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  • A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.
  • Long time no see


    It’s time to start writing again. Much to say.

    It’s been so long, though – that I thought I’d test a few things. Are you still reading? Drop in and leave a comment. I’ll be revamping the comments for social networking (and generally speaking, the site is under construction though you may not know it visually for a little while yet). I’m also testing to find out where exactly I’ve got my posts set up to share so I can tweak those settings as well.

    So. Hey there. How ya been?

    More soon.

    The Downfall of a 22 Year Marriage


    It’s true, I have completely lost my grip on the marriage I once thought would last forever. I have to share this story – not just because I need to in order to heal and learn and grow – but because I think others need to see how actions and behaviors can truly damage people so deeply that they just can’t ever recover. Or they choose not to.

    I met him when I was 18. I remember thinking he was a dork, so – no first impression rose there. But he stole my heart with his determination and resolve to put me at a place with my weight where I could be a Marine, if I wanted to. Weeks of bike rides, phone calls and laughter sealed the deal for me.

    Little did I know what would become of it.

    He was my first real boyfriend, but it never did sink in that he was playing around, away from his wife at the time – he didn’t wear a ring. I had no idea. I knew he was interested in another girl, so the competition was on.

    Within the first months of our relationship, I was in the two major battles of my lifetime. One for my weight – the other for his love.

    Looking back now, I can see the writing on the wall. And me, with a great big can of spray paint, trying to cover it all up.

    It wasn’t long before I did give him that rose, with a note that said “I have a feeling that one day I’ll be marrying you.” If you ever want to do something to scare off a guy, girls – that’d do it. I wore my heart on my sleeve and let him take it and break it a hundred times over. It’s okay, I thought – tough, enduring love will always win in the end.

    Except it doesn’t.

    This is a military life. A military story – with a military ending. This is what can happen inside a military marriage, after the military is done with you. This is a tale of post traumatic stress disorder gone horribly wrong, a story about how pushing a military man to his limits doesn’t make him want to succeed, it makes him feel like he failed.

    Keep reading »

    My Catharsis


    So, here I am. Sitting in front of a blank screen for the first time in nearly a month, trying to put together the words that will convey what’s going on inside my head and heart.

    I’ve known that I needed to write, I’ve known how cathartic it is for me, but I’ve put it off. I’m almost ashamed of the thoughts and feelings I have, because the older I get, the more bitter and critical I seem to become. I would almost prefer to put a roll of duct tape in my purse and around my hands, some days.

    Then, the more I think about that, the more I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. The older we get, the more we realize how seriously messed up we are, each in our own way, and how much more magnified those faults seem to be when we’re older and are so much more in tune with people. Personally, I think it’s because it’s not until later in life that we really realize how important people are in our lives. But, just like acne, the more it’s magnified, the uglier it is.

    Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty ugly.

    I have tried to avoid one certain truth in my life – that I would turn into my parents. I denied it, I tried to mask it – I do my damndest not to let it invade my mind – but here it is. It’s here, and I have to deal with it. It’s called cynicism. I am my own worst critic, and I am also everyone elses worst critic. In my head, at least. I am a danger to society should I be let loose and free to speak my opinion, and so I am very grateful that my place, behind this monitor – inside this house, in my corner of the world, is safely tucked away from real human interaction.

    Except for the loved ones who are subject to my presence, whom I offer my condolences – you’ve lost a once bright, cheerful, happy, energetic and outgoing person and she’s left this icky person in her place.

    So now, my task – what do I do with this? How can I be the person I was – given the exact same surroundings, with all of the exact same things that have driven me to this mindset?

    How does someone really initiate the change they desperately need, without allowing their immediate circle of influence to affect it? I would love the answer to that one. And I’m sure a million others would, too.

    I know that I am fortunate. I have been blessed. Not just with the gift of creativity, but with the circumstances to be able to put them to maximum use and a support system to encourage me. But there’s this nagging inside of me that is completely displeased. Displeased with how everything is going, unhappy with the relationships I have, feeling broken and distant from the people I know, deep down, that I truly love.

    I could go paint. I could write. I guess I am writing. I hope you don’t mind. Though not the story that I could and should write, but just the abbreviated, vague version that is as safe as I can possibly be, because at the heart of it all, the last thing I want to do is negatively impact the things that are negatively impacting me. Strange, how that works. Or in this case, doesn’t. I’m not really sure.

