Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Learned associations

This past weekend we went to our cabin in southern Ohio. We know we are blessed to have this place and are hoping that someday, when circumstances permit, we will live there full time. It's funny, some people think stuff like this happens out of thin air, but no, it takes lots of time, work and sacrifice. By the time my husband does retire and we move down there, we'll probably sleep for the entire first month! That's the plan, and it's a few years away. But, having a plan gives us a goal and we are the type who enjoy the journey. Here's some photos I couldn't resist taking on the path that follows along the river. The Red Bud trees are plentiful in the woods of Southern Ohio as well as wild dogwoods. There are tons of wild flowers blooming too!
I love Buckeye trees.
We dug up a couple little ones to plant here at home. As my husband was putting them into the back of the car he hoped they weren't poison oak. I took a couple double takes at what he dug up. They DID look like poison oak.....but, it's been a few days and I've not broken out in a rash, so we must have got Buckeye trees. I have GOT to get a book that identifies trees, flowers and such for down there!
And, speaking of identifying....has anyone ever seen this flower?
It grows along the banks of the river. The blue is (I'm going to sound corny here), but it's breathtaking, seriously!!! such a pretty blue! I would love to have a dress that color!
What I love the most about our cabin and land is the quiet. To hear birds, the river and the wind in the trees is a gift from God. It soothes my mind and my body relaxes and breathes correctly again.
Somewhere along the way, I've associated traffic/neighbor noise with tension? I don't know.
But, it's SO wonderful to escape it now and then.
If I can find peace in the middle of chaos, then I am strong. But, that's not how it is for me, yet.
I associate chaos with evil.
Man, there's tons to learn, isn't there!!????
These past years, my prayer has been that hearts will soften in hopes that people will lay down their angers and resentments and see beyond their own pain. I know that is asking a lot. But, I will keep asking, praying and believing. And the beauty of one flower assures me God is listening.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Things I noticed

The other day I was at the gallery and noticed how blue the sky looked with that red roof and white siding on a nearby building. It was a wellspring of ideas for art and I started getting all sorts of ideas for watercolors. But, I didn't go after some close up shots, I stayed politely at a distance. I have GOT to be more assertive! I could have taken more photos, but am too darn timid to go outside my comfort zone. Another opportunity passes me by. My Muse must be so sick and tired of my cowardice. But, in my own defense I was supposed to be working. Which reminds me,
here's a shot of the guy who works with me.
He's great, doesn't talk much, good listener. Nah, the gallery owner created him, he is the train conductor. It's fun to see the reaction on people's faces when they first notice this creature. He is positioned behind the jewelry counter playing checkers.
Oh well, meanwhile back at the ranch,
looks like spring has definitely won over winter's grip on us. Now if people could just be happy and stop holding up fast food restaurants we could all feel better regardless of the price of cornflakes.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fear Factors

I had tons of errands today, 7 stops that are, luckily, within the same small town. I do stuff like this early in the morning to get it over with. I hate to drive, for one and after all these years of shopping and running errands, the novelty is gone. Yes, I'm grateful I can do my errands in peace with a false sense of security which also gives peace. The crime in the northern part of this state is getting bluntly brazen. I listen to Howie on the radio and most times the topics and discussions scare the crumbs out of me. They talk crime, politics and the high cost of gas, ya know.....that sort of thing. I couldn't go out to my mailbox today, too scared. My husband says stop listening to that talk show and stop watching the news!!!! grrr! Okay, fine. Then that will eventually give me a sense of false security. Is that a good thing? Or does it make a person clueless and unprepared? Hooded hoodlums in sweatshirts go right in a house or an establishment and rob innocent people. I have a hair appointment coming up and I'm scared to go. Should I take a gun? Nah, all I have is a shotgun, that would look stupid at the beauty parlor. How about a stun gun? How about just going and feeling like it's all left to chance. Cause it is. This fear thing is my dad's fault!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (kidding, sort of) he told me when I was a kid that the end of the world would come before I finished highschool because people were so nuts. I think I was in Junior High at the time and that's when I stopped doing my homework or studying.....why bother? I thought everything my dad said was gospel. Oh well, humor helps, here's a good quote: Crime does not well as politics. -A.E. Newman PS. I went to the hardware store to get a skillet made in America. All the nice slippery ones were made in China, so what did I get? This black rod iron sort of heavy as a cow thing that I can barely lift. My grandma had one. Regardless, it felt good to buy something made here at home! I wonder if when Miss Piggy said, "never eat more than you can lift" was using a skillet like this? I made sausage gravy as my first try with cast iron. woo-hoo!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time to think

