Category Archives: Paintings

New Year, New Paintings

Today, a funny quote from Disney’s National Treasure came to mind as I was cleaning my paintbrushes and scrubbing my hands. In the movie scene, we just transitioned from a young Benjamin Gates solemnly swearing to “take upon [the] duty of the Templars, the Freemasons and the family Gates” to present day, in which Gates is now a grown man. He obviously upheld his duty, as he and his crew are in the middle of the Canadian Arctic in search of the Charlotte.

Upon reaching the assumed, yet very carefully researched, destination of the ship, Gates and the rest set out equipped with metal detectors on the ice. Still in search, the conversation between a good guy (Riley) and a bad guy (Powell) follows:

Powell: Look… this is a waste of time. How could a ship wind up way out here?

Riley: Well, I’m no expert but… it could be that the hydrothermic properties of this region produce hurricane-force ice storms that cause the ocean to freeze and then melt and then refreeze, resulting in a semisolid migrating land mass that would land a ship right around here. [Walks away]

Ha ha…makes me laugh every time! I guess I must have thought of this quote due to relentless scrubbing of my hands over the past few days, especially yesterday. I am no expert, nor have even taken any painting classes…but just take it from my personal experience–beware the MOD PODGE!! It gets nasty. And the Staz On permanent stains your hands for days. And wear old clothes…just saying. 😉


Besides all this, I enjoyed many hours in the basement “studio.” Here are a few finished canvases:





As I placed them in a line for the photos, I noticed that they all have flowers and the color yellow. I must be wishing for sunny, warm, spring days. 🙂 I will be posting these to Etsy by the weekend.



Filed under Books and Movies, Paintings

Christmas Melodies

Every-so-often, I find it enjoyable to sit at breakfast and instead of my typical readings, I flip through my Mom’s hymnal. Last week was no exception, as I wanted to read the Christmas songs.

I guess for Christmas hymns especially, since we only sing them one season of the year, I got to thinking that we miss a core part of the message when we don’t sing all the verses. It is very typical just to sing the first and last verses, along with the chorus. Likewise, there are so many melodies of Christmas that go unnoticed–carols we don’t typically sing that also share so much meaning in light of the Christmas Spirit.

As Christmas Day continues to approach, rejoice in life with the melodies of the season!

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’

Luke 2:13-14 ESV





Filed under Paintings

More Paintings

Hi everyone!

I just finished posting more paintings to my Etsy shop. Below is the link. 🙂

More to come…


Filed under Paintings

My own art museum on Etsy

Two weeks ago, I finally went to the Dayton Art Institute. I must admit that my favorite art museum is still the Denver Art Museum, but I found Dayton’s a nice tour. It almost reminded me of the museums in Greece, as there were many pieces of art that were more artifacts than traditional canvas. The tour represented a large amount of world cultures–many in which were new to me (as far as seeing the artwork). I did find the Japanese section interesting as they displayed Samurai armor and spears. It reminded me of our tour earlier this spring at the Biltmore Estate, as Mr. Vanderbilt owned an ancient Samurai armor and spear. Just fascinating.

My favorite section was the Colonial America section. The large oil canvas paintings were a marvel…so much detail and shading. One thing is for certain–I do not paint people. 🙂 Which is why I felt more at home in the 1970’s-modern art section. Walking through the last rooms of this section, I discuss with my friend and her husband how I should find someone to sponsor my paintings and donate them to the museum. Prideful moment, but I felt a few of my past abstract pieces were better than the ones displayed. 😉

I guess I don’t need museum access to display my art. I have a new avenue…

(drumroll if you please!)

Mel is on Etsy!!!

YES!!!! I know, exciting!! [I just ate chocolate in celebration] It should have been finished being set up about two months ago, and I apologize for that but it is finally here. Yay!

