I am Rooted, But I Flow

I feel a thousand capacities spring up in me. I am arch, gay, languid, melancholy by turns. I am rooted, but I flow. -Virginia Woolf

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It is Thursday. The beginning of this year started out with Thursdays being MY DAY. The kids normally go to a full day of homeschool classes with another mom on Thursday, and I get the entire day alone. I don’t schedule anything on Thursday. It is just my day at home by myself to work. It has been a really long time since I had an alone Thursday. Weather and illness have meant that classes were cancelled several weeks in a row. We were gearing up to go to class this morning when I got the email that my Mom friend is still very sick and has to cancel again. I was very surprised to find that I am totally okay with this.
It used to be that I was very ritualistic about my art making. My studio was separate from my home. I felt like I had to be in there for long stretches of time with no interruption in order to be at all productive. I had to have a cup of coffee and the right jams playing. It was even better if the whole family was out of the house.

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In the new house, I have a tiny room right smack in the middle of the life of things. It opens to the kitchen and the main room. It is exposed to everything that is happening. I thought I would hate this. On the contrary, it has been fantastic. Without going into a long story just yet, I will just say that my art making has totally shifted this year. It has really become integrated into my everyday existence. I am in and out of the studio flowing from housework to helping with math to cooking and back again to make a mark on a canvas or a swipe of paint on the paper. I am flowing. Art is flowing. Life is flowing.
So, when I learned that the kiddos were going to be home all Thursday long again, it just enfolded right into the flow. I had planned to get outside this morning before the rain to explore. I ushered the kids out too. Adam is working on building a campsite in the woods. Messa and I wandered to the swamp and the creek. It was a perfect way to start a day of creative play, to fill the well before pouring it out on the canvas.

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Things Get Too Real Sometimes

Monday morning this week was the official beginning of summer for the kids and I. I was so looking forward to slowing down and just being able to rest. I have been very intentional about keeping our schedule pretty open for the summer. I woke up around 7:30, got my coffee, started reading and responding to email. About 8:15, the house phone rang. When I answered, it was my husband, Matt. I could hear right away that something was wrong. ” Sweetie, I am OK, but I was out on my bike, and I have been hit.” The room spun. My hands started to shake. All I could get out was “Where are you? I am coming.” I woke the kids out of a sound sleep. I was staying calm for them, but shaking like a leaf. He was just down the road. We turned the corner. There was the fire truck and ambulance. “Is that it?” My son said. “Yeah, that’s it. But, he is okay.” I left them in the car and jumped out. The fireman directed me to go down the road and cross. I couldn’t see him. There was a knot of firefighters and rescue workers around a duffle bag on the side of the road. No, not a duffle bag, my husband in a small, still pile, right on the white line at the roads edge. He was completely conscious, and completely lucid. Blood was everywhere. They were putting him onto a back board. At that moment the thought of spinal injury crossed my mind. I pushed it out. Only the facts you know, nothing more. I held his hands and prayed out loud. I thanked God for sparing him, and asked for more grace. I told Matt, I would find a place to take the kids, and meet him at the hospital. They rolled him onto a backboard, strapped him onto a gurney, and loaded him into the ambulance.

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In the middle of all this, my kids stayed remarkably calm, I guess because I stayed remarkably calm.  I don't know if it is like this for anyone else. When trauma happens, I climb into a box. I only let the now and here and what I know in. I shut down the parts of my brain that might put me into a panic.  Things happened at light speed at the hospital. It took less than three ours for them to find out that he had no broken bones, and no serious injuries and send us home. It was nothing short of miraculous.  I have been thanking God over and over.
 

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So, now we are on day three. He is in pain. His back is very tender. He is on pain medication, and it is not entirely eliminating his pain. He is in a narcotics fog. He is suffering. It is too real right now. I want my box back. The one that shuts out scary things. Matt is the healthy, strong, active guy. Now he is really, really hurt. What is this road going to look like? How long will it be? He wants his life and his body and his mind back. I know it has only been three days. How many more? Will he get back to normal? I can’t sleep. I want this to go away. I want it to never have happened.

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I am so very grateful that my husband is still alive. If any one variable had been different, we wold not have him here today. I covet your prayers for a speedy recovery, and that he will be his whole, healthy self again soon.

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Free day!

