Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What happiness is...

It makes me happy to spend time on an illustration. I try to think of the children and what will intrigue them when they look through a book. My granddaughter Sara May gave this her thumbs up endorsement. Then she sat down at her drafting table in the studio, and as I worked on a new scarecrow painting, she did her own rendition of a scarecrow.

Watching Sara work on her illustration made me completely happy.

Dear friends,

I am overwhelmed by your many kindnesses. Your daily doses of e-mails, letters, cards, and gifts  have cheered and strengthened me beyond measure. No thank you is enough, but please KNOW that these things all helped beyond the ken and made me realize the power of a simple card or get well wish.

I want to clarify some confusion from my last posting. Believe me, I was out of it when I wrote it and maybe I did not express myself properly. The bump on my forehead did NOT cause my major problem. The bump actually led me to the problem, which was a skin cancer that had grown and turned into the worst one I've ever had. The surgery was to remove a large tumor, and it was successful. I am thankful, but now know that when a wound doesn't heal that is a warning sign of cancer. Take care of yourselves and don't let what could be a minor problem turn into a major one. I had two friends who died of this same skin cancer, so don't think that a skin cancer is nothing to worry about. Tend to them immediately! Please.

What happiness is to me? Being with friends and family. Cooking. Pottering amongst my plants and
hearing from you.

Feeling strong enough to work on a molten lava dessert for friends makes me happy.

Pottering around in my garden with some of my favorite succulents makes me happy.

Watching Ginny, one of my dearest friends, commune with the GIRLS and a rooster.

Seeing Uncle Bruce and the boys sneak away from a party (and all the boring grown-ups) for an adventure.

Ambling along the boardwalk at Moonstone Beach–pure joy.

Susie and Ellis Bassetti (Bassetti Vineyards) made this wonderful olive branch wreath and gave it to us.  I think it looks great above the small mantel that Jeff made for me for Christmas. The Bassettis are our dear friends. Some of you may remember the classes I co-taught with Susie at the ranch their family has owned for over 100 years. Susie and I are discussing doing some more classes together in the future. Makes me happy just thinking of the possibilities. (I'll be posting more about the Bassettis in the near future.)

I'm happy that Jeff and I were able to pull it together for a photo shoot here last week. Ed Gohlich, who works with Meredith Publishing, and Matt, his assistant, spent an intense day with us. I won't divulge about what the upcoming COUNTRY GARDENS article is going to be, but it will probably appear in the fall issue of the magazine. Maybe this article will lead you down yet another garden pathway.  I'll let you know when the piece will be published as soon as I find out the details.

My writing friend Sharon Christian Aderman of Topeka, Kansas, and Damariscotta, Maine, (she is a food/lifestyle columnist) sent me a journal to start my new year properly. I loved this little tag that she glued inside the cover. I've been writing my lists of five things to be thankful for each week.

What a wonderful exercise. Try doing it yourself and let me know what you think of it. Thanks, dear Sharon, for your thoughtful and heartfelt gift.

A Gardener's Give-Away

Timber Press sent me this copy of garden writer Marty Wingate's newest book, Landscaping for Privacy. Yum. I found some great ideas and inspirational photos and writing that tweaked my imagination and my green thumb. You'll enjoy it too...I promise. So, just leave a comment on my blog and next Tuesday I'll draw a lucky winner.

A view of a couple of pages of this delicious book. Who wouldn't love to own this?

Now it is time for me to get back to my drawing board. Again, I thank you for everything.




Marcie said...

So glad to see you posting! Thank you for sharing some of your sunshine! :D

warmest regards,

Anonymous said...

oh my, please take care, how scary for you.I love your snowman, its just perfect, my post today was about painting with my grandson too, what were our lives before grand children,, lol
Such a wonderful post and informative as well, best wishes to you, be happy, be well,

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing -- a great post as always! Can't wait to see the article when it comes out.

Happy@Home said...

So glad to hear that you are doing better now, Sharon. Having lost my dad to skin cancer, I think your advice on the matter is very important.
Your little snowman illustration is adorable and how sweet that your granddaughter is following in your talented footsteps!
Country Gardens is a magazine that I really enjoy and now I am anxious to see you featured there in the fall.
Love the suggestion on five things to be thankful for. I will be trying that one out.

brandi said...

