Neigh Saying

It seemed like it took weeks to finally get to Saturday.  I was so excited to have a day at home. It was a lazy morning and I enjoyed every minute of it. However, there were things that had to be done, things that were neglected like my yucky house.  I spent the morning trying to knock out the things I hated doing the most first.  I had only scratched the surface with my new guitar project, figuratively and literally.  It sat in my studio all alone.  I even went to look at it once as a reminder that it was waiting for me to finish.  I quickened my pace, even more eager.  Then it happened.  I had to leave my home to take my son to an event.  Noooooo!  The distraction I was afraid of.  I knew once I went out in public my social skills would kick in and my Saturday would evaporate.

We went and yes, it was a wonderful social engagement.  I was surprised by my ability to stay on a good schedule and return home in a timely manner.  This was probably due to my son not being the social butterfly that I am.  I returned home with time still left in my day.  I was focused. I was ready.  It was time.

I set up the guitar and began to sand.  I was shocked at the layers of this particular one.  I had already used a blow torch to burn the clear coating and most of the paint off.  (Side note:  Sometimes adequate ventilation is still not enough, nausea is a good indicator that a mask should be used as well.)  It was after the paint was nearly sanded off that I realized it had a layer of what appeared to be Masonite.  I would not stop until I had bare wood.  No mater how long it took.  One hour later I was there.  Finally.  I took off my mask, and wiped my glasses to take a more careful look at it.  Awesome beginning.  Then I looked around my garage.  What a mess!  I had completely coated everything, including my dog, with dust.  It was so thick it changed the color of my sons bike and my husbands old car.  What had I done.  I had successfully created another Saturday cleaning project.

I was so focused, so narrowed in my purpose I didn’t see all that was going on around me. Once I got started it was like I had on blinders.  Just like the horses I used to watch on Little House On The Prairie.  I looked up why some horses wore blinders.  I never really gave it a lot of thought before but, evidently horses are considered animals of prey.  That is why their eyes are on the sides of their heads.  So they can see nearly all the way around their body.  Their only blinds spots are right in front of their nose and behind their tail.  Without blinders, young, shy horses can become frightened by the wagon they are pulling and they are used on race horses so that they only focus forward, the finish line.  However, a horse with blinders must be led.  It will not go or turn on its own where it cannot already see.  Some people feel that the use of blinders is cruel and inhumane.  I will not debate this since I lack any substantial knowledge on the subject.  In Russia, they do not use them at all.  Horses there learn not to be shy and become more focused over time.

Why did I just give you a short history lesson about horse blinders?  Well, since you asked.  I had my blinders on Saturday.  All day they kept me working toward my goal.  Not too bad a plan but when I got to that goal they limited me.  They caused me to create another task that will take away more of my precious time.

Do we become dependent on things such as blinders?  Maybe people or excuses?  Becoming shy and limited by a harness.  Sure, being focused during the day will help you get to your goal but be careful.  When you have blinders on, you will not go where you cannot see.  You will not see where you do not go.  And you will easily be led to places you shouldn’t be.

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For Real

It is hard to believe I have been blogging since the first Wednesday in January making this my     blog; I had an extra one before the very first one.  The original purpose was just to keep me focused on my goals, an accountability method.   Since then it has become so much more than just that to me. 

I have learned first that I have some pretty amazing friends and family who have not only answered my call for accountability but have been a wealth of encouragement.  They have lifted me up and given me a since of accomplishment.  Some have boasted so that I fear my head will grow.  What a feeling to have people in your life like that.  Each week I can’t wait until Wednesday to post.  Yes, I hate to admit it but I love to be bragged on.  If we are all serious and transparent I would say we all do.  I used to fake modesty but I’m done with fake.

I have learned that I do have something to offer.  I have a lot of experience in my nearly 50 years and have truly lived.  I have experienced true fear in a war bunker, pride in my college graduation, love in my marriage, happiness in the birth of my children, sorrow in the death of parent, confusion in a battling church, loneliness in a bottle and joy in my Jesus.

I have also learned that I will keep learning.  This blog has had me question and explore why I think, feel and do.  A dissection of thoughts and terms and philosophy has me delving into life full on, bringing my art, beliefs and goals into the forefront  of who I am.

