Thursday, December 9, 2010

Feeling Exposed...

My final BIG project, an 8'x4' goddess
Big Blue in all her glory

Hey Hey Hey, Moon Mama is featured as a guest post-er over at Dirty Footprints Studio today!
Pop on over there and check it out!

I really can't say enough about the BIG experience...I've only shared just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
I didn't share so much about it here while I was participating; the experiences and processes were almost sacred, and I felt the need to contain them and digest them either alone or within the BIG Tribe.

Now that I've been outed, and my Big Blue Goddess has gone public, I'll be sharing more....
how she came to be, and how my life has changed since.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Transformation....Head First!

~Our homely tree~
It bears an uncanny resemblance to Salad Fingers...


Seems everything is going through a transformation of sorts these days.
My home is being transformed as we speak....furniture being re-arranged to make room for all of our beloved Christmas decorations and a tree....my kitchen covered with a fine dusting of confectioner's sugar and flour as I create, from gingerbread houses to chocolate covered cherries.

We ourselves are being transformed in both mind and body, transmuted through the fires of adversity, learning as we go.

This Wishcasting Wednesday, dear Jamie asks "what do you wish to transform"?
Would it be too trite to answer with "my life"?
I pondered this question as I herded the kids out the door for school.
A more accurate response, after consideration, would have to be "my mind".
After all, what transformation could be accomplished in a body, in a life, without first a transformation of the mind?

Catching up on my email earlier this morning, I discovered this post from yesterday's Positive Thoughts. Slowly read and digest these words from the Dalai Lama regarding transformation and the mind---

The source and cause of peace and happiness is the mind.

Both positive and negative experiences arise from the mind, depending on whether your mind is transformed or not. Therefore, it is most important to control and discipline the mind.

All the fears and the immeasurable suffering that we encounter arise from the mind. The Buddha taught that there is no enemy more powerful than the mind. In all the realms of existence, there is nothing more frightful—nothing more to be feared than the mind. Likewise, he said that the disciplined mind gives rise to all excellent qualities. The source and cause of peace and happiness is the mind. Happiness arises from virtuous practice; sufferings arise from negative practice.

So happiness and suffering depend upon whether your mind is transformed or not. Even in the short term, the more you control and discipline your mind, the happier and more relaxed you will be.

Once the mind within is controlled and relaxed, even if the whole universe appears to turn on you like an enemy, you will not feel threatened or unhappy. On the other hand, if you are internally disturbed and agitated, even if the most delicious food is laid out on the table in front of you, you will not enjoy it. You may hear pleasant things, but they will bring you no joy. So, depending on whether your mind is disciplined or not, you will experience happiness or suffering.

Although my body is dealing with much less pain these days, I am struggling with some bizarre health issues. I may have mentioned my multiple food allergies before. My doctor has now suggested that I might be allergic to myself.
I thought that was the very nature of lupus... the body rejecting parts of itself as foreign, so I'm not entirely sure what this newest development means.
The possible medical treatments--- years of Prednisone (No.) or chemotherapy (NO.)
I'm scheduled for an esophageal biopsy on Monday to see just what's going on in there.

I'd have to be oblivious to miss the self-rejection that this condition must represent.
And I certainly realize that a total transformation of my mind is in order. But where to start....?

And so Dear Friends, I'd ask you to wish with me today (I believe I heard somewhere that, astrologically, today is the day to ask)
---
I'm wishing for answers. I'm wishing for help. And I'm wishing for support on that path to total transformation.
I know I can count on all of you to send your love my way, and for that I am so, so grateful today!
Thank you, and blessings to you all!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stepping Into ME

Me, glowing and electric today

What do I wish to step into, Jamie asks, catching me mid-stride.
How convenient!

I'm stepping....I have been stepping....taking small, even lazy, baby steps...but for the last few weeks, I have been making strides.
I have been stretching past my limits.
I have been learning to step into my potential, into my real life, into WHO I AM.

For the last five weeks, I have been participating in Dirty Footprints Studio's BIG--Fearless Painting.
Today I am beginning a bed-sheet sized painting, and I am not afraid.
In fact, I'm excited!
I'm feeling things-- energy, alive-ness, creativity--that I haven't in a long, long time.
And it feels good.

So thank you Connie.
And thanks for asking, Jamie.
I wish to continue stepping .... moving forward.....stepping into MYSELF.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Penumbra is Coming!


Calling all artists, near and far!

Come join us for loads of freaky Halloween fun at this year's Penumbra
Halloween art show!

We had a BALL at last year's event, and wouldn't want you all to miss
this one.

Penumbra is a collaborative effort between me, Moon Mama and my husband, the
Canadian. It will be held at Fringe Collective Artistic Studios in Athens.

Local artists, the guidelines for submissions are as listed above.

Worldwide artist friends, the only difference is that no entry fee is required
for you since you must ship your work to us, but I would ask that you
send a shipping allowance for me to send it back to you in the event that it doesn't
sell.

I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself!
I can't wait to hear from you.....tell me all about your Halloween art entry!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Secret is OUT!!!


Have you heard about 21 Secrets?
What? You mean the ripples of excitement haven't reached you?
You must've been under a rock! But I love you anyway, so here's the dealio---

Dirty Footprints Studio is offering an awesome art journaling series called 21 Secrets...
21 sessions, 21 different artists, and the list of artists/workshops is just too tempting to pass up
(and all of this awesome-ness is only $59!!).

