Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Accidental Crazy Cat Lady

I don't know how I got to this point.  I suppose I sound like all crazy cat ladies.  It was innocent at first......just one wee fluff ball.  Oh how cute!  Such simple happiness in those tiny eyes staring up at me.  Love in an instant inspiring deep heart felt chuckles at all those silly cat antics.  Falling off tables, rolling along the floor, snoozing on sunlit windowsills late in the afternoon.

So where one is good, two must be better.  And how can anyone deny another creature a companion of its own kind? It's only right to add a second cat to the mix.

And then another.....

and another...... two...

and another..... until.......

And soon I wonder what life was like before the cats.  Was there this much laughter? This much adoration?  This same silly type of love and purring affection?

I think not.

And so I, along with my three studio dogs, remain dedicated to the cause and proudly announce my membership in the Crazy Cat Lady Club.  And yes, there is an official club, just in case you're looking for one.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gravel, God, and Gratitude; One Year Later

Today marks one year since the day my husband and his Ducati went down on Houston's 610/59 interchange. During the past year I thanked God for every angel who helped my family heal.  But one angel in particular stands out, and I have no idea whether or not she was real.

If my February 19, 2014, were a movie, it would open to a grainy graphite blur, muffled movements, the crackle of gravel under rubber soles.  From just outside my right ear would be a woman's voice. Loud. Strong. A firm, sturdy, Southern woman . Conviction booming with every syllable running like a rapid river with no punctuation.
"LORD hear me send Your angels to this soul usher them forth to carry his spirit hold this man up lay your hands upon him dear Jesus HEEEEALL this man Lord hear me send Your angels now to his side Jesus we pray...."
Like waking from a dream in a foreign church trying to pray in a manner unfamiliar to my own but knowing that the spirits and Gods are all of one universal understanding in this precise moment.  Gasoline, tar, reinforced steel blends as I am squinting into focus. My husband's helmeted head under my hands so careful not to move him an inch and to keep him stable.  He is as motionless as I am breathless as this woman continues overhead, eclipsing the morning sun, the only movement on a dead stopped highway. Where the hell is the ambulance!?
"Heal this man Jesus do not take him home send your angels to his side Lord I pray that you are here with us today..."
Life or death moments move so painfully slow in a dreamlike state where the words I scream don't make a sound.
"Tell her...." my husband utters and I am electric with surprise!  He is conscious! He is alive under all that leather road gear! I lean closer to hear him because his breath is strained, uneasy. "Tell her to shut up........  I can't think."
I turn to ask her to be quiet and though I still hear her voice tapering off, she is gone. As if she were never there. The noise of her voice replaced by approaching sirens and I am abruptly aware of bystanders, motorcycle debris in the road, a rush of activity closing in, forcing me out. Scanning the crowd, I look for the praying woman over this bridge of cars jammed to a halt in jagged angles to avoid crashing themselves.  I've lost her without being able to thank her.

As weeks of recovery went by and my husband began to remember his own February 19, 2014, movie, the first thing he recalled was the endless spinning of his body as it careened down the highway. The second memory was hearing the praying woman.  A memory always accompanied by a regretful cringe of speaking to someone so harshly.  Especially someone who wanted only to help.  But in that moment of sudden consciousness,  he had forgotten how to breathe.  Through the chaos and pain the brightest light was this woman praying to her God on my husband's behalf.

Now, one year later, as we look back on that day we don't remember the hospital, the injuries, the lack of justice.  We simply rejoice in the many miracles that started with one woman's fearless voice to pray to God for strangers on the road before her.  A simple act of kindness that changed my life forever.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sew What You Reap

