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.

color view

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the sky seems extra blue today
I tip my sunglasses up
so vivid, rich and bright in hue
giving the illusion of warm
despite the chill
of a gusty March wind
cold
cutting through

the sky seems extra blue
perhaps due to the brightness
of the sun
or the contrast
of puffy white clouds
floating merrily above

the sky seems extra blue
as the dog and I meander
along familiar streets
in our neighborhood
he stops to sniff
while I daydream
lollygagging
over thinking
tug his leash and say,
“Let’s go home, Blue.”

the sky seems extra blue
because my heart is so full
blessings abound
the love of family and friends
provision from The Lord
there is art to make
two skies to paint
one a sunset
one in blue
much like today

the sky seems extra blue
because I am thinking
of you and me
what was
what wasn’t
what will never be
these are the things I ponder
as I wander
while walking the dog

Does anyone else look at the sky this way?

March 23, 2014

feeling lucky

A little before 10:00am Blue dog and I stepped outside for our second walk of the morning. Temps are brrr cold and we’re walking once again upon freshly fallen snow. We pass by several neighbors shoveling and greet the ones we know. Just a few doors down, is the kind, white haired neighbor man who pauses in his work to smile and say to me, “You sure are dedicated.” Then he adds, “You sure are a lucky dog, Blue.” That made me laugh! Yep. He is. Blue acknowledged the words of his neighbor friend with a happy woof and tail wag. Oh. He knows. We stayed on course, circling around the block. The little one, not one of our longer routes. Back inside now, thawing out with a later than usual hot breakfast, while the dog curls back up on the couch. My lucky canine compatriot. After food, it’ll be time to retrieve my shovel from the garage for digging out the front of the house. For many weeks I kept a snow shovel propped by the front door, only recently returning it to the garage, rather optimistically. Oh well. More snow fell. Winter is still quite “ON.” Thankfully we got less snow than predicted and it is the light, fluffy version of the white stuff. Very doable. Although, breakfast has turned into brunch here. My boys drifted to the kitchen in search of food. Sausage has been cooked and bacon is sizzling now. Evidently breakfast meat is the secret to A Great Sunday at home. Even better is the time we’ll spend in scripture, worshipping at Home Church for awhile longer. Suddenly a day that began with solitude and quiet is filling up with life, love and yes, a bit o’commotion. Good stuff. God stuff. We’re all “lucky dogs” because we have each other. Feeling thankful and blessed. Let it snow.

March 2, 2014

Psalm 57:7, 10-11 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

I love the mention of clouds. I just do. This morning’s sky was pastel pink and lavender and gradually the softest blue. It was soothing and lovely even in the cold of winter. Pastel beauty above snow covered roofs. Day dawning.

February 12, 2014

Facebook “Friends”

It all started by reading a Facebook status that said, “Sometimes even the people you love need to be unfriended.” I simply wrote, “Thankful I’m still here.” A mutual friend commented, “Me, too, Janean. But, I have had to unfriend a couple for language too.” This is where I probably should have just liked her comment and let what instead happened next disappear like a puff of smoke. Instead, I wrote…
“I have my moments of “could have been a language violator.” I understand though. I figure “free to come and free to go” and am praying through the hurt of those who went from my own “friends list.” My true friends know where to find me. We’re programmed into one another’s phones and know the way to each other’s front door. We hug hello and goodbye and in between we talk, laugh and heart share. In person communique is better than online every time. I am thankful for the Godly examples of the many women I’ve met through church. I know what faithful prayer warriors they are and how mightily they prayed my family through a storm, while weathering storms of their own, often with gale force gusts, rated F4 and category 5. Online channels have their merits, for an initial meeting and keeping in touch, but in person is better because you can hug and read faces, which say more than most status updates ever could.”
Perhaps I said too much. Perhaps not enough. This whole topic of unfriending and blocking strikes a nerve that’s raw. There is hurt there. Life is about choices. “Free to go” should always be a viable option. Thankfully, it is. An older gentleman I worked with years ago often quoted this wisdom from his mother, “There are three sides to every story: yours, mine and what really happened.”
God sees the overview and knows what’s in our hearts. He knits us together with the people we need and He directs our paths. Watch out for the potholes, road blocks and pits. Sometimes these things we view as obstacles actually protect us, from the things we cannot see ahead. Other times they help us grow deeper roots of Faith to help us stand against the mighty winds. Trust God and He will see you through. He sent His Son to die on the cross, to forgive the sins of a fallen world. Grace. There is grace and forgiveness to cover our humanness. Praise God. Praise Him for the little things and the BIG ones. Praise Him in song, in words, sometimes spoken aloud, other times typed in an email, tweet, blog post, even on Facebook.
Facebook. Brings me full circle. Ugh. Stupid Facebook. Part of me wants to ditch Facebook World completely. I still may, but not quite yet. I’m thankful for the people I am connected to, whether we interact much, or not. I hop on and hop off, reading, “liking,” and commenting. Sometimes saying too much. I’m me. It’s how I’m made. Typing forums are dangerous for me because words have a way of pouring out. Honest words, from the heart. I’m not perfect, no where near, never have been, never will be, never was. I’m just a human woman, with the tendency to be a chatterbox. I try to follow my mother’s advice, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

