A month of valentines for you, and this is the first

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It’s February!  And love and friendship are in the air.

Certainly, there’s the romantic…but this time of year always makes me rekindle the old-fashioned, dust off the vintage charmers, remember  when we used to take time to consider kindred spirits of our lives… some silver, many gold… just to send a cheery, silly, funny or endearing —  you’re on my heart!

I love the unexpected finding of miniature envelopes from faraway winging into my mailbox…like those from one of you bloggers who still enjoys finding those little pieces of 30’s and 40’s art like this little flyer!  The placing of these on my mantel… the smiles they bring every time I pass.

And sometimes… there’s hidden treasure to inspire a deeper thoughtfulness, a simple caring…

Such was the message that popped into my email a few weeks ago and brought a sort of co-conspirator valentine opp into my life…  a chance to be part of creating a special memory for someone…

and began with someone’s insightful idea and a cottage dear…

menlow-park-bungalow

Giving the gift of a home portrait can be valentine treasure.

“I have been searching for someone to do a pen and ink (with a touch of color) portrait for someone we purchased an old home from, as a closing gift,” the email began, “and when I came across your website, I knew I had found my artist!”

Examining the charming cottage photos she’d included, thinking of her thoughtfulness in understanding how selling might be bittersweet for the former owner, and the timing of when I’d probably have this ready for her to give — sweet memories of the kind of valentines we used to give more often just to tell someone we care, we cherish them, wafted over me much as the scent of forgotten flowers pressed in a book.

I’m certain this new owner wasn’t really thinking in terms of valentines as she envisioned this gift to the seller.  But… mmm… isn’t that really what this would be?  An unexpected gesture tailored  and designed like white lace and cut out card to say, I know how you feel.  I want to lift your heart.  I’m thinking of you and hope you remember me as we cherish this place, too…   

I hadn’t really thought of a home portrait in that light before.  But working on this one…I especially planned it to bring bits and pieces of the previous owner’s story (at least what I could glean from photos) into illustration so every time she looks at it, she’ll be transported to all the love and joy this place holds for her.

Of the various views of this wonderful 1926 bungalow, I chose this one because I love the way it makes me feel like I’m standing there at the walkway, ready to go up and ring the bell. (Do you feel that too?)   I love the owner’s pride I see in the details on the porch…the pretty potted plant atop the divider wall, the cheery wicker table and couch with pillows, the pink camellia bushes on either side.  The warm glow of the lamp I could see in the window.  Details I knew would sing to her of this place she held dear.  And being the “detail” artist I’ve always been, I imagined in a few blown camellia blossoms down the path, a small bluebird pecking…in that story tale sort of way…  🙂

I’d already asked if she’d like me to include the owner’s address at the bottom, as I often do for that classic look on the original piece…but as I finished, suddenly a new idea was winging round my thoughts.  What if I could find a lovely literary quote in place of writing the address? One that would speak to the seller’s heart for this home?

Searching online, I came across a few… shot them off to my customer and found that she, her husband and I separately chose the same one!

And so it came to be that I penned across the bottom edge:

  “Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

~   Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“O, so sweet….so perfect!!!,” the customer exclaimed when I sent her a thumbnail of the finished piece.  “You have perfectly captured the essence and charm of this home. Thank you so much –what a lovely gift you have created!  I am so happy to be able to gift this incredible portrait of our new home to the previous owner, as she moves on to the next chapter in her life.  I know that when she looks at it, she will be flooded with lovely memories.”

wedding-guestThe storyteller in me sketches in a bit of what those memories might have been… perhaps the camellia covered Craftsman home where she settled as a young bride or mother…

I’m not even sure whether the seller is someone the buyer knew before the purchase or just someone in whose eyes she read the sadness of leaving.   Yet… Somehow I think… if they are really only mere acquaintances... this house portrait seems all the more of a lovely valentine to give and to receive.  Kindness laced with a thoughtfulness we need more of these days…one to another.

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See my three new valentine designs now on display in my Valentines for Anytime  gallery  🙂 at Picture It in Pen and Ink (https://pamdepoyanblog.wordpress.com)

Posted in Valentines | 4 Comments

Sounds of gladness

Inline image 2…there will be heard once more  the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,

“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
    for the Lord is good;
                                                                                his love endures forever.”

