How My Dates are Connecting Me to the World

As I’m nearing a quarter of the way through this journey of 52 Dates with Myself and my 50th post, it seems appropriate to introduce you to some of my fellow bloggers who have encouraged me along the way. Whether you’re into poetry, gardening, painting, cooking, or the general beauty of life and community, you’ll find something special from each one. I’m grateful to these and others who’ve encouraged me along the way these past few months!

June 5, 2012 – Meet Liam Rainsford. My adventure in painting connected me to painter Liam Rainsford of Ireland. You’ll definitely want to visit his site and check out the beautiful time lapsed videos of his paintings. For those interested in painting, he offers an amazing art school for beginners right on his website. I’m honored that he would “Like” one of my posts and give me a chance to “meet” him.

May 22, 2012 – Meet Dan & Mindy Soulsby. This inspiring young couple have a thriving sustainable farm and have created a nonprofit called Project Garden Share that helps connect people who need food with those who grow it. Dan worked for a number of years at Disney in Los Angeles before returning to his home state of Ohio to “live his dream.” I’m honored that he would “Like” one of my posts on gardening and give me the chance to “meet” him.

May 22, 2012 – Meet Stephanie – A Modern Christian Woman who has one of the best recipe blogs going. I’m honored that she would “Like” one of my posts on gardening and give me the chance to “meet” her.

March 23, 2012 – Meet Preetam Nath and his Manipal”s Photo Blog. Showcasing the talent of photographers of Manipal University in India – you’ll love the variety, beauty and life captured in this wonderful site. I’m honored that Preetam would “Like” one of my posts and give me the chance to “meet” him and the wonderful photographers of Manipal U.

February 23, 2012 – Meet Angela Marie – One-in Creation. From the early days of my journey of 52 Dates with Myself Angela Marie has been there encouraging me, commenting, and liking. She shares beautiful, heartfelt poetry and art from her site. I’m honored to call her my friend, to dialogue with her and to receive her multiple “Likes” along the journey.

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Categories: Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word of Encouragement on Painting (& Life) from Vincent

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Ponder & Chat: How does this principle apply to other areas of your life? What’s happened when you have lived this principle?

Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Reflections, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisdom for the Journey: On Digging, Delving, and Stillness

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” ~ Claude Monet

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~ Hermann Hesse

“The sound of  ‘gentle stillness’  after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God.”Jim Elliot

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

Categories: Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’ve done what I could…and my painting is open to criticism; that’s enough”

“I’ve done what I could as a painter and that seems to me to be sufficient. I don’t want to be compared to the great masters of the past, and my painting is open to criticism; that’s enough.” ~ Claude Monet

Thanks to Wine and Canvas for a great date night and first painting class.

With my version of Monet’s “Water Lillies, 1916” painted on one of 52 Dates with Myself

Ponder & Chat: What are you working on today that you’re ready to put out to the world?

Categories: Artistic Dates, Challenges, Commitment, Date Ideas, Reflections | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I got in a fine fettle with Monet

“Take clear water with grass waving at the bottom. It’s wonderful to look at, but to try to paint it is enough to make one insane.” ~ Claude Monet

Insane or not with the help of a great deal from Living Social ($17) and a fun company called Wine & Canvas, I had a great time painting my very own rendition of Monet’s Water Lilies, 1916, including working to capture that grass waving at the bottom.

Enjoying working on a “masterpiece” on a recent night of 52 Dates with Myself

Nearly 30 of us – one or two brave men among all the women – met at The Factory restaurant in Fort Wayne and enjoyed an evening of painting, singing, and – for those so inclined – a glass of wine. (The singing to Don McLean’s, Bye, Bye, Miss American Piewas impromptu, not included in the price of the “date,” and indicative of the relaxed and fun atmosphere.)

I’d always wanted to take a painting class just to see what might be secretly waiting to erupt on canvas. This was a great way to dip in and try my hand, to make a start.

My impression so far is as Monet once said,

“No, I’m not a great painter. Neither am I a great poet.”

Of course, we all know his criticism of himself was quite unfounded. Of me, it’s apropos.

Never mind that! I’m a work in progress and for now along with Monet, I find,

“I’m in a fine fettle and fired with a desire to paint.”

Ponder & Chat: What are you in a “fine fettle and fired with desire” to do? How can we encourage you to begin?

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Date Night, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I See Arlington Through Different Eyes Now

Photo taken on my visit to Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

“When we were visiting here all those years ago, we could never have dreamed we would one day be here for something like this.”

