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  • The One About The Watch


    The last couple of years have been really emotional for me. At times, charged and full of joy and happiness. Then quickly replaced by emptiness and the feeling of being so alone. Unloved. Disregarded. I swung like a pendulum for a little over a year while I finally came to some profound realizations about myself, and with that comes this story. The one about the watch. (Yes, it’s kind of a love story, so if you’re into that kind of thing, hold on. We’ll get there.)

    The middle of last summer, I was headed to Greenville, South Carolina. With a man. A man I loved so intensely, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for him. With him. That fire burned pretty hot. I thought the feeling was mutual, and at the time – it was as much as it could have been, I suppose.

    During our layover in Atlanta, we came upon a Brighton store. Now, I’m a big fan of Brighton, but I don’t have ANYthing that carries a Brighton label. I just sigh and think, some day. Some day I’ll have something from this store. We stop in (after I explain my infatuation with all things Brighton) and I found a watch that I wanted to get. I deliberated for several minutes about buying it for myself – so frivolous! A hundred bucks! Ouch! I thought – he knows I like it, maybe he’ll buy it for me. I shouldn’t buy it for myself. I should stop doing the things for myself and LET someone do the things for me.

    See, I have never had a relationship where the man actually picked up on the cues and did the things. Okay – sometimes. But for the most part, if I wanted a thing, or wanted to do a thing, I just did it. I got tired of waiting for the thing. Waiting for someone to LISTEN and WANT to do the thing.

    So, I thought, I would give him the chance to do just that.

    We left. Without the watch.

    “Why didn’t you get it?” He asked later. “Well, I was hoping you’d get it for me. It would have meant so much more.” He thought about it, he said, but just didn’t. (That should have been my first clue, right? But no. I digress.)

    On the way home from our trip, we stopped in again. I decided I would just go ahead and buy it for myself. But it was gone. Sold. No more in stock. (insert big sad puppy dog eyes here.)

    A month or so later, we went back. Stopped in again to see if they had it back in stock. No luck. Not on the way down, not on the way back.

    That watch was gone. I missed my opportunity.

    Over the last year, I’ve looked for it online, and through whatever circumstances, I either found it and couldn’t afford it at the time, or couldn’t find it at all. There was always something – was this the one? I can’t quite remember… maybe not. Hm. I don’t feel the same about it anymore. I’m not so ga-ga over that one – was that it? Ohhhh this other one is cute but, hm, I don’t think that’s it.

    (This may be a post that only girls will really understand.)

    Fast forward to now.

    6 months have gone by since I’ve even talked to that guy. Business is good, life is great – and I’m headed out of town to shoot a destination engagement session in Oklahoma City.

    There was a bunch of serendipity going on that caused my outbound flight to be redirected to Detroit instead of Atlanta, and that’s another story for another day – but the events of the weekend, the strength I found, the independent girl in me surfaced and I departed for home feeling STRONG. Fulfilled. Happy. After a year or more of wavering – I felt solid. Solid in who I am. Solid about what I do. Solid about not putting up with ANY less than what I feel I want – need – deserve.

    And I had a long layover in Atlanta.

    You know where I’m going when I land, right?

    I landed in Concourse A. I couldn’t even remember if I was in the right Concourse. I thought it may have been in C, but whatever. I had plenty of time to figure it out. I start walking. 70lbs worth of camera gear and carry-on bag – I was a girl on a mission. Brighton is in Concourse A, in case you were wondering. I walked straight into that store and smiled at the girls working.

    “Can I see your watches, please?”

    One of the girls takes me over to the rack where they hang. I look at them. It’s not there. The one I wanted must not be part of the collection anymore. Bummed, I pull three other watches off and drape them over my arm. The gal asks “which one do you like?” I waver. I ask her to choose for me. She likes a different one than the one I was most drawn to of the three.

    I choose one of the three that I like best, but really, THE ONE. It’s not there. Kinda made my heart sad. Still, I thought, I can do this now. I couldn’t do it before – so I’m doing this! I’m in!! ALL IN! And I pay for the watch, she puts it on my wrist, and I leave.