Seek out that particular mental attitude which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, "this is the real me", and when you have found that attitude, follow it.
_W. James
The real me? Sort of like, "to thine own self be true"? That takes courage and lots of self confidence!
I'm in the process of accepting myself. This is a full time job!!! I find I'm trying to accept aging, disappointment, failure, loss and a host of personal flaws. I'm judgemental of myself, so I must have been judgemental of others.
I'm sorry.
Like I said, I'm in the process. I am trying to stop judging others and maybe by doing this, I'll lighten up on myself.
I hope so.
I hope I find the "this is the real me" attitude and then follow it. I think at times in my life I've certainly felt close to this point but I couldn't hold on to it.
The past 10 days have been topsy-turvy for me. Husband had the flu, so he was home and I was busy taking care of him, then when he felt better we went to our cabin and really, it's so peaceful there, I'd rather not have had to come back. I never know just how much noise pollution drives me nuts until it ceases.
I don't think anybody should rob another of hearing a robin sing. Yet, I need to learn to love the neighbor's son who rides his 4-wheeler all afternoon or to say a little prayer for the people riding Harleys that zoom by all day. If I can do this, then I'm on the right path......I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ordinary encouragment

A quote from Beverly Pepper: "One has to have a bit of neurosis to go on being an artist. A balanced human seldom produces art. It's that imbalance which impels us."
To me, these words of encouragement say; it is our gift to be weird!
Encouragement must be KEY. I'm talking true encouragement, the kind based on love and belief of goodness.
There is this prayer that priests and nuns pray almost daily during ordinary time that starts with this verse: Encourage each other daily while it is still today. (Hebrews 3:13) Imagine, thousands of nuns and priests saying this all over the world, tons of times, year after year. So you know it's gotta be KEY.
Like oil to an engine.
I guess what I'm trying to say is each of our gifts need to be brought to the emptiness. If you think your gift is "weird", I pray someone will discover it's truth and say, "that's not weird!! It's unique!" And a spark takes hold in your heart, and you go on.
ps. Do you ever drink out of your water pot for the brushes instead of your coffee cup? Do you love painting blue cows? If so, you may be neurotic too:)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I love nuns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In August of 1988 I found myself sitting in a pew inside the Sancta Clara Monestery on a hot afternoon, crying. After awhile, a woman came in from a side entry carrying a vacuum cleaner and looked annoyed. I guess my sobbing just didn't go with her plans to vacuum. When I looked up and read her face I felt stupid and uncomfortable so I left.
I decided to go to the monestery's gift shop and buy a holy card, a candle, anything. Sr. Bernadette answered the door, put her arm around me and gently led me to a private area, sat me down and said, "child, what is wrong?"
In between sobs I told her a year ago that very day by son had been accidentally shot and killed. That he was only 12 and I really missed him and I was sorry that I couldn't stop crying and I knew she couldn't fix my situation, and that I really didn't know what else to say.
I just babbled.
She took my face in her hands, looked lovingly into my eyes and said, "God is proud of you."
At the time, it made no sense and I remembered saying why would God be proud of me? I was a wreck?!
She didn't even try to explain. She just held me and cried with me, for what seemed a long time. Finally I was able to collect my self and drive on home. I thanked her for her kindness, I WAS so, so grateful for her kindness. I can't even tell you how much.
It wasn't until years later I finally understood what she meant. I was able to understand, not from my own view of my life, but from my view of others. Others who lost and kept getting up in the morning. Others who didn't stop washing the dishes or doing the laundry, or going to work, or weeding the garden, others who kept on living inspite of their pain and loss.
That's what God is proud of. He's proud of us when we DO NOT GIVE UP.
I read somewhere recently that everything we do is sacred.
I love that.
I love Sister Bernadette.
I've lost touch with her over the years. I think she went to Alabama to be with Mother Angelica. She may have even passed on already.
Wherever she is, I love her.
Thanks to everyone who ever gave another person a pat on the back, a drink of water or even a smile.
It's all sacred.