more abundantly

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sitting at my art table
a movie
playing in the background
“Finding Normal”
first time I’ve seen it
mostly listening
when John 10:10 is spoken
the latter part of the verse
catches my attention
“…I am come
that they might have life,
and that they might
have it more abundantly.”

I look up as I hear it
for sitting on the windowsill
in my direct line of sight
is John 10:10
though the translation varies
the sentiment is the same
live abundantly
as you walk with The Lord
twice
this passage came to me twice
both times through art
first time as a response
to my Good Friday art
then again today
a year later
in mid June
as I work on a gift
a piece I’m sort of keeping secret
until it is done
the timing is His
meant to be
this whispered reminder
from an unexpected source
so much has happened
in the in between
so much
my heart is still processing
some days reeling
art making helps ease the ache
heartsore
art is my path
to healing
to life
more abundantly

The photo shows two passages of scripture propped up by whittled animals, both the handiwork of my grandpa, Erwin A. Thompson. The hound dog is in charge of John 10:10 from the March 2013 Good Friday art show mentioned above. The cat is curled up with Revelation 21:4-5, the prayer team’s response to, “Restore” and “Rebuild,” the art I made for the April 2014 Good Friday show.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
Revelation 21:4-5

Feels right. Even more so rereading and pondering two months later. It goes together. All these seemingly random parts of my life story. My art medium is collage. I cut and glue and puzzle together pieces of cut and torn paper to create an image. The art in progress now is a river. Grandpa’s River. The Mississippi. The Mighty Miss-is-ip.

June 14, 2014

…and I clicked publish on this post before unpausing the movie and watching a little more to find out cancer is one of the themes in the movie. Of course it is. Damn it.

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“Mud Season” by Ellen Stimson @ellenstimson

It started one late fall morning, when I read an excerpt from Ellen Stimson’s first book, “Mud Season” in “Reader’s Digest” that had me grinning and laughing. When my oldest son, age 13, woke up I suggested he read that mini tale about rain, cows, a skunk and chickens. He chuckled too. He did. Laughter is even better shared. That was sometime before Christmas. I then ordered several copies of “Mud Season” to give as gifts, and wrapped a copy for myself in Christmas paper too, Mom Style. I began to meander and mosey through it, reading while I ate my meals, often standing up in the kitchen. I’ve never been to Vermont. I love cheese. I’ve always wanted to visit New England. Some of my friends have chickens. I buy farm fresh eggs from them, brown and white ones. Part of me wants to move and live anywhere but here, but we’re staying put. We are. It’s A Good Spot. Earlier today, at 9:27am, I wrote in an email to a friend, “Lots to do and I just want to curl up with a book in bed and tell the world to go away. Maybe with an F thrown in, some days. Unplugging today as much as I can. Breakfast is next. Went to the store first.” Then, at 11:08am, I wrote to her again saying, “I just finished reading “Mud Season” by Ellen Stimson. Thought of you a lot as I read because I loved the way she told her story – honest, funny as hell, with excellent cussing. I sat and read in a quiet house, with my last cup of coffee, while my Blue dog snoozed on the love seat next to me, his head by my side. I’m crying because I read to the end and she included recipes – cheese and cream laden ones. Oh my. More too. All of it really. Through the past few years, during my husband’s cancer fight, I couldn’t read much, but I could write. I love to read and “Mud Season” was a fun book. Memoir. A saucy, sassy one.” The beauty of “Mud Season” is that it felt so much like a multilayered conversation with my closest girlfriends. They are an amazing group of strong, fascinating women with beautiful smiles and musical laughs, who simultaneously pray you through a storm and help you find your smile with stories from their lives. That’s what friends do. Books are friends too. They keep us company, teach us stuff and are meant to be shared, like a good meal and laughter. Poor, Ellen Stimson. I found her on twitter and have been tweeting to her as I read along. At 11:28am, after I finished reading, I tweeted her this picture and said briefly:
“Dear @ellenstimson,
I finished Mud Season this morning. Smiled, laughed and cried w/Blue by my side.
~Janean”
The end. Now the dog is awake, off the love seat and barking to go out. No more time to type, because nature calls, both the dog’s and the beauty of outdoors with glitter on the snow in sunlight under a blue sky, even if the temp is 1*F. It’s time for me to “write for real” with a purpose. Memoir. It beckons me. My first book, “The Blue Collection,” is hiding, right out in the open here at Tumblr. It is a collection of all these micro posts, poems and stories about me and my dog, Blue. Woof. Again. He’s really gotta go at 12:45pm.
(Time lapses.) I took the dog out. My Aunt Janet called as we circled the block. I didn’t slip on the ice as we talked and laughed rat a tat tat fast. Familial shorthand. I saw a friend walking her two little white dogs. Knew today her husband was to hear Doctor News. It wasn’t good. Damn it. Hugged her. Caregiver support. Walked home. Read and replied to emails. Tweeted some. Phone got down to 3% battery before I plugged it in. 2:16pm now, as I’m finally going to click, “post.” I know where the day has gone. Words. The ones I read, the ones I wrote, the ones I spoke. The day has been gobbled up with words. I just remembered to feed the dog. I can hear his food go crunch. It’s time for my lunch as my stomach growls a reminder. “Mud Season” charmed me. That’s what this post is about. I am a rambler. Brevity eludes me, except in poetry, and I’m OK with that.

