Friday, April 22, 2011

So this is art

In the past I have attended many spiritual retreats, but one in particular stands out in my mind. It happened some years ago. It was a women's retreat put on by our church. About a dozen of us went to Wallowa Lake Camp in the Blue Mountains of Oregon one weekend in March and had an amazing experience.

This happened to be at a very low time in my life. Isn’t it interesting that at those lows times is when we are most open to new truths?

The retreat was led by Ardis Letey. She is an artist from coastal Oregon.

She taught us some very helpful techniques and methods. We worked with several different media and learned and grew and had a marvelous weekend.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can no longer remember much of what we actually did during the retreat. Only one of the items I created, a painting of a sunflower drifting on the open sea, is still around. However, that doesn’t matter because of something Ardis told us which has stuck with me all these years. She told us:

“Art is the process, not the product.”

Read it several times, and then go back and read it again. All you tentative artists out there, ingrain it on your hearts and minds.

What you produce, or not, doesn’t matter. It is in the process where you find the art.

The hours I spend at my sewing machine sewing or at my writing table designing and drafting, that is the art. That is the satisfaction. That is the sweetness, the holiness, if you will.

My art is sanctuary for me. It is where I escape to when life has gotten in the way and the stress of keeping all the balls in the air has become too great.

For me, in art there is peace. When the pressure to produce something amazing, beautiful, wonderful, that everyone is going to “get” is lifted, freedom and liberty to simply create is granted and the heart and mind can truly soar. It is an incredibly uplifting feeling and I find often during this process is when my soul has its best communion with God.

I encourage everyone, with or without artistic leanings, to give this a chance. When you sit down to draw, sew, paint, write, sculpt or _____, grant yourself the freedom to move in the spirit and get lost in the process. The process that IS art.

I posted this several months ago, but really felt moved to repost as I am preparing to leave for Quilt Camp in less than a week. - Janie

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where I’m from . . .

I am from fabric; from Singer, Gingher, Coats and Clark.

I am from homemade bread and milk fresh from the cow; from butter paddled and rinsed from the cream and vegetables dirty from the garden.

I am from the pines and the birches; from barbed-wire pastures and deep cedar glades.

I am from the little house with 40 acres on the north bench.
I am from books read aloud and six people sharing a single bathroom.

I am from Zilch and jigsaw puzzles; from Nancy and Wayne; from grandparents and cousins all living in one another’s hip pocket.

I am from Cattail Canyon and Salamander Swamp; from the big rock and blue-tailed lizards.

I am from stubbornness and perfection.

I’m from drinking coffee will make your feet black and Run Sheep Run.

I am from quiet. I am from dark shadows and bright lights.

I'm from Idaho and Germany, meat and potatoes.

I am from the muddy, rocky bottom of the Moyie River watching false teeth and glasses floating away. I am from branding day at Hinthorns’ and swimming on the point. I am from camping on the west side and huckleberries on the east.
I am from the box in the top of the closet and the reels on the shelf; from the priceless relics and memories of the past.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am loved

It’s gonna be a good week.

Who cares if my husband has to take half a day off tomorrow to help me out of a jam?

Who cares if I have so much work to do I feel like I might be done next October?

Who cares if we have such a busy schedule this week we won't sit down to dinner as a family until Friday?

Who cares if my son routinely turns into demanding, whiny-boy?

Who cares if the laundry isn’t done, the sink is full of dirty dishes and the family room is looking like Hurricane Toysrus struck?

Who cares if an icy wind is blowing?

Who cares if my alone time consists of the three seconds it takes for Liam to locate me again?

None of it matters.

I am loved.

It is amazing how that simple statement of fact covers a multitude of the downers in my life.

Not only am I loved by my husband who would move the earth and stars for me if need be, but I am loved by the sweetest little boy in the world and most importantly I am loved by the God who created us all.

Although I sometimes need reminding of it, and many things in my life try to overwhelm it: I am loved . . . and it makes all the difference.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Projects' progress

I am working on my five.

I joined in the "Pay It Forward" status message on facebook. It was this fun little exercise where you post in your status window that the first five people to comment will receive something handmade from you over the course of the next year, but in return they have to post the status as well, so they will be making something for five people and so on and so on.

I have my five and I have very clear ideas on what they will be receiving from me. In fact two are done already and the third is on a friend's long arm machine being quilted as I write.

This was the first, a lovely green bag for my dear friend Maggie. I adapted a pattern to quilt-as-you-go because I love piecing but am not as wild about machine quilting. This way as soon as it is pieced it is done. Love it.

This was a Valentine table runner I had originally thought to keep for myself. After I finished and posted the picture, my oldest sister, who is one of my five, fell in love with it. I realized these colors are much more her than me, so I am sending this one to her. I have cut one in stronger reds on a cream background for me.

I am mom to a three-year-old boy who I am home with most days. Quilting and sewing are my outlet from the craziness of being Liam's mom. I love him to death, but he is a very busy little boy. My craft room is my sanctuary where my God-given and -directed talents can have free rein.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The deed is done

Today I endured one of the first of many stressful things I get to do as the mother of my son.

On this day, I registered him for preschool.

Yes, boys and girls, Liam will begin the endurance test known as education this coming fall. Hard to believe the little blighter is going to turn four the end of next month. He very excited about school at this point and I hope he can maintain that attitude for several years to come.

However, let me tell you about my day.

Actually, this whole process started yesterday when Liam’s daycare provider told me her little boy got the last slot in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning four-year-old class at Bethlehem Lutheran Preschool. This meant Liam was not going to be able to be in the same class as Gavin, the little boy he has had daycare with for the past 2½ years. That coupled with the fact that I really needed a morning class for him to be in, led me to pursue alternatives. Although touted to be the best in the area, parishioners get first dibs and this coming fall there are no dregs. Apparently there is a plethora of 4-year old Lutherans in this town.

So last night I started searching for other preschools in the area. The local Christian center has a preschool. I was impressed with the curriculum information available on their website, so I called them first thing this morning. The gal I got on the phone assured me that: no, they didn’t have a specific day for registration; yes, they had plenty of room as they had only received just a couple of registration forms. Well alrighty then.

My next call was to Liam’s pediatrician’s office. I needed a copy of his immunization record. The gal I got on the phone said all I had to do was to come in and sign a records release and I could pick them up right then. OK, this was going smoother than I had imagined.

I left work early and headed straight to the medical center. I filled out the records release form and the gal says, “Now you will need to put your address on there so we can mail you the records.” WHAT?! I told her what I had been assured of over the phone and, after rolling her eyes at me, she went back and got a copy of his records. His file is there, they have a copy machine. What is the problem?

My next stop was the bank to get his birth certificate out of the safe deposit box. Thankfully the teller was very gracious about making a copy of it for me so I didn’t have to run all over town for that.

Finally I arrived at the school with all my little paper ducks in a row. When I walked in the door, the secretary asked me if I had called this morning. I said yes, I had. As I was writing my check and she was looking over my paperwork we had a conversation about the other school being full and that they needed to get prepared as they were likely to get slammed and I had gotten my act together today to avoid the melee. I told her I figured as soon as word got out the Lutheran school was full, parents would be flocking to their doors. I think she thought I was kidding, but as I was leaving two other mothers were walking in and I overhead one of them say to her, "I need to register my little boy for four-year-old preschool." The secretary’s eyes met mine for just an instant and I smiled . . . told you so.

Although this was the busy, stressful episode of my day, what a milestone! I don’t want to rush summer, but I am excited for fall and this new adventure Liam gets to have. It will be his first without Mom or Dad tagging along and that is a wow for all kinds of reasons.