And believe it or not, this gets even better---
my pal Connie is giving away TWO, not one, but TWO of these packages...one for a lucky blogger and another for the winner to give away to their own readers!!!

Every single workshop sounds amazing to me, but let me just share a few to get your juices flowing:

How about Surreal Journal Fun by Tami Chacon of Dream Wish Hope?

Or how does Typoholic---typography fun with Natalie Malik of Awkwardly Beautiful sound?

Maybe art postcards float your boat... Try Art Journaling's Sassy Little Sister with Lis Hofmann
of Dandelion Seeds and Dreams.


Registration for 21 Secrets begins September 20 and all the juicy fun officially starts October 1.
Read all about the excitement here!

Monday, September 13, 2010

And the Winners Are.....

it's Tuesday....another self-portrait
My kids call this one "Old Greg"
Don't ask

Do you have the courage to grow up
and be who you really are?

And the winners are----
ALL of you!

SUCH love was poured out on me in those birthday comments that, after I'd picked the winners for the presents, I decided that ALL of you win!

Girlie Queue/Shamsi/Charlie/whichever personality she's wearing today, and my BIG sister, is the winner of the With Love, The Universe baubles!

The rest of you who commented will receive a Words from the Heart ATC!

Faerwillow
Michelle and Lisa, my friends from Black Mountain

Tracy (my BIG sister!)

BioMouse

Jenn (also my BIG sister!)

Cindy

Liz, my friend in Egypt
Monica


Thank you all so much for making me feel SO incredibly loved and appreciated!

send me your mailing addresses, Darlings, and I'll get your gifts out to you!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Wish...oh How I Wish!

Ahh...the view from my hammock on a lovely early-Autumn afternoon!
So peaceful, so relaxing...
I haven't been able to spend any time there this summer....just too stinkin' HOT.

But now it's cool, mornings and evenings. I can still hear the birds, the crickets, the frogs, but I can feel fall in the air, and it feels delicious!

Lying in my hammock, feeling peace wrapped around me like a flame-colored shawl, I know exactly what I wish for less of.....
CONTENTION.

Sick to death of contention...contention throughout the world, in my neighborhood, in my home, within my own heart.... so sick of it.

I wish with all my heart for more peace... AND LESS CONTENTION!

And dear reader, please scroll down and join me for my blog-birthday celebration!
Comment to share in the love I'll be giving away this weekend!

Happy Birthday to Mama In The Moon!


Today is my blog's one-year-birthday, and I feel like sharing the love!
When I started typing one year ago, I wasn't so sure I was going to enjoy this little adventure. I certainly didn't believe I'd keep up with it for a year!

I did it though, and here we are...
Let me share my celebration with you; I want to give away some happy goodies---

If you live nearby, by all means, drop in and have a cup of tea and some cookies with me!
If not.....

I'd like to share some of my Encouraging Words; I'll be giving
away a set of these:

Dejected and depressed, she trudged through the mud and relentless rain,
muttering to herself about how hard it all was.
A wee little sliver of white poking up out of the mud, shimmering with just
the slightest hint of magic caught her eye.
Curious, she dug it out and let the rain wash away the dirt.
'Twas the tiniest little magnet; it said only "play".
Beaming up at the grey heavens, her face splashed with raindrops and tears,
"Thank You" she said.
The reminder was enough.

Created from my deep belief that none of us can have too many encouraging words, these tiny glass baubles contain just one sweet word of encouragement amid a touch of sparkly magic.
I carry a bag of these with me so I can leave them for others to find---
at the doctor's, the library, wherever someone else
who needs an encouraging word might find them.

I'm also giving away one of these to three more of my lovely readers who wish Moon Mama a happy blog-birthday:

Just let me know if you want these with a magnet on the back


Here's the dealio--
I'll randomly pick the winners from the comments left through the weekend.
Leave a comment for me here to enter.
Visit my Etsy site and "heart" it; that earns you another comment. Simple.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My First BIG Mystical Experience

Today's BIG painting
Big, bold, beautiful


OK, so I've had my very first "mystical experience" with BIG.
Don't know what else to call it.

Oh, I've been listening all along; paintings have been telling me what they've wanted....been doing just fine with all that.
But today's painting....OMG people!

I recalled what Connie had said about this one, and I thought yeah, I can see where this one might kick my a**.

I put on some music. Today's selection--- Raquy and the Cavemen (LIFE-CHANGING music btw; thanks Christine at Bliss Chick. I could listen to Obama Ayub all day long...and dance!)

Painting and dancing, dancing and painting....a whole lotta shakin' goin' on up in my studio this morning!
I painted the pretty flowers...yep 5 years old.
Look at all the bright colors!

Stood back and waited.....listened.
It told me BLACK.
Black for my background.
Uhh...ok. That's maybe more like me at 12, but ok.
But no emotion, nothing unusual.
Some serious hip rotation while I listened for more.
If nothing else is moving, this body sure is!

Red dots.
On the black background.

Ummmm...yeah ok; I'll play along.
And that's when I heard it. LOUD AND CLEAR.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE INTERIOR SPACES. NO ONE PAYS ATTENTION TO THOSE LITTLE INTERIOR SPACES. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LOVE THEM AND FILL THEM UP.

Now THAT was unexpected!
Tears welled up, then rolled freely as I filled up the little interior spaces with red dots.
The metaphor was not lost on me.

I thought I was done. I got still and listened somemore.
Nope.

RED CANDY STRIPES ON THE FLOWER STEMS. NO ONE LOVES THEM AS MUCH AS THEY DO THE FLOWERS

I'd intended to paint all day, but I am spent after that revelation.