~oh my goodness...i have only recently returned to the blogging world after taking some time away and trying to play catch up...i have missed your prior posts and so very sorry to hear of what has been going on with you and your health...but pleased to know all has been properly cared for and you are aware of what to look out for...may blessing of strength and good health continue to be with you this day and always...i adore you snowman and the sweet scarecrow your granddaughter created...the time together creating...sigh...nothing else compares...i wish you well and much love light and blessings shining brightly upon you always~

La Table De Nana said...

Continued good healing to you..

Love her scarecrow..and the snowcrow/man:)

the mantel..the vistas..

Robin Larkspur said...

Always love the photos you share on your blog. Your grandaughter's scare crow is adorable. We are all so very thankful that you are recovering well from your surgery. Please take care, and your message to your readers is also taken seriously about skin cancer. Can't wait for the issue of Country Gardens; I still have the lovely one of your Sprig garden shed! So I will put on my first list of Five Things to Be Thankful for is you and your wonderful art, books, gardens, sweet husband, and your inspiring words. Robin.

Carol said...

Glad to hear you amending well! Love the pictures of your place and gardens and can't wait to see the magazine article :0)
Looks like a very interesting book....we all need to preserve our privacy sometimes.

Patsy Bell Hobson said...

I am glad to see this book. It will help provide an attractive alternate to ugly fencing.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

You're so right Patsy. But even if someone is saddled with an ugly fence (like I am) they can paint it (which is what we did), hang plants on it, hang art, and bank it with wonderful plantings.

Marty is such a fine writer. I loved reading this.



Lori ann said...

what makes me happy is having someone like you to look up to. oh that snowman, i can't wait for your next book! (looks like your granddaughter may be following in your footsteps) :)

love your happyness post dear sharon, and i'm so glad you were able to heed the early warning signs. it's generous and kind of you to share. and so important.

thank you for offering this book, looks amazing.
to happiness and good health!
xxx lori

Kay G. said...

This is a beautiful caring post and your thankfulness just shines through. Take great care of yourself and let all those who love you surround you with the light of their love.

Betty said...

So nice to see you with another post Sharon. Always gives me a boost to read your words and view your lovely photos. Warm wishes from a very hot Melbourne!

Michelle said...

Glad to know that you are doing well. I have had two bouts of skin cancer and it really is important to take care of things like that.

scottweberpdx said... scary, I had no idea...glad you're on the mend...can't wait to see the project for Country Gardens :-)

Pat said...

And your drawings & your granddaugher's too make us happy!
Love that new snowman...will be so looking forward to the Fall Country Gardens!

I so agree with your advice about not waiting too long when something doesn't heal. My husband went through the same thing on his arm and only after my continual Nagging (yes - it was nagging) did he go in for an evaluation. Now he goes in for a check every 6 months without nagging.

Take care and soak up some of that warm sunshine for us northwoods bound folks.

Pamela said...

Skin cancer runs in our family and I am constantly on the lookout for 'suspicious' spots! I can't wait for the Country Gardens article. I enjoyed your shed the last time. I am just now learning to garden with succulents, I have to find the ones hardy in low temps which can limit me but they are available.

Susan said...

It makes me happy knowing you have taken care of the skin cancer. We take so much for granted and you always bring me back to what is important. Thank you, dear friend.
I love the illustration from both you and Sara May--she definitely has your talent. XOXO

Sharon said...

Sharon, it's reassuring to read that you are on the mend. You are in a good place to recuperate, with beauty and sunshine all around. May you feel healthy and strong ~

Comfrey Cottages said...

Sara's scarecrow picture is amazing! I think she has inherited her grandma's eye for detail and color! Glad you are feeling better Sharon! big hugs and prayers being said nightly for a full and speedy recovery xxx Leslie

Sonia said...

So glad you are doing better and that you are staying on top of your history of skin cancer. Nice to see a new post from you!
Country Gardens is one of my very favorite magazines so I can't wait to see a new copy on the shelf! We are headed to the coast in two weeks and to the SLO area.....can't wait to get there and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and see the Pacific blue waters! I adore your snowman that going in a book or on a card? What a wonderful garden book for your giveaway! Stay well,
Miss Bloomers

Vee said...

