"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Monday’s Muse: Taking Flight

Well, gelli plates came in the mail this week. I am a happy woman.
I didn’t even know what they were a few weeks ago. Here’s a link in case you don’t either:
I also found a pallet knife mixed in with a set of cheap acrylic paints.
So, add an old refrigerator magnet from the 80s that lost its backing and throw in an empty film container ( probably also from the eighties) and I was set. Oh. A piece of woven ribbon for texture. The brayer.


I spent a few happy minutes playing. Adding texture. Skimming paint. Ended up with a lot of happy, but this is my favorite from today:


I used the gelli plate with some paint chip sample pieces pressed in, then
lifted out. Reminds me of trees. The butterfly is gold because that speaks of possibilities and it was on the table from last week when I was painting wedding canvases.
I keep lots of things, it seems. That butterfly has traveled with me to two homes, several junk drawers, and here it shows up today. Meant to be.
I’m still experimenting as part of the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day 2014 challenge, but I already see bigger pieces taking shape in my mind.
And that’s what play is about in the art world. Before you realize it, you’re flying.
Give yourself the time for what you enjoy…


Monday’s Muse

Well. This may be a new thing. We’ll see. If you follow me at all, you know I never know what’s going on. Do you?

So. I’ve been searching. Trying. Writing through these days. Wondering how in the world I was going to find my way to the other side. And really…was that side any better? After all, friends…we are not home yet. Don’t be fooled. But I digress.

So, as luck would have it (and no, I know it wasn’t luck and if you’re honest, so do you), I found an art site.
The site is Daisy Yellow (on Facebook) and its companion site, Daisy Yellow-Index-Card-Day-2014.
A place where artists meet to share their artsy postings on 3×5 cards… tiny
canvases. Limits. I was intrigued.
I’m nowhere close to catching up with posting, but I’ve learned more life lessons. Bear with me. You might need them too. If you are searching at all.

First things first. Quit explaining.
I remember Dr. Charles Mazer insisting on this in a writing project course years ago. “Shut up and read it”
were his actual words. But you know what? He was right. We need to bring to the table what we bring: good, bad, incomprehensible. Bring it. Bring. It.
A good audience knows how to sift. A bad one? Why would you care?
Let it be.

#2. There’s so much I don’t know. What’s a dala horse? Gelli printing? The best white pen? Kosheshi doll?
Matryoshka? Yeah. Me either. But I know more now than a week ago. And it’s empowered me. How? Just trust me. It has.

We need to know things. Ok. I do.

Now. This wasn’t easy, for some people. This sharing of art. And so my sweetest lesson was exposed. It was for me. I didn’t care if I got the coveted “like” or “comment” or not. I am finally at that place. That place that says, “Honey, if you can get yourself to the table and make something that wasn’t here yesterday, it is all good.” And it is.

So, dear readers. Hang with me. Know that all my days aren’t good ones. Yours either? Wow. I know. I know.
But do what you can. Search out what is missing. Believe in the power above and the power within. You will not fail. I swear.


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Friday’s Five

Grateful for all the blessings God sends. So many more than five from the week…
From today alone:
1) getting an email from a cousin who still addresses me as “Agnes Lou”–sweet southern ways, folks…
2) plans with my sister to book an art retreat cruise next year–and all the reasons we know it’s meant to be…
3) fitting into my mother of the groom dress and knowing in one week and one day, I’ll have a daughter in law, “officially”…
4) celebrating an early birthday lunch with an old friend and not rushing through it…
5) a text from a friend who was folding clothes and for some reason, she thought of me…and reached out… made my day sweeter.
How often do we have those chances, friends? To send a text, make a call, write the note? It all matters.
I’m also celebrating the fact my gown laces instead of zips. That fettuccine Alfredo I enjoyed today will not come back to haunt me. We can just cinch a little looser. :-)
Look for the light, friends. And if you are searching and struggling, you are not alone. Just keep going.
God bless…

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First Fourth like This

The popping of firecrackers alternates with the hum and buzz of cicadas and crickets. The random frog is croaking too. A party. There’s a concert out there tonight, folks.
Just like a song that takes you back, I’m there.

My neighbors down the road are putting on a show tonight. I think of decades of former Independence Day celebrations, some delightful, others– more subdued.

Different. That’s what this one is. Just me.

My toes aren’t in the sand this year. I didn’t even look for the red/white/blue t shirt. The one I usually wear.
Sam isn’t out by the pond setting off boxes of fireworks while the kids and my mom and I clap and whistle and repeat “oooooh ahhhhhhh” as he smiles at us, shakes his head, and lights some more.
There’s no deer meat grilling, no extra pieces “accidentally” dropping for the the newest trio of dogs .
Nobody fished at the pond today. The earthworms are ready, probably wondering why we aren’t upturning leaves and rocks and old metal tubs to gather them up.
One year I spilled a container of purple hull peas in the truck on the way to the in laws’ Fourth of July celebration. Not sure why I remember that.

Different years took the kids and me down the gravel drive to see the July sky come alive with glittering sparkles of fire. Not tonight. Not this year.

But I’m grateful for the years. For those days. For those times.
Days pre-Sam when I’d go with my mom to family reunions and eat too much fried catfish. Days my first family ( the one you get born in :) ) would be on vacation together, watching a freedom fireworks show from the bank of a river or lake or hotel balcony.
Good times.
And today, freedom to remember. I have seen a lot. I’ve seen my mom sit in a wheelchair on a nursing home patio while my husband positioned her perfectly so she could catch a glimpse of something he knew she couldn’t see that well any longer.
I’ve seen my kids twirling sparklers, spelling their beautiful names in the summer night. I can still see that smoke trailing away, the glowing letters like golden whispers, hanging in the air.
I’ve also seen people confined by their minds and limited by their fears. Not free , right in the middle of the USA.
And I’ve seen my Sam fighting like hell this time last year, knowing he might not be here today. But he fought anyway. And on his terms.

