The Art of Showing Up

“The Art of Showing Up”

Every March I take the long way home to check on this prickly pear cactus. Over the years, without fail, she gets her flowers long before other cacti, and her blossoms tell me, not in an arrogant way, but in a subtle way,

“It’s spring in the desert!”

I show up to check on her, and she shows up to tell me,

It’s time for the magic!

and nudges me to

Keep showing up!

Twisted

“Twisted”

March 11, 2020

The world is going to “close” for over a year.

No way, that’s twisted.

March 11, 2021

A discarded black paper face mask blows across the intersection in front of my car. Weird, that’s no longer twisted.

After a year, we’re still masked up and not “free to move about the cabin”

Twisted.

Ready for some straightening out.

No Typos

“No Typos”

We inherited this 1917 Corona typewriter when we moved my MIL into memory care. The typewriter sat on a dusty shelf in my MIL’s garage. For years, my in-laws refurbished antiques, but with my FIL’s unexpected death four years ago and my MIL’s recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the antiques gathered dust, not new owners.

As I inspected the old-school typewriter, I noticed its manufacturer, Corona Typewriter Co. It’s 2020 and ironic that this year “corona” has a whole new meaning. Corona means virus. I also noted the typewriter’s age, made in 1917 – the year before that “other virus,” the Spanish flu threatened our world’s health.

In my MIL’s garage, while inspecting the typewriter’s condition, visions of WPM challenges and white-out autocorrection triggered memories of late-night research papers and of keeping up with my boss’ dictation; jogging memories of typists’ rules – to double space after punctuation and to include five spaces when beginning a new paragraph –

Many typewriter rules have vanished as have the chorus of the dinging typewriters’ returning carriages, but the memories are vivid and remain.

Deciding if I should take the typewriter, I thought,

My typewriter memories are clear. I remember. I remember fondly and positively my history.

Alzheimer’s robs memories.

Thankfully, right now, it hasn’t stolen mine.

Being able to think, to create, to type, and to remember are gifts.

I boxed up the Corona, put it into the Uhaul trailer, and drove it, along with my MIL’s personal belongings, 750 miles – from CO to PHX. We unloaded the Uhaul but left the boxes for three weeks while we settled my MIL into her new home. Because of coronavirus, my MIL’s memory care center is in lockdown and closed to visitors. I decided to open the boxes, finding the Corona.

I brainstormed how to display the typewriter and its symbolism in our home, Esperanza.

I found the Corona 3 font online, typed and printed my favorite quote,

“that possibility absolutely exists,”

and fed the printed paper with its specialty font into the typewriter’s carriage.

The Corona typewriter and its typed message belong here.

To our world, Corona still means a virus, but to me, it now also means esperanza, hope.

The possibility of us, too, developing Alzheimer’s someday absolutely exists, but right here, right now, we are filling Esperanza with esperanza.

No typos, you read that right,

what’s meaningful to us

is

we can remember.

Crop Til You Drop

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.

The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” – J.R.R. Token

 

To live the life of our dreams, we visualize and edit what we want our lives to look like.

How big do we want to make it? How small do we want to manage?

What do we leave in, and what do we crop out?

When do we make changes, and when do we surrender?

Who do we ask for guidance; someone who’s older and wiser

or possibly someone younger and quicker? Whoever, let’s make room for those to help us get it just right –

 editors we trust for varied perspectives, and

who’s insight inspires and ignites.

Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what we want our individual lives to look like,

but at the end of the road, may we gather together

and

marvel at our cropped masterpieces,

our dreams we’ve brought to life.

“Crop Til You Drop”


48″ x 40″ residential installation 07.24.2020

“Crop Til You Drop”

Holier Than Thou

I knew I’d be giving up sweets for Lent, but this year, I randomly added, “don’t touch my face” to my 40-day Lenten sacrifice.

And now, my seemingly simple sacrifice has turned into a worldwide pandemic rule.

I have no choice, but to

play by the rules,

Stay home and don’t touch my face until well beyond Easter.

Sometimes it takes a big wake-up call to realize our choices and actions impact not only ourselves but also others.

And let me tell you from first-hand (don’t touch) experience,

Playing by the rules is the only way to play. When we go off the path, we, more often than not, get lost,

And I really want to play again someday, so let’s play by the rules, stay on the path and stop this pandemic.

