Friday, July 6, 2007

In the Cards

I design and make cards. I have done so for years but it wasn't until 2002 that I went beyond the "print off a card from the computer, sign and send". Up until then I would handwrite a meaningful message suitable for the occasion and the picture on the card would take secondary import. Heck, it wouldn't really have any import. Who am I kidding? Half the time, I just invested an hour and some cash in Hallmark anyway.

Until February 2o02, that is. I was slammed with a wicked case of the flu which left me and my immune system battered and bruised, to the point the doctors guessed I might have leukemia. They ultimately decided that it was an auto-immune reaction causing my overwhelming fatigue, bruising, and lack of brain functioning. I couldn't walk. Could hardly talk. Working was out of the question. Most frightening, I couldn't put coherent thoughts together nor could I tell colors anymore.

For a while, I didn't care but then my lack of finances interfered with congratulating friends on their birthday, sympathizing with family on losses, letting folks know I appreciated their care and concern. For some reason I was surfing and discovered three things that would sow the seeds of creation in my soul. I discovered Creative Papers on line which had scrap packs of paper of all colors and textures. It hit me that if I sorted the papers by color, with a little help from my husband, I could relearn the color spectrum.

I didn't get the paper for cards. I just had the paper for skill recovery. But what could I do with all that paper now that I had it? Cards. What else did I have? Time. I had never had extended time to sit and really dream and design before. Time to put prayer into the cards' creation, thought into the right words for the occasion. I had pastoral experience to know what NOT to say. Personal experience to know life throws stuff at you and the importance of hearing that others care. I realized as I surfed that quote sites like and gave me the right words when I could not think of them on my own.

The right words, the right medium, and for creation I would have never discovered if it hadn't been for an illness stopping me in my tracks. "Manure for the flower garden". Beauty and caring out of suffering and ugliness. It was in the cards....

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Found Time

Found Time "Don't drink the phosphosoda!" said the voice in the phone. That's how I found out my surgeon had broken her hand, thereby cancelling surgery (and required prep) I had anticipated for months, and making a mockery of the four weeks of totally blank Outlook Express calendar on my computer set aside for recovery. No projects. No appointments. No anything.

Even in my most laidback periods of life when I was not working a full-time position, there was always something to be done, to do, to explore. Hair appointments. Lunch with friends. Seminars and book readings. Hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks, now loomed. Hey, I had thought I was going to have my husband at my beck and call while I slept off anesthesia and healed cut muscles. Everyone had told me to make sure I took it easy. And I took their advice. Now look where their advice had gotten me. The Land of Panic, that is where I was and feared I would stay.

After two days in shock from disappointment and fear of what this all meant, I was desperately praying for divine guidance. Sitting on my back deck, staring at red geraniums and purple wave petunias, begging even them to give me a clue, it hit me. What if I didn't look at this time as some heaven sent intervention into my surgery schedule (even I don't believe God would break my doc's hand to keep me from going under the knife)? What if what this time was, was what it was - FOUND TIME. Time to let things bubble to the surface. Time to see what I would have missed if I had been lying flat on my back with a bell for calling my servant-spouse in one hand and a book in the other.

The trick would be not to manufacture things to do but let them just appear out of the universe. A warm visit with in-laws. My newlywed son and his wife's move into their first home or celebrating family friends who rejoiced in their 50th anniversary. Writing an unexpected magazine article asked for and due the week after my surgery date. Lunch with new friends and a day with an old one who came in from California unexpectedly. Silence on the deck watching the birds and bunnies. Strength to be the parent and spouse I needed to be right now. Playing with paper as I create my custom cards. Playing with words as I create this blog.

It has come to mind more than once that I should have been living my life this way from the start. Anticipating each day. Not working so hard to fill it. Enjoying the blank hours on my calendar and appreciating the Found Time.

Now I am off to see what bubbles up today....

Monday, July 2, 2007

Where is this leading?

You need a blog. You need to write. I have three and you don't even have one...what is up with that? Ah, the pressure. As one who used to write sermons and lessons on a regular basis weekly, and articles for magazines monthly, it might seem strange that I haven't picked up on the blog craze yet. Maybe it is because it just seems too presumptuous that folks would be interested in what I have to say. Maybe it is or maybe it is just an advanced way of sharing with others who are questioning the world around them, creating art, leaping into new adventures, trying to recover from difficult religious experiences, figuring out life after the kids move out and on with their lives and mostly wanting a reason to write on a regular basis.

What are my expectations of this blog? My sister Mary took the life experience option and turned it into a how-to for folks moving to New York City...find her at Personal but more informational, a grand list of all things you need to know about NYC whether visiting or settling there. Here in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, I don't see myself having the grand adventures of my sister. We have food, art and "drama" but not to the celebrity scale that entertains folks on her site.

I am, as my blog states, a backyard hermit...someone who has struggled with the tension of being in communion with God in a solitary manner and still be a part of the world. I tend to see God in all things, ordinary and grand. I have a quirky, humorous eye for life (or so I have been told). Nature is my grand cathedral but the Christian radio station fills my car (when country or classical don't win out).

So we will just see where this is all leading...any subject suggestions for me to ponder, observations, encouragement is welcome.