Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Waking Up In The Woods

"This summer has been like living in the twilight zone."  I said that to one of my sons and he looked puzzled. "The Twilight Zone" was an old Rod Serling tv show I  liked... and it always left you shaking your head and saying, "What?  What happened?"  It always left you wondering .....what was real and what  wasn't and had you fallen into another dimension.

Waking up on a mountain in the woods is the opposite. It is grounding.  And it grounds you.... in nature, beauty, and serenity. It reminds you what is real.  Sunrise, sunset like clockwork.  Big Sky full of leaves soon to change colors and fall, like clockwork. Quiet water.  Stillness. Less wondering.  A small step back in the direction of Knowing.

Stepping out of the twilight zone is a good step to take.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Life's Documents


In October I get to travel! I'm so looking forward to it. I need my passport for this adventure, or rather I need to find my passport. I haven't used it in years.  For days I looked everywhereI thought of all the places I might have put it.  I even checked my safe deposit box. No luck.

You can always order a new one but it's $50 down the drain... but, wait!  Before I do that, there is one more place to look.  Under P.  I imagine a voice saying,  "Sandra, look under P."  Well, of course.  There it is.  Side by side with Larry's passport. He always kept us organized.   Thank you, Larry for filing everything. And I do mean everything!

The journey of life requires so much paper. 'Prove this. Document that'. It never ends.  So, today the two documents I need are a marriage certificate and a death certificate, the beginning and the end. It strikes me so poignantly. It sears my heart to bundle these together. A most joyous day and a most profoundly sad day stapled together. I hate it.  And yet I love it. The foreverness feels complete. A journey we made with many twists and turns is complete.  And I have two pieces of paper in my hand to prove it to those who must have their proof.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friends and Your Grief

When you go through grief, everyone says they are sorry. And they are. Their hearts break for you.  They say other things too, all designed to show their love and compassion. They may not know it, but every time a friend reaches out it is like someone tossing you a life raft, a float to keep your head above water.  There are hugs, calls, meals, flowers and so many ways they say "I care about you."  It all helps.

Even though all of these touches meant the world to me, I kept each of them at arm's length. "What is wrong with me?", I sometimes thought. Why do I take just enough of their love to keep me sane instead of opening my arms and bringing them into my grief?  They want to share my burden. Why don't I let them?"  It is because "fresh grief", at least for me, is solitary .....and draining. There is no energy left to share with others.  And, somehow it is the last intimate experience I will have with my husband. Yes, grief is intimate and it is almost sacred. 

As days have progressed into months, it is now less stinging most of the time although it is still unreal.  It is more my choice now where I let my thoughts go, more so than when I was swept up and into the grip of grief.  It is now less raw and less intimate.

I came across this poem and I think it speaks the thoughts of my friends when they so wanted to help. I am so grateful for them and I need them.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Grief Happens

My last post described the pain, expectations, joy, ups and downs that define the process of waiting.  I waited a long time, more than a month while my love slept in a world I could not reach. I was hopeful as long as I could be. In the end, with "Code Blue" ringing in my ears I had to let go. It took me that long to "turn it over" and ask for God's will to be done. Even though my mind always knew to ask for "His" highest and best to prevail, I was so afraid, and held on tightly to having it my way until it was completely  futile to do so. The "code blue" procession stopped at my husband's door, literally.

I dropped to the floor. No cares for my dignity, as my heart split wide open.

The waiting was over and it did not end well. Now two months later, I am on my feet again and finding my way through this huge transition. I may write a bit about it here from time to time, or I may not. This is just where I am today....sharing the end of the waiting.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

This Waiting Is Hell

When you are a child you wait for Christmas and it seems like it will never come.  That is good waiting. 

When you count down the days to your vacation, that is good waiting too.

And waiting is sweet and exciting when you wait for your lover, or child, to come home whether he's been gone  five days or five months.

But sometimes waiting is pure hell. 

