My Husband’s Mother

Six boys in under seven years. The fact that she still has her sanity is proof she has been sneaking bliss.

Everywhere I look, I see evidence of naysayers being cast aside.
Little expressions of what brings her joy are on display in this corner or that.
Mementos from family trips.
Her family wall of portraits, young and old.
A shelf full of children’s books.
Her garden is a masterpiece transformed to greatness by her culinary prowess. Yes, she is that good.
Perhaps the greatest evidence of bliss is a beautiful trillium painting, her painting, hanging in the den.

The most recent picture of us. She graciously tagged along while I was shooting research pictures at San Francisco Zoo. Tim snapped a few shots with his phone.

I treasure her presence in my life. Not only because she is the mother of the man who holds my heart, but the woman to woman wisdom she brings to our relationship is immeasurable. I have benefited greatly from her experience.

It is only fitting that every so often her birthday occurs on Thanksgiving.

Happy Birthday Mom,

“Trillium” by Norma Livingston

Art to Beat Cancer for Children’s Research Institute

Fellow artist, Doyle Glass, put a little bug in my ear about some wonderful work being done in Dallas. Doyle’s wife Kim passed away from breast cancer this past December at the young age of 46. Because of this, he has devoted his life to helping find a cure for cancer. Cancer touches so many lives in such a profound way, I know you’ll all be pleased to learn about ART TO BEAT CANCER.

Doyle has organized the inaugural ART TO BEAT CANCER for Children’s Research Institute, which will occur on May 8, 6-8 PM at the Miller Event Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

ATBC for CRI is an art auction in which all proceeds benefit the “Kim Hazelwood Glass Endowment for Cancer Research at Children’s Research Institute.”

ALL PROCEEDS, INCLUDING TICKET SALES, WILL BE MATCHED, thereby doubling the donation to cancer research at CRI.

How can you help?

  • Spread the word. The more people reached, the better.
  • Buy tickets and attend the benefit. Individual tickets are only $35 and couples $50.
  • I can’t attend, but I have family in the area so I gifting them tickets.
  • Bid on artwork.
  • Donate cash if you can.
  • Spread the word. The more people reached, the better.

Bids on artwork are underway at

You can help out by purchasing ticket to attend, making a donation or bidding on artwork. (You can bid on artwork now at the link below). Individual tickets are $35; couple tickets are $50.

Art to Beat Cancer on Facebook

Please spread the word.

Winter Break Bliss

Woot! Woot! Snow day! Time for a happy romp! Inked on 300lb arches rough then watercolor washes. 2013 MaryALivingston
Woot! Woot! Snow day! Time for a happy romp!
Inked on 300lb arches rough, then watercolor washes.
© 2013 MaryALivingston

Friendship Bliss


Sneaking a little bliss with Tim's pens... shhh, he doesn't know :)

Sneaking a little bliss with Tim’s pens… shhh, he doesn’t know 🙂

Puppy Bliss

Golden Retriever Puppy

Saturday Night Kintaro of Akiyama – Kinta helps me haul firewood.

Meet Saturday Night Kintaro of Akiyama. We call him Kinta. He will be a guest at our home for several months before he is able to join his family in Japan.

Japan is a rabies free country. Kinta was born in Montana, USA. The US is not a rabies free country. He comes from Saturday Night Golden Retrievers.

The procedure goes something like this, Kinta will receive a rabies vaccination as soon as he is old enough. Then he will receive a booster a month later. A month after that, his blood will be tested for rabies titers. If his titer level is high enough, he then must wait for six months before going home. Once in Japan, he will be observed for several hours prior to being released to his family. He will also undergo many other health certifications prior to getting a green light to breed. It is a lengthy process.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Kinta checks out the pond. He’ll be swimming in no time.

Our friends Noriko and Yoshi are very dear to us, so we are happy to assist them with a foster home for Kintaro. We have fostered two other pups for them, Sakurako and Jutaro. Noriko and Yoshi are dedicated breeders of competitive golden retrievers in Japan. They take care to select genetically sound parent stock.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Kinta enjoys some Northern California sunshine.

For the next 10 months or so, I will get to enjoy, train, and share the love of a good pup. His family will visit from time to time, we take care to be sure he knows them and knows their scent.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Handsome boy watches down the driveway… are those quail he sees?

Golden Retriever Puppy

Kinta on the move – this is his standard pose.

Here are a few shots and a quick watercolor sketch of Kintaro.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Saturday Night Kintaro of Akiyama – watercolor by MaryALivingston

Frosted Buttercups

butterstar frosted-blossom frosted-buttercup1 frosted-butterstar frosted-butterstar2 frosted-buttercup2

Granddaughter Gift – part 1

girl on horse, horse art

Work in Progress…girl on horse for T1. She loves horses. This is a start to a Christmas painting for her. What do you think so far?