I have posted what I currently have in the basement. I will be adding a few of my 16″x20″ canvases by early next week. With the Christmas season around the corner, I hope to paint a few small holiday themed paintings this weekend…so be sure to check back next week if you are interested.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement about my paintings thus far; and for those few close friends for your consistent questioning on when my Etsy would be completed, as it finally fueled motivation to my lack-of motivation. 😀

If you visit the Etsy page, feel free to let me know what you think!

More to come…


Filed under Paintings

Ending my fabulous weekend…


Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Psalm 147:1

More to come…


Filed under Paintings, Random

Appreciate the Hands Day

There seems to be a “day” for everything. My favorite part of the lounge at work was the huge calendar posted on the wall with different events for the week or special days, such as “National Marshmallow Day”; “Chips and Salsa Day”; “National Crossword Puzzle Day”; “National Peanut Day”…I mean literally–the list is endless! The only one that I have never been a fan of is “National Talk like a Pirate Day.” Our brother dorm during my freshman year of college literally took the day into full effect, some with costumes even. It was fun but after a few “Argggg Matey !” I had heard enough. But they did it ALL day–gruffy accented pirate talk–I just found it annoying. 🙂

There are days of fun, days of remembrance, days of randomness, days of awareness. Even this past Sunday was National Coffee Day, in which I took the liberty of enjoying a second mug of our freshly brewed Seattle’s Best. This post has been long time in the making…in other words, I have wanted to do this post for a long time but I believe that the timing was delayed….because God was bringing me to this point where I would learn from this post experience…where my physical body would be at a place to where I fully understand the significance of being thankful. It is the season of the soul.

Therefore, I now take a new liberty and declare today as my own, “Appreciate the Hands Day.” (In part celebration of the last OT session this morning, in which we finalized my list of things needed to order on my own and also received a few new helpful tools for my finger function).

Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
See I have nothing, I have nothing without You

Bebo Norman. “Nothing Without You.” Try. 

Around my birthday, my grandpa sent me a card with a beautiful picture on the front. It was one of those reprint cards where it was an artist’s painting…in this case a watercolor. Curious of the painter–figuring it was someone famous like Monet–I flipped it over and the first thing I notice is how sloppy the artist’s signature looked. My mind is not fast to pick up on these things, but it took me a few minutes to make the connection (and also reading the description of the author) that this particular watercolor was not an ordinary watercolor. It was designed by this artist who painted it with his mouth as his hands were idle. My mouth just dropped. I would have never known if it had not been for the signature and description on the back. Come to think of it, up until that point, I don’t think I had ever known about that type of art work…only one exception would be Joni Eareckson Tada.

I googled a bit and found the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists website and soon found myself reading through the list of artist bios and pictures. Just astounding talent and artwork!

The thing is at that point in time, my hands–although starting to weaken and numb–were very able to function “normal” (to borrow the term.) The thought came to mind that I should try a painting by using my mouth only, but never put the full effort into the idea as I was painting other canvases, especially for the show. Now that my hands have come to a point in major lack of motor skills and function, the mouth painting idea came back to mind. To fully appreciate  my hands, I wanted to “have none” for a painting. It was an eye-opening experience. (Although I did ‘cheat’ a tad, because I was home alone and had to set up, choose and squirt my paint using my hands, but the painting itself was all by mouth. Even my ‘Mel’ signature. It really gets to your neck after a while!)

I still say “good grief” in frustration tones at certain times during the day when my hands just become frustratable (yeah, I just made up a new word! 🙂 ) But in this season of learning to give thanks for everything–joys or trials–I am now seeing that my feeble hands are still strong enough to help me, so I can’t give up on them just quite yet.


I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:8


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Paintings

Salad bar and pizza toppings

This month, my big canvas paintings have been hanging in a pizza place, called HaHa Pizza, in Yellow Springs. I have only eaten there a few times, but I have never been disappointed. They offer pizzas of all sorts; you can get your pizza on homemade wheat crust (my favorite) and load up just about any toppings for your slices (I haven’t tried eggplant on mine yet…maybe next time I will be brave.) If you feel like you forgot something, you can just head over to the salad bar and choose from all the fresh and local toppings offered there. I think most people around here agree–the salad bar gets five stars!

