Pencils in His Hand…Mother Teresa


a study I played around with on Carroll Reevers watercolor bliss in Alice's Adventures.

Note:  credit given below to the original artist who dreamed most of the rabbit’s composition

In a study I played around with  Carroll Weevers’ watercolors found in Alice’s Adventures. His  drawings are rendered in watercolors, mine in acrylic, which I rarely use and then I added the hill in 3-D fun using spackling as the foundational element, acrylic over that medium.

Enjoy the thoughts of creators, on “pencils” and my full piece follows at the end:

A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.  Joyce Meyer

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Peter Weever's, Alice and his wonderful paintings!

Peter Weever’s, Alice and his wonderful paintings!

The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser – in case you thought optimism was dead.   Robert Brault

The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon.
Francis Bacon

the Weever's composition

the Weever’s composition

Ideas are elusive, slippery things. Best to keep a pad of paper and a pencil at your bedside, so you can stab them during the night before they get away.
Earl Nightingale

I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.
Samuel Beckett

One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil.


"Tee hee…I did add the pencils to the border!"

“Skee ditty do!”  study by S. Lugar

“We are all pencils in the hand of God.”  Mother Teresa


Out of Ankara…

OIS Ankara Turkey Oasis International School

OIS Ankara Turkey
Oasis International School


Director Campbell reading to a student


Earlier on the blog, I shared an iMovie about my fall work trip to Anakara so if you missed that and would like to see some photos to music about that wonderful trip please type OIS Ankara Turkey in the search box.  It’s in the video section:

Today I wanted to share a few more pictures about that trip and about leaving  Ankara for Istanbul, around a 7 hour bus  trip. (Above are  OIS school photos!)

Getting to Istanbul was a full adventure for sure!  Along the journey out of Ankara, somewhere in the rural Turkish turf, we had a bus stop break. However,  not knowing the language, I had no idea how long break time was, so I ran to the restroom and parked myself back in front of the bus. Now I know, I had an hour, could have had lunch, lolligagged about Turkish shops and even taken advantage of their outdoor electronic looking soothie vibrater recliners (below).    But, I did not want to miss that ride to Istanbul.  Because if you miss the ride out of “who knows where,” then you could wind up “where no one knows who, especially you” and it would take more than a bandy of angels to get you out…been there, done that.   Word in the puffy whites is that there are no more angels available for any of my future Kabul trips, because it took a slew of them the last two times.  I do realize that here are other things going on in the world.    After the last trip, three sky white-trippers had  nervous breakdowns, a dozen retired…at twenty years young, and the rest were knocking themselves out of my queue for the upcoming Ankara trip.  Those angels probably just needed the pit stop auto recliners.

Rest break recliners

Rest break recliners

Now out of Ankara,  it was a full fledged sleek-slick Mercedez Benz bus package, complete with a tailored host who came with the push of a button.  At one’s beck and buzz, the steward handed out water and juice and then helped those who were throwing up, water and juice.  After the many, many rural hours of nobby goats, a few sheep, and a lot of dust, we arrived at the metropolis of Istanbul. We proceeded to ride around it, about two hours, dropping people off.  At this point, I began to wonder, “Now exactly where do I get off?”  Most of the bus stops were fine, one even had Big Macs, (I refrained) but when we got to one in the borderline slums, they decided for me, where I was to get off.   Hello world!


Full drama insert here with hand gestures reading, “YOU get off this bus NOW!” Ok, ok, and luggage lay dumped on the side of the bus.  There were many Turkish excited voices yelling about things, tons of people and no English on board this displacement arena, except, “Airport! Airport! Airport!” and “Transfer!”  Somehow this was not in the fine lines of this travel agreement…or then again,maybe it was.   They are yelling for me to get on a dilapidated small city bus, yes, for the “transfer -airport!”  Of course that is nowhere near where I need to go (at this time)  but I don’t know where I am in relation to the hotel.  I would have jumped in a cab but I could have been $200.00 US dollars away from the hotel and was not too keen on taking that chance.


