Today, on my 47th birthday, I know this is true!
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In my momma’s house, there are many birds. Not live ones, but all kinds of ceramic, papier mache, feathered, carved, and painted birds adorning table tops, the dining room table, and various other spots. I think mom has only purchased one or two of them, the rest have been given to her. I don’t know whether it’s just my sister and I who give her these birds. I imagine that others have also over the years. For my sister and I, it all started with a painting.
Years ago, after having valiantly fought metasticized melanoma, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Through a series of sweet questions my dad posed to her, she became a painter. A wonderful, marvelous, color-filled painter whose works throttle the viewer with a language of color that harkens to mom’s own throttling of Joy even in the midst of dealing with the horrific loss of her parents, two different cancers, and all the surgeries and treatments they entailed. Below is just one example:
I wish I could show to you the painting she created very early on as she was teaching herself to paint in those early days of recuperating from a hysterectomy and chemotherapy. It was a self-portrait. There was a nest of baby birds, with their young beaks pointed skyward, awaiting sustenance from their parent birds. Right in the middle of this nest, was a profile portrait of my mom, hairless head raised to heaven, mouth open wide, ready to receive. It grabs my heart every time I think of it. It also grabs my heart that we no longer have this painting, as it was sold to a friend, who has since gotten rid of it. 🙁
That painting is why my sister and I give her birds. Mom is an embodiment of that verse…”consider the ravens…they do not sow or reap…” She has had to be completely dependent through not just two cancers, but now three. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was up in Boone helping out with her after-surgery needs for breast cancer. She is now a survivor of melanoma, ovarian, and breast cancer. This most recent cancer was, thankfully, caught very early, stage 1. But she will still undergo 30 treatments of radiation, starting in a few weeks.
Mom is still that bird, receiving help from on high, raising her sights to heaven, waiting for manna, and receiving it.
Walking down my favorite lane this morning, my thoughts flitted over the empty wheat field, and landed in the garden area near the end of Silver Dapple Lane. Mr. Whicker has given this end of his field to his tenants who live in homes on his land. They have a thriving garden full of corn, tomatoes, squash, beans, and tons of other veggie goodies.
The gardeners were out working in the morning cool. As I walked by I told them how wonderful their garden looked. The man gardener responded, “We’re just trying to keep up with it!”
Understanding his meaning, I turned to walk back down the lane and reflected on how his phrase was exactly what I’ve been thinking lately, and how very much like a garden, this life we live IS.
There was a time, in the cool of spring and youth, that I prepared the soil (college) in which many seeds would be planted for a future life. Those young twenties years seemed full of energy to plant and weed and tend the small garden.
But something crazy happens mid-to-late summer…the garden goes POOF and takes off in every direction. You can’t weed enough, harvest fast enough, prune enough, fight pestilence and drought hard enough. You lean on your hoe and wonder, “Why did I plant so much? I can’t keep up with it.”
I’m trying to remember, in my mid-to-late summer life these days, in my POOFED garden, that I am actually only an under-gardener. (Is that a real word?) There’s a Master Gardener tending the garden of my life, my husband’s life, and our children’s lives. It ISN’T all up to me.
I just need to keep weeding here and there, watering daily, harvesting what I can, and tending as I’m able.
P.S. The above drawing was made entirely with Neocolor Watercolor Crayons. Well, except for the little bit of the girl and my name in a waterproof fine-liner. But did you know, that you can splatter with these crayons?? Here’s how:
Take your wet watercolor brush (fairly wet, but not too sopping) and brush it several times on the tip of the crayon to get the pigment on it. Then splatter away! Too cool.
With her palette of blushes, eye and lip colors, my 5 year old neice looked searchingly at my face and said, “Now let’s see…”
She commenced to giving me about 5 different layers of lip color and liner, two shades of blue and green blush which she carefully blended, and a trio of bright blue, purple and pink for my eyes. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, she placed both of her hands on either side of my face, assessing her work, and finally pronounced, “That’s just right!”
The tender exchange of of this young artist to my blank canvas face, made me wonder…If a child paints your face in rainbow colors…is it because she sees you this way, in bright happy colors?
I like to think so.
You never know what a trip to the beach with your husband’s family will bring. 🙂
All the Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons have now been typed up, expanded, revised, updated and published into an ebook & video course for you!
Discover Your Life Beautiful…One Drawing At A Time!