Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Thankful for the Gift of Music (orig post 2/20/2015)

G52 Prompt 7 Music

The prompt for the Gratitude 52 Journal this week is “Music: Sketch or illustrate your appreciation for the gift of music.”

My Mamo Wilson had a grand piano. When I was very small, I loved to sit at the piano and pretend I was like my Aunt Lucy, who had an incredible talent at the piano. When my mother would tell me to “Stop banging on the piano,” my Mamo would say, “Let her play.” 

1950 BK and Janene at Mamos piano

When I was 9, my family was visiting in a home that had a piano. I sat at the piano and someone helped me place my fingers on keys that I later knew to be C-E-G. I pressed down on the keys and thought it was the most beautiful sound in the world (LOVED 3-part harmony from that time forth!).

I begged my parents (who had no money, as my dad had just begun college to prepare for his ministry as a pastor, and there were four of us kids). But my mother arranged to get her piano (a Wurlitzer spinet) from her mother’s house. At 50 cents per lesson, I began, as a 5th grader. I continued with piano lessons, off and on, until I was a senior in high school, at which time I began giving lessons. I say “off and on” because when lack of money would dictate, I would have to stop taking lessons for a while. During those times, I went through my lesson books on my own.

Barbara Princess, Janene candidate, Keith Crown Bearer Russellville Oct 1960

This was Mother’s Wurlitzer. By this time (8th grade), I was playing for church and was using my allowance money to buy sheet music, like “He” (seen here, on the piano) for 60 cents. I still have that sheet music.

Bride in Home

My wedding photographer recognized that piano was so much a part of my life that he suggested one of my bridal photos should be at the piano.

In the mid-70’s, I used money made from giving piano lessons to buy my first piano, a Wurlitzer. I still have it.

My most prized possession is my Yamaha Baby Grand Piano, a surprise Christmas gift from my husband in 2003. 

new yamaha

I value the time I spend alone at the piano, but even more, the “singing around the piano,” quite often actually (what a blessing!), and always during our family Christmas.



music room tree 1

christmas music on piano 2

Playing piano has always been at the core of who I am. It would take a book to write all about the role of music in my life, and down through the generations of my children and grandchildren. So, yes, I am truly thankful for the gift of music.

#Gratitude52Journal #GiftofMusic #BabyGrandPiano #sketch #watercolor

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

My Yamaha Baby Grand is Here!

As previously stated, “Once my piano has been delivered, for the first time in a very long time, all my belongings will be under one roof.” Yes! That time is now! 

Granted, the quantity of those “belongings” has been greatly reduced, after giving away a very large portion of what was “housed” in our big house on Peaceful Acres, in Troy, Missouri, once that property was sold. BUT, what we do still own (of primary importance is our sentimental belongings, such as photos, albums, and keepsakes), is all with us in our ONE home now.

As we prepared to make the cross-country move, I was able to find a piano moving company that only moves pianos, specializes in cross-country moves, employs only certified piano movers, and is able to store the piano in a climate-controlled environment until delivery. 

In my “big house” in Troy, the piano reigned over a fairly large “library,” where it looked particularly stunning during the Christmas season. 

They packed up/picked up my piano on July 21.


Then, we moved from Missouri, arriving in Washington on August 15. No piano yet. Until last Saturday. It was delivered on October 23.


And now, the baby grand reigns over a much smaller room, but it is all just for the piano, but still with plenty of room for family to stand, for “singing around the piano.” 

And so, here we are. All my “stuff” is with me. And some of my “stuff” is pretty important to me.

My piano means so much more than just a musical instrument. In the next couple of posts, I may share previous blog writings where I describe that part of me that is basically impossible to describe. I know. Few will understand. But some will.

Meanwhile, here my great grandson is on the piano bench with me, following a long history of  “piano bench” sharing, starting with me as a toddler, sharing the bench with my Aunt Lucy, who was my “idol” at the piano. Then there were my two children, with me. And then my grandchildren, Tory and Conner. (I actually gave piano lessons to both my children, Mark and Sharida, and then to Tory and Conner.)

