In light of current tragedies

tree 005This is a wire Tree of Life shadowbox sculpture I did back in 2012 entitled Bayou Religion.  I did 3 of them.

I believe it is pretty appropo for today.  I hope you see why.  May they rest in peace.

Please please pray for peace, an end to violence and hate, and renewed hearts.

GOD GARDENING ~ a personal experience

Anyone who knows me knows I love gardening.  My garden is Eden to me.  I have planned it to attract birds, bees, squirrels.


I’m not really accomplished at it, not really a green thumb here as the compost pile can attest to. Lots of failures in terms of trying to grow something and having poor results.  I remember the first time I tried to have a pot plant. I was 17 yrs. old.  My first apartment was over a garage and it was so rickety the dresser mirror slapped the wall when a person walked across the floor. It was downtown Alexandria on Fisk Street, the rent was $40/month, and my landlord was Mr. T.W. Moreau. But it was home for me and I loved it. I wanted to make it my own by having a real live potted plant. I went downstairs and dug up some dirt, put it in a pot, and planted a piece of ivy someone gave me. First of all, Mr. Moreau wasn’t happy about the hole I dug, and secondly, I had no clue about a plant’s basic needs like light and water. Or potting soil. Funny thing now that I look back on it, I didn’t have a clue about a much of anything!

A lot has changed since then. I can call myself a gardener about as well as I can call myself a writer and an artist. I use too many quotation marks, commas, and colons. I start over with a painting as much as I have finished results.  Ha!  The painting I’m working on now, I had to wipe out 4 times before I got what I wanted and that was just the undercoat!  That’s just what I do. That doesn’t mean I have reached the pinnacle of what the world deems success, it just means that I have done what my heart desired. I have learned to nurture.  I’ve learned to garden.


There are shortcuts to gardening and maybe everything else. I have found over the years that the rules of gardening correlate to the rules in life. For example, the species of humans must have community, friends if you will. Gardening is like that. All your friends want to give you a piece of theirs. You accept seeds or a plant from one friend, then another, then one more.  And before you know it – a little piece of all your friend’s gardens now live at your house. You water when it’s dry, throw a little Miracle Grow around when you think about it, pull a couple of weeds every time you go outside – then voila, people think you have a green thumb. It’s simply not true. You just have very good friends. My garden has my mother’s and Aunt Kat’s hostas. Faye, Sylivia, Deborah have shared a multitude of flora and fauna with me. Sue gives me a start of a Night Blooming Cereus every year. Every year, yeah, because somehow I manage to…. Well, I don’t even want to say it. I have daylilies galore. They keep multiplying, kind of like friends. A shortcut, but one with staggering success if you put your heart into it. My heart is into it because of my grandmother. She had a real greenhouse. I can remember the smell and her constant attention to it. It represented something akin to love and security to me.

Over the years I found that gardening is like loving God. Yes, it is. He who made all things. He who loves. He who nurtures. You wouldn’t believe how thankful I am for that! Gardening has revealed Him to me. He provides just the right amount of whatever is needed by His creation. Don’t you just love that? Please let me show you how He works this into our very own lives:

We’ve kind of had a struggle the past three years. There has been major illnesses for both my husband and myself. I have kicked it in the butt but my husband is seriously ill at the moment. We are two (barely) old folks who love each other very much, fight like cats and dogs (it’s in our DNA) and share every aspect of our lives. When I hurt, he hurts. When he hurts, I do too. Sometimes we have worldly needs that might take some creative financing. You know, the limited (barely) old folks budget thing because of medical bills, etc. Here is something I have learned; it is not necessary to worry about these things. Period.

A couple of months ago, I was commissioned to paint a picture for a Christian organization called the ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, Service) retreat community. To my surprise, I found it easy to come up with a composition reflecting the theme to match the future retreat for women as requested. Must have been the art angel sprinkling grace dust upon me. I don’t know. Anyway, I painted two pictures and over the weeks it took, I made it clear that this art was a donation to the community because my own spirituality had grown due to them. I love the ACTS organization. They are amazingly talented in revealing the love of the Lord to one and all. Finally the day arrived when two reps from the community, Charlotte Wasmer and Father Derek Ducote, came to assess my simple paintings and make a choice as to which one they would choose.  Fr. Derek asked Charlotte which one she wanted. She quietly said “I want both of them”. I couldn’t believe it and was so happy and humbled. We had a great visit for a couple of hours before they left taking both paintings with them. It was wonderful.  They gave me a beautiful card of sweet gratitude signed by several ACTS personal.  Before long, I got a text from Charlotte saying she left a love offering and I would know it when I saw it.   What!?   I found the envelope. I got chills when I opened it. I took it to the living room where my husband was lying down. I told him “you have to look at this”. He said he didn’t need to. I told him more firmly, “you have to look at this. I told you God would provide.” He took the envelope and his mouth dropped open.

