Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sally's Story

This story just poured out of me this morning...I don't know where it came from, but it needed to be told. This is Sally and this is her story:

Just two months shy of her 13th birthday, Sally had stopped having periods. She was hungry all the time and her belly was poking out a little farther than usual...most of the time, she could hold it in when her Father told her she was "getting fat", but that was getting harder to do, so she would just wear the same old baggy t-shirt that said "Life is Good" across the front, with an image of a guy in a canoe with his dog. She convinced her Father that it was her "favorite" shirt, so that's why she wore it all the time. Sally wasn't stupid though, she knew what was causing everything...it was her brother's girlfriends fault. Sally was the 4th child of a family with 12 kids. She had 3 older brothers, 4 younger brothers and 4 younger sisters. Her Mother had been pregnant for as long as Sally could remember and was pregnant yet again. Sally decided early on that she would not end up like her Mother. Sometimes days would go by and she would not even see her Mother at all, especially now that she was "old enough" to take care of all the household chores and make sure her younger siblings were fed and did their homework. Sally dreamed of the day she could leave this place, this life and have a life of her own. She loved animals and wanted to dedicate her life to taking care of them, somehow. Her best friend, Ramona, lived right down the road and was an only child. Ramona had the best life! Her parents were wonderful and so kind. They invited Sally to do everything with them, but she could only go every now and then, because of her household duties. Ramona had just turned 13 and got a horse for her birthday. She let Sally help her name him and they named him "Wildfire", like the song Sally used to hear her Mother singing in the kitchen when she was younger...she hadn't heard her Mother sing in at least 5 years and she missed hearing it because her Mother had the best voice of anyone Sally had ever heard. 

With her growing belly, Sally knew she had to tell someone, so she decided to tell Ramona and swore her to secrecy. It started when she was 10. Her oldest brother was 15 at the time and didn't know what he was doing, so it all started off a little awkward and gentle, even though it was horrible and the worst feeling Sally could ever imagine happening to her in her whole life, ever! But he would "reward" her every time she let him have his way with her and she got to the point where she tolerated it, because one time he brought her a Kitten and that made it all worth it to her. But the last year had been different...he had become rougher, more violent. He even slapped her once while he was on top of her for no reason. She threatened to tell their Father and he told her if she did, he would kill her Kitten and dismember it and smear it's blood all over her bed and she believed him, because she had seen him do it to a Squirrel and a Possum. He made her watch, because he was teaching her a lesson. He blamed his girlfriend for the increased violence of his attacks on Sally, because his girlfriend was a "virgin" and refused to let him have his way with her, so Sally got the brunt of that pent up frustration. Sally hated his girlfriend and wished he could meet another girl that would have sex with him and maybe he would finally leave her alone.

Ramona was devastated by the story Sally told her and begged her to tell her Mother. Ramona's Mother loved Sally and treated her like her own daughter. Sally was so smart and such a beautiful child that Ramona's parents had even once asked Sally if she would like to stay with them. Of course, Sally's parents wouldn't even consider it and neither would Sally, since her family needed her help at home. Ramona's Mother had had several miscarriages after Ramona was born and finally decided she would not be able to have anymore children, so she spoiled Ramona and gave her everything she wanted. With her persuasion, Sally decided talking to Ramona's mother was something she had to do, since her situation was dire and she knew if she didn't tell somebody soon, her secret would be out and there would be no way to hide it anymore. But she was terrified thinking about what her brother would do if he found out she told. Ramona's mother had a plan. One of her best friends was an amazing doctor and agreed to examine Sally without having her parents consent. It was determined that Sally was about 3 months pregnant, but the state they lived in no longer allowed abortions, so Sally would have to give birth. Ramona's mother felt like she had to do something. Here was her daughter's best friend, barely 13 years old and pregnant with her own brother's baby and the current law was going to force her to have it. She had all sorts of thoughts running through her head...she and her husband could keep Sally at their house and then adopt the baby when it was born, but HOW was that going to help Sally. Sally herself was a child and forcing a child to have a baby should, in itself, be against the law! How could anything about that be right! It wasn't Sally's fault she had become pregnant. And then there was Sally's brother. He was now 18 years old, so he should be arrested and put in jail for rape, incest and causing great harm to his little sister for years! Sally begged Ramona's mother not to go to the police, or tell her parents...she needed time to think about things. She promised her she would wait a few days, but something had to be done soon.

