Saturday, December 31, 2011

The end of a year....and continuation of living.

"The more efficient a force is, the more silent and the more subtle it is. Love is the subtlest force in the world." Mahatma Gandhi

As the door for this year closes; a new door full of possibilities opens. Memories of this year flood my mind. It has definitely been one of the more memorable ones. However, I'm looking forward to the limitless adventures of the new year.

In the beginning of the year when I set out on this j0urney of silence, I had no idea how things would turn out. Taking one day at a time seemed to be the best approach. I admit this year was spent primarily in the moment. It was easy to concentrate on how things felt when the focus was not on formulating words to say. My mind was free to contemplate instead of reacting. I could take my time to really consider what was said and not feel pulled to respond or quickly add my two cents. So many times we are so at the ready to add our point of view, frequently missing the point altogether.

I intend on using the skills explored this year well into the next and beyond. To sit and try to reflect on what my goals were for this year and weigh in on if they were accomplished is a bit overwhelming right now, as I'm anticipating midnight so I can tell my twins I love them!! I'm going to have to spend some time going through each one and really reflect on how things have changed for me this year. (more to come on this blog) There have been so many wonderful changes.

One of the most beautiful experiences for the year was the unfaltering, unconditional love and support of my family and close friends. To say I am "crazy"... falls easily off the lips of those who love me. But it is those same people that accept me for all that I am. The favor is returned as well. No matter what I bring to the table (and I bring feasts sometimes) they take it all in stride; riding with me the whole way. Even when they are not entirely sure what it is exactly I am doing. It doesn't matter. They love me and simply say, "ok if this is what your doing, we're in".
Thank you for making my journey a joy and not a burden! I am eternally grateful.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Have the most joyous experience of your life! If you think it, you can do it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Near death....

Let's are out very late and far from home. You are exhausted from being awake for over 24 hours. All you want to do is get home to your nice, warm and cozy cocoon of a bed. However, the drive home is murder... (almost literally)

You begin your determined journey. All the necessary checks have been made: I.D., money, gas, seat belt, mirrors, and of course music for the ride. Its winter so you put the heater on high to quickly warm the cabin. As you drive down the highway there is barely a soul on the road. An occasional car passes you and their lights quickly fade into the dark landscape. The hum of the engine mixed with the music feels like a lullaby and a warm sensation moves through your body. Without effort your eyelids become shades being drawn for close of business. Everything goes BLACK! If you were conscience you would notice that you should not be driving with your eyes closed!

Suddenly an extreme jolt of pain whips through your spine, accompanied by a thunderous roar that sounds like falling boulders. The car you so commonly see as a source of protection becomes a thrashing epileptic. When you snap back to reality your foot instinctively slams on the brakes and episodes of your life are now sitting in the passenger seat beside you. Instead of meeting your demise you end up motionless in a ditch with your heart beating outside itself!

So now I ask you.....What are the millions of streaming thoughts in your head? Are your first thoughts a plea to God? But wait... maybe guilt floods in first because how can you ask your God to help you when you haven't exactly been doin' the right thang. (human logic is flawed). Ok with that out the way, what's next? Praise perhaps? Regrets? Things you wish you HAD done? There is still so much life to live! Or maybe images of all the people you wished you forgave? Are there people you still need to forgive? Time is of the essence. What will give you a clear conscience to end this chapter and enter into the next?

I'd like to think my mind is engulfed with memories of the people I love! My kids playing and saying I love you, my husband laughing, my mom kissing me, my best friend joking with me, and friends smiling.
There is still time.... I'm sitting here writing this, right?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Lie is a Lie is a Lie.....

Man....this was a tough one for me! Anyone that knows ANYTHING about me, knows there is one thing I do not tolerate well....LYING! And I don't mean I simply don't like it. I mean I get physiological symptoms behind it. My body instantly gets flush, my heart races, I begin sweating, I start stuttering (if I'm talking), and a rage overcomes me where I want to remove myself instantly from the situation. A quote I say often, "I can handle the truth better than a lie any day". Honesty and integrity are among the highest character traits a person can possess.