Two weeks or so before, I threw a fleece before the Lord. If you don’t know the term, it means asking the Lord to provide for a specific need. I needed new tires on my car. I asked for that. And I trusted.

The envelope contained $400. The tires cost $398.

If that’s not GOD GARDENING, I don’t know what is!

Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Let us all turn to God.



Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Your prayers are very much needed.  Let us all turn to God.


Walking Through Fire

So….my family has been going through a hard time lately. I won’t go into what happened only to say that we have been deeply hurt by a situation many families have had to face. In other words, we are not alone although that fact doesn’t really change a whole lot about how we feel. I just feel sorry for anyone who has suffered in such a way.

I am compelled to share this with you because this morning I was gifted with a moment of clarity; a beautiful moment, a revelation that put my soul at peace.

Personally, I have struggled to balance my act. My first reaction is grief and all the ugly-face crying and ‘gnashing of teeth’ within me. My husband, usually strong and brutish, grieves quietly, a steady stream of tears soaking his beard and burley chest; a strong man with the breath knocked out of him. It’s a hard thing to see.

Some are some things you never want your children to see. A marriage dissolved is one of them. I don’t need to go into details because…well…it’s not the right thing to do. I’m sharing only to tell you this: God doesn’t leave you in the fire. The following is what I learned just this morning.

My house is filled with children today. Two are my grandchildren and two their step-sisters whom I have claimed as my own.

We have been waiting all summer for this weekend long slumber party. When any of my grandchildren come for a visit, I try to keep them busy. We do a lot of projects. It cuts down on the mischief. Yes. It does even if it means I am a drooping rag doll when they leave. It’s all about good memories and loving. It’s important. Last night and today they have been working on grand masterpieces of art work – painting, gluing, stenciling, whatever they can get into from the bowels of my art room which does, in fact, contain mountains of rejected paintings (that can be gessoe-ed over), tons of acrylic paint, sparkles, piles of ‘gems’ and unused beads. It’s the young art aficionado’s paradise. They dive in with glee, with both hands, with huge smiles. I am filled with joy for being The Best Nana. I thought having them on this particular weekend would be too much for me. But I find that I am strangely appreciative of the noise and innocent chaos. I am actually enjoying this reprieve from the drama that is our normal life at the moment. I am paying attention to all the details, all the little things. I made smiley face pancakes for breakfast with red lips and blue eyes. There were also some lopsided Mickey Mouses, a spikey dog, and swirly pink and blue pancakes. Their laughter was a soothing balm. I am healing.


After breakfast as I was washing up the dishes, my thoughts focused on the event that has us all in an uproar. I silently lambasted the situation, dredging up all the painful words I could think of. But then…I was ashamed of my thoughts. I never used to be that thoughtful, if you can call it that. I let myself talk to God about my feelings. From my heart I told Him how I felt, the anger, the sorrow, how I want to make everything go away and for everything to go back to the way it used to be. The situation hurts. How are we as a family going to get through this?

Then, I heard a little voice. One of the Grand Artists had looked up from her masterpiece and said “I have a scripture I’m thinking of but I can’t remember where it comes from in the Bible.” I asked for the scripture and she said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I knew immediately that it was God’s message for me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and goose bumps popped up all down my arms.
Then she asked me if I could find it in the bible. I did. Philippians 4:13

From the mouths of babes, right? My Baby-Grand was unknowingly God’s messenger. Awesome! I hope I don’t sound selfish, but I am so glad they are here this weekend! God’s word let me know how I can get through these dark times, and how I can help my family get through it. Yes, I’m still angry but that will pass. Maybe. Eventually. If I let God help me. If I allow Him to strengthen me. I like that path a lot better than the one I’ve been on. That anger has got to go. I’m not ignoring the situation that hurt my family, I am, however, planning to deal with it a little differently.

And here’s another nugget that came my way this week. A friend told me that sometimes God allows devastating things to happen to us to mold, teach, and lead us to the next life event He has planned for us. And always, always toward blessings that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Disclaimer: I am not talking about atrocities across the world. Just my life. To enter into that conversation, I would have to be some kind of gifted theologian or incredible biblical genius.

What happens when we don’t live our life according to God’s flawless plan? Well, I guess it just doesn’t work out.

