Tag Archives: artistic frenzy

Dealing.

I am running again, and it feels awesome. Except for in the morning like before 7:00 p.m., or whenever the temperature is above 80 degrees, and also I don’t like to drip sweat. A little sweat is okay, but leaving a trail is just unattractive, as is the heavy breathing associated with this type of physical exertion. But I do love running.

I’ve cut down on coffee. For instance: instead of drinking an entire pot, I would have only, say, 8 cups. But then Caleb caught on to my little game, and now I’m down to 1 measly cup and excuse me but that’s bogus.

Painting has been somewhat therapeutic, although, to be honest, when I start painting, what I really want to do is just drop everything and everyone else in the world and just focus all my energy and attention to the canvas. And when I can’t do that–simply take 24 solid hours to devote to one painting–my mind obsesses over every little detail that I DIDN’T get to finish. Kids? They can open their own Capri Suns if they’re still up at midnight.

Of course that hasn’t been the way of it. I’m putting my kids to bed semi-on-time. I’m making them drink milk and read books. We go to swimming lessons in the morning and ride bikes in the evening. No one is neglected, and no one is becoming a tortured manic artist who forgets to shower or eat.

Because I certainly remember to eat.

I wish I could explain anxiety. My mind thinks rationally for the most part, but my skin crawls and my blood tingles and my head pounds. And I feel like I have to yawn but I can’t–and then the thought of not being able to take a deep breath makes me try even harder to breathe, and then I really do start to panic because–holy crap–I can’t breathe.

And sometimes I can’t get my words out. And sometimes I forget what I was saying or doing. And I can’t focus and I feel jumpy. And also loud noises and crowded hallways and traffic jams and people I don’t know freak me out, because what if I can’t breathe?

Caleb says that this is the thing that he hates the most: “What do you mean you can’t breathe? That’s ridiculous. Yes, you can breathe. Just breathe. Just do it. Breathe.”

Sometimes my husband knows just the right thing to say. But a lot of times, no. Just…no.

I kid.

No I don’t.

But out of all the people who deal with me on a regular basis, Caleb gets the brunt of my funky moods. He gets the shrill, worked-up rant over the scuff marks on my church shoes. He gets the tossing and the turning at 4:00 in the morning, and the “What part of ‘I’ve got a freaking headache‘ didn’t you understand?” He comes home after a long day to a strung-out, unkempt wife, who cooked burnt pancakes for dinner, and who forgot to buy syrup.

Bless his precious, patient heart.

My friends are awesome. My folks are awesome. And God is awesome, because of course during this past week’s Sunday School lesson, we studied David and Goliath: a little boy, fighting for God, and overcoming a seemingly undefeatable giant. Goliath was big, ugly, and mean. Anxiety is scary. Life is scary. I have to face these things. But God will see me through it, and He will use these experiences of mine for good.

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Painting Mania

Ah, Monday. Approximately 3 weeks left until school starts. Cheyenne is back from Maryland. Mia and Merrick are taking swimming lessons. And I’m still muddling through a crazy phase. Though I must say–there are perks, such as the inevitable surge in creativity.

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Of course, it usually happens at night, and I either toss and turn in bed with my head spinning from ideas; or, I get up and paint/draw/write it out.

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Unfortunately, these late-night art sessions can get me going on a vicious cycle: early morning exhaustion leads to massive amounts of coffee; coffee fuels anxiety, anxiety wears me out, the extreme fatigue keeps me from my afternoon run, and the lack of afternoon run keeps me up at night. When will it end? And can I keep the imaginative part?

In other artsy news, sign-ups for my kids art classes were held last week. I had 13 spots filled within about a 24-hour period. I’m going to have to rent a U-Haul to pick up art supplies this season. It’s going to be amazing: we are of course covering Horace Pippin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Banksy, Dale Chihuly…

And Vincent Van Gogh, who was more than a little off his rocker, God love him. Now there was a man with a lot of good stuff to say. Did you guys know he was a preacher once? He taught about Jesus down in the dingy coal mines of Belgium. He actually sold everything he owned and gave it to the poor miners and their families. When he stopped preaching, he painted like it was his religion. Heart and soul into everything. And then he cut off his ear, shot himself, and died.

