Growing up I loved to read and to be read to. We were poor so we did not have many toys, TV, or many books, so the books we did have, I read over and over again. I developed a vivid imagination where I felt I was part of the wonderful stories. It was like little trips away from my hard childhood. I could escape, like I did when I was drawing. Books and art were God's gifts to me. Good books provided hours and years of healing, nurturing,entertainments, adventure in my imagination. I am sure this is true for so many of you.
I am grateful for good writers, good artists and good stories. I am grateful for these gifts God were given to others, for in return, they touched and strengthened me. These are examples of beautiful and kind way God worked for me and maybe for you too.
A few days ago I received a message from someone I have known for many years, saying they were worried about me. At first I felt defensive, feeling I didn't need to be worried about, and then I became concerned my life and behaviors may be creating worry and concern. They were worried I would be disappointed in things that would never come to be.
I realized I was not sharing and expressing the good things happening in my life and self. I wasn't giving off the feeling I was okay, when I really am! Miracles have happened. God is good. I am growing, healing and trying new things.
I do not want to do anything for others to feel worried or concerned about. I am more hopeful, blessed and better than I have been in many years, even though sad things and losses have happened along the way. This is a better time for me.
So today, as I look at some of my paintings and photos, I reflect the wandering, walking, hiking, crawling, ascending and descending I have done. I haven't been alone on these treks in my life over the past while. I have been upheld in prayer by precious prayer warriors across the country, embraced and loved by family, supported and helped from hard work of friends who believe in my art and life. I have been advised by godly mentors, encouraged by kindness and loyalty of my patients. Cared about by good neighbors and even strangers, who are now dear friends. My sons and I have had great hikes, and laughs and crazy adventures I would never trade. And most of all, a patient loving God, with such broad shoulders to carry the whole world and me upon them. And all our burdens too.
So please do not worry about me. I don't have much hope for things of the past, but I am filled with hope for tomorrow, new things and people. God has been good to me.
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was climb trees. I climbed every tree I could get into. I wanted to read in a tree, sleep in a tree, to live in a tree. I tried showing my mom I could, until I fell out an did a belly flop, painfully knocking the air out of me. And my pride.
Laying on a tree branch, trying to fall asleep was harder than it seemed. I think this is how my love for trees began....No matter where I went I was looking for a tree to climb.
I love them best when they drop their leaves in the fall. I love to see their branches and trunks twisting as they grow.
They are one of my favorite things to draw and paint. I know if they could talk, they would tell me all sorts of wonderful and wild stories. I know the stories would be true. I'd trust a tree!
I like to move these little rocks around my son brought home to me from one of his hiking trips this summer, on this beautiful cloth my dear friend Conna gave to me this summer too. They are in the center of my dining room table, and I move and rearrange the rocks every day or so. I make sure the cloth is not dirty or wrinkled. And the rocks are arranged just so. I like it all a certain way. I rearrange often.
I chose to make each rock represent someone in my little family. All these people helped me grow. All these people have touched and affected me in beautiful ways and I am grateful.
Art has this rich wonderful way of saying things words just can't describe. There really aren't words sometimes to adequately express what my heart and mind are feeling and thinking.
I move these precious rocks around this cheerful cloth and smile. I don't know what to say. Inside, I think and pray. Looking at them in the center of my table, my soul knows what words could never say. Good and happy things.
I meant to write this about 2 months ago when my boys were still living at home and my -not -yet then daughter in law, were there watching videos as I walked in from work. They all started laughing and said, "Mom, this song is dedicated to you! It's like how you are!" Of course I was curious to know what the song was all about. It sounded good from the door...
As I watched the video with my little family, we laughed and I commented how the bedroom in the video reminded me of my boys' room they shared when they were little. So creative and interesting. So many toys and funny collections and fun. I felt tender, sentimental feelings sitting there that evening, watching videos and laughing and joking around. Precious dear moments to me. These were the finest people I knew. Even though we had some hard times, last year happen in our family, it didn't change our closeness or good fun. It had changed our home and family, but everything was never as it seemed anyways. I had been hoping and praying, but everything, I learned was never as it seemed.
