Crossing off the Bucket List!


Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Who knew life after 50 could be so much fun?? And I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever. I am deep into my 50’s and the funny part about that is that I didn’t have a clue about life until middle age began it’s uphill climb over my being. I hear people talk about their high school years being the best time of their life. I’ve heard people say early marriage and motherhood ‘completed’ them. I have even heard one or two people wish they were a child again. Not me. Nope. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world (mostly because I have the most adorable grandchildren) but as far as high school and childhood – you can have ’em. The simple fact is, for a late bloomer like myself, hitting that 50 mark was like getting permission to finally have a life. Suddenly, young people call me “ma’am”. I seem to have acquired respect through no effort of my own, although I will admit that the first time I was asked if I wanted a senior citizen discount, I was just a pinch offended. Of course, now I ask for it. Hey. It’s been earned.

Along with garnering respect, another perk of aging is suddenly realizing that you can do anything your little heart desires. Confidence is no longer elusive, it’s a new friend. For example, I confidently do not color my hair any longer. Screech. Yes, it’s true. Let the grays come on down! What does it matter? Who cares? My husband told me the other day I’m starting to look like a silver fox. I haven’t figured out if that’s a good thing or not, but it doesn’t really matter anyway. I choose wear it confidently. It’s all good.

I am living life actively and happily now more than at any other time in my life. A by-product of that is the development of my own Bucket List. You know what that is, I’ve written about it before, taking inspiration from the fab movie of the same name. If you recall, the number One spot on my Bucket List was to write a book. Joyfully, I can cross that off the list. I wrote and published my own book, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club (available on amazon, B&N, etsy, and a few shops locally). Yes, I’m aglow. And I intend to write more books, actually, a few more are in the wings.

Age and confidence gave me permission to add many things to my Bucket List and do way more than I ever really thought I could. What else, you say? I learned how to belly dance. Uh huh. It wasn’t pretty considering I am more belly than anything else, but at least I had the confidence to go for it. Again, who cares what my dancing looks like as long as I enjoy it? The truth is I crossed that off my Bucket List pretty early on. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

But my most most favorite favorite favorite thing to cross off my list is I am finally learning to play the piano! Imagine that! It’s something I have wanted to do since I was a child so when the opportunity to purchase a piano at a ridiculously low price (thanks again Mary!), I jumped at it. I can’t describe how excited I am. I guess if I would have had the opportunity when I was younger, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do today. The only regret I have is concerning my boys. I wish I could have given them the chance to learn how to play the piano. One of my sons did play the alto sax for a little while, but the other son never was musically inclined. Come to think of it, sax-boy wasn’t that instrumentally inclined, proof of which became evident when he traded said saxophone for a stereo when I wasn’t looking.

This much I have learned: The purpose of having a Bucket List is to give yourself permission to do that which you are passionate about. Awesome.

Here’s something else I am passionate about; creating art. I just finished a series of works with various interpretations of the Tree of Life. It’s not a new concept, just a new interpretation. It’s a subject we artists love because of the unique individual spin we can add to it. I constructed my trees using silver-plated, bronze, copper, and gold-tone wire, added semi-precious stone chips, glass beads, Swarovski crystal and charms. The symbolism includes three main roots to the tree (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), twelve branches (twelve tribes of Isreal), amethyst (royalty), sodalite (peace), aventurine and jade (new life), jasper and agate (earth) and a garnet to depict a ‘drop of His blood’. These are mounted within shadow boxes with backgrounds of religious connotations. I will be taking this line of art to a little shop down in Henderson, Louisiana tomorrow. The owner, Jennifer Casanova, is an art lover and she especially loves to offer home-grown Louisiana artwork in her store. If you get a chance, schedule a fly-by and tell her Nancy sent you!
https://www.facebook.com/casanovamarketshops

Bayou Religion

Bayou Religion


Tree of Life

Tree of Life


Word of God Tree of Life

Word of God
Tree of Life

Please don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. The whole world needs your prayers.

And please don’t forget to drop a comment or like this post. I’ve been told when you do that, something really great will happen in your life! 😉 And that will make me very happy!

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Got My Sunday Preachin’ On!


I was inspired by a blogger by the name of Andrew Hines. I’ve included the link here: http://www.andrew-hines.com/2013/10/06/more-than-average/ This young man is a fresh new voice with a beautifully developing spirituality and I think he will definitely go far. I hope you take a look at his blog to see what I mean. I’m pretty sure you’re going to like his point of view. ANYWAY… his post for today is great food for thought, but if you know me, you know that I can’t leave well enough alone, especially when the subject is anything Divine. I had to offer my opinion, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just how I roll.

I LOVE that Andrew’s point of view today is to be more than average, and change your circumstances to fit your dream, and God wants you to be happy. Wise, wise words, don’t you think? This is the comment I left on his page:

“Andrew, I like your post but please allow me to add my two cents. John 10:10 “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus said that. He also said “It’s easier for a camel to get through an eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven.” Seems to be a contradiction here, right? No. first of all, if you do your research, you will find that Jesus wasn’t saying that all rich people are not welcome in heaven. If you note, he was referring to those rich Pharisees (and others) that give a lot of lip service to doing good things and focus on material things as valuable, serving their pride and status before anything else at all.
That’s not what Jesus meant. He really does want us to have ‘life more abundantly’ but not to the extent that all we are is a materialistic people making our worth nothing more than the amount of electronics we have, how many awards we have, how big our bank account is. An abundant life is much more than that. To love one another, to serve one another, to be His hands and feet on earth are far more rewarding than anything material.
At the same time, He blesses us with the desires of our hearts. There is not one thing wrong with being rich. There is a lot wrong with using wealth only in a self serving way.
I love what you said about bettering ourselves and changing our circumstances to fit our dreams, not the other way around. Self-improvement, working hard to succeed, being grateful for your blessings, becoming a better person – If that brings out the joy in you, imagine how proud our Heavenly Father is of you! Love is a mighty thing.”

