Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I had grandiouse plans to have a tibbit on here everyday from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which I attended in the middle of May at the YMCA near Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Well this is what I got to look at for a week

Longs Peak rising up to over 14,000 feet.
And this is what I got to come home to-

the mountains near Telluride- I actually see the other side of them, along wiht the Blues in Utah and the La Platas rising up in my backyard.
Compared to these I got nothing to say- other than He is God, I am not, and Wow! What a awesome and wonderful Father we have to plop us down on a magnificant creation of this earth-
if you haven't had the opportunity as of late to go sit at His feet on top of a mountain, at the seashore, in the wind swept plain, or in a quiet desert- I highly encourage you to- then shut up and listen- he will speak to you, show you what is missing in you and it all, everything, comes back to Him.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Higher You Are...

What is that old adage?- "The higher you are-the harder you fall?" Well, I'll let you know on Friday what elevation I am at. "Lab in Poppies" will be sold to the highest bidder at a fundraiser for the Sacred Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Now,I will be taking a walk when it comes up to be bid on- with strict instructions to my husband to Not tell me the play by play details if it is not flattering to my ego.
I have to come up with a starting bid- no idea- took me about six hours to do, cause I sat down at six tonight to get it done and now it is midnight, Yes- I have known I needed to do it for, ohhhhhh, three months!
I like the image, might do some more and try and sell them as cards.
Off to bed!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Day One

This is Day One of my travels to the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference at the YMCA in Estes Park, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Somewhere on the mind numbing eight hour travel- that today took more like eleven- I-70 was mostly one lane due to construction and had to sit twice for twenty minutes as they blasted the road ahead- I thought I would do a daily online journal of the trip.
I listen to eleven hours of radio- NPR, Christian, Country and Rock- did a lot of scanning as I weaved in and out of canyons and over mountain passes and this is what I have learned today-
-Jerry Falwell died today- I have no doubt the man loved God but had to agree with one of the commentators- "He did not represent all Evangelical Christians", he certainly did not represent me.
-For every newborn baby put up for adoption in this country, there are ten families who want the baby.
Here is one for the stupidity prize- forget the moral arguments. Doctors are going to great extent to make women pregnant ( news clip was about the success of egg donors and the "etiquette" of including them in the baby lives)- at the same time doctors are killing unborn babies.... So we as a society are trying to create and cruelly destroy life at the same time- seems like if we could encourage women to give their babies nine month and then put them up for adoption, then we would solve a lot of problems- it was a heated discussion between me and my radio.
- Some big investment company bought Crystler Auto Maker and the Auto Union is very upset.According to the experts- we are out of the era of job security, benefits and worker privileges- to the extent that the big Detroit Automakers can't afford to do much research and development because their workers are sucking them dry- the oldest retiree still getting benefits if 110- So the Foreign makers are taking the market. That is about as far as this artist/writer wants to know about finance and business, but thought it was interesting.
-Apparently, according to Denver DJs- there are people who are surprised when hitting a bullet in a vice grip with a hammer, actually makes the bullet explode? Interesting.


This past Saturday my husband endured the Twelve Hours of Mesa Verde Mountain Bike Race. Solo, Duo and Four Man teams- rode relay style for twelve hours on a fifteen mile single track route through sage brush,and dirt. Not only did Jon survive,( on one of his loops, he sacrificed about ten minutes to scoot a rattle snake off the trail), but his team placed third in their division. Very fun day and at the same time we mountain bikers had the lower half of the fairgrounds ( where the bikers started and ended- but there was a junior rodeo going on above us- so it was a funny sight- horses and bikes co-existing!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother's day memories are centered on following my mother and grandmother around the nursery, usually with a card board flat in hand. The green house at the nurseries always had a musty warm smell and there were plenty of puddles in the crunchy gravel to navigate. I would watch each of them, picking out the six packs of flowers they wanted,deadheading and picking off yellow leaves on their own choices as well others. Both didn't necessarily like petunia but always got some for their abundant blooming ability- as a filler for the more glorious flowers.
Conversation would be on the different gardens, the shade garden, the cutting garden, which roses would need replaced and their "hardy rating". In her latter years, my grandma went to more pots, on her porch, clustered by the gate in the back.
Geraniums have always been inside my mothers home-African Violets always were in my grandmother-never remember them buying either- each was expert in slipping a new shoot and getting it to grow- a skill I will never have.
I enjoyed a visit by my mother a few weeks ago- we did go to the nursery. She bought my a geranium for Mother's Day and I bought her a rose, with a very good rating. Before she left, she helped me pot the new geranium in my Jardiniere pot- which was my grandmothers- one of the last things she gave me before she died.
The pot was her Aunt Mary's who's husband went off to fight in the Civil War- Under the pot is the birthday plate- that held the birthday cakes for my mother and her siblings when they were little- wonder why the birthday plate was demoted to hold the Jardiniere pot? There is no crack in it or anything?
This Mother's Day I won't be at the nursery- two days later, I'll be heading to a writer's conference and a week away from the garden would not be good.
Plus the talent of growing beautiful things was not pasted down to me- I try- but my studio and writing pull me away- from being in the garden, but I can appreciate their love of it, having the same love for a different medium, one that consumes my thoughts and plans, just like my mother and grandmother's garden is for them.
So Happy Mother's Day, Mom and thank you for teaching my to love the simple and the beautiful.

