Our oldest daughter challenged the family to spend five minutes each day drawing. She discovered an APP that provides a new subject for a drawing each day. Slowly the members of my family have signed up to play.
I probably helped when I shared a tidbit from Woman’s World that reported from the journal Neurology that woman who create art stimulate their brain cells, making them 79% less likely to develop degenerative brain disease such as dementia. Since my father had Alzheimer’s disease, keeping my brain active is very important to me. I’m already experiencing some forgetfulness. Words like to hide when I want to use them.
When I signed up, I didn’t know I would need a user name. Brain froze, couldn’t think of anything interesting or creative. Evidently as with this Blog, it was something I was supposed to do. Name was accepted.
I didn’t know that I could paint until I was in my 40’s. The campground provided an opportunity to paint — bring your body, they would provide instruction and supplies. I DID, I was so impressed by my painting, I was hooked. For years I put oil paint on canvas, exploring the world. I ran out of wall space, and my husband developed breathing problems. I stopped.
My family has been pestering me to start painting again. I’m trying acrylics which doesn’t leave an odor. It dries quickly. I have not finished many paintings. Subjects have been hiding. My imagination is asleep. I WAS NEVER GOOD AT DRAWING! A group in the country gets together to paint, but it has been raining and we have been in the city.
New challenge. I have looked at sketches submitted by my children and grandchildren and am impressed. Of course, my ability to sketch might improve if I practice. My daughters have reminded me that they have been practicing for YEARS.
Today’s theme was Magical. Magic to me is a baby. I tried to sketch a child — definitely nothing to write home about. I decided to submit it anyway. After I did, I received an award for my first sketch. I couldn’t pick out the subject. It was just a rectangle of color. I chose the colors I liked the best. I was surprised when the image surfaced of a black cat.
When my granddaughter was at St. Joseph hospital because of her headaches, I told her we should compose a story about an Amazon Warrior who used her strength to battle the headaches and thunder boomers. I don’t know if that idea ever really became a story. While she was in the hospital I gave her the puppets I had acquired for her birthday — a Unicorn and a Pegasus. Unable to visit on her birthday because of her headaches, the idea for a story became a painting.
I will be the first to admit that I do not have the ability to draw. I needed a female warrior, a stick figure would not work. I tried to draw the image, it turned out better than I expected. Now I will admit that I petitioned everyone on my “spirit team” for help. I tried to draw a unicorn — the image had no relationship to the being I was trying to draw. I tried to draw a shield with limited success.
I hoped that paint would improve my drawing ability and drew a new image on a canvas board. I decided to put in a mountain with storm clouds leaving followed by blue skies with wispy white clouds. The sky, the clouds, the mountain became the image that I wanted. The female on the other hand, became a challenge. First I decided that she needed to move back on the canvas. She was too close to the front. I finally was able to improve on the image so that I had a female warrior, standing tall, ready to take on the world. The shield was another matter. I realized I had no idea what a shield looked like, let alone where to place it or paint it.
The unicorn was another matter. Poor unicorn, ears aren’t too bad, body is pudgy, eye and nose are okay.
The best I can say is that I tried. I decided not to clutter the background up with rocks or trees. After I fussed with the sky and the clouds and the grassy terrain, I knew that I had to take a photo and send it to her. It might have been possible to improve on the unicorn, it might have been possible to make it even more of a mess. I might have hidden it behind a tree. The photo gave her a smile.
I learned that I had trouble with the brushes. I learned that I had trouble with the paint. I learned that if I wanted to join the artists painting on location in the country I had to practice. I had planned to start painting when we first came home from the country. I didn’t! Hopefully — winter is almost over. Spring will soon be here. I have an easel and chair for wandering, I just need to PRACTICE so that I’m more comfortable using my materials.
