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.
 
LOVE  &  INNER MOONLIGHT
 
 
 
 

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!
 
LOVE & HEALING
 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Skeletons

It is a little known fact that Halloween skeletons spend their off season basking in the sizzling sun, bleaching out their bones and getting that much needed R&R prior to the busy fright season.  Here in Galveston, the skellies gather to share laughter and hone their scary skills. 
These summer skellies are always the first of my Halloween prep projects.  They have morphed over the years from their Halloween-only status.  The original artist, Stacey Meade, aka The Goode Wife of Washington County, is a dear friend who has allowed me playful liberties in using this guy's head on a variety of bodies and costume.
Soon these swim trunks will be replaced with winter woolies and the old bones will be rattling with festive frights.  But for the few months remaining, under the scorching Texas sun, these boney bums will be basking on the beach.
  LOVE  & SILLY SKELLIES!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Business At Hand

This past week has been difficult, at best, reluctantly walking an altered path divergent of the planned road. Long nights passed with family comforting loss. Trying to find reason in the unreasonable. Redefining purpose in every day. Normal life and routines halting; the overdone theme of my 2014. I have become familiar with carrying on in chaos and so studio business must go on as well.
 
While prepping for Baby I learned that I loved creating functional toys.  I have the privilege of working at Hendley Market in Galveston where we receive a daily crowd of tourists with children in tow. We pride ourselves on being a child-friendly destination where parents can browse while nostalgic toys keep the kiddos busy  The cashmere kitties (aka the Purrrrrrrrrrrfect Pet) have been a huge hit this summer.
Watching wee ones delight in the silly cats and carry armfuls around the store, tending to each one with loving coos, just melts my heart!  The studio mice crave the same attention and in honor of our lost wee one, Hand of Bela Peck will continue with a full line of affordable simple sweet toys.
 As for my daughter, she is taking life day by day and doing well.  She helps out in the studio from time to time and in those small stitches and patterns we will mourn what we have lost and celebrate what lies ahead.  In the hours we pass together I can keep my watchful eye on her, hugs and tissues at the ready.
 
 I was touched by the number of friends who shared their stories and shocked by the number of women I know who have suffered in silence with miscarriage. It is a deeply personal form of loss kept between the closest of confidences.  As I continue to create, to help my daughter heal, I will carry all of their stories with me. 

LOVE  &  HOPE


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And Then There Is Silence

Silence.  That defeating distance between what should be and the reality of what is unfolding.  I've experienced this silent mystery too often this year- the slow motion dizziness of life as it turns upside down like a laundry basket emptying its contents tip-toppling to the end of a long staircase tumble.  There is no real remarkable noise.  It happens in hyper-speed and  leaves only blurry utterances of  actors adlibbing their way through the fall.
 
Two days ago family gathered for the excitement of my daughter's 12 week sonogram.  Even though there were only four of us waiting to hear the heartbeat, we were too much of a crowd for the tiny room and had to wait turns.  I went in first with my daughter and her boyfriend, all of us making our humorous cases for the boy or girl debate.

 The grainy image cleared into full view of the expected wee one. As the tiny picture flashed on the screen I saw my daughter's face.  Where I expected joy, I saw confusion.  There were a few questions, grasps for a different understanding, but like I said- the actors were stumbling;  their voices nearing inaudible as the room filled with the white noise of fear, desperate sadness, and loss. She knew in that instant that life had slipped away
 
There are no words to comfort a mother losing a child. The doctor's droll,  "I see this all the time" and "don't blame yourself" evaporate in thoughts of a sweet cuddled bundle already filled with a mother's, a father's, a grandmother's, dreams and hopes. And as my daughter pulled a brave face out of her pocket, I felt my knees buckle as I pleaded with the doctor to give me hope where no hope could be offered.
 
 
 
In my last post I wrote how some had thought my daughter too young to have a child.  She is 19. She has been to college. She has been across the US and Canada on a motorcycle with her Dad. She has played with tigers in a Thailand jungle. She spent her high school junior year summer recovering from open heart surgery.  Usually shy and quiet, she initiated a media campaign earlier this year to try finding the hit and run driver who nearly killed her father.  She has mourned the loss of more than a few key people in her life. She has the kindest, most gentle humanitarian spirit and her soul is an old one that will rise from this loss as well.

 As I wrote in my last post; we do not choose when life is to come and go.  Life opened the door in May, 2014.  On July 21, 2014, life left, closing the door as it went. 

