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Snapshots of Summer



My kids and I have a pact to see all 50 states together. During the time we lived just north of Atlanta, Georgia, making day trips to other states was easy. Then we moved back to Texas seven years ago - and not somewhere along the state lines, but central Texas. While I love my hometown of Austin, living here means "day trips" to other states are out of the question, unless you just want to turn around right after you cross a state line and head back home. You're looking at an average of 6 hours in any direction to get to another state. With that in mind, it's easy to understand why our list of states we'd seen together had been stuck at 11 for the past four years.

This summer, I was determined we were going to add more states to the list - specifically, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Technically, I had been through New Mexico on a trip to Colorado when I had just graduated high school, so this was a chance for my kids to catch up on states I had already seen. Two hours in to the 8 hour drive toward our first destination of Roswell, NM, we were still in the A's in my music library and AWOLNation's "All I Need" started playing. When it got to the lyrics, "I think I'm getting closer, but the scenery's the same," my 16 year old son deadpanned, "I'd say that's an accurate account of how I feel about this trip so far." After I stopped laughing and caught my breath, I assured him the scenery would change...eventually. 

During the long drives between destinations, the three of us discussed a wide variety of topics, we recounted our favorite family stories that make us laugh, we oohed and aahed as the scenery changed to plateaus, mountains, and sandstone arches, and the kids took turns making the home video of the road trip. I found creative inspiration around every corner and was constantly taking pictures of the gorgeous views. We packed in a lot of touristy activities, visited art galleries, and did some hiking. I had anticipated the potential for bickering and grumbling, but was pleasantly surprised there was none. 

Our longest trip was the 11 hour drive home from Santa Fe. Fortunately, we had new material for discussions and new funny family stories to laugh about along the way. As we started planning which states we want to visit next year, I realized how grateful I was that we took this vacation together. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life and postpone things that can be considered "frivolous expenses" such as vacation trips - but when you do go, you remember why it's so valuable. You enrich your life through new experiences, learning new things, restoring your energy, and, most importantly, creating memories.

I came back from the trip refreshed, inspired, and ready to tackle the paintings I need to get ready for a couple of shows coming up this Fall. New works will be posted later this week. I will also be starting a quarterly newsletter featuring previews of upcoming projects and exclusive promotions. which you can sign up for here.





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