I wrote this as an exercise for Creative Writing. We were supposed to write in a different style. My life had already changed considerably. I received more “help” than I ever dreamed possible. My “friends in high places” as I was beginning to call them, often woke me up at 4:00 AM. When my father was alive, he thought he could think better at that time of day. He even set his alarm so he would wake up. His sister Connie often got up that early. She had become another of “my friends in high places.” I thought getting up at seven was early enough. To make matters worse, an itch developed on both of my ankles. Scratching it felt better than eating chocolate or ice cream. Imagine if you will, three or four angels sitting around, conniving. The events are true. The dialogue is fiction. Or is it?
“She is awake. She should be up.”
“How are we going to get her out of bed? Nothing is working. She looks at the clock, rolls over, buries her head in the pillow and lays there.”
“It is after 6:00. Time is flying. She is wasting the day.”
“She ignores all the ideas we give her. Tells her brain to shut up, go back to sleep. Rolls over. Lays there.”
“I made her pillow lumpy. It didn’t work. She rolled over.”
“The dogs want to sleep too. I tried to get them to tell her they wanted to go out. They ignored me. They don’t want to get up this morning. ”
“It wouldn’t do any good anyway. He closed their bedroom door when he left.”
“If they barked or whined she would get up.”
“But they didn’t get up. They can sleep; she is the one who has to get up. How are we going to get her up.”
“I know! I know! I know how we can do it.”
“You’re so smart. How?”
“We can make her itch.”
“So we make her itch. She scratched, then she lies there.”
“That’s because you’re not doing it right.”
“What do you mean I’m not doing it right? There is not a right way and a wrong way to make someone itch.”
“Oh yes there is. I can make her itch so she gets up.” Oh yeah!”
“So smarty. How are you going to do it?”
“I’m going to start with just a little itch. She will scratch it, just a little bit, then roll over. I’ll wait a couple of minutes; let her think the itch is gone. Then I’ll make it itch just a little more. After she scratches, I’ll take the itch back for a couple of minutes. Give her a false sense of security.Then I’ll make her itch again. This time I’ll make a bigger spot itch, and maybe add another place. Spread it around a little bit. She won’t notice that the itch is growing. She still wants to sleep. This time I won’t wait as long after she scratches to make the itch come back. She will only be scratching her ankle. Now I’ll add her calf, just one spot, along with her ankle. I’ll make it feel really good to scratch, so she scratches longer, really gets into it. Now I’ll wait only a second before adding her foot to her ankle, along with her calf. Itch, Itch, Itch. She won’t be able to lie there. She will have to get up.”
“Go ahead and try it. What have we got to lose? She is just lying there. She will lie there all day. She doesn’t have a job, she doesn’t think she has to get up.”
“She never lays there all day. We have seen to that.”
“All right, so she won’t lay there all day. Just until 7:00.”
“She is awake. We woke her up. We gave those people something to say right outside her window at 5:00.”
“We made those tires stick to the road so all they did was spin and squeal. We made her listen to the traffic on the street. Made her think there was a lot of snow on the ground.”
“She didn’t get out of bed to look.”
“But we woke her up.”
“Now we have to get her on her feet. Out of bed. In motion.”
“The itch will do it.”
“You think so.”
“I know so!”
“Try it. What have we got to lose?”
“Told you so. Told you so. The itch did it. Not even 15 minutes. She is up. She is dressed. She is in motion.”
“Did you watch carefully? Take notes. So we can do it again tomorrow.”
BITS AND PIECES
I have learned that it is helpful if I write myself notes. During the summer when we travel back and forth from the city to the country I never remember what supplies I have on hand at either place. I have to admit that I’m better at noting the food and supplies at the camper than at home. It helps for packing.
Since I’m determined to do more cooking at the camper this summer, I brought many of the spices that were called for in the recipes I planned to try. Finding a container to store the spices in and making TWO lists has been helpful. One list is in the container, the other travels with me. I also have to admit that spices hid, and I now have extras.
After the winter, I discovered that some changes I made during the last summer have skipped my memory. I brought painting supplies out to the camper, but it was only AFTER I bought new sketch books for my grandchildren that I found a container with colored pencils, water color pencils and sketch books hiding in a closet.