Tonight, I’m still celebrating freedom, like a worn out warrior maybe, but I’m still walking.
I put my youngest on a plane this morning and shared a sweet visit with my son and future daughter in-law tonight. They are free to live, and are.

I consoled dogs that think this is too much noise, and I listen as the pops and echoes grow louder. There’s no fading into the distance yet. Good.

I walked outside earlier, for old times sake. Saw those long ago kid days of spitted watermelon seeds. Saw our long ago new house in progress, the two of us laughing in lawn chairs in the front yard.
Saw those red bobbers floating on rippling water, our feet dangling off the bridge. Happy and free.

I’m independent today in a way that I never thought I’d be, not this soon. And I’m going to tell you, it’s not always so great. But I’m also here to tell you, there were good memories today. Old and new ones.
I live in a country where I can do pretty much what I want when I want. I stopped by church this morning, worshiped my God the way I like to. Saw the cemetery nearby where my father is buried. Someone took time to leave flags on every veteran’s grave. Dozens of American flags fluttering. This has probably been going on for years, but I only knew it today. Like so many of life’s ways. We miss things. We really do.
A few miles away, there’s a patriotic bouquet on my Sam’s grave. A shiny plastic windmill is twirling in the breeze near his name. I bet there’s a show in that sky too. Those people down that road are shooting off fireworks and passing around beers, eating some decent BBQ. Oblivious to me writing this. Not realizing their little lights are giving me happiness. Because I am free to honor his memory in my own way. And I’m hoping somehow we both are seeing some night lights tonight and smiling. We both are hearing those repeating pops and snaps and thinking … so many good things. The mind is always free, friends. Free to dream. Happy Independence Day.
Live free to feel and think…and celebrate all the moments. As many as you can.

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Things You’ll Hear…Echoing

So, today, a random posting that may become a regular feature. I don’t know, because I don’t know anything these days. Anyway. Voices from the Journey. Echoes. Things people say. Things you know are all part of a new and different landscape. Words you might not normally hear. And of course, you handle it. You handle everything. But you want there to be a record of this. I don’t know why. I don’t know anything.

9 am phone call from Stephanie, yet another (really, you can’t imagine unless you’ve lived it) medical bill collector.

She says,
“I can tell how sick someone was by the amount of the bill. I’m sorry.”

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Friday’s Five

Yes, I know it’s Saturday.
Oh well.
1) three country dogs eating Cheezits from my hand…no growling, no fighting, each one waiting her turn.
2) Primo Amore moscato. Enough said.
3) new yarn, old needles.
4) an iffy internet connection that finally allowed a good movie with my daughter
5) homemade chocolate pie waiting for my son
…and a few more, because I’ve been intermittent lately:
weekly phone chats with my sis
booked flights
art museums
junk drawers
a bird’s nest in stored furniture
safe arrival texts

So much to be glad about.
Happy thoughts, friends…

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Sunday’s Song: Puzzles

I knew it had been a couple of weeks since I blogged; didn’t realize it had been over three.
Par for the course, once again.
This journey is anything but normal. Days drag on or fly by, depending.
On what? That’s the thing. I never know. That “what” is at the crux of the grief journey. I’m living it, but even I don’t understand it. Not yet.
I keep journals. I write so many thoughts down, even the ones that are fragmented and out of place. Maybe one day I’ll make sense of these days. Then again, maybe I never will. A lot of people love to tell me things happen for a reason and always work for the best. But those are just words. I look at my life from decades ago. I see things that “just were”… there were good and bad, but they are just part of the bigger picture we don’t see. Our lives are jigsaw puzzles, but we don’t get to see the top of the box. We get handed a piece at a time and sometimes have to force it to fit. Sometimes we just have to set the piece aside and hope tomorrow will bring the one that connects to the others. Sometimes we are certain the piece handed to us was meant for someone else. Surely. And we don’t know how many pieces there are. Ahh. Really need to keep that in mind. Sometimes the picture is left incomplete. Interrupted. Modern art, some might say…interpret your own ending. Maybe the realist would say something entirely different. But that’s art. That’s why I like it. We all see what we bring to it. The puzzle of life.
My puzzle lately has had many unexpected pieces: a spur of the moment decision to fly to New Orleans. The blind lady beside me on one of the flights. The trombone player who serenaded me on a rainy morning. A visit with a dear friend’s mom who lived this widow puzzle piece many years ago. A job offer. A new knitting group. Rosary making. Art ideas coming from nowhere.
I learn my limits each day. I see more and more clearly my triggers. Some things I will never change. It is ok. I do not have to see tomorrow’s piece today. And really, I need to leave yesterday’s pieces alone. A gentle look is ok. A nod to what was. A light touch. And then, onward. There really is nothing to be gained from starting the puzzle over. The pieces will only fit the way they were designed to fit then.
I hope for what some of my future pieces will include: family and friend time, trips, art, writing. Some of the pieces may just be ordinary though–the days of bill paying, phone calls, appointments, house upkeep. Guess we need all kinds of pieces.
But you know what? Some of those pieces can be altered. Maybe they need a different shade of color. Some glitter. We can make that happen too.
It’s called adjusting. Compensating. Improving. Making today’s piece tolerable for you.
I’ll let you know how that works out for me. Thinking I might need a few more embellishments…


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