Trying to Fly?

Imitation Wings

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight. Psalm 3:5-6

I have experienced the difference between trying to fly (living in my own strength), and taking flight (trusting in the Lord).

lyrics from “the Walking Dead” on “My Heart’s Lament” Album. featured in my upcoming book “The Faith Keeper”.

initial image from http://www.dreamstime.com, added quote and design by Cindy Palin

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Two Words to Live By

There’s a kidney-shaped blotch of glue residue on the left side of my brand new “Blanco” kitchen sink.  The plumber forgot to glue the sink in place when he mounted it the first time.  It was almost as if I knew something would happen when he came to finish the job the second time ’round.

Every time I play my black shiny “KAWAI” piano, given to me by my Father, I see the enamel chip on the right arm where the piano tuner dropped his tools, even after I asked him to keep his tool box on the floor.

There is a rather large set of scratches where someone I love, moved a chair across our cherry hardwood floor, that took some very dear friends of ours, along with our amateur help – one whole weekend to install.  Did I mention we saved over seven years for that floor?  Every time I vacuum and polish the floor I see the Grand Canyon.

Years ago, the mark on the sink would have sent my heart down the drain of despair – for weeks, possibly months!  The piano chip would have inspired a very loud “Anger Sonata”, or worse yet – the sound of silence!   And the grand canyon on my hardwood floor would have been hammered down on my friend’s floor, out of a need for retribution.

But lately, when I am reminded of the imperfections around me, my emotions don’t flinch about them, or the dear people who were unintentionally a part of them.  I flinch about my own flaws, every last one of them.  But only for a second, because God keeps his promises.  He is changing me.

Gone are the days of my rage over a broken vase, that my sister and mother spent hours to repair.  I’ve long since repented of that, and left behind my coat of shame.  And the grace that I should have shown then, is the grace that is shown to me every day,  and the grace I choose to live by.  The grace of God.  People make mistakes, I make mistakes.

There are two words to live by – forgiveness and grace.

 

 

Creating a Collage of Achievements

Knee surgery, among other less invasive issues, has kept me from my spring cleaning.  But it didn’t stop us from  having a house concert with Ben Rogers, Dan Zepick, and our daughter Julie Palin!  Class act indeed!

After the dust settled and Monday morning came, I hobbled slowly down the stairs to choose another forgotten object off the shelf.  This time – a Fire Fighter license plate.  My husband volunteered with our hometown Fire Department for fifteen years.  Once he recognized (in his own words) that he wasn’t getting quality time with his toddler children, he quit.  Everyone thought I put him up to it, but he made that decision on his own.  I think he decided being part of his children’s lives was just as important as saving lives.  He may have stopped putting out flames, but having him home kept the home fires burning.

Recently I framed his Carpentry Apprenticeship Certificates and hung them above the desk he made for his final project.  This license plate is going to add to the collage of his achievements.  However, rather than frame it just because I can (we own and operate a custom framing business called; My hometown Framing), I thought hanging it much like a sign would be the trendy thing to do.

I visited http://www.pinterest.com and pinned a few of  my “license plate” choices on a new board called; license plate art.  The selection is vast and varied, but I selected only those that suited our home.  One in particular stood out, with a black background.  I was actually looking to find choices with the plate standing alone (without a frame).  If I decide to hang the plate without a frame, I want to use the same hardware you would use to fasten a plate to your vehicle, but only a false front look, as you don’t want big nut and bolt holes in your wall.

Next, I searched pinterest for ideas on hanging different kinds of art on the wall together.  It is one thing for me to create a collage of art on our art rail, and a whole other story to create a collage above my husband’s desk.

We have a letter “P” that my sister gave us one Christmas.  I noticed that many of the wall collages contained different shaped frames with an object or two, like a “letter/alphabet” to create interest.  I’ve decided to hang the letter in the collage as well, since it represents our last name.  The letter was designed with an inset hanging device on the back, so a simple nail should do.

I’ll be sure to pin a picture of this collage – to my pinterest board, http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=hanging%20art%20collages

 

 

Spring Cleaning Responsibly – Recycle

When you’re cleaning off shelves, especially those in the basement, photo albums are not the only keepsakes that can take you back in time.  How about a plastic floppy disc container?  When was the last time you used a floppy disc?   I used them in the 80’s, when I worked at Extension Services at Olds College.

