Archive for August, 2012

This entry probably belongs on another of my sites, http://northernview.wordpress.com/ — otherwise known as The Messy Palette, and undoubtedly I’ll post it there soon.  But I also feel it’s appropriate on this “everyday life” blog, because I am continually seeing how art contributes to the quality of everyday life for whomever will take the time to explore the possibilities of visual expression.

Quality of life is enhanced by many arts and crafts.  I have long sung the praises of fibers—plus the joy of spinning wool, knitting, and weaving cloth for garments.  Quilting and other forms of needlework are timeless ways to express beauty, fill household needs, and afford satisfaction and fulfillment.

But in recent years I’ve come to realize that there is something special about paint—most any kind of paint—or chalk, if pastels are one’s medium of choice.  I have actually seen people (children and adults alike!) smile with amazement and breathe a new dimension of “soul air” during excursions into the world of paint and brushes which I frequently host at our dining room table.

A child making art is a wondrous sight to behold.  A child’s lack of fear is liberating and joyous.  A very young child probably doesn’t know a lot about the world’s great art; thus he or she is not intimidated by comparison—that insidious “Phantom of the Classroom” which can create paralyzing apprehension in older students. 

The child who has never been scolded for “going outside the lines”, or fed the hideous lie that there’s only one way to make art, is indeed blessed—and may go on to a lifetime of painting.  Adults who have suffered the travesty of having their early work critiqued by clueless, insensitive “teachers” need to throw off the shackles of negativity.  Art is for everyone—for every person on earth who desires to paint!

Each Thursday, I enjoy helping out for a few hours at the Delafield Arts Center—a nonprofit, community outreach to people of all ages.  This (7500+ square feet) facility offers classes in visual art and poetry, musical events, and galleries of exhibits.  We also have a Community Room for shows by local groups—schools, and various art organizations. 

Currently, the Community Room at the DAC is featuring Waukesha, Wisconsin’s DONNA LEXA ART CENTER—an organization “providing an art program for students with disabilities, promoting creative dignity and community integration”. 

Each week I stroll through that exhibit, view the art, and read the artists’ statements and bios.  I always leave that room with tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart.  One cannot view the DONNA LEXA exhibit without realizing the healing and life-enhancing qualities of one of God’s greatest earthly gifts:  ART! 

You can see this for yourself, on www.donnalexa.org/  .  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Read Full Post »

Last week I discovered this precious little fellow, browsing and nibbling in our patio garden.  It was early morning.  I’d set my coffee mug down on the patio, and I stepped barefoot into the garden to pull a few weeds—when there he (or she) was.  He must have been fresh out of his den, for he had not yet learned to scamper.  He had absolutely no fear of me.  I gently stroked his silky back, then went into the house for my camera.  When I came back he was still in the same spot, chomping away.  Even when I photographed him from a distance of about eight inches, he never flinched or showed any concern.

I have many pictures of him on my camera, and a few loaded into my computer files.  What a treasure!  Each day now, I watch for him.  His mom (I think it’s his mom) scurries here and there, and I’ve seen some of their network of holes in the garden and alongside our building. 

Frequently I add bread and cracker crumbs to the storehouse of seeds from spent garden flowers and bird feeder overflow.  Supposedly, each chipmunk stashes a basketball size of feed away for winter.  It’s always sad when suddenly we see them no more in the fall, but what a thrill when our little friends reappear in the spring.

We have a bird bath next to the ledge along our patio, so water is always available along with the garden bounty and the supplementary crackers and bread.  Cats are not allowed to roam at large in our community, and our wild critters have a good life.

How blessed we are to have wild nature right outside our living room door!  Up north we sometimes had black bears on our deck, and that was exciting.  But a tiny treasure in a condo garden is no less wonderful.  And obviously, chipmunks are a bit easier to live with than the bears!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Read Full Post »

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Sunday began as such a beautiful summer day, here in Southern Wisconsin.  Cooler temperatures than we’ve enjoyed for weeks, sunshine following two hours of gentle rain the night before, and our church picnic at the park in our front yard all made Sunday, August 5th special for me!
After the picnic, I dozed in the sunshine—catching up on my tan, which had been put on hold.  (Weeks of temperatures in the 90s had not been suitable for sun bathing—even for this die-hard lover of solar energy.) 
Joe was indoors, watching the Olympics when he switched to our local news channel.  The rest is tragic history!
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace . . . .”.  Move me to share the truth of your Redeeming Love and Salvation—-freely available to every human on earth—-wherever I go.  Open the eyes of your people who love You and call You by Name—-that many will reach out to this sick, dying world and publish the Good News of Salvation, the Good News which changes lives!
Thank you for your promise to return to earth, to reign in Jerusalem.  You are the Author of peace, and the only Person who can bring peace on earth!  
. . . . Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”  from our Lord’s Prayer 
Margaret L. Been, 2012 

Read Full Post »

After several weeks of being tried and tested by drought, our patio garden is experiencing a new life.  I had watered it through the crisis, but was ever aware of the danger of a dried up well—so my watering became scanty as the dry days lingered.

Although once again getting dry, we’ve been refreshed—and I’m able to make a good early morning round with the hose.  I trimmed plants that had bloomed and shriveled, and these are coming back at the base.  The black-eyed Susans have popped up, and they are thriving.  Roses are experiencing an encore of blooms, and so are the foxgloves and anenome. 

What a picture of GRACE!  A little water, and the garden is responding as if it had never suffered those dry weeks.

Here are some shots of our other gardens:  ↑ ↓

The “mum” plants are sprouting tiny flower buds, preparing for their autumn glory.  It all goes so fast!  Our wayward, unholy nation does not deserve to have an autumn of gentle, healing rain—but I pray for mercy, and MORE RAIN! 

Whether or not our All-Wise God blesses us with rain, I constantly pray that our country will wake up and return to the Living Lord and His standard of righteousness!  There is forgiveness for us, and our nation could be revived—like our gardens!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Read Full Post »