February 7, 2014

Loving my backyard hangout spot, with my jean-clad butt plopped on a corner of the patio, not in a chair. My bare feet are in the grass and my toes are tapping and I am singing along to the Praise songs playing from my ipad mini. I’m posting this via mobile of course! My silver laptop, with letters long ago worn off the keys, awaits. The luxury of a full keyboard is a new one, after writing so much tapping via a tiny touch screen. That Birthday Dog is eating grass. Ugh. Best of all, the oven timer just went off, which means later today there will be a delectable chocolate cake. Maybe it seems silly to you to make all this fuss over a dog’s birthday, thinking, “Two years old, big whoop. He’s a dog.” It’s so much more than that though, as most things in life are. There are many layers and undertones. We bought Blue seven months into my husband’s two years and three month long cancer fight. That dog saved me. Blue got me out of the house and under the sky, at all hours of the day and night, walking, moving, and helped me take off the stress induced, comfort food eating, weight. A month ago my husband’s soul went to Heaven. He is no longer in pain. It was four weeks ago on Monday, but it is a calendar month today. Since I was a young girl being outside made it better. Whatever “it” was in my life, being outdoors soothed me from the inside out. I need the grass between my toes, the sun on my face and the breeze blowing my dark brown hair. Blue knows Outside Makes It Better too. He’s a really smart pup, my Blue. I love him more than I should, but that’s the beauty of love, you don’t divide it, you multiply it. A lesson from my mother. She’s really smart too!
~ Janean

September 26, 2013

carefully

I’m trying to be still and know that He is God, from the Psalms.
I am trying to Trust and Fear Not.
It is hard.
Faith is believing in things that cannot be seen.
Love is the biggest of all.
I am a Hope Full woman.
I’m also held together really carefully on the inside right now.
Love,
Janean

written Monday, March 18, 2013

my heart longs to make art
it’s the soul balm
I am needing
layered alongside that though
is family business paperwork
waiting for me To Do
trying to balance my time
weighing heart cry vs. duty

I called the 1-800 number
the one atop this bill
seemed wise to double check
‘cause I thought I’d maybe paid it
handwritten check register read:
#9988 2/27/13 $389.90
the total due matched right up
answered the automated questions
by typing on the phone
was given a second number
for “facilities business office”
a person answered right away
gave ‘em the account number
they replied with a human voice:
“Zero Balance”
“Paid In Full”

what beautiful words those are
just like Jesus on the cross
who forgives us
over and over
BIG TIME
sinners saved by grace
a gift freely given
all we are To Do is ask

“Amazing Grace”
was played across radio waves
this very morning too
I sang along and cried
I almost always do

March 13, 2013

I grabbed my hotel breakfast To Go, so I didn’t miss the 7:30 a.m. shuttle I scheduled last night: oatmeal with brown sugar and sliced almonds (thankful for a plastic lid), a banana, one blueberry muffin wrapped up in a napkin (just the way my Grandma taught me long ago) all of which I shoved into my shoulder bag. Then I got a cuppa coffee and waited not too long. Coffee was gone as I was delivered, to the hospital front doors, so I bought a bigger cup and rode the elevator up. Eating now…started with half my blueberry muffin. Might get the other half, or might share…depends on how filled up that hungry man gets when he finishes The Grand Slam breakfast the hospital staff just delivered. Good morning from Loyola!

January 23, 2013
Loyola hospital
near Chicago