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A Blank Canvas

Late fall 2015.  Casa Grande, (Palm Creek) Arizona.

A holiday home for a month – a blank canvas and high hopes.

I took paints, containers, a canvas and an easel and set them on display on the table out on the patio.

For days I walked by the canvas as I went to and from the hot-tub, riding bike, playing a few games of pickleball or going for a walk.

Then I needed pain pills, an ice pack, a heat pack, stretches and rest.

I looked at the canvas with longing while I procrastinated telling myself I was just getting ready.  It was true – I simply needed to get into the space where I could let my hand, pencil and creativity connect with one another and then touch the canvas.

Rather like an exercise plan or a change to healthier eating or digging through a very cluttered closet.  There comes a moment, that space in time when one just knows to go ahead and take a step forward.

One day I did pick up my pencil.  I needed some stress relief and it felt good.  So much had been going on in the background of my mind filling up all the creative spaces and I first had to let the worry and concern leak out and give my head some room.

Just before leaving for our holiday an unwanted and unexpected stressful situation arose with a group I was involved in and potential loss of a friendship and it weighed heavily on my heart.

Driving had become so stressful since my car accident a year ago, with me always sighing in relief to get out of the car, either to stop driving or to ease the constant pinch in my back. It’s a long drive from BC, Canada to Arizona and  I drove because that is fair in a shared relationship but I didn’t exactly do my ‘fair share’.

This was my first large painting I was to try in that space of a year as I’d been focused on other areas of life like physio, massage, doctor appointments, fitness classes and trying to get myself back to what I believed my normal should be.

Once I began drawing my mind focused and shapes emerged on the canvas.  A fresh sense of excitement began to build and if not daily, then every other day I found myself slipping out the patio door and adding a touch of paint at various points on the canvas.

This stepping into my ‘painterly world’ continued for the next several weeks.

To me, this meant I was returning to myself and some deep part of me was healing.

Join me in future posts as I continue to share journal entries, slather on sunscreen for the outdoor daytime fun and while I slather paint on canvas to release the inner drive to feel full color again.

2015-11-05 14.59.19

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Filed under Art/Draw/Paint/Create, Faith Path, Life Lessons, Writer Writes

Writer Retreat

On my self imposed two week stay-at-home retreat to write I’ve been compelled and inspired to work through a book by Joyce Y. Li called Reimagine Your Retirement.  Joyce provides a downloadable workbook so I’ve been faithfully answering the questions after a completed read chapter. I’ve a long ways until finished and the material is giving me plenty to think and write about even though it wasn’t what I had originally set out to do.  Check out her blog at http://www.fullnessoflife.com/blog

In the midst of contemplation of retirement years and what may be produced from/by/out of me beyond sitting around on a couch wondering what to do, I’ve been busy in the think, pray, plan, dream stage and playing (of course) Pickleball plus doing my training runs – have finally been able to get back to running again after an ankle injury, via Kintec run clinic (working up to a 5km run – plenty for ole me).

Then I escaped the self imposed pressure to write and had a great day trip across the border from Canada into the U.S…and me being me, with a lousy sense of direction I headed off after a morning cruise through Birch Bay, near Blaine which is near the border, to go and have lunch in Lyndon.  It is a pretty simple drive but I managed to turn it into a major scenic tour seeing several sides of outlying areas of Lyndon a couple of times as I drove in wide circles but not actually get to the heart of where I wanted to be for well, a lot longer than had been anticipated.

I had printed myself some directions (because I know me),  tried to follow the verbal and hand pointing by two local teens and then finally when I was on the correct street but heading totally in the opposite way, a kind postal employee set me on the right path.

I had a lovely lunch….considered calling it a day but no, I was on a mission – avoiding writing.

On route to my next location sleepy eyes encouraged me to pull into a rest area and take a nap.  Really, I did this.  It reminded me of our family of four many years ago and travel trips back and forth from Canada to California, how we’d slide into a rest stop and sleep for a short while before continuing.

The rest of the late afternoon and into the evening was happily ‘spent’ leaving cash in several stores in an Outlet Mall.

I even did a return trek to one of the stores to reconsider – well, truthfully, to purchase another item.  However, in between the first and second in store adventure I bought dinner, had it placed in a to-go container, put in a bag and carefully balanced it in the middle.

Why I did not stop long enough to sit and eat baffles me.

