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 🙂

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?

Beautiful Blogger Award

Humble thanks to The Forester Artist for nominating my blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  I am blessed with his continued support and friendship He has a wonderful blog about “Creating art on the big canvas and the small ones too.”
It took me a few days to accept the nomination. You see, Tim is family. More on that upcoming in my Nov. 4 post, so stay tuned.


1. Thank the person who nominated you

Thank you, Tim.

2. Post the award image to your page (see above)

3. Tell 7 facts about yourself

I met my husband (my best friend) on a blind date 32 years ago.

We have 2 wonderful sons, one of whom, along with his beautiful wife, have blessed us with 3 precious grandchildren.

I am a retired professional photographer.

I love dogs.

I enjoy creating.

I like my eggs fresh, store eggs need not apply. (Same goes for tomatoes.)

I pray.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers, and let them know about the nomination

I chose the following bloggers because of how they inspire me in their recognition of beauty in the world. They may hesitate to accept publicly…believe me, I understand.  Whether they accept or not, I want you to meet them, these people who live their gift and thereby bless the world with beauty.

Artistic Expression by Felicia Lilley

Illustration Junky

Laura Miller

Tanith Larking

Bright Spirit Studio


Susan Clement-Beveridge

Painting with Pencils

Pam Tanzey


Violet Gallery

Mike’s Look at Life

Anna Cull

Drawing and Painting Hobe Sound

Thistle Dew Mercantile

Congratulations and thank you for your contribution to the blogging community.

Catching Bliss

Have you ever noticed that children left to their own devices will gravitate toward an activity to capture bliss?
No one has to tell them to use a crayon to draw upon the walls or that when paper tears it makes a cool sound. They are fully capable of finding these pleasures all on their own.

Curiosity and discoveries fill their hearts and open the world.

Our youngest was the most prolific scribbler of walls. He loved to draw on paper, but what he relished most was a simple wall canvas.
What must have gone through his mind when I grumbled while cleaning the walls before selling the house?

I hope he knows we saved his paper art. He must, because in his home, his children have an art table at the ready for spontaneous creations.

So today, as we celebrate his birthday, we can only speculate what wonders of bliss his children will reveal to their dad and mom.

Happy Birthday Stephen
With love,

– By Stephen Livingston (age 5 years)


Our Littlest Heroes

I would like to introduce you to Horses for Heroes. This organization does wonderful work for those who serve; be they firefighters, police officers, military or other public service personnel putting their lives on the line for us.

The littlest heroes, the children of these men and women, also benefit from the healing and therapeutic power of horses.

© 2012 Mary Livingston
Photo reference provided by Lightly Spiced Photography by A. Adams

Fall Salmon Run is Here

Saturday was a busy day along our little one and a half lane, country road. More people work at the hatchery than live on this road. When the local salmon festival occurs, thousands visit in the span of 6 hours.

Although the people arrive in force to view the salmon, their numbers don’t come close to the population of turkey vultures filling the sky.  Like the people, the vultures also come for the salmon. The turkey vultures are drawn in with their keen sense of smell. This may also be why the visiting local tourists don’t linger for too long. If you think a spawning salmon looks gnarly, you should smell them.

The malodorous rot of spawning salmon surely does not evoke a sense of bliss.

Giving thanks today for the turkey vultures featured in Wings of Autumn post.

This illustration for a children’s book features Chinook salmon. The salmon begin dying and rotting once they leave the ocean. By the time they reach their spawning grounds they are in rough shape.

Wings of Autumn

The signs of autumn are slowly appearing in the Battle Creek basin. Last week bid farewell the triple digit heat with a final day of 103F (39.4C) on Monday, October 1. This week opened with a high of 80F(26.6C).  The temperature drop and shorter days nudge a color shift in the trees.

Kettles of turkey vultures fill the sky. Here along the creek we have vultures year round. They even nest in our backyard. This time of year their numbers increase in the sky as they circle higher and higher on thermals.  Vultures gather here for a reason. The fall run of Chinook salmon is underway.

Reviled creatures, most people consider these carrion feeders gross and ugly. If you have ever smelled rotting salmon from the spawn, you may consider these turkey vultures the most beautiful of all. We welcome their presence to keep our little valley clean.

