Monday, November 25, 2013

Light






cloaking myself with
anonymity
in purposeful dark

rebirthing spirit
in dryness

shriveled and
hiding 
under that bushel 
{thoughtful hiding}
wrestling falseness
as he attempted
to blow me out

knowing I
{in my waiting}
wasn't shining
on a lamp stand

but

leaving this
{cocooning silence}
seems just as lovely
because now

is full





Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Life to the {now}full


I've always been full of intentions, both good and bad.  Moving forward, making plans, aiming for control, erasing {or even denying} mistakes, assessing the past, sculpting the future.  Resolutions, goals, road maps, well-crafted schedules, and perfection as the end destination.

I'm sure I've been in good company in my desires to do it all right the first time around 
and to make it all look easy.

And I am certainly not the first one to realize that a spiritual life based on creating a polished 
exterior will not produce lasting fruit, or even a personal surface happiness.


The last few years have taken me on such a circuitous journey- around the wilderness of depression, into the grave of doubt and empty faith, through the lush and fertile land of creativity {a land that offers a perpetual invitation to return}, and resurrected into a True Self that is really just home in new clothing.

In 2013 I chose no word to guide my year.  

I made no resolutions.

I had but small hopes of inner healing and spiritual rebirth, 
and I hesitated even to whisper them to myself.

And yet.  Here is November of the same year, with its formulaic gratitude, welcome brisk temperatures, and rich colors.  All the same, and all vastly different.  For I am new.

The year will turn soon.  I, in my neonatal skin, will live fully present.

{{Now~full}} 2014

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It starts with an image {mini collage}




Collage is my current favorite medium.  Though I have made my way through other materials, collage just seems to have the perfect blend of simplicity, potential for bold messages, and the never-ending well of ephemera from magazines, vintage books, copyright-free internet images, and decorated papers.  I find it to be an amazing inspiration for my art journal pages.




I have an obscene amount of disorganized piles of paper scraps and old books.  Surrounding my art table in the basement you will find everything from old dictionaries to fashion magazines, manga comic books to vintage children's workbooks.  I have varied scrapbook papers, assorted tissue paper, and yogurt cups full of clipped words just waiting to be used in a found poem.  If I ever feel uninspired, all I need to do is shuffle through a pile and something will just beg to be used.




I don't always start with an idea or topic in mind.  I will often let the images themselves tell me what they want to say.  It almost seems magical, the way a magazine clipped image and a certain word that was unrelated will all of a sudden need to marry each other right there on the page.  Color inspiration may follow, and the page continues to whisper to me until it's finished.  This is my favorite part.




Currently I am collaging in a mini moleskine sketchbook, inspired by Emily at Stamping Bella.  {If you're interested in playing along, we use the hashtag #minigluebook on Instagram.}  The size is perfect, the pages are oh, so creamy and firm, and I can carry it everywhere.




When I'm out and about at my four children's activities, I bring a beautiful Vera Bradley bag {gifted by my mom} that I have packed with my favorite mobile materials: baggies of fun clippings, mini journals, washi tape, gel pens, glue sticks, watercolor crayons, scissors, etc.  This bag is an investment in my sanity, as I don't get down to my art "den" nearly often enough.




Collage is all about choosing pieces that speak to you and then shifting them around until they click.  Here are a few tips for starting up a collage practice of your own:
  • Just start clipping and collecting whatever catches your eye: junk mail, magazines, old ticket stubs, lists you've jotted, old children's books (you can often get them at your local library sales for under a dollar each.)  Keep a baggie or pencil case of what you find.
  • Start small: I collage on old recipe cards, index cards, even old playing or flash cards.  You'll find it much easier if you don't have a huge white space to cover.
  • Choose a background piece with uniform texture: maps, dictionary pages, scrapbook paper, graph paper are good examples.  
  • Find an image or word and go from there.  Let one photo guide your color choices, or one word set the mood of the piece.
  • Don't feel you have to add a ton of elements.  Some of my most powerful collages are the ones with only a few items artfully placed.

A couple of resources to explore:

{{Psst...follow me on Instagram @Fruitnseason}}


Friday, November 15, 2013

Remembrance




"I swallow that fear rock
and it consumes
my stomach,
heavy and arrogant.

It knows
I am easily eaten."

