Fun: More on Imagination Squared

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In June it was but a dream.

It took courage.

And about two hours, but I painted a square and it became part of something much, much bigger.

I wrote about it then.

Then two weeks ago, my little square joined 901 others as it became part of a massive exhibit currently on display at Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here’s more information on the project and a few more photos for fun!

Enjoy!

About the Beginning:

http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/arts/2010-07-11/story/artists-imagination-squared-idea-becomes-museum-exhibit?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JacksonvillecomMostPopularStories+%28Jacksonville.com%3A+Most+Popular+Stories%29

About the exhibit:

http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/arts/2010-09-03/story/art-exhibit-moca-jacksonville-imagination-squared-inspires

To see some great photos from a bird’s eye view:

http://photos.jacksonville.com/mycapture/enlarge.asp?image=31308289&event=1068468&CategoryID=53454

To see general exhibit photos:

http://photos.jacksonville.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1065120&CategoryID=31682&ListSubAlbums=0

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Fun: Time Matters

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My morning ritual.

Five and a half minutes.

I can do a lot in that time. While my morning “old-fashioned”oatmeal is merrily microwaving at 50-percent power, I can fill up my half gallon water cup for the day. Get the morning paper. Pack my lunch.

Today I emailed my sister, paid a fee for my son’s school music program and signed a few permission forms saying he’d behave himself. That’s a given. Saw him out the door. Locked it behind him.

Anyway, I’m not crazy about oatmeal but I add vanilla protein powder and toss in a few blueberries. That makes my food logs happy, the scale not work so hard and me look forward to shopping for smaller sizes.

Back to my oatmeal. My husband calls it “porridge.” He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Life is like that sometimes. We have a few minutes here and a few minutes there. I’m learning to lasso those suckers and make them count. Life is marching forward and whoever coined the phrase “spending time” really understood its value. Once it’s gone. It’s gone.

Most times I find I simply need action and not more analysis. Other times it’s reversed. All I know is that I’m glad I have the time I do. I want to spend it well.

How will you spend yours today?

Gotta go. Oatmeal’s ready.

Family: More Ties and More Love

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You may not know this about me but I am adopted.

Meet my adopted parents!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my natural, nuclear, biological family, but I also have another and I’d like to introduce you.

My new family adopted me in the city where I attended college my junior and senior years while pursuing a journalism degree. I remember waking up the first Sunday morning I was in said city, living in a scholarship house with 17 girls, 9 on the second floor and two roommates in my particular bedroom.

Freedom hit and I realized I was truly in control of my comings and goings. Eventually, I found myself going to a church even though I didn’t have to. There were lots of other college students and it seemed like a fun place to meet people. That’s where I met Bill and Becky Dye, my adopted parents.

Why did they do it? You’ll have to ask them but with three boys under the age of 7, they reached out to me through that church’s “adopt a student” program, which linked local families to students for the duration of their time there.  The frequency of visits or exactly how the relationship shaped itself was decided by participants – encouragement being the main goal and having a “family away from family” the other.

I was Bill and Becky’s first student and their only girl, so they tell me I have a special place in their hearts. I experienced this again recently after crisscrossing my alma mater’s campus with my youngest son who is on the “college tour circuit.” After the well-polished presentation in a new and shiny building just for guests, after the walking tour where I discreetly pointed out places I had liked while there, it was time for our pre-arranged rendezvous.

This couple attended my college graduation, sat in the family section of my wedding, knows my parents and even their “adopted grandchildren” – my sons. They surprised me with balloons and birthday cake on my 21st birthday – my first away from my nuclear family. This couple didn’t play “church police” when I wasn’t there but who invited me into their home and their lives – they fed me, they let me play with their kids and they included me in family events.

After a leaving campus and heading to the other side of town, my son and I met Bill and Becky for a visit before heading back to Jacksonville. It amazes me how some relationships in life lend themselves to being put down and picked back up with ease, how time can pass and the next “together time” is just as sweet as any other. This time was no different.

So on mom’s break for filling in for a preschool teacher and dad taking a break in his day, my son and I exchanged hugs with them and caught them up on life. When time was up, we snapped a quick picture and here it is for the world to see. Me and my adopted parents.

Throughout the years they opened their hearts and home to many other adopted students – one even played football for the school. They might still be recovering from the food bill for that guy!

So what’s the point? Love goes on ….and on….and on.

I’m living proof.

FUN: You Can’t Buy the Ingredients She Uses

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I call her “Dr. Sallie.” Our appointments are sporadic and unscheduled. But somehow I always see her when I need to.

Dr. Sallie and me. I'm glad she dishes out encouragement!

Her gift: cooking tips, encouragement and embarrassment prevention. I got all three earlier this week!

Her office: the cooking display at my grocery store where she prepares recipes for hungry shoppers to sample.

“Hey darlin’, Happy Labor Day,” she calls to me.

