Category Archives: Processing

Walk a minute in my shoes

Do you carry art supplies around with you in your purse?”

This was a question I was asked this week. Although it is true that inspiration hardly waits for the convenience of paper, carrying supplies with me was not something I had ever considered before.

What do I do when I am hiking? What about when I’m on the toilet? What if I lose my purse????

Somehow, I have to carry something of even GREATER convenience with me. Somewhere that LEDs don’t dull and pages don’t bend. Somewhere deeper.

So that’s when I announced that “I carry around my art supplies in my shoes!”

What does that even mean?! I must be nuts. Pencil crayons don’t fit in shoes.

It means I AM the paint brush, pencil crayons, and paper.
I am also the canvas.
My fingers are brushes, ready for work at any time, and I always have them with me. My eyes are the canvas on which I paint the depths of my heart; my actions are the medium I use.

In this way, art supplies are incredibly limiting.

“Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.”
John 8:6

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how I almost died.

It’s the strangest thing to say.  And something I thought I would never have to say.  I look at the title of this post and suspect I am being dramatic, and yet, I have the blood test results sitting on my desk right in front of me.  All I can do is shake my head because of how fast it happened.

How do I feel about that?  Well, physically, I feel amazing.

On Friday, I had a bladder infection.  I got in to see the Doctor and started on antibiotics right away, but on Saturday something was wrong.  My head was pounding and I couldn’t stay awake.  My fever gradually climbed until it was 39.3 degrees Celsius in the early afternoon.  I just couldn’t keep it down.  I had phoned a nurse earlier that day, and she had said to wait until it hit 40.  At that moment, I knew if I waited, I would be going to the hospital by ambulance.

I will skip the Emergency Room experience because it mostly includes me getting 4 full bags of IV fluid, broad spectrum antibiotics, and a CT scan.  They sent me home with an IV in my hand and instructions for coming back every night to get IV antibiotics at the hospital until they said I was done.

By day two, I woke up for the first time without a headache, I felt like a MILLION dollars.  I walked the dog around the block and simply felt amazed.  How does one go from being completely unable to function and in the hospital to happily walking her dog around the block in the sunshine in two days?  Is that even possible?  Thank God for antibiotics!

Follow-up day is today.  This morning I saw my GP and he revealed the contents of my blood tests that the ER Doctor didn’t tell me:  I was septic. It was E.Coli. I knew my blood pressure was low (53/38) but I thought it was kind of funny because the nurse kept trying different arms and saying she didn’t believe the machine.  (She even tried a child’s cuff on me to try to get a better number.) (Then she made me stand up.)  Clearly, my blood pressure couldn’t be that low.

But hearing that news now after the fact, honestly makes me tremble a little bit.  I almost missed that.  I wasn’t thinking I was at the end.  Or nearing it.  Or even right around the corner from it.  I’m totally fine.

And I suppose in some ways, I’m still in the middle of treatment.  So I wonder if this will make me different.

I will be re-assessed in the ER again tonight, and I expect to hear good news.  Of course.  It’s always good news, right?  I’ve already dodged a bullet.

POW.

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cancer is a life sentence.

Sept 2013 iphone 709

When my mom found out she had stage four metastatic breast cancer, my dad would always tell people, “We have cancer.”

Little did he know that he actually did. Today my dad received his full diagnosis. Stage four small B-cell Follicular Lymphoma. Is empathy a carcinogen?

He stayed by her side through surgery, chemo, more surgery and more treatments, guarding her against pushing herself too hard (the feisty redhead needed that) and reminding her that it was going to be worth it.

How did he know it would be?

Something inside of him just said they were in this together.

And I’ve been watching. Honestly, there is something FIERCE happening here. So I have come to the conclusion that even though I don’t have cancer, my parents both now have the benefit of something I do not: PERSPECTIVE.

I want to live like I know I’m dying.