Waiting in ICU to see when your loved one will turn the corner is that kind of hell.  You pray. You ask everyone you know to pray. You hope. You imagine.  You trust.  You write a poem to God thinking....well maybe it will stand out and make a difference.  You journal to stay focused on the good and you write down your heartfelt desires.  Oh, the strategies we employ to get what we want!

And then we must wait, and wait, and wait.  17 days is a long time to wait.

So, my love is still deeply asleep.  I'm waiting for his return. We are all waiting for him to turn that corner ...and then we'll walk that long road back with him.  He is struggling, yes.  But I know him and he doesn't give up. He has so much life before him.  So much good yet to experience.

Maybe you'll join me and create a mighty force for good, for healing, for strength, for breath, for wellness. I call it prayer. Maybe you do too. But we are a big, big world and we don't all call God and prayer by the same name.

I'll let you know when this waiting hell is over and we celebrate!  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Canyonlands Utah Cactus Painting


6 x 8"
Acrylic

This was a fun one to paint!  Probably, knowing me, it is the colors I love.  Complimentary colors make it beautiful  no matter what.  There were actually hundreds of other baby cacti out there, but I chose just these two.

Enjoy your experience of Canyonlands National Park in Utah through this painting.  And go there when you can and see it in person.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jimmy Carter and Paula Deen and Me

Plains, Georgia was invaded by 50 artists and many volunteers on Saturday, January 23.    For me, the best part was that I got to be one of them.  Who would have thought?   

The President and his lovely wife were with us all day although Rosalynn had a broken toe and was wearing a boot on her foot.  Just a little momento from New Year's Eve.  I am so glad she joined us.  I had a chance to talk with each of them. They are very real people, so easy to be with.  Freeze the moment!

Renowned American artist, Jim Richards, just recently painted an impressionistic portrait of the President.   Just wait till you see it.  It captures the essence of him. 

Today Richards was the man in charge and presented a wonderful painting demo which was completed and auctioned later in the day for $10,500.


Paula Deen waiting for final bid.

I could go on and on about this memorable day, but instead I will just share a few pictures. 


President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter with auction winner.  Lucky one who takes the demo painting by Richards home with her.


 Jim Richards doing what he does best. Great demo! 


This painting entitled "Sister Talk" is one of my favorite paintings by Jim Richards. Don't you just love it.



All of us lucky people, artists of all levels, getting set up.  The energy in the room was electrifying.  I was beyond excited.


After President Jimmy Carter finished painting this one, Paula Deen auctioned it off for $7,500.  

The day, ending with a smaller group supper including the Carters, Deen, and Richards, was an unqualified success.  I'm holding these memories close for a long time to come.  I feel so blessed and grateful to have had this extraordinary experience. 













Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Winter Bird Acrylic Painting

This was a fun one to paint.  Cardinals are strikingly vivid and so bright.  Against the snow, even more so.  No snow here in the deep South...yet...so I had to paint from a photo. I'm ready to see a little of the cold white stuff in real life!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Another Florida Shorebird Heron Painting

And then another strikingly gorgeous shorebird walks by me.  Herons are such lovely, elegant and dramatic creatures.  What fun making this one even more vivid and colorful than real life allows!
 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Great Blue Heron Painting


Acrylics  6 x 8"



I know this bird!  I watched him prancing around the edge of the ocean. We met early one morning on the beach in Bradenton, Florida.  It was a perfect time to walk on the beach and I wanted to save a part of it in a painting.


Herons prefer to be alone.  You don't often see a group of them, unless it is mating season.  They are wading birds and can stand, walk slowly and stare for long periods of time.  They are not bored just  looking around. Rather they are scanning their locale for a nice fresh fish for breakfast.
 
A study in stillness and elegance is this bird.  Is this exactly the way he looked?  Of course not. I am an artist, not a photographer, but I think I captured his essence on canvas that morning.