Three Easy steps to solving ALL of Life’s problems. (If ONLY!)

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TRUE • 12″ x 12″ oil painting • ©2017 Marie Scott Studios

When at a loss for what to do…

1. Do what you know HOW to DO.
2. Remember what you KNOW to be TRUE.
3. Find something NEW for YOU.

I like to explore ALL my options. So much so, that it has become a joke in our family. If you want something researched like a dog with a bone, than I am your go-to-gal for turning what could simply fit onto a 3 x 5 card into a 16-page official document.

Ideas are my hobby. And fleshing out new options is my-kinda-fun.

But unfortunately, all this “what if?” or “maybe this!” ends up being time-consuming. And confusing. And life-sucking.

So after spending months and months and months, exploring (and testing) all possible courses that my career/life could take, I recently came to a few conclusions.

1. Do what you know HOW to do.

Why is it that often the most logical, suitable solution is sitting there right beneath our nose?

The thing I know best HOW to do is capture and spread beauty. This has been my official mission statement since 2001. How did I lose sight of my passion?

I was so busy looking for that new “thing” I was supposed to do, that it drew my away from the real thing I already KNOW how to do.

And for me, that real thing is to shoot not-so-good photos of beauty. NOT for Instagram or Facebook — but rather — with the express purpose of turning that snapshot of time into a painting.

A painting which documents the fact that there is still a lot of good in this world. A painting which can breathe a feeling of hope, peace, and happiness into a room.

Simple for me. Life-giving to my soul. And often a way to inspire others.

YOUR real thing probably won’t be painting.
If it were — you probably would not be reading this blog — you probably wouldn’t even be on the internet because you would be blissfully lost in the chaos of your work right now. Not even knowing what day or time it was. Or when you had last eaten.

YOUR real thing… might be embracing the messy season of parenting life. With the express purpose of turning 2, or 3, or 4 (or more!) little pliable souls into first little —and then later — bigger little-people. Real people who grow up to be kind, and compassionate, and capable adults. People who do things that the world needs done. People who reflect all the good things they learned from you while they were growing up.

YOUR real thing… might be driving a truck across town, or across the country. Driving important things, to the places they need to be. On time. And without incident. Because that is what YOU know, and that is how you support your family. And along the way you have time to think and dream and listen. And SEE so many things that nobody else will ever have the chance to even know about.

YOUR real thing… might be hard, and boring, and thankless, but also RIGHT for this season of life.

Aren’t most REAL things basically just that? Full of lots of effort that feels hard, and boring, and thankless. But at the end of the day, isn’t it the REAL thing that we are intentionally doing (and viewing for what it is — the RIGHT thing) the ONE thing that best makes us sleep soundly, with a satisfied heart? 

2. Remember what you KNOW to be TRUE.

Why does this sound so easy to do, yet so often the last thing we fall back on?

This year, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I have been writing down a sentence or two every morning. A thought or verse that has caught my heart from the devotional reading that I begin my day with.

WOW.

This one small practice, which only consumes about 10 minutes of my time, has been a game-changer for me the past two months. Who would have thought?!!

Here is what I wrote down last week. On Wednesday. In very messy, almost illegible handwriting…

*Isaiah 38* Hezekiah was going to die. He prayed to God to remember his faithfulness and “WEPT BITTERLY.” God heard him & said “I will add 15 years to your life. As a SIGN — I will turn back THE SHADOWS & make them go back the 10 steps they have already gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” So HE did! God made shadows go backwards! “I have heard your prayers and seen your tears…”

[That was just my unedited paraphrase. For the actual verses, check out Isaiah 38 which talks about how God heard the bitter weeping of a man and then answered his cries.]

I am not sure this story has such a happy ending, but I was reminded of something I already know to be TRUE, but need to be reminded of. Through it ALL, the God who was powerful enough to reverse the shadows, was WITH Hezekiah.

In regards to all the soul-searching and angst that seems to have made up the better part of my adult life — and besides the part about God reversing the literal shadows on the ground— here was my other favorite thought from that chapter.

Isaiah 38:17 “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

Since I DO believe the Bible to be a true document, with the power to change lives (sorry if that totally weirds you out!) I need to figure out a way to pour more of this TRUTH into my life. Period.

