Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sturdy Soul

It's nearly midnight here. I intend this post to close out my first year of blogging. But then, depending on when I push a magic computer button, it might actually become my first sharing of 2010. We'll see.

I'll admit right here: the last few weeks of this year have been rugged. A part of me is ashamed to say that, since I know others suffering grave illness. Some mourning suicides. Others struggling with chronic bodily pain and joblessness and poverty. I have none of those.

Rational thought points an accusing finger to the mirrored image and mutters: "She better shape up. Stop complaining. Just shake off the past and get ON with her life."

I'm trying. I really never thought it would take this long or be this hard. I've prayed harder than ever. Flung countless streams of heartfelt gratitude to the heavens. Felt the presence of God more sharply and intensely than ever.

And still, such sadness remains. With every fiber of my being, I know that full healing is possible, since nothing is impossible with God. But some days I don't think I will ever fully come out from under the shadow of what my father and husband have done.

But I'm trying.

As the last few minutes of this year count down, I hereby make a conscious decision to focus my attention on some good things and share those, even while tears wet the keyboard:

Thanks to the loving prompting of my daughter, I painted today. It's not finished yet since it still needs some sharp contrasts, but here it is as a work in progress.

I also closed out this year watching the last three hours of So You Think You Can Dance. That's all I was able to see of the season, since I don't have TV access. My dear daughter recorded the final shows for me and I was overwhelmed, not just with the quality of dancing, but with the overflowing emotion and joy and enthusiasm expressed by the dancers and the judges. Truly a celebration of life.

I wasn't able to finish out my 100 days of writing, but I'm quite proud of the 57 days I DID write.

And in November, I wrote poetry every day. From that body of work I've distilled a collection which I've named "Sturdy Soul." It reflects the heart of me and I am very proud of it.

So, I finish out this year in my home, alone, tears freshly dried, a painting also drying, poetry speaking of my heart's resilience. My walk with God has reached new heights and depths. My commitment to live real and honest and fully alive and loving is stronger than ever.

For this, and for the friends and family who have been so faithful in their love of me, I am truly grateful.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Almost Midnight

The last few minutes of today trickle away. The rational part of me says, "Be quiet. Tomorrow you'll regret saying anything. Besides, what you're feeling is likely due to 'an undigested bit of beef.'" (courtesy of Mr. Scrooge).

Well, to my rational self I say: phbtphbtphbt (or however you spell out the sound of blowing raspberries.)

All too often I have overlooked, stepped around, stepped on fresh new beginnings because I didn't recognize them as such. At best I might have credited them as momentary blips of fantasy, too impractical for Real Life, or (here's the meanest one), not something I could really pull off.

Well. All that nonsense is gonna change. HAS changed. As of now.

I'm declaring publicly, right here and now, that I have abandoned my sweet real self long enough. So many years trying to please others. Trying to behave so that they won't leave me. Didn't work anyway. And all along my sweet self was waiting for me to notice her and give a thought or two about pleasing HER. About MY not leaving HER.

God made me to be me. My only true job/calling/mission is to be the me God made. I'm the only one who can do it. If I don't be me, then I leave a hole in God's universe.

And that's all I have to say for tonight. The clock has just struck midnight and I did NOT turn into a pumpkin. I turned into ME.

[most of the photos sprinkled throughout were taken a couple days ago on a walk by my beloved creek.]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hello, again

Hello out there, to whomever might be dropping in to visit me. November has turned out to be sort of an odd month for blog postings. Had some emotional ups and downs regarding family stuff. Prayed my way through and feel pretty peaceful.

[here's one of my geraniums, brought inside a couple of winters ago and blessing me with neon-pink blossoms all year round.]

I'm glad to feel peaceful--however, the aforesaid mentioned ups/downs played havoc with some of my plans, like more frequent postings here. And my personal Writing Challenge . . . oh dear . . . I am now officially 14 days behind in the daily writing. But hey, hope springs eternal, at least here in my home. I fully intend to catch up before year's end.