I recently pulled down a box that contained a cooking appliance that completely slipped my memory. I must have bought it when we traveled in the motor home. It is designed for cooking for two — omelets, steaks, sandwiches, even pizza. It not only has directions, cooking pans and a cook book. I must admit that it is repacked. Will I use it this year? Will I donate it? Good questions — no answers.
I remembered that we had a motorized air pump. I knew where it had rested, I didn’t know where it had moved. UNTIL I decided to pack afghans away in a tub. Surprise — the tub contained not only the missing pump but also the missing inflatable mattress.
When I moved a cookie sheet and a wooden cutting board that I use for cleaning fish, I wrote a note and put it on the frig. That was a few years ago. The note is still there but every Spring I look for the cookie sheet and find my note.
Our house is much bigger than the camper. Just think of all the things that are waiting to be discovered. It doesn’t help that over the years I have been involved in many crafts and have the supplies needed for each. Maybe this Fall and Winter I will explore the nooks and crannies in the house.
I thought it would be EASY to fix a pulled seam on my husband’s shorts. It should have been. It should have taken me one half hour tops, including taking out the sewing machine and setting it up. The reality was that it took more than three hours. During that time I had to call on my husband two times for HELP!
Okay, first I’ll admit that I haven’t used the sewing machine in years. To tell the truth, I don’t remember how many years it has been since I last used it. I made Christmas presents — not sure which present it was. I used to use the machine often — square dance clothes, Halloween costumes, tote bags. It was my friend. Together we accomplished many things. The memories of those times kept me trying to get the machine to work right.
First the pressure foot didn’t seem to hold the material. I thought the machine might need to be oiled — first call to my husband. He knows how to oil machines. Thankfully we had oil that would work. I still had the instruction book that showed which parts needed to be oiled. A little bit of oil and the pressure foot held the fabric and moved it through. SUCCESS!
For a minute. Then a needle broke. I FOUND a new needle! The instruction book showed the steps for threading the machine. The newly threaded machine broke the thread. MANY TIMES! I could NOT figure out what I was doing wrong. Time passed. It had been a rainy day, then the sun came out. Opportunity’s to go out — Rib Fest — Blues Fest — beckoned.
EXCEPT — Have I mentioned that I’m stubborn. I did not want to put the machine away in pieces or not working right. I DID NOT WANT TO GIVE UP. Time passed. The thread traveled through the machine the way it was supposed to. Then the bobbin thread started to bunch up and tangle. I didn’t do anything to the bobbin thread! WHY? Taking the bobbin assembly out of the machine has NEVER been easy for me! SOME THINGS DON’T CHANGE.
Finally — machine back together, I adjusted the stitch length and it WORKED! Fixed my husbands shorts, fixed a pair of my own, and a blouse and a rain coat. SUCCESS! Of course it was too late to go out and play. Truth be told — my legs were sore from the day before. I had such an enjoyable time at the Blues Fest — there was no way I could repeat it.
I was able to put my friend — the machine — away in good condition. I always acknowledge that “I have friends in high places.” Evidently it was best for me to stay home and they “helped!”
It is the littler things that slip through the cracks!
Sunday was the feast of Pentecost — the day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the closed room and changed their lives. I find that feast significant because I realized that I am celebrating my six year anniversary of Wandering With Spirit this month. I can’t say that the blog has changed my life — but maybe it has. If I don’t write on a regular basis, if I don’t have something scheduled to publish every week, my life becomes more interesting than I want it to. More things go wrong. I’m REMINDED that I have work to do. Since I am always on the lookout for a writing idea, I might pay more attention to my life.
One of my favorite sayings is: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him/Her your plans,” I had been at the Garden the day before. I had many steps on my pedometer. I planned to do NOTHING. The phone rang at 8:10. It was I Dot — we have a transponder that allows us to speed through the tollway gates at a decent speed, not wait in line forever. It was a present to my husband a few years ago. Now I was told it wasn’t working. We would be charged a cash car rate any time we went through. Camping season is starting. We use the tollways a lot. I learned where an office was. I learned that the battery might have run out. The number I received for our credit card didn’t match. I had no idea where the number came from. The one thing I did know — WE HAD TO GO FOR A DRIVE AND SOLVE THE PROBLEM. It was an easy solution. The battery on our transponder had run out, we just needed a new one.