Monday, May 07, 2007

When things were simple

A young couple boarded the shuttle bus as it made its way up into the narrow canyon of Zion National Park. They were part of a group of young climbers, none of them could be older then twenty four or twenty five and the group bantered back and forth across the shuttle which climbing route they would try in the morning and where they should go to eat in town that night. All the time, the young man had his arm around her. I smiled when I saw the wedding ring on his finger,sliver or platinum.
In our day it was gold and there was a time, when my husband's arm instantly went around me the second we sat down somewhere, but now his hands are so often filled with other things, other responsibilities. Responsibilities that have directly sprouted from that simple time when we were first married and in love.
Now there other hands to hold, other then mine and other voices to listen to, much sweeter then mine. There are puddles and "fairy places" to investigate,rocks that need climbing and little legs that need encouraged to get back to the head of the trail.
As I watched the young group of climbers get off the shuttle, each of the couples with their arms around each other, their fingers tucked in the back pocket of the other, I wondered if I had savored that time enough,If I knew it wouldn't last and enjoyed it as much as I could.
Later in a rare quiet moment I asked my husband, he had a simple answer-"No, you never do," He was right, we never savor the good that we have until they are gone and those days are gone- the simple days of young love, but the days of savoring my children and my seasoned husband are here and since my memory is continually slipping I will write it down and sketch it, so that I might remember.

Mt. Zion

In the bible, "Zion" is another name for Jerusalem, a Holy City, where God resides.
I can see why the name came to mind when it was time to name Zion National Park, in Southwestern, Utah.
On both sides of the road,piles of massive red rocks squeeze the valley shut until walking in the Virgin Creek you could stick your hands out and touch each side of the canyon wall. By that time the walls on each side are like glass and rise a thousand feet up. When flash floods come there is no place to go and people die in the slot canyon.
Down in Springdale commercial outfitters "outfit" the tourist with wet suits, heavy tread boots and large sticks to walk into the narrows, where the water levels can be anywhere from a few inches or up to your waist.
Power, shear power is what I kept coming back to when I looked up at the massive canyons etched out of the hard sandstone by a trickle of water.
I always feel so small in such a large place like Zion, and wonder how anyone can stand here and not know there is a God!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Lament

I am doing what I told myself I would never do- lamenting over a "rejection." Having been waiting over a month and a half for a publisher to decide on a picture book manuscript/illustration package- where if they bought it-I would of then did all the illustrations. Idea was just sketched out at this point-I started to get "cocky"
Well as the weeks went by and I received personal notes from the publisher along the way- somewhere in my head, I must of decided I got it- because my thoughts went to book tours and awards- I thought my ship had come in, that I had drawn the "Treasure Chest Card" that lets you go around the whole Monopoly board, with a get out of jail free card and hands you your two hundred dollars- I thought I had just been waved to the front of the line- of want-to-be published writers and illustrators. I thought finally my money will be where my mouth is! That this "what if" and "someday" would be now- I would be paid for what I love to do- I could stop feeling silly when some one asked me what I do- so much more easy to just say- I am an author/illustrator, instead of a want-to-be.
Well when the email came last night- My "Treasure Chest Card" was replaced with a "Go Directly to Jail Card", My ship was sunk and I would have to continue to give a "round about" answer to the question- what do you do? And I could see myself-almost at the front of the line- being directed by a big burly bouncer to walk back to my allotted place at the back of the line- which is fine- I really knew in my gut this was to easy- to get something that big now- in fact fear gripped me wondering if I was ready to produce 32 illustrations in six months- I have a lot of other stuff in the mix and will develop the story at some point because it is a good story and to confess I want the publisher who rejected it to have a "I could of had a V8" moment when he sees it the "Caldacott" book of the year.
What really scares me- terrifies me- is not "Can I write-can I illustrate", I know I have the skill, the tool, I know composition and story structure- what really scares me is "What if I am in the wrong line?" Like the running joke of standing for hours in the farm machinery line at the DMV- only to find out when you get to the window- What if my ideas, my stories are so "odd" and "strange" that they will never ring true with the general public. What if I think so differently- that there is no audience for what I have to say. Someone once said "It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought a fool, then to open it and remove all doubts"
So here I sit- in the back of the line again, wondering what to do.
I will always write and illustrate, it is like breathing to me, my head would burst if I didn't. I know God gave me a gift and I will hone it and use it. But he also wants to teach me something through it and that is the hard part- Nothing comes easy, never has and if it did- would it be worth having-
But this morning, I just wonder how long the line really is for me- and hope and pray that when I finally get to the front of it- someone will ask me to autograph my book instead of what piece of farm machinery would I like registered.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Can You Hear Me Now!"

I was walking the dog in Dolores and had to laugh. On the side of the road was a nice car, a too nice to be around here car-mainly because it was Not a 4wheel drive. Inside- in front of the wheel was a women and next to her- in the passenger seat a man talked on a cell phone. The women and I exchange a knowing smile. I could relate.
She had probably been instructed exactly where to pull over and stop so that he would have a signal, where roads dip up and down into deep rock canyons where no signal could find them.
Many a times on the ride over to Moab- I also sit and watch life go by while my husband finishes a business call- we know exactly where the signal will be dropped- and a dropped call to a judge is a big no no.
Kudos to the technology that allows us to live where we do and allows my husband to come out of his office and be with his family instead being tied to a desk 5 days a week. Sitting on the side of the road allows me to contemplate the people who chose to hack out a life in the "backwash" of the West and coffe shops where he can check his email on his laptop are usually filled with interesting characters.