Yet here we were on the first Friday of September 2011 following behind the caisson of a young Army Captain killed in the line of duty. This special young man and dear friend to my daughter, also an Army Captain, had left a clear message that he had died doing what he loved to do. Indeed, what he felt called to do. Nevertheless, the bitterness of losing him tragically permeated our hearts and lives. Burying him in Arlington has forever changed these hallowed acres for me. Now more than ever, I understand

  • there’s an amazing life story that can never be adequately represented by a simple granite stone.
  • the ongoing sense of honor and comradeship encapsulated in a soldier’s final request to be forever laid to rest near others who have served, and perhaps paid the ultimate price for doing so.
  • the haunting collective and individual beauty encapsulated in the precise angles and lines of row upon row of white headstones.
  • the true sense of the cost of war.
  • the honor and gratitude due those resting within and those left standing afterwards.
On this Memorial Day, I hope you took time to reflect on those who have served our nation in the armed forces. And perhaps one of your 52 Dates with Yourself might be a visit to one of our national cemeteries. Consider taking some flowers with you to leave as a token of thanks for some of those resting there.
Ponder & Chat: For a complete list of U.S. National Cemeteries click here. What National Cemeteries have you visited? What stories did you discover on your visit?
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A Lesson in Renewal – A Dry Spell

Stores are dangerous places for me this time of year! They flaunt vegetable plants, herbs, flowers, and gorgeous pots in all colors knowing that I am addicted! I’m weak. Really, I think I may be helpless. Ok, I know I’m not helpless, but I am vulnerable. To the point that I could probably use a good-looking secret service type protector (non-Columbia model, of course).

Vulnerability struck a couple of weeks ago, and even though I knew I was heading out for a nine-day trip, I bought a beautiful peat pot of basil. It contained four thriving plants. They all proudly stood on the shelf and called my name. As they rode around the store in the shopping cart with me, I swear I heard them mocking the other plants. They even chided me for putting them in a grey plastic bag for the ride home in the car.

Soon, I had them temporarily settled on the counter to await their garden fate. Then, as fate would have it, there they would remain for nine long days. Alone, in the dark, lifeless room, straining for sun that would also steal their last remaining drops of moisture.

Upon my return, I gasped at their bedraggled and lifeless state. They didn’t respond at all to my cooing and self-flagellation. They were spent. All pride gone. Lifeless.

Regardless, I bathed them gently with tap water and soaked their peat base to the point of saturation.

I wasn’t sure, but thought I heard a bit of complaining, “Now, you come?”

Guiltily, I left them and proceeded to post-trip activities, unpacking, laundry, sorting nine days of mail. Every once in a while, I’d look in on the basil and drop an encouraging and gentle word.

“You can do it. I know it’s hard, but dig deep from your roots. You have strength you’re not aware of for this journey.”

Reaching for the sun once again! My basil plant that went through a “dry spell.”

Sure enough, within 24 hours, life had returned. No, they are not to their former glory. They have a bit of a bend now. But there are helps for that sort of thing. Besides, they’ve not even met their new home yet – a bright pot with rich, dark soil and a prime patio location.

Perhaps best of all, they have a new appreciation for their strength and ability to return even from a bit of a dry spell. A lesson even a plant junkie can appreciate.

Categories: Garden dates, Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Garden

“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.”  ~James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane

Lovely date this morning just enjoying the fruits of yesterday’s labor in the garden and pondering the moments of today yet to come.

A dove visiting with me in my garden this morning

There are days of back-breaking labor when I despise and curse the retired woman whose love of nature spawned these many beds. But this morning as the dove coos, the woodpecker taps, and the yellow finches flit and dance among the sage and salvia, I perch in the midst of gentle morning breezes breathing in the aroma of lavender, mint, and roses and bless her.

A butterfly perches herself on a knot hole near pink clematis

A butterfly lands nearby just beneath a knot hole in the fence post. I want to snap a photo of her lovely wings, but she closes them as if to tell me her morning thoughts are hers alone. Ah, the flower garden paparazzi never relents and snaps away regardless.

Not without cost, however, for as the camera focuses, I see where yesterday’s gardener missed culling some dead branches from the pink clematis. Shoot!

Categories: Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is what you do today important?

What you do with today

More wisdom from this week’s adventure in 52 Dates with Myself

Categories: Challenges, Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you never did, you should…

Dr. Seuss Quote

Dr. Seuss wisdom discovered on one of my 52 Dates with Myself

Categories: Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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