DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED?

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED?

Before I retire for the night, I take for granted that I’ll wake up in the morning and go about my ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, working, and walking-around-life.

But today, I’m reminded of my mortality.

The First Reason

A neighbor and friend, Orville Hughes, passed away on Sunday morning (God granted him 95 years on this earth).

Seven years ago, he was the first neighbor to rap his knuckles on our farmhouse screen door.

After gingerly opening the door, I thought, I’m definitely in farm country.

The elderly farmer pressed his thumbs into the back of his denim overalls. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said.

My hubby and I will always remember Orville as the neighbor, farmer, and the friend who showed love with his simple act of kindness.

The Second Reason

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., on a frigid February 2nd morning in 1945, sixteen miners stepped into a lift cage.

With helmet beams lit, they began their descent into the pit of darkness—just another ordinary day to dig for gold in muck and clay.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

The cage was outfitted with an emergency stop system called “dogs”. The “dogs” job was to grip the timbers on the sides of the shaft should the cables ever break.

Snap!

The “dogs” malfunctioned, sending the cage to plummet 1,500 feet. My grandfather and fifteen other miners lost their lives that day.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

The Paymaster Mine Tragedy was reported to be the greatest mining disaster in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Today is the 71st anniversary of my maternal grandfather’s death—a grandfather I never got to hug. And my mom was only seven-years-old when he died.

All that remains are newspaper clippings, family stories, and the book I compiled and wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day, May 11th, 2014—The Kohtala & Hakala Legacy.

Here’s one of those entries. (Sorry, this WordPress site wouldn’t allow me to insert lines between each stanza).

SIXTEEN MINERS

Tracy Campbell

Down, down, down,

Men toil all day,

Dig for gold

In muck and clay.

Down, down, down,

No time for play,

Miners sweat

For meager pay.

Down, down, down,

Write on this page—

Sixteen miners

Step in a cage.

Down, down, down,

Men, weary worn,

Cage door creaks

One frigid morn.

Down, down, down,

Torn cables snap,

Gloomy thoughts,

We’re in a trap! 

Down, down, down,

Lift cage drops,

Plummets fast,

Blasting stops.

Down, down, down,

Shriek, old and young,

“Help us!” heard

In mother tongue.

Down, down, down,

Torches lit,

Crowbars bend,

Friends don’t quit.

Down, down, down,

No helmet beams,

Loss of breath,

Ends miners’ dreams.

Up, up, up,

Prayers of strife,

Mother, child,

Plead for life.

Up, up, up,

Sirens blare,

Bodies rise to

Greet despair.

Up, up, up,

God knew why,

Eased each painful,

Desperate cry.

Up, up, up,

Cast in bronze,

Miners’ shrine

Gleams like dawn.

Down, down, down,

Tears freely flow,

Lives endure,

As memories glow.

Porcupine Miners Memorial

Porcupine Miners Memorial

The ten-foot bronze statue was erected in 2008 in remembrance of miners who lost their lives over the past 100 years.

The inscription reads:

A…memorial to those who died

A…monument to the families who survived

A…tribute to those who continue.

Before typing this post, I read the following verse in my trusty guidebook—a reminder for me to thank God for each new day.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1, MSG

Do you embrace each day like there’s no tomorrow?

Blessings,

 

Tracy

P.S. Send a card or give a gift to those you love. Visit My Whimsical Shop for ideas.

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED? first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.

CREATIVE TUESDAYS—WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST LOVED?

CREATIVE TUESDAYS—WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST LOVED?

Love is in the air.

Can you feel it?

Okay, so love doesn’t float through the air, but being loved makes me feel like I’m floating.

Before I float on into today’s theme for Creative Tuesdays, here’s a quiz that I tweaked slightly, based on The 5 Love Languages®, written by Gary Chapman.

Do you feel MOST loved when:

(a) someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you?
(b) someone takes the time to give you a gift they’ve put a lot of thought into?
(c) someone gives you their undivided attention?
(d) someone gives you a much-needed (bear) hug? or
(e) someone sends you a hand-written, greeting card?

 

If you had to choose just ONE, which would it be?

#My first choice would be (e)—I feel MOST loved when someone sends me a hand-written, greeting card.

I suppose that’s why I love creating and receiving greeting cards. :-)

This love language is called, “Words of Affirmation”.

Gary Chapman states,

“This language uses words to affirm other people.”

