To my babies. To all our babies…
Today is hard. It may even be very hard. So hard you are tired of it. Very tired. You may be hurt. Or confused. Or afraid. You may not think there’s an end to what you face. But, there will be. You may not think you can make it. But, you can. You CAN. You may not believe you are strong enough. But, you are. You may not believe you’re worth it. But, you are. You may not think there’s a shred of hope. But, there is. There IS. Today, you may not believe there’s a way through this struggle in front of you. But we can find one. Together. You may not feel brave. But, a day will come when you are. Another day will come. Give that day a chance. Just a small chance. Today is hard. Very hard. So hard you give up on it. Just, please. Please. Don’t give up on tomorrow.
I hate it when I see Baby Girl shy away from finishing something or decide to put an activity aside because she’s told herself that it isn’t perfect or that some part of it is “messed up.” Not long ago, she was telling me about one of her ideas for an art project, and somewhere in the conversation I heard that self-doubt creep in… “I know it won’t be perfect, but…” That but, which relegates her amazing thoughts to something less than the unique and wonderful creations they are. I told her, as I have to tell myself almost everyday. Perfect is boring. The more interesting pursuit is toward what makes each of use so incredibly unique and special in this world. It’s a good reminder again today.
Elisha and I have just finished up reading The Horse and His Boy, the third book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. It’s a great romp with talking horses, war lords, intrigue, battle scenes, lion chases, and a peasant who finds out he’s the heir to a throne. Last night we read to the end where Bree, the proud, talking war horse who was captured and taken from Narnia for most of his life, balks at the reality of returning home for fear he might not know what it’s really like to be a Narnian after all. Elisha commented that Bree was really just looking for a way to fit in. Aren’t we all?
At various points in the story, Aslan, the great sacrificial king of Narnia makes himself known to the characters as more than a myth. We see that he has been by their side throughout the journey, protecting, pushing, shielding, and even inflicting pain in order to ensure not only the unfolding of their stories, but the strength of their character. Finally, as we see Bree struggle with his next steps, Aslan reveals himself unexpectedly and bids the humbled horse to “draw near.”
“Do not dare not to dare!” Aslan implores him.
What an amazing admonishment! We all have struggles. We all have humbling experiences and seasons of life. We all look for ways to fit in. We all wonder if we can. And, we all wrestle with being fearful of what comes next. I love this lesson that often the greater risk comes in NOT daring to step forward.
We are well into 2017, and I had not really intended to continue my Letter to my Daughter series of painting practice this year. I have taken a nearly two-month break from painting except for a few client projects, and I’ve enjoyed the change of pace. When I was thinking about goals for 2017, I hadn’t decided if I wanted to do another themed series. I’ve really been craving trying out some new looks and media, and I think maybe feeling a little bored with just lettering. I’ve been wanting to produce pieces that are more “solid”. And yet, I seem to always come back to some variation of words + pictures in my work.
THEN, I had a fun experience with my Baby Girl yesterday. I chaperoned her 3rd grade gifted class on a trip to see a science themed “circus.” During the course of some crazy plate spinning, bubble antics and mime activity, they discussed several scientific principles we encounter every day along with an encouragement toward curiosity. One of the performers told the children about the importance of “knowledge” and seeking knowledge for your whole life. But, in answering the rhetorical question of why mimes and boomerang tricks were included in a “science” program, he let the kids know that even when you don’t have knowledge about something, you always have your imagination. And that can take you places!
Baby Girl’s eyes lit up when she heard that statement. She looked at me with pride and said, “I have a lot of imagination!”
Indeed. It reminded me again that against all odds and in spite of any cost, we must treasure the blessing of imagination. In dark or uncertain times, it is imagination that allows us to believe in the reality of hope. In times when we don’t understand something, it is imagination that allows us to believe in the possibilities. And, in times when the flaws of a situation seem to take over, it is imagination that allows us to envision a changed world.
I doubt I’ll begin painting “letters” every day again. But, the journey of sharing with my children will never end, and neither will all the things they have to teach me! The discipline of painting is just one way my soul processes the beauty of these extraordinarily ordinary experiences. Thanks for letting me continue to share them.
We woke up early this morning to the sound of a small thunderstorm! It’s been quite a while since we’ve had rain in the South, so it was exciting to hear the drops hitting the roof. Who knew a rainy day could generate excitement? Sometimes, perspective is everything.
Reminding ourselves of this all important lesson as we head into the Thanksgiving season.
A good reminder for today. And every day. With each new rising of the sun, comes a new measure of God’s unending mercy.
Baby Girl and I got to see the movie, Trolls, yesterday for a sweet friend’s birthday party. We loved it! Great story. Great animation. Great SONGS!! And great messages. Like this one from the soundtrack… Hey there world… I’M NOT GIVING UP TODAY!
This past summer, I was determined to capture every day with my little ones at home with me. I got into the habit of recording at least one fun thing we did each day in my calendar. Most days it ended up that the fun and amazing things grew and leaked out of the daily boxes in my planner. The words and sketches crept across the lines so that when I look back at the weeks now, they are almost a blur of memories. I also recorded at the top of each week a countdown of how many days were left in summer vacation. It was a little hard to see the days ticking away, but mostly, it served to remind me to take advantage of every fleeting moment.
When “back to school” time hit along with new schedules, busy times with client projects, and some always emotion-filled anniversaries, I found myself losing that habit of marking out good things with each day — moments worth capturing and remembering. Over the last two months, I feel like I’ve been treading water, unable to hold on to anything, much less the little moments of blessing that I know permeate each day. The blessings and joys are still there. I think I’ve just misplaced the discipline of reminding myself of them. So, I’m starting the habit again! I have a new Shinola weekly planner with nice blank boxes for each day. For the last two weeks I’ve been filling them up with little things and fun things and heart-waking things that remind me life is moving forward. And I want to notice every moment. Baby Girl is like a lab lesson in those reminders. She gives herself whole-heartedly into whatever idea she has, and she doesn’t want to miss a moment of what fun experiences may come. I don’t ever want her to lose that or to let it get drowned out by tasks and things and worries. I’m reminding myself as much as her: Find something amazing in every day! And hold on to it.