So. To both you AND to me, I say this…

Remember what you KNOW to be true; remember what you know to be good. And STOP listening to the distractions which are so strong and so everywhere that they are almost impossible to block out!

Phillipians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

3. Find something NEW for YOU.

I did something crazy a few months ago. I joined a class in which I am the only white person. And also, the only person below the age of 60 (65+???) I am not sure why I did this, but I felt a voice inside me was saying I should go. And do something different. Because it was an opportunity that so few will ever get the chance to experience.

At first, it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done. But at the very same time — the most eye-opening, interesting, love-filled place I have been in years.

In my often too-driven mind, “I do not have time…” for a weekly, noon-day class. That being said, this crazy NEW thing has been the oasis for my parched, dry soul.

The class asks nothing of me, other than to show up for an hour. And be loved. I am not even sure why.

Except, I DO know why. In my head, I know there is a LOVE that can transcend race and age and gender. But until I jumped into this crazy new thing, I have never experienced it so deeply before. A love and unity that has no other explanation than this one true thing. We are all part of the same spiritual family.

Only YOU can find your NEW good thing. And if you can’t figure it out yourself, find some idea-factory like myself and ask them for a thought or two. There has got to be at least one something-simple you can squeeze into your week, or month, or year that is a good NEW thing for you.

  • Maybe a book club?
  • Taking an online class in something that has always interested you? 
  • Hanging out at the dog park on Sunday afternoons to meet people who you would never otherwise cross paths with?
  • Walking with a neighbor?
  • Volunteering?
  • Making a concerted, documented effort to eat one new kind of food every week?

No matter what it is for YOU, I can attest that this crazy good NEW thing I am in the middle of, has been life-giving to my soul. It has taken me out of my sometimes dreary but still comfortable safety zone and dumped a clean, cold bucket of refreshing perspective into my week.

Bam. Done. There you go.
Three easy steps to solving ALL of Life’s problems.
In a nutshell.
(Ha-ha! If ONLY life were so easy…)

 “May we all listen closely for direction — but never let the weight of the wait, become that which we allow to crush us.”

— Ancient Proverb 

[ Just kidding. I totally made that quote up! (See… I gotta stick to my Real Thing.) ]

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MY “Real Thing” is painting.

Which is what I did last week. And THAT, is when and WHY, the painting at the top of this post was created.

So at least for now, I am getting back to painting in a more focussed way. Taking something seriously that I am ALREADY good at. And even though I have no plan (yuck) for what purpose this continued effort of love may have, I will continue to do what I know how to do. At least until somebody tells me otherwise.

If you would like to have a copy of my painting “True”— to remind you to think about what is TRUE for you — feel free to download my March desktop calendar by clicking on the image above.

Warmly,

Print

Marie Scott
Painter of beauty. Even if it is just for me; for now.

www.remembergoodness.com

Remembering Moses and the Red Sea

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Do you remember Moses? He was that guy with white long hair from the Bible who was met in the desert by a bush.

Not just an ordinary bush. This bush was a talking, on-fire-yet-not-being-consumed-by-flames kinda bush. Probably the only bush of its kind to ever exist.

Moses wasn’t out looking for power. He had skeletons of shame in his closet. Murder being one of them.

Yet God chose Moses for an assignment that was much bigger than Moses’ talents, experience or pedigree.

An assignment Moses didn’t ask for. Or want. Or feel qualified for.

Rescuing a nation from slavery. Which by the way — involved getting all those people across an enormous body of water — without any boats.

But God did it.

Miraculously. He made a way for Moses and all his followers to get across the Red Sea.

Instead of providing boats, he just rolled back the water. And because of God’s power, all those terrified, escapee slaves were able to get across. Without even getting their feet wet.

Do you ever feel like Moses? With an assignment that is much more than you would ever desire, or possibly feel remotely capable of handing?

I sure do. Which is why I am finding that the older I get, the more I need reminders. If I look back on my past history, there are all kinds of times that God has rescued me. I have my own Red Sea stories.

If you stop and think about it, you probably do too. Stories that should be told so they are not forgotten. Most importantly, by you.