Sad stuff right there.

My July art classes have just about wrapped up. It’s been so much fun, working with so many different people and all their different preferences and styles. It’s fun to see some kids come in so rigid, afraid to even hold a paintbrush for the fear they’ll make a mistake–but when they leave, they’re loose and fluid and relaxed. Some kids seem like they’re born to paint and create.

One day I had a little girl who was determined to paint a soft, realistic picture of a butterfly. This sporty chica had a heavy hand; her strong softball arm would not make a “light” mark to save her life. I took this to mean we should try a different approach–we decided to go edgy with a pop-art style painting:

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Last week I had a mother/daughter/son class with some of the most laid-back, teachable people I’ve ever had the pleasure to do art with. Noah loved them so much, he got all dressed up for their session. Here are the final products of the mellow family:

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Why yes that IS my dog wearing a necktie.

And now that classes are almost over, I’m going to enjoy the last few weeks of summer before school starts–the calm before the storm. And calm means: running from swimming lessons to band camp to grocery shopping and back-to-school shopping and house-cleaning and bill-paying and painting and art-lesson-planning and anxiety attacks and ripping my hair out over stupid Disney channel songs called “I Know What Boys Like/Girls Like.”

Here is one more picture of our July in Oklahoma:

A Van Gogh-worthy field of sunflowers.

A Van Gogh-worthy field of sunflowers.


My Dog and Art Students and A Visitor

Today Merrick stood at the back door yelling out Darcy’s name about 3 times before he realized she wasn’t out there. When it him, his shoulders slumped and his eyes filled with tears, and we’re going on day 3, folks.

We had to put sweet Darcy down. In the 5 days it took for the vet to get back to us with her initial test results, Darcy went from a vague health issue, to complete and total shutdown mode. Her lymph nodes were rock-hard and ridiculously swollen. Poor little thing couldn’t bark, couldn’t eat, couldn’t go to the bathroom. She didn’t feel like moving much and it was getting tougher and tougher for her to breathe. Her cancer just ate her up. I was doubtful that she’d make it through the weekend. So we took pictures:

Our best friend.

Our best friend.

The sweetest dog in the world.

The sweetest dog in the world.

Our family dog.

Part of our family.

So fluffy and beautiful! So loving and wise!

So fluffy and beautiful! So loving and wise!

Definitive proof that Noah came from outer space.

Also, definitive proof that Noah is a freaking alien.

And we said our good-byes.

Darcy, in happier, healthier times--in front of the house that didn't exist yet.

Darcy, in happier, healthier times–in front of the house that didn’t exist yet.

Wednesday night was hellacious. Merrick was beside himself: “I can’t sleep when Darcy’s not alive!” This morning he insisted on paying tribute to Darcy, in the form of vocalized song. “Okay,” I said. “What song shall we sing?” thinking he’d choose something amazing, like Kenny Loggin’s “Meet Me Halfway”, his current favorite.

Instead we sang 50 choruses of “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” to our dead dog.

It was less than epic.

Other than us adjusting to life without Darcy, things around here are good. Caleb and Mia are at camp. Cheyenne is still in Maryland. And I am giving art lessons like a fiend:

This little thunderbolt forced me to learn how to draw sharks.

This little thunderbolt forced me to learn how to draw sharks.

IMG_1387 These cousins were dead set on trees and sunsets.

And I’m having a blast. I hope the kids are, too. My Thursday girls went home and put on an impromptu painting party of their own:

Behold these gems: the kids in my town are going to put me out of business.

Just look at these gems. The kids in my town are going to put me out of business.

I love it. This was my wildest dream: kids spreading art around. They did it! It happened! It worked!

Shut up.

Nobody will ever know how much these children bless me.

And speaking of being blessed, I had the privilege of spending time with a beautiful young woman who came to stay with me yesterday. This girl had a sparkle in her eye and a permanent smile on her face, even though this year has been so tough for her. We talked about loneliness and making mistakes and helping others and loving God. Her take on these things brought tears to my eyes; I tried to come up with advice but everything I said felt miserably short of anything remotely wise. I searched for words of encouragement, but my mind mostly drew blanks. I had paid my dues in high school, but maybe I was just too old and too far removed from the life of a modern teenage girl to be able to relate much.

