Mix, Blend, Splash

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I have an Art Book which I bought for each student in a class I am teaching this year. It supplements the curriculum. There is a particular assignment for each day of the year. These are short and develop a pattern of daily practice. Mixed mediums are used on each page. Gel pens, pencils, markers, fine lined, highlighters, crayons, colored pencils, water color, colored paper, glue, tape and scissors are all used in some form or fashion weekly, if one works daily at the task of such a practice. Some students wait and do many exercises at one sitting and others work on them daily. Those keeping up with the daily practice show growth and creativity with ease. Those, including myself, who start and stop and try to catch up quickly, miss out on the peaceful meditative benefits of daily practicing a creative outlet such as this and experience stress and a bit of adrenaline rush to beat the deadline. I’ve taken up this assignment also to chronicle and track with my students to learn the nuances and pitfalls of this project.

The picture above quickly drew me in and reminded me of my book when I first started the project at the beginning of the school year and shows contrast to where I am today in the book. It was clean and pristine and organized and linear at first. But now, it is a mixture of creativity, messes, total spills, smudges, proud moments to total failures to cleaver interpretations which I all call “mine.”

Just this morning I looked down at the palm of my hand to surprisingly find yellow highlighter from last nights assignment where I hurriedly and awkwardly had held more than one writing utensil during a tense episode of Fargo where the suspense had built and tension caused me to forget what I was juggling. The yellow reminder made me smile. And, isn’t that what art is about, producing an emotional response? Even if it is our own.

This exercise is also teaching that life is tied to what we have to say, but also to “how” we say it. Some days I take my time and contemplate the best use of colors and form and medium and … other days I am clever and find a way to do the assignment in record time with a fine line or single word. Life is much like this book. We sometimes rush and make messes and get angry and throw things or my personal favorite, slam doors. Other days we are clear headed and creativity flows.

So, if your book looks clean and pristine and linear where maybe you are at the beginning of a project or a special time in your life then, great! And, if you are the later pic of mix, blend and splashes, that is great too! For whichever resonates with you is the process not the end result. It is the journey we take. My dad has said often, “… life goes on with or without us.” Take the journey. Try the daily lessons, look for the different layers, textures, mediums, alternate realities, angles, puzzles and know that life will always offer a mix, blend or a splash. Find a way to experience them all.

Reminds me of Bobby Darin’s song… “A-well-a, splish splash, I forgot about the bath
I went and put my dancing shoes on, yeah!”

Lights out?! Lights on?!

Lights are quirky! They have a mind of their own! I need Christmas prep to not require much assembly.

This year my tree decided to protest. I wanted to toss it, but others in the fam drove to the dollar store for a strand of lights to patch up the dark spot! The whole tree only cost $35 many years ago! So, the argument was…spend another $35 or patch up the old? A patch up job we will do. The vote was 3/4 of the lights work and that is a majority! 😊

This year the tree lives on, but it’s days are numbered! Really, we could all say that. Are our lights on still? Even 3/4 is a good amount!

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:5 NIV

Www.bible.com/111//John.1.5.niv

The following pic shows the patch up job!

Can You Hear the River?

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Can you hear the river? Can you hear the green and the gold, the brown and the white? Can you hear the swirling and the tumbling? Is there a breeze? Is it a cold water? Is it a warm day? Where are the animals? Does it matter? No. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful possibility. It would have been an adventure. The timing was off. There were obstacles. Now those obstacles are gone. But when this opportunity availed itself the obstacle was great like some of the boulders in the picture.

Life is like this picture. Full of rushing water. Full of boulders and rocks and pebbles. Full of sound and swirl. Full. Change is constant and certain. We may not get the opportunity back. We may have other paths unfold. We follow our heart to the next best decision. We look for perspective when we take the road less traveled. We listen for confirmation. We seek and long for the familiar sound of the water rushing and swirling and flowing. We take comfort in the sun of the day. Maybe tomorrow the day will unfold with adventure.

On this day sitting on the bench behind the coffee shop along the river in shoes that hurt my feet from the interview in the coolest mountain town, I sat barefoot and lived a lifetime of total possibilities the river brought to mind. I was offered the job. I was amazed. The obstacles were too great then. They are not the same now. I would go now, but the opportunity there is gone. The memory is mine though and it is a good one. I am truly blessed to have lived this day. To have met the water and felt the sun and drank the coffee.

