"Discovering our personal stories is a spiritual quest."
~ Sue Monk Kidd
In her book, Firstlight, Sue Monk Kidd, tells of her love for the quote by the French Nobel laureate, Albert Camus: “ A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.” She continues: “Where did your heart first open? And how shall you find your way back to that dawning?”
In November 2010, I began to realize the card designs and photographs on my blog were nothing more than a vehicle for my story. I began to pray about a change. Never one to keep a journal, afraid of putting my thoughts and ideas to paper; writing about something other than how I made cards left me frozen. Besides, what in the world would I write about? I was pretty sure most card makers could look at my designs and know how to put them together without written directions. And, I am a mere novice when it comes to photography. So then, what did I really have to offer? Should I even be entertaining this idea? Was it time well spent? Although I liked the quote from Albert Camus, I knew my life’s purpose was not defined by detours of art, or love, or passionate work. So then, what? What is the purpose of this blog?
Thoughts and memories of my spiritual journey began to drift in and out as I continued to read Firstlight. I remembered my decision to follow Christ many years ago. Not long after that decision, my paternal grandmother passed away. My heart broken, I looked for comfort. While I was in town for her funeral service, I read the book, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. A beautiful allegory dramatizing the yearning of God's children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. The story of Little Much Afraid. Suddenly, I realized I was that person - in every sense of the word. My heart began to open to understanding that day. Clearly if I were ever to experience freedom, I would have to climb to the High Places just like Much Afraid. As I brought my thoughts back to the present, I wondered: have I been doing something I’d always been afraid of? Was the purpose of my blog emerging with Finding the Balance, Once Upon a Springtime, In the Desert of the Heart, The Incredible Journey, and When you come to a Dead End as I wrote about things of the heart? Sharing my memories and journey publicly is about as frightening as it gets - and yet, it felt right. I laid the book down and looked upward to the mountain. This is my dawning. I believe this is where the path is leading. A place to share my memories and journey in story form as I climb to the High Places where ‘perfect love casteth out fear.’
“Much-Afraid thought of the things which she had seen...Somehow the answer of the little golden flower which grew all alone in the waste of the desert stole into her heart and echoed there faintly and sweetly, filling her with comfort. She said to herself, “He (the Shepherd) has brought me here when I did not want to come, for His own purpose. I, too, will look up into His face and say, ‘Behold me! I am your little handmaiden, Acceptance-with-Joy.’”
It is my hearts desire to inspire, encourage, and to leave a little piece of me.
"I will guide you along the best pathway for your life,
I will advise you and watch over you." ~ Psalm 32:8
The service that morning was entitled, "What do you do When you come to a Dead End?" It was a timely message. God was speaking to Moses saying, "Speak to the children of Israel ..." With the mountains in front of them and their backs to the Red Sea, it appeared (at least to Pharaoh) the children of Israel had come to a dead end. Pharaoh must have thought it would be easy to bring his wayward slaves back into captivity. But God had other plans.
As she listened she learned there were different types of dead ends. But why? Why do we come to dead ends? And how do we behave when we do?
As morning grew into afternoon she knew the dead end had come. She knew where the path would lead, had to lead, if she were to find peace. Walking into the break room she saw him; cleaning out his locker for the last time. Deep lines etched by time and experience. His shoulders slumped; revealing a tired body. She remembered a saying she had read and thought it applied. "It's because I've been down many roads in my life. And not all of them were paved." She knew that to be true. She came up behind him and spoke, "hey, did you think I'd let you get away without sayin' good-bye?" He smiled and hugged her close; glad to see her. But it was clear he couldn't talk long. He was retiring and moving on. And there were those who were waiting on him. She asked him to sit for a minute. Cupping his face in her hands she kissed his cheek. "I'll walk to the front with you, how about that?" He nods as he continues to fill his sack with the contents of a lifetime of work.
His friends and co-workers are waiting to say farewell. Like many in his generation, he gave an honest days work for an honest days wage. He came to work on time, every time. With hugs and handshakes, the crowd gathers round. He looks happy -- touched by their sincerity, almost overwhelmed; lost in their appreciation. Her throat tightens and tears well. She steps back to watch for a moment. She had said what she needed to. And so did he. There would be no regrets. As she walked away her heart blew him a kiss. Good bye Dad. I love you.
Don't panic, don't fear. Don't give up. Believe God! Obey God. Praise God Anyhow!