I gotta know.....anybody else had such dramatic ..... well....DRAMA while painting???
Especially you girls who've done BIG??
C'mon, 'fess up!
Or am I just crazy?!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BIG Beginning----MY LIFE

My very first BIG painting!
I guess that makes it my BIG BEGINNING! :)


On this beautiful, crisp, clear fall morning, perfect for new beginnings, Jamie asks "What do you wish to BEGIN?

How perfect! I know the answer to this question!!
I wish to begin MY LIFE!

Autumn has always been my very favorite time of year---
There's just something in the air that seems to rally even the faint of heart, with the promise of change, giving us hope for our future.
As another birthday approaches, with mid-life creeping ever closer, I've thought a lot, maybe too much about my life.... accomplishments, lack of accomplishments, what might be in store for the last half.

The first half, at first glance, was wasted, wandering around aimlessly.
Before friends and family jump in...YES, I DID give birth to five of the most beautiful, intelligent, creative and funny beings on this planet. I am well aware of THAT accomplishment, and very proud of it too.

When I focus on myself, there was a lot of aimless wandering.
All of my attention was concentrated on my growing family and their needs (as it should've been), but I was ignoring the basic needs of my own spirit.
It was screaming to be acknowledged....all that time. No wonder I've had such struggles with chronic illness! *shaking head*

And now nearing mid-life, it's screaming "now or never!".
I am learning to acknowledge, and at times even indulge, my deepest needs.
I've taken several art and writing workshops, gone away for a retreat, purchased "real" art supplies for myself.....and sometimes it's been a wrestling match with myself!
But I am feeling my spirit grow and stretch toward a new life...one I can call my own.

I'd like to thank lots of folks who've been supportive and have helped me to begin this new life (and if I leave anyone out, please forgive me!)----
Lisa Rough, Sarah Sullivan, Baraka Elihu, Carmen Torbus, and Connie Hozvicka
And of course there's our dear Jamie Ridler!
I'm participating in Dirty Footprints Studio's BIG workshop just now. My spirit (and several online friends!) told me that this was a pretty cool jumping off point.

Yep, I'm ready.....
ready to begin MY LIFE.
MINE.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flaming Angels, Guitars and Indestructible Me


This piece was created months ago as part of the Georgia Theatre art quilt, and as I'd hoped for all the pieces included in the quilt, it has a story.

The Canadian loves to shoot photos of statuary.
A couple of years back, he brought me an image of an angel loosely holding a palm frond. "Look at this Jennifer! Doesn't it look like she could be holding a guitar instead??"
He was excited, and he has more faith in my Photoshop abilities than I do, but to humor him, I played around with it.

I actually liked the angel/guitar creation; I had to use her on a quilt square. I'd been asked by the newspaper to demonstrate an example of a "no-sew" technique for them to photograph. Hmmmm...perfect!

As soon as I'd posted her originally, I realized there was an up and coming band in Athens called the Burning Angels.... no connection...I'd never even heard them play, but it amused me.

I've been thinking quite a bit about this piece over the last while....not so much in comparison with the idea of the Georgia Theatre rising from the flames, but on a personal level.
How many times have I just continued, playing on, oblivious to the destruction around me?
How many times have I been burned in the flames, only to reinvent myself and come back again?

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves to annihilation

over and over again

can that which is indestructible be found in us.”

~Pema Chodron

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dreamboards with a Mind of Their Own

All the images dripping in glorious color that I pulled, and this is what manifested on my board--
all black and white.
I'm always amazed at how my boards turn out. I think they're going in one direction, only to find the opposite when I'm done.
I'm pleased with this one; it's lovely, elegant even. I'm still contemplating what the numbers mean....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sending Love on Gilded Wings

from the Phoenix Rising -- Georgia Theatre Art Quilt Project
by Yours Truly

Where do I wish to send some love today?

Love being the most important thing that exists, where do I NOT wish to send it??

I wish to send it to all the parts of my body, especially to those parts that I tend to not find acceptable---not only that round, saggy belly, those seemingly ever-widening hips, but also to those tangled, knotted muscles that have been screaming for my attention for so long.
They have been slowly but surely responding to my love and attention, releasing their painful grip, and I feel deep gratitude to them for all that they are re-learning to do for me.

I wish to send love to all the hopes and dreams that I've let go of over the years of family-first, and physical pain, the ones who are daring to peek out, blinking, bleary-eyed at the glaring light of day.

I wish to send love to my bi-polar husband's darker side, accepting it as a part of him....embracing the shadow, learning to love and live with all of him.

I wish to send love to his estranged children, the ones that I have befriended, and the ones who remain separated from us. I also wish to send much love to his soon-to-be-born grandson (his first grandchild), half a world away from us, and especially to the daughter who carries him.

I wish to send extra love to each of my own children today---
those that are making their way out in the world, and those still at home who are struggling with tough school years (last year of jr high and last year of high school), and with depression.
I am so proud of each one of them!

Oh there are so many more places that need, want, deserve my love today!
I wish that I had time to list them all, but I will keep each of them in a special place in my mind and heart today.

Thank you Jamie, for reminding me today.......

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Too Many Words

self-portrait
Too Many Words


There are still too many words buzzing around in my head to even begin to say what I'd want to today.

I spent the weekend with the lovely Baraka Elihu of WomanSpace, and a beautiful group of women writers, for a retreat so appropriately called Courting the Inner Artist
How inspiring!
And what a learning experience. My head is still spinning.

