Tag Archives: Yellow Springs

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.




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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

Recap: Art on the Lawn Festival

Hi everyone. 🙂

Can I just say for a Monday, today was good! I read Psalm 23 this morning in my study of finding the phrase “steadfast love” within the Psalms. Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” I never took note of this before, but today I read the numerical at the bottom reference to the word “mercy.” It says, “Or steadfast love.” So I noted the verse in my notebook.

I found Psalm 23 exactly what I needed to read after getting through the rest of last week and the weekend. God’s mercy and goodness was evident, but I cannot say that I held on to the steadfast love in all areas like I should have–instead I chose to cling on fear to a few health related issues…forgetting the peace and calmness of the still waters; forgetting how He restores the soul.

I am entirely grateful to my family who put up with my frazzled grumpiness and helped me immensely in the preparation (writing the price tags, putting in the thumbtacks and twine on the back of the paintings for hanging), set up/take down of my booth on Saturday and stayed all day with me at the festival. I could not have done this without them!!


I will say though that overall I was better prepared this year than past year, including getting a better nights sleep. It is interesting to see the difference one year can make, even within my painting style. As Mom and I were pricing on Thursday, I took note of my work: focused on smaller paintings, more abstract and ones with media. I stretched myself last year in my paintings to paint detail and broad themes; some of my best work is from last summer.

But over the year much has changed and I can see the paintings this year represent my style of what I am comfortable with and best at painting–a more relaxed approach yet detailed in its creativity. I would be lying to say that I don’t miss details, because I do. But sometimes even painting my “Mel” at the bottom corner is enough detail for me. I am just thankful that I can still paint!


So how was the art show? Fantastic! It was a LONG day…I could have gone for a second round of coffee, but the day could not have been better. We were blessed with beautiful weather and my booth sat right in front of a huge tree, which offered pleasant shade in the afternoon. In conversation, I did fairly well. It is hard for me, because I talk more than I listen just because I can’t hear…but as time went on, I felt more relaxed–enjoying watching people point to paintings they liked and meeting people or talking with the friends who came to my booth too. At the end of the day, I survived staying awake through dinner but then fell asleep on the drive home (last year I fell asleep AT dinner).


I want to say a thank you to the staff at the Village Artians, who coordinated this event. They went above and beyond making sure that the vendors’ needs were met. I can’t say that I will be in next year’s festival (who knows what another year will bring), but if the door is opened, then I would love the opportunity to participate again. Either way, painting this year will not stop for five months as it did last year–doors continue to  open and I am ready to restart on the journey through art.

Creativity takes courage. ~Henri Matisse


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Paintings

An Invitation!

It is that time of year again! Around this area, every town seems to have a festival of some kind throughout the summer and into the Fall. There are the art and craft festivals, the music festivals, farmer’s markets full of fresh produce, history festivities…to name a few.

Early last spring, through Beans-n-Cream, I heard about an annual art festival in Yellow Springs called, “The Art on the Lawn Festival.” Yellow Springs is an artsy, tourist town–and so the thought of being part of this event really excited me. It would be an opportunity to be alongside other local and out-of-state artists for a day. I would get to see their work and others could see mine. It would also give me a chance to tell more people about my story of living with NF2 and how I started painting.

So, I set out to apply for a booth space at the festival. After being approved, I vigorously painted for the festival, enjoying every minute of it (stress and tears were part of making the day a joyous one!) At the end of the festival, I was personally invited to next year’s show. I found that special and an honor.

In May, I resubmitted my application to secure a booth position and started slowly painting, thinking all the while, “I have plenty of time!” Here it is: two weeks to the festival! No stress or tears as of yet, but let’s just say these next two weeks, my primary focus is on the art festival details and finishing a few more paintings.

With that being said, you are invited! 😀 I am so thankful for the opportunity to be in this event yet again! If you are in the area and have the chance to stop by my booth, I would love to meet you and answer any questions you may have about my paintings or the NF2 disease. (For those who can’t make the day–a blog of the event and pictures will follow.)

I dream my painting and I paint my dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



P.S. If you received a hard copy of the invitation from me, you may (or not) have noticed that the year was wrong on the festival date. Just disregard the error. 🙂


Filed under Paintings

Art as a language.

Have you heard the phrase that when people are fluent in a language, they dream it? If art is a language, then I am fluent in it. 🙂 The last few weeks, I have been painting in my dreams! I can see the colors and feel myself doing brushstroke techniques…blending and creating. Considering this week’s schedule, I guess the lack of sleep and all those hours in the basement were rewarded today!!

