(A lil' blog on a dotty hill somewhere)

Wednesday, November 15

Gift-wrapped or not, what a gift!


OK, it's a wrap! Pretty much completed. Yes, definitely inspired by Lissa here while thinking exactly what gift would this girl get to unwrap? (Funny, as when first illustrating her a few months ago, I had actually pictured that she was sending something to someone else.) Anyway, I like the look of surprise on her, and perhaps some delight too, as she watches this gift of winter wonder love keep growing and growing! You never know what you might unwrap if you'd just give it a chance...


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I want to start by saying that the 15th would have been my mother's 87th Birthday. Writing this tonight (on the 14th), I'm reminded that this day last year was the last time I saw my mother. We had taken her out (with much difficulty) to celebrate her birthday as Alex and I were leaving our stint in the UK and heading back to Colorado. Saying goodbye, as with every time over the last 15 years or so, was poignant, understanding it was likely to be my last. This time of course, as expected, it truly was. I told her how much I loved her; thanked her for all her sacrifices over the years raising us a single mother; prayed for her, and whispered that she would be loved and remembered forever.

So, why this photo with my younger sister and I flanking our mother? I believe it was my cousin's wedding at HTB and therefore one of the few times we got to really dress the part and even get a photo with our mother! She hated having photos taken and as such, apparently my older sister in England now has endless photos where Mama had cut herself out. Ha. So this photo is rare indeed and shows her a bit older than those black and whites I've shown on Instagram from her younger days before thyroid kicked in, etc.

Anyway, whilst thinking of my mother and the gift of parenthood, I got quite mixed up, being tired from an already long week that began Sunday, and started drawing something for "gift UNwrap" not "gift wrap!" Rather than not show anything at all, I've decided last minute to add the former as one of the prompt options — call it creative license if you will, or more so, the advantages of being the host! :) My hope though is to have my drawing coloured in and up here (at the top) later in the evening. Please stay tuned!

In the interim, what lovely wrapped gift-wrapped or unwrapped presents did you have to bring to this Scribble Picnic? Come join us and let's celebrate those good things in life that continue on even in the midst of our sorrows, loss, tragedies, etc. You know, some of the greatest gifts we can give is simply to acknowledge unexpectedly another relative stranger or colleague for something unique that they offer. Genuine, thoughtful kind words can never be over-stated. We all need it! We all have hearts that need continual filling, no matter what our circumstance or personality. So, let me start by saying THANK YOU to each of you who make this art co-op what it is — an extended on-line family of sorts. Each one expressing works differently encourages us all to tap into that creative muse, considering all the different ways we can express any one theme. I'm delighted we have this group to keep our creative mind muscle alert and flexing... getting in shape before the holiday nosh, as it were. And let me tell you, I love Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas! :)


P.S. Preferring that we try to keep our posts succinctly focused on our art piece for the week to help us get through everyone's, my apologies for this long heartfelt ramble!
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42 comments

  1. You sure have away with words Michael, writing this touching post. That is a beautiful photo of a younger you with your mom and sister. May your mom rest in peace now. Will look forward to seeing your 'gift' piece lol.

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    1. you see how tried I was? I wrote "gift" istead of "gift UNwrap" is what I meant to say! Oh dear me. Fixed now on sidebar and above.

      Thank you for your note. It would have been more of a complete photo is both my sisters had been in it. Oh well, at least I now this in book format form Mama's funeral!

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    2. I love this piece, you have captured the joy of receiving a precious gift! And I do see a bit of Alexandra in this. The gift itself is so precious!

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  2. Michael dear, this post is a beautiful gift. . . . . . to us! Thank you for sharing the photo, it's lovely to see your mother and sister together, and of course you there too looking so much like you do now! Our mothers were special and, like you, I miss mine so much even though she's been gone much longer.
    Looking forward to what our lovely group of artists bring this week - with the Holidays fast approaching time may be compromised, but it's nice to allow ourselves a little personal time just for Scribble Picnic. Again sorry I missed last week - New Orleans kept me very hot and busy!
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. We all missed you input yesterday but Alex and I chuckled, assuming you were off doing more exotic things elsewhere. Lovely to have you back, Mary. I need to seriously catch up on all your blog posts when able. Thank you so much for your words here.

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  3. Mothers are very special indeed and I know your mom must have been for she raised an exceptionally kind and generous son. This time of year must be very sad for you (as are other times, as well). My heart goes out to you. Just remember the wonderful times in the past and cherish those with all your heart. Sending love and hugs.

