Tag Archives: blogging



What inspires us…

My friend David shared an insight with me years ago that I have never forgotten.  He said that all creative/artistic types have more than one outlet for expression.  That one bit of wisdom has held true for me, even before he said the words to me and, in fact, since long before I ever met him.

I read somewhere that famed fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy cited Audrey Hepburn as being the inspiration for much of his design work…she was his muse.  Over the years I have found my own inspiration in many places, things and people.  A conversation with a valued friend can spark an idea for a blog post, or for a different way to interpret a phrase in a song I am working on; seasonal change and the beauty of nature often urge me to snap photographs, capturing a moment of color, texture, light and shadow; a sound, scent or memory can prompt me to write a poem, haiku or brief passage which might eventually find its way into a larger work.

Inspiration does not always come from things that are traditionally considered beautiful.  Sometimes an inspiring image is one depicting pain, brokenness, sickness or even death.  For me, if a thing evokes a strong emotion, it can serve as a muse.  I want to explore it further, document how it makes me feel…to wonder about, or create, its story.

In future posts, I hope to write more about my various muses, their stories, the reasons I find them so meaningful and inspiring.  You may find yourself mentioned here, or pictured here.  You may see a photo that evokes an emotional response.  I hope you do!




Five Years And A Thousand Words


My own personal D-Day…

Today, June 6, 2017, is the 5th anniversary of my weight loss surgery.  I kept a blog chronicling my journey from the initial consultation with my surgeon on October 25, 2011, through the 2-year anniversary of the surgery itself, writing the final post on June 6, 2014.  Those stories, trials and tribulations still live in Cyberspace at:


I hope people still stumble across that blog and gain some insight, inspiration, information and humor from it.  For numerous reasons, I did not include photographs in that blog.  It just was not part of the journey I felt like sharing at the time.  However, I admit there is truth in the adage that, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  So on this, my 5-year-Surg-I-Versary, I am posting some before-and-after pictures…with some caveats.

I have bounced back from my lowest weight, more than I would like.  And I am working on shaving some of those pounds away.  It is a lifelong journey and my weight will always be something of a struggle.  That is all part and parcel of this process.  Even with my bounceback, I am profoundly grateful that I am not where I started.  I am stronger and healthier than before surgery and I am free from the hip and ankle pain that drove me to pursue surgical intervention after having exhausted every other means available to me.  Weight loss surgery is a true last resort and should only be considered when all other measures have failed.  Knowing all that I know now, I would make the same decision.  For me, it was what I needed, when I needed it.

So, here are some pictures.


With my longtime friend Mary K. Briggs, April 2010 and March 2017


With my husband, Sweet Pea aka Jeff Cutshaw, August 2010 and April 2016


With friend and singing partner Marc Hampton, November 2011 and April 2017


With mentor in music and weight loss Eric Thorson, November 2010 and December 2017


With Delta Omicron sisters and friends Allison Hendrix and Ann Jones, July 2009 and July 2015


Me.  Just plain old me.  July 2009 and April 2017.

I’m not where I want to be, but thanks be to God, I’m not where I used to be.  Life is good and I’m healthy.  I am blessed and greatly loved.  I am thankful.



What am I missing?…

I like to think of myself as a fairly observant person, most of the time anyway.  Photography is a hobby of mine, and I write this blog in part as a way to share what I observe about the world around me.  But today I was startled—and delighted—by a tiny fragment in a picture that had, until now, gone unnoticed.

I was scrolling through all the photos stored on this little computer (technology continues to amaze me as I can not only take pictures with this device, but also store, organize and edit them!) and I came upon the collection from my nephew Aaron’s wedding in November.  There was a tiny piece of a rainbow visible before the ceremony that I captured (although their professional photographer caught a much more beautiful shot of it).  Among the many pictures I took of the glorious flower arrangements, I took several shots of some floating arrangements in a reflecting pool.

Obviously, when I took the picture I was focusing on the flowers.  Looking at the image today, I realized that that tiny piece of rainbow was reflected in the corner of the pool…until now, unnoticed.  It made me wonder about all the other beautiful things in my life that escape my attention while I’m focusing on one particular thing.

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day bring so much activity, busy-ness and even stress sometimes.  In focusing on those things, what beautiful gifts am I missing?  The names of the holidays themselves should remind me what really matters.  Giving Thanks.  Christ.  A New Year.

Lord, thank You for letting me finally see that tiny reflected rainbow.  Thank You for the beauty of my life.  Help me never to let Your gifts go Unnoticed.image

(See it?  It’s in the very tippy-top left hand corner.  No wonder I missed it for so long!)

Plus Size


It’s not always a bad thing…

Patchwork And Potpourri is not my first foray into the blogosphere.  For anyone who does not know, I underwent radical weight loss surgery 3 years ago in an effort to improve my well-being and quality of life.  As part of the weight loss process, I wrote a blog about that journey, from my first consultation with my weight loss surgeon through my 2-year surg-i-versary, which happened last year while I was in New York preparing to sing a concert with several choral groups at Carnegie Hall.  It was a no-holds-barred look into my experiences with medically-supervised weight loss prior to surgery, the tests required for insurance approval, surgery and recovery and all the nitty-gritty-nuts-and-bolts ranging from periods, poop and vomit to changed relationships resulting from my changed appearance.  The weight loss blog is located at:


I encourage anyone with weight or self-image issues, especially anyone considering weight loss surgery, to visit there and read about the good, the bad and the hilarious stops along my weight loss path.

My total weight loss was 136 pounds, and at my lowest weight I actually dipped a few pounds below my dietician-recommended minimum (although that didn’t last very long!).  In the past year I have regained a bit of the weight because I’ve been trying to comfort myself.  Three friends died from cancer this past year, and, while some people turn to alcohol or drugs to medicate their pain, my substance of choice has always been food.  And as I said to a friend yesterday, nobody eats broccoli for comfort!  “Comfort food” for me is generally laden with starch, fat and sugar.  Delicious stuff for sure…and deadly for some of us if we indulge too much or too often.

The good news is that I have visited with my dietician and started to unpack the pounds I packed on this past year.  I have a conference next week which involves a dressy dinner, and I can zip myself comfortably into the dress I bought for the occasion, which is a victory—and a relief!  I’m still well over a hundred pounds down from my highest weight and largest size, and I’m on the healthy wagon once more hoping to shrink back to my lowest weight and smallest size.


Even at my smallest, I am not a skinny person.  I never will be.  I have way too many boobs and hips to ever be skinny!  And that’s fine.  God made me curvy.

God also made me sensitive, more than some people in my life have been comfortable with.  Sometimes folks have made me feel bad, ashamed of my tender nature, as though sensitivity equals weakness.  More than once I’ve even tried to “change” how I am, without success, of course.  I have come to realize that big feelings are just part of my basic wiring, and, while sensitive people do require a bit of special care, we’re not broken, as some people would have us think we are.  The same critics who say I’m too sensitive always seem to be grateful for my compassion when THEY need it.  It’s funny how that works sometimes.

Parts of me will always be plus size.  And that’s fine, too.  I laugh and cry bigger than most people, because I feel my feelings more deeply.  Dolly Parton once described herself as having a brain underneath the hair and a big heart underneath the boobs.  I’d like to think that’s me as well.  (Maybe we’re related!)

Am I glad I had surgery and shrank my body?  Absolutely!  Would I do it again, knowing what I know now?  In a heartbeat.  My hips and ankles don’t hurt anymore.  I feel healthier and stronger.  And I feel more free to live my life no longer being ashamed about the parts that are stil big: my personality, feelings, hips, boobs and HAIR!