I felt such admiration for these women!
There were women of all kinds---
Young mothers...one totally devoted to her writing, to the point of scribbling as she wandered the hall during lunch....
Another just finishing her doctorate in anthropology, creating detailed visions for us of her travels to exotic places....Another young single woman, totally adorable, not sure of her direction just now, but absolutely sure that she wants to be in control of it for herself....
Another at mid-life, similar to me....starting to remember.

I realized just how much I miss writing....REAL writing (as opposed to writing strictly for money)
I wrote for survival, for companionship as a young girl, but writing fell by the wayside as I had children, and the demands of life overtook me and swallowed me up.

I realized that I still have something to say.
And that I have a right to say it.

Beautiful Beautiful Women
Rebecca, Katt, Susan, Baraka, Autumn

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Inspiration!

Don't mess with Hannah!
She's the Ambassador of Fearlessness.

Ok, so Miss Creative Juicy herself has outed me.
I have fear issues. There.....I said it.
Which is why I've retreated to a friend's lakehouse in the middle of nowhere, not really intending to blog, but now Connie has called me out.

I realized, of course, that fear is an overwhelming problem for me, but when I signed up for 3 online workshops over the last few weeks, it knocked all the wind out of my sails.
The first course did it (sorry Sarah!). I felt sure I could seriously benefit from a course labeled "letting fly--balance for the creative soul"....I think most of us could.I came up head-first against a brick wall when I realized just HOW out of balance my life had become! I couldn't even complete the assignments in any sort of coherent way.

Then there was Connie's workshop Art Journal Love Letters---what an awesome course!
This one I'd meant to get involved with for the longest time!
I was so excited to sign up, but then after watching Connie's videos, suddenly I was locked up with fear. WHY???Here I am....been art journaling for a while....teaching my own workshops.....and I can't do this??

My 13 year old, Hannah has also been art journaling for a while. She was looking over my shoulder at the videos; I didn't realize how much they'd inspired her.
She went straight out and bought herself a journal and supplies, came home and raided my studio....and just dove right in.
Watching her inspired me to actually get started.....seeing her fearlessness, her creativity...how could I not jump in with her?

Look at the mess we made!
Maybelline is terrified that we'll take over her window seat
too!

A set of pages I finished


I've also signed up with Carmen Torbus for her Spill It Revisited workshop.
I didn't get any further than downloading the supply list and homework assignments. I realized I wasn't ready to get started....I had to overcome this ridiculous fear first.

So I'm holed-up here, alone with my thoughts and fears, doing my best to face them and make peace with them, looking forward to heading home with a different frame of mind.

And that Hannah.....
The Ambassador of Fearlessness is away at camp this week, and I look forward to "playing" with her when she comes home.
I'm so proud that she's not afraid of her creativity, and I'm hoping that by Connie's sharing her story with the world, others can be inspired to LEAP!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ahhhh ...... Peace

Sweet Rose
by John William Waterhouse
One of my favorites of all time!

I had decided I would not post today upon seeing Jamie's Wishcasting Wednesday prompt.
What do I wish to
experience??
Come on!
The list is far too long!

As usual, upon further consideration
.... and I wonder if this is not Jamie's intention, to make us do more than pop off the first thing that comes to mind, realizing that there is more to the prompt...more to
US than that......
the answer came to mind----
I wish to experience PEACE.

If I can experience even a small few of the items on my list, I will experience peace.
I wish to experience health.
I wish to experience some semblance of financial security.
I wish to experience the joy of using my God-given gifts each day.

And I wish true peace for myself, my family, my friends, all of us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yeah, Yeah.. It's Tuesday....

Hannah doodled this lovely creature from
one of my cast-off portraits.
Wonder what she's trying to represent here?
Rage, depression, contempt?
Is this how my family sees me?
YIKES!

and I am not feeling myself today.
So I suppose that the awful UN-self-portrait is appropriate today.
This one was actually done by my youngest daughter. She snagged one of my self-portrait blanks and this was what she came up with. Unngh....

Changes in health, medication adjustments, changes in my body that appear to be beyond my control, changes in weather....
And FAR too much to catch up with have left me feeling....well....a lot like that creature that Hannah drew.

Instead of finishing a piece I intend to submit to a magazine (due Friday), or making a baby quilt (due before the baby actually gets here!), OR creating something of some substance for our wedding anniversary (which is Thursday---I've been married to that Canadian for 6 years!),
I've moped and slept today.

Patience is not what I'm known for, especially patience with myself.
At this point, I am in a position that I vowed I would never be in.
I hate taking pharmaceuticals in the first place, and stayed off them as long as I possibly could.
First it was meds for the diabetes.
Now it's meds for the fibromyalgia, but one of them is causing my blood sugar to spike, which means taking more of the other to compensate for the damage this one is causing.
I SWORE, after watching too many members of my family balance medications (for things that I thought they should just take responsibility for) that this would never happen to me.
Not only do I feel WAY out of sorts today, I am angry with myself.

It's Tuesday.
I posted a self portrait, as I'd committed to.
Now I think I'll go back into my lair and curl up under the covers.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Guest Post--- Happy Mother's Day, from My Canadian!

Motherhood - "A seed of limitless potential which when nurtured...
blossoms in colors unimaginable... with benefits beyond comprehension"


Mother' Day 2010 is soon to be.


I am not ready for it.

I have often wished that Mother's Day was held on the day of ones birth. A combined affair where the event celebrates the birth of a new being, and the transformation of another.

