Wednesday, October 23, 2019

New Art!

"Garden Tendrils"

9x12 Ink and Paper 

Prints available

DM for Purchase Information

When Serious Diseases are Just Side Effects

Did you know that diabetes can damage the vagus nerve and cause gastroparesis?  I always thought I'd be able to take the great meds that they advertise all over TV....alas...I can't.  Im allergic, and the side effects are NO JOKE.   Mix food poisoning with anaphylaxis and you've about got it.   So I had to go straight to insulin.

Thankfully I have a great doctor (Fran) whose been watching metabolic syndrome set in as I underwent ivig therapy.  We knew I had to lose weight and reverse the damage to my pancreas,  but I had to be stable.  We had to rule out poryphria.  And we needed to be certain that my liver could handle it.  

Thankfully i got the go ahead, and now Fran's entire team is helping me rapidly heal my liver and put the diabetes in remission. Time to reverse the damage done by the medicines that saved me.

Isn't that interesting?  NAFLD and DIABETES are significant problems, but they were necessary side effects given what I was fighting.  Puts it in perspective.

And yet as I write this,  I know there are those who think I've been making this up, or sharing about it to get attention.   There are no words.  Just the women warriors I've begun to paint.

Facebook reminded me today of all the people who helped me through a year of grueling treatment. Thank you.   I mean it. Words can't express my gratitude today. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Francis and the Wolf

An alternative way to respond to the issues of the day.  As a contemplative, I find myself in this stance more often than most alternatives. There isn't a right and wrong way. In my case, as in the story below, it's often a matter of how we are called to be in the world.

Francis and the Wolf
Carlo Carretto (1910–1988) was a member of the Little Brothers of Jesus, a community of contemplatives based on the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. In his book, I, Francis, Carretto speaks in Francis’ voice, combining biography with what Francis might say to us today.

Carretto describes Francis’ experience with a hungry old wolf who had been terrifying the people of Gubbio and preying on their livestock.

Francis went out to meet the wolf armed only with love. The townspeople were sure the wolf would eat Francis. But Francis simply considered the needs of both the wolf and the community. He discerned that the wolf was too old to hunt wild animals and just needed to eat, while the people needed safety for themselves and their animals. Francis proposed that the wolf be given food each day, and the wolf agreed to leave their sheep and chickens alone. Carretto writes in Francis’ voice:

No, brothers [and sisters], I was not afraid [to meet with the wolf].
Not since I had experienced the fact that my God is the wolf’s God too.
What is extraordinary in the incident of the wolf of Gubbio is not that the wolf grew tame, but that the people of Gubbio grew tame, and that they ran to meet the cold and hungry wolf not with pruning knives and hatchets but with bread and hot porridge.

This is the miracle of love: to discover that all creation is one, flung out into space by a God who is a Father, and that if you present yourself as [God] does, unarmed and peaceably, creation will recognize and meet you with a smile.
This is the principle of nonviolence, and I want to recommend it to you with all the enthusiasm I can command. . . .

If human beings go to war, it is because they fear someone.
Remove the fear, and you re-establish trust, and will have peace.
Nonviolence means destroying fear.
This is why I, Francis, tell you this once again: Learn to conquer fear, as I did that morning when I went out to meet the wolf with a smile.
By conquering myself, I conquered the wolf. By taming my evil instincts, I tamed those of the wolf. By making an effort to trust the wolf, I found that the wolf trusted me.
My courage had established peace.
You can deduce the rest by yourselves.
Just think what would happen if one day you became nonviolent, and took the huge sums of money you spend on defending yourselves against fear and used them to help the people of whom you are now afraid. . . .
You will know peace then.
Is that too much to hope?
Perhaps someone is listening to me!
To whoever it is, I, Francis say: Be brave!

The above excerpt was prepared by Fr Richard Rohr.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Savant Wins America's Got Talent

It brings me to tears tonight watching #agt America's Got Talent... THE FINALS!

Kodi Lee, a blind, autistic, neurodivergent musical savant won by popular vote on one of the world's biggest stages.  POPULAR VOTE.  The voting audience saw his brilliance.  He didn't hide his disabilities.... he was himself-authentic- and he sang his heart out.  To see him win brings me to tears. 

Im not autistic like Kodi, but I know how it feels to be neurodivergent with disabilities and a savant talent.  It's easy to feel invisible sometimes.  Worse, there are times where people only see the disability/illness, and the judgment hurts.  It's challenging to choose to share my savant ability (painting) under those circumstances.  Still, I keep painting no matter the reactions of those around me because it's in my soul!

To see that expressed in an even more powerful way this season on AGT has moved me to start a new artistic expression.

To watch Kodi soar in the finals and again tonight.... well.... I'm inspired in ways that leave me speechless.   The color I feel, though, is a deep sparkling and swirling bowl of thick purple liquid with tinges of turquoise, fuchsia and gold spreading to every cell in my body!  Ahhhh.... if only synesthesia could be my language!

All my love to #kodilee for his extraordinary win tonight!  Your fellow neurodivergent savants are cheering you on!  I think my daughter and I need to finally get on a plane and go to Vegas.

Monday, September 9, 2019

My Wish for Today

Never take the simple things for granted.  Do you have your health? A solid job? Good family? Can you drive? Can you walk? Are you able to work? Are you healthy enough to parent your children?  Do you have loving relationships? A faith that nourishes you? Do you live without pain? Can you breathe unassisted? Can you smell the earth after a rain storm? And the list goes on.

St John of the Cross (one of my favorite mystics) was imprisoned and beaten by fellow monks for months.  During this painful time, "the dark night of the soul, " he found gratitude in the miracle of a flower blooming outside his cell window.  

Every day is filled with miracles, if we open our eyes and learn to see.   It often requires radical stillness to finally open up eyes that have been trained to see according to the dominant culture.  "Be still and know that I am God." I too have been guilty of setting goals higher and higher without noticing the miracle of where I am. Many times ive been leveled, forced into stillness, and reminded that my call is in the quiet.

Every day, I see people take things for granted... everyday things like walking up stairs.... but I notice because I'm fighting to be able to do those very same things. 

Today I paused with C to observe the difference between where i am now, where I was a year ago, and where I was two years ago.   I'm making huge progress, yet I'm not going to take a single moment for granted.   Living wakefully is my imperfect hope for today.   Amen. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Who Will I Be Tomorrow?

Ive been through so much medically,  spiritually, physically. There are moments that I recognize my face again, but that's only on the outside. Mu eyes remain the same.   As I reflect, I've transformed more through this last two years of painful healing work than ever in my life. I never thought I'd go through something more challenging than the TBI and divorce in 2011.   Yet here I am...walking out of another formative maelstrom. Im not looking backwards; no, I'm embracing what is to come, even as the ultimate outcome is unknown.

Thus,  I hold onto the prayer....

I come trembling to the feet of Jesus and ask, who will I be tomorrow? 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

My Heart Breaks

Living in one's truth...
Dying because of it.
My heart breaks.
Lord, hear my prayer.
It's beyond words
Where I'm speechless
And there's only a deep
yearning, hope, longing
That we learn to LOVE
One another
Because I feel broken
Every time we KILL
One another.