"None of these things shall move me. I don't count my life dear unto myself. I know how to be down and I know how to be up. I know how to have and I know how not to have. I know how to be full and I know how to be hungry." Phillipians 4:12
Today, I was able to obey - to reach out again - this time the fear of rejection would not hold me back. Both released in love and forgiveness to go our separate ways. Thankful he was part of my life.
Every now and then it's nice to share photographs of things I love and the adventures my husband and I take. We love to take our cameras and just "pick a spot" -- to familiarize ourselves again with this beautiful state. One of those weekend trips took us to Florence, Arizona. Florence is one of Arizona's oldest towns. Founded in 1866 and now the seat of government for Pinal County.
This quiet little town is located between Phoenix and Tucson and is home to our State Prison. But don't let that put you off. There are so many attractions, like Pinal Pioneer Parkway (State Route 79) and the Tom Mix Memorial, or Poston Butte. Charles Poston is known as the "Father of Arizona" and was the first elected delegate to Congress from the Arizona Territory.
Vance and I love to watch the Arizona Highways program on Sunday evenings because it provides great ideas for our adventures. We decided this particular weekend to stay in a little B&B along State Route 79, which has been designated as a scenic desert preserve. Our destination,Rancho Sonora. What a find!
Sentarse y Relajar
Come to Arizona and visit. You won't be disappointed. Until then, it's my pleasure to share this enchanted hide away with you.
Hasta la proxima, bendiciones a todos.
Until next time, blessings to all.
The Jumblies, a poem by Edward Lear, is the frame for Mo Manning's illustration of "Out There." And my card entry for this weeks challenge. I used Copic markers to color the illustration, and chose red for the contrast color. Red was applied to only a few area's of the little boy's sailor suit and dog collar. I've added a red mat behind the sentiment (inside) for additional color, and mounted it on a background mat with smaller illustrations turned in different directions. The upper inside panels/mats are for a little note and signature. Both the front illustration panel and inside sentiment panel have been sponged with Tsuineko Memento (London Fog) ink.
Click photo for a closer look
Inside Sentiment Close-up
Sketching, painting or coloring in grey scale is a challenge. And stretching myself in this manner was good practice. I chose to keep this card simple by keeping to only black, white, grey scale and just a hint of contrast color. I wanted the illustration and poem to be the focal point.
Nothing captures the imagination, attention, and hearts of young children better than nonsense rhyme and rhythm. Edward Lear's, A Book of Nonsense (1862) and The Owl and the Pussycat (1871) are two pieces of work that show his style for silly limericks. This style of poetry allows the reader to take great liberties with intonation and expression; which in turn can cause gales of laughter from young listeners. Is there anything sweeter? No matter what age, this type of poetry brings hours of reading enjoyment for reader and listener alike. I am a firm believer that children are never to young for poetry. Edward Lear's, The Jumblies, was one of our son's favorites.
I hope it becomes one of your favorites too.
And if you have a silly bone - well, all the better!
They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
In a sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, "You'll all be drowned!"
They called aloud, "Our Sieve ain't big,
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig!
In a Sieve we'll go to sea!"
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in Sieve.
And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, "How tall they've grown!
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of Chankly Bore!"
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, "If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve, --
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!"
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.
- Edward Lear
Digital Illustraion: Mo Manning's "Out There"
Sentiment: Quote for Winnie the Pooh (on-line)
Ink: Copic: C00, C0, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, and Copic Multiliner 0.3 pen; Tsuineko Memento (London Fog) Fade-resistant Dye Ink
Paper: Papertrey Ink (True Black and Pure Poppy)
Accessories: Grand Calibur Die Cut Machine, white gromments Spellbinders (Grand Labels 11, Labels 4)
Card size: A6 (horizontal)
“Happy the generation where the great listen to the small,
for it follows that in such a generation the small will listen to the great”
~ Hebrew Proverb ~
Aunt Flo, she's everyone's lovable, quirky aunt. From the old country, she is a good homemaker, a woman who's in charge of her home -- and yours. Aunt Flo and her little dog, Fifi-Trixibelle, have come for a visit. With an aura of cedar and Evening in Paradise perfume trailing behind her, she slowly walks from the train platform carrying Trixibelle and all her luggage to the curb. But ... what's an old woman to do? "Oy, I've been valking and valking - so long I've been valking!" What a journey! A bus, a train. Now, Aunt Flo waits for the next lucky cab driver! You can be sure her directions to your house will be impeccable.