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Here is a reminder of Moses’ story. Above is a free 8 x 10 poster you can download and print out at home on your color printer. Or send it off to your favorite photo lab. Just click on the image to access it.

Warmly,

Marie Scott

PS To access my February calendar, just click on the calendar image at the top of the page.

 

www.remembergoodness.com

 

What are YOU expecting? Thoughts for the start of a New Year…

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“EXPECTING • A 12″ x 12″ oil painting  • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

“Expecting” is one of many paintings I created during the summer of 2016. But this one was special. I painted it with a friend in mind.

A friend who was expecting.

Expecting. Hoping. Dreaming.

But with a heart that was understandably guarded. A heart that had been on this same course before, but disappointed many times.

It was a similar journey she was on. Once again. But one that appeared to be FINALLY taking her where she had been wanting to go.

I am happy to say that this time — after her miles of patient, expectant travel — she was finally rewarded with the happiest of endings.

I painted this piece to help remind her of the long and winding path she travelled for what felt like too many years.

A reminder that if you aren’t at least willing to take a risk and expect a happy ending your life will never change.

The journey — no matter how difficult, or where the destination ultimately finds us — is what shapes us. Making us into better (and hopefully still strong enough to be “expecting”) people.


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Do you know about my monthly desktop calendars? I have been creating them every month since January 2011. Because I think that everyone needs a little more art in their life. One of these days I might stop making them, but until then feel free to enjoy them while they are still around! To get your own copy, simply click on the image above and it will take you to the place where you can sign up to receive “Expecting” as your January computer desktop wallpaper. 

Happy New Year [ AND Happy New Dreams! ]

Warmly,
Marie Scott

www.remembergoodness.com

A red and green December… To help you Remember.

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If left to my own devices, there isn’t much Christmas in my heart.

Nothing within me looks forward to December. In my mind, this is a month that feels to me like forced-group-insanity.

  • I don’t like to be told what to do. I don’t like to go along with the crowd. 
  • And I especially don’t like to do things mindlessly, or out of obligation. 
  • I don’t even like the colors red and green put together. Not at all.

None of these are admirable qualities. All of these hard-hearted, prideful tendencies are merely symptoms of a bigger problem within my stone-cold heart.

But then there is Jesus. 

It is HIS birthday month. So this month, I am going to stop being irritated with all the commercialism and American excess. An excess I participate in myself  but in different ways and flavors which I then carelessly rationalize away. Ways that are just as insane, as the ones I label “Christmas Craziness.”

Instead of putting up my annual lone protest, against this Good Thing called Christmas which sometimes gets a little out of hand… instead; I am going to remember.

Jesus. 

Remember Jesus. He is God. Yet he chose to become man. For me. For you. For everyone. 

You may not feel it.You may not believe it. But that doesn’t meant it’s any less true.

Nobody can convince you. (Except for Jesus.)

  • If you want to believe that Christmas is so much more than the weeks of harried preparation, and over-spending, over-eating; over-indulging…
  • If you want to believe that there has got to be something MORE than the over-everything which overwhelms everything; leaving you feeling empty by the end of this month… 
  • If you want to believe that there is something that will finally satisfy the deepest parts of your soul…

Why not give Jesus a chance? (At least for December.)

After all, it is HIS birthday month. Or technically speaking, it is the month we have chosen to put on the calendar to celebrate his birth.

I won’t try to convince you.

Because I am much more of an expert with pictures than with words, it’s my job to SHOW you. (Not tell you.)

So in the future, remember this as you look at any of my paintings:

  • When you see the sunlight casting warm shadows onto a silky camellia blossom…
  • When you feel the warmth of a perfect summer afternoon looking onto a peace-filled scene of water…
  • When you hear the brushing noise of a gentle breeze stirring a perfectly ordered field of corn…

Remember this — that feeling you get is certainly not a result of me being good with a brush.

That feeling is from Jesus. Jesus pouring his Goodness into this hard-hearted, anxiety-ridden artist. A feeling of happiness that is so out of character with what should show up on the canvas, that it can’t be me conjuring it up.