~Rest in peace precious wee one.  You are loved. Always ~

 
 


Friday, July 18, 2014

And Then There Is Life

2014 has been full of the unexpected, the unforeseen, the unpredictable, the slow healing of time, the redefinition of priorities, and a necessary slowing of life lived in full speed. Studio doors have been closed, production reduced to bare minimum leaving nothing but the dull hum of stunted creativity.  And then, without warning.... suddenly, there is life.
 
I am going to be a grandmother!

 A new wee soul to brighten this uncertain world.  A tiny face to smile, a brand new person to hug and hold tight. All the possibilities of hope and love just 7 months away! 

The studio doors have flung open with a softer feel; up-cycled cashmere and tiny whimsical cotton prints drape the work table. There is laughter and excitement among the studio mice and the necessary rethinking of traditional patterns is taking place.

The studio mice will become larger for easier grasp in wee hands. 

Small parts will give way to embroidered features to avoid choking hazards. And time will be spent in the whimsical fabric stacks of childhood themes. Nearly 2 decades have passed since I needed baby themed prints and WOW!! There are so many brilliant designers out there! I'm not certain I can buy enough! 
I'd forgotten the love of small stitches in simple lines to create the necessities of welcoming new life into this world; soft blankies, diaper covers, rattles and bibs.  The splendid repetition of snipping corners, turning and pressing, all the while dreaming how this baby will impact our world.
Some have said we are too young to be grandparents, that our daughter is not yet ready to be a mother.  All I can say after the year we have had is that we do not tell life when we wish it to come and go.  That door opens and closes often without our consent.  Ready or not, life is coming. We are simply blessed to be here to embrace it together.

As for those with inquiring minds: we are sooooo ready!

 LOVE & NEW LIFE!
 
 
 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Back Road Healing

Healing has finally reached full speed and we know no better way to celebrate than to get back out on the roads less travelled.  Both my husband and his Ducati have been through rehab and are now reunited. But to err on the side of caution, Kevin is taking the road back on 4 wheels for another  two months.  At least for the long rides.
A soul needs to wander, to explore, and breathe in what the modern world deems outdated. On our first road trip since Kevin's motorcycle accident we headed from Houston to Fort Worth on what I like to call the "rural express". Texas Farm to Market roads are the best medicine for the newly healed.  Curvy rural blacktop goodness between pastures, small churches, and long-dried-up gas stations provide therapy not available anywhere else in the world.  Fields of wildflowers ignite the countryside in bright orange, purple, and red under a crystal blue cloudless sky.  If FM 339 could be bottled, the intoxication level would be 100 proof euphoria.
To our surprise, we rediscovered a farm we explored years ago and though we forgot its exact location it has been ever present in our minds.   A simple white farmhouse.  Small, but with high ceilings and a wide front porch with a sweeping view of endless green fields of corn. Two massive red barns hug the corner of the country road. Five years ago the property was for sale but being in such a rural location made it out of our geographical reach. Apparently it was never purchased and when we turned the corner and saw the tell tale barn our hearts soared, then sank. Mother Nature had our barn in a choke hold, having already reclaimed the house.
We took our time exploring the dilapidated structures, listening to the busy hum of bee colonies nesting in the walls, cautiously stepping to avoid hidden snakes, and romped through the broken house undaunted by a cranky screech owl nesting in the rafters.  An old piano sat vacated in the living room, yellow sheet music scattered by years of wind through the walls.  I imagined the soft keyed notes on the prairie air as I looked through the poured glass window panes.
There is magic in this place.  I knew it the first time I saw her.  I've never shed the belief that one day I will rebuild her sister on my own land.  Often I've drawn her from memory trying to relay to others this mythical house I crave.
Having to get to Fort Worth, I said a lengthy farewell to my muse.  From between the front porch columns, under the wary eye of the owl, I silently thanked God for the peace of this place and the gift He has sent me in keeping Kevin safe.  I understand the owl and her staunch need to defend what she sees as hers, her kingdom of peace, for I have done the same.
 
LOVE & WANDER
 

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Healing Week 5

Five weeks of recovery is now under our belt.  We have learned to adjust to life in the slow lane- to linger over coffee, read magazines cover to cover, and put away the alarm clocks. Our home is like a time capsule. Kev's briefcase leans against his dresser- still unpacked from his flight home the night before the accident. That sofa I was reupholstering is frozen, mid-room, ghostly draped in muslin.  My studio door remains closed while healing takes top priority.

