Friday, February 28, 2014

We make good art.

Our church hosted a painting party last night.  It was open to anyone 14 and over, so my husband said that he wanted to go with me.  The last one I went to was women only.  Since we were both going I asked the instructor if she minded if I did something different from the class since we didn't need two of the same paintings.  She didn't mind.  Our neighbor also went with us.

The theme painting was "Starry night"  done in Van Gogh style, but not exactly the same as his. My husband did an amazing job at painting it.  Our oldest daughter is a huge Doctor Who fan and because of Doctor Who also loves Van Gogh, so my husband threw a tardis into the painting and gave it to her when we got home.

Didn't he do a great job?

My painting was nothing like theirs.  I had found some inspiration pictures online that I wanted to maybe use as my guide.  I brought my laptop in with me and some paints from home and went to town combining a couple of my inspiration photos along with my own touch.  It was a lot of fun.  I have discovered my favorite paint "brush" is a wadded up paper towel.  Seriously.  I also used my fingers and a couple of traditional brushes.  Creativity is one of those things where there aren't any rules, you just get to be.  Experiment. Be messy.  Explore.  You take what you have been given and you blend it together to get something new.  Just because you have been handed yellow and blue doesn't mean that is all you can use, so many shades of green can be made out of it.

My husband likes rules, defined boundaries.  Me not so much.  He is good at painting, but he said it is not something he could really get into.  I think there is too much freedom in it for him.  He loves to make and paint models.  I could never get into that, for the very reasons why he loves it, it is too structured for me.

He likes to look at things in a very concrete way and I like to look at things and see what is unseen, what is possible, I like to blend and swirl into something more than what it looks like on the surface.

We are a unique pairing, but we both make good art.

painting #6  "psalms 19:1" 2/27/14
In my world birds can very definitely be purple and a little bit funky.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A story of being in the midst, of small steps, and hope.

I have said it often and I will probably say it again in the future, healing is HARD.  If anyone tries to sell you on a quick fix, one size fits all way to get it done, don't be quick to believe it.  Can it be that for some people? Anything is possible and it has been known to happen, but for the majority of people, *clears throat* for me, it is a slow slow slow slow slow slow slooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww process.

I have talked of steps, of the moving from there to here.  Sometimes I notice the steps as I am taking them and sometimes it is only in looking back that I see the footprints of where I have been, leading to where I am now.

I mentioned how I was going to a church retreat a few weeks back and how I was scared to go;  that even the deciding to go had been a battle from the time I heard about it.  I knew I should go, but I didn't want to go.  I didn't plan to go.  But then one Sunday as I sat in church God told me I was going.  I pulled out my checkbook and I wrote out the down payment right then.  I felt very brave.

And then I went and I felt betrayed, because it was everything I feared happening.  I was torn wide open and I wasn't able to close the wounds.  My pastor likened it to being on the operating table and then getting up before the operation was over.  Sure, sort of like that, but this operation needed more than a weekend and a lot less witnesses, and a whole lot of more places for hiding and cowering.  So I went in for the right operation, but to the wrong hospital (at least that is how I feel about it.)

To tell this story better I have to take you back to October.  October is where I can pinpoint when my internal and external world shifted.  I was in church with Steve on a Wednesday night and we were joking and laughing about something the pastor had said when the pastor said these words in the middle of our laughter, "Sometimes, God has to get something out of you before you can move forward."  That was the moment.  It was instantaneous.  No time for a single thought to penetrate, I went from laughing to forcibly having to swallow down deep choking sobs of intense sadness. Sadness that I had no idea where it was coming from other than it felt like it was coming from the depth of my toes and trying to roll out of me right then.  I went from feeling I was in a holding pattern with God to having to separate my internal world of emotional chaos from my external world of responsibilities just so I could function.  DEEP anger and sadness intertwined themselves together from that point on and were trying to claw their way out.

