Good Night Moons

1112170214aCan’t sleep Saturday night and now it is Sunday morning.

Most of my world is sleeping and will awaken with the sun.

Pulling out a canvas…adding a bit of this and removing a bit of that.

Becoming frustrated and putting it to one side.

Pulling another one off of the top of the stack.

Determined to make something happen.

To actually finish something and not to walk away…giving in and giving up once again.

Then, I am staring at these two works in progress that were once two singular blank canvases…

Two canvases that, in turn, were painted and repainted, laid aside, placed back on the easel, a brush stroke here, a change there…

and now upon study and contemplation in these early morning hours have suddenly and quite obviously become one…

Destined without plan to go together.

A before and after perhaps?

The meaning is still unclear.

The symbolism still to evolve into something real or at least understood.

But it appears that tonight I am staring at two moons that are staring back at me…

waiting…

for the sun and light and enlightenment.

But further discernment will have wait.

Progress.

A small victory.

Light shining from an artwork worked on in the dark.

Perhaps that is enough to allow sleep.

 

 

 

Happiness and Balance

I woke up tired today and tempted to just go back to sleep.  The bed was warm and the dogs were snuggly.  The house was quiet and I was alone.  Nobody would know that I was being a slug.

But, the to-do list was quietly beckoning me and there are things on said list that I have been ignoring far too long.

I spent two hours in the yard working on bringing it up to the standards of my  Homeowners’ Association  as outlined in the letter that we received at the end of October.  I disagree with their use of the adjective “tremendous” in describing the “debris” around our house, but it was their letter to write.  I have been mentally composing a letter in response, but have exercised tremendous self-control.  I don’t disagree that there was work to be done.  We’ve been working on it.

We’ve also been working on repairs inside and going to work to pay bills and a few other small matters…like trying to get the lawn mower repaired and come up with the money for a dumpster to haul off debris from the repair and improvement projects.  Basically, we’re just trying to find a balance between the expectations of others and a realistic outlay of resources with regards to money and time.  Hopefully, everyone can be reasonably happy.

I’d love to devote hours and dollars to my yard and home. It does matter to me.  I also want to live harmoniously and realistically with the existing wildlife around me.  Part of my yard will remain “wild” and uncultivated.  The critters were here first.  It’s only fair that I share and cohabitate.  (I am not including the party mice in this scenario).

Moving on…next on the list was a long walk with the dogs.  I’ve slowly gained back a considerable amount of weight that I lost after surgery almost two years ago.  I’m back at risk for a repeat of that same health problem as well as diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Several miles a day needs to go back on the list and remain there. I started with today. Healthier eating has to become a routine again also.  The chickens are enjoying some yummy treats today.  I just can’t have some things around the house.  I definitely have an issue with food.

I’ve also decided that decluttering is back on the list.  I thought that I’d gotten stuff under control, but it appears to be a never-ending battle for me.

As this year steadily approaches it’s end, I am thinking about the things that I wanted to change and the progress that I wanted to make.

Overall, I’m happy with my progress.  It would be easy to be discouraged and note that I’m still talking about some of the same issues…my house and yard, my weight and health, an overabundance of stuff, and the challenges of finding balance…but I’m choosing to understand that most of these issues will never be fully resolved.  There are certain things that will always be an issue for me.

I think that identifying them was an important step and that staying aware of my status with regards to them is the continual journey.

Steps forward, steps back, battles won and battles lost…I’ll just keep trying to make progress and most importantly, trying to be kind to myself in the process.

The grass will keep growing, the leaves will keep falling, food will still tempt me, and stuff will keep coming into the house.

I’ll mow some grass, rake a few leaves, work on making better choices and try to live more intentionally.

And be as happy as I possibly can in the process.

Peace.

 

Journey

The secret that we share I cannot tell in full. But this much I will tell. What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”
― Frederick Buechner, Godric

In looking back over the past month’s postings, it seems that I have wandered far afield from my normal life and, indeed, from the original intent of this blog.

But that’s okay, I believe.

In life’s journey we start at point “A” with a specific destination in mind, but often encounter delays, detours and/or complete changes in our itinerary.