The final toll was heavy: 8 broken ribs, smashed scapula, dislocated clavicle, punctured and collapsed lung, pneumothorax, hemothorax, and the crushing blow of two pulmonary emboli.  The discovery of the emboli was nothing less than divine intervention. Had it not been for the tenacity of a student doctor to stand up to his supervising physician and push for c-scans Kevin would've been released with two time bombs in his lungs.

I have never not known this man.  We grew up across the street from one another, raided each others' forts, spent summer nights in homemade tents, and shared a first kiss playing spin the bottle in his garage.  The past two weeks at home have felt like those nights in the backyard tent- not sleeping close, but wishing we could.  Talking about dreams and childish wants until we fall asleep.  Words filling darkness, chasing away fears of mythical beasts, erasing uncertainty.
 
At times in the hospital I would see that 10 year old boy with eyes green as early spring moss blinking awake in an unfamiliar room.  Through the night he woke often, sometimes believing he was in Thailand, other times in Dhaka, and he wondered why the airline let us linger so long in this hallway. His days blended, confused in hydrocodone mists and blinding fury of pain. Those days are memories now and despite the trauma, Kevin has little recollection of just how much danger he was in.  For while he hallucinated, I hung tightly to the precipice of every breath, every lab result, every unmade memory for which I foolishly believed we had time.

What unfolds in these moments is the realization that life was getting the best of us.  Before the accident, days were planned according to outdated goals.  We endured weeks apart for the few days together between work, travel, and jet lag.  We became normalized to love in fragmented time.
Slowly we are reclaiming what routine has a bad habit of burying.  Perhaps we're that half full type of folk who see the positive shining brighter than the bad.  Maybe it's the scare of nearly losing life that sharpens one's focus and blurs out the frivolous.
 
 
Now as we reconnect, we see the disconnect and are not content to resume that mode.  In many ways the accident brought us closer than ever before.  Words left unsaid have been spoken and roads we've wanted to explore will now be traveled.  What lies ahead will be greeted together, with one voice, and hands clasped with the strength of every life past life we lived together.
LOVE  &  RECOVERY

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Comfort in Trauma

You never know how it feels to be alive until you know how it feels to die.
I've sang these lines a thousand times while listening to Noah and the Whale in my studio.  Until two weeks ago these were just words. The moment I saw my husband hit the highway pavement, his motorcycle still spinning ahead of his limp body, those lyrics became my greatest fear.
Today is day 16 of my husband's recovery at Ben Taub Trauma Center in Houston. 
 
Time is amorphous in the hospital.  Foggy days, mixed up nights, stripped of every normal human routine.  Our section of a room shared with three other patients has no window.  Minutes dissolve into hours and drain away the days.  Progress is measured in tubes in and out, x-ray results, and ambulatory devices.  We have watched many roommates arrive and go home while we remain. Bunking with people with whom our paths would least likely cross, we all ride the roller coaster together. And perhaps most of us are better because of it.
In a trauma hospital there are few illness patients.  Our roommates have been shot, run over, stabbed and involved in horrific accidents.  Police officers sit outside many rooms waiting for the accused to heal and to take victim statements.  There are those in grave condition and those with mere wounds requiring a one night stay.  Some we have befriended through the curtains, others we couldn't wait to see discharged.  Though we are a truly diverse group, we share common bonds of pain and healing.
I have met two other women tending their husbands, remaining at the bedside to give comfort: one Asian, one Hispanic.  We don't speak the same language but we communicate through our expressions.   Looks of fear, worry, relief and sadness are universal and within these facial cues we lend one another support. Through the curtain we hear each other's cries, the sighs of relief, and laughter.  I know these women are like me refusing to leave the loves of our lives. Over the weeks we have learned basic greetings in each other's dialect.  We offer awkward hugs sometimes misread between cultures but in our need to not be alone we have found each other.  
Life changed without warning two weeks ago.  I feel I've lived a lifetime in between then and now. My husband is healing and soon we hope to go home, to regain a sense of truly living, to feel the sun escort the true hours of each day.  Life will never be the same.  In fact I believe it will be a more authentic, more tolerant, more understanding, more loving life.
 
LOVE & HEALING

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snippets

Accidents like this are recalled in snippets.  Sudden flashes that remind me it's all real.  Images that greet me before I even open my eyes in the morning, waking into another day of getting up, splashing water on my face, and getting to the hospital.  As I drive I remember what day it is and what the original plan was before the crash.  Hotel reservations never cancelled, road trip dates passed, and daily routines slammed to a halt.  It's all a blur as I make it from League City to Ben Taub Hospital in downtown Houston.  Though the days are long I carry on.  My husband is alive.  Everything else is insignificant. 
 