Glad that each passing day finds you feeling well. Your granddaughter received the gift of illustration I do believe. Her drawing is wonderful and so detailed. I can see one of her drawings tucked into the pages of one of your books.

Oh do remind us when the article comes out. I always go looking for the publications and amuse myself by saying that my friends have been published. It's so much fun!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

We love you Sharon and glad to see you are posting again! I just got the latest Country Gardens magazine in the mail today. What a delicious magazine it is. Reminds me so much of our beloved CL Gardener magazine. Let me know when you need more jelly or maybe you need some already! xxoo Nancy

Bonnie K said...

Glad you are feeling better. It is good to take time and slow down. I love your granddaughter's scarecrow and yours!

torchy said...

Landscaping for privacy piques my interest. Those of us who live in the public's eye like to create intimate havens and hideaways!

Pondside said...

I'm glad to read that you are feeling better and able to be out and about a bit. That was quite a scare.
I'd love to be entered in your draw for such a beautiful book.

donna said...

Happiness is reading Sharon Lovejoy's blog.

Sara's scarecrow is fabulous!

Wishing all good things for you.

Lori in Indiana said...

Hello Sharon! So glad to see your post. Sending good thoughts ...

jaz@octoberfarm said...

thanks for explaining that! now i understand what happened. skin cancer can be awful. glad your bump allowed you to catch it in time. i could write a book on landscaping for privacy. my 2 acres are a haven of privacy. i thought out every square inch of this property and you would never know you are smack dab in the city when you are in my gardens. i even have a nest of red tangers which supposedly never nest in cities.

Stacey said...

The serenity I feel while reading your blog never fails to make me happy. As an often-tired 46-year old stay-at-home mom of three children under the age of 9 (including a very busy 4-year old), I know you need to take time out to gain perspective and feel grateful for the wonderful people in your life. But sometimes, especially on those crazy days, I forget to be thankful. Thanks for the reminder.

I'd love to give this book to my sister-in-law who just moved into a sweet little house which does need a little privacy.

Jimmie said...

So glad to hear that you are on the mend, Sharon.

I love Country Gardens. This time's issue was especially good and I can't wait for the upcoming one with you in it.

Continue to take care of yourself...can't bear the thought of not having your posts regularly. Please put my name in the pot for the book. I'd love to create a private spot just for the toads, birds, and me!

Diane in North Carolina

klk said...

Please take very good care of yourself. Your blogs are such a peaceful oasis, and you are a blessing. Thank you.

Larkrise garden girl said...

Hi Sharon, The pictures were wonderful and seeing the next generation carrying on your loves is a happy day indeed.Get better and well and whenever I have had any health situation it makes me appreciate everything in Life so much more.Hugs Cheri

My Little Home and Garden said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog to see my winter garden. In returning the visit, I see that you have successfully dealt with a bout of skin cancer. That is good news!
On a lighter note, your snowman is delightful and the little one's scarecrow is charming. Best Wishes for good health.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said... of the things that make me happy, is to hear from other people's happiness. and so I am happy to hear you are back on the writing chair, many projects, paintings and kiddies around you a clear sign that you are on the mend and onthe way back to living fully again!
A lovely post and one that inspired me...

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

So good to see your sharing.
I check almost daily.
Continue to heal.
That book looks amazing and can't wait for the magazine to come out.
Love and healing wishes to you....

Anonymous said...

my hollyhock girls are all grown up - but I would love to read something new on happy you are on the mend.

Anonymous said...

So glad you are doing well after your scare. My husband has had quite of few skin cancers removed and is quite deligent with sun screen and wearing hats. Take care and I'm looking forward to future posts.
Martha Ellen


Duly noted. I will pay attention to any stubborn wounds. I'm glad all is well now.

Your snowman drawing is delightful and it looks like your granddaughter might be as talented as her grandma.

Congrats on the photo shoot. I'll be looking forward to your piece in Country Gardens.

Please remove my name from the drawing as I am still enjoying being the winner of the last drawing!

Hugs, Grace

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Now, I would say that bump on the head was a REAL God thing. So good to have you healing.

I can't wait to see your new book. I will be getting one for Faith.

