Lost Art Forms

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Not all art hangs in galleries.  Some art is not really art at all.  Our culture and many societies have lost the art of self-sufficiency.  Gone are the days of  providing for your self and your family by creation.  If we perceive we need something chances are we hop in our car, drive to the nearest shopping mall and purchase that necessary item straight off the shelf.  It seems our society has worked itself out of usefulness.  I’m not saying we should all ditch our ipads, our fuzzy chenille blankets or even put down our cleverly worded coffee mugs.  What could be said though is we have forgotten the artist in ourselves.

I am sure when my grandmother sat down to quilt, she did not think of herself as an artist in that moment, but she was.

sewing

I am once again staring at an unfinished project.  I sew.  I enjoy sewing.  I relish the way the sewing machine sounds as it stitches two pieces of fabric together to help make a garment.  The feel of the fabrics and their unknown final form intoxicate me.  I fantasize about what I will create with different textiles.  I have yards and yards of fabric haunting my sewing room, begging for me to take the time to transform the soft velvets into reticules for my costuming, the bright sheers into sarongs for my beach wear, the fun cotton prints into throw pillows for my couches.  Yet here I am with minimal time and too many ideas.  If I could organize my sewing projects the way I organize our family vacations, I might get some sewing done.  I have set the artist in me aside.  Why?  Is it simply because if I need any of those things I can just go purchase them?  My sewing feels indulgent, like a pedicure, something I could do but when the deadlines are encroaching, the family is needing, and a pedicure sounds a lot more relaxing than the sewing project, I choose to relax without thinking.  So when can I make more time in my day for my lost art form?  That is a question each of us must answer for ourselves.

I love that so many of these lost or dying arts are being revived to the glorious art forms they truly are.  I love to hear about various groups that gather simply in the name of their chosen art; sewing, quilting, crocheting, knitting, even chain mailing.  I appreciate the candle dippers, the blacksmiths, the potters, the weavers, the leather workers, and so many more artists carrying on their chosen craft.  I believe I will call on a friend the next time I feel the need to buy my next scarf, and I will try to find my art form again.9034617157_86cd816e19

Parking Lot Fly Fishing

Soul Experiences

As I age I feel I am approaching the “Now I’ve seen everything” stage of my life.  Just when I think “Yep I’m here!” something crops up to show me I have a lot to learn.

Driving down a well used residential street you will eventually come to a crossroads with another well used residential street.  The city may have installed a roundabout or a few stop signs to help slow the traffic down, attempting to keep the peace with the neighborhood associations.  As the years go by the streets are widened to accommodate the growing populations, some houses are removed that don’t pass city codes and a traffic light goes up.  City developers move in like circling vultures waiting for the death of their next meal.  We passively call this progress.

On this intersection sits a small community of businesses.  Years after the progress, the developers having moved on…

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Secret Getaways

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Take me away to a snow filled place

Just you and I

Where the cold welcomes me

My breath freezes on the wind

It is my dream to sleep beneath

the stars with snow all around

A magical place of snow and ice

You are my warmth, my shelter

I want to wake to the sunrise

surrounded by a sea of white

Just you and I

Your arms encircle me

We are alone in the snowy land

I find peace in the icy quiet

Noises muted on the snow covered world

Crystals shimmer like the dust from a fairy

No tropical masses

No sun drenched beach

Just you and I beneath the stars

Snuggled in out of the cold

with soft blankets and each other

Just you and I

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Paradise Found

I was on a road trip yesterday.  Traveling down roads I have never been on.  Enjoying all the curiosity in each moment.  I have lived in Nebraska my whole life.  Exploring this state I call home has been a mission of mine since my first cruise in 1996.  If you have ever stepped onto one of the monolith cruise liners you know they are traveling cities.  Well “back in the day” everyone signed up for either early or late formal dinners, then the cruise line assigned you and your party to a table with fellow cruisers.  Strangers.  After a meal or two together small talk becomes more personal, and the searing question was asked…

“What is there to do in Nebraska?”

My twenty-one year old mind froze.  I tried to quickly think of interesting events, sights, and general goings on, but my mind was serving up a big blank expanse of nothing.  What was there to do in Nebraska?  Plenty but in that moment I couldn’t think of anything, witty or fun to say.  I was in the middle of the Caribbean on a giant floating city wearing a formal gown.  I was trying to forget the rest of reality even existed.  From that dinner on I have always had five or six genuinely creative responses waiting to entertain anyone who asks the infamous question again.

On my road trip yesterday I finally found the reason to live in Nebraska! (giggle, giggle)  As I crested a hill winding my way between the two largest cities here in my fair state, I found utopia! 🙂 Hawaiian Village is a small community of beautiful homes all with “lake front” access.  The lake is more of an amoeba shaped pond.  Yet every back yard had sandy beaches, decks with covered grills and boating access.  Which is much more than the average home in Nebraska has.  What I loved about this small community is their name for it.  Hawaiian Village.  Not a palm tree in sight, no thundering volcanoes, the air smelled more like a pasture than the salty sea, and I am sure that the temperatures in Hawaii do not dip to the single digits.

I hope for this community is that their “Hawaiian” paradise is more of a state of mind than an actual trip to the tropics every time they come home.  Maybe this community is on to something though.  If you perpetually live in a state of paradise maybe your reality will become paradise.  Find your paradise!

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Winter Toes, Summer Water

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There is magic in water.  It is life-giving and taking.  It washes us clean both physically and spiritually.  We consume, immerse, bend, play, collect, rearrange, covet, and transport our water.  We have a very special connection with this liquid.  It is part of us, literally.

