Friday, July 30, 2010

art imitates life imitates art

Thinking, exhausting, trusting.
simple moments
Thinking, wondering, believing.

I've spent a lot of time inside my head today.  Truth be told, I'm not always happy with what I find there.  Today's result was a bit more joyful than most.  Still I was wrestling with the questions that rattle around in my brain.  Most of them I'm happy to say will stay as thoughts in my crazy ol' mind!

 Some of them were spent trying to come up with something I can do on a daily basis to make the world a better place.  To do something daily that makes a difference to someone broken, in pain, suffering.  What more can I do.  Can I make a difference? Yes.  I have no money to give.  Can I still help?  I start close.

I  do this daily, I give to their tiny, gaining independence yet still SO needy persons.  To them I joyfully give with all of myself so they know into the deepest corners of their souls that they are loved, they are worth it.  They are special blessings.  

We are all broken in some way.  We are all hurting somewhere within.  What can I do?  I can bring my husband a cold drink as he sweats away creating in the garage.  I know I can give more to him, without expecting anything in return.  A pleasant smile from across the room even, a wink and smirk.  So that he knows his love has affected me, embraced my every cell.

I look outward.  People. Everywhere. They all need love.  The homeless man in the park every morning by swimming lessons.  How many people drive by him every day and ignore him.  How many times have I.

Still deep in thought Nathan looks up and says, "Look at the Toy Story clouds."  I look.  They are perfect puffy ones.  So begins my does art imitate life or does life imitate art thought stream.  I remember a discussion in college.  I always took the side of art imitating life.  Art is created as a reflection of the artist's emotions and view of a particular situation.

It's not really an answerable argument though because why to we call a life moment 'picture perfect.' Do we really mean 'life perfect'?  Well, life isn't perfect so maybe it can only be as perfect as a picture of it. 

I decided that the whole debate was flawed.  Art is created by life.  The canvas, stage, paper, music notes, clay, all must be filled in by the artist.  Life.  Art is the ultimate creation and the life of the artist is shown through it.  Just a small piece of perspective, a small piece of them.  Life.

Visuals of life around here...

Mommy's little helper.

Now in her big girl toddler bed.

Daddy's big helper.


Domino art: "Me and Tyler"
I see Nathan using art to help him through the loss of our dog.  He was in pain near the end and the 'art therapy' must be helping, healing his heart.  Learning about the permanent emptiness that death brings is hard but he's been a trooper. 

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A recipe for holiday tradition: Family and Love

Memories of childhood sometimes come forth as if they were another lifetime. It was so long ago. My brain cannot comprehend that I am indeed the same vulnerable little girl sitting on the dried wood of an empty wire spool needing a loving hand of guidance, support, stability to help me.

Other times those memories seem just to have happened. So vivid and clear are they that they pour out of every cell of my being. Flowing from those places they come, welling up a tear and turning mouth edges upward. They lay in wait to be called out by a smell, a feeling, a holiday or a photo.

In years past the Fourth of July meant family, homemade ice cream, fun and fireworks. A day to hover with excitement, (driving my mom crazy no doubt) while ice cream was created in the kitchen. An afternoon with my grandparents, ice and rock salts waiting longing for the year I'd be strong enough to turn the crank all by myself.

In such a hurry we start this life to become independent. I see this trait in my two year old especially, this desire to do things all on her own. Shoving away a helping hand with determination to do it all by herself.

I feel myself doing this at times with God just as I did with my own parents. Shoving away His gentle guidance, his steadying hands and insisting that I can do it on my own. I might succeed, I might even think I did it, it was all me. Deep down I know. If I’m honest, I know it is thanks to the one who created me; He alone does any good that pours from me.
His love was demonstrated during these times. This fellowship of family and love demonstrated (however imperfectly) the love of our Creator and the relationship he wants to have with us.

The years have blended together in my memory, as if each year's movie reel is played atop the previous. In some I have only a little sister, the rest of the reels a little brother too, later on Grandma is gone but the love passes on through the generations. It stays.
I do recall a yummy mint chocolate chip (my favorite) one year and a peach ice cream another. Mostly those details are long gone the lingering feeling of embrace remains. Embraced. Loved.

Grandma with her sweater draping her shoulders, often chilled even on the warmest of days.  She'd sit, content to observe the rhythms of us kids and the men and girls turning the sweet creamy goodness.

My Bobo holding the bucket still, adding leverage for the turning body. I wonder now, if we'd used that ice cream maker more often surely he'd have invented something to hold it down. Clamped it on or done something only his brain could jimmy rig figure out.  For the holiday fun he was happy to hold it for seemingly hours while we waited for that first soft, thick, melty bite.

The conversation for several of the years was over my head but I longed to understand. Usually patriotic music was playing in the house building up in each one of us a pride for our country. The evening ended with a BBQ meal and fireworks and lightning bugs and smells of bug spray. And I can't imagine it any other way.
... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Helping make the ice cream!

Presently, the Fourth of July is about family, fun, fireworks and homemade ice cream. Celebrating the reason settlers first braved the ocean and hardships to begin colonizing here....

Mayflower Compact
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.
(The 'dread sovereign' referred to in the document used the archaic definition of dread—meaning awe and reverence (for the King), not fear.)
Waiting for fireworks!

...And a century and a half later declaring our independence with toddler like determination, thank God for John Adams and the others!  We have a country because of them.

Happy Independence Day America!

What is your recipe for a holiday tradition? I'd love to know.