Now enters the grace of having friend Harold’s maps in my hand and I thought, well, if I can get to the airport then I can metro (subway) out of there (reminder: huge bag and carry on plus purse, stuffed now in this little city bus).  This leg is minus the push button host that brings water or juice.  And if you throw up, I don’t think anyone really cares. Oh, yeah, the fun is on and I know I’m going way out of the way to try and get to a known spot:  airport.  Bystanders are esctatic to have successfully thrown me onto a bus to the airport and off I went.  For them, mission accomplished and rumblings of the Halleluh chorus jumbled over the bus’ exhaust.  For me: the drama is on! Sometime later, I arrive…at the airport.

looking into Istanbul

looking into Istanbul

It was indeed a wonderful thing. You’ve seen the movie, “Airport?”  Well, I felt in the makings of “Busport.”  I just knew that I was going to have to find a way to pitch a tent, in a bus, and just live there, riding around Istanbul the rest of life… I’m sure that Tom Hanks had some coffee in between scenes…. Oh well…


zinnias from the floral market in Ankara


Now I needed to get back into the old town of Istanbul where the hotel was.  Meanwhile at the airport, a stewardess on the run sent me to a parking garage, said it was the Metro, and then after arriving, a man sent me out, said it was the parking garage.  Some while later, still dragging luggage around the airport, a man sent me back to where the stewardess had sent me and I boarded the metro.  Are you confused?  Well, just a tad. After a while, the little Turkish  token man helped me study my map and try and figure out where I was going,  Insert with southern slang:  “Mercy Miss Agnes!”

Thankfully and some while later, on the Metro, I met three teen Turkish girls who were going, sort of my way.


One was quite good with English, and all wanted to practice English so blessings, the ninth hour of travel was off to a good start.  Then, after some English chatting and smiling, they left and told me to “Transfer” train lines.  Oh, I don’t like that word.  This means fresh and mysterious confusion, every time. I must start over with buying a token, pushing buttons on the machine that is Turkish.  It was a guessing game, until, a college person came to my rescue.  He managed to retrieve a token and asked me where I was going and then said, “You did not need to transfer; get back on the same line; you do not need a new token.”  Wonderful, well I needed another little diversion after this 10 hours travel so far, always can use a stretch break, and a worthless (to me) colored token.  Now to  get right back on the same train line.


Eventually, I arrived at the station closest to my hotel and planned to get a cab from there.  But, I can’t get the luggage through the turn stile.  Thankfully, in time and creativity, they do have ways of working things out.  I did not have to spend the night at the unexitable exit gate:  good news.

Upon exit, a  more than energetic taxi driver races to greet me as if I am the long, lost cousin, (right about the first part) and is falling all over himself to help me.  I know I’m only about three miles from the hotel (map is  helpful) and can somewhat gage price fares in Lira.  “Overcharge” is rolling in all caps, spinning his eyes like strobe lights at a high school party.  At this point, it is the principle of the matter.  I’ve just been on a forever bus trip  through Biblical terrain that would make you want to hug Paul and buy him new sandals, an eternal city bus trek, a Metro experience, we’ll say, and I have been all about being frugal.  No one is  going to burst my bubble now.

“The hotel is VERY close,” I said to him.

“Lots- traffic!” he waves wildly like a cornered bird.

“I’ll walk.” I said.

“Busy time of day!” he argued.

“My luggage has wheels…”

“I’ll bargain,” he said.

We negotiated…

… and we came to a very pleasant understanding of how much it should cost to go three miles, or so.

And off we went, to sit in traffic …about an hour…to go three miles.


He received a smile, his fare, a tip and a free token for the train…should he ever want to go three miles, quickly!

Where is Tom Hanks when you need him?  Napping in the airport, I guess…



Winter’s Kiss…in Staccato Pops

Winter’s  Kiss…

The pewter sky thumps against black birds skirting through clouds.

Another chilled morning rakes plants with a kiss of warmer promises…

Hopefully a sign of things to come!

Hopefully a sign of things to come!

Here in Mississippi, nature’s still delivering the February goods: cold, damp days, but nothing can squelch the beauty of winter,

not even the cold.

Through the icy frills, berries of fresh wonder pop against evergreens.  The winter palette simply refreshes color, in new waves.

And now as we are probing around (30 something degrees here in the South) scrounging for that “invincible summer” a poet once mentioned, we must find it in the soul.  The temperatures refuse to lend a degree our way. And may we find it indeed, and bask in those sun dipped thoughts that lend peace, joy, comfort for those in hard times, hope for the hopeless. It’s the only the kind of genuine care one finds, regardless of the temperature.

And all the while, underneath the crunch of snapping twigs, tiny limbs tangle in the frozen web.