The only explanation is Jesus. If you don’t know him in a way that allows you to talk with him like a safe and loving father, but are curious as to what that could feel like, then maybe just ask him to make himself real to you.

Based on my experience, I think it’s a safe bet that He he will answer.

Back to my hard heart. And Christmas.

Well now that I’ve reminded myself  why Christmas is coming this month, the thought of it doesn’t seem so bad after all.

That’s the good thing about taking the time to sit and be quiet with your thoughts; taking time to listen.

My black mood broke when I listened to a recording of the song below — listening and hoping for some kind of inspiration. For a minute I could physically feel the ice in my heart begin to thaw. But it was only as I remembered. The goodness in my life.

Then I remembered Jesus and what he has done for me. And all of humanity.

Funny how music, and poetry, and pictures can touch the soul like nothing else. 

Read this.

Read it like you mean it. Not like you have sung it 8,973 times and already know what it is going to say. Read it like a story. Read it to remember — the story of Christmas. Written as as song, 249 years ago but still stirring even today.

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
By: John F. Wade

Oh, come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant! Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him Born the king of angels: Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Highest, most holy, Light of light eternal, Born of a virgin, A mortal he comes; Son of the Father Now in flesh appearing! Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! Glory to God In the highest: Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing! Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Hymn # 41 from Lutheran Worship • Composer: John F. Wade • Tune: Adeste Fideles • 1st Published in: 1767

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To help you remember.

This green and red painting is full of life and peace and hope.

I don’t even know how. It just happened that way. I painted it seven years ago. Not ever once thinking about Christmas. Or Jesus.

But then yesterday, I chose it as my December calendar artwork. For no other reason than it was the most red and green thing I had painted that I hadn’t used already used these past six years of making monthly calendars.

It didn’t even say Christmas to me. Until somebody I love and respect deeply, told me it reminded him of Jesus. And how the king of the universe, chose to be born in a barn. For our sake.

Now THAT is something to remember.

 If you want your own copy of this 8 x 10 art print, just click here and you will have free access to it. 

Wishing you 31 days that include some reflection on Jesus. If you don’t know him, give him a chance.

Warmly,
Marie Scott

PS To use the December calendar simply click on the image at the top of this post, download the file to a place you can easily find on your computer, and then set that file as your computer’s wallpaper (or desktop.) If you can’t figure it out, just ask the closest teenager. They know these things. 

You can also CLICK HERE for the December Calendar.

 

Hot water. And a bottomless list of reasons to Give Thanks.

In case you haven’t noticed, a new month is upon us. November. It starts tomorrow. A 30-day chance to break ground and cultivate a more grateful heart.

Off the top of my head, here are the very first three reasons I came up with to Give Thanks. But the list is only limited by time, observation, and the effort I’m willing to expend over the next 30 days.

(These are seriously the first 3 things I came up with. So do not not judge. There is no bad idea. Right?)

#1. Thanksgiving.
Such a generous holiday. It doesn’t require presents, or bows, or multiple trees to decorate.

All it really wants is for you to spend time with somebody you care about. In return, it gives most of us an extra day off from work. A day to rest and reflect. A day set aside to remember all the Goodness in our lives.

#2. Election Day.
No matter how you feel about the Candidates or this most unusual and polarizing political climate, have you stopped to think about how lucky we are to live here in the United States?

Lucky to be given a say in the matter. Lucky to have a vote that will be counted for something.

Regardless of how excited or uninspired you are with the choices, we are still FREE to vote. Without risk to your life, or harm to your family.

#3. Indoor Plumbing.
How often have I thought to Give Thanks for the maze of pipes running within my walls and between my floors and ceilings?

How often have I even acknowledged this interconnected system of genius called indoor plumbing? This hidden luxury which I never give a second thought, allows me the choice between clean cold water to drink — and clean hot water for washing my hands, and dishes, and clothes, and paint brushes.

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“Give Thanks” shown in progress. This oil painting was the cause of MANY dirty brushes. Each of them grateful to be washed in hot water.

The list of luxuries I take for granted is endless…

How many times do I experience a deep, sincere, feel-it-in-your-bones kind of appreciation for the blankets on my bed? Or the food in my refrigerator?