Tory Early Spring 2004 (my piano was brand new)

Conner October 2007

And now Conner’s son, my great grandson, Leeland. He is so excited to have the piano in my home here in Washington. He has been waiting for it. He has used his little truck to play like he is delivering it. “Mamo, I just delivered your piano into the piano room!” So, he and I are both pretty excited to have the real thing, finally here!

The next couple of posts, for those who take the time to read them, will give insight into how my piano is so much a part of me.

#YamahaBabyGrand #MyPiano #CrossCountryMove #PianoMovers #WhoIAm #RustyandNeedtoPractice #library #pianoroom

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Watercolor Fox

As much as I try, I cannot bring myself to think of a fox as “bad.” I know they often appear in literature (specifically, even in the Bible) as something other than sweet, little cuddly fur balls; nonetheless, I just think of them as beautiful creatures.

There are several Scripture passages about foxes, but the one that came to my mind as I was thinking about this “little fox,” was the reference to “little foxes” in Song of Solomon. This information is taken from one of my favorite resources,

In Song of Solomon 2:15 the speaker says, “Catch for us the foxes, / the little foxes / that ruin the vineyards, / our vineyards that are in bloom.” It might seem strange that, in the middle of a romantic, tender conversation, the matter of a fox hunt should arise. As with much of the imagery in this beautiful poem, the foxes are symbolic.

Solomon’s readers considered foxes to be destructive animals that could destroy valuable vineyards (cf. Judges 15:4Psalm 63:10Ezekiel 13:4). As the Shulammite and her beloved verbalize their love for each other, we are suddenly confronted with the need to catch the foxes that spoil the vines. If the blossoming vineyard spreading its fragrance (Song of Solomon 2:13) refers to the growing romance between the couple, then the foxes of verse 15 represent potential problems that could damage the relationship prior to the marriage (which takes place in chapter 5). The command, in essence, is “Take preventative measures to protect this love from anything that could harm it.”

In the Old Testament, foxes are mentioned in Judges 15. Samson ties torches to 300 foxes and releases them to destroy the grain fields of the Philistines. In Nehemiah 4:3, the evil Tobiah mocks the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall, saying, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

Okay, I get that. And as the reference notes, “Solomon’s readers considered foxes to be destructive animals…” Writers need to know their audience. 

For me, if I’m the “audience,” and someone wanted to warn me to “beware” of a potential danger, whether in a relationship with another person, or in my relationship with God (?), it might be well to warn me that little soft furry creatures may not always be what they appear to be. 

But when I paint a little fox, I choose to think of him as just another of God’s beautiful creations—and I’m especially fond of furry ones.

#foxesintheBible #watercolorfox #watercolorpractice #watercolor #MariaRaczynskaInspired #littlefoxes

Monday, October 11, 2021

Fruit of the Spirit and Self-Reflection Questions

When I paint fruits, I often think about the Scripture passage in Galatians that describes, really, what my life should exhibit.

 Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If I want my life to be “Spirit-filled,” those characteristics should be not only present but descriptive of me.

As I was pondering that thought, my weekly Devo in “As Long As I Have Breath” expanded on this same concept (funny how that happens sometimes).

Bruce Gordon says, “Self-reflection can give you the insight you need to adjust your thinking and your actions…setting your mind on the things of the Spirit means being influenced by the Spirit who lives inside of you. It means aligning yourself with the Spirit.”

These self-reflection questions are posed by Gordon:

1. What are you doing well that you can leverage?
2. What isn’t working that you need to change?
3. What is missing that you need to add?
4. What is confusing that you need to clarify?
5. How can you be influenced by the Spirit? What would this look like in your life?

Good questions. I recorded my answers (reflections) in the study book. 

Happy Autumn!

#AsLongAsIHaveBreath #fruitoftheSpirit #watercolorpear #selfreflection

Tuesday, October 5, 2021


I came across a book published by “Focus on the Family.” I can’t remember how I discovered this particular book (God?), but it is an encouragement to me so far. The book, “As Long as I Have Breath: Serving God With Purpose in the Later Years,” by Bruce Gordon, is divided into 52 very short daily devotionals, one for each week of the year. It takes me about 10 minutes to do the weekly study each Monday. It’s a brief time to direct my attention to this topical study, thus allowing plenty of time for my other Bible reading/Bible studies.

I may share portions of what I read, throughout the year, with a hope that it may encourage others as well.