Last night, I read this in Angie Smith’s I Will Carry You:

“We aren’t going to feel whole in this life, and we will long for something we don’t have. Something that will fill the nagging void that intermittently stings and knocks us to our knees. And all the while, Satan taunts us, telling us our faith is small. To hurt so deeply is a sign that we live in a fallen world, not that we serve a small God.”

…and I almost leaped out of bed at 11:30 p.m. to share it with her. But I didn’t because I am restrained like that, so I’m sharing it now.

I’m still reading books about miscarriage and death. That’s my pain right now. I am so, so lonely for my baby and it still hurts. I have so many questions. I doubt myself. But I do serve a God who is big and in charge; I’ve got to remember to turn to Him in my loneliness.

We might think we’re oddly matched up with random people for no apparent reason, but there’s always a purpose. This sweet girl did much for me yesterday, and I hope that she realizes how special she is and how much God loves her.


Cat’s Out of the Bag

I’m taking a deep breath and revealing to you people something that I truly believe God is calling me to do. Caleb so eloquently put it the other night: “When God slaps you in the face, you better stand up and pay attention.”

A few months ago I attended this heart-wrenching conference about human trafficking. I was put in contact with a lady who runs a community center in downtown Oklahoma City with the hopes of doing some sort of art camp or painting party with the kids that live in that particular area.

Here’s why this is so important: Kids want to create. Kids want to be paid attention to. When kids make a beautiful painting or score a winning goal, they can take pride in something they’ve done; when they are proud of something they’ve done, their self-esteem goes up. When their self-esteem goes up, they’re less likely to turn to drugs and whatnot. All the problems of the world solved? Not hardly. But maybe it will help a few of these poor little guys get through a rough patch.

Also? This gives me and others a chance to make friends with kids who maybe don’t have a lot of good role models around.

While this art camp hasn’t taken place yet, I’ve been praying and brainstorming of ways to come up with the money for the art supplies for such a  party: paint, brushes, and canvasses don’t come cheap, especially when you need enough for roughly 60 people.

God is working, though, and ideas are churning out faster than I can write them down. And I got to thinking, what other groups can benefit from doing art? Um, EVERYONE THAT WAS EVER BORN. Who doesn’t love art? Who doesn’t just love it? Painting, drawing, collage, sculpture; poetry, story-telling, theater, and song–there’s something for everyone. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. It brings beauty and joy to the world.

(Personally, I am currently intrigued with graffiti. But just so we all know, if it pops up in my town tonight, I didn’t do it. Because I would never deface public property. Honest. I wouldn’t. I’d think about it, I may even dream about it, but I would never actually do it. At least not anytime soon, because I’m not proficient at spray painting.)

Anyway.

This idea struck me out of the blue in the shower: start an organization that raises money for groups, like the community center, to have these art camps/painting parties (or just to buy them some art supplies to have on hand). This could apply to areas outside Oklahoma City, but also to children in other countries, as part of mission trips. What better way to develop relationships and talk about Jesus than by the pouring out of our hearts and souls on canvas?

Fund-raising ideas are just as awesome: art-related “events” that encourage and uplift, such as side-walk chalk festivals and art parties, would provide communities with um, BEAUTIFUL WORKS OF ART AND CULTURE. It would also encourage families to spend time together and yada yada artistic expression, fellowship, overall FUN FOR EVERYBODY, not just the people that we’re aiming at helping.

Does anyone get what I’m saying?

Here’s what I need: Hardcore major prayer. Pray. For. This. Pray for these children, who live in areas known for trafficking. To imagine a child’s future–growing up in such a mean, scary environment, perhaps without loving parents, perhaps without art, and perhaps without even Jesus–should motivate us all, wherever we live, to reach out to them in genuine love.

Pray that God will enable me to handle these obstacles: paperwork and phone calls, and technical stuff, and details, and everything that doesn’t directly involve painting and playing with kids. I admit to being overwhelmed and afraid. To the folks that know me, this might come as a shock: I am scared of people and large crowds and I’m terrified of big pictures, and of being in charge of groups larger than 3 and kids older than…well, 3. Already my heart is pounding and my throat is closing up. Tears literally come to my eyes. I freeze. Really, actually, freeze.