Actually I was going to skip stopping at the display since she was busy chopping ingredients for her next culinary concoction. But I figure it wouldn’t take much time to say hello and let her get back to work so I roll my cart over and stop.

“Come here, honey,” Sallie says motioning for me to turn around and lean backward TOWARD her.

Now I’m wondering what’s going on. Soon I feel her tender touch at the back of my neck as she starts to tuck in the tag at the back of my shirt. In case you don’t know, there’s a very important commitment women have with each other. It’s in the unwritten rules in the woman’s code of sisterhood: Thou shalt not let any sister [whether you know her or not] walk around with her shirt or dress tag exposed.

I’m not exactly sure why this is so important but it is – so trust me. Women do this for each other all the time. And Sallie took care of me, so embarrassment avoided. Besides, I certainly don’t want to appear however exposed tags make one appear.  Women know these things.  It’s in the code.

Soon my friend, whom I’ll call Gloria, rolls up to the action. We share a few laughs and then notice Dr. Sallie is visiting and chopping simultaneously – both with great concentration.

“You know,” my friend says while Dr. Sallie  slices eggplant, “I’ve heard that adding salt to eggplant when you cook it makes it less bitter.”

Dr. Sallie agreed and we three  chit chatted for a few minutes. I even got Dr. Sallie to let me get our picture together. Yes people stared, but I didn’t care. She is an important woman in my life. She could be enjoying retirement and filling her schedule with other activities but she’s there, routinely behind that “Lucy-like The Psychiatrist is In” stand. She always knows what I need to hear. She’s a survivor – in health, in life and in general.

I thrust the camera into my friend’s hands.

Next I feel a secure mother-like hug as Dr. Sallie obliges pulling me in front of her.

Gloria snaps. We review. Then we shop.

“Thanks for the ‘therapy’,” Gloria says with a smile and a wave as she heads toward the bakery.

What would I do without Dr. Sallie?

I don’t know.

But I’m always glad when “the doctor is in!”

FAITH: Life and Lessons

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Life can throw tough punches, but it doesn't mean we're down for the count.

Life’s been throwing lots of one-two punches lately.

Just the time I miss a hit another heads my way.

Here’s what I’m doing about it. Maybe it will help you. I hope so!

One of the best things I do  is to remind myself who God is by looking in the Bible. God is not a good luck charm. He wants to know us personally. He doesn’t want our relationship with Him to be one of mindless rituals and momentary satisfaction. Scripture tells us He has loved us before we were born, knows the number of  hairs on our heads and cares about us so much that He was willing to die.

That’s pretty intense if you ask me. So what good does believing in a dead guy do? Nothing. But that’s where the story changes because the dead guy – Jesus – didn’t stay that way. He’s alive and that’s why the believing – what or who we believe in – matters.

Recently, I spoke with one of my mentors. A phrase he said stuck in my mind. He talked about “training ourselves” to continually give things/circumstances/life/fears to God. Since then, I literally do that each morning. After I wake  I say, “Lord, here is my day.” And then I imagine putting it in his hands. Then I say, “Lord, here is ________.” And then I imagine putting whatever fills the blank that day in his hands.

He wants us to trust Him because He is trustworthy – for this moment, for this hour.

I also have a couple different devotional books scattered throughout my home – in the bathroom, on my dresser, etc. A favorite I use continuously is Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. Others are quicker reads. In the driver’s side door of my car is a New Testament and a book about peace for women featuring Psalms. I picked the book up at my grocery store.

Some of the best scriptures for stressful times are in Psalms. It’s amazing when you think about how God recorded real live examples so we could see what others did when they struggled with their challenges. He let them ask where he was, if he cared about them, what should they do. And you know what? After thousands of years, we still ask those same questions and it hasn’t changed God or his nature one iota. Another truth in Scripture tells us He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The intersection of my decision took place during this head-on collision with life. It doesn’t matter what you call it though it comes dressed as a struggle, problem or crisis. It is during those next moments or days I understand what I can, learn what I can and prepare as best I can. And then, it’s time. I face two choices which affect my “moving forward” – the options:  faith or fear.

From experience, I know my energy, ability to reason and plan, protect and otherwise take control are limited. Why should I psychologically “strip my gears” when one of my options is REST, PEACE, and HOPE –  in God? It’s hard work to will myself to make this decision when my human nature says, “DO SOMETHING…or DO SOMETHING MORE!”

Maybe I’ve done everything I know. Maybe I haven’t done anything, but when it’s time to choose, I think about an old hymn I used to sing growing up: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. One of its phrases repeats the title and then goes on to say, “no turning back, no turning back.”

So, I chose to believe God rather than going it alone. I can’t do it alone.  I don’t want to. Since FAITH does not make human sense I think we mentally chastise ourselves for picking it instead of fear.  Our thought processes may go something like this: “Faith relieves me of having to figure out the next step. It’s the easy way out.”

In reality, maybe that next step should be to trust God.

Just saying.

Just wondering: What do you do when life threatens to throw you to the mat?