January 25, 2014

I am sitting on the ledge.
Waiting.
Wishing.
Hoping, for anybody to come save me.
But they didn’t.
They never came.
Instead, they waited for me to jump.

PoorGirlRichWoman.tumblr.com (via poorgirlrichwoman)

That is when you decide you just needed some quiet time and a bird’s eye view to give you a new perspective. Things aren’t as dire and dark as they momentarily appeared. You already have the courage, strength and stamina to save yourself. You are brave and strong. There is a beacon of hope within that nothing can snuff out. It is time to begin again, soaring like an eagle. You discover you prefer this sky high view, closer to the clouds. Birds of a feather flock together. I’ll meet you in the air. *chirp*

Suicide is never the answer. You don’t get to choose your last day. Only God knows when it will be. You have today. Life is a gift. LIVE IT. You are never all alone. The God of the Universe is always as close as a prayer. He is available 24/7. Talk to Him if you can’t bring yourself to phone a friend. Please. I beg you.

January 19, 2014

Thank you kindly

Dear Driver of the Maroon Pickup Truck,
Thank you for putting your snowplow blade down to bust through the drifts and heaps o’snow from the street plow at the bottom of my driveway. I tried to walk out and say, “Thank You” in person, but that’s when you started up the snowblower motor and we couldn’t hear each other. I headed back indoors through the cloud of snow dust you were making.
I watched you work from the front window, with one hand resting upon Blue. My big hearted, protector dog was window watching too. I was waiting for another chance to say, “Thanks. A LOT!”
Instead, my youngest son came upstairs asking about bacon to eat, round two. (It’s since been cooked and devoured now.) While in the moment still, I replied lightning fast to two messages on my phone, singing the praises of you, my unknown snow removal guy. Really?! Wow.
I made it back to the front window in time to see you back inside your truck, about to drive away. You’d left it running, for a quick getaway. Glad we exchanged that brief wave. Me, hanging out the front door with my winter coat on, still hoping to catch your name. You, already back in the driver’s seat, ready to roll. More snow to clear, before you called it a day. Your wave was as chivalrous as an old time, white hatted cowboy. Felt like I heard you say as you drove away, “You’re welcome. My pleasure, Ma’am.” So what if the dialogue is imagined, the sentiment is real. Thank you kindly in reply.
In one of those two texts, sent at 1:15pm today, I wrote, “Let me share a praise: A maroon pick up truck just came and plowed my drive. Then a man got out and is snow blowing the rest. I don’t know who but am thankful. Yesterday Jake the dog’s “dad” snow blew it some. Good people out there. Thankful here. God is so good. I’ve already been weepy today. What’s a few more tears? Joy kind. :)”
Just now, at 2:23pm Marilyn replied, “That is so neat Janean. God’s provision for you.”
I simply replied, “Yes. I know. Thankful, humbled and blessed. Amen”
I just want you to know I noticed and appreciate YOU!
Sincerely,
Janean M. Baird

P.S. For the record, the temperature at this moment, according to The Weather Channel app: -11*F (Feels like -35*F) Yep. Still Crazy Cold.
P.S.S. The weirdest part is your timing is that just moments before I’d been outside with Blue. He “went” fast and wanted to play, but I threw him back inside. I was going to go back out and shovel a bit. Cold schmold. I love being outside. I’d just closed the front door to unhook the dog’s leash when the house phone rang. It was my father in law, checking in. He joked about thinking he’d miss me, because I’d be outside shoveling. Told him honestly, I nearly was. We talked a bit before the call dropped and we switched to text, just a little after 1pm. So, if you read to the bottom of my note, “Thank you” once again.

