This time of year

This special time of year

Now that the main holiday is behind us, I can finally sit with a cup of ginger green tea and regroup - for the next wave that is.  This Christmas was quieter that usual with most of our family unable to be here.  We still put up the biggest tree we could find and lit the house up beautifully.  And, as I sit here writing this post, we have family travelling from afar to see us. Ringing in the New Year will be full of family fun.

Somehow I was better prepared for the holidays this year.  I had my list of shopping prepared.  Actually dedicated one day two days to shop.  Had our packages ready to be mailed with enough time for them to reach there destination - except for Bermuda- but who knew about their postal service - the package is still not there!  Rest of the gifts were wrapped with plenty of time to spare.  All-in-all I felt really good about my holiday preparedness.  

WIP Tender Blue by Helen Shideler

Then there is my painting

Commissions looked after on time. Hoped to finally complete the painting of the blue hydrangea.  Planned to have a good start on planning ideas for my blog and maybe even start a newsletter. Not entirely sure how I let this part of my life and planning get away from me.  These is still 4 days left in December for me to pull this off right?  Along with hosting a baby shower day after tomorrow! And playing with two grandkids! Right? Oh yes, and another commission due the first week of January.  No stress. 

Planning travel

Rather, planning time to plan to travel. And 2018 will require a lot of planning and juggling. So looking forward to all these exciting experiences. A new grand baby in March,  a wedding in Africa in December, plein air conference in Santa Fe in April, annual late August visit to Vancouver with my daughter and her wonderful family. I am so grateful we have the opportunity and means to go where we plan to go this coming year.

Setting intentions

I am planning to set my intentions and goals for 2018. I really love to do this. I put in a lot of time thinking this through and being intentional with what I focus on.  Hmmm, is that why we call them intentions? I write them down at the back of my journal.  The really important intentions may be written down multiple times.  Over and over and then reread multiple times during the year.  Helps me to stay focused on my goals and dreams. 

Keeping grounded

Of of my intentions for a long time was to participate in a drum making workshop. The stars lined up for me this year and I was able to join in a Grandmother Spirit drum making session at Lifestyles Health and Fitness in Hampton.  I totally loved this experience.  The cultural and spiritual journey was exactly what I needed in my life to remember to try to be grounded.  Being “busy" is not good for us.  This workshop helped me to remember to be focused, to be thankful, to be joyful and to be in the moment.  The journey is then celebrated during full moon drumming circles.  

Life is good  

Wishing you and yours the most wonderful of holidays and may your new year be full of happiness and blessings.


I have a lot going on

I sure have a lot going on this time of the year.  In addition to preparing for next weekends Kings County Studio Tour, I also maintain the website for the Tour.  So I am double busy right about now. We are happy that the Lyndsay Armstrong-Media from the Telegraph Journal wrote a story that was published this past week

Still painting a lot.  Keeping up with my pledge to myself to create a small oil painting a week. You can see the progress below. Having to allow for some dry time between the layers of paint extends the time to complete  - but I currently have two on the easel and have a plan for the next one.  Just need to order in some more panels.

on the easel by Helen Shideler

Nice article in the Telegraph Journal today regarding Mispec Beach

Helen Shideler is worried about Mispec Beach. Photo: Peter Walsh/Telegraph-Journal

Local News - City will request disaster funding for Mispec

Carolyn Thompson


24 Sep 2012 08:40AM

SAINT JOHN – Helen Shideler says Mispec beach used to be a vibrant place.

As a child, she would visit the beach in the summers with her family, playing in the sand and water. Later on, the artist drew inspiration from the roar of the water and sweeping shoreline for her paintings.

But during her most recent visit to the beach this summer, in search of shorebirds, the only impression she was left with was one word: lonely.

“There were no people playing, there were no sounds,” she said. “It was just a lonely place.”

The beach, which is strewn with litter and remains damaged from a heavy storm in 2010, has not been maintained since the former Saint John Common Council cut funding in this year’s budget as part of broader efforts to set cash aside to pay a looming bill to shore up the municipal pension plan’s massive deficit. Many residents have rallied for funding to install washrooms and garbage bins, repair damage, and clean up litter at the beach, without much success.

A report to be presented to Common Council at Monday’s meeting will address a part of those concerns. On July 16, councillors asked the city manager to apply for disaster funding through the Province of New Brunswick. The Disaster Financial Assistance Program will reimburse expenses for measures taken to repair flood and storm damage and prevent further erosion.

The report recommends that council put out a request for proposals for restorative work at Mispec Park, including the construction of a new gravel walkways to the beach and the installation of rip rap along the slope of the shoreline.

David Merrithew, councillor for Ward 4, which includes Mispec Park, said the funding is not enough, but is what’s possible at this point in time.

“They’ll rebuild what was destroyed during the storm of 2010. They’ll rebuild what was destroyed - no more no less,” he said. “That’s what we’ll do for now.”

Herb Duncan, who is part of the “Save Mispec Beach” group and has followed Saint John municipal politics for more than 20 years, said that the funds are not nearly enough, but are a start. He said the problems are a symptom of a great problem – confusion over priorities.

“It’s our failure as a city to on a proportional basis allocate the limited financial resources we have,” he said. “Things that are important to people – things like Mispec beach – those are the easy things to cut.”

He said Mispec beach is often touted as a tourist attraction, and is clearly valued by Saint John residents. “We need a council that for once says our priorities are the people,” he said.

Shideler said she’s pleased council may be starting to make some improvements to the beach, but she said there still needs to be more.

“I think if you’re going to invite people back to the beach, you have to do it all,” she said, adding that families with children would need bathrooms and the assurance there won’t be too much litter or dangerous areas due to erosion or storm damage.

“It made me sad, because it was lonely,” she said. “You used to see all kinds of people on the shoreline. It was just alive.”

She said Mispec beach used to be a “jewel” of the city, and it’s disappointing to see it abandoned.

“I just think it’s a sin the state it’s in and that it isn’t readily accessible to people,” she said. “The value that it brings to the community is just incredible.”

Link to my blog post on Mispec  earlier this summer