Monday, April 27, 2015

Baby Love

 Baby Love

As sincerely as I intend to make more art, to find the time for creativity and to channel myself back into writing (and I will, I promise) - I keep getting sidetracked by my baby love.  Now that we have moved nearer to our Ezra, we simply must be with him more and you can see why.  This precious light is in those magical years, those years when all the world is new, all possibilities are open to him, where everyday is a discovery and life is an adventure to embrace.  Watching him discover life and all its wonder is like being born anew.  Everything is special, everything can be made fun, love is abundant and freely given and received.  No matter what other responsibilities beckon both my husband and myself, we can set them aside when Ezra is with us, we can share in the joy of life in the moment.

When he was coming into the world, I saw my role in his life as that of spiritual mentor and guide to love and joy, but I can see now that I had it backwards. He leads us. He is love incarnate. He is joy. He is light. He does not have to seek anywhere to find it, it is fully in him as it is in all children. What a gift to the world a child truly is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When One Heart Speaks, All Hearts Fly.

When one heart speaks, all hearts fly.

Thank you so much to the professional women educators of the Washington State Chapter of DKG for inviting me to speak to their group in Olympia this past weekend.  It was such a pleasure to be gathered in the presence of devoted, passionate, strong women whose work in the world is for the sole purpose of bettering the lives of children.

As I told the group, I am so humbled and honored that I am asked to speak about my book and my perspective on the topic of death and loss nine years after my book came out.  While I am humbled and honored, I am not entirely surprised.  Unfortunately, the topic is always relevant and the older we grow the more significant it becomes.  As I have been asked to speak quite regularly over the years since the book's release I have continually adapted and altered what I talk about, using new experiences to illuminate a point, layering lessons learned with new ways of articulating my thoughts on this paramount and universal topic.

In the intervening years between book one and book two it has been necessary that I live my life, that I grow and change and age and wait for spirit to move me once more.  Spirit is telling me it is time for my next book and so I am called to start that journey of a thousand miles with this first step of declaring my intent.  To paraphrase the magnificent light of Maya Angelou, we sing not because we have an answer but because we have a song.  This is my song, this is what stirs my heart and begs for release.  And so it will begin.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Change and Challenge

Ah, life and all its ups and downs.  Again, many months go by between my posts, but only because I am busy living and loving and changing and growing.  Since my last post we have moved to San Diego with my husband's work, enabling us to be nearer to the wonder child that is Ezra.  We have moved my mom in the midst of crisis and bad weather, holidays and a multitude of challenges to an assisted living facility in Phoenix where she is near my sister.

How I wish I had the presence of mind to have blogged in the times of turmoil and difficulty, but alas my mind was too occupied to commit to writing the difficulties such changes can bring.  While the move has proved successful beyond our wildest dreams, the challenge and magnitude of the job my sister, Allison, and I faced was the greatest of my life thus far.  For more years than I care to admit I have been gripped by fear about what this crisis would look like.  Dad died twelve years ago and we soon began a conversation with Mom about moving from Colorado, where none of us had links, to Phoenix.  While she wanted to, she just could not pull the trigger. I went eight times one year preparing the house to sell, purging carloads of stuff- that was eight years ago.  Allison and I lamented over and over that this would all finally come to a head in a crisis - we knew we would face bad weather, medical emergencies, and a huge house to liquidate from afar - and that is exactly how it happened.  In the middle of massive clean out left to just Allison and myself she said - "you know this is our fault! - How many times did we say this is how it would happen?" - She was right. We had to navigate all of it over the Christmas holidays, multiple snow storms, Mom hospitalized, developing pneumonia just as we were due to drive her to the new home - you name it the obstacles were thrown in our way.  Did we manifest just such a scenario with our constant conversations about how it would all come to head at the worst possible time, under the worst possible conditions.  I don't know, but it sure makes me think.  How would it have been if we had continually said something more like "Well, mom will clearly be driven from her home under event driven circumstances, but we will manage and rise to the occasion!"

The fact is, navigating such huge life changes is very challenging, even scary, but we do rise to the occasion.  I am terribly proud of my sisters and myself for how we have handled everything.  All my anxiety and worry over how this could have been handled without crisis did no good whatsoever- it was my mom's life to manage, she was going to make her own choices, and she did.  When it all came down to it she just let it all go and gave it all over to us to manage. After her initial hospitalization in early December for heart and lung failure and her decision to move to assisted living we began this odyssey. We researched options, finding just the right place,  we bought her all new furniture and prepared her new home prior to her arrival, we drove 13 hours up to Colorado Springs to get her as the oxygen proved too difficult to fly with, we took more than 250 bags and boxes to Goodwill, we listed her home with a realtor, had it painted and cleaned, we liquidated the furniture, we drove her with as much stuff as two cars could carry to Phoenix despite oxygen and walker/wheelchair use, we have sold her car and her house sold, closing on Friday.  Allison has navigated mom's health care and oxygen, I manage all of Mom's bills, and Mindy and her husband adopted the cat, also helping get the final things from Mom's home. We took it all as it came and continue to act in her best interests, involving her as much as she wants to be involved but managing matters for her.  We communicate with one another over everything and show one another respect for how each of us can contribute to the change.  More importantly than all the "stuff", Mom is doing really well having gained ten pounds since arriving at her new home.  She has friends and activities as well as peace of mind and privacy, she has help when needed and we are grateful.

