Monday, March 30, 2015

A Southern Funeral

Really, southern funerals are about the only kind I know, but I just attended one in the "deep south" and memories came rushing back.  Comfort came too.  Standing room only, music by Elvis and Johnny Cash, so many hugs and memories shared.

At our age losing our family matriarchs and patriarchs is getting to be a regular event. Big families on both sides = a lot of aunts and uncles leaving the planet.

In the South the church takes care of you at times like this. God shows up in many hands and feet,  feeding you and hugging you and visiting you. We've had all three just today.  Since I didn't know the deceased personally (he was my husband's extended family), I was able to enjoy the day without grief.

The lunch they provided. ...oh my goodness. Diets out the window. Butterbeans, peas, corn, green beans... fresh whole food from the garden.  Plus real potato salad, casseroles, and ham and fried chicken galore!  Sweet tea, and, best of all, caramel cake...my mom's signature Christmas cake. 
"We may not have a lot down here in the country but we are great at this. It comes from the heart", one of the hostesses says as I tried to convey how much this meant to me and the memories it brought back.  She understands and we are briefly connected with this spread...it is the way I grew up and boy do I relish it.

Grandchildren and great grandchildren are playing on the swings under the tree. They don't know about loss but they are learning. Saying goodbye to Grandpa isn't easy but they do get to play with their cousins, as he would have wanted, and that is just the best.  The circle of his life continues.... And, considering the other end of the spectrum, attending a funeral with a 90 year old is kind of surreal. You know what they are thinking.

I am so glad I believe in life eternal. Goodbyes are just a change in form.  Not really final.  So enjoy every day with ones you love and like. And see the love and devotion that shows up so big at funerals and carry it with you wherever you go.  Amen!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Caregivers, Go Outside!

It's here! It's here!  What a pretty prelude to Easter! Spring is officially here and we are drawn outside like ants to a bowl of sugar.   

It started off being a beautiful afternoon to go see the daffodils.  They are blooming profusely here at Gibbs Gardens, a Southern garden in Georgia, creating yellow magic carpets all around.  But it turns out to be just as good a time to people-watch as to flower -watch.  It's a week day so there are a lot more old people...I mean retired people like me....while the younger set is being productive at school and work.

What I am struck by is the number of people helping people.  There aren't so many carrying diaper bags today but there are a lot of old guys carrying purses....because their wives, who are holding tight to walkers,  want their purses nearby.  Adult children are pushing dad's wheelchair and friends are doing the same for friends.  Some just  walking exceedingly slowly so their friend can keep pace. 

I don't like to carry anything. I travel light so my purse is usually in the car, like today. I plan it that way.  "Well then",  you ask, "why do you have that big pack on your back? "  Ah, good question.  It's because I am helping someone too. My husband likes to carry a lot.  Drives me crazy.  But today he can't carry his heavy bag, so I do it for him.

  Irritated?  Yeah, frankly, just a little.  But, at the same time, so grateful we are outside together not needing a wheelchair!   Surgery recoup is temporary...a lot of things are not.   So really I am truly happy to do the heavy lifting. He would surely do it for me.  And I know all the others out here are glad to be where they are too.

Getting old is a privilege,  a gift.  Here's to all the caregivers and helpers out there. What angels you are!  Enjoy the daffodils. They won't last forever.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Learning Word Art

I've always loved art:  the colors, the message, painting, and just the process of creating.  In particular,  word art has always stolen my heart.  Calligraphy is one way to express and share what is inside you but sometimes it is just too constraining.  That is when whimsical lettering kicks in...no right way and no rules. 

My current mentors are Joanne Sharpe who tells you SO much in her book The Art of Whimsical Lettering,  and Steve Kafka, motorcycle lettering painter on You Tube. Look them up.

Here is a peak inside my sketchbook... hastily created PRACTICE samples, some inspired by Joanne and some just my own morning scribbles. I haven't given Steve ' s technique a try yet but when I do, I'll post the outcomes.