My sister, a missionary in Tokyo, sent me a beautiful card with these words of affirmation:

“Praying for you, and may all your dreams come true in 2016! I can’t say thank you enough for supporting us in so many ways.”

My sister wrote more, but those two lines made me float on air. Thanks, Sis. :-)

Have you figured out what today’s theme is?

Yes…LOVE.

Our host, Mr. Toast, actually provided three creative prompts for this theme:

  • love is in the air,
  • home is where the heart is, and
  • love will guide you home, (we also had to include a floating heart).

Mr. Toast promised this challenge would be fairly simple.

I thought it would be fairly simple too.

Not so.

My creative mind churned, of course, making my brain need or want to incorporate all of the above.

I did finish the illustration, but ran out of time to “color-it-up”. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Speaking of love, Matilda, my bossy marketing maven, has an announcement. She promises to behave.

Hello, People!

It’s me, Matilda.

MEET MATILDA - MY MUSE

I’ll try to be polite. Hee hee.

I’m unveiling Tracy’s new product line. And today, I’ll share just one piece from our collection.

I do like to make you people wait.

Behave, Matilda!

Tracy, give me a drum roll. Puh-leeze!

Never mind.

Ta-dah!


Tracy’s trendy necklace comes beautifully packaged in a cellophane bag. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. It’s a steal-of-a-deal at only $8.00 U.S. And there are only three left.

AND . . .

when you’re shopping, check out the greeting card that I know you’ll want to give to your “Somebunny” this Valentine’s Day—that fuzzy, love day that makes you want to float on air.

NOT!

Matilda!

I tried to behave. 

Get back in your mason jar. I’ll take it from here.

I do hope you’ll stop by my Whimsical Shop and check out my our stuff!

Sheesh!

Have a Happy Day,

 

Tracy & Matilda!

 

P.S. Check out all the other love designs over at Creative Tuesdays’ blog.

CREATIVE TUESDAYS–WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST LOVED? first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.

A TIME CONSTRAINT CHALLENGE FOR CREATIVE TUESDAYS

A TIME CONSTRAINT CHALLENGE FOR CREATIVE TUESDAYS

I like a challenge, but only when I know I have the time to do my best work.

Ha! 

That “Ha”  is to inform you that I’m not fond of tackling a challenge that requires more time than I have.

Specifically, the challenge our host, Mr. Toast of Creative Tuesdays, posted. The one I gawked at.

Create a piece that resembles stained glass?

Then I spotted the due date.

Ha! I won’t have time to get it done by December 30th.

Two weeks later, I popped in to comment on each of the Creative Tuesdays’ participants.

But to my surprise, I discovered Mr. Toast had just moved the date ahead for today’s Creative Tuesdays.

Sneaky fellow.

With now only a week left, I knew for sure that I wouldn’t have time to draw and paint a piece the old-fashioned way.

And when Mr. Toast mentioned I still had time, I decided to go for it and also try something that was definitely outside of my comfort zone. So I leaped out of my studio chair and landed on my computer chair, (figuratively speaking).

With the aid of two software programs, I was now ready to at least attempt to draw and paint.

So before you cast your gaze on today’s attempt at “faux” stained glass, I thought I’d share my limited knowledge (condensed version) on:

#How to Create “Faux” Stained Glass Using Windows Microsoft Publisher
  • create “New” document,
  • drag the mouse around to create a rectangular box,
  • format (outline) the text box in black,
  • drag the mouse around some more and connect the lines, and then
  • “Save As” a JPEG file.

STAINED GLASS ATTEMPT 1

How to Create Colored Shapes Using Microsoft Paint Software

  • double-click the JPEG file,
  • open the JPEG file in “Paint”,
  • “zoom out” to view the entire piece,
  • select the paint bucket icon,
  • select a paint color,
  • drag the mouse around, again, and place in any one of the 11 shapes,
  • tap the mouse on the head,
  • color appears in one of the shapes, and then
  • repeat the above steps until all of the shapes are colored in.

STAINED GLASS ATTEMPT 3

By this time, I was having so much fun I created a second rectangle, again, using Microsoft Publisher.

Next,

  • flip the second rectangle horizontally,
  • create a colored middle border to fit between the two rectangles,
  • add “shapes” to the border, (I used hearts and dots), and then
  • add dash lines (optional) around the edges of each rectangle.

STAINED GLASS ATTEMPT 4

I stared at the screen and scratched my head. Hmm…not quite finished.

Minutes later, two words popped into my head—LOVE and LIFE.