My life is full of endless luxuries which I recklessly neglect to appreciate — every, single, day.

If you are reading this, then I KNOW you have these kinds of luxuries too.

But not everyone does. There are people in other countries — some now without a country — who would trade anything for what we consider simple pleasures. These are people with feelings, and souls, and names.

There are people in our own cities who consider us rich. And dream for our lives. Dream for our “indoor plumbing.”

During this coming month, where the familiarity of the word “Thanksgiving” has been deflated of its once profound meaning, I encourage you to take a few minutes every day this November, to sit down and “Give Thanks.”

Write it on a napkin. Say it to the wind. Pray it aloud while you drive. Just find something that works for you, and then stick with it this month.

Give Thanks this month.

If you do that every day until November 24th arrives, I am pretty sure you will have begun to start to train your brain.

Thanksgiving is meant to be about gratitude. A gratitude which is then celebrated by one big, special meal on a holiday that shares its name. As opposed to the Thanksgiving holiday simply existing as a few harried days centered around preparation, and then the consumption of delicious food.

This is something I would like to change in my own life this year. I would like to celebrate an entire month of Giving Thanks, topped of towards the end with one big delicious meal.

Do you need a reminder? I certainly do!!

To help you grow your gratitude muscles this month, I’ve created a painting called “Give Thanks” which I would love to share with you this November.

Click here to access your own copy of Give Thanks in the form of a calendar that you can use on your computer desktop.

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Let “Give Thanks” be a 30 day-reminder, that a grateful heart is one that is intentional about noticing the infinite luxuries which are so easy to overlook.

  1. Happy Giving Thanks!
  2. Happy Voting!
  3. Happy Hot Water!

Wishing you a 30-day month of Giving Thanks… which begins a new way of life!

Warmly,
Marie Scott

PS To use the November calendar simply click on the link above, download the file to a place you can easily find on your computer, and then set that file as your computer’s wallpaper (or desktop.) If you can’t figure it out, ask Google. Or better yet, the closest teenager.

 

 

 

Gratitude. For friendship.

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Friends are like flowers.

Some flowers arrive to commemorate a special occasion. They are loved for their presence during that moment in time, but they soon fade away. Good memories that were short lived, but still oh-so-sweet.

There are friends like this too. Beautiful “bouquets” who fill your life with a rich fragrance that is remembered even after they are gone.

Other friends are like “annuals.” There with you for an entire season of life. Deeply loved; so appreciated. And despite the limited one-season-of-life you share together, they are still another beautiful memory adding a deep layer of richness to the fabric of your life.

Then there are “Perennial” friendships.

Like their namesake in the world of gardening, perennial friends return back to you season after season; year after year. They may take a break for the winter, but come spring, they are alive again in your garden. Their deep roots making them fuller and stronger as the years pass by, able to weather alongside you, whatever changes may come your way.

Like the countless layers of petals circling the inner core of this happy daisy in my painting called “Charleston Gerbera” — perennial friendships are built upon layers and layers of shared experiences and moments of trust. Petal by petal, they are formed, shaped, built, strengthened.

Bouquets. Annuals. Perennials.

Each of these friendships serving a purpose. Each beautiful in their own way. May your gratitude for friendships of ALL kinds, never end.

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Would you like to make a reminder?

A reminder to be thankful for your friendships.
[ All you need is a pumpkin. ]

And these directions.

And this piece of art.

“May this ‘Gratitude Pumpkin’ be a symbol to remind you of all the Goodness in your life. As you pass by it each day, let it cause you to reflect on all the different friendships you’ve enjoyed over the years. And how each of those relationships has added to the richness of your life.” — Marie Scott

If you’d like to read how my painting shown above reminds me of some of my own friendships, visit my website at www.mariescottstudios.com

Warmly,
Marie Scott

How the Tide could teach Gratitude a lesson.

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“GRATITUDE” • 8″ x 8″ oil painting
©2016 Marie Scott Studios

The tide flows in. The tide flows out.

Every day, submitting to the moon’s pull. Pouring itself forward into the nearest adjacent, vacant space.

Floating along. Listening to Gravity. Obeying the earth’s rotation.