Surprise! Scraping against a cold palette, bright crimson berries bubble pop against evergreen wisps.  In stacco like pitches they interrupt the drill of cold.  Crisp branches house cardinals, berries fill the bellies of birds…

Lugar birdsnest

Lugar bird’s nest

who work and never pause, to worry…

Be encouraged!

Be encouraged!

And all the while, underearth the cold tundra, bulbs  and all manner of roots lie in coyish patience, as if they are not going to once again, pull out the props,

come Spring.

With Spring comes drama…with drama,

Lugar Daylily, my Mother's love of florals

Lugar Daylily, my Mother’s love of florals

comes a curtain pulled back in reminders of

Lugar photo from a trip to Alabama, home state

Lugar photo from a trip to Alabama, home state


But for now, bulbs  sleep underground in frozen brownish outerwear, preparing to disrobe their boring wrap.  They will soon push up golden daffodil blooms, and brightly dressed tulips.

And right behind them all kinds of colors will sing through even warmer months.

looking forward to this backyard birdbath  pleasure again

looking forward to this backyard birdbath pleasure again

Soon, as we ogle over fields glazed in blanket tops of bluebonnets and grape hyacinth, maybe we will understand a wee bit more about,

why we needed winter…

Fresh Seeds of Thought…

Hold on to what you see…

lest your million dreams  launch all in the same minute! Wait a minute,

but that’s what we want, isn’t it?  “Poof!”  A dandelion sings in a thousand wings!

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

The pictures of seeds…

from such tiny frothy stems come a multitude of beginnings…

In North America now, most pods still nap in the cold, crusty earth,

as winter cradles, in  her cold claws, the hope of spring.

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

Winter puddles in brown branches, snapping under in the crunches of dry earth.

But let’s be there for the waiting, the dream’n, the planting,

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

the harvesting! Gees wouldn’t miss it for the world!

And even in our own little neck of the Mississippi world…the kitchen orchid drama starts  again,

photo from yours truly

photo from yours truly

May we never stop thinking of what could be from things that (seemingly)  aren’t?

photo by yours truly

photo by yours truly

I guess with the “Isbell” in me (maiden name) I come by the love of floral beginnings naturally.  My late grandfather, Dr. C.L. Isbell was a professor at Auburn University, go Tigers! and grafted some of the very squash we buy at the grocery.  Peanuts were his dig (pun intended!) as well.  I learned at the last family reunion in Albertville, Alabama, that previous relatives ran this Seed Store (below).  A 12th or so cousin, something, something twice removed,  brought catalogs to the reunion and I was phone photoing “Snap! Snap! Snap!”

It was all tooooo fun!

photo from the reunion

photo from the reunion


So while our little kitchen insides  are chomping on the brink of unfolding  glory,

from our kitchen to yours

from our kitchen to yours

let the dreams begin…plant a seed,

and watch it unfold in sweet and unsuspecting ways!

Ah!  And I see you now, flying against a dark winter sky,

on the wing of your dreams

Never give up!

another from the reunion

another from the reunion

With God

the New Year’s Hope

At this new year’s season may we find time to embrace Hope.

Let’s encourage resolutions to glow in the knowledge that anything is possible…

and there are moments we are absolutely banking on the improbable…

 We’ll gather some minutes to rehearse the great notes of last year’s circumstances and joy that glinted even out of those harder choruses.
Yes, let’s celebrate those events that sharpened our faith proving nothing is ever wasted.

All photos this week by your's truly and from around my hometown in Alabama

All photos this week by your’s truly and mostly from around my hometown in Alabama
For how would we know the height of our faith if not measured by life’s heart
aches that sometimes  probe the depth of His mercy…
Does not the  darkness of severe  circumstances dangle as the litmus test for our faith?
I don’t know about you, but my choices don’t always turn the tissue paper the healthiest color.
But now in this new year, we can imagine the glorious strength of our upwards Hallelulas when our inspiration draws from His breath,
rather than from basted drops drawn out of shallow earthly pools.
Ah, and the whole affair of faith cradles in belief, leaving no margin for doubt.  Does it?
…neighborhood walks in a previous season...

…Montgomery neighborhood walks in a previous season…

We find sheer Life is left to live in the best way now, today.

Our souls turned inside out in ways we never thought possible, to shape us beautifully, in ways never seemed probable. Grace…

New years bring thoughts of welcoming time for fresh ideas...