Sally loved Wildfire and spent most of the time she was at Ramona's house out in the pasture, or the barn, brushing him, talking to him and telling him that "one day, you and I will ride off into the sunset and never come back". She knew she could tickle him under his belly and it would make him kick...she and Ramona would tickle him all the time and he would kick and snort and show his teeth, like he was laughing right along with them. He loved them both to bits! He would stand at the gate and snort every time he saw Sally's bicycle coming up the road. 

Ramona's family had gone into town one day and when they got home, they could see Wildfire standing in the middle of the pasture with his head down. Sally's bicycle was in their driveway and her Kitten was sitting in a cardboard box filled with all of it's toys and treats. As they got closer, they could see something on the ground where Wildfire was standing...it was Sally. She had taken a long piece of straw, stood behind Wildfire and tickled his belly. Like he always did, he kicked with such force, he kicked Sally in the stomach, causing her to hemorrhage. She miscarried the baby, but she lost too much blood. Sally died before the ambulance could get there. She had a piece of paper crumpled up in her hand and all it said was "please tell my brother I'm sorry". 

the end

What we have to remember is that, it's not about the baby!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Drawing Challenge!


Our drawing challenge this week!!! These are so much fun! Everyone in the group is having a blast creating their stories. So, here's mine:
So much fun!! Happy Thursday!! A new drawing challenge will start tomorrow. If you would like to join us, here's the group link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/youcandrawit

Seize the day! Love and peace always ~ Kathy

A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.
― Salvador Dali

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Living in Wildness...

 
It's that magical time of year! Time when all of the Spring Wildflowers start waking up from their Winter naps. Yesterday we found this gorgeous "Yellowroot", sprouting up along the banks of the Davidson River in Pisgah National Forest. Besides being beautiful, it's medicinal properties are amazing! "Yellowroot is an anti-inflammatory and a natural antibiotic. This plant can help in the treatment of sinus infections, bladder issues, cold/flu symptoms, sore throat, laryngitis, mouth sores, colitis, gastritis, congestion of the chest, and even earaches. Yellowroot is also uterine tonic and a digestive aid. It is an excellent liver stimulant and is useful in soothing the mucus membranes. Its’ cooling astringent qualities allow it to reduce any phlegm. Its versatility allows it to be used in a variety of different ways. Some of which include, as a mouthwash, tea, tinctures, eyewashes, salves, douches, and even ear drops. Can also be used to treat female health conditions including PMS and yeast infections. It has also been found that it can be helpful in lowering blood pressure."
And even though the water is still freezing cold, it warmed my soul, just standing in it and seeing all of the beautiful rocks and clean, clear water. Made me feel so grateful. As I was walking around, my eye caught something and, upon looking a little closer, it was a beautiful little Eastern Garter Snake! My first Snake medicine encounter of the year!! I was so happy!

You can be in the worst funk ever and spend just an hour in nature and your whole outlook will change! Try it! It's so healing and good for your heart and soul! 

Happy Spring!!!!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~ Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Your Life's Work!

 
My version of "Legs Up the Wall" Yoga Pose!

So this year I'll be 61 years old! I've been thinking a lot about "what" my life's work actually is? Sometimes I think was it my job when I was working at a Life Insurance Company for 20+ years, a group of Financial Advisors for 5+ years, a CPA for several years, or is it what I did outside of my "job" that would be considered my "life's work". But, in reality, I think my "life's work" has nothing to actually do with work itself. It's the "time" I spend working on myself and doing what I love to do that has become my "life's work". And then I read an article from a website I follow "Daily Om" and this is what it said about your "life's work" and I thought, YES, that's exactly it!!!

"Sometimes it takes us the better part of a lifetime to discover our life's work, even though we may have been doing it our whole lives without necessarily realizing it. Our life's work is not always what we do to make money, although we often think it should be, and sometimes this way of thinking prevents us from seeing clearly what it is. It may be the work of having children, caring for them, and running a household. The way we know our life's work is by how we feel when we are doing it.

When we are doing our life's work, we feel an uncanny sense of ease and alignment. This doesn't mean that the work is always easy, and it doesn't mean that it's the only work we have to do; it just means that there is a conviction deep inside us that tells us we are in tune with our innermost self. When we are engaged in our life's work, our bodies feel more alive, because our energy is devoted to a cause that, in turn, feeds us. We may be tired after engaging in our life's work, but we are almost never depleted. We feel grounded in the world, knowing that we belong here and have something important to offer. 

When we are deeply unhappy, depressed, or subject to one illness after another, this may be due to a sense of disconnection from our life's work. At times like these, finding the work we are meant to do is an essential act of healing. Most of us remember a time when we felt fully engaged in some act of work, service or creativity, and it is here that we may rediscover the work we are meant to do now. On the other hand, it may be time to explore what inspires us through volunteering, taking a class, going back to school, or just doing whatever it is we long to try. We all have callings, and when we find them, we owe it to ourselves to nurture and protect them, because while they may or may not be our livelihood, they are the keys to our wellbeing."