Life is not easy. Some things are just too hard and painful. It’s terribly hard to practice even a little bit of forgiveness. But I trust God. He has a plan and I want to cooperate with Him. He will hold us and care for us when life throws fire at us. We go through the darkness to get to the light. We go through the fire to become refined. We won’t be burned if He is there.

Feel free to add your perspective in the comment section. Who knows? Your words may help someone who could be reading this.

Please don’t forget to pray for peace. And, I might add, for all the hurting people.

Announcing my new ETSY shop!

I am happy to announce that I have opened a new etsy shop! I am in the process of stocking it with tons of hand made rosaries, car rosaries, jewelry, art, and (of course) my book, SECRETS OF THE OLD LADIES’ CLUB !
Check me out at

Each item is handmade by me, or authored by ~ um ~ me.


Somebody asked me where I found the time for all of this. No easy answer, that. Let me start by saying we old ladies ROCK! Set priorities, then go for it. 1. God 2. Family 3. Others 4. Self. Lucky for me, my passion to create serves all. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I gotta tell ya, serving God first and everyone next, saving yourself for last gives more joy to everything you can do. I’m not always successful because I am rather selfish, a little self-centered, and prone to seek out the more comfortable avenues. But I do try. So if someone like me can try, so can anyone else.

I’m a person who has to get my art out there. I hope you like what you see. Oh, and if you order my book, please be a darling and leave a good review on Goodreads:
If you like reading ebooks, you can order one on Amazon:

May God bless us all, and please don’t forget to pray for peace.

The Home of Jim and Frances Hurst ~ It’s Christmas In There!

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for a grand tour of an awesome home. I know I say ‘awesome’ a lot but there is no better word to use when describing this place. Jim and Frances Hurst have a home that will make you feel like you have just stepped into the pages of Architectural Digest, The New Yorker, or in the tube with HGTV. It is jaw-dropping beautiful. And it has more than one story…

Christmas Day 2013 will mark the one year anniversary that a tornado scraped it’s way through an Alexandria, Louisiana downtown neighborhood and left a sorry sight in it’s wake. Jim and Frances’ home was hit full on but thankfully, the damage didn’t constitute a total loss. Man, talk about angels watching over them! Before I tell you the story, let me share what Frances told me about their home.

First, it was built sometime in the 1930s and was a commercial property before the Hursts acquired it. Lucky for us they did. The building was nearly sold to a person who wanted to razz the place. That would have been a real shame, especially considering how it has been sculpted into the stylish loft that it is now. Another grand piece of history would have been lost and they don’t build ’em like they used to, ya know.


Jim and Frances are a couple with incredible talent for restoration, imagination, and repurposing. What others saw as just another old building, they saw as their next big project. They have been there for six or seven years and haven’t run out of project ideas yet. Of course, the 2012 tornado dropped a kink into some of their plans but it didn’t stop them. It just kind of sidetracked them for a good 10 months. Aside from that, this project has clearly been a labor of love. The love shows. It permeates every room and hangs in the atmosphere like a pleasant, heart-warming ribbon of light. The Hursts live on the top floor of the building, thus ‘the loft’. That, my friends, would be a serious 5700 heated square feet of loft. It is a splendid area with an industrial vibe to it softened by the presence of antique and vintage pieces of re-purposed furniture and modern fixtures sharing space with pieces of sentimental value.

When I was given a tour of the loft I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. In fact, I recall from the first moment I stepped off the elevator – yes, elevator – I prayed to God … Please, please, please make my heavenly mansion like this place!

Ok, back to the tornado. Thankfully the structural damage was mostly limited to the roof at the south end of the building. Unfortunately, as is the way with bad weather, rain and wind followed causing the majority of the damage rendered. It must have been a huge mess. The pics below, courtesy of Jim Hurst, were taken after the tornado hit.

tornado 3

tornado 4

tornado 5

tornado 6

tornado 10

tornado 14

tornado 18

Putting the pieces back together had to have been an enormous task, but the couple managed to do it with flair. Being the artist that he is, Jim is the man behind the iron. Fence, that is. He created the iron fence that surrounds the outside areas of their home. It’s not just a security/privacy fence. It is a work of art he shares with the community.


In addition to the fence, his talent is shared throughout the home in the form of furniture he has built, his art, and even the door and cabinet handles.

Jim and his son built this table for Frances one year.

Jim and his son built this table for Frances one year.

handmade handles

handmade handles

Now, friends, sit back and enjoy the rest of the pics of this fab house.