These celebrations would big like Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, and have a spiritual tone rather than a secular one. The original event of our birth was a very spiritual one. A soul expanding, unifying connection, that unleashed a flood of emotion that, in reflection still holds it's original enchantment and surrealism. These events would be held several times a year, corresponding to the number of births a Mother has experienced. I would not label these celebrations as Mother's Day or Birthday. They would rather be called Love Day, for it is memorializing the first day of loving and being loved.

Lets face it. We were not born with a concept of love. We learned it from our Mothers. We nursed, cried, messed, slept, got sick and then well again, all because our Mother first loved us. As we got older all the hugs, kisses, and snuggles from Mother brought us warm feelings that we enjoyed experiencing. We found that giving hugs, kisses, and snuggles to others also felt good. We may not have understood why these actions created emotions in us, or what these emotions meant, but we would label them as love and continue to grow from there.

As we grew together, Mother would (without any thought or expectation for repayment), express her love for us through her ongoing sacrifice. Sacrifice was a condition that was occurring right from the beginning, starting with morning sickness, emotional disorientation, physical discomfort, cramping, the issuing of blood and water, overwhelming pain, and relentless fatigue. That was your beginning, and now with time, maturity, and understanding, you came to see that her hugs, kisses, and snuggles, may have reassured us, but it was in the sacrifices that she laboured on your behalf that her true love lived and grew.

We emulate what we experience, and when we couple our behaviors with an understanding what they mean, we begin to thrive. Her love for us taught us to love others. Love is what is most important, and is the true measure of greatness in an individual.

Are Mothers perfect? Of course not. But I believe that the concept of Motherhood is perfect, and that all mothers who struggle to do their best in delivering hugs, kisses, snuggles, wiping dirty faces, driving to and experiencing recitals, games and doctors appointments, and issuing forth blood sweat and tears, makes the world much better place than it otherwise would be, and a simple one day a year commemoration celebrating Motherhood seems completely inadequate in comparison to their accomplishments and sacrifice.

Thank You ...Mother.
Thank You... Wife.
Thank You... Mother of Our Children.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Make 'em or Break 'em


"Heh Heh...."

The Canadian laughed when he heard today's Wishcasting Wednesday prompt....
What rules do you wish to make... or break.


"This is going to be hard for you .....You don't like rules. You want to break ALL of them!"

Off the cuff I thought "yeah, he's right. I
don't like rules".

Upon further consideration, I decided that it's not RULES I don't like.
Rules
must exist, correct?
Certain universal laws exist.....it's not the laws I dislike; it's what happens when I don't follow those rules that causes me trouble!

What I dislike vehemently is
authority.
No, let me clarify---I dislike authority for the
sake of authority....rules just for the sake of having power over someone else.
Now THOSE rules I'll break every chance I get!

I find myself breaking more and more rules as I learn to just be myself, not listening to others' opinions, not concerning myself with what they might say.
And I'm not feeling remorseful; I'm not feeling guilty.


If I could make my own rules (and I can, can't I?) ---
LOVE would be the basis for everything else....the reason for and the thought behind every other rule.
Love is
THE most important thing there is.
If my rule were in place, there would be little need for any other rules.
Think about it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Self Deception....the Worst Lies of All

The quote about masks/truth I used on the last self portrait
spawned this portrait, with an actual mask.
My face is in pencil, with a digitally created mask, eye color, and
flower-hair, all attached to a painted background.


We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us,
but we sip only little by little
at a truth we find bitter.

~Denis Diderot

Let's talk about TRUTH, or rather lies.....specifically--- the lies we tell ourselves.....
been on my mind lately.
A lot.

It's been difficult, painful even, to think about; I can only imagine how difficult it will be to write about....to confront the lies, admit them, take responsibility for them.
Frightening as it is, it must be done. I'm convinced that I won't get better, my life won't get better until I own up to this foolishness.

Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity,
comfort and advantage.
He lives... by make-believe.

~W. Somerset Maugham


I'm guessing that this will be a process, perhaps lengthy...a peeling of layers...
dropping all that is false, all that is not me

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth,
but by washing away from it all that is not gold.

~Leo Tolstoy


Funny thing, the way this started...Suddenly I could see so clearly how others' self-deception kept them from achieving their goals and desires---stopping their addictions, losing weight, regaining health.
How could they not see it? How was it not clear to them if it was so clear to me??


REALLY---
*how could those fancy new shoes make them firmer if they didn't get up off their a** and out of that recliner in front of the tv??
*How could they possibly lose any weight if they continued to get up in the middle of the night and consume whole cartons of ice cream....not only was that poor nutrition, but it was feeding their addictions, filling that empty hole....

Hmmmm.....really.....Indeed.

If you cannot find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it?

~Dogen

And then one day it hit me smack in the face....
Who was I to jump up on my soapbox??
Who was I to point fingers???
How true that old adage....when you point a finger, remember there are three pointing right back at you.

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths
may be
the rest of our truths.

~William James


This day I am committing to ponder those things that I lie to myself about (and the truth is, if I'm lying to myself, then I'm lying to you too).
I know what some of them are off the top of my head; I'm just guessing that there are more lurking under the surface of those lies....even more layers to peel away.