Let’s just say today was AMAZING!!! What a neat experience to be part of the Art on the Lawn Festival in Yellow Springs! I met so many nice people and some of my friends came too! It was a long day though! Starting out the event with only a few hours of sleep is not ideal, but I am planning on catching up on sleep tomorrow. Anyway, the day was a grand time! Kicked off the event by twisting my ankle in a hole incognito by the grass as I was walking to the registration table. No harm done…only grass stained pants! My family was there to help set up, which I think they did a superb job!! (Kudos!!!) During the day, most conversations were giving information…most people have never heard of the disease before. I had a story board there with some pictures to explain some of my story, which helped a lot to understand about the genetics and why I have the disease. Because a portion of my proceeds are going to be sent to The Children’s Tumor Foundation, they were able to send us flyers for more readings. I think we passed out all but two! I was amazed though at the occasional conversations with people who are either cancer surviors or knew someone who struggled from other benign tumors or even NF1. To think that these diseases are so different and yet there is a common ground. We understand each other. 🙂

Today just could not have been any better! I raised over a hundred dollars for The Children’s Tumor Foundation! Thank you everyone who contributed! God even blessed the day with super dark, rainy clouds that never poured! Only a few sprinkles! And to end the day, some of our family friends were there to help take down…which was a blessing, because I think by that time we all were pretty much exhausted! I even fell asleep at the dinner table! LOL. My favorite part of the day was sharing all the excitement with my family. They deserved it just as much as me. Although they would deny that–but I would not be doing this without their ideas, support, prayers and encouragement!

I was asked a few times today what inspires my paintings. Truly a good question! The only answer I can say is that this is a gift that God has given to me. I love to encourage people. And now I have a new passion to share my story, think of others above myself, stretch myself beyond what I think I am capable of doing, and have fun in the process. Today I was called an artist. As an artist, I am still not sure where this leads but I would love to be part of something like this again!! Right now, I just look forward to things getting back to normal for a few days: Back to normal sleeping schedules; back to one cup of coffee a day (not three!); back to normal work hours; and back to writing blog posts more frequently.  🙂 Speaking of which–I am starting to fall asleep. Time for rest! More to come…


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Paintings

You’re Invited!!

Wow. This Saturday couldn’t come any faster! And with a loaded week of doctor appointments, work, a football game 🙂 and the finishing touches of paints and details for the display of my booth…sleeping in my MRI today has never felt so good!!! Yep, these summer months just seemed to fly right on by!!! My last MRI was in April. Things were stable, so the decision was to go another three months with no treatments of any sort and let my leg continue to heal from the blood clot. I am doing well for the most part. Some days I feel the tightness and pressure from the tumors more than others, but God always gives the grace needed to continue on. I must admit that standing on my feet all day long while painting and drinking lots of caffeine is not very normal, so I will look forward to more normality next week.

There are a few things on my list that I need to discuss with doctors about on Thursday. My mom and I go down for a full day of appointments with different doctors. I also have a hearing test on Thursday morning.

Usually during a week like this–full of doctor appointments–I often get nervous. Since I don’t know the results of my MRI, my mind starts to wander…thinking of all the different things that could be showing on the scans. I get frustrated when I go to the appointments and hear that nothing has changed on the scans. Don’t get me wrong, that is great news! But when side affects continue to change–more weakness, more difficulties in hearing, more pain spasms, more achy nerves, more fatigue…if I go Thursday and hear “No change”–I might be upset. But see this is all nonsense to think this way. I have no idea of the scan results and no control over it, so why worry about it? Bad habit I suppose.

To ease my bad habit, I honestly have been too busy these past few weeks and especially this weekend to even think about my doctor appointments. I have too much on my “to do” list for Saturday. I am so thankful for my family helping me…not only with different suggestions for paintings, but also ideas for my display and logo, getting supplies, steering clear of my messes in the basement, encouraging me when I am burnt out, and for planning on being there to help all day during the festival! One thing that is for sure–if I ever do another event like this, I will (1) have all the supplies such as tables and a canopy, (2) have one experience under my belt for reference of things that went well and things that did not, and (3) I will remember the cause/effect of procrastination and not go in that direction! Overall, it has been a great learning experience! I even painted different styles and experimented with different themes, textures and colors. 🙂 Not to mention sizes! Some paintings are almost as big as me (and wider!)

Thus, I would like to formally invite you to this Saturday’s events!

What a great opportunity to represent my paintings, my passion and what God has done in my life! I am so excited!! Check back early next week for a few pictures of my favorite paintings and stories of Saturday’s event!


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Hospital Trips, Paintings