Bad/Good . . . . Bad/Good . . . . .Bad/Good

This was bad week.  I have been self-treating for Lyme and Bartonella.  Old symptoms flared and new ones appeared this week —- headaches, brain fog, fatigue, heart pain, joint pain, swelling in my legs, ankes, and feet.  The swelling affects my right leg, ankle and foot more for some reason.  The flare is “good” if I am killing the bugs, in which case, I will bounce back.  But the concern that my symptoms signify other issues weighs heavily  —–the waiting, and the hoping, and depending exclusively on myself is the hard part.

BUT . . . . .

this was a good week.  The children and I have pondered psalms.  We have drawn silly pictures illustrating vocabulary words.  My sides have ached with laughter watching the kids’ school presentations —– poems set to music, a homemade video of the earth’s destruction by fire and ice and Sidney’s live performance of a rap with Dickinson’s “A Bird Came Down the Walk.”  I have heard piano, cello and violin music in my home.

So there have been great blessings mixed in too, but Lord, I am weary.  In the midst of laughter, there are tears.  In the midst of tears, there is laughter and I am weary.

Then I came home from a shopping trip.  I always come home from shopping ready to hide —- something about Wal-mart does not elicit that peaceful, easy feeling.  Shocking, no?

But then, I came home and I walked into the kitchen to this . . . . . . . . .

And I could not stop the smile.

My eldest son’s math was overtaken by the birds.

My 10 yo daughter has been infatuated with all things flamingo since she was very young.  Originally, she drew stick flamingos on all her schoolwork, but she has progressed.

A closer picture for detail . . . .

I guess a flamingo nativity might be considered rather strange by some.

I find it rather quirky and fun-loving, an imaginative creation of a tender, geniune heart.

So . . . .after weighing the bad and the good . . . . .I think the good won out.

It was a GOOD week.

A Home Decorating Parody

For several years now, I have been reading The Nester’s blog.  Her thoughts on simple decorating are encouraging  —- even I can create a little beauty around me with a few minutes and a little effort.

Last fall, I was inspired to decorate my kitchen island with a blue pumpkin.  But it wasn’t quite right — my island needed something with a bit of height.  After some trial and error, my blue pumpkin perched on a pedestal.  And I was happy.

My very practical husband and sons laughed at my pumpkin perched on a pedestal.

But I didn’t care.  I loved my pumpkin’s aqua color, the bumpy skin and his pedestal perch.  He was a bit of beauty and calm amid the kitchen chaos that my eye could rest on ——- “Breathe,” my little pumpkin seemed to say.  “See how I don’t fret and toil.  Rather, I sit quietly on my pedestal and just BE . . . . .umm, well, uh, um, a pumpkin!”

This little peaceful vignette didn’t last though.  When I stepped out of the kitchen, I would come back to find that someone had messed with my pumpkin perched on a pedestal.

This year, the tradition has continued.  After I searched everywhere and came up empty-handed, Sid finally found a blue pumpkin for me at Tractor Supply.

I happily retrieved my pedestal from a high pantry shelf and created my little peaceful vignette on my kitchen island.

Then I left the kitchen and returned to this . . . . . .

.

My pumpkin on a pedestal decor is a silent, teasing conversation between the kids and me.  I clear away their additions, leaving my pumpkin in peace.  When my back is turned, they add a little silly to my vignette.  They are creatively stretched, finding new and interesting additions — something sure to catch my eye and make me smile.

Friday Fancies XVIII

From Artistic Pursuits — still lifes.

I hastily created a still life.  We discussed color and the light shining in the window on the right side and noted the darker areas and crevices.

Then my little artist’s got to work.  Lincoln’s still life . . . .  . .

Prairie’s still life (with a little help from Mama) . . . . . . .

Sidney’s still life . . . . . .

Rachel’s still life (with a little help from Mama on drawing, but the coloring is all her . . . . . .

Friday Fancies XVI

Back to Artistic Pursuits — today’s lesson:  Portraits.

To simplify, I had the children focus on faces only.  I sketched a face on paper as we talked, discussing eye and nose shapes and how the eyes are always much lower on the face that we initially think they are.

I assigned each boy a face on a book cover to replicate.

Sidney’s Benjamin Franklin portrait. . . . . . .

Lincoln’s boy from the cover of The Matchlock Gun

Rachel’s eyes caught the book cover of Anne of Green Gables, and she begged that we draw it.  I stationed myself between the girls.  We studied Anne’s eyes and drew them in slowly, first the upper curve, then the lower curve, the girls carefully tracing over my lines, step-by-step.

Every time I do a drawing with the girls this way, I have misgivings that I am encouraging artistic dependence on me.  And each time, it seems to unleash a flurry of artistic initiative in the days following, so that they attempt more difficult pictures on the their own.

Rachel loved the fact that Anne had red hair . . . .”She has red hair like me, Mama.”

Apparently, Rachel prefers her art to be realistic, while Prairie . . . . .

sees the world through a different lense.

Friday Fancies XV

Back to Artistic Pursuits —- Lesson 5:  Landscapes.

I sketched a simple landscape while we discussed some basic principles, like how objects in the background are smaller and less detailed while objects in the foreground are larger and more detailed.  To demonstrate this, I drew some distant mountains covered in trees.  I merely sketched some half circles to hint at the shape of trees on the mountain.  I sketched another tree in the middle ground, slightly larger and with slightly more detail, the line of a branch or two.  Finally, I drew a much more detailed tree in the foreground, more branches and some individual leaves being discernable.

We looked at a Childcraft book “About Places” and studied different landscape places around the world —- with views of bays, The Grand Canyon, cityscapes and got sidetracked many times reading the words alongside the pictures.  I finally got us redirected and turned the boys loose to draw their own landscape.

Sidney’s rendition is more of a waterscape in ink . . . . . .

Lincoln turned out 4 or 5 pictures, but I am only going to show one . . . .

Note his “vanishing point” that is the source of the stream, his antelopes footprints and the legs of the second antelope that ran off the page to the right.  I love his drawings.  They reveal the workings of his mind in ways I don’t get to see otherwise.