Friday, November 29, 2019

Watercolor Bluebirds (Process/Product)

So, I have had Eastern bluebirds on my mind since we saw them in our Wonder Forest a few days ago. I took several pictures, shared in a previous blog post. 

I have painted a couple of bluebirds. I am not thrilled with either. I am, after all, I remind myself, a novice. Duh.

The first one I tried, I used a free image from Pixabay as a reference photo.

The problem with public reference photos is that they are just that: a photo, taken with a professional camera, resulting in a professional photograph, full of vibrant details.

Then, here is my attempt to paint this bird with watercolor (with the addition of a Missouri snowstorm):

After I posted some of my photos of our backyard bluebirds on Facebook, a few of my Friends suggested I should paint a bird from one of my pictures. That was even harder. Here is my photo:

And my attempt to paint from my own photo:

Both pieces: Arches Watercolor Paper 140# Cold Press
Winsor & Newton Professional Tube Watercolors

I’m just going to make this understatement. Watercolor painting is difficult and challenging. Birds are way harder than they appear to be. In fact, I’m done with birds for awhile. I’m going to do something fun next, like another snowman maybe!

#watercolorbluebird #Missouribluebird #watercolor #WonderForestatPeacefulAcres

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Different Thanksgiving

This will be the first time in many years that hubby and I will be alone for Thanksgiving. It’s not that we are ALL together for every Thanksgiving, but for years it has been “the norm” that I am preparing dinner for SOME of us every Thanksgiving. So, I confess that I am struggling.

Thanksgiving 2017 (Missouri)
Left, front to back: Greg, Sharida, Evan
Right, front to back: Kristy, Mark, Conner, Caroline

Thanksgiving 2018 (Washington)
Left: Conner, Leeland, Caroline
Right: Mark, Kristy, Tory

I will miss cooking and baking for family. I will miss being with family. Most of all, I will miss our “Thankful-for Time,” as we always have that special time where we share the things we are especially thankful to God for this year.

As I said to Tory (right now in Mexico), I will have my “thankful-for time” in my heart.

I am very thankful that my children and grandchildren are happy and healthy and each serving God exactly where He wants them to be right now. 

How blessed am I, after all!

#Thanksgiving #FamilyLove #FamilyTogetherness #TheNewNormal

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My Hobby Room

In our Missouri home, I have a large room dedicated primarily to my hobbies: scrapbooking and art. This room is in the lower level of the house, in a corner, with windows that allow me to see a lot of our woods.

There are shelves that house SOME of my scrapbook albums and various other items such as children’s books, some that belonged to my children.

Out those windows I can see the bird feeders, and one of the cutest little birds is the tufted titmouse. I painted an illustrative (as opposed to realistic) version of one of them.

#hobbyroom #tuftedtitmouse #teddybears #scrapbookalbums #myhobbies #watercolor

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Watercolor Snowmen

I’m feeling almost caught up with holiday projects: scrapbooking is up to date, Christmas shopping is almost done, house is decorated, and Christmas cards are ready to be mailed once the annual letter is written and tucked inside. 

So, I’ve been doing some light-hearted winter/Christmas-themed watercolor painting. Snowmen are fun for me.

This little guy was completed following a tutorial by Maria Raczynska. It’s always harder than it looks.
Arches Cold Press Paper 140#, cut to 5x7
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Tube Paints: Olive Green, Permanent Sap Green, Indigo, Neutral Tint, French Ultramarine, Transparent Orange, Sepia, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Payne’s Gray, White Gouache 
Holbein Watercolor Tube Paint: Pyrrole Red, Gold

This one was inspired by a meme that I saw on Facebook. 
Strathmore 140# watercolor paper
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Tube Paints: Olive Green, Permanent Sap Green, Winsor Green (Yellow Shade), Cobalt Turquoise, Indigo, Sepia, Winsor Lemon, Payne’s Gray, Transparent Orange, White Gouache
Holbein Pyrrole Red

#watecolorsnowmen #watercolorpractice #snowman

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Blue Christmas Balls in Snow {Watercolor}

My favorite artist to follow online right now is Maria Raczynska. The problem I have (and have always had, as a part of my nature), is that I want to be perfect. Maybe this watercolor thing is good for me, because clearly I cannot recreate her work with the level of perfection that she has. Now, honestly...duh. Of course I can’t. I’m just learning. She is an accomplished artist. So I try to use her work as something to work TOWARD, to strive for, while realizing I will never do more than just poorly emulate...