 
On February 19, 2014, Kevin was riding his motorcycle to Mancuso Power Sports to check out some bags for his new Ducati Mutistrada. He just returned from Singapore the day before and in three weeks he would be riding a motorcycle through the back roads around Cape Town, South Africa.  It was a good day. I followed behind him so we could grab some lunch while we left the bike at the shop for a routine check. Merging on to 59 South from 610 North in Belaire, my husband was blind sided by an SUV that made a crazy last minute, illegal lane change.  That snippet plays over and over. I see a car beginning to change lanes.  One car separates me from my husband.  Though I can't see my husband's bike I know there isn't room for that vehicle coming over. And then I see something like a ragdoll go up in the air and back down out of my sight. I know he's down.

There are other snippets that endlessly loop: my frantic screams, my husband unresponsive on the road, the stillness of traffic halted, the deafening fear in the silence of knowing this is life or death.
 
Angels also come in snippets.  It's amazing how many people stay in their cars and watch but then there are the few that come to help.  The man who sees everything and is first to call 911.  A complete stranger who prays over my husband and in that moment he wakes. A man who reminds my husband to breathe. The neurosurgeon just ahead of the scene who runs back to assess Kevin while we wait for first responders to make their way through snarled traffic.  Every driver who pulled aside to let the ambulance through.  The woman who gave me a hug.  I'll never know who these people are in their everyday lives but in their moments of stopping for strangers and doing whatever they could, they will always be angels in my heart.
 
Today is day 8 in the hospital.  These hours also play out in snippets though they feel like one uninterrupted sequence of lightless days. Emily, our daughter, and I take our comfort here.  We pass the moments with quiet pursuits waiting for the day we remember the healing journey in distant snippets.

LOVE  &  HEALING

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Bunny Returns To Bangladesh

Funny how full circles go.  It is the nature of up-cycling: reusing, repurposing, reinventing to reduce waste.  In the case of this wee bunny- his full circle brings him back to Bangladesh.  Back to where the cashmere sweater used to make him was made.
 
So many items sold in America are made in Bangladesh.  Search any closet, store rack or boutique and inside the manufacturing tag Bangladesh surely makes a showing.  I never gave this much thought until my husband began spending a lot of time in Bangladesh.  His job brings him to Dhaka several weeks out of the year- so often in fact that the hotel welcomes him "home to his second home".  That's probably not a good thing. There's no tourism in such a poor city so any repeat guest is highly appreciated.

After Kev's first trip to Dhaka he swore he would never return.  He was appalled by the poverty and desperation.  Now on his eighth return trip, he has an understanding of the culture and a curiosity for how people can be so friendly in a place of poverty unimaginable by American standards.  He has been followed several blocks by small children looking for food.  He sees people bathing in the same water where sewage runs. Dhaka's smog and filth eclipse most sunlight.  The air constantly muffled by an assault of car horns as makeshift vehicles clog roads.  But yet he finds color, beauty and vibrancy in this city.
 
As for bunny, she was born from an up-cycled cashmere sweater made in Bangladesh (most likely in one of the many clothing factories in Dhaka), sold in America, and cast aside after a moth made a meal of it.  She will be a gift to the new baby of my husband's co-worker who lives in Dhaka.  This bunny will be in a safe home.  But this got me thinking about the many children of Dhaka who will sleep on the streets, often fending for themselves for food, shelter and safety. Could a bunny make a difference in a child's life? 
Some ideas are fleeting.  We get a notion to do something bigger than ourselves- feel like there's a spiritual nod in this direction or cause but we get overwhelmed by how to transfer a belief into action. This is where I am- stuck between seeing signs and trusting the direction.  So for now this bunny returns to her roots to bring smiles to a newborn girl as she grows.  And who knows; maybe one day both this wee girl and her bunny will make a difference in this world.
LOVE & MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Studio Mice Stealing Hearts

January went by faster than a startled cat!  It was a month of studio changes, refocus, and wake up calls- but more on that later.  Today is a light and fluffy kind of return to my blogging side.  Today is a day to introduce the studio mice of 2014. 
The new studio mice are made of up-cycled wool and cashmere.
They are simple critters with big hearts.
 
Though they are quiet and relatively unobtrusive, they do tend to multiply quickly.