#How to Create Individual Letters Using Windows Microsoft Publisher

  • insert one letter at a time,
  • select “WordArt” —> “Plain WordArt Styles”,
  • a pop up box appears, then type a letter, select the font and the font size,
  • select “Drawing Tools” which allows you to change the “Shape Fill”, “Shape Outline”, “Shadow Effects”, and how-to change the shape of a letter or word, and then
  • “Save As” a JPEG file.

STAINGLASS - JPEG

Although it’s not one of my better pieces, I am glad I took on this challenge—a time constraint challenge that required me to leap outside of my comfort zone.

I do hope you’ll leap on over to visit the other “stained glass” art. The pieces are spectacular.

Here’s to leaping into the new year,

Tracy

P.S. By the way, 2016 is a leap year. :-)

P.P.S. If you would like to read additional posts about how to create clip art, please let me know in the comment section. 

A TIME CONSTRAINT CHALLENGE FOR CREATIVE TUESDAYS first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.

CREATIVE TUESDAYS—AN OLD WORLD CHRISTMAS & A RED COAT

CREATIVE TUESDAYS—AN OLD WORLD CHRISTMAS & A RED COAT

Creative Tuesdays’ theme is “An Old World Christmas”.

My Christmas scene includes a wooden reindeer on button wheels with a Mommy bunny dressed in a 1950’s-style red coat who is cradling her baby. That’s old world enough for me.

This scene also reminds me of my mother who I love and appreciate more and more the older I get. I don’t know how many more Christmas’ we’ll share, but I pray for at least another thirty years.

A 1950's Old World Christmas - Copyright Tracy Campbell

A 1950’s Old World Christmas – Copyright Tracy Campbell

The red coat I painted also reminds me of a Christmas Eve from a very, long time ago.

***

“Please, Mom, let me open just one gift tonight.”

She sighed. “Only one.”

I snatched my biggest gift from under the Charley Brown Christmas tree. Off flew the ribbon, the paper, and the bow.

“Yippee!” I darted to the living room window and stared out into the dimly lit street.

The wind yipped.

“Can I go for a walk?” I asked, jamming my arms in the sleeves.

Mom shook her head. “Zip it up.”

“Mom, please!”

“I meant, zip up the coat.”

I giggled. “Thanks, Mom, you’re the best.” I squeezed her waist so tight she gasped.

The side door slammed behind me.

Snow crunched beneath my boots.

The wind howled, making the falling snow swirl in a dance under the beaming street lights.

I ran my fingers down the side of the hood. Who cares if it’s fake fur, I love it!

With a frozen grin, I sprinted up and down the street for hours.

***

That red coat was the best Christmas gift I ever received.

Okay, it was the second best Christmas gift. The first was when I accepted God’s greatest gift, His Son, Jesus.

And since Christmas is a time for gift giving, here’s a gift from me to you—a free coloring page that you could color or paint to give to your mom or another special woman in your life.


After all,

“There are only two seasons of joy in a year . . . Christmas & Mother.”

But hurry, this offer expires December 31, 2015 at midnight.

May your Christmas be bright and merry,

Tracy

P.S. In order to receive “better-than-Hallmark-quality greeting cards” in time for Christmas, the last day to order is this Thursday, December 10th, 2015 by midnight. Click the highlighted link and you’ll be swept into my whimsical shop. See you there! 

P.P.S. For more inspiring art, visit Creative Tuesdays’ blog.

CREATIVE TUESDAYS–AN OLD WORLD CHRISTMAS & A RED COAT first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A THANKFUL HEART?

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A THANKFUL HEART?

Thankfulness removes the sting of hardships.

Sometimes, hardships are small like the aching tooth I endured yesterday. (I rubbed Oil of Oregano on my gums, said a prayer, and today, it’s all better). :-)

Other times, hardships are huge like not having loved ones in my life. :-(

If I dwell on any hardship, rain threatens to soak my heart.

Instead, I choose to dwell on thankfulness in the midst of my hardships.

And guess what?

When I do, the sun shines in my heart.

So I continue to:

“Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:20 (MSG)

#LET’S BE THANKFUL … EVERYDAY!

A Thankful Heart - Tracy Campbell

A Thankful Heart – Tracy Campbell

 

And a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my American neighbors.

Blessings,

 

Tracy

 

P.S. Matilda and I are also thankful for the greeting card orders we received. And it’s not too late to place your–> Christmas order