[I trimmed a plant and stuck the cuttings in a pitcher. Doesn't the sun make them beautiful?]

And yay for me, it's Day 29 of the Poem-a-Day challenge, and I am current through today. Writing a poem every day, to someone else's prompt, and then posting that rough draft for all the world to see: that is QUITE a brave feat, as any writer will acknowledge. So far, I have noticed a definite change in my whole relationship with writing poetry. It seems much more like breathing. I can summon the muse and not wait, endlessly, for her to visit. And I can be less attached to each poem, more ready to slice and dice if need be. December will see several of us working together to edit our work. I'm really eager for that.

Here's my poetry wall--each day's offering gets posted here as well as on the official blogsite.

Another great accomplishment was getting my roof replaced. It was a task with emotional entanglements, my having received my house in the divorce over two years ago, along with its needed repairs. It feels very good, on many levels, to be going into winter with a new roof over my head. Lots of new beginnings.
My love and thanks to all who visit my blog and read what I have to say. A special thanks to those who leave comments. It means more than I can express.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Touching Base

Not really sure of the purpose of this particular post, only that I felt led to write it. We'll see what comes :) . I'm gonna find some of my favorite flower and sunset pictures and sprinkle them in. With the days dark so early, I NEED this color.
This past week has passed pretty much like the few before it: still a little sick, still a little sad, still having wonderful creative moments, still experiencing times of deep sweetness with family and friends.

Yet a melancholy persists.

I hope what I'm about to say next comes out right: in the very many years that I've been working hard at surviving the life experiences I've been in, I have read, listened, prayed, studied a very very very great deal. (Here comes the maybe weird part). Because of that multitude of dedicated effort, I think I KNOW whatever it is I need to know, in order to be emotionally stable and peaceful and productive.

So, why am I not (stable, peaceful, etc.)? Yes, I agree, I do have moments when everything works well, but why has the balance not shifted, and stayed, on the side of emotional health?

Still yet more prayer and listening and humility has brought me to this conclusion: all those ideas that I KNOW, I need to believe and practice. With greater regularity. With deeper confidence.

So that's what I'm gonna focus on. My head is tired with all the knowing. My heart and soul are now gonna take the lead. I can envision more smiles, more vocalized gratitude, more laughter, more hugging, even if I've gotta hug myself.

Each day, I will act out my reenergized belief that God is Love itself, that God loves me, that God needs me, and that God lifts me up, every single moment.

And I will know (oops!! make that BELIEVE) that each one of you can feel that same Love lifting you, all throughout each day.

P.S. I'm all caught up on my Poem-a-Day challenge, and only 2 days behind on my WRITE:100, with a total of over 18,000 words so far.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Keep on Keeping On

Sunshine and warm outside. I'm grateful for that. I experienced a glitch in my routine of creative output. Got four days behind in my Poem-a-Day challenge but just caught up. Still have four days of my writing challenge to catch up on. Here's a little picture I painted recently, a sign of my hope.

The days right now seem to be a mix: a little sick, a little sad, some lovely artistic moments, some deeply sweet connections with family and friends. I continue to pray to seek a continuity of happiness within my relationship with God . . .with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, to paraphrase a favorite Bible reference to God's dependability.

In the midst of times of supremely fulfilling creativity, I still labor to get my Stuff in order. Here's one image of my oh-so-orderly business workspace. Now doesn't that just inspire confidence? One glance at that and you'd readily trust me to manage your finances and affairs, right?

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I know.

I understand that life is a work in progress, but I am still holding onto the hope that I can find a smidge more serenity in how I manage the Details of my life. If any of you have found solutions, I'd sure love to hear.

I send my love and appreciation to all who read what I have to say, and I thank those of you, boundlessly, who take the time and effort to leave comments.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Busy busy days

I have really missed having more frequent blog posts here. But the good news is that my lack of frequency is not due to anything (whoa--I just typed "anythong"!!!) negative.