Cancer can’t take everything away. It will alter your family, it will change your body, but it cannot force you to surrender your will.

And so, I think…perhaps I can live in a new way. Every day AWARE. Present moments ENGAGED. Fully given before I am TAKEN.

 

“You prepare a table before me IN THE PRESENCE OF my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
[Psalm 23:5]

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When the cutlery drawer opens…

As we moved into our new home and began to settle in over a year ago, we began to get to “know” the house.

But I didn’t expect this.

I still recall the first time I viewed the house. It was overwhelming. I won’t go into unnecessary detail, but it was difficult to envision it being mine, and I was convinced that, even though it was propped on the edge of the mountain, there was “no view.” The truth was, I simply hadn’t found it yet.

We renovated before we moved in, changing key elements to provide a sort of “blank canvas” feel. We were starting to unwrap the mystery behind the move. As we began to move in, unpack, and explore, I began to find even more things about the house that I didn’t realize were a part of the equation before. The ironing board hidden inside a drawer. The boiling water tap in the kitchen. Surprise. Joy.

And then something even deeper happened. The more we settled in, the more we became aware of something else. It will seem silly to you. But to me, it is symbolic. You see, there is something weird about the cutlery drawer. If it is not pushed solidly shut (and no one can actually explain how “solidly” and how “shut” we mean when we say this), it will open at random times during the day. Sometimes it opens right after the attempted close.

Other times it opens when I am in prayer.
Or reading something meaningful.
Or just sitting in quiet contemplation.

And then slowly the drawer slides open like an invitation to me that whatever it is that I am doing right then is important. And deeper than I think. And more meaningful than I currently know. The drawer becomes an invitation to the table.

I could say that I love my house, but now I know that it never really was about the house, and it isn’t even about a slippery drawer. As the snow falls in gigantic flakes all around me, the drawer having slide open moments before, my soul just waits, invited, to see and take a part of the present. Where I am. Where God is.

If I had my way I would have purchased the crazy expensive gigantic fork and spoon I found at one of the furniture stores last year. But now I realize that what I have is even better.

“He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much He loves me.”

Songs 2:4

Time to RSVP.

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no keyboards were smashed in the writing of this post…

the ART life

Every time too much time passes between posts, I wonder if I even remember how to log in.
Surprise.
I remembered.
And then when I get to this part of the post…I feel like I’m done. I just needed to get that off my chest. See, world! It was a while, but I still knew it. It happened with (some of) my times tables too. I still know what 9×9=
I’m just not going to tell you. Right now. But I will in a minute.
And, now that I have fearlessly gotten the first witty remark off my agenda, the dog starts to whine. She has to pee. And it’s been a while…so…naturally I wonder if I remember how to do this…

In a eyebrow-furrowing cross between guilt and love, I have just spent the last 30 seconds of my life outside. While I was out there, I decided to celebrate my little accomplishments. So I took a deep breath, and thought of all the things I still remember how to do. Remarkable.

I have been writing. Still remember how to do hand writing. On paper.
I have been painting, too. Just not daily. But still painting. Just not telling the world about it. Not necessarily because I want to, but mostly because it’s easier. Not to.

With new glorious involvements in my life, such as the ART life, my creative being has become so rich and full, that I have forgotten to remember that I can type words on my blog. So here is one to appease the giants.

Motivation? I met with a couple other writers tonight and thoroughly enjoyed the clashing of swords playing with each other, and I am feeling optimistic and hopeful. And was reminded that I had a blog. That I like.

(It equals 81.)

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Glow bugs in my heart’s jar

I traveled to Redding, CA this summer in the middle of the moving chaos that was going on at home. The decision to go was extremely spontaneous, and I asked myself several times,”What are you thinking?!” But the flights were booked and there was no turning back.

