Completed Tuesday evening at the delightful Airbnb Content. On the left, "Pass Through" from Isaiah 43:2. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." And on the right, "Stronghold" from Psalm 18:2. "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, / my God, my rock, / in whom I take refuge, / my shield, and the horn of my salvation, / my stronghold."
Both were gifted along with #3, Well-watered," to Mary's Place by the Sea, a retreat house for women during/post cancer treatment. I spent Wednesday at the retreat house recharging with prayer, massage, expressive writing, gourmet vegan fare, and most importantly...the company of amazing women.
Well-watered Garden, 4 x 4" Aided by a roll-on adhesive, I completed this one in less than two hours using scraps from a large mosaic in progress. It calls to mind water and sunlight for me.
While working, two conversations during the past few days about ovarian cancer were playing through my mind. My Cancerversary was April 21st- one year since cancer made its presence known. Party time! No tears. Then Friday in a thrift store I met a woman whose daughter is about to start chemo for ovarian cancer. Tears rolled down my cheeks in a aisle filled with ceramic flower pots and figurines, an empty silver frame tucked under my arm. Cancer is a memory for me but for thousands of women their season of treatment is just beginning. Her daughter has fantastic support medically and personally. Lotsa people praying. No advice or information needed; just a moment for a mother to process out loud what she is experiencing with someone who understands. Cancer doesn't just happen to the person diagnosed. A form of it happens to everyone who loves them. I learned that from my mother and my best friend.
How does a convo about cancer start in a thrift store? My still-scant hair is clue #1.
The very next day at a lecture about outhouses, yes way, the speaker Georg Papp of the Bull Hill Workshop made a brief but impassioned comment about ovarian cancer. Check out his roll of wisdom, left.
"My wife and I have ovarian cancer," he said, "because if it happens to her, it happens to you." His lecture was half myth-busting history and half stand up comedy, though he expressed he wasn't at his best due to the impact of cancer. His wife slipped out to the car for a rest and he quite vulnerably shared his fatigue and stress in a way that gave his wife much honor. I met her after the lecture. She's in year five and her 2nd recurrence but she is a thriver! Smiling and caring and knows she is deeply loved.
So for Georg's wife, for thrift store shopper's daughter, and for all women impacted by cancer I call the latest mini mosaic "Well-watered Garden" from Isaiah 58:11.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Gold Over Blue, 4 x 4 inches. Made this after a hike. Gorgeous views. Tranquility interrupted by gunfire. Thoughts went immediately to battles fought nearby... but no acrid smoke and too rapid for muskets. Police academy training range.
Lake Champlain yesterday. Sunshine and sprinkles that may or may not have been snow at one point. Burlington VT full of delightful surprises.
For the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, June 9, I'm committed to doing these five things:
1. Study the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection through the ascension and the book of Acts.
2. Complete 50 works of art.
3. Pray daily for 5 additional people.
4. Walk 5 miles at least 5X a week.
5. Post 50X on this blog.
Lent 2.0? Maybe. Lent was particularly meaningful for me this year, meditating on selfishness, suffering, and sacrifice. Through reading and discussing the devotional Journey to the Cross along with a weekly prayer gathering, I spent some concentrated time listening to God. I'd like even more of that in the next 50 days. The bloody cross and the empty grave were a beginning as much as they were a promise fulfilled.
The first four goals were chosen because they give me concentrated time with God. #5 gives me accountability and a way to process. Bonus motivation came from the convergence of Pentecost and my 50th *gulp* birthday during the same weekend.
âHere"s a detail of the first of 50 works of art.
In early March I learned that my paternal grandfather's favorite color was yellow + I received a commission for a piece in warm hues, pulling me into the sunshine.
This piece about my grandfather is aaaaaalmost finished. Tentatively titled "Sunshine Over Riverbed" for his favorite color and the rich black "muck" soil of his farm on an ancient riverbed. Carrots were his main crop, the sweetest most wonderful carrots ever. He sold 50# bags to restaurants along with other produce at the Detroit Farmer's Market for decades. My cousins and I are spread out far and wide and don't know each other well, but one thing that binds us is remembering the taste of those carrots, best with a little dirt on them according to my cousin Maria.
Grandpa was a wise and infinitely curious man who loved God, his family, and a good joke. My favorite story of my dad's childhood on the farm was "The Day It Hailed Twice." The lettuce crop was coming in nicely that Spring. Bumper crop to take to market. Then a hail storm knocked out half of it. Devastating but manageable. Then a second storm wiped out the rest. That very day I believe, or the very next, Grandpa went to a nearby factory to apply for work. He took my father with him so he could see what a man does for his family.
The yellow is all for him, and for my Aunt Kay who told me it was his favorite color. The gold foil, that's for the shining bits of godly character he planted in our family.
Going big for NYC, baby! Art Expo NY April 4 - 7. Grateful for the opportunity to learn and exhibit.