Rather, my level of productivity in creative areas has lept up several notches. I'm 100% current on my WRITE:100 project, having written every day and have accumulated over 13,000 words on my new novel.

Also joined a Poem-a-Day challenge for November and have written and posted each day.

I found some new dancing buddies and have danced 5 of the last 6 days.

I've also painted nearly every day.

My prayers for God's leading and inspiration have deepened to a level I couldn't have imagined previously. He is definitely lifting me up and out of past habits and limits and showing me new directions and abilities.

I am so deeply grateful. Don't get me wrong--this time of elevated activity has still been full of tears, frustrations and doubts . . . but those are melting away in the light and warmth of God's sustaining love.

How are all of you doing? Are you leaning toward the difficult things in your life and letting the divine current of God's goodness carry you forward?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaack

[The pictures sprinkled throughout this post are not very photogenic, I know. But they are my attempt to say goodbye to summer, which was all too short, and make peace with winter, which arrived all too suddenly and soon.]

I'm very grateful to my sweet friend and fellow writer/artist Amanda, at http:/ for asking me something today. She'd noticed that I hadn't blogged for over two weeks and wondered if a reason existed beyond just the usual busyness of life.

I told her I'd been wondering the same thing. I have really loved this adventure of blogging and actually am pretty dumbfounded that I've been at it since January 2nd. So it surprised me--no, actually sort of dismayed me--that although I'd listed "write new blog post" on a series of daily To Do lists, I kept avoiding it.

After just a few moments of contemplating this mystery with Amanda, I found myself crying. Yeah, I know that isn't a very unusual occurence for me, but it really surprised me this time. I just opened up to the feelings surfacing and realized that underneath, I was pretty scared. That surprised me even more.

But again, I gently let the feelings find words for themselves. What's coming to light is that I am to-the-bone weary of being in so much transition. Yes, transition is far better than being stuck in a rut. But this mental and emotional climate of always working toward something in the future had somehow robbed me of the joy of just being me, here and now, in whatever messy and loptarded shape I'm in.

Yes, I want to lose weight. Yes, I want a relationship with a man that is safe and satisfying. Yes, I want the inside of my home to reflect order and allow space for creative chaos. Yes, I want the outside of my house to be safe from the elements. Yes, I want my paperwork in workable order. Etc. Etc. Etc.

But in all this focus on these "projects," some immediate and some long-term, I lost sight of just loving the me God has made, in whatever physical shape I'm currently in; of appreciating the male and female friendships I currently have; of loving my home and all I can do in it right now; of being grateful that I am able, in the midst of a paper hurricane, to still handle my current clerical obligations.

What are your days like? Do you feel swamped in endless lists of things to do? Do you think you perpetually fall short, no matter how much you accomplish? Have you found ways to live in this moment, to somehow, more simply, just be? I'd love to hear from you.

P.S. Despite my lack of blog posts, I HAVE kept current on my WRITE:100 challenge. And on Day 14, the entry turned into . . . . the beginning of a novel!!!! The subsequent pages have resulted in 11,459 words!!!! Woo-hoo!!!

P.P.P.S.S.S. Amanda had this quote on her blog today, and it really summed up a lot of what I was feeling: "When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly." ~Barbara Winter

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WRITE: 100 Days 18-22

Howdy!! Hey, this is kind of an unusual feeling, worth celebrating here: I'm happy :)

No particular reason. It's been a very full day, made more challenging 'cause I left a few things till today that I could have done earlier. But I just took a deep breath, prayed, and started in. And as of now, (still several hours before bedtime), I'm all caught up. No frenzy, just peaceful purposeful working.

For me, the prayer has been the key. I visit with God, admit when I've sorta screwed up. I ask for His guidance and companionship. And as His beloved child, I accept that He loves me, unconditionally. Wow.