We do not err because truth is difficult to see.
It is visible at a glance.
We err because this is more comfortable.
~Alexander Solzhenitsyn

*I know already that I lie to myself about my diet (big secret! extreme sarcasm)---
I do try to eat healthy foods, but I am not ever-vigilant.
In and of itself, that's not really an earth-shattering confession; how many of us are totally committed to a healthy diet? Truthfully, I mean.
The underlying problem is that I am a diabetic.
And I have severe food allergies.
And I have lupus, and fibromyalgia.
A healthy diet is crucial to my getting well and staying well. Period.

*Exercise---ouch!
SO many lies!
I'm in too much pain (really? REALLY?).
I don't have time (REALLY REALLY?? And what am I doing? Just sitting here, vegetating.....Truthfully, I got nothing BUT time!)
I live out in the boonies; my driveway is too rough...I might injure myself; I have no car today; I can't afford a class/group; I really am afraid I'll injure myself, again.
Ok, some of those are truths, but I feel certain that they could be worked around if I wanted to do so.

*I claim that I don't use my illnesses as an excuse.
The real truth is that I do sometimes. I don't want to; I don't mean to. But sometimes I do. Like when I'm afraid. Or when I have unresolved issues.

*Spirituality.
Oh Dear!
The very place where lies are the most inappropriate.
Lying to God???
I can't lie to God; God knows my heart!
How can I be an example to my family, or anyone else, if I'm lying to myself??


The truth will set you free,
but first it will make you miserable.

~attributed to James A. Garfield


Now that I've exposed myself to the world, confessed my sins, as it were, announced my deception, even though I'm guessing I'm not confessing anything that wasn't already known publicly, I'm feeling a need to retreat into myself again, take the time to mull these lies over in a lot more depth than anyone else would want me to share.

I know that I am not alone in this self-deception.
Will you share with me as you look into your own soul and start peeling back those layers?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sometimes....


the best laid plans....
you know what I mean.

I've been regaining a bit of strength the last few days, so I had a little more planned for today.
I was behind, naturally, so I had no Wishcasting post for today, nor did I have my full pink moon dream wheel completed.

Ahh....home alone today; I could easily accomplish those things this morning.

But first came the phone call from an Athens musicians wife, giving me some great ideas for the next step in the Georgia Theatre art quilt project. Of course my mind started racing, expanding on those ideas and planning, planning.

I also had a call scheduled just before noon with the delightful Lisa Rough of Sacred Circle Creative Coaching
No problem.....I knew that the call would leave me refreshed and feeling able, ready for the rest of my busy day.
We had a lovely conversation, which would've allowed me to have the afternoon to myself, with not a shred of guilt....and I fully intended to take it.

And THEN.....
good ol' DB showed up on my doorstep, grinning from ear to ear with our latest project in hand.
How can I possibly turn down an adorable 5 year old who claims that he loves to come to Aunt Jennifer's house just to see what she's creating??

Papa had built a wooden tic tac toe board for him, and DB had very particular ideas about how it was to be finished. Could I help him?
You bet I could! That's just what Aunt Jennifers are for!

He completed his paint job--- yellow on the inside, green on the outside, mauve and gold on the bottom. The game pieces were painted a lavender-ish color.
DB had seen some of these games that I'd painted years ago, so he wasn't going to be content to have mere x's and o's on the pieces....oh no.

His first idea was....I kid you not.... angels vs. devils.....I half expected him to give me a lecture on the age-old battle between good and evil.
Soon he'd changed his mind---- cats and dogs; they go together....dogs chase cats you know.

While paint dried, we made oatmeal cookies, but we included several "extras", again at his insistence, to ensure that no one else in the house would like them. I was thinking that maybe the devils and angels were the better choice.....

Oh dear....the artist in me kicks in.
I just happened to have puppies and kittens that I'd drawn years ago. We dragged them out, scanned them, sized and printed them, cut them all out, then decoupaged them onto the lavendar squares.
Then there was a stern lecture about being sure I used the clear spray finish outside, because it was "fume-y" and therefore bad for my lungs. But of course.

Needless to say, the blog post wasn't done; the dreamboard wasn't finished, but you know what?
I had a great day!
I let go of my "grown-up" plans with no guilt; I had some fun, and hopefully, I created some life-long memories for this little guy.
What could be more important?

So I suppose a wish was granted today after all---
I invested in family, relationships, memories, and love....all in the space of an afternoon.
Beautiful!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MUSE-Day.....The Power of the MASK

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person;
Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde

Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait for Halloween?

Sure, the candy haul was a lot to look forward to, but trut
hfully, wasn't it the idea of the costume, the mask, of becoming someone else for a few hours, of playing a role, acting out and not being responsible for it because it was someone else?

Certain of my children still does this, at the age of 25 with a real job, and adult responsibilities, and doesn't always wait for Halloween. He revels in the opportunity to allow that other side of his personality, that other persona, loose on an unsuspecting world.

I have often wondered if this is how he stays balanced and in control...
the behaviors of this "dark side" are not considered socially acceptable without the costume and the make-up.

The truth....I myself still delight in opportunities to become someone else for a while, whether through costume and make-up, or a mask. There are parts of my own personality that can only see the light of day when guarded by a mask, whether real or perceived.
Maybe we want to "try on" a different personality; maybe we're just trying to "fake it till we make it", attempting to learn new behavior.

Much of the time, though, our masks are simply a front that we put on for others, either to impress them or to hide what we consider our imperfections or shortcomings, those parts of ourselves that we feel we need to hide from others.

What masks do YOU wear?
Are you wearing them for fun, to attempt a change, or out of fear?
Please share with us! We really want to hear what you think and feel!