I felt pretty good about what I said and that I had taken the chance on that platform to say it. Then I thought I might sound a little bit holier-than-thou and that’s not the impression I wanted to give. I hope you forgive me if that is what you thought. But God has a way of working things out and I shouldn’t be surprised when he does. I received a lovely email from a priest I know with this quote from Pope Francis’ Angelus address given today:
Pope Francis and Doves

“Do not be ashamed to bear witness to our Lord, nor to me, in prison for him; but with the power of God, suffer with me for the Gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8). But this is meant for everyone: each one of us, in his everyday life, can bear witness to Christ, with the power of God, the power of faith, the small faith that we have, which, nevertheless, is strong! With this strength bear witness to Jesus Christ, be Christians with your life, with our witness!”

Wow. Of course, I can not add anything to the wise words of our Pope, except for this observation that may relate to the subject of Andrew Hines’ post and my reply to it. In the scripture from 2 Timothy, Paul says he is in prison for Him. He willingly faces the consequences of the decision he made in life to declare the good news of our Lord. He becomes a prisoner for what he believes in (notice I didn’t say by what he believes in).

In the same way, we too make a decision to face consequences for what we believe in – materialistically and spiritually. To become a slave to a materialistic life cannot bring joy, not everlasting joy, not joy that counts. But to use the gift of our free will to become the best we can be in all areas of our lives is a testament to the love and generosity of our Father. He is a good God and we are His beloved.

I’m probably going to get some flack from non-believers and haters who ask “where is God during wars, starvation of children, birth defects, etc?” That’s ok. Exercising free will is still a gift whether you believe it or not. And I am not so learned or knowledgeable to spar with them. Simply put, I don’t know the answer to that except to say that maybe, just maybe, He wants US to act, to prove our integrity, to be His hands and feet on this earth. Maybe He expects us to feed the hungry, give to the poor, ease despair, do what we can in His name. 2 Timothy 1:9 makes more sense of it: “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to His own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,”

Can I get an AMEN?

Can I get a comment?

And don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. Believe me, the whole world needs your prayers.

What have I been doing, you ask?


There is more to me than meets the eye… not saying that’s always a good thing…but it has it’s advantages. I’ve shared some of my work outside of writing at the end of this post. I love my life.

voices
Bwahahahah!

I have renewed enthusiasm concerning my novel, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. One lesson I learned early on about self-publishing is that it’s hard to get the book out there, especially if you cannot afford a marketing package. So you can imagine how excited I was to get a phone call from a group of ladies at the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism in Ville Platte bidding me to come for a cup of coffee. If you are not from Louisiana, let me tell you that when you are invited for coffee by anyone, it’s a sign – a good one. I was so excited about the coffee klatch, even having the tire on my brand new car go flat on the way didn’t discourage me, although I do admit to being nervous for arriving late. Nervous? Not much! I was a basket case. But come to find out, the people I met were awesome and equally as excited as I was. It appeared that my 15 minutes of fame was extended to an entire 16 minutes. They thought they had a celebrity in the house. Who, me? The one who stuttered and had sweaty palms? The one who worried for many an hour about choosing a suitable outfit from my vast array of jeans and tee shirts for this coffee/meeting? Yes, me.

Worrying is pointless and I must re-learn over and over that it accomplishes nothing. The coffee klatch was a success. It started out with me saying a few words about the characters in my book, then, to my relief, the room exploded into hilarity as, one by one, the ladies reported ways in which they identified with my characters. One story shared led to another, and another and before long, all of us were laughing, slapping our knees, and gasping for air until someone passed a box of tissues to mop up the dripping Niagra of tears while we caught our breath. We couldn’t help it. Old ladies are fun.

So to cap it off, I was asked to give a little talk during the Chamber of Tourism dinner, which I did last Wednesday. And to the October Chamber of Commerce dinner coming up. And someone asked me to speak to the Rotary Club. Add to that, the person in charge of ordering books for Evangeline parish (not county, c’mon, we live in Louisiana) informed me that she had ordered copies of my book for every library in the parish. I. am. surprised. And can’t believe how blessed I am. The author of this blog does not ‘do’ social activity well. I break out in hives, blank-outs, and nausea when I meet people I don’t know. Usually. The good news is when I talk about my book, I rarely have to finish a sentence before someone else in the group takes over and within moments everyone is talking and laughing at the same time. That’s what makes it easy. I start, someone else finishes. I just sit back with a smile on my face, nod my head, and have a good time.

Truthfully, I don’t know how it happened that I have gone from 15 minutes of fame to at least 19 minutes now. I just started with some crazy old lady busting out of my head to get her story on paper. Or something like that anyway. If you have ever written a story, you know that the characters come to life in a unique and delightful way. Once you write about them, they move in. They don’t leave. It’s wonderful.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

In an earlier post I’ve mentioned that I have a habit of going through what my husband and step-son call ‘phases’, meaning I go off on a tangent with one of my many hobbies until I have come completely undone. It’s fun. To my husband’s surprise, or perhaps disdain, I rather like it.

My latest burst of energy produced some pretty positive results. Here are a few pictures:

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A bold statement-of-faith necklace and a St. Theresa Chaplet prayer beads.

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A one-decade rosary with a locket crucifix, a one decade world peace rosary with a “drop of His blood”

These are listed in my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ToLoveAlways

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And some five decade tee-tiny little rosaries made for baby’s baptism, or keep one close beside you in your pocket, or give it as the perfect original shower gift.

And these little darlings are not yet listed, but soon…

Oh, and don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. God answers prayers. We wait for His time, but continue our vigil of prayer.