So now I truly believe my "life's work" is discovery! Being a steward of our land, it has been very important to me to learn as much as I can about "who" lives here and "what" grows here. It is truly fascinating to find rare plants, lichens, wildflowers and mushrooms that might only grow in the Appalachians! My motto now is "never stop learning" And today I did some forest yoga, while talking to my "tree therapist"...that tree knows a lot about me!

I hope you have discovered your "life's worth", but, if not, there is plenty of time...just think about it! In the meantime, enjoy this adorable little Bobcat that visited one of our ponds!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

"Your most important work in this lifetime may not be your job. It's a conviction within your soul, recognizable if you allow it to shine." --- the Daily Om

Friday, March 4, 2022

You Can Draw it!

Last week I had my Son and his partner in town to go see the "Van Gogh Immersive experience" at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville! I have to say, it was quite amazing!

The floor was even moving!

The whole experience lit a fire in all of us, so it's time to start drawing again! Please join our drawing group "You can Draw it" on facebook, if you're not already a member. I can't wait to see what you create! 

 Ready to start drawing!!! It's all about the journey!! 

love and peace always ~ Kathy

"There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one every comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, February 17, 2022

The BEST Homemade Lasagna!

 
Oh my gosh! This is the best lasagna! I made it last night, so I could freeze most of it to have when my Son and his partner come to visit next week! This is the recipe I used, but I "tweak" it somewhat! Instead of using the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, I use a 24 oz. jar of Tomato Basil Sauce [of your choice] and for the tomato sauce, I always use the "El Pato Mexican Hot Style"! It just adds the perfect amount of "kick"!

I also use "brown sugar" instead of white sugar. And for the pasta, I use Mueller's and I only use 8 noodles...the recipe calls for 12, but that's too much for me. Of course, once you make it, you can decide how thick you want your pasta layers. 

I also stir some fresh chopped basil into the ricotta cheese, along with the parsley and egg

And for the Mozzarella cheese, I like using shredded...it seems to get everything covered better! I also find using very lean ground beef works better...not as much grease, especially since the Italian sausage has some good fat it in! 

And one last tip! Before you drain your pasta noodles, toss about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the pasta water into the meat sauce...the starch from the pasta water will thicken up your sauce good and keep it nice and firm when you start making your layers! Last, but not least, ENJOY!!! It's so good!!

Of course, like most pasta dishes, this is even better the 2nd time around!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

"People who love to eat are always the best people" ~ Julia Child

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

I live in the woods!

 
Oh my gosh! I had to share this! Both of our little ponds are alive with calling/mating Wood Frogs and the Hawks are taking full advantage of the love sick amphibians, like this unsuspecting female that ended up being a quick snack for this gorgeous bird. And yes, nature is cruel, but it's the way of the world! 

And just another "perk" of living in the woods, Iris tried to bring this animal spine inside! I have no idea what it was, but I'm suspecting a Squirrel...and since I've seen a Bobcat, two Foxes, several Coyotes and a Bear on the cameras lately, finding small animal bones on our property does not surprise me at all! Of course, Iris is disappointed!


But, I have to say, I love seeing the wildlife on our property!

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!!! This is my latest little drawing from the prompt "Goldfish" --- but while I was drawing it, I started thinking about my daddy. He was a huge Pink Floyd fan and not a day goes by that I don't wish he was here.

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Monday, February 7, 2022

Earthing, Grounding, Meditation...

 Sometimes, even in the forest, there can be background noises to interfere with your practice. Whether it’s forest bathing, earthing, grounding, or just trying to have some solitude. I have found starting off with a mantra and a mala 📿 can help curb those background sounds and keep you focused. And I always make sure I have one of my wooden malas with me in the woods. Nature can heal us of so many things. Get out there! 🤗💕🌳

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Today's mantra: I am alive in stillness...I let things come and go

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Spring is on the way!

 
While everyone else is awaiting "Punxsutawney Phil" to see his shadow, or not, I know it's time for Spring when the Wood Frogs start their calls! I've got it timed perfectly! They always dig out from under the leaves and make their way to my tiny little pond when there are a couple of mild days and rain in the forecast. I knew they would be showing up this week and I was not disappointed. But, I'm not the only one excited about the frogs showing up...the Owls and Hawks are, too! It's their once a year little treat and easy pickings from a pond full of "love sick" frogs! 