Monday, April 26, 2010

Healing Maggie Grace---My Auction Contribution

I've finally chosen my contribution for the Healing Maggie Grace raffle, benefiting my friend and 2-time cancer survivor, Teresa (read her story here)

What would be more appropriate than some Encouraging Words?

I'm donating a set of 10 glass bubbles, including the words courage, pray, hugs, live, yes, heal, rest, hope, stillness, and service.
Also included in this special Moon Mama package-- 5 wooden Words from the Heart ATCs/magnets, including the encouraging words courage, hope, heal, love, and live.

You can bid to win these items or any of the delicious creations that have so lovingly been donated by our fellow artists at www.HealingMaggieGrace.blogspot.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

SWEET! Latest Georgia Theatre Art Quilt Submission


Our most recent submission for the Georgia Theatre art quilt is AWESOME!
At least that's the general consensus at my house....everyone who's seen it, loves it.
How cool--- a guitar, cut from a vinyl record album (remember those, kiddies?), labeled with a photo of the Georgia Theatre, the neck of the guitar making the statement "Rise aGAin"!
I love it!

And this masterpiece was created by none other than my pal Teresa Atkinson of MaggieGraceCreates !
Believe it or not, she hurried to finish it before she had her surgery, "just in case", she said.
She dropped it off the day before tripping off to the hospital to have her kidney removed, bless her.
She is doing just fine, by the way.

the "Georgia Theatre" label

the guitar's neck--notice the shiny GA

Please remember folks--- the absolute LAST CALL for submissions is one week from today!
The deadline is FRIDAY APRIL 30!!
Contact me to make arrangements for drop off, pick up or mailing in your quilt squares or band t-shirts.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Double Dog DARE You...!

Jenz Happy Dance when the Canadian's
studio was finished

Oh BOY.
What do I wish to dare?

That Jamie Ridler really knows how to stir it up, doesn't she?
Every Wednesday with her Wishcasting prompts.... my mind, my spirit... all churned up, going in first this direction, then that, until I finally gain enough clarity to write it out.

Well let me just tell you what I DARE---

I dare to just BE ME.....
to be who I am, no matter what.....
No matter what anyone else has to say, or even think about it.

And I dare to look my enemy FEAR right in the eye, until he blinks....
and slinks right out my door, dragging his sorry tail behind him.

YEAH.
That's it.
That's what I dare.
So THERE.

What do YOU wish to dare today?

PS---
I borrowed this video from Lucy at Mixed Media Musings
Gotta love the wolf (wolf = lupus)!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday---Muse-Day

Moon Mama, self portrait, age 12

The quote at the bottom reads:
What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart!
What jailer so inexorable as one's self!
Nathanial Hawthorne

Look at that face----
SUCH sweetness, such innocence.....
Yet forlorn and frightened...
Part teenager, but still part little girl...

What a beautiful age.
What an awful age.

This was the first actual self portrait in the series I've started, a replica of the original photo.
Some of you may have seen it before, when Christine of BlissChick and I talked about the sad transformation that takes place around the time a girl turns twelve.

Even though there was a bit of the wild child left in me at this time in my life, look more closely and you'll notice a certain hesitancy, a slightly bitten lip, a sadness in the eyes.
I had discovered that who I really was could be frightening to others, unacceptable, uncomfortable at the very least.
This is the time in my life when that door had been slammed shut so many times, it stuck closed.

As Teresa of Maggie Grace World commented a couple of weeks ago, I've got my foot in that door, and now it's time to kick it wide open!

**************************************************

Speaking of Teresa, her kidney was removed on Friday and she is home from the hospital today!
The miracles of modern medicine coupled with a strong, unstoppable woman wrapped in a blanket of prayer from friends and strangers alike......and WOW...amazing things happen.

Teresa's blog friends have started a blog on her behalf---www.HealingMaggieGrace.blogspot.com
Artists from all over are making donations of their work to be auctioned off, and there is a PayPal link if you'd care to donate funds to assist in Teresa's care.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Because This IS What We Do---

Yes I Can spoon pendant by Teresa of Maggie Grace Creates

Although this has weighed heavily on my mind for the last week, I have, maybe foolishly, refrained from writing about it.
I've needed time to process, I suppose; but now's the time to stop feeling angry and helpless and share with all of you Dear Folk, and ask for your help and support.

My dear friend (who happens to be Sam's girlfriend's mom) and fellow artist, Teresa has kidney cancer. She thought she was struggling with a kidney stone just last week, only to find that there is a huge mass in one kidney, and that she will lose the entire kidney.

I've sat here all week, wondering what I can do for the person who does it all for everyone else.
Fortunately she has other artist/blogger friends who did more than sit---they created this blog to help Teresa and her family out--- www.HealingMaggieGrace.blogspot.com

I know of your goodness and your generosity, and it's time to call on you to show them.
Please do what you can to help!
MaryAnn and Jen are asking for donations of artwork, gift certificates to your Etsy sites or to other retail establishments, anything appropriate for a raffle which will be held Mother's Day week.There is a link on the blog to a paypal account if you prefer to donate cash.

Teresa has no idea the support she's been to me; she's one of my biggest cheerleaders!
So it's time to return the favor.

original painting by Jennifer Schildknecht, aka Moon Mama

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Do You Wish to Be Gentle With Today?

Georgia pollen, actual size
No wonder we're all suffering so! ;)

Seriously, I haven't had such a rough spring as far as allergies go....a little bit of a stuffy nose, and crunchy eyes first thing in the morning....not nearly so much as most Georgians are suffering right now.