I hope each of you are feeling some measure of peace and purpose today. You can wrap yourself in the sure knowledge that God loves you so dearly and has wonderful things in store for you. Yes, for YOU.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Write:100--Days 9-17

How's your week been? Mine's been sorta uppydown, emotionally. Yeah, I know . . .nothing new about that :), at least for the past few years.

Spent one afternoon out in Bella, eating a delicious lunch and reading and journaling. Then some wicked cold, oh-so-NOT-October weather swooped in. I've got a heater I can take out there with me, but haven't hooked up electricity yet. [I'm throwing in one of my last sunflower pictures, as my way of ignoring the snow]

I've been faithful in writing every day. I'm pretty proud of that.

And something new has transpired. After talking to my daughter and another writing buddy after our bi-monthly writers's meeting, I witnessed a decided turn in my daily writing for WRITE:100. My daughter was encouraging/urging/prodding/lovingly pushing me to see if I could move beyond having my past be so very present in my 100 writing. I had no problem with that, in theory. I just didn't know how to DO it. Whatever writing prompt came up each day, was met with a tsunami of very sharp, very pungent memories of something not pleasant.

I knew her suggestion was good--more than good, actually needed. But I said I needed some "gimmick," something I could hold to mentally to turn me in another direction. Some sort of doorway into other thoughts.

Ah. . . a doorway . . .

Years ago, during the wrap on a theater production I was in, we worked to clean out the backstage area. Someone had thrown away a gizmo that had been used to simulate door sounds. To my eye, it was far too intriguing to be consigned to a trash barrel. I yoinked it out and have had it in one of my rooms ever since. I went to said room and re-found it, buried under several piles of Stuff (no big surprise there, huh?).

The Doorway is now propped next to my computer, its door, complete with creaky hinges, slightly open.

This perfect visual has called out to me for the past four days of daily writing. It invited me to read the prompt and then step through that doorway and see what else might want to be written . . . and . . . (drum roll here, please . . . .)

With hardly an extra breath, I stepped into another whole world. Jessie started telling her story and she and I are now down in Mexico . . . on a beach . . . and as far as I can tell, I plan to devote each day to her story. Whatever prompt I turn to, it's Jessie's story being written. Yes, bits and pieces of my life are there, but only bits and pieces. Hallelujah.

Amazing. Just amazing.
(P.S. Daughters are pretty incredible, aren't they?)

Has something amazing happened in your life? Wanna share with me?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome, Bella

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the Italian word for beautiful: Bella. Right away, it tucked itself inside my heart. I knew it would be the name of something new in my life.

I kinda sorta thought maybe I'd be getting a dog.
Last Thursday afternoon, (just three days ago???), my daughter and I were heading across town on errands. Caught sight of something for sale, on a nearby sidestreet. Stopped to look.

Several hours later, look what was parked in my driveway . . . this is the view from my bedroom window, where I looked out the next morning, just to be sure, since I thought I'd dreamed it all.

Let me introduce you to Bella, my new "friend." I've framed this picture in what might be the last view of my flowers, since predicts six inches of snow tonight.

Here's the view from the front passenger seat:

Here's the bathroom, complete with flushing toilet and an actual shower:

I'm standing at the bathroom door, looking forward now. The biggest sleeping area is over the front of the cab.

Honestly, I don't have a clue why I just bought this camper. I certainly am NOT flush with "extra" money. Yes, I dreamed of driving a camper all around the US coast, but that was a dream I shared with my husband. And I figured the dream vanished when he did. Am I holding onto that dream? Nope, doesn't feel like that.

All I can tell you is that when I first caught sight of her, I "recognized" her. The next few hours were filled with checking her out, praying, talking with the previous owner, praying, having my son Ben and his wife help with a test drive, praying, and then finally writing that check. I tucked myself to sleep that night in disbelief and wonder.

From the next morning, and continuing until now, I've been asking God what might be the primary "purpose" behind this purchase. What I keep hearing is: I want you to trust Me, dearest. Just keep your hand in Mine. You'll know what you need to know, when you need to know.
Okay, God. You and me. And Bella, of course.