They told me to listen to the words as we were laughing because I am dramatic, imaginative, and sometimes exaggerate to make them laugh and tell some pretty wild, crazy stories to get their attention, which of course they find hard to believe are true. Like the song... "ten million fireflies...'cause everything is never as it seems.." But what is true, we have had some great adventures, traditions and fun, my sons and I. We have so many memories together. And my son's new wife, who fits perfectly in our family, is truly a new wonderful part it now too.
After all the fun and laughing was over and now they have moved to their own new little places, even if one is right above my head, upstairs in a little studio apartment he's creating, and the other one and his new wife, live just a few miles away, I am reminded tonight, how true like the song says, "I'd like to make myself believe the Planet Earth turns slowly... I am weird' cause I hate goodbyes...I got misty eyed as they said farewells..." I want life to go more slowly. I don't want more misty eyes and say farewells...
My boys and new daughter in law are beautiful souls and artists. They are my fireflies. I am glad they are in my life and dreams. I thought they would stay little boys forever, like in the video, their imaginative,colorful room, with ten million fireflies, but it is okay..and so are misty eyes sometimes... we have new adventures and on Plant Earth and I will pretend it is not going fast but slowly...
I was staring at the grass as I was thinking about my son getting married during rehearsal. I was sitting in the front row by my mother. Our whole family was not there. I knew my son had put more work into our family than others may know and now he was making a new life and family of his own.
I know this grass won't always be green and days won't always be bright and warm as they are today. But today they are. It is a bright, warm, wonderful day and my son deserves it with his new bride. She is a perfect fit for him. She is like a beautiful, cheerful, tender flower.
And when cold winds blow, the skies grow gray and the grass is limp and yellow, I pray they will hang on tight to each other and weather all storms together.
May they know, without wandering, the grass is not always greener on the other side, but with good loving care, and persistent effort and surrender to God, their side of life will be rich, healthy, fulfilling and strong.
I don't want to miss the many things that are pleasant to reflect upon in my life by counting up the disagreeable things.... Thank you God for giving us Your Son who was willing to die for us.
My son was always very serious when he was little. He looked at things often in black and white. He cared about justice and things being right, and fair. He was sensitive and strong- willed. He is still all these things and more. He is tender, generous, intuitive, intelligent, strong and assertive. He is married. He picked a beautiful, loving, generous, thoughtful, young lady to be his wife. They are both creative and artistic. I am delighted for these lovely traits and gifts they have.
I now have a new daughter-in-law. It is wonderful to have a sweet daughter, and for my son a sister. Our little family grew. I pray we will grow and do many special things together. I painted before the wedding as I was nervous, sentimental and full of a lot emotions and memories. I just want to sleep now, but already in my head some paintings are forming. My heart is full. I have to paint and pray it out. It was precious wedding for a precious couple. I am humbled to be a part of their lives..
When I was little, I didn't draw or do any sort of art for money. I did it because it just seemed like something I had and wanted to do. I didn't think about selling it or what it was worth. Art just got me through long and lonely days as a kid, and through high school and college as a way to contribute and support things I cared about, and as an adult, a form of expression, survival and therapy.
When I did start selling art, it sort of changed everything about art for me. I couldn't really sit down and draw without thinking if the painting was good enough, or if someone would like it or buy it. I thought about what to charge and what it was costing and taking from me to paint.
I didn't like that feeling. It has become clear over time, now, that I really do love art. I need to draw, doodle and paint. It is sort of like my well-being depends on it. It is another way I talk and sort things out. I get a lot of emotions and thoughts filed away.
So when people ask me, "Did you sell anything lately?" or, "Are you going to sell that and if so, how much?" I take time to talk about my art like a business, because that's what it is now. And I want to sell my art. I do charge and I don't just give everything away for free anymore. But when I am alone painting or drawing, I try to think about other things. Like I did when I was kid: my feelings, thoughts, memories, people and happening. I focus in on the lines and colors, etc., so my art doesn't turn into work centered around money, selling, or pleasing others. Unless of course, someone hires or asks me to do something in particular for them. Then, I want to do as they ask. I want to think about what I have been asked to do. I want to succeed in getting their wishes fulfilled. It is rewarding to create something someone likes and desires, too.
So it is all a balance. Doing and selling art are both important to me. I am grateful God gave me art as a way of escape, and a way to talk. Sharing that with others is a blessing, too. And getting paid is a blessing as well.
Artist & Storyteller
"The grass fadeth and the flower, but the word of our God shall stand forever." -Isaiah 40:8