In the introduction, the writer says, “I have a couple of strong beliefs about getting old. I believe that aging matters. I also believe that God’s Word is not limited by age.” (AMEN!)

He goes on to say that there are many examples in the Bible where God directs someone to great things, in what we would refer to as the AUTUMN or even the winter season of life. Abraham at age ninety-nine is an example.

Hmmm… Autumn… the season of the calendar year that is on my mind (and on my art “plate”) right now.

Watercolor using Holbein professional watercolor paints and Arches Cold Press watercolor paper, inspired by my favorite teacher, Maria Raczynska.

(Maybe at this point in my life I should stop avoiding the thought of “autumn” or winter of life, and start to embrace it?)

Gordon reminds me, “Our later years are the best time to find newness of purpose, a revitalized zest for living, and a worthwhile mission to accomplish.”

Closing thought from the introduction: “As long as you have breath, you can serve the Lord with vigor and purpose.”

#watercolorleaves #watercolorpractice #watercolor #AsLongAsIHaveBreath #successfulaging #servingGodwithpurpose #52devotionals #autumn #autumnoflife

Friday, October 1, 2021

Rest, Relaxation and Renewal

I feel sure that I have written before about how much I love the word REST. It’s one of those words that sort of evokes the feeling that the word describes, just in the hearing of the word.

For me, rest has not only a physical aspect, but most definitely an emotional one as well. “Rest” is not only something I want to DO (verb) but also a physical and emotional state I want to BE IN (noun).

REST is a necessary element of quality of life, for me.

We just completed several months of high stress. Everyone knows that on the charts of “high stressors,” MOVING is near the top of every list. We didn’t just move, we completely uprooted from Missouri, gave away or sold about 85% of our belongings, and pulled two UHauls (one loaded and pulled by our son and grandson, thank goodness) full of our remaining “stuff” a 32-hour-drive away, to Washington state, where, thankfully, we already owned a home (that had been our “second home” for about 3 years). 

Oh, by the way, it was already fully furnished, as we didn’t plan for that home to be our only home. So, now, where to put everything from those trailers, into a house that was already pretty full…. Challenges. 

It was by choice, of course, as we decided we wanted to downsize (from a 4,296 square foot home PLUS a 2,250 square foot home, to ONLY a 2,250 square foot home) and relocate to where our son’s family lives.

But just because you decide you want to do something does not mean the “something” is easy.

At about the same time we were selling the big house (not without a couple of crises during the process) and giving our furnishings to 8 different family members, packing up the rest, my husband and I were both dealing with medical issues (I say “medical” rather than “health” because we are both fine, but the issues were very demanding and without immediate solutions). 

Practically before the last box was unpacked, we decided to purchase a travel trailer to park on some land we co-own with our son and his wife. The property is located a little over two hours from our home in Washington, in the country, in the foothills of the Simcoe Mountains (on the dry side of the Cascade Range), a place where our family can go for a climate break from where we live (when it’s rainy for the thousandth day in a row, we can escape to the property), in a peaceful setting.

So, yes, we were ready for some rest, relaxation, and renewal!!

Our son named our place “Higher Ground,” as the old hymn came to his mind every time he drove up here. “Heaven’s table land.”

Hubby and I are here as I write this. Very quiet. Peaceful. We have been able to rest and relax and renew. 

I have made progress in my Bible studies. 

I am celebrating because I am finally caught up in the One Year Chronological Bible—I started it last January and got as far behind as 28 days, and it was VERY hard to catch up, but I DID IT!

I also am totally enjoying reading “Woven, Understanding the Bible as one Seamless Story” by Angie Smith. I highly recommend it!

We have been missing our wildlife from our Peaceful Acres woods in Missouri. Here on Higher Ground we have a lot of deer that come very often, so we have enjoyed watching them.

It is so pretty here. We can see Mt Adams and Mt Hood. Mt Adams got a covering of snow last night.

Some of my favorite Bible passages about “rest.” 

  • Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
  • Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1
  • Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29-30
#rest #relaxation #renewal #Biblestudies #WovenbyAngieSmith #chronologicaloneyearBible #higherground #JoyisaPersonbyRobinMeadows #drysideoftheCascades