 I am a relentless thrifter.
 My daily studio breaks find me in Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Thrift Outlet, loading my basket with myriad of small wonders.  Thrifting has always been my release; the cathartic meandering frees my mind, interrupted only by the subtle radar bleeping of a gem in close proximity. I thrift to calm my creative chaos. I also believe that up-cycling is the purest form of working in the  primitive tradition.  And as a generally good human being, I like that the money I spend on my supplies goes right back to my community charities.
If I am not careful I can amass a hoarder's share of fabric, notions, and trinkets in record time. I am addicted to vintage Pendleton wools and a good tooled leather belt will find me genuflecting in the aisles.  To say I buy a lot of fabric would be the textbook version of lying.  I buy an obscene amount of fabric because I take pity on cashmere sweaters and woolens tossed for wounds inflicted by rogue gangs of moths. I know how easily each piece can be up-cycled into purrfect pets, wee mousels, and primitive projects. But even after crafting day and night, there remains more fabric in need of a good home. After all, an up-cycler rarely wastes a thing.
Introducing Bela Peck Home!  My latest Etsy shop offers all that I cannot use but know others can. More than the thrill of the bargain hunt, I love to share a good find so my prices are low and the quality is top notch!

The three pillars of Bela Peck Home are:
Love and bargains make this world go 'round.
Life is too short to pay retail.
So swing by to say hello, browse for something needful, and always sew what you reap or send it on.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Coming Clean

My name is Jacquie. I am a sporadic blogger.
It has been almost 3 months since my last fix..... I mean.... uh, since my last blog post..... 
Wow!  Time has really gotten buried under a lot of cashmere cats, fabulous Christmas customers, and the quiet hush of another year's sand slipping its last granules through the hourglass. In retrospect, 2014, was one beast of a year! Apparently, the Fates wanted to see how much I could handle. The pained details of 2014 had taken center blog stage but the year ended as it started: my family together and strong.

I'd love to say I am committed to blogging weekly in 2015,  but I am powerless over my wanderlust.  I have tried to get a grip on it but just when I think I am stable footed, I see another tempting hill in the distance and I'm off chasing footholds and fossils. I'm okay with that.  It's who I've always been and it's what keeps me jumping out of bed one morning to the next: the infinite creative possibilities in each day ahead.
I can promise to take blogging one step at a time.  I will practice consistency.  I will try to stay focused but let's be real: I'm a creative soul.  This is a blog about the ingredients of a creative life. Every adventure goes in the bowl alongside creations great and small.  And with loving hands, all is blended with the drama of life until a smooth, creamy batter sweetens the pan.

So bring it on 2015!  I'm stronger than I've ever been. 

LOVE & 2015

*Photos are property of Hand of Bela Peck, snapped in the great state parks of Texas

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Few Words On Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a heavy load.  Let's be honest.  Long before forgiveness occurs the burden has been hauled around for months, if not years, probably decades. It piles up like mold under walls, lingers like smoke accumulating in a small town bar.  It can't be washed out in just one super soak.  The stench roots in the fibers, deep with the fabric's weave where it sits closest to the skin.  Even if forgiveness is the next necessary step, pulling the proverbial trigger is not a simple act. It leads to a devilish debate of who is worthy, who has weathered the fight, who is willing to let go of pride.
I've had to do a lot soul searching this year.  Do I forgive the hit and run driver who nearly killed my husband?  What if the aortic aneurism had taken my Dad's life when so much had been left unsaid?  And reconciling with God over the loss of a grandchild while watching my daughter suffer through yet another tragic event in a year full of insanity.  Some would say this past year was horrible for my family, but I would say it has been full of blessings.  Three amazing people are doing well today and I can tell them every day how much I appreciate having them in my life; a feeling so amazing that granting forgiveness was an easy decision to reach in the preceding cases.  But when forgiveness reaches deep into past transgressions, the ones so vile they've taken on a life of their own, well those are a bit more tricky.
With so many life and death struggles taking center stage in my year I was struck with a sudden fearful realization: What if the people I need to forgive die before I can release them?  Seems rather ego-centric, I suppose, but the reality of forgiving is that it is a gift one gives to oneself. Holding back forgiveness is like holding your breath in a childish contest of endurance. You are the one who cannot breathe.  You are the one turning purple. You are the one putting yourself on hold while others breathe easy. To forgive is to live without anything to prove to someone who's not watching anyway. It's that first big rush of air taken in once you realize the contest is a ridiculous waste of time and decide to breathe again.  I know this because today I forgave someone whose acts have held me captive in my own soul.                                                            
Today, I released this person from the hold I gave him on my life, and in doing so found a peace unlike anything I've ever known. My greatest fear in forgiving was the possibility this person would minimize my battle.  After all, I had emotionally granted this person unlimited power over my emotions, decisions, and my opinions.  If he were to say that all I feared was unreal, or to deny his part in my hurt, I would be left with a bag full of ghosts. Moving forward without closure is the risk in forgiving.  But the reward outweighs this risk.  And sometimes the unthinkable happens: the other person needs this resolution as well.