    I could grab my camera and go for a drive – but none of these things stop the swarm of words that surround my head and beg to be dealt with. None of those things will draw me closer to an answer or a new revelation about how to change my life right. this. very. second.

    My life right now is a mass of sticky notes and appointments, of code and design and of seeking approval from other people from just about every single thing I do. I guess after a long period of time, maybe I feel tied down in my creativity and my insides are begging to break free. The terrifying thing about that, however, is the breaking free part. The “to hell with it all” part that I think every few years, every human being needs a little of.

    The deeper I look inside myself, the more confused I become, and the more I want to just be one of those people who doesn’t think so deeply. Who doesn’t give any consideration to how my actions or words might affect someone else. Who doesn’t analyze. Who doesn’t attach everything to feelings and emotions and issues that need to be handled or discussed.

    The deeper I look inside myself, the more I realize that I’m not really disappointed with the world, I am disappointed in myself, and my own failures. I expect too much, from others as well as myself. I still, after all these years, depend on others for my own happiness. I am reactionary, I am over-sensitive, and honest to God, I think I am over-thoughtful, if that is possible. Not so much in that I am always thinking about other people, but that I am always thinking about how my actions might affect other people. Trying to stay out of everyone’s way, and feeling run over in the process.

    In all of this, I can only pray that I am normal. That this is normal. This is just a phase, this is just a day, these are just thoughts that will vanish and tomorrow I’ll wake up without a headache ready to tackle the world and really, truly love the people that I love. Tomorrow, perhaps will be the turning point. Tomorrow, I’ll have an epiphany and all will be right with the world once again.

    Tonight, however, someone magical might have to wave a wand over my head or sprinkle some fairy dust on me while I’m sleeping in order to make that happen.

    If It’s Not About You, It’s Gossip.


    Leanne and her peoniesI’ve recently had the (cough) privilege (cough) of being informed that “it’s not all about me, despite what I may think.” And quite honestly (that was another trigger phrase used in the information packet I received) I have a few things to say about that.

    Imagine that.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever heard this delicious little tidbit of news. But you know something? Those words are meant to puncture, they are meant to hurt – and above all else, they are WRONG.

    If it isn’t about me, it’s gossip. It’s hearsay; conjecture. It’s not accurate information.

    Think about it. If you have a blog, it’s all about you. It’s your blog – your space. Your opinion, your writing. We say things people can relate to, we say things others can benefit from. Some of us even use it as a means to DO things for other people. If people read it, if people come, then we assume they are interested. And we develop friendships.

    If you have a Twitter account or a Facebook page, it’s all about you. If it’s not – what the heck is it? If you’re putting a bunch of stuff out there that isn’t about you, then all it is is your opinion, and you’d be am informant, or news reporter or somethin’.

    If we’re having a chat and you’re talking, if you’re not helping me or offering me advice (YOUR opinion), you’re talking about you. If you’re talking about other people, excluding the people in the conversation, that is called GOSSIP. If you’re sharing information or news about your family, that’s you, with a touch of gossip (depending on the topic and/or person).

    Why do we do this? Because we’re human, that’s why. We share. Well, okay, most of us share. And we share with the (obviously, in this case, idiotic) assumption that the other person is actually interested. And then we pause, and we wait for the other person to have their turn. And then, typically, we share our feelings, thoughts and ideas of what the other person has shared. THAT, people, is called friendship aka communication.

    Insane, isn’t it?

    The information you have about yourself is the only information you really have that is factual. The rest is perception, interpretation. So when you’re in the middle of sharing your feelings with someone, those words are as true as true gets. To imply to someone that what they’re sharing with you is arrogant and self-centered is just … wrong. On so many levels.

    So the next time you share your feelings with someone and they turn around and tell you “it’s not all about you”, you just buck up and explain how “yes, indeed it IS about me.” And be okay with that. And also? Be okay with never sharing yourself with that person again, because they obviously don’t appreciate you as a person, or respect your feelings.

    In Loving Memory of Patti Shaffer


    Patti ShafferPatti Shaffer, aka “Mrs. P”, passed away on Easter Sunday after her battle with cancer.

    She was my friend, and I loved her dearly.

    I met Patti back when I first started blogging on LiveJournal, in 2003. She found me through a fellow artist, Carrie Hawks. I adored her at once.

