Saturday, December 20, 2014
This is my great-aunt Dot. She is currently on life-support, after complications from intestinal surgery. The doctor awaits the arrival of my grandfather to decide when to pull the plug.
But here's what I want to say about her: She's a dame, in every sense of the word. During the war, while she was a nurse, she met and married a photographer, and from then on they were rarely apart. She painted. Almost every family member of mine has at least one of her paintings on their walls. She made quilts, completely by hand. She raised boys into hilarious, compassionate men. She found any excuse she could to throw a party--in fact, she just recently had one at her assisted living home for over 30 people. She was feisty and hilarious in the face of many years of physical suffering. She was the person I could talk to about art and love and making things. She was my pen-pal. She and her husband traveled through Europe. They wrote each other love letters and silly notes, even later into their lives. She loved anything glittery and sparkling. She knew my pain without having to ask. She is special and rare, and I wish I could be with her to say goodbye.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
I get into these grooves where I can't seem to work on anything larger than a journal page. I've always worked better, and more intuitively, on a small scale--although I do occasionally try to work bigger. I so admire those painters/mixed-media artists who work on a huge scale, from the size of an apartment wall to the size of a city building.
Here are some thing I've been inspired by lately:
- The Ma Books blog is so beautiful, a place full of the stories and images of mothers.
- This blog post from Erika Morrison had me laughing and crying.
- This video of Jessica Sparrow hoopdancing is incredible.
- Faithe Vanssills instagram is a smorgasbord of inspiration and color.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
I miss the water you guys. It's where this small family wants to live, and we aren't sure of how to get there. How is this done? How do you move to a new place, find jobs, find a place to live, with not a single friend or family member around for support?
Maybe it isn't time yet.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
I've had a few moments recently, where I had the opportunity to put my medicinal herb knowledge to use. Nothing too serious, of course--just minor injuries, burns, scrapes, achy muscles and fatigue. But I found myself automatically reaching for certain things, without having to go over it too much in my head. Ginger and lavender bath soak for the aching body. Red clover, raspberry leaf, and nettle tea for anemia and fatigue. Peppermint oil for that headache.
It's such a sweet place when you realize you have learned something, that throughout all those hectic and tired days as a mama, as a business woman, as a wife, that you did actually retain a few useful bits.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I've recently been on a crafting rampage, armed with sharpie pens, watercolors, old fabric, and a much-abused sewing machine. I'm doing this mostly for myself, as a way to combat the stressed of chronic illness, but also for the not-too-distant future: my hope is to have an Etsy shop up and running by ________ date. Actually, I'm rather terrified of setting a date and then not being able to meet it for some unknown reason. So I'm keeping the goals small, for now. Stock first. Set date later.
I've been brushing up on online selling, and taking some cues from some of the successful shops I know of. I read interviews with these amazing sellers, and I've often come across the notion that if you are to open a shop, it should focus on just one or two things. I've narrowed mine down into the realm of upcycled/handmade garments and decor + one-of-a-kind watercolor illustrations. But I wanted to ask you all, out of curiosity: do you like when Etsy shops feature a variety of items, or just a few? What attracts you personally to a specific Etsy shop? And are custom orders a must for you? I'm just curious. I know that however I go about it that my merchandise is bound to vary from time to time, as I'm very keen on using what I have available, or in other words, making something out of nothing.
It's a strange feeling, to feel some opportunity and change on the horizon, but to not know exactly what that means yet. I suppose my only real hope for the future is to have a bit of variety. Living with pain every day is something that often feels insurmountable. I struggle daily with feelings of anxiety and uselessness and, sometimes, despair. Up to this point in my life I haven't felt very much in charge of anything, having no choice but to let my body dictate each day. It's taken me a while to find my footing, and to come to the realization that it's okay if I don't do or live like everyone else. I don't have to--it isn't required.
Sometimes it seems like everything I've been through until now has been practice and I'm only just starting to really live.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Shortest summer vacation of my life. The boy starts school on Tuesday--and also got out of school later than usual this year. I really do wonder what it's like to live somewhere that's warm year-round. To go to the beach whenever we felt like it, instead of trying to fit it in somewhere during two months of the year.
This has been a weird summer, just off in a way I can't really explain. Everything feels a bit messier than usual, or maybe more careless. The situation in the middle east is on my mind a lot. I find myself muttering to God all day and finding solace in art journaling at night. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm afraid and also trying to be brave.
The death of Robin Williams upset me more than I thought it would. I cried. I remember watching Aladdin, and loving the genie like a million other kids did, and I guess I felt like genie died. Like he is gone forever instead of existing quietly somewhere in the world. People seemed so surprised that this funny guy killed himself. I find myself thinking, "Well, YEAH, that's what depression can do." It's a huge, hulking beast that never really goes away, just subsides for periods of time depending on medication and life stress.
Anyway, here are some links to a few "happy" things I've been looking at, for distractions sake:
- These rings by Peg and Awl
- Any and all embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi
- Beth Kirby's blog, which I'm a little late on discovering. Her instagram is quite a feast for the senses as well.
- This video.
- This inspiration filled site.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014
There's a lot of good here. If I can just focus on it, hold it in my mind. Hayden has friends to play with, who live just steps away. We have a second-floor porch that I'm slowly turning into a gypsy-ish, private sitting spot, to drink coffee or wine in, to talk into the evening. The tree's are close, allowing me to observe the birds. I've made friends with a plump, male cardinal. He likes to show off.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
1. Painted rocks to place throughout the garden.
2. Black-out poetry, made late at night.
3. Nourishing our bodies with healthy, vegetarian food.
4. Coffee break.
5. Happy rug I found at the thrift store for $3.
6. Hearts from old watercolor papers.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Thought I'd share some bits of pieces of the new place. In between arranging furniture and piecing together our treasures, I've been battling the stomach flu and dreaming about moving to Denmark (just because).
Happy--belated--mother's day to all the creative and amazing mama's I'm honored to know. You know who you are. <3
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
I sometimes talk myself into believing that the world has come so far. That women are, for the most part, being treated with the same respect that men garner for simply being male. Of course, I'm lying. I know better. But the talk is the hope, and sometimes the desperate prayer I'm sending to God.
I want to live in a world where young girls and women can dream of having an education, and then go after that dream. I want young girls and women to walk freely under the stars, and then come home safely. I want the roles, all the roles that every one of us has been shoved into at some point in our lives, to evaporate. I want these girls to come home to their weeping mothers, and say, "I'm here, I'm okay".
Father, send them home. This war that has always been waged against women--against the lighthouses of the world--must end. Father, send them home. Shame those who say that our wants and needs are pointless and trivial, destroy those who would only use us for our bodies. Father, send them home. Dry the tears from women's eyes, enough tears to drown every enemy.
I pray that You will not ignore our cries, that You will listen, that You will speak.
The girls are waiting.
(You can read more about the kidnapped girls here.)
Friday, May 2, 2014
According to your faith be it unto you.
I've been wondering lately, how much faith I actually have, how much I put into practice on a daily basis. I've been noticing my walks, literally and figuratively, and how dulled down by fear they are. Noticing how the lack of trust--in man, in self, in God--takes the shine out of life.
I hold onto lists and numbers and ideas of how I think things (marriage, womanhood, friendship, motherhood) should be, with no clear idea of how these notions ended up in my head to begin with, and God strikes right through my pride down to the center of me. I try to stare Him down with my white-knuckled death grip on everything I feel life owes me, and a still, small voice inside asks me to let go. And I push back against it--NO. Arguing and rooting myself in stubbornness until I am utterly exhausted.
It's in these moments that my brain, I swear on purpose, forgets all the goodness I've experienced as the result of letting go. How, through a phone call, or an unexpected visitor, or by taking the wrong road on my way to wherever, I was guided into amazing, blessed situations! Led to incredible new people, or an area of the woods unexplored, or a quiet bookstore, just when my heart was screaming for all the crazy to stop. How many potential friends do I turn away from, how many needed things have been placed directly on my path, unseen by me, the woman just hoping to get through the day?
So little faith. So little trust. Such a dishonor to the sheer enormity of my spirit, the unfathomable, ancient knowing of my soul. I combat this distrust every day, every hour, knowing that I've been blessed with the gift of recognizing trouble when I see it, but also coming to new realizations. That shutting out and avoiding everyone, at times even avoiding my Creator, is not the answer.
I was not created to be so diminished.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Lately, I am all jumbled, never really asleep, never really awake. I find myself up much later than I should be, painting or trying to write, or quietly padding around while my family sleeps, listening to house-noises I'm unfamiliar with. During the day I clean and unpack boxes, sort, donate or throw away even more stuff. Longer, sunnier days mean more porch sitting, and better chores done in the fresh air. Hayden flits around, back porch to front, then on his bike for a few rounds. I can't keep up with him anymore, so I stop straining to; I just watch him and guard him while he frolics. The husband is off at work for longer hours, beckoned by the sun. I miss him.
I paint, with music, or more frequently, in the quiet of day, with the house empty. I walk the hills and find trails, then wander back home achy and sweating. I collect feathers and leaves and strange rocks, and tell myself that they are omens and signs. I pray and am met by an enormous silence, both empty and full. I don't know yet what it means.
This is a strange time in my life. I'm not truly happy, and I'm not truly miserable. I feel a strong urge every day to keep silent, to watch. There is a lot of change happening.