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.

~ Jeremiah 33:10-12, NIV

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Always, when the things we are praying about seem so overwhelming, the Lord is really wooing us to quiet our hearts.  To remember… My sheep know My voice... means having to first listen.

I was doing that the other day, asking Him to show me what more to do…when He led me to this passage, zeroing my eyes in on the injunction to “give thanks to the Lord Almighty…”

Confirming something I’d already been hearing in my spirit.  And today… maybe His encouraging to you too?  🙂

Give me the situation once,

then continually thank Me for what you do not yet see…

Believe by faith, it is done in Me.

Then… there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness…restoration… when we believe for days of heaven here on earth…

Lily of the valley

Since then… shifting my petitioning to express so many unending ways the Lord’s goodness fills me with thankfulness and worship, I find myself overflowing with His beauty.  And His promise echoes like sweet bells in me, dispelling worry and fear out upon the winds of believing…   and praising.

Oh, what a beautiful and heart-lifting image portrayed here, the song of the bride and bridegroom, especially to me in this moment when I had just posted a piece about entering into the joy at a wedding… and a story I found in a simple photo that made me envision

“…the bride and groom dashing from the church beneath showers of blossoms or rice, hear their giddy laughter, imagine those fairy tale bells that seem to ring at royal British weddings and imagine how it all sang to this young couple on the churchyard walk…”

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Please join me here to read the rest…  🙂 and to see the pen and ink and pencil portrait this vintage black and white photo (above) inspired:

https://pamdepoyanblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/a-little-communique-spot-2/

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When you press a forever image to heart…

Image result for image of bunny hopping through snow

It was a springy sort of day, following a deluge of now rapidly melting snow, though not in the sense of season, but in the feel that one might click heels off the ground in a joyful burst.  That’s what the exuberant bunny seemed to dance out as it leaped from one pillowy snow mound to the next that lined yards across the way,  catching and captivating my eye with query at what in the world that swift movement  across the length of three homes was...

Standing beside my window, I watched it leap, hop and sink but a split second into the downy white puffs, then up and out speedily…  unchased by anyone or anything, except maybe a pure sense of delight.  And wondering what had brought the typically twilight only creature out into the early morning, I simply, grinned.

I let myself out the back door and into the brisk air warmed only by lozenges of sun lighting here, there upon the clear road.  Diamond pricks glistened where snow still lay and shadows glowed smoky blue.  There was no one and nothing else about, save a car or two parked at curbs.  My walking path led round the curve of the small park in the center of our homes, up and over soft undulation of road and when I reached the home fronts where I’d seen the bunny frisking, I paused to take in the arc of the sky, gray with low cloud but thatched in blue even higher still and letting bits of sunlight through.  Above the homes, I could see graceful, empty branches of trees rising, the iron tip of a church cross just beyond, as if painted there, in silhouette.

I was alone, not another soul, not a dog or a cat or a rabbit about.  Only unseen birds, punctuating the air in morning  hymns.

Cocooned as I was in the neighborhood, I had the feel of a yet stretching, enormous, airy world up and out around me, reducing me to just one more creature, not so unlike that bunny making swiftly receding tracks from its glacier to glacier.  I alone had seen it dancing…and for that moment, it had pressed a forever image that could not melt away.

Partly, I enjoyed that sense of being the only one to see, of being unseen and anonymous in the day. Spying out the otherwise unnoticed sparkles we miss in everyday, and picking them up like scalloped sea shells, to slip as treasure in my pocket.

Still, in the soft murmur of drip, drip, drip where ice now ran as freshly poured water, another musical note arose.

You give Me pure delight as I watch yours, it sang out in a rippling sort of way that seemed to caress as if with soft breeze.  Forever etched in my heart too.  And…you are never alone…

I lifted my face to the blue above and blushed in the warmth of that wonder… Love in  ever presence.  And isn’t it a thing of ever faceted beauty how He slips such remembrance into our hands, like pearls on a string…?

