Sunday, February 28, 2010

Limitations

Limitations live only in our minds, but our possibilities become limitless. Jamie Paolinetti

I don't have anything profound to say tonight except that I have moments that I am excited about some of the possibilities in my new life. How could I go wrong with a Power greater than I in control?

This picture, Back lit Tree, is a watercolor that I didn't quite complete, but I like it the way it is. I think it is from my imagination, maybe some thing I saw in my travels. I love drama and back lit scenes and I love it when I can catch light like the Impressionist used to.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Promises Promises


We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears. ~Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld

I used to be one who followed through on promises made to others and commitments made to myself, but I have grown shamefully slack in that area. I have become neglectful of the to-do lists and goals I have written on slips of paper all over the house, which are collecting dust like everything else that needs to be dealt with.

Two things on those list I just remembered, one was to check out the new local gallery to see if it could be a place to show my art. I can frame some art to hang in the shop or create bookmarks or cards with the computer, which I am very good at. I made late Hubby's funeral bulletins and had 50 printed for about 20 bucks. Bookmarks are easy to make and cheaply laminated. But first I have to visit the gallery--make that first small step.

I also made a promise to a friend. She has lots of artsy friends because of her connection with the local theater and she has little concerts at her house featuring local artists, which are well attended. She said she wanted to do a showing of my work in the same way; all I had to do was get some art framed. I promised her I would work on that. I haven't.

I don't know quite what to do about this inertia I have allowed to settle over me, but it has to be broken before I can move forward.

This painting is called Velvet Gown. When looking at the reference photo, I was struck by how the sun shining into the flower seemed to make it glow; I think I have captured that in the painting. All the pictures I paint of flowers are from photos taken in my garden, or sometimes someone else's.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Movin' On

I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons.
Finally content with a past I regret;
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness.
For once I'm at peace with myself.
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long.
I'm movin' on.
At last I can see (God) has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone.
There comes a time in every one's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone.
I'm movin' on. Rascal Flatts
On some levels, I still feel stuck in those things that cause me pain and confusion, but in other ways I am beginning to get excited about the new possibilities in my life. God has proved himself capable and willing to take perfect care of me even when I was stubborn and more willing to pout than to pray. God loves me enough to set me free--free from my fears, the bondage to self and my narrow views of life. I have been thinking a lot about the past and started writing down those stories in another blog to share with close friends; I think it is important to record that journey. This is a milestone year for me; It was 30 years ago in January that I stopped drinking and using and general misbehaving and surrendered to my Lord. Next month will be my 29 year anniversary in Al-Anon. I am ready to move on, past those things that keep me stuck. I will be a Phoenix, rising from my ashes soaring as a new Maxie. Just hide and watch.
This painting is "Ruffled Gown." Irises are so much like decked-out Southern Belles.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Acts of Human Kindness

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. ~Bob Hope
Today I was able to extend kindness to a couple of people--just small things but I am pleased to be able to do so, because while I was so absorbed in my own troubles, many people extended large acts of kindness towards me; I have been surrounded with big-hearted people. It is OK to be on the receiving end of so much love and compassion when I am going through a hard time, but there is some point where I need to look up and see the need all around me and seek opportunities to give back a fraction of what I have been given. I love the way God loves me, and I am deeply grateful for the people he put in my life.
The painting is "White Irises." I saw them in a garden that I pass every day and I stopped to photograph them. I love the drama of the back-lit flowers with the dark background, and they made one of my favorite paintings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Never Give Up!

Nevah, nevah, nevah, nevah give up. Winston Churchill (Fake British accent mine. :o)

Winston Churchill led his nation during a horrible war-including a German Blitzkrieg, and he exhorted the citizens to never give up.

I feel like I am being bombarded by my own blitzkrieg in emotional and health problems, and I have an artist's block as big as the Great Wall of China. Yet I have no intention of giving up. How can I with all the love and support of friends and family? I saw my mother and grandmother give up, in face of pain and both wound up in wheel chairs. Tooling around town in a motorized buggy is not an option for me; that is why I was willing to undergo surgery. Now I have to fight it on another front. When I was talking to a friend today, I told him that I was going to get better and I will be dancing and dating soon. I didn't plan to say that, but once I did I thought about it all afternoon and decided, by golly, I am going to do it. The only obstacles in my life are in my own mind. If you catch me whining again in my blog, remind me that I said that. You have my permission. ;o)

This painting is called "Amazing Grace" because it is the first time a painting really flowed for me--I struggled with it before. Who would have thought that painting something as complicated as an iris would bring a breakthrough? I did this in 2003, and have since painted a dozen more.