    Patti was my first official “fan” – she supported my work, encouraged my art and bought everything I created that she could afford. She became a trusted and loyal friend during my husband’s deployment to Iraq. We spent hours on the phone together talking about any and every topic that came up. I painted for her, we shared stories and a love for animals and nature. She and I clicked, and she had a special place in my heart.

    Patti gave her time and heart to all animals; her passion evident in the time she poured into Cats Are People Too. She wrote to me and shared photos of cats that she rescued and could not bear to part with. I remember Emvie, an adorable little kitten who was thrown out of a moving vehicle and left for dead. She was trying to choose a name, and I thought “moving violation” – and MV – Emvie, was named. Through Patti, I donated paintings to help CAPT in their fundraising efforts.

    Patti ran and maintained their website – and set up a donation page through Please, if you’re inclined, send them a donation so they can continue their rescue work.

    When her husband called yesterday with the sad news, my heart just broke. For her family, for her friends, for those cherished animals that she rescued, adored and nurtured back to health – my thoughts and prayers are with everyone whose life Patti touched with her incredibly giving, loving spirit.

    Patti impacted my life in a profound way, and I am so honored to have had the opportunity to know her and call her my friend.

    May she rest in peace.

    Ascending, Slowly.


    emerge photo by Leanne WildermuthWhen she was young, she had dreams. In her dreams, she was hardworking, successful, and organized.

    In her reality, she was at the bottom of the totem pole. Unknown, she was shoved back down at every attempt to reach up, and get out.

    With a lot of effort, she began a slow climb from up out of the shadows. Each rung of the ladder presented its own unique challenge; a new battle with herself to decide if this was high enough, or if she should continue ascending to another level.

    At times, she felt melancholy. Consumed by the voices of negativity that welled up from deep within her. Like zombies in a pit, they grabbed at her feet to bring her back down into that place, the place where everyone reminded her she wasn’t worthy, she wasn’t good enough, and she didn’t know how.

    Those times were the hardest for her. The nothingness swept through her mind, clouded her spirit and drained the life from her usually bright eyes. The battle raged on within, while those around her seemed to slowly back away, as if they felt it drawing them in, too.

    Still, she fought on. She held on tightly to the small rays of light that filtered in through the darkness. She prayed. She knew, ultimately, that she would win this battle, just as she’d won those before, because the hand she reaches up to, the hand that is always reaching down to her, would be within her grasp soon.

    In the dark, she closes her eyes and sees where she wants to be. Where she knows she’s meant to be. She can feel warmth on her face, and as she opens her eyes she feels a sense of peace rush over her as she’s lifted from that place again.

    I’m 38!


    birthday muffin cake blog party invite photo by leanne wildermuth

    I’ve been continually verbally assaulted with birthday wishes and greetings from friends and family on Facebook today. Don’t you feel sorry for me? No? Well good. Because DANG if there’s a place on the internet where you feel really special on your b-day, Facebook is IT!! I just want to make a hot cup of cocoa and stare at my wall for a few hours. It’s that nice.

    38. The big three-eight. What’s the big deal? Honestly, the older I get, the farther away from “old” I feel. The years may be whizzing right past me, and I might not remember your name, but darnit I’m always going to be 16 in my head. So what do you do on your 38th birthday? Appreciate the people who take the time to pop in on your day, have a piece of cake, and smile.

    dog illustration by leanne wildermuth
    So this is me, smiling at you. Thanks for popping by.

    And while you’re here, I’ll show you what I’ve been finalizing the last couple of days. This is a custom illustration of Ruby, a beautiful mixed breed pooch wearing a scarf. It’s in the proofing stage so there may be some tweaking but I have to say – Adobe Illustrator rocks so much. I previously drew my doodles in using PSP using my Wacom and the paintbrush tool. This time I used Adobe’s pen tool to piece the dog together in a hundred or so different shapes – and I love the pen tool! I can definitely see getting much more accomplished in the way of illustrating using AI in the future. Very cool.

    Hope you’re staying warm – the polar bears are almost finished with the igloo they’ve been building in my back yard. I’ve got to run to the store to get some salmon. (Translation: It’s -40 something degrees here. I think everyone who lives in an area with these kinds of winters should automatically qualify for disability checks from the state for being mentally impaired. There. I said it.)

    2009 – Yours for the Making.


    Happy New Year, friends! It’s a new day, a new year – and it’s ALL YOURS! I cannot express to you how much I wish I could reach into each of your lives and make all things go well for you this year.

