Today, in the Christian tradition, is Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent. Historically, in many branches of the church, it has been seen as a time for penitence and deprivation. Of “giving things up.”
At the risk of being a radical, I prefer to think of Lent as a season of reflection and intentional gratitude. Of adding in, as it were, practices that help us focus on the gift of life.
I am observing this day in two ways. First, with inspiration from my dear paint sister, Ally Markotich and with the help of one of my long-term friends, we wrote out lists of things that were holding us back from experiencing our faith. Then, carefully, we tore up our lists and, with flames, offered them up for healing.
When the ashes had cooled (!) we added them to a bit of our paint and continued our art journeys of healing and growth.
All of this on a gorgeous, sunny day in Atlanta, filled with blessings. My paintings are coming along. The most recent batch of bone broth was excellent, and the studio angels (AKA Newfie Rescue herd) have been in a particularly helpful mood this week. So, here are a few more things I feel grateful for that you can enjoy with me or, depending on where you live, be inspired to go treasure hunting on your own.
My friends at Learning Strategies and Spring Forest Qigong are holding a week-long online fest of healing, beginning March 11th, that is totally free to you and appropriate for beginners. I’ve been studying Qigong, especially as it relates to healing, for several years now and it has become one of the go-to tools in my personal medicine basket. You may have read, just recently, about my froggy Qigong friends!
Here’s the link for the healing fest. Just click and sign up! https://www.learningstrategies.com/springforesthealingfest/event?aff=4620
Then, a book. A fantastic, mind-boggling book recommended by another of my wise paint sisters. Ann Lamott says: “Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder.” When Women Were Birds… Fifty-Four Variations on Voice is filter shaking, magnificent and just the thing for Lent!
In the art department, I’ve discovered India inks! Flowy, gorgeous, transparent colors that add lots more choices to my paintings. And the ability to make tiny little lines. The first batch showed up yesterday. I’ve already figured out how to solve a background problem I was having with my current painting in the Heart of Gold series! The second batch just appeared, courtesy of the UPS guy who doesn’t ring the doorbell.
And another art celebration… one of my paint buddies is a pre-teen neighbor termed, by the powers that be, neuro-atypical. He’s an extremely bright young man with more than a few confidence challenges. And he wants to be an artist.
Yesterday, he finished his first painting. I showed him how to glaze the edges of his canvas and then explained that it was time to sign his work. He is, to say the least, sensitive about his handwriting, so I told him he could choose the front of his painting, any of the edges, or the back. And I offered him the choice of a marker or paint and a brush.
As I imagined he would, he chose the back. And then he chose paint and a brush which, in my opinion, is more of a challenge.
There it is. First and last names, along with the 2019. And, as my budding artist pointed out, “You can read it!” This was a very big win!
And now for a bit of bodily sustenance… which, depending on how you feel about Lent, you might want to skip on Fridays.
My friends at Atlanta’s Pine Street Market have opened their second location, in partnership with Riverview Farms’ Full-Circle Farming! These folks are doing fabulous food that’s good for the planet! Check it out at www.chopshopatl.com Be sure to tell Rusty and Tommy that Sue sent you!
It’s also spring sale time for my friends at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They have everything from breads, meats, and cheeses, to pantry staples at great discounts through the end of March. My kids sent a gift certificate for my birthday. I decided a bit of a party was in order. If you do these sorts of things, I’d strongly suggest the aged, raw milk Essex Manchego cheese with a dark chocolate covered fig. Blessedly the figs come individually wrapped! Energy enough to paint some more and a good dose of gratitude.