A gift continually sung over you and I…to ponder…in every moment. That…even when our footprints seem to disappear in the snow, there is One who etches them everlasting…just because.

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©   Pam Depoyan

🙂  This incredible bunny photo:  https://www.pinterest.com/love4cats2/bunnies/

Posted in Sunday Community Devotions | 30 Comments

When a gift slips through your fingers

Image result for image of a small painting on an easel

I’d stopped at a local apple farm one afternoon several years ago, both for a luscious chocolate frosted doughnut fresh from their ovens and a fun browse through the art boutique in their barn, when I came upon a small but exquisite painting that simply made my heart zing.

I remember it as being only about 8×8, perched on an easel…  a softly tinted portrait of a young woman from the 40’s, a tender look that caught warm happiness upon her delicately pretty face.  And next to the painting, a faded vintage photo of the same, revealing the artist’s “model.”

Something in it spoke to me of English landscape behind her.  I think the subject may have been captured by camera in an everyday moment, standing next to a British-looking auto…and I wondered who she was.  Someone in the artist’s family?  Or a commissioned piece of someone dear to a client?  The display appeared as though the artist had simply stepped away, inviting viewers to think of the possibilities she might render from their beloved photos,  yet I didn’t see her around to ask.

But — oh!  I wanted this picture!

I checked the price.  Ugg… Not really extravagant, but for me at the time, a bit steep.  Reluctantly, I walked away.

Circled back.

Took another look.

Repeated that pattern, again and again.

Mentally going through my budget.  Trying to squeeze a way to splurge.

It reminded me of my mom…

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Please join me here

to continue this story…

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©   Pam Depoyan

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Let’s Start the New Year Right

https://wordglow.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/scan0028.jpg?w=410&h=533

One minute to midnight
One minute to go
One minute to say good-bye
Before we say hello
Let’s start the new year right
Twelve o’clock tonight
When they dim the light
Let’s begin
Kissing the old year out
Kissing the new year in
Let’s watch the old year die
With a fond good-bye
And our hopes as high
As a kite
How can Love go wrong if
We start the new year right?

~Irving Berlin

Christmas Prayers, Like Ornaments of Handblown Glass - Part 1

Let’s start the New Year with lightness, with songs of heart…

to sing over ourselves… to proclaim over our world…

to bless and heal and lift our hands to His wonders of Joy…

and drink a cup of cheer

Happy Giving Thanks Day!

… know that you yourselves are God’s temple

and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst…

1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV

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Happy New Years Eve!

©   Pam Depoyan

pen and ink drawing above, “Christmas Tree Lot” : mine.  (Please do not copy without permission. See my copyright info button on the sidebar.  :)  )   Available for purchase at Picture it in Pen and Ink – Christmas Designs

Posted in Christmas Cards | 12 Comments

A Christmas Card for you!

little-girl-at-bakery-window

Today, may you feast on the delights of the Lord

Be embraced in His wonders of joy

Join in angel glorias and

Ponder the Gift

Laid in a manger,

Planned by the Father,

Even…if only…for you.

.

Digital Camera

Have a Merry Little Christmas!

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©   Pam Depoyan

pen and ink drawing above, “Sugarplum Wonderland” : mine.  (Please do not copy without permission. See my copyright info button on the sidebar.  :)  )   Available for purchase in my newest gallery at Picture it in Pen and Ink – Christmas Wonder   .

photo: mine

Posted in Christmas Cards | 4 Comments

Flowers in the Snow

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“Come in, come in! and know me better…”

~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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Through mists of snow and dove grey skies, this Friday before Christmas dawned, the air brisk, yet a warmer bookend to the week’s beginning.  Standing before my kitchen window, hands in suds, I watched a cardinal flash scarlet wing, land — hop, hop – searching sodden ice for unseen nibbles.

“Hopeless,” I thought.  Still, the creature looked up and around, quizzically.  Seemed to be thinking that food predicament out.