    Here are a few of the things I’d grant you, if I could:

    • Peace. In your life, in your heart, in your mind. The kind of peace that makes you smile, just to feel it.
    • Harmony. Between the people you love and those you interact with. That each interaction you have this year fill you up, that arguments fall to the wayside, that unpleasantries disappear.
    • Love. Enough love to pass around, with no expectations, no conditions, and no judgment.
    • Success. The success you seek in your personal life, in your professional life – that it be all that you need to sustain you and give you momentum.
    • Creativity – of course. The eye to appreciate the things around you, the vision to see what could be, and the spark to make it happen.
    • Passion. The passion you need to achieve your goals and find that which brings you to a better place, in your life and in your heart.

    My wish for you is that each new day gives you more reason to look forward to the next, that the people around you see a new light in your eyes, and renewed confidence and spirit. That you remain invigorated, excited, and optimistic about yourself, your life, and the people who surround you.

    Much love to you!!

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    My Golden Ticket


    Life's Golden TicketMy daughter started reading this book, Life’s Golden Ticket, at Grandma’s house on Christmas day. She continued reading in the car on the way home, and sought out a quiet place and kept reading until she finished it later on that night. She brought it out to me and said “here mom, you have to read this book.”

    Those of you who know me well know that I’m not much of a bookworm. If I find a series that I like, it sucks me in and I don’t come out until it’s finished – which doesn’t make me a very productive person! The last series that I read, Left Behind, did just that.

    When Catybug suggested I read it, I looked at her face and saw the look. My mother-in-law had read it, my niece read it – they both recommended it as well. There was obviously something about this book that made her dive in and not stop until she’d reached the last page. She’s an avid reader – so that’s not unusual, but she never asks me to share her books with her.

    She asked me a few times yesterday if I’d started reading it yet. She even set it on my desk. Then, after dinner, she moved it into the family room and set it on the side table next to “my spot” on the couch.

    I picked it up – during an episode of House no less – and started the first chapter. It had me in the first few pages, and when midnight hit lastnight I was surprised that the book was over so soon. In just a few hours, I took a trip to another place with these characters, and I was absorbed and intrigued by the new, different view I had on life and people.

    “Hey, listen, sometimes you got to call it like it is. There is no real you versus fake you. No real self versus fake self. You are who you are, wholly and completely. All your emotions and behaviors are a part of who you are now. Unless you accept every aspect of that, you’re lying to yourself. You’re avoiding yourself. Maybe you don’t like parts of who you are, portions of what you just saw, but those are portions and parts of you until you change them. You’ve got to admit that even the bad parts are parts of you. Otherwise, you’ll never change.”

    * * * * *

    “…you’ve got to stop the cycle. You can’t keep giving this behavior energy. You’ve got to refuse the path of least resistance. You’ve got to put the brakes on this behavior, or your same story of suffering will just keep looping over and over. It’s time you start expressing how you feel and what you want. That will start a new cycle for you. And you can’t just express yourself now and then. You’ve got to do it from now on. You’ve got to start building momentum – then you’ll be unstoppable. Just break the cycle of silence and suffering. Start a new cycle of strength by expressing to the world how you feel and what you want. It’s the only way you’ll ever live the life you want.”

    There’s nothing more bold than seeing your life pass before your eyes while you’re reading a 208 page novel.

    There’s also nothing better than finishing a book and talking about it with your child, asking them what positive and negative events might shape their present, and how you might address those negative events to better impact their future.

    I imagine everyone who reads this book can identify with it. I was faced with the reality that I am not the only person who carries their past forward through behaviors and reactions. That I don’t consider how others pasts have shaped them, how we allow repeated negative impacts to impact us much more definitively than we allow the positive in our lives push us forward with new momentum.

    How I wish I could get up on that tightrope and put one foot in front of the other, forging a new path, braving the height for the sake of change.

    As the end of 2008 draws near, the timing of this story couldn’t be better. As I finished adding items to my portfolio this morning and finishing a couple of small projects, my mind kept spinning. Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? How can I make a bigger, better contribution to the world?

    Now is the time to stop allowing the circumstances of my past to dictate my situation and get to work on becoming the person — the mother, artist and wife — that I want to be. To make that list of changes, to keep it in front of me and be ever mindful of how every action, and reaction, will determine my future.

    I am really looking forward to 2009. How about you?

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