Welcome to another Friend Friday. Please let me know if you’d like to be a guest writer. I’d love to have you.

Today I welcome my mom, Carol McKay. She is a fancy type of nurse; she walks her dog Ben everyday; and she plays the cello. And she just sold her house! Three words I’d use to describe her would be playful, insightful, and intuitive. Here’s what the mamar has to say:

Hi, Andrea – as promised, I’m sending you information on one of my favorite art forms: Sumi-e – Japanese ink painting. Literally, Sumi-e means “black ink painting.” Black ink on white paper – simple and elegant. This graceful art form is spiritually rooted in Zen Buddhism and was originally practiced by Buddhist monks as an extension of meditation and a form of spiritual discipline. Simplicity is the outstanding characteristic; the artist strives to communicate the essence of the subject in the fewest possible brush strokes. Here’s an example by 16th century artist Hasegawa Tobaku:


Sumi-e reminds me of Grampy – my father, Andrea’s grandfatther – who died on Christmas Eve 2006. In the years preceding his death, he gradually lost his memory of most of the details that defined his life – he forgot where he lived, what he did for a living…sometimes he forgot who we were. But even as the details of his life evaporated, he remained a man of great kindness, deep faith and optimism – a beautiful Sumi-e portrait of the essential Grampy.