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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

I fiddle with flowers. Yes, I do. I am in love with watercolor and how it teams up with the colors on the paper and the brush of the artist.

I have been learning, through practice, the fun of watercolor. I am in awe of its beauty and power that comes from many committed artists who paint because they too would feel less for not painting.

I came to the watercolor paper a timid and frightened student. I remember the first time the class was drawing and painting an apple. It only occurred to me then that I had to create a round shape three- D idea of an apple. It stunned me. I wondered if I had to fold the paper into a cylinder shape.

I didn’t get the hang of it early on as I sat in amongst seasoned artists and accomplished teachers. I didn’t catch the spirit of it. But I never lost the attraction I had toward watercolor as I stopped to gaze upon creations in public places, especially medical facilities, which I have spent a lot of time in with my husband over the last two decades.

It convinced me that watercolor is truly uplifting, healing, and inspiring and truly served a magnificent purpose in and among the human population who were dealing with life and death circumstances.

I continued to paint…a little….and store my scary attempts at art down deep in my drawer or tucked away in a cardboard portfolio only to be forgotten, until the next urge came upon me to “mix color” together. There were long absences from my experiments.

Now that I am of Grandma Moses age range, I am fiddling once again, and more purposefully. A couple of years ago, I met artist Angela Fehr. This was a miracle and it kept me near my watercolors and paint. I haven’t met her in real life or a class offering, (but if she gets within a one-hundred mile radius, that may change). She lives in Canada and she leads classes online and offers many free episodes on utube.

Her teaching surrounds the premise of “I want you to become your own favorite painter.” She also refers to us as “Fearless Artists.”  She shows us the way toward “intuitive painting”, and painting that is “heart-led”.

Well, that ties right in with my spirituality and so I am all in. I’m delighted to see my “happy mistakes”  and to know so much possibility lies ahead, just for the fun of it.

Angela cautions about overdoing it and getting your idea down in a few heart-led, creative strokes of the brush, softening into backgrounds, painting in layers, oh so gentle and soft in the beginning.

Well sometimes I show up broad and noisy in my first strokes, but I am seeing where it takes me. I can’t rush the process, but just like with books…..so many images, so little time.

 

 

I am concentrating on trees and flowers at the moment. Flowers are amazing and I am never happy with them while the paint is wet. I am sure I have another failure on hand, but after it dries it is often another story. Because the paint keeps creating as it dries, and there are brand new nuances you didn’t have much to do with at all. Then, I fiddle…just a bit, in a few places on the painting. Then I see the petals, if not totally defined, at least hinted at.

I paint for the joy and happiness I have as I am in the process which overcomes disappointments and mistakes. I paint the softer side of life. I paint the gentle within me. I paint the love I extend outward to others. I paint the discovery that lies all around me, making each day new. I am pretty sure I won’t stop painting ever again.

 

The Divine — the Creator of all; Masculine and Feminine Divine —I gain so much appreciation of with each stroke. The song, “Paint with all the Colors of the Wind” comes to mind.

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Today, we are rising on a new dawn after elections across our country. May we and they know the sacredness of each new dawn. May we, the voters and citizens and the elected perform our responsibilities in the magnificence we can bring forth. May we listen to the whispers of wisdom, stand with the lessons of age and ancestors, envision what could be as we take even tiny steps toward common sense mixed with a passion for change that is for the good of all, supported by the sacred power of a God and Goddess of love.

It is time. We are the ones. The American dream awaits this dawn. And we are the creators.

 

Whispers at Dawn
By Gloria Burgess
Hush now.
Listen.
Lean into those voices
That whisper at dawn.
Stand gently
Proudly
On the broad bones
The great shoulders
Of the grand mothers and fathers
Who dreamt you
And held you
Keep you
And walk with you
Stroking your face
As dawn paints
That canvas of sky.
(from Legacy Living by Gloria Burgess © 2006, p. 47)
Congrats on getting back in the saddle!
Sara Pranikoff
sara@artandwritingcircle.com; http://www.womenwriting.org

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“They can be like a sun, words.
they can do for the heart
what light can
for a field.”
Saint John of the Cross

Words did that for me yesterday as the weather outside shifted between grey skies and breakouts of a gentle, blue sky with the sun shining down upon me.

Editing, revising, and reconstructing awkwardly worded sentences is the same kind of mixture of sun and cloudy murkiness. And that was what I was doing. But when the feeling of “just right” begins to appear, so does the light in the field that Saint John of the Cross speaks of in this quote.

