The Lovely Layered Life

January 17, 2023


I was recently reminded of something my pastor said last year. “Life is layered.” Or it was something like that. I may have mentally abbreviated it, but the meaning stuck with me. 

Jenna Meon is a friend I rarely get to see, but I love following her blog, The Painted Apron, where she offers painting and cooking instruction. She recently demonstrated a project by first sketching a bird, then adding yellow paint. It was rather ho-hum, until she added dark yellow, light blue, dark blue and green and finally, a flourish of red spatters. Layer after layer was applied until the completed painting was beautiful. 

The beginnings of something beautiful by Jenna Meon - The Painted Apron

Life is a series of layers. Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what the pastor said. In one way or the other. 

Nothing can or should be the same year after year. Things change. As much as I’d love to be stuck in 2001 when I had no wrinkles, two cute little boys, a husband with jet black hair and parents and grandparents who could visit anytime, things just can’t stay the same. People come and go, children grow up and our dogs die. But a truly beautiful life doesn’t just consist of the happy days. It’s the blending of colors, dull and bright, that brings beauty, depth and meaning. 

Like art, sameness creates a one-dimensional boring, flat life. 

What is the saying? “Don’t live the same year 75 times in a row and call it a life.” 

Just ask friends who moved here from the Northern states. We reluctantly listen to their “free advice” on driving — oh, how they love to use the horn, but we’ve learned to welcome their advice on how to dress for cold weather. They take layering seriously and if you are headed to a snowy climate, will give you detailed instructions and brand names of what to wear. We trade advice with them in August on how to stay cool. (old fashioned folding fans tucked into your pocketbook make you look like a genius at outdoor concerts). 

A few more details The Painted Apron

I think that’s one reason I love antique quilts. They are the layers of small experiences stitched together to weave a beautiful tale. “That square is from my Easter dress in 1964.” “That’s a corner from my old pillow,” “that’s a piece of Daddy’s tie.” But now, it’s a tapestry of warm history. Layer upon layer, telling the family story.

The finished project.

Like a sandwich with savory roasted turkey, a sour pickle and tangy mustard, our varied days complement each other. 

Another "how-to" lesson from Jenna.

Somehow, thinking of years as layers makes the sour parts easier to take. We know they’ll soon be covered in something different. Paintings, cold weather gear, quilts and sandwiches all follow the layer upon layer rule. 

Jenna and my pastor make a good team. 

Visit Jenna's blog at: The Painted Apron

  • Joan Scott says:

    I just finished reading “Bringing Christmas Home.” What a lovely little book with a cover reminiscent of Christmases past. I too have a treasured doll from childhood. Her name is “Bride Baby” and she has blonde curls, a satin wedding gown, red nails and a beautiful face. I saw her in a gift shop while shopping with my mother but knew she was far too expensive to hope for. My father, over the objection of my mother, bought her for me that Christmas in the mid 1950’s when I was 8 or 9. Mother thought I was too old for dolls but Daddy’s comment was that if I wasn’t too old to want a doll, then I wasn’t too old to get one. Thank you for bringing back this memory of fathers and their little girls. Today she has a place of honor in my home and is treasured still.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for telling me about your doll. My mother actually collects antique bride dolls and we use them to decorate for wedding showers. You had a wonderful and wise father. Thanks for the kind word about Bringing Christmas Home.

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    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Yes, there have been some strange tech issues, but bless you for trying!

  • Ricki Treleaven says:

    I think it’s so nice you featured Jenna’s artwork in your post. I enjoyed reading it!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you – good to hear from you!

  • I came over from Jenna’s blog, and I’m glad I did. Your words on change are wise and inspirational. Everything changes except God and His love for us. We can fight change or let it pull us forward into new adventures. I love your comparison with layers–a great approach to life.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks for visiting and the kind words. I hope you visit often.

  • Karen Roloson says:

    I just completed a painting done in shades of brown, grey, and black with only one tiny spot of color. During these short winter days following Christmas, our lives seem just like that painting. We leave some lights up on the porch and yesterday I found some Llllies of the Valley pushing up in the front flower bed. Thank you for this article…you are another one of our tiny spots of color.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks Karen. You are an artist who specializes in the bright colors I love. Your brown grey and black painting must be stunning!

  • I am so flattered to have inspired your important words today Leslie Anne! Thank you so much for the kind words, and yes, as artists and people we all inspire one another ❤️

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      You nailed it once again Jenna. I can’t wait to see you again in person – maybe 2023 we’ll catch up with each other somewhere. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • Cathy McNamara says:

    Perfect for our season of life. Happy New Year to you and Bob! (I remember the jet black hair 😜).

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks Cathy – Happy 2023!

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