My daughter and her family will be here for my son's wedding in May. I reminded hubby today that we have to budget for more flowers than usual this year since Faithy will be here. :)

Jude Walsh said...

You are so right to advise us to take care of our skin. I had a dry patch on my nipple that two doctors thought was eczema but suggested I get a biopsy to be on the safe side. I had breast cancer, Paget's Disease of the Breast to be specific. My surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic said it was one of the earliest diagnoses she had ever seen and as a consequence I was at stage zero. Most dx are stage three or higher. So ladies, and men, pay attention to your skin and take good care of yourselves! Oh and as you garden, use sunscreen :>)))

Tim and Kari O'Brien said...

I am so glad you are healing and gaining energy. Thank you for the words of wisdom about wounds that don't heal. Your time with your granddaughter in your studio must be so precious. The potted succulents are just beautiful. I would love to read your pointers on growing succulents! Happy healing and remember, breathe in and out!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Mimi, nobody outgrows hollyhock girls, they just keep going and passing on the traditions.

Judy, that is AMAZING and wonderful

Tim and Kari, I will do something on succulents in the future. Last night went down to 32 and at midnight I was out draping some of my exposed pots in pillowcases and sheets.

I DO always wear hats and sunscreen, but when I was a child I always wore ponytails and braids with my forehead exposed, and who knew about such things then?

Love to you all~Grace, I will remove you from the drawing. Hope you are enjoying your big book.


Pam G. said...

hope this posts-third try is the charm? just wanted to tell you I am glad you are feeling stronger-sending you love-Nana Pam

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I am so glad to read that you are feeling better and that your surgery was successful, Sharon. I visit a dermatologist yearly for a skin check as I have light eyes and fair skin and have sun damage from childhood that has caused some pre-cancerous lesions.

I love Moonstone beach! On a recent trip to CA I took a walk along it at sunset and the photos came out so beautiful -- I blogged about it last month.

Congrats on getting profiled in Country Gardens Magazine! I'll have to look for that.

Living with gratitude make life all the more precious. I'm grateful for bloggers such a syou!

John'aLee said...

Oh do take care of yourself! I'm so glad all went well. that little snowman. You are such a beautiful artist!

Vicki Boster said...

You are truly blessed Sharon/ that bump on the head-- saved your life. How many of us would do things differently when faced with a " once in a lifetime" second chance at life. I do know this-- it really is the little things that count and are the most precious in life-- like sunshine, and the smell of rain, like pulling weeds in your garden, and enjoying the company of friends. Like watching your grand daughter draw a picture of a scarecrow ----

Love you-

Kit said...

I am so sorry to hear of this happening to you. And I am glad you are on the mend. Thank you for sharing this info, may it help us all keep an eye on ourselves. Take care. Love, Kit

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! Loved the escaping of Bruce with the kids. Loved the drawings. Loved that you are giving away a Marty Wingate book. TY and hope I am lucky. :-)Love that you are better!!!! Nanc

Thea said...

you really have laid out a blueprint of how to live a rich life: art, children, home, garden, food and feeding the ones you love. thank you, Sharon. xo
p.s. you write so well under the influence! lol

martinealison said...

Je suis très heureuse de cette agréable promenade que je viens de faire dans votre blog. je pense que je vais m'octroyer une prochaine visite...
Je suis ravie aussi que vous ayez pu prendre à temps de bonnes décisions en ce qui concerne votre état de santé. Il ne faut jamais rien négliger. J'ai eu un souci similaire avec un grain de beauté...
Merci pour l'ensemble de vos fantastiques photos et aussi un grand merci pour votre petit coucou sur mon blog.
A très bientôt et gros bisous.


Lydia said...

Being the mother to a medical miracle and married to an other miracle- I feel your joy. May you live to share the blessings as you have for the- has it been 30 years that your writing has blessed my life?!

Donna said...

Sharon...sad to hear about your health issues and wishing you the best where they are concerned.
You are certainly one talented lady whose work I most admire!!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Thanks all of you. Your words are like gold.

Lydia and Donna, I am out in my studio working away and your words lit up a gray day. Yep Lydia, about 30 years. Yikes. How lucky am I to have a job that I love and that introduces me to people like YOU.



Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Hello Sharon...thank you for stopping by and saying Hello :) I'm glad you are on the mend...your message is one that we should all take to heart. I love your snowman illustration and your Granddaughters scarecrow...artistic talent obviously runs in your family! OH goodness that's a lovely book...makes you want to see what's down that path. I hope your weekend was a good one and that this week is even better. Take care.
Maura :)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm so pleased that you stopped by my blog and it's my pleasure to meet you Sharon. That was quite a scare you had and I'm so relieved that you've taken care of it. Happiness comes in small packages sometimes. Your drawings are so pretty.

Nan said...

You are so gracious to take the time to write to all of us. So much to be thankful for if we just stop and look.

Jackie DiGiovanni said...

I am happy you are better. Thank you for the message that we should take good care of ourselves and the ones around us.

jerilanders said...

Glad you are well Sharon.
I would say that out of those 5 things per week to be thankful for, number one would be "having a nice little partner at the art table, who draws scarecrows with me".

kj said...

now how is it that i've been to this post three times and there is no comment from me, telling you how glad i am that you are okay, how smart you are to appreciate so many wonderful people and moments, and to yippee-i-o that here i am grinnning at your photos and exuberance?:^)

i have a couple of scarecrow drawers too, sharon. sometimes however they become crocodiles and sometimes we are interrupted by the grouchy bear hiding in the bedroom closet. to live childhood (again?) with children is definite happiness.

and i'm with you in including food, plants, oceans and friends. everything but a magazine photo shoot, which honestly, i think my little #9 would proudly squeal about

i'm sorry i'm late,my friend. late but never far


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading here as well as the visual...and the quotes from your friends too...very nice!! I am sharing with others, so perhaps your readership will grow too.

Teri said...

I wanted to comment on your "take 5" portion. In church on Sunday the pastor gave a lesson on Awakening Joy and in the literature, your comment rang true. Was it Professor Robert Emmons of UC Davis who the quote was by? You can check out his evidence-based prescriptions for becoming more grateful at: Let me know what you think. Pastor Karen quoted him as saying this: "We always find the same thing,. People who keep gratitude journals improve their quality of life." There are no accidents in life, are there!!

Privet and Holly said...

DEAR Sharon,

First, so so sorry to hear about
your brush with cancer and also
about the loss of your sweet friend
Margie. She looked and sounded
like a gem.

I am a big believer in lists of
gratitude and loved the ones
that you shared, here.

May the rest of 2012 be all downhill,
from here, for you : )

Love and Hugs,
xx Suzanne

Acornmoon said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, you have a great place here.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Glad you are recuperating. My Dad has/had skin cancer and seems to be a regular at the dermatologist. This past summer he went through chemo for it, luckily he is doing well now.
Isn't it nice when we can find happiness in the simple things in life? Too bad more people don't find it that way.
Your granddaughter is quite the artist!

Carol said...

Dear Sharon, You have taught me that sometimes it is a good omen to bump our heads! Thank goodness you did. I love your granddaughters scarecrow! I look forward to your story in Country Gardens. I am always happier after having visited you! Take good care. Thank you for your kind and supportive words. Smiles and hugs to you. Carol

Carol said...

Dear Sharon, I meant to say how sorry I am for your loss of a dear friend. Hugs.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

I just popped over from Vee's blog ("A Haven For Vee").

So happy that you are recouperating. I didn't know you have been unwell, but so glad it is behind you.

Gentle hugs...

"Deep within the winter forest,
among the snowdrifts wide,
you can find a magic place
where all the fairies hide..."

Catherine Holman said...

What a sweet surprise to find your blog when I hopped over from Vee's place!

La Petite Gallery said...

Sorry about your loss. I have lost 6 friends from 2011 till now.

Drop over when you get time. yvonne

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

You make me happy my friend. Much love.~~Dee

Lili said...

Oh Sharon, reading your posts backwards I just learned of Jeff and didn't realize what you had just gone through too. So glad for the bump that made you get checked out! So scary. Oh I can't even tell you how inspirational you are just being able to read several of your posts in a row. You have certainly had a lot to deal with lately too. So sorry for the loss of your dear friend. I love your gratitude through it all and agree it's the simple things we treasure, like watching your sweet Sara work on her precious drawing of a scarecrow right along side you. Sending much love to you and Jeff, xoxo ~Lili