Artful Whispers

After my January Newsletter, a friend sent a text to say, “Nooooooo, no, no, no the subhead is not representative of you or your art! Your work is gentle, more like a whisper!.” Thank you, Barbara, I appreciate honesty and heartfelt opinions. I still think @Play in the Studio was clever and I do have fun there but I also agree the colors were too bright for the kind of art I produce and the whole thing was a bit much, so it’s gone. In its place, my new subhead is Artful Whispers. This feels good to me. Below is my first attempt at straying from my norm, still florals but less detail. This work will evolve. For now, it’s is a start. So, what you think? Leave a quick comment at the bottom of the page, please.

Thoughts of absence . . .

While pondering this newsletter, the word absence was forefront in my mind. There is no one I know who hasn’t suffered loss. It is far too frequent since I’ve gotten a little less young. In the words of Anne Lamott, “Grace finds you exactly where you are but doesn’t leave you where it finds you.” The only way I know of walking through the difficult times with any semblance of grace is to look for the blessings. There are always blessings.

Less than a year after moving to Georgia little Miss Bella developed an enlarged heart. Of course, I knew she had a huge heart but that wasn’t exactly what her Vet meant. The procedure of choice was Chinese medicine along with traditional medicine, and her natural vitamins. About six months later we added acupuncture. Initially, her acupuncture visits were weekly, then every two weeks. The difference was amazing! The past two years every three weeks kept her active. We were back to walking regularly although her walks were shorter.

She was seldom peppy when we arrived for acupuncture but she strutted out of the clinic with her head held high and those long white tail-feathers that nearly touched the ground swished side to side looking like the little princess she was.

Moving into our fourth year in Georgia and what soon would be her twelfth birthday she developed a cough, especially noticeable when she got excited. When the grandsons stopped by they understood the importance of calming her instead of encouraging her to play.

My late husband passed before Bella’s first birthday. On January 25, she decided it was time he had the pleasure of her company. She made me laugh and looking at her always brought a smile to my face, they are missed.

8 Lessons I learned from Bella:

1. At about six months old we met a trainer in the park and she learned all of her commands quite quickly and performed them brilliantly, of course. After each lesson, the trainer would say, “Well, she isn’t ready for group lessons.”
I learned with a little determination you can do most anything you put your mind to or convince those in charge that you’re not ready to do..

2. She learned to fetch at a young age, on her terms – she taught me the treat had to be in my hand before she would budge to fetch even her favorite toy. I was allowed to throw the ball/toy three times. If she didn’t receive a treat after the third time – I didn’t get the ball – somehow that seemed fair.
I learned life lessons come from unusual sources and in rather small packages.

3. On our walks, she learned to sit at crossings, without being told, until given the command to cross.
I learned sometimes it’s okay to follow the rules carefully.

4. If the doorbell rang or someone, in her opinion, was too close to the house she barked until she was sure I was OK with the visitor.
She taught me that when you have a job, you take it seriously.

5. Occasionally she redecorated the water closets. Tearing tissue was a fave pass time when she wasn’t getting enough attention. Actually, that did get her noticed. Eventually, it made me laugh.
I learned when you get bored it’s time to do something fun.

6. I left her with a dog sitter when I traveled for work. She greeted me with great enthusiasm upon my return. She then sat dutifully staring at me with those enticing black eyes, turning her back to me she peed. The first time I raised my voice and scolded her as I scrubbed the spot on the carpet. Twenty minutes later she had diarrhea. I remember thinking, “What an unusual coincidence.” It happened twice – After that; she loved going to airports but wasn’t crazy about being stuffed under the seat on the plane. Occasionally, a steward would let me put her in my lap if she was covered so no one could see her. Umm, do you think this qualifies as spoiling her?
She taught me I was trainable and I never raised my voice to her again.

7. Begging was first class, she adoringly starred at her victim, seldom did anyone not succumb to that but when it happened she retreated under the table and slept.
That taught me that when life doesn’t always work out like you want, it’s okay to take a nap, hence the late newsletter.

8. When you get tired of your food . . .

She taught me that everything tastes better with blueberries.

The more I learn, the more I find I must learn. For those times when she had enough, I learned there was a lesson. These were times of beauty and importance for both of us if we were to live in a symbiotic relationship. (Maybe they weren’t all times of beauty.)

Bella lived life as if she understood brevity. She was full of love and spread that love to nearly everyone she met. (Except a salesman who tried to come onto the property, she chased him off. She strutted back to me like a prize pony.) Her love is still wrapped around my heart like a lasso.