On the way home, I suggested we stop at Wal-Mart so I could try on some shorts. I’ve noticed that my old ones are slipping down. It is most uncomfortable. I planned to order from a catalogue, but in order to do so, I needed to know my size. I tried on a smaller size and IT FIT. My husband suggested I buy a second swimsuit for back up. I like to exercise every weekday at the camper. If my suit is still wet, it is too cold to wear again. I saw a swimsuit that I thought might work. It has to be one piece, two pieces DON’T WORK for exercising. The hanger had my size so I tried it on. I looked at the tag on the swimsuit — it was the smaller size. HAPPY!
I picked up frozen pizzas at the store. My husband put them in the downstairs basement for me — saving my knees. I found them on Friday morning in the fridge — not the freezer. When I asked him — he said I told him to put them there???? Saturday, we went to a steakhouse to celebrate Mother’s day. He drove a different way, and said that was how he always goes. ????
One plus one didn’t add up. I was becoming concerned. On Sunday — Pentecost — I said a couple of prayers — asking God to “help” my husband. My father had Alzheimer’s disease. I REALLY DIDN’T WANT my husband to be affected. I decided that I wasn’t going to worry. Hands off — God was in charge.
Walking home from church — I noticed a shiny lilac object lying on the ground. I almost passed by. Then I backed up and took another look. It was a lilac sparkling gem in a hanging earring. It had a stopper to keep it from falling out of the ear. It reminded me that the night before, I had lost the backing on one of my crystal earrings but luckily the earring had not fallen out.
THANK YOU! Enough said.
If you read my thought rambles on a regular basis you know a few things about me. First, you know that I am aware of “friends in high places” who help me with my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t notice their involvement if I am paying attention. Second, I have mentioned many times that I neither see nor hear them. Their messages get through in many different ways. I randomly open the bible each morning — eyes closed, pick a verse. I’ll admit that I’m not pleased when I open to Job, or to Daniel “in the furnace”. That usually means that there is trouble ahead or that I’m experiencing difficulties at the moment. Sometimes I open to one of the verses that remind me I have a job to do. Isaiah 42: “Here is my servant whom I uphold.” I don’t memorize verses so I can’t quote others that pop up regularly . But “Whom shall I send” or “I’ve known you before you were born,” are often in my sight. They usually are reminders that I have work to do, a thought ramble to write or — pay attention, someone needs your help.
My second book of the morning is Queen Of Angels by Janice T. Connell. I don’t remember the year I acquired it, it was after my father passed over. I attended a book signing at Transitions, met the author, listened to her stories and bought the book. I am often reminded that I am doing too much: “Cure For Overwork, or Suffering Turned to Joy — hello pain. Sometimes I’m reminded that I have “help”. “Angels Turned to Playmates and Confidants.”
My third practice of the morning is to open my Inner Reflections calendar randomly. It is comprised of 52 photographs with writing by Paramahansa Yogananda, a spiritual teacher of the 20th century. I also first acquired the calendar at Transitions and even though the store is closed, I regularly order a new calendar each year. Looking through it, I was amazed at the number of times I have opened to different photos with their words of wisdom. I always date the photo on the day it is picked. Some have many dates noted, others have only one or two.
Just for the fun of it I have just finished flipping through the calendar and noting the number of times I have visited each page. Of 52 photographs I have visited 14 photos a number of 214 times. I have many favorites, but I can state that they are not usually the ones I pick for the day. The highest total was 28, the day after my mother’s birthday. It is a photo of a glasswinged butterfly on oleander flowers. The message is: “Love only what is beautiful and pure … See, hear, smell, taste, and touch only what is good …..” Most of the messages revolve around LOVE or follow the path or helping others.