Yep, HaHa Pizza adds a few more reasons to my list of why small towns offer greatness: Friendly workers, local art, laid back atmosphere, mustard yellow walls (ok, that sounds weird but it adds character and it is one of my favorite colors). 🙂 At any rate, it has been my first time displaying my art in Yellow Springs, other than the art shows. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had this month at HaHa Pizza. I hope to get the chance to work with them again in the future.




– – –

My Home Care OT reminds me of salad bars and pizza toppings. Life otherwise would be plain cheese or standard greens. I did not want to start OT at first. For my first session, I presented a lengthy list of things I can’t do and things that are almost to that point. My OT set out to work and today we went back over the list…we had solved almost all of the problems by getting the correct accommodations to give me a boost for continuing to live as independent as possible.

I still have a few items that need to be ordered: a new button loop as mine broke; a zipper pull and zipper key loops that would attach to my jackets I use often; more utensils with rubber grip handles; tylastic shoelaces; a fingernail clipper board (it positions and holds your fingernail clippers for you if you cannot); and removable handles for holding glass cups. These are things that I feel I would benefit from as my hands continue to weaken.

During my OT sessions, we talked about many alternative ways to do things. For example, there was a lamp in the living room that I could no longer turn on or off. My OT brought in this remote control switch that is actually for your Christmas tree lights and set it up on the lamp. Now, when I need to turn the light on or off, I just click a switch. Genius! You would assume we would have thought of that on our own. Sometimes a fresh perspective is what is needed.

She also helped me solve my problem of tearing open things (like bags of food), most zip lock bags, and turning book pages: rubber finger tips. 🙂 Next week is my last OT; she is bringing more of these but a larger size so that I can try to wear one on my thumb as well…this may help when I put in my right hearing aid. We also solved my holding a pen problem with new rubber grippers as my pen holder (yes, was lost but found) was giving me more frustration than assistance. My handwriting is still wobbly, but more legible. 🙂 And last, because it is my favorite…a handle for my Tervis, as I use it more often than mugs (morning coffee). The handle allows me to use all my fingers to grab hold, where mugs I can only use two fingers, and it gets interesting (plus a Tervis has a lid reducing spills!)

Funny part is, these things are always at the store…they are nothing special, unlike the specific ones I have to order. But if you are not aware of them or seeking them specifically, they can be overlooked…like so many delicious salad bar or pizza toppings. Home Care OT helped me become aware of this–that living with weakness is livable.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Paintings

Happy Autumn

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn

~Nicole Nordeman, “Every Season”




Filed under Paintings, Random, Uncategorized

Living in a Fast Paced World

At Tuesday’s doctor appointments, we discussed transferring me to a neuro rehab clinic for my Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. This is still in the future plans, but because I currently have a driving restriction until I take a driver’s mobility test (based off the way I am currently walking, just to ensure safety on my reaction times)–it could be up to three weeks until I get the test completed even though I am on the current waiting list. Because of this, I am not able to get myself over to the rehab facilities and since I have already started with Home Health, the plan for now is to let them finish their sessions and then I go on from that point. I have been pleased with my PT sessions so far.

My first session of PT was last week and I start OT next week, which I am anticipating, because today in getting ready my hands lost grip of my makeup bag–momentary sadness to shatter a perfectly good bronzer. Anyway, while last week’s PT session was mostly talk and the “see where you’re at” balance, strength and mobility tests, this week was a full 45 minute workout. I have had PT twice already: one after my first blood clot to strengthen my left leg and the second session this past Spring to strengthen my neck and upper back muscles.