Other things I need: Think about volunteering at any one of the fundraising events, or at one of the art camps. Pray about going on a mission trip, which may or may not be a long way off.

I will update again soon with more details. Help me spread the word by sharing this post and by liking my artist page on facebook. Soon there will be an organization page to follow as well!

Thanks for all your support!


Monday Morning Art and a WWZ mini-review.

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Why yes, those are the sticks that we ganked from a state park in New Mexico.  And they’re far from completely decorated. We have been painting all morning. Oh, what? It’s 1:00 in the afternoon? Fine.

Nevermind that there’s laundry to fold and overdue library books to return. My kids are in the painting mood and we leap on those kind of opportunities around here. There’s an art festival at our church on August 18th that I’m totally stoked about. The theme is very uplifting and it’s based on 1 Corinthians; anyone from the community can participate by entering works that might support a message of unity, purity, and maturity. What did my kids choose to paint? Sunflowers and the city of Los Angeles.

Merrick's exquisite contribution.

Merrick’s exquisite contribution.

Who am I to crush budding creativity?

With that in mind, I am offering some painting sessions at my house for little and big artists who might like a small amount of direction in someone else’s (already-paint-splattered) kitchen.

$25 covers supplies, painting time, and light instruction. I will limit the session size to one or two people at a time. Dates available are July 8th, 11th, 15th, 18th, 22nd, and 25th, at 1:00 in the afternoon until whenever. Not like dinnertime whenever, but I’m willing to allow up to 3 hours because artists simply cannot be rushed.

On a totally unrelated note, I finally saw World War Z. A word of warning: it is nothing like the book. I mean, there are zombies. And they’re a world-wide problem. And that’s about it.

I’m also not a fan of fast zombies.

No. Just, no.

Brad Pitt’s thick wavy locks never once looked grimy or greasy, which I found highly unrealistic since, geez, they were in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and showers aren’t exactly convenient in times like that. I have trouble washing my hair once a day and my only problem is 2 kids that might burn the house down in the 15 minutes it takes me to get clean.

But other than that, the movie was really, really good, and very suspenseful. And sweet, because people helped each other…they also got eaten, but honestly there wasn’t a whole lot of Walking Dead-type gore, which I was totally okay with. I did get pretty creeped out during a few scenes, but by the end of the movie, the twitching spastic zombies were almost comical.

And that’s my take on WWZ.

Sidenote: I’m banking heavily on Cheyenne’s majoring in biochemistry and going to work for the CDC, so that I’ll have an in. If anyone would like to contribute toward her college fund, know that you’ll be doing yourselves a favor in the long run–someone’s got to keep these plagues in check.


Slap Wore Out, Part 947.

Nothing breaks my heart more than staring at $5000 in medical bills and not having a baby to show for it. Miscarriage: killing me slowly since the Spring of 2013. Miscarriage: can suck it. And what’s up with the hundred-million pregnant people this summer? Is everybody giving birth in the fall except for me?

That’s it for my wallowing today. I attribute my exhaustion and moody behavior to late-night softball games and early-morning vacation bible school. It’s all been a lot of fun, but my kids are plum tired. I actually sent them to their beds for a nap about 10 minutes ago…and it’s quiet back there. They just might be sleeping.

Temperatures have officially reached the triple-digits, just as it does every year at some point during the summer. I’m thankful that it’s taken this long–here we are at the tail end of June and we’re just now experiencing this kind of heat? Thank you God, for the lovely 6 weeks of mild weather that we didn’t get last year, or the year before that. (I say “mild weather” like we didn’t have 500 tornados or anything.)

I sold the painting of the Emerald City in a field of poppies:

I call it, "The Emerald City In A Field Of Poppies".

I call it, “The Emerald City In A Field Of Poppies”.

 

Contrary to what I assumed would happen, this puppy is hanging in someone else’s dining room, rather than on the bubble-gum pink wall above some 4-year-old little girl’s bed. Either way, I’m thrilled; and I’m always shocked that people like my art enough to buy it at all.

Our church is looking at throwing a community/church-wide art show in August. Already, Mia and I have been tossing around ideas. Okay, well, Mia has actually finished her contribution:

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Mia’s “City of Angels”, before the final touches.