Then later, in a welcome period of rest, came the kind, gentle and inspiring words of a friend, responding to me in email. She had read and appreciated the words I had sent her in a few chapters of the book I am working on. Enough energy and blessing in her own words to bring me to the next pages of creation.

This is a time where our news media seem fixated on the next annoying, obnoxious, and inflammatory TWEET issued by anyone who has an axe to grind, or just feels a streak of mean-ness coming on. Where is the sunshine here? How much better could the world be served by the worldwide net if it blanketed  the globe with words meant to heal; to build up; to enlighten; to build up hope in the existence of goodness.

These words do exist. I have found “my creative, educational, and spiritual tribes” who bring them forth in poetry, song, prose, and good will. With freedom of choice, I relish this sunshine and share some of the sunshine I found in the Alps five years ago with a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

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This was a picture waiting to happen. We were having a wonderful visit with Lois in the woods in her cabin on Lois Lane in upper New York state near the Fingers Lake area.  We had been neighbors for a brief time in Newton, North Carolina. Lois and I walked the street together on occasion and she always came up with charming, if a bit surprising, tidbits to share.

We still keep in touch, particularly around big sports events, where Lois faithfully waves the Notre Dame flag and colors and checks in with us on how the mighty Green and White are doing.

The table above, was placed near her kitchen window, overlooking a wide green expanse to the back of her property. It was very common to see the deer come from the woods into the open space and even play together before retreating. I believe Lois sent Tom and me  on a journey to dump some feed back there for them among the natural foliage.

A healthy start to the new day — coffee, an apple, a pair of specs to read the Good Word.  I am pretty sure she still does this.

 

 

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One time when we were visiting Laura at college when she was in Optometry school, we followed her to a college party, where she had to explain us to her friends. It seems we have not broken this habit, as we are now going to follow her back to Lexington, KY where we spent the first 12 years of our married lives and both Laura and Kathleen were born. It is never too late for a new adventure. Last year we climbed the waterfall trails and high points in the Smokies, just as we did 50 years ago on our honeymoon. Like the Israelites, we have “wandered in the desert” for 40 years, kept our covenant with our loving God, and God with us, and NOW we return to the place where our married love took root.

cumberland-falls-tom-and-sue

God is Love.

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Lately, I’ve been involved in such a little matter of making order out of my little room where I spend creative time and energies when I write, draw, doodle, meditate or search the web.

Meanwhile all around me on a world-wide scale, millions of people are trying to make order of their lives, finding most of it destroyed by the violence of the human race or the ravishing energies of natural fires and disasters. Innocent people and their families are victims of random singular acts of violence; the threat of terrorism is ever-present. Whole nations are seeking new ground and new life in a setting which doesn’t threaten their daily way of life.

The sheer numbers are stunning and tend to make me feel like a sideline observer.

Yet, there is a call within that tells me I am a “companion on the journey”. That somehow, even in my own simplified and scaled down life, I walk with these others in compassion, in prayer, in belief and hope they  and all of us shall somehow be renewed. But just how do I “do something”?  Aren’t there many of us wondering that? Are there large needs that need to be fulfilled by small people or…..are there small needs that need to be fulfilled by large people?

Alfred Delp, who was a German Jesuit Catholic priest condemned to death by the Nazis in Berlin, believed and said we need to be men and women who are fulfilled. That faith is the path to fullness. “Fulfilled men and women are not pious caricatures,” he said. “They are people who are genuinely impregnated with the spirit of their calling, people who have prayed with all sincerity: make my heart like unto thine.”

In the midst of the destructiveness, pain and suffering of the Nazi power-driven and mad regime, he called people to have willing hearts that beat with compassion and return to the ideal of….service.  He defined this as meeting people on their own ground, in all circumstances, with a view to helping to master the challenges at hand. “That means walking by his side, accompanying him even into the depth of degradation and misery. Go forth, our Lord said — do not sit around and wait for someone to come to you.”

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is the eternal mystery.  Psalm 33 explores it. “The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death and to keep them alive….” The promise is held in Jeremiah 29;  “I know well the plans, I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.”

Today, I received a reminder in my email from Betty Lue Lieber, who resides and works in the midst of the endangered California forests burning right now. She has been supplying reminders on a daily basis for ever so long, but today’s reminder speaks right to being a person fulfilled and one dedicated to service. I share some of her words here.

Thursday, Sept. 17 at 4PM
From Betty Lue.