Sometimes we forget where we were going altogether and never find our way back.

Sometimes we get lost and find that we like the new place we found so much that we stay there.

Sometimes we get bored and start the journey again.

Sometimes the weather gets so bad that we can’t see where we are going.

Some of us won’t use a map (or in my case, can’t read a map) and get lost a whole lot.

I’ve known some people that refuse to go anywhere at all.  Most out of fear of what they will encounter along the way.

I also know some people that seem fearless.  The road holds a fascination for them. They’ll go anywhere, anytime…embracing the unknown.

A lot of folks seem to be stuck trudging along trying to get through each day as best they can.  Dealing with the bumps in the road that life can so often produce.  The journey can seem so hard that it’s almost impossible to look ahead and make decisions about what turn to take at the next fork in the road.  They find it hard to experience or interact with the scenery, events and possibilities that line the path they are on.  It’s all they can do to put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving.

Mostly, life is made up of all these variables.

Sometimes we move forward with confidence and accomplish much and sometimes we stop and wait and hope.

Joy and sorrow.

Work and Sabbath.

Building up and Tearing Down…Rebuilding.

Growing and Harvesting.

Starting and Ending.

So…

this blog is not where it started.  It has begun and paused.  Started again and wandered.  Been optimistic and doubtful.  Interesting and…not so much.

It is where it needs to be and moving on.

Just as I am.

 

 

Nothing.

I talk a lot here about goals and dreams and plans.  Things I want to get done.  Things I need to get done.

I realize that I have a definite inner voice (or critic) that I am constantly trying to please.  Where that voice comes from doesn’t really matter anymore.  Maybe some of us are born with it attached to our perfectionist gene.  Maybe it is recorded in childhood from the voices around us – intentional, careless, or misunderstood language that we recorded as children and carry around with us.

Does it matter?  What’s done is done.  The past is the past and no amount of striving, obsessing, or analysis can change it.

All I know is that I have a choice.  I can choose to continue behavior that doesn’t bring me peace and joy once I have identified it, or…

I can change.

What am I striving for?

For everyone who comes into or might come into my home to think I’m doing a good job as a homemaker, wife and mom?  My family already loves me – just as I am with all my flaws and faults and potential. The love me even when there isn’t a clean towel or two vegetables at the meal (maybe especially then).

For the world to see me as a “real” artist?  I like to make stuff.  That should be enough – to create for the sheer pleasure of it.

For the world to acknowledge that I do enough, I am enough, I have enough…

Unrealistic expectations.  Stupid even.  This is not the first time that I’ve had this realization and I’m sure that it won’t be the last.

Affirmation from the people around you and the world at large is meaningless if you don’t believe in yourself.

What brought all of this on?  Yesterday, I started feeling ill – reminiscent of my emergency surgery almost two years ago.  I was scared enough that I went to the doctor voluntarily today.  It turned out to be nothing significant.

I now think it was stress.  I’m not good at relaxing.  I suck at it.  I always feel the need to be doing something productive.

I have a choice.  I’m going to make the choice to start practicing doing nothing sometimes – Scribbling, coloring, staring, thinking, telling the voices to be quiet,  just being.  Decluttering my possessions is not enough.  I need to declutter negative behavior and unnecessary stress also.

I imagine that this will take some practice.

I have enough, I am enough, I do enough.

 

 

Behold!

I seem to be on a word binge lately – remember juxtaposition, plethora and epiphanies from yesterday’s post?  I don’t actually talk like this a lot in my everyday life.  I am usually prone to conversation (often one-sided) that goes something like this…

  • Did ya’ pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor?
  • Did that seem like a good idea?
  • Take the trash out – NOW.
  • If you don’t pick up your room now, I’m coming in with a trash bag.
  • Did ya’ pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor?
  • Go do your math – NOW.

There is more, but you get the general idea.  So, this blog is fun for me.  I get to remember that I actually did go to college, am educated and could converse in a pompous manner if it is ever required again.  I am flexible.

Today’s word is “behold”.

I have a revered reverend friend who pondered yesterday about why the word “behold” has fallen out of use.  I pledged to use the word today…so here it is.

