Willie Revisited: Lessons from a Legend and Tribute to My Dad

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Tonight, Willie Nelson is taking on the smoke (of the wildfire kind, not the other kind ūüôā ) and playing a show in my hometown of Spokane, Washington. ¬†It is memorable not only because it is my first concert with my mom, but also because it is one of my dad’s favorite musical icons. ¬†Although my dad is no longer with us, the lessons he imprinted through example still resonate in my life. As a fun tribute to both the country legend and my dad, I though it would be fun to do a top five lessons learned.



Boots are a Good Choice – Always

My dad was a boot man.  My mom tells a story that when a bonus came from work once, my dad insisted on using the extra money to buy a good pair of boots. In his mind, they were an investment, and a sound one that would get him from point A to point B.  Buy the best you can afford.  To this day, boots and other footwear are something I splurge on. I would like to think Willie would agree with this first point of my top five.

 Different Name, Same Thing!

I say “Country”, my dad said “Country-Western”. My sweet dad was a Country-Western man, or as he endearingly called it, C & W. ¬†When I was in high school and dabbled in the country genre through the likes of George Strait and Reba McIntire, my dad was thrilled that in this magical moment, we shared the same taste in music. ¬†Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash were legends in my father’s eyes, and he was thrilled to share this passion with his young daughter.

One of the last phone conversations with my dad before he died (almost 20 years ago!) was at my first Willie Nelson concert, on the bunny hill at Snowmass, Colorado during the JAS Aspen Labor Day Festival . ¬†He asked if Willie had already played “Pancho and Lefty”. ¬†Being a newcomer to the legends, I didn’t know the classic tune yet. ¬†Now, this is one of my favorites and a single playing of it can’t pass without me thinking of my dad.¬†We always liked the same music.

Same music, different names.

¬†Loved Ones Don’t Leave, They Just Change Forms

My dad is no longer here on the physical ground walking, but he makes his presence known. ¬†What a incredible experience to feel a loved one’s presence once they have left the earthy realm. I have felt the presence of my dad at concerts, or often when I am in nature. ¬†My dad undoubtedly lives on in musical energy as well as in moments of deep connection.

I feel his presence and he is never really gone.

Bridging Differences Makes the World Go Round

It is hard to argue that Willie Nelson was anything other than a great human connector. As a storyteller, songwriter, poet, and activist, he was able to build bridges countless times between different genres, different world views, and different traditions.

What a beautiful thing!

Like Willie, I like to think that my father also did the same with the people he touched. A pretty simple and soft spoken man, I was awe-struck at the mosaic of people that came out for his funeral. He was able to see the human spirit in each person he interacted with, and that connection was not forgotten.  I was humbled at the far reaching legacy my dad left in this life.
Storytelling is Human

Humans are storytellers by nature. ¬†Some of Willie Nelson’s best songs were stories that he told to music, unfolding magically as the tune rolled on. Storytelling draws us in, connects us to fellow humans in the heart space, and reminds us of our ancient tradition of witnessing this magical life time and time again through story. My dad as well could recount a tale with the best of them, and his stories live on, being retold by family members who are here to continue weaving our common story.



Life gives us so many lessons, and this is just a small list of the lessons I have taken from one area of my life. People, places, and experiences have all given me a clear path for life, and I am grateful for each nugget of learning I have picked up along the way.

Does this list bring up any memories for you about lessons learned? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wishing you an inspired day!




Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You can now follow my blog on Bloglovin’! If you are not familiar with it, it is an easy way to keep all the blogs you follow in one easy place. I really like there format, and it has improved the way I interact with blog I truly care about.

These days, I follow only a few , but I like to stay connected with all you fine folks, so join me!

Happy Wednesday to you.


When Do You Feel Like Your True Self?

A little while ago, I received another magical piece of snail mail (ie. mail that comes in an actual mailbox!) that made me light up like the Northern Lights sky.

A dear friend from India, who I connected with here on WordPress, created a wonderful postcard just for me that is now hanging on what I am calling my string of inspiration. I mentioned this in my previous post about another letter from  dear Sarah over at her blog Secret Art Expedition, that I received earlier this year.

These connections forged in the virtual word that come to life through sweet words and creative works make my day, and pour the fuel on my creative fires even more. Simply put, anyone who feels inspired by this endeavor of mine to sketch and share my word here on Word[press, know that the inspiration is mutual. What a wonderful circle of energy!

The words on  my most recent snail mail treasure say it simply but profoundly beautiful as well:

“What makes you feel like you true self?”

If you are brave enough to find something that lights you up, please share. ¬†You are co-creating ¬†a better world where creativity weaves a thread through all of our hearts and creative souls. You never know…you just might inspire someone to pursue their dream.

Wishing you a most magical day, and thanks for reading.




The Power of Connection: Letters from Sarah

What’s your favorite part of blogging?

When I first started this blog, I would have said that it was to be heard and share tid-bits of inspiration.   To get my message out there in a great big world. Easy- peasy, right?

And now? I would tell you without hesitation that the reason I blog is to connect with the same big world.