New years bring thoughts of welcoming time for fresh ideas…


As the promises of tomorrow bumps into today’s tock-tick-ing,
there are times we may only hear three chimes that ring:
“He is able.”


My friends, in season and out, He is able.
So in this new year let’s allow the tingling bells of recent Christmas cheer tocarry us through upcoming
Dawns, christened hours later by sunrises…
They gently tuck in  setting skies with every moment in between


Hope…glistens for He never tires to whisper:
“My child, Hope is here to stay.”


“…the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.”

 II Cor.  5:17 NIV

Is It Ever Time?

Is it ever time?

Is it ever time to shut down a season filled with bells that jangle-jingle alongside poems of wassailing?
Do tinsled ornaments rest as well in boxes,
or dangling from Christmas trees?
(All photos this week by yours truly.) The “tingles” and “thuddles” of the season find children thunping over to ogle over manger scenes.  They stare and we quiet to a lasting question:
How did Mary really feel?
our tree's manger scene

our tree’s manger scene

They say it’s time to pack up palettes that dazzle in reds and greens but I’m never ready to un plug those festive colors that prism in Hope.
Sparkles of the season remind us ofthe Reason that Hope can reside in the soul, Ah… just for mere eternity.
So the carved  manger scenes may go upstairs where the calico loves to romp. The “c-r-e-a-k”  of the the storage stairs pulling down triggers her from her heated box. “Bing!” She flies up! It is her favorite thing!
But the Hope we will carry along All year…
No, rather He will carry me…
Yes, even when the hollyberries unplug their crimson wraps-Hope clings tightly.
And when the tinsel softly glistens from the last  unclosed holiday boxes- I’m covered.  And soon when spring dances in, winking in tulips and sunkist daffodils,
Hope still lives in me…
And in this place, I’d love your company:
bronze ornament text

Nights of the Winter Soul…

Like much of the U.S. right now, we’re weathering out an ice storm here in good ole northern Mississippi. Yes, you read that right,  ice…cold, rain suspended in…frozen drips, (it’s all very unMemphis like and the trees not too much unlike the photo below)

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

The stillnees of winter startles me as I early wake under a mound of warm blankets and my mind drifts.  It hovers over the many  lands I’ve visited and some lived, where such blankets don’t exist, or at least for many people who live in those places: Kabul, Afghanistan, Turkey, China, South Korea, Peru, the list continues.  Cold weather may launch attempts to drag the soul into isolation.  A place of the spirit where no one wants to be in winter… or summer, or anytime in between. Even a summer soul can fall craterish into an ice cap.

Been there my friends ? Haven’t we all, at one point or another?

Sometimes it’s because a person has moved to heaven, or to another country. Other times a disappointment lands us in lonely spots, or that we are in the middle of waiting:

“Wait on God and He will work, but don’t wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told.” Oswald Chambers

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

But He has a warmth for the inner soul, no matter the season.

At this time of year in particular, we muse at how the underpinnings of Mary’s faith helped usher in the Curer of the Soul.  A Depth of Richness came in a way mere man could not deliver-

only God.

And we still find some 2,000 years later, that Child alone is the cure for our souls. So when our “aloneness” appears to have swallowed us whole,

~ even in the midst of a crowd,

~or surrounded by a large and laughing family…

~ or unsurrounded by any  family…

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

He never has a shortage…of comfort, strength, or hope. The Ultimate of Mercy   streamed in from the Begninning of time through a Bethlehem night,

and cried

like a Baby…for a Baby He Was.

And no matter how loud the donkeys and sheep bleated and brayed, the Baby cried or the cows lowed,  it was a majestic moment that (spiritually) silenced earth.

Why? So that our nights could be forever cleansed and always drenched with grace.  So that your peace and mine, no matter the season

during the long nights of winter soul,

could sing with the song birds twilling over the soft snow rolls.

In this we are reminded that we’re never alone,

and the deeper the soul’s plunge
photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

the lengthier His  reach that draws us out of

the icy downpour.

photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

My friends,  I don’t know how long your night is or how alone you may feel tonight, but I know that His grace will extend several minutes past what you think is the breaking point.  And then He snaps on a divine extender…Reach for it.

As He mercy whispers through the cold, the refrain is the same.

No matter the season, no matter our pain,

“Lo, I am with you, always…”