Still, I do like the challenge of creating something even similar to her paintings, as her paintings that I choose to try are just beautiful.

So, I stared at her painting of the blue Christmas balls in the snow, for days, before being brave enough to try it. I know that once I put the paintbrush and paint to the paper, I will finish it.

Artist tutorial: Maria Raczynska
Paper: Arches Cold Press 140 # (5x7)
Paint: Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Tubes, French Ultramarine Blue, Indigo, Cobalt Blue; little bit of white gouache 
Ink: Winsor & Newton Gold Metallic Bronze

#StopTryingtobePerfectBecauseYouAreNotGoingtobe #MariaRaczynska #MariaMorjane #Christmaswatercolor #watercolor #BlueChristmasBallsinSnow

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Missouri Bluebirds Visit {Our Wonderforest}

The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of Missouri. However, we rarely see them. We have several bird feeders, including the type of food they (supposedly) like. 

This morning three or four of them appeared (at least one male), checking out a little bluebird/wren house attached to a tall tree stump near the feeders and in full view of our bedroom window. 

They were peeking inside and seemed interested but did not try to go in.


After their recon mission was over, they left, and shortly a Carolina wren went inside the house. Oh.

(For those interested, my camera is a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS.)

#MissouriStateBird #EasternBluebird #OurWonderforest

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ready for Christmas in Missouri

This year we will have our Christmas in our Missouri home in mid-December. Since we are not having Thanksgiving at our house this year, we decorated for Christmas earlier than usual.

This is a new tree this year. It has LED lights that can be switched from white to multi-colored, with several variations of the two colors (flashing, blinking, etc.).

This white flocked tree is in the Piano Room.

We will be joined on December 14-15 by our daughter’s family (her hubby, our granddaughter and her husband, and our grandson). Then my Sibling Christmas (my sister/husband and brother/wife) will be with us December 16-17.

On December 19 we will drive (four days/three nights) to our second home in Washington state. There, we live very close to our son/wife and grandson/wife/great grandson. Out there, we will be honored to be a part of their Christmas celebration in our son’s home.

#ChristmasinMO #OurTwoTrees #ReadyforChristmas

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Holiday Tastes and Scents: Peppermint

We have the house all decorated for Christmas (already) and now I’m enjoying Christmas-themed watercolor projects.

About this Piece:
Inspiration/Tutorial: Ellen Crimi-Trent (You Tube)
Paper: Strathmore Watercolor Postcards 140#, 4x6 (so I can use it in my scrapbook pockets)
Paints: Winsor & Newton Professional Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Holbein Pyrrole Red (gold splatter, W&N gold ink)

There are certain flavors and scents that always remind me of Christmas. For example, a tangerine at Christmas reminds me so much of my Mamo and Grandad’s house at Christmas—she always had the best tangerines during the holiday season. The smell of a live evergreen tree is another scent that I love at Christmas.

Peppermint is another scent and taste that I associate with Christmas. Today in my hobby room the fragrance of peppermint is coming from my diffuser.

I wonder what it says about me that, many times when I think of a Bible verse that is associated with my art piece, the passage that comes to mind is Psalm 103:5, “He satisfies my mouth with good things...”

But I also like the rest of that verse: “ that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 

So there you have it.

#watercolor #peppermint #Christmascandy

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Tiny Tree, a Sweet Memory {Sentimental Journey}

This year we will not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with any family. While that leaves a sadness, since there is only a 2-week span of time between Thanksgiving and when we will celebrate Christmas this year, it does give us more time to prepare for Christmas. 

We usually wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. But, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Peaceful Acres right now. Don’t judge me. I need something positive to “dwell on” with missing my family up in here right now.

As we were getting out some of the Christmas decorations, I saw this little tiny tree, which has been in its little box since 1989.

