Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Farm Stand

Today was a dreary, wet day after four glorious days of sun. I visited our neighborhood farm stand to lift my spirits. 

     Something about seeing fresh and preserved commodities makes me feel the need to be industrious.

     The fridge is always a surprise and wonder. Today there were eggs, milk gallons, and homemade cheese. Yes, the eggs are superior to even free range eggs at the store. The colors vary on the outside but inside the yolks are rich and very yellow.

      The owners of the farm work so very hard. They rarely get a day off. Passionate about raw and unprocessed dairy products, these farmers offer me a trusted product I look forward to eating.

                             My Thursday stash will make omelets, and hot chocolate. Yum!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Sign

   My father-in-law passed away Wednesday, early in the morning, after a week trial in the hospital. He was 91 years old. I am happy that his physical and mental battles are over. He was a stouthearted man who learned and adapted as he matured. I wanted a sign that told me how to honor him and two were given.
   The first was given me as I sat quietly and waited in the temple the day after his death. I was there to do initiatory work for my family names.  A sweet, calm reassuring feeling came over me and I knew both Walter and Beth wanted me to be active in the temple work I was doing. If I wanted to feel their spirit it would be in the house of the Lord where they worked and spent their later years.
   My second sign came as I looked at this painting I created for him and felt strongly that it should go to my grandson.


   He should know who he is named after and what a good example he was. I find that my grandchildren love stories about their ancestors and do not carry the baggage of being disappointed in their grandparents and parents as perhaps my children do. Time softens the edges of mortal weakness that we all have. Dad and I had a few special experiences we shared together. He mentioned them whenever he called. Yes, he told the same stories over and over. I'm comforted that he remembered them so well and that I brought him some joy. Thank-you for a life well lived.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Five PM

      This week of March every year is very special. When we change to daylight savings time the sun has several days of a low lying angle and the light spills through windows of my front door. It happens at 5pm.

     Each year I am surprised when I'm witness to the light and then I recall how other years I discovered the same moment. Yesterday I found myself waiting on the couch for the light to reach up to my painting. Natural light on a canvas is breathtaking. It can be likened to the spirit raising a glorious idea into my consciousness. Real light is luminous and shimmers making all it touches more alive.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

To Love, To Serve, To Offer All

   My painting class is also a class to explore words in art and the marriage of an image with a mantra. As I worked through the writing exercises I reluctantly settled on the one word mantra; serve. Just like when I was searching for the habits in my life that I could base my happiness upon, service came to my mind, unwittingly. You see, I don't think I'm very good at serving others. Or to be more precise, I don't serve naturally. I am more naturally self-interested but over the years I've come to embrace acts of service as life affirming.

    More important than just serving is serving wholeheartedly; or being "all in". I find the adverb, wholeheartedly, to be the most telling in how helpful I am to others. I am resigned to accept that I will have to remind myself to be available and to serve open-heartedly. The test is always to see where my heart comes into play.

       The words of King Benjamin prod and encourage me to serve all my days in gratitude for God's supporting hand in my life.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Trust In My Creative Life

   My painting e-course is another pathway to self-discovery. I am happier when I have a creative project. Undeniably my day goes much better if I can slip upstairs to add something to my canvas. But, an old gremlin nags at the corner of my mind. This is an expensive hobby. Time flies, unaccounted for. Shouldn't  I be helping someone else or working for world peace? Am I just filling up another room with paintings my children will have to dispose of someday?

   My father might have asked the same questions years ago. He physically worked so hard every day that his body ached upon coming home. The first thing he did was soak in a hot bathtub to ease the pain. But he had a creative life that also ached for release. On weekends he disappeared into his workshop/artist studio. There he carved creatures out of stone and sketched scenes on his walls. The scenes depicted his homeland. A beautiful ice-skater twirling over a frozen lake, skiers racing down snow, and faces enjoying the sensory experiences of life graced the plastered drywall of his sanctuary. His artistic endeavor did not put money in the bank. And money in the bank was really important to him. How did he balance these two opposite desires. 

  I run my hands over the faces he created out of stone. These gifts he left me allow me to be with him. I only had him twenty-four years. His art has been my friend all these years since his death. Thank goodness he listened to the voice of self-discovery.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Love of God

    A new painting e-course has started in my life. The genre I am fascinated with is called Mixed Media Collage.

      I find myself bounding up the stairs to do a few new doodles on my "in process" painting. I have a few ideas that need to be out and on a canvas. The Love of God is a painting I saw in my head and I almost nailed it. It comes from Nephi's Vision in the Book of Mormon. Apparently when a God teaches mortal man about his plan he uses physical senses to deepen the concepts. The tree was a visual feast for Nephi as well as a symbol with many layers of meaning in his spiritual knowledge. The fruit was delicious. Did he taste it? The virgin in Nazereth was beautiful and her sweet baby was precious to behold.

   I marvel at the spiritual insight Nephi possessed to make the leap that the condescension of Jesus coming as an infant and the Tree of life represented the love of God. My artwork helped me understand.

     I love this passage of scripture more than ever before. Truly, we are blessed with our physical senses and there is much to learn by doing, seeing, and feeling.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Digging Into the Scriptures

    We are making progress towards more scriptural understanding in my Primary 6 class. My goals are to take them from the finding stage to the analysis stage. Occasionally I throw in some application questions when the answers seem to be right before our eyes. To help in the finding process we:

  1. Sing the Old Testament Books out of the Children's Songbook. I would like them to be acquainted with the names and have an idea of the order of the Old Testament. Yesterday we decided there would be a prize for the person who could sing the song alone perfectly.
  2. Memorize several scriptures each month. So far Abraham 3:28 and Moses 6:7 are being recited each week. The Abraham scripture is used to evaluate how people are tested and how well they keep commandments. The Moses scripture will be ongoing to show the power of a repentant people and how they respond to each other.
  3. I use many open scriptures in their journal which they must close by finding the missing words.

                                               You can find the journal prompts for each week here.

                                 We loved popping up the city of Enoch. More about pop-ups here.
To help in the analysis process we:
     1. We search short verses and evaluate the information by drawing out differences and similarities. For example;

                                        In these verses did the person obey, listen, or believe?

        2.   We search in the footnotes for added insights. For example next week we will look at the footnote for name in this verse.
   Abraham 1:16 And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, 
        In the footnote Jehovah and Jesus Christ will be listed side by side to be searched in the topical guide. I will ask them to analyze the reason for that.
   I am always curious what skills I can teach. My students have never disappointed me in their abilities.

     We do have fun. Last week we learned to listen and obey by learning to make a paper boat, Noah's boat was undecidedly more complicated.