Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brushes #1 - "Fingerpainting" by Baby


About the Artist

Wild Thing was born on November 7, 2009. He shows great promise as an artist with his work reflecting his fun-loving nature and ability to bring a smile to the face of all he meets. His talent as an artist must be related to his regimented lifestyle. For example, while Sky enjoys tasting everything, he maintains a very strict diet (milk only, please) and takes frequent naps throughout the day. He also sticks to a regimented exercise routine that includes rigorous leg workouts with lots of kicking and jumping, yoga at the exclusive MomBa studio in Val Verde, and power walks with his personal trainer, Jennifer. In addition, he studies dance with private dance instructor, Ramon. Aside from visual arts, Sky's artistic interests also include music. He can often be heard singing (in a crooner style) and enjoys playing a keyboard that was specially designed for him. He even plays it with his feet. Intellectually, Sky's endeavors are impressive. He loves books and is currently learning two languages. We hope you enjoy this inaugural artistic work that was made at an exclusive art studio in Santa Monica under the patronage of Danika Sudik and Tom Burmester.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rays of Sunshine (AKA Hope)

My last blog was all about obstacles and roadblocks, and the importance of remembering to breath and of not forgetting that the road is good, even when there seem to be lots of roadblocks and obstacles getting in the way. Not long ago, that is how things felt for our little family -- as if there were just lots of roadblocks. 

We were frustrated that we were working to do so much good and yet kept butting up against such challenges. Then, as Ramon says, we started to see little rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds. We were told that the landlords were selling the house we lived in and so we started looking at apartments. It was cloudy indeed. Yet, a single ray broke through the clouds as we started thinking that maybe we could buy the house. We got the list price. We ran the numbers. It all made sense. We could buy the house we were already living in. 

We made an offer and then had to meet a counter offer (that raised the price very little). Today, the real estate agent called and told us that the owners had signed. The rays got brighter. However, this morning my grandmother passed away and the sky literally was cloudy outside. We had known this day was coming. She was 88. My mother had been there for 2 weeks, but was back in Texas when it happened. However, the chaplain had just been with my grandmother -- there's a little ray. 

My mother, of course, is grieving as anyone would who loses a mother. Yet, all three of her children and their spouses will be able to be together on Easter weekend for the services. I see more rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds. My brothers, Kyle and Brent, have not yet met Sky, so I am very glad that they will be able to do so and that Sky will also get to meet Deb and Hayley (Brent's wife and step-daughter), as well as his Great-Uncle and, I'm sure, lots of other extended family. It is not whether challenges and sadness and loss will come into our lives. It always will, but I believe there is always a ray of sunshine (aka hope) if we look for it. I know others may disagree, but finding the sun amidst (or hidden behind) the clouds is the only way I have ever made it through a rainy season.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Good Long Road: Overcoming Obstacles

My brother, Kyle, came up with this name for my blog. In fact, he set up the blog for me when I was embarking upon the journey of my Run for Peace just about 3 years ago.

It is an appropriate title/theme, for the blog and for life, I suppose. For it is a good, long road. At times, it seems, that it is a very, very long road and that certain stretches are particularly treacherous with road blocks all around that constantly block the path. It is at these times when I find that I most need to remind myself that Peace is Every Step, no matter if that step is small or even backwards. I have to remind myself that I do "Run for Peace" or, as the case may be, walk/crawl/dig/scramble and fall (flat on my face - particularly when I might forget that peace is every step.) I must remind myself to always keep the Peace part front and center. If I falter and if I lose my way and if I am not promoting peace with each step and each action, I must learn to stop and breath and find the center point again -- the point that allows me to regain my focus.

In running, if you aren't breathing properly, it doesn't really work. You might be fine for awhile, but eventually you will have to stop, your side will hurt, your lungs burn, your breath will get shorter and shorter and you won't be able to run anymore, sometimes it gets so bad you can't even walk anymore. Life is like that too. If we don't breath. If we don't center ourselves. If we don't cleanse our bodies and hearts and minds by bringing new oxygen in and releasing the bad, the old, the used, the negative, we won't get very far. We'll find that the road is neither good nor long because we're just walking in place or standing still while life passes us by. Often, we expend a lot of effort, but go nowhere. So, we certainly can't navigate or climb over or go around any obstacles -- the breath is all wrong and the energy is not there. The road just feels long, not good.

Just long. I'm trying, though, to look harder and to breath deeper. To realize that next to that roadblock, or the several roadblocks that keep getting in the way, there might be a single, beautiful red rose or an orchid that is starting to blossom or a tiny ladybug crawling along the path. These simple pleasures--a baby boy sleeping on your chest, a friend who listens, a stranger who offers a smile, a cup of tea or coffee made with extra care--these, along with a few cleansing breaths, can give a new perspective and can grant new energy, so that the roadblocks, though they may still be there, don't look so intimidating, don't seem to big, and might even begin to look like opportunities for creativity, for new ways of thinking and doing, for new partnerships that will get us past them.

Yes, the road is long. Yes, it can get clogged. It can be treacherous. It may even seem impossible. But, the road is also good. That fact just may not be so obvious. And it's okay to stop for awhile and take a break, take a breather, and mourn the challenges, before putting our running shoes back on and logging another mile.