CWCW: I washed the car, cleaned the kitchen, and did all the laundry, including folding it and putting it away (instead of rummaging through laundry baskets for my clothes.) I transplanted the geraniums that I started from cuttings last fall, did some typing for the church, dropped off an overdue library book and worked on the portfolio. I am starting to get with it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn. ~David Russell

I had to make a decision... I hate making decisions, but since I am responsible for my life, finances, home pets, and everything else, nobody can make decisions for me or even guide me in them; I have to choose whether to cross or burn the bridge. I can pray and listen to what others say, but the final decision is mine. Today I got a second opinion on the surgery that was scheduled for today and then canceled by my doctor. I didn't want a second opinion because I had to go to another city to get one. God had other ideas; He brought the second opinion to me. After explaining things and answering my questions, I asked the doctor point blank that if I walked into his office as a new patient, what would he recommend. He said since the surgery would only partially help my pain, he would recommend a less invasive course of actions, first. That is what I decided to do. I have such a relief with this new prospect that I realize that my intuition was telling me not to go through with this procedure. I have not yet learn to trust my gut yet. But applaud me that I made a decision. I am willing to let God bring me healing. I am happy at the moment.

The picture is of yellow warblers. What happy looking birds. I can almost hear them singing. Maybe I will sing with them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Laughter is...

... higher than all pain. -Elbert Hubbard

I laughed a lot this weekend. I went to a friend's birthday party which was rich with entertainment and laughter. It was wonderful to honor someone who means so much to me, and to go to the party with other friends. I have made a decision. I am going to laugh, and have fun as much as possible and leave everything else in God's hands. There are a few things that have been making my heart heavy and as they say in the Fellowship, I am powerless to change them, so the only thing I can do is to surrender them to God (haven't I talked about surrender before? :o). You might have to remind me that I said this. I have been a bit too woebegone, and focused on my troubles, but I have been carried by the love, help and encouragement of amazing friends and it is about damn time I start giving thanks for that and raising my head to see the joyous things around me.

This is a picture of a mockingbird. There aren't any in this part of the world and I remember them from when I live in the South. This time of year I yearn for southern parts where spring comes earlier and it doesn't get dark as early there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Artist License

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. ~Aristotle

I was painfully shy when growing up and as a young mother. I didn't make friends easily, and it became easier to isolate, escaping into books, projects and my own mind. Today I am grateful to say that I have many friends and continue to make more. OMG!! I may even be popular!! How did that happen? Tonight was a highly social one for me plus I received several phone calls during the day, and a sweet note in the mail. Pain pills slow me down, so today I only got one load of clothes washed, but I did work on the portfolio.

This painting is called Homestead. The house is one we lived in when my daughter was born in Oklahoma and the car--a '53 Pontiac--is what we drove then. The windmill, however, is from South Dakota. This picture is a compilation of different photos and my imagination. It is April when the buds are just coming out on the trees and a morning after a storm. Can you smell the rain-scented air and feel the cool damp breeze?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tears in a Bottle

I wasn't going to post tonight but I am drawn to this forum like a moth to a candle. I am discouraged because my surgery was canceled but I have to remember that I said that I was going to surrender to God. To do that, I need to stop placing expectations on how things are going to work out. In other words-- stop trying to write the script. I will feel better about it in the morning; I always do--meanwhile it is OK to have a good cry. I never apologize for crying. After all the Psalms say that God stores our tears in a bottle and records them in a book.

I want to talk about this picture. My dad was Dutch and my parents made several trips to Amsterdam where his father was born. The photos I inherited were blurry, and poorly exposed but I created my own landscape by combining elements from different pictures and inventing the sunset. One day I will go to see these things for myself; meanwhile I can enjoy my vision of it. I would rather be moved by good art than by my pitiful difficulties.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Raise the White Flag

Joy is a choice. It is a matter of attitude that stems from one's confidence in God--that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen.~ Charles Swindoll

This is a painting on a moose antler, which I did for my grand-daughter. It was fun to do and I love the picture.

Today I had a very good day. It was highly social. Long visits with friends, hugs from others, emails, phone calls and IM. I made a conscious effort to focus on others rather than on my latest adventure. Could that be what helped me get in a better mood?

Since watching Joel Osteen's message on surrender I have been doing better because I surrender--I have raised the white flag! God, I give up!! I am surrendered at the moment. It is OK if I take any of it back in the next day or hour or minute because I will just surrender it again, and again, and again until I get it right. I am determined. I want to laugh and be happy again. And one day I will dance. I am determined! OK, I will surrender that too.

