Going on Pilgrimage…

 

 

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Hello friends! I am very excited about my upcoming Pilgrimage which will start the first day of Lent, next Wednesday, February 10th. I’ve actually been doing a good bit of preparation for this commitment. I won’t be flying to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago (which would be totally awesome!) nor will I be hiking the Appalachian Trail (equally awesome!). Rather, I will be incorporating my daily walks, drawing and reflecting on them, into my everyday life. I’ll be sharing what I draw (both in sketches and reflections) from the experience on a newly created blog. Please visit me there and follow the blog to get the daily updates from the road. Better yet, consider how you might join me in going on a drawing Pilgrimage for the duration of Lent, and possibly  beyond that.

I will likely still post here about all things painting and knitting. I have several patterns, both free and for purchase,  that I need to share with you. And I’ve been painting up a storm in commission work. I’m so grateful for this artist’s life I’ve been granted and called to. This Lenten Pilgrimage will be a wonderful way to provide focus and grounding in the Reason behind all I love to do.

Please join me in this new venture! I am forever grateful for your presence here, your faithful following of this pilgrim artist and her creative world!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Dandelion Tune

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I get a tune stuck in my head from time to time. Actually, it happens fairly often. It’s not a lovely tune. It isn’t melodious at all. It’s yucky, gripey, resentful, and angry sounding. I don’t like this tune. But every time I’m trying to accomplish something creatively and regular living ramps up a notch, this tune blasts in my brain like a heavy metal concert (or at least how I imagine one would be). The tune engulfs me, surrounds me, I feel it in my chest as the bass notes pound. I try to go where I won’t hear it and it follows me there too. Wanna know what the words are to this tune? I’ll tell you. But it ain’t pretty. I don’t like it. I’m ashamed of it to be honest. But running away from it won’t do. I have to face it, walk into it, stand in the middle of the deafening stage and deal with it.  Here it is:

I’m an artist, people! (Cue the electric bass riff)

And I deserve to have long stretches of time to devote to my Art!

I deserve to have technology that always works for me and a schedule that allows me to ruminate, write, design, craft and execute all the brilliant creative ideas that march into my head!

(Cue the drums here) And would it be too much to ask

that someone bring me a Peppermint Mocha while I create??!

Is this too much to ask? (Cymbals clash!)

Yeah. So there’s the dirty, nasty crux of it. The ache, the demand of my heart. Not exactly the tune you want to have blasting out on a Friday morning, at the end of a week of working to self-publish a book, prepare for an upcoming Art Show (November 21st), get ready to go out of town for oldest daughter’s Senior Vocal Recital, gather cake and other items needed for a reception, help youngest daughter find/create a costume for Halloween, be ready for parents to come visit and stay overnight, begin a weekend of not one, but two soccer games, wonder why the pharmacy didn’t get the inhaler prescription for youngest and oh maybe clean that bathroom before the weekend hits.  (Insert the aforementioned Ugly Tune).

So on Friday morning, as the Ugly Tune bludgeoned me into a meltdown, I do what I know to do…I go for a walk.

A walk is good medicine. At first, a walk feels like escape. Get out of those four walls that seem to hem me in, and go! Pound the sidewalks, breathe huge gulps of fresh air, walk away.

But what happens out there is something magical. Oh, not the sparkly, glittery kind of magic, but the grind it out, substantial, soul reorienting kind. As I stand on the stage and walk, walk, walk, begging God to give me what I want (ie. Ugly Tune), the notes begin to change. Sometimes there’s a subtle shift in chords. But Friday morning it was an abrupt key change. All brought on by the sight of a dying dandelion in the grasses beside the sidewalk.

I do wonder if my neighbors see (or even hear) me mumbling as I walk. I’m talking to God, having it out right there on the sidewalk stage. And do they see me halt when I hear it? A voice so clear I’m sure it must be audible. Right there. On Hill and Dale.

“You are my dandelion.”

Oh? What was that?

“You are my dandelion.”

This dandelion I saw was pitiful in its late October appearance. No bright yellow petals now. Nor even a full head of white fuzzy-tipped seeds. There were only about 5 or 6 seeds left and their tuft had turned grey, hanging on, or waiting for enough breeze to take them off to new lands, to bloom again.

All of this in a split second, the key change, the Voice, the words–You are my dandelion. I don’t think I stopped walking, but I’m sure my gait slowed a bit. The pitiful (though beautiful) image I’d been given was unfolding and weaving a new tune in my heart. The rest of the walk, I listened to the new tune.

“Dear one, you are not a hot-house flower. If I had made you thus, you might, just might, have reason to ask life to bend to your wishes, to rally around you so that your flourishing is assured. But I made you a dandelion, bright and sunny in a field of grasses, the ordinary stuff of life. Your yellow petals give way to many seeds as you die to yourself and your demands. It is only in the dying that these seeds can be carried away to other ordinary places, roadsides, weedy patches to bloom again and bring a bright spot to an otherwise ordinary place.”