My reward is the other end of life's spectrum with my precious Ezra.  His world grows and expands daily, and he is nothing but pure joy to all of us. This is life, my life, and I am blessed indeed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Beloved Boy

I may not have posted a blog for some time, but my life has been full of a new kind of creativity and wonder.  Spending a week a month with my beloved boy in Long Beach, CA, marveling at the wonder of how quickly babyhood passes by.  Nana Weeks became a central part of all of our lives, finding new ways to grow and nurture and love my family.  The center of all of it -our wondrous Ezra, eternally happy, bursting with life and energy and curiosity.  I began his Books of Ezra as a way to tell him his story through the eyes of his Nana and Papi, to capture those moments he will never remember and to share with him the way we have seen him and celebrated him. Each picture tells a story, each has a caption and shows him his early life as we have seen it.  The first year fills two albums, his second year, already two months underway will fill the next two.  Creativity and expression are still central to my life and my days, there are just new ways to live those out - whether cooking for Ezra and his parents, making Ezra's birthday party decor, or planning our travel - it is all about expressing love.  Love is a verb, it is doing and every small act of our daily lives can be about that sacred action.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beautifully Broken

I keep a series of journals, several different ways in which I sort my way through life's ups and down, challenges and celebrations.  This is an evolution of chronicling that began when I was pregnant with my daughter over 30 years ago and my sister gave me a blank journal in which to record the events of pregnancy and babyhood for my daughter to one day read.  I have written in a variety of blank books over the years, not daily or sometimes even monthly, but it is fun to go back and see an overview of how life has evolved.

Once I began doing mixed media art, I incorporated art journals into my arsenal of self expression, this too has evolved as all of our expressive forms do.  Currently, I journal a monthly list of what kinds of creative works I have done, along with a section for thoughts on the process and a place to record where my resources toward creativity have gone.  On the facing page I do a simple collage.  Even when I am at a lull in activity and creative expression I am able to record many creative endeavors that have carried me through my days - in my case busy hands=happy heart.

The above was slapped together very quickly when we returned from our harrowing loss of my father-in-law. It just came through me as any real expression does, we are just in the flow.  There are no illusions about any real art being made here, but it resonates with me nonetheless. Broken can be beautiful and often when the heart breaks, it breaks open allowing love and light to flood in and spill over.  We are blessed to have loved one so dear and to have allowed his love and light to fill us to overflowing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ezra the Magnificent

We are so filled with joy I hardly have words.  Our beautiful Ezra came on May 23rd and in perfect time to fill our hearts when it would be most needed.  As life is nothing if not an endless roller coaster of ups and downs, our greatest joy was followed within a month with our deepest sorrow as we had to say goodbye to one of our most cherished.
How vast was that swing from elation to devastation and yet, that is the rhythm of life and no one knew it better than my dear, sweet father-in-law.  No man has ever lived who got it more than he did. He told everyone he encountered over and over, "relax, enjoy life", he never said a harsh word or judged another, truly he was a very advanced and wise soul, and we are grateful and joyous that we had him and cherished and adored him for as long as we did. We are ever more grateful that we had a tangible place to seek solace from our pain as we held our little Ezra.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First comes Love . . .

First comes Love, then comes marriage, then  . . .   You know how it goes.  What a year 2012 was, both kids married in joyous union with wonderful spouses who compliment them perfectly, who fill their hearts and uplift their souls.  At the marriage of our daughter, following a beautiful civil ceremony in lower Manhattan in the wedding garden across the street our son gave us our next great celebration of love.  After asking if I was ready for the next surprise (and with the full knowledge and support of his sister and her wife) he handed me their ultrasound picture, announcing a 10 week pregnancy!!

Joy of joy, little E is due next month!! - Choosing not to know the sex, but choosing names that begin with E, we await with such love and happiness this miracle of love and light.  While creating the above piece, intended to be about angels (hence the 3-3-3), the spirit of Little E came to me and I knew this piece was not to be mine, but was for Elias' wife Erika and is a celebration of the phrase "Dar A Luz", which is used in many Spanish speaking cultures to mean "to give birth" but literally translates as "to give to light."  What a perfect turn of phrase that is.  Both Erika and Elias are fully engaged an attentive to every subtle nuance of the process of bringing forth life, eating healthy nutrient rich foods, exercising according to guidelines, following every detail of instruction from their doctor, attending classes about parenting and the birth process, preparing a beautiful room and a bookshelf of books for Little E.  My fervent wish is that all children could enter the world so loved and wanted, so celebrated and cherished.