The trip was weeks ago now, and looking back…I can see how it all began. My glow bugs. During that time away I carried my heart along, transparent like a mason jar…and then, there was a shift. Something changed inside. I found a glow bug. And then two, then three…

When I got home, we moved the next day and life became a flurry of unpacking and coordinating tradespeople, trips to Home Depot, packing and unpacking. Though I carried my little jar around with me, I had no time to crack the lid to process what had happened while I was away, and it seemed like it may have even been just a dream.

Now that the new place is unpacked, I have been staring at the treasures in my jar. As I write this today, I am unthreading the lid and setting them free.

Freedom. What does it look like? Is it a physical condition like looking out at the beauty from the top of a mountain? Or is there even more to it?

I was singing at the altar that day…My eyes were closed. I was conscious of only the Lord and me. That was when I saw the scene unfold before me.

Everything was sepia…like it had been tea-dyed. Beautiful, uneven, messy, artistic. I saw a piece of paper with words on it. I tried to read it, but before I could, a pair of hands reached down and began to fold the paper; and the words began to be pressed deeply into the middle until I could no longer see them. More folding ensued. Then, I saw that the paper had been folded into an airplane.

Hard to describe how I know this because I saw and felt nothing. I just knew. But there was a breath…and the paper airplane caught the flow and took off. No sooner had it begun then the wings of the airplane turned into the wings of a bird.

The bird flew briefly and landed on a brown bush. I mean EVERYTHING was still sepia colored. The bush also had no leaves. Instead it was made up of quilted pieces of material all grafted together. Perched on the tip of a branch, the bird began to sing…

I was mesmerized. Instead of a sound, tune, or whistle…little words began to flow out of the birds’ mouth on tiny pieces of paper. And each time the bird opened its mouth to sing, a new word came out.

They appeared almost as if they were alive, and they began to float towards a low-lying cloud that hovered like fog in a valley. When the words reached the cloud, they began to dangle like crystals from a chandelier. It was so beautiful to watch, I wish I could have grabbed a coffee and sat down and just adored the whole scene. But there was more.

Another breath came. Again, not sure how I knew. They all just simultaneously dropped… this time heavy like rain; and when they landed on the dirt, everything turned to full color!! The brown, what first seemed so cozy and artistic now paled in comparison as gardens began to team with the most vivid life I had ever seen.

Woah.

God, what are You up to now?

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My life is a radio…how loud can it go?

Do you ever feel like you are being watched?

I am convinced that someone somewhere has been recording my life these past few months and it is continually being aired (unedited) to the entire world. Everyone can see it but me. The type of reality show that best represents what is going on is the kind where you are renovating trying to renovate a house on time and on budget, juggling the help, dealing with the pre-teen color flops, trying to keep things looking how you imagined them and trying to be nice at the same time (someone tell me how to do this), and coordinating the schedule overlaps…and ooops…I didn’t get to that one on time…I guess those two will have to fight it out. At the front door. Of my house.

The show wouldn’t be very entertaining if I were a perfect human being. So if you haven’t tuned in yet, just look for the blood on the ceiling… maybe on HelpMeTV or WakeMeWhenOver Channel 5. Either way, I’m sure I will be looking back on this transitional event of my life with stars in my eyes, realizing that WE DID IT!

So why am I writing this on my art blog? I was actually hoping to star in something a bit more poetic…about how the new house is my canvas and I my brush is my mind. Ha. Well, this is all that fits right now. My LIFE is an open door of amazing possibilities. What will I do here? What do I hang there? How long do I wait for a deal and when do I buy? Will it fit? Will I like it once it’s in? Does any of this really matter anyway?

And…I suspect that it has never been about the details. The challenge of maintaining peace in the middle of the organized madness will be pondered in the closing chapter. And then, the next one will start as I begin my mission of meeting the neighbors and trying to figure out what God planned for us in this house! (FREE PAINTINGS FOR EVERYONE!!!!!)

The least I can do now is…

FEEL BLESSED!

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(Picture of my dog smelling the “roses”)

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