I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont...
I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

Category Archives: Painting

Calm in the Storm…

Calm in the Storm…

Years and years ago I was 23, I lived on my own in a big old apartment with french doors that had skeleton keys and I worked three part time jobs to pay for the luxury of my very own personal space.  I ate ramin noodles and ice cream most days and learned to be grateful for the nutritious meals I ate at my parents house on weekends (you know the ones I scoffed at as a child).

It was during those tween-like, early twenties years, full of angst that I wrote poetry and taught myself moderately to play guitar and worked on my “art”, all with the backdrop of my mother striving to live through the biggest fight of her life.  Her battle with stage 4 cancer.

I had always had a dark side, I remember feeling bouts of melancholy since early grade school, not knowing exactly how I fit into the world.  It wasn’t till college that I learned I could or even should use those feeling to fuel my art.  I remember a friend saying after seeing one of my pieces:  “It looks really well done, but why does everything have to be so gloomy!”.

Anyway, I remember this day, a few years after I had graduated from college, it was a stormy day in my soul and nature seemed to feel the same.  I was sitting at the Gut, the tip of the peninsula where I grew up, with an ocean that reflected my mood.  I watched the seagulls sitting on the waves keeping their equilibrium while everything rocked and rolled.  After being planted on my bum on that stony beach for a while drinking it all in, I drove the half hour back home to my apartment, pulled out my oil pastels and drew with fervor on a piece of cardboard I had.

There is something I’ve always been drawn to about this piece and while some of my artwork has gone the way of scissors and tossed, painted over, or put away, this one has stuck around.  I named it “Seagulls in a Storm”.

It has been on a few different walls in our house, but the last few years it has lived above our wood stove.  I never meant for it to stay there that long.  I have a big canvas I put together 3 years ago to replace it.  The only problem is I just can’t seem to figure out what to paint on that canvas.

And lately the angst-ee-ness of “Seagulls in a Storm” has really started to itch at me.  It just doesn’t seem to fit anymore, the melancholy that always came calling for such a large part of my life, has been calmed…

So I decided to look for a way to change the story.

Rummaging through some of my art, I found a collage I put together about 5 years ago from pieces of a painting I made in the dizzying months after giving birth to my very first son 15 years ago.  Sleep deprived and hungry for something other than diaper changes, nursing, and rocking a colicky baby, being lost in paint was such a relief. The frenetic swirls of color from my early 30’s reflect another sort of storm and another effort at painting it out.

The collage looked nice on the wall, but didn’t do much to change the conversation.

Then I thought about Jesus and His fishermen friends and that wild night out on the sea of Gallilee when He was napping in the stern of the boat they were on and all His friends started freaking out thinking they were going to die as the waves swelled and the wind blew.  Waking Him up in terror the first thing Jesus does is shame them for having so little faith and then he did his Jesus-ee thing and stood at the stern and stopped all the swell.

So a few weeks ago I painted this and placed it under “Seagulls in a Storm”:

Then I grabbed a statue that one of my sons bought me for Christmas 2 years ago at a church bazaar.  It is of the Infant Jesus at Prague, I never really knew where to put it until now.

And last night I spent the evening hours (thanks to my husband Kevin who made dinner and took care of bedtime) painting an excerpt from Matthew 8:24-26 on a canvas and a framed piece of cardboard.

Voila!  Story.  Changed.

But, it wasn’t till tonight while writing this post that I actually saw how those seagulls I observed in my early twenties behaved just how Jesus wanted his disciples to act that night on the boat.  I always thought of the storm and the motion of those seagulls like the turmoil in my soul.  But, the ocean rocked and the ocean rolled and those seagulls didn’t flail about frantic, they just moved right along with it, peaceful as could be.  It was my eyes and my soul that couldn’t SEE it.

I always saw the storm, instead of how the birds were reacting to it.

I now have a new story above our wood stove, a hopeful reminder when it is all breaking loose and 7 boys from teen to toddlers are screaming for my attention, or at each other, or when the world outside our door seems to be insanity, that we are called to find peace in the noise knowing that asleep at the stern or comfortably atop the waves like those seagulls, God calls us to faith and it is faith alone that will calm our storm.