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I have the rare gift of a day at home alone today. I am going to spend it playing in the studio. The house is a mess but I am ignoring it. I have been sidetracked and interrupted so many times this week when I intended to be in the studio. I am beginning to feel dry and un-creative. Don’t get me wrong, my interruptions and sidetracks are the best kind because they are all about my family. But, a Girl needs a little space and time to do her thing. At least this girl does.

Yes, the picture at the top is my work table, one of them anyway. That is about as neat as it gets.

Thirteen Years Ago Today

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Thirteen years ago today, after night of labor and no progress, I was laying in the hospital listening to the sound of a little heartbeat on a monitor, and I heard it stop….and start again. A bunch of people ran into the room and turned me onto my left side and slapped an oxygen mask on my face. The little heart kept beating. I kept listening. A little bit later the doctor came in and said that they were going to have to take me down for a C-sect. In prepping me to go, the took the monitor off his scalp. I could not hear the heartbeat. Once I got to where I was going, the nurses could tell I was scared to death. They got a monitor on my belly so I could hear him. He was born a little after 9AM that morning. Matt was there. He watched them take him out. I heard one of the nurses say “Oh my God.” I have always thought it was because of his size, 9.5lb. His hands looked huge to me. That was the first thing I noticed. The second was that he looked like Liam Neeson

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That evening his doctor came to check him out. My big, pink healthy boy had a bit of a heart murmur, more than the doctor felt comfy with. He ordered an echocardiogram for the next morning. That morning, I waited for the nurses to bring my boy to me, I waited a long time. My dad was with me. I asked him to help me from my bed so we could go see what the holdup was. We turned the corner just in time to see them wheeling my boy away from the nursery, away from me, toward the NICU. A doctor I did not know was coming toward me. He saw my face and knew I was the mama. He took me back to my room. Dr. Boals was in the nursery visiting another newborn when Adam’s EKG was being done by a technician. He glanced over and said “Is that what I think it is.” The tech said “I think so.” Dr. Boals called our doctor Immediately and asked permission to send Adam to NICU. If he had not been there it may have been hours before the results were reviewed by someone other than the tech. He carefully explained to me that Adam’s pulmonary valve was not functioning. He said that there is a vessel called the ductus, that moves blood from the heart to the lungs before birth that had remained open to do the job. Normally that vessel closes right after birth. Adam’s had not. He was taken to NICU and hooked up to monitors. He had an IV in his little hand to pump stuff in to keep the ductus open, and an extra line in his little foot in case something happened to the one in his hand. If the ductus closed he could have died.
He had to go to Chapel Hill in order to have a life saving surgery. They talked about air lifting him, but decided to go with an ambulance instead. Meanwhile, I just had abdominal surgery the day before. When my doctor came to see me I said, “I am going to Chapel Hill with my baby, and you won’t stop me.” He said, “okay.” Matt and my mom followed the ambulance. Dad took me to get clothes and prescriptions. Thank God for Percoset! We met Dr. Frantz, a pediatric cardiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill. He explained that the next day, they would insert a balloon through A vessel in Adam’s leg and feed it into his heart. They would try to push it into the pulmonary valve and inflate it to open the valve. I have to interject a bit about my state of mind during this trial. You might think that I would be a basket case. If you know me well, you know I am capable of that. However, I was calm as calm could be. We had tried for several years for this baby. I just knew He was not going to take him back so soon.

Needless to say, the surgery was a success. They opened the valve, and it began to do it’s job immediately. Adam was born on Wed, Jan. 3, transported to UNC on Jan.4, had surgery on Jan.5 and was home on Jan.7. He was wonderfully healthy at that point. Mama, not so much. I got very, very sick, and had my life saved by Dr. Byron, and my amazing, wonderful mama. Sparing you the gory details, I saw Dr. Byron every day for two weeks for wound care. he met me after rounds, after hours, during rounds at the hospital, whatever I needed. My sweet mama also took care of my wound morning and night, while simultaneously caring for my son in a way that I was not able do to my weakened state. She stayed with me for a month. The hands and feet of Christ.