Great Giveaway at PersistentGreen

If you don't already know about it, Amanda at PersistentGreen is holding a wonderful giveaway, as part of her efforts to Spread Joy!!

I can tell you from firsthand experience that she pours herself into these new journals. She's handmarbled each cover, handtorn each page, hand cut the covers, hand varnished them, and then cut and "inserted" the spiral binding with her own machine!!!! Truly handmade, one-of-a-kind, from start to finish.

Head over to her blog,, and see how to win the first journal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 7 and 8 of WRITE: 100

Yay me. Sick for a couple days. Actually, not really well for over a week, but down-and-out these past couple days. But hey, I stayed pretty peaceful throughout. Tucked myself into God's arms with lots of quiet prayer.

Still managed to fulfill my writing challenge each day. Maybe that rubbed-raw feeling actually helped the writing, although I'm definitely glad to be feeling much better today and would most happily yield up any "inspiration" that feeling so bad might have produced.

I'm holding on to these last few days of warmth. Very windy out--mighty bursts of warm wind. And they say that we will likely see our first snow tomorrow evening, at least in the higher elevations.

Many many many chores and obligations have slid the past few days. And yet, I have spent the morning in creative work: writing, praying, painting. And somehow, that feels very responsible. Perhaps the peace and fulfillment I feel at this moment will do much more for helping me accomplish all the GottaDos, than the load of worry I usually carry. I'll keep you posted on how that comes out.

The photos I've posted today are part of my submission for Head over there Thursday if you want to see more.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 6 of WRITE:100

Mothers, listen to your daughters. Or at least, listen when you have been blessed with a daughter like mine, who is also a fellow artist and writing companion. (Catch a glimpse of her amazing work at

Last night, when I'd shared with her some of what I'd written in the first few days of this Last 100 Days of 2009 challenge, she urged me further. Yes, she praised my determination to fulfill the day's quota, especially when it was wrung out in the last moments before the stroke of midnight on an overloaded day. But why not try writing in the freshness of morning?

Hmmm. What would come out, I wondered, if I let my creative self out to play in the dewy first hours of a brand-new day? Perhaps Little Daughter hath much wisdom . . .

So I tried. Rolled out of bed, after morning prayers, grabbed my bedside fuzzy robe, and parked my Self at the computer. Turned randomly to page 149 in my prompt book and read the 5th line: "phone. I was gone for a week of teaching at the end of summer"

Ah. "end of summer." That's all it took. An hour and fifteen minutes later, I have 1162 words of fiction printed out and ready to tuck into my binder.

And the bonus: I will go through whatever else this lovely day includes, breathing the scent of creative work filling my house, my heart, my world.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

First 5 Days of WRITE: 100

Proud of myself for keeping up with the new challenge, albeit for only the first five days so far. But they've been busy days, with some wobbly parts to them. Would have been oh-so-easy to flail my hands and skip a day, or two, or twelve.

But I didn't.

I'm not at all sure what, if any, of the daily writing I will post here. Once writing is shared on the internet, it is considered published. Don't want to do that, if seeds of The Great American Novel are surfacing!!!

But I want to share SOMEthing . . . so, here are my prompt lines and the output:

Day 1: "they haven't made the separation between speech and"--158 words of fiction

Day 2: "for having leapt into a swimsuit to swim in warm ocean"--349 words of non-fiction

Day 3: "actually becoming a Jew, I must learn to speak phonetic"--188 words of fiction

Day 4: "must not do it. He is too small. He has a lifetime of adventures"--325 words of fiction

Day 5: "what it felt like when I was hungry. It was so strange. I was once"--116 words of poetry.

If anyone else is joining this Last 100 Days of 2009 challenge, I'd love to hear some of what you are doing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A New Challenge

Just got home a few hours ago from a weekend trip out-of-state. Left on a summer day and came back to definite fall in the air. I'm sorta twitchy inside with the change of seasons and wondering what is also changing inside me . . . and in my life.

