April 29, 2013

Taking a Bit of a Break

Things in life are a bit hectic right now so I'm signing off for a bit of a blogging break. I'll be back soon with peeks into the cupboards of my studio. :)

April 25, 2013

Paint Chip Flower

Since I talked about adventuring with paint last week, I thought I'd show you a fun (easy) project to use up leftover (acrylic) paint.

1. Paint the background, keeping similar colors spaced out around the canvas board. 
2. Let the rest of the paint dry into chips and peel them off.
3. Trim the paint chips into pedals and leaves. 
4. Arrange them how you want on the board. 
5. Use gel medium to glue them down for a fun mixed media piece. (Sorry I ran out of gel medium so I  didn't get mine glued down)
6. Finish it off by painting a stem and embellishments.

This could make a sweet Mother's Day present.

Did you have any adventures in painting this week?

April 24, 2013

5 Ways I've Botched Love

I used to think of love as a fluffy thing like marshmellows with pink frosting ~ sweet, without much substance. But love is deep and unstoppable; something very opposite of light and fluffy. Love reaches in where no one else will go and touches the hearts of those hungry for it. And I've botched it plenty of times.

1. Love requires sacrifice. That doesn't sound fluffy. I'm a homebody. I don't like driving in traffic or shopping. But sometimes the loving (sacrificial) thing to do is to put aside what I want for my family's sake and do it anyway. I don't like to cook, but if I'm the one home before dinnertime, it's loving to pull out the meat and get dinner going. I get uncomfortable telling the truth in sticky situations. But love doesn't shy away from speaking up just to save oneself from being uncomfortable. Love shares in tender understanding.

2. Love is patient. I'm someone who wants what I want when I want it. But love doesn't act that way. It waits, it considers the other person and what's happening with them. If I want the living room picked up in a hurry, that's usually about me. The hurrying may be because I don't want company to see it messy or I want it done now because I don't want to worry about it later when I'm tired. But patience understands that others are in the middle of something and it may take them a bit to disengage. Patience doesn't rush someone faster than their pace can handle (not running with a toddler who can't keep up; or expecting a teenager to get ready in ten minutes). Patience considers the other person.

3. Love is understanding. I've had my fair share (translation: mountains) of assuming things and not extending understanding. Instead of demanding to be understood, love moves forward to understand. It reaches out to get to know a person, see how they think and what their interests are. I often assume I know what people are thinking instead of asking and seeking to truly understand with a simple question like, "I feel like you're angry with me right now, are you?" I've had several interactions where the person was taken completely off guard when I asked that because they weren't angry at me at all; they were just stressed or hurrying and it came off as angry. Love doesn't assume, it seeks to understand and asks questions to find out.

4. Love doesn't let fear dominate. There are many things I've avoided doing out of fear, but love doesn't let fear dictate. Love says, I will move forward despite fear for your sake. I may be fearful of having others think bad of me if my kids misbehave, but love looks beyond that fear and considers the age and capabilities of the children. I might not want to go on a family biking trip because I fear I'll slow everyone down. But love says, I'll participate with you even if I can't keep up. I'll set fear aside.

5. Love is a gift. So many times I have insisted someone love me or show me love. But love can't be demanded. I can't force someone to love me; if I try it will produce a false version of love ~ duty. Love can only be given freely with no expectations. I can hand out love as much as I want, but I cannot require it in return. Although, I have found love is a magnet, and many times it is returned; but if getting loved is the goal, then it's not really love. Love doesn't require you to meet my standards or live up to what I want you to be. Love takes you where you're at, and accepts you as you are.

The older I get the more I realize I may never fully grasp all the facets of love, but I am determined to try.

Photos://Chalk art heart//Fluffy Casserole//My youngest daughter and friend creating art//Rainbow art//My oldest daughter and friend going to prom//Myriad of color//

April 22, 2013

Fairy Sightings: Guardian of Souls

She keeps watch over tombs of souls gone by. The gardens are watered with tears; the air is thick with prayers. She hovers over small ones with tenderness. She gives older ones their due respect. She listens to the silence of lives once lived and memories once happily made. Peace resides here, a deep, quiet solitude.

{In case you're curious, here is the previous fairy sighting}

April 19, 2013

Fools in Love

"We are all fools in love." ~ Pride and Prejudice

As you can see I'm continuing my series of Pride and Prejudice ~ inspired paintings. This one began as a simple stripey painting. I had such fun painting the multi-colored stripes. I wasn't even too careful about the lines being super straight, I rather like the wonky-ness of it. I had the simple idea of a background like this forming a jester's hat.

You know, it's funny, I never considered myself an artist because I've never been to an art class nor do I have an art degree. So everything I've learned has been through books, online or trial and error. I prefer to call myself a painter, because it feels less daunting I think. Because everyone has the ability to paint. It's just getting over the initial "I have to be able to draw and do everything perfect" block. No you don't have to draw or do everything perfect. Just get a canvas, or paper if a canvas scares you (it did me in the beginning) a brush, and some paint (cheap if you're worried about cost). Then, start painting. It's so fun!! Just let yourself play. Just do backgrounds if you're intimidated to do anything else ~ patterns or layers of color ~ and let your painting evolve.

I've talked to so many people who think that if the painting doesn't look like how they envisioned it in their mind, then they failed. NO, NO, NO!! Don't think like that. Let yourself explore. Doesn't that sound fun? Like taking an adventure with Peter Pan or something?

