Me in the Middle of Thinking SPRING!

Spring at MonticelloWatercolor and Ink pen sketch of a view at Monticello ~ Home of Thomas Jefferson

(c)  Mary Lou Q

I have been in the enjoiment of our delicious spring. the soft genial temperature of the season, just above the want of fire, enlivened by the reanimation of birds, flowers, the fields, forests & gardens, has been truly delightful & continues to be so … indeed my experience of the different parts of America convinces me that these mountains are the Eden of the US. for soil, climate, navigation & health.”  (Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Volney)

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Thinking about Spring starts me planning my next visit to Monticello, the Home of Thomas Jefferson.  Everything comes alive on the Mountaintop and seems to say that , just like Spring is a sign of Hope and New Life, so is Monticello a sign of Hope and New Life for our country.  Thomas Jefferson was a complex man and my favorite president.  Everyone seems to claim him for their political agenda yet he doesn’t quite fit the mold of labels.  He thought freely and with vision, and because of him and those who set our country on this great adventure we’ve continued to endure.  Monticello is a reminder of this for me. Continue reading

Me In The Middle of Creating My Life

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 A New Creation

~ A poem about finding expression through art ~

One thing that tough times have taught me is to look to the center of things….. the center of me where I hope to find a way to move forward through whatever is going on in my life. It’s not always easy, especially when there’s a lot going on and things get really overwhelming. What works for others is not always the answer for you.

During one period of my life, it seemed I was searching nonstop for ways to get through the stress, chaos and upheaval that kept coming my way. I walked (a lot!), I exercised (a lot!), I meditated/prayed (a lot…), I wrote and created poems (off and on….) (Sometimes I partied (a lot!), Sometimes I drank (moderately…), Sometimes I totally stressed out! (a lot!) …. And that’s OK too! 🙂

It was during this time when I discovered the power of creating through ART. It’s my go-to escape from life’s tough times and it has never failed me. You don’t have to be perfect …. just express yourself and let go.

So I’m sharing with you a poem I wrote, during that chaotic time, about discovering my life through the joy of creating art.

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 A New Creation

Dormant stirrings of artistic talent
Laying in wait for expression
Smells of turpentine and linseed oil
Stretched into my memory
Carefully laying out the tools
For bringing thoughts to life.

Palette of colors
Arranged in warm and cool sequence
Easel with stretched canvas
Assorted brushes and knives
All symbols of promise
A new creation ~ a new hope.

At last a participant
No longer the spectator
Lost in concentration
Hours pass like minutes
Strong mystical feelings of peace
This was my universe and I felt free!

Maternal love nurtures new life
Returning to touch and nourish
Inner sense of Letting Go
Stepping back to set free
Contemplating the finished product
A genuine part of me.

Mary Lou Q

Sketches © Mary Lou Q

Me in the Middle ~ Self-Acceptance

 Kind Balance

 Self-Acceptance

 I’ve accepted the fact that, at times in my life, I’ve loved too much.  While attempting to be the ‘perfect’ daughter’, the ‘perfect’ wife, the ‘perfect’ mother, etc., I’ve given over my power to others who might not deserve that trust.  In accepting this about myself, I’ve made a commitment to trust my intuition and my need to set healthy boundaries and take a stand for myself.

How many times do I second-guess myself?  Let me count the ways!  At those time when I haven’t had confidence in myself and haven’t trusted my own decisions, I’ve contributed to co-dependent relationships by looking to others for affirmation.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”  

~ Anne Lamott ~

Trying to be perfect keeps us from really finding joy in our lives.  Whether it comes from the way we’ve been raised as a child or from our expectations of ourselves now as adults, perfectionism holds us back from spontaneity and being more emotionally responsive to others.  

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never achieve it.”  Salvador Dali

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I get the ‘do unto others’ part and realize I need to put a little more into the ‘as you would do unto yourself’ part.  Self-Love helps me to realize that I struggle with the awareness that some have too little self worth and are too selfless, while others have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice.  Sometimes you can leave yourself behind when loving others.  It’s about balance.  I’m learning to set healthier boundaries and not give too much power to those who might not deserve it.  Nice place to be!  🙂

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“Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.”