January 6, 2014

The poem pictured is copyrighted by @Red_Sekhmet. Shared with permission granted today via Twitter on my Tumblr blog. I’m so glad Bloodmoon said yes.

I made dragon slayer art
A silver-clad knight
Shield up
Sword drawn
Facing a big red dragon
Darkness all around
Except for the knight
Light shimmers there
Illuminating
Protection
I am the knight
I wear a dragon some days
Printed on a cotton shirt
On days I know
There is a dragon near
A big red dragon
Needing slain
She is me
I’m a fireball
Sagittarius
Fire is my element
Red is my power color
I am a dragon slayer
I wear the whole armor of God
I’m speaking boldly
As I ought to speak
Ephesians 6:11-20

January 6, 2014

like coke bottles

Teenage boy was up and at ‘em early today. We enjoyed sharing morning quiet time. Visiting. Breakfasting without a rush.
I went in to wake up ATB at 7:09am and said, “Last day of school before Christmas Vacation.” I sort of sing-songed it. I picked up his glasses to clean ‘em, from where they were sitting on the nightstand beside his bed. Sweet boy rolled over, while rubbing his eyes awake, and calmly said, “Mom, there are already coke bottles going off inside me.” Even after drinking my morning coffee I still had to ask, “Coke bottles?” My ten year old boy replied, “Mentos. Diet coke. Get it?!” Oh, yes. I so do. Christmastime is for children and grown ups who don’t really wanna be “adults” at all. Christmas is magic, excitement and lots of happy energy about to combust. It’s a feeling that, if you’re lucky, always stays with you. Joy that bubbles up from deep inside.
My first conversation of the morning was with a teacher on the sidewalk. It was sometime before 6am, maybe before 5am. I’m not sure of the time exactly. “Early” covers it completely. I was walking with my Blue dog. We were sort of lollygagging along. She had Blue’s best buddy, Jake, who was dancing at the end of his leash. We visited like the neighbors and friends we are, as the dogs romped and played. I said, “I’m praying for ALL the teachers today.” We shared a smile under the streetlights glow.
Now I know the fifth grade boy description of what it feels like: Every child has coke bottles inside them, you know, like mentos and diet coke. (I’m being sort of a grown up and resisting adding the “Duh.”)
I treated my younger boy a little bit today, by offering to drive him, instead of waiting in the drizzling rain to ride the bus per usual. He needed a little less rush too. By 8:40am both my sons were delivered safely to school.
Their days will go by fast. Mine will too. For this quiet moment though, while I catch my breath and plan, Blue is curled up next to me, each of us on our favorite halves of the family room love seat. I need to make a mega list and wrap up the remaining Christmas To Do. Best of all, I’ll be smiling about coke bottles while I do. Oh, how I love them, and rejoice in the gift of my two sons. Christmas time is about the birth of God’s Son. Long ago. In a land afar. Angels first foretold, then announced his birth. Shepherds followed a star. Wise men began the journey to meet him. Baby Jesus. Born of a virgin. Joseph the carpenter was there, beside the manger. His mother, Mary, pondered all these things in her heart. I’ve always loved that quiet little verse, nestled in Luke 2. I’m a heart ponderer too. Everything changes in a moment. My phone rang, Blue jumped down and front window wild woofed, only to return again to curl beside me, as I work to wrap this up. My heart squeezes, my eyes leak. Tears of joy and the ring of laughter intertwines with the ache of grief. Life goes on. Christmas is coming, whether I’m “ready” or not. I’ll be ready, well, ready enough. Joy. Peace. Hope. Love. Blessings. Thankfulness. The Gift of God’s Son. Christmastime. Like coke bottles going off inside. That covers all the important stuff.

December 20, 2013
Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”