This little 12-inch tree has a story. At our house when my kids were still at home, we spent most of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrating Christmas. Most every night that we weren’t at school basketball games (kids were in high school, hubby was superintendent, I was a teacher, all in the same school district). We celebrated with special snacks, games (the real kind—board games), reading Christmas stories, etc. 

So, when our eldest left for college, even though he would be coming “home for Christmas,” I was a bit sad that the month-long “celebration” would not be the same—we would miss him for sure, and he would miss us (?).

Late that fall, I found this little tree, so perfect because it has French horns on it (he played French horn). So, I wanted him to have it for his dorm room, so that he could have some “Christmas” while away from home during the “holiday” stretch.

I never knew if he actually put it out in his dorm room. I kind of doubt it. But that’s okay. I just needed to give it to him. It really didn’t matter whether he put it out in his dorm room or not. Yes, it was mainly for me, I think.

This picture was taken during his freshman year at Southwest Baptist University.

When he came home that summer, I made a note on the box and stored it away.

Today I got it out. Sweet memories tied to that tiny tree...memories of a mom who maybe wasn’t quite ready to let go of her son?

For this season, the tiny tree is going to make me smile, as it sits on my art desk.

But he did come home for Christmas that year, 1988, and every year since then until this year. He lives 32 driving hours away, in Washington state, with his sweet wife, and in the same town with his son and wife and their little baby boy (our great grandson). 

They are in ministry together, having planted a church in the Pacific Northwest (Mark, pastor; son Conner, worship leader). Their daughter Tory is serving with the International Mission Board in Mexico and will be coming “home” for Christmas. Her home is her parents’ home, of course. We have a second home there, thankfully, and so we will get to see them for Christmas. But, somehow it’s not the same as their coming “home for Christmas,” as they always have.

So, we will have Christmas in Missouri with our siblings and our daughters’ family all coming (at different times) to our Missouri home. We will have special times. But at our family Christmas with our daughter’s family, there will be 7 of us instead of 13.

Then, on December 18, we will start the drive out to Washington, so that we can see Tory and spend Christmas with our son’s family out there (as they have graciously invited us to join their family Christmas).

I am aware that many families are not together for Christmas, and it may even be unusual for a family with a 49-year old son and 48-year old daughter to be about to spend their first Christmas EVER not being together at Mom and Dad’s for an overnight of “Our Family Christmas.” But somehow that makes it harder, that there have been 49 years of always being together for at least one night during the holidays.

Time brings changes. I can scream and cry and stamp my feet, and I may do some of that. But it doesn’t stop the changes. 

So, best that I just be thankful that the reason we can’t all be together is simply geographical distance, and even more thankful that the geographical distance is due to the fact that my son and his wife, their daughter, and their son and daughter-in-law and grandbaby are serving God exactly where He has placed them for now. And even more thanks on top of that, that God has redeemed our daughter’s life, and she and her family are serving God exactly where He has placed them for now. 

It just so happens that one area of service is Washington state (and Mexico), and the other area is Missouri.

#FamilyLove #FamilyChristmas #HomeforChristmas #tinyChristmastree #sentimentaljourney

Monday, November 11, 2019

Winter Came Early

So, it’s not even mid-November yet, and we have had our first snow here in Troy, Missouri. 

I have been “working” in my hobby room all day today (watercolor painting). This view, here at dusk, is out one of the windows.

Here is the view from the other window in the hobby room. These two walls are perpendicular to each other, and my desk is in the corner where these two walls meet.

I am enjoying learning more about watercolor from the Patreon site of Maria Raczynska (mariamorjane). Today’s painting is a Christmas painting combining three things I love: Christmas, teddy bears, and watercolor.

#mariaraczynska #teddybears #watercolor #Christmaswatercolor #wintercameearlytoMO

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Happy Veterans Day to My Marine

Every year on November 10, we make note of the Marine Corps Birthday (1775). Every year at church, on the Sunday before Veterans Day, I love watching my husband, as the pastor asks the veterans to stand. I don’t think Russell realizes it, but he always stands at attention, very proud to acknowledge that yes, he served his country. And he loves it when someone says, “Thank you for your service.” He was proud to serve.