Lastly, I now know my challenges and victories are not just mine.  We all now share in them.  I am still challenged by my daunting life schedule that continues to digress as I help my family care for a dying family member.  That and my job is, at times, crowding me. Both leaving me with little time for anything else.  However, in victory I have found a loving and supportive network that amazes me.  That group of family and friends (those lines blurr) have given me the drive to learn how to swim and to finish a five year project in the midst of this.  So I won’t be running a triathlon this spring, it will wait.  After all I am only 49 and a half.  Thanks for reading, encouraging, loving and just being.  See you next week.

Serving some deserving

I know the title for this one is a little corny but it does make you go…humm.  I just got back from a retreat where I had an amazingly great time.  I have been working so hard on my art, my job (I have actually had a lot of snow days off) and my family that I deserved a little R&R.  For those of you not familiar with the term R&R.  It is a military term for rest and relaxation.  I did some therapy shopping and was amazed at all the places that gave me a veterans discount.  My friends kept telling me to take it because I deserved it for my service to our country.  It made me feel important and special.

But what does it really mean to deserve something.  That term has probably served me more negatives then positives in my life.  “Oh, I donate my time playing music at church I deserve this guitar”, “ching”.  (That is the sound of an old fashioned cash register).  “I didn’t get a gift after all I have done I deserve one so I will buy it myself”, ching.  “I ran today so I deserve this chocolate chip cookie” or even “I can have this donut because I am going to run later.”  I have even given myself both a cookie and a donut on the same day for just the one run.  I am thinking this thought processes is not healthy for my finances or my body.

On the flip side the deserving punishment judgement can be equally as dangerous.   A getting what you deserve mentality can be very frustrating.  If you look around too much at what people get compared to what they do you will find yourself confused.  Life doesn’t punish and reward fairly.  I have lever been comfortable when I hear phrases like “Christ died for me when I didn’t deserve it”.  What a guilt laden way to view the cross.  I hate owing anyone anything so I can’t approach my walk with Christ that way.

Don’t get me wrong.  Jesus certainly didn’t deserve to die.  He chose to.  We can’t love and live out of guilt so we need to be very careful how we use the term deserve, especially in our spiritual walk and our walk with others.  Instead of being undeserving maybe we could try to see Him as our martyr and we His soldiers because to Him we are important and special.

DISCLAIMER:  I will try not to consider what I deserve when I price my artwork. I will, however, try not to think too hard about the word when I price my artwork in the future.

Courageous Freedom

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As I journey through this year of self discovery as an artist one of the things I would like to do is to continue with my guitar re-creating.  It would make a great series of pieces. I have chosen the title Courageous Freedom for the series.  I will reveal to you the next guitar will be a bass guitar but the rest is a secret until it is finished.  Hopefully, it will not take the 5 years it took me to build the Thorny Guitar I revealed a couple of weeks ago.  I chose this series title because it is a combination of two of my favorite words.

I posses the greatest respect for those 2 words separately but when you put them together, volumes are written.  I have touched on bravery numerous times in my blogs but it is just that important to me.  Courage is required to take risk, to step out on the mission field, to march into a new career, to get rid of those comfort zones, to make decisions about things you have invested countless hours and money into, to marry, to start a family.  I think you get the picture.  Each day we make same courageous decisions.  Where there is risk there is the opportunity for courage.

It takes courage to create freedom.  Yes, freedom can be created.  I learned that from my time in the military.  We are not born courageous.  We learn it from acts of bravery, from managing fear and from Christ’s empowerment.  When my army reserve unit was activated and sent to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm I learned really quickly what courage looked like.  I was surrounded by it everyday.  I was pretty scared at times but you move forward.  At night in my tent I would just say God protect me.  After rolling my socks over my boots to keep the scorpions and spiders out I would go to sleep.  I do not remember staying awake or worrying about anything.  I had been gifted with the courage of Christ.

It also takes courage to accept freedom.  Too many people are afraid to move into a life of freedom.  It is much safer and easier to stay in the same restrictive rituals that bind our faith.  I have broken down walls in my own life recently that I had built up for protection because I had been hurt many years ago.  I lacked the courage to allow myself to feel what was outside those stone walls.  They were cold and dark and left me incapable of truly feeling all that Christ had to offer.  Love was a very difficult concept when I was cowering behind that impenetrable barrier.  Those walls shackled me.  I felt little and lived a numbing life.  It took courage to break the walls down and step out into the light.  The love and emotions that hit me at first felt like stepping out into bright light from a dark cave.  I could only describe it as an emotional hangover the next day.  It took along time to manage all that and how to handle all this new freedom.  But I haven’t regretted a second of it.  The passion, love and courage I now have are wonderful friends.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” —Plato