I have never experienced a singe PT session that would literally leave me so exhausted that I had to take a nap in the afternoon. To demonstrate how weak my muscles are–picture me on my knees, lifting the exercise ball over my head (repeat 4 times). By the last, my arms were beat. We also did a lot of balance exercises where I lift one knee while on the other and then rolling the exercise ball back and forth while maintaining balance. To the average person, these may seem so easy, but to a person such as myself, it was difficult. To be honest, today I felt like a toddler…learning to balance and lift things, freely falling over and struggling to get up. But the strength and retraining my mind to use the muscles does not happen over is baby steps. 🙂

Of course, I overdid myself this morning after my session. I went downstairs and painted a canvas that will be on display next week at a pizza parlor in Yellow Springs. (more to come on that!) I finished but had some extra paint and don’t like to waste it, so I set out to finish a small abstract one as well. No joke, the last few seconds of “finishing touches” on the painting and the table topples over!! Thankfully, the painting was not ruined, but for the cleanup process, I was back on my knees like my PT session and struggling to get everything picked up without making a bigger mess. By the end of my painting session, I looked like a painting. 😉

I had been to Michaels a few weeks ago to pick up paints and a pack of 8×10 canvases. At the check out isle there were some extra-large reusable bags and on an impulse decision, I bought one in order to carry my paintings around when they go on display in Beans-n-Cream or anywhere else. Artistically decorated, the front says the classic line, “Stop and smell the roses.” I thought of The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Growing up, Ferdinand was different. While his peers were shaping up to be the best for bull fighting, Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. Only when he sits on a bee does anyone take notice of him. At the bull arena, he is adorned with roses…everyone expects him to put in a good show, and he just wants to smell the flowers. 🙂

Too often I try to rush forward in my physical body, even though it is no longer capable of the word “hurry.” I forget to stop, breath in, smell the roses (sweetness of God’s mercy and grace) and realize that I don’t have to feel pressure to keep up with the fast paced world. God can use me just as I am…like a child.

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing into the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Jars of Clay. “Like a Child.” Self-titled debut album. 1995.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings

I spy something, Orange

Frank Sinatra said, “Orange is the happiest color.” I don’t think I would have agreed with that statement prior to this year. I would have chosen a shade of pink or yellow…but thinking about the color orange these past few weeks makes me think Mr. Sinatra stated it just right.

Orange is orange. There is so much about the color’s personality: When blended with other colors, it is shy. When it stands alone, it is bold. Thinking in these terms, I compiled a list of things that came to mind when I thought of the color and its different shades:

soft hue: peaches, apricots, pumpkins, Helenium flowers, sunsets, orange tabby cats

medium hues: oranges (fruit), Iceland poppy, pot marigolds, Clown fish, macaroni and cheese

bold hues: caution signs, hunter vests, Asiatic lilies, leaves in the fall, Monarch butterflies, school buses

I am sure there are more…after all, we each as individuals don’t see the same shades of any color. (“Is this navy blue or black?”) 🙂 Regardless, I think most often the color orange (unless it is your favorite color) is often forgotten. Think of a rainbow, what color(s) do you see first? I know my eye goes for the red or blueish-purple. Coming after the glory of red, orange is shy; coming before yellow, orange is bold.

I see this shy vs. bold personality in myself. When I am with family or a friend, I rely on them if I miss something (regarding to hearing.) They are the ones to speak first of my deafness and how I read lips. It is not like I can’t fend for myself…I most often get as far as I can in the conversation, then mention my deafness if I say, “I’m sorry, please say that again.” But when I am alone, I feel bold. I speak freely of my deafness, but I think most boldness came from shy experiences.

Like today, I went pant shopping. As the lady at the fitting room knocked on the door to see if anyone responded before unlocking it, I took the liberty to mention that I was deaf and if she knocked on my door, I would not know nor answer. (Just speaking from a shy experience before in fitting rooms where I had not mentioned that tiny but vital detail. 🙂 ) When I finished my sentence, she looked really happy and started signing…”I know sign language!” Talking about my deafness to strangers started out in shyness (embarrassment), but when I take time to acknowledge my communication needs, it results in a better understanding.

The color orange may never be a “favorite” color, but I am now appreciative to its purposes and beauty. Take a moment to ponder a color…you may be surprised by what you find.

I spy something. Orange. Can you see it?



Filed under Paintings