Bittersweet

May 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Posted in art, faith, family, flowers, gifts, knitting, Life, love, women | 54 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bittersweet.

I look outside my studio window as I write, viewing a great bounty of lush green growth.  

Trees, green grasses, flowers, an abundance of life that is breathtaking in its simplicity and rustic charm.  Several Amish families in open, black buggies pulled by elegant dark chestnut colored horses have passed by on the road, their children wearing straw hats in the bright morning sun.

I am blessed.

I look over at the watercolor painting I am working on with two swans I photographed on our river last year on a perfectly gorgeous June day.  It is amazing to me, that I have access to a river, to swans, to green fields, the canopy of trees, toads, our grand willow … too much to catalog even if I had a lifetime to do so.  The visual stimulation to me the artist is sometimes overwhelming in scope.  And yet, somehow I push through the abundance of subject matter and find something simple to create.

Yes, I am blessed.

Our hostas are amazing, yet again.  I don’t think I will ever cease to be amazed at the overflowing abundant green beauty of the hosta plant and the ease with which it is grown, managing itself with perfect timing and expanding affluence year after year.  My husband and I planted the hostas all around the house four or five years ago and by now they come back each spring huge and just so lovely I can hardly stand to contemplate it.  I am eternally grateful for the the hosta.

Our antique tree peony had a bit of a misfire this year.  March was unusually warm, then winter temperatures came again and many plants became confused as to what they were supposed to do.  The tree peony sprouted three buds very early on, but then the very cold weather in April gave her reason to take some more time off.  By the time things warmed up all she had to show for the year was the three buds.  They opened a few days ago, some two weeks early … very noticeable for a plant the opens her blossoms exactly like clockwork year after year on Memorial Day weekend.

I am not complaining about the three blossoms — they are as extraordinary as any tree peony blossoms ever are.  Last year we had, I believe, something like two dozen blossoms so I am merely noting a rather drastic difference.

For quite some time my freedom to create, whether it be knitting, needle felting, writing, or painting, was restricted by happenings in family and in life.  Life changes much as a river ebbs and flows and I am finding much time these days to do all of the creative things I love so much to do.  I am an artist, and when I cannot carve out the time and peace to create it takes a toll on me spiritually.  

However, I am also an eternal and almost annoying optimist so even when I get down about now being able to create I know things will change I will be able to create again, so I remained hopeful even if a bit sad.  And now, here I am with plenty of time and peace for my creativity.  My studio is like a chapel or temple, my place of religious retreat where I find comfort, meditation, spiritual room to fly, peace to contemplate and pray.

So many blessings brush my cheek as their misty truths cross through my mind: 50 acres; four seasons, Canada geese enjoying remnants of last year’s corn in the field, this year’s Sincere Pumpkin patch, the most wonderful and dear husband, two children to love dearly, a precious granddaughter, three crazy happy dogs, wind, rain, snow, sunshine, water, autumn, rivers and streams, a home, a cottage, more friends than I can count, you my reader, biscuits, laughter, the promise of fresh fruits and vegetables affordable and within easy reach at farm markets all over the place in our area, swans, ducks, song birds, wild flowers, paint, fiber, memories … you get the idea.

I am blessed.

My title today is bittersweet, because with all that I have to be thankful for (and I have only mentioned the tip of the iceberg in terms of the many blessings in our lives) is all so very bittersweet because my father, my dear sweet friend, has prostate cancer.  He was diagnosed with it many years ago and has done a great job with help from my mother in keeping it at bay.

Together they have done a great job with that.

But today, my father needs your prayers.  And my mother too.

Please.

They are truly two of the dearest, most loving people you can imagine and they have done much in their lives in service and kindness to others. They have earned the universe opening up today and enveloping them in a great big, comforting and loving embrace.

Your prayers will help.

Love you Dad and Mom.

~firefly

Our world of many faiths

December 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Christmas, faith, family, Holidays, inspiration, knitting, Life, love, women | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There is a tradition of faith and religion, the seeking of an understanding of the nature of God and our relationship to whoever or whatever God is going back at least 10,000 years on our planet. During those 10,000 years many faiths have emerged helping people find their way to a connection with God from many different viewpoints. Each has validity, each has value.

With so many different faiths the world over, the concept of any one being the one and only true faith is peculiar to me. It doesn’t make any sense if you think about it. However, it does make sense that one faith is the one true faith for one particular person … at a time. Each individual person who wishes to understand the nature of God and what his or her relationship is to God needs a path to follow to get there. For George, it is religion A and that is the one true faith for George. For Natalie, it is religion C and that is the one true faith for Natalie. Michael, on the other hand, finds that religion H works for him, so that is the one true faith for Michael. George, Natalie, and Michael are all on the right path … each has found the one true path of faith that works for him or her.

They should all wave to each other and say, “Hey, way to go! Isn’t this amazing!”

Wouldn’t it make sense that if God exists and has anything to do with the affairs of mankind, that there would be some wisdom coming from that source to provide mankind with many different paths to follow in reaching the God connection.