Hopefully,  this virus will soon be a thing of our past,

but right here, right now, it’s not a time to act

309A0535“Holier Than Thou”

Copycatting Cactus

  • stay sharp, not spineless
  • low maintenance
  • patient under pressure
  • content in solitude
  • adapt to extreme conditions and any environment
  • drink water when thirsty; reserving some for a drought
  • protect against dangers
  • inclusive to neighbors – just don’t get too close!
  • keep a thick skin
  • ignore what others think; do what’s necessary for the Kingdom

and guess what else?!

Grow  and

flower

in good times or in bad.

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“Copycatting Cactus”

Esperanza

I’ve just been told about @imadilife passing this am –

I met Madi via IG, right as she posted her stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis. Each day forward, I waited for Madi’s stories and posts – her strength soothed the grief I’m still processing since the loss of my beloved friend to stage 4 lung cancer almost 2 years ago. I dm’d Madi that.  She responded with love and “followed back.”

Often heartwrenching to see her IG stories,  I celebrated Madi’s rawness and transparency; giving her followers an insider’s view into treatment and survival and, sadly, Madi’s story and suffering are so relatable to so many in our world.

As the months went by, Madi’s treatment became much more difficult, and Madi began to lose her grip on cancer’s progression. She still mustered up the positivity and strength to post her treatment updates as she negotiated through surgeries, labs, hospital transfers, and cancer complications. I could see beyond the images and videos and know too well the realities of treatment – weakening: trying to comeback, sliding downhill and crawling uphill, day in and day out.

And then, last week, online silence.

Madi stopped posting.

As the coronavirus spread and the world’s shutdown began, I intermittently checked on Madi via her IG feed.

Quiet.

I began to worry about her.

I hoped, maybe she’s healing from surgery?

I knew she’s vulnerable, so I hoped everyone’s sheltering-in-place for people like Madi.

I didn’t know who to ask how Madi’s holding up, but I believed her silence said enough.

Now, as I hear the news of Madi’s passing, I sit in stillness and silence, stunned by what she’s endured and grateful for what Goodness she leaves in her wake and in my life.

I hope that Madi’s finally free from her physical pain, and I’m in awe of her loving husband, mother, and family who protected her from evil and are now humbly lifting her up to God.

I’m overwhelmed with “Esperanza” —  of living life to the fullest, right here, right now,

And celebrating the intention when we allow a stranger to become a friend.

Touched by imadilife, I believe an angel sent to me via IG and via jwls2707 from above, for life.

 

5DB979D9-4F1C-4650-A7E0-17106DEBC6C7.JPG
“Esperanza”

 

 

Listen to Your Art

“Listen to Your Art”

In April I said goodbye to my friend of 25+ years – she left earth exhausted and without words.

The last 7 months I’ve heard and seen the realities of grief – of my own, of those who also love my friend, and of those who have lost a love I didn’t know but have shared their grief with me – Grief and reconciliation and the need for healing are rampant in our world.

Less than a month ago, my daughter asked if I’d travel to Amsterdam with her since no one else had the same work time-off. I texted my German penpal, asking if she’d meet us there, too.

An ocean away yet my penpal responded within minutes, “I’m in.”

Today I went all over Amsterdam with my daughter and lifelong penpal – we went to the Banksy exhibit @mocomuseum , and later in the day, I biked Amsterdam’s streets with my daughter who I taught how to ride a bike; chasing her down a golf course fairway holding onto her bicycle seat, yelling, pedal! go! and with my penpal who as children, we were introduced by our parents – a gazillion letters ago –

Life is fleeting yet friendship is like the light that decided to show up on this #Banksy work of art right while I was taking a closer look –

Present yet sometimes flickering and sometimes seemingly out of reach – True friendship is a two-party contract that stands up to the tests of time; showing up when least expected and in ways, more moving than I, pre-grief, could’ve imagined “I’m in and here to stay. I’m tucked safely within you; securely fastened within your heart right exactly where the real magic lives.”

And listen here – pinkie swear –

We’re taking care of each other’s hearts and art forevermore.

IMG_0468II

I know deep within my heart that she would’ve liked this if she were alive to “like” my art.

I was listening then, and I’m listening now.

That has not changed.