I appreciate these birds.

Turkey Vultures –
This is an illustration from a children’s book I am working on called “No Place for Ugly Birds.”



Granddaughter’s Note

Grandchildren are purveyors of bliss. In my office, just below the window side of my desk, the backside of a dry-erase board is visible. The dry-erase board is facing the wall to protect it.

Okay, I know, I can take a picture of it, and I have taken a picture. The picture does preserve the memory. But a picture, though it may be worth a thousand words, can never take the place of my granddaughter’s note to her grandpa and me.

Grand Thing One wrote an wonderful “Rainbow Note” to Grandma and Grandpa. Fresh out of Kindergarten and on the way to first grade, here is Grand Thing One’s “Rainbow Note”

During a visit when Grand Thing One had just completed Kindergarten, she spontaneously wrote a note to us on the whiteboard from my office. She changed out color markers as she pleased, and the adorned the note with an illustration of herself with Grandma, Grandpa, and Tom Dog. (Tom Dog is her daddy’s dog.) The lovely note, exactly as written is in the picture. Here is how she read it to us:

“I Love Grandma and Grandpa. Your dogs are cute, I love them too. I love to read with you and they make me laugh. It is funny. I love to stay up with you, it makes me happy to stay up with you. When I see the sunshine it makes me sing about you. You fill my heart with love. I do not want to leave. I want to stay right here. I will not move. It was nice to see you but it was fun with you. Good-bye, I will see you soon. Good-bye, I love you, good-bye.”

 A straight line from her house to ours is 1350 miles. She is in 2nd grade now. I think I will send her some stationary, addressed envelopes and stamps. We Google Hangout often, and we call, but a nice note from little hands is a moment of bliss a grandma cannot resist.

As you see, I have a picture, but I do not, and never will, have the heart to erase her letter. So, all of you people out there in blog land, someone must know how to preserve this dry-erase message.

Is there a spray? Can the surface be laminated? Do I leave it as is and just pray nothing happens? Do I buy multiple dry-erase boards and experiment?

Your suggestions are welcome in this grandma’s desire to preserve bliss.

Grandma’s Morning Cup

Grandma's Morning Cup

A child’s art is a moment of bliss that continues to give.

My favorite cup features art from our oldest granddaughter. She drew this little row of flowers when she was four. I need to make an updated cup, she is seven now. Perhaps the new one will include refrigerator masterpieces from her younger sister and brother.

For parents looking for something special for Grandma and Grandpa, consider art from grandchildren. Grandchild art can be featured on an everyday item, like my favorite cup, or simply framed or on the front of a card.

I often receive treasured showpieces from our grandchildren. The gift of art from little hands is a moment of bliss that continues to give.

A Tip for Sneaking Bliss

A long holiday weekend is upon us. Here is a little tip for sneaking bliss.

The kids were tired, the day was hot and we were all sticking to the car’s seat. The AC was out. Again. One more stop. One more store then we could call it a day and go home.
Unbuckling, we all peeled ourselves off the hot seats and crossed the parking lot, picking up a little gum on our shoes along the way. It appeared that everyone in the store was having the same kind of day. Frowns everywhere. Tired, hot, sweaty, frowns.

“Mom, nobody is smiling,” the worried little voice broke through the grim silence of the grocery shoppers.

Without thinking, I blurted my automated reply, “Smile anyway.”

“Mom!  She smiled back, that lady smiled back. That one there, with her hair up and the sunglasses.”

Everyone in earshot stared. Then… they all smiled.

Our little family game was born. From this day forward it was our tradition, how many smiles could we get when in a store.

It does not sound like much. But try it. Smile. Count how many you get in return. And don’t worry about the ones who do not reciprocate, they need your smiles the most.

Not only will you sneak a little bliss, but you will share a little as well.

Color My Family

Our grandkids love to color. Using predesigned frames, I inserted line drawings of each of their family members, from siblings, to great grand-parents. The smiles make them great. Our smiles, whether shy or bold, are remembered by our grandchildren.
Sneak a little bliss, smile.