Hello dear ones....Do you ever have those months (no, not days MONTHS) where everything seems to just get turned completely upside down? Nothing is as it was...and it is scary as heck. You have trouble falling asleep, no matter how tired you are and then you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding and fear is the blanket you are sleeping under? That's what I've been living. And you know what....I am so grateful for it. Granted I'll be equally as grateful when it's over...but I needed to go through this. I needed to turn my life in a different direction. I screw things up fairly regularly in my life and God just keeps reminding me I am a Child of Grace and He is looking out for me...in His own kick-my-butt kind of way. I insisted on sailing my ship in MY direction...and He kept showing me the GPS (God Positioning System) and said I was gonna get lost. I didn't listen...really...just sort of...sure that he would turn my ship at the last minute just like he always had. This time though....he sank my battleship.
I began having trouble with my arm in early August. A slight ache that wouldn't go away after my long drive to and from L.A. became an injury that really limited my life. I thought one had to serve tennis balls for a couple of decades to get a rotator cuff injury. Alas....'tis not the case. Apparently ten years of ripping fabric will do the trick. So for two months now I have been in almost constant discomfort. Sometimes out and out pain, mostly just uncomfortable and limited in what I can do. Now if you are someone who knows me at all...me and limitations are not the best of friends. But it became very clear to me in early September that there was no way in the world I was going to be able to drive to and from the East Coast. Even flying was considered and then decided against. I was just in too much pain too often. So with a heavy heart....I canceled a 5 week teaching tour. Very sad. I was so thankful for all the wonderful support from those on the other end of the trip that was not to be.
So I stood under my grapevine covered arbor out in my garden every morning and talked to God. After all He IS the Vine. Many times I felt like David in the book of Psalms....."Hellooooooo are you there? I'm dyin' here!" David might have been a tad bit more eloquent. But God became silent and still (except for the moments he was busy sinking my ship) and I started to feel rejected, confused and then angry. What the heck! I'm doing my best here! You told me this is what you wanted me to do! You said to teach! Give it all away. Well I'm trying to teach....I have given it all away and you have completely abandoned me! Hellooooooo!
Then my niece Meghan came to live with us. An angel. My angel. Through her eyes I began to see things differently. She had just been through a really rough time and was so grateful for every little thing. She started posting pictures on her Facebook in an album called "My New Life." Pictures of a raspberry bush, a funny looking little dog, an art studio, a leaf on the ground, a peach pie on a countertop, sun tea on a deck railing. I looked at those pictures and I smiled. Nice new life ya got there, kid. But wait a minute...the life she was taking pictures of was mine. That was my dog and my peach pie!
And then I thought about David again.
Yes, he had railed against God and complained that he had abandoned him in his time of greatest need, but he also did something I had stopped doing. I had stopped being grateful....I mean REALLY grateful. Not the kind of grateful after you are almost in a car wreck, but avoided it. I am talking about a state of thankfulness. Grateful for a raspberry bush. David would complain (alot actually) but he usually sandwiched it in between thanking God and saying He was good. I mostly complained. I see now that God wants me to trust Him. I can not trust Him to take care of me...to clear the road for me...when I am not grateful for the road in the first place. And so I stopped complaining (mostly) and started thanking him in the time under my grapevine. And you know what? He said to me just this morning...."Ok...new ship...get on it...trust me to be the wind in the sails."
2011 will be the last year I will be teaching my collage techniques in a strictly Art Workshop environment. Oh I'll still make art...I'll make lots and lots of art. I will no longer teach what I do unless it is a part of something a bit more meaningful...more well rounded. After 2011, I will begin to limit myself to teaching in my Colorado Collage Conference held twice a year and in my Imagination Congregation, also twice a year. One will focus on Art, Marketing and Motivation and the later on God and Art....combining the two into a creative life that will change lives. I am determined to finish my book of humorous, personal essays called "The Trinity and The Trailer Park" and to speak around the country about the art I love and the Grace that saved my life in more ways than one. I'm gonna be an Art Preacher. I'm going to dedicate myself to a Mixed Media Ministry.
So this is the new ship. The U.S.S. Honor the Father. Wanna sail with me?
Love you. Mean it.
To see the schedule for Imagination Congregation visit www.studioretreats.ning.com