Deposited on your doorstep, suitcases delivered to her room, her coat (with the faux mink trim) hung in the closet; you ask: "May I fix you a little something before dinner Aunt Flo?" With a little shrug of the shoulder, a tilt of the head, one brow raised, and a weak sigh, she says: “A little soup would be nice dear, don’t go to any trouble. Maybe a little bread, jam - even." The thought of food brings a flush of color and a smile to her face as she settles into the kitchen chair, Trixibelle on her lap. A visit with her favorite niece, what could be better?
Personally, I think a little cup of tea with a few tasty biscuits will recharge Aunt Flo’s batteries - what do you think? Better have some dog treats around to soothe the savage beast too - it’s gona be a long visit.
Inside Card Sentiment
Aunt Flo, the adorable illustration from Mo Manning, will capture your heart and conjure up images of your favorite aunt and allow your imagination to soar. It might even provide a bedtime story for a favorite niece *smiling*. I’ve used this illustration for the Vintage w/distressing and lace challenge this week.
I hope you enjoyed the short story of Aunt Flo. It is my desire to touch hearts, to inspire, cause you to laugh, and yes, even shed a tear now and then. Many of the stories are based on my memories, some are just for fun. All are shared from my heart. Thank you for visiting today.
In the name of Sar Shalom - the Prince of Peace,
Scottish-born Canadian author, Sheila Burnford, wrote books of fiction and nonfiction. This is the story of three animal friends, Luath, Bodger, and Tao. An unlikely trio who find themselves traveling the Canadian wilderness. An arduous journey that will lead them home to their family. Lessons of loyalty, courage, perseverance, and love provide the backdrop for, The Incredible Journey.
You may be asking yourself what this book has to do with Mo Manning’s digital illustration of Belle and Bronte? Everything! Do you believe in providence? I do. Here is where my story begins:
Winters come early in northeastern Maine. Reds, yellows, greens, and orange mix with the tiniest of snowflakes and race in a swirling dance to see who has the last word. This winter would be especially long for our children as they waited for their father to return from an unaccompanied tour in the Indian Ocean. A year is a long time for children to wait. This particular evening after homework was finished and dishes done, our children curled up next to me on the sofa. Our son on my right, our daughter under my left arm, snuggled close to my heart. With her blanket laced between her thumb and forefinger she sat quietly and listened as I began to read. Each evening as we began a new chapter she would find her spot next to me; traces of worry shown from her blue eyes, afraid that Bodger, now her favorite character, would not find his way home. Happily Bodger and his companions would persevere. Now sweet smiles replaced the wrinkled brow and all was well in her world.
In 1996 providence came calling. Our daughter, now grown, decided it was time she found her Bodger. I went with her that day, a little uncertain of the wisdom of her decision. This was a rescue; a strong, powerful, bull breed. I felt certain this wouldn't be the roughish Bodger we had read about so long ago. I was wrong.
Her name was Lily. She was white with a heart shaped nose and looked somewhat like a pudgy piglet. Their eyes locked immediately. Vocalizing the entire time, she sang: choose me, pick me, take me with you. I watched the two of them walk down the sidewalk. With every step Lily looked back to see whether her new friend was still there. Both wounded by humanity they forged a bond. That day, guided by the hand of providence, they began their incredible journey back home - together.
Lily anchored herself to our daughter and wormed her way into our hearts. Fond of Lucky Charms cereal, biscuits, sunshine on the deck, and her ball; she had found her forever home. With patience and love our daughter changed Lily’s life for the better -- and Lily, in return, gave our daughter unconditional love. A match made in heaven.
Years later while our daughter was living in England, Lily became ill. Faithful to the end, she passed away in the arms of the one who loved her. No greater friend, her journey complete. Now ... I don’t know whether a dog has a soul, but if they do, I know where she is. Safe in the arms of the one who loves her and our daughter. The one who loves us and calls us according to His purpose.
Mo Manning's sweet image of Belle and Bronte illustrates the bond our daughter and Lily shared. Brought together by providence when they needed each other the most. With loyalty, perseverance, and love they shared an incredible journey together.
Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed sharing a memory with you today. I hope you enjoyed it too.
Until next time,
Born in California, I was raised in the Northwest, and, as the wife of a retired naval officer, I've traveled and lived the world over. I'm a Scholastic Art Award recipient in both watercolor and pen and ink drawing. Using the imagery and medium of paper crafting, writing, and photography, my desire is to inspire and encourage. Bringing my memories to life again in card and story form. Please join me for a walk down memory lane!