My own thoughts wisped about me, like peering through a fogged window on a train passing along remembered paths, chugging a rhythmic refrain… if only, it could… if only, it could…

Mentally, I reached across that mystical window with the side of my hand, rubbed a patch clear, as if to see more clearly.   Saw then the stone walls, the brick building, the shapes of trees lining the courtyard; recognized the wide-windowed rooms where once upon a time we met over poetry and literature and lively conversations.  Making my way to the front of the “train” of these thoughts, I alighted.  And there, a quote inscribed on a hanging sign swung back and forth on a breeze.  A sign that was never there physically…yet, one I seemed to feel had been there all along…

“Come in,” the swinging words invited merrily as Dickens’ Christmas character. “Come in and know me better…”

I stood there silently, taking in the import like water from a glass, and the silence filled up with other sounds.  The scraping of chairs moving closer to desks.  Laughter from one corner.  Someone posing a question on the topic of the day…another answering with differing thoughts… a sharing back and forth where it wasn’t necessarily valuable to agree with one another as much as to let all openly throw out their viewpoints, listen, consider… offer your own.   See the other side of the cup.  Know me better…

I never came away from those class discussions with anger boiling against another’s ideas.  Or felt as though I wanted to write them off as not worth knowing.  Instead, I couldn’t wait till the next time we came together… to uncovering a bit more about how and why one person saw a piece we’d been reading this way and another that.  That give and take… it made me want to really know my classmates and teacher.  Their stories.  Their dreams.  Their hopes.

“It seemed so much more natural in those days, to care about people just for the joy of getting to know one another more and more,” I mused then, leaning over to stack plates in the dishwasher, remembering years of bits and pieces of conversations with family friends from all walks of life and sometimes different faith and how we loved each other for opening lives and hearts.

But, why has that changed?

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What has altered life these days that makes us casually write off anyone who doesn’t think exactly the way we think?  How have we arrived at this place where people feel righteously entitled to openly disrespect anyone with a differing view?  Or to throw up walls and freeze someone out when they, falsely or truly, determine…hmm, maybe we don’t think enough alike.

Do I have to vote for the same person you vote for in order for you to be interested in knowing me as a person? Do we have to have lived identical lives for me to want to know more of what makes you laugh, cry, hope, dream?

“I am becoming increasingly convinced that our inability to let people be people and to love them whether or not they agree with us is really blinding us to truth,” someone astutely commented here recently, starring my eyes.

For I think of someone I’ve reached out to, wanting to know them more as people than I ever have before.  I’ve always understood we didn’t share identical views on every little thing in life.  It never mattered back when, because something in the talking of who we were made me love them.  They made a difference in my life, shaped me in lovely ways.

Somehow now though, a high wall seems to have sprung up.  A hand held up as if to say… I suspect we don’t have matching ideas so let’s just not communicate.   

Words that seemed to begin flowing, suddenly trickling few and just barely enough.

I am saddened.  Sorry to never hear more of the stories that make up this person’s heart.  Sorry they don’t seem to want to know mine.

I believe we are meant to read each other’s stories like a book… to take wonder and joy in getting to discover what we value.  And in this world where more and more we stand on opposite sides of a glass divider and just cast one another off as unworthy of our time… I can’t help thinking of my Christmas wish–

I want to send you flowers in the snow.  To see your eyes light like sun diamonds on the winter white world.

And I want to receive some from you, too.

The little cardinal is still hopping vainly on the snowy drive outside my window.  But… is it vainly?  He sees what mist momentarily blinded me to…  The Provider will not abandon…

“Ask and I will send My angels to sing circles of joy over these, for re-tendering, for melting away of fear and walls,” He offers to you and to me in this season of Christmas roses… “and watch the bouquets I bring forth…”

Bouquets of stories, shared heart to heart.  (Can you think of someone you wish that for too?)

Now that would be heavenly grace spooling softly from heaven, snow on snow, this Christmas.

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©   Pam Depoyan

Love the antique photo of the child up top as much as I do? Click here to see the drawing I recently did from this charmer:

Christmas Wonder

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I need your help…

Do you have any vintage photos like the one of this child (up top) in your family?  Oh how I’d love to draw more such lovelies! (I particularly love images of anyone from the ’40’s or English looking ones like this one above.)

Send them to me at pam.depoyan@gmail.com… and if I draw them, I’ll gift you with a greeting card version of that drawing.

Posted in Christmas List | 19 Comments