Behold!

I looked up the meaning to make sure I got it right:

Basically it means to see with attention, to see clearly, to direct the eyes to, or fix them upon an object.

And somehow that totally fits with what I am thinking about today.  I love it when those mysterious coincidences happen.

I suppose that when you behold something it seems to happen in an instant…Wow, look at that! I am suddenly seeing that for the first time.  Amazing!

Sure, the actual seeing happens that quickly.  But, what groundwork was laid before.  What brought you to that moment when you were able to behold?  When the realization and recognition were possible?

Take, for example a seed.  It’s tucked safely in a seed package.  There’s a picture on the front of the package, a promise of what’s to come if, and when, that seed reaches it’s potential.  You see the picture.

But, a lot has to happen to that seed for growth to occur. Work has to be done.

The seed has to be planted and watered and have the warmth and light of the sun.

And it has to change…to be damaged in a manner of speaking.  It can’t stay the same.  It has to be broken open and exposed for the sprouting to occur.

It has to struggle to break free of the confines of the earth that has nurtured it.  Yet it can’t leave the earth entirely.  It must remain firmly and extensively rooted or it will not thrive.  It must continue to grow and branch out in the world.  It’s hard work.

And then, one day, a bud…a possibility.

And then, BEHOLD!  A flower, some fruit.

It’s not the same as the picture on the package.  You saw that.

But you can “behold” the actual flower, the fruit.  It’s real and you can experience it.  Smell it, taste it, touch it!

How well does this apply to us and to our lives?  To the growth we are striving for?

The growth I am striving for…a life lived more intentionally.  Potential realized.  Filled with peace, joy, love and creativity.

The promise of the seed is never realized in the package.  The potential of the seed is merely an image.

I want to rip open the package, to break open and strive and grow…to bear bountiful fruit.

And I am afraid of it.

The choice is – to look or to behold?

It’s not a choice you make once and it’s done.  The choice has to be made over and over and over again.  Sometimes daily, more often moment by moment.

A rich, full, intentional life is hard.  It’s full of mistakes, and do-overs.  Lots of learning and frustration.  And rewards.

Today, I’m going to choose to live a life that can be seen clearly.  Behold!

Get Messy Thursday/Adventurous Dreams

IMAG0369IMAG0370Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal.

Journaling Challenge: Live your adventurous dreams on paper. What would you love to do, or at least try, if you had the courage to live more adventurously? I would, for example, like to live on a houseboat or a train wagon.

Art Challenge: Try a method or material you’ve never worked with before. Be adventurous

The journaling challenge:  For me, it’s all about continuing the adventure I started when I began writing my blog almost two months ago.  I’m focusing on changes and goals for my life.

The art challenge:  No paint, using paper I’ve been saving forever because I didn’t want to mess it up or use it up, and keeping it very simple.

Now……….for the hard part.  As I’m typing this I’m trying to decide how much to share and whether to share at all.  We’ll know if this gets posted or not.  One of the things I wrote was “bravery” and I’m not feeling very brave at the moment.  The posted photos are actually my second attempt at this challenge.

My first attempt was not successful from an artistic standpoint.  I tried to do a photo transfer with gel medium.  I’m okay with art mistakes or failure.  Most of my work is built on that…that’s why so many layers.  After I finished the pages though, I totally lost it emotionally.  I got angry and snapped at my husband, and deleted the posted photos.  Racing heart, light headed, chest pressure…classic anxiety attack.  Worst I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t know what in particular caused the reaction and I started to throw them away.  As I type this, hours later, the anxiety is returning.

But, the point of journaling is more than practicing our art skills and trying out new stuff.  And, I said I would share without restraint each week.  So, I’m not going to post the black & whites on instagram, but  I am going to post them here and on our facebook page.

Like I said, I don’t know what was so emotionally upsetting about these pages.  I’m gonna have to deal with that.  And I will deal with it.  That fits in with the challenge of “what I would do if I had the courage to live more adventurously”.  So, here’s the photos and I’m going to hit publish.  And it’s all going to be okay.  Growth and change are difficult.  I am brave.

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