CWCW: I washed a load of clothes and got a hair cut. Socializing was much more important to me than chores. Oh, I did my nails--the color is "blushing bride". :o)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Singing in the Lifeboat

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. ~Voltaire

In addition to my art, I have photos I have taken that I use for art reference. Some of them are good enough to classify as art themselves. This one is a bouquet that my late husband bought me a few years ago. I should of posted it on Valentine's day since that is probably when he gave it too me.

The above quote nudges my conscience a bit. I haven't been doing much singing and a lot of whining. I know that it is part of the process of accepting new challenges and moving into the light. I am so ready to be done with the pain and confusion. OK, so I am going to sing before I go to bed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be My Valentine

You can always find a reason to give thanks if you look in the right places. Joel Osteen

I like this sunrise picture. It was one of the best vacations of my life where the US Navy took families on a cruise. They took my family from the base in Everett WA by bus to Victoria, BC where we met up with our sailor, and at 0500 the next morning, we boarded the USS Abraham Lincoln for the trip back to Everett. Totally cool.

I promised Friday night in a meeting that would be less whiny and more focused on others this week, so I when I published the totally pathetic and weepy post last night, I immediately deleted it. I promised to keep this blog real but I think continued complaining is not going to foster growth and recovery in me. There are those in more dire straights than I: a man awaiting a heart transplant, a woman needing a liver, another with cancer --and on it goes-- and all of us would be well-served if I pray for them rather than contemplating my navel.

I actually had a very nice Valentine's day. I went to church in the AM, watched the Daytona 500 with Daughter and Grandson and attended a banquet tonight at the church with friends where I laughed a lot. I sent out a number of Happy Valentine's texts and got back 6 messages and several phone calls. I even worked awhile this afternoon on the portfolio, while I watched Joel Osteen's message on Let Go and Let God.

A friend gave me a list of 101 ways to pray. Number 36 said to ask God for for a spirit of hilarity. God help me to look at this week's chores and challenges with a spirit of hilarity.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Phew, what a week!

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. ~Mother Teresa

OK, so I am better tonight. Sometimes I can't really write anything, so I post lyrics to songs that speak for me. A couple of evenings hanging with friends and laughing a lot helped me get in a better frame of mind.

Two things were bothering me. One is that I was anxious the up-coming surgery. It didn't help that a very negative person told me that my doctor was a really bad doctor and rattled off four desperate cases to prove her point. I admit that freaked me out, especially since I was second-guessing my decision to have my hip replaced but tonight I talked to someone who had the same surgeon for her hip. I added that to the list of people I know personally who have had joint replacements done or fractures set by him--all with positive results. I just have to trust God to look after me. The second thing that was troubling me was Valentine's day. I didn't expect not having a sweetheart on the day of love to affect me like this; I confess to a little of that love hunger Mother Teresa spoke of. I just know it was a really yukky week, which I wouldn't want to have to relive. This weekend, I am going to focus finishing my portfolio and next week I will focus taking care of chores and business that needs to be done--like getting my hair cut--before surgery. Above all, I am going to stop being so focused on me and opening my mind to the presence of God and needs of others. I hope.

Don't forget to feed my fish. They are greedy little things.

Every Little Thing is Gonna be Alright.

Everything must change.
There's a mirror showing me the ugly truth.
These bones they ache with holy fire;
But I've got nothing to give, just a life to live.
If your world is without colour
I will carry you, if you carry me, yeaah.

There's no-one else to blame;
I live my life between the fire and the flame;
I've built my house where the ocean meets the land.
It's time to live again, pull my dreams out of the sand.
Let your world be full of colour.
I will carry you, if you carry me, yeah.

When it's all falling down on you,
You're crying out but you're breaking in two,
When it's all crashing down on you,
When there's nothing you can do
There is someone who can carry you.

Every little thing's gonna be alright.
Every little thing's gonna be alright.
Every little thing's gonna be alright.
Every little thing's gonna be alright.
Delirious?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I am not alright

If weakness is a wound
That no one wants to speak of,
Then “cool” is just how far we have to fall.
I am not immune;
I only want to be loved
But I feel safe behind the firewall.
Can I lose my need to impress?
If you want the truth,
I need to confess
I’m not alright
I’m broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
It leads me to you, Lord, it leads me to you.

Sanctus Real

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Focus! Focus! Focus!