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    1. Thank LAtane. Overall, Im not too sad, as I've already spen a life prepping and mourning her loss since, of course, I loved overseas and rarely got to affird to see her until later in years when her decline began. Sad but she instilled in us great values and ones I see sooo lacking these days...especially manners. Anyway, I am happy she had shed her mortal coil and I firmly believe is in a better place now. :)

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  4. This is a wonderful photograph of your mom/mum, sister and your! I am so glad that she is not cut out. She is lovely, I wonder why she did not like photos of herself. My heart leans towards yours today.

    Not sure if I will have anything for today, I continue to draw a blank.... but I still have time.

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    1. She didn't like photos of herself because she became increasingly fat and her thyroid took most of her metabolism, eyelashed, eyebrows etc. Of course, no one measures up to their younger selves! Lol. I think too that she had a tiny nose which even at ones bet can make it hard to capture for photographs, looking better in real life.

      You know, Tammie, that's totally OK. So appreciate you visits, regadless. Thank you very much!

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  5. This post doesn't surprise me ... You have shown your kind heart in so many ways in the past. That you have come from a wonderfully loving(and beautiful) family is no surprise. Thank you, right back, Micheal, for sharing this with us ... it reminds us of the gifts we have in our own lives ... you and your art blog being one of them. You have started my day with a smile and a warm heart ... one couldn't ask for any more. Warm hugs to you and yours ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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    1. Gosh, Andrea, I need more of yous in my life. You totally have a gift of encouragement. Thank you. Yoru words really touch me and I so appreciate them.

      My mother was definitely loving, somewhat Italian in her expression as she wore her heart on her sleeves. She didn't get people (English) who were so "emotionally constipated" as she woudl put it, even while being reserved herself in a few things. Through it all, we always knew we were loved adn what more could any kid ask for? It's odd that since my early 20's my younger sister picture here wants nothing to do with me and I have no idea why! I do realise we are totally different in outlooks...but then again, almost all of my freinds have polar opposite views to my own as I truly love to be around different sorts of people form my own. Alex is already so much like me so don't really need others per se. :) Ha. Warmth right back to you.

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    2. I hope you will continue to reach out to your sister even if she doesn't respond. Having a taste for diversity is a gift and one you should be proud of ... you are well rounded and warm hearted and there is so much in life one could miss by not being open to it ...

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  6. Hi Michael, your heartfelt ramble was wonderful. :) It's something I will never experience so I'm happy for you that you had a wonderful mum and very nice memories! The photo is wonderful! Look at you, all young and dressed up! :) My "gift" to the picnic isn't a standard one lol...but then again, when are my scribbles ever the norm? :) I'm glad I had time to paint this week. I have to thank you too for offering the weekly prompts, in helps a lot to keep me painting and being creative with my wild imagination! :)

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    1. That's such a cute illustration!! I love it, reminds me a bit of Jack and the Beanstalk! Very nice!!

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    2. Dear Rain, I'm so sorry you haven;t had that whether from no mother alive/around or one who was not good for you. Alex has for much of her life had the same sort of family issues from abuse, etc, but things have really turned around recently and am thankful for that.

      Yes, I think an art community like this is invaluable for keeping one's toes into the creative muse. I know that without it, I'd never do anything on my own! BTw, I love your imagination! Naughty and nice as you say. lol.

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  7. Michael, I so appreciate this post you shared. It strikes a chord given my yearly Spring visits to my own childhood home and my own mother bring up the same, "this could be the last time", awareness with each visit (she's 84). I take every chance now to let her know how much she meant/means and thank her for raising me as a single mother as well with all the trials and difficulty that I know it must have brought to her own life.

    Unlike your mother, mine loved photos and it was I who made every excuse to not be in them at every occasion. I am grateful that I do have a few I'll be able look back on and smile at when the time comes. And look at you and your sister! Isn't it beautifully strange to see those moments frozen in time?

    It's a gift that you shared this. . . thank you!

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    1. What's bitter sweet about this phote is that my younger sister here hasn't engaged with me in my life since our early 20's! VEry sad but her choice adn really I ahve no idea why as I love her as my sister but understand she detests me for whatever reason. I keep reaching out but cannot push as it is her choice and she must do whatever she feels is best for her. Sad too as she is the only person in America who knew me growing up! I keep her in my heart and prayers, regardless.

      Yes, your words here definitely pull on my heartstrings as I read of your own situ with your mother. (Mine would have been 87 this year!) I hope every moment you have with yours, Nicolas, is special. So glad you are closer to be able to easier visit. I am sure you never take it for granted.

      Tank you, as always, for your lovely words. This weekend I am taking some time out to visit people's blogs and will be sure to swing by yours to catch up.

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  8. A truly touching post and so sorry about your loss. Lovely thoughts and in the end hope the sweet memories from the past give you strength for today and always. Warm greetings.