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Adam still has a slight murmur, but he is perfectly healthy. God was so with us in so many ways during this difficulty. The ductus stayed open. Dr. Boals just happened to be there to see the EKG. The care I received after I got home. The fact that I was still able to nurse Adam and bond with him despite such difficult circumstances. So, Adam Eleazar’s name is appropriate. Man is dust, but God is our hope.
If you stuck with me this far, thank you!
Happy thirteenth birthday to an amazing young man! I am so very glad that I get to be your mom.

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Taking Refuge in the midst of difficult times and situations

I have tried to write this a hundred times today, I don’t think I can get it just right. I have been talking with a lot of friends who are really struggling. Some of it is the holiday season, but mostly it is just life. Life can be really hard. So many of us are wrestling with anxiety. I am right up in it myself. I am trying, trying, trying, to get some peace. I know the drill. I know what to do. I have done it before. There is an other side. I will see it soon.
Last night, I was describing to my massage therapist how I had lain back and floated in the hot tub the other evening. I tried desperately to relax the muscles in my shoulders and back. I could not. The tension would not release. She said, “of course not. You are protecting everyone. You are the sentinel, you cannot relax at your post. That is so true. She said “sentinel” and in my spirit I heard “watchman.” This morning I searched through the Bible for “watchman.” There are many verses, but I am not going to share them here because I quickly realized that they have nothing to do with me. I am not supposed to be the sentinel right now. I totally took that post out of my own will and volition.
So, here is here I landed…

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah (Psalm 62:5-8 ESV)

Refuge. I am supposed to be taking refuge right now. That is not to say I should not be on guard. We always need to guard ourselves. I just don’t have any business taking on responsibility for guarding my whole camp. We are under attack, yes, but we already have a sentinel. I can trust him to handle the battles while I take shelter and take time to get strong again.

Sisters, be encouraged We do not have to carry the whole weight of the defense of our family on our shoulders until we feel crushed beneath it. We can take refuge. It is safe.

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Dreams Really Do Come True

This post was supposed to be a very touching share about a precious gift I received last weekend. It is still that, but in trying to capture images to go along with my story, absolute madness and hilarity ensued. I seriously laughed until I thought I might have an “accident.” So, I will start with that, and then move on to the touching part.

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That is my boy!

Now for the sweetness….
My son and husband made a small dream come true for me this weekend. I have always wanted a hammock in my yard. I mean always! I have been married to Matt almost 19 years, and I think I have dropped hints about this thing for all of them. He and The Boy went to a yard sale over the weekend. The Boy, who I often wonder if he hears ANYTHING I say, spotted a hammock with a hammock stand. “Mom would really love that” he says. Knock me over with a feather! Am I raising a young man who listens and notices what someone he loves desires? Future wife will thank me eternally! Even better, Matt listened to The Boy. They totally came home with the thing on the trailer and put it right where I pointed in the yard. My heart went pitter patter for the Man I love and adore and the amazing, caring young man we are raising. What a blessed woman I am.

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Feast and Famine

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I am a way too little or almost too much kind of gal. I go through dry spells that seem like they will never end, and then suddenly inspiration and productivity come crashing in giant waves. I envy those artists who are able to maintain a steady constant state of creativity in their studio. I don’t know if this way of making is a permanent way for me, or if it will change with the seasons of my life as the kids grow up and separate from me. I do know there are other artist who work this way. That is comforting.

I don’t want to complain. When the flood comes, it is very good. When in times of dryness, I long for the flood, but I also look for creativity in other places, in raising and schooling my babies, in tending to my home, in dating my husband, in worship. So maybe the times that feel dry and unproductive artistically are well-filling times. Maybe the days of flood are when the dam inside me breaks loose with all the inspiration that has accumulated there. So, i suppose, I need to appreciate both for what they give me.

For the last week, I have been swept up in the flood. I am hoping it sticks with me for a bit as I have a new shop to produce for, and a show coming up in November.

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My Gorgeous People!

This past Sunday afternoon was perfect for a walk down to the lake with the family.  The boy was not enthused, as he prefers a screen and buttons to fresh air and sunshine.  He assented, however.  Then, GASP! he had some fun.

I have a gorgeous family.

walkingboy     angst - Copy

what    jump3

jump2           jump1

                 goodjump - Copy

crazykids - Copy        sweetkids        

grimace                                  smileyboy

naturegirl              smileygirl

lonegirl

dadnkids - Copy            

             boyndad - Copy