I may do some easy tips on painting in the future because I so want each person that visits here to know that if they've ever had a desire to paint, they CAN. And if you have a specific type of painting you long to do, then yes, you might need more study. But if you're just wanting to play and see where it takes you, then by all means, do it!! I did. And it's such a calming place for me now.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. And if you pick up some paints, I'd love to know how it goes! :D

April 17, 2013

Gentle Understanding

In the fourth grade, I could hear a buzz of people talking above me concerned that I wasn't waking. Opening my eyes, all I could see was darkness. I told them to turn on the lights. They assured me the lights were on. I cried out for my glasses hoping they would help, but they didn't. Was I blind? What happened? I panicked and cried out for my twin sister. They rushed her in and I clung to her, but I didn't think they fully understood the situation. I kept telling the voices in the room, "I can't see! I can't see!" 

They spoke in hushed tones, only escalating my fear. And just when I felt I might start sobbing, Mom entered the room. I felt her cool hand on my brow and her concerned tone. "I'm here," she said. And in that moment I felt completely and utterly understood. She knew my fear, I didn't even have to speak it. She took my hand explaining the situation and told me what was going to happen next. She knew I needed to know. She understood if I had something to hold onto, I could keep the frantic thoughts at bay.

Life hands out these moments, these awful, terrifying moments where everything is chaos and nothing makes sense. Where you're left in the dark with people whispering around you feeling completely terrified and alone. And finding someone, anyone, who understands you seems like a lifeline. Feeling that kind of beauty in the middle of a storm buoys you.

I can't help but wonder how many moments like this pass daily where the person down the street, across the table or sitting right next to me is terrified and needing to know that someone understands. Am I paying attention? Am I willing to rush into the scary unknown to help them? 

My sight returned as Dad carried me to the car that day. I'd suffered a concussion. After a few days of sleeping (being carefully monitored), I regained all I'd lost. But I will never forget that moment, that tender precious moment of Mom taking my hand in full understanding and putting my heart at ease.

April 15, 2013

Fairy Sightings: Distant Song

She rides among the ruins, history in its folds. Their distant song echos in her heart. She keeps their stories hidden and nurses tulips in their memory. She knows the secret, that even among ruins, beautiful things can grow...shining, swaying, beautiful things. And as they rise, hope rises with them.

{In case you're curious, here is the previous sighting}

April 10, 2013

A Life Like This

Some lives impact you in a way that will forever change things. It is a rare person who ages with grace as beautiful as they had in their youth. It's uncommon to allow others to help you in a way that is grateful and not greedy. It's unheard of to be kinder in your weakness than you were in your strength. But that has been my Memaw.

She's loved me regardless and I knew it. When I brought my husband into the family, she accepted him completely. Each child I birthed, she loved unconditionally. Even in the recent years when she stayed with me to give my parents respite, she never once complained about coming. Yet I know it's been hard on her. She misses home but doesn't say it. She always thanks me on the way back for a "wonderful visit".

I say all this to say that when I grow up, I want to be like Memaw. I want my life in youth to be as tender and loving as it is in aging and dying. She is dying now. They say it won't be long. I got to see her last weekend, we sang songs together. She loves music like me.

This week someone who's home-bound said to me, "What's my purpose now?" And I thought of Memaw and how she loved, even when she could give nothing else. That's the greatest purpose of all. There is always someone to love, to thank, to encourage, or to sing with. Memaw did that her whole life; and she didn't stop just because she got old and lost her functions. I guess it's probably obvious, but want to be her when I grow up.

April 8, 2013

Fairy Sightings: Mother of Weeds

The  mother of weeds delights in nothing more than decorating a plain lawn with a multitude of purple blooms. Mowers are her vice and she jinxes them as often as possible. She prefers a field of unbidden growth where her tender weeds are allowed to flourish in abundance and fill the world with vibrant color.

{In case you're curious, here's the previous sighting}

April 4, 2013

Consumed by a Story

I had intended to finish my stripey painting this week, truly I did. But something else caught my attention and held it with such rapture I couldn't pull myself away, Days of Blood and Starlight. Oh, how I love being wholly caught up in a book, especially one as delicious as this! I am silenced by the way she weaves words into golden stories. One thought crosses my mind as I shut each of her books, "Brilliant!" I'm rarely surprised by story plots much anymore, but she never fails to surprise me, and that is a gift all it's own. Thank you sweet, imaginative, Laini. Please, keep them coming!

Wishing you a weekend as perfect as a good book!

April 3, 2013

In the Name of Being Honest

I've been reading through Marilyn Howshall's teachings lately. One thing she says is that your fruit tells on you. Basically, you may act all sweet, nice and patient, but it's the way you act at home that really tells the truth. And as simple as that sounds, it was quite a humbling revelation to me.

I'm not all sugar and roses at home. I can be more salt and thorny. I've begun to realize that when I notice a bad attitude in my children, it can be traced back to me. For instance, when I was about to address heightened complaining among my kids; I heard the same whiny voice coming from me upon having to do the dishes or help with homework.

And it wasn't just once, I began to see a pattern of it my family. If there was a problem among my brood, it started with me. Having little honest mirrors walking around is a bit unsettling, but also motivating. Do I really want to lash out at that car in front of me and demonstrate to my children how to berate another human being? Do I really want to act like every chore is a horrendous duty I hate and exemplify ungratefulness?

No, I don't. I want to live a life full of gracious kindness and forgiving love. I want them to know that no matter what happens, they will be met with the same tender kindness. I want understanding to be my default, not accusations or blame. I'm paying attention, attempting to stop myself before I say or do something I'll regret, admitting my faults as they happen and asking forgiveness. And I hope someday my fruit will tell a good story.

PHOTOS: Sugar Scrub made and given to me by a dear friend