With love from the not very ocean-ee but still sometimes stormy Green Mountains of Vermont,



You Wove Me In My Mother’s Womb

You Wove Me In My Mother’s Womb

I am amazed by the human spirit.  I am amazed by you.  Each and every one of you, whether you are at your best or you are at your worst.  I had an epiphany a little over a week ago on Saturday morning. It was a rare, slow start, sleep in till 7:30 instead of 5:30 morning and I was downstairs getting the littlest Laverty’s some breakfast.  I was thinking way back to my early 20’s when I had recently graduated from college and felt such a huge disconnect between who individual people are in reality and the facades that are put on throughout the day.  Nothing seemed to make sense.  Why do we dress up for work?  How does a teacher put on her teacher voice and act a certain way and then come home and act another?  How do I drape myself in a persona and make it work for me when all I want is to be “real”.  It was a big turning point for me deciding between, as I have written on the “About” page of this very blog, “getting messed up in the muck of this world, or …moving to Vermont.”   Ha ha oh oh oh the irony!!!  Can’t even stand it 🙂

Anyway what I couldn’t articulate then, I have been given a language for now through my catholic faith, and that is;  we are imperfect people.  We are lovely and self giving, and jealous and self righteous.  Doesn’t matter if we are 2, 22, or 92.  We are all and part at any given moment, in any given situation, around any given person.  That is our lot in this world.

We are not perfect.

There is a peace that comes with knowing every single one of us has limitations, that we grow, we learn, we are humbled, we persevere, but never do we reach perfection.

I find comfort and space for love in that fact we are all in that same boat.

When I was 13 weeks pregnant with my 6th son I went in for a routine ultrasound, my husband had to work and wasn’t able to go with me, so I went alone.  Immediately after the ultrasound I met with a high risk OBGYN because of some concerning markers they found.   This Dr. told me that the baby I had just been watching squirming around on my ultrasound minutes before, had fluid on his neck and that it was was likely due to a chromosomal disorder.  What I heard was blah blah blah blah, trisomy this, trisomy that,  blah blah blah, bad, bad, bad.

Honestly I can’t remember all that she told me, but I know it didn’t sound at all good.  She offered me a very new at the time blood test to determine what may be going on with my baby.  I was shocked and sad when it dawned on me that the urgency she was showing about me having the test done had more to do with having time to abort than anything else.  I felt horrified honestly, that it was an option, that my baby one instant was valued and the next wasn’t.  I asked about waiting to check possibly at my 19 week ultrasound and she told me that one of the possibilities was that my baby could be dead by then. The medical student in the room with us offered me tissues, but I did not cry.  I remember clutching the cross necklace I wore to the appointment and holding onto my faith like the center of a spinning wheel.  I left without agreeing to any testing.

When I went back for my 19 week ultrasound the fluid in my 6th sons neck had resolved but they saw 3 markers for Down syndrome giving us a 1 in 3 chance that our baby had it.  The new non invasive blood test the earlier OBGYN told me about, was again offered, this time, I agreed to it.  Although there was no question this baby was loved and wanted no matter what, I also saw merit in preparing myself for something I was very unfamiliar with.  When I got the call a week later from my midwife she told me the news that my son did in fact have Down syndrome and offered her condolences.

As if someone had died.

We are imperfect people.  Medical professionals, neighbors, friends who don’t know what to say… Me too, I know I say the wrong thing often just in an effort to say SOMETHING…

We are not God.  We are not each other.  All we have is grace that we can extend to others and humility to nurture in ourselves.

I love my 3 1/2 year old son with Down syndrome.  I absolutely do not feel burdened by him.  I feel like when I was being told his life was not worth living, it was a lie.  A well meaning lie, but a lie none the less.

Looking back at my early experience with a pregnancy with a child with Down syndrome, I do wish the health professionals I met had a more balanced understanding of Down syndrome, beyond a list of cant’s and won’ts, and will most likely be’s.

I recognize these people are human and burdened with their own limited experiences.  I want to do what I can to show them and other very human professionals like them the gift of my child with Down syndrome, the child that God wove into my womb and knew with precision all of his inward parts.  And I want to help that new mom pregnant with or having just given birth to her beautiful child that has Down syndrome to know it too.