    I round the corner, go down the escalator, get to the bottom and I’ve got a little grin. I did it! I got the watch! I look down at it, and my brow furrows.

    The second hand isn’t moving.

    Crap. I have to do this now. I have to go back upstairs. I have to figure out HOW to get back upstairs, first. I have no idea. I wander down the hall and see some flight attendants boarding an elevator. I jump on with them and go back up.

    I enter the store again, the gal who helped me isn’t there – so I tell the other gal I just bought this watch – and the battery is dead. “Do you have another with a working battery?”

    She goes over to the rack. No. There isn’t another one there.

    She opens the stock drawer where all the watches are kept. Rifling through all the different styles, she can’t find it. There isn’t another one.

    She holds up a different style to me and says “do you want to choose a different one?”

    I look at the watch she’s holding and tears well up in my eyes.

    WHAT?! THAT. That is the watch. THAT IS THE WATCH I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR. There it is!! But why wasn’t it on the rack?! I asked her – she didn’t know – but there it is. Tucked away in a drawer, waiting for me to come back and get rid of the WRONG watch so I could have the RIGHT one.

    I settled. I settled for the wrong watch and was okay with that. I should never have been okay with that. I should have waited. But I just so desperately wanted a Brighton watch – the style became less important to me and it became more about the name. It didn’t work. The wrong watch didn’t. work. I had to find my way BACK upstairs to try to fix it and wound up with EXACTLY the one I knew I wanted all along.

    As I stood and traded out the wrong watch for the right one, I knew what I needed to learn. I think everyone in that airport saw me grinning ear to ear after that lesson. The smile that swept over my face as I left Brighton was something else. That was the most empowering feeling – and the back story made it even more so.

    Now, I can look down at my wrist and always be reminded of that lesson. The wrong one isn’t going to work. But the right one – even though you feel ready to give up the search and settle – the right one is just tucked away in a drawer waiting for you to return the wrong one.

    You want to see that watch now, don’t you?


    The Feast of the Moon


    I was recently introduced to a sweet story, The Feast of the Moon by its author, Brian Wapole. I wanted to share it here for my animal loving readers and fans, you will enjoy it and I encourage you to pick up a copy on Amazon.

    Hamlet and Emmie: the story of a novel

    Emmie loves her pets. She loves her Jack Russell terriers, Opal and Maddie. She loves her goldfish, Snap, who has been alive for over two years. And her newt, whose name is Sebastian, but she calls Newtty. But most of all Emmie loves Hamlet, her hamster. Emmie is fourteen years old and has loved several hamsters since she was seven: Carnie, Ophelia, Ichilles and now Hamlet.

    Hamlet is not repelling the intractable force of time with the same elan he once possessed in the May morning of his youth. In fact, he is dying. He is having a hard time passing pellets and urinating. His fur is growing patchy. The world he watches wax and wane from behind the glass of his aquarium is dimming – his eyesight deteriorating. He is eating less each day. His gagging fits – like a cat trying to cough-up a hairball – are becoming more frequent. All the dashboard instruments point to a bumpy landing…but a landing nonetheless.

    And Emmie’s mom is not pleased.

    It is she who is making Hamlet’s final landing as comfortable as possible. It is she who is changing his bedding. Keeping fresh food in his bowl – sifting through the mix and picking out the dwindling selection of morsels that Hamlet will tolerate. Holding the water tube to his mouth, because he can’t find it on his own. Grooming his fur.

    Emmie used to perform these tasks to some level of consistency, but Emmie is fourteen. Any further description would be like, so, superfluous.

    So caring for Hamlet falls to Emmie’s mom. She has done this before. Three times before. Carnie, the first hamster, was the tragic one.

    Carnie received a car for his first birthday. A little plastic car that rolled on the carpet. Emmie shrieked with joy. She was never happier playing with the pet. And then Emmie yelled in alarm. Carnie was sluggish. Awake…but not moving.

    Something was really wrong.