In just two more weeks, my little pond will be full of tadpoles! Stay tuned! Happy Spring!

love and peace always ~ Kathy 

“If we can discover the meaning in the trilling of a frog, perhaps we may understand why it is for us not merely noise but a song of poetry and emotion.” ~ Adrian Forsyth

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Earthing, Grounding, Shinrin-Yoku

 Is there some snow melt in my future? I hope so!!! Time for some much needed shinrin-yoku [forest bathing] today! I need some Sunshine!!! How about you? 

 Happy February! love and peace always ~ Kathy


Monday, January 31, 2022

New Moon Monday & Drawing from Memory!

 
The Moon cycles sure to seem to get faster and faster. And if you are in to that kind of stuff, like I am, this is a really cool animation of Moon phases for 2022!
And with tomorrow's New Moon on February 1st, it's also the Chinese New Year! Year of the Tiger! 

I drew this fun little Tiger yesterday, following a youtube tutorial! So much fun! And I did watch the Bengals win yesterday, so I'm super proud of our LSU Tigers!!! I can't wait to watch them win the Super Bowl! And, I'm not even a football fan! But while I was watching, I drew this awesome little Owl! This week's drawing challenges are all animals "from memory" --- lucky for me, I know exactly what an Owl looks like!

I love how Procreate records your drawings in a time lapsed video [this is the short version]. So cool! And it's finally going to warm up a wee bit today, so I'm looking forward to some afternoon sunshine! Happy Year of the Tiger!!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Instant Pot & Art!

 
It's been so cold here!!! All I want to do is stay in my PJ's, draw on my iPad and make food! So this beautiful little character came out last night! I love her! Meet Mayvin! She's an "App" developer and also an avid collector of ceramic frogs. Her grandmother was a collector of frogs, as well, and Mayvin inherited the whole collection when she was 12 years old. Since then, she has added some gorgeous hand-painted ceramic frogs to her own collection, some of them really rare and dating back to the 1800's. A lot of her friends think she's weird and quirky, but frogs are way more special to her than people, anyway. Currently she is working on an amphibian identification app which, hopefully, can help identify some species of frogs that are believed to be extinct. She's currently saving all of her money to take a trip to the Amazon and Equatorial Africa Tropical Forests to test out her app!
I bought an Instant Pot a few years ago and haven't used it in at least a year! I was actually thinking about rehoming it, until I started seeing all of these amazing recipes from Jeffrey Eisner! His cookbooks are just choked full of flavorful recipes and old favorites! Like this delicious Italian Sausage and Shell Pasta I cooked last night. It's super rich [just look at the ingredient list], but certainly worth the splurge now and then!

And today I'm making a big pot of onion soup [Japanese Steakhouse style], because my allergies are kicking my butt! I'm so ready for Spring!!! I hope you are staying warm where you are!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

"So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being." ~ Franz Kafka

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

My iPad Saved My Life!

I know everyone has some type of creative outlet...of course, those that know me know I have way more than one! As we all know, in the beginning of the pandemic, face masks were not available for all of us, so I started making them. I ended up making close to 500 and spent my entire Spring of 2020 in our basement, sewing...all day and night! I even had Wayne helping me! I made several patterns and he would get everything cut out and ironed and I would just sit there and sew and sew and sew and SEW!! Ugh!! I sewed so much, I sewed all of my sewing inspirations out of me entirely! I didn't even turn on my machine during 2021 and I have zero desire to ever sew again. But I'm kinda hoping that changes, since I have so many adorable fabrics that are begging to be turned into something cute!
Just ONE day of my months of sewing every single day!

And now the CDC says these don't work! NOW they say the only ones that work are the ones they have available, which were NOT available when we needed them!!! So frustrating, especially for someone like me that threw themselves into a project to help others! I'm just hoping all of the masks I made had a placebo effect and kept everyone protected anyway!

But, there is an upside to all of my mask making madess!! I used the money I made to buy and iPad Pro and an Apple pencil, so I could start drawing in the Procreate App! And boy has that paid off for me!!! I absolutely love it!!! Drawing has saved my sanity AND my life!!! There is nothing more rewarding than sitting down with a blank screen and letting whatever is in my head come out through my hand...it's an amazing process to watch. And one of the best things about Procreate, is that you can record a time-lapse video of your drawing, like this:

This is Lola! For her full story, check her out on my instagram page:

So much fun! I encourage anyone looking for a creative outlet to invest in an iPad and start drawing! You just never know what you might have inside of you that is dying to come out!!

Happy Tuesday! Live your life and NEVER stop learning!!!

love and peace always ~ Kathy