A woman who works with her hands is a laborer;

A woman who works with her hands and her head is a craftsperson;

A woman who works with her hands, her head and her heart is an....


Monday, April 7, 2014


 Yes. I know.
I have been ridiculously absent. for a long time.
My intention when I apologized for my absence once before was to get back on track...
but the writing muse has been evading me.
I think my muse is back.
Forgive my absence.
It won't happen again.
And now....

This is a story (told with permission)
A love story.
With a very, very happy ending.
The "And they lived happily ever after" kind of ending.
The kind of ending that we all hope for - especially me.
The kind of ending that...naïve or not...I am going to continue to believe in.
I met Debbie and Hillary several years ago.
They were/ are best friends and roommates.
Two of the most loving, charitable, welcoming and positive people I have ever met.
The kind of people that have never met a stranger -
the kind that love to laugh -
the kind that are anxious to lend a hand and help or volunteer for ... everything -
the kind that I have never, ever heard a word of gossip escape from either of their lips -
the kind that will ask a person how they are...and then genuinely listen to the answer and be engaged in the conversation -
the kind that, when they enter a room, every child is drawn to them...as is every dog -
the kind of people who sees your soul - not your wallet or your clothes or you circumstances -
the kind that will laugh with you and cry with you.
They are pretty wonderful.
They have been best friends and lived as roommates for 16 years.
Longer than many marriages that I have known.
Until a few months ago.
Yes they are still best friends - and they are still roommates...
 but they reached a point where they were ready to share their story and their truth.
They are committed partners who love each other more than life itself and were tired of hiding their love in the shadows.
They felt the time had come to let the "world" know who they were and what they meant to each other.
It was time for them to do this for themselves -
but also to offer strength to anyone who was hiding their personal story behind closed doors.
(Because we are all holding a secret story behind closed doors.)
They announced their love and commitment to their personal community -
and a couple months ago, they called me.
The time had come to make their relationship legal.
Sidenote: For those who read this that are not from my part of the globe - a little background.
Same sex marriage is not legal in Oregon yet - but it is in Washington. Living in Portland, Washington state is a 2 minute drive across the bridge; therefore certain laws are somewhat blurred across state lines. In this case - although a same-sex couples cannot marry in Portland - if they are married in Washington, it is recognized as a legal union in Oregon.
Debbie and Hillary chose a date in March to become legally married.
Not just because of the legal ramifications -
but, because, after 16 years of only being "friends" in public - they were more than ready to take a public stand and declare their love for each other before family, friends and God.
 This was an important and significant decision.
The wedding would be for immediate family only - very small and intimate.
But they wanted a way to commemorate the event and symbolize the love of their community of friends that were extending their love and support to them.
This was a very passionate occurrence for many people.
That is where I came in.
I received a phone call asking if I would create a very personal piece of art for them.
Not only was I excited - I was honored and humbled by this request.
I grew up with strong Christian values from birth.
Very few people in my life have ever been a true and unfailing example of what "Christian values" are...
except for these women.
I have also grown up with near and dear friends - the kind of friends that years and distance cannot separate - that have struggled in a world that has given these amazing individuals some awful and humiliating labels - like "freaks" or "deviants" or "evil".
But that is another story for another day...
The bottom line -
Yeah. I was humbled.
We met a few times - we talked about ideas, and things that were meaningful and symbolic to them.
They wanted a way to represent all of the people that were offering love and support.
We decided on rice paper.
A wonderful textured paper - rice paper would be torn into small pieces and mailed to friends and family with a letter of explanation.
If the recipient of the paper was willing, they would sign their name in permanent marker on the rice paper and return it.
These names would be collaged onto the painting surface so that shadow...almost ghostly images...of the names would be behind the art work.
A symbolic representation of the love and support, the painting would be "built" upon these names.
Names on rice paper collaged to the background.

Debbie and Hillary spent a few days discussing images they wanted to see -
words, quotes, symbols that were important to their story.
And then...away we went.
I built a box which, when hung, stands out from the wall.
Multiple layers and levels add texture and dimension.
Symbols included - Mt. Hood - the beautiful mountain which stands in our backyard and looks over us in our part of the globe - symbolic of the ascent they have made together over the years; A river with fish, blooming flowers, lush green, a tree bursting with leaves- all signs of spring and symbolic of a re-birth; A cut-out of their canine, Piper; A heart with the dates which commemorate the beginning of their relationship and their wedding date - 16 years apart, to the day; a quote by Mother Teresa that states:
"...give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God..."
and in the middle of the mountain, a flying dove to symbolize God's love for them.
the painting, in its finished state...toes not included :)
the painting with it's rightful owners..
So here is the deal -
this painting will forever go down as one of my favorites.
I bonded with this piece because of the love that it represented.
I don't know your feelings about same-sex marriage - and quite frankly, this isn't the venue to discuss that.
What I know is I thought these two were the epitome of happiness and joy before -
but the love that radiates off of them now is infectious and encompassing and beautiful.
What I know is...
I hope that I will be able to find a love of this caliber in my lifetime.
"And they lived happily ever after..."