Tag Archives: Scotland

a moment to breathe


Christmas eve crazy – I was in the middle of all the good stuff; the kids and the music, the cooking and the cleaning, lights and movies, Noel, oh well, and fa-la-la…

but I could feel the days and weeks of balancing sickness and celebration catching up with me…my own colours were fading as I poured out in different directions what was necessary and needed. Then I caught a glimpse of the sky from my kitchen window. And just like that, I grabbed my camera and flip-flopped out into a gale to follow the light and colour I saw swirling behind our tree line.P1250692 I kept chasing that ever-changing scene, crossing our flooded stream and holding on to the ground so that I could reach some breath-taking beauty, so that I could breathe in the wild wonder of it for just a few precious minutes…P1250701 I didn’t care about the cold or the mud or the possibility of burning cookies, I needed to be there in that place…P1250715-001to wonder as I wander once again…P1250702

A new year comes in a few short hours…most of us have no idea what it will bring. But just in case it’s crazy and busy and full of things we’ve not planned for, let us not forget to look out our window, to run to beauty – however fleeting – to get our toes in the dirt and feel this life as we live it.

be encouraged

and blessed

in 2016.








the ever-changing same


The landscape we call home is timeless: a patch of Scottish moorland dotted with sheep and cows, watered by a spring, blown by gales, sheltered by trees that were once a hedge. The land is still and swiftly moving all at once. The shifting patterns of October rain, wind, light, cloud and quiet create an ever-changing view. And when I choose to look, to really see,  the panorama expands before me and I discover treasure in my everyday…in the familiar rhythms of life-as-normal.

All of these photographs were taken in the past couple of weeks, right outside our farmhouse.  Sometimes I need to be reminded that there is beauty in our routine places. Maybe this has reminded you, too.  Be encouraged.P1250376






look up into the blue


So, it’s been an eventful, 5-kid-crazy, happy-sad-sick-better, hospitals and day trips kind of summer. We had some amazing weeks of warm SUNNY buggy, get-the-hose-out weather. In Scotland, that means everything comes to a halt while we all go outside to observe the strange, wonderful orb in the sky…






And while there was not much time for painting or writing (as they both require some uninterrupted alone time) there was always time to look and let the beauty of an ordinary sky soak into my heart. These pictures were taken from our back deck while picnicking with bathing-suit clad little ones, Lego, some chickens and the cat! So even if everything is piling up around your ears, there can be inspiration and beauty for you to observe… to store up for a quieter moment of expression. Be encouraged.

patience and process



Ever tried to be creative while climbing uphill in a snowstorm with only your shorts on? Well, that’s how the last 2 months has felt to me. I’ve been stumbling around through some difficult times. which means my creative process has had to be slow. s…l…o…w… but not stopped. And I count that a joy. and I see things differently when it’s a layer at a time, a snapshot of moments, a sentence quietly unfolding as I move around my circumstance. As I move through each day as it comes. Here is the finished work that I carried in my heart and let out through my hands these past weeks. Our beloved Scotland, a view from Dunadd (a seat of kings, where they were anointed) across the Kilmartin valley towards the islands and ocean…


and here is a bit of how I got there…










Don’t give up in the midst of difficult circumstance. There is a story to be told during the walk in the valley. and it matters not the time it takes to tell. Be encouraged.

Spring has sprung!


I’d had enough of laundry, paperwork, exams, dishes, sickness and general cabin fever. The sun broke through the grey Scottish mist out here in our shire so a decision was made: field trip!  We took our back road to the back road (yes, we live out on the moors) and stopped haphazardly every other mile to see what we could see of spring…

I hope you enjoyed our little adventure as much as we did today!

Maybe it’s time for you to take a field trip…be encouraged.

the last painting of 2013


I cleared a path through the papers and boxes and firewood that seasonally take over my studio space. It was cold but bright in the last light of the day. Sunshine. Amazing sunshine at the heart of a Scottish Christmas and New Year…

My heart needed some space. and some light. There had to be time for one last painting. One for me, about me. So I warmed tubes of paint by the heat of my skin as I fed the stove and found a small canvas to begin…

This year has seemed like a series of swells and storms – the building up of things and the breaking of things. In this process I have found myself standing, drowning, drifting, clinging…

Though I have been at times lonely, I have not been alone…

and I have seen reflections of light in the dark places. These are the final minutes of sunshine for 2013 on our farm, filtering through the trees and windows…touching the wet and unfinished painting of my journey…

Here is where I stopped the work, with brighter skies on the horizon…

I cannot say what 2014 will bring for you or me, but I choose to look forward with hope. And it’s ok to take some rest, to float a bit when the waters quieten down for a time.  Choose your focus and you won’t drift off course. Be encouraged.



After a season of stepping forward and productive creativity, I find myself being stripped right back. and now I am so unsure…

questioning if I was actually moving in the right direction, wondering if progress was really made at all.

Time to take a walk…

The fruit trees on our Scottish farm had a glorious season, but we couldn’t even see the plums for the foliage.

Now those leaves are stripped right back. In the stillness of this frosted morning, I spy the evidence of fruitfulness.

and that some fruit remains…

If you are in such a place – where all that was full seems empty – may I offer you this humble portion?

Yes, there is loss. We don’t always see the fruit of our labours.

But sometimes what looks to be lost may be for another season.