I've been sick since Monday, thinking it was just another lupus-thing, compounded by allergies, until I started running a fever last night. That's when I knew--- this is a COLD.

Having lupus/fibromyalgia, I have to be extra careful with even little things like colds.
I tend to push myself to keep going, rather than wallowing in my pain or weakness, but I'm learning (after HOW long?!)....I HAVE to take it easy sometimes!

When Jamie asked today "what do you wish to be gentle with", my answer was obvious---
I wish to be gentle with myself!
And I'm betting that "myself" will be the number one answer on the Wishcasting circuit today!
I'm learning that I need to be gentle with myself far more often than I allow, but I especially need it when I am sick, or it can lead to serious complications.

So it's another cup of peppermint tea and back to bed for me.
Go and enjoy this gorgeous spring day for me!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

original photo borrowed from the internet, artist unknown,
and altered by Jennifer

Quote: I feel my body, my mind,
weighted down --- all is heavy---
but my blood, my inner fire,
my passion,
the little unburdened kid in me,
patiently wait to burst free.

Some of us die never having burst.


Drew Sirtors

I can't bear the thought of dying, never having burst!
I'm ready; I'm ready to explode!
There's too much to be and do....

Come on! Let's play!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Georgia Theatre Quilt Project Takes a New Turn

the fabulous Vanda Guthrie

...and all because of a comment on Facebook when I posted the last block submission!

The lovely, lovely Vanda Guthrie (wife of Michael Guthrie and mother of the late Jon Guthrie) has graciously offered to help me out by prodding local bands to submit their band t-shirts for the Georgia Theatre art quilt.

Michael and Vanda Guthrie

I had originally asked her to create a memorial block for her son Jon, and one for the Michael Guthrie Band (a mainstay of the Athens music scene). She, apparently being the total sweetheart I've heard she is, took the idea and ran with it, vowing to "make this happen".

I've been begging for submissions from anyone and everyone--- bands, artists, businesses, school kids....locally and globally.....anybody!
But Vanda tells me that all bands have t-shirts; this is free publicity for the bands (who can't use some free publicity???!!) and, hello....how hard is it to hand over a t-shirt??!!
Vanda will even cut your quilt square out of it for you! Come on!

My original plan was to have enough squares for a quilt to auction locally, a quilt to auction on ebay so that we could open the bidding up globally, and of course, one to hang in the re-built theatre.
It's entirely possible that, if we receive enough band t-shirts, that a BAND ART QUILT can be put together just for the theatre!
Come on folks----if you've ever played there, ever wanted to play there, or just want to show your support for the Georgia Theatre, hand it over!

To learn more about this project, and see examples of previous submissions, search my blog;
just enter Georgia Theatre.
You can also read about it at the official theatre site.
Please note that the absolute last call for submissions is APRIL 30!
If you have any questions at all, or to arrange to submit your block, don't hesitate to contact me.

For further reading on the Athens music scene, visit here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm Doing It!

How do I wish to bloom today?
That is the question from the always effervescent Jamie Ridler today.

I realized, after a bit of thought this morning, that I'm already doing it.... I'm blooming!
Day by day, little by little, just like a blossom unfurling from a tightly wound bud.... often seemingly against my will, but I'm becoming more of the flower I was meant to be.

I'm working to better my health through spiritual as well as physical means, strengthening spirit, mind and body.
I'm coaxing myself to create on a more regular basis.
I'm putting myself "out there" more and more, learning to tell fear to step aside--- I'm sharing more, writing more, holding small workshops, spearheading a community project.

The ironic thing is--- I seem to be blooming, and heading in the direction I've always wanted, even though I don't feel ready....even though a part of me is being dragged along for the ride!
The Canadian laughed when he saw my full worm moon dream board; he pointed out that it prominently stated "ready or not, here we come".
He's noticed it too....

By the way, all you Wishcasters--- the Canadian wanted me to mention to those of you who noticed his wish last week and added yours to his----He got his motorcycle that very evening.
Thanks folks!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tuesdays are Now MUSE-Days for Moon Mama!

A while back, I began a series of self-portraits loosely based on an idea proposed by artist Nic Hohn in the March/April 09 edition of Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine.

I chose one of my favorite photos of myself and, using Photoshop, extracted my face. I removed the color and altered the contrast, leaving a pale and washed out version of myself. I made multiple copies in various sizes to play with.

It has been a remarkably enlightening process, this recreating myself --- trying on, not only new hairstyles or clothing, or re-forming features, but trying on new personalities (even a different species once!), wondering how those women would behave.

Today I feel comfortable sharing these portraits with you (I already shared one way back).
Some are playful and silly, but others are quite personal.

From this day forward, Tuesdays will be Moon Mama's MUSE-Days.....
I'll share a portrait and you can find out for yourself just what's inside....
what secrets are hidden behind that smiling Moon Mama...if you dare!

The first page in this journal of self-discovery isn't really an altered portrait, at least not like the others. This is what came to mind when I contemplated what I was about to jump into---
another favorite photo, taken when I was five years old, at my sassiest.
What were YOU like when you were five?



Journaling:

I remember being so full of life as a kid--- energetic, mischievous, creative,
sassy, exuberant, inventive, playful, fanciful, spirited,
but at the same time a dreamer---
deep, sensitive, imaginative, even spiritual.
I had not forgotten who I was.
I guess I was told too many times to stop being that person;
so in order to be accepted,
I forgot...
And the door shut.