This new lovely tune, mingled with tears, washed away the last chords of demand. I picked the tufted dandelion, carried it the rest of my walk home and set it in a vase beside me as I worked on wrangling the book into form. This is beauty. Unexpected. Life-changing. Soul-altering beauty.

I am a dandelion. 🙂

What flower are you?

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Walk Together

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Life should be lived walking through it together.

Burdens are best carried arm in arm with friends.

Joy breaks forth when many feet move in a common direction.

Love is felt when others choose to walk alongside us.

Yes. Yes. and Yes.

All of this, and so much more, I experience when we Walk for a Cure one Saturday a year in Winston-Salem, NC when a ribbon of people gather to walk with Type 1 Diabetic children and adults, all raising money for JDRF, all supporting the life these individuals live on a daily basis. Maddie’s smile beams all morning long as she is surrounded by friends who have chosen to walk with her. Conversation and laughter about everything BUT T1D peals through the crisp fall air.

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Pictures are taken to remember the day, especially the favorite part of getting faces painted by an incredibly talented clown named Sonshyne. Randy and I relish the camaraderie of adult friends who have also set aside their usual Saturday morning routine to come and walk with us. We remember with amazement all the folks who so generously gave their money in honor of Maddie’s Mission, doubling our goal! Yes, doubling it!!

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For all of this, we are so very grateful!

The Good Dose of Reality

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I received a text from my youngest daughter Maddie when she was at school on Thursday morning.  Sitting at the computer, I was marveling at all the “likes” and “congrats” and purchases for my children’s book, Genevieve and the Kite. It felt like my kite was flying high in the breeze and I was along for the ride, enjoying every bit of it.

“Mom, my insulin cartridge is empty.”

Immediately, my feet hit the ground, let go of the kite, and off I went to the middle school. This news isn’t the worst thing you could hear from your T1D child. But it IS a show stopper, one for which you leave whatever it is you’re doing at the moment to go take care of. Without insulin, she will go into ketoacidosis from no basal rates nor the ability to process the carbs she eats.   As I was leaving the school, Maddie with a full cartridge in her pump and having corrected for the high blood sugar, I knew the goodness of that dose of reality.

Mind you, I’m not saying diabetes is good. Absolutely not! Again, on Friday morning, as I sat waiting for her to come down to breakfast, I’m once again looking at the computer, overwhelmed by the delightful reception to my book. But when Maddie tests her blood sugar and it is 413….THUNK! Feet on the ground. The scramble begins. I try to  figure out why it’s so high. Was it something she ate the night before? Did she actually bolus the snacks she had in the evening? Are there bubbles in the tubing line? In the cartridge? Is the inset failing? I did not feel good at all dropping her off at school. She insisted she felt fine and “mom, I have to be there!…I have so many tests!”

Diabetes is no respecter of persons. It does not care what you have going on in your life. It roller coasters without warning. It does what it’s going to do. It is what it is…a life-threatening disease.  The amazing technology developed over the years, has allowed Type 1 Diabetics to live what so many call “a normal life”.  I still, after 3 1/2 years, rankle at that phrase.

Yet this is the life my daughter lives, day in and day out. My husband and I live it with her. It is our reality. And viewed from a perspective of trust, it is a reality that anchors me, provides a tether to my flights of fancy. I have many callings on my life. Yes, being an artist is one. But I’m also called to care for our children and to be willing to ride the roller coaster of Type 1 Diabetes.

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We Walk in less than two weeks! You can read here and here, other posts about our walks to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. A cure is on the horizon!! We are excited to hear about the developments and successes going on in the world of science. Someday soon, my daughter might live a life that is a good bit closer to what we would call “normal”. And that will be a blessing!!

**I am offering a giveaway of my book Genevieve and the Kite! For ANY DONATION, $2, $5, $10, whatever, to JDRF in honor of Maddie and her Mission to cure Diabetes, I will enter your name in a drawing. The day of the Walk, I’ll have Maddie pull a name to see who wins!  If you’ve already purchased a copy, perhaps you’d like another to give to a friend?  We are always amazed at everyone’s generosity to give to this awesome cause in Maddie’s honor.

Click Here to make your donation to JDRF for Maddie’s Mission!

Maddie thanks you!

Randy and I thank you!

From the bottom of our hearts!

A Lenten Walk

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I have now written down the story behind the events of the last few months. I humbly submit it to you dear reader, should you even wish to dive into it. It is a true story of what happened. It is not what came to mind in hindsight. It may seem fantastical or bizarre. But there it is. And I believe I was given that sense of being caught up in a story of Lent, to encourage me along the way.

Feel free to print it out, curl up somewhere comfy with a coffee or tea to read. Should you feel that it would be of benefit to someone you know, pass it along, either digitally or in paper copy. It is not intended to make me seem super spiritual…goodness No! It is meant to bring focus to the One who traveled a Lenten Walk before me. A walk which I may have tastes of here on earth, but which I will never have to endure fully because He walked it already.

Click on the highlighted words to download.

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