Thursday, January 28, 2010


Dear ___________,
I have a son who is developmentally disabled.
He is kind and lovely and funny.
And he is being bullied.

It has been going on now for over 4 months.
They punch him and kick him.
And call him a retard. (Do you know it takes me a good 4 minutes to type that word? And even longer to recover from it.)
He doesn't know what it means, exactly.
In 8th grade you don't have to understand it, to feel the sting. (Especially, if you're cognitively more like a 2nd grader.)

But today, when I picked up my beautiful 14 year old son,
before his seatbelt was buckled, he burst into tears.
"They did it again", he mumbles.

And I want to scream.

I want to make his stormy ocean-grey eyes, calm again.
I want to promise him that it will never happen again.
But, I can't.
Because people are mean.
Instead, I have to teach him to be brave.
And not to be mean in return.
So, I was wondering if just as a favor to Ryder...
to all of the many, many people in his life who love him
Could you teach your son to be nice?
Perhaps tell him the value of differences.
Help him realize that he is stealing my son's joy
and his peaceful sleep.

We have fought for this sleep!

4 years ago, my son couldn't sleep a wink.
He had seizures for the entire length of his rest.
8 1/2 hours a night of pure hell.
Every single night.
For at least 2 years.
Every time he closed his eyes.
And now, finally when he is getting some sleep,
he's having nightmares about your son.

So, please- speak to him and ask him to be kind.

If you can't do any of that,
then would you please just tell him to stay home tomorrow.
Because Ryder deserves a day off.
And he would like to spend it with his friends.

Thank you,
His mommy

Monday, January 25, 2010


This weekend was interesting. Saturday, I spent getting my son and daughter ready for their first formal. Running around, getting things for them and making them feel loved and beautiful. Sunday, I spent some "me time" with a friend at a make-up counter at Macy's.

---->Turns out the lady at the Clinique counter said my skin was thirsty.
It was sucking up anything it could find. Make-up, lotion, oil...anything.

Ever the poet, I got to thinking about what happens when my life gets dehydrated. When everything I do is a checklist. When I am sucking worth and hope and peace from anywhere I can find it. When the colors all get muted.
My life gets full quickly. There are 7 people on my calendar, so days become too big for the little black and white box sometimes.

That is when I need to stop and marinate.

After our trip, I came home and posted about it on my facebook.
Within the next hour many friends stopped by to comment and let me know that I am beautiful and loved.
That began the rehydration and then...

I spent time with my youngest daughter, turning a simple request into a project. (more below*)

I grooved to some music.

I listened with my eyes closed, to the sound of my children laughing.

I called my mom.

I read this blog, about giving, that made me smile.

I soaked it in. Let it get deep and change me. Change my heart and my responses. Remind me of the truths I know and propose to live by. I took deep breaths and now I am ready to "do" some more.

Just in time. (Cuz today is in the box and down the side.)

Blessings to you and many happy marinades!

*BTW...Our project:

Bella has been complaining recently that baby dolls are way too light. "They don't feel like real babies." So, she had taken to carrying around a "rice sock" (for heating in the microwave and relieving sore joints) wrapped in a baby blanket.

Instead we got an old scrap of linen and sewed it up. She then filled it with rice.
We wrapped her baby in one fat quarter of floral material and stiched it in place.

Lastly, Bella drew the new baby's face with a marker and I followed her lines to add some color with paint.

So: Here is Maddie Grace.
"The best, most realest feeling baby doll ever."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We have a winner!

Congrats to Mo, a fellow dreamer!
She wins a lovely handmade bookmark,
which I will try to post a pic of tomorrow.

For now, I will leave you with her comment!

Mo said...

...Some days I dream of reinventing myself - "being" the kind of person who can actually "do" the things I'd like to - an exerciser who eats healthy, daily art journaling, more involved in some type of volunteer project. But most days I just dream of hearing His voice clearer, and showing His love better, and dancing... I do dream of dancing with Him to the music in my soul.

What a beautiful dream.

Sleep well friends~

(Winner was chosen by random number generator. Mo: Send your address to my FB Inbox so I can put your cool prize in the mail.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

A dream not deferred

Today, I have been considering how much easier it is to defer a dream. To wait until the "time is right"or "the money is better" or "the kids grow up". I have been thinking about how hard it was for me to begin this art journey outside of my house and my head, and how hard it was not to decide: that I was reasonably and rightly, too busy.
I have 5 kids from 7-18 years old. I have a husband. I am finishing my degree. I teach Science in the afternoon.I have reasons to be busy.

I am considering then, the enormous courage that it took a pastor, a husband, a father (who could've been too busy), to dream. I am thinking, how lucky we all are that he climbed up the stairs and he shouted his dream to the world. He walked right up to the seemingly, insurmountable task and dared to dream something better.

