Garden Muse: Seeds and Sorrow; Fruits and Joy



I am excited for summer. I love the bounty of summer crops. Right now we are growing radishes, spinach, lettuce, corn, carrots, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, oregano, basal, zucchini, and peas. I have a flower garden growing as well. We planted everything from seed so it is exciting to see it come to life. Trusting in a seed to feed you is a leap of faith. It provides me with such a sense of peace to know that I am capable of growing my own food. We had a salad tonight which had spinach, salad greens, and radishes from our garden.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”- Marcus Tullius Cicero



“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

My mother and father were avid gardeners. If you look at this photo closely, you will see just a glimpse of the garden of my childhood home. I am the child to the far right on the edge of the pool. If you walk around the pool to the left, you would find a vegetable plot filled with raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, plum trees, apple trees, grape vines, boysenberry trees, vegetables, and many other flowers and garden goodies. In fact, my father made us dandelion soup once. My mother got mad at him for serving it to us as kids. It is very good for you.

Refresh -- Childhood Garden

Refresh — Childhood Garden

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

“In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” – Alice Walker

Beauty Bee -- Blackberry Bush

Beauty Bee — Blackberry Bush

I found out recently that my mother’s funeral will finally be scheduled. We have been waiting in limbo since January. She passed away on Christmas Eve (Read this if you want to know the details). I have had a hard time with this loss.  I will have to allow myself to feel it. It is a different kind of pain now, as it is obtuse, reaching its giant ocean size arms around me as if orbiting into space. The pain was acute in the beginning when she first passed away. Each acknowledgement of it was an arrow in my heart, made of thousands of acute angles — stabbed straight into my heart. Now the tiny arrows have opened into a more giant obtuse pain, something that expands and retracts — expands and retracts — expands and retracts.

My mom, Betty with her beautiful red hair and amazing smile

My mom, Betty with her beautiful red hair and amazing smile

This photo was taken in 2003 on Christmas Eve. My father passed away in December of 2003. This photo was taken at my best friend's house.

This photo was taken in 2003 on Christmas Eve. My father passed away in December of 2003. This photo was taken at my best friend’s house.

” A mother is beyond any notion of a beginning. That’s what makes her a mother.” – Meghan O’Rourke

Now I am a mother and as I grieve the loss of my own, I am in the full blossom of being a mother to a three-year old.

My Beautiful Benjamin dancing to the garden muse

My Beautiful Benjamin dancing to the garden muse

“All love stories are tales of beginnings. When we talk about falling in love, we go to the beginning, to pinpoint the moment of freefall.” – Meghan O’Rourke

Sitting on a bridge in my childhood garden. My parents created this beautiful garden from scratch.

Sitting on a bridge in my childhood garden. My parents created this beautiful garden from scratch.

My mother’s ashes are on my mantle. Click here to read more about that and how I finally took down the Christmas lights to clear some space for my own healing and mourning process. I can not put into words just yet what is swirling inside me about finally having to let go by burying her ashes at Arlington. Her final wishes were to be buried with my father at Arlington National Cemetery. He passed away in 2003 and was cremated. My mother made arrangements for them to be buried together in the same plot. Her name will be on one side of the tombstone and my father’s will be on the other. They will be laid to rest together. My father was a veteran of the Korean War. Read this to learn more about my father, Inchon, and his gardens. He was a member of the Frozen Chosen.  Read this to learn more about why I miss him (this essay is one of my favorite things I have ever written, as it honors who he was as a man, husband, father, and veteran).

My dad stopping to smell the roses on my wedding day

My dad stopping to smell the roses on my wedding day

Read this if you want to read an essay about having to say goodbye to my father and get married to my soulmate.

I have to assume that burying my parents will be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it also has the power to be one of the most beautiful ceremonies of my life. I can only imagine the fertile soil this experience will provide in the garden of my life. I should think about the seeds I want to plant in it. Love, Respect, Hope, Joy, and of course sorrow. You can not get around sorrow. It is the fertilizer in life.

Garden Angel

Garden Angel

Just as Kahlil Gibran said, “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked…”

On Joy and Sorrow

By: Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. 

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

So, I plant the seed and water this fertile soil with my tears and allow God’s love and my love for my parents to be the sunshine.

Lively Lettuce Leaf

Lively Lettuce Leaf

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” ― Claude Monet

Read this if you want to learn more about my mom and how magical she was to me as a child and how deeply I loved her — how deeply I love (present tense) her.



Life goes on, but grief stands still. I have learned that I am moving through the process of grief and accept it is on my own time. I accept that I have to feel everything and allow the moisture from this pain to provide the rain for my inner garden to grow.

