Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ten Words, One Prayer

Each day I get to work on art about 15 min. at a time, which is part of my rehab. This is a challenge because me, being such a boundaries master, lol!, feels like it's only about a blink. So, as I lay in bed surrounded by the supplies I knew would be manageable, I felt drawn to words, but had no clue which ones. When this happens, I always take a deep breath,, or two, or three, and as I opened my eyes I felt led to grab the book sitting next to me on my night stand, "Classic Paintings." It's a tiny, lovely book, printed in France, long, long ago, so I turned to the page by the supervising publisher, Germain Bazin, and wrote the first ten words that spoke out to me:


As soon as I saw the words I had written it was as if a wave of grief came over me. For the past few months the news has been filled with despair, wars, death, tornadoes, destruction, and hate. So, as I closed my eyes, took a deep, deep breath, this prayer for peace came to me. I share it here with you, on the eve of Memorial Day when so many of our loved ones are honored and hope this prayer brings you solace and peace, in a world where it is so deeply needed.

This was my journal entry.

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Gonna Be All Right

There are no coincidences. I truly believe this. As much as I believe there is a God who loves me, I believe there is an evil force in our world trying to conquer my significance and light. In these two truths, at least to me, I believe nothing happens by chance. I believe one of these two forces in my world, God or evil, moves and life reacts around me, and I to it. Strong beliefs, yes. Controversial, to some. But in this year of my life, I am boldly saying, you don't have to agree with me, this is who I am, this is what I believe, and I love you regardless.

Two weeks ago I had my neck fused. Many of you know this, but many of my new fans and friends may not. Actually, this was my 23rd surgery, no car wreck, just a joint disease that has been a challenge since I was 23. Despite the physical limitations I have faced, the pain, the tears, I have and still believe I live a beautiful, unimaginable life, and am grateful.

Surgery is hard. Many of you know this, and many of who may be facing surgery are probably apprehensive, scared, and worried. I was, with every one. I have also had to deal with the post-operative depression that comes afterwards. Not to everyone, but to some, and to me, often. Part of it is meds, part pain, part life issues that surround me, but like my approach to everything, this will not conquer me, it's gonna be all right.

Today, after almost two months, my Occupational Therapist worked with me to begin painting again. Not a masterpiece, just a simple piece of art to teach me how my posture and adaptations will change for the rest of my life if I want to keep painting. The neck brace, it will be my new best friend. I kinda look at it at this point as an albatross around my neck but I will mentally deal with that because expressing myself creatively is a must, and I will not allow my physical limitations to conquer me either.

The back brace is a new, and constant friend, too. The collar keeps my neck from bending down, the brace helps my core stay stable. And, as I am told, starting small, with baby steps is what I must do, so I will. I wanted to share these with you, because many of my friends struggle with neck and back pain who are artists. If you know of any art friends who face these same issues, please share my blog with them. I have found limited resources and would love for them to know they are not alone. These are my adaptations, but they just might help you as well, especially if you are healing like I am. The painting is simply a start. I have no clue what it will turn into, but it felt good to put paint to paper and feel connected to the artistic spirit that flows within me.

And in the midst of all of this, life can actually fall apart, or it seems. Tears will flow, fears will become real, but in those moments I stop myself and simply breathe, breathe in God, breathe out everything else. My dear friend Terri Keller knows this, and for us, and hopefully many of you, those moments are what becomes the glue to our sanity.

A few hours ago I checked my Facebook page and my blessed college friend Pam had posted a video for me that made her think of me. This is where I know, coincidences don't happen. Every word of that video I needed to hear, to know, to believe, and there it was on my page. God is like that. To me, it's not about religion, it's about a loving God who knows how to gently reach out is hand, even through FB, and say, "I have you, I love you."

As I researched more about Sara Groves, this artist, her song, "It's Gonna Be All Right" struck a chord, especially the quotes. I felt the two videos simply needed to be shared, for private reasons, and for the simple fact that someone out there might need to know, IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT, in time, in faith, with the support of others. I love all of you, I love that you follow my stories, my journey of courage and healing, but most of all, that you love me for me, faults and all. Stay strong my friends, it can be overcome, it can be done, and WE WILL HEAL!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Snail's Pace is Perfect

It has been almost two months since I created, painted, or delved into that whimsical world of mine that is as much a part of me as my faith. Actually, I believe they are intertwined, and the time has been oppressive. That doesn't mean I have laid wailing and whining about a horrible life, on the contrary. My life is blessed beyond measure. It simply means there are parts of us, that make us each unique, and when one or more of those parts slip away, the person begins to fade just a bit. In my world, I hate to fade. 

One week ago I had my neck fused. Surgery isn't new to me, but what that means in reality is that the creative process will take a bit longer to come back full circle. This morning, I went into my studio, lit a candle, and breathed in God and breathed out everything else. I have missed this place. The place of being surrounding by color, and potential, and imagination, but mostly the place where God is in the midst of it. As I sat, I pulled out a quote by Ira Glass and spent a long, southern bit of time pondering it, kinda like my grandpa used to do on the front porch in his rocking chair. 

What I gained from this is that part of healing is loving myself enough to believe a snail's pace is perfect for now. I may draw a line on a paper, I may simply dream in color, watch the sun dance through my colored glass window, or I might even go back to my all time love of Play-doh. No matter the pace or the product, the beauty is that for me, creativity doesn't have to be limited to making a painting or a collage. It is simply part of who I am, part of my beautiful world, and God has been surrounding me with it the entire time. 

It is easy to feel defeated. Physical pain can zap my zeal in an instant. Emotional and Mental Pain can completely debilitate me. But for today, I am choosing to embrace my creativity in much smaller ways, find the juicy tidbits of joy that surround me, and give myself permission to create anything, knowing full good and well the best of me will show itself when it is meant to. In that I am content. 

Regardless of where you are, I hope his quote encourages you to see that creativity is meant to be experienced daily, in some form, no matter how small.....nothing or no one is insignificant!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Start From The Beginning

Beginnings are part of us, each day, each moment, each breath.

I believe it is how we approach these beginnings that move us forward into our journey or cause us to stumble and fall back. 

Neither motion defines our lives, but the culmination of the beginnings eventually leads us into a place we call "identity." 

I pray today that my beginnings bring me to the point where my identity is at PEACE with the person I believe myself to be, and one who brings courage to those taking their own first begin again.