It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny. Anthony Robbins

My focus has been fractured. I was so out of it, I didn't get anything for Grandson's 17th birthday. So the following evening I went to Walmart and bought a gift intending to drop it off at his house on my way home, but didn't remember to do so until I pulled into my own driveway and started to get out of the car, and had to backtrack. I forgot to buy a couple of items when I was at the store and when I went back this morning, I discovered that I had left my cane--that once was my grandfather's--in the shopping cart last night. Today, I walked away from a meeting leaving a travel mug and my glasses behind. What's worse, is I forgot to close the window; I hope someone else did, but I was responsible for it. I can't get back into the building until tomorrow. Fortunately, I retrieved the cane and I hope I can do the same with the glasses and that I won't get into too much trouble for the window. The point is that this is not normal behavior for me and it is because I am letting my mind run wild. Focus. God help me, because I am headed for trouble.

CWCW: I went to Bible Study and a meeting in the Fellowship. I put together nine pages of the portfolio and spent some time getting to know an acquaintance who is becoming a friend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Serenity


Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.

I remember when I was a kid, I got up early one Easter morning and looked out the window into the woods right behind the house. The sun was just coming up, the birds were singing and I felt like I was the only one in the world awake. The scene in the woods touched me so deeply it made my heart ache. I have never forgotten it. Maybe it was an early spiritual awakening or maybe it was a moment of human longing for the Eden that was lost. This picture titled, "Serenity" reminds me of that morning, though it is a puny effort to reproduce it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Keeping it real

Today the only thing positive about this post is the painting... and the fact that I am posting. All the sanity of the weekend fled and I have been a basket case all day. I can't account for the emotions; all I can say is that they are what they are. I scheduled hip surgery which kinda freaks me out, but I was crying before that and on the way home. I went to a meeting and had to make myself stop crying before I left so I could put on make-up. I managed to keep it in tact during the meeting even though the topic was "the wreckage of our past." Geez, just what I needed to hear. But I cried it off on the way home. Nothing like a good bawl to remove mascara; saves on cold cream. Nuff said about this day, or I'm gonna be swearing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fight for it!

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." Mahatma Gandhi
I took two semesters of Sculpture in college, from the same man who taught a drawing class where I learned a great deal about drawing. He taught realism in drawing, but in sculpture he insisted we develop abstract designs. I have trouble seeing in the abstract, my art style is realism. I can enjoy other people's abstract art, but it is a stretch to do it myself. I know his theory was that abstract takes the subject to its basic design elements; he also hated to see a student attempt a realistic design and fail.

Failed attempts at realism did not make good abstract. The first sculpture I did was abstract and I struggled with it and have never been happy with the results though my professor liked it. In the second semester when we were working up the designs, another student confided in me that to get the design I wanted I had to fight for it; that this teacher would respect my belief in my own design. I have a history of timidity, and avoiding conflict, but I got some gumption in my backbone and insisted on sculpting the design I worked up--politely, of course. :o) He let me do it. As I worked, the sculpture came out even more realistic than my design and it was totally from my imagination. It is one of the most exciting things I ever produced. My professor confessed that he didn't expect it to turn out so well. Even when he let me have my way, he didn't have any faith in it. Somehow I did.

Over the years, I have forgotten that lesson, but I want to remember it today. I have a tendency to let things slide, and go: "Oh well, that is the way it is." While acceptance is a very important principle in my life, as is letting go and letting God, I tend to accept some circumstances that I could change if were I willing to fight for them. God, show me where I need to fight.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Emotional Sobriety

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein
I confess that I decided how things were going to be. Since the last couple of years have been horribly hard with one drama after another, I figured that it was time for a break from challenges. After all, I have had those times in my life when things were smooth and peaceful, wasn't I entitled to that now? "Is it not time?" I thought. Then BAM! The hip went out. I was angry and stormed against this new intrusion in my life with tears and clenched fists. This is NOT what I had on the agenda for 2010! But then, I was the one who wrote the agenda; apparently God had other ideas. While I have no trouble remaining sober in regards to drugs and alcohol, my mind and emotions are another story. I have been stark raving nuts--for some time now, and it has been overwhelming.

Today, though, was a good day. This morning I told God I was at my wits end and asked Him to control the Wild Child, my mind, and for the first time in a long time, I feel emotionally sober. I was relaxed and calm and enjoyed the company of people who are dear to me, while making a couple of new friends. Then I went to a meeting in the Fellowship. This healing is not because of freedom from difficulties, but it came in the middle of them. I love you, Jesus.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ignorance in Art

Look and you will find it--what is unsought will go undetected. Sophocles. Wow! That is a blinding flash of the obvious!