Miss Gentileschi of the fabulously inspiring blog Secret Art Expedition is one of the connections made that I am most grateful for.  Her blog is inspiring, sharing candidly her art adventure in Berlin, Germany. The story comes to life through her photography, perspectives of everyday life and landscapes, as well as her own art.  What a magical gift she gives us by blogging her story.  I am so grateful for this special creative soul!

Some of you know that I offer to send a postcard to new followers (or anyone who sends me their email, for that matter!). I love the idea of taking virtual connections and making the connection in the real world.  Dear Sarah took me up on this offer, and you can read more about over exchange her on blog https://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com/

I was lucky enough to receive a card from her in the mail.  Real snail mail!

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Sarah’s beautiful handmade fairy card

The connection made in the virtual world had come to life and deepened right before my very eyes.¬† I love her fairy adorning the front of the card, and it now is pinned to my “inspiration string”, a string¬†pinned to the wall above my desk to inspire and remind me why it is so very important to keep the creative spirit alive.

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My “inspiration string” – tidbits that inspire me.

So, inspired by my dear friend Sarah, I give a heart-felt thank you to those of you¬†engaging out there in¬†world wide web.¬† I invite you to connect here just as Sarah did.¬† Comment, engage, share….you voice and perspective is so very ¬†valuable to the conversation!

If you would like to join the conversation, I welcome your comments here.  Want a postcard?  Simply follow my blog, and message me your address. My email is missyjean@netscape.net, and I would love to connect.

May your day be an inspired one.



Melissa on the farm
All smiles here!






Day 13 – Feathers


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“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”¬† –Frida Kahlo

Anyone else dream of flying high above this great big world, seeing what birds can see?

I have always been drawn to feathers as a found object that connects us humans to our feathered friends.  Although I can definitely work on identification, I do love the idea that they came from above in the magical habitat of the sky. Osprey are back in the area, and I am keeping my eye out for one of their feathers in our yard.

May your day be magical.


**This post is part of my #100daysofdozens project, where I will draw a dozen of something every day for 100 days**


Day 12 – Eggs

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A Dozen Eggs

Birds have come back to the Inland Northwest.

Robins in the morning rooting around in the grass, osprey overhead building their nest after being gone all winter to warmer parts, and lots of Canadian geese who have taken to hanging out just outside of the goats afternoon grazing area.

Lots of birds in spring means lots of eggs in the natural world.  With birds on my mind this spring, it seemed fitting to sketch a dozen eggs.

Plus, it is kind of fun to title it “A Dozen Eggs”. ūüėÄ

May your day be full of connection and light.


Permission – Who needs permission?


Permission? Who needs permission?

Sometimes us creative types do in fact need permission to create, but oddly enough, that permission comes from with in.

I was watching a fabulous video today from the Sketchbook Skool Blog with Danny Gregory and Sabine Wiseman about giving ourselves permission that addressed this very fact. Sometimes I feel a bit shy or reluctant to share my sketches.  Some days are good, and I get really focused with lots of inky details.

Other days?

Sloppy, smeared ink, and not always something I love at first glance.

But the sharing part, or rather giving myself permission to share, is part of the glory of creating something. It is not as much fun if you don’t share it.

Kind of like the tree in the forest that falls. If nobody is around to hear it, does it still make noise?

If an artist does not create, are they still an artist?

This has been on my mind a lot lately, along with ponderings on creativity in humans.  More on that later.

May your day be inspired and full of creative spark!



Day 11 – Garden Finds

**the post is highlighting my #100daysodozensproject I am participating in through July. Read more about it here at https://inspirationinfocus.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/100-days-project-4417-71317/
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Day 11 – Garden Finds. Watercolor & Micron Ink. 2017.



A little behind on my posts here, but I am indeed still plugging away at my dozens project I started back in early April.

The past few weeks I have been helping a friend in my neighborhood with her garden, and I found so many treasures there!  It has been so inspiring to watch it grow from a leaf-covered cold space a few weeks ago, to one this week exploding with color and spring texture.

Here are some of the highlights of my prodding around in her garden.  Have you seen some of these familiar garden finds in your local garden space?

May your day be an inspired one.



Day 10 – Gouache Paint Tubes

**This is part of my #100daysofdozensproject, inspired by Elle Luna.

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Gouache?  How the heck do you say that?!?

GWASH. GGGGGWWWASH.  The more I practiced it, the more I liked the sound of it.

I figured if I could not even pronounce an art supply, I had no business using it. First introduced to them in Jill¬†Weber’s class in Sketchbook Skools’¬†Expressing a few years ago, I bought the cheapest one I could find (sorry Reeves!) and never used them again.

It is basically opaque watercolor and I love the look, but I am a creature of habit and usually stick with my Micron ink with watercolor most sketches.  It also has quite a strong odor.

Such gorgeous color, though! I will have to give it more of a chance I think.

Happy Thursday, friends!


Day 009 – Sprouts

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Lots of sprouts in our house at the moment. We are trying out different varieties in trays under a grow light. Lettuce, radish and beet sprouts galore.

This was inspired by other creative who are collaging, and I used a page from a 1930’s book that I found in a local thrift shop.

I always enjoy doing collages, but often times I don’t think to do them.

Wishing you an inspired day!


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