Shifting Focus

Boone Hillside w trees (3).jpg


Something strange is happening to me, in me, for me. I think it’s okay, but it makes me wonder. The precipitating event is relocating to the house I inherited from my parents so repairs can be done on the house I’ve been living in for the past 30 years. It’s a good thing in that I’ll be getting a totally new bathroom and  a new roof, and I get to finish going through all the stuff that once belonged to my parents and get this house ready to sell. I’m making a lot of progress by living here rather than driving two hours round trip once a week to work on it.

It’s strange to not be in my city where all my usual activities are. We drove the hour to church  and back again on Sunday and it’s not something we want to do every week. I’m going to miss a couple of my favorite annual events because it’s just not worth the extra time, energy, and pet care issues.  On one hand, I feel out very out of touch with the world. On the other hand, I’m getting more in touch with my family history and my grief in this house I lived in during most of my adolescence.

I’m not lonely because  I’m an introvert by nature. I don’t mind being alone most of the day with the dogs working on the house. I kinda like it. This makes me wonder if I’m  going to become a recluse.  But I have a choice about that. I see my husband every night and on his days off. We are going to explore local churches. Last week, I visited a friend who lives 30 minutes north. I’m planning a  trip to see my son and grand kids later this month for a short visit. So, I’m not a recluse.

Maybe this is just a season for me to withdraw a bit, to hunker down and continue the process of grieving the loss of my parents as I sort through photos, books, clothes, more photos, papers….. And I’m getting a lot done! I believe there will come a time when I’ll be more active in the world again.



It’s OK to Cry

Stream of consciousness

A Mountain Stream by JoAnne Silvia


My old career, my new career, social media,

Church committees, volunteer work,

Arranging words on a page, Youtube, TV,

Laundry, yard work,

And my father’s estate

Have all kept me busy,

Kept me from my feelings.

Especially the ones I’d rather not feel.

I should be happy.

I am happy most of the time.

My life is good.

I’m so thankful. Thankful beyond words!

But those damn feelings,

The ones I’d rather not feel

Squeeze their way out of the closet

And sit in the corner,

Waiting for me to drop my guard.

Like the day I go to yoga class

for the first time in weeks

and after I get home,

A wave of sadness

Grabs me around the chest and tries to pull me down.

I resist at first.

I don’t want to care.

After all, I am an introvert.

I don’t really need people

hangin around all the time.

I sure as hell don’t want to be needy!

I can take care of myself,


Maybe it’s just hormones.

But the distance weighs in.

I miss my daddy.

And Mom.

And my two sisters.

And my dog, Jesse.

They are all D E A D.

I miss my daughter, who is alive

For which I am thankful.

I miss my son and his children,

Yes, I have many blessings.

I’m thankful already!

But the distance….

The wave wells up again, and I let it pull me down into my bed,

Let the sadness flood into me.

My daddy is gone.

God holds me while I cry

And tells me it’s okay to feel this sadness.

I’m supposed to feel this sadness.

I’m allowed to feel whatever comes.

I’m allowed to cry sometimes

Even when my life is happy.


Attitude Adjustment

My space at the two day art show was located a few steps up on a platform in the corner. It seemed like a good spot when I agreed to it. I didn’t know until I arrived Saturday morning that another vendor’s booth would be partially blocking the view of my area. I did sell a print of my “Forest Angel” early on the first day to someone who fell in love with her.

Forest Angel

Forest Angel, by JoAnne Silvia

But as the day wore on, I didn’t get a lot of traffic and sold little. In spite of the compliments I got on my original paintings, I felt myself getting more and more deflated and resentful. I asked if there were any other spaces I could move to for Sunday and the answer was a clear, “No.”

Saturday evening, I decided that rather than be miserable, and not wanting to attract more misery,  I needed to change my attitude for Sunday. Maybe that way, I would attract more people who wanted to buy my art. I decided to be as positive as I could  about the whole thing no matter what happened. I smiled and talked about how I loved the music being played and sent positive energy into whatever I did. I caught people’s eyes and encouraged them with my smile to take the steps up to my platform.

Though I continued to receive compliments on my work, my sales were not much better than on Saturday. I did sell another “Forest Angel” print to someone drawn to her immediately, and I sold another print and some rocks I’d painted with angels. I worked on a sketch and painted more rocks, and kept reinforcing my positive mood. It was an exercise in acceptance of the things I could not change. I had worked hard to put this show together, and I worked hard to stay positive on Sunday. My attitude was something I could change.