I can hear the water. I can hear the swirl. I can hear the green, gold, and brown. I can hear the tree leaves flutter. I can feel the warmth of the sun. I can smell the coffee. I can hear the breeze telling me to keep going, keep feeling, keep drinking in life. Next time, if there is one, I will listen to the river. I will heed its call. I will go.

I found this treasure from the Emily Dickinson poem, My River Runs to Thee.

“My River Runs to Thee”
My River runs to thee —
Blue Sea! Wilt welcome me?
My River wait reply —
Oh Sea —-look graciously—
I’ll fetch thee Brooks
From spotted nooks—
Say—Sea—Take Me!”

Water, Rock or Air?

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What was the day like here? Looks like construction across the water. A slight breeze shows on the water. Stillness maybe? It’s a puzzle. It looks like a nice place. Land that we love, from the mountains to the prairie, to the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home. Oh, a little side tracked there. I often look to my pictures in my cell for writing prompts. This was a mystery pic and yet it encapsulated the essence of where I felt this post would go. It is an unknown. And, yet it describes in a picture what I feel. Anything is possible. It is not easy and it does not come without chaos, but it is possible when we stay at the task, or goal.

Where is the focus? In the picture, is it the mountain? Is it the water? Or, is it the blue sky above the solid and liquid? Which would you pick? Water? Rock? or Air? I recently had the privilege to accompany my son in a small plane he piloted. He was so good at what he did, and I looked about in wide eye wander to the land and water and air below us. What perspective each provides. From all 3 we can look up or down, yet all offer different perspective. What I saw from above was expansive, never ending, no beginning and no end.

How lucky are we to stop and look over the water (even if it is in a picture) and take in such grandeur! No technology, no people, no trading, no ads, no hustle or bustle, just a place above the water at the edge of a mountain under the fresh air. Anything is possible!

The structures as we see here may come and go, but the water, the rock and the air will remain and stand the test of time. Will we? Some days we will. Some days are difficult. Some days are fun. Some days are mundane. But everyday we can decide where our focus will be. We have options even when it is in our thoughts alone. Will we focus on the water, or the rock, or the air? Anything is possible.

Check out this Poem by Cheryl .J Barclay

Anything Is Possible – Poem by Cheryl .J Barclay

“If there was ever a time to dare,
to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing,
IT IS NOW. Not for any grand cause, necessarily…
but for something that tugs at your heart,
something that’s your inspiration,
something that’s your dream.
You owe it to yourself to make your days here count.

Know, though, that things worth doing seldom come easy.
There will be good days.
And there will be bad days.
There will be times when you want to turn around,
pack it up, and call it quits.
Those times tell you that you are pushing yourself, that you are not afraid to learn by trying.

The start of something new brings the hope
of something great, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

Not Bound by Time

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Not bound by time is a recurring theme these days. I have been hearing it on many occasions, in many different places. But, I do have to be on time to work if I want to stay employed. I do have to get to church by the time “The Doors, the Doors!” is proclaimed in order to partake of the sacraments. I have yet to experience chrismation so I watch others partake and wait for my sweet friend to share her bread with me! My doctor appointment would not have been as quick and pleasant today if I had been 30 minutes later, or is that a conditioned response on my part to make people happy and not upset the “apple cart?” And, why were we so stressed that traffic was creating a 30 minute delay to the family birthday party for the evening south of the city. Oh my, it was such a cluster f*^%! Time was not on our side and yet dinner went off without a hitch! It tasted wonderful!

Is time an illusion? Is time of the essence? Is there time in a bottle? Is there a time for everything under the sun spoken of in Ecclesiastes 3:1? A google search with this caption will render mention of the omnipresent meaning “present everywhere.” Beyond space and time would be other worldly and a place to be desired. The beginning and the end, but possibly defying a beginning and an end. There would be no need for a beginning nor an end. Endless popped up as did perpetual and ceaseless and immortal.

Now we enter into the mystical. What a wonderful place to observe. Such power but such love mixed together for our pleasure, and for our souls delight. How often do we sit in this place and look and see. It brings tears to my eyes to know that those who have traveled this life with us and no longer walk as we do in a physical body, may see us and know that we can be comforted by a change in our perception of time. If we could see as they do. If we could feel the love they feel as they return to source. If we could slow the pace or speed up the pace, yet know the love that extends past time, beyond our finite, yet inside all space.