The tide is a relaxed passenger, riding on centrifugal force. Peacefully lost in thought as it travels along its silky journey.

In blind obedience forging pathways to and from the ocean by its steady, daily acts of reliable compliance.

If only Gratitude were so regulated. So trusting.

Unlike the waters, which listen and then flow where they are told — feelings have a mind of their own.

Unlike the tides, which cause the waters to operate on autopilot — gratitude is not a mandate.

Gratitude is not instinctual. Gratitude is not inherent. Gratitude is not a right.

Then what is Gratitude?
A choice. A state of mind. A reaction. An action. 

For feelings of thankfulness to arise, the tendons of gratitude need to be stretched.

Gratitude is a muscle.

It needs to be trained, strengthened and practiced.

There is no blank check of circumstances which generates automated gratitude. No powdered drink mix that guarantees gratitude to grow.

Like it or not, there are no external forces which bring automatic gratitude.

Rather, it is the way one chooses to look at life that shapes the perspective of the mind.

Oh, that gratitude were as dependable as the tides! Can you even imagine what a different place this world would be?

“Tides are one of the most reliable phenomena in the world. As the sun rises in the east and the stars come out at night, we are confident that the ocean waters will regularly rise and fall along our shores.”

“What Are Tides?” Http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Department of Commerce, 6 Feb. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016. <http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/tides.html>.

Gratitude does not happen on its own.

What would it look like to “swim against the tide” of your own mind? This is definitely something worth contemplating in the coming months.

For more thoughts on how to get to “The state of being Grateful” (as Merriam-Webster defines the word Gratitude, visit www.remembergoodness.com in the upcoming weeks, for ideas to train your mind .

If you could use a visual 31-day reminder that gratitude is an active choice, click here to access a free desktop calendar called (you guessed it) “Gratitude.”

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For more reading on the Tides, Salt Marshes, and Gratitude, visit the following articles.

 

 

“Possibilities.”

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POSSIBILITIES • 10 inch x 10 inch oil painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

Possibilities are everywhere.
A new school year. A new month.
A new day. A new hour.

Sometimes possibilities are not quite so obvious.
With your head down, trudging through the mundane, they are easy to miss.

Possibilities yearn to found.
Like fireflies at dusk, they flitter around. So briefly they call out.
Asking to be seen.

Where are your possibilities?
Look up. Listen. Linger in their midst.

They are everywhere.
Glistening on the water. Hanging in the sky. Resting in the distant trees.
Their song of hope, fanning the cool breeze of freedom.

Possibilities are everywhere.
Not all worth chasing.
Yet many more, not worth wasting.

SEPTEMBER 2016 Desktop Calendar

Click here to download this free desktop calendar to use on your desktop during the month of September.

Oh, the possibilities of a NEW MONTH! I hope this calendar reminds you to make the most of it…

Always one to consider every-single-last-possible option (and often to a fault),
Marie Scott 
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To see all the POSSIBLE paintings in my entire collection of
vibrant, colorful, paintings,
visit my online gallery at www.mariescottstudios.com

Memories of marshmallows & marshes to mellow your upcoming month.

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MARSH MELLOW DAY • 10 inch x 10 inch original oil painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

“Marsh Mellow Day”

This sweet little oil painting is part of my new Marsh Memories,” series which I’ve enjoyed working on all summer long. When I posted a photo of this finished painting on my Facebook page, the first comment was written by the kind mother of my childhood best friend.

Miss Arlene wrote: So pretty and soft. Like ‘marshmallow’ memories.”

What a perfect compliment. Just the inspiration I needed for the name of this painting, which has become one of my new favorites.

Being *somewhat* of a vegan-eater for the past few years, I just didn’t feel quite right about naming the painting after a food which contains gelatin. (Although, that being said, the inclusion of gelatin has NOT stopped me from eating my fair share of gelatin-laced S’mores this summer.)

MARSHMALLOWS can be sticky.
[And not-so-good for you.]

That really isn’t at all the feeling I wanted to convey in the piece.

Yet, the idea of a “pretty, soft, marshmallow memory” still somehow summed up the mood I was trying to convey so well.