In all my excitement of getting that last item of clothing, I noticed my food container had tipped.  I tried leveling it again, while lugging my other two bags, get money out and keep up the ongoing conversation with my now two customer representative friends.  We’d had a lot to converse about on the first trip in to the store so we carried on the chat when they saw me come in again.

I plunked the food bag on the counter, other bags on the floor, my purse on the counter, then noticed and casually mentioned, “Oh, my dinner is leaking” as I spotted wet red stuff in first one location all over the food bag, and then another location, all down the front counter wall, and another, inside my other bags of brand new clothing – one of them being a white collared polo shirt for my husband.

I heard my mouth talking and wished I’d shut up but on I blabbered, “Oh, and it’s tomato sauce too – I will have to wash that right away,” all of us knowing I am hours from home.  The sauce will be well set by then.

Out come the wipes, with repeated swipes down the wall and over the counter where my food had been, was given new bags for all my other purchases – the soiled white shirt placed carefully in its own spot so as not to contaminate anything else, all the while chatting with the lovely ladies who went beyond their call of duty for the day.  Pretty sure they wanted me out of their store with my meal before I caused any more damage with my wild flinging of food.

After quickly stuffing dinner into me, what was left of it, I drove off toward home, literally into the sunset quite smug with myself, for my day of adventure and the success of no writing.

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Midnight Meanderings

_img_014Here I sit, working an overnight job, with the available time to write.  How great is that.  I’m caring for an elderly gentleman, simply being nearby in case he needs anything through the night.  For those who may have read my earlier posts of a month ago, I was finished doing my companion care employment.

Turns out I’m working again.

The photo above was taken while on a missions trip to Mexico in 2005.  My husband Ross and I were with a team of approx 50 people and it was a whirlwind of activity.  Since then I ended up in the same location several more times. I love the photo, the memories it stirs up of fun, sun, closeness, companionship, love, grief, sadness for others, shared experience and hardship.

It all added up to joy. Serving.  Giving.

I’ve been in the restless stage of life, at least for me it is restless.  I am seeking to link in a lot of loose ends of my life such as writing, painting (art/creativity), volunteering with Freedom Session – a 12 step faith based healing/discipleship/recovery ministry, keep growing as a woman – education/new job/new activities, etc….and then call it all a career.

Perhaps I simply need to call it my life.

But, here I am, past midnight getting all excited about so many possibilities of things to do (though by 7 tomorrow morning all I will want to do is hop into my bed)  However, in all the planning (thinking) I’ve discovered there are a couple significant events taking place this year.

This year we will mark our 34th wedding anniversary…

This year I will turn 60…

This is amazing to me because I seem unable to relate to that fact.  I just got used to saying I was 50, then admitting I was 55 and now suddenly 4 more years have passed me by.  Then to top it off, I’ve been married nearly 34 years – how does that happen?

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Word of the Year

I’ve been taken in by the idea of choosing a word to live by this year discovered via the She Loves Magazine. http://shelovesmagazine.com/

Actually the word chose me as I’ve been struggling my way through a rather large decision regarding the next steps in my life.  As a mid-lifer, one who may live to be over 100 if the mid-life part is true, I’ve recently let go of a job I’ve enjoyed for the past 14 years on a part time basis.  As a companion care giver for the senior population, I grew to value all the life stories, adventures, traumas, joys and anguish so many people have experienced.  I want to follow that path and leave a legacy of a life well lived.  Thus it has prepared me for whatever comes next.

Always eager to learn, I’m wrestling with getting more education and wondering about the necessity of it, what it could/should look like, why I need more, why I want more or why I’m feeling urged to seek more.  Oodles of questions get raised, too often in the middle of the night when I, and my cat and my husband would rather I be sleeping.

Then of course is the desire to write more, how-what-when-why-how…have entered into the 35th year of married life and wonder what new trails we can blaze and wonder how long the fire will last.

I serve in a ministry called Freedom Session, http://www.freedomsession.com/

and think about how much to time to give away, when it would be a great idea to find a new source of income.

Then in the midst of all the whirl of words that bounce around in my head, my thoughts are taken to one word, SURRENDER.  The word came in the middle of a restless night when I simply and quietly said in a prayer, I surrender.  In the morning I prayed this same prayer.

On my way to an event I got in my car and flipped my new CD on and clicked through a few songs until I landed on one with some soothing music and I found my self carried away with the following song.

I have been given my word.

Peace and clarity have come. My unknowns can be faced with surrender.

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