    Her mother came and sat next to Emmie while she held Carnie in her lap and petted him. Something happened to Hamlet when he was in the car. His little body was contorted somehow…somehow, something went wrong…internal bleeding…maybe a spinal injury. It happened too fast for little Emmie to process. An utter shock. Emmie could not figure out what had happened. She did not push the car fast. But something happened in that car.

    Carnie died in Emmie’s lap about a half-hour later. Comforting an eight-year-old while she pets her dying hamster, dripping tears…it is easier to catch a breeze in your hands and return it to its home.

    Ichilles lived three years and Emmie made sure that he was loved. She would rub her nose across his body, sniffing deeply while the hamster waited, amused, by the affair. Like he was the human and she was the hamster.

    But his life ran low and he needed special care. So did Ophelia when her time came. Emmie’s mom was there to see that they each got that special care. And it was Emmie’s mom who felt the pain of losing a friend, because each time one of Emmie’s hamsters died it reminded her of the hamster she owned as a child. And how it didn’t last. Her being a child or the hamster’s life: take your pick.

    Yet, now that Emmie was old enough to assume hospice duties for Hamlet, she had a day-calendar that rivaled a US president’s…or maybe Oprah.

    And when she did have time for Hamlet, Emmie cried and pleaded with her mom to take him to the Vet. As if the Vet had a cure for old age.

    “I want you to take Hamlet,” Emmie’s mom said to me.

    “Take him where?”

    Emmie’s mom’s eyes began to water and she waved away the question.

    “I got it.”

    As I walked out of the kitchen with Hamlet’s traveling cage (a shoebox), Hamlet’s blanket (a strip from Emmie’s old sweatshirt), and Hamlet’s water bottle, Emmie’s mom said, “don’t tell me, when.”

    I took Hamlet home. I was not going to put him to sleep. Yet. Unbeknownst to Emmie’s mom, Emmie had approached me the day before and knowing her mom would ask me to take Hamlet, got me to swear that I would not have him put down. I told her that he would die peacefully in his sleep.

    What I didn’t tell her was that the sleep would occur while he drifted on a cloud to the continent of Euthanasia the following day. Hamlet’s organs were shutting down – it was the humane thing to do. I would take him to my house that evening since the Vet was closed.

    I set the shoebox, thick with woodchips and plush remnants from Emmie’s shirt, next to me while I wrote. About two paragraphs in to the evening I pointed a space heater at the box, buffering it with a pillow. I was concerned that he would be too warm – then not warm enough. I changed out the pillows, searching for the right insulation. It was January and I knew he liked to be warm. Emmie always kept him snuggled in a little blanket. Then I turned to write.

    For about five minutes.

    I heard scratching form the box. Maybe he needs water. But he wouldn’t drink – not even when I held the water tube to his mouth.

    I stopped trying to write. When I agreed to take Hamlet I thought, “He’ll be with me for a day; he’ll slowly slip away; I’ll take him to the Vet’s; I’ll keep him warm in the meantime.” Easy.

    But within an hour of him being with me, he dominated my concerns. How to get him to drink? It was one thing if he wasn’t eating – but dying by dehydration…I didn’t want to witness that. I tried to get him to accept the water bottle. No way.

    “Fine,” I thought. “What else can do I?”

    I picked up my Bic Ultra black pen with the “Round Stic Grip” and focused on the novel I was writing. Nothing. I was a tundra of creativity. I let my eyes lose focus, staring at the page. I looked at the pen.


    I took the pen cap to the sink and rinsed it off. I brought it back to Hamlet’s box and jiggled a drop of water onto the pen cap’s slightly concave arm. It extended about ¾” below the cap and just wide enough to hold a drop of water on its tip. I balanced the water drop on the end of the arm and tipped it into Hamlet’s mouth. It rolled into his mouth. He swallowed.

    I spent the next few minutes coaxing drops of water into Hamlet, succeeding about one out of every six attempts – maybe eight drops before he tired of the activity. Every two hours we played the pen cap game. Before I went to bed I adjusted his blankets and set the space heater on low.

    The following morning I heard scratching. Today, I was to take him to the Vet’s. I looked at the golden lump rise and fall with each breath. I decided to keep him with me. As long as he was drinking and eating a little (he had eaten one nugget of something the previous day) I was not going to put him to sleep.

