Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Wish...

I wish there was less brokenness in the world.
I wish there was less brokenness in my country.
I wish there was less brokenness in my family.
I wish we always had someone to catch us when we fall 
(and maybe, that we wouldn't "tear our britches" so in the fall).
I wish for the world,
for my country,
 for you,
for my loved ones,
and for me,

My contribution to Gallery 41 of the 52 Photos Project, My Wish.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I have not written much about my experience at the silent retreat I took on the weekend of December 14th. I had surgery the Tuesday after that and then the holidays sort of took over.

But in thinking about this week's verb, renew, I remembered one of the statues where I spent a good deal of time meditating and reading and praying and listening.

It was a statue of Lazarus unwrapping his grave clothes. I think this statue is done by the same person who has done statues in a cemetery/mausoleum near my house where I have taken pictures once. The statues sort of creep me out and draw me in at the same time. I didn't do a great job with the photos. I only had my phone and the light was not quite right.

Lazarus, removing his grave clothes. Renewed.

Me, walking through some pretty tough stuff and slowly emerging, renewed and stronger than ever.

Yeah, renew. It's a good verb. And a very good experience.

I looked at Lazarus and I wondered, what are some of the grave clothes I wear that encumber me and still keep me bound so that I can't move and live as I'd like to move and live?

I looked at Lazarus and I marveled, man it feels good to be freed from some of that tangled mess.

I looked at Lazarus and I knew, there is still more work to be done. But I am on the road to renewal and growth.

And I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

52 Verbs, Week 4: Renew

This little piece that was created entirely on my phone is my first post on the 4th verb, renew. It is also my contribution to the 52 Photos Project, Gallery 40, Black and White.

Here is the original photo, in color.
 I think I will have more to say about "renew" later on in the week. For now I am headed out the door to listen to a really good musician at church, which in itself is renewing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

52 Verbs, Week 3: Scatter

I'm not doing too very good at keeping up with my little project. It seems to me I keep pulling difficult verbs!

I spent a good amount of time over the Christmas holidays in the country. I thought about what I might want to see/have/do in 2013. I've never been good at making resolutions and I'm even worse about keeping resolutions. Often what works best for me is to sort of remember them casually in my head. I think I might have mentioned that I attempted to work through Susannah Conway's workbook, "Unraveling 2013." I'm still working on it. I'm to the point where you pull out the calendar and write down stuff to do in the coming months of the year. I'm having a tough time deciding to do that! I want to keep the calendar and mark off my various "successes" after the fact! If I write stuff down now and do not do anything about it, that will make me feel bad.

Anyway, I started the work. I answered the questions and came up with several intentions. And then worried that the intentions would scatter like leaves once I started heading home. . .

I get hung up on thinking about all the things I could/should be doing and worrying about all the ways I could get hung up.
No doubt about it, 2013 will take some things from me. One question might be "what is left behind, and how do I live with what remains?"
I could find myself in the crotch of adversity! Oh, dear me!
And there are always thorns to prick and tear.
Fingers pointing out all the things you have not done.
Drooping but still beautiful, no?
Stuck! Or, enjoying the light and the warmth of the sun for just a moment or two?
Is this a helpful leaf, pointing the way?
I want the light to shine through me.
The vine creeps slowly along. The branch quietly supports her growth.
 My favorite leaf of the day.

So, growth is one of the things I hope for from 2013.

Also, there is the intention to be more attentive to my present moment.

There are other things, too, but much of it is scattered like the leaves of the current season. 

Scattered, like my thoughts today. 

Wide Open Spaces

(My contribution for Gallery 39 of the 52 Photos Project, Wide Open Spaces.)

I tried to think of something more unique than the wide open space of the sky but I just couldn't come up with anything else! I did have the thought that, for me, empty white pages in my journal represent wide open spaces but that would have made for a boring photograph! 

The photo above was taken in the early evening. I was coming back from the store and almost waited too late to stop my vehicle and get out to take the picture. The skies were gorgeous this past weekend (and the weather, too).

Here's a little washed out picture of "joy." Wide open spaces abound there too, in joy. . .

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Scattered Thoughts

("Scatter" is my third verb of the year. This is not my official "52 Verbs" post.)

Another of the things I want to do this year with my blog is to do a better job of sharing my arty things and photos here. Sometimes I post them on Facebook and never put them on my blog.

I have been having loads of fun with my phone and several phone apps creating these small things that I think might make good greeting cards some day. Here are a couple of my latest ones...

I also have a version of this one that says "Carpe yer diem, sister."

I love this quote by Thomas Merton. I used it on the inside of my Christmas card this last year.

More to come...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Weekending

My verb for the week is "scatter" and that's what I'm planning to do!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Thoughts

I'm rereading The Prophet and was reminded again of this painful truth in my reading.

This morning at church, I watched as a young boy of about four or five, who was built much like my son at that age, climbed onto the lap of a man who may soon be his stepfather. They were sitting chest to chest with their arms wrapped tightly around each other, almost like they were melted together. Instantly I was brought back into time when I held my own son that way (and my girls, too) and the tears flowed.

Also from my vantage point, I saw a man about my age who lost his wife this past November. He was sitting by his mother-in-law. I couldn't see her so well, but the man looked a lot like a lost little boy. And the congregation was singing about peace in the storm, and how "it's gonna be all right." I prayed earnestly for that man, right then and there. Our pain is not exactly the same, but it's still pain. And I know how dark loss can sometimes be.

There sometimes seems to be so much pain and loss in the world. There often seems to be so little that can be done about it. Many times, we do more harm than good by offering advice and cheery platitudes that do not take into account the depth of the pain we are addressing. I'm wrestling with ways to be better at responding to pain and loss that I come across in my world.

