Paying attention: My middle son with Downs now wears hearing aids, which makes me sad, because it feels like another sign, along with the streak of silver grey in his hair, of his rapid aging. This is common in folks born with Down syndrome. The other recent change; I’m frequently telling him to “pay attention.”   NateRobot

Bearing witness: I was telling a friend about a movie I’d seen -based on a true story- of the war in Afghanistan. She asked why I would see something that disturbed me so much that  I had to close my eyes several times to get through it. For me it’s about bearing witness to events in our lives that are so momentous, we need to be aware, be involved, pay attention. Bernie Glassman says; “We bear witness to the joy and suffering that we encounter. Rather than observing the situation, we become the situation. We became intimate with whatever it is – disease, war, poverty, death. When you bear witness you’re simply there, you don’t flee.”

Elie Wiesel: In an online search with the phrase, bearing witness, you might find billy’s blog,  you will certainly find many items about the Holocaust that decimated the Jewish population in Europe during World War 2, and photographer Lisa Kristine’s  TED talk about modern slavery. And many more subjects beside those mentioned. Learning about the Holocaust was an important part of my religious school classes as a teenager. Yet to learn of how we humans treat each other, is to know there have always been holocausts and perhaps always will? I sincerely hope not.

Friends and enemies: This is an Elie Wiesel quote, There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.” In light of facing a former friend last week, who along with several others I’d met, worked with and socialized in a religious context,  have shunned me because their leader has shunned me? Maybe. Seems odd that intelligent people can’t make up their own minds, but hey, what do I know? It is harder for me to believe that though I lost so-called friends I’ve still won… but maybe knowing I’m true to myself, my friends, the people I love and care about is a win for me.     RowanLegos

Gratitude and hope: I live in the land of joy for my life, the hope, sorrows and absurdities that occur while taking each day as it comes. And the mingled joy and and difficulty of the great task of caring for my Nato. The gratefulness for sunshine, trees in leaf outside my windows, breath in my lungs, our cat who likes to cuddle with me, my grandson building legos to conform to imaginary things… Mostly grateful for life.

And here in closing; one last quote by Elie Wiesel; “Look, if I were alone in the world, I would have the right to choose despair, solitude and self-fulfillment. But I am not alone.”

If only we could be good and kind to one another…

 

 

Cultivating the opposite of hopelessness looks different for each of us. For you it might be cultivating joy. Or vulnerability. Or compassion. Enthusiasm. Wisdom. Or creative problem solving. Pick what helps you when faced with something that scalds you with anger or drowns you in hopelessness, and dedicate yourself there.  (You can read the rest of Jen Louden’s post here.)     KindCard-4b

It seems to me you could read my posts and wonder at my frequent bouts of positivity, hopefulness, cheer. Is she for real, you might be asking? Well, actually, yes. I am glad to have been blessed with a sense of wonder, willingness to adventure, and a deep love of color  and texture which pushes me to create.

My dearest friend, a professional photographer, taught me how to take risks, in the way no one else had ever modeled for me. She was so proud of the deck her husband built for her. So she took photos in a rotation to encompass the entirety of the structure. She printed them on paper then placed them arranged and rearranged the photos. When pleased with her arrangement she made a new print on a piece of white silk. And that silk she placed on a wall in her house. So, I thought, you can hang anything you like on a wall in your home, it’s okay. Sounds naive, but it never occurred to me before that. My friend’s concept of a wall hanging doesn’t sound risky, but she taught me; ownership of myself and my choices and my ideas of what I liked enough to display it, or not, as I wished.        kind-6b

I haven’t explained the “adventuring” in today’s title. I’ve come to believe that adventuring is as important to me as what I treasure; a home, love, gratitude for each day, the sun shining… Lately adventuring means taking my art to new places, pushing those limits I imposed on myself. To be honest I will say I’ve found it difficult since our move here to find my niche; where to sell my art, where to teach, etc. So I’m adventuring once again into uncharted [for me] seas, and writing some new art class curriculum and creating new art to see where I can go with these “creations” of my mind.

Here’s how I see my life; worth living, even through the most difficult moments, and worth all the loss and hurt and pain I’ve experienced to have the joy of looking at the trees dusted with snow, the sound of a friendly voice on the phone, the joy of sharing my thoughts here, with you, my anonymous reader. Write back, and share yourself with me, if you can.