    In between seeing students (I am a tutor) and other responsibilities, I monitored Hamlet’s condition. When I tried writing, I could not focus on my novel. I was thinking of Hamlet. So I started writing about him. Within a few minutes the ramblings morphed into a story, by that night I had a novel framed-out and ready for construction. The Feast of the Moon is that novel: Emmie’s life with Hamlet, Carnie, Ophelia, and Ichilles. But the voice you hear in the story is Hamlet’s. It is his story. Hamlet died peacefully in his sleep that night.

    Author bio: Brian started telling stories to himself when he was five years old and is pleased to be sharing the experience with a wider audience. His first novel, The Feast of the Moon, is now available in paperback and as an e-book. Visit: to read a sample, order a copy and to read original short stories for kids.

    Re-Committing to Old Resolutions


    A female cardinal perched on my fence this morning.

    Happy New Year!! I can’t believe it’s already the 4th. Almost a week into the new year and I’m wondering – how much can I get done in the first month? The first two months?

    A friend of mine on Facebook asked last week asked her friends what our New Year’s Resolutions were. I told her – my resolution will be the same as last year, unless I upgrade my monitor!! Ha ha! Okay so you’d have to be a techno-geek to get that one right away, but I laughed out loud at my own cleverness. (I’m usually the only one who does, but I digress…)

    My resolutions this year are the same as they are every other year. You know? I’d like to continue to grow my business. I’d like to treat people better, be kinder, be smarter, be wiser. I’d like to laugh more, stress less, take more photos and tell more stories. I’d like to spend my year in a creative process, while loving my family, treating them well, taking care of the ones I love and praising God for all that He’s blessed me with. I’d like to be ever mindful of my friends and all that they invest in our friendships – and give back as much if not more than they give me.

    I’d like to lose 30 pounds. Dangit – I hate that 30 pounds. Hate it with a passion. Why is that always on my dang list? Bah. They follow me around, quite literally, behind me – everywhere I go. They must be gone, and I will re-commit to that endeavor every morning. I’ll be healthy this year, because I am sick of being sick. Last year was tough – I spent a majority of it, it seems, with some kind of virus or bacteria invading my system. Not this year.

    This year, I have a lot of plans, and dreams! I’ll be shooting my first Wedding in May, traveling a bit – painting, designing – and I’m sure I’ll be doing plenty of gardening! I’d like to re-paint some rooms in our home, knock some walls down, and pay off some credit cards.

    This year is going to be a great year, and I’m excited and ready to share it with you!!

    What about you? And more importantly – how can I inspire or motivate you to help you reach your goals? I’d really like to know.


    Some Words from Your Sponsor


    Question mark cucumber Well, hello there!

    It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated my blog with a “regular”, non-giving-something-away, real honest to goodness words from my own mouth kind’a post. So here it is!

    This summer has flown right by. Once I put my garden in the ground, things picked up. I’ve signed back on with EWebscapes as a freelance designer so I’ve got a few projects going on there, a few on my own – and then toss in a weekly giveaway, children at home and bored, a husband who is on active duty with guys overseas, a complete gutting & revamping of my studio space, a couple of road trips, tons and tons of PICKLES, planting an insane amount of daylilies at our Church and OH YEAH, I can’t forget about Facebook!!

    And that about sums it up.

    You’d think that with all of this, I’d have lost a few pounds this summer right? Wrong. Add that to my pile of “things that frustrate me to no end.” I wait, for school to start – and I hope that things become “normal” again. What, pray tell, is normal to me?? Will I even recognize it? I wonder.

    Today, I decided to stop for a few minutes. To give you a glimmer of hope that some day, I will write again, I will write more often. As my time over the summer is so short, I am finding that the little space that Facebook provides for status updates is just enough to keep my creative spark alive, and it makes me anticipate the time I will be able to sit down and craft a fun and creative story to share.