The most important lesson I learned (again) was that, after acknowledging my disappointment, it was healthier for me to have a positive attitude, even knowing that I lost money on the venture. That doesn’t mean I’d do it again, certainly not under the same conditions, but I finished the day without any more complaining.

I appreciated the abundant support from my husband and from my friends (in person, on social media, and on WordPress.) One of my friends told me, “the people who are meant to have your art were not there.” That helped. It also helped when near the end of the show, I went around and admired other peoples’ art – work that I complimented because it was beautiful, but I didn’t buy anything. I realized that just because people didn’t buy much of my work, that didn’t mean that their compliments were empty. Anything we create with love has value.

At church on Sunday our scripture reading from Phillipians included this:

“God will take your humiliation and turn it into God’s glory.”

I believe God has something else in store for my art.

I need to remember this message that I posted on “Anything is Possible:”

Art quote by Kurt Vonnegut

And I will remember how much better it felt to return to a positive attitude, after acknowledging my feelings and allowing myself to sulk a little.

You can see more of my work here:

Today, I have a busy day on the job that pays the bills for now, so if I don’t respond to comments right away, know that I’m thinking of you. I’ll check in later.


Healing At The Speed of Time

Blur bridge

Having children makes time zoom

like the blur when you look out passenger window

from a fast moving vehicle without fixing on one object.

When their father left,

popping the distant bubble

of traveling across the country

after the children were grown,

t i m e

heavy with grief,

seemed to stop.


originally posted to Flickr by Frenkieb at


The double bed

Shared for twenty years,

felt like a football field

at midnight. Game over.

Each heartbeat echoed

blindly through the darkness.


“It takes one year of healing

For five years of marriage,”

said the support group manual.

Would Golden Girl reruns

get me through the next four years?

Golden Girls

Then came the rebound from hell

And time twisted

like slimy vines,

letting me fall

down into the pit

Of sludge and rat droppings.


Sick and confused,

I knelt and begged,

to be rescued

by the Shepherd’s love.

His arms wrapped around me

like a safe, warm blanket.

GS close up


Time evened out

As I learned to love me,

Like the Shepherd loved me,

One day at a time.

Now, time is like a water slide

Cool and sparkling

In the sun.

A Good Cry

Rose of Sharon with Dew By Ayla

Tears water the garden of your soul.

Let them flow freely, nourishing the seeds to sprout

the most beautiful part of your being.

Breathe deeply. Breathe in courage.

Then rest with sweet dreams of better days ahead.

Peace to you dear one.

That was inspired by Lorrie’s post:

I  really learned how to cry after the divorce from the twenty year marriage I thought would last forever.  Now I understand that it needed to end. But then I was confused and deeply wounded.

When the kids were gone to their dad’s new home, I sat on the hard wood floor in the middle of the house and let my crying be what it wanted to be.

I let it be sobbing, and wailing, and moaning.

And I learned to breathe deeply in between the sobs and wails and moans. Remembering to breathe was important to prevent damage to my body. Breathing deeply was part of the healing too.

The best healing came when the crying flowed into chanting. The rhythm helped with the breathing. It became meditative, like the soulful sounds you might hear from Native Americans dancing around a fire.

The chanting in the video below reminds me of this sound, especially when the woman’s voice comes in at around 1:47. She returns at around 4 minutes.

I gave my body permission to release the pain in whatever way it needed to,

allowing whatever wanted to come,  come.

Then I could rest in the loving arms of my Creator.


Photo credit: Ayla Likens

If She Had Lived

Mary Kaye and Lobo

Mary Kaye and Lobo, 1973


If you were here,

You’d tell me to lighten up.

Are you telling me that now?

You were the free spirit,

the wild child with a big heart.

I wish I’d gotten to watch you grow up.

But the drunk driver took your life

all those years ago

On your 16th birthday.

Just for a moment or two,

I allow myself to feel the anger

buried all those years ago,

I breathe through the sadness underneath

so it wont grab me around the throat.

I wish we’d gotten further

beyond the sibling rivalry

To become friends.

You’d joke with my daughter

and tell her secrets

about her responsible mother

being a wild child too,

once upon a time.

What are you up to now?

Have you seen Mom,

And Lobo?

Give them a hug for me.

Maybe I’ll lighten up a little

To honor you on your birthday.

I’ll imagine you and Lobo

running through a meadow of yellow flowers

And Mom flying above your heads,