Hmmm….

What about a Mellow Marsh?

What would that look like? What could that mean?

So I looked up the definition of “mellow.” And immediately, Mellow became my new favorite word. My new mission in life.

Mellow means…

adjective
1. (especially of sound, taste, and color) “pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness.”
2.
(of a person’s character) “softened or matured by age or experience.”

verb
1. “To make or become mellow.

LIFE can be sticky.
[And not-so-good for you.]

But if not ever allowed to Get Sticky how else does one become “pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness?”

The hard and tricky things in LIFE, if accepted and then digested correctly, can be just the ingredient that’s needed to mellow out the sharp, craggy corners in our mind. The steeled callous places that — left to harden — cause not-so-good-for you ways of thinking. And reacting. And then ultimately living.

Marshes are MESSY

Not everybody loves the marshes like I do. They are kind of smelly. And buggy. And full of little creeping things that move. But that is part of what I love about them.

Marsh Messiness is life in action. An ever-changing landscape, providing a different kind of beauty at every different hour of every single day. Marshes are a self-funded, self-directed projects. A type of installation art performance for anyone who is willing to slow down to enjoy the show.

Marshes are MELLOW

Every day, water flows in. Water flows out. Slowly carving a way for itself to engage with a larger body of water. Paths are worn by this slow, gentle process where the mud and muck is “Softened or matured by age or experience.”

I did not grow up around marshes, nor do I live on a marsh. I am a late-in-life marsh groupie. So I might be missing something here.

What I’m confident I’m not missing, is the way a marsh view can slow my breath and fill my lungs with its calming tonic. Its existence a temporary elixir for all that feels stuck within my heart.

Marsh Mellow Day in progress

A summer 2016 “Marsh Memory” painting… in progress.

So what is a Marsh Mellow Day?

Well, that is up to YOU to decide. Think about what that means for you today. And maybe by the end of the month, you will have started to formulate in your mind, what you could look like if you became a more mellow version of yourself.

Maybe putting this desktop calendar as your computer wallpaper will be a reminder to you to ponder the question. Use it with my blessing, and may it bring you peace as you go about the coming days!

AUGUST 2016 Desktop Calendar

MARSH MELLOW DAY • Download this free gift from Marie Scott and it use it for the month of August as your August desktop.

Wishing you a more mellow path this month of August, 2016…

Warmly,
Marie Scott 
Print

To see the entire collection of my vibrant, colorful,
and mostly not-really-very-mellow-at-all paintings,
visit my online gallery
at www.mariescottstudios.com

Summer Freedom. A Marsh Memory painting & calendar for July, 2016.

July 2016 Desktop Calendar

SUMMER FREEDOM • 8″ x 8″ original oil painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios • Click on the image to download this free wallpaper for your computer for the month, compliments of Greenville, SC artist Marie Scott. Enjoy the free view!

It is summer, yet I find myself to be remarkably free!

For the first summer since 2011, there is nothing big going on in my life. Or in my business.

For the first time in five years, I am not moving into a studio that is outside my home.

It is summer again, yet for the fist time since 2012, I am not opening a store. Not moving my home in 2013. Not opening a bigger store in 2014. Not closing that bigger store in 2015.

It is June of the summer of 2016, and somehow I find myself not doing anything more than recovering from moving my home this past January (the second time in five years.)

I’ve been enjoying the unending stream of out-of-town company that has taken advantage of visiting us in our more spacious surroundings since January of this year. Also squeezing in the hosting of a 50th anniversary party for my still “happily married” in-laws.

candy stickers

50th anniversary party

Celebrating 50 happy years of marriage with Tim’s parents and his sister’s family. (The first big party in our new home was a huge success!)

After almost exactly one year since announcing the closing of my store called “Sunflower” last summer, life finally feels settled to me again.

It is summer, yet for the first time in five years, the word “Nathan” has appeared on my to-do list.

This summer, the name of my son is a word I hear myself speaking of and thinking about on a regular basis again. But unlike the many past summers I spent so occupied with chasing after the wind, it is with a new-found-freedom that I “plan” Nathan into my weekday. (Most days.)