This floppy disc container looks official, grey, clean lines, with a lock – but no key.  I searched for it briefly, the proverbial needle in a haystack.  I tried the detective move, the one we’ve seen countless of times on television.  Sharp objects in both the key opening and the drawer jam at the same time.  Wiggle them around with a measure of umph!  No luck.  It now sits by my kitchen sink, freshly washed, waiting patiently for my daughter and husband to come home and break into it – hopefully.

There are floppy discs inside, I could tell when I shook it.  But my guess – they’re of no importance and could easily be shredded and recycled.  Besides, if they were important, would I not have done something with them by now?

VERY IMPORTANT:  do not throw your unwanted plastic household items in the garbage!  Plastic does not break down in a landfill, nor should we pass off the object onto someone else for them to deal with – two of my largest pet peeves.

In the meantime I went forward into the future to the internet, to Pinterest and other sites to explore ideas for recycling such a “thing”.

You may want to visit:  http://www.brit.co/diy-floppy-disk-planters/, to see how you can make colorful, industrial looking planters from floppy discs.

You may want to visit Pinterest.  Whether or  not you have a free account, you can still use the search browser with in Pinterest and type in “floppy disc containers, or boxes”.  There you will find similar planter ideas and may come up with some of your own.  For example, if my container didn’t have holes, I could turn it vertical and use it as a vase – it would make a great office vase.  The floppy discs inside could be made into containers as well, by following the directions on the above sites.  I could potentially end up with two containers that compliment each other.  Painting them is an option as well.

 

One site mentioned converting the container into a recipe card holder.  Great idea if it suits your decor.  Do not fill your home with recycled projects if they do not suit your decor.  You can always use these ideas as gifts for the more suitable scenarios.

We know that plastic does not break down and should not be in our land fills.  And on that note I found an interesting site to read up on such things:  http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/breaking_down_bioplastics/

Have fun cleaning this spring and do it responsibly – recycle.

 

The Point of Purging

The point of purging is to actually get rid of things.  Nike shoe box – next.

Inside……not shoes, but layers of upholstery swatches.  I went through them like a heart reminiscing her first love.  Textures through my fingers, colors for my soul.  Wait!  Snap out of it!  They’re swatches!  What on earth was I going to do with them?  I threw the box on the stairs until I had finished loading another pile of laundry in the washing machine.

Once upon a time I had a fabric sale to raise money to purchase sewing machines for  the community at the Seed of Hope home in Bekulwandle in South Africa.  This small offering of swatch “things” wouldn’t raise enough pennies to buy a door knob, but I couldn’t just throw them out – could I?

I could use them in my framing? Perhaps sew a quilt? Wait!  Doesn’t that mean the shoebox gets moved off the shelf downstairs to yet another shelf in my shop?  How long did it sit downstairs unattended and neglected?  How long will it sit out there gathering dust? That’s it – the swatches are going.

And I’m making a list to help me determine what stays and what goes, from here on in!

1.  Is it useful for consumption?  No.  Hmm – new foodie fabric salad?

2.  Is it useful for financial gain?  No.  If fabric swatches were equal to gold bars maybe.

3.  Is it useful at all?  Yes, but someone else can figure that out.

If the answer is no for two out of these three questions – you must immediately take what ever the “thing” is and put it into the back of your car.  As soon as you run errands up town, you must take it to the nearest thrift shop quickly – in fact – run.  Then go out and celebrate!  But what ever you do, make sure it’s in a disposable container!  Bring no-thing home with you.

Some fun quotes:

Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not a piece of advice, it is merely a custom. —Mark Twain

If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, “Who could have done this? We have no enemies.” —Phyllis Diller

The Great Masquerade

The purging continues….One black hardcover folder with one very special graduation picture.  Four friends standing side by side.

graduation of four friends, picture

I’ve always told my children that the friends you make during High School may not be the friends you actually share most of your life with.  After all, what factors determine the friends we choose, when we barely know who we are?

For the first time I am looking at this portrait as an outsider.  I am not the same person I was then, and my guess is – neither are they.  But let us dissect the picture and our personalities by the clothes we chose for graduation.

