Wednesday 26 February 2014

Wednesday gratitude

I know I didn't do this last week apart from in my head, I was in a bus all day, and ...well its plainly not the day for that story will have to keep.!!

This week I am grateful for ....

The sun. It was nearly warm today....

The community I live in.. as Spring rolls closer, I am coming out of my winter hibernation....planting trees, chasing chickens, dropping by for cups of tea. We live in such beautiful land and

New painting and printing exciting

Snowdrops and crocuses...Tansy, Leo, Finch and I spent an hour sitting among them this morning and making felt flower fairies in the sun.

My crawling baby.....

More beautiful photographs from my talented son.....

Being tired.....well there's got to be something positive about it! makes me whittle down to the basics.....and yes go to bed a bit earlier!

That's now..night night!!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Wednesday Gratitude

This week, I am grateful for,

Doing my back in...(really) and spending a day and a half in bed with Finch.  Although in severe discomfort it helped me gain perspective on my harried, goal orientated life...and remember how it is to sit...or lie still. I have felt calmer and more focussed since my time in bed and can manage to walk now and actually be in the moment of walking....rather than planning next weeks menu or the next article or painting in my head.

Having my article White Feathers published on my friend Kate's take a look.

A lovely home ed morning in bed, painting and making animal finger puppets for learning French.

Bread made with Khorosan.kamut from the oven with dripping butter its irresistable....!

My very wonderful mother's group which I mentioned in my previous post. We met and cried and laughed and connected in a beautiful hand built round house. Supportive and nurturing.

My  first painting out in the a lovely brand new online magazine.... here

My partner Hugh for bringing me breakfast in bed when I was ill..the ultimate luxury...and taking Finch away so I could eat alone....and giving me a much needed back massage..

And you? What are you grateful for this week?

Saturday 8 February 2014

Two swans between the houses

Room to breathe and connect.

That's what I need.

Each day seems a breathless scuttling of doing, rushing, half doing, kicking things under the sofa just so  I don't have to deal with them in that moment, squeezing things in squeezing things out. I have developed a strange, scurrying scuffle, brought on in part by the slightly too big faded lilac slippers I wear around the house, partly by the gasping need to be beyond my next destination, five minutes ago. Too many gaping loads of laundry to process, too many loaves of bread to cook, vats of soup to produce, and tantalising sticks of charcoal waiting on the side, tubes of delicious paint luring my gaze from the latest batch of flapjack in progress.

This afternoon I drove home in the cold shivering rain from a particularly nurturing mother's group I belong to. Our children are cared for in a creche for two hours, and  and  we sit in circle, in silence and in deep listening, and our tears and heartfelt connection and support are like a true balm, for us harried struggling 21st century mothers living in our isolation and overwhelm.

I felt particularly soothed and connected to the women in the group today, and usually as I drive home after my group I feel resourced to cope with another week.

But as I drove today  I realised I was progressing more and more slowly, I DIDN'T WANT TO GO HOME.

I was dreading walking into mess and disorder, jobs shouting at me from every corner...Me Me Me, and poor little Finch dragged around trying to half complete them all, never ending. Stuff, detritus, things to sort, things to clean, things to make. I wanted none of it. I wanted still, peace, calm, silence solitude.

And then I saw them. Maybe for ten seconds, on the river, a glimpse between to houses. In the rain against the unappealing mud brown of the river Dart in flood.

Two swans.

Nothing special, just two swans, stretching their necks and doing their thing in the rain, in the cold, in the mud. And I wanted to be there, with them, heck I even wanted to be them.

Simple calm beautiful wild and free.

I felt as if I was in chains.

But who has the key to the padlock?

I could have got out of the car and walked through the mud and rain and sat with them, the wind beating in my ears like a wild thing playing its mournful song.

But I had three children in the car and I didn't. I came home and got a bit frustrated, tried to paint. Got cross with everyone. Tried to remember the swans. Forgot them.

But now, late at night I remember them.

Remember their grace and simplicity.
How they must feel, down there on the mud, not thinking, stressing and flustering around in baggy lilac slippers.

I want to be a swan.

I don't really want to be  swan, but I want to learn from them.

Learn to use my thoughts less, my head less, listen from my heart, my belly, sniff the air, sharpen my ears, soften my gaze. Sit by the waters edge with nothing to do but BE.

Just Be.
Be like a swan.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Wednesday gratitude

Today I am grateful for,

My lovely vintage typewriter, so many cool things I can do with this!