I believe it would have to be so. We are so different, one to another. We have different cultures, different life experiences, differences in our spiritual nature, and so forth. There would have to be many different paths leading to God. The most fundamentally important thing is seeking God and gaining a closer connection to whoever or whatever God is for you, not which path you use to do so.

If God is love, it could not possibly make any sense at all that conflict, hatred, or war would lead any one of us, some of us, or all of us to a closer relationship with God. That part of the equation must come from somewhere else, and leads to erroneous illogical conclusions that don’t add up.

I’m right, you’re wrong, my God is the one true God, my faith is the one true faith. No — we are each right, our Gods are God, our faiths are faith, our love is love. We are all united in love and faith, regardless of the tradition of knowledge or ritual that gets us there.

I have a dream of a community church of all faiths where people from all over a community from any faith within that community could gather together for the purpose of sharing faith and love, learning more about what unites us in our religions, and celebrating together our gaining of a closer connection to God. You know, if we brought our faiths closer together in friendship and trust we would inevitably grow closer to God all of us together.

That makes sense to me.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is from quite a few years back in Los Angeles when my children were still fairly young. It was a particularly challenging Christmas for me as a single mother. My car was broken, I was out of work, and out of money for the most part. Determined to create Christmas magic, my children and I made Christmas gifts for family members using materials we had on hand for the most part.

I had some red velvet fabric I used to sew Santa outfits and Santa “bags” for a couple of little teddy bears. My son made two cube shaped boxes with lids out of a decorative paper and lined them with some gold-leaf we had on hand in our art supplies. The boxes looked very magical, and we put them inside the red velvet Santa bags that went with the teddy bears. We gave one of the Santa bears and bag with the magic box inside to my parents and the other to one of my older brothers and his family.

I painted watercolor portraits of several nieces and nephews for others in the family, and was up painting the last one on Christmas Eve. While I was painting I watched a televised Midnight Mass. I had never attended a Mass of any kind, and didn’t know what to expect. It was beautiful. Ministers from a wide variety of religions spoke for several minutes each. They all gave a holiday message based on their respective theologies but all had a common theme: love.

Sometimes I think the real reason behind all of the hardship I was experiencing at that time was so that I would be up late painting on Christmas Eve and therefore watching television to help myself stay awake and thereby see that particular show…it was an important part of my own spiritual path.

This holiday season I am thinking of you, whoever you may be and whatever your faith may be. I am sending to you my thoughts of love, my prayers of hope and peace. I am longing to feel a deeper connection with God by reaching out and touching your hand (in spirit) and expressing my gratitude to you for your part in the worldwide search for God along many different paths shining many, many different lights toward truth.

Love,
firefly

About wishing you a Merry Christmas

December 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Christmas, faith, family, Holidays, inspiration, Life, love, women | 14 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The other day I stopped in at our favorite local apple grower’s roadside store to buy a few pounds of apples and some fresh pressed apple cider. After paying, the lady at the counter said, “Have a nice Christmas,” and I could see a little look of doubt in her eyes as if she wondered if it was okay to say “Christmas” to me. I smiled and said, “Merry Christmas!” She relaxed, smiled and said, “Merry Christmas! It is so hard to tell what to do say these days.”

In response I said, “Let’s not have our communication stifled by such negative considerations. Wishing people a Merry Christmas is a kind, good-natured thing to do.”

That is how I feel about it.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, because wishing you a Merry Christmas is to wish you a season of love and kindness. That is how I mean it. I do not mean to wish Christianity on you, and in saying it I am not saying I am a Christian. The fact is, you don’t know what my faith is (unless you are my immediate family) I don’t discuss it because that is my personal business, not yours. Just as your faith is your personal business, not mine.

But whether I am Christian or not, I wish a Merry Christmas to all of the people of the world.

To attempt to stifle people from wishing one another a Merry Christmas is to stifle well wishing and thoughts of love. Why do that, when love is what the world needs.

Yes, Christmas is particular within the Christian religion is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

But people of any faith or no faith could enjoy a sense of the celebration of brotherly love for the good of mankind and acknowledge a heightened sense of love during this season was inspired by some guy named Jesus who lived back about 2,000 years ago — regardless what the significance of that guy is. Whether he was a prophet, the son of God, God himself, or just some guy … he said some cool stuff and the coolest thing he said was, “Hey guys, you really should stop all the hating and do some loving instead.”

And there was something very convincing about the way he said it, because his words impacted the way much of mankind has lived and regarded one another positively in a huge way and that impact has lasted for more than 2,000 years.

So, I say to you, Merry Christmas. I say this because I wish you well, I wish you love and a sense of peace. I wish these things for you and those you touch and those you love. I wish these things on you and yours today, and for this season, and I hope those feelings will last for as much of the coming year as you can possibly carry it on. I don’t know you personally, perhaps … but I wish you love.

That is all it is, and even if you take a stance of being offended by my wishes of a Merry Christmas to you and yours, I love you any way and wish you love and peace any way. I respect your beliefs, whatever they may be. And, I wish you love.

So, Merry Christmas!

Love,
firefly

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: