Thursday, November 29, 2007

For my mom

My mom's ceramic tree, probably made in the 1950's:
There are times, when decorating my house for Christmas, I really feel close to my mom. She loved Christmas. She painted resin knick-knacks all year long and in earlier years, she made ceramic figurines and trees. I use the things she made throughout my house, but the Christmas pieces really tug at my heart. This Christmas will be my 52nd, and my 2nd without mom. Last year I was too lost in grief to even acknowledge she died. But this year, it is sinking it a little. Gosh, I miss her.
Without photos and the things my mom made, much of Christmas' past would be a blur. I'm really glad I kept all the things she gave me and someday, when I am positive my daughter will treasure them, I'll pass them on along with the things I've made.
I don't know the story behind these photos of mom, but I have them on display in my house, they never fail to bring a smile to my face.
.I think it was around 1990, I painted an oil painting of my son and daughter from a photo I took of them on a walk at Quail Hollow. I had painted it for my mom's Christmas present. This is the photo of her holding the painting that Christmas Eve. We said quite alot about the painting to each other, not in words, but with our eyes. I lost my son, she lost her grandson, but we kept on celebrating life, we all did, the entire family. That is a gift to give your children: show them how to keep living even when life seems like it's over.
Keep walking, keep painting, keep talking, keep believing and don't stop looking for the gift inside the pain.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Just being grateful is a gift

Once my dad said he thought God had sped up the time and not told anyone. I reminded him about how it used to be at my Grandma's house in no-man's land Michigan, where time stood still, even tho her clocks ticked loudly. Grandma lived in an old house that looked like a barn. She had a dried bat, hung on her little indoor clothesline. Yup, on the back enclosed porch she had a clothesline with rags, old clothespins and a dead dehydrated bat that hung upside down.
I must have asked her a thousand times why. But, she refused to tell me, or anyone as far as I know. We all still joke about that bat 15 years later,..... still wonder why.
Now that I'm older, I respect her privacy regarding the matter, I even defend her right to have had the bat. Tho, I lacked this facet of my love for her while she was living.
I've begun to almost obsess with my relatives who have passed. Clinging to memories for dear life. I dug out tons of photos of Christmases pass and am going to make a photo album of them to display on my table in the parlor. I refuse to let go. I just can't.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I've been busy painting, selling (thank you God) and studying art. While in Marietta, I worked on our Christmas card for this year. I paint our cards every year. I also made tags to accompany my Etsy paintings, these I usually attach to the wire hanger in the back. I love making these!
On our way home from the cabin, we had time to stop and check out St. Mary's Catholic Church in Marietta. I was awestruck! It's SO beautiful! Even the downspouts are copper. Among many things I've learned from being Catholic, is the sacredness of God. The quiet. The smell of candles burning, each one filled with a prayer intention. The sense of history and all the scores of people who celebrated as well as mourned. I feel the "communion of saints". My family members who have passed, seem to be nearby, they kneel with me in the quiet of God's space. And, even if just for a moment or two, I feel whole and encouraged.
Viaticum, latin for "food for the journey". I'm so, so grateful.
Peace be with you:)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My own boss

I've no idea how to manage my time according to my idea of time management. I think I have to have something solid to show before clocking out at the end of the day with a list of accomplishments to show my boss that I'm worth the money paid me. Validate my presence. Earn the right to cast my own shadow.
But wait, I'm my own boss.
You know the old saying, "You are your worse enemy"? So true.
My sister came over the other evening and we had a long talk. We found out we both carry this heavy burdened belief of having to accomplish tons each day. She is goal oriented and I'm journey minded.
I love the journey. Taking in the view and along this path is where I find myself, sitting on a rock, staring into a creek, or playing with a leaf, watching clouds, or worse yet, staring in to a mirror and wondering how in the heck did I get to be this old?
Then it hits me; I've wasted time, lots and lots of it. I start thinking about how much other people have accomplished. Around that time, my sis calls and tells me how much she's accomplished, and most times, I'm just getting out of bed!
The answer? Be who you are, not who you think you should be.
Ah, peace. It's okay to be the way I am. How do I know this? That is where my love resides. I am ready to love when I've given life lots of thought, not when I've washed six loads of clothes, mowed the grass, washed windows, painted a room and changed the oil in my tractor.
Hold it, I got to say this: I don't change the oil in my tractor. But, if I was super accomplished, I probably would.
If you could put my sister and I into a paper bag and shake us up then pour us out, we'd be perfectly balanced.
Maybe that is why, after talking to her, I feel so much better. She helps to balance me.
I love her totally, though I live in fear of losing her.
Oh don't be so morbid you say? Bull! I do! I worry about this. Maybe it's cause I've lost so many family members.
Or, maybe it's because I love ferociously, not holding back one ounce. You give someone your heart totally, you'll know it when they are gone, because a part of you becomes missing as well. That hurts, and at the same time, it's a gift.
That's part of loving. As Our Lady is referred to often: Lady of Risk.
When I first heard that, many years ago, right after losing my son, I knew it had to do with loving someone totally: you can get hurt.
But, if that's part of being someones mom, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, etc.,
so be it.
I pray for the courage to love, trust and continue to build my nest here at home, where I am my own boss who kicks my own butt and stares out the window, a little too much.
ps. I just thought of something: when I'm sitting by a creek, watching the leaves float by, that's where I get in touch with Heaven, and Heaven is where a part of my heart resides.
I watch the clouds play with the sun and think stuff like, "God is watching this too."
Why do we beat ourselves up over enjoying the gifts God gives us?
I think Wal-mart is to blame.