Perhaps right now, you have a dream.
Maybe it's not a BIG world-changing dream.
Though, sometimes it's the littlest ones that
bring about the most amazing change.
Maybe it's just a nagging something at the back of your consciousness.
A place you go while watching a film or hearing a certain song.

I want to encourage you, to do it!
Do not postpone it.
You might surprise yourself.

A Dream Deferred
By: Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Courage and blessings as you leap~

(PS- Comment a dream you have to this post and be entered to win a handmade bookmark from my shop: mavis magpie. All comments must be made by 11:59 PST Wednesday. Winner will be selected by random number generator.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's Friday!

Wow. We made it. It's the Friday of the first week back to school after Christmas break. Our reward?
Monday we don't have to go!!!!!!!

Most brilliant reward for attendance ever.
I always thought that the kids who had perfect attendance should be given a day off.
Finally, someone... somewhere.. agrees.
God bless you, Dr. King.
(For lots of reasons. Least of which, because Monday is your day and that means
we don't have to go to school.)

I promised to give you all a link to my new artfire shop.
I should wait until Monday, because I have tons of stuff to add this weekend.
But, for being so nice..I will give it to you now.
Consider it a little sneak peek at my brain.
(It's probably best to take it a bite at a time anyway.)

So, here it is:

Have fun looking. If you click on a pic it will take you to a few more pics and some info about it.
Some have stories about their inspiration, which is interesting.
So, if you've been refreshing facebook and refreshing facebook and nothing is changing-
then head over to my shop and read for a bit and then go back. It will help you pass the time between status updates and farmville requests. :)

Love to ya and peace be with ya~


Tuesday, January 12, 2010 delivery!

Today was not awful. It was messy and not easy at all. I felt queasy, but not awful.
Okay, maybe it was a little bit awful. Oh, and I picked a fight with my husband.
Alright fine. Day 2 of blogging and already I'm hedging. Today was bad.

Then when I was at my very saddest, the doorbell rang.
I didn't want to answer the door.
I was teary and snotty-nosed and in my PJ's. It was one of those times when you look at the door and think..WHAT?! WHY?!
But I did answer the door and I'm glad, because these were there.

And they saved my day and threw in some awesome beauty and perspective!

So, a very big thank you to my mom, who is also my friend.

---Tulips, snapdragons and a purple eucalyptus heart--- Can't get any better!

So, my day was awful.

But then, it wasn't.

And so much of that is because of you, my friends, saying hello and
making *me* feel brave and loved in this world.
Thank you so much for that!

Tomorrow, I'll get to posting some art and links to my new

artfire shop, but for now...

goodnight and thank you.


Ready, set...JUMP! (now hit publish.)

Hi. I am Sandi Howard and having my art/writing online is a goal I've had for a few years. In fact, I have had a web-site and blog for several months. But nothing was moving forward. I just couldn't make it to this point. A few times I showed my art to friends and family, and to my relief they jumped at the opportunity and bought up all of my inventory each time.

A few days ago, something changed. I decided not to enter another year, afraid. Though to be honest, it still feels quite daunting. So, here goes....

Today- ten years ago, I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, a daughter named Davia Juliet.*

Tonight- eight years ago, she passed away.
And I was left with a choice. I had to audibly and physically choose to continue to love, in spite of the very real and very horrible risk that comes along with loving and being loved. I had to allow beauty to permeate my soul again. It took time and for some time, I felt no joy and saw no beauty.

Since that time I have grown, given birth again and adopted four older children. Yet, all the while, fear has been lurking in the background. Fear of losing someone dear to me, fear of this unknown and very temporary earth, but most of all the fear that perhaps all I have to share... is not enough. That it will be like dust in the wind.

It dawned on me, during the last year, that this bondage to fear has stolen my joy.
So, tonight despite the fact that my artfire shop pictures will not load and my head hurts from crying and that I am not really ready to present my naked thoughts and my art to the world....
Here I am.

I am Sandi. I am an artist. I make piles instead of cleaning. I am not a trained seamstress. And regrettably, I could not save my daughter's life eight years ago. I love buttons and fabric and beads and thread. I love rainstorms and laughter and I think that it matters that I'm still here with you, creating and loving.
I would love to share my art and my story with you.

Feel free to journey with me.

Tonight: I take back the joy I lost and I begin to share again what I make and what I do and who I am.

Goodnight to you. And to my Davi..I miss you.
I pray that by living on purpose, I honor you, my lovely daughter and our Father who made us and knit us together, ten very short years ago.

Thank you, my friends.

Here we go!