When Gus was just a month or two old I found a brand new Facebook Group for moms of kids born in the same year as Gus that have Down syndrome.  For nearly four years we have gathered together almost 150 of us in our Facebook Group to share insights and joy, successes and strategies, through sickness and health and sadly even tragedy.  We post pictures of our babies, ask questions, and support each other across the country and even on the other side of the world. The women in this group made me feel from the start like I was not alone and like Down syndrome was just another side of normal, which I believe it is.

Well some of these amazing women saw the need of families with a new Down syndrome diagnosis as well as education for medical professionals and they decided to be the change and started the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network or DSDN for short.  After the success of our Facebook Group they have added about 2000 women to their own birth year Facebook groups so they be supported like we have been.  Some other things DSDN does are:

  • Ensure physicians are educated about how to deliver a diagnosis

  • Support network of families through:  Welcome Gifts, Memorials, Care Gift Cards, Scholarships

  • Reach hundreds of new families joining the Ds community each year

It is an awesome awesome organization.  I would love to help them grow.

It is hard to carve out painting time within my mothering schedule, but I offered up some late nights this month to paint this Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll in honor of the coming Christmas season.


I would love to give it away to one of you!

I also designed a note card featuring the image of the Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll Saint I painted (thank you Louisa Larson for the photography) using verse 13 from Psalm 139 “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.”.

It is a pdf printable that will be emailed to you after purchase.  50% of your $5 purchase goes directly to DSDN and helping them help folks just like me 4 years ago.


Peg Doll Saint Note Card Mary and Baby Jesus

They would be great as a Christmas Card, but also a Christening Invitation, Birth Announcement, or Congratulations on the Birth of your Baby Card.  The printable is an 8.5 x 11 with 2 approx. 4″x5″ cards on it.  You can buy this paper and these envelopes on Amazon to go with it and you are all set.  The best thing is with the file you can print as many as you want, whenever you want.

PLUS you will be entered to win the actual Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll Saint I painted.  It is a 3 inch wood peg doll painted with acrylics with a non toxic finish.  The drawing will be held December 8th, 2016 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (one day before my 45th birthday).

Here is the link if you would like to purchase the note card pdf: Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll Saint Note Card .

Thank you in advance.  Even if you do not actually print the printables and just want an opportunity to win the peg doll, DSDN and I thank you for your contribution.

And lastly here is a little photo shoot of my sixth son Gus with the Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll.  He was such a good sport for me, crazy mom with camera…  I am forever grateful for this boy God wove so perfectly in my womb!




Love from Vermont,




*You do not have to purchase anything to enter the drawing for the Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll Saint (though it certainly would be appreciated).  To enter just send an email with Subject: “Mary and Baby Jesus Peg Doll Entry” to: [makingitinvt]@[gmail.com]
**remember to remove [brackets] before sending.



Face 2 Face with Who I Was and Who I Want to Be.

I had a very startling encounter earlier this week.  It has been swirling around my head for days making me dizzy.  How do I write about it, what do I say, what does it all mean?  I was confronted blaringly by thoughts of the woman I was, the woman I am, and the woman IContinue Reading

An Ant in the Garden.

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Time to answer a call ~God’s timing is perfect.

Our portable phone broke a couple of years ago and we never replaced it. The biggest issue with that besides being tethered to our kitchen by a cord that rendered me incapable of getting away from my gaggle of kids, was no caller ID. That meant that I had to answer every call.   Admittedly IContinue Reading

Wish you were here…

  Found this postcard in my studio this morning, it must have slipped onto the floor a while back when I was going through an old box of photos.  I was up early trying to beat the morning madness and finally finish the painting I have been working on for the past year and aContinue Reading

On its way!

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Inner Light

I made this painting about 18 years ago when I really needed sunshine.  My mom had stage 4 cancer, I was in my early 20’s and confused about where my life was leading me, living on my own, very very introspective, and just plain old in  need of some light to brighten my soul.  It’sContinue Reading

God Calling

Nearly every morning late last winter and then in spring I got up early to walk around the 1/4 mile of trails that surround our house.  I needed the exercise for my pregnant self and spent time praying, talking to God, and watching each little bit of nature slowly come alive.  Sometime around June IContinue Reading

Taking it apart: a few minutes in the studio

Up early this morning.  With baby neatly tucked next to Kevin in bed I was able to sneak into my studio.     I went down the basement and brought up an old painting I had made in college, it got damaged in our sometimes wet cellar and I thought I would paint over it. Continue Reading

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