My life has evolved into an open book...(literally with this blog). Keeping an open life helps to maintain humility. Its harder to be arrogant and prideful when your vulnerabilities are hangin' out there for all to see. Now granted some people do not WANT to know the truth. So I try to stay as open as possible and if someone wants to know the hard stuff they can simply ask.

In my children, they were taught the concept of integrity from the time they were two years old. My biggest selling point to them was that they can always tell me the truth and we can work it out sensibly. We spent time talking through things and learned about responsibility and consequence. They are definitely developing into confident and honest children. On the subject of honesty things are pretty peaceful in the Thomas household. But if they lie....well then... "the wrath of your mother shall consume you!".
So, you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when my nine year old son stood in front of me and told a bold face lie....a seemingly harmless lie, not one filled with guile, but a lie none-the-less.

It was a quick opportunistic lie...real simple. He was supposed to eat his hamburger...instead he let Kissy (the dog) eat it when I left the room. I came back quicker than he thought I would. I asked about the burger (already knowing what happened--mother's instinct). He said he ate it. I looked at him long and hard and told him to tell me the truth...and he did. My immediate reaction was to snatch him up!!! It took everything to send him to his room so he could think about it and I could cool off.

On a psychological side note... A spanking was DEFINITELY my first response for punishment as he looked me in my eyes and lied to me! Now, I grew up with a young single mother raising three kids on her own in the projects. There was no room for negotiation. There was no room for words. It was what my mom said and that was it. If you got out of line you got a spanking. It was a simple rule to live by...and we did. As an adult I can appreciate her perspective and I am who I am because of it. However, I run my house a little different. For starters I am not on my own. I have a supportive husband driving this ship. I also don't have the social-economical burdens she had to deal with. So, I am equipped with a different set of tools in my arsenal to deal with situations. But TRUST every fiber of my being wanted to string this boy up!!! Flashes of the movie "The Color Purple" entered my mind---"Beat 'um..."

Ok, so this is what happened.
I was so upset I had tears in my eyes. I sent him to his room for awhile so he could think about what he did. When I went back in his room, we talked for some time and I had him discuss what is harmful about lying and about my disappointment in him. We talked about responsibility of action and HIS part in his choices for what kind of person he want to be. He's growing and I respect who he is as an individual so I was honest with him. I told him I want to give him a spanking, but I'm giving him the opportunity to think about how serious lying is and his responsibility in it. So I asked him to think of a fair punishment for his actions. The end result may very well be a spanking but he will be involved in the decision. Mind you I'm struggling the whole time!!!

He was given some more time and he came back to me and suggested punishment for a week with only being allowed to draw (one of his favorite past times). I changed it to not being able to do anything. So, for a week everyday after school he is to go straight to his room. He's not allowed to do anything except schoolwork and read. NO TV, NO music, NO computer, NO Nintendo, NO Playstation, NO building Legos, NO drawing, and NO playing with Madi. He thought a minute and agreed the punishment was fair. (Personally, I would have taken the spanking! smile)

I was going through so many emotions...I had to text my mom about it. She was extremely supportive and gave some great observations. I was really having a hard time with this one! You can't MAKE someone be truthful. My prayer is that my children learn how to live a life of integrity. I know emotionally I was exhausted. Its a hard enough try doing all this deep communicating only with sign language!

Later that evening Wave came to me and apologized for lying to me and I grabbed him, hugged him super tight and smothered him with kisses.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This is a good read...

As I sit back to life reads as a magical fairytale with adventure around every corner. The main character always goes through some soul searching epiphany that changes her forever. The story is filled with colorful characters with amazing qualities. There is a lesson to be had at the end of every encounter. Story lines twist and turn but good ALWAYS triumphs over evil!
A new chapter has emerged!
The day before yesterday while I was busy in the studio creating to my heart's content, the house phone kept ringing with a unidentified number from New York. Regardless of who was on the other line, due to my year of silence, I do not answer the house phone. Especially when the number is of unknown origin! Yet, the fact that the calls came in throughout the day and evening unnerved me. "Who keeps calling from New York?"
The next day I got up at my usual 4:30am to make it to my early morning spin class at the gym. When I got home Stacy told me the most amazing news!
My brother, who I never met, got in touch with us! He was looking for his father and the listing came back to our address and phone number. So on the 27th of September he relentlessly called our home. However, it wasn't until the next morning while I was at the gym, he called and Stacy answered. He was looking for Waveris Harris. Our father. Sadly, Stacy had to tell him daddy had passed going on 4 years now.