    My weekly custom portrait giveaways are also giving me exactly what I need each week to stay creative as well. It is not a large investment of time, and I still feel very committed to it – 34 weeks in and I still enjoy it, giving that piece of time to someone each week is extremely fulfilling to me, and so I shall push on through the end of the year!

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support through the years and especially during “dry” spells, where stories are sparse and my weekly drawing is your only eye candy until the next week. I cherish your comments and e-mails and, well, thank you. So much. Because I know you’re busy too, and that you understand but don’t forget. I love you for that.

    On with the day now – and don’t forget, it IS Friday, and this week’s custom portrait giveaway will close at around 5pm tonight!

    p.s. Like my veggies? They are so sarcastic this year.

    Lee Colorwashed Khakis Giveaway! 10 Winners! **contest over**


    Lee colorwashed khakis giveaway Leanne WildermuthHave I told you lately that I love Lee? I do. I was recently selected by Lee to be a “Fit Ambassador”, and what a cool gig this is. I get to try out product, tell you all about it, and GIVE YOU FREE STUFF. Wee! It works for me.

    I have to tell you, when I first received these Colorwashed Khakis, I was a little concerned. You know when you hold up a pair of pants on a hanger and you think “um, no.”? Yes, well that’s what I kinda thought when I took them out of the box.

    But wait! NO WAY, they slid on like a glove! They’re 97% cotton, 3% spandex, but you’d think they were more like stretchy cotton microfiber, they are so soft. Super light, too, which I love. Within about 15 minutes of wearing them, they relaxed and had a really cozy broken in feel.

    They sit lower on the waist but not TOO low. They’re a little long, and have a nice wide leg which is super flattering for people well endowed in the thigh area. (ahem. Memememe!) The boot cut makes it really easy to give ’em a couple of rolls up and call them capri’s, too!

    Okay so on to the good stuff, which I know you’re waiting for. You want a pair now, don’t you? Oh, yes you do. These come in some really pretty spring colors – here they are:

    lee colorwashed khaki colors
    Cocoa, Jade Green, Riviera Blue, Strawberry, Sunlight Yellow, White
    They’re also available in the following sizes:

    Misses: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16
    Petites: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 (colors may vary)
    Plus: 16, 18, 20, 22

    Though you do NOT choose the color or size right now – you tell me that after you win a pair.



    Want a pair of your own? Just leave a comment (valid e-mail addy and at least your first name, please). Want to increase your chances? Here are a few ways to do that – please leave additional comments for each additional entry:

    1. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or via RSS. (if you’re already subscribed, THANK YOU! You will need to choose another method to earn extra entries.)
    2. If you commented on this post, you get an extra entry. Leave another comment that indicates you replied to that post (and, if you’re html savvy, grab the link to your comment as well).
    3. Tweet it (1 entry per day, link to the tweet)
    4. Mention it in your FaceBook status w/link (1 entry per day)
    5. Mention it on your blog and link back here. (1 entry per day)
    6. Become my fan on Facebook! (1 entry)
    7. Become a fan of Lee Jeans on Facebook! (1 entry)
    8. Click here and send this to a friend! (one entry per e-mail sent, must use this link – independent e-mails can’t be verified, sorry.)

    Open to Ladies only who reside in the US and Canada – (International entries are welcome but will incur shipping charges.)

    Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each extra entry, as I’ll draw using random numbers from comments.

    Comments will close on April 30th (by 8pm) and I’ll draw 10 winners on May 1st.

    Good luck!!


    Paying it Forward.


    zombiechickenMy good friend Pam gave me an interesting and extremely flattering award yesterday, the Zombie Chicken.

    Now, in standard fashion, I am flattered and honored that anyone in their right or wrong mind would think of me when dishing out any kind of blogger-created award.

    Usually, I bookmark the award and have every good intention of paying it forward, but… uh… well, as many of you know, I am full of good intentions.

    Pam, however, dished out a heaping helping of guilt and pressure along with the award. Ahem. Get this.

    I know from experience that waiting to post awards is never good; I end up losing them and the blogger from which they originated.

