Quote of the Day


End Blog Spam

WP-SpamShield WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin

Sign up for our emails and be automatically entered into a drawing for a Free Pizza Slice Plate! (Created by Michael for Hilltop Arts.)  Deadline to enter is June 1st and the giveaway will be on June 8th! There will be another giveaway for new subscribers in time for Christmas.  Sign up Here.


I am blessed with a wonderful husband, marriage, and home, I have incredible friends and live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I work at a career I adore and have colleagues who inspire me. I am free to pursue my hobbies and my husband lovingly supports me in all my endeavors. I live a blessed and happy life.  I have invisible illnesses that cause a great deal of physical pain, or vertigo depending on which one is acting up at the moment. I’ve learned there are no cures for either condition, but I’m not dying – that’s a HUGE blessing.

I have another kind of pain that exists underneath everything I do and is present every single day. I’m the mother of alienated children.

I regret so many things, mostly though I regret I was so stupidly naive about how cruel people can be. I was so naive I would never have thought that a parent and grandparent would be so abusive to my kids as to emotionally abuse them by systematically brainwashing them. I bitterly regret I didn’t fight like hell for them after I finally realized what was happening. I realized it when I picked up my kids for a visit and my son started screaming when he saw me and kept it up for 2 hours until he fell asleep in the car. Who does that?  God, that was some painful driving I can tell you.

This deep pain I live with bubbles to the surface at random moments. Like today when I was reading my daughter’s latest blog post and before I finished reading it I was weeping so hard, and missing her so much, my dog Patches was trying to jump into my lap to comfort me. She’s a great little wiggling bundle of love that gets so upset when she sees me cry.

There is another pain I live with every single day. One I rarely share and have never talked about on my blog. My son is a murderer. There, I’ve said it out loud to you. You know my secret.  My son murdered a man and is serving time in a Virginia prison.

The story is a sordid one. I keep thinking that if I’d had a chance to be more of an influence on him this wouldn’t have happened. He apparently became involved with a woman who was in a bad custody battle with her ex-husband and she manipulated (not my words, these were the words of law enforcement) my son into killing her ex, leaving two fatherless children.  She was alienating her children from their father. My son was so used to being with an alienating parent/grandparent he never saw it coming! He killed a man. Then, admitted it and testified against his girlfriend.

I tried so hard to get help for him before all that, I knew there was something wrong when he threatened me. I feared that if he were in front of me he would have hurt me. What a painful thing to think of your own son! I tried reaching out to his command in the military, I tried to write to him, I tried to contact my son’s ex-wife… Nothing worked and it only made my daughter reject me. So, now he has rejected me as well, tried to commit suicide, and wrote to me on that day to tell me I was unworthy of his love and even his handwriting since he had a fellow prisoner write the letter. He didn’t succeed in suicide thank God, but I didn’t hear about it for weeks since my daughter emailed me news of it to an email address that I rarely ever checked. (The first line of that email was “this is in no way an attempt to reestablish communications…..”)

I know this was something my son chose to do, but it is a knife in my heart to think that the sweet little boy that was mine to raise before he was alienated from me could do this. My heart breaks thinking about the children left behind, losing both parents (the mother is also in prison).

These are my pains. Physical pain is tough especially when it is incurable (we will attempt another nerve freezing procedure soon), but physical pain is nothing to heartbreak. I am happier than I’ve ever been, but the heartbreak of my kids is always beneath the happiness. Bubbling out at times from deep below the surface, to render me incapable of anything but weeping, then it slowly recedes like flood waters.

Since Michael gave me the new tools, I’ve been busy as a worker bee. And having such fun and learning so much. I’m glued (forgive the pun lolol) to anything shop related on TV, devouring plans, and designing table saw jigs.  Need to get some supplies in but I can honestly say I’m loving working with wood. Except for the occassional Ouches!

Ouch! This is what happens when you pinch your hand between the table saw and the saw blade guard... Note to self, use gloves and a block in future!

Ouch! This is what happens when you pinch your hand between the table saw and the saw blade guard… Note to self, use gloves and a block in future! Nothing cut open, just bruised and a blood blister. (Time for my Arnica Salve!)

My goal, is to eventualy get good enough to sell my ‘stuff’ at the craft shows we go to and on our store (www.hilltop-arts.com). I don’t think I’m ‘there’ yet unless I’m selling it a very primitive piece.

First I made a biscuit joined box to try out the biscuit joiner Michael bought a while back and I liked how easy it was to make the cuts. Then because I didn’t have enough scrap of that wood left, I turned the box into my sanding station.

Biscuit joined box

Biscuit joined box

My new sanding station box - the perfect space for my sanding blocks and sander disks.

My new sanding station box – the perfect space for my sanding blocks and sander disks.

Then, I resawed a length of wood and created a miter box with a sliding lid. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but its cute for old scrap wood.  Its a great size for little things like stamps, pencils, pens and the like.

Shown with a water bottle to give a sense of scale.

Shown with a water bottle to give a sense of scale.

Simple wooden box with sliding lid (made entirely of scrap wood)

Simple wooden box with sliding lid (made entirely of scrap wood)

Woodburned with sunflowers.

Woodburned with sunflowers.

Close-up of pyrography of sunflowers

Close-up of pyrography of sunflowers

Tune in next time for…. LOL I have no idea!


Santa – AKA Michael – was so generous (AGAIN!!!) for Christmas this year! He touched on every one of my hobbies, photography, herbs, and woodworking. For photography, he gave me new photo editing software – which I hinted that I really would love 🙂 – and for herbs he found me a wonderful book about alternative medicines and home/herbal remedies put out by the Mayo Clinic (really gorgeous book!) and for woodworking, he gave me shop tools! A new table saw and power miter saw – with the caveat that he can use them too – duh!! Of course he can!

I’ve been pretty busy in the shop/studio lately, I’m happily re-discovering pyrography – wood burning – and have produced a few simple things.

Woodburning on a bamboo plate and spoons. It was a crafty day yesterday.

This is a bamboo plate and spoons I burned.

Burn on a jewelry box I’ve wanted to dress up.

Wooden trivet burned with my favorite thing, chickens!! I collect chickens……

I finished my entryway cabinet which I think turned out beautifully and I love how it fits in the space. You can see pictures on this post for the finished piece and this post for the build. I’ve already got tons of ideas for the next projects.  I spent a day rearranging my half of the studio to fit in the new equipment, and it looks very nice now. Now we have to work on Michael’s side. I love that the garage is large enough to accommodate both of us and our various tools.

Look for more projects in the future!