  Remember they talk in all caps, so I was left hearing:  SHE PAINTED HER HOUSE PINK AND GREEN!  SHE HAS PRESENTS!  I TOLD YOU SHE WAS THE BEST NEIGHBOR!  I LOVE CHERRY POPTARTS!  AND… SHE IS WEARING THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DRESS!

I almost spit out my Dr. Pepper on that last one.  I’m wearing one of my old skirts I got in India and I really wear them now like aprons.  They’re the most comfortable thing I own and I can wipe my hands on them or wipe down whatever I’m working on.  I’ve even torn off strips so they’re basically rags!  I always feel like a bag lady in them and today was wearing argyle socks to complete the look!

But neighbor girl thinks the look is beautiful and I realized it’s because I am colorful and flowy.  Told you I was working towards some sort of gorgeously free, flowy, dancing, beautiful-girl feeling for life and with kids like her showing up with encouragement, I may be able to get there.

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Room With a View

One feature of any dream home for me would be a window over the kitchen sink.  Where I live does not have this feature.

I decided to try to fake one using a mirror and some curtains and the results were laughable:

I wasn’t laughing at the time, though, and I told Andrea “I can’t believe I worked that hard to make it look that stupid!”  Doesn’t it look like a cocker spaniel?  I removed the fabric on top and narrowed the sides, but still:

There is, however, a happy ending because I FINALLY got out my paint brush and started putting the color in this place I’ve been meaning to since I moved in a year and a half ago!  So, the mirror doesn’t look like a window… but I love my new pretty wall color:

Now I’m off to paint the staircase while I’m on a roll.

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I was sitting on Carol’s couch – where we always talked last winter – with her pomeranian nudging me to throw the ball and play.  She was wanting to find someone to date again, and was telling me about the men she’d been meeting online but seemed dejected, sighed and told me, “I just want a nice man by Christmas.”

I couldn’t help but think that phrase – “Nice Man By Christmas” –  sounded like the title of a made-for-tv Lifetime movie and I told her and we laughed.  But I really did think – if that is what you want, then that is what you shall have!  I mean, why not concentrate on this “nice man by Christmas” dream in your heart?  Why should you settle for anything less?  It sounds so simple, such an easy dream, but it’s not.  Nice men are hard to come by.

Carol’d had a thing for bad boys – “mean” boys, really – so nice man WAS a stretch.

And by Christmas.  In March that may sound easily attainable, but to Carol turning 50 that summer and who had never been married – always “married to her job” – hadn’t even been in a relationship in the past 6 years… well, she told me sadly more than once she feared she would always be alone.  This is a woman so full of life and love and it just didn’t seem fair that she never got what she gave in return.  Ever.

So we prayed.  And we stayed positive.  I got her a notepad with the word FAITH on the cover and wrote NMBC on the first page.  I thought we should always keep that description at the forefront and never forget that that was her goal.  Every man she met was held to that standard:  “But is he your NMBC?”  They never were.

Until, there he was.

All the times we worried God wasn’t listening… He was.  And now this Christmas – *the* Christmas she wanted – as I watched them cozily and happily celebrate the season together I felt the Psalms reminder:  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Back in March when she said it, I can just see God saying, “I got your nice man right here.  ‘Mann,’ actually.”  (Mann is his last name).  God, you crack me up!

I’ve known her for 12 years and never seen Carol happier.  Plus I have someone now who, every time I see them, I greet with a deadpan:  “Mis-ter Mann..”  It’s great all around.

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There’s a reason I named this blog My Magic Life.  I really do have serendipitous or coincidental God-things happening all the time.  I want to try to do a better job of writing some down.  Take what happened at Christmas…  one of my best friends gave me this shirt:

She gave it to me while saying, “I know how much you love trees and I was looking at some different shirts that had gloriously full, colorful trees, but I was really drawn to this one.  I don’t know why!”

“I do,” I answered, knowing exactly why.  “Let me tell you my red bird story.”

And I shared with her how, years ago when Andrea was a toddler, I was going through a transitional period and feeling lonely and worried.  “Am I where I’m supposed to be?” you know.  It was a bitter cold winter day and I was freezing at work.  At that time I worked in an old drafty building for a small agency and everyone was out of the office for meetings so I was there all alone.

I decided to take a break, go into another office with a big window, and daydream or pray or probably cry.  Suddenly a bright red cardinal flew into the scene I was looking at and he was striking against the snow and the gray of the day.  I don’t know why, but I took it as a sign.  I guess it made me feel like there are always things that will fly into the picture to brighten it up – give it life – bring me joy.

Ever since, and I know this sounds crazy, whenever a bright red cardinal pops into my view it comforts me.  I tell myself it’s “my” cardinal… telling me I’m in the right place and he hasn’t forgotten me.

When I first got divorced from R in 2009 and had to move to an apartment, I was checking out the view off my balcony of my new neighbors’ bird feeders… daydreaming or praying or probably crying…

when HE showed up!  I caught this time with my camera!

And I had an overwhelming feeling that, once again, I was in the right place and that everything was going to be just fine.

And THEN…  mom told me something that happened to her and dad regarding me.  The entire time I was in Kentucky in 2010 – grieving my divorce in a therapeutic setting – she and dad prayed for me every day and noticed a cardinal would sit on their deck and yell at them through the big kitchen window.  YELL at them!  Every day!  For SIX WEEKS!  She said they knew it was telling them something about me, letting them know I was okay.  I sheepishly wondered if she realized I’d also been working through all my childhood/growing up issues and that maybe that bird was also yelling at them on my behalf.

But wow!  To have a BIRD that has my back!  It’s incredible!

By the end of the story Carol and I were both crying.  The shirt she got me looked exactly like the scene the first time I noticed my bird.  Carol said that angels can take whatever form they want and this one of mine knows I recognize him as a cardinal.  I think she’s right.

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