The Grieving Inner Artist

using art to heal grief

This post is part of a series on grief. My family recently lost someone suddenly, and as a result, we we were faced with shock, sadness, and disbelief. It’s my hope that as I process our experiences in grief here on the blog, I’m able to help any of you who may be faced with the loss of a loved one. Click here to access more resources on overcoming grief.  

The month of April has been filled with revelations for me. Many of them relate to love and family and death. For me, an important one relates to my inner artist.

I bet that’s not where you thought this was going, right?

My inner artist has always been an under-appreciated part of my life’s experiences. She’s been neglected. She’s been suppressed. She’s been ignored. She’s been told that she’s only as good as the stick figures she draws. She’s never thought she could create something worthy of hanging on her wall at home. Especially while grieving.

Special thanks to Painting With a Twist in Cedar Hill, TX for partnering with me on this much-needed project!

The day after my aunt died suddenly I was at a lost for words. I threw myself into helping my cousins with funeral preparations and getting my family prepared for travel. My aunt died on a Saturday, and the day after she died was a Sunday. I’m not sure what happens in your part of the world, but here in Texas, not much is happening on Sundays. My family in Mississippi couldn’t make arrangements, we didn’t have deadlines from the printer, and I didn’t know what information would even be needed for my job as the family obituary writer. Sunday left me at a loss for what to do, where to go, and how to process my grief.  Continue reading

The African Dust Cloud

You won’t believe this.

I think the African Dust Cloud has come to Dallas.

No really. I do.

So earlier this summer, there really was an African Dust Cloud and its particles made their way to central and south Texas. In non-Texan speak that means San Antonio and Houston. Well…maybe Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Except I did not hear about it from anyone in Austin, so I’m not quite sure about them. Christie will know because she lives there. I think she will comment below this post if she knows about it.

I heard about the African Dust Cloud on a podcast between Big Mama and Boo Mama. They are mom bloggers who I stalk  whose blogs I read regularly. They are blogging friends and once every so often they host a podcast and chat. And stalkers readers like me can listen and laugh, because if they weren’t bloggers they’d be comediennes.

Big Mama (by the way, her real name is Melanie) lives in San Antonio. Earlier this summer, she mentioned on the podcast that there was a dust cloud in Africa and its particles came all the way to Texas and her allergies were acting up. I Googled it because I did think it sounded a little crazy (not so crazy that I wouldn’t use it myself) and wouldn’t you know it….she was right!

The very next week, I had a sinus infection. Then Cheryl‘s son’s allergies started acted up. And my kids’ allergies starting acting up. And Jada had a sinus infection. And I bet you had allergy and sinus problems, especially if you live in Dallas.

So I told Cheryl about the African Dust Cloud, and then I told her that it was true because Big Mama said it. I’ve found that sometimes if my source is another blogger, that establishes validity.

But there was nothing about African Dust Cloud in Dallas news. So I couldn’t write about it on the Best Southwest Moms Blog. Because we have journalistic blogging standards there.

Well now, a month has passed, but more friends have sinus issues. I know because they put it on Facebook. And second to mom bloggers, Facebook posts are the next best source a girl could have. At least when it comes to African Dust Clouds.

So I spent part of my evening researching the whole African Dust Cloud issue of 2013 and I couldn’t find anything. Well, anything that said we could suffer from it in Dallas. But I KNOW it’s there. Then I gave up because I didn’t want to promote this whole dust cloud thing if it wasn’t true.

But while I was scrolling on Facebook, I now see posts saying “Something going around,” and “I need new sinuses,” and “Benadryl is my friend.” And I want to tell them about the African Dust Cloud. I really do. Because I believe that even if there aren’t as many particles, we are still affected by it here in Dallas.

So that’s where I am with the African Dust Cloud. I’m curious though, how have your allergies acted this summer?

Stand for Something

Or you’ll fall for anything. That’s what my parents used to tell me. And that’s exactly what Texas State Senator Wendy Davis did a few weeks ago. She stood for more than 11 hours on a filibuster for the abortion bill. And it died…until the next session. However, it impressed me that she felt that strongly about women’s health care that she did that.


Armed with her backbrace and her tennis shoes, she did something, I don’t think I could do.

Abortion bill defeated after Texas Republicans concedewendy davis 3

I really believe in the cause…but standing non stop for 11 hours? It kind of makes you go hmmm. How can I teach the Littles that this is the kind of strength and determination we must have to truly make a difference in the world? Furthermore, how can I teach myself?

It’s sad to say, but I have fallen into the check-writing trap. When I want to support those who are truly making a difference, I give a donation. And sometimes money isn’t the answer. Sometimes, we have to be willing to stand, or walk, or canvass, or whatever needs to be done.

So while I’m still trying to figure out how that’s going to look for our family, I did take about 2 hours out of my day to stand. There was a rally for the women’s health care movement in Dallas and I went. While I realize that didn’t accomplish much on the fight, it did spark something in me to make me committed to doing something more.

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And not to mention,I got the chance to meet some pretty cool people.




So that’s one of my goals for the fall. I’m thinking it will carry in to 2014. I’m going to stand.

Christie’s Moving…TODAY

Christie and I at my 40th birthday party last year.

Christie and I at my 40th birthday party last year.

I moved to Texas in 1995. One of the first people I met when I arrived is Christie. Since then, our friendship has grown from planning weddings to having babies, to sending our children to private schools and then public schools…and the list continues. We’ve planned birthday parties together, we’ve scrapbooked together, we’ve extreme couponed together, and now we are taking on a new challenge together.

She is moving to Central Texas. I live in North Texas. There’s a three hour drive between those two regions. And while I am excited because the Three Amigos and I have a new place to visit, I am trying not to be sad. Really I am. So I’m not going to talk about what I’m going to miss, I’m going to talk about what I’m gaining.

Her son starts high school in the fall. And he will be playing football. And since the infatuation with high school football in Texas is statewide, we will catch as many of his games as we can. I’m thinking at least two.

She’s keeping her job! Her job in Dallas, that is. That means that she’ll have to come up here for official work meetings and such. And when she comes, she will need a place to stay. I’m thinking at least once, that place needs to be my house. I’m just saying.

I’m thinking she’ll blog about her adventures. I like it when my real life friends also double as my blogging friends. And she is a blogger. So, we’ll all be able to read about life in Central Texas.

We’re connected by social media, texting, and internet word games.

But I still have that twinge. The little twinge that is going to miss her. The little twinge that hits me in my gut when I have to list an emergency contact on the kids’ school registration forms. Because she’s always been about 20-30 minutes away, and now she’s 3 hours away.

Ok…I can do this…we can do this….we can, right?