Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer 2013-It WAS All About Me!

Altered Art Book-Connecting To Text

Altered Art Sign-Inspirational
Every Morning-5 days a week this was where I was-7:15 AM

Berries picked

Wild Blackberries
Daily Dog  Walking

Reclaimed co-op signs painted altered art classroom signs

My summer was great! Instead of spending time working on college classes all summer, even though I completed one more graduate class, it was completed by the middle of  July leaving me lots of time to really enjoy my summer. Notice my pictures above.These are hints to the things I spent my time doing.

First  and foremost, I swam. I decided to swim 5 days a week every week all summer. I swam laps in the pool alternating between swimming the breast stroke and swimming with a lap board-doing intervals. Eventually, I built up to swimming with more intensity. I am very proud of  how I stuck to it. It wasn't always  easy. In fact, in the beginning it was downright painful and difficult. There were parts of me who wanted  to give up and go back to bed. Those parts fought me, put doubts in my heart and soul and even tried to undermine my efforts. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies.However, I can say I was successful in beating back those parts of me that were hoping I'd fail. I didn't fail. I didn't stop. I didn't give in. There are lessons found in these experiences. It's all about keeping  your eye on the prize. The prize for me was to feel healthier, more energetic, and alive. I reached those rewards. On my last official day of swimming, the other regulars bid me a fond farewell and applauded me for my transformation they witnessed.

Berry picking taught me so much. You might wonder, "what the  heck can you learn  from berry picking"? There is a great deal to learn from life all around us all the time if we are just wise enough to notice. This time I was. I noticed some wild berries growing over my fence. They came spewing over my fence from the woods, wild blackberries. There they were just there one day.  I began picking them and we ate them. Picking those berries became part of our healthy routine. Daily, I'd go to my wild berries flowing over the fence and began to pick them. Now, if you know anything about blackberries, their branches are loaded with stickers. Some stickers are small but many are huge and unforgiving. As you move to grab onto one berry or another the branches with those darned stickers almost reach out, grab onto you and stick you. Lesson, the things you want, you desire most won't come easily most of the time. Oh there are times I reached for many  berries and got them without a hitch. However, many other times, the ones slightly off behind some leaves as I reached for them, I paid the price with a stab, a hold, or a scratch as I pulled away. It was a lesson that taught me that sometimes there are prices to be paid, dues to pay, even  when you think you are getting something for free. And those berries over the fence, there for the picking only I couldn't reach them.They were right there if I could only just.....but alas they were too far away. Lesson-sometimes what seems right in front of you, cannot be reached no matter how hard you try. 
Next, I noticed  the same blackberry bushes along the roadside where I walked Hopey everyday.  How is  it I never noticed them before? I began to pick some berries on every walk, adding to our berry gathering. Some of  those berries were easily accessible and some like at my house were teasing  me, but maintained their distance up on a hill. The berries were the tasty treasures of our summer forays. 

Finally, my local co-op grocery store was giving away small co-op signs they didn't need anymore. I decided to grab them, not knowing what I'd do with them. One day, I decided to create some altered art signs for my classroom. I painted,glued, and drew with the intention of hanging them around my classroom. They are not great works of art. Some may think they are less than masterly created. I agree with that. I am not a great artist. I haven't created art since I was 13 years old, and was told I was not a good artist. Reclaiming and rediscovering art now in my 50s is a fun and enjoyable activity. Lessons-all that is tossed away is not garbage. What others say and feel about you need not define you. You will be evolving throughout your life and that means you can do anything you want. Don't be afraid to try some new and some old things-you might be surprised to find joy in what was left behind....