To see more studio mice, check out where they dwell on Early Work Mercantile,  Etsy, and Hendley Market.
 
LOVE & STUDIO MICE

 



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Heirloom Ornaments

This article  was scheduled to be published in FOLK Magazine Christmas 2013.  I have no idea what the publication status is and have cut ties with the magazine.  I came across this ornament as I was taking down my tree over the weekend, and I felt the need to share my Grandmother's story even though Christmas 2013 is now behind us.
If we are lucky as adults, we have ornaments from our childhood to pass on to our children.  If we are extra lucky, we have at least one ornament from our parents’ childhood to covet as our own.  It is in these small holiday tokens that live legacies of love and triumph.
My grandmother loved color.  Pink and teal particularly.  Style gurus of 1950’s homemakers had nothing on her.  She raised my mother in a Cape Cod style house my Grandfather built high on a hill overlooking the Shetucket River in Eastern Connecticut.  Her kitchen was done in teal tile, she served simple meals on bright Fiesta dishes, and baked the finest ├ęclairs in New England.   A silver tinsel tree was her signature Christmas centerpiece and upon it were hung the sweetest pink ornaments Woolworths offered.  Mingled in were blown glass ornaments my Great Grandparents brought with them from Czechoslovakia.  And in my Grandmother’s driveway a mammoth 1955 turquoise Buick was the envy of the neighborhood.   She would have to learn to drive it after my Grandfather’s sudden death when my Mom was only ten. Though years of transitioning from a homemaking queen to a single parent would bring difficulty, financial strife and resilience, that silver tree was finely decorated every Christmas as a testament to my Grandmother’s, and my Mother’s, strength to thrive.
Every December, I unwrap an ornament that once hung on my Grandmother’s tree.  I have only one.  I hold it to the sun as the light shines through the mercury glass and shadows tiny hand-painted blue flowers.  I snuck it away from my Mother’s collection one Christmas when I was home from college.  These were the precious bulbs stored in a tattered box with edges secured so many times the box was pretty much tape and dust.  Inside, the vintage ornaments looked like creamy curved marzipan treats peeking through time-thinned tissue paper.  My Grandmother passed away when I was a high school sophomore, before I had a chance to appreciate the lessons she often shared.  This ornament is feather light, delicate, ornate in its simplicity.  Just like my Grandmother.  Four feet ten inches and maybe 90 pounds after a hearty meal.  My Grandmother went to work in the Ponemah velvet mills after my Grandfather died.  She never complained.  Never cried where anyone could see.  Never gave the impression that a woman needed a man for anything.  Always preached love.  Always practiced determination. Always shone with bright color when most other women would have faded to black.
Over the years I have collected vintage ornaments to simulate my Grandmother’s collection, to hold dear the memories my Mother guards with old boxes in cedar chests. To share in the silent strengths that hang in the remains of love snuffed out too early. Pink ornaments now cover my own silver tinsel  tree. And as my daughter joins me in decorating, I share stories of my Grandmother, my Mother, and the Grandfather I never knew in hopes their legacies will fuel generations yet to come. 
LOVE  &  HEIRLOOMS OF LOVE

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Vision

2014 is my year of vision. The year of open eyes, big dreams and making the ideas of 2013 the reality of 2014.  It is the year of not backing down just because I am new to the game. In 2014, I will be fearless.
 
In 2013, my word was listen.  I paid attention to other artists' and writers' experiences.  I listened to how they grew their businesses and saw parallels to my own journey.  At the start of 2013, I was overwhelmed with stunted growth, dead ends, and a story that seemed doomed to remain unwritten.  I stopped forcing creativity and let the universe guide me.  Everything I needed was within reach, I just needed the patience to hear the vital cues.  By October 2013, I was in high gear and ended the year not tired, but renewed.
One of the biggest shifts over the past year has been shedding my identity as a primitive folk artist and morphing into a softer, whimsical up-cycler.  I adore prims, but the genre became my cage.  I felt I had to create a certain way, with a defined look that was at odds with my creative vision. It was as if the universe was nudging change by dropping old cashmere sweaters in my lap at every turn and whispering, "Go ahead... a few cheerful softies wouldn't hurt!"  And so I listened. And how my heart sang! The first time I saw a child light up at my creation, I was a believer.  It was time to grow with the change.
 
And so I greet 2014 with a fond hello, a firm handshake and a confident look in the eye.  The journey ahead will require continued hard work and tireless hours, but oh the places we will go!
LOVE  &  2014!