I remember the early days of creating, I was intimidated by other artists, by galleries and art shows. The featured artist's bio always had a list of his or her degrees in art in what schools, and I didn't think that I could show my work, and say that I learned to paint and draw from library books; somehow I was ashamed to say I was self-taught. These artists actually had studios and I sometimes had to paint at the kitchen table. When I did go to college at age 37, the painting classes left a lot to be desired --the teacher drank on the job--so today what I know about painting comes from my self-taught era and I still learn that way today. When I started drawing as a young mother, I didn't know I needed an education to create, so in my ignorance made some really good art!! ;o) Even on notebook paper.


CWCW: I have the portfolio ready to assemble. I have the art records updated and I will print them out and use them as an index. I have so many photos I have to use a larger album than I planned. I have a record of 2 sculptures, 105 paintings and 110 drawings (a lot of the earlier art was never photographed or recorded). Of course because of sales, gifts and loaning works of art to irresponsible people, I don't own all the pieces, but I do have a photo record of most of it. This is inspiring me so that I am beginning to plan what I want to do when I finally do sit down to the drawing table. That was the plan. :o)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Faith Can Do


by Kutless

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to
Rise from the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining
It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do.
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Ah-Sigh-EE

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.-- Lily Tomlin

Today was a good day; I met with friends, including one I haven't seen in a long time; two friends each gave me a book, and another gave me some cash and I came home to find a UPS package on the porch from another friend-- a herbal blend for joints with acai (pronounced "Ah-Sigh-EE) berries. This is a continuation of yesterday's post about friends. I am blessed.
CWCW: I went to Walmart to get some food and I managed to walk through the store on my own. I don't like using the handicapped buggies; I feel I become a non-person riding one. Other shoppers don't see me or they see me and ignore me. Normally, I have some interaction other people-- a smile or a word, but in those buggies, it's like I am not really there. I know that it shouldn't matter what others think or do, but I still don't like it. I found some items on the clearance rack and treated myself to a new nail color. When I got home I put away the groceries and cleaned the kitchen. Now I am going to work on the portfolio.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

True Friends


"The miracle of friendship can be spoken without words...hearing unspoken needs, recognizing secret dreams, understanding the silent things that only true friends know."

I have to take some time to talk about friends. Right now, I have more friends than I have ever had before in my life, and most of them are ones I have made in the last 10 years. I was painfully shy and did not make friends easily as a child and a teen, and as a young wife and mother I was contented to stay at home and not venture out too much; what few friends I had were outgoing neighbors or co-workers who pulled me into their circles of friendships. I enjoyed their company, but not enough to break out of my shell; and when we moved on, I didn't make a effort to stay in touch, so I have no friends from the past. I developed a pattern of isolating, associating only with family, which wasn't too smart because the family held my most toxic relationships. The more painful my life became, the more I pulled into my shell and the fewer friends I had.
I am grateful today that I am not so much an introvert; I embrace my friends and welcome new ones. Friends bless me in more ways than I can count. Today I was treated to a massage by a friend. Recently a friend cleaned my living room and kitchen; another went to the doctor with me; others showered love on me for my birthday. Phone calls, visits, cards, emails, lunches, excursions, gifts, help, girl talk, secrets shared, laughter, hugs and kisses... I hope I can be as half a good a friend to others as they are to me.

I am grateful to say that now, the more painful my life is the more I reach out to my friends. And those friends of mine who are reading this-- Thank you and I love you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Trust God, Clean House and Help Others.

I heard the title to this post in a meeting tonight and it has power in its simplicity, if I could just do it; it puts everything that is troubling me into perspective.

Trust God. I heard it said, "don't tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is;" being focused on my pain, fear and doubt is not focusing on the Higher Power, limiting my expectations of Him. I put Him in a box. How do I trust God? Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually. Eileen Caddy
Clean House. This tells me to clear out the rubble in my life that is blocking my path to peace and enlightenment, and preventing me from trusting God and helping others. If I am busy cleaning house then I don't have time and energy to let my thoughts scramble like squirrels in a cage. I actually feel better when I clear out a pesky thought or attitude.

Help others. This is self explanatory. When I am helping others I am not focused on my own problems. There are those who are in greater need than I, and there are those who are still lost in their own pain and addictions. There are those who need a hug or a smile or a shoulder or a word of encouragement. It does not require a lot to help others.

CWCW: Today I kept the clutter picked up and tidied the kitchen. The pictures of my art came back and I am now ready to put together portfolio. Most important, I spent time seeking God, doing a little internal house cleaning and listening to some people who needed to talk.