As I was unable to process it I did what I always do and I separated.  That horribly difficult weekend of the church retreat momentarily joined my internal and my external worlds and left me feeling war torn.  It also cracked a door that I have long kept closed. A door that I am terrified to open.  A door that contains the answers to the sadness and the anger clawing their way out.  Answers that I don't care to know. And honestly if I cared to open it I have never known how to.

Since that weekend I have been telling God more so than asking that if I am to know what is behind that door then He would need to show me in dreams, because knowing with my eyes wide open would be too much for me to handle.

And so far, he mostly has been using dreams to let the nightmares behind the door seep through bit by bit. The problem with the dream world is that it left me wondering if I was making it up, making more out of it than what was really even there.

The things that have slipped through in my waking world have left me wondering the same thing.  Am I truly remembering or am I constructing?

Last night I had a dream much like many of the other dreams have come, I was online in my dream looking at something and next to my name was a verse.  One I don't know,  have never heard preached on and isn't a commonly shared verse.  I woke up after seeing the verse.  I was going to look it up right then, but Steve rolled over and wrapped me in his arms.  So I said the verse to myself over and over so I wouldn't forget by morning.  I put my mind on repeat.  Psalms 6:2-3.  Over and over again until I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up two hours later I looked it up.  And I read it again.  And then again.  And then the surrounding verses.  There is NO way that I would have chosen this verse out of my subconscious. I am not even sure that I have ever even read it before.

At first, I was like, hmmm okay that is interesting God.  I was expecting something more beauty for ashes like, but the more I read it and thought about it, this verse sums up where my soul is at this moment.  I feel that it is God's way of telling me that He knows where I am.  How I feel.  And it is His way of declaring that He is the one directing my dreams, not me.  If I was directing them the verse would have been different, most likely one I actually knew.

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
    Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
 I am sick at heart.
    How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
Psalm 6:2-3
New Living Translation


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A little levity

I saw this on facebook today:

It reminded me of how much I am in love with the fact that we don't have science fairs here in Groton (Please God, please don't let me find out that I am wrong about this!)

This reminds me of close to this time last year as we were prepping to move and prepping to pick our science fair projects for two kiddos.  Here is my blog from last year. Originally posted 4/13


My oldest on her first day of Kindergarten.  That backpack is
almost as big as she is.
  I used to think I was going to homeschool.  I even wrote a little essay back when my oldest was around 2 (before blogging was even a thing) entitled "why I choose to homeschool".   Now I just look back on that and laugh.  Little did I know that by the time that two year old hit kindergarten age I would view public school and her going to it with as much joy and excitement as a child being told that they were going to Disneyland. (Well, not me, because as a child I did not enjoy Disneyland, but that is an entirely different blog post for another day.) I love my children, but there is no way that I am equipped with the patience, motivation, and organization that it takes to be a successful homeschooler. (To clarify, I am not against homeschooling, I am against me homeschooling.)  Fortunately we live in a very nice school district and in the last 9 years of public school education with 6 of my children participating in it I haven't had a bad teacher experience yet.

  However, in light of transparency, I can't say that all of their teachers would say the same about their experience with me and my children.  My children are well behaved for the most part and don't cause trouble in that way, but when it comes to homework, well that is an issue.  Our family struggles with homework.  I struggle with homework.  I struggle with having the patience to get my children to understand and complete their homework.  The school sent home a notice about homework one time saying that if a parent was unable to stay calm during the homework it was best for them to walk away from it so that the child would not get a bad

photo credit:
attitude towards it.  (That is a very loose paraphrase of what it probably said, but the same gist of it.)  Patience is not one of my virtues and listening seems to not be one of my children's virtues and that combination is like a flame to dynamite, throw in being pregnant most of those years and all that emotionally goes along with pregnancy and my kids were little lit matches to my dynamite.  Since my husband was mostly gone with work he was not a viable homework help option, so I took that note to heart and avoided homework like the plague.  I thought that for the emotional well being of my children that was the best solution. (This is not ALL homework, just the homework that they were not able to do on their own, because many of my children also struggle at school with understanding.  The ones that understood their homework on their own got it done.)

  By the time kids enter fourth grade though, there is one thing in particular that can not be avoided.  That thing is the SCIENCE FAIR. *cue the scary horror movie theme music here*  I don't do science.  Imagine if you will the screen turning hazy and time traveling backwards to the year 1987.  I was eleven years old.  In December my family had moved from one side of our state to the other.  I went from being in sixth grade at an elementary school with an emotionally unstable teacher who cried in the classroom daily and was basically unable to teach us anything to a middle school with 6 different periods of education where teachers actually had been teaching for the first 4 months of the school year.  Culture shock does not even begin to describe that experience.  I was completely lost and out of place; add in a horrible perm and things were just NOT pretty that year.  One of my classes was science and a science fair was coming up, participation mandatory.  I had no scientific experience so I thought piece of cake my grandma has a book on science stuff, so I picked out an easy "science" project and did that.  People, I chose to iron flowers between two sheets of wax paper.  That was it.  Imagine my surprise when I go to said science fair with my lowly little wax encased

Me in the back circa spring 1987 check out those bangs
flowers and poorly handwritten paper explaining the process of said flower preservation.  One of my friends (read the nice girl who would talk to me) had a display showing the effects of soda pops on teeth.  She used REAL baby teeth and everything.  Let me tell you, this was not a good experience.  I stood there with my horrible perm, ill fitting dorky clothes, in my 50 pounds too many body with my rag tag "science experiment".  I think anything that could have been scientific about me died that day. Now fade back to present day.

   My oldest daughter has had to do three science fairs so far.  In fourth grade we grew sugar crystals.  I felt fairly sciency and avoided having a panic attack.  In 5th grade I have no recollection of what we did, so it must have been something brilliant.  In 6th grade she was on her own and I was able to avoid the stress of "being scientific".  Once she hit Jr. High she didn't have to do science fairs anymore, Thank you Jesus!  But the next two kids down the line had hit 4th grade....eek! Will my science
affliction ever end?  Two kids means two science fair projects.  I survived it.  We microwaved soap for one of them (let me tell you the house smells amazing afterwards, 
We found that the Tone soap smelled the best it is the
one that made a puff ball the hole in the middle
is from a pencil poking it.
STRONGLY amazing, but it takes a lot of scrubbing to get the soap smell out of your microwave) and for the other we decomposed cereals and used a magnet to find the iron content in them.  Again, I survived it.  Now this year they are both in fifth grade, it is Spring, and you guessed it, science fair time again.  The projects are due this coming Tuesday. 

   Currently we are living at my parents, my husband has been working from 5 am to 10 pm when he isn't out to sea, which he currently is, and we are getting ready to move across the country in 4 weeks.  The last thing this girl needs is another science fair.  This year we are observing the decomposition of various fast food burgers compared to a homemade one and the effects of varying liquids on pennies.  Not horrible projects, but here is the problem......I keep forgetting to have them actually OBSERVE these things.  I woke up early this morning having a panic attack because their projects are due in two days and I am just not sure how to pull it all together.  They will have boards, with sciency stuff on it to represent themselves with and it will be better than my ironed wax paper coated flowers, but it still sends me back to that gymnasium from 26 years ago.  At least this time around I don't have horrible perm head.  I checked in the mirror this morning just to be sure. ;-) 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This is the way walk in it

painting #5 "this is the way" 2/12/14

Your ears will hear a word behind you,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
~Isaiah 30:21

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I will make you beautiful; the makings of a masterpiece

If Jesus told you a love story what would He say? What would you want Him to say?

I was tasked with writing a love letter to Jesus this weekend. I found that really hard. Probably harder than it should have been. In fact this last weekend was just hard in general. I have been struggling since. I asked to see one of our Pastors today because I was struggling living in the hard of it all. I think I went there looking for a hero to save me from my hard. Of course I didn't find one. I left wondering what I had been expecting to happen at that meeting. It wasn't a bad meeting, please don't get me wrong, it just wasn't the "rescue" I was looking for. Since I left I have been asking myself what it is I think I need, what is it I am wanting to hear?