With great anxiety, I sent my forgiveness and proudly accepted my bag of ghosts, never expecting a reply.  Surprisingly, I received an immediate response. This person accepted responsibility and wanted my forgiveness.  In that moment, I felt my soul break free of its cage.  I felt a rush of air in my lungs that knocked me off my chair. I cried as if making up for years of stuffed tears.  And, as my life pattern has been throughout this year,  I found peace in the most unlikely of places. So if you're holding on to pain, try forgiveness. It's not easy.  It doesn't mean you've given up.  It means, finally, you are willing to set yourself free.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inner Moonlight

 August 2013- August 2014, has been a grand slam of life altering events. But, and I say this in a hushed breath so the fates don't overhear: life is back on track. I find my studio work is on course for Halloween and I am free to return to earlier projects halted.  For one particular creation, I am not so much "going back to" as I am bringing that work into the present and reassessing with a fresh perspective.  That is, of course, the elusive Secret Project
The Secret Project is the fuel in my creative tank.  It's the idea, the flame, that has burned longest and brightest among all my musings. Often, it burned so brightly I was often blinded by it, scorched even, and forced to put it away.  For many years I tried to wrangle this project the way animal control attempts to cage a roaming fox.  One way or  another things are going to get ugly and little will be accomplished. Inspiration ebbs and flows, flooding sketchbooks that span decades.  It is my inner moonlight that often feels like madness. A delicious flirt with the looney side.
Sitting with the Secret Project now feels like an amicable truce. After all, the last twelve months have been a surreal parade.  Frequent pleading with God and Death over the past year has mellowed my harsh self-imposed requirements that held me back from real progress on the project.  As humans we foolishly believe every day is a guarantee. We leave unsaid what we truly want to say. We leave unfinished what needs completion. We believe perfection is the triumph when it's the journey that reveals how triumphant we are. The Secret Project has been a work in progress since my late teens.  The roaming fox, once suspected to be rabid, has calmed with age, experience, and softened by fear of loss.  Finally I understand that inner moonlight is not madness; it is just truth waiting to be told.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Six Months of Healing

Woooooooooot!!!  We have reached the six month milestone!!  Six whole months, 180 days and however many minutes of recovery tick and tocked off the clock!  Yet February 19, will forever be linked with the day the Ducati went down..... the day I nearly lost my husband.  The day I screamed like a banshee over Kevin's body where he landed crumpled and unresponsive in the middle of Houston's 610/59 interchange.  At that moment time froze solid and I couldn't see even 6 seconds into the future.
Wow!  Really?  Six months already!!? Six months is just a measure of time, the distance from point A to point where we want to B. At day one, six months is nothing more than passing hour by hour until day two.  At day five, each consecutive day in the hospital feels like a prison sentence without having committed a crime.  At day 180, time seems to have flown by leaving little trace of the days in between.  But there were days: long days, difficult days, and fearful days.  But mostly there were days of gratitude.
It's rare to get a second chance at life.  The generous gift is not one to be taken lightly.  We had to let go of anger and frustration that there is no one to hold accountable for the hit and run.  We learned to put our stock in the slow process of healing both physically and emotionally without becoming bitter.  We slowed down, readjusted, and strengthened the bond that cemented him and me as WE.
We are forever grateful to the February 19 angels on the highway, the Ben Taub Trauma Center staff, and all our friends and family who have cheered us on for the past six months.  We love you!