Celebrating Bella







21 comments to Artful Whispers

  • Mickey

    Posted as a comment, but I’m emailing just in case it didn’t go through:

    Oh, Mickey. I know you have a Bella-shaped hole in your heart, but what a tribute to this little canine friend that you learned so much from her. How ironic—and no coincidence—that her main ailment was an enlarged heart, because clearly, by sharing her with us all, you made all of our hearts a little larger than they would have been otherwise.

    I am sending you love, sympathy, and my sincerest wish that the happy memories will prevail.


    Hi Elizabeth,

    Still, many comments don’t always show up on my blog. I’m grateful you took the time to do both. Down the road I will look back at them and be reminded of the beautiful friends with whom I’ve been blessed.

    Thank you, for your comments. My heart is filled with joyful memories that make me smile inside and out. Take care my friend,


  • Andy

    I’m sorry that your dear sweet friend, Bella has passed. She had a special way to make us all just a little happier when we saw her. It was her gift, to you and to all of us. Seeing her on your celebration video made me miss her, and now we’ll all miss her forever.

    My sympathy for your loss,


    • Mickey

      Hey Andy,

      Nice of you to slow don’t long enough to write me. Or are you on a beach someplace?!? Thanks so much for commenting. I sure miss our Tuesday night pinochle games. You made it a lot of fun.

      Enjoy your diving trips!


  • Mickey

    Mickey, I’m so sorry about Bella. She was so lucky to have had you as her care-taker and leash holder. I can’t call you her owner since we both know she owned you.

    I love the header for the newsletter. I would know that was you immediately. I’m attaching picture of my wall with your mural. I love the way the painter blended the solid paint with your mural. The old faux finish looks like the mural is now backlit. This picture was before the floor was finished, but still shows the rest of the remodel.

    Please come visit anytime. I’m going to retire from my job in Oct. I will find another job for a few years, but boy is life going to change.

    Miss you.


    Hi Tracie,

    Yes, I’m aware of who owned who. You may have mentioned me not being the alpha a time or two, or three or four.. 😉 She made pretty good decisions most of the time though.

    Your fireplace looks great and you painter did do a really nice job of blending the new paint with the faux finish!.

    When I get out there again you’ll be the first to know. Love your place. You are way too young to retire!

    Hugs, Mickey

  • Linda

    Mickey, this is such a lovely tribute to your dear friend. Lucky for you both to have had each other, sharing joy & love. Condolences & hugs my friend.

  • DeAnne

    Well, now you’ve done it. I am a blubbering idiot. Reading about Bella and seeing all those sweet pictures reminded me of being around her in your big house in the Springs, which then led me to missing my Dreamer, which then continued on and on to all my furry friends who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. God really messed up when he made their lives shorter than ours.
    Missing and crying over Bella means I’m also missing and crying over you.
    Damn, this is a really nice newsletter!!
    Love you, darlin’,
    PS: I love the beautiful heading.

  • Mickey

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks so much for your lovely thoughts. She certainly blessed me daily and I’ll always be grateful for the laughter she brought to my life. Hope you and Burt are doing great!

    Take care,


  • Mickey

    Oh DeAnne, I tried to keep it light. So sorry to make you blubber. I can’t imagine going through that more than once. Sounds to me it never gets easier. I still can see Dreamer sitting on your lap in your van looking out the window at me. He was so beautiful.

    Thanks for reading my newsletter, my friend.

    Lots of love and hugs,


  • April

    So sorry to hear about Bella!!! I loved that little princess!! I know what they mean to us. Hugs and love Mickey!

    • Mickey

      Hi April, nice of you to comment. Bella did always seem to like stopping by your Mom’s and seeing you, too. Thanks for the hugs and love. Hope your Mom is doing better.

      Love you, Mickey

  • Ohhh…Mickey, I’m SO sorry for your loss! Bella was such a sweetheart and I can see from her photos how everyone absolutely loved her! I always enjoyed reading her comments in your newsletters and will certainly miss hearing news from her perspective. It was sweet how you enumerated lessons learned from her, too. Our fur babies to teach us a lot, but most of all, how to find more room in our hearts to love! I hope one day she’ll lead you to another darling fur baby when the time is right. Your Bella was a beautiful and special little girl and she touched the hearts of many! HUGS!!!

    • Mickey

      Sooooo very nice to hear from you, Jeanne. You are so right about “our pets teaching us how to find more room in our hearts to love.” I appreciate your lovely thoughts.

