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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Powdered rock is still rock...

In the last couple of weeks, my husband has grown increasingly blind.  He used to have a blurry pinhole of vision in his right eye to see out of, now he has a crescent sliver of that.  His central vision is gone.  The other day, in the living room, he grabbed me by my shoulders and started moving my body and turning his head to the side and up and down.  I was startled by it.  He isn't a super touchy-feely guy.  He didn't say a word.  He was desperate to see my face.  I put on the biggest smile I could muster while my heart thudded against my ribs.     I have begun to walk around with a smile pasted on my face, just in case he catches a glimpse of me.  My cheeks hurt.  I'm glad he can't see my eyes well, or he would see my heart breaking.  I am his rock.  He always has said that.  I have to be the strongest rock now.  I feel like powdered stone lately, but I am still a form of rock.  My very best, longest time friend is soon to be completely blind.

I know it isn't the end of the world.  Lots of people go blind every day. We've had time to prepare for this, and I am thankful for the length of time we've had with low vision.  I have tried to steel myself for this, prepare myself for it, prepare him for it.  But at the moment, it kinda takes the joy right out of me.  My mind races with thoughts of, "How can I make this better?"  I know I can't fix this.  So I go on, as if not much has changed.  Maybe just living each day as normal as we can is the answer, despite the elephant in the room.  Blindness is BIG to me, like an elephant.

He has said he knows he can count on me to give him vivid, colorful descriptions of things.  I am constantly blabbering on about what I see as we drive down the road.  I don't know if this is the right thing to do right now.  I will ask him.  I don't know if it makes him sad that he can't see it, or if it helps to bring an image into his mind.  Today, I saw the first small bright yellow leaves of autumn falling and the morning sunshine shot through them and made them look like brilliant yellow jewels of stained glass.  Should I tell him what I saw?  Will it help or be painful?  I guess I will just ask him.

He is a determined man.  He is a highly intelligent man.  He is a very thoughtful, loving man.  He has always risen to whatever challenge is presented to him.  He has a quiet braveness and grace.  I don't know if I would be like him, given this challenge.  But he makes me want to be like him, and so I will.  We can do this.  Every morning, I will say the words to myself, "We can do this!"  Powdered rock is still rock.  I am a rock.  He is a rock.  Like concrete, powdered rock sifts in between the more solid pieces of rock, compacting and making things strong when you add the water of adversity.  Together, we are rock solid.  We will build something strong and beautiful from this, I just know it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kick Butt Kindness

OH BOY, OH BOY, OH BOY!  What a DELIGHTFUL surprise I got in the mail today!  Three good friends of mine, Barb Rogers, Kristen Powers, and Frida (yes, THE Frida Kahlo) came together to surprise me with a print of Frida made by Kristen Powers.

Now, have you ever looked at a piece of art and totally connected to it?  The watercolor that Kristen had made of Frida was one of those pieces for me.  I fell head over heels for it!  I asked if she was going to sell it or make prints, and she did!  And every time I would visit it at her Etsy shop, which is OFTEN, I would put it in my cart and then never actually purchase it.  I felt like I was being greedy for buying art for myself.  I have bills to pay.  The car needs service.  My husband has big medical issues, I should save my money in case I need it for that.  There was always something.  But that print has moxie!  It has a quiet confidence, and yet it has some "kick ass," it has some smirk, some knowing, some calm, some anticipation, some thoughtfulness and passion, and some strength for me.

I am almost always an upbeat person.  Honest.  And even if I am in the deep hole of a pity party, I can rise to the occasion and plaster a smile on my face.  People don't know when I feel down (okay, maybe a few know).  I have felt kinda down lately.  No particular reason, I couldn't put my finger on it, maybe it is hormones, maybe it is the weather, but I was feelin' kinda low down saggy and blue.  I have a FABULOUS life!  I have everything I could hope for!  I have a husband who loves me and would take a bullet for me, healthy and delightful kids, a beautiful home that is paid for in full, a dog that makes me laugh daily, food in my pantry, and art supplies!  Still, I was feelin' selfish and down.  When I received that print as a surprise in the mail today, it gave me a shot of something I needed right in the ass and in the heart and in my head.  Thanks to friends that acted on an impulse to do something nice for me.

On the way to the post office, I had a wish.  I wished I could find someone who would like the quilt books I have boxed up to get rid of in the back of my car.  I have been blessed with people who gave me some of them over the years.  I really didn't want to "give them away" to the used bookstore.  I wanted them to go to someone who would love them, like I did.

So, with a smile on my face and a song in my heart on my way home from the post office today with my Frida print next to me, I saw a neighbor I don't know well.  She always seemed kinda cool and distant.  Her husband and her dog had died in the last few years.  I knew this, it is a small town.  I never visited.  I would wave.  Today, I slowed down and rolled down my window as she was walking.  I said, "Are you a quilter?"  She said yes.   I had heard rumor she was, again, it is small town.  So I said,  "I have something for you, if you have a moment."  In the back of my car is a box of quilt books I have been going to get rid of, sell, whatever.  Couldn't bring myself to let them go for two years, finally tried at our garage sale this summer, and then finally boxed them up and put them in the back of my car for the used book store or Goodwill.

We stood in the alley behind the post office, looking like drug or stolen goods dealers rummaging through the back of my car.  She was hesitant at first, then with some encouragement, she started adding a few more books, talking, opening up a bit, and then a few more books went on her pile.  We like the same sorts of quilts, we discovered.  She is looking for a particular crazy quilt stitch, I may know it.  She seemed a little more happy as we parted ways.  I offered "home delivery" for her, as her pile had grown to a considerable weight, but she said she could carry it.  I have a feeling she carries a lot and I'm not talking about physical things.  She seemed a bit perkier despite her load of quilt books in her arms.

My momma always said you should NEVER brag about nice things you've done for someone, as it is the same thing as undoing what you've done if you brag.  It's in the Bible, too, just worded differently.  I'm not braggin'...I don't want to undo any goodness.  But I do want people to act on their good impulses.  You don't know what a change it may make.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Learning, and an invitation

Well, I haven't blogged in forever...and I was never very faithful at it to begin with...ha!  But here goes.    I have been taking an on-line art class that is way out of my comfort zone.  I've had fun smooshing paint around, meeting new people, and trying a new style...but guess what?  I am more comfortable being the "tight" artist that I consider myself.  Ha!  I desperately wanted to be loose and wild and emotional and edgy...I'm not.  I am Maggie.  And while I love that style of art, I like to make pretty things.  I was raised to draw things that look like things.  Part of me is very sad that I cannot do art the other way and then actually like what I make.  Maybe it is like anything new...practice makes you better.  Old habits die hard.  So I will continue to try this new style on occasion because it is awfully fun to smoosh paint around with my fingers and odd tools, and maybe by playing in this manner I will discover more about myself, and come up with some new ideas and techniques.  I had to laugh, because the other day my husband (who is mostly blind) came in saw my new tries and said, "I hate the new things you are making."  He said it nicely, honest.  He's not mean.  His opinion means a huge amount to me.  And I laughed out loud because I hate them too!  hahahah!  So not me!  But I tried something new.  I tried to grow, and I did!  I grew up enough to know what I like to do.

I'd also like to say, if you are still reading, to come to this site:
It is a group of very welcoming and encouraging ladies that make things and share their talents.  And on every Wednesday evening (7:30 Central Time Zone), they give a delightfully fun and free online art/craft lesson.  Here is the link to the lesson room:
If you can't make it, they record it so you can watch it when it is convenient for you.  If you can attend the live class, they have a giveaway, too!  So come on over!  It's fun!