I feel as if I've been in the land of Transition for oh-so-very-very-long. Will I ever get to where I'm going? Or is "right where I am" exactly where I'm supposed to be?

In the midst of this uncertainty, my daughter and fellow artist-- called me to say she'd picked up this factoid on Twitter: September 23 will mark the beginning of the last 100 days of the year.

Hmmmmmm . . . having just come off a fantastic 100 day challenge in which I "played with watercolors" every day for 100 days, this factoid definitely set off some creative vibrations.

Within a few minute, maybe 15 at the most, an idea took shape, I'd written a contract with myself, printed it out and signed it.

Ta-da. I still feel unsettled about what's going on in my life, but this new creative challenge feels right and good. I think it will provide a continuity for these last days of 2009.

The painting challenge definitely left me a different person than when I started. Can't wait to see the effects of the writing challenge.

I'll see if I can post the text of my contract:

100 Days: 100 Words

Starting on September 23, 2009, I commit to writing a minimum of 100 words a day, each day, until the end of the year.

The prompt will come from a random page selection (pages 1-272) in Anne Lamott’s TRAVELING MERCIES: Some Thoughts on Faith.

I’ll count down to the 5th full line of text, and then copy out that line with its beginning and ending.

The writing can be anything: poetry, fiction, non-fiction.

The only parameters are at least 100 words, every day, for the last 100 days of the year.

I imagine that I’ll use Dan’s laptop . . . maybe out in Agnes???? I’ll print each day’s output and put it in a binder. Decorate the front? No clue whether or not any daily writings will connect with each other.

I hereby commit to doing my very best, realizing full well that “life” may intervene.

I further commit to approach this creative endeavor with a spirit of love and joy and fun.

(signed) AquaMaureen

P.S. "Agnes" is a camper I have in my backyard. I have dreamed of her being a little home-away-from-home where I hole up and write.
So, anybody else out there want to join PersistentGreen/Amanda and me in some sort of creative challenge for the last 100 days of 2009?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bravely She Paints

With all the painting I've been doing, and the immeasurable progress made in my valuing of my creative work, I still get surprised by negativity.

One of the artists with ThursdaySweetTreat asked us to help her make her goal of having 250 4x6-inch pieces of unframed art, to be auctioned at some event in New York City, to benefit cancer research. I think she intended to encourage us by telling us that our work would be auctioned off alongside some celebrity work, mentioning Liam Neeson as one such celebrity.

That "encouragement" turned out to be a stumbling block for me, plus the idea of having people bid for the privilege of buying my art.

I'd decided, in theory, to participate. But when it came to actually sending the piece in the mail--actually commiting to saying "Here is some of my art and soon some people are expected to spend some real money for it and maybe bid against each other 'cause more than one person wants MY art" . . . . well, that's when I faltered.

But, yay for me. I DID send it off. Happily.

But I'll also admit here that I enclosed a note saying that if she didn't think the piece was "right" for the auction, to just keep it for herself.

I couldn't just send it off, freely and joyfully. I HAD to give the receiver some sort of "out"---I could not banish entirely the possibility of her opening the envelope and gulping and thinking, "oh, dear . . .what do I do with THIS?"

Oh well, I DID paint. I DID send it off.

And now I shall wait . . . for Liam Neeson to contact me and hire me to paint an entire wall in his celebrity home . . . teeheeheehee.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What next?

Oh my. For 100 days I had a structure for this blog. Paint every day. Post nearly every day. And now that glorious adventure is over.

You know, even as I wrote "had a structure for this blog," something pinged in my thoughts. I think I stumbled onto this whole idea of blogging, back in January, as a way to break loose, break free. Of what? I'm not sure. Maybe if I knew more clearly, I'd already BE free.

Anyhoo, instinct tells me that holding to some "structure" for these posts would be antithetical to the original inspiration.