Bliss Nicely Wrapped

The Nutcracker bliss present Christmas

Gazing in the gift shop at the nutcrackers and dancers following the performance of “The Nutcracker.”
© 2012 MaryALivingston
Photo reference provided by
Lightly Spiced Photography by A. Adams

The holiday season is upon us. Adults worldwide look for ways to gift and treat the children in their lives.

Last year, I witnessed a most precious Christmas gift. One of our granddaughters loves ballet. Since she could stand she has twirled. Don’t know from where this comes. No one in the family dances other than for casual fun. So, her Papa and Nana took her, her older sister and their mom to a ballet performance of “The Nutcracker.” Little brother was too young to attend and Daddy was deployed half a world away.

We, Grandma and Grandpa, arrived for our visit the night before the ballet. Papa let us know his plans ahead of time, so we also procured tickets for the event.

Our two young granddaughters, ages 4 & 7, were in lovely dresses and shiny shoes. Their hair hung in beautiful locks. They were clearly prepared to attend an elegant event.

Being of small stature, it was hard for the littlest to see over the heads in front of her. She climbed in my lap for a better view.

The curtains opened and when the first ballerina twirled on her toes, the little one in my lap quivered and proclaimed, “I can do that!”

There were a few looks and even a “Shhhhh.”

Doesn’t everyone know the ballet requires silence?

She paid the naysayers no heed, for they did not register through her eagerness. As the show progressed, “I can do that,” would sound every now and again interspersed with an, “I can SO do that.”

This child’s love of ballet was coming to life before our eyes. With every pas de chat and arabesque she became more engaged.

She will remember this forever. Nana, Papa, Mama, Grandpa and Grandma will as well.

During a season when many overindulge, what mattered most to these little girls was spending time with their family at an event they treasured. Papa and Nana hit a home run with this gift, I am thankful we were there to share in the joy.

Some believe the expanse of lavish and numerous presents thrusts upon the little ones is a direct measure of love.  Quite the opposite. I never for a moment doubted the love of my grandparents. Yet, over the years, I received not even one wrapped gift for a birthday or holiday from these two people who represented clear and abundant love. This was not because of culture or religious belief. They were poor. They barely had provisions for food and shelter. Sometimes not even that. Their gift everyday was love. The kind of love that reaches to your core.  The kind of love that garners respect and delivers clear discipline.  The kind of love that has the power to stay in a heart through times of joy and sorrow.

In this season, when it is all too easy to overindulge, take the time to build memories of love your children will treasure. We will all remember the ballet with Nana and Papa.


You may also like:
By Candlelight
I Don’t Do Princess
Granddaughter’s Note
Grandma’s Morning Cup

By Candlelight

Power outage at our place. Happens every now and then, just a fact of life when living in a rural area. So out with the candles and lanterns. I just loved power outages as a kid, board games and ghost stories were sure to follow. But today, when the outage occurred I was painting a cover for a children’s picture book. The candles and lanterns did not cast enough light to paint, not a book cover anyway.

I decided to start a piece that’s been on my mind for a while. It was moving along nicely in the glow of the candlelight. Then it was time for fresh water. No water. We are on a well. No electricity = no water. I began plotting for water. Would it be decadent to paint with bottled water? Would the water in the pond be too muddy from the rains? Perhaps some water out of a downspout?

In the midst of plotting for a water source, Tim arrived and we discussed setting up the generator. He did get a little one out of our RV up for lights. Then voila…the power company had the main electricity back on. Isn’t that how it goes?

Work in progress being painted by candlelight.

Here is the ‘by candlelight’ work in progress. I may have to finish it by candlelight. For now, back to the book cover.

I Don’t Do Princess

Our grandchildren love for us to carry them to bed after story time. Such was the case on this particular visit.

T2, our second granddaughter, wanted me to carry her this time, instead of Grandpa.

She says, “Grandma, carry me.”

Pleased to have the honor, I approach with arms out.

“Grandma, carry me,” she repeats. “Carry me like a princess.”

Princess? Really? Princess? Anyone who has read my posts, especially Wedded Bliss, can ascertain – I don’t do princess.

I gently leaned down and tenderly said, “Grandma doesn’t do princess.”

Well, she stood very tall, placed her hands on her hips, cocked her tiny head to the side, peered at me through her brow and in a pleasant, encouraging voice not matching her stern posture said, “Grandma, you can try.”

Princess it is.

One of Thing2’s art pieces displayed on The Repository of Bliss.

Happy Birthday GrandThing2