The Red Rose of St. Therese is in blossom in my garden.

The Red Rose of St. Therese is in blossom in my garden.

In May of 2011, I had a close call with losing my mother. She had a serious bladder infection. She ultimately overcame it, but my heart felt giant as I was so close to her death and the anticipation of losing her. Read this if you want to read about that experience. When she did pass away, it was a bladder infection that was the cause of death.

3 Stars

3 Stars

“Even hundredfold grief is divisible by love.” ~Terri Guillemets

“Sorrow makes us all children again — destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My son makes me whole.

My son makes me whole.

Monday Museletter April 9

Photo Piracy

I have had many photos stolen off the internet.  Last week I found them on a gay guy’s cute faces website, a Russian mail order bride website, and a Facebook page for women who love cowboys.  I am not going to digress into details, as I worked through it, and learned how to use water marked photos I have in an online art gallery called    I got so bent out of shape and this quote was my tipping point when I saw it:

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Also, I thought of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, when she said to Smith Jarrod, “First the gays, then the girls, then the industry!” when he was upset about his photo (Absolute Hunk) being on a New York City bus. You’d have to be a Sex and the City fan to get it.  Industry — I’m ready!

 I got over my anger and frustration that I had put up my best photos and did not watermark them (after many fights with myself).  I still am learning how to watermark. It is not an easy thing.  But I did figure out how to upload watermarked images from Artflakes.  Sometimes, you need to use the tools right in front of you.  And sometimes, you just got to GET OVER IT!


My Pinterest website is: if you want to follow me.  So far, I have made two boards: cowboys and horses.  I really haven’t completed them, but I just figured out where my accepted invitation was in my email and joined Saturday.  Read this post, Pirates Have Stolen My Cowboys, if you want to hear me in the midst of a pity party, with valid reasons to be mad. But let’s not BS one another — I was having a pity party.

"Red" ~ Photo by Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved

This is a watermarked photo. I feel an enormous amount of pride that I executed this watermark. And that I was able to upload it to Pinterest and hot link it back to Artflakes where the photo is for sale. Yippie.  Go ahead and click on the photo, it will take you directly to Artflakes where you can purchase professional quality prints, posters, framed photos, canvas prints, and note cards.  This is an example of the left brain giving the right brain a high five!

Send me a note in a comment and then I can follow you.  Pinterest is going to be trouble!  I already spend too much time on social media.  Oh my though, it will be so much fun and PInterest is so much a girl thang.  I know there are are men on Pinterest and all.  It appeals so much to my love of photography and visual art.  It also makes me feel better that not everyone has their photos watermarked.  Photographers are artists!  There are so many talented photographers out there.  Pinterest is social media mediums that is changing visual media, and I think it is an incredible program.  I don’t like that you can right click and copy images though, that does not serve photographers well who don’t watermark.  It also makes me think that most people are not going to spend money to buy photographs when they can use images for free.  But hey – the times are a-changin’.


We had a wonderful holiday.  I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband and beautiful son. I feel so lucky.  My husband helps me get out of the negative caverns I inhabit somedays.  He is my magic.  My mother-in-law made a wonderful Easter dinner, with all the trimmings.  She even made these beautiful Easter bunny cookies and hand painted them.  We also hunted for Easter eggs in the house Sunday morning. It was so much fun to watch my almost two-year-old hunt for them like a detective.

My mother-in-law is so talented. She does the special things that make holidays at her home incredible. I am so lucky my in-laws live near us.

Whole Brain

I consider myself right brained. And I talk a big game about not being left brain at all.  My good friend, and publisher of Mamalode magazine told me something I needed to hear.  I was crying on her virtual shoulder in an email about how frsitrated I was about having my photos pirated off the internet.  I was having a pity party.  She is not the type to let anything stand in the way of her goals, and she is brilliant, on both sides of the brain.  She said this:

I think you need to come to terms with the idea of a whole brain. I hear you talk about left vs right a lot. If you want to be a professional writer you need both. The idea of opposing them against each other will not serve you. The business, legality, protocols and all are just as important as the creative. One is really only a hobby without the other.
Keep on trucking. You have the gifts needed.  – Elke

This illustration/design was used for Mercedes Benz. I really like it. They have a lot more with different illustrations and examples of right and left brain. Follow the hot link.

