More fun than Easter Eggs

Just the other day I shared with y’all about my turtle patrol adventures. It’s an amazing thing to do, and I will be sad when the season comes to a close in a few weeks.

One thing I didn’t share in my last post was the struggle between the damage people do, and the help that we offer back.

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I love Wednesday mornings

For over twenty years, I have gone to the beach like it was my job. I would drag my children there every weekend. Prince Charming knows my favorite date night is to watch the sunset from our beach chairs. I have written of this and I can envision living the rest of my years within reach of such glory.

One sight that has piqued my interest is the staked-off sea turtle nests. My consistent comment was, “I want to do that.” Which was immediately followed with, “How can I do that?” Between children and work, the morning routine barely allowed time for red lights. The sea turtle nests became, “One day I will do that.”

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Goodbye ugly caterpillar

Life has been busy and challenging and I have missed hitting this space. There’s just a few more days of this semester and let’s just say HALLELUJAH for that!

There is this one little thing I feel like I need to share. Sometime over the summer, I noticed a red spot on my chest that seemed weird. When it didn’t just disappear, I conceded to let a professional take a look. My dermatologist is a lovely woman – probably because she never exposes herself to the sun (it’s a prerequisite for all dermatologists, obviously). She agreed that it looked a bit suspicious, and sliced off a sample for a biopsy.

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There are no straight lines

Nature is so freaking amazing. I think I could call myself a Nature Nerd. I am one of those people who follows National Geographic on Instagram, and then follows all the individual photographers that are also on Instagram. If I enjoyed studying all that scientific stuff, I’d probably be a marine biologist, but then it would become work. I’d much rather enjoy the beauty of all the patterns instead of figuring out how it all works. So maybe not a nerd, maybe just a fan? Either way…

In spite of a crap ton of homework, I decided to spend a little time outdoors. Last night there was a camp-out on the 81 acres of our church property. I went just for the s’mores, the hayride, and to chat with a few friends. It was so beautiful out! The moon was shining down on us.

teresa's moon shot

Moonlight & firelight. Photo courtesy of Teresa Gowin.

There was a family of deer hanging out in the field, and the kids were climbing trees like it was their job. I regretted my lack of camping gear, and returned home to sleep in my comfy bed.

This morning, I went on an Eco Meditation Walk at a local park. It was free, and partially guided, and exactly perfect. I spent an hour outside (it was 72 and sunny) gazing at nature. We walked slow, we stood and breathed and listened, we sat and meditated, and then shared our experiences.

Each of us had a unique perspective of our time. One lady shared about having breakfast with the squirrels, as they were all chowing down on pine cones nearly as big as themselves. One lady described envisioning herself as a bird flying around. Another gentleman confessed how much easier it was to meditate in nature than in downtown San Francisco. I tried to articulate how as people we strive to create straight lines, and how we find so few of them in nature.

red-bug-slough-merevin-15

Red Bug Slough, Sarasota, FL. Photo credit: merevin.com

Sure, there are trees and plants reaching upward, but none are actually 100% straight. Everything is a little off. In fact, the more “crooked” they were, the more I found myself drawn to them. It was a perfect morning, but nothing was square, or symmetric, or even straight. This is exactly the perfect metaphor for the people in my life.

It seems that none are perfect individually. We all have our quirks and imperfections, yet when we’re all together, it’s beautiful. Each component added to the beauty and diversity of the landscape. It was a profound and delightful way to spend a Saturday morning.

So no matter your schedule or the weather, I hope you get to take a few minutes to soak in some time in nature this weekend. And also, appreciate all the slightly crooked people in your world.

Thanks for reading, until next time…
Sherri

 

 

Not looking down

Below are statements that could be contributing to my feeling of overwhelm. Choose the one that is the MOST true:
A) I am a student at an actual University now (not a Community College).
B) It’s my Junior year, meaning upper level classes.
C) I’m taking more classes this semester (four, not the usual two).
D) My brain is older than it used to be.
E) There was a hurricane, traveling, and a major project at work.
F) All of the above

Yep, you guessed it. F is for _____. Congrats! You score 100% on the quiz for today.