Fresh salad still in the polytunnel, to eat with our Bavarian meal tonight....(brought by our German students dad yesterday..)

 Art journalling, a new found pleasure and potential exploration into a healing tool to share with others.....

A good homeschool day, coming in the wake of one where I was ready to give up. Yoga, weaving, reading,  cooking, a pleasure....

Another painting getting there....

Celebrating Imbolc with Tansy and Leo, and watching their beautiful focus making Bridie dolls to honour the goddess Bridget and carry our germinating seeds of inspiration......

 Those minute shards of time when I can lift a paintbrush, place two words to sing on the page together, sit and take a solitary breath....they are precious  indeed.

And you?
What are you grateful for this week?

Sunday 2 February 2014

Gathering tools and baby steps

 I'm on the edge of a precipice, leaning out against the wind, which beats against my face with its torrent of breath. Even at the edge, still with my feet on the ground. I am nearly at the vortex, a spinning cyclone of images, phrases, ideas possibilities, openings, outlets; reaching at me, grabbing me.The wind's fervour excites me, inspires me, scares me rigid.
 Should I go should I jump, should I stay tiptoed at the edge or retreat to the balmy flower meadow and a rather dull picnic. Or even quite a good picnic, sugar free of course, with quinoa and sprouted seeds and raw chocolate delights with a helathy sprinkling of gogi berries?

That's the problem. I often stand at this edge...although never quite so near, and always end up returning to the picnic. Literally. An idea will come to me, one of those running for your notepad and grabbing the only writing implement available .(usually a pale yellow beeswax block crayon) type of ideas, and having noted it down...(as far as am able with yellow crayon in the margins of my bank statement); I might limply retire to the kitchen and bake some muffins, or fetch the laundry, and then the baby is awake and oops, oh well can't do it now. Hmm

The precipice is churning with colours, and possibilities, it is a tumult of unknown,  a shiver of fear, a dazzle of brightness. And yet I turn away.

But NO....I WILL NOT. And here, publicly, with you to hear me....

At the moment I am caring for five kids four of my own plus our German student, with their myriad needs demands and issues, from constant breast milk, to spelling to gym membership and lifts back from paintballing, more printer paper and a white gel pen NOW and my coloured pencils again, and patiently reflecting back the needs of a furious six year old and deflecting angry fists,while holding a baby, trying to cook and tidy up the tornado that is the kids room and......anyway you get the idea...did I mention the laundry?/.

But.... I'm also taking two online art courses (more about these in another post when I have dived into them more deeply) in the wake of the amazingly transformative Flora Bowley course Bloom True which I have talked about at length already here which has already started me to the edge of the precipice.
 By sheer fluke I have also just won a free place on a funky Instagram based pithy, quick fire writing course, which is exciting but also overwhelming as my phone has just given up doing Instagram and it starts on Monday. I'm also not sure how I can possibly squeeze even one more thing into my already overflowing day but I will try. Everyone can have dirty sheets and baked beans on toast for a month.

And then two days ago my signed copy of The Rainbow Way arrived, the fourth book of the inspiring Lucy Pearce. I plan to do a review of it when I have read it but in short it is about  the burning need some of us feel to create and mother simultaneously without causing harm to either. A treasure of a book which I am reading in tiny snatches and I am now part of an online forum of women.... (some places still left I believe open to those who purchase the book direct from Lucy) support and opportunities in bucketloads.

From this forum, one of my paintings has found a place in an inspiring new online magazine, to be found here at Raising Loveliness which is also really exciting.

In my nearest town my favourite cafe has a chalk board outside calling for artists to put their work on their walls. I need to finish two more paintings to have enough to approach them for my first ever public showing....

I have finally finished a written piece on loss and recovery for a friends website, which I will link to as soon as it goes live....

Are you getting a theme's exciting; things are moving, shifting, progressing, tiny steps maybe, but in a life as full as overflowing as mine it feels big, it feels like the tip of the wave. The tip of a huge powerful swell which I can ride...if I dare. If I have the time...but will I ever have the time?

Have I the the ability to work in minute snatches and snitches of time, but without hating the person who interrupts me or curtails my flow? Because they will and they do.

 I currently write and paint at the kitchen table, as our bedroom is so icy its hard to do anything there apart from sleep surrounded by hot water bottles. There are seven of us in the house...everyone likes to hang out in the kitchen/sitting room which is very small. And I have a 6 month old baby....I have to keep remembering that.

So will  I sink or swim if I jump? I can only try....


I keep adjusting the blog, you've probably noticed...but