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Bullet Point Blessings for August 21, 2020

Artists are different.

Artists are in a perpetual search for inspiration... for beauty, joy, light, magic.

Artists are inventive, expressive, adventurous, and intuitive with an overwhelming desire to share their world.

I am such an artist.



I love words. In fact, each year I choose a "Word of the Year," a word I have inscribed on a bracelet that I wear most every day. This year's word is Veriditas, a Latin word meaning "greening" like in in the spring... youth, vitality, freshness, health.. it also has the connotation of physical and spiritual health. Last year's word was Eudaimonia, a Greek work meaning "human flourishing" implying happiness and well-being. This is the earliest I've decided on the next year's "Word of the Year," but if you are like me, you're ready for this year to be packed away in the books and to welcome a new, safer, healthier, more prosperous year ahead. My 2021 "Word of the Year" will be Opelske, a Norwegian word meaning "cherished to health and vigor" typically used in terms of gardening, but I love the possibilities of a bigger meaning.

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

"We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think.

Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far." ~Swami Vivekananda


I love beautiful bone china, and could never choose just one or two patterns to collect. I love them all. My latest obsession is French Limoges china. I counted 99 Limoges factories and studios that have been in business for nearly 200 years. The pieces I've collected from charity shops and dig stores can be found for $1.99 each. They don't match each other, but they still go together beautifully. Several of the treasured pieces I've discovered are from the 1880s, some from the 1910s, 1920s, and 1940s, which can be identified by the details of their marks.

The little Limoges salad plates are perfectly sized for breakfast, and the teacups and saucers are divine!

An Island Garden

For the past month, we've been studying the American Impressionists, and how in the summers they would congregate near the sea to form Artist Colonies to paint, garden, and escape the heat of the city. I was thrilled to discover the book An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter, an American writer in the late19th century who lived on Appledore Island in Maine at her father's hotel The Appledore House. Here she welcomed literary and visual artists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Childe Hassam, and William Morris Hunt. In her book An Island Garden published in 1894 Thaxter writes, "Year after year the island garden has grown in beauty and charm, so that in response to the many entreaties of strangers as well as friends who have said to me, summer after summer, "Tell us how you do it! Write a book about it and tell us how it is done, that we may go also and do likewise." I have written this book at last." She goes on to write, "Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof. Take a Poppy seed, for instance: it lies in your palm, the merest atom of matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin's point in bulk, but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty ineffable, which will break its bonds and emerge from the dark ground and blossom in a splendor so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description. The Genie in the Arabian tale is not half so astonishing." The book is also beautifully illustrated with paintings by Childe Hassam.

"God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures." ~Francis Bacon

George Washington

For the past month and ever since seeing the musical "Hamilton" for the first time, I've become obsessed with the learning more about the founding fathers, specifically George Washington. His story is amazing! And one I honestly don't remember learning in school other than he was the first President of the United States, which he graciously accepted after refusing to become monarch, emperor or king. Just the fact that he led a small group of unskilled, untrained state militia men to victory against the undisputed, greatest military force in the world at that time whose sole purpose was to colonize the world for the British Empire, is hard to fathom. The United States should have never won the Revolutionary War. Talk about an Underdog! But they did win, and then were faced with building the foundation and scaffolding of a new, independent nation as a Republic with democratically elected officials and the peaceful passing of power every four years. It should have NEVER worked, and for the longest was referred to as the "American Experiment." My research over the past month has put so much into perspective. Now I want to visit Mt. Vernon.

“Human happiness and moral duty

are inseparably connected.” ~ George Washington

Tomato Pudding

My dad always talked about this tomato dish that was always served at Milan Plaza Court Meat & Three, the restaurant with the town's motel on the corner of Highway 70 and Liberty in Milan, Tennessee, next to the Big Star market and Dairy Dip ice cream drive-in. As a young boy in the 1940s, Dad loved dining here and would order the meat of the day, plus 3 sides of the "stewed" tomatoes.

Fast forward twenty years, and Dad wanted to make this recipe at home, but every recipe for Stewed Tomatoes disappointed him. He could not find a recipe to duplicate the tomato dish he remembered and loved from his youth.

Until one day....

While waiting to be seated at the local Cracker Barrel restaurant in the early 2000s, Dad picked up a recipe book and started flipping through the pages. To his delight, he discovered a recipe for Tomato Pudding. Could it be???

Using this recipe as a base, he tinkered in the kitchen and was able to recreate the tomato side dish of his dreams.

Tomato Pudding


  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 3/4 cups brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup whole butter, melted

  • 8 slices white bread, cut into cubes

DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Pour the canned tomatoes into a medium sized mixing bowl with brown sugar, half of the melted butter and half of the bread cubes. Mix well and pour into buttered casserole dish. Some folks add a little salt and pepper.

Top with remaining bread cubes and pour remaining melted butter on top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown.

Delicious! But Dad's recipe is much simpler. Throw it all in a bit pot, stir and simmer stovetop until hot and bubbly. This variation is just as delicious, easier, faster, and with less clean up. I'll be making this recipe stovetop from now on.

"You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients." ~ Julia Child "People who love to eat are always the best people." ~ Julia Child "Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy." ~ Julia Child


Check it out...

The work continues on my new website and just this week I've added a blog! Please visit often and share it with your friends.

Let's Paint!!

The new session of Creative Spirits painting classes in acrylics starts September 3 at 10am in Spring Hill. Join us at 563 Maury Hill Street, lower level. Registration required, 615-668-8263.

In September we will be studying several paintings from the American Impressionists and painting our own versions of each.

Here is a painting we completed in Creative Spirits painting class in August. The original is titled Peonies by American Impressionist Matilda Browne.

To keep everyone safe, we will be observing social distancing, and the wearing of masks is encouraged. Class fee is $100 for four in-person sessions. Or you may prefer to watch the instructional videos from our classes at home on Patreon.

Visit my Patreon Channel to subscribe, and please share with all your creative friends.

Please call me if you have additional questions or would like to purchase a gift certificate or register for class:


The Watercolor Painting Classes at Southern Springs in Spring Hill continue to be postponed until the threat of the virus has passed. We are all praying that day will arrive quickly.

Please continue practicing at home. A few watercolor videos are available on my YouTube channel.

Links you may be interested in...

My ETSY Shops...


Do you enjoy receiving a personal, hand-written card in the mail? Do you know someone who would, maybe a friend or family member away from home or now living in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

Postcards from the Dimple of the Universe is my Etsy shop that offers a subscription of 1-, 6-, or 12-handwritten cards, one each month, depicting an object or scene from my hometown, Columbia, Tennessee, aka the Dimple of the Universe or from around middle Tennessee, and delivered in a colorful envelope with a delightful US postage stamp.

It's a charming and unique gift for yourself or someone you love.

Recommended Supplies lists...

Back Issues of Bullet Point Blessings at Creative Spirits Soar! blog.

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