Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Winter Respite

Stump Pass on Manasota Key


Trail into the mangrove forest 
    Today is the last Friday I can write my blog looking at the Gulf waters. My respite time with the ocean is ending. I have grown accustomed to hearing waves slapping the sand, the rustle of the palm branches around my patio, and the high squeals of the ospreys in early morning. The rhythm of the waves has lulled me into deep sleep. I have been renewed by the salty waters and found countless seashell treasures. My walks through the mangroves have enriched my soul. I never tire of seeing tortoises feeding, osprey sitting on their eggs, and small crawly creatures darting out of my walking path. The smell of the salty sea and sweet mock orange bushes remind me of my childhood in Florida. Playful dolphins entertain me each day as they pass by the beach. Manatees move slowly through the waters and remind me how wonderfully God has created these mammals.  

    This winter respite awakens my creative energies and restores my soul. I am so grateful for this opportunity to live simply with so much less than I have at home. The “less is more” lesson reminds me how when there is not clutter, no crystal and pottery to dust, no stacks of magazines, extra chairs, or too many knick knacks, life holds “more” understanding. I have time to ponder, to reflect, and to understand God’s magnificent gifts. “Things” do not get in my way. Living with less enriches my daily life.

     This is a time where Denny and I become each other’s best friend again. We learn to live together and rely on each other in much the same way we did our first year of marriage. We play cards, take walks, sit on the beach, and read together. We look forward to $5 movie night and quaint cafes. This is our marital renewal time.

      However, it is time to return to others, to my gardens, to my neighbors of forty years, who need my support and meals. It is time to begin reaching out to others and sharing my refreshing. It is time to babysit the little girls, help older relatives, visit shut-ins, and give hospitality to others. It is time. 

     Morning memories of long walks and talks with God are stored in my heart. My soul is refreshed. Yoga on the beach has strengthened my body. Magnificent art teachers have helped me look more carefully, see more details, and understand perspective and motion in my drawings. Their teaching and mentoring have released new life in my creative endeavors. For all these things, I am so grateful. I thank God daily for this renewal, this opportunity, and this cleansing. Now, I ask I can retain these lessons and return home and use them.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Envelope Lesson #3 Risk Taking

copyrighted art by Sandi Baron
Envelope Lesson #3 Risk Taking

      Palm trees are such beautiful creations. Each simplistic frond creates a flowing elegant branch. The movement in the branches produces gentle breezes giving comfort on the hottest day. Each part works for the good of the whole universe. The coconut palm produces sweet milk and wonderful tasting fruit. This tree has beauty and fruitfulness. Now, why am I belaboring the description and purpose of palm trees? Because I am trying to paint them, I study them intently. While I am painting the branches , I take some risk. I include colors that my husband doesn’t see. I risk taking God made beauty and interpreting the orange of the sun’s reflections .

     Each painting flows and suddenly gets stuck. It is a collection of smears, misplaced brush strokes, and even colors that do not enhance each other if I jump the color wheel too quickly. Isn’t that like our lives? We begin with a vision, a goal, a hope, or an idea. We take the risk to paint the living room four colors of green, make a rug into a wall hanging, or throw whatever is in the refrigerator together and call it dinner. We start a diet, an exercise program, a spiritual study. We sometimes don’t tell anyone because we know there is a risk , and we don’t want to come up looking incomplete or worse yet, unsuccessful. We sometimes take life-long risks like choosing a marriage partner, starting a family, rescuing a pet, or beginning a career. Each of these are chances we take in life.

      I think these choices give me assurance that I can take the most awkward stage of my painting and turn it into something appealing. I enjoy learning how painting mimics life. The creation process is bittersweet sometimes because I must endure frustration to reach success . Isn’t that just like this life journey? Go ahead, take a risk and move forward today

Friday, March 2, 2012

Envelope Lesson Two-Greed


            An old, grumpy woman lives on the beach.  She bellows out at beach goers,       
“This is my property.  Get off.”  We have to pass her each day because the beach easement is beside her house.
            She is an example to me.  She has lived her life holding so tightly to her privilege of living on the beach, that she has destroyed its beauty and her own peace.  Juanita is staunchly protective of her beachfront and has cluttered it with several “no trespassing” signs, ten or fifteen rusty beach chairs, and rotting umbrellas.  The natural beauty is sorely diminished. She has frequently called police to remove unwitting beachcombers from lounging on" her" stretch of the sand.  Juanita has been taken to court for her unruly behavior toward others and told repeatedly that her property line begins above the high tide line.
            Now, she has been arrested because a loggerhead turtle made a nest on her beach and she destroyed the nest.  Loggerheads are considered at risk for extinction and are protected by  the Endangered Species Act.   Witnesses saw Juanita removing the stakes placed by authorities around the turtle nest.  She removed the stakes, threw sand on top of the nest, and covered it with one of her rusty chairs.  
            At 75 she has been convicted of this third degree felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.  Wouldn’t you hate that to be the ending of your life chapters?  She will probably get off with fines and community service, but I am sad for the turtle and her. This is how she will be remembered.
            She had a wonderful house on the Gulf, which to many of us would be a completion of our lifelong dream. Yet, she didn’t want to share it with man or loggerheads.  She clutched the beauty so tightly that she destroyed it as well as herself.  The greed ate her.  Ironically, it is God’s creations she was trying to possess.  Juanita is a constant reminder to me ,  not to clutch my blessings so tightly that I lose them.  They are given to me to be shared.
            While hiking yesterday, I passed a pair of loggerheads returning to the sea from the mangrove forest.  I talked to them and told them how cute they were.  They went on their way as did I.  I appreciated their slow and steady movements and their decorative shell.  Why would anyone want to harm them?
            I shall seal into my envelope this memory of Juanita’s greed and how it destroyed her life as well as the loggerhead’s future.  She allowed that demon to lure her into a life of darkness.  Please Lord, let me always remember to share my blessings.