In his case, he served in the Marines, during the Vietnam war. That equated to a tour of duty “in-country.” He passed the USMC Officers’ Test between the semesters of his senior year in college (January 1969). We had been married 16 months. 

After his exam that day in Kansas City, the USMC officer called me to join my husband, as he was sworn in as a USMC Officer Candidate, with the understanding that as soon as he graduated from college (the following May), he would “belong” to the USMC and would begin his training that summer. 

That January day, after the swearing in, the officer looked at me directly and said this: “I can assure you that during his three year enlistment, he will spend a year in Vietnam. But I can also promise you that when he goes, he will be prepared to take care of himself.” That assurance and that promise—both came true.

The following August, Russell left for 10 weeks of Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. I stayed with my parents during that time, taking a break from college for that year.

After OCS, I joined him in Quantico for his commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Then we lived in an apartment in Triangle, VA, during his 5 months of The Basic School. During OCS and TBS, Russell learned to be a USMC Officer. While he was in TBS, I learned how to be a USMC Officer’s Wife. 

March 13, 1968
Leaving for practice amphibious landing at Little Creek during TBS

May 25, 1968
These studio pictures were required by the USMC. Isn’t that strange! They also required that the officer (all were on their way to Vietnam) have a will.

Graduation from TBS was an important event. Note my hat (part of my training as an officer’s wife was proper attire—at any event in the afternoon, a lady was to wear gloves and a hat...and by the way, the Marine wore a “cover”—not a hat—ladies wore hats, men wore covers).

After a brief leave, we were stationed for several weeks at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where Russell was in Supply School, as his MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) was Logistics & Supply.

At the end of that time, he received orders for WestPac. He first went to San Diego to train a group of men, then to Okinawa briefly...and then, as promised (and dreaded) to Vietnam. 

Thanksgiving 1968, I had this studio portrait made to send to Russell in Vietnam. I was wearing the dress he sent to me while he was in Okinawa (for our third anniversary).

January 13, 1969 Outside his hootch, stationed way west of DaNang

1969 (Driver Cpl Bundick, back seat Sgt Flohre)
Russell carried the .45 at all times.

At the Supply Warehouse near his compound

In DaNang, getting supplies from the Supply Compound

During his time in Vietnam, he made the rank of 1st Lieutenant and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V.

While he was in Vietnam, I finished my college at Southwest Baptist College, graduating a summer after most of my 1969 classmates graduated in May, though I had been out of school for a year.

We have always been amazed as we call to mind how God protected Russell during his time in Vietnam, during his experience in a very real war. There were times when it was so clear that his protection was directly from God. 

After he returned in early September 1969, we were ready to move forward with our lives. We were stationed at Camp Lejeune, where our son was born June 18, 1970. In July 1970 we moved back to Missouri (both of us had teaching jobs). With a few weeks left of enlistment time, Russell received word that he had achieved the rank of Captain.

The rest (as well as the previous) is history. That history is our legacy. We have two adult children, four grandchildren, and a great grandson. (That baby boy born at Camp Lejeune, after Vietnam, is now a grandfather.) Almost daily we see affirmation as to God’s plan for our family, as a result of His protection and provision during the war years.

Happy Veterans Day to my Marine

Once a Marine, Always a Marine
Once a Marine Wife, Always a Marine Wife

#onceamarinealwaysamarine #vietnamvet #usmcofficer 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Come with Thanks {Bible Art Journaling}

Hopefully this blog post will arrive as an email in the inboxes of my blog subscribers, with the new delivery system I am trying (MailChimp). Trouble is, I can’t preview or test the email, so if it comes in with strange/wrong formatting, be patient...I’ll get it figured out eventually.

Today’s work is a Bible Art page that was inspired by my friend Jenna at She used a different passage, and she used acrylic paints. I prefer watercolor these days.

I love Thanksgiving season. Admittedly, one of the things I have always loved about it is that I most usually get to cook and serve a veritable feast for Thanksgiving Dinner to at least part of my family. Circumstances this year dictate that my husband and I will be alone for Thanksgiving. But it’s not ALL about family—it’s primarily about gratitude for God’s mercy and grace.