This Christmas tree is in the master bedroom. Can you imagine waking up to that every morning? The next picture is taken from the opposing end of the building – the opposite side of the same window. Didn’t I tell you this place is awesome?

This vignette greets you as you step out of the elevator. This would be Harry’s greeting. Harry is their enormous Portuguese Water Dog.

OMG, the kitchen! Vibrant lime green plus industrial flair tempered with work from local artists (Bridie Rollins, Maria Manemann, and, of course, whimsical Jim) and an old drafting table turned into a kitchen island!


This is a view of the kitchen from across the room. Next, the centerpiece of the generous sized table and chairs. Jim built the table and Frances, talented seamstress that she is, upholstered the chairs. And look what she did to Christmas up her chandelier!
chandchristmas chand


Frances is an avid pianist and this great room is big enough for not one, but TWO huge pianos! I just wonder how the hell they got both of them upstairs! *ahem, pardon my French.

Please note that this piano, built in the 1800s, is the same type piano that Beethoven used!
Do you recognize the table with the vessel sinks on top? It’s an old chemistry table, thank you very much. Frances said it still has the holes the gas pipe fit through in chemistry class. And seriously, did you see that gianormous walk-in shower? Now you know why I asked God to make my mansion in heaven just like this. I’m pretty sure the master bath is about as big as my living/dining rooms together.

Here we have a few sentimental pieces. A cabinet that belonged to Frances’ mother, a dresser repurposed into the perfect chest, a barber chair for Santa, the sink/vanity for the guest bathroom, a massive Cyprus stump that has been with Jim since college, and oh yeah, a bench Jim made out of an abandoned wheel chair.

There is so much talent put into this old building! I have to show you my very favorite thing. Well, my favorite thing besides the corrugated tin ceilings throughout. You know those structural iron I beams characteristic of loft buildings? Yeah, the ones that hold the roof up. Did you notice those in the living area? Look again. Jim clad them with wood molding and the end pieces of some very old fluorescent lights that came with the building. They look like old street lamps to me. My eyes watered and I think I salivated when I saw them. Sorry about the visual, but I have to tell it like it is. My friends, this is ingenious and stunning. Visionary, in fact. Who thinks like that? Um, the Hursts do, that’s who.


I have only shown you the top floor home of this wonderful couple. There’s more…. Maybe another time.


I would dearly love it if you would leave a comment on my page!

It’s Christmas, people. Do something nice for someone. Anyone. And don’t forget to pray for peace. Amen.

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!

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!


In Henderson, Louisiana off I-49 at exit 115

In Henderson, Louisiana off I-49 at exit 115[/caption

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Casanova, the owner of a shop by the name of Louisiana Marketships at the 115. She is the most delightful person, a tall (well, taller than me), smooth-skinned beauty with a hard to miss twinkle in her eye and a genuine smile on her face. Her personality is bigger than life so trust me when I say it will meet you at the door. Some people just have that way about them and she is one. It’s obvious she is in her element in the shop because she looked like she was having a ball the whole time my husband and I were there.
Jennifer Casanova Jennifer Casanova

Apparently, Jennifer’s attitude is contagious because every customer left with a big grin on their face. Take a look at Sheila, one of the employees. Doesn’t she look like she loves her new job? Duh, Ye-es.


The store is chock-o-block with great finds, everything from antiques to art. To quote Jennifer; “It’s a fun, quirky shop on I-10 dedicated to the preservation of collectables, art, and fine crafts with an emphasis on Louisiana artists and products.” It’s a true statement, folks. You ought to see that place. It makes me proud to be represented there. Yes, you heard me right. My book, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club, has found a nest there down in Cajun Country. Go get you one, Cher! And as Jennifer says, “Come pass a good time!” It will be easy because as soon as you walk through the door, your spirits will be lifted by the sights, the scents, and the good ol’ Cajun music filtering through speakers in every room from the front to the back of the shop. My husband and I had to work hard to keep our feet firm on the floor, but our hearts were jumping and jigging all around with the jive tunes punctuating the air.

And, ohmygoodness, the art! Wait, let me rephrase that: the ART! I can’t put into words how wonderful it was to see so much art work from so many local artists. Enjoy the pictures below but keep in mind this is only a sample. There are 85 vendors to choose from so you’ll have to just go and see it for yourselves. You will not be sorry! It’s just a short trip down I-49 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Take the 115 exit onto I-10 and there you are. You can’t miss it. Look for the building painted with all the cheerful colors.
Tell ’em Nan sent you…

And don’t forget, ya’ll, Pray for Peace. The whole world needs your prayers.