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A very fun six weeks…

For the past few weeks, I’ve been loading up my canvas, brushes, and paints and driving around the corner. There’s a cute little Italian restaurant that has live artists working, and I had the honor of being one of them.

It’s not that I’m all that talented. I mean, I think my work is okay, but it’s not like I studied art or even really have that much experience. I took one class and totally loved it (and okay, I got an A). Largely I believe I was there painting because I pestered followed up with the manager a few times. Moxie for the win! Also, it was summer, I was available, and they had room on their schedule for me.

And then last week, it came to an end. Summer is about over. School is about to resume, and it was time for me to exit stage right.

Which is sad, because I enjoyed it so much.

But it’s also good. And here is why.

I am in a constant state of learning and growing. I now have paintings that are for sale, and I am searching out new avenues in which to sell them. I am launching even further outside of my comfort zone to do this. Oh, have I mentioned that there are a bazillion other artists in Sarasota? And there are packed galleries everywhere? A girl like me could get really insecure, really fast with those kinds of stats.

I could wallow. I could feel sad. I could believe selling art is too hard. I could decide that I am not a good enough artist and that my work is not worthy. But according to Brene Brown, the antidote to scarcity is gratitude.

Fortunately, I happen to be well versed in the practice of gratitude.

For the past six weeks, I spent time next to amazing artists (like Tom, Dante, Karen,  LaShawn, and others). I made friends with the adorable bartender (as one does). I learned a lot about painting and pricing. I even learned how to graciously handle inappropriate suggestions of what I should add to a beach scene I was working on one night. I enjoyed delicious food, a cool atmosphere, and basked in the glow of the whole experience while it was happening.

I didn’t take one moment of it for granted.

I can appreciate the season for what it was, who I met, what I learned, and how it allowed me to grow. Both as an artist and as a person.

With that, I will be keeping my Art page here up to date on works that are for sale. And if you’re not in a big rush, I can take work on commission too. And if you have any great suggestions for me, send them along.

It is my joy to paint, and I will not worry or fret about whether any of it sells. I have found a creative outlet that delights my heart, and that is a valuable thing.

Thanks so much for reading, until next time!
Sherri

 

Sure, I’ll try that….

On Saturday my daughter and I walked to the downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market. It’s a little embarrassing how infrequently I go as the “walked there” indicates just how close it is to our house. In spite of the stifling July heat, it was a lovely morning with my girl. 

She bought a fresh coconut for $2 and we shared it. This was a first for me. I am not really a fan of coconut, at least not the kind you find unexpectedly in desserts. But I do like the flavor, as in, I’ll have a piña colada, thank you. It was quite refreshing. And it felt hip and trendy and a little touristy to be strolling around sipping out of a coconut. It also fed my inner adventurer because I really try to be open to new things.

What makes some people more gutsy than others? For some new things are terrifying. Is it our age? It is how we’re raised? How do we cultivate the courage to step out and try new things when it’s easier to remain in our safe little comfort zones? I am a firm believer in LIVING, and I venture into the unknown whenever I can. Not like skydiving – yet – or a tattoo – yet? But the adventure of trying new things and stretching myself is what I strive for. I’m hoping it will keep me young.

My dependence on God really shows when I’m living like this. I become more aware of his presence – and my need for him – when I am out of my comfort zone. He is always God, and that doesn’t change. My life should never be so predictable and routine (and boring!) that I lose sight of my need for him. 

Sure, changing things up can be a little risky, but I find it fun to explore something new! The next time you’re out grabbing a bite, don’t order the same old thing you always order. Heck, you could go to an entirely different restaurant. There are 898 listed on Yelp for Sarasota alone… that’s enough to try a new place each week for the next 18 years! 

Experiment with a new hobby, or sample a music genre that’s outside of your norm. I happened across a classical station earlier this year and realized it reduced my road rage during season. And I learned that I enjoy a little Mozart, and less madness while I’m driving. 

Take a class, or simply watch a youtube video. My friend Julie says that you can learn how to do anything by watching youtube (you can ask her about it, but beware, she’s a nursing student). Venture out. Dip your toes in. See what’s out there! God will go with you and you may just discover something amazing. My challenge is for you to try something new – and leave a comment about your adventure. Even if it is just coconut water 🙂

Thanks for reading…happy adventuring!
Sherri