I was reading some blogs that were linked up with my last post. I noticed that quite a few of them had parts of their blogs where they wrote as if Jesus was speaking to them, to their hearts. It made me wonder, what is it that Jesus would say to me.  Obviously these words are my own, but I have no doubt that He was the one writing them on my heart.

*I am lying under the covers, surrounded by blankets and pillows; it is my own downy fortress of protection. Jesus comes and sits next to me. I turn away from Him and curl into myself. He just scoots closer and rubs the hair away from my forehead as He speaks in a soft whisper*

I know you are mad at me. I know how people have suggested that when you remember your hurts happening that you should envision me there with you and I know how the thought of me standing there watching makes the pain of it even worse. You want to know how I could just stand there and watch and not stop it.

I know that part of you thinks that because I didn't stop it that I created you for this, but I didn't. I didn't create you to be a rag to mop up man's desires, nor did I create you to be invisible and broken. I created you to be beautiful, a masterpiece. Man tried to destroy my handiwork, but baby what he doesn't know and what you have forgotten is that I am taking those pieces and I am going to make the most beautiful stained glass work of art you have ever seen. It feels slow and those shards feel sharp, but that is because I am taking my time to fit all the pieces in just right. You are going to be the sparkliest stained glass this world has ever seen and art like that is worth waiting for.

*He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear and leans in close*

I know you are frustrated and scared. I know this weekend brought up hurts you thought had finished hurting. I also know it brought up much fear, because it loosed up hazy realizations of memories you don't want to remember, things you don't want to know. You are so afraid of finding out what has been hiding behind that door with all its scratching noises, but I am bigger than that door, baby, and anything that lies behind it.

You curse your mind for all the barriers and safeguards it has put in place over the years. Don't curse them. They have kept you going until you were ready to break them down and until I could bring you the people to help you do it, but your going to have to learn to let them in. Let Me in.

You fear it will prove too risky and that they will just let you down, leave you hurting, leave you tending to tender wounds all on your own. Trust in my timing, trust in My people. I am putting you in their hands because I know that they won't let you fall. Allow them to hold you. Tell them what it is you need.

I made you a promise 13 years ago that your heart would be healed here in Groton and I moved heaven and earth to get you back here for your healing, so please don't let fear stop you from getting it. Tell my people what it is you need, I will help them to listen.

It is okay to be weak small one. It is okay to be vulnerable. You have tried to be strong all on your own for far too long.

*He takes my hand and I pull it up to my heart as He sings soft and low the words

Beautiful, Beautiful I made you beautiful and I will make beautiful things of your life.

Carefully touching you, causing your eyes to see, yes I will make beautiful things of your life.*

Trust me dear heart, trust me.

My secret place

I don't remember having a secret place as a child.  I had an active imagination.  I could create stories in my mind for hours.  Sometimes they would get written out, but mostly they stayed in my head.

I would often retreat into my head and my stories throughout my life.  Most of the time the stories would revolve around a hero of some type.

When I went through my emotional hell in 2010 the only place I wanted to be was in white nothingness.

I would close my eyes and imagine a world of white light.  There would be nothing there, just me lying on a floor of white surrounded by white, maybe covered by a blanket of white and I could disappear into the whiteness.  The silent white nothingness would swallow me up in it and I was safe.  It was quiet, gloriously quiet, and empty.

This last weekend opened up the wounds deep, digging into long covered infections unknown.

Once again I find myself wanting the white, the nothingness, the escape where I can fade into it. The white light where nothing can hide, but I can no longer be seen.  A place where silence reigns and my mind quiets.

My secret place, my escape is nothingness.  I wonder what that means.  A girl who wants to find home so badly, but the go to place she has created in her mind is invisibility, a non-existence.

Linking up with Faith Jam today.