So . . . . . . here's what I'm thinking right now ("Now" being nearly 1 a.m.--waaaaaay past my bedtime . . . .) : I'm gonna do my best, my very best, to share the real me here in these posts. No, that's not a new commitment--I've been as honest as I know how, from the beginning. [oh poop. Tears. Gollygeewhiz, I'm sooooooooooooooooooo tired of crying.]

I'm casting about for words to accurately say what I'm trying to convey. But they dance at the edge of thought. They tease me. I LOVE writing. LOVE finding just the right word. But right now, words are NOT cooperating.

At this moment, I'm feeling all bits-and-piece-y. The last two weeks have been a physical and emotional roller-coaster, taking responsibility for getting my 88-year-old aunt moved from one assisted living facility to another, from a private room to a shared room. Making her new tiny space accommodate her myriad of needs. What she couldn't take with her is now scattered throughout my living room, single garage, double garage. Do I share it? Sell it? Toss it? I am inches away from drowning in STUFF, hers and mine.

I see her mired in memories, many of them sad. Even though her fiestiness usually prevails, much of her time now seems shaped/crippled by her past.

What do I want to do with the rest of my life, so that when I am 88, joy predominates? Every day overflows with crossroads, many taken unconsciously. This way? or that? Right this very moment, I am walking my way into my future. Which direction am I headed?

No more "quiet desperation."

No more holding back.

No more shushing myself.

No more shame.
The lovely flowers shown earlier, all arranged in a vase, came from this tangle of sunflowers growing in the cracks of my front sidewalk. They weren't planted. They weren't on purpose. They just started whereever they found themselves, grabbed onto whatever soil was available, made do with whatever water came their way, and they grew. And grew. And grew. They didn't ask for space. They didn't apologize for blocking the walkway. They just grew.
They shall be my teachers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 100 of 100

Day 100. Here it is.

Yeah, I'll admit: trumpets woulda been nice. Or a little drumroll.

Instead, it's just the sound of me snuffling back tears from a very long, hard day. And the sound of me munching milk-soaked shredded wheat just before midnight, the dinner I forgot to have earlier.

Spent 12 hours helping an elderly relative switch homes. I'm not at all sure she is is capable of living at this current level of independence. Another move might need to be on the horizon. Or maybe I am overtired and not optimistic enough and just really need a good night's sleep.
And maybe underneath, I still ache for someone to share this burden of care with me, and maybe even, sometimes, take care of me.

Well, what I DO know is that these 100 days of playing with watercolors has awakened in me another whole language of expression.

When I woke this morning, struggling against the demands of the day before it ever started, I went to my paints. Dripped and dribbled some splotch of each color in my paint set. Had no idea of some grand overall design. Just knew that Day 100 needed to incorporate EVERY color I had.

Came home some 12 hours later, so far beyond tired, and went to the paints again. Filled in all the white places. Wasn't sure what to do next. Head about to droop onto the wet page as midnight neared. Then I picked up the rigger, dipped it in the aquablue and started outlining.

What came out at the end makes me think of stained glass. So my final piece of this incredible 100-day endeavor uses all the color available; does not limit itself to some photo-realistic expression; and makes me think of church windows, lit with light and lifting thoughts to the heavens.

When all is said and done, I am satisfied, more than satisfied, with this 100 in 100 days project.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 99 of 100

Had a lovely family picnic scheduled for today, but part of it was going to be hard. Hard emotionally. In my early morning prayers, I turned to a book my dear daughter and son-in-law had given me by Dawna Markova: "Wide Open--On Living with Passion and Purpose."

Found this line: How could you love this day as if you had never been hurt?

I went right over to my watercolors and painted this:

It's me, AquaMaureen, giving and radiating and being wholly me.
Me, not pulling back or allowing myself to harden into something less than myself, due to being wounded in the past by someone else's actions.
Me, staying open and loving and vulnerable.

I'll risk getting hurt again, if that's the price of being fully open to love, fully alive.