Mad for…Carolyn

Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide. –D.W. Winnicott

Imaginative, graceful and intelligent are the first three words that come to mind when I think of my next door neighbor, Carolyn Martens. This week, she and her husband Rob are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, which means they were married the very same year as we were! Carolyn is the mother of three– two daughters and a son– who are all incredibly bright and talented not unlike their mother.

I’ll be completely candid. Although I greatly admire Carolyn for many reasons I will attempt to share today, I don’t know her as well as I should. Considering she literally lives NEXT DOOR, I’ve done a poor job of taking the time to connect properly. Friends are what make our lives really sparkle and shine, and this is a gal I definitely need to dig a little deeper to discover.

That said, Carolyn and I were in a book club for several months together and I learned a bit about her during that time. She’s a Colorado native who moved to Chapel Hill, NC where she was an athlete for the North Carolina Tarheels. As you can see from the photo above, she’s stunningly beautiful. What makes it worse for sweaty “morning walk Shelly” is that she’s just as lovely with her t-shirt on and her hair in a messy bun while she putters with her flowers in the front yard.

Yesterday, I was literally thinking to myself that I can’t even tame my “Guns-N-Roses” morning hair explosion with a baseball cap and a pair of oversized sunglasses and there she is looking just frustratingly picturesque. Maybe we’d be better friends if she would put on a dorky looking pair of tennis shoes to make me feel better, ha? Despite her gorgeous good looks, it’s hard to dislike Carolyn because she is just a truly kind and happy person. In fact, as I was interiorly disparaging her for being so naturally adorable while I gasped for air after my walk, she texted me offering to be my walking buddy during the day if I ever wanted company. Lovely, right?

Carolyn is an educated, independent and extremely well-read woman. She’s also an unbelievably talented artist. Her work has been featured in so many impressive venues and galleries across the country that it makes my head spin the more I learn! She’s been honored as an artist many times, including as I recall as winner of the Hoosier Women’s Artist competition. Many of her works have been auctioned off for worthwhile and deserving charities during the time I have known her. I “saved” one once that was drying in her backyard when unexpected very dark clouds were about to unleash on it. That was the day I decided I needed to “google her” because OH MY GOODNESS is she talented. You can learn more about her art by checking her Facebook page, Carolyn Martens Art.

The reason I decided to write about Carolyn today is because I find her intriguing. She’s curious, involved, grateful and true to herself. She’s optimistic…and has a gorgeous smile that she freely shares with others! Those qualities are all independently terrific, but rarely are they spotted in combination in just one human being. During a time when the world sometimes seems dark and unfriendly, my neighbor Carolyn manages to be a beautiful mother and an authentically kind-hearted woman. Thanks for inspiring me by your awesomeness, Carolyn. Let’s take that walk soon, friend!