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    1. Right back at you, Bloggi. I need to pop by and visit your collection of thoughts this weekend as I finally have some down time to visit people...outside of the art co-op pieces that is!

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  9. 1st time to play along. Loving what I see. Thanks.

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    1. Great to have you here, Pam. Welcome.

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  10. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays - all those days that bring a tad bit of sorrow thinking of the loved ones that we've lost, but, for the most part, that sorrow can come with the joy of remembering also. Thank you for sharing your remembrance of your lovely mother with us.

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    1. You know, call me weird, but I really don;t like remembering. Rather than relive the moment adn find joy, whislt I get that too, I'm left with the reminder that that moment or stage of life is gone forever which makes me feel even sadder! I am the exact same way with photos!! I add these for my kids to remember for one and for others here to get a sense of who the host is and what not. Thank you for you lil note here, Lorraine. I am sure yours was wonderful too. Perhaps you will write on her soon for the holidays?

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  11. A beautiful photo and a beautiful post also, Michael...you certainly do have a way with words. Your Mother was an amazing woman and, I can understand that it wouldn't have always been easy raising kids as a single Mum...I was a single Mum of five for over 20 years. I'm sure your Mother would have been very proud of her children, then and now.

    I love the piece you did for Scribble Picnic! Gift wrap didn't actually make an appearance in my take on the theme but rather, the tools needed to do the gift wrapping. hehe

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    1. Your take was super clever, Serena. Thank you. And a HUGE Bravo for raising FIVE kids on your own! that must have been so tough and I am sure now they look back in admiration for all you did. My kids also later in their teens had divoced parents but I alwasy went above and beyond for them, giving them adn thier mom FAR more than mandated as I always wanted them to know, even when giving 83% of my take home pay, that they were and always will be my priority. Never wanted and devastating as all that was for me, the hurt, spun stories, etc, I have truly overcome. So thankful I met in that time of loss, Alexandra, who herself has been through such horrors that she taught me how to overcome and to stick through it for my kids, even when I feeling devastated and having nothing left to give. So thankful now.

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    2. You have obviously been a great support for your kids, Michael...well done to you. There are too many deadbeat Dads out there which sadly my kids experienced first-hand. I'm so glad that you and Alexandra found each other...a perfect match for sure. :)

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  12. My apologies to everyone for the double post - I truly don't know how that happened.

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    1. I will delete the cookie one. No worries, jsut glad you got to join our picnic this week. Thank you!

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  13. Oh, that's too bad your mother cut off the photos, but glad you at least have some that are special.

    The girl has received a gift that looks like it will keep on giving! I had a few ideas, but didn't get anything drawn this week. Will enjoy seeing what others came up with.

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    1. Never mind...happy to have your visit, regardless and may some of the new prompts jsut added to my sidebar will inspire your own creative spark? :)

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  14. We are back from our trip, and I so sorry to have missed out on so many great "words".

    Your family story, just touched me deeply. I adore the picture, and I love how you have shared with us a piece of your personal life. That is so to be treasured. You have given us a piece of your heart and soul. Thank you Michael. Looking forward to the new set of words. Love and Hugs.

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    1. Hugs right back to you from the both of us, dear Wanda. Thank you, as always, for your lovely support. :) YOU are treasured.

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  15. great photo to have of family together, everyone looks lovely :)

    I have been enjoying everyones art :) just wish I had time to make some myself

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    1. Aww, yes we missed you, Jennifer. Never mind, maybe one of the new prompts will inspire? I have given us thanksgiving week off as I know many here will be busy with prep work!

      Yes, if only my older sister had been in this photo too.

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    2. yes that would have made the photo a bit better but its still a nice photos of you guys dressed up :) could always photoshop your older sister into the photo :p

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  16. I love the new prompts!! The wheels are turning in my dark mind lol...
    :D

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    1. Ooh ...great! Well you have over a week for the next one!

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  17. Hi Michael, thanks for coming by the blog and welcoming me to your blog again. I had been checking to see when the new themes were posted..thanks for letting me know. Now....to start thinking about the next one! Have a great evening.

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  18. that's what I thought too - it looks like something I would do, the trees and the decor - this is wonderful, quite unexpected and yet, a nice surprise.

    that is a nice photo, you don't look so bad there. I can see the resembles between you, your sister and mother.

    just noticed the new prompts, christmastime & the new year, I might do but I don't know about the other three, will have to think on them.

    have a lovely day.

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  19. such a beautiful post, I see you in your mum's eyes,, I love the surprise package painting too! What a wonderful surprise and great play on the seasons,, i love it!!

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  20. Happy THanksgiving to you and yours.

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