The story of meeting my father for the first time is incredible on its this adds a whole new dimension!
On my dad's side I have three brothers: Darrell (the eldest and still missing), Christopher Middleton, and Jason Wade. All four of us have different mothers. All 4 of us were abandoned by our father when we were babies. None of us knew each other. When I turned 27 I sought out to find my dad and did. The adventure is like a story from the bible. You'd have to have faith to even consider how it was at all possible for me to find him the way I did. Then three months later he gives me away at my wedding. Shortly after that, homeless, he agrees to live with us. Our home is where he lived out the remainder of his life. He lived with us for about 9 years before Cancer slowly and painfully took his life. I was by his side holding his hand when he took his last breath. I love you daddy!

My brother Chris sought out to find our dad too, through a letter he wrote with his contact information on it. My dad was too embarrassed by his situation to ever call him. However, one day while visiting with my dad I found the letter and immediately called my brother. That day Chris came to us and met his father and sister for the first time! Shortly after that my dad and I were able to attend Chris's wedding! We keep in contact and love each other very much.

Now enters Jason Wade, 34 and very handsome!
My first text to Jason read,
"Hey long lost brother!!! I can't wait to meet you! I wanted to meet you when daddy first told me about you!" He immediately called me back. I didn't answer and instead sent another text,
"Ok...this is going to sound crazy but I can't answer the phone. I took a vow of silence this year and I am not talking...I can listen but I can't talk back." He texts back,
"LOL! Yeah your my sister!"
We spent the day texting each other, and I tried to answer all of Jason's question as thoroughly as I could. In the excitement of the moment I was texting my Aunt Alice (my dad's sister), my cousin Danie and my brother Christopher all at the same time to share about Jason. Everyone was so excited. I gave everyone his number so they could talk to him. I asked Jason,
"How's having an instant big ol family?" And he replied,
"Oh what a feeling! I can't wait to meet everyone!"
At one point Jason was extremely sad because he missed the opportunity to meet daddy. I tried my best to reassure him that I will do everything to share all I have about our dad. I have tons of pictures and videos from the holidays while he lived with us. Plus our extended family is big and beautiful! My dad has 4 sisters with kids of their own. I am close to all my aunts and cousins and love them dearly. Now Jason has a chance to see this side of the family he never knew.

This cliff hanger is awesome! I can't wait to see what happens next!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time warp

Today was one of the first days I had to myself. I had been anticipating this day for a long time. The summer was fun spending time with the kids at the pool. However, my time in the studio became limited with taking care of the kids. So now with summer coming to a close, and the kids starting school for full days, I can't wait to get in the studio!
Wow! That was probably was the quickest day of the year!!! I swear I just entered the studio and I literally blinked and it was time to pick the kids up from school. Now its homework and dinner!!! What just happened?!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Early Morning meditation...

My favorite time of the day when the whole house is quiet. So quiet in fact you can hear the house breathing. Older homes have personality. Their character embodies the residents. Its like the laughter of my children stay in the walls somehow. I love it. It is very comforting. I sit here for hours in the quiet and just listen.....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A much needed hiatus....

This morning, I took advantage of a quiet house. While the twins were sleeping and with Stacy at work, I drew myself a steaming hot bubble bath to sooth my stiff back and hard head.

The night was long and lonely. I spent a good portion of the night tossing and turning. Eventually I had to get out of bed and walk to relieve my tortured soul and pain ridden body. In the middle of the night this ole house makes lots of quiet noise. It was comforting to hear the rain hit the street.