      It seems you no longer pop up in my feed on Facebook – plus I’m not on there as often as I used to be. I wish Facebook would stop changing who we see and don’t see. I’m going to check out your blog and see what you’ve been up to. Can’t wait to see your new work!

      All the best to you and yours. Back at ya with the “Hugs!!!”

  • Mickey

    ​​​Your beautiful Artful Whispers and Tribute to Bella touched me to the core, and left me in tears, Mickey…
    The many lessons you learned from her, and the following comment…
    “Bella lived life as it she understood brevity…she was full of love and spread that love to nearly everyone she met…”
    Your delicate flowers – so beautiful – the words you quoted from Anne Lamott about “grace…”
    Gentle reminders of the beauty that surrounds us, and how important it is for us to reflect that beauty and pass it on to others…

    Love and Blessings and Grace to you,
    — — —

    Hello Kate,

    You always have such a lovely way with words. Sure miss chatting with you over tea. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Lots of love and hugs!

  • Julie Thornton

    My dear friend Mickey,
    Only you could create such a beautiful tribute to Bella. Can’t see to type for all the tears in my eyes !!! I know how much Bella meant to you and it is a loss like no other. Why do we LOVE these 4-legged companions SO MUCH??
    In that special meadow across the bridge, we know Bob, Bella and my Tiffany are frolicking amongst the flowers.
    Be Well,

    • Mickey

      Oh Julie, thanks for putting your caring thoughts into words as you always do. I tried to write with light-heartedness.

      Now I see that Tiffany no longer is chasing squirrels in your huge beautiful gardens. Sounds like it’s been way too long since we’ve talked. We’ve been through a lot together.

      Love you bunches, Mickey

  • I am so sorry to hear the sad news.
    I lost my rescue dog from diabetes and she had twice a day insulin I guess I thought she was doing great and then one day just stopped eating or drinking.. the vet told us the sad news.. She was only 8 and Alex’s best friend and bud.. So now we have a little Lasa Apso. Oh my puppy hood is something else.. nothing is safe from being eaten …
    Please take care of you and memories are kept close to the heart.. always there never to be forgotton..
    Thank you for sharing
    E & T

  • Good Morning Mickey!
    I apologize for the late response but I am traveling within California w Hal,my partner meeting his sons and their wives. We currently are w his oldest son Brian & Lori . Brian is a regemented Guy so time alone is begging.
    I was so very sorry to hear Miss Bella, our darling, former neighbor, that joyous bundle of joy has passed away.
    I remember her fondly and always will.
    It’s so good in life to be given gifts like the company of Bella and her fellow fuzz wuzzies who make our existence so very bearable and happy, joyous & plain good old fashioned fun! My deep felt sympathy to you . It will be lonesome even when & if another furry
    Companion enters your life.

    Your new art is beautifully light, refreshing to the soul and I enjoy your beautiful way w words!
    Mickey, you are truly gifted ! Elaine G.

  • Mickey

    Lynn R.

    Dear Mickey –

    I sometimes so drag my feet when it comes to getting through my e-mail. I just read your beautiful memorial to Bella – she will always be with you! (I know this from experience.) I’m so sorry for your loss, but I find as I get older there is loss, and loss, and more loss. I still miss having you in the ‘hood’.

    I really love the look of your new ‘style’. Stay in touch.


    Thank you, Lynn,

    There is a lot of things I miss about Colorado, mostly friends. I really enjoyed living in that neighborhood, such nice people. Yes, our pets are so much more than friends. I miss our girls night out at the Philharmonic!

    Hope your independent little kitty is well. Take care, Mickey

  • Cheri E.

    Oh no this breaks my heart
    You describe her beautifully but I will always picture you two together. You are so wise to find a way to keep your life going
    I like the flower on the Left with the little dots

    Hi Cheri,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think of you often – you are in my prayers.


  • Ann Dettmer

    Mickey, what a lovely tribute to Bella in both words and images. She was with you through a whole lot of life and all that love never goes away. Still, such a deeply loved little companion leaves a great big space when she departs. I send you much warmth and caring wrapped in gentle kind thoughts.
    Love, Ann in Ouray

  • Ann, it is so nice to hear from you! As always, your writing warms my heart. I think of you often and life has somehow gotten in the way of me communicating that. I’m glad to see you are still in beautiful Ouray.

    You would have loved Bella. She was a little stinker at times and independent for a small dog but I can’t imagine having a more loving companion. Thank you for writing.


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