For illustration today I have copies of cards I’ve completed for a special order, all bearing the same quote by Aesop; “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

 

This morning on the radio a therapist said; a house is a place, a home is about emotions. This is a paraphrase. But I wonder why we feel the need to make a distinction. I have some slight expertise, having lived in several places, several homes over the years of adulthood, beginning with sharing an apartment with a roommate I’d only met once before. Was that a home?
I’m in the midst of sorting through my things, boxing some up in preparation for selling this “home” and moving, again. Each time I’ve moved I had good reasons, and each time I settle in I make the place my home. Putting out my books and little portable memories; seashells, photographs of my children, hanging up art I’ve collected or made and also whatever I make [curtains?] or buy [perhaps new wind chimes] that sets that house apart in my memories of all the places I’ve made home.
A great story on the ‘net recently about 2 women in Maryland who have taken their knitting skills into a local prison. If you’ve been here you know I knit. It’s soothing, meditative, and I love it. What a great honor these women are doing the men in their “home” behind bars. Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bus-52/knitting-behind-bars_b_1528598.html?ref=good-news

And another story of Bus 52; the temporary home for 5 newly graduated young people who are spending 52 weeks touring 48 states and recording incredible stories of good deeds wherever they go. You can visit at http://www.Bus52.com.
Seems to me, wherever we live we are home by the fact that we are there. It’s not necessary that there be curtains on the windows fluttering in a breeze. What there is, is a person with skills and ideals and hope and dreams and that’s a good beginning to a story.
Here’s a Bus 52 stop in Tennessee that I loved;
*Photos; 1) Through our front door, lovely climbing roses, and one of Nato’s designs-the star, and 2) my newest knitting project of bright colors. Yarn; 100% recycled thrift find.

The heat has been oppressive here in Midwest. We don’t have central a/c and have been sweltering in the house. Finally, son and I carried units from storage; closet and basement-ugh, and installed them 3 days ago. Everyone has “tsouris” to deal with at any given time. Ours [read on] has reached monumental proportions.
This week I am working toward deadline for Maker Faire Detroit which is end of next week. The heat has set me back. And this week son’s lead care-giver gave 11 days notice that while she’ll work limited hours next month it’s then goodbye forever. Son, just had 29th birthday, and will have left; two 21 year old caregivers. Ain’t that some situation? Now I’ll have a job trying to find replacement.
Next, let me tell you about the special order, that fell flat. A person called our home phone. She had met me at a show in April. Lost my card, couldn’t remember business name. I should have stepped back in wonderment; how did she get my home number? She asked for a special order for her sister recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Well, this is a big deal personally, so I went out of my way to create 2 cards. Sent pictures of them to her e-mail. Then she replied with her choice, but wanted a discount. Now my cards are keepers. Many have framed them. They are a very small canvas with a beautiful result. And she argued about $5.75. Plus .50 shipping. When I told story to my cousin she asked: can she print out copies of your cards? If so she has no reason to purchase them.
My world is sometimes cynical, but always full of hope. Hope that people will act humanely, with compassion, trust and where appropriate; with love. So I’ve included a picture of something new I recently made, and someday soon, computer son will apply a watermark to dissuade those who are dishonest and would deny me $5.75 for a card I create with much thought and care, and love. So remember, pictured here or elsewhere, my products are copyright protected. DO NOT PRINT-COPY-PIRATE. I’m sad to have to add this here.

22 August, 2010
Wow! Just finished an incredible historical novel, set in the 1750’s in the new land inhabited by Native Americans, bears, fish, etc, and also trappers, hunters, indentured servants, slaves, and British and French soldiers. The book? Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler.
“Hope was their poison, for hope was the seed of despair, and on the dark, dank prisoner deck those who had embarked with the greatest hopes were now dying of despair.” This is the third sentence on the first page of the story.
We’ve all heard it said; if we don’t study history and herstory, we’re bound to repeat it… Here’s my opinion on that. We repeat it because we humans have a spectrum of emotions and actions. No doubt whatever someone does today, it’s been done before, often, in the span of time humans have lived on this planet. (Right- an original illustration from one of James Fenimore Cooper’s books.)
Speaking of despair and hope, my younger daughter has completed her recent adventure. She chose to change the course of her life; give up everything and move several states away, to start anew. It did not work out as she anticipated. Near the end she and I spoke over the phone. She wondered if it would be seen as a failure. I told her many people sit around saying, I want to change my life, and then they continue sitting around. She stood up and went through trouble, toil, and challenging circumstances. Reiterating my sentiment I wrote in an e-mail; “I’M VERY PROUD OF WHAT YOU’VE ACCOMPLISHED. Not every attempt brings us to the end we desired.”
Do I believe her try is as good as a win? YES. Ultimately she’ll have changed herself by what she did. And that is her accomplishment. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher [hey check her out!]