~ Brene Brown ~

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I never thought of Self-Compassion as a letting go of perfectionism.  And yet there it was in my own words ……………..“I was just thinking that when I internally feel self-compassion I’m comforted by those thoughts. It’s when I verbalize them to others that I sometimes feel the person hearing me is thinking I’m making excuses for myself.” ………………It made me realize that part of Self-Compassion is believing you’re worthy of that compassion and it’s not a weakness when you are being kind and gentle with yourself.   It really doesn’t matter what others are thinking or saying.  We’re never going to be ‘perfect’ and we’re never going to be able to avoid the possibility of criticism and judgment from others.

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~ You’re allowed to be both a Masterpiece and a Work in Progress simultaneously ~

Joanne Sharpe's Class 1

© Sketch by Mary Lou

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 ❤

Me In The Middle Of Feeling Christmas Spirit

Christmas Roses #2 (2)

(c) mlq

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~ The Christmas Rose ~

She stood beside the doorway softly weeping,
without the slightest gift for the newly born
who lay within a manger, peaceful, sleeping.

Three travelers, all richly dressed, but worn,
brought royal treasures for him in their keeping ~

the shepherd maiden wept unseen, forlorn.
In the chill of winter, she had found no rose
nor blossom; ‘midst the rocky hills none grows.

An angel saw her sorrow; understanding
at once the reason, swept away the snow,
revealing there some Christmas Roses. Handing
these white and waxen flowers to her, “Go –
an offering so pure is right,” commanding
with gentleness that only angels know.
The gift was made – beneath the angel’s wink,
the petals blushed from white to palest pink.

© Margaret I. Gibson

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Some of the best memories I have of past Christmas holidays were when I let go of expectations and just let it happen.

 Ever since I was a little girl I’ve felt that Christmas was meant for all people of good will.  It never dawned on me that Christmas would belong to just one religion.  I knew it was the birth of Jesus ~ the tiny infant who was born in a humble stable ~ who came to love the world and the message he brought to us was to love one another.

My early memories of Christmas were more of the feeling of togetherness, belonging and acceptance.  There was a feeling of magic in the air.  There weren’t many gifts under the tree ~ yet it was my favorite time of the year.  There was something infectious about the outpouring of Good Will as you went about the day meeting people along the way.

When my children were growing up it was fun taking on the passing along of this tradition.  Seeing their eyes brighten with anticipation as the day grew nearer, and gathering them around the Nativity Scene to impress upon them that it was this humble birth we were celebrating.

Then there were the times when I was weary and burdened with worries and stresses.  When I didn’t have enough money to get them gifts or a tree.  When I watched the hustle and bustle of every one caught up in the season and felt isolated from it.  I thought it was all going to pass us by.  Surprisingly, these were the times I remember the most because it’s at times like these that even the smallest gift and the smallest gestures of kindness and love mean the most.  It was at times like these that I experienced what the real meaning of Grace is.  It was at times like these that I learned that Christmas happens every day when we’re open to it.  

That humble birth of that one small child speaks to all of us about the simplicity of Love ~ A Gift that shouts out at a World that desperately needs it.  It’s not a gift that belongs to any specific religion.  It’s a gift that belongs to all of us!  

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“Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

Me in the Middle of Inktober 2018

I Survived Inktober 2018

This month has been an eventful month!

I had a medical set-back that sent me to the emergency room a few months back and was soon diagnosed with AVNRT which is a form of Supraventricular Tachycardia.  A Cardiac Ablation was scheduled for October 15th and while waiting for that date, my activity level took a nose dive.

Then I heard about Inktober 2018 and decided it would be a great way to pass the time and fight the boredom.  It would calm my pre-surgery fears and also give me a buffer-zone against the ugly, stressful developments in our country’s politics.  The challenge is to come up with an ink-sketching idea based on a daily prompt.  Here’s the video that explains Inktober much better than I could:

How to Do Inktober

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So all went well with the Cardiac Ablation and I’m just completing my recovery with a good report from the doctor.  I also finished all 31 days of Inktober and feel pretty good about it.  Take a look at my sketches.  Maybe you’ll join us next year for Inktober 2019?

Week One ~ Oct 1st thru 7th

 

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Week Two ~ Oct 8th thru 14th

 

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Week Three ~ Oct. 15th thru 21st

 

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Week Four ~ Oct. 22nd thru Oct 30th

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And HAPPY HALLOWEEN ~ Enjoy a Margarita on me!! 

(I’d love to know which sketch you liked the best!  Leave your choice in comments!)

Day 31 Slice #3