This year, the well-being of my child has finally returned to an appropriate place on my list of summer priorities. And this year, not unlike the summer before he was entering into the second grade, I actually have space in my brain for him once again.

I could easily get down on myself — thinking about all that I missed with him for so many summers. But there is no point in that. There is no changing the past. My choices are already in the books.

Before Nathan was born, throughout my entire pregnancy we prayed each day for a child that would “fit into our family.” And God answered our prayers with remarkable accuracy. There are not may kids who could have weathered so well, all the many changes that this child has been through in a decade.

Major life changes that occurred even before the infamous summer of 2011 when somehow our life wandered down a long road of life-sucking choices — all of which were inspired by yours truly.

These major life changes were supported and endured by the other two members of my family. Until “enough,” suddenly became to me, quite apparently “enough.” Enough for all three of us. Especially for Nathan, who’s interesting young life was rapidly passing me by.

There are not many 11 year-old boys who would be willing to go to work with their mom and spend the entire day assembling notecards. Or matting art prints. Or logging prices into an online inventory system. All with a positive attitude more suited for someone twice his age.

This not-so-little-anymore person, did an admirable job of rising to the occasion through each and every change that took me farther and farther away from him. And despite his best efforts to occupy himself for too many summers, I can see now that he did feel the loss. But fortunately for me, it is still not too late to rewrite the course of his childhood.

As I write this, we are on a week-long family vacation. With extended family members. Wonderfully fun, and loving people from gardening zone #5, that my son Nathan doesn’t get to see very often.

familypic

So for the first summer since 2011, I am not feeling any guilt about the fact that I have kept to myself all week. Enjoying a newly-felt freedom to be alone and recharge my introverted battery, while all the extroverts in my clan revel in sandy days spent clinging together as a reunited bed of happy clams.

This summer, I am free from feeling like I need to make up for lost time during one crowded week.

marsh view

And that freedom, is solely because I made some terribly hard choices last spring. And summer. And fall.

Choices that put myself into a position that isn’t my first choice — but probably the best choice for my family during this season of our lives. The season before the three of us, will eventually become two again. In probably less time than we can even realize.

A choice to reign in my personal passions and drive. A choice to keep the big picture in mind. A choice to stay true to who I am, but yet somehow figure out how to be that same person, but in a way that allows for a reasonable life.

At first, this surprisingly difficult choice to stop chasing after the wind, felt like it was only for the good of the family. But looking back (and looking forward too) I see it is the Better Choice for me too.

timJennNathan

Me and my two favorite guys.

So here I am, with one month of The Summer of 2016 under my belt. And even more importantly, several seasons of “Downton Abbey” enjoyed together with Nathan in the cool of a darkened room, wrapped in our colorful, summer-weight fair trade blanket, during the sultry hot summer afternoons and evenings we have grown to love.

Instead of chasing after the wind by myself, together we are pursuing the entire story of the Crawley family this summer. Just because we can.

And in the spirit of this newly found Summer Freedom, I am also trying to squeeze in a few restful paintings here and there. Not because I have to, but because I want to.

SummerFreedom2

“Summer Freedom” [ #1 in the Marsh Memory series ] • 8″ x 8″ oil painting ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

“Summer Freedom” is the first, of hopefully many, quick little marsh paintings that are loose and free from tight detail. Impressions and memories I have of the beauty and freedom I feel while experiencing the salty, wide open Low Country spaces. Pieces that remind me why I love to paint. And what makes me feel free.

I am creating this new series of paintings called “Marsh Memories” this summer to keep my mind happy and healthy. As well as to keep me freer for Nathan than years gone past.

But even more importantly, to keep us BOTH freed up as much as possible, for Lord Grantham and her Ladyship the Countess of Grantham. And Lady Mary Crawley. And Lady Edith. And Cousin Isobel. And even Daisy, and Mrs. Patmore, and Mr. Bates, and Anna.  And of course for Tom Branson — chauffeur, turned son-in-law.

You get the idea…

Yours freely,

— Marie Scott, June 2016

To view the entire collection of my paintings, visit my online gallery at www.mariescottstudios.com
Or stop by my etsy shop at www.mariescottart.com.