Nothing is cooler than having a kid who shares my enthusiasm for cityscapes.

Tomorrow, me and my husband, and my bff and her husband, are going to see World War Z. I’ve read the book and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the movie based on the previews of sprinting zombies (THEY’RE DEAD! HOW FAST CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE?!!) but I’m all for checking it out, because A) I’m a sucker for apocalyptic scenarios, and B) there’s a good to excellent chance I’m gonna get some dinner nachos out of this.

And as it turns out, the kids are not quite asleep. And I care not. Because I’m cutting out to go take my own nap. Have a great weekend, computer people!


This Is My June

If you catch me around town around town jamming to the musical stylings of Ross Lynch and Bridgit Mendler, don’t judge–Merrick and Mia become absolute rockstars to Disney pop and I am not ashamed! I am not afraid to admit it! Any song that makes my son sing things like “Cause you got my flow and we blowin’ it UP!” whilst popping and locking in the backseat is a song that I LOVE.

I’m still on a diet, which means lots of green tea:

Kill me.

Kill me.

Kill me.

Kill me now.

Kill me now.

Make me die.

And just lots of green stuff in general, which is a total suckfest since I so enjoy things that are the color of, um, any cookie.

My home is infested with little black bugs that appear to be materializing out of thin air and placing their crunchy, annoying thoraxes strategically all over my living space, so that every 2 steps I take: suddenly, bug guts. My dogs do nothing to stop the invasion. It’s like they know it’s summer vacation and they’re not about to participate in a damn thing unless it involves peeing on something I dearly love.

Speaking of peeing, this happened: Merrick calls me into his room one night at 11:00, 3 HOURS after I put him to bed, and says: “Hey mom, could you get that thing over there?”

“What thing over where?”

“That thing–over there! Up there!”

“Wha…?”

So there’s real live pee-soaked underwear resting comfortably atop his bedroom door. I can’t even tell you how long it had been there. I shouldn’t admit that I don’t even know.

I am learning so, so much from having a son. Like, what baby oak toads eat:

Internet, meet Frida. Frida, meet the internet.

Internet, meet Frida.

We rescued/surprise adopted/kidnapped 3 baby toads from a parking lot puddle last week–and they’re still alive 7 days later. That’s got to be some kind of record, right? And FYI, they eat teeny tiny worms that have to be kept in the refrigerator: they must remain cold or they’ll turn into beetles.

So basically I’m keeping a container full of potential beetles inches away from the food that I put in my mouth.

My life is so grossballs sometimes.

Fact: a moth the size of Ohio is trying to break through the glass window that’s right next to me this very second.

Other fact: I have black hair and it looks cool. Explanation: My hair gurl blonded it for me a few months ago, and then I regretted it 4 weeks later when fierce rootage predictably occurred…so I asked to be brunette again, even though I know how my hair acts sometimes. I risked it anyway. And bless the hair dresser–because she always does a good job–the hair on this head? Went full-on goth quickly and unexpectedly. I know it will fade–though I am really digging the black since it makes me look more artsy and tormented. Because really–what sunny blonde paints rubber Mexican gang-bangers and encourages this type of behavior? :

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As you can see, we had another African body paint day (pictures of the first one here)–this time in my garage out of the wind, which–shocker–has been blowing hard here in Oklahoma. I am now officially done with the Spring set of classes, and it has been a crrrrazy ride–interruptions from winter weather, miscarriage, softball and t-ball, and tornado season have made what should have been 6 weeks last for almost 4 months. I hate that we have dragged out the session like this, but it’s been worth the wait. We’ve studied Chinese watercolor, Greek pottery, and stained glass from the Middle Ages of Europe; we’ve painted little houses similar to what we learned about in American Folk art; we even covered Mexico’s obscure “Night of the Radishes” festival by painting with vegetables. Plus, we made nifty African masks right before we moved on to the covering of our entire bodies with all the colors of the rainbow.

Best. Session. Ever. I have loved every minute of it.

If you’re local and you’re interested, our gallery night will be held this Friday at 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the community room at our town’s library. Everyone is welcome to come support these talented artists! *Also, there will be cupcakes.*


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