We have been off the art show circuit for some time now. We stopped doing shows in 2013 because the economy was not supporting our efforts. BUT, it dovetailed in an extraordinary way to many things. For one, we were eligible to draw social security, having reached retirement age. We found it better to stop all the crazy travel & focus on the farm & stay close to home. Of course retirement only translates into working harder than ever. But that is our nature, so no complaints.
On a more sobering level, that time also dovetailed with my brother, a Marine Veteran, needing to go into assisted living. So we both cleaned & closed out his apartment, and found him a place near the Veterans Hospital where he could have a good quality of life. It was intense, and quite exhausting. This also coincided with my mother in her retirement home needing the emotional support of her daughter nearby. So I was very thankful that we were not traveling like we had been, and thankful for training in Stephen's Ministry, and thankful for the peace of the country farm, and most of all thankful God saw fit to give me a wonderful hubby who helped me so much through all of it. We shortly had to close Mom's apartment & move her into assisted living. She passed a few months later, on March 4, 2015. It was a period of grief and exhaustion, which was intense & takes time. That time was largely spent going through so much emotional balancing as we went through her belongings and put our home together with so many family pieces, some going back to grandparents. It was very internal, intense, and emotional going through those treasures which held so many memories.
Oh, and then I decided to pursue something I'd delayed for decades: my father had been a Mecklenburg County Police Officer and died on New Years Eve, 1960 of a massive coronary while at work. So we visited CMPD one day & talked with them. They agreed to honor my father by putting his name on the Memorial Statue for fallen officers in downtown Charlotte. They also hung his photograph in a room dedicated to fallen officers. It was a time of my heart swollen with love & memories of my parents, now gone. A sad time, but a soul-enriching time, as Denny gave me the support & room to sit with those tender memories.
So many changes. So many deep waters to cross. Thankfully we had come into relationship with Jesus Christ in 2010-2011. It made so much difference in our lives, and I'm sure we would not have made it if not for Him. He never lets go, He holds us close and guides and protects us, even when we wander like the tribes of Israel in the desert for 40 yrs. It seems that humanity requires periods of reflection to understand the depth of our need for God. I am so thankful that although the passage was not easy during these times, God saw fit to surround me with support and the downtime to process it all.
But back to now..... we decided a priority focus needed to be on the FARM, which needed a lot of TLC due to our doing so much traveling for the previous decade. For starts, we legally named the farm "Rolling Hills Hermitage" because we live in the beautiful rolling hills of the Piedmont of North Carolina, and we could both pass for hermits, thus the name. We still raise a small flock of chickens, and honey bees, and have added Nigerian Dwarf Goats to the mix. Along with our raised bed garden, we also plant 2 different fields; grow fig, apple, pear and plum trees; have both bunching grapes as well as muscadine & scuppernong grapes; blackberries - both wild and thornless, strawberries, and blueberries. And if that wasn't enough, we built a small greenhouse onto the side of the main house and then put in two hoop house style greenhouses.
We are still "Artrageousfolk", the copper-enamel folk art can still be made, and Denny has done a couple small shows in NC. We also have branched into succulents and plan to incorporate the art with planters of succulents for sale. Our hope is to work close to home at Farmer's Markets, and some small art shows in NC. If you want to check out his art just visit the old website: http://www.artrageousfolk.com I plan to keep that site up, so check the art images there. (I am saving myself the extra work of having to load all those images here).
Needless to say this is a lot of doing for a couple of "retired" people, but we gotta do something, right? Lol. We do have fun, anyway.... I finally found a brief space of to time to create the new website. Hopefully we can share the goings on with friends as we progress. If you have read this far you ARE a real friend! Lol Please do check back & stay in touch!