My tallest friend on the far left, who will remain nameless for privacy purposes – wore yellow satin covered in an overlay of yellow lace.  The color suited her darker skin tone and brunette hair, however the sunny choice did not mirror her brooding disposition.  Not that it was her fault.  I learned early on in our friendship that she too came from complications.  The kind that met us every night at the door when we went home.  School served as our great escape.  And I must mention she was beautiful, then and now.  Although I haven’t been able to reach her for over ten years.  My summary of her look in this photo: Cautious and Classic.

Just in from the far left, a dear friend who will also remain nameless – wearing white.  An unusual choice I thought – for Grad.  One usually saves white for their wedding.  But it was tasteful, a gown with straps and a sheer complimentary jacket, trimmed in lace.  I have to giggle – because her conservative choice said nothing of her feisty personality, but perhaps was a spot-on foreshadowing of who she really wanted to be.  A good girl.  She was and will always be that, even if our High School years found us causing our parent’s grief.  We were always out looking for the next big thrill even if it meant heartache.  My summary of her look; Shy and Baptismal.

The friend standing next to me was probably the one I knew the least.  Dressed in a peasant style dress, white patterned, scalloped sleeves, flower in her hair.  She was a flower child, come to think of it.  A free spirit.  Did as she pleased, broke hearts, too many.  I introduced her to her first husband.  Recently I had the privilege of meeting her current husband and they seem happy.  If I was out looking for a thrill, then she was out looking for another planet as long as it had plenty of alcohol.  Most of what we reach for in High School isn’t what we need. And then there’s hormones.  My summary of her look; sweet and virtuous.

And finally, me at the end of the row of four, dressed in a bright pink ruffled dress, off the shoulder.  Did I mention, all our dresses were floor length?  I had worked on a tan, but my hair – who decided to put it in those curls?  I digress.  My choice of dresses certainly showed my love for fashion and the color choice did speak loudly of my extrovert personality.   I talked and smiled all the time.  I enjoyed people, I thought I cared.  For the most part – they pegged me as a princess.  In reality – I was just plain scared.  Everything around me wasn’t really what it seemed.  And no one seemed to want to be real.  High School was nothing but a big game of hide-n-seek.  Our graduation probably would have been more real if we all wore masks.  Come to think of it….Graduation should be called; the Great Masquerade.   Summary of my look: innocent – but not so much.  Oh yes and short.

“It was only high school after all, definitely one of the most bizarre periods in a person’s life.  How anyone can come through that time well-adjusted on any level is an absolute miracle” E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

The Defining Stroke

I reached for yet another generic photo album eager to find something to throw away. Instead, I found a long forgotten door to the past, a colorful vignette of yesterday with the first tiny stroke towards who I am today – a musician.

After our third child was born, I gave myself permission to write again, with the understanding that I would also record if possible.  I had written a song that a fellow musician took a liking to, and he suggested I enter it into a competition in Estes Park, Colorado.

We found a company on the internet that would professionally score and print my song called:  We Are the Church.  I sent my entry application off, and my husband and I began planning a family vacation to Colorado – with the intent to spend a large portion of it at the 1994 music competition.

Inside the album lay several adjudication papers with scores and judge’s comments.  I read through them boldly, unabashed about what I might find.  Writing is much like art – very subjective.  The song or canvas might be a masterpiece to one person, and a scribble to another, regardless of what you the author or artist may think.

Interestingly enough, although composition is still a large part of my life, the old adjudication papers quickly found themselves at the bottom of my waste paper basket.  They had no value left.  I had won no accolades or awards, but took the experience to heart, hoping it would add color to the music of tomorrow.

After the loose paperwork had been disposed of, the plastic pages of the album were revealed – pictures of our trip to Colorado.  Treasures that had lay hidden for over 19 years.  I looked into the eyes of those faces, my 35-year-old husband, our three children and our beloved babysitter Natasha.

Perhaps the most defining stroke of the brush upon my heart,  is the one that spells mother? Is there anything worth writing about if you have not loved?  Is there anything worth writing about if you have not given birth to a child?  And I have three!

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

*I scanned the photos that were most important to me and began a digital album project on http://www.onceuponadigitalstory.com, called; Estes Park, Colorado.  When it is published I will put a link to it on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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