{7-16-12}



Five years in nameless anxiety and depression.  And now freedom.  Freedom.  I stand in awe of the space that now holds only memories of dark; I shine my flashlight in the corners, taking inventory.

I never want to forget. 

Instead I make art and I make word pictures and I string reminders 
from the rafters.  I strum the hanging pieces like so many guitar strings, discordant
and twangy, letting the sound linger.

I don't want to forget because then I may not recognize them upon their return.

I don't want to forget because then my pouring out becomes hollow
and useless to those still grasping about in the dark.

I don't want to forget because the pieces of me left behind truly needed
to be left behind, and there is beauty there too.


Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 
2 Cor. 3:17





Monday, November 11, 2013

Community



"God is so free of his own creation that he can transform us in our
pain into a community of people who are able to be free of
the very establishments which are formed in his name.
For these establishments inevitably begin to institutionalize
God's love and then he teaches us (put my tears in your bottle)
what love really is–not our love, not what we want God's love
to be, but God's love."
~Madeleine L'Engle, The Irrational Season





With dirty bleeding hands
we tear at the earth,
ripping tangled threadlike roots.

(no one wants to be connected
like this,
wounded and bare,
under all the surface beauty,
threads clinging beneath soft, bright petals
that don't tell the truth)

But as scars open and drip
the life of remembered pain,
a shy green begins to reach upward.

(amidst nourishment in the soil of nakedness
and under the bleeding sun of grace,
my hand finds yours,
and my wounds heal)




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wild


"Both the children were looking up into the Lion's face as he spoke these words.  And all at once (they never knew exactly how it happened) the face seemed to be a sea of tossing gold in which they were floating, and such a sweetness and power rolled about them and over them and entered them that they felt they had never really been happy or wise or good, or even alive and awake, before.  And the memory of that moment stayed with them always, so that as long as they both lived, if ever they were sad or afraid or angry, the thought of all that golden goodness, and the feeling that it was still there, quite close, just round some corner or just behind some door, would come back and make them sure, deep down inside, that all was well."
~C. S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Welcome

"Remember that resurrection is not woundedness
denied, forgotten, or even totally healed.  It is always
woundedness transformed.  You still carry your scars
forever, as both message and trophy...
Pain transformed is no longer pain transmitted."
Immortal Diamond, Richard Rohr




What if resurrection is not a one-time event?

What if we are born and born and born, over and over, layers of dead skin peeling away with each painful interaction with the rough bark of life?

What if Jesus appears to us on our own Damascus road, as we hash out the spiritual details with each other, questioning and thrashing through the deaths of what we thought was the Real?

What if He both blinds us and reveals Himself to us in equal measure, in His divinity and humanity, with dusty feet and blessed wounds mysteriously illuminating the path we walk?

What if risen is a present tense verb He means for us to act out between resurrection births?  Christ has died, yes, but Christ is risen.  Now. Always. In the fully human and fully eternal interactions of our days.

What if a faith that never changes, that never dies and is never reborn as some alchemical wonder, 
is in fact a dead faith in the saddest of ways?

What if I am not responsible for your faith, and you are not responsible for mine?  What if God is both more capable than we ever believed, and more intimate than we ever dreamed?

What if I told you that I am new, my faith is new, and I have never been more blessedly sure of my uncertainty than in this moment?

What if?  What if spiritual birth and resurrection are as perpetual and mysterious as the sunrise?

This space is a resurrection space.

Wounds are welcome here.  You are welcome here.
May we handle each other with grace.





Chiaroscuro is an artistic term meaning "light/dark".  In this month of November I am exploring the light and dark of life, of myself, on Instagram.  You can join me by following my feed.  




Friday, November 1, 2013

This place



This place is a beginning that starts in the middle.

I have art to share, in its torn mess, and spilled glory.

I have wounds transformed, and gray hair standing proud.

I have my shed skin tacked to the wall as remembrance.

I have wine labels collected and red drips of pain shared.

I have death honored in my memory and resurrection in my veins.

I have community and church and kindred friendships.

I have learned to let people be where they are,

 and to be un-self-conscious when they question where I am.

I have one foot in the divine now, and the other in a mountain of laundry.

Most of all, I have a desire to share, to connect, and to be in dialogue about the things that matter most, the things that I love, and the things that I wonder.

I hope you will join me.