One thing I've learned through my own loss is the value of just sitting in silence with one who is hurting, just being there, without words, and without the cheesy admonitions, and without judgment for how the person/friend is handling their pain/loss, trusting that they will find their way through. That's cheesy advice too! I must acknowledge, some will not make it through their pain/loss. I don't know what to say (or do) about that part. So I won't say anything.

I've wrestled my way through a little over a year of mourning and I know I will wrestle some more. But for now, at this moment, I am very grateful for the joy that is interspersed into and throughout my mourning.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bidin' My Time, Waitin' on my Muse

"Wrestle" is my second verb of the year (dance was the first). I went looking for wrestling quotes and thought it was hilarious that I found this quote with both verbs!

I really don't have much else to say right now about the verb wrestle. I hope to come up with something a little more substantial. I am thinking hard about it, maybe too hard and that's why I can't come up with anything more at this moment. I think I can safely say I know more about wrestling than I do dancing.

Making these little things on my phone is hard for me to resist. I don't consider them particularly artistic. I think of them as a way to creatively play while waiting for the real ideas to show up!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I am enjoying a home baked gingersnap and a fresh cup of coffee...

Right now, I am wrestling with the dark side of me, the side that can be "malevolent and damaging"-primarily to myself.

By the time you read this, both "right now moments" will be gone. I will have moved on to other moments.

Also right now, we are in the midst of a weather event that is dumping rain on us and prompting flash flood warnings. By the time you read this, I hope that has moved on.

Right now, I am smiling and waving. Do you see me?

(This is my contribution to Gallery 38 of the 52 Photos Project, "Right Now." and, you might notice, I mentioned week two's verb "wrestle" in this post. There will be more to come with the verb of the week, but first I have to ponder.)

Monday, January 07, 2013

Tyler's Tree: January

It does not look like much right now! There were green leaves on the tree when we planted it on December 8th, but the cold seems to have gotten to the leaves. My mother assures me it will probably be all right in the spring! It is a transplant that came up at her house. We planted two or three other rain trees that day but this one is Tyler's memorial tree.

Here we have Mama's shadow with Tyler's tree.

I took liberties with my editing because there really isn't much to see with the dried up leaves and the puny little trunk of this tree as it is now. But I do have high hopes for it to take off and grow in the spring. Maybe next month I will tell the tree all about how I am documenting its growth over the coming year and it will be encouraged to grow well!

I can't accurately tell you how its growth progresses. The site I found when I googled "rain trees" says this:
The Golden Raintree Shade Tree is a medium-sized shade tree that produces a remarkable floral display in June and July, in a cascade of brilliant yellow flowers produced in enormous panicles. The Golden Raintree turns bright yellow in the fall. Inflated decorative seed pods turn from pale green to pink as Summer progresses are very ornamental. The spring yellow flowers of the Golden Raintree are followed by Chinese lantern shaped oriental seedpods.

The Golden Rain Tree is a fast growing flowering tree that reaches twenty-five feet at maturity. The bright yellow flowers form huge clusters usually over one foot in diameter. After flowering the Golden Rain Tree flower clusters change into very attractive lantern clusters with that exotic oriental look. Each lantern contains seeds that birds and squirrels feed upon during the winter. In July when the lanterns first form they show color transition from pink to yellow, and then in late fall become a chocolate brown in color.

But for now, it is a tangle of stick branches and a few dead leaves. I believe it is about five feet tall. I will measure it in February. I don't expect it will look much different then from how it looks now. Well, yeah, it might have fewer leaves by then.

This last photo was taken with my phone and I added a texture layer to it. My shadows says "I am here, holding Tyler's memory in my heart."

Week One: Dance (52 Verbs)

I will confess that Week One's "drawing" is rigged! More honestly, there was no drawing! The verb "dance" came to my attention several times before the year ended and then after the new year, so I knew it was meant to be the verb for week one.

I'm seeing "dance" as a metaphor for life. In my mind, dancing also requires a certain amount of freedom from worrying about how you look or what others might think. That's one of the things I'm working on for this year-to be myself and not worry so much about the opinions of others, which leads into another of my mantras: Don't compare yourself to others. 

One other thing: dancing implies joy. I want to allow myself to experience joy in my life and in my creative endeavors.

I worked a bit on an online workbook called "Unravelling the Year Ahead," by Susannah Conway and at one point, the question is asked, "If 2012 was a book or a movie, what would it be called?" I decided 2012, for me would be called Joy in the Mourning. I am still very much mourning the loss of my son but there are these incredible moments of joy that come alongside the grief. I am so very grateful. . .

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Looking Up

I've been thinking about some sort of personal creative project I can do in the coming year, partly to keep an incentive to post regularly on my blog.

Well, ta-da!

The first one will involve monthly photos of a tree. Not just any tree, but the tree we planted on the year anniversary of my son's death. That project will be called (and tagged) "Tyler's Tree: A Year in the Life."

The second project will be called (and tagged) "52 Verbs." A month or so ago, I created a list of verbs. I wasn't sure what I was going to to do with them, but I had a couple of ideas so I went ahead and made my list so it would be ready when the rest of the idea showed up! I have 106 words on my list, so I will have plenty enough not to be stuck with a "dud" verb through the year. I'm going to write the words down on separate pieces of paper and each week, I am going to pull one out of the stack. That will be my verb to focus on that week. I'm not sure how what I will do each week. I already have this week sort of figured out in my head and I will "wing it" from there. I might do an ATC card or a "thang" or I might just write about the word. We'll just have to see what happens.

I also plan to keep on participating in Bella's "52 Photos Project," or, perhaps more accurately, to return to participating in that project, as I have slacked off in the last few weeks.

I have more that I want to write about the silent retreat and a few other things that have happened, or have come to me, over the holidays.