Consider this picture of the sailboat in the sunset. It shows earthly time but is it really bound by time? It alludes to the sun setting  which denotes time. The sail direction shows how it takes up space, but it could be any day. It is not bound. It shows movement by the wind. Could we too drift with the wind? Could we be moved in the water of life by a sunset or energized by a sunrise? Could we simply sit on the water and allow the waves and the time, weather and wind? Could we sway to life rocking us to sleep with its up down motion? Could we enjoy the high sun of noon or the still darkness of midnight? Could we be no mind? No body? No form? No preference? Not bound by time?

Dr. Suess summed up the human heart of being time bound.

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here                  before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

Have you ever had a project in the garage that you wanted to finish but you had to cut off because of a scheduled appointment and the family was waiting? Have you ever had an art project started and the enjoyment of it interrupted by the bell to move to the next class you hated? Then there is the vacation halted by having to go back to work. Playing with the grand kids but knowing you will be lynched if you do not break away to feed the crew. And there is the lover who awakens every fiber of muscle and tissue and sense of electricity your system can fathom to wake up days, months, years later and never see their face in this physical realm on this side of time?

We seek to not be bound by time. Will we experience it in this life? Maybe when we drift on the sailboat, or watch the sunrise over the mountains, or dive along the majestic coast, or witness the sunset from the shoreline, or hear that one song that brings tears even when the day has been so carefree.

If one gift could be given to all mankind it would be within all we know as time that we have the ability to experience not being bound by it. Not bound by time. Are we or are we not?

It’s late…

It’s late! Sun sinks on the horizon. The breeze blows cool air in place of the warm dust a bit ago. The birds land in small groups. Quiet awe settles in. I’m no stranger to these colors. Don’t they equal peace? Doesn’t tranquility remind me of a waltz? No, it’s quiet resolve is more suited for meditation. The ease, the sway, the pitch the twinkle of light which leads to rest, preparing for a new day. Shhh.

Life Outside is what you see, or is it?

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What do you see? A tree, water, a sailboat, some waves, some white caps. Can you feel the temperature? Or, the wind? Is life outside what we see or is it how we feel? Or, both?

I grew up hearing that things are often not as they appear. What does that mean? Maybe it means there is more of a 3 dimensional aspect to life than we know or allow. Often we block what we do not understand. We do not recognise vocabulary unless we are familiar with the words. If we are not, it is no different from experiencing a foreign language. It means nothing to us. If we are not aware of customs or cultural differences then we also dismiss the actions as trivial or of no value until we are made aware of the meaning behind the actions.

Unless we move outside our comfort zone we will not learn to our full potential. Our growth will be stunted. The wisdom of words from the bible frome Matthew 18:2-4

2Jesus called a little child to stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you, He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter thekingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…”

The little children remain in a state of always learning and growing and sometimes frustrated by the constant changes taking place. Change humbles us. We lack control. Our adult minds want sameness, control, predictability. But, our spirit was meant to fly, to experience, to grow and learn and be frustrated by change. We may do it gracefully and humbleness of heart, or we can be brought to new experiences kicking and screaming. It is my personal experience when I practice a humble heart new experiences do not seem as daunting, but when I go kicking and screaming it may take much time, energy and resources to find a new normal. The “kicking and screaming” route is more of a norm for me. It is my true nature to resist that which will be better for me simply because it is different.

When and if we allow ourselves to trust what we see and feel at the same time we can become like little children. We can fully experience God’s care for us in dimensions we cannot easily describe. What richness, what flavor, what rest we can experience when we lean into his love and care. Like children in the arms of a parent or loved one, we can not only know and see, but feel loved. Our path will be made straight and our air purified and our food made to nourish our body and soul and mind.

Now, I am encouraged by the thought of these words but I hope tomorrow when I get to choir at church, and there are not enough music stands on the front row, I don’t freak out and head to the back row to hide. That is my nature, but most of the time I have friends and guardians that encourage me to be patient and stay engaged. But mostly, I hope I will rest in the knowledge that whether I’m in the front row or back I will be fine and sing my heart out with no care of being comfortable in my skin. For that, I think, is a place of misconception for those like me. Life outside is not always what you see. Or, is it?