Saturday, May 28, 2011

this is my life ...

Our three sons playing on the steps at church.

Our lads with friends Rimu and Kakati

My incredible self-styled Marcus (8) showing his thrifted clothes. Hat, jacket, wallet, t-shirt, $15!

My youngest son and I thrifting at the big clothing warehouse Savemart.

The only creative work I get to do these days is building towers and cities with my baby.

I am recovering once again from another viral hit. It feels like I have been unwell for the longest time. Anyone with a long term illness or condition will know that sometimes daily it is a battle to pull up, hold onto hope and faith, and believe that things will get better. But that is my intention and conviction. No matter what happens, I'm trusting God with my outcome.

In the meantime, the challenge is to find the joy and beauty in my everyday. Because someday's I cannot leave my bed. And when I can, sometimes I cannot leave the house. And when I can, I am so very thankful for the smallest things. Like taking my son to his playgroups and sharing adult conversation with others. Like looking in the cupboards and seeing food is there and provisions have been made for my family.

I walked along the beach with my youngest last week for about ten minutes, selecting stones together to make a gift for someone with. I have not been on the beach for longest time and I really miss it. Its my special place, where I can think and talk to God, and puddle around looking for treasures.

I was stirred this week to read on another blog something that I too have found challenging but didn't realise until I read this person's words. I have been unhappy with my home. And I realise now that I have been saturating myself with all the amazing design blogs and websites online, dreaming of my 'ideal' house which is miles from my reality. So I'm letting go of my 'ideal' in my head and looking at what I am and what I have and thinking about the possibilities I have right in front of me. Its odd how that happened.

I'm also tired of the staged photos I see online. Perfect homes with not a hair out of place. Collections of thrifted things that almost seem abnormal in high end homes. I know I run the risk of sounding like a reverse snob but I'm realising I too have fallen into that trap. Feeling that unless I do something artistic or have found something worthwhile, then my life isn't worth blogging about. How dumb is that. Its my blog. And I'm gonna be me. So that's me telling myself to stay real. I've always op-shopped because its what I can afford. I always have long before I blogged. I made things before I ever blogged.

I became more intentional having read Ornamental blog by Nina Bagley and decided to go to art school to develop what I felt I had inside. It flopped mainly because I didn't understand what they wanted and I couldn't find my own voice there. I've had a better time without it finding my own pace and route. No doubt, I've got things that need to be fine tuned. Processes I still need to develop but I need to hang those things up for a bit and focus on who I am right now.

Some things that have worked is a small community craft group that I established together with long time friend Cleo. We gather once a month to share stories, show and tell about our projects, and enjoy each others company. We have all become friends and its been a positive outcome.

I need to be careful not to be seduced. Inspired yes but remaining true to my own artistic voice. There are so many amazing websites and blogs that its easy to become influenced by what I see. So instead, I'm drawing a line in the sand and reminding myself to stay true to who I am. To finding the beauty in my everyday and in my own surroundings and experiences. To not be so harsh on myself and making unhelpful comparisons.

Be yourself. I say that to my friends and my sons all the time. To my husband. Its the most freeing thing really. Because I can be a great me. Or a poor imitation of someone else. There's no choice is there really. I'm blessed to be surrounded by so many friends and people who are also free being themselves. I've positioned myself well in my community, with enough reminders and inspiration that I cannot be anything but what I am. Warts and all.

So today I lie here under a handmade quilt a friend offered me a few weeks back. Her nana made it and she knew I'd appreciate it. I had homemade chicken soup for lunch. The sun is streaming through my window. And I'm heartened greatly by Mary Oliver's poetry today. My favourite all time poet. A woman whose words resonate in my very innermost. This one struck me as apt considering what I was thinking about. I hope wherever you are, that you are warm and well too. x

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

© Mary Oliver


Leslie Avon Miller said...

I'm not surprised art school wasn't a fit for you. I think it misses the mark for many folks. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't more like a boot camp with rules and regulations and expectations of achievement.

I try to create my own art school in my studio. I strive to be kind to myself. When I slip, I remind myself its all ok.

This Mary Oliver poem is an all time favorite of mine too.

When it comes to our home and having it look "just so", my husband always reminds me "we live here." My bedside table will never have roses (I'm allergic) and arty things. It will always have a clock, some tissue, my glass of water, the books I am reading....practical things I really use and need. I use a couple of flat surfaces near our entry to display things in an arty way...its my nod to my love of beauty.

You asked me at my blog about my words and quotes. Usually quotes are in a colored type, and my words are in dark grey or black. I hope that helps.

I haven't been here in a while. Your boys are growing!

Ahipara Girl said...

How lovely to hear from you Lesley. Thank you for explaining. For some reason it wasn't clear to me but I went back and yes, I discerned the difference. Your work is amazing (those egg shells, sigh) as is collating all those different artists and quotes. I was prompted again to catch up with Christine Mauersberger and what a treat. Your blog is good 'first thing in the morning with a coffee reading'. xxx

Leslie Avon Miller said...


Yvette said...

this is a blog that touches me. I'm going to the same process...not being able to leave the house sometimes because my broken back hurts too much, but wanting sometimes to be part of it all, than back to the treasures I already have close around me.
Looking out of the window and wonder and be happy about all shades of green etcetc