I can be a very sensitive soul sometimes.... whatever the catalyst for my thoughts, I began to consider the condition of the world. Heavy stuff for a suffering insomniac for a night. My heart was pulled in the direction towards the plight of man. People have good intention, but the problem is, intention doesn't get the job done; Action does. Then relationship wise it seems so few are actually happy. More than half of my friends (whose wedding I remember) have gone through a divorce or the threat of a break-up looms over their head. There are many in relationships where instead of working together, harsh words take the place of true understanding.

I ended up crying. The kind of cry that comes from your soul. I cried for everyone! Myself included. I cried for any ill thought or deed. I cried for any action that pulls us away from peace. Hot tears streamed down my cheek for anyone whose heart has ever been broken. I cried for humanity.

I cried myself into a peaceful silence. Then I went back to bed.
In the morning I awoke to a fresh perspective. Action took the place of sorrow. Taking care of our mind, body and spirit is a must in order for us to stay healthy and take care of each other.
Back to my hot bubble bath... I spent two hours soaking in bubbles scented with vanilla and a hint of citrus. Burning my Nag Champa is a must and of course I had a recording of the ocean playing in the background. This was all a backdrop to the real activity. I'm currently reading one of the most stimulating books I've opened in a long time. Its title is perfect, "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri (1865-1929).
Inside these pages are the most inspiring words for any artist. Some books just seem to reach inside our hearts and kiss it. That's what its like as my eyes take in every word. Robert Henri pours out for the thirsty artist philosophies in art that quench the soul. His words are timeless and pure. In all my silence and lack of artist peers this book feels like a friendly conversation. I need to be reminded what my mission is from time to time. I am an artist.
No sense feeling bad about lost intentions.....its a new day and action is required.
"Be the change you want to see in the world." Gandhi

I'm sorry.....

This is an apology to myself.....I'm sorry.

No matter the circumstance DO NOT compromise your beliefs! During various times of stress it may seem in your best interest to alter what you would normally do and go with the flow. Resist the urge!
These are King Solomon-esqe words of advice. Take it from someone who has traveled that road extensively. ONLY turmoil, strife and guilt will come of it.

I actually thought I was helping the situation...(in my not so infinite wisdom) to go along with the "flow" of the other person, as not to make too big a wave. WRONG! It takes a stronger person to stand up to something that is even a little wrong, than to passively soothe the thing with empty yes's. It ends up being like putting a band aide on an arterial bleed. It OBVIOUSLY is not working.
Turns out the damage was long withstanding the original situation.

I have learned to take my own advice. Be consistent in your beliefs no matter who you are dealing with; whether friend or family. In the end you will undoubtedly be left with your own conscience to contend with....and as I let "man" down, I refuse to let myself down.
I'm glad I can still

Sunday, May 29, 2011

United in Pain...

Such a fitting gift at such a perfect time...
My baby mama was out of town and in a random act of kindness, she came home with this print as a gift to me. This is how the spirit works.... She knew I liked Frida but had no idea this is actually my favorite painting of Frida. She also purchase the gift before I had my terrible fall.
When she gave me the print, we laughed so hard!!! Awesome!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is that a Pube hair coming in?

My own silence is loud. I am currently sifting through the noise.
The spring time generally brings about the energy of change and impatience for me. It is actually my most dreaded of the seasons. How can that be?.... EVERYONE loves spring, right? The newness, the freshness, the feeling of hope and promise. NOT!

To me spring is like puberty. Its all awkward. The flowers are trying to burst through the hard soil; the grass hasn't quite figured out what its doing. Its wet and muddy....even cold still. When the trees finally begin to bud their colors are muted and unsure. All around the colors of spring are pale at best. It feels like a lot going on at once. We are constantly on the edge of our seats waiting for something to happen. GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!

In my own mind the same thing is going on during the spring. Plans that have been dormant during the winter are trying to burst through. There are many "to do list" to keep track of..... internally and externally. I want to rearrange the rooms in my house, paint the walls, and reorganize closet spaces. There's the garage that needs emptying as well as the basement. The kids have out grown their school clothes from the Fall and Winter, so shopping for clothes is in order. Friends and family are coming out of their hibernation and want to start planning get-to-gathers.

Then there is the internal space in my mind.... prioritizing the many art projects that are ongoing. What and when to create is a constant battle. The balancing act of taking care of my children, keeping my house in order, preparing my art lessons to teach, adapting to my husband's schedule and fitting in family time and creative time all swirl about in my head.

In Autumn I am my strongest; contemplative and introspective; guided and determined. The commander of my ship! Spring.... forget it. I'm all over the place. My spirit feels it too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Girls....sugar and spice and everything nice!

After hanging out with the old crew, it gave me a lot to think about. How can a night out of Karaoke make someone so contemplative? Well, during one of our faux non-smoke breaks folks were joking around and talking about random stuff. I basically laughed the whole night. Then someone said something that made me really think about what we carry around inside us.
My ex-boss in his blunt jovial manner says to the group.... "I finally figured it out...should I tell her?" He gets a few nods and then proceeds to address me saying, "I figured out what your year of silence is really all about. You figure that if you are not talking then the attention is forced to be on you."

If only he knew what is really going on.... This has been the loneliest experience of my life. Sometimes I feel like I am in a bubble. Untouchable, and not in the protected from all harm mob meaning. My core friendships have dissipated. No one really wants to hang out with someone who is not able to talk back or give a verbal response. So the attention I get is in my own head. I think about EVERYTHING! Probably too much now.

The up side is that I am much more mindful of the choice of words I use. Words are a powerful tool that can build up or tear down. My opinion is not needed or required. The world will keep on spinning whether I'm on it or not. So while I am here I want my words to add and not take-away.

All I could do was smile and shake my head. If there was a moment in this year so far that I really wanted to say was that moment. However, it was good that I did not get to say a word. It made me think about something. I mean really think and meditate on the topic of : What is really inside us?

If we were transparent, what would people see?

We go through this life trying to do whatever it is we are called to do. We move and process; we respond and grow; we achieve and make mistakes. All the while people's perception of us seems to be askew. How people "see" us rarely matches up with how we see ourselves. I'm no master communicator and for me it seems I'm constantly being misinterpreted, misunderstood or just plain mis-ed. So what's really in there?

On the OUTSIDE I have been told I am outgoing, confident, arrogant, beautiful, selfish, loud, fun, pushy, opinionated, honest, cheerful, fake, raw, faithful, independent, and a host of other words. However, how I see myself on the INSIDE is quite different. I'd be more inclined to describe myself as average on all levels. I think one of my most outstanding qualities is that I will go "all in" during group activities. My desire is to have fun and be an encourager. I encourage, by not being shy. I will do the stuff others may be apprehensive to do. My hope is to lead by example and hopefully make others feel comfortable enough to let their guard down so they can have fun too. Obviously, the intent can be mistaken for an attention hog.

Something else struck me....when I think about what I have inside I am burdened with depressive thoughts. There is a constant duality I live with. On the thinking and intuitive level I am very optimistic. Yet on the feeling and emotional side I am sad and melancholy. I'm always looking to be understood...but maybe, JUST MAYBE... the quiet charm of a crazy artist is to be misunderstood.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Madi & Wave!

Madi & Wave turn 9!!!
Per request we went to a Hibachi style eating experience.....check out the fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MSGH - Montessori School of Greater Hartford

March 17, 2011
Primary Classes 2 & 3 - Organic Matisse project

In this project the children learned about the difference between geometric shapes and organic forms while becoming familiar with the artwork of Henri Matisse. We had a blast!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Take my own advice...

"The situation you find yourself in now is small compared to the big picture"....
Easily said.
Take courage. My firm belief is that nothing happens by chance. We are all connected by the very nature of the chemistry that makes us up. Even the things around us, or the earth we live on, are all made up of the same chemical base. As the bible so eloquently states, "There is nothing new under the sun.". We have everything already inside us to create the reality we want.
The challenges we face are all part of our journey to refine us. Like metal in a furnace. We too come out the fire vibrant and strong! We need to be refined to be ready to do all things excellent.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fun with Lael.....

The Blueberry Belly Cast

Lael was awesome! I can't wait to see what I create from her belly.... smile. I'm inspired to dig my own belly casts from the basement and make permanent casts out of them. I forgot how much fun 3D work is!