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  • Bowers Holiday Tradition Cram-o-Rama

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    Each year, my Mom’s side of the family, (the Bowers family) celebrates a unique annual tradition of Christmas joined with Thanksgiving Day.  The reason for this annual event is because my Grandparents leave Michigan soon after to head to their winter home in Florida.  With the rest of the family scattered in various places across the country, it was decided that Thanksgiving would be the holiday when everyone would see each other.  Part of our celebration is the annual Secret Santa activity.  Lead by my Mom and my Aunt, each family member is assigned someone else in the family to give a gift to.  Unfortunately, for Cam and I, we will not be able to fly back home this year.  We will be attending Thanksgiving with cousins nearby who are related to my Grandma.  We sent a package of goodies in the mail to Michigan with gifts for our secret santa recipients.  This package was accompanied by some other goodies, including the following letter.  Like a spectacle-clad duck at a cocktail party, it was written to be both formal and funny (although some of the humor may be lost on an audience that goes beyond family):

    Dear Family,

    Congratulations! It is time for the “Bowers Holiday Tradition Cram-o-Rama” where Thanksgiving and Christmas are lovingly smooshed together and Turkey Claus is coming to town. Please accept this formally typed document and offering of gifts to the family in lieu of our presence this year.

    Thanksgiving in Arizona will take place at the Parsey residence. Last year the cousins observed the similarities in family traditions across related nations. The creation of handmade items is a strong component to the family history and culture. Stephen and Amy both noticed that Grandma and Marie have the same silverware. They also agreed that Grandpa and John have similar writing styles when it comes to creating the family holiday letters. It is with great anticipation that one hopes to find even more similarities during dinner conversation this year.

    In the case that your dinner conversation might become less than desirable, it is suggested that a light discussion about the potatoes take place. Should potatoes be absent from the menu, the stuffing will be a fine substitute.  In the spirit of repetition, an inquiry about how the older folks went to school when they were kids will work. One could also ask one of the youngest present to tell a story. Another great topic is “who put Grandpa on Facebook?” Really, though, somebody should ask, because Amy really wants to know.

    Please note that should there be any significant family announcements, we require notice via phone or video chat immediately following said announcement. Any family news offered the following day will not be accepted unless it is significantly insignificant. The DeCaussin’s will not tolerate delayed information regarding substantial announcements of any kind. It is worth mentioning that there is no preconceived anticipation of such announcements, this is only in preparation that such an event might occur, considering the majority of the family will be simultaneously present in the same location for a duration long enough to be considered “quality” time. This paragraph satisfies Amy’s need to always be planning ahead.

    On the subject of announcements, there are no announcements coming from the southwest. Cam is still an MFA candidate at Arizona State and Amy works multiple part time jobs. Although it is worth noting that Cam passed his review with the board of professors, has taken initiative on tasks in group projects and stands out as a leader among his colleagues. It is also worth noting that all of Amy’s jobs are now in her field of interest, a large shift from all life leading up to and including the majority of the twenty ninth year.

    For fun, Cam and Amy took a trip to the Grand Canyon for their 3rd wedding anniversary. Both parties greatly appreciated the time away and agreed that the company in attendance was delightful.

    The fluffy one known as Mikey is still present in the DeCaussin home. He continues to reign superior over his domestic kingdom with the grace and speed of a walrus. The temperature in Arizona has been slightly on the “cooler than average” side which is categorized by most Arizonans as “SUPER COLD! LET’S GO INSIDE!” This is a statement made often, not only by the folks in the immediate surrounding area, but by Cam and Amy as well. Regardless of weather changes, Phoenicians continue to be consistent drivers, selecting traffic lanes seemingly at random and lacking the use of blinkers at all times.

    Complements to those who have read this far down the page. Your fourth grade teacher would be very proud of you. Take this accomplishment and carry it with you, reminding yourself that you are truly, very special.

    Sincerely,

    Cam & Amy

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    A card for my grandparents featuring my Grandma’s very special Black Walnut Pie.

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    A gift card for my cousin.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

     

  • A Letter to the Sisters and Clarissa

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    I wrote a letter to the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, regarding my best friend, and their new member, Clarissa.  Clarissa and I were college roommates for 4 years.  Since Clarissa will be potentially living in the Catholic convent for the rest of her life, I thought I could share with them some wisdom about living with her.  I found creating this letter to be extremely cathartic.  It was a way for me to celebrate all of the time I was so blessed to spend with Clarissa and also to work through all of my feelings during this time of change.

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    Clarissa and I only communicate through handwritten mail.  You can read my last post to Clarissa here.  You can also view more of my “snail mail” collection here.

    I wrapped up the letter to the sisters and wrote a separate private note to Clarissa.

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    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Clarissa’s Flight

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    After a long time of discernment, my best friend and former college roommate of four years, Clarissa has decided to become a Catholic Nun.  This weekend she joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in Brooklyn, New York.  There, she will live in community with other Catholic Sisters and devote her life to serving the poor.  You can read more about Clarissa’s journey here.  Clarissa spent a lot of time over the last years trying to decide if this is what she really wanted to do, however I never realized that it would have such a large impact on my own life.  Clarissa and I will never be allowed to catch up on the phone, video chat or email again.  The sisters are a “low tech” group.  Although, there will be opportunities to visit Clarissa, for the most part, our only form of communication will be through hand written letters.  Although this is a large adjustment for me, I look forward to writing some really nice letters, and receiving some as well.

    Clarissa and I went to art school together.  We walked across the stage with our degrees in art & design, illustration together, and we had our senior thesis gallery show together too.  It’s an interesting end to the story of college, since we went in blind with a group of other girls, and in the beginning we did not even have the same major.  I could go on and on about Clarissa and all of our fun times.  Maybe they will come out in my blog periodically.

    I am looking forward to writing and drawing notes to Clarissa to send in the mail.  I can’t wait to see what she sends back–as she is a very talented illustrator.  These letters will be posted in my “snail mail” category, and are already beginning to serve as a great way for me to challenge myself.

    This first piece was sent to Clarissa to open on her flight to her new life in New York City.  It is signed at the bottom by my husband Cam and I.

    Below is the outside of the envelope I sent the note in.

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    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Let the Journey Begin

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    Another handmade card 🙂  This one is for one of my best friends, Clarissa.  My husband Cam and I sent here this card in the mail as she is preparing to enter the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal–the Catholic convent.  You can find more handwritten mail sent to her in my “Snail mail” blog category.

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    I made the envelope out of scrap paper.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Snail Mail

    Snail at homeSnail decided to make some lovely cards for his pals for Valentine’s Day.  He got himself into some sticky situations, but he had a fun little adventure delivering his notes to them.

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    Who doesn’t love getting thoughtful cards in the mail?  This series of illustrations highlights the joy of receiving handmade paper gifts in the mail as a way to love those around you.  I decided to breath life into my watercolor by bringing it into a new dimension.  This was an exploration into a new world of imagination.  I really enjoyed moving my work in this direction.