The thing is, I needed to hear that.  I knew she would not let me get away with just being a victim of the rickety left brain bridge I dare not cross. The bridge that I  grasp and clutch, white-knuckling onto who ever is near me on the right brain bridge. On the right brained bridge, I do somersaults across and dance and jump without fear. Bottom line — creating and artistic things come natural to me.  Organization and logical sequential is difficult, almost makes me feel like I have a learning disability.  I actually had a severe speech disability and did not speak until I was four.  I had to attend a special pre-school for disabled children.  I also had speech until the end of third grade or fourth grade.

My mom always would tell this story:  When you were in Mrs. Maron’s class, you were sitting in sharing circle and your class was discussing love.  You raised your hand and said, “I know my mommy loves my daddy and my daddy loves my mommy,” and you looked at the boy sitting next to you and said, “And you’re not so bad yourself.”

I guess I was always a ham, with a very intense speech impediment.  I remember vividly trying to say my R’s.  I still struggle with rural.  Please don’t ask me to say it.  I prefer to live rural!  I had an awesome speech teacher too.  I remember the closet I had to go to (literally) to go to speech lessons at school.  Ironic I became a Special Education teacher!  That is what I have my BA in (Elementary and Special Education).

My Mom, Wyoming, and My High School Reunion

My mom is slowly drifting away.  Her voice is very quiet and it is hard to hear her on the phone.  She is losing mobility in her hands.  She is pretty much bed ridden at the nursing home. I need to go visit her soon.   I keep putting off making a decision to go because I don’t want to leave my son.  I can’t take him with me because it would be too much to handle a toddler alone and have quality time with my mom.  Also, tickets are expensive and we just don’t have the extra cash.  Read this post, I Just Got to Town, take a Number, to catch yourself up to speed about almost losing her last May (if you are new to this blog).

Photo is not credited, but it appears on the website which is hot linked. This is my new ethical decision -- to credit the photographer and ask permission to post. This is a public website so I don't have to ask.

Ideally, I’d love to go at the end of July and catch the last couple of days of Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, and then travel up to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and then head back down to Cheyenne for my 20th high school reunion in the beginning of August.  Oh yeah – and a magazine would hire me because they are reading my blog right now, or an editor is, and they would hire me to write about Wyoming, Yellowstone, Cheyenne Frontier Days, and my mother, or at least one of those.  (If you are a magazine editor, I am a really good writer and photographer…just sayin’!)

If wishes were kisses, I’d be smothered with lipstick!

Talenthouse – Just LeDoux It!

This is my next submission for a creative invite: Chris LeDoux.  Voting starts April 16.  The winner gets to collaborate with Robert Caplin and Viewbug if they win.  I don’t expect to win.  But I do expect to get all the Chris LeDoux fans to celebrate with me as I bombard social media channels with this photo of him.  I took it in 2003, I think.  He is just a beautiful man.   Chris was one of those human beings that made people feel good.  I didn’t even know him, but I did meet him and I shook his hand.  I was even lucky enough to ask him, “What are your thoughts on being at The Daddy (as in Cheyenne Frontier Days — the largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration in America).  He smiled right at me, all beautiful-like, and hummed out, “Just happy to be here.”

Here is the link to the photo, Chris LeDoux. You can click on the link and become a supporter today.  By becoming a supporter, you will be sent an email from Talenthouse when voting opens, reminding you to vote.  Voting starts April 16 – so spread the word to all the country crooner fans you know and especially to Chris LeDoux fans.  Did you know that Chris and I went to the same high school in Cheyenne?  Go Cheyenne Central Indians!

One Ride is a musical celebrating Chris’ music and tells the story of the rodeo cowboy.  Check out the website, One Ride, to find more info.  You can also find information about the musical, One Ride, at the Chris LeDoux offical website and you can listen to lots of his beautiful country songs.  When you click on the website, you will be greeted by one of my favorite songs, “Old Paint.”  Click here to read the lyrics to that song. Chris was a true cowboy bard and poet.

Brain Tumor Thursday

This Thursday I have the pleasure of sharing the profile of an amazing woman.  She calls herself @thelizarmy on Twitter.  She has a blog here:  She is also on the medical advisory board for the National Brain Tumor Society.  Check her out.  She is a rock star and a special human being.  I am really enjoying the connections with the brain tumor community I have made.  My mother has brain tumors.  Read this post to find out more about that and  Brain Tumor Thursday.  You can also read the last two posts here: Tom McLain and Stephanie’s I Am Stronger Now…  If you get freaked out about medical stuff and the mention of brain surgery makes you squeamish, you might want to steer clear on Thursdays.  I encourage you to read the profiles because they are inspiring.  People rock. Period.

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.  I have been posting poems on my blog.  My favorite poem is called, Separation Anxiety.  

Thanks for tuning in for the Monday Museletter.

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

~ memomuse