Robert and I have been living in Hidden Valley Lake, our Reunion Lake House, for over five years.
We also have a holistic counseling and healing center, Reunion ReSource Center, in Middletown.
We have a Reunion Community Room for everyone in Middletown and surrounding area to use.

We have been very fortunate during these wildfires with everything still standing.
Many of our friends and neighbors have lost everything.
As soon as the highway opens with electricity and water available, we will return to be helpful.

Many are grieving the losses.
Some are already conceiving the rebuilding.
We are believing together it can and will be done.
We appreciate good thoughts, help and support.

Blessings multiply with gratitude and Love.
Betty Lue

Update on the Wildfires in Lake County.

Valley fire
(as of Thursday, 8 a.m.)
·       73,700 acres burned
·       35% contained
·       13,000 people displaced
·       7,650 structures threatened
·       585 homes, hundreds of other buildings destroyed
·       3,580 fire workers
·       4 injured firefighters
·       3 confirmed deaths
Butte fire (as of Thursday, 11:30 a.m.)
·       70,760 acres burned
·       49% contained
·       10,000 people initially displaced
·       6,400 structures threatened
·       252 homes, 188 outbuildings destroyed
·       4,403 fire workers
·       2 confirmed deaths

What Can You Do?
For the thousands displaced by the wildfires and so much more around the world!

What Can You Do?
What Can I Do?
What Can We Do?

When we want to be helpful, what can we do?
When we don’t know what to do, how can we help?
When things are unknown or unclear, what can we do?
When caught in confusion, conflict and concern, what can we do?

When we feel hurt and frightened, what can we do?
When we are lost and alone, what can we do?
When we feel disconnected and separate, what can we do?
When in grief and without comfort, what can we do?

We can let the tears fall to wash away the hopelessness.
We can sing a song of comfort to soothe the pain and sorrow.
We can breathe in inspiration and seek some revelation.
We can write a poem and draw a picture to begin to create anew.

There is always something we can do.
We can give thanks for everything we have.
We can watch the sunrise and feel blessed.
We can let go and flow with what seems to be needed.

We can do what is valuable.
We can forgive and erase what is not.
We can make up our own next step.
We can give what we have to feel good.

We can tell stories of hope and faith.
We can remind ourselves to be kind.
We can reassure those who are worried.
We can give what we want to receive.

We can build a new world of possibility.
We can seek inner guidance and outer information.
We can share the best we know with others.
We can give thanks we can do something good.

We can remind ourselves, we can do what we choose.
We can encourage those around us.
We can care deeply for those who are lost, depressed and confused.
We can do the work to repair, rebuild and renew.

I am with you in Love, trust, support and encouragement.
We can, because we are willing.
Betty Lue.

Because I am willing and because I live as a fulfilled person, today what I can do that matters is to encourage anyone in my surroundings today in whatever way I can. One of the ways I encourage is to write Napkinwriter and remain faithful to the writing of it. Does it put out the flames? I don’t know but I write in the faith that my words matter.

I can care deeply for those who feel lost, depressed and confused. I can also pay particular attention to and offer myself loving kindness when I feel those things.

I can always work to repair, rebuild and renew that which provides fullness in my own life and what touches others.

That’s a pretty complete TO DO list for today. I can always begin again tomorrow.

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The Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks, of which I am a fortunate and blessed member, asked us recently to reflect upon “letting go”.  This brings me immediately how repetitive an act that is in my life and how each time, though well-practiced, still meets with infinite resistance and a monumental amount of getting in my own way.

It also brings to my mind and heart Joyce Rupp’s exquisite poem on the act of letting go from her book, “A Star In My Heart”, at the top of my list of favorite books.  I see her poem in action during this beautiful fall season and a frequent reminder for me to let go of just one more leaf from my heart which is also in its autumn season.

By Joyce Rupp

Leaf by leaf by leaf
they tumble and fall:
all my haggard hurts.

like a cottonwood tree
ever so slowly letting go,
so the heartache of my heart.

there goes a bit of sadness,
now a leaf of anger flies;
then it’s the dropping of self-pity.

the leaf of unforgiveness
takes forever to fall,
almost as long as non-trusting.

leaf by leaf by leaf
they fall from my heart,
like a tree in its own time.

old wounds don’t heal quickly,
they drop in despairing slowness,
never looking at the clock.

it seems a forever process,
this healing of the hurt,
and I am none too patient.

but a quiet day finally comes
when the old tree with no leaves
is decidedly ready for the new.

and in my waiting heart, the branches with no leaves
have just a hint of green.

Falling Leaves

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