Looking and Listening Lessons

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My first piece produced via amazing art instruction and studio time...was a still life, .Prisma on paper. The last one I made under that instruction was a 2x3' lighthouse landscape chalk pastel on paper circa 1984 or 1985......after a 30 year hiatus from creating this kind of work, aside from a few renderings in architecture school, and a commission for a motorcycle trade show...I got back in art class at the art league in 2014-ish, learning how to paint with watercolor and other things. On may 16 of last year, after playing with the paint tools on my iPad my curiosity took over and I bought acrylics and a canvas....Almost a year later, I find myself remembering and leading a studio in my house, similar to the one I attended and planning an art program and an incredible launch! Fear and a lack of trust in my own longings and curiosities kept me from fully connecting with this joy for three decades. I am so grateful to finally see how all of my wanderings and restlessness were working together to find the path to playing and listening deeply to students of all ages whose curiosities and longings will be heard, seen, and celebrated, just like mine were at age 15. I hope to help others receive and believe in themselves. Hopefully they won't wait 30 years, and/ or they will see how their wanderings hold the thread of creativity like mine did....art and creativity were always there. What I learned through art instruction fueled every success since....it was there all along in every innovation and transformation in every career and every project....and now..it all makes sense.

Steve Was Our Julie the Cruise Director

 Here he is making fun of my gross miscalculation of shirt size. The image online looked like it was going to be one of those tiny fitted ladies sized shirts. I wear an XL in those so I way overshot the size...He modeled it with a big pillow underneath.

Here he is making fun of my gross miscalculation of shirt size. The image online looked like it was going to be one of those tiny fitted ladies sized shirts. I wear an XL in those so I way overshot the size...He modeled it with a big pillow underneath.

In the past year, our family, teamS-P, called him Julie more than we called him Steve. In June of last year we attempted an epic vacation with Julie in charge. Our trip was cut short when my grandfather passed away. I never imagined we would lose our Julie too. Way too soon. The first part of this reflection on his life was posted a few days after his passing. The second half was added for this full piece read at his memorial. 

He drove

He drove to Dairy Queen for blizzards for teenage grandsons, creating a late night ritual.
He drove all the  plans for adventures, hiking, concerts, festivals, and historic excursions. 
He drove across country to basic training graduations and to deliver four wheeled gifts to grandchildren
He drove in-laws to doctors, pharmacies, Sunday brunches, dinners, and everywhere they needed to go in between.
He drove to the airport

He parked

For airport arrivals, he parked the car because curbside wasn't good enough. He walked the extra distance to be there as close as he could to receive, to grab our load, to escort us to baggage claim, to carry grandchildren while lifting their moods and the energy of their exhausted parents.
When we got home, he parked himself on the floor with the littlest kids, wrestling, giggling, teasing, the lower he got, the higher the giggles and squeals.
For our departures, he delivered us safely to the curb, unloading each bag, hugging each of us and double checking that we knew where we were headed.

He ran

He liked running in the heat. He ran long distances. He worked out on stationary equipment at the gym so that he could run longer, farther.
He was closing in on running the 20th Flying Pig marathon, he had never missed completing one.
When he ran, he drove himself farther and harder than we felt comfortable. Maybe it was the way he balanced all the ways he walked the extra miles for us, or all the ways he parked and played. 

He loved

exuberantly, playfully, tenderly, in sprints and long distances.
I don't know how to say where we all are now without him. He was a verb that is now past tense. He worked so hard and packed in so many memories but none of them are good enough right now. 
All we want is one more step with him. 
Maybe the verb he used the most is the only one that can be sustained after this loss. 
Maybe his love remains in every step we take right now....one at a time. 

Steve was our ‘Julie the Cruise Director’
Life was his love boat
He never missed an excursion
He made the most of every activity

We grieve the plans we had with and for him in our futures.
We are grateful that he was a romantic.
He lived well
He loved better

He planned the perfect moments. He made moments meaningful, but he wasn’t too distracted with the planning to miss the moments himself. He experienced them fully, through all of the senses. He showed us how to do the same.

Like loading us all up and taking us to the Indy track to see the Christmas lights, street lights twinkling through the oversized flakes. He insisted we listen to the cheesy music on the radio station dedicated to the Lights at the Brickyard. 

When we went to the Indy 500 race, we had to walk on the track, cruise around the infield, eat the crunchy and greasy sandwich, watch the flyover, and walk down to the wall at the edge of the track to allow our chests to vibrate in unison with the cars as they thundered by. 

Steve was our “Julie the Cruise Director”
Life was his love boat
He lived well
He loved better

He bought all of the tickets, he upgraded them when he knew he was hosting a rookie, surprising us when we kept walking towards the stage, ending up front row center at the Moody Blues. That time he missed most of the concert, but he was doing what he loved, running our drinks, buying the t-shirts, making sure we made the most of every activity.

He bought a lot of
Drinks,
Tickets for train rides, concerts, and IU games, 
Game tokens, buckets of balls, blizzards, White castles,
And one of everything at the ballpark!

He made a lot of noise and made our kids roar with laughter and squeal with surprise and delight

While we grieve and let go of the plans for our futures with him here physically, we pull into the present all of the rich memories. We remember that he showed us how to get the most out of life.

To see it
To taste it
To smell it
To hear it
To feel it

To live well
Love better
And love each other through it.

Practice 4/17 Rewriting a Psalm

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My rewrite of Psalm 8, from Nan C. Merril's translations, Psalms for Praying
I guess this makes it twice removed....

Love, in all things
Glory of pure curiosity and wonder

Released from pride
Freed from fear

A simple gaze the smallest leaf, the tiniest creatures
reveal the expanse of the cosmos.

What power could there be in being human
if we forsake the power in these?

Why do we not nurture the earth, worship its creatures
tend to the resources that give us all life?

Our own breath teaches us to give and take.
Why do we deny one and only do the other?

For instructions on rewriting sacred text, download my instruction sheet here. Visit the 'practice' page for to browse instruction sheets for over 20 practices. The pdf downloads are free.