I love the water, open oceans, sprays from a sprinkler, warm showers, rain from the heavens, but most of all, the cooling waters of a swimming pool.  I have maintained a swimming pool of some sort for the last fifteen summers.  I have loving established a small wading pool for my toddler to cool off in during our muggy, hot August days together.  I have graduated all the way up to a 5,000 gallon above ground back yard pool, where you must keep PH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels at a precise amount.  Dutifully changing filters, skimming leaves, refilling water after a wild splashing party.  I find my focus on the perfection of the crystal H2O distracts me from my general dislike of summer. 

My favorite treat in the winter is a dip in an indoor pool.  Letting the chlorinated vapors saturate my sense of smell, the warmth of the pool consuming my body in a truly warming embrace.  I use the stairs to ritually step on to the first of the concrete slabs to my ultimate relaxation.  The water gently caressing my toes, my ankles, my knees, and waist, until I dive under to feel the weightlessness of my watery delight.

Water is also a focal point for my meditations.  I love the varied colors of water in nature, muddy brown with green tinges to light aquamarine, reflecting to the sky above.  I imagine the rapids of a cold river, quiet tropical coves of salt water, expanses of natural and man-made lakes, water trickling down a fountain, cascades of water falling to pools below splashing noisily.  My mind seems to focus and relax, calm transcends my spirit.  Find your focal point and put your winter toes in summer water.

Parking Lot Fly Fishing

As I age I feel I am approaching the “Now I’ve seen everything” stage of my life.  Just when I think “Yep I’m here!” something crops up to show me I have a lot to learn.

Driving down a well used residential street you will eventually come to a crossroads with another well used residential street.  The city may have installed a roundabout or a few stop signs to help slow the traffic down, attempting to keep the peace with the neighborhood associations.  As the years go by the streets are widened to accommodate the growing populations, some houses are removed that don’t pass city codes and a traffic light goes up.  City developers move in like circling vultures waiting for the death of their next meal.  We passively call this progress.

On this intersection sits a small community of businesses.  Years after the progress, the developers having moved on, the glory and money of the businesses are struggling.  Gone are the fancy new, well-kept buildings.  Now stands the well-worn shells of yesteryear.  A small business owner keeping her beloved frame shop open with little to, no parking and no foot traffic except from the elementary age children on their way to and from school.  An office building that rents inexpensive square footage to any businesses that are willing to give up location, visibility and modernizations (although they do have eight parking spaces).

Today in passing by I actually saw movement in that tiny parking lot of the office building.  It appeared two men were experimenting with fly fishing.  Casting, and pulling, reeling in just to flick and cast again.  The only thing missing from this pastoral scene was the scenery.  I circled the block, just to take a second look, thinking I had missed something.  Nope.  Still fishing in the invisible stream, catching invisible fish with their hip waders on.

In my mind I can come up with half a dozen logical reasons for these fishermen to be “parking lot fly fishing”.  Yet I kind of like the idea that they were fishing….just fishing.  Maybe in their mind’s eye that pastoral scene was there.  The majestic mountains rising from a green, flower dappled field, cut through by the clear snow melt stream, rocks shimmering by the splashing water.  The sound of rushing water and gentle breezes tickling their ears as they cast and cast again.  Touching the surface of the water with their flies, tantalizing hungry fish to come take a bite.  A vast expanse of our world carved out in their minds just for them.  Enjoying the relaxation of a loved activity.

Sometimes my life is more complicated than I would like and taking time to savor my favorite activities seems as impossible as catching a prize trout from the parking lot.  My hope for these two men is when their fly fishing time is right they will be able to uncomplicate their lives so they can fish beyond that concrete parking lot.  Just as my hope for everyone is to simplify your lives enough to truly enjoy this one life we are blessed with.  Work hard for what you want but play harder for what you need.

Travel well my friends.

Kendra's phone 8-12 to 8-13 (717)

Buried Treasure

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I set my uncarved bumpy pumpkin in the yard as a continued reminder to myself that autumn will come again.  I discovered the fact that its outer shell was too difficult to carve, so I left it unscathed while its fellow pumpkin friends became a canvas for a knife.  I thought it looked beautiful just the way it was for our Halloween celebrations.  As time will do, it marched on; on to November, then December and now to January.  The snow has fallen only to melt and be replenished by another blanket of freshly fallen snow.  As the snow began to melt this last time, I discovered my bumpy pumpkin peeking though the snow cover once again.  That same day, as I was leaving my house, I found I was not the only one to notice a buried treasure in my flowerbed.  

It got me thinking of all the things we bury in our lives.  Looking at the growing destruction of that pumpkin by a hungry squirrel, I thought of the all the potential we bury in ourselves.  An errant statement by a loved one, that in years to come holds us back from a goal.  Admonishment from a friend that distances us from reaching out later on to that same friend.  A co-worker that is not looking out for our own best interests.

Do not let the past bury your future.  Strive to uncover all the treasure in yourself.  Be confident in all you do remembering that you are a treasure unto this world. 

Travelers Blues

Soul Experiences

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I have not seen the sky from the tiny window of an airplane in too long.  I have not heard the bustle of a busy street in some far away land.  I have not smelled the treats of a food vendors cart in what seems like forever.  I need to touch the sea as it rolls across the sand searching for my fingertips.  I need to taste the liquid gold of a faraway vintners harvest.

Travel is like a multisensory drug to me. I immerse myself completely in the fragrances, sights, sounds and smells.  I am a tactile learner, I learn best if I touch what I want to learn about.  My mother was at her wits end when she took me shopping as a small child because I touched everything!  Now as an adult I still love to run my fingers through freshly fallen snow, grains from a harvest, the velvets…

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