As I told our granddaughter, this year, Grandad and I will just have to have our “thankful for” time (our traditional time of going around the table to share our thank-you-fors) in our hearts.

There are so many verses in the Bible that remind us to give thanks. Here is the passage I chose for my art today:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King, above all gods.
Psalm 95:1-3 (KJV)

#BibleArtJournaling #BibleArt #thanksgiving #watercolorinmyBible

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Priority: Relationships {My Family, My Heart}

So, if you know me very well, you know that if given a chance, I stress the importance of family relationships. Sometimes achieving the goal of maintaining/growing family relationships is difficult. In some cases, due to factors beyond my control, that goal is not achievable.

However, most of the time, as regards most of my family relationships, it’s a great and valuable blessing, and when relationships are alive and well, there is a natural process of deepening and growing those relationships. Because that process is best nurtured by actually BEING together, we try to have intentional times of gathering when possible. 

I married into the Ford family when I was 18. I am now 72. So, for 54 years I have been in the Ford family. My husband’s parents have both passed now (as have mine), so when there is a Ford family gathering for our generation, it now includes only us and my husband’s siblings and their spouses (when possible).

 All of us have children and grandchildren who live away from us. But, as siblings, we value our relationships, and though we are somewhat spread out geographically now, we do enjoy our times together.

Last evening we gathered at Janene and David’s for supper and fellowship.

My husband has two brothers and a sister.

My husband (far right) is the oldest of the four. Next in age is Curtiss (far left). David is the third one, and Bettie Jo is the youngest. Curtiss lives in Georgia. David and Bettie Jo both live in the Jefferson City, Missouri, area. Russell, of course, lives in Missouri half the year and Washington the other half of the year.

David’s wife, Janene (second from left) is my sister. They have been married 51 years. Curt’s wife Dolly was unable to make the trip from Georgia. Bettie Jo’s husband is Jim Hill. Russell and I are the “older” ones!

Fun time with family!

#familytime #familylove #MissouriWoods 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Upgrades at Peaceful Acres

Within the last few days, we have been able to make a couple of improvements to our home in Missouri.

It’s difficult to see on the picture unless you enlarge it, but we have a HUGE deck, all across the back and around part of the side of the house, as well as a top deck over part of it. It’s been challenging to find someone willing to do some repairs and stain the whole big thing. That was finished on Saturday, and what a relief!!

We moved into this new home (built from our own plan) in 2006. Since that time, we have had no option for efficient internet service. Just recently a company has laid fiber optic cable in our subdivision, and Saturday we went from 1.50 MPs (with DSL) to 100 MPs (upload AND download). I am ecstatic.

It was quite funny when I called CenturyLink to cancel the DSL. The guy asked me, “I see you have been a loyal customer since 2000. What would make you switch after 20 years?” I explained that the ONLY reason I had been with CL for that long was because I had no other option. So now that I can have 100 MPs compared to 1.5 MPs (on a good day, which was not often), why would I NOT switch. He hurriedly helped me cancel the account.

#fiberoptic #LumenOneCommunication #byebyeDSL #deckallbetternow 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Not to Worry {This I Know}

If you are curious, when I have a post title that includes something in {}, that is a reference to my post categories. 

Today, what is on my mind is yet another reminder to myself not to worry. I saw this meme recently:

I have been reviewing some notes I made while reading “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer. 

“Approach God boldly with every need. Never with a hint of fear, guilt, or shame.

“But always incubate those requests in gratitude. You’ll know you’re trusting Him when you’re simultaneously being thankful to Him... [Note to Barbara from Barbara: NOT when you’re simultaneously worrying about the things you are praying about.] ... Thankful to Him for what He’s already done, and for what He’s currently doing.

“...and whatever comes next in your life, it will undoubtedly be another opportunity for you to be swept up into your Father’s arms and carried through it. And that is where you want to be. 

“Because in His arms, you’ll know the beauty of His peace—‘the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension and which guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil 4:7)”

#nottoworry #peaceofGod #PriscillaShirer #GodisinControl