    Aaak! You mean, I have to not only graciously receive my award (for which I am humbled and thankful. Every time.) but if I don’t pay it forward, karma bites me in the butt? Butt…. Butt…. I have other posts to publish! And stuff! And things! Aw crud. Okay. Just for you, Pam. And those who I may have lost (have I lost you?) because of my failure to pay it forward:

    The rules of the zombie chicken say…

    “The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…”

    Now, I know a bunch of excellent, graceful and persistent bloggers who regularly produce remarkable content. I don’t, however, know what the heck a zombie apocalypse is. I’m also not sure I’m intimidated by a wrath of zombie chickens. But I’ll play along, because the artwork is cute. And if you drew that? You deserve an award, too. I’m also not sure how I’m going to limit my list to 5, so pardon me, Zombie Chickens, if I exceed my limit.

    Without question, Pam herself is deserving of the award. I love her blog, I love the way she thinks, and I also love her dogs.

    Sarcasmom is always an enjoyable read. YellowRose is thoughtful and inspiring. Usedtobeme is consistently introspective and personal. Mir’s blog will suck you in and never, ever spit you out. Lisa’s Chaos is just beautiful. Melissa is fun and creative, June is kind and nature loving kindred spirit, Melissa @ Inspired Room and Laura make me feel at one with my inner home-makeover cravings, and Pricilla has to be my newest, most favorite blogging critter.

    Is that more than five? Oh well.

    I have seen a lot of blogs and bloggers come and go, and while I know that we’re all here because we crave interaction, I also know that the amount of time I interact with others is always limited. I wish for more, but it just doesn’t happen. I always hope that you all know that I love you and appreciate you and that if I had more time to give to each of you, I most certainly would.

    For each of you who make the time or take the time for me, I appreciate you and hope that though my gestures may be small, you know that they’re packed with a punch.

    I pray you all have a blessed Easter, and enjoy your weekend!

    Forget me Nots!


    Weekly Portrait Giveaway A few hours remaining in this weeks Custom Portrait Giveaway, share a photo and a story of your pet, that’s all you need to enter to win my weekly giveaway! I’ll choose the winner and draw a 5×7 pencil portrait and post it on Monday. Easy peasy – click here to enter this week!

    I do encourage all entrants to keep trying – there are still 42 weeks left in the year, 42 more chances to win – so don’t give up!

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    Snairy snail fairy art oil painting by Leanne Wildermuth

    Don’t forget that there’s only one day remaining to own a teenie tiny original painting of a cute little imaginary creature! Snairy’s auction ends tomorrow, Saturday, March 7. My second ACEO – absolutely a great investment for you art collectors! It’s definitely going to a new home – the question is – will it be yours?

    Holdman Christmas Show


    View more of the Holdman Christmas light displays here. They’re incredible!

    Mother & Daughter Portrait Complete


    Custom graphite pencil portrait Audrey and Janeice drawing by Leanne Wildermuth

    I’ve completed this pencil portrait of Audrey and Janeice, matted it and have it wrapped in and ready to present to Audrey today at Church. I’m not sure if all my little modifications are even noticeable to you, the eyes, a bit more blending in the skin tone and deepening, I’ve tweaked both of their noses – little things that seemed off to me as I kept looking back and forth from their photo to the drawing.

    custom graphite pencil drawing portrait mother and daughter by Leanne Wildermuth Here’s the piece matted and I’ve signed the matboard and it’s ready to drop into a frame, just in time for Christmas.

    It’s been a busy week here in the studio, I’ve tried to get away a couple of times to get some Christmas shopping done – I’m so glad I can do so much of it online! Today I’ll be getting another piece ready, I’ll be drawing a brindle Pit Bull named Josie over the next week. I’ll also put together my Handmade Gift Exchange packages (Catie joined in on the fun, and her gift is just so cute!), get a hundred or so Christmas cards and postcards addressed, and attend the girls Church Christmas Program later on in the evening.

    If you’re on Facebook – I did get the girls Piano Recital videos uploaded to my wall – go have a peek if you haven’t already, I’m so proud of them!

    I hope you’re all doing well – and that you’re getting everything in order for the Holiday without panic! It always seems there’s less and less time every year, doesn’t it?

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