Summer is so sweet! The freedom that comes with no hard and fast schedule, no school, no bedtime and seeking out new adventures and then, adventures that somehow find you. The ability to drift from place to place and soak up all the bits and pieces of goodness you find when you step outside your usual domain. That is the good stuff. That is how I have spent this summer, the first in many years that I actually feel like I was fully present and took it all in.
Many of you who are familiar with me and my family know that we are abundant with love and blessings but there have also been trying times over the past decade or so for us. Big, hard, trying times about things that REALLY MATTER in life. Life and death and faith and love and moments when you question everything but we, by God's hand, gratefully came through it stronger but certainly changed and possibly a little "worse for the wear". Things that most everyone in life has to deal with at some point but they certainly came one after another for us, we felt. They are the moments you're taught you have virtually no control in this life. But they brought us to where we are today and that is the sour that makes the sweet taste so good! That is why this summer, we chose to wander and drift and seek out fulfilling moments without much concern of the past or the future. We recognized the opportunity was there and that we should digress, depart.....Drift!
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” - Proverbs 16:9
I try to practice gratitude on a daily basis but traveling, drifting, the freedom of this summer particularly, has awakened an intense sense of gratitude in me; an awe of this beautiful world we are surrounded by and made me feel like a kid again. I'm suddenly uber-aware of everything around me: every sight, every sound, every feeling. It reminds me of waking up from a long nap and wondering how long you slept for; that sudden awareness of self and time and place that makes you jolt up and take action.
Following my passion for making art has allowed that gratitude practice to become easier and easier as well. The process allows me to express all the feelings I'm having and a way to translate the experiences in my life. It also allows me to create something that, hopefully, brings hope and happiness to whoever sees it. I feel like I have always seen the beauty in everyday things but now, as I watch my children grow and my marriage grows, and my faith grows, I sometimes feel like I can't take it all in; there isn't enough space or time for me to process the blessings in my life and fully recognize the importance of every moment we are given.
I found myself wishing that I could paint all day so I could tell every story and record them in art for my future failed memory. But, after a summer of "drifting", I realize that's where the inspiration starts and we have to feel overwhelmed with emotion to take action. We have to take it in phases. You have to have the experience, digest it and then reflect on it. It's the times when we get out of our comfort zones, alter our usual schedules, leave the places we are familiar with and seek out new experiences (and sometimes revisit old ones), that fill us up so full that we are overflowing. Overflowing with love and hope and gratitude and faith and passion and energy!!
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1Thessalonians 5:16-18
So, that is at the heart of what I have created this time. A commemoration of a beautiful, bright, energetic summer that was so rewarding and eye